Looking back helps you forward


Self-reflection – considering your experiences, feelings and thoughts deeply – can help you gain new insights into yourself and how you live your life. Activities such as writing and collaging can help you make time for this valuable practice. 

“In contrast with evaluation, reflection does not work toward a specific goal. When you evaluate a process, it’s resultsdriven. And after evaluation, you make a value judgement: it went well or it went badly. Reflection, on the other hand, is not about judgement. “With reflection, your mind roams free,” Saskia de Jager, psychologist and philosopher, says. “Reflection starts with a question and then, layer by layer, various aspects of a theme or issue are revealed. For example, in mindfulness trainings, I let clients work in pairs, taking it in turns to ask each other the same question over and over again.”

“Questions like, ‘What’s changed in my life recently?’ or, ‘What have I learned about love in my life?’ These help you take a deeper look at yourself, at your life or at a specific situation. As one partner answers the question, the other listens. The first answer you give is usually an impulsive one. You hear the question and think, ‘What should I say?’ But after a while, there is a certain development. You keep digging a little deeper, and your answers incorporate your memories, associations and feelings. It is an insight dialogue, and after a while you can let go of the ‘What should I say?’ feeling. You analyze the question more deeply, which helps you see various angles on the subject. You seek connections and see patterns, and this leads to new insights.”

  • More about reflecting can be found in Issue 15.

Text Alice Binnendijk Photography ©Felix Russell/Unsplash