Many are the times that someone may stop in their tracks and say; wait a minute, this is not who I am, this is not what I wanted to be. And not where I had wanted to be. The real pain is when you turn against your own self believing you are a loser or that you are not good enough. I hit that road once, feeling I’m not the person that I really wanted to be. And that was when I took a trip down my inner self. In this article, I will talk about introspection, its benefits, and how negativity ruins it all.
You must have the right reasons to venture into introspection. If you are doing it for the sake of proving to yourself how bad or worthless you are, introspection may not be for you. Or rather, do it with guidance from a counselor.
On the other hand, in as much as positive introspection is important and therapeutic, overdoing it has its own adverse effects.
Introspection means self-evaluation or simply, self-reflection. You reflect on your memories, thoughts, and feelings and evaluate what they mean to you and how they influence the world around you. Other disciplines define it as a process in which you examine your personality and how it affects others.
So last week, I had a chat with a wonderful lady who revealed that she feels so bad about herself because of her major failures in life and how she often fails to attain the personal levels that she sets out for herself. This may bring in low self-esteem and low self-worth. Which may negatively affect interpersonal relationships, quality of life, and her attainment of happiness.
Most often than not people hit the road of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and consequential unhappiness because of major failure, a failed dream, or a wrong destination.
Failure is not an easy thing to deal with. Especially if you as an individual can not forgive yourself or recover from it. Usually recovering from failure requires you to have a positive mindset.
The devil called pessimism/negativity
Pessimism and failure are two devils that should never ever meet.
If you have a negative mindset, everything around you will be bad including yourself. I am yet to meet a very positive person who has a very negative perception of themselves. I doubt if you have met such a one either. But I’ve come across some very optimistic people who have encountered failure in their lives but still place a high value on themselves and are generally happy people.
Negative people always have a convincing good reason to hate something; even themselves.
Now it’s no big secret that everything has two sides, the good and the bad side. But the eyes of a negative mind only sees the bad side of everything. Even themselves!
On the contrary, the positive mind tends to focus more on the good side of everything around them, themselves inclusive.
Why is introspection important?
Introspection is a cardinal step in the pursuit of true happiness. I often liken the mind to a book that we often carry around and occasionally peruse through. Now, during introspection, you sit down, open the book to carefully read, understand, and possibly fall in love with the book.
Once you look inside yourself and like it, it’s easier for you to be happy. However, a negative mindset has the tendency of turning introspection into a lethal exercise. Lethal because it will leave you with even stronger reasons to self-hate. You will literally feel worse about yourself if you venture into it with a negative mindset.
Benefits of introspection
To yield the best from introspection, you must remember to take a break from the craziness around you, such as social media. When done correctly, the benefits include;
Knowledge of self or self-awareness; enables you to discover your behavioral patterns, character/temperament, and feelings.
Self-discovery; enables you to discover your strengths and your weaknesses.
Self-definition; enables you to define your core values and principles.
Understanding of self; in order for you to understand the big picture, you have to understand the smaller picture first. Your mind and your inner self is a whole complete little world, with operations and all. You have to understand how that little world operates before you get a hang on the operations of this big world that you live in.
Enables you to trace the origin of any emotional or psychological problem/pain.
What introspection is not
Introspection is not rumination. Rumination is repetitively and passively thinking about the causes and consequences of your problem or issue without coming up with any solutions. Introspection is solution-based while rumination is destructive. If your self-reflection is not yielding any solutions or possible way forward, you are probably trapped in rumination.
Introspection doesn’t mean self-pity, beating yourself up or obsessing about your self. It also doesn’t mean thinking about yourself all the time.
Earlier in this article, I talked about a negative and positive mindset; this is where it all fits in. If you are a negative person, introspection is likely to turn into rumination for you. Which is not a good thing. To avoid the danger of rumination, do not attempt introspection with a negative approach. Negativity has a way of ruining the most beautiful things in life. Don’t invite it for your beautiful trip down your inner self.
So after introspection, this is where the power of positivity comes in. Suppose you really don’t like what you find after your soul searching or self-reflection exploit? Will you shrivel up in a pity ball and call yourself useless, worthless, or stupid? Or you will mark the areas of your life that need work categorizing them in long term and short term goals for personal development and improvement?