Self-Reflection Question 7

In our ongoing series of self-reflection questions, we come to this one:

“Have I made someone smile today?”

It is not difficult to get caught up in the activity of our day – routines to stick to, timelines to make, we have to get the kids to their activities, suppers to prepare and houses to neaten. Sometimes we rush from our homes to our jobs and back to our homes again. If we are stretched too thin, we run the risk of becoming frayed; leaving us feeling drained and hardly in the mood to smile ourselves.

The act of making someone smile can become a part of our daily goal. It can be as simple as opening up a door for someone, smiling and saying hello to people you pass by on the sidewalk, a text midday to a loved one (emoticons included), taking time to chat with someone at work, picking up a little gift for someone in your home or circle, saying thank you.  In order to achieve this, we may have to give ourselves permission to slow down – when we feel we can move at a comfortable pace, we feel content and more apt to want to spread the love.

Making someone smile today – seems like an achievable goal to me 🙂

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Photo credit: http://Photo by Kate Kozyrka on Unsplash

Self Reflection Question 6

Today’s question deals with our past:

“Am I holding onto something I need to let go of?”

Past hurts, resentments, feelings towards someone. Past failures, regrets, mistakes. Emotional ties to an ex, emotional ties to someone that has hurt or mistreated us or a loved one. We all have instances in our past in which we are given the opportunity to hold onto things. The bigger question is “Have we allowed them to stew?”

Ultimately this self-reflective question is not about the process piece that is necessary right after we have experienced a hurt. The feelings that we need to go through are necessary and will be a part of our healing journey. Nor is it about the emotions and skills we need to manage trauma. Rather, it is about checking in with ourselves to see if we are holding too much anger, bitterness or sadness in our hearts.

We are better served to work through the emotions; to incorporate the feelings into the overall experience in order to find some inner peace. That might be in therapy or through journal writing. It may be through the words of an author who focuses on residual anger or grief. It is never too late to begin the process of working through what we have inevitably held on to. Healing brings the calm 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

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Self-Reflection Question 5

Today’s self-reflection question is an interesting one:

“Does it really matter what others think of me?”

Interesting because I would say that the answer is “It depends.” If we tend to suffer from low self-confidence or self-worth, we can often spend far too much time worrying about what other people think of us. We begin to fear that others are judging us, which can lead to denying invitations to social functions or gatherings. If we tend to lean into perfectionist tendencies, we may also care too much about others think, as we are trying to aspire to expectations that are unrealistic.

Other times, we may not care enough. Indifference to others, a need to have our own needs met first, or leaning into an over-confident nature can lead us to a place where we are only considering our own thoughts and become dismissive of others.

It would seem that if we care too much about what other people think, we carry the weight of the hurt and if we don’t care enough about what other people think, we run the risk of hurting those closest to us.

Perhaps the answer lies in who and not what. Perhaps, when we think about what other people think of us, it should be the people that matter to us the most that we think about when answering that question. “Does it really matter what my loved ones think of me?” And the answer to that should be “Yes!”

Photo credit: http://Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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Self-Reflection Question 4

The self-reflection question today is a bit more practical:

“Am I waking up in the morning, ready to take on the day?”

What is our attitude in the morning? I have to admit that lately, my mornings have felt a bit dull. Perhaps it is the darker, cooler mornings. Perhaps I find myself a bit sadder these days as we build  up to the anniversary of my mom’s death. Perhaps it is simply the day of the week. Probably a combination of all three of these things, I have come to notice that perhaps my attitude towards the day is a little slower to start than usual. And although it is good that I can spend a few moments to focus in on my mood and to sort out where it is coming from, ultimately, it is also my responsibility to shift my thinking. To decide in those moments “What am I going to feed today?”

And so, I take a deep breath, perhaps smile at myself in the mirror, stand a little straighter and tell myself “You got this, kiddo.” (A term of endearment I picked up from my Dad.)  I instantly feel lighter, I decide that I am ready to take on the day. And when I have made that choice, I continue to make choices that support it – I choose a podcast to listen to on the drive that keeps my attention captured, I take time to appreciate the beautiful sunrise that erupts in the sky half way along the drive, I go for a walk at lunch, I chat with one of my daughters on the way home from work. I feed my comfort system.

