I find myself reflecting on the past quite often. I think about how my life has changed over the last few years. There have been times where I wished I had a time machine to change a few things (who hasn’t?) Many people would rather block out the past due to bad experiences, but I believe it’s better to address what we have been through so we can see how far we’ve come. While reflecting can prove beneficial, it’s important not to create a habit of dwelling on the past. Instead, we should use it as a way to push ourselves towards creating a better future. These are a few ways that reflecting helps me progress in life.
It gives me a sense of accountability.
Would I have missed that meeting if I had written down the time?
Would I have been able to secure that domain name if I hadn’t procrastinated?
What would my life be like if I had never talked to that person?
Thinking on past incidents, I realize that everything I’ve done in my past, whether intentional or unintentional, has played a factor in how my life is today. It’s easy to embrace the good things from the past, but the challenge for many comes when we have to own up to things that haven’t gone the way we planned. It’s easy to blame others for the things that went wrong, but how many times have we admitted to the part we played? We often beat ourselves up over past incidents and become the worst critic of ourselves. Asking questions like “Did I do my best?” and “Could I have done that better?” The magic of having accountability is taking those questions and using them to become stronger, better, wiser people and become more thoughtful in our words and actions.
When we hold ourselves accountable, we have the power to change our future. We own up to our past and allows us to make peace with things that used to be. Instead of “Did I do my best?” We can say “I will do better next time.” Instead of “Could I have done better?” We will say “I will do my best to make the best decision.” This kind of self-assurance helps to change the way you think about things.
Maybe we haven’t done so well in the past and want to begin changing that. Making a vision board, taking note of goals or even rewarding yourself for your accomplishments are all good starting points. These things help us to become responsible for our future actions and guide us on the road to improving how we operate. The first step to accountability is becoming uncomfortable with inconvenient self-truths and the fact that we are self-sabotaging by nature. When you are able to face yourself in the mirror, you are able to change the person you will be from then on.
It gives me a sense of purpose.
In high school, my friends and I would talk about which dream cars we would own once we were older— mine was a Porsche Panamera. I also wanted to travel the world nonstop after looking at so many beautiful pictures on the internet. These are a couple of things that drive me to make some of these things happen. I use reflecting on things I wanted as a teenager as checkmarks to accomplish new goals and create these experiences for myself to look back on. Even when things aren’t going so great in life, seeing the bigger picture helps me to stay focused on what I am here to accomplish.
I find that your purpose will most likely change with time and that’s okay. For me, reflecting helped me see how everything is connected. I am able to think better and ask myself more direct questions which allow me to make sense of things that happen in life. Purpose mainly shows in what we do for a living. We may be working to feed our family or to move up the corporate ladder. Some may be working to pay the expenses of their side hustle. All of these are examples of purpose that leads to the desired end result.
I’m able to create more memories.
Life is all about creating new memories and new experiences that you can look back on. I had a great time in high school and college, but those years are over and I am looking forward to living the rest of my life doing things 10x more exciting. I look back on those times and say “Okay, how can I top those years?” I think of things I have yet to do and become excited over the thought of the experience. That alone is enough to keep me motivated.
Some people have a few pictures of memories, some have a whole album full. I hope to experience so much in life that they will have to create a museum for mine. The feeling of creating stronger bonds with friends and family that you will remember forever is what makes many of us feel alive. Whether it’s your graduation, first job, first concert, wedding day, the birth of your first child, etc. A good life is to experience many things and feel the magic of first-time experiences time after time. It’s up to us to create as many as we can while we are alive, to have moments worth reflecting on.
Self-Awareness and growth.
It’s essential to understand yourself at a deeper level. Soul searching and learning about yourself as a person is one of the most powerful tools we can use with ourselves. Taking time to reflect helps you to become self-aware and navigate through daily life easier. It improves your ability to understand the reason behind things. Many things in life may not make sense, but what helps is when we are able to rationalize and adjust to whatever we may face.
It also allows you to see things from a different point of view. When you take a step back it allows you to see the bigger picture and changes your perspective and how you react to situations. I have changed my opinion and the way I think about things over the years and it has helped me to clarify things I used to be confused about. I am now more knowledgeable about my strengths and also am not afraid to admit my weaknesses. You are also able to take note of how far you’ve come and even when you feel like you have made it, you realize you have a long way to go. We are ever adapting and always seeking something that can make us feel. It would be a disservice to ourselves to become stagnant. In turn, it would do us a great service to become better than we were the day before and be as authentic to ourselves as possible.
Reflecting helps me to take ownership of my past, appreciate the present, and look forward to the future. What I have now, all of my actions will shape how my life plays out from here. I strongly believe it’s helpful to address your inner thoughts and become comfortable with yourself. Reflection shouldn’t be looked at with dread, but with appreciation. When we take a step back, we are able to take two steps forward.