Self-Reflection (a Framework for Life)
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning,” as said by Albert Einstein. Given the man’s ingenuity and reputation, these are words for all of us to embrace. Yet, the process of reflecting on one’s knowledge to bring meaning to oneself is a complex thinking task requiring much energy and effort. Thus, it is not surprising if some of us cheat ourselves by only putting forth minimal effort or none at all. However, to progress forward effectively in life, one that is free of self-doubt, it is essential to look backward, inwards, outwards, and forwards. The questioning process defined by Einstein represents a past, present, and future framework of self-reflection.
Live Long (and Prosper)
Embrace Einstein’s philosophy and incorporate it into a personal plan of lifelong learning through questioning and self-reflection. This will undoubtedly improve your overall well-being. Self-reflection is best understood to represent the critical evaluation of your thoughts, behavior, motivations, and attitudes, or self-introspection. However, it is not as easy as it sounds and is only as useful as your willingness to conduct it honestly. It challenges our personal bias to see ourselves in a better light than reality. This is where questioning can be particularly useful. Question your thoughts and challenge yourself to see yourself from a few different perspectives. This will help you live a Truism Centered life.
For instance, if you are self-reflecting and thinking negatively about a particular situation, look at the same situation from a perspective of perseverance or a perspective of fortitude. Consider what you did well, what you could have done better, and what you wished you would not have done. Take ownership of all your thoughts and actions in the present situation. Then reflect on how they are similar or different to a past situation. Consider how you might want your thoughts and actions to look in the future. This past, present, and future self-reflection helps you stay on track to be the person you wish to be! This process of self-reflection helps to align your thoughts and behaviors with your values and goals.
Our Motivations Drive Us (in the Right and Wrong Directions)
Through self-reflection, we can critically explore our motivations. This will help to ensure that our drive to produce intended outcomes is in congruence with our personal values. Moreover, if/when we find that we are deviating from our personal values, self-reflection will steer us back on to the desired path. It helps us live a Truism Centered life. If you need help balancing your life, myself (Dr. Ryan Kron) and the other therapists The Truism Center can help. Self-reflection will also help us to embrace Einstein’s philosophy of perpetual questioning and lifelong learning. By always questioning, we will practice critical thinking and continue to advance our self-knowledge. The persistence of self-reflective questioning thus helps us to not only enact our vision for ourselves but also helps our relationships with the people around us. It is here where we can be confident in our hope for tomorrow.
Self-Reflection Take-Home Points
- Self-reflection is your critical evaluation of your thoughts, behavior, motivations, and attitudes.
- Be honest about yourself (no one will ever know but you if you are being honest to yourself).
- Try to use more than one perspective to view a situation to challenge your instincts and biases.
- Compare the current situation to the past and think about what you did well. Then consider what you want to improve in the future.
- Self-reflection keeps your motivations, thoughts, and behaviors in line with your personal goals and values. It helps you be your best you!
- Therapy is beneficial! The Truism Center is happy to help.