Buddhists also encourage individuals through meditation to take stock of their thoughts and feelings instead of ignoring or keeping these things buried.
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When it comes to self empowerment, reflection also plays a crucial role. Effecting positive changes in your life is impossible if you don’t have an awareness of exactly where you are in the pursuit of your goal.
What do we mean?
Let’s say you want to be more fit so you resolve to eat healthily and exercise more. Do you think you can achieve your goal if you do not monitor what type of foods you are eating and how many times in a week you actually work out?
Of course not. The same holds true for self empowerment. If you want to successfully take control of your own life, you have to understand your strengths and weaknesses. And you do this by meditating or seriously thinking about your character, actions, and motives.
In other words, self-reflection.
Let’s dive deeper on how you can use reflection for self empowerment through the following tips.
8 Reflection Tips for Self Empowerment
1. Keep a journal.
Shawn Achor, TED Speaker and author of The Happiness Advantage, said in his The happy secret to better work TED Talk: “Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it.” This then releases endorphins and dopamine that boost your self-esteem and mood.
Now, imagine if you have a full catalog of positive experiences you can go back to anytime. Keeping a confidence log can be an effective activity for giving yourself credit and how it’s a crucial part of the confidence building process.
I talk about this because I believe confidence and self empowerment go hand in hand. So if you keep a journal, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone.
2. Make time for it.
You need conscious effort to be effective with self-reflection. It’s not going to work if you’re not in the right state and environment.
It’s best to do it when you have exclusive time for yourself when you’re not likely to be disturbed by anything. Perhaps in the evening before you go to bed or while you’re taking a relaxing bubble bath. You should also make sure you get rid of distractions like turning off the TV or putting your phone in silent mode.
To get in the habit of reflecting, you have to set aside time for it and do it regularly.
3. Ask the right questions.
Some questions you could ask yourself:
- What do I want to change?
- Which areas of my life am I not satisfied with?
- How can I do the things that really matter to me?
When you ask the right questions, you give your brain a task and that begins the process of self-reflection.
4. Never lie to yourself.
Empowered people know themselves inside and out. They engage in honest self-reflection and are not afraid to confront themselves if the process reveals unpleasant habits and bad behavior.
If you keep lying to yourself, you’ll never take any action to change the things that are holding you back.
As an example, let’s say you have a weakness for cigarettes. If you don’t acknowledge that weakness, you’ll keep placing yourself in situations where you’ll be tempted to smoke.
There is also a good chance you won’t recognize that you need to seek help even when smoking starts to affect your health negatively. So until you can’t tell yourself the truth, it’s going to be an uphill battle getting on the path to self empowerment.
5. Don’t judge yourself too harshly.
While it’s important to identify your weaknesses, you can’t dwell on them too much to the point where you start thinking that failure is inevitable. Self-reflection is an opportunity to turn weaknesses into strengths, not a way to cultivate self-defeating attitudes.
Also, the more you judge yourself, the more prone you are to judging others. Similarly, when you focus on the positive aspects of yourself, it’s easier to see the good in others.
Being too hard on yourself takes a toll on your wellbeing. You deserve to feel good about yourself. Remember that.
6. Be grateful.
Did you know that gratitude can make you feel more in control?
It’s easy enough to get depressed and angry when things you have no control over happen. Someone who has been laid off, for example, can either feel worthless or just accept that these things happen.
There are other things that still makes life worth living such as a supportive family, a significant other, or an affectionate pet.
One failure or several will not take these things away. A good practice to cultivate is to think of five things you are grateful for in the morning. It doesn’t matter how small or big it is.
When life gets difficult, the things you are grateful for, the things you consider as blessings will ground you and help you move forward.
7. Take a deep breath.
According to the American Institute of Stress, abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and reduce stress. And in that state of calmness, your awareness is taken away from the worries in your head so you can focus on the things you can work on.
There are also other benefits to deep breathing aside from bringing your inner self into clearer focus. Doing it properly can help elicit the relaxation response, which in turn helps slow the heartbeat and stabilize blood pressure.
8. Put it into action.
Reflection without action isn’t going to help anyone. When you become more self-aware, you realize that some things have to change and that you must take steps so that you don’t go on living your life the same way every day.
You can start with small changes and then as you practice self-introspection more and get good at it, you can be more confident in undertaking the big ones.
Reflection plays a crucial role in self empowerment. You can’t effect positive changes in your life if you don’t know where you stand in the path of self-improvement.
Self-reflection may not come easily to you. But I know and believe if you follow the tips above, you’ll soon be looking at a self-empowered you.