Self-reflection is a concept I never knew too much about, and I still don’t. It’s definitely one of the most difficult things I’ve had to grapple with, and I still do; this is because it involves accountability. Accountability, as simple as it may seem – isn’t.
I’ve learned that accountability goes beyond “Hey mom I’m sorry I came home at 2 am, when I told you I’d be back by midnight”. Through my experiences with friends and lovers, I’ve come to understand that accountability requires the silencing of ego and dilution of pride. It is as complex as forgiveness, growth, balance, vulnerability, etc.
See, I got introduced to another kind of accountability when I found myself with a “less than desirable” partner, and of course it produced a “less than desirable” outcome. Although I couldn’t take responsibility for his actions, I had to be reflective of behavioral patterns I overlooked in my partner, and also – past lovers. I had to recalculate back to when I had the opportunity to disengage (which was at every turn), but I didn’t- that type of accountability is hard. It is accepting fault when you’re the one who got hurt. That type of accountability definitely requires the erasure of the victim role, and subsequently- forgiveness of self.
Self-forgiveness will be at every corner once you start practicing self-reflection. It is necessary. It is also difficult, but good.
I always advise folks to continuously protect their space and energy, but what I don’t do enough is – encourage folks to acknowledge when they’re the toxic ones that others are protecting themselves from. It’s very easy to point out the flaws of others, but we also have to do that with ourselves. Sometimes, we are the heartbreakers, the bad friend, the toxic family member, the problematic individual, or whatever the case may be. Acknowledging this and working towards healthier interactions is a vital part of self-reflection.
I am currently in a phase where self-reflection is more than “did I achieve my set goals for the year?” because that analysis is almost expected. My kind of self- reflection is focused on the more intricate details we often overlook. It includes but is not limited to: trekking back to a conversation in order to rectify my language and tone, making sure I am softer in arguments and heated conversations, and paying attention to the way I react to certain situations. It also constitutes carrying lessons from previous experiences in order to prevent “less than desirable” outcomes, acting with intent and making conscious choices. Most importantly, it is being cognizant of energy and the type of folks I allow into my space, and as a result – setting the tone for the ones I attract.
Self- reflection at the end of the month or year is perfectly fine. However, I find it is more efficient to actively self reflect on my actions, words, and thoughts. I don’t create a time frame for reflecting, nor do I announce it- it just happens. Incorporating this into your daily lifestyle improves your relationships and most importantly, self.
Self, I believe is what we work on when we’re 20 or 90 years old / 10- 100 years old. I don’t think we ever get to be perfect, as it seems as though the amount of work there is to be done cannot be completed in this lifetime. Thankfully, self-reflection has no particular pace or rules attached to it, and neither does this life thing. Besides, perfection is unrealistic and quite frankly- outdated.
By: Bianca Onwukwe
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