Personal reflection is something I had to complete as part of my work appraisals, but in all honesty, I didn’t really value it. I think this is because I’ve always felt fairly self-aware and as a deep-thinking creative, I probably spend far too much time in my own head anyway!
Since starting a coaching and mentoring course five months ago, I’ve written over ten-thousand words of personal reflection – crazy, eh? The process seemed a little odd to begin with, but after persevering I started to understand its value. As a result, it’s now a fundamental part of my coaching practice and wider business. I view it as a kind of positive journaling, enabling me to get the most from my experiences and to learn from each scenario and encounter.
If you’re new to personal reflection, it simply involves evaluating your experiences and reconsidering things from a fresh perspective. This can include establishing what happened, how you responded to the situation, how you related to others, how your actions may have influenced others, what you learnt about yourself and what, if anything, you might do differently in future. I don’t think there are any rules when it comes to reflecting, it’s simply taking the time to consider each experience and to learn from it. This can be done through thinking, writing or discussion.
‘When you stop looking around and start looking within, you may find you already have the answers.’
So today I’m sharing a few of the benefits I’ve found from regular personal reflection. I’m passionate about making my life simpler and easier, and I’ve found that by reflecting, I’m better placed to decide if the things in my life are serving me. I also believe that, in most cases, if we look within we have all the answers. This can enable us to curate a beautiful life packed full of all the things we love!
It strengthens our self-awareness
Few things increase our self-awareness like personal reflection, and by taking the time to evaluate a situation we can learn from it and in some cases, stop making the same mistake again! Personal reflection helps us to better understand who we are, how we relate to others and how we show up in the world. It is an extremely empowering tool, which can build our confidence and encourage us to embrace the person we are.
Reflecting can support us if we overthink or play the same situation over and over in our minds. By looking at what happened, we can view it from an objective viewpoint, rather than a subjective or emotional one. This process can support us in finding a solution or enable us to let it go. If we imagine our life-experiences – good and bad – are there to support our growth, we can approach everything from a place of curiosity and wonder. In the words of Eckhart Tolle, ‘Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.’
It enables us to establish what’s working and what isn’t
As I mentioned above, personal reflection can feel like a moment of clarity. For example, if you feel deflated after an interaction with someone, by objectively reflecting you can begin to establish why. Through asking questions and getting to the root of how you feel, you can learn from the experience and make any necessary changes.
Reflecting on life can also help us to build on what’s working. When we look closely at our lives, we can uncover what makes us feel truly happy and ensure there’s an abundance of it! We’re all a work in progress and when we view ourselves from a place of discovery we can liberate the pressure of having to be perfect. After all, the more mistakes we make the more we can grow!
It helps us to be mindful and promotes gratitude
When we work on our self-awareness we become more mindful in our lives. This is because when we’re observing ourselves in a situation we’re more present in it, stopping our minds from wandering or operating on autopilot. It’s easy to get caught up thinking about the past or future, so by observing life more closely, we will undoubtedly be more present.
Reflecting on who we are and how we approach life can also promote gratitude because it enables us to value every moment. When we’re grateful for our life experiences and encounters we can begin to feel more content in our everyday lives. This encourages us to make space for the things that bring us the greatest joy. (Further reading: five benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.)
It instigates personal insight
Self-reflection can motivate and encourage personal development. For example, if we notice ourselves struggling to convey our opinions and beliefs, we may consider ways to build our confidence and become a little more assertive. Every day we’re subjected to experiences that can fuel our growth, so by taking a step back, we can get the most from them. Personal development is an ongoing journey and personal reflection is a great way to instigate advancement.
To end I’d just like to admit I did feel a little awkward when I started this process, but by approaching it from a place of curiosity rather than criticism, it has helped me to be more accepting of who I am. I think smiling at our mistakes and using them to develop is a much kinder way to live. After all, it’s okay if we don’t have all the answers because none of us is the finished article!
Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a wonderful and insightful day.
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