Retrospective reflection can be a gratifying exercise; it can provide insights of surprise with an element of gratitude. Generally, when reflecting, our brains tend to minimize positive experiences and accomplishments. Through the process of reflecting, we can make conscious decisions to change our thought patterns to focus more on the positives. Let’s take a moment to listen to the stories we tell ourselves.
Reflect on qualities we gained throughout a year or through experiences
Personal quality traits are not generally a focus area of goals for most but, for instance, if you typically are an anxious person, your thoughts might tend to focus on how people are perceiving you.1 These anxious thoughts can be distracting and might cause you to focus on your perceived inadequacies. If you catch yourself getting wrapped up in negative self-talk, try interrupting it by focusing on the positives such as how effectively you work by yourself or with others.
Reflect on qualities that we gained throughout the year
Being an introspective person means examining our own thoughts and feelings to gain insights into how our pattern of thinking impacts the various parts of our lives, including how we feel about ourselves. We all have a “little me” person inside us that tells us a story. Jessica Baum writes about the “little me” in her book, Anxiously Attached (2022). She refers to the “little me” as how we refer to the younger parts of ourselves, those experiences we encountered, and how they still exist in our adult thoughts and thinking patterns.
From childhood through young adulthood, feelings and emotions are sent to our brains, which create stories to help us make sense of our experiences. Children naturally place blame on themselves when something has gone wrong. This natural response creates a pattern of behavior in the brain that can then carry over into our adult lives. This can result in an underlying feeling of inadequacy and low self-worth.1
Pay attention to feelings and thoughts that we hear continuously in our minds and think about what the root of this may be
Be aware of the stories you are telling yourself and analyze them critically before accepting them. Do not believe everything you think and feel free to dismiss negative self-talk. Gaining clarity on our daily interactions, thoughts, and emotions can help us to be more in touch with the reality of situations.
Becoming introspective means trying to dissect our internal dialogue so we can reflect on the root of those feelings and unravel the thinking behind them. Methods such as daily meditation and journaling can help to bring clarity. Feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth, or the underlying feeling of, “Am I doing something wrong?” often lead to increased anxiety and shame, creating a positive feedback loop of negative self-talk. These stories we tell ourselves when we perceive a deficit can impact our level of gratitude for ourselves and our experiences. Show up for yourself daily by changing these patterns to create positive self-talk; this will re-train your brain, giving you power over your thoughts.
Oftentimes a positive self-talk mantra is helpful
Talking with a therapist may provide a non-biased individual to help evaluate the authenticity of your thoughts. Bringing in an outside individual may help to bring clarity to the reality of situations, which can challenge our thought patterns and internal biases that may be clouding our judgments. By putting effort into changing our thought patterns, we give ourselves the space to grow our confidence, which can have a positive impact on our social life, skillset, and overall well-being. To alter these patterns, create positive mantras to help you step out of your “little me”, and embrace these new thought patterns.
What are you waiting on yourself to do to become the better you?
- Baum, J. (2022). Anxiously attached: Becoming more secure in life and love (1st ed., Vol. 1). Penguin. (Original work published 2022)
About the author: Audra Tuttle, M.Ed is the Assistant Manager in the Global Resource Group. She comes to BSM with experience as a public school teacher, coach/mentor, and leader. Audra is a coach and has degrees from Sam Houston State University and Virginia Commonwealth University as well as certifications from eCornell Online. She’s passionate about supporting her team, teaching barré, Pilates classes, and having fun adventures.
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