Self Reflection, Does it Matter?

When was the last time you took the time to sit down and reflect about your life and your circumstances? When you were able to sit down and think about all the joys and all the sorrows you have experienced? When you were able to truly understand what you gained from those experiences and what you lost?

In a day in age where time seems to speed past us, we are not granted the privilege of being able to have time to just sit and think about our lives, so we need to make time. I like to say that I take time out of my week to do things like this, but the truth is, I have fallen into the same ways as the rest of my generation. We are so “go, go, go,” trying to make our way into the world, dealing with school, jobs, finding our passions, and figuring out how to make our unique mark on the world, that we forget to take the time to actually think about our lives and reflect on what we have accomplished. We are a generation full of incredible minds and I personally believe that not taking time to reflect upon our lives can be dangerous. Getting caught up in trying to “make this bread” and side hustle after side hustle we become numb to hitting the pause button on our lives. However, it does not have to be this way.

For a while now, I have been thinking about what it means to truly reflect and why it is so important to make it a habit of our daily lives. So, why does it matter?

Reflection helps give us perspective

In a day and age where life is so busy, it can be easy for us to become easily stressed, worked up, and overwhelmed. Whether its because of huge life circumstances or small mistakes, when you take the time to take a step back and take in the situation as a whole, it helps see the bigger picture. When we gain perspective, we can then take time to refocus and do so appropriately. This time we take to reflect can also give us time to take in other perspectives as well and give us time to reflect upon those as well. I am a very opinionated individual with an affection for debating. Being so opinionated can come with its difficulties, i.e. not liking it when people counter your opinion with one that you think is, for lack of a better word, inferior. It is this very type of thinking, my thinking, that harms society. Being so closed off to the views of others because I may not agree with it is not only wrong, but goes against what I preach daily. Really taking the time to reflect on an argument with my mother a while ago, made me realize that just because she did not agree with me fully on an aspect of a topic, does not mean her opinion is not valid. Taking the time to think this through allowed me to recognize my fault and go back and have a very meaningful discussion on the topic. I was able to understand her position on the topic better and the circumstances in her life that lead her to have that opinion. If we take the time to reflect on all situations, we will be able to correct ourselves and become better, more understanding people. After all no one is perfect, we all have our flaws, but taking the time to reach within and identify them ourselves and taking the steps to correcting them is what matters and helps us as individuals.

Reflection allows for the inspiration for new, and possible great, ideas

Some of the best ideas that I have had have come to me after taking the time to really think about my life and how I would either change it or make it better somehow. Some ideas are sparked by my passion for wanting to help people or change the world I live in, and some are sparked by pain and rejection. This blog was birthed from several days of thinking about how I could possibly help others, how I could help myself, and how I could use my experiences and lack thereof to help others going through the same situations. Going through college, a really formative time for young adults, without a mentor of sorts, made me feel very lonely and lost – a feeling I never wanted others going through their first years to face. Being all alone in a whole new school with thousands of more people than high school, far away from home is hard enough, but add on navigating major requirements, changing majors, declaring majors, concentrations, finding the “right internships”, finding the right group of friends, etc., and its a whole whirlwind of fear, rejection, and guesswork. I stumbled my way through college, only really finding my footing closer to the end of my third year, which in some sense was very late. So, with all these thoughts floating around in my head, I sat down with my journal and began to brainstorm ways I could help incoming freshman, lost souls, and people with similar experiences as me possibly find their way in the world by learning from my mistakes. Letting these ideas flow freely, I unlocked something that has become very special to me and my personal growth. Setting aside the time to reflect on your experiences can help push you to use ideas you may never have thought of using before. Let yourself see the potential your ideas have! Taking the time to reflect will always be a step toward success.

Reflection helps you look outside yourself

Reflection can help you look outside yourself when you need to the most, which can be such a magnificent and beautiful thing. When thinking about what is going on around you, it makes you more aware of the needs of those around you. When in my second year of college, I dealt with several individuals and their mental health, varying from depression to suicidal ideations. These experiences, and my lack of knowledge on what to do when these situations presented themselves, pushed me to become a part of the Student Suicide Prevention Team toward the end of my second year at the U of O. I worked with peers to put together a lecture/talk on the statistics of suicide and suicidal ideation of college students, and students at the U of O as well, and ways to look for signs in friends and peers, and how to have the hard, but important conversations with them. We gave these talks to several groups around campus to both help educate people on suicide and also destigmatize mental illnesses. Reflection can give you the help you find ways to help those around you in need, even by just reaching out to hang out and go get coffee. People have the tendency to feel like burdens at times, so when you take the initiative to reach out and ask “what’s going on?” or how they are really doing, you can make a small yet impactful difference.

What are some reasons y’all reflect? Is it something you do daily, or something that you do when you have a lot going on and need to pause and take a breath? Feel free to tell me about a time that self reflection really helped you out. Let’s reflect together y’all!

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