Self-reflection: the key to personal growth and emotional freedom

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Louise Hay

Self-reflection: the key to personal growth and emotional freedom

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2021

Self-reflection invites us to detach ourselves from certainties and to question rigid thoughts, it also reminds us that we are free beings, autonomous in making decisions. Few dimensions of personal growth favor this very intimate and so full connection with one's inner world to arrive at asking ourselves what we really want and what puts fences between us and our happiness.

No one will be surprised to know that most of the guru of personal development call self-reflective consciousness "the forgotten art due to psychology". This is due to a very simple reason: our society has reached a point where it is very easy to blame others or luck, rather than having the courage - or the psychological ability - to admit that most of it that happens to us is a consequence, avoidable or inevitable, of our actions.

"Life is very simple, but we insist on complicating it"


I feel unlucky, because my partner is unable to make me happy. I can't build friendships that I can rely on, because all people are selfish. I still fail the exam, because the professor is angry with me. Not a day goes by without my being able to get rid of this unhappiness and this frustration, because the world simply does not know how to appreciate my worth.

Everyone is familiar with these phrases that respond to the need to find a cause or a responsible person. No doubt we will have heard these talks from a friend, family member, classmate or workmate. "The lost art of self-reflection" lies at the origin of many dysfunctional links in families, it causes the breakdown of emotional relationships and the conflicts that arise and insinuate themselves in many work environments.

If a person does not activate the way of thinking with which to question certain situations, he will be very dissatisfied. When this person is not even able to understand her emotions, to learn from mistakes or to be responsible for their actions and their consequences, he will live in a state of mind where thoughtlessness generates a single result: unhappiness.

Self-reflection: a journey towards the interior to achieve well-being

Many of us have experienced moments in which we repeated to ourselves that we had to travel, go out, overcome our personal frontiers to know ourselves. Little by little we come to realize that, in reality, there is no need to change the meridian to find this authentic version of one's being, because no matter where we go, we will always be the same. Knowledge is found within oneself and starts directly from self-reflection.

It should also be remembered that this skill is not learned in one day or even in two. It is a maturation process through which to see our reality through different lenses, to be able to ask ourselves questions that challenge us to open our minds, to question everything around us… and ourselves too. Self-reflection is the engine of personal growth, a journey for which we all have a ticket.

And as strange as it may seem, we don't always make good use of it.

Self-reflection is the key to success

By "success" we do not refer exclusively to achieving a privileged position within the company. Success is first of all well-being, it is the ability to be architects of our own happiness in any area of ​​life. Thus, as Daniel Goleman's research also says, self-reflection is essential to be able to develop adequate emotional intelligence.

We must understand, therefore, that what psychologists define as "self-reflective consciousness" is actually a "meta-cognitive" skill that we can all train and enhance. It means first of all being able to think and reflect on one's mental and emotional processes in order to understand and dominate them.

A person with a good capacity for self-reflection is a person who can manage his impulses, who plans, who has an adequate social conscience and who understands that life is continuous learning during which one must be receptive to all this. that involves us.

She is also a person capable of establishing a healthy and useful internal dialogue through which to understand mistakes, gaps, insecurities and discomforts, in order to heal them and build a better version of herself day after day.

On the other hand, it's worth it remember what Immanuel Kant once said in the "Critique of Pure Reason". According to the philosopher of Königsberg, the outside, what surrounds us, is actually a reflection of the inside. If our inner image is characterized by zero self-reflection, low self-esteem and rigid thinking, all these poor and negative dynamics will create an oppressive, gray and hostile outer world.


6. Become aware of the "cultural and social bubble" that surrounds us

Self-reflection has no reason to exist if we do not feed it also from a critical point of view. How does the society we live in impact us? We are slaves to fashions, do we care a lot about "what will they say"? Do we prioritize feeling integrated rather than acting on our real desires? ...

7. Create a daily habit of self-reflection

We need to spend at least half an hour a day practicing self-reflection. Let's focus on the most important things in life, on our emotional and mental states, on the present that surrounds us. We practice full attention, keep a diary, walk, paint or stay silent for a while in that park near the office ...

In conclusion, let's make self-reflection a conscious habit in which you have the courage to be a little freer every day. We put aside the superficiality, the fears and the warmth of our comfort zone to develop a real well-being in which to find ourselves with that being that we often neglect and to which we leave our hand too many times: ourselves.


Goleman, Daniel (2017). "Tri-Focus" Zeta Pocket

Dyer, Wayne (2010). “Your erroneous areas. Guide to the independence of the spirit ”, BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli

Jung, Carl (2010). “Memories, dreams, reflections”, BUR Biblioteca Univ. Rizzoli

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