Know Thyself: The Therapeutic Benefits of Self-Reflection

clock 5 Min Read

Brencia Daphne

9th August 2022

Do you ever feel “out of sync” with yourself? It’s almost like you don’t quite understand why you feel the way you feel. All the chaos taking place around you and within piles up as you desperately try to find answers to tackle them. If you’ve felt that way before, maybe what you’re missing is the essence of looking within yourself and finding clarity from the inside out.

Self-reflection is a crucial step in uncovering hidden negative habits or behavioural patterns that you want to break. The American Psychological Association defines self-reflection as “the examination, contemplation, and analysis of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions”. Self-reflection not only means looking at yourself from within but also analysing yourself and your actions. It allows you to reconnect with yourself and get to know yourself better. With increased self-awareness comes a healthy outlook on life.

The pandemic has been hard on all of us. Most of us have been cooped up in our homes, with minimal human interaction and rather dull days. But those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid the COVID virus thus far often fail to understand the delicate position that the people dealing with the virus are in. Being restricted to a room, unable to reach anyone is an agonising position to be in. The loneliness and anxiety of the precarious situation can often cause a sense of disquiet and uneasiness.

A large number of us are currently taking care of family or loved ones who are affected by the COVID virus, and we are concerned about their physical well being. We also have the additional responsibility to support them mentally through these unsettling times. Though we cannot come in direct contact with individuals dealing with COVID, here is a list of things we can do to ease their burden

Self-Reflection as a Gateway to Knowing Yourself

Self-reflection, unlike surface thinking, is an inner analysis of yourself. You ask questions and truthfully answer them to get to know yourself better. It helps you recognise your strengths, weaknesses, skills, blockages, fears, etc., re-centring yourself in the present. It helps you to acknowledge the journey that you have covered, who you are now and who you would like to be.

The Pillars of Self-Reflection

Keep in mind these three vital elements of self-reflection as you read further:

  1. Openness

    Being open to everything you discover about yourself.


  2. Observation

    Looking at yourself from different perspectives and being aware


  3. Objectivity

    Having a non-judgemental outlook on your thoughts, feelings, and actions


How Self-Awareness Makes You Emotionally Strong

  1. Increased self-awareness

    Self-reflection allows you to be in touch with yourself and increase your self-awareness. It helps you to be in the moment and be at peace.

    “Time spent in self-reflection is never wasted; it is an intimate date with yourself.”

  2. Better interpersonal relationships

    Do you feel as though you can’t quite bond well with others and get them to understand your intentions? It is important to understand yourself for others to do so. Connecting with yourself helps you connect better with others. Self-reflection allows you to gain a better understanding of your role in relationships. It helps you stay emotionally aware as you develop your bond with others.

  3. Better decision-making

    Being self-aware declutters your mind and helps you think clearly. Having a decluttered mind can help you take in more information and make better, informed decisions.

  4. Reduced stress and anxiety

    Self-reflection helps you gain confidence, improving your ability to deal with situations healthily. It helps you to worry less about stressful situations and reduces the anxiety that comes with them.

  5. Realising your potential and goals

    Self-reflection can help you recognise and build on your potential. It helps you review your goals and your achievements to see how far you’ve come. Inspiring motivation, keeping track of your goals, and utilising your potential is a great way to be emotionally strong.

  6. Realising your potential and goalsSight the bigger picture

    Sometimes, you get carried away with your emotions and lose sight of the more important aspects of your life. Self-reflection helps you to clearly define for yourself what's important and align it with the bigger picture.

  7. Increased work efficiency and high emotional intelligence

    Self-reflection allows you to analyse your strengths and weaknesses as well, which are important skills for being a great employee. The ability to look within and accept your weaknesses with the mindset to better yourself displays high emotional intelligence in the workplace. It has been proven that people with high emotional intelligence and the ability to self-reflect are found to be better leaders.

  8. Find creative ways to build self-confidence

    Self-reflection is an important way to recognise your strengths. Knowing your strengths helps build confidence. At the same time, being in a good mental space and being open to experience encourages creativity. When you analyse the routes and strategies that are not working out for you, you find better and more creative ways to achieve your goals.

Every Day Activities for Self-Reflection

Review, question, and examine yourself

Review, question, and assess your thoughts, feelings, and actions from the past and present.

  • Whip out that pen and get journalling!

    Journalling helps to record your feelings, which will allow you to track them and reflect on them regularly.

    (Psst. Have a look at Heart It Out’s cute notebooks here to make your journaling time fun.)

  • Spend time with yourself

    Don’t hesitate to spend time with yourself. Go on a solo date, go for a walk, have a nice cup of tea or coffee by yourself, or meditate to ignite a connection within you.

  • Set clear goals

    Goal-setting and analysing your goals regularly is an important element of self-reflection. Setting goals helps you to stay on track, increases motivation, and encourages goal-directed behaviour.

  • Practise gratitude

    Gratitude is a highly effective habit that allows you to acknowledge what you have and be content with it. To help you on your gratitude journey, Heart It Out has gratitude journals that you can check out here.

    Oh, the joy of having a grateful heart! ♡

  • Practise self-reflection regularly

    Practice makes perfect. When you begin self-reflecting, you start to notice yourself growing more and more mindful. There’s no end to it, though. It is a continuous process that only makes you stronger. Commit to regularly practising self-reflection to reap the most benefits.

The Key to a Confident You Lies Within

​​The road to self-reflection is not easy, but the journey is worth every step. Remember to be kind to yourself through it all. You are doing your best.

While we all possess the skills to achieve greatness, we can all greatly benefit from professional support. One of the main goals of therapy is self-reflection and tuning in to your inner self. Hence, if you feel conflicted within yourself or don't know how to begin self-reflection, we encourage you to get in touch with our experts for advice.

Our expert therapists at Heart It Out offer a warm space for you to begin your self-reflection journey and guide you through it. To get in touch with our therapists, reach out to us here.

“The journey into self-love and self-acceptance must begin with self-examination. Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life.”

– Iyanla Vanzant

Written by Nishtha Agarwal,Reviewed & Edited by Brencia Daphnie for Heart It Out

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