It’s the end of the year and many people would tend to look back, take stock of their learning, and do reflection. However, are you doing it in a way that is empowering you towards a new year, or limiting you?

Our brain is a wonderful machine and it comes with many gifts — one of which is to make meaning. 

Because we can connect the dots and create something out of nothing, when we apply it to the Past, we can create reflection.

However, most of us do not reflect well. Let’s look at what we commonly do with this combination of “Make Meaning + Past”:

  • Remembrance: recollection of what we’ve done and resavouring the experience is merely remembering, recollecting or re-experiencing. The focus here is on emotions - to relive those moments in life.
  • Evaluation: comparing our achievements and how we’ve done over the past year is an evaluation. It includes giving ourselves a “score” of some sort. The focus here is on progress.
  • Justification: often, we look back at recent events and think about “Why did I say this?” or “Why did he do that?” and make judgements around that experience, justifying with more details to make peace with our inner values and principles. The focus here is to be “right” — and this “rightness” spectrum includes logic, fairness, good vs bad, right vs wrong, etc.
  • Rumination: the most disempowering form of review is rumination, where we “beat ourselves up” and wallow in self-pity (when we perceive that others are at fault) or self-blame (when we perceive that we are at fault). This comes in all shapes and sizes; some people mistake this for honesty while others mistake this for humility. However, the common output of Rumination is some form of “stuckness” where people often walk away with less confidence, more self-doubt and lower self-esteem.

What you can do to make your self-reflection work for you

Most of the above do not produce real learning — this explains why people continue to make the same mistakes. 

time for self-reflection for greater 2021

Reflection is a holistic review of what has happened (to you and others in that event), how you were thinking and feeling, how you were responding and how you were impacting others. It is about seeing yourself in the picture from a neutral perspective to get insights (mostly about yourself and your responses to situational triggers). Reflection helps you discover and learn from the past. 

Deep Reflection goes beyond Reflection. It includes a more “helicopter” view of how you are relating back to that past event (on top of what you have reflected), seeing the thinking and feeling within you (a.k.a. reflecting on your reflection) — and drawing a different perspective or deeper learning. This requires a lot of self-awareness and can truly transform knowledge into experience. 

Reflection and Deep Reflection give rise to empowerment. They give you the breadth and depth necessary for sustainable change. They provide new insights into how you are responding to the world and the intention behind your behaviours (e.g. why you keep postponing that meeting). They highlight your “patterns” and you get to decide if you want to do anything different from now on (e.g. why you can’t resist that chocolate bar while on a diet). 

In a nutshell, you can choose to take back control of your “destiny” and decide not to let your ego or psychological compulsions run your show. 

Take your self-reflection forward with these resources

Download this self-coaching workbook to enable you to do a deep reflection in supporting you towards making a life-changing progress.

Take charge of your performance and life by raising your personality health development. Start making life-enhancing choices with Neuro-Linguistic Enneagram today!

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