Autumn in the Northeast is a special time of year. Fall is an opportune time for introspection and reflection about life. As the leaves begin to change color, the days get shorter, leaves fall away, and colder nights start to appear – these all are the signs of a new change in the circle of nature. Fall is a bittersweet season–the leaves are beautiful but they are in fact dying. This time of the year with its picturesque beauty always inspires me to reflect. Similarly, to nature that follows its seasonal patterns, we also face constant changes in our lives.
While fall may seem a season of decline as we head towards winter, it is actually a good time to sum up the results of the year, set new goals and begin something new. To find yourself is a lifelong process–do you ever find yourself wondering how you ended up where you are? Often we avoid asking ourself the hard questions because they can bring about uncomfortable feelings. If you are not careful, not mindfully aware of where you are going, you could end up somewhere far from where you want to be.
Fall is the end of many things but it can also signify new beginnings. Autumn can be a time to see the colors, notice the details, explore nature, and find beauty in the moment. All of these changes going on around us can signal a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
Self-reflection is defined as “meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.”
Too often we don’t stop to pause and take a deep breath. We keep moving. We live on auto pilot. We push through. We don’t stop to reflect. We stay in jobs that are (literally) killing us, relationships that zap our energy, circumstances that leave us stressed, unhappy, frustrated and tired.
We keep running on the treadmill of life thinking we don’t have time to waste. So we keep moving in order to keep up. But too often, we just crash and burn. That’s because the only way to keep up with the pace of life is to STOP. To hop off the treadmill. To reflect on what’s working and what’s not.
Self-reflection is a four step process:
- STOP: Take a step back from life or a particular situation.
- LOOK: Identify and get perspective on what you notice and see.
- LISTEN: Listen to your inner guide, the innate wisdom that bubbles up when you give it time and space to emerge.
- ACT: Identify the steps you need to take moving forward to adjust, change or improve.
It’s about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs. Some questions to help facilitate the process:
1)Am I using my time wisely?
2)Am I waking up ready to take on the day?
3)Are my relationships healthy? Are the people I am allowing into my life the right people?
4)Am I where I want to be? If I am not, how do I get from where I am to where I want to be?
5)Am I taking care of myself physically?
6)Am I taking care of myself mentally?
7)Am I letting matters that are out of my control stress me out?
8)Am I achieving the goals I set out for myself?
9)Are there any beliefs that are limiting me?
10)Am I living my life according to my values?
If you find you are not happy with the answers to these questions of self-refletion, counseling can be a great avenue for helping you change the course of your life.