I’m ashamed to report that a majority of my adult life – the time between my high school graduation and my 30th birthday – I didn’t know the power of reflection. I assumed that everything that was happening in my life was a result of things happening TO me, that I had no control. People treated me the way that they treated me because of who they were – which is true to a point – not because it was how I allowed them to treat me. My life was going the way that it was going because, well, that’s the way that life goes.
I didn’t recognize that I was responsible for my life. I was responsible for the way people treated me. I didn’t understand that I was allowing life to happen to me, instead of taking charge and making things happen for myself.
It wasn’t until I was in my 7th year teaching when I was introduced to this idea of reflection. It was through Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching. Domain Four discusses professional responsibilities, and the first on the list is:
Reflecting on Teaching
Sure, this was entirely focused on my teaching and what was happening in the classroom. But it was a powerful lesson that carried over into my life outside of the school walls.
I realized, through my teaching, that the only way to improve my life is to self-reflect. The only way that I am going to improve my life is to look within and to examine the parts of me that perhaps I am trying to avoid.
Self-reflection has become a habit for me – sometimes, one may say that I take too much ownership over the way things are in my life. However, I don’t think this is necessarily true – or detrimental to my progress.
Yesterday, I wrote about ushering in a new year, and how 2020 will be exactly like 2019 if we aren’t honest about who we are and the changes we want to make.
And the first step in making those changes:
Self-reflection requires that you dig deep within yourself. It asks for complete honesty.
Only after you are able to reflect on where you are, how you got here, and the direction your life is going will you be able to make changes. After all, how can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?
Do you have a self-reflection practice? What does it involve? In what ways do you feel it has helped to move your life forward?