Benefits of Self-Reflection

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In my last article I wrote that integer people reflect on the mistakes they made in order to learn from them and to act differently in similar situations in the future.

Some people have asked me how to reflect. Self-Reflection is comparable to active thinking. The thing is to ask yourself a couple of questions and answer them -preferably in writing- honestly to yourself. Some take a walk or go on a retreat for Self-Reflection. It has to be voluntary and without (external) pressure.

Self-Reflection is different from reflection in a group. This is called intervision or supervision.

So, take time for Self-Reflection and keep in mind why you do this exercise because the benefits of Self-Reflection are:

To let go. Have you ever had a terrible experience because you did something wrong at work (or at home) and you were terrified to take a next step? Well, by letting go you create room for yourself to take the next step (even if it’s just a tiny one). I am not saying that you have to step away from your responsibilities and walk away! In contrary, I invite you to consciously step fully into life and go in the new direction your course in life.

To gain clarity: As you write down what you have learned and how you imagine a future situation to be, things become more clear for you on where to go next. It can take some time to get clarity because sometimes you have to dig deeper to understand the situation.

To make a decision: After you’ve gotten clarity and were able to let go, you then are able to make a decision on what to do next. This is probably a step most people forget with this exercise. It’s important to commit to the decision and take action (even if it’s a tiny step). It enables you to move on. A big advantage of Self-Reflection is that it helps you to make a decision that is in line with what you want in life / your goals / your ideal life.

Here are questions I ask myself after each coaching session, training, workshop or completed task:

  1. What was the essence of the situation?
  2. What was my intention (which character strength did I use)?
  3. What went well?
  4. What could have been better?
  5. What do I want to achieve in a similar situation in the future and how will I realize this?

“After each completed task, Freek?”, I hear you say. That will take a lot of time! You may also choose to self-reflect once a month or after an intensive experience. For some, Self-Reflection helps to deal with sorrow, mourning or to realize what things there are to be grateful for in a particular experience. This is another way of letting go.


How do you self-reflect and how does it help you? Let me know in the comment field below. I’m curious!

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