Do you remember how we were promised 4 day working weeks and oodles more leisure time? Working from home, on the patio in the sunshine. Being able to fit work in around lunch with the girls and trips to the gym?
Well, seems they were lying.
Despite a house full of labour saving devices, computers and gadgets we seem to be busier and working longer hours than ever before.
In your busy busy life, how often do you take time out for self reflection, to stop and think about what's going on in your life, your wants and needs, your dreams and goals? To increase your self knowledge so you can access more happiness and contentment, and to ponder on life to get more clarity.
For most people, I suspect the answer is 'not much' at best, or most likely 'none'.
Pity, as self reflection is so important.
Lets take a look at self reflection, and the many ways it benefits us.
What is Self Reflection?
Self reflection is, in it's simplest form, giving yourself the time and space to think.
It's about questioning yourself in a positive way about your life, relationships, friendships and dreams.
It's very easy to get stuck in a rut and stagnate, hating a job, for instance, or focus on the small, trivial things and lose sight of the bigger picture. Self reflection guards against this.
the benefits of self reflection
That's great, but how can self-reflection be of practical use to you?
- Self Knowledge: Who are you? What do you believe in? What are your morals and ethics? What is your political stance?
- Needs: What are your needs? For example, do you need to be around people or are you more of an introvert and need plenty of alone time to re-charge and chill? If you don't know your needs, how can they ever be met?
- Clarity: Reflection helps you to work through indecision and confusion.
- Self Protection: Self knowledge helps us to put some boundaries in place - what needs is it important you get met, and what behaviour do you find unacceptable?
- Relationships: If you don't understand yourself, it's pretty difficult for others to understand you. Self knowledge helps to build better relationships, whether romantic, work, family or friendships.
- Learning: Those things in your life that didn't go so well are all valuable learning experiences.
What does this mean
I have a friend - let's call her Flossie.
Flossie has a boyfriend and has been seeing him a couple of months. It's very exciting, and they are having lot's of fun - days out, nights out, weekends away, laughter, excitement and passion.
However for Flossie, the rose coloured tint had started to fade a little. She noticed that something very trivial was really starting to bother her, and was flummoxed as to why.
The trivial thing? He had brought his own fave brand of breakfast cereal to her house and now it lived in her kitchen cupboard.
Every time she opened the cupboard door, there is was, and it irritated her.
Actually, it more than irritated her, it was starting to drive her slightly mad.
The question to reflect on was 'why does this irritate me so much'
As we discussed this over wine (and mucho hilarity about the heinous crime the poor guy was committing!) we explored a bit more about why it provoked such a response.
And it was because it signified him 'moving in' - staking a claim on her territory. Surreptitiously.
Once she realised this, she realised a couple of other things were also showing up - there was also a toothbrush of his that lived in her bathroom, and his socks showing up in her laundry.
By looking at the situation a little more deeply, she understood that her extreme response to cereal highlighted her unwillingness to move the relationship forward, and that a conversation was necessary re expectations.
She became aware of her own needs, and acted on them.
Without self reflection, Flossie could well have ended up having a blazing row about the cereal, which would be upsetting, achieve nothing and, frankly, would have made her look a little crazy!
How can I be more reflective?
1. Give yourself some time and space regularly just to think.
2. Ask yourself the bigger question - why does this bother me so much? Or what is really making me feel happy at the moment?
3. Ask yourself what changes you can make to be less irritated, more happy, less confused, more understood.
4. Invest in 'How to start a journal', which walks you through the whole process and gives you questions for reflections to get you started.
So there you have it - why self reflection is such an important thing, so now all you have to do it get stuck in and give it a go! 10 minutes a day is all it needs.
If you'd like some extra information about starting a journal, this guide that takes you step by step through the whole process.
The guide is available on a Pay What You Want basis, meaning there is no set price, you pay what you feel it's value is to you.