Introspection and Self-Reflection; The First Steps to You

Introspection and Self-Reflection: What Is It?
And how can it help my relationship with my daughter?

✓ According to the dictionary, introspection is “the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.” This is the first step in a truly healthy personal growth journey. Through introspection and self-reflection we find peace with ourselves.

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✓ Introspection and self-reflection are an essential part of the human experience, one that the majority of us are missing out on. It shouldn’t be this way, but before we can continue, one must answer the question of what is self-reflection? You might get a different answer if you were to poll your friends and ask them to define self-reflection. 

✓ Self-reflection, which is synonymous with introspection, is merely taking the necessary time to consider, evaluate, think about, and reflect on your desires, behaviors, motivations, thoughts, and attitudes. 

✓ It is the journey of self-awareness and self-understanding. It is where genuine relationships find their foundation.

✓ It’s deep diving into your emotions, thoughts, motivations, and getting to the bottom of why you do the things you do. What is the why behind all these things you choose to say, do, act, and focus on? 

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galations 2:20

✓ It is the journey of learning who you really are.

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✓ Introspection allows you to look at your life on both a micro and macro level. On the micro-level, you can analyze your responses to specific events and circumstances. On the macro-level, you can analyze your life’s overall trajectory. You can consider where you are heading, ascertain whether you are happy with the trajectory your life is on, and make adjustments when and where necessary. 

✓ You can look at self-reflection as a more in-depth type of learning, one that allows you to maintain all aspects of an experience and understand why it happened, what the consequence or impact was, whether you should allow it to happen again, or simply remember that it happened. 

✓ When you tap into every experience and every aspect of it, you can gain clarity over your thinking and get a greater understanding of what matters to you. This is especially important as we desire to influence and create a strong mother/daughter relationship.

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✓ Introspection takes discipline, and it will require intentionality.

You need the strength to pause the chaos going on around you to disappear into yourself to take the time out for self-reflection. It isn’t easy, but it’s valuable. 

✓ An important aspect of introspection is its role in personal growth. You really cannot grow and develop yourself unless you have a deep level of self-awareness. Self-awareness allows you to identify issues you need to work on within the realm of personal development. Self-awareness is also crucial in gauging how and in what ways you have grown. 

✓ Introspection requires a certain level of courage, it can be scary to look inside and work on yourself, but it is well worth it. When our daughter(s) see us working on ourselves rather than trying to change them, we are likely to see a softening in them – towards us.

✓ Without introspection and gaining the self-awareness and self-understanding that results from it, you are bound to live your life blind, to possibly suffer unnecessarily because of unresolved issues, and to miss out on all the magic that happens when you grow, develop and attain self-actualization. 

Self-Reflection and Introspection: Its Importance

✓ Without introspection, you will walk through life never thinking about why you do things or what you’re doing. The result of this is unfortunate because we only get stuck. 

✓ A lack of self-reflection leaves you running, just trying to keep your head above water even though nothing around you is going well. Life has become a fight to stay afloat, barely surviving when through self-reflection you could be thriving. 

✓ The process of discovering who you are is exciting! While you may have to deal with painful issues and memories, most who engage in this process find it to be rewarding, gratifying and fulfilling. And why not? There is nothing better than working on yourself to become the best you can be and living your very best life! 

“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”

Proverbs 16:32

How Choosing to be Introspective Can Heal and Grow Relationships

In particular, let’s consider our relationship with our daughter(s). We love her and so long for her to listen and take us seriously. Of course, when she is little, she is much more open to us and often hangs on our every word.

However, as she grows into an independent young woman, it may feel like we are losing her respect. She is coming into her own and making her choices based on her understandings and beliefs.

So, what does this have to do with introspection? Our desire to continue being an influence in our girl’s life is going to require reflection. And growth, we cannot maintain or regain our role model position in her life without personal growth. We need self-reflection to understand where personal development is required.

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”

Luke 9:25
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THE BENEFITS OF INTROSPECTION

A Three-Fold Process

If you are going to change your life, you want to change it for the better, and you want that change to have lasting effects. Regularly practicing introspection and self-reflection can help you take action today to protect your goals in the future. 

Self-awareness should be actionable. For accessing this insight, the process is three-fold. 

  • Introspection

This is the process of accessing your internal processes in relation to your psychological well-being, judgments, beliefs, perceptions, etc. 

  • Self-reflection

This is the examination or contemplation of your thoughts, actions, and feelings. It’s essentially the analysis phase. 

