Reflection enables me to be better in all facets of my life that require my attention and that I choose to maintain effectively. This became clear to me long ago and thus it it is a practice that I engage in willingly. Personal and professional growth continues to be achieved because I realize the true value of these practices. Although growth is one of the desired outcomes that is attained from reflection, there are outcomes that sometimes result in emotional struggles. While honest reflection reveals strengths it also reveals mistakes, flaws and shortcomings. These can be challenging to face and lead to a reluctance to engage in the process at times. Sometimes I just wish that I was flawless in a particular situation or performance and reflection was unnecessary.
My experiences have taught me that like an onion their are many layers to peel back when engaging in the reflective process.
Layer 1: I must assess the performance or issue through an objective lens, staying void of emotion as I examine the issue and my role or performance within it. What were my strengths? Where could I improve? What other factors were relevant in terms of how they impacted the issue or experience?
Layer 2: I must ask myself if my assessment is truly an honest one? If it isn't what is preventing me from making an honest assessment? Are my emotions clouding the process? Sometimes I may need the help of others.
Layer 3: I need to sit down with someone that I trust and honestly share the issue or experience with them and then openly listen to their feedback. Remembering that if it is someone I truly trust they will give me honest, objective feedback.
Layer 4: Apply all that I have learned about myself from the current situation, to future situations. Keeping in mind that I can always improve and others will benefit from those improvements as well.
Reflection is a complex at times painstaking process, but it is a skill that has great value. This particular skill allows citizens within global societies to move forward if they are courageous enough to engage in its practices and embrace the remedies that it reveals. This skill is one that must be taught to our children at a young age in order for them to recognize personal imperfections and failures. We must then use reflection as a tool to enable them to first accept failures and then to grow from them. When we have done this we put them in a position of readiness to accept the challenges that await them in their future.
I am a better person today because of my ability to be reflective, but that's not to say that I wouldn't be just a little bit happier, if only I did it right the first time, most of the time.