Take on the day….are we ready? 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

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Self-Reflection Question 3

In our ongoing series on self-reflection, we come to question number three:

“What do I want to be known for?”

This is an interesting question as it really probes at our self-identity. Will we choose to be known for a role that defines us such as who we are as a parent or the type of work we do? Or will we lean into qualities and characteristics that we aim to be in our every day life? Will we be known for our interests outside of work? For the type of friend that we are?

I would most likely suggest that what we want to be known for will encompass many facets of who we are. It will include some of the more tangible things such what we do for a living, but it will progress to some of our greater qualities as well. When clients are sometimes struggling with self-identity issues, one of the activities I suggest is that they go to the people in their life who know them the best and ask them “What are my three best qualities?” They are often surprised to see the same qualities repeated and this helps cement for them a sense of who they are.

Perhaps when pondering this question, we can also ask ourselves “Do I live with intention?” For it is often in the act of building and designing our lives, that we discover within ourselves what we most bring to the table. For at the end of the day:

“The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” — Bruce Lee

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Self-Reflection Question 2

Self-reflection is an important part of getting to know ourselves; it is a requirement in “doing the work.” The self-reflection question for today is:

“Am I using my time wisely?”

This appears to be quite a simple question. And yet, it is worth the moments we take to think about how we are using our time. Do we say “yes” to everything? Do we wake up in the morning and don’t stop until our head hits the pillow at night? Do we choose mindless activities as a way to zone out or fill time?

How do we spend our spare time? How do we organize our tasks when we have a busy day ahead and time is limited? Do we allow enough time to relax? Unwind? Feed our comfort system? How is our time spent with others?

It is important to evaluate how we spend our time so as to feel balanced. To know that despite busy schedules, we will set aside time for ourselves and our loved ones; that we can give ourselves permission to slow down, to enjoy, to appreciate the moments that we find when we choose our time wisely. For as Mother Teresa says, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Photo credit: http://Photo by Amanda Jones on Unsplash

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Self-Reflection Question: 1

I often speak about self-reflection and the importance of being open and curious about ourselves; how we process the world, our core beliefs, how our past informs us, our accountability when it comes to our choices and our behaviours. I have decided to post self-reflection questions, not only as a way to get us thinking, but also as a way to potentially generate conversations with our loved ones. The entries won’t be posted as a series, but rather once in awhile, as self-reflection bridges.

“Am I employing a healthy perspective?”

Our perspective when it comes to processing is quite important as it is an internal practice. Our thoughts are internal, our feelings are internal; let’s face it, we spent a lot of our time ‘inside.’ Our internal dialogue tends to play an integral part on our overall perspective. If we tend to be too hard on ourselves, this will affect our self-esteem, confidence, and the ability to move ahead. Our core beliefs can also affect our perspective. If we see everything though the eyes of a schema that leans into failure, mistrust, self-sacrifice, and the like, it will affect how we view the world in a big picture way.

We are much better served to begin by identifying our overall perspective and see if it fits into a healthy category or an unhealthy one. A healthy perspective tends to be built on a secure sense of self. It tends to include:

  • the overall acceptance of our feelings without judgement.
  • the faith in our own agency, and the ability we have to make choices regardless of the circumstance/challenges that face us.
  • the knowledge that adversity builds resilience, as does gratitude and appreciation (of ourselves and others).
  • actively being curious as it works to temper fear.
  • our ability to be self-compassionate – to give ourselves the same wiggle room for success and failure as we would give our loved ones.
  • to lean into positive affirmations, especially when we can feel ourselves slipping down that slippery slope of negative bias.

Generally speaking, a healthy perspective feels rooted, grounded, it makes sense. It feels right.

Journal this question if it helps. Think about your automatic, immediate reaction to things as well as your overall, general way of thinking. And ask yourself, “Am I employing a healthy perspective?”

Photo credit: http://Photo by Genevieve Dallaire on Unsplash

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