Now I can clearly see things that I did not recognize just two months ago. There is true value in taking time for self-reflection. How many times do we check the mirror in a day and what are we looking for? We have the bathroom mirror, handheld mirror, magnified mirror, some of us have mirrors on our phones, full-length mirror to do an outfit check, mirrors on our closet doors and I’ve even seen a mirror on the refrigerator, rearview mirrors in our cars, mirrors at the gym, and the list goes on and on.
Then there are the mirrors that we create or steal glances at. The windows and store-mirrors we sneak a peak at when passing. Learning and teaching also presents a different kind of mirror. When learning a skill we try to follow the teacher or seek others who have accomplished a goal we are striving towards so that we can emulate them.
When we look at all these different mirrors what are we looking for? I know that I am usually trying to make sure I look presentable and don’t have lip-gloss smeared all over my teeth. There are obvious advantages to looking into mirrors and I definitely notice when there is no mirror around. When I went on my backpacking trip for a month, the closest thing we had to a mirror was the reflection in a lake or river. Looking back I think that month was honestly the longest I have ever gone without looking at my visual appearance. When I finally returned from the backcountry and took a shower I saw a sparkle of satisfaction in my eyes that I have survived that experience. Pretty good for a girl who had never gone camping before.
Life presents many ups and downs and sometimes we may not like what we see. There have been times when I have looked in the mirror and could barely recognize myself. Or there was that period of time when I noticed I was smiling differently because I was hiding behind a smile to cover up the pain.
Looking at our visual reflection is very valuable, but self-reflection is just as valuable and may be even more important. Take some quiet time every day breathe deeply and to think about where you are (in your life) where you have been, and where you would like to go.
There are different ways to practice self-reflection:
- Figure out your purpose for Self-reflection –What are you hoping to learn? Did something go wrong? Are you hurt?
- Find a quiet place –Find a quiet place free of distractions, noise and technology. Turn off your phone and trade it for a pencil and paper so you can write down your thoughts and begin brainstorming.
- Think and breathe deeply –Focusing on your breath helps you to stay in the present moment. Make each breath purposeful. You can breathe out the negativity and breathe in positivity.
- Ask yourself questions –Why did this situation happen? What did I learn from the experience? How am I going to move forward and utilize the lessons that I have learned?
- Feel your feelings –It is okay to cry. It is healthy and often necessary. Pour out your emotions and fully experience the process of feeling. It may not be comfortable, but it is healthier to feel your feeling and emotions and process them rather than ignoring and letting them accumulate.
- Read –Learn from the stories and experiences of others. How did they get through their struggles and overcome obstacles? There is so much that we can learn from each other.
- Count your blessings –There are so many things to be grateful for even on our “bad days.” There are people struggling and fighting for their lives around the world. “Third world problems” are real.
- Plan to Pay it Forward –Help others. Donate. Volunteer. You can make a beautiful difference in the world by being you. We all have talents and gifts that we can share with others.
I hope those ideas for self-reflection are helpful. What is your process of self-reflection? Look in the mirror. Make sure you are presentable. First impressions are important, but also remember to make time for self-reflection.
OUTWARD BEAUTY ATTRACTS ATTENTION, BUT MAY FADE WITH TIME. WORK ON DEVELOPING YOUR INNER BEAUTY. THE KIND OF BEAUTY THAT IS TIMELESS AND NEVER FADES.
Hopefully everyone is enjoying this year so far. Have a Wonderful week!
Love, Joy, and Blessings Always,