The Importance of Self-Reflection
When you spend so much time trying to be liked, to be wanted, what are you actually missing out on? I myself am an extroverted person, which basically means I get categorized. People believe that being an extrovert means you have to be friendly and outgoing all the time; this is somewhat true but not the full truth. Extroverts are people who get energized by other people. When I am alone I tend to get bored, I would much rather talk to another human than sit alone.
I love being an extrovert and talking to people and being surrounded by people at all times BUT there is value in thinking through things alone, spending some time in reflection and figuring out who you are. I love to be around people 24/7; but I do have to remind myself that sometimes I need some time alone to think about what is actually going on.
When I was suffering through my depression I spent too much time alone – but that doesn’t mean ‘alone’ is always bad. I am starting to realize that learning to be OK with being alone at times and being self-reflective is a healthy thing. The scary thing with being extroverted is that I often find joy or figure out who I am through other people rather then sitting down and thinking by myself. This is not always the healthiest thing. The older I get the more I realize the importance of spending time alone so I can reflect on my values, morals, and who I think I am.
As I battled through my depression I always knew when it was getting worse and worse because I would lose my motivation to see people. I am through the worst of it, but that does not mean that it still does not creep up on me sometimes. However there is a huge difference between feeling alone and taking the time to be alone. I think one of the biggest things that pushed my depression further and further in was that my entire life I have ALWAYS found comfort in other people so when I would have a healthy amount of alone time my thoughts would change from reflection to doubt – and I’d think that the reason I was alone so much was because no one wanted to spend time with me or cared.
Now I am still working through my depression but I am starting to understand that 1. Surrounding yourself with people is good, but surrounding yourself with people 24/7 is not good 2. Being alone all the time is not good, but it is healthy to ensure you balance out ‘social time’ with alone time.
So why is ‘alone time’ and self-reflection so important? Well, you have to realize that other people will always come with their own biases, and in addition, they can’t always know ‘all the facts’ – you can’t lie to yourself (well you can, but it doesn’t work very well!) and so if you are honestly seeking out truth (about yourself, where you are at, where you want to be) then you do need to spend time alone to figure this stuff out. This doesn’t mean other people can’t mentor/guide you, it just means that you need to take time to listen to yourself and your own instincts and feelings as well.
It is kind of a scary thing at times; it seems easy, but to actually sit by yourself and be ‘disconnected’ from the outside world and reflect on your inner most thoughts, concerns, and feelings, can be incredibly intimidating. But it is necessary for personal growth.
Over this Christmas break being separated from my campus and my friends I had sometime to reflect on who I was and what I stood for. It was an interesting thing (and a bit uncomfortable) because I sat there and realized that I was not 100% happy with who I was and who I was becoming. When you sit down and actually reflect on yourself, you start to notice trends that are happening.
One for me is the trend of getting my arrogance back (and not in a good way), a trend of starting to make girls a competition again, and a trend of not having my life on track.
Self-reflection is only good if you are able to actually be honest with yourself.
Some things I needed to be honest with myself about were these things (your list may be different):
1. Where I wanted my year to go
2. How to be more selective with females (and also to stay away more)
3. What relationships and friendships I needed to fix
4. What friend I was being
I do not claim to be perfect but with a little self-reflection I am going to try and be a better man and a better friend. Take some time to self-reflect today and see what you find!
Goodbye for now,