It’s good to take time to reflect on your life. During these times, you can get a better perspective on the circumstances you are facing. We often miss moments to rejoice and be grateful, because our mind prefers to dwell on the negative rather than uplift the positive.
Science supports that we learn by our experience but only when we allow our brain the opportunity to process how experiences affect us. This requires some room in your life to have reflective mental down time. You need time evaluate what those experiences mean to you and how they have affected your life.
The goal is not to boast of our successes or become discouraged by our failures, but let both lead us to personal growth. The goal is to leave every experience better.
The desired outcome from out time of reflection is to connect our experiences with a deeper understanding about ourselves, God, and the world around us.
Questions for Personal Reflection
- Why did I respond in that way during that situation?
- What did I do well in that situation?
- What are ways I could have responded differently?
- What is the lesson that can be learned?
- Have I forgiven myself and others for not always responding as desired?
Reflection allows you to differentiate what is working in your life from what is not working. It separates the aimless busyness of life from the productive moments.
Let’s give it a try right now.
Really think about this question:
How has your day been?
The tendency when you hear this question is to give a quick “Good” or “Fine”. This is OK when you know someone is simply asking as a way of greeting and don’t really want to hear about all the details of your hectic day. But there are people in your life who don’t want you to disregard this question, they really care about how you are doing and want you to know they are available to you.
When we become disassociated with the gift of reflection, we miss out on these opportunities to learn about ourselves.
Spend a few minute reflecting on these question about your day:
Who or what has brought a smile to your face or made you laugh?
Who or what has made you feel helpful, needed, and desired?
Who or what are you thankful for today? In what way can you make them feel helpful, needed, and desired?
If we are going to answer questions like “How are you doing?” with a quick “I’m fine” let’s actually take a moment to reflect on if we are fine or if we need to voice a different reply.
Gratitude is not where your mind would automatically wander to when recapping your day. Your mind would rather remind you about the person who cut you off in traffic, or about the coworker who stole your idea, or the person who was rude to you at the restaurant.
Dwelling on the negative aspects of your day will only lead to emotional and mental fatigue. Visit those experiences and apply questions for personal reflection we discussed earlier. Exam your response to the negative experiences and determine ways to handle them more effectively. Learn the lesson and move on. Staying in that place is not going to result in anything good.
Reflecting on the negative is only good for learning, then quickly shift to the positive.
Next time you start feeling like everything in your life is negative, stop for a moment and revisit these questions.
I’m confident that the more you look for the good in your life, the more you will find it.
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