Understanding yourself at a deeper level is essential to living a life with purpose.
So often we look outwards to find peace, contentment, comfort and compassion – for ourselves and for others. What if we could find these feelings within ourselves, enhancing awareness, emotional intelligence, goal achievement and the ability to live a life with purpose?
Self-reflection is absolutely necessary if we are to be clear about our purpose in life. Being clear about one’s purpose brings meaning, perspective and adds enjoyment to life.
As part of my work, and because I am interested in what factors lead to confidence, happiness and success, some years ago I carried out a confidence survey with forty-seven successful women. Almost 94 percent said they relied on external feedback for confidence and feeling good about themselves. While it’s always wonderful to receive positive feedback, indeed necessary, to receive feedback from others about how your actions influence the way others perceive you, it’s also crucial to listen to your own inner voice. If you don’t know who you are and what you’re about—and like it—it will be impossible to express your best self to the world and to follow the route that works best for YOU.
5 benefits of reflection for living a life with purpose
- Reflection transforms thoughts into genuine learning about how beliefs and values affect happiness, life choices and goal achievement. Understanding how your beliefs and values affect you is the first step towards uncovering your life’s purpose.
- Taking time to reflect on challenges, approaches and options, increase self-awareness which is a key component of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is a critical life and leadership skill.
- Improve empathy levels and understanding of others by reflecting on your relationships. Forming connections, building close relationships are key to a live well-lived.
- Spark your creativity by keeping a notebook handy for when ideas strike. Take time to reflect on the pro’s, con’s and possibilities of your ideas so that you’re clear on which ideas are those that matter to you.
- Increase focus, productivity and goal achievement by writing down your plans and goals – then reflecting on which strategies and activities that will lead to goal achievement and living with purpose.
With increasingly busy and stressful lives, it’s more important for your success levels than ever, to take time to yourself. Whether you’re an extrovert who may find alone-time challenging or an introvert who craves time by yourself, you can deliver the 5 benefits listed above – and more, by taking some time every day for self-reflection.
11 questions to help your reflections be more effective
Ask yourself open questions as you reflect, for example like the questions listed below, to find a way to explore your thoughts and feelings, to help you provide clarity and compassion for yourself.
- How am I feeling today?
- What is my intention today?
- What about my life/this situation do I find challenging/worrying?
- How did I contribute to this situation?
- What are all my options?
- Which parts of my life do I love the most?
- What am I grateful for?
- How can I show kindness to someone I care for?
- What would I like to do more of?
- How will I choose to show myself love and kindness today?
- What’s great about me?
Life is full of ups and downs, good times, not so good times. Remember that after darkness comes light. Time passes, feelings change.
Take time to think. Examine your thoughts and feelings. You may choose to keep your reflections private, using your notebook or journal as a trusted confidante without an agenda. Or you may discover as you process your reflections that you would like to ask someone for help, and choose to share.
Reflections help create meaning, an essential element to living a life with purpose.
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