It seems to me more and more that life is one big learning experience.
Opportunities to enhance your knowledge and growth make life worth living. And a significant part of the growth process is introspection.
As Albert Camus wrote, “In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.”
Taking the time to look inwards can help shape the person you become. How you respond to things and make choices are based on letting what’s inside come out.
Looking inward can help you take positive steps in life. At the very least, introspection can help you make morally appropriate decisions.
What are some of the benefits of Introspection?
1. Conscience-driven decisions. Being introspective allows you to maintain close contact with your conscience. Your conscience is what helps you distinguish right from wrong. When you focus on looking inwards, you get the opportunity to weigh your options.
• Conscience-driven decisions allow you to sleep better at night.
• Taking this approach helps you to be true to others, regardless of the outcome.
2. Character building. Looking inwards forces you to confront the person you are. What makes you tick? What do you believe in? Taking an honest look at your character brings you self-knowledge, can help build your self-esteem, and enables you to make changes if you want to.
• Have you done or said things that offend others? Put yourself in their shoes and think about how you’d feel.
• Look back at your experiences. Which outcome has left you feeling the most satisfied? What are your strengths?
3. Fair thinking. Fair thinking is tied in with the conscience. But introspection allows you to lock out the noise around you. It’s very easy to sway your thoughts based on what is presented to you on the outside. But listen to yourself first!
• It’s easy to want to give in to a particular way of thinking based on influence. Your close friends and even family encourage you to see things their way. But what about your way?
• Remember that you alone are responsible for your life.
4. Defined happiness. By taking a look at what you’re made up of inside, you can actually define happiness. What are the things that you enjoy doing? How do you measure relationships with others? Answering questions like these can lead to true happiness, defined just for you.
• Life is best lived when you make yourself happy first. The well-being of others will follow naturally.
5. Confrontation of fear. It’s easy to live in the pretense of fearlessness. But the truth is that every person has at least one fear. What’s yours? The best way to determine your fears is through introspection. Once you own your fears, you can move towards managing the feelings they bring.
• Is it failure or success that you’re afraid of? Consider the worst thing that could happen.
• Build the skill sets you need to confront your fear and take it down!
6. Acknowledgement of choices. As a human being, you have more choices than you think! As the only reasoning beings on the planet, we all have a myriad of options available. Take a good look inside and identify your real choices.
• Ultimately, you want your choices to reflect your true character. Avoid making “popular” decisions just because that is how others feel about a topic.
The growth and development you seek is truly possible through introspection.
Take the time each day to close your eyes and contemplate.
You’ll realize in time how much easier it is to lead a truly happy life through this approach.
photo: Mark Ingle/Flickr