Dr Jozelle Miller
January 24, 2023
The importance of looking inwardly

The state of the world today is such that most are more concerned with the outward appearance of things, than deal with the appearance on the inside. We are somewhat forced into presenting an image of ourselves that does not have to be supported by truth; instead it just has to be accepted as truth by a few whose opinions are valid enough to influence the overall purview about an individual or situation. To this end, many are more concerned about the external aesthetics instead of the internal representation that speaks to the quality of character and personality of the individual.

This then, sadly, results in persons lacking self-awareness and the ability to introspect, self-assess and work on a consistent self-development plan. For 2023, I would like to posit that it is of significant necessity that we begin to appreciate the value of doing regular introspection, to aid in our holistic development and well-being.

2: What is introspection?

Introspection is self-contemplation; self-examination; the contemplation of one’s own conduct, thoughts, desires, emotions. Typically, we don’t like to look at ourselves, it is a lot easier to blame circumstances or someone else than to examine our own role or contribution and accept responsibility for our actions. The reality is though, we would be one day forced to introspect when we realize that there is no real progress in life without doing so. Our growth depends on our ability to be authentic and honest about who we are and what we need to consistently work on.

Research shows that self-awareness is directly related to both emotional intelligence and success. It helps you create achievable goals because you can consider your strengths, weaknesses, and what drives you when you are setting goals. It allows you to guide yourself down the right path by choosing to pursue the opportunities that best fit your skill set, preferences, and tendencies. It makes it easier to identify situations and people that hit our triggers and enables us to anticipate our own reactions. It allows us to make positive behavioural changes that can lead to greater personal and interpersonal success.

The following are some important self-awareness and introspection skills:

Empathy: When you fine-tune your self-awareness abilities, you will become more empathetic thanks to heightened emotional intelligence.

Adaptability: If you know how you will react, you could avoid a tough situation by taking a walk or just taking a few deep breaths.

Confidence: By accepting and even embracing your flaws, needs and strengths, you will increase your ability to be vulnerable, which allows for stronger relationships in the workplace. Maintaining confidence is key to success.

Mindfulness: When you’re self-aware, you become more mindful of the present moment, allowing yourself to take situations as they happen rather than dwelling on the past or projecting into the future.

Patience: While your immediate reaction might be to scold an employee for a mistake or let your frustrations out on your team, self-awareness will help you practice patience, even in the face of conflict.

Kindness: This is achievable when you put aside your own feelings to support another person. Even if you’re having a bad day, being self-aware and realizing that your workers are also human beings with similar struggles can help you be more sympathetic.

Benefits of introspection:

Self-examination can be painful because being brutally honest requires us to acknowledge our faults, weakness, failures, and shortcomings.

Examining our own conduct and accepting responsibility for the consequences allows us to move on from mistakes and chart new courses in our relationships. It helps us navigate.

Introspection is a gift in that it gives us complete freedom to determine our own future and our own success because we can choose to operate in our areas of strength while acknowledging our weaknesses and managing them.

Introspection without application of self-knowledge to bring about positive personal change is a wasted opportunity.

3: Self-contemplation should become a regular activity – a habit. It requires quiet time with no distractions. It takes practice.

Writing to record thoughts and insights and to set goals during regular introspection will help drive positive change. Regular review of those notes and following up will give positive feedback and reinforcement of our efforts.

Regular introspection should also include reflecting on our successes. This promotes self-unfulfilled, inner peace, and positive energy.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” (Unknown).