“”Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
Taking Time for Reflection
Taking time for self reflection is an important part of the healing process. By engaging in healthy reflection, you can eliminate the hurdles that stand between you and sobriety. Reflection is not always an easy or simple activity, however, and it is easy to get lost along the way. Getting lost along the way in reflection could mean that you begin heading in a negative direction and engage in self abuse. Getting lost in reflection could also mean that you are not really getting anywhere, but are instead spinning your wheels and going over the same internal territory over and over again because you are afraid to move on.
Tackle Fear through Reflection
Moving beyond your fears through reflection will help you heal more quickly but first you must find and admit to your fears. Believe it or not, this can be a difficult accomplishment. Few people want to admit that they are afraid. In fact, admitting that you are afraid can be so difficult that most of us don’t even want to admit it to ourselves. This makes the first step—uncovering our fears and inner hurt—one of the toughest.
First, you must commit to discovering the fears or pains that are getting in your way. By committing to the process, you allow yourself to open up to learning more about yourself. Then you can begin examining your inner landscape through journaling, through talk therapy, or through introspective activities like yoga or meditation.
Use Reflection to Question and Explore
Guide yourself through the process of reflection by asking questions. Think of yourself as a journalist who is trying to get at an important nugget of truth. You can begin by considering your goals and asking yourself how you will achieve the things that are important to you. As you answer the questions, you may find that roadblocks appear making you feel like you cannot reach your potential. When this happens, be gentle with yourself, asking with curiosity what fear or pain caused the roadblock to appear.
Through Reflection the Truth Shall Set You Free
Covering up the truth has caused the problems you are facing. We all do it, so you don’t have to feel shame for your self-deception. The more honest you are with yourself during reflection and introspection, the faster you will heal.
Nurture Yourself and Heal
Reflection is the beginning of a healing process that will help you heal, but you need to support the work you have accomplished through reflection with self-nurturing. Commit yourself to gently understanding your own fears and pain just as you would understand and nurture a friend who was in pain. You can do this through continued reflection and by reminding yourself that all people experience pain and fear and all people have power over their fear, including you. When you feel the fear rising, do not become frustrated or angry with yourself. Give yourself space and time to feel the fear and follow it back to its source. Where did it come from? It was not born in this moment. The fear developed over years of experience. Thoughtfully use reflection to consider the experiences that shaped your fear and accept that the experiences were real and they were difficult. Your emotions come from somewhere very real. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come to you and accept them with love.
Healing through reflection is a Journey
Healing does not happen overnight. It is a journey that begins with reflection and ends with you actively living a healthy and happy life.