Living through a global pandemic has completely changed the course of our lives. Over the past year, we have had to adjust to overnight changes that have affected the manner in which we conduct our daily activities. With all these changes also came plenty of opportunities to reflect on the obstacles we have faced and overcome. Going through hard times can make it difficult to reflect positively, but these challenges also present a perfect opportunity to turn hardship into valuable growth. Read below to learn the ropes of self-reflection and the best methods to maintain this type of thinking within a positive framework.

The Process of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is the knowledge of your fundamental nature and essence. It is a skill that can be applied to oneself to learn more about who we are. To self-reflect there are four small steps that you can take: 

  • STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
  • LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
  • LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
  • ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.

Now that you are familiar with the steps required behind the process of reflection let’s learn about when it comes in handy and the best methods to pursue. We typically have no problem self-reflecting when we find ourselves in conflict with other individuals or in a situation where we must question our behavior. However, it is also necessary and beneficial to reflect on cases where the act is not immediately innate. 

Some ways in which one can reflect in positive ways are: 

  • Focusing our reflection on achievements, not mistakes.
      1. Dwelling on the past can be harmful to the way we spend our time thinking. We all remember that very irrelevant incident that may have occurred but was likely quite embarrassing. Our mind tends to hold onto memories associated with intense feelings of embarrassment, sadness, or hurting. It is best to remind ourselves that no matter how much time we spend thinking about such moments, we cannot change what happened. Instead, we can look forward to future moments where opportunities will arise to create memories associated with happier feelings.
  • Remember the things we’ve done well. 
      1. This tip connects well with tip #1. As a way to direct your focus away from negative memories, we recommend balancing your thoughts by remembering the events that have gone well for you. It is imperative to pat yourself on the back every now and then to avoid the brain’s natural tendency to focus on what we did wrong. 
      2. Georgian Benta, the founder and host of The Gratitude Podcast, provides us with a simple example. “At the end of each day, go through what you experienced and find three things that you did right. It can be something as simple as driving to work and back safely, putting the final touch on a project, or being able to respond better to a difficult situation.”
  •  List things we appreciate about ourselves.
      1. As previously mentioned, our brain, at times, can be difficult to deal with. It can unwillingly narrow our focus on our flaws, whether they be mental or physical. An excellent way to tackle this issue would be to create a list including things you appreciate about yourself. Georgian Benta suggests that helps with the achievement of a healthy self-image and confidence building. Benta quotes one of his podcast guests, Rino Soriano: “The more value you find in yourself, the more appreciative you are of your life and everyone else.” 
  • Talk it over with a trusted friend.
      1. Analyzing things from solely your own perspective can be limiting because we only see what our brain allows us to see. Discussing things with a trusted individual can bring us a new perspective that can impact our thinking moving forward. By having different perspectives, we can think about the event we’re churning over and where it really stands in the scale of things. 

Time to Self-Reflect: 

To get some ideas flowing on how we can best reflect, here is a worksheet to get started. For those of us who like to write out our thoughts, journaling is a great way to reflect too! Some questions we can write about are:    

  • In what ways have you grown as a person this year? What/who has influenced you? And what have you learned?
  • Write about your top 3 goals. What are they, how will you feel when you achieve them, and finally, what will your life look like?

Meditation is another suggestion for those of us who aren’t inclined to write as much. Remember, it is essential to recognize our struggles and our achievements. Reflecting in a positive manner can show us where improvements in our lives can be made. Benefits of positive reflection include; improved self-awareness improved confidence, provide perspective, facilitate a deeper level of thinking. All are vital to a healthy mind and a great way to perform an act of self-care. 

By LIZBETH MARQUES TORRES, ASHLY MORALES