Learning to Reflect on Yourself

Beep. Beep. Snooze. Beep. Beep. Snooze. Whether you are an early riser or a night owl, I would argue that most people wouldn’t actively say they adore the obnoxious sound that their alarm radiates every morning. The battle between my alarm clock and the force of my right palm on the snooze button is intense and never ending. Although each individual is unique and starts their day slightly differently than the next person, a college students’ morning routine is relatively similar. Wake up, turn off the alarm clock, and check your phone. Almost like an autonomous bodily function, checking my phone has turned into something I don't even think twice about. On a typical school morning, with my pinky holding the bottom of my iPhone and my thumb moving in circles at a faster rate than I can run, I lay in bed staring at the small screen. My go-to order is: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Repeat. It wasn’t until recently that I realized it was an unhealthy habit. I injured my dominant hand longboarding and had to wear a stabilizing brace for a few weeks that went halfway up my forearm, stunting my usual mobility. As embarrassing as it sounds, this put a speed bump in my morning routine, making scrolling somewhat uncomfortable and difficult to do. With some much needed self-reflection, I sat in my bed the following morning and thought of something else I could do for the first 10 minutes of my morning that wouldn’t involve my phone. While I was sitting there, facing my freshly purchased succulents sitting in my windowsill, I took a deep breath, relaxed my shoulders, unclenched my jaw, and started breathing meaningfully. Three counts in and five counts out. I reflected on the things I had to do that day. I thought about how cold my room was and wondered whether I turned on the A/C accidentally before I went to bed. I redirected my focus to the day I was about to endure. The exam I had, the work I had to get done for my classes, and other stressful things of that nature. I decided I didn’t like this type of reflection and it was making me more stressed out. At least with my phone checking routine I didn’t have to think, I just had to look. Look at other gorgeous people living wonderful lives in gorgeous, wonderful places. I took a minute and reframed what I was thinking about. This time, I decided to think about the things I was grateful for. Similar to my experiences at Thanksgiving over the years, my first thought was how I am thankful for my family, my friends, and the education I am able to receive. Then I started to dive deeper. What am I thankful for in relation to myself.  I got in the habit of waking up every morning and showering others with likes and comments for how great I perceived them to be whether that be involving their looks, personality, or accomplishments. Why was it not my first thought to be grateful for myself? The person that I have to deal with the most. The person I see the most. After this secondary reflection of calling myself out for not practicing the self-love I pride myself on preaching, I got up and went on with my day knowing I had to try this process again tomorrow.

 

Beep. Beep. Snooze. Beep. Beep. Snooze. Tomorrow was here, quickly but not soon enough. I tossed my half-asleep body up and reached for my phone. Looking at the brace on my hand accompanied by the sharp pain shooting up my arm, I paused. I sat up in my bed, still buried beneath two fluffy comforters, and just breathed. Relaxed my shoulders, unhinged my jaw, and closed my eyes. I reflected on all of the things I love about myself. I love my sense of humor. I love my ability to create the perfect messy, but not too messy, bun. Then I probed a bit more. I love that I am not great at math because it gives me the chance to ask for help from the cute guy in class. I love that I am not a straight A student because I feel comfortable doing well enough to be average. After ten minutes of mental self-love, I got up and went on with my day, as I did the day before. For the two weeks I had on my wrist brace, I did this every morning. Some mornings longer than others, but I did not miss a single day. Now that I do not have my brace, I still find myself doing it and wish for others to try it as well. You cannot praise others for being themselves until you first take a step back and do the same for yourself. Social media is not evil and that is not the message I am trying to convey, it is a part of our generation and is likely not to fade any time soon. That does not mean it is not without faults. Consistent comparing and having digital access to almost anyone you want holds great power and great responsibility. This morning exercise I implemented brought to light for me that it is necessary to step aside and check in on myself. Radiate for your own soul what you give every day to others.