  • Insight

This is a clear understanding or knowledge of a solution to the problem you are dealing with. From introspection and analysis comes your insight. 

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The Astounding Benefits of Introspection and Self-Reflection

  • Personal Growth – Introspection allows you to tap into all those things that promote or stop you from becoming your best self. Through introspection and subsequent self-awareness, you grow emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Without introspection, there can be no self-actualization. Self-actualization is a concept from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone.”
  • With introspection, you discover all the negative patterns in your life that stop you from being your best and living your best life, and this knowledge facilitates the ultimate opportunities for personal growth and development. Without introspection, the growth and development you seek are not possible.
  • Self-Awareness – Introspection allows you to gain a wealth of self-awareness and self-understanding. Through self-awareness and self-understanding, you open a variety of doors, including identifying your desires, values, and the life which makes you most content.

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Make Changes – Introspection provides you with the opportunity to change those things about yourself that are causing you unhappiness and dysfunction in your life.

  • An honest exploration of self provides the knowledge needed to make any changes for those things that do not serve you.
  • Answer Key Questions – Have you ever wondered “why did I do that” or “why do I keep doing this”? Becoming self-aware through introspection can answer these questions and open a variety of doors in self-discovery. With introspection, you can find answers to key questions – What do I do? And most important, Why Do I This? 
  • Introspection Begets Appreciation – It’s much easier to get a sense of where you are now when you realize all the places you have been. Not only will you have a greater appreciation of who you are today, but you will also have a greater understanding of just how far you have come. 
  • Introspection Begets Gratitude – While it’s normal for humans to fear change, the reality of the matter is that change can be good. Reflecting helps you get a greater hold on this, which makes you a more grateful person. 

Introspection Begets Forgiveness –

  • As you reflect on your past, you will, unfortunately, be reminded of your misspent youth. It will drag up all of the mistakes you made, the conversations you walked away from, wishing you’d said this or that. But with self-reflection comes self-growth. Forgiveness plays a large part in this process as you learn to cut yourself some slack. 
  • Introspection Begets Clarity – When you sit down and connect the dots between who you are now versus the experiences of your past, you gain clarity over why you are the person you are. This can be useful for reinforcing qualities you’d like to keep and the ones you’d like to purge. 
  • It’s A Connection – You might find old qualities and traits you deemed negative or harmful at the time. The benefit of hindsight might just highlight the positive aspects of those qualities. Perhaps it’s time for you to reconnect with that part of your past self. By practicing self-reflection, by taking time out for introspection, you get a greater view of how those traits contributed to the experience at the time. 

Introspection and Self-Reflection Impacts Our Relationships

  • Introspection Improves Self-Esteem – It’s much easier to build your self-esteem and feel better about yourself if you appreciate the entirety of your journey. You aren’t who you are simply because of the big moments. You are just as shaped by the little moments. A lot went into shaping you as the person you are now, and it should help you come to grips with some of your mistakes and errors. 
  • The Emotional Release:
  • As you skim through your memory store, you will be reminded of the experiences you had long forgotten or simply stopped thinking about years ago. When you do, you will relieve all of the emotions you experienced at that time. When you summon those emotions, you have to realize that it’s because those emotions never went away; they have been beneath the surface all this time. Introspection will finally help you put those emotions to rest. 
  • Make Better Decisions – Through introspection, self-reflection, self-understanding, and awareness, you get very close to your desires, needs, and conscience. This helps you make much better decisions for anything in life. 
  • Build Character – When you look inside with honesty and thoroughness, you confront the person you are. You found out all those things that make you who you are, the good and the bad, what you believe in, and what you have done and not done. This takes strength and resolve, and therefore builds character as you go through the journey.
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Heal and Know Yourself First

  • Block Out External influences – Through introspection, you can focus solely on yourself. By blocking out the external influences you have in life, such as family, friends, and society, and focusing solely on the self, you allow yourself the opportunity to live your own way and make changes based on your own conscience. This ensures that you take responsibility for your own life. 
  • Define Happiness – By exploring the past and present, you can define your own happiness.
  • Acknowledgment Of Choices – Self-awareness presents you with an abundance of choices so you can design your most excellent self and your most extraordinary life.
  • Improved Self-Control And Self-Regulation – Self-awareness promotes self-control and improves self-regulation. The understanding of self and why you do what you do or react in certain ways allows you to keep what you need and change the rest. 
  • Focus On You – With introspection, self-reflection, and self-awareness, you can detach yourself from outside noises and distractions and connect with your soul, where you can actually think about yourself.
  • Liberate Yourself – Introspection helps you understand your own responsibility in life. When you become accountable for your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, you alleviate stress, gain peace of mind, and more control.

