This post is all about self-reflection. I think it’s one of the keys to ensuring that we don’t keep making the same mistakes.
Reflection: “serious thought or consideration”
Research by Giada Di Stefano, Francesca Gino, Gary Pisano, and Bradley Staats in call centres, demonstrated that employees who spent 15 minutes at the end of the day reflecting about lessons learned, performed 23% better after 10 days than those who did not reflect.
A study of UK commuters found a similar result, when those who were prompted to use their commute to think about and plan for their day. They were happier, more productive, and less burned out than people who didn’t.
How can you reflect? You don’t have time for any of that sort of thing do you?
I don’t know about you but we get very caught up with our life, we hear all these things we “could” or “should” do but actually we don’t do them half the time. We know what’s good for us yet we persist in repeating the same old patterns. Usually because it’s what’s easy, familiar and habitual.
If you were to consider what reflection is, some may say it’s about reflecting on a situation, event or experience and seeing what they could have done differently or better. Some may look at it from a deeper perspective and gain an insight into why they behaved a certain way or how the other person(s) interacted with them or others.
You don’t want to get into a state of over-thinking, which can happen if you’ve been affected by someone’s addiction at some point of your life. This is about detaching and looking with clarity, being objective and the observer. It’s about learning and how we can then use that learning to make changes or at least have a greater awareness.
There is absolutely no point in reflecting if you aren’t going to do anything with it at some point.
How do I reflect?
When I find myself in a situation that’s happened before, I look at the people involved, what happened and what I need to learn from it. I want to take responsibility for my part in it but also recognise what is someone else’s stuff. I go by my gut instinct, sometimes it’s not easy to see things when you are right in the middle of it. You can be biased and your views can be closed. You might feel sorry for yourself and that tends to put you in the “victim” place. You may want to read my post on the “Drama Triangle”.
Sometimes it’s worth getting another person’s perspective so they can give you a more objective view. Then you can consider all the details and learn from what happened, that’ll enable you to act differently in the future if that’s what you choose.
My suggested tips for reflection
- Set a reminder in your phone (most do this in the calendar) to do reflection. Set it when you usually sit down and relax (relaxing is another story). You can also set this to repeat, so maybe you want to do it daily or weekly. I wouldn’t say any longer than that.
- Choose if you want to write it, do it on your computer, something artistic, it’s up to you. Separate the reflection into sections if it’ll help. Work, Home, Relationships, Feelings, Skills, Goals, Purpose, Health, Safety, Valued, Fulfilment (whatever is relevant, this may change over time).
- Look at it section in turn. You may ask yourself, “Did I feel valued today”, “Did I eat well today”, “Did I make time for myself at work/home?”, “What happened when I had that conflict with.. “
- Focus on details, you can use phrases like “What was the purpose of that?” or “How could I have reacted differently”, “Was that my stuff or theirs?”. You can often tell if something is someone else’s stuff when you notice how you feel about it, if you feel it’s not something that bothers you then it’s probably their issue.
- Reflect on what you’ve written. If you’re anything like me, you may have black and white thinking. Always look for at least 3 possibilities, there are shades of grey.
- Once you have done a few days / weeks then you may want to reflect on all of them, see if there is a pattern. Maybe you’ve compromised your health because of being overly responsible that week.
- Decide if those things are important to you at the moment. They may not be and that’s OK, one thing I would say is that you have to take responsibility that you choose to not make changes. You can’t blame anything or anyone else for how your life pans out. Those affected by someone’s addiction can often fall into the victim mentality and whilst it’s not nice to think we do that, I’m sorry to say we do. You can learn more about the drama triangle and victim consciousness here.
- Join my Facebook community “Change Your Mind” to share your experiences or just listen to others and learn from what we’ve done.
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