As 2015 comes to a close, as the hustle and bustle begins to wind down, my thoughts vacillate between looking back and looking forward. While I try to stay in the present moment as much as possible, oftentimes, the end of a year and the beginning of a new one start to weigh a bit heavier on my mind. When I find myself feeling bogged down, a favorite pastime is to search online for quotes reflecting my mood. This process of reflection and introspection helps me give name to my feelings, to bring them into awareness.
If you think about it, self reflection and self awareness are both integral parts of who we are as a person and who we aim to become. Being self aware means having the ability look within to get a clear snapshot of our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and motivations. Self reflection is the exercising of introspection, coupled with the willingness to learn about ourselves, in order to help achieve self awareness. Through this heightened awareness, it becomes easier to interpret thoughts and emotions and figure out what our true feelings and motivations in order to make any changes needed to make our lives better.
Having self awareness and the ability to reflect means you can:
- realistically assess your own knowledge, values, qualities, skills and behaviors
- reflect on your experiences and learn from them to inform and guide your own personal and professional development
- clearly recognize your own strengths and weaknesses
- articulate your skills and abilities to others
- see yourself as others see you
As you read and reflect, keep in mind that reflection is not just a “looking back” ― it is giving mindful attention to lessons learned from experience and applying them to future growth and well-being. It is a reinforcement ― a looking inward ― an introspective inquiry with oneself. Perhaps some of the below quotes might resonate or be useful for you in some way too.
“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.” ―Thích Nhất Hạnh
“What is my job on the planet?” is one question we might do well to ask ourselves over and over again. Otherwise, we may wind up doing somebody else’s job and not even know it. And what’s more, that somebody else might be a figment of our own imagination, and maybe a prisoner of it as well.” ―Jon Kabat-Zinn
“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.” ―Thích Nhất Hạnh
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ―Søren Kierkegaard
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ―Confucius
“We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” ―Mahatma Gandhi
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” ―Thích Nhất Hạnh
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ―Joseph Campbell
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” —Mark Twain
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” —Albert Einstein
“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.” —Pablo Picasso
“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” —Edgar Degas
“On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.” —Antoine de Saint Exupéry
“I am a creative person; therefore, this grants me the right to be misunderstood.” —Andy Warhol
“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” -Albert Einstein
“God gave us music because our hearts don’t have vocal chords.” —Adam VanOrmer
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” ―Marie Curie
“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” ―Lemony Snicket
“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.” ―Lloyd Shearer
If you have anything to add to this conversation, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.