Self-reflection: the 6 biggest signs you should take a stab at it

A girl sitting on a dock looking out over the water

Nobody likes to be told they’re wrong. And nobody likes to realize they’re wrong.

Nobody likes to lose an argument, or believe that they could have read a situation incorrectly. When negative situations and arguments happen, people have a tendency to avoid accountability. I mean everyone does this. It’s almost like it’s an ingrained instinct.

Honestly, most people have a tendency to avoid accountability when it comes to a lot of the circumstances in their life. (Myself included.)

Because of this very human and very normal trait, a lot of people might lose friends over arguments, break up with a significant other, dwell in the negatives of their circumstances instead of taking action to better themselves. It’s a terrible downhill slide.

But the fact of the matter is, you are going to be wrong sometimes.

And because of this, self-reflection is incredibly important for maintaining relationships and for helping you experience personal growth.

But just because it’s important, that doesn’t make it any easier to do. It also doesn’t make it any easier to recognize when you should self-reflect on your situation.

A man standing on a piece of wood connecting two cliffs.
Photo by Michael Shannon on Unsplash

So what are the 6 biggest signs you might need to self-reflect?

  1. The same situation keeps happening to you

    If you find yourself repeatedly having the same problem then it’s probably a good idea to reflect on the situation to figure out why it’s happening. Especially if the problem is occurring with multiple different people.

    Maybe you’ve found on multiple occasions that you get upset or angry with friends when you’re drunk. If this is the case then it would probably benefit you to figure out what is triggering the anger on your end. Is it possible that, instead of several of your friends becoming argumentative when you drink, maybe you become a little more sensitive? Or maybe you start misinterpreting their tone?

    I know this is a specific example, but it still stands on a more general sense. If you are having the same problem with different people, try finding the common denominator on your end.

  2. More people are on the opposing side of your opinion

    Now of course this doesn’t always mean you’re wrong. *Just like none of the signs on this list necessarily means you are definitely wrong.* It’s just a good indicator that you should take the time to think some things over.

    If you find you’re disagreeing with five other people on whether or not something is offensive, it’s probably good to hear the five people out. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself if you would have the same opinions or thoughts if you were them.

  3. You haven’t experienced any big life changes in a while

    Now this is an instance in which you might need to self-reflect on the choices you are making in your life. You are meant to grow, move, learn, experience new things, and change in life.

    Maybe you haven’t put yourself out there and met new people, maybe you should start working on a side passion project, or maybe you should take up a hobby to learn something new. Start a new sport, take up an instrument, write a book. Maybe you could look into the news and current events and if you don’t understand a heavily talked about subject, take the time to educate yourself on it.
    Make choices that will help you grow.

  4. You haven’t achieved any of your major goals in a while

    It’s easy to let ourselves think that we are doing the best we can to achieve our goals in life. But just because we let ourselves think it, that doesn’t mean it’s actually the case.If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten a job you were excited about, received a promotion, took a chance on your passions, put in the time at the gym and so on, then it’s probably time to think about how much effort you’re really putting into your goals.

    How many jobs are you really applying to? How serious are you about writing a book, putting out some music, becoming a photographer etc.? Do you really want to focus on healthy eating and fitness? Are you truly putting time and effort into creating a portfolio of work?

    These are the types of questions you need to start asking yourself.

  5. You find yourself doing a lot of judging

    While some people don’t like to admit it, everyone judges. It’s just a part of being human. In fact, to a certain extent judging is actually good for you. You can judge whether or not a potential partner might be right for you, you can judge whether or not someone is lying to you, you can judge whether or not you might be in a sketchy situation.

    But there is a line that can be crossed with judging. Not everyone chooses to live their lives in the same way. Not everyone has the same beliefs as everyone else. And that’s okay.

    If you find yourself doing a lot of judging on people’s careers, on their choices of partner, on the way they spend their free time, or on how successful you view them, maybe it’s time to turn the mirror back on yourself.

    Everyone is dealt a different hand, and just because someone might do something differently than you, that doesn’t make them wrong.

  6. Someone else is insanely adamant they are correct

    So earlier in this list I mentioned that if multiple people had a different opinion than you, maybe you should look at it from their side.But let’s say you’re in an argument with one person. And they are incredibly adamant that they are on the correct side of the argument. They’re not budging.

    Yeah, they should probably also self-reflect. But you can only control your own thoughts and actions. So take a breath, and try to give them the courtesy of running the argument through from their point-of-view.

    Maybe you’ll still be solidly on your side of the argument by the end of it. But maybe you’ll also at least understand a little bit better where the other person is coming from.

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Do you have any other major signs it’s time for self-reflection? 

How do you self-reflect? And how do you discern when you need to change your thoughts and/or actions and when you should stand strong with your beliefs?

Any advice/comments/stories are welcome!

–a twenty-something.



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