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Know Thyself: 3 Essential Skills for Better Self-Reflection

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https://nickwignall.com/self-reflection/

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Know Thyself: 3 Essential Skills for Better Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is the habit of deliberately paying attention to your own thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviors. Here's a typical example: During your commute home from work, you consider how the stress of your early morning meeting might have lead to residual anger and a poor decision with your boss at the end of the day.

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Self-Reflection

It's the ability to pay attention to your own thoughts, emotions, decisions, and behaviors.

There are three skills that can be practiced and will lead to better self-reflection:

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Openness

It means seeing things for what they are, not what we think they should be.

To cultivate openness, we have to become aware of our misconceptions, default beliefs, biases, expecta...

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Observation

It means being able to look at yourself with perspective and distance.

Real-time self-reflection requires us to shift our attention away from what’s happening outside and instead obser...

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Objectivity

It means separating your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from your identity and sense of self. We are more than the contents of our minds (thoughts, emotions, desires).

Kee...

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Some find that being aware of awareness is confusing or even bizarre.

However, upon further reflection, they consider it very peaceful.

Social neuroscientists found when practicing open awareness meditation, Gamma waves that usually occur briefly and in one spot of the brain are elevated all across the brain. It makes you feel a sense of vastness and spaciousness.

Our brain is an anticipation machine

We typically see the world through a set of filters that can limit our experience and keep us stuck in painful patterns of emotion.

Filters help us anticipate what is going to happen next and influence the information our brains receive. When we begin to filter too much, we lose touch with the beginner's mind that is open and without preconceptions.

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Dealing with your anger

Anger leads us to poor decisions, regrettable behavior, or hurt feelings. However, some anger leads to more significant consequences, like strained relationships or legal trouble.

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Anger ≠ aggression

Anger is an emotion, while aggression is a behavior. They differ entirely in one central dimension - control.

  • You can't control your emotions directly. In the legal system, nobody gets sent to prison for how they felt, regardless of how angry they were. They get punished for what they do.
  • You can influence your emotions indirectly by how you think and behave. For example, when you focus on how terrible all the drivers in your town are, your anger will likely increase. But, if you listen to music and think about how grateful you are, your anger will probably subside.

Expressing anger

While you can't control your emotions of anger directly, you have control over your aggression, which is a decision to express your anger.

Aggression does not only involve acts of violence. Being overly-critical or judgmental of someone in your mind is an act of aggression, as is replying sarcastically or rolling your eyes at someone.

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The Power Of Choice

Our thoughts can become our worst enemy if we let them. Think about how you may be “feeding” your negative thoughts by allowing them to rule your mind.

If you analyze what a negativ...

The Cherokee Indian Legend Of Two Wolves

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. He tells him a fight between two wolfs rages inside him, and in every other person too. One wolf is filled with good emotions and another filled with negative ones. The youth asks which will win. The old man answers: “The one you feed.”

Counteracting Negative Thoughts

If negative thinking becomes incessant, it can lead to depression and self-destructive behavior. At minimum, negative thinking saps our energy, erodes our self-confidence and can put us in a bad mood.

Certainly, many would agree that our thoughts come and go so quickly that it’s seems impossible to notice them, but with awareness and an attitude of self-compassion, we can redirect our negative thoughts to more positive ones.