I began introspecting in 2006.
That's a lie.
I began introspecting at age 6.
I began writing the process down in 2006. (Age 22, for anyone keeping score at home.)
But this isn't about me. This is about You.
What is One Key Way that Self-Reflection has impacted Your life?
For real. I want this to be an interactive, collaborative article. I want this to be an article You help write. How do you feel about this? Answer the above question in the comments in whatever way you feel inspired - and brave enough - to share.
(Note: If this inspires you to write your own article-length answer, please drop a link to your article in the comments so we can all read your thoughts!)
What is One Key Way that Self-Reflection has impacted Your life? No right or wrong 'category' to speak about here. Pick one (for now) area of your life where it has had an impact you feel inspired to share.
Also, for the purposes of our work together, let's use the following language so we can all follow one another as clearly as possible:
Introspection: a more focused and specific form of self-reflection that is centered on examining one's own thoughts and emotions. This process is often done through self-observation and contemplation.
Self-Reflection: a broader process that involves examining one's own life experiences and values through the lens of one's own actions and choices, and using that information to make changes or improvements.
One might say: We Introspect to determine how we feel or what we think about something that has happened to us. We then Self-Reflect to determine what we are going to do about that, moving forward.
Self-Reflection is the broader, more all-encompassing term. If referring to the general topic, I'll refer to it as Self-Reflection.
I'll go first:
Self-Reflection ruined my life.
Well, that's a lie too. But perhaps for an unexpected paradigmatic reason.
Self-Reflection ruined what I was calling my "life".
So, I guess the truth is: Self-Reflection ruined my delusion.
What a jerk.
But, we're doing this in pieces. Just one piece to start.
For this first exercise, I'll touch on my relationship with my family... specifically my immediate family... specifically my parents.
One Key Way that Self-Reflection impacted my life is the impact it has had on my relationship with my up-bringing and, as a result, with my parents.
I had a relationship with my parents (lucky enough to have two) that was fine and easy.
During, Stage 1:
I had a relationship with my parents (lucky enough to have two) that was fine and easy... and, I discovered, was built on, perpetuated by, and deeply steeped in decades of unchecked trauma.
Self-Reflection helped me see the way I was parroting a lot of my parents' behavior. I would even hear their words come out of my mouth sometimes (the good and the bad).
Introspection helped me clarify - for myself - how I felt about that:
The 'bad' I obviously want to do away with. But, honestly, the 'good' doesn't get to stay rent-free any longer either.
I'm fine keeping the good things I learned from my Mom & Dad, but if their passed-down words, beliefs, and methodologies are going to stay, it's going to be because, after close scrutiny, I choose to keep them.
I will not keep it around if it doesn't feel authentic to the person I want to be. Even if it is 'good.'
During, Stage 2:
My parents became deeply confused by me. "You were always such a good son," ... "You always seemed so happy," ... and then it morphed into: "You shouldn't take life so seriously."
Self-Reflection helped me change my life via changing my behavior. Through the process of paying conscious, hawk-like attention to (1) the words that came out of my mouth and (2) the actions I chose to commit, I consistently learned to 'catch myself' in any moment when I would say or do something that was not authentically 'Me.'
The more I did this, the better I got at it.
The better I got at it, the easier it was to see.
The easier it was to see, the more I came to realize: My life is one giant trauma, playing on repeat.
^This^ is how Self-Reflection ruined my delusion née life.
I'll be honest: This phase was probably the toughest.
My parents were deeply hurt by me because they were interpreting my growth as a form of 'criticism' of their parenting.
And I, finding myself sailing in uncharted waters, had not yet developed articulate ways to communicate what I was going through. Heck, I was still trying to wrap my own head around it all.
I felt like a human embodiment of a small pond in the aftermath of a stampede of wildebeests during a monsoon.
This led me back to my old friend, Introspection.
Introspection, from here, helped me realize that I was feeling two things simultaneously:
1) Thrilled and exhilarated at this new version-of-Me that was coming into focus.
2) Perplexed by the pain and confusion - however inadvertent - I was clearly causing my family.
