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One of The Greatest Gifts In Life: Self-Reflection

When I say that self-reflection is a gift, I genuinely mean it. It is a mindfulness practice and is conducive to our personal growth. Once you execute self-reflection healthily, you establish a journey to progression. I use this gift to my advantage. If you were to ask me how often I self-reflect or even journal, I’d show you the number of notes I keep. My self-reflection sessions occur when I’m vibing alone in my own safe space. I especially strictly value this time because it’s solely ‘me’ time. As funny as it may sound, I love talking to myself because she (me) gets me! There are so many times that I’ve thought, “Wow, I wish I had a me in my life.” Wouldn’t that be so cool?! Or to even just see myself from other people’s perspectives?! Anyway, in this safe space, away from the world’s thoughts, I build and improve upon my character.

Every time I look back and reflect on the old me, it’s almost like a wake-up call and it leaves me speechless. Just when I thought I was being my best self, I was nowhere near it; and that’s what keeps me growing much more. Depending on the experience, I believe that dwelling on our past can indeed do some good for us in the present. It can be a roadblock, however, by revisiting those chapters, we can learn from our past experiences and mistakes. When we apply our prior knowledge to the present, it serves a greater purpose when we find ourselves in another tough spot. A lot of healing is involved as well, so this self-reflection process is not one-fold. It happens in layers. Reflecting on the past can be draining, therefore, doing this requires patience and grace for yourself. The phrase to remember here is, “in due time”. Everything happens in due time. There is no rush and there is no limit. Trust the timing of your life as well as the process of your past, present, and future. Most importantly, do not compare your life to somebody else’s because you’re doing yourself a disservice by invalidating your own.

The number of times that people in the past have made me feel less of myself or like I didn’t even exist contributed to the brokenness in my heart. I had let other people’s thoughts get to me, kind of the point where I thought there was something wrong with me and thought I was overreacting, and started to invalidate my own feelings. But that’s where I went wrong, I let other people’s words stick in my mind for too long. Too long that I started to believe them and doubt myself completely.

What I thank God for (most and still to this day), is the ability to never losing sight of who I am despite what others may have said to my face, and even indirectly. The self-discipline that I’ve acquired is quite exceptional and I consider it to be one of my strengths. I say this because it takes discipline to be the person who you truly want to be. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’ve grown from enabling people’s thoughts to rule my life.

Not only has this allowed for me to set boundaries with those around me, but to keep them intact as well. Given these growth sprouts because of self-reflection, I have much more determination than I used to. I’ve come to understand and accept that although I may have had bad chapters in the past, they’ve created great stories and contribute to who I am today. The very few wrong paths that I entered in my past, have still led me to the right places and environments. Any failures that I experienced are part of my success and dreams. All in all, I’ve built the fundamental grounding to find myself every day.

Let’s be honest here, we all undoubtedly need a breakthrough in order to progress. So, welcome change and embrace it because what you’re not changing, you’re choosing. By improving your self-reflection habits, you’re choosing growth, and growth is a lifetime pursuit. If you have a to-do list beside you, I’d like for you to add “work on myself” at the very top. Add it because the way you perceive yourself will directly impact the life you get to live.

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Rowan '22

Erika is a senior Psychology major with minors in Sociology and Spanish. Upon graduation, she plans to attend grad school. Apart from her academic life, she loves to learn about/promote the dimensions of well-being, advocate for mental health, volunteer, write/journal/self-reflect, practice haircare, play table tennis, and watch crime investigation shows.
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