How Does Introspection and Self-Reflection Impact Us?

  • Gain Empathy: When you understand yourself, you are much better at accepting others. This type of empathy makes you a better person in all your relationships. You become more supportive, caring, and giving to others, which makes you a better you overall and better at navigating the world.
  • Change Perception – When you understand yourself, you will learn what perceptions you carry with you in life. It is our own perceptions that largely dictate how you react and act in all facets of your life. 
  • Retake Real Control – Through introspection, you can detach from all those things in life for which you have no control and instead, direct your energy on yourself and self-improvement. 
  • Get Results – When you live the same life, doing the same things, reacting in the same ways, nothing ever changes. Through self-awareness, you will gain a deep understanding of yourself that you need to facilitate changes. This dynamic process will improve your life and get you out of your humdrum comfort zone, at which point all the magic can happen.  

Do you get nervous when someone asks you what you enjoy? 

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Does it feel weird trying to come up with things you’re passionate about? Are you left deeply uncomfortable by small talk because it revolves around getting to know what makes up who you are? 

As terrible as it sounds, you’re not alone. It’s just not something that we think about daily. Think about it, how often do you really sit across from someone who is trying to get to know you on that deep a level? You forget about it, and the panic only begins when you find yourself in a similar position. You’ve grown so accustomed to living a fast life where the focus is on chasing dreams you forget how to sit back and enjoy life. No wonder you have no idea what your interests and passions are; who has time for that? 

Yet, there is no one walking this earth that is like you.

You are a unique person, and you have something special to offer the world, whether you realize it or not.

So, let’s talk about how you can get to know yourself on a deeper level. Isn’t that something we’re all looking for? 

Having a deeper understanding of what makes up who you are, goes beyond your job, status as a parent, or position as a spouse. It goes so much deeper. When you have a better grip on who you are, you can move forward in your life knowing you’re living a life of passion.  

Self-Understanding: The Truth 

I need you to sit down before you read this next bit. Self-improvement and self-understanding are not the same things.

 Just because you have taken steps previously to improve yourself does not mean you have a deeper understanding of who you are. You might, but it’s not a guarantee. 

Self-improvement is about external success. It’s about gaining new qualities through experiences to create the life you want. It often results in tunnel vision where your focus is continuously on improvement and improvement only. You hit a goal, you feel satisfied, but now there’s another goal to strive for. It’s constant. There is nothing wrong with this because growth is a natural part of life. However, if you set off on this path of self-improvement before you did the work to get a grip of self-understanding, are you even heading in the right direction? Who knows?! 

Self-understanding is about internal qualities. It’s about who you are at your core and learning to accept yourself. There is nothing wrong with growth. It’s commendable. It’s beautiful that so many people want to be the best version of themselves that they can be. That’s natural, it’s in our blood. However, it’s vital that you accept yourself as you are and be comfortable with that. 

By having a deep understanding of who you really are, you know where to expand on your strengths, and you know how to grow your opportunities. 

For example, say you are on a weight loss journey. You recognize that you have gained too much weight, and it’s impacting your mood, happiness, and your health, also. 

Then you come to a decision, realizing that it’s time to make a change. You feel like you’re doing the right things, but you still find criticisms to throw your way. 

Have you struggled to make the right choices for your weight loss journey because you are tearing yourself down at every turn and setting yourself up for failure. How do you overcome this? By actively building yourself up using positive affirmations and encouragement! It seems silly, like a small change, yet it’s one that can radically alter your path. 

That’s why it’s so important that you understand the difference between self-understanding and self-improvement. You can have self-improvement without self-understanding, but you shouldn’t. 

Know Thyself 

Your life is a complex network of systems, it’s all connected. Your mind, soul, and body are intertwined into one giant machine. 

When most people consider the answer to ‘who are you?’ They will say… 

  • Mom  
  • Daughter 
  • Sister 
  • Plumber 
  • Lawyer 
  • Wife 
  • Friend 
  • Grandmother 

For many people, who they are is linked to their roles in life. For some, the definition of who they are is closely related to their career and job. But when we consider this in light of what we hope for our daughters – we can begin to understand how introspection and self-reflection can impact our relationship with her.  

