We need to self-reflect

June 5
Self-reflection is a human activity necessary to seek the truth and do well, for self-knowledge and action. Reflection before action and events makes it possible to clarify purposes, means and consequences, as well as to rectify due to experience.
Life often takes us from one activity to another, from one place to another; without stopping to reflect and think about what, how and for what reason we do things.
Juan was aware of his priorities: father of a family, his profession, his friends, and used to reflect on them from his experience. However, lately the circumstances were altering his achieved balances. The reduction of economic resources together with other family changes helped him to realise that he needed to ‘reflect’ ‘before the events’. If we reflect ‘before’ – he said – we will be able to choose what we consider the best and include the means to achieve it.
From his situation, from feeling trapped by activism, family and professional tensions, he decided to take the initiative: analyse, and clarify his current situation of dissatisfaction.
First, he would talk to his wife expressing himself with sincerity he would tell her his state of fatigue, the difficulties in the family business and his mood. By mutual agreement, they decided to prepare things in a way that they would be able to rest a few days in a quiet place. They talked, walked, analysed situations and established some priorities and the way to face up to them.
When he returned, he expressed the need for some changes in the family business. It needed a convert from a construction supply business, transforming a few months later into a “company for renovation projects.”
Juan was a technical construction engineer and the other two employees could take responsibility for specific tasks. Also, they would be in contact with other professionals and with small companies in the industry. These issues demanded him to think, consult and make decisions.
In the following months, the results began to be evident: optimism, relaxed atmosphere in the treatment with people, work environment (…). And with this, knowledge of situations, understanding, commitment, without forgetting relationship with people, hobbies and the ability to rectify; knowing that, at the end, our successes and mistakes are our own responsibility.
Today he feels appreciation of the support that made him reflect, sometimes, with brief comments from a friend, such as ‘Juan, you should reflect’ or the security and the help of his family.
After having reflected on his previous situation motivated by professional and family tensions, it is necessary to consider that need in more personal and interior areas, such as education, character and everything that promotes the development of personal potential.
The different aspects of education (human, intellectual, cultural, professional, religious, and so on) are a source of renewal. Thanks to it, we can know, understand, reflect, evaluate, judge and apply what we know.
Vocational training can suggest multiple decisive changes: aim and purpose of our work, motivation, competence, enhancements, justice, personal relationships (…)
If it is about character, we can consider significant changes in our personal development stemming from our own knowledge (behaviours, preferences, motivations, actions, omissions, reactions, (…), including in this analysis, how people around us see us – family, work, friends). In this sense, for example. It will be helpful to write with concise expressions, in two columns, the answers to these two questions: 1 – How am I? (Manifestations in various situations), how people think I am? 2 – Changes that I want to achieve … (What? How? When? Where?)
This personal development of taking our lives seriously, of looking for an ‘accomplished life with meaning’, can come up against an obstacle if we decide to leave it for later, when we have more time, when current problems are over. In this issue of betting on personal improvement, the best time is as soon as possible and continuously, periodically reviewing achievements (day, week, month, etc.) It is a matter of uniting what is important with urgency. In this sense, it can help us using the simile of the construction of a building, made with bricks, which starts by placing bricks one by one with days, months and sometimes years of work being necessary.
José Arnal
Philosophy doctorate. Retired professor

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