Reflection is essential for growth, development, and change. It is the unique power of the person.
Reflection is like watching a scene you just acted out. You break character, circle round to the playback monitor, sit, and watch your performance.
I have a little history in theater and film and have had this very experience. First off (at least for me) I never look or act how I think I’m looking or acting when I’m doing a scene. Then there’s all the little details you begin to notice. Do I really do that with my hands? Where am I looking? I thought I slowed that line down and man, am I really that tall? I’ve had all these responses, especially the tall one. I’m 6’3″ and when I see pictures with friends at a later date, I’m always taken aback by how I can tower at times.
The practice of intentional or conscious reflection is not so different. But don’t be confused, reflection isn’t a time to play mental gymnastics. It’s not a time to solve a problem — don’t make it a case of mind addiction, where a decision needs to be made. It’s strictly replay. Sit back and watch your own short film, your own experience, and take notice of your behavior. And then ask, “Was this behavior an honest example of who I am (or more importantly) who I want to be?” If it’s not, then make some notes and redo the scene. If you can’t redo the scene, i.e. if you can’t take back those horrible things you said to so and so, know that should you find yourself high on anger again, you’ll know to bridle that energy and hold your tongue. Because you took time to watch the playback.
As well as the less pleasant situations, reflection also serves the good. When playing back the good, you’re perhaps reminded of your ability to enjoy a moment, to not over-think, to know you actually have that level of courage you thought was lost, and so on.
Try it today. Hit rewind on a memory and play it through. You might be surprised at the questions that might surface or the reveal of something you may have missed.