All of these answers are fine and indeed make up who you are, but there is a much deeper side to the core of oneself that requires a higher level of introspection and understanding of oneself to get in touch with. 

The superficial answers to who we are, are simple to identify and define.

But the deeper self that is within all of us is not so easily identified. 

Why should you delve deeper to get in touch with who you really are? Because that deep-seeded perception of yourself by yourself is the core from which your life stems, it is the driver of your thoughts and therefore, your actions – be those healthy or unhealthy. 

It is a sad thing to go through life without getting to know your deepest self. This is especially true and tragic when you engage in dysfunctional behaviors or attract unhealthy relationships.

 These things are always rooted in who you are at your deepest level of perception.  

Examples Of A Deeper Understanding Of The Inner Self 

  • • Jillie has spent her late teens and twenties attracting men who only want to use her. Over and over, she is hurt because she longs for real love but cannot understand why it’s out of reach. Jillie’s inner self is wrapped in the belief that all she is good for shallow and that she is worthless at the most basic level. Why? Her stepfather molested her from the age of 10 to 13. During this time, and without her awareness or understanding, she was given, and she accepted the message that this is who she is, someone not worthy of love, caring, or respect but instead a worthless person to be used. 

Because Jillie has not yet identified and become aware of this perception she has of herself and who she is and because she has not worked through these dysfunctional beliefs, she continues to attract that which she perceives she deserves. 

What will your impact be on your daughter or son?

  • • Alex competes to the point of self-destruction at work and in his personal life. He always has to prove he is the best; he knows everything, and no one can tell him anything. Deep inside, Alex is very insecure. He never feels good enough, and this is because his father always had to be the best at everything and made Alex feel small, incapable, and insecure. Alex strived through his whole childhood to prove his worth to his father, but to no avail. 

The messages Alex’s father sent him ensured that Alex’s perception of himself is that he is incapable and inadequate. As an adult, Alex is still trying to prove himself. Alex is not aware of this, so he is still being driven by those ghosts of his past in his adult life. 

Another Example of Not Knowing Oneself

  • • Heather is 40 years old and struggles with relationships. She doesn’t trust any men. Indeed, she gives no one the benefit of the doubt. In fact, she expects betrayal. Why? When Heather was 24, her fiancée cheated on her. Heather adopted the belief right then that no man can be trusted. Her deep unresolved pain related to this betrayal drives her mindset and subsequent actions and reactions – “what’s the point, they are all liars and cheaters, and this will end badly.” The result is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy because her relationships do end badly and mostly because her partners cannot stand being accused, and her suspicions and mistrust eventually drive them all away. 

The above examples illustrate the deepest levels of the self. Without becoming aware of these core issues and who you really are at the deepest level, you are bound to live with unnecessary dysfunction and pain. 

Getting To Know You Authentically

So, you have decided to be healthier, and you have noticed a change in your mood already. You have started fueling yourself properly, and your mind wants more; it now craves knowledge in a way it didn’t before because you feel more confident and already are more self-aware. 

One little change can make significant waves. And in the process, deeply affect those around us.

Have you ever noticed how unfocused you are when you’re surrounded by clutter? When you walk out of a clean room, you stand taller and feel more confident. 

When you walk out of a dirty home, you feel disorganized. It’s a little bit like self-understanding, in that when you know yourself deeply, you are working from a clean room, and when you don’t, you’re coming from a place of disorganization. 

It’s easy to get lost in the mire when you focus on one aspect of yourself, especially when there are other qualities connected to it. So, when you say I am a spouse, and I am a parent, you’re talking about two things that are intertwined in that you co-parent your children with your spouse. They are related. 

Those two things also play into how you journey through the world.

You can’t understand yourself as a person unless you consider every part of you. 

  • • What are your health habits, how is your work ethic, what type of emotions do you experience, what are your thought processes, what is your passion, what do you believe, what do you value, what do you think? 
  • •Is there anything causing dysfunction in your life? 
  • • What are your struggles? 
  • • Why do you do the things you do? 

Self-introspection and reflection can be painful, but is always needed

It is no fun to admit our flaws or that we come up short. However, in order to grow and mature we must.” 

I Speak Life, Dr. Shauntae Brown

Are you happy with your responses to these questions, or do you recognize that you have a lot of work to do because you just don’t know? These are things we want our daughters to know, and we must model that, starting with ourselves.

