≡ Menu

Use Self Reflection To Get Some Direction

Temple silhouette reflected
Creative Commons License photo credit: tanakawho

Have you ever done something and then thought to yourself, “Why did I do that”?  Have you ever wondered to yourself how you will ever get to where you want to be, or even where it is that you want to be?

Taking the time to properly reflect on your life is a practice that will help you understand yourself.  Not taking the time to reflect is like going through life with your eyes closed – voluntarily blind.

Spend some time on a regular basis reflecting on your life.  Here are some things you need to do that.

Find the Right Environment

First and foremost, every good reflector knows that the environment in which you reflect is extremely important.  Since you are spending time with yourself it needs to be private.  Generally, it also needs to be quiet and physically comfortable for you.

You need a space where you can always come back to your self.  This space doesn’t necessarily need to be physical, although it could be that your space is a room in your house or in another building, or a place out in nature, or a basketball court where you go to shoot hoops (alone), but it could also be a certain time of day or having certain objects around you that evoke certain feelings.

Wherever or whatever this space is, it just needs to be a place where you can have a  productive meeting with you.

Ask Yourself Questions

Now that you have the right environment to be with yourself, you can start with the substance of reflection.  Question yourself.  If you want to keep this very simple there are only two questions you need to ask:  What is going well for me?  What is not going well for me?  Another way of asking these questions is to ask:  What have I done that energizes me? What have I done that takes energy away from me?

When you reflect, do so on a certain time period.  If you are reflecting everyday, examine the past day of your life.  If you are doing this every week, then you would use the past week.  Apply your questions to the time period.

You could also use this time to create goals or check in on your progress on already existing goals.  You could create a set a questions that you ask yourself every time you reflect that are more detailed than the two above.

If you are a less structured kind of person you could simply use this time to “free associate.” Ask yourself the above two questions and see where your thoughts lead you.  Or you could spend time visualizing the attainment of your goals or how you would like your life to look.

Most of all, notice how you feel as you look back on certain aspects of your life or when you are checking in with your goals or when you are visualizing your ideal life.  Your feelings can tell you a lot about what you need to change and what you need to stick with.

Record Your Thoughts

What do you do with the information that you receive about yourself?  Record it.  Many people record their reflections in a journal, but writing is not the only way to record your reflections.  You could make a video of yourself or record yourself, you could paint, draw, or sculpt.  You could probably even dance or do something else physical.  Put your reflection in a form that has meaning to you.

Recording what you learn is just a way of giving physical form to your thoughts and feelings.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a record you can go back to, although it could be.


{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Lance September 5, 2008, 11:22 pm

    You’ve been gone too long Amanda – I miss these very meaningful posts of yours.

    I do try to reflect – but I’m not good at recording my thoughts – so that’s my takeaway from this. I’ll probably start with a journal – I know, not too exciting, but it’s a start.

    For me, I find I am very reflective when I bike to work. Especially in the mornings. The sun is just coming up. The bike path I take has very few, if any, people on it. I’m surrounded by wilderness. And that really sets the stage for me to do some soul-searching. And…I’m multitasking, since I’m getting myself to work at the same time!

  • Amanda Linehan September 8, 2008, 8:59 am

    Lance – Yes, it has been too long! Unfortunately, sometimes other things just get in the way 🙂

    Your bike rides sound great. The perfect place for reflection. Good luck with the journal, but if it doesn’t work out, maybe the biciclying is enough!

  • James September 18, 2008, 1:20 am

    Hi, I found your blog on this new directory of WordPress Blogs at blackhatbootcamp.com/listofwordpressblogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, i duno. Anyways, I just clicked it and here I am. Your blog looks good. Have a nice day. James.

  • Amanda Linehan September 18, 2008, 7:10 pm

    James – Thanks for stopping by. Hope you come back again!

  • Lauren September 27, 2008, 7:41 pm

    I have been following your blog for a little while, and actually have started using your questions as my guide for weekly self-reflection, and found it very helpful!

  • Amanda Linehan September 28, 2008, 2:20 pm

    Lauren – Thanks a lot for the comment. Glad you found the questions helpful!

  • Michelle October 7, 2008, 12:50 am

    I’m so lost. I try to sit and reflect but my mind wonders all over the place. help

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: