Feedback can be helpful. Others telling us what they observe about our decisions, actions, and behavior. Sometimes positive. Possibly disappointing. Its value determined by our receptiveness to what we hear. Giving us an opportunity to adjust when we listen.
Reflection is personal feedback. Whether walking by the calm surface of a sunny lake or the mirror we pass every day in our house, we are reminded that our opportunity for reflection exists most days of our lives.
Taking many forms, our journey into thinking deeply about ourselves can be either helpful or discouraging much like the feedback from others. In reflection, hearing is replaced by the skill to cultivate a keen awareness of who and why we are who we are.
Regret is the most common form of reflection. Because the story that leads up to our disappointment bothers us. Deeply. The choices we made exposed us. The ending, that didn’t occur, could not be changed. There is a finality to regret that truly hurts. It’s always stories that we can never forget.
Searching our own past to better understand who we are today can be helpful but dangerous. Depending on the road taken. Many search their past to find the stories that keep them from being the different person that they dreamed of but could never achieve. Only convenient excuses are discovered. Further weakening and distancing themselves from more impactful personal change.
Finding the why, we are who we are, by searching our past leads to a much different outcome. It helps us clarify what drives us and reveals to us how are tendencies were born. For some, knowing this brings them the power of self-awareness. To strengthen the tendencies that give rise to powerful skills. While running from tendencies that, we now understand, will not lead to any good outcome.
Self awareness is the child of reflection. Born of quiet, honesty, and courage. Too scared to look inside, we distract ourselves with technology and excuses. For it hurts, many times, to see what we have hid over the many years.
Difficult but generous work that all of us should do. For it is only in honest reflection, where what’s learned can be life changing.