I am reading a book called The War of Art – Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. I haven’t dove very deep in it yet, but so far I see that it is a deep look into our internal obstacles to success and creativity. I have recognized a few ways this resistance has manifested itself in my life, historically and recently. However, I wouldn’t have had that realization had I not taken the time to reflect on the information I had just read.
One of my coaches once told me that reflection was one of my many skills. At the time, I arrogantly agreed with her. I was great at reflection, on my actions as well as the actions of others. Recently, however, I feel like I have gone a little deeper into my reflection practice than I ever had in my past.
Having much more time on my hands since we sold our former business, I have had much more free time. I have been diving into more books, podcasts, and programs to stay on a path of growth. I’ve also had plenty of time for reflection, during which I have learned a great deal about myself.
I’d like to offer you a couple ways you can set the table for your own reflection.
- Expressive Writing Journaling. Just grab a pen and paper and let it all out. The point of this exercise is not to focus on grammar or punctuation. It is all about getting your thoughts out there onto the page. Write as if no one will ever read it again, and see what comes up. Heck, you may even have the thought “I don’t know what to write.” That’s perfect – write it down! It’s a start.
- Talk with your partner or bestie. I hope you have someone you feel close enough with to openly talk about your life with. The beauty of sharing your opinions, thoughts, and ideas with another is that they can offer you a completely different perspective. Sometimes your loved ones offer you a new thought or idea that just might blow your mind. Be open to it. Be vulnerable.
- Seek Therapy. This one feels taboo for a lot of people, and some may see it in a negative light. The fact of the matter is therapists have a purpose to help you. You may have some reflections to work through that have been painful and/or difficult to navigate on your own. Reaching out to a non-biased professional can be a very positive and healing experience.
- Dedicate a part of your routine. Maybe a part of your bedtime routine is to think back on your day. It could be after your first sip of coffee in the morning or even during your lunch break. If you dedicate just a small part of your day to practicing reflection, you’ll build the skill and reveal some amazing life lessons. Sometimes it only takes 5 minutes for a favorable breakthrough.
The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter how or when you practice reflection as long as you make some time for it. Here are a few questions that have helped me learn more about myself and my life.
How did I get to this point?
What is a different way to look at this situation?
What can I learn from this?
What is the universe trying to teach me?
If I were to do that differently, what would that look like?
How do I feel about that? How do I want to feel about that?
How can I celebrate or honor that moment/situation?
What is the outcome I desire from this?
I like to look at life under a more optimistic scope. I tend to think life is happening for me, not to me. Although I try to keep a positive mindset, I am human and will often try to beat myself up for some of my less tasteful choices. I think there is an important statement to share with you all. Give yourself grace.
Reflection isn’t meant t be an act of indulgent self-loathing. Of course there are going to be events, actions, or behaviors that you do not enjoy or even approve of. You may even resent some of this past. That is okay, but it is important to treat yourself with a courteous goodwill. Only you tell your story the way it is in your head, and no other being imagines it the same way as you. So be compassionate, kind, and decent to yourself. If you don’t like your story, you have the power and authority to rewrite it however you’d like, and reflection is a tool to help you work through that.
Do you have any tips or reflection tools you have used? We would love to hear about it and learn from your experience! Share any ideas or realizations below, and let’s chat about it!