Reflection takes you from the inside out. Reflection asks you to look within so that you can radiate out. When you reflect on your life regularly, it means you take inventory. You see what’s working and what isn’t. You face your reality. When you avoid reflecting, everything becomes blurry, and there isn’t a delineation. How does this impact you? Well, if everything blends in with each other, how do you heal what needs healing? Reflection creates clarity.
Here are six questions to get you started in reflecting on your life. Try not to rush through this process. Find a quiet space without distractions, and take a deep breath. May you break the patterns in your life that no longer serve you.
Write the words you need to hear.
This prompt is an opportunity for you to reclaim your power. You’ve placed it in other people’s hands, and so many seasons and birthdays have passed. It’s also a reminder that you don’t need to wait for external forces to heal what you can heal yourself. For some of you, it’s hard to believe how much power you have within, but you do.
What are the words you need to hear? That if you heard them today, they would change your life. If these words would free you from your mental and emotional prison, what would they be? As you write, I encourage you to refrain from any self-judgment and lead with self-compassion, acceptance, and love.
Write about a time that your work felt real, necessary, and satisfying to you, whether that work was paid or underpaid, professional or domestic, physical, or mental.
A big part of your life is the work that you do. I remember when I burnt out, and the work I did was poisoning my spirit. Yet, I stayed working in that environment for several years. There’s this conscious feeling of, “This is how it is.”
By remaining in a toxic work environment that’s stealing years away from your life, it will eventually manifest itself into ailments. Or, the Universe will force you to sit down and listen to yourself. I’ve heard stories of people who broke their leg, became sick, or fell into deep dark ruts because they didn’t slow down to reflect.
You have a choice. You can be intentional and selective with the kind of work that you want to do. You can decide the types of people you want to be around. You don’t have to accept working conditions that make you feel shitty.
So, take a moment and reflect on when work felt really good to you. Where were you, what were you doing, and who was around you? Then ask yourself, how can you, in 2020, could you do more of this work? Even if it’s a few hours a month. How can you build, create, and connect to more meaningful work?
Have I done anything lately worth remembering?
This is a powerful question because it asks you to remember a time where you did something that truly mattered. Have you done something for yourself or maybe for someone else?
Life, if you let it can become mundane and predictable. And for some, they find satisfaction in that, and there’s no right or wrong with this. But for others, they might be seeking something different. If you’re feeling a void, then this question will help to reflect on the meaningful experiences in your life.
Erick Erickson, a psychologist, developed the eight stages of a person’s development. The seventh stage is called generativity versus stagnation. It typically develops in people who are aged 40-65. This stage is when people begin to think about the things that will outlast them. This is a time where life becomes less about you and more about others and the impact you would like to have.
Again, the question matters because it’s easy to become lost in routine. One day, you wake up and realize you never shot your shot. Or, you didn’t take that trip you’ve wanted to make or do that one thing that’s been nagging at your soul.
Am I living true to myself?
What does it mean to live a life that is true to you? Living true to yourself means to live and walk in your values. When your values are concise, it makes it easier to make decisions, to walk steadfastly into the face of life. Being authentic means, you’re honest with yourself and others. You’re not living someone else’s life.
Take a moment to write as many values that you can think of, then narrow them down to only a few. An excellent tactic to narrow them down is by noticing the themes in the values you’ve selected. Next, ask yourself whose life are you living, yours or someone else, and why? Then finally, what would your life look like if you were, without a question or any doubts living true to yourself? What would be different, and how would you feel?
Living a life that is true to you means living by your terms and conditions and not others. By deciding to live an authentic life, it means you avoid resentment and pain related to not living a life of your choosing.
When did I last push the boundaries of my comfort zone?
When I take a look at the last decade of my life, there is one thing that stood out to me: I did a lot of uncomfortable, unconventional things. I left a “good-paying job,” became an entrepreneur, failed at it, moved across state lines, and my family thought I was crazy. I lost 85lbs, left two toxic relationships, lost my dad, and relocated out of the country.
Life isn’t linear. Life is a bunch of zig zags, dips, peaks, and even repeats because sometimes a lesson can take a long time to learn. But what I know for sure is the decisions I made came from places outside of my comfort zone — every last one of them.
If you’re at a point in your life where things just don’t feel right, where things feel like they are missing, where you want more, the most significant requirement life asks of you is, “Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone?”
If you’re not doing something that regularly creates discomfort, then it means you’re playing it safe and small. Assess where in your life are you playing it safe and small? Ask yourself, what would you like to see and do differently? You don’t have to do anything significant, just think of something light, that requires a bit of courage and do it. Maybe it’s eating dinner by yourself at a fancy restaurant for the first time. If that’s too scary, think of something smaller. The point is to take micro acts of courage that overtime compound into massive confidence.
What do I want most out of life?
Have you asked yourself this question lately? Have you sat with it and talked it through? Sometimes this question is fleeting, but you must ask it and answer it right away. What do you want? For some of you, you have an idea, but for others, you have no clue. Both are okay.
This is a time to remember what used to feel good. What are those elements that you can recreate or develop for the first time, that will give you the most out of life? Whichever answers resonate with you, circle back to see if your actions or the things in your life pair up with what you have discovered.
These reflections are just to start you off to begin reflecting on your life. I encourage you to not only use the beginning of the year to reflect but also to reflect throughout the year. When you reflect, you can heal what needs healing. You can pivot, adjust, adapt, and do the necessary things you need to create a more enjoyable life.
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