What exactly does it mean to you to self-reflect?
Introspection is a deep examination of your mental and emotional processes, to put it plainly. Often at times, we are burdened by thoughts and clutter in our heads that create distance from truly growing as a person. A lot of us go through our daily routine without taking time to reflect or truly dive deep into introspection, also known as self-analysis.
Introspection is like a meal for the soul! A way to feed your self-awareness. Within our day, a lot of us make schedules for ourselves, when to eat, when to read, sleep, and more. When you can take some time in your busy day to realize who you are now and where you desire to be: wiser, more spiritual, more joyful, content, then the process begins.
What areas of your life would you like to improve? It’s not as simple as, yet it is, to take a chunk out of your day to reflect on the positive about looking inward. It takes some courage, to be honest, and dive deep into yourself. Look into your habits, routines, and how you go about things emotionally. You may not like some of the truths about how you see yourself, however, the benefits of doing so are insurmountable and every increasing if you allow it!
Let’s break down some basic steps toward achieving this!
1. “Focus” on outcasting the negative qualities or emotions that you possess.
At times we spend a lot of our day focusing on negative qualities about ourselves. What we could do better. The “what if.” Take some time in the day to truly realize that you are not defined by the negatives that cloud your mind. You have the choice to focus on positive traits about yourself. For instance, if you become angry over issues and do not like who you become in that moment, pause and reflect on the opposite such as calmness, forgiveness, self-control, etc.
2. “Discover” what changes you would like to make.
Once you have realized your regular, self-sabotaging responses to situations, like anger, lashing out, feelings of guilt, and shame, begin to address these negative thoughts and emotions before reacting and suggest some positive approaches. Take 5-10 seconds to slow down and process what you are feeling and how you will respond, THAT is INTROSPECTION.
3. “Release” the negative reactions and emotions you possess. Let them go!
Realize that you are not bound to those negative parts of yourself and understand that you have the POWER to change this.
No one person is going to behave every moment as perfect as they want them to be, in other words, you are free to feel true emotions, however, the process of letting go and realizing you have the power to choose how a circumstance will affect you, is essential. As you begin to become more self-aware of how you typically respond or react negatively to circumstances, the more you can begin to slow down and realize “this is not me”, or “I can change this.” It begins with taking that time to reflect on this, from that very moment that you pause and understand that it is doable to RELEASE the negative aspects of yourself.
4. “Affirm” the positive changes you will be making.
Let yourself feel confident and content with the changes you are making. Let yourself understand that the mistakes of the past are just that: THE PAST. Free yourself of past errors and realize that you are understanding what makes YOU...YOU! It doesn’t come from regret and guilt over mistakes, only from growing and growing past the hang-ups you’ve had through being aware of them. This awareness, though at times painful to process, is again a vital step to becoming who you truly want to be.
These steps may not always be easy to go about, but the more you begin to realize the qualities about yourself that you do not want around anymore, the more you can release them from your being. Just the simple act of becoming aware of these things that you wish to change begins the process. It is not as complicated as it may feel at first.
According to Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of the best-selling spiritual classic, “Autobiography of a Yogi”,
“As soon as you learn to think introspectively you change right there and then. You have dissociated yourself from your faults and recognize them instead of pretending they do not exist. In that instant a change takes place. Even the desire to be good - to correct yourself - means you have changed.”
The basic moment that you understand things about yourself that you want to change, begins the very joyful and successful process of introspection.