The act of self-reflection
Over the past few years, I have been steadily working towards creating the life I want to lead. Not only does this involve figuring out where to live, what work will look like, and what relationships will look like. This is big stuff. Huge, in fact. Did I mention it is really hard? And painful.
Now, I am not a masochist and I have some sloth tendencies, but I recognize that through the act of self-reflection that leads to greater self-awareness is really the only way I am going to find my Nirvana. Like most things in life, there is a balance between “good” self-reflection and “bad”. Full disclosure, I skate dangerously close to the line sometimes.
The act of self-reflection “trains us to be open to contemplation, to consider alternative plans of action, to become resourceful, and to be inquisitive into one’s lifestyle and work” (Young, p.2). Sounds ideal. Let me tell you, examining your own biases (identifying them first is HARD), prejudices (HARD), and making correlations between automatic behaviors (reactions) and experiences within your life (HARD). However, if you can withstand the ‘body-blows’ to your ego, the other side is wonderful.
The concept of ‘too much of a good thing’ also applies here.
Self-reflecting on an emotionally charged event can easily slip into an anxiety trait of ‘ruminating’. Rumination is the act of “continuously thinking about the same thoughts, which tend to be sad or dark” (Cirino.)however, the reality is rumination is bad for your mental health. If you cannot stop thinking about an experience, your sleep is interrupted, or your work and personal lives become affected, you could be drowning in the rumination vortex.
What happens if you get pulled into the rumination vortex? Tell someone, write it down, distract yourself, meditate, or reach out to a professional. Don’t suffer.
Today, now more than ever is the time for self-reflection as our world continues to shift and evolve. This is the opportunity to learn about yourself; your friends, family, and people in your community; but more importantly, I think we could all use some self-awareness as we re-emerge and re-engage with a very different world.
I wish you all well on your personal journeys, but just remember when it gets hard it’s ok to rest, just don’t stop.
Cirino, E. (2015, September 4).10 Tips to Help You Stop Ruminating. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-ruminating#tips
Young, M. E. (2016).Learning the Art of Helping(6th Edition). Pearson.