“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard.
As the year draws closer to the end, it is timely to reflect on the past twelve months.
Our lives get so chaotic that we forget to reflect on the past year. Some people can’t wait to see the end of it and never speak of it again! Others become nostalgic remembering fond events and moments that have passed. While others may look confused and wonder where the year disappeared to?!
No matter how you see this past year it is important to spend time reflecting.
Why is reflection so important?
The science behind reflection is fascinating. We know intuitively that we learn by experience, but research is increasingly telling us that without the process of actively thinking about those experiences and questioning ourselves about what they mean, the learning doesn’t really happen.
What takes us from ‘experience’ to ‘understanding’ is reflection. Asking yourself reflective questions such as the examples below can build your understanding:
- What were some of the most interesting discoveries I made this year? About a problem? About myself? About others?
- What were some of my most challenging moments and what made them so?
- How did I respond to challenging moments? How would I have liked to respond?
- What were some of my most powerful learning moments and what made them so?
- What most got in the way of my progress, if anything?
- What made my heart sing?
- What did I learn were my greatest strengths? My biggest areas for improvement?
- What moments am I most proud of?
- What would I like to do more of?
- How will I use what I’ve learned in the future?
Reflection also helps to provide deeper learning by looking at situations through a different lens and by asking yourself questions that challenge our assumptions. We also tend to focus on the negative. An exercise in reflection provides a structured and safe way to think about the positive as well.
Reflection strengthens our Emotional Intelligence. When we actively and regularly reflect and question life events we no longer perceive them as either positive or negative but an act from which we learn from.
To assist the reflective process, here’s Dr Claire Maguire with a simple Meditation for Self-Renewal…
Here’s to the new year – may it be one of learning and awareness…
How will you reflect over the past year? Perhaps you like to journal, scroll through Facebook posts or make photo albums?