Self-Reflection Without Judgement
Self-reflection without judgement is one of the most important aspects of personal growth.
To be able to look at yourself objectively and see where you can improve, whether it’s your social relationships, financial planning, health, business sense, etc., self-reflection is one of the ways you can propel yourself towards rapid personal growth. But it is very important that you look from a place of zero judgement.
It’s easy to get caught up in our flaws, especially when we have a clear vision of where we want to be, who we want to be and what we want to achieve in the future. Sometimes whenever we self-reflect and think about these things we can easily judge ourselves in the present moment, because we may be far away from the ideal image of ourselves. In this way, self-reflection with judgement can cause great pain.
Although being hard on ourselves might seem like a quick fix to our current “problems”, it tends to backfire, creating guilt, shame and frustration. But if your motivation comes from guilt, negative thoughts, a feeling of lacking a certain personal characteristic or relationship, the changes you are trying to make will never last indefinitely. Forcing yourself to do something with negative motivation will create feelings of resentment and irritation towards yourself, causing you to question why it is that you are so awful you can’t change, why it feels like you’re never moving forward and will eventually lead to self-sabotage when you’ll down an entire gallon of ice cream instead of going for a run.
It will also inevitably cause you to project your grievances on others and your environment. It is always easier to blame something outside of ourselves instead of taking a look at the root of the problem within. You’ll blame your co-workers for being bad influences when they bring donuts to the morning meeting and eat them in front of you. You’ll blame your significant other for not being loving enough and not supporting you in your endeavors. You’ll shake your fist at the job you have for not paying you enough and for keeping you stagnant and bored. Long story short, it becomes a shit show of negative emotions and thoughts that you then try to escape from by continuing old habits and behaviors that brought you here to this original question in the first place: how can I make myself better?
In the grand scheme of things, judging ourselves in our current state does nothing for us except put us in a place of feeling like we’re lacking something that we should have already. Having a very clear cut idea of what we want can make this feeling even worse, because we are very aware of what we don’t have right now. Typically the feeling of lacking itself is the reason why we continue to act in the way we did in the first place.
You may think that you lack happiness and fulfillment because you aren’t living the dream of your ideal self, but if this has been the case for you, maybe it’s time to take a different approach. What if you could find happiness, fulfillment, and wholeness first and then from that place you could easily make life-changing transformations to yourself?
In order to make clear, conscious decisions about our behaviors, activities and relationships in every moment, you must first have the feeling of calmness, alertness and clarity. This means you do not necessarily need or want anything. It means that you are aware of where you are headed, but you are also okay with where you stand now. It’s the difference between having preferences and must-haves.
When you tell yourself you must have something in order to feel fulfilled or happy, you will experience much suffering. You’ll never be happy until you get that goodie, but even when you get it, the excitement only lasts for so long before you realize you want something different now and the cycle starts again. Preferences on the other hand do not need to be realized right now. You can prefer one thing to another thing, but it’s okay if you don’t have it your way in this moment, it’s just a preference.
Do you see the difference?
In one example you are solely focused on the problem and acquiring something that you lack, in the other example, you are starting from a place of wholeness and relative neutrality and are okay with what is real now, even though you have big ideas for the future.
It seems like the secret to everlasting happiness is to finally get all the things you want for yourself (material, mental, or even spiritual goodies), but allowing yourself to be content and at ease without all of these things, in any moment, is the real path to ongoing fulfillment and peace of mind. Allowing yourself to be happy in any moment, in any situation, is the key.
It’s important to have a sense of calmness and wholeness in the present moment in order to look at yourself objectively and make good, helpful, decisions for yourself that lead you in the direction you want to go. So it’s important to have a balance of self-reflection, but also a love of Who You Are Now.
One way to stay neutral during self-reflection is to be curious about yourself and your hang-ups instead of judgmental about your current state. Why do you do things a certain way? Why do you think this instead of that? Why do you keep feeling like you aren’t whole? Who isn’t whole? Who isn’t satisfied, you or your mind? When you can be genuinely curious to find out more about your inner workings, to find out more about what it means to be you, it will be easier to grow naturally into the highest, most true version of yourself.
You may also observe yourself instead of reacting to yourself in the present moment. Watch yourself from a neutral place instead of beating yourself up and reacting harshly to your hang-ups and problems. This tends to create a loop of finding fault, reacting, identifying with the fault and reaction, more reacting, more fault and so on.
The true power lies in understanding what direction you are headed, but being able to enjoy all the individual steps along the way.
Self-reflection without judgement is one of the most important abilities for a human being to practice and improve on. It allows us to see inside of ourselves and decide what parts we want to keep going forward, and what we would rather leave behind that no longer serves us. It helps us to understand ourselves more deeply and fully, which can give us insights into understanding others on deeper levels. It helps us to reach higher states of awareness and to get to know ourselves better from a genuine, curious perspective.
When practiced without judgement, self-reflection is the key to personal growth and understanding.