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Self-Reflection: What Is It And Why Is It Important?

Maddie McArdle
17 March 2022

If you’re ready to take the plunge and embark on a personal development journey, you’ll want to arm yourself with an array of tools to assist you on your way. One of the most effective and easily harnessed resources you’ll want to add to your repertoire is the art of self-reflection.

If you’ve ever found yourself pondering the Self-reflection meaning and feeling a little perplexed, this article is for you. You may have heard the term ‘self-reflection’ and associated it with new-age spirituality, immediately writing it off. If this is the case, allow us to stop you in your tracks!

Self-reflection is less of a ‘spiritualist fad’ and more of a tried and tested theory, used by scores of coaches and mentors to help clients due to its benefits.

Self-reflection is a very useful concept that can yield bountiful results whilst easily being incorporated into your day to day life. Without further ado, let’s uncover exactly what self-reflection entails, and why you should be harnessing this wonderful skill today.

What is self-reflection?

If you’ve ever found yourself analysing your past behaviours, thought patterns and feelings with a view to actively changing and improving, then you yourself have participated in self-reflection.

Self-reflection is the process of analysing yourself to get a deeper understanding of your experiences, skills and weaknesses in order to evolve for the better.

Self-reflection can be used to help an individual uncover the ‘why’ behind their actions, whilst simultaneously exploring their deeper needs and desires. The ultimate goal of this hyper-awareness of oneself is to better understand what causes you to take the actions that you do, whilst working to improve in any areas you see fit.

Ultimately, self-reflection gives you the opportunity to understand yourself on a new level; it is a tool for growth. You can expect to see personal, mental and emotional development.

Self reflection 2

Why is self-reflection important? Let’s consider the benefits of self-reflection…

It highlights our blind spots

No matter how well we think we know ourselves, oftentimes we make our way through life unconsciously. If we were to never stop to analyse our current standing and how we got here, we would be continuing on our path blindly and may struggle to find ourselves in a position for growth.

This is where the art of self-reflection comes into play. By stopping to consider our journey so far and any areas we may have been neglecting, we are taking time to view ourselves from a new angle. This new-found awareness of self can help to highlight areas for improvement.

Which leads us onto our next point…

It allows us to confront and work on our negatives

Once you have highlighted your blind spots, it opens up the door to improve any negatives. Although it can seem daunting to have to face your weaknesses, doing so in a non-judgmental way is the best route to tackle issues head-on.

No matter who we are and what type of lives we lead - we all have areas for improvement. Self-reflection allows you to better understand these perceived ‘flaws’, turning them into a window of opportunity.

Making a conscious effort to self-reflect can act as a form of journaling and is a positive way of releasing the negatives. Translating weaknesses into clearly defined goals and setting on the path towards improvement is a fantastic technique to adopt.

It can make us more understanding & able to make better decisions

Once in the mindset of evaluating the self, oftentimes people see a heightened sense of compassion as they come to know themselves better. Assessing the reasons behind why we make certain decisions can help to make us kinder and more understanding of ourselves.

Think of self-reflection as your own self-appraisal, unearthing new elements of yourself that can make decision making and your next move so much clearer.

If during a reflection you uncover that you are somewhat scared to show your emotions, consider why this may be, and what effect this could be having on you. Then set yourself the goal of attempting to be more forthright with your feelings. Slowly start to work on this goal, knowing that little by little you will be taking steps in the right direction, which will pay dividends in the future.

How to begin self-reflecting:

  1. Firstly, write down what you would like to understand about yourself, and the purpose of knowing this.
  2. Put pen to paper and list all your personal strengths & weaknesses. If you’re struggling, you can ask friends and family to describe you in a fair manner.
  3. Reflect on each of the elements you have uncovered and consider why and how they came to be.
  4. Pick an area that you’d like to work on and set yourself a small goal to improve.
  5. Aim to check in with yourself frequently, to measure yourself up to your goals.
  6. Keep a journal so you can monitor changes and see how far you’ve come.
  7. Use the insight you get from self-reflecting to create positive affirmations to help keep you motivated
  8. Repeat!

Remember – self-reflection is a tool to be used to enhance yourself, not to be overly self-critical and judgmental.

Self-reflection is an invaluable and free resource that you can apply to your life immediately. For additional support as you start on your personal development journey, take a look at our array of coaches, mentors & wellbeing experts here.

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