A new year is here. What a perfect time for reflecting on the year that has ended and on our goals for the New Year.
Reflection is revealing.
It shows our current situation, reminds us of our successes and struggles, reveals how well we’ve honored our values, and teaches us about ourselves. Knowing these vital starting points helps us plot our path towards greater happiness, purpose, and fulfillment.
Much like using Google Maps you have to plug in your current location in order to plot the route to your destination; recognizing your present condition helps you chart a course to your goals.
If we don’t examine our lives, we remain stuck. And we are doomed to repeat behaviors hoping they will produce different results. At dinner with friends not too long ago, one of the men said in a self-deriding manner that he knew his purchase of a motorcycle was going to make him happy. His sarcasm didn’t decrease the lurking hope that this time, this purchase was going to bring him happiness.
Self-reflection can be uncomfortable. However, the discomfort of our discoveries is minor when compared to the benefits of unearthing the path to happiness.
The benefits of reflection are:
5 Minute Self-Reflection Practice:
Remember, self-reflection is fueled by tenderness, and especially an attitude of discovery or willingness to learn about oneself. So be kind to yourself as you undertake this practice. (Be mindfully aware of how quickly a criticizing or judgmental attitude drains your strength and passion for discovery.)
Lie down or sit comfortably. Bring awareness to your body on your seat or bed. Then shift your attention to your breathing at the lower belly. Rest in this gentle rise and fall of your abdomen for a few breaths.
Begin by recalling a situation or experience. Try to avoid choosing a traumatic experience, but instead start with a positive/happy situation, or with an incident that just mildly irritated you.
Now replay the situation:
Give space for emotions, feelings and thoughts to arise. End the contemplation by becoming aware of your breathing and then the room.
To reinforce what you learned about yourself and to remind you of the value of contemplation, consider journaling your practice.
May your reflections guide you to happiness.