Why look introspectively at yourself?
Introspection is looking at your inner self. It means being attentive to what is going on inside us: our feelings, thoughts, who we are, etc. The term introspection also includes all the methods of turning towards your inner world. In psychology, it’s an observation and analysis method, with a view to studying your own self. Thanks to introspection, we get to know ourselves perfectly.
The benefits of introspection
“Get to know yourself”
For psychotherapist Paul Diel, this exercise of self-analysis ensures the regulation of “your inner life”. It is necessary for our happiness because it enables us to know our needs, learn to love ourselves and accept who we are.
🧠 Moreover, self-analyzing helps us to live better with others. Indeed, being better connected to what we feel gives us the possibility to better manage our emotions and our reactions to others. Edgar Morin, a French philosopher, explains that self-examination allows us to understand our own weaknesses, which makes us better able to understand those of others. It therefore allows us to develop more empathy and to be more attentive to ourselves and those around us. So how do you go about introspection?
How to perform a self-analysis? 6 introspection exercises
There are many introspection techniques, such as mindfulness meditation. We turn to our thoughts and can better interpret things in our lives. We become witnesses of our mental and emotional states. However, it’s not the only solution. Here are 6 exercises to know how to perform a self-analysis:
1. Pay attention to your thoughts
This exercise is very similar to meditation; being aware of your thoughts allows you to better understand yourself. You need to admit the content of your thoughts, which is sometimes a very difficult exercise to do. However, thanks to this, you can learn to spot negative thoughts, self-deprecation, anxiety, etc.
We need to take several minutes every day to pause our brains in order to observe our thoughts. It’s not necessary to go into a state of meditation, but it is good to sit down for 5 minutes to think about it all.
2. Keep a journal
Yes, a journal! Like when you were a teenager and had a diary. It’s actually a very good exercise because it allows you to put all your thoughts and problems onto paper. You can even write down your goals and dreams, just like with a bullet journal. It allows you to notice a lot of things: are you at a dead end? Are you managing to achieve your dreams?
It’s also possible to keep a gratitude journal to keep track of the positive aspects of your day and get rid of the negative thoughts.
3. Question your own perception
Sometimes, we interpret things without necessarily thinking about them, which leads us to jump to conclusions. Introspection enable you to be more in tune with yourself and with others.
For example, if you see a friend for a coffee and find her strangely silent, you may come to the conclusion that you’ve done something wrong. Nevertheless, it’s not necessarily the case. She may be upset because she got some bad news just before meeting up. You should always ask yourself if there are several possible explanations.
4. Listen to your emotions
What we feel can help us understand who we are and how we function. Why did we feel such an emotion after an event? By listening and interpreting, we better understand our reactions.
For example, if we feel sick to our stomach when we see our partner talking to someone else, it means that we’re under stress. But why? This stress can be representative of jealousy or fear of abandonment. We fear that our partner will find this person better than us. There’s therefore a lack of self-confidence to work on.
> Because yes, those around us are not responsible for our emotions, it’s up to us to work on them. This allows us not to be a toxic person for others.
5. Identify your values
Self-analyzing is also putting your finger on the values that are important for you: politeness, honesty, optimism, self-confidence, friendship, success, faith, kindness, a sense of justice, etc.
You must identify them to know how to be in tune with them. If you go against one of your values, especially one you’re not aware of, it causes cognitive dissonance.
For example, if you’re worried about animal welfare and eat meat, you may develop an eating disorder because of the guilt. It may therefore be a good idea to become a vegetarian to be in line with your values. It works for a lot of things! Moreover, our values evolve as we go through life, which is why you must pay attention to them.
6. Turn to your dreams
There are dreams that correspond to our life dreams, but there are also dreams that we have at night. Dream interpretation can be a solution to discover our unconscious desires. Indeed, they’re sometimes a slip of our mind about something we didn’t know how to detect when we were awake. Interpreting your dreams allows you to listen to your subconscious, which never lies.
Editor’s note: Not always an easy exercise
Introspection isn’t an easy exercise. If you don’t success, there may be limiting beliefs or fears, conscious or not, that are holding you back.
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