Why Self-Reflection Is So Important For You
Have you ever reflected on where you were and where you wanted to go in life?
People Don’t Stop
I do this often – I love to reflect on where I am with regards to my dreams and goals, and what I think is required to move forward. I also take time to slow down my schedules and just ‘be’ in the moment, listening to the silence and to any voices of insight from my sub-conscious.
But very few people do this, even for a few minutes. They prefer to rush about from one job to the next, and never take time out for some introspection. Some people don’t even stop to draw breath, let alone engage in self-reflection.
I think this is a shame as there are many benefits to self-reflection that people are missing out on. Here are some of them that show why it’s so important for you.
You Stop To See Where You Are
Before I continue, I want you to stop reading this article right now and ‘pause yourself’ for a few seconds.
OK, how did that feel? Did you start to listen to the sounds around you and notice your own thoughts drifting past? Or did you focus on waiting for the few seconds to pass, wondering when you’d be able to continue reading this article? Whatever reaction you had, it’s important that you took part and ‘paused’ for a few moments. That was self-reflection.
The first thing you may have noticed happening was that you simply stop. You stop whatever it is you were doing, or thinking, and begin to notice all the things around you. You can notice the sights, sounds, smells, and vibrancy of the world, and begin to actually savour it.
Normally, we’re usually rushing around doing something busy or thinking of what we need to do next. We never take the time to actually ‘stop ourselves’ and look around at what surrounds us. It’s been said that the present moment is all we really have, and we don’t truly notice this until we stop to focus on the present moment.
Once we do, we can begin to see the true benefits of living in the present.
You Can Decide What To Do Before You Do It
Because we’re so busy moving, we also don’t look at where we are in life. Without this self-reflection, we may not get to where we want to go, and we may even end up moving in spirals.
When we stop, we can see how far along our path to our goals we’ve come, and whether it’s still best to follow the same path, or change direction and try a new path.
For example, let’s say that I decided to build a new website a few weeks ago, and now I stop to reflect and see whether I’m still in line with my dreams and goals. If I’m not, and my website is developing into something different than I want it to be, than I can use this opportunity to bring my refocus back in line with my dreams. If it is, then I can continue on in the same direction.
If I hadn’t have taken the time to self-reflect, I wouldn’t have known where I was in relation to my goals. Before I moved forward again, I could decide what to do before I did it. This means that I can stop myself before it’s too late.
New Ideas Have A Chance To Emerge
If we decide to change the direction in order to stay true to our dreams, self-reflection gives us a chance to develop new ideas that we wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
As we move through life from one task to the next, we are centred in a ‘doing/producing’ mentality. We are constantly doing in order to produce more, such as making more sales calls at work in order to produce more leads, or doing more cleaning around the house in order to produce a cleaner house.
This cycle of doing/producing means that we are continually ‘acting’ and not ‘thinking’. We are giving more of ourselves to the world without giving ourselves the chance to recover and rest up. It’s like driving a car for extended distances without giving it the chance to cool its engines.
It’s only when we stop and recover ourselves that we can begin to develop new potential. After all, we don’t discover new directions when we’re driving – we only discover them when we stop to look at the map.
By stopping, new ideas have a chance to emerge from our creative minds, and we can then use them to move forward towards our goals. Without new ideas, we run the risk of being left behind by continual change, and what used to work may no longer work. In a way, ‘stopping’ gives us the chance to keep up.
Life Can Slow Down
Although the world keeps reminding us that we need to have this and that, it doesn’t mean that this is right.
Society is becoming more and more fast-paced each year, with the emphasis on having and achieving more, and doing more in less time. We have to keep up with everyone else, otherwise we’re told we’ll get left behind. But is this so bad? If we get left behind by the ‘go-getters’ of this world, will we suffer as a result?
I don’t think so. I’ve learned to go at my own pace over the past few years, and I haven’t regretted it. I’m happy to slow myself down from time to time and take stock of where I am. I’m content to use self-reflection even when everyone around me is stuck in an ‘action-oriented’ environment. What’s more, I believe slowing down can benefit you too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of ‘the tortoise and the hare’ fable, where the tortoise wins the race despite going slowly. There is merit in slowing down, and it’s OK to do so, despite what anyone says otherwise.
Slow life down and enjoy it while you still have it.