Why Does Introspection Matter?
6 reasons why introspection is essential for well-being.
I can’t figure out why I am not happy.
That’s what I said to the man who would become my therapist for the next eight years when I sat down across from him for the first time. Before I arrived, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if it would be awkward or how comfortable I would be sharing my life with a stranger. The truth is I was lost. I could not sort through my feelings and come up with any conclusions that led me to a place of peace.
Now eight years later, I am happy. I have found my purpose in life. I am in a relationship that has exceeded my wildest dreams about love, and my life is a thrilling adventure that takes me all over the world. So how did I transform from the 22-year old in that office who couldn’t find her happiness into the woman living the life of her dreams today?
I started practicing introspection, which led me to self-awareness, which enabled me to transform my life.
High self-awareness is a solid predictor of success in life. When you get to know yourself, you learn what makes you happy, sad, or angry. You realize which relationships bring you joy, encouragement, and laughter. You also learn which relationships bring you sadness, confusion, or anxiety. And once you know those things, you can choose with whom and how you spend your life.
Unfortunately, many of us float through life on “autopilot,” unaware of why we feel and behave as we do. Often, we only ask ourselves what the hell am I doing with my life when something has gone astray. But these are not the only moments when we should ask ourselves meaningful questions. If we make introspection a regular part of our lives, often we don’t need significant, painful events to wake us up to our paths. We can make it a habit to pay attention to the small whispers of our souls. And if you’re still not convinced that introspection can lead you down a path of happiness or success, here are five reasons it enhances your life.
1.Your relationship with yourself becomes a thrilling adventure.
Learning your inner thoughts and processes is full of unexpected twists, pleasant surprises, and painful discoveries. When I began to reflect on my life, I learned many things I didn’t expect about who I am. I discovered I do not thrive in environments with rigid structures and strict routines, that sex is so much better when viewed as a way to explore pleasure with another person, and that I struggle depending on others because I fear they will let me down. I didn’t expect to uncover any of these things, but it’s been an adventure.
Introspection has caused me to be bold and daring. Brave enough to ask myself tough questions and daring enough to dive into experiences and unknowns with the hope of finding true answers.
Introspection allows us to rinse ourselves of the ideas from our family, friends, schools, churches, and other social environments. Ideas about what is right and wrong. Ideas that get buried in our minds and often don’t get examined until we find ourselves living unfulfilling and unhappy lives. Even though we followed all of the rules, we still find ourselves confused and dissatisfied. Introspection is essential to our journey towards self-awareness to find ourselves and feel more confident that our lives are our own.
Introspection has caused me to be bold and daring. Brave enough to ask myself tough questions and daring enough to dive into experiences and unknowns with the hope of finding true answers.Arielle Davis
2. Introspection can boost self-worth.
Our self-view and worth are often determined by what others think of us or what we believe others think about us. Our friends, families, teachers, and pastors socially conditioned us to accept our worth is determined by the people who have authority over us as children. But rarely are we taught to look inward and identify ways to uncover how we decide our worth. Introspection leads to authentic self-worth. It requires you to learn a new way to determine your worth that doesn’t involve the rules and opinions of other people. By doing this, we get to know the parts of ourselves that we like and to exclude what everyone else thinks. We owe it to ourselves to spend time uncovering how amazing we are.
3. Introspection can help you practice honesty.
Getting to know yourself is not that different than getting to know another person. To truly know another person, that person must be honest about who they are, even when it isn’t easy. And you, as the person getting to know someone else, have to listen with curiosity, empathy, and compassion. Introspection works the same way. You have to be honest with yourself and treat yourself with empathy and compassion.
You must be honest about how you feel when you do something wrong and when someone else is mistreating you.
You must be willing to really look at yourself and evaluate yourself as objectively as possible. You cannot gloss over what you’d rather not see. In the same way, you wouldn’t want to gloss over someone else being dishonest; you can’t give yourself that pass. Be completely honest with yourself, and when you find something that is out-of-sync, examine it and take action to bring it back into alignment.
4. Introspection can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. The difference between successful people and people with less success is not that one is perfect, and the other is not. The difference is that one person is aware of their weaknesses, so they surround themselves with strong people in the areas where they are weak. For example, I am a part of a Master Mind group of women, and when my friend Michelle formed the group, I made sure that the person I invited was a friend who I knew was strong in my areas of weakness. I am a strategic thinker, creative, and visionary, but I am not great at editing and organization, but she is. I spent time reflecting on the skills I am not so great at and chose to make sure I had help in those areas from someone who is.
You must spend time reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses so that you can set yourself up for success with honesty and through collaboration.
5. Introspection can help you set intentions.
If we wander through life without purpose or direction, chances are we’ll end up lost and looking for our happiness. We have to be intentional about building the lives we want to live. To form an intention, you must be aware of what is vital to your satisfaction and happiness. I used to get paralyzed by the worry of knowing how I would build a life I love. But what I really should have focused on was what a life I loved looked like.
You can’t map yourself to a destination when you don’t know where it is, and you can’t see that you’ve arrived when you have no idea what it looks like. So before you work on how, you have to identify the what and, most importantly, why.
What do I want from a romantic partner or career, and why do I want those things? The intention is the what, the purpose is the why, and the journey, or adventure, is the how.
And there is no step-by-step process for adventure. There is only buckling up for the ride of your life, with the best seat buddy ever; yourself.
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