Self-reflection. I think we can all look back on a time where we were not the best version of ourselves, whether it be just last week, 5, or even 10 years ago! We grow, we evolve, and we are always on the path to being a better version of ourselves until we are not. If you are unaware of how your actions may be affecting others, it is time to dive deeper into self-reflection and take a big step away from self-justification. A change in friends, interests, and outside forces may deviate us from staying on path, but it is up to us to consistently self-reflect, re-evaluate, and move forward.
There were many times in my life where I needed to reflect on my friendships, relationships, and surroundings in order to fully grow into the person I knew I was and was meant to be. Below is what I have learned from my self-reflection journey and hopefully it can help you continue along yours.
Reflection on Friendships/Relationships
Reflecting on my past friendships has been a very necessary part of my growth because I am able to see the way that friends were able to influence my emotions and actions. Friends are very important for many reasons of course, but they really have the ability to shape who you are. You want your friends to act as your motivation for success or even your role models for various qualities so that you can be influenced by the right people. Surrounding yourself with those who are motivated, strong, and independent is an amazing way to feel strong and motivated yourself!
Recognizing that a friendship is just not working is okay and very common! I am sure that everyone in high school and college has experienced this feeling. Whether you just don’t feel a click, or there are deep emotional conflicts, it might be the best thing for your growth and well-being to separate and move forward. Sometimes if both parties are not on the same page this can be tricky, but it is important to always do what is best for you instead of living in a world where you are unhappy and consistently let down!
Learning to Speak Your Truth
Speaking your truth and opening up to others is a skill that takes a certain inner strength and motivation. It is often difficult to express repressed thoughts when you know it may hurt someone that you care deeply for or even yourself. Although difficult to express emotions, frustrations, or even guilt, it is seemingly essential in order to gain clarity, breathe happily, and experience personal growth.
It may seem like the easy way out to live in complacency until it is all put to a painful halt where you must question your friendships or relationships in a way that is more detrimental, yet necessary in order to move forward. Speaking your truth in a blatant way is the last resort of communication to potentially help strengthen a relationship or call for change in a friendship, but it is up to the other party to decide how to move forward. They can either change and grow, or they can choose to walk away.
Never change your beliefs and morals for a friendship or relationship, but always be able to take yourself down from your high horse in order to experience the growth that you may need. Speaking your truth is important to help free you from toxic relationships in your life all while allowing the other party involved the opportunity to grow themselves. Give them the chance to change and give them the opportunities to prove you wrong, but know that you cannot change them yourself no matter how hard you may try.
Every action does not need a clarified justification. Deeply searching for justification is a coping mechanism that is created in order to feel at peace with one’s self and decisions even though they may not be the best or done for the correct reasons. Nobody's perfect, yet using justification as a way to avoid becoming self-aware is training the brain to view issues in a one-sided manor that can be detrimental in conflict.
Do not throw away the opinions of others just because they are not what you may want to hear. Instead of constantly evaluating other people, evaluate yourself and reflect on what causes conflict in your life and your past. Be honest with yourself because no one needs to see this process except for you.
Avoiding the Victim/Superiority Complex
Psychologically, someone who has a victim complex is actively looking to advertise their sadness, disappointment, or persecution in order to deflect from taking responsibility for their own actions. They may refuse to own up to their responsibilities without some form of justification of why they are still correct in their own eyes. This shows a strong disregard for the feelings of others and diminishes and belittles the other party’s emotions. People are able to see through these potentially subconscious justification tactics pretty easily and realize that a mature resolution is not going to be the end result.
This goes hand in hand with a superiority complex which is shown when a person holds their own opinions, actions, work ethic, and even communication skills as superior to all others. This is often seen through the person’s actions by the outside world and especially companions. Without constant self-reflection, you may be drawn into these ways of thought that will blind you from the reality of your situation. It may not be easy but if it is affecting you deep enough, it is always the right thing to speak your mind and speak your truth.
No matter which side of the conflict you may fall, it is important to self-reflect, re-evaluate, and move forward. Not being open to the opinions of others or pushing away opportunities to learn and gain new perspectives, is doing a true disservice to yourself and will only further your regression in maturity and independence. You are strong and you are capable of evolving into who you have always wanted to be with free thought, educated life decisions, and consistent growth. Staying on your path of self-reflection will take you there and allow you to see reality in a new and freeing light.
April Ann :)