The art of Self - Reflection
The art of Self - Reflection
Self-reflection can simply be understood as a mirror image of oneself. This image is not what is perceived by others but rather perceived by our own selves. It is simply a moment where we sit with ourselves, think about what we are doing and then behave accordingly. During this process, we question our own thoughts and make alterations in our overt behaviour. As put by an eminent psychologist- Carl Rogers, we have two faces to our identity, i.e., the outer self and the inner self. The outer self is the one which we show to the people in our environment. This outer self is influenced by the idealistic norms of our society. The second is the inner self which we certainly keep within ourselves. This is what we actually are, what our thought process is and what we desire to do without caring about societal norms. Self - Reflection is nothing but the art of finding one’s own inner self.
There are four facets of the process of self reflection. These are discussed ahead.
WHO YOU ARE
Through the process of self reflection we try to find out who we actually are. All decisions in our life are generally governed by the principles of the society. But there might be a difference in what society expects us to be and what we actually desire to be. When we reflect onto ourselves, we understand our own identity. This may or may not match with what people want us to be. However, once we are aware of who we are, we certainly make adjustments and alterations to establish a cooperative self in society with our own identity.
WHAT YOU THINK
Our thoughts and beliefs are nothing but simply a mental schema of our cognitive processes. It is very commonly said that your thoughts reflect who you are. However, this notion is challenged on the basis of our question that do we actually reflect ourselves through our thoughts when we represent them to the outside world. Most of us have been stuck in situations where we have to make a choice between what is right and wrong for us and what is right and wrong for people around us. Often we end up choosing the one that suits people around us. This creates dissatisfaction within us. Through the process of self-reflection, we can overcome this hurdle. We eventually become better at decision-making skills and lead our lives to the path of containment.
WHAT YOU VALUE
Values are the part of our belief system that explains what we find more important to us. Our judgments are simply based on our values and how we perceive them. These might be instilled into us or might be borrowed from the environment. As a layperson, we are mixed up in the process of the daily working of society. Wake up, earn bread for the family, eat and sleep - this is a step procedure we all blindly follow every day. In this vicious cycle, we often tend to lose ourselves somewhere. However, self-reflection helps us in gaining clarity of our thoughts and priorities. We understand what we value more and make judgments in the according way. This is reflected in our behaviour as a part of society. It leads to a self-shaping model wherein we actually shape society according to what we value and create a prominent place for ourselves.
HOW YOU BEHAVE
It is not our beliefs that make us a better person but rather our behaviour. We might believe in good but we may not practice it in real life. In this case, our belief has no value. We need to understand that it is our behaviour only that creates our identity in the world. The way we conduct ourselves should not just be what society demands but rather what we desire to do. When we reflect into ourselves, we understand what has been working for us in the past, what has not been working for us and what new needs to be done in order to make things work. This way we further make changes in our actions that are displayed as our overt behaviour.
The question further rises is how do we reflect upon ourselves. The procedure is very simple and lies in the path of self – introspection. We just need to find quiet solitude and question ourselves with the above-mentioned facets, i.e. why we are doing something, where it will lead us, who needs to take the charge, what will be required to do it and how we are actually going to put it in actions. When we tend to find answers to such questions, we follow into self-reflection. Research suggests that people generally follow a three-step procedure in order to gain reflection of oneself. Firstly, we need to understand our experiences. This is the simplest way that guides us about what has worked for us and what has not. Our experiences tell us the creamy as well as rough patches of our lives. Second step is to learn from those experiences. This simply means to repeat from what we have gained something, eliminate from what we have lost something and lastly add through which we further make wise decisions in our favour. The third and final step is the application of the gained knowledge into our lifestyle.
All in all it can be said that self reflection is one of the key ingredients in the recipe of life. It helps in the overall development of personality and shaping our behaviour. It brings in harmony in our outer self and inner self. It shortens the gap between what we want to be and what society wants us to be. With self reflection we gain many benefits such as improved decision-making skills, better and affectionate relationships, less stress and most importantly peace of mind.