(Worth noting that, peppered in for spice throughout this process, was the lingering, ever-seductive voice of the status-quo, softly hissing: "Maybe they're right? Maybe you should just lighten up. What if you are kidding yourself? Maybe it's better if you just stay the way you were... don't rock the boat.")
During, Stage 3:
Here is where the magic began to happen.
As the sun came out and the silty waters following the wildebeest stampede began to settle and clear, I realized I could combine 1 & 2 from my previous Introspection.
I arrived at a desire to do the following two things, simultaneously:
1) Continue my work of inner and outer refinement while...
2) Diving into it so deeply that I understand it well enough to be able to articulate exactly what I am going through. This way, if my parents still want to take offense, they are welcome to (that is ultimately up to them), but it will not be due to any lack of clarity of communication on my part.
Self-Reflection helped me to see: This was a viable business model. My relationship with my parents began to heal. My happiness and lightness around them began to re-appear as well. But I was not the 'happy son' they were referring to back in: During, Stage 2. This was something else.
I was happy. Happy by my measure, not theirs. My parents are good people, what they ultimately wanted was my happiness all along. They were sad when they saw me lose the state-of-being-they-thought-was-happiness in: During, Stage 2, but they came around quickly when they saw how genuine this new brand of happiness I was now sporting looked on me.
Meanwhile, my relationship with my Self felt like it had just found a jet pack.
Guys, Gals, Friends who identify otherwise, I am here to tell you with as much Love, Clarity, and Power as I can conjure:
T H E R E . I S . A . B O T T O M . T O . T H I S . W E L L .
Self-Reflection is an on-going process. It's something you could always continue to do as life continues to unfold for you, moving forward.
But what I'm talking about is: looking backward.
When you look into your past traumas, if you have decided you want to heal them, I am here to tell you with confidence and certainty - as a living proof-of-concept: There is a finish line.
There is a point, one shining day, when you realize that you have healed past wounds.
You feel light and free in ways you never knew you were tied down.
You feel clever and genuine like your entire life is a blank canvas and you are Bob Ross's most awesome protégé.
You feel actively authentic.
Several wise people, including Ghandi and Dr. Wayne Dyer, have shared versions of this formula as well, but this is my version and it speaks to me:
"Your thoughts inspire your words. Your words ignite your actions. Your actions construct your life."
Introspection helped me learn to hear my thoughts... and change them accordingly, as-needed.
Introspection + Self-Reflection helped me learn to arrive at my words... and speak them with Presence.
Self-Reflection helped me learn to selectively curate my actions... and Own them with confidence.
Self-Reflection ruined my delusion and handed me my life on a golden platter.
It ruined my trauma-based relationship with my parents and gave me a relationship founded in Authenticity, Honesty, and Unconditional Love.
This article touches on one sub-element (Parents) of one element (Immediate Family) of one sub-category (Family) of one category (Relationships) of life.
I cannot wait to hear what aspect of life You are interested in sharing about Your Self. Thank You for Being Here.
Introspection & Self-Reflection have interwoven themselves into my life to such an extent that it wasn't until recently that a friend of mine suggested that I just might have something to share with the world in this regard. This had never occurred to me.
To that beautiful sentiment, I am currently creating and teaching a new course: The Self-Reflective Elective. This live, online, cohort-based course will be in partnership with Maven and will be launching in the next few weeks.
This course will also be the first of several. Level 1 is designed to help you craft the foundation of your unique approach to Self-Reflection. Subsequent cohorts will build from there.
To that end, if you are interested in Self-Reflection, what would intrigue you to take a course on it? What would make it valuable enough to you to inspire you to prioritize yourself and sign up?
There are many starting points or places we can begin. I want to share that which is most wanted by You... that which You will find most valuable to know.
If you would like to share your thoughts, I have a very short survey linked just below. No strings attached. You're not committing to anything. I'm still in the process of shaping the exact content of the course and your feedback would be part of the 'clay' in that process!
Thank you, again, for being here. You make our world better just by being part of it... as You.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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