Updated: Aug 2
Self reflection is fast becoming a catch phrase in the modern world as people have begun to lose sight of who they actually are. Whilst it is an emerging modern trend, throughout time the wisest of people have given it great importance. The reasons why we reflect on ourselves is to try to understand ourselves and the world, and to try to find ways to increase our happiness.
The ancient eastern philosopher Confucius defined self-reflection as one of the most powerful ways to learn wisdom - and wisdom is that which helps us to understand the world and ourselves. Even in western culture, as far back as Aristotle, this idea pervaded the times when he said:
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom
The philosopher and psychologist John Dewey suggested in the early 20th century, reflection in education was a powerful tool to differentiation routine action from reflection action in his book “How We Think”. Others like Albert Bandura in his book “The Foundation of a Thought and Action” also showed how self-reflection plays a significant part in one’s academic achievement in the Journal of Education Psychologist. Not only is self-reflection a powerful tool for academic success, but also in improving ones self-esteem – success can only come when these two attributes are hand in hand!
Did you know that this is precisely how Beyoncé, one of the most successful performers and musicians of our time operates? After every performance, she reviews the entire show and as she travels to her next show, she delivers pages of improvements to the individual departments - from lighting, videographers to back up singers! This is an incredible practice which has no doubt lead to her tremendous success. It's become a part of who she is, as she constantly reflects on her past, it's also become a way to build her happiness and self self esteem through her success. And the science totally backs this practice up!
So what are the key points of self-reflection?
The key points are first have an overarching plan or goal towards your success, and second develop a way to objectively observe yourself and your progress. To improve your chances of reaching your goals towards success, you need to be able to look at yourself objectively and see the type of habitual patterns you are living by in your day to day to life, and work out which ones are helping you lead to success, and which ones are not.
When you have a plan, you can always refer to your plan in the context of your current life and see if it is on track or if there are any gaps that need closing between your desired future self and your present self. Successful people grew up developing strong habits which contribute to their success, but unsuccessful people are the opposite. The following are some tips to help you with self reflection.
This is hand down the most effective way. A method to self reflect is the most powerful method, particularly because we all live inside our own bubbles - aka our own self made mind worlds.
"When you are in your false mind world, you cannot be happy. You can only be happy when you are born in the Land of Truth with your true mind. The way to go to the true world is to repent for your sins and to be absolved of them. When you discard the life lived, which is false and is your mind, and eliminate even the habits and your body, you can be born again as Truth and live forever. The method to eliminate your false mind would be the method to find happiness and your true self. When you do the meditation to discard your false self, you will become Truth and thus know how to find your true, happy self and live forever." -WM
In other words, because we are self centred, we only see from our perspective, and so self reflection truly helps us to find out who we truly are. To find our true selves is to find the Land of Truth - aka the place of peace, happiness, joy and bliss that is within you.
Writing a journal
Writing a journal throughout the day and at night is a great way to see our mind and endeavour to change it. However, because we are living inside of our self made mind worlds, whether or not you can change depends entirely on your past. It's much better to let go of who we think we are and eliminate the roots of our minds which are fundamentally self-centred.
Changing the environment you are working in (limiting TV and phone use for instance)
This is similar to taking medication. It's not really dealing with the roots of the mind. Whilst this may work for a time, depending on your habits and the life you have lived, your past will eventually creep up on you and what you sought to remove yourself from will begin to pervade your life again because you still have that mind.
"Who am I?"
This question is a method for some to achieve enlightenment, with the ultimate goal to find out who we truly are by a process of deduction. Who am I truly? For an incredibly rare number of people, this may lead to some realisations and enlightenments, but is not as effective as simply removing the layering of conditioning from your mind to discover who you are naturally, within you.
Peer support and review
Having others tell you the type of person you are is a great way of seeing things from outside of your own limited perspective. Careful though, this can become quite painful if the person delivering it does not deliver it with tact and prudence. Ultimately, the goal here is to see things from the perspective of the universe, and again there are more effective ways.
If you can develop some strong new habits towards self-reflection, you can absolutely increase your chances of success – the evidence is abundant. But the ultimate way is to reflect on the life you have lived, and let it go from your mind. Naturally, you discover wisdom, happiness, and who you truly are - which has and always will be within you.
If you would like to learn the method for true self reflection, you can find out more by asking us with a free introduction.