Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people – Albert Einstein
Looking back and reflecting on our day, our week, our month or even our year helps us grow and learn to be able to look forward with a clearer vision and understanding. It allows you to ponder and question – What gave me the most meaning today? Or my favourite one – ‘What was my most significant lesson today? You see, everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you made.
Some of us are so preoccupied with what is happening around us that we pay more attention on what is going external of ourselves instead of reflecting and connecting with what is going on within.
External VS Internal
I love using this analogy – If you take a look in a mirror you will find a reflection of your appearance, your external you. But… in your heart is where you will find a reflection of your internal compass, your truth meter and your soul.
Too often people take things personally when things come from external, when in reality what others say or do is a reflection of them, not you. Remember this – life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see.
Your perception or interpretation of me is a reflection of you and my reaction or my response to you is an awareness of me. Whether positive or negative, it is a reflection of you – the good or bad that you see in me is a reflection of you.
There is a Zen saying – we cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. It clearly states the importance of reflection, stillness, mindfulness and pause.
Reflect, Explore, Learn
You would be quite surprised to discover how often we unconsciously reflect daily, trying to work through our problems in our mind. Asking ourselves questions like:
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- How could I have done this differently?
- Why didn’t they get excited about it?
- Why am I feeling like this? I should be happy.
When you reflect – you are basically exploring your thinking and your feelings about a situation. It allows the small talk in your mind – that part of your brain that just loves to chatter. It also allows you to analyse and experience any situation from an observer point of view, giving you a different perspective on things, allowing you to have those aha moments or realisations where you could have reacted differently or said it in a different tone.
Upon reflection, you may feel compelled to fix things up. After going it over again in your mind you may want to have another conversation with an individual. From this comes growth. You take the learnings, you adapt to change and you become more flexible and increase your level of understanding.
The more we consciously practice reflection – the more you are going to identify your strengths and weaknesses and do something about them. It drives action.
Reflection brings great clarity and insight, like seeing events reflected in a mirror, which can assist you with:
- Understanding on a deeper level
- Planning and strategising ahead of time
- Greater insight if you play it out in your mind first
- And… what actions to take for a great outcome.
The Power of Journaling
Creating a habit to write in your journal daily, at the end of each day, is another way for reflective thinking. There could be three simple points of focus like:
Thoughts – set your intention to be the observer of your thoughts and take note of them, replace the negative ones into positive, empowering thoughts.
Words/Language – watch your words and language, replace all words that make you feel disempowered; replace your words/language with a new empowering vocabulary.
Feelings/Emotions – your emotions are your indicator; you can replace your negative emotions with positive emotions by giving your situation a different meaning and see what positive emotions you can draw from your experience.
By doing your daily journal it allows you to reflect and explore, to understand more about you and to seek understanding – What happened? What was I thinking? How was I feeling? How did I react to situations in this day?
This allows you to think on how you are going to do it differently next time or what areas you need to work on to get better results.
Reflection improves your overall performance, whether it is personal or professional. Successful individuals or organisations reflect on what has been learned from their experiences, making them more productive. And… reflection builds your confidence to achieve your goals.
There are health benefits of journaling. There is scientific evidence that journaling provides unexpected benefits such as:
- Getting to know you better
- Giving you clarity on the way you think and feel
- Finding solutions to your problems
- Resolving conflict with others
- Overall reduces your stress levels.
Always carry a notebook to capture those special moments – your thoughts, your feelings or your actions. Create a habit of writing in your journal in the evening. Get started by purchasing that special journal and pen you have always wanted (or you may want to type it out, it’s completely your experience).
Commit to writing every day. Then watch the magic unfold.