As blog’s go, I tend to write from personal experience as I find that the words and thoughts come more genuinely. I, perhaps falsely, assume that if it’s crossed my mind or if I’ve experienced it, perhaps others have thought it, wondered it, experienced it (or something similar to it) too, thus making it worthy of putting down on “paper.” If not, perhaps something in this blog will peak your interest nonetheless. This blog focuses on personal reflection. This is important to me as I believe it’s the key to personal growth. However, having worked in the counseling field for over a decade, I’ve found that this is a skill set in which people tend to struggle. Personal insight for people ranges from “It’s all my fault, I’m the worst” to “It’s everyone else’s fault, I’m the victim here” and a variety of versions in between.
Personal reflection and self-awareness are two things we often tend to explore and/or encourage in therapy. Personal reflection, or self-reflection, is the skill of being able to look within; to explore our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, motivations, and desires. It’s the art of figuring out the why of ourselves in honest fashion; knowing that we may not like what we uncover on the other side. However, failing to self-reflect can lead to continuous running from problems, feeling stuck, numbing our distress by abusing substances or engaging in unhealthy behaviors, deflecting our anger onto others, etc.
Keep in mind that when engaging in personal reflection, it’s common that we find past life experiences that begin way back in childhood and adolescence, still impact the way we think and behave as adults. As we went through different stages of development, the environment we grew up in, the people most influential around us, and the experiences we had, helped to shape and mold who we are today. For example, an adolescent who could do no wrong in their parents eyes, may grow to be self-centered and entitled; an adolescent who received no attention from the other sex begins to believe that they are unattractive and grows to have low self-esteem. It’s important to understand this in self-reflection because although we are now adults, we still very much have the same belief systems that were developed when we were children. A great deal of my time in therapy consists of helping my clients understand that they are no longer that little boy or girl anymore, and that it’s okay to rip those inaccurate beliefs out by their roots and plant healthier, more accurate seedlings.
Once one has become skilled at the act of honest self-reflection, it leads to an increase in self-awareness. When we become self-aware, we have conscious knowledge about ourselves. We’re able to identify our strengths and build upon them, work to improve upon our weaknesses, build stronger relationships with others, understand and manage our emotions better, and align ourselves to achieve short and long term goals, among many other benefits.
The title of this article, “The You I Once Knew, & The Me I’ve Come To Be” represents the goal of personal growth; working on saying goodbye to the garbage that’s stood in your way for this long, whatever that is for you. Maybe that’s negative self-talk, negative feelings such as jealousy, bitterness, anger, etc., inaccurate beliefs about yourself, pride, etc. It’s about betterment, forgiveness, honesty, accountability, confidence, vulnerability, reflection, positivity, listening, communication, and more. I encourage all of you who I read this far to challenge yourself to be vulnerable, be honest, and be brave. Below are some additional resources on self-reflection; the why’s, how’s, and increased understanding of it’s concept. Check out the YouTube video which does a great job of explaining why introspection matters.
If you’d like assistance with enhancement, self-growth, or self-esteem building, our skilled clinicians at BHC are happy to help!
- https://www.holstee.com/blogs/mindful-matter/self-reflection-101-what-is-self-reflection-why-is-re flection-important-and-how-to-reflect
- https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/15-simple-exercises-to-increase-your-self-awareness https://www.psychpoint.com/mental-health/worksheets/self-reflection/