By looking at yourself from the outside in, you will get a closer look at your beliefs, and it’s your beliefs that influence your thoughts and actions. Your beliefs aren’t the whole of you, but they are a good indication. So, the best place to get to know yourself is by taking a gander at your beliefs. 

How Introspection and Self-Reflection Impact Our Values, Attitudes, Beliefs 

The more you get to know about yourself, the more questions and answers should come from your investigation. Think about the things that make you, as an individual. 

What are your characteristics? What are your motivations? Dig deeper than that initial first answer.

The beauty of these concepts is that they’re not set in stone. You will change over the course of your life, and that’s normal. Our views shift as we learn more and grow as people. And through the process of introspection and self-reflection, our daughter begins to find the authentic us, also.

Your attitude is the mentality you have in response to certain circumstances, objects, or context clues. It can change wildly, quickly, and frequently, dependent on your experiences. It’s about what is influencing you on a daily basis and can be altered based on dislikes, likes, and interests. While you can learn a lot about someone based on their attitude, it’s nothing like what their beliefs will show you. 

A belief is simply an idea. An idea that comes from an experience or conviction. Your beliefs don’t necessarily stem from fact, and they’re not always logical either. They are a reference point that allows us to interpret our world. Beliefs can change, but to change a belief, you will need plenty of evidence, and it might require strong persuasion. 

Can you think of a time when someone was able to mount a strong enough case that it shifted your belief in something? 

Values are your core ideas. It’s what you consider to be right, wrong, or floating in the gray area. Values revolve around self-image and what makes you who you are. Values, like beliefs, aren’t necessarily logical, rational, or factual. In fact, your values are more challenging to change than your beliefs. Generally, people’s values don’t shift unless they experience a life-changing event. 

You cannot improve your life in all areas until you reflect on your daily habits. Your habits make your experiences. Do those align with who you view as your most authentic self? What you do on a daily basis should further both your short and long-term goals. When you don’t like where you are, then it’s up to you to change your circumstances.  

Can you see how introspection and self-reflection can impact our relationship with our daughters?

You As Your Highest Self -A Worthy Goal

Your higher self is essentially you in your purest form. You, as you are truly meant to be, aligned with a deep understanding of yourself. We fear what we can’t control, we demonize what we don’t understand… so, are you starting to see why understanding yourself is so important? The best action you can take is to find ways to connect with your inner self. 

Your inner self possesses excellent knowledge, a source of wisdom there for you to tap into. Thus far, you have probably missed out on that knowledge. If there was one salient point I would ask you to walk away with today, it’s that you are multi-dimensional. 

You have layers and are more than just your physical self. You are more than just your psychological self. Consider that you are a body, mind, and spirit, and you should take action to get to know yourself on each of those levels. 

The turmoil of daily life can affect you negatively, and it can keep you out of touch with your authentic self. 

“…if you are striving for wisdom in the noblest way, self reflection is key. To take control of your life, happiness, and success, you must understand how you “tick.””

Nit & Far; Introspection: How To Reclaim Self Reflection In a Digital World

Start paying attention to the content you read, listen to, watch, and interact with. 

Look at the people you surround yourself with. You can be sure your daughter is well aware of all these things as they pertain to us. Through introspection and self-reflection we get to know who our daughter sees us as.

Consider the way you spend your time. All of those things add up, but do they add up to a reflection of your true self? Or are they muddying the waters? 

What Makes You Who You Are? 

Have you allowed the wrong things to shape you? If so, there is still time for you to make corrections to get in touch with the true you. This version of you is your path to prosperity. You should know yourself better than anyone else knows you. 

If you don’t know yourself all that well, how can you forge strong relationships with others? What version of you are they getting to know? Do you hold them at arm’s length to make sure they can’t get too close?  

This is a journey to the center of yourself, and the path you have to take to get to the center of yourself just happens to be through yourself. It gets tough when life kicks in but – know this – if you are true to yourself, then everything in life will be for your greater good. Introspection and self-reflection are the tools to get you there!

How can that be true? When you understand yourself, everything you do stems from that knowledge, and it means you make good decisions! 

Think about what your life would look like if you were living authentically based on your true understanding of self. 

You would be healthy and happy, and this is within your grasp now! You can do and be those things! All you have to do is take baby steps to get a deeper understanding of your true inner self. 

The likely positive effects your introspection and self-reflection journey will have on your relationship and influence on your daughter is boundless!

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