The Importance of Self-Reflection
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” — Socrates
How regularly do you take stock of the choices you have made in life? Do you pause to consider what has gone well and what has not gone well? I’ve asked this question to hundreds of people over the years, especially new coaching clients, and many of them don’t examine their life until it isn’t working. By that stage, the damage may be irreparable. Writing your thoughts in a journal or diary can help you notice the details of your life, which can be beneficial when trying to make changes.
Asking powerful questions can be a way to gain a deeper understanding of our inner strength and create a more meaningful life. The thought-provoking nature of the questions we ask can stir the soul and evoke answers from within. So, instead of asking, “Why am I constantly finding myself in the wrong relationships?”, enquire: “What behaviours am I exhibiting that keep bringing me back to the same situation?” Moreover, you may even want to ask yourself, “What qualities do I need to cultivate within me to attract a more loving, meaningful, and long-lasting relationship?” By changing the context of the questions, we can allow our inner wisdom to provide an answer that reflects the life we want to live.
Over the coming paragraphs, I have compiled a list of 20 questions, in no particular order that you should ask yourself regularly. I invite you to contemplate each question by writing your answers in your journal or diary. If you don’t record your entries in a journal, focus on one question per day and reflect on your answers throughout the day. Self-enquiry is a powerful practice that can help you awaken dormant powers and answers to your most urgent questions. The more we practise it, the better we become at listening to our inner guidance and the subtle nature of our subconscious mind.
I have compiled the 20 questions into four categories, each made up of five questions. You may choose to focus on one question per day or every other day. Alternatively, you may wish to work through the categories one by one; answering the five questions at one sitting. There is no right or wrong way of approaching this process. It’s up to you how you work through the questions. In fact, the more you take your time, the greater the chances you will receive direct insight and wisdom from the depths of your being.
“To be conscious of being, you need to reclaim consciousness from the mind.” — Eckhart Tolle
In the first category, I invite you to answer questions about what you truly want in life. Whilst this may sound like a simple question, answering it can be difficult, especially if you’re certain you know what you want in life. Consequently, the answer to this question requires us to think both logically and emotionally, tapping into our innermost feelings and intuitions. The other questions within this category invite you to think about your values and how you define success. What are your strengths and weaknesses and, conversely, your limiting beliefs? These are powerful questions that carry a lot of weight. This process can awaken amazing powers within you, and it has the potential to transform your life if you approach it with the right mindset.
- What do you truly want in life?
- What do you value most in life?
- What is your definition of success?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your limiting beliefs?
Setting Goals and Taking Action
“Your goals are the road maps that guide you and show you what is possible for your life.” — Les Brown
The next category asks you to focus on your goals and whether you are taking action to achieve them. For instance, you might have set short-term goals, but what actions do you have in place to achieve the goals? Are your actions yielding the results you desire, or do you feel stuck and not progressing? Are there limiting beliefs holding you back from achieving success? This may be a difficult one to answer because you may not know how to identify a limiting belief. I strongly encourage you to look over the articles I have written on understanding and overcoming limiting beliefs. The information contained within these articles can help you make sense of areas of your life due to unprocessed beliefs.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- What actions can you take to achieve your goals?
- What fears are holding you back?
- What steps can you take to overcome your fears?
- How can you hold yourself accountable for your actions?
“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” — Theodore Roosevelt
The next category of questions asks you to contemplate the quality of your relationships. It’s no secret, we are the average of the five people we most spend our time with. Our relationships are reflections of who we are at the deepest level. They represent our core values, our primary needs, and emotional wounds. Our relationships represent ourselves, so if we want to attract fulfilling and lasting relationships, we must look within to see how we are creating a space for these people to be in our life. From a young age, the people with whom we form relationships, such as our friends, family, and relatives, are already determined, and we have no say in the matter. For instance, through my personal growth and the experiences I’ve had with my coaching clients, I’ve learned the more we develop, the healthier and more fulfilling our relationships can be.
- What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with?
- How can you strengthen your current relationships?
- What kind of partner do you want in life?
- How can you improve your communication skills?
- How can you show gratitude in your relationships?
Finding Meaning and Purpose
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
The last category of questions focuses on finding meaning and purpose in life. The idea of meaning and purpose often intimidates people because of the enormity of the task. They think to make an impact and find a sense of purpose, they must be doing something more meaningful. But it is not as frightening as that. Meaning and purpose are subjective and localised to the individual. Even the simplest of tasks can bring a sense of fulfilment. It starts as a gentle whisper, but soon echoes to the four corners of the world. Those who have found success in life through their purpose have done so in a limited scope and scaled it up to reach more people. Ultimately, purpose is found in who we are and the values we hold dear to us. Again, meaning is subjective to the meaning you ascribe to a particular situation and it will be different to the meaning I give it. Neither of us can say who is right or wrong because individual interpretation and perspective are not something that can be measured.
- What is your passion in life?
- How can you incorporate your passion into your daily life?
- What legacy do you want to leave behind?
- How can you make a positive impact on the world?
- What brings you the most fulfilment?
I hope you can work through these 20 questions thoughtfully. Similarly, you may wish to undertake this exercise with someone close to you, whether it be an intimate partner, a family member, a friend or relative. The exercise can also be done in a group setting and used to foster discussion. Whichever process you choose, try to be open to the answers that come forth. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and don’t be afraid to write what comes up for you during the self-enquiry process. Allow yourself to be free from constraint and immerse yourself in this task, allowing your creativity to take the lead. By responding to the 20 powerful questions, you will feel and sense the strength growing within you, propelling you to accomplish all you want in life.