What is Reflection?
Reflection is the act of reflecting, as in casting back a light or heat, mirroring, or giving back, or showing an image; the state of being reflected in this way. Also, the fixing of the thoughts on something, or careful consideration. And, a thought occurring in consideration or meditation.
Related words for reflection include impression, deliberation, observation, rumination, consideration, meditation, and contemplation.
In Physics, there is a law of reflection which refers to the way light-rays reflect off a smooth surface. This is not a scientific blog, so I can loosely translate that into the reflection of sound as well. Additionally, one might casually say that heat also reflects in the same fashion as light and sound. Reflection is the return of light, heat, or sound after striking a surface.
When discussing the reflection of light, one might use the word optics in its descriptions. When talking about the reflection of heat, one might use the term radiation. And, the reflection of sound is an echo.
Images reflect from shiny surfaces, too. You can see a reflection in a mirror, still water, and shiny metallic surfaces. This type of reflection is often called a mirror image.
Ironically, did you know that in Greek mythology, Echo fell in love with Narcissus? And Narcissus fell in love with his reflection.
On a deeper level of reflection, what is the reflection of your thoughts, of your mind, or the internal reflection of the image of yourself? Self-reflection, introspection, or soul searching might be words used for this conscientious undertaking.
Self-Reflection is an evaluation of yourself by which you develop a better understanding of who you are, what your values are, and why you think and act the way you do. It’s a way of studying your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions.
Importance of Self-Reflection
Self-reflection leads to self-awareness. On PositivePsychology.com, an article states research has shown that we think more than 50,000 thoughts per day. Of those thoughts, more than half are negative and more than 90% are repeated thoughts from the previous day. It is important to recognize those thoughts and train your brain to rethink those thoughts more positively and constructively. Additionally, care should be taken not to overthink or obsess with your thoughts and introspection. Over-analyzing can be destructive and may cause one to feel stressed or more anxious than they felt before they started to reflect.
Methods for Self-Reflection
One method to help with introspection is to ask questions. The Open University offers several categories of questioning that will help with uncovering who you are and why you might think the way you do. By addressing some of these, you may find ways to improve the way you act or respond to people or situations in your life.
- Strengths: What are my strengths? For example, am I well organized? Do I remember things?
- Weaknesses: What are my weaknesses? For example, am I easily distracted? Do I need more practice with a particular skill? Am I often tardy or disorganized?
- Skills: What skills do I have and what am I good at? Has anyone else commended me for my skillset?
- Problems: What problems are there at work/home that may affect me? For example, responsibilities, relationships, or distractions that may impact on study or work.
- Achievements: What have I achieved? What are some positive characteristics from past successes could I use in future challenges?
- Happiness: Are there things that I am unhappy with or disappointed about? What makes me happy?
- Solutions: What could I do to improve in these areas? What might be an appropriate response to an interaction that may not have gone well with a coworker, friend, or family member?
Focus is another approach. Focus on your self-reflection. Whether for a few minutes or longer, introspection requires and deserves your full attention. Set aside some time for your reflection. Pick a single topic or perhaps just a word and contemplate or meditate. Questioning or contemplating will get you to think more deeply and answers will come to you.
Journaling is another tactic to assist with self-reflection. Writing will enable you to recognize and become more aware of what you may have thought or what you felt as a result of interactions with others. Also, in your journal you can keep a list of affirmations that you can use to help you to think more positively. These affirmations will also develop as patterns that you can use to generate more positive thoughts and improved outcomes.
Benefits of Self-Reflection
Given time and introspection, one might develop an extensive list of the benefits of self-reflection. Some benefits you gain from self-reflection might be improved clarity of thought which may help with stronger decision-making. Clarity of thought may also help you to find a better understanding of who you are which may lead to more confidence. With increased understanding and focus, you may also become more productive which can promote your personal growth. As a result, this may also lead to richer relationships. There are plenty of benefits to taking time for introspection.
I wanted to include a verse from a song. The song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz includes an interesting line that people have used concerning winning and losing. With careful soul-searching, there is no losing, merely opportunities to learn from an experience that may have otherwise been perceived as a mistake or a loss.
Well, you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill, but you’re so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
Now I’m trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I’ll be giving it my bestest
And nothing’s gonna stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it’s again my turn
To win some or learn some
Perhaps reflection will help lead you to an understanding that what was once considered a loss might be an opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson. We win some and we learn some.
To all, I wish for you many rewarding days filled with Peace, Love, and Reflection.
“It’s a beautiful thing for mind, body, and spirit to take some time daily for reflection.”
“Self-reflection is necessary to dig beneath our own layers and visit the inner crevices of our heart and mind to develop an understanding of life.”
“The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind.”
“Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.”
“Everything in your life is a reflection of a choice you have made. If you want a different result, make a different choice.”