While I have talked about me-time earlier, there is one aspect of what to do with me-time that needs greater attention – reflection. Reflection is about taking the time to think about the decisions you made, pondering about the meetings that happened, contemplating what you have read, or just deliberating on events that took place and how you reacted. It is about understanding your own actions and thought processes better.
Reflection needs to become an integral part of the day. It must become a daily discipline, a habit. We need that zone in which we clear out the present and go into deeper thought. It is not the same as meditating – which is about clearing one’s mind of all thoughts. Reflection is about letting the thoughts flow. It is about replaying one’s actions and understanding what one did right or wrong. It is about better understanding oneself.
Here is OpenLearn on reflective thinking: “At its core, ‘reflective thinking’ is the notion of awareness of one’s own knowledge, assumptions and past experiences. Your past learning and experience provide the context for your thoughts, and are therefore unique to you, but reflective thinking is a dynamic process that continues to develop and evolve as you learn and respond to new experiences, situations, events or information. In practical terms, this is the process where you interpret and evaluate your experiences, check that they make ‘sense’ to you, create meaning, justify actions and solve problems, and it helps with your future planning.”
Here is more from University of the People:
Reflection is looking back at an experience or a situation, and learning from it in order to improve for the next time around.
There are three main aspects of reflection:
- Being Self-Aware: Reflection starts with self-awareness, being in touch with yourself, your experiences, and what’s shaped your worldview.
- Constantly Improving: The next step of reflection is self-improvement. Once you’re aware of where your strengths and weaknesses are, you can know where to shift your focus.
- Empower Yourself: Reflection gives you power to take control and make the necessary changes in your life.
Reflective thinking means taking the bigger picture and understanding all of its consequences. It doesn’t mean that you’re just going to simply write down your future plans or what you’ve done in the past. It means truly trying to understand why you did what you did, and why that’s important. This often includes delving into your feelings, reactions, and emotions.
Reflection is an integral part of my daily routine. Early mornings are the best time for me. At times, if there is a gap during meetings during the day, I also use that to think back – especially after an important meeting. I write down my thoughts as they flow – they help me capture the moment. This can then be reflected on later.
Reflection is especially important when you make mistakes. Understanding what you did wrong is important and that will only come from quiet reflection. This is especially true when it comes to personal and family relationships.
A few months ago, I suddenly become very angry with my son after I saw his marks in one of his papers. I threw the paper back at him. He was shocked since I very rarely lose my temper. He started crying. My wife, Bhavana, intervened. I withdrew into a shell. As I reflected, I realised that something else was bothering me, and I expressed that anger on my son. I was wrong. I had hurt two people I loved most. It took me some time, but I then went up to both and apologised. I realised that I needed to become more aware of my own feelings and not mix up work and personal emotions. The brief period of reflection helped me resolve a situation quickly that would have caused much more damage had I let it linger on.
Create some space for daily reflection. It is the best way to become a little better each day.
Will be continued soon.