Self-reflection

What is self-reflection?

Self-reflection is the ability to give serious thought about one's character and actions. 
Our character and actions, taking into account our thoughts and  feelings, will be based upon our core beliefs regarding ourselves and the world we experience.

The capacity to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn more about how we think, feel and behave, will help us on the path towards a happy  more successful and fulfilling life. However, self-reflection it is not always easy. 

Self-reflection requires the  ability to be open  and honest  with oneself. This is often complicated by the messages we receive from others. And we may even see ourselves in a different light to the way others see us. The closer you are to a person, the more likely it is that they can observe your behaviours and assess your character

Sometimes the opinion of others can be invaluable. It is like having a mirror held up for us to see in.  A view of ourselves   that we might never have been able to see before. Mostly because we can only experience ourselves through our own lens a majority of the time. Of course this can be both painful and /or wonderful.

To be told you are viewed as hard working, when you never feel you are doing enough is great. However, being told you are selfish or uncaring when you thought you were doing OK, is less pleasant. Nevertheless, it could be the point you start the process of self-reflection and change, and change.  Especially if it said by more than one person, or from person you love and/or trust.

It is the consideration and ability to be mindful of how we behave, that will manifest as our character or some would say our personality. 

Here we have another aspect. When behaviours are bad, strange or unacceptable to others, we describe it as a personality disorder. Where a person has a pervasive maladaptive enduring pattern of interacting with the world.  For example a Sociopath. See the article Am I in a relationship with a sociopath?  A sociopath has certain behaviours  and thinks in a certain way, that creates a personality that has some undesirable traits. 

For us to be able to recognise our faults, as well as our attributes ,is an essential factor in the ability to achieve personal growth.

To start the process of self-reflection.
Ask yourself, how do I see myself ? How do I think others see me?
You might like to consider some of the following behaviours on the list and feelings opposite. Find some of your own too. Make a list of what you consider applies to you. Be brutally honest with yourself. It is only then, that you can consider what you are happy with regarding YOU, and what you would like to change or manage. 

THINKING/THOUGHTS
We need to be able to consider how and what  and the way we think when self-refecting.  The way we think can drastically change our mood, and therefore how we feel, and eventually behave in any given situation.

Hamlet. "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so'.
                                                                                 Shakespeare 
We really can help ourselves if we consider our thinking carefully.  Are we stuck in a 'fixed thinking pattern' which we apply to many things? Are we conceited, judgemental, naive, self righteous, a perfectionist, a critic,        a know it all or maybe a creative thinker?  Do we wear 'rose tinted spectacles', or are we pessimistic, narrow minded, close minded?  Unless we can be aware of our own thinking, we cannot progress to a place of higher-thinking.  

BEHAVIOURS/CHARACTER

Reflecting on our behaviours is equally as important. Just look at the list below, and this not exhaustive. It is easy to understand that with so many combinations available to us, why we are such complex creatures!

Are we selfish, sincere, controlling, considerate, spiteful, pleasant,impulsive, moody, funny, careless, deceitful, serious,reserved,trustworthy, nervous, volatile, shy, curious, cautious, 
debonair, decisive, determined, generous, hilarious, honorable, kind, lively, pleasant, productive, protective, receptive, reflective, responsible, romantic, self-assured, sensitive, shrewd, unusual, witty, wonderful, zany, and zealous.brave, confident, cooperative, courageous, ambitiousDocile,creepy, cruel, dangerous, defiant, erratic, finicky, flashy, flippant, foolish, furtive, guarded, jittery, malicious, mysterious, obnoxious, outrageous, panicky, secretive, strange, threatening, unsuitable, vengeful, and wary.  impulsive, extroverted, pragmatic,abrasive, abusive, angry, anxious, belligerent, boorish, cowardly, crazy, 

FEELINGS
There are so many feelings we could be experiencing at any given point, but sometimes we may experience a constant feeling or a particular feeling keeps reoccurring. Certain people or situations may well evoke a certain feeling.  

If we are aware of that feeling when reoccurring  we have a chance of understanding it and possibly making some changes or find a way to manage the feeling, especially if it is a negative one.  If it is positive, we might want to find a away of ensuring we experience it more often, or discover what else provokes that positive feeling.

