A Guide to Self-Reflection

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This year is almost over. Especially this year, many people practice self-reflection. 2020 is a turbulent year for all of us. Due to the time of Covid-19, our lives change dramatically. Some lost their jobs, and some lost friends and family members. As a result, we all should think about a new chapter in our life. What do we want to achieve? Who stood by my side at the hardest time? Self-reflection is a great way to answer life questions. Also, throughout some of my blog posts, I told a lot about self-reflection. Finally, here is a guide to Self-Reflection.

No thoughts are permanent

As some of you know, I self-reflect in June, on my birthday, and near the end of a year. Self-reflection became a personal ritual for me. In this ritual, I reflect accurately on my life. Sometimes it is just a summary of my current situation. And sometimes I have a deeper look into my thoughts and actions. Surprisingly, I realize my opinions, behavior, and actions toward specific topics changed.

In my case, I reflect on my last relationship once more because I see so many people break up and so many people come together. As in one of my blog posts, I talked a lot about it. Here is my result on it after many sleepless nights and random daydreaming. My ex was not bad at all. In fact, she was a good one. If I told this myself 2 years ago, he would disagree with me. She was everything I could wish for. She was supportive, challenging, and loved me for who I am. However, I did not see it back then.

I was self-reflecting on other topics as well. The first thing I learned about myself is that I can be a really hard-working guy. This is a huge revelation because back then I gave up after a couple of weeks. Maybe it is the age that I am more focused and that I know what I want. But without self-reflection, I would not understand myself.

Why we should reflect more

Self-reflection is and will always be an important ritual for me. In this intimate moment, I think about everything that bothers me or makes me happy. More importantly, it shows me what I have to do next. And moreover, what is more important? Short-term pleasure or long-term success? I learned so much about myself just by thinking about myself and my surroundings. As John Dewey once said:

We do not learn from experience. We learn from refelcting on experience. – John Dewey

A Guide to Self-Reflection: 5 Reasons why we should reflect on ourselves more

advice - a guide to self-reflection
Photo by Frame Harirak on Unsplash

1. Setting your Priorities right

Life can be a real mess and in daily life, we will forget about what is valuable to us. A couple of minutes in self-reflection, before you go to bed is already enough to reset your priorities. What is really essential to you? Just answer this question and you will feel empowered to fix your mess in the upcoming day.

2. Define and strengthen your core values

I need to self-reflect every time I am in a conflict with someone. Because anger can tell us a lot about ourselves. Why am I upset about it? What drives me to do that? It is crucial to self-reflect first to stop an escalation. Better say nothing and be “wrong” than saying hurtful things.

Also, self-reflection is about knowing your value, what matters to you the most, what you are passionate about, and your strength, and weaknesses, and could avoid lots of confusion when you illustrate your life.

3. Another Perspective

Undoubtedly, self-reflection shows a new perspective. In my case, when I reviewed my failed relationships, I found out, that I am a garbage boyfriend. Well, not a garbage boyfriend but I am not qualified for a long-term relationship. Looking back, I realized that I am far away from the man I want to be. I hurt my exes, I disappoint them and moreover, I treated them not what they deserve.

My ritual made it clear that I am not ready for a serious relationship. Not only that I do have not the time but I cannot offer enough to keep a woman next to me. The reason I stayed single for two years and more to come. My goal is to start dating again if I would date myself. A long way to go.

4. Making fewer mistakes

With self-reflection the possibility to make the same mistake twice is low. Because you learned from these mistakes. You learned a lot, saw the other perspective, and therefore, you fixed your values. By constantly self-reflect you make better decisions. You see red flags sooner that will lead to fewer screw-ups.

5. Respond instead of Reacting

The main difference between reacting and responding is, that one has thorough reasoning before taking action, and the other has not. These two are usually different and potentially life-changing. With more self-reflection, you will be less likely to react impulsively.

A guide to Self-Reflection

Photo by Clayton Robbins on Unsplash

1. Identify the Important Questions

Here are 30 thought-provoking questions for self-reflection from David K. William:

  • Who am I, really?
  • What worries me most about the future?
  • If this were the last day of my life, would I have the same plans for today?
  • What am I really scared of?
  • Am I holding on to something I need to let go of?
  • If not now, then when?
  • What matters most in my life?
  • What am I doing about the things that matter most in my life?
  • Why do I matter?
  • Have I done anything lately that’s worth remembering?
  • Have I made someone smile today?
  • What have I given up on?
  • When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?
  • If I had to instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby, what advice would I give?
  • What small act of kindness was I once shown that I will never forget?
  • How will I live, knowing I will die?
  • What do I need to change about myself?
  • Is it more important to love or be loved?
  • How many of my friends would I trust with my life?
  • Who has had the greatest impact on my life?
  • Would I break the law to save a loved one?
  • Would I steal to feed a starving child?
  • What do I want most in life?
  • What is life asking of me?
  • Which is worse: failing or never trying?
  • If I try to fail and succeed, what have I done?
  • What’s the one thing I’d like others to remember about me at the end of my life?
  • Does it really matter what others think about me?
  • To what degree have I actually controlled the course of my life?
  • When all is said and done, what will I have said more than I’ve done?

A guide to self-reflection: #1 Ask the right questions.

2. Track your feelings

Self-reflection is important when complicated feelings come into play. I am talking about anger, frustration, depression, and sadness. Therefore, when we react impulsively, we will regret what we will do and say. That is why we have to understand why we feel that way. What or who creates this emotion? By analyzing our feelings deeply we will understand why. As a result, we can deal with this much better.

A guide to self-reflection: #2 Understand what creates your negative feelings.

3. Self-Check Up

Simply sit down and review different areas of your life. Career, Love-Life, Education, Hobbies, Family, etc. Put more time in the areas you prioritize. Here you have to be real with yourself and answer honestly. Am I happy with the current situation? What can I do to remain in this situation? Or how can I change this?

A guide to self-reflection: #3 Check your priorities from time to time.

4. Summarize goals and process

Self-reflection is also a great way to review your processes. Did you achieve your goals within the deadline? What did you learn during work? Are there things you have to change? What are the next steps? By answering these questions, your goals become clearer and you will be more motivated. A win-win situation

A guide to self-reflection: #4 Consistently check your results and process to keep you motivated and clear.


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