What is self reflecting? Being able to take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror, and be willing to see what others see. Look at yourself, what are your motivations? What about your character? What do you see? A good looking, virile, helpful person? The question is – what does everyone ELSE see when they look at YOU? What character flaws, or bad habits do you have? Truth is, you already probably know, and believe me, all the rest of us already know, too. So, if you never self-reflect, you will always stay the same, and it’s deadly.
TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK
I took a course quite a few years ago, and one of the exercises was especially daunting. You know what we were given? A list of character flaws. It was a huge long list, double sided, with long explanations. There were at least twenty five. We were told that that we needed to identify at least THREE character flaws that we were aware of. Then we had to ask at least 3 different family members to look at the list, and choose the three that they thought we had.
I did this exercise, and what do you know. The exact same three I picked off the list were the same three that everyone else picked. What does this prove? It proves that we do know ourselves. We DO know what our own faults are, if we’re forced to confront them. We DO realize that we have failings. If this hadn’t been part of my course, would I have done this? Asked family members to point out my weaknesses? No way! Are you kidding me? No-one wants their faults pointed out.
But yet, the point of the exercise was to learn how to self reflect, and grow. Who wants to stay stuck, and miserable, and behave badly their whole lives? Not me! Do you want to know what the number one flaw that my family chose? (And I picked it first, ha ha) It was interrupting.
INTERRUPTING IS A BAD HABIT NOT TO MENTION RUDE
Interrupting is always rude. No exceptions. Well, now that I think about it – the ONLY exception would be to interrupt is because of an emergency. That’s it. All other interruptions are rude. Interrupting someone who is talking to you is rude. Interrupting someone on the phone is rude. Interrupting a meeting by walking in late is rude. Interrupting two other people talking is rude. You get the point. Rude Rude Rude. Do you really want to be known as a rude person?
If you are listening to someone, and their story suddenly reminds you of something that happened to you, don’t just blurt out your story. Wait until they are finished. Then say what you want. If you get to the end of the conversation and forget what you are going to say, oh well. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you were polite, and listened to the person talking to you. That is what they will remember. If you interrupt with their story, they will just be annoyed. If you keep interrupting, and do it every time, you will find yourself with less friends. People get tired of it. What you are saying by interrupting is that your life and your stories matter more to you.
DID YOU READ THAT?
What you are doing by interrupting is letting the person know that they are unimportant. That their story isn’t worth listening to. When you show up late and interrupt a meeting, you are telling everyone there that their time isn’t as important as yours. That’s what it says.
When you interrupt two people talking, what you’re saying is that your time is more valuable than yours. What you are saying is “pay more attention to me right now, I’m more important, and what I want is more important than your conversation.”
Is that not just rude? Yes, yes it is. Sadly, I faced this truth about myself, and realized that I had been an interrupting cow. I really have had to reign myself in, because when I get excited about something, I just want to jump in and start talking! But it’s rude. I realize it’s rude. And I’ve realized that I needed to change. And that, dear readers, is self reflection.
SELF REFLECTING ALLOWS YOU TO SEE NEGATIVE PATTERNS
Oh yes, we all have stuff that we do that isn’t positive. Let’s agree on this, shall we? We’ve fallen into some bad habits, and we need to change it. Don’t you dare say “I can’t change, I’m too old.” That’s nonsense. What you are saying is, “I’m not willing to change, leave me alone”. There is no excuse for not changing something that is bad behavior. If you are willing to look, you will see your negative patterns. Set a course correction. Fix it. Stop driving over the center line. Only you can make a change, if you’re willing. Having it pointed out will not help you, unless you are willing to admit it. And once you admit it, make the change.
SELF REFLECTING HELPS YOU FOCUS ON THE BIG PICTURE
Sometimes we get so bogged down in the smaller details, that we forget the big picture. We are so focused on the end goal, that we miss opportunities along the way. And when years later we look back, and say “DOH!” and give our foreheads a smack. Sometimes you need to take a step back, and focus. Try it now. What big picture are you missing out on right NOW?
SELF REFLECTING HELPS FACE YOUR FEARS
Most of us are all afraid of something. Some of us have less than others, and lucky us, but in honesty, there is always something. When we self-reflect and realize that we have never gotten a promotion because we have been too afraid to ask for one, it’s time to make a change and be assertive. Not all of us want to just dive in to a new adventure, or job, it’s scary. But if we stop and figure out why we find it scary, we can usually boil it down to one thing: fear of the unknown. Well, guess what. That will happen a lot in life, so it’s time to quit wasting time on that fear, and just take a deep breath and wade in. Don’t jump or dive, just wade. And guess what – it won’t be scary after all!
SELF REFLECTING CAN LESSEN YOUR ANXIETY AND WORRY
We cannot change the weather by sheer will power, or make our spouse (or boss) listen to us. Once we realize this, life can be more enjoyable. It seems the more we worry about things we cannot change or have no control over, we get anxious. What we need to do is step back and think, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” And when we do, we realize that the worst thing is actually quite manageable. Slow down your thinking the next time you get in a rage because you’re in a traffic jam. You can’t change it, nor is worrying about being late for work going to change it. Accept it happened, and realize that you just need to relax, instead of being uptight. This is one of the hardest things to do, but if you realize that most of your worries are self- induced, you can learn to stop getting so anxious.
SELF REFLECTING ALLOWS YOU TO MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON YOUR CONSCIENCE
We all have a conscience. Some of us have great consciences, but others of us have a seared conscience. We behave and act in ways that are pleasing only to ourselves, and who cares about the consequences. This is not good! Most of us would not intentionally hurt someone, but what if you are continually, over and over? Wouldn’t you want to know that you were? Take a look at your behavior, and see if there is anything in it that isn’t right. Perhaps it’s telling a white lie. Perhaps it’s stealing something from the office. If you have a good chat with your conscience, I’m sure you could find something that needs to improve. If you self reflect, you will be able to find something that gives you a niggle in your brain. Figure out what it is, and fix it.
SELF REFLECT DAILY
If you want to live a happy, fulfilled life, you need to be able to examine your heart, and see areas in yourself that need improvement. If you get into a habit of daily reflecting, you will realize where you’ve been caught short. No-one will need to point it out, you will already know. After all, we know ourselves and our own thoughts better than anyone else, don’t we?!