There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the feeling of gratitude or positivity, can help negate the negative feelings.  There are many studies and books written on the subject. One great little book and a  best seller, was given to me by a friend when I was having a tough time (yes, us therapists go through stuff too) the book  is called 'The Gratitude Diaries', by Janice kaplan. 
 
As humans we are always evolving. Some of our  TFB's (thoughts, feelings and behaviours) would have been developed during our early years, some by going through life.  Certain events and other people will also influence us on our journey.   How we manage negative or painful  feelings is crucial to our well-being and often our relationships with others. With persistent negative  thoughts or feelings, often negative behaviours get created either against ourself or others. Negative thoughts and feelings can be the route cause of  anxiety and/or depression. This is where a therapist can be very helpful, to support you, help you untangle thinking, manage feelings, and give perspective and strategies for change or maybe acceptance.

Do have a play around with some of the words on this page.  When you put them on paper, what do you make of them?  Would you like  something to change? If so, I may be able to help you. 

OPEN
HAPPY
ALIVE
GOOD
Understanding
great
playful
calm
confident
gay
courageous
peaceful
reliable
joyous
energetic
at ease
easy
lucky
liberated
comfortable
amazed
fortunate
optimistic
pleased
free
delighted
provocative
encouraged
sympathetic
overjoyed
impulsive
clever
interested
gleeful
free
surprised
satisfied
thankful
frisky
content
receptive
important
animated
quiet
accepting
festive
spirited
certain
kind
ecstatic
thrilled
relaxed
 
satisfied
wonderful
serene
 
glad
 
free and easy
 
cheerful
 
bright
 
sunny
 
blessed
 
merry
 
reassured
 
elated
 
 
 
jubilant
 
 

LOVE
INTERESTED
POSITIVE
STRONG
loving
concerned
eager
impulsive
considerate
affected
keen
free
affectionate
fascinated
earnest
sure
sensitive
intrigued
intent
certain
tender
absorbed
anxious
rebellious
devoted
inquisitive
inspired
unique
attracted
nosy
determined
dynamic
passionate
snoopy
excited
tenacious
admiration
engrossed
enthusiastic
hardy
warm
curious
bold
secure
touched
 
brave
 
sympathy
 
daring
 
close
 
challenged
 
loved
 
optimistic
 
comforted
 
re-enforced
 
drawn toward
 
confident
 
 
 
hopeful
 
ANGRY
DEPRESSED
CONFUSED
HELPLESS
irritated
lousy
upset
incapable
enraged
disappointed
doubtful
alone
hostile
discouraged
uncertain
paralyzed
insulting
ashamed
indecisive
fatigued
sore
powerless
perplexed
useless
annoyed
diminished
embarrassed
inferior
upset
guilty
hesitant
vulnerable
hateful
dissatisfied
shy
empty
unpleasant
miserable
stupefied
forced
offensive
detestable
disillusioned
hesitant
bitter
repugnant
unbelieving
despair
aggressive
despicable
skeptical
frustrated
resentful
disgusting
distrustful
distressed
inflamed
abominable
misgiving
woeful
provoked
terrible
lost
pathetic
incensed
in despair
unsure
tragic
infuriated
sulky
uneasy
in a stew
cross
bad
pessimistic
dominated
worked up
a sense of loss
tense
 
boiling
 
 
 
fuming
 
 
 
indignant
 
 
 

INDIFFERENT
AFRAID
HURT
SAD
insensitive
fearful
crushed
tearful
dull
terrified
tormented
sorrowful
nonchalant
suspicious
deprived
pained
neutral
anxious
pained
grief
reserved
alarmed
tortured
anguish
weary
panic
dejected
desolate
bored
nervous
rejected
desperate
preoccupied
scared
injured
pessimistic
cold
worried
offended
unhappy
disinterested
frightened
afflicted
lonely
lifeless
timid
aching
grieved
 
shaky
victimized
mournful
 
restless
heartbroken
dismayed
 
doubtful
agonized
 
 
threatened
appalled
 
 
cowardly
humiliated
 
 
quaking
wronged
 
 
menaced
alienated
 
 
wary
 
 


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