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Reflection: What’s All the Fuss About?

When we were children, we depended on our parents and other adults to fill our needs. They fed us, clothed us, disciplined us and told us what to do. As we got older, the "telling us what to do" turned more into "I wouldn't do that if I were you". We got more advice as our cognitive abilities grew. Now that we're adults, we seldom have someone to shed light on our path. We have become self-sufficient and can manage our life demands. That's all fine and dandy. We have been socialized to say the right things, do the right things, and "be" a certain way. Who hasn't experienced that awkward silence, the not knowing what to say or do, or the pressure of looking a certain way (fill in the blanks: a certain weight, the right clothes, "what? That's not a brand name?", and that status car). There's nothing wrong with being fit, loving fashion, or driving that MBW if those are the things that you love. However, even accomplished people can feel like there's something missing, like they're going through the motion but not really living their lives in a meaningful way.



Enter REFLECTION.


Reflection comes knocking on the door and says, "Here I am! Are you looking for me?" When you hear Reflection calling you, you have two choices to make, either reject it because it's uncomfortable, or accept it and end up in a beautiful place.


It's your choice.


Reflection asks you to stop driving your (life) car and check to see if you're going in the right direction. It talks with you and asks your permission to invade your privacy to check on your well-being – YOU, and not others. It gives you the privilege of being in control of your life and change directions when you need to do so in order to get to where your heart wants you to be.


In a more pragmatic explanation, Reflection is a dialogue with yourself, where you look at things from different perspectives to gain insight. It includes looking at the present to see where you are, the past to see where you came from for perspective, and ahead to consider potential consequences. It is about checking the road map occasionally. It requires a conscious effort to think about events and develop insights into them.

Reflection helps you look at what you do and lets you see why you do the things you do, how you do them, whether they're effective, and whether there are other things you could do or other ideas you might have that might create a more meaningful life for yourself.


The fuss about Reflection is that it raises your emotional intelligence with yourself and others because it helps you uncover knowledge and raise your awareness. It lets you look at the past and present to make meaning of your experiences so that you could appreciate your positive experiences and learn from your challenges. It can also help you assess your strengths and weakness so that you have a clearer perspective and as a result, you could create a workable plan of action. In this way, you can move forward with your life with more confidence, more purpose, and more efficiency. This new life, walking hand in hand with Reflection, will create for yourself more peace as you step into the identity that is meant to be yours.


The process of reflecting, or reflective practice, is not easy but it will help you understand situations in a different light and can give you answers to your gnawing questions. Done in the right way, it will get you out of the vicious cycle of negative self-talk, blame, and low self-worth because it doesn't dwell on your weaknesses but rather help build you up and move you onwards.




Here are some useful tips on how to reflect:

  1. Make time to reflect. You can do this while you’re sitting, walking, biking or standing, alone or with a partner, and it can be through writing, talking or just thinking.

  2. Slow down your mind. Your responsibilities will still be there. You don't need to think about them every waking second.

  3. Ponder an events, look back at a specific period of time, or check in with yourself in the present time and what's going on in your life right now.

  4. Analyze these events without inhibitions. Explore them. Find explanations from different angles and look at other perspectives. Do you see any patterns?

  5. Ask yourself questions: where am I standing in my own way? What’s the smallest step I can take today? Why do I care so much about the results? What fear is leading my decisions and how can I reformulate? What is within my control? What can I do differently next time? What can I improve on? What do I want to accomplish over the next month, year? What am I avoiding? How can I be more effective?

  6. Decide on the next steps and take action. Write them down. Hold yourself accountable.

  7. Ask for help if you need it. Often we find it difficult to hold ourselves accountable.


Procrastination tells you that you need to be comfortable right now. Don't listen to it! You can always ask a friend to help you in your actions that you set for yourself. There's no shame in asking.



You don't know which steps to take?


Get help from a certified coach! Certified coaches are trained to ask you the right questions and will help you find the path that YOU need, not what everyone else thinks you need. They can guide you with empathy and tough love because they want the best for you. They can work with you on many aspects of your life including your relationships, your career, and your personal growth goals, just to name a few.


So now that you understand the benefits of Reflection, and you've decided to take it on, make it a regular practice in order to fully see its benefits. Over time, it will become easier to do as you develop your mental reflective muscles and reap the benefits of your hard work.


Wishing you the best on your journey!


Dr. Mariam Mazboudi

ICF-accredited ACC coach | PhD in Education


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