Looking back and looking forward
Many People Look Back At the End of the Year
As quickly as the holiday season comes and goes, and as busy as December can be for many of us, it can also feel like a very long month.
In December, particularly near the end of the month, it is common to see a lot of retrospectives. Whether it be in the form of holiday greeting cards, social media, in the news, or amongst your own inner circle, you may notice a lot of “top 10 lists” from 2021, “most liked pictures,” or even “worst of” lists.
Maybe this is because people like to take some time to reflect on the last year. Reflection is giving serious thought or consideration to something. Sometimes the art and exercise of reflection can be a useful and meaningful way to take stock and consider aspects of one’s life and circumstances. Perhaps year end reflections make way for new year goal setting and intentions, more on that to come below, so read on!
Self-Reflection and Wellness Can Give Us Personal Insights
Self-Reflection can help provide us with insight into why we do what we do. Why do we have the habits, rituals, and tendencies that we do? Why do certain experiences, people, places make us feel a certain way? Or bring out such strong feelings from within ourselves?
Building this type of insight is not always easy and it can take support and finesse. That’s why many people turn to a therapist or counselor to help them navigate this experience. It can also take time. And it can have valuable benefits such as increased physical and mental wellness.
For tips and strategies related to self-reflection:
- Identify what you are reflecting. What do you want to gain insight on? Is there a particular issue or stressor you want to address?
- Identify the why. Are you experiencing feelings that are strange to you? Do they make sense? Are they bringing up other feelings and memories?
- Identify what or how you can make a change if you want to. Is your insight into the what and why making you feel like doing something differently would be beneficial?
- Be kind to yourself. Reflection can be hard work and for some is best done with support and structure such as in a therapeutic context.
For more detailed information, see here.
Self Reflection and Emotional Intelligence Can Help with End of Year Self-Evaluations
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, leverage, and manage your emotions in a positive way. Maybe you are using your emotions to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, handle conflict, or overcome a challenge.
It’s very possible that you have heard people talk about emotional intelligence or EQ as many experts from the fields of business, education, and mental health say there is great value in a person’s ability to use their emotional intelligence to navigate a great variety of situations that must be dealt with in life. Some people have innate high levels of emotional intelligence/EQ and others must work on improving their EQ if they value the quality.
Tips for increasing Emotional Intelligence:
- Listen. Utilize active listening skills by paying attention to verbal and non-verbal cues
- Empathize. Can you put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to feel how they might be feeling in a certain situation? Can you see another person’s point of view or experience and imagine how it might feel?
- Reflect. Consider what kind of role your feelings and emotions play in your decisions and behaviors. Can you apply that kind of consideration and insight to other people and their experiences as well as your own?
And if you weren’t tipped off already by the third bullet, there may just be a relationship between self-reflection and emotional intelligence. As you peel back the layers in efforts to understand the connection between how self-reflection may prompt emotional intelligence and vice versa, it may be helpful to delve into this article.
If you feel extra support and help around self-reflection and building or understanding emotional intelligence would benefit you, please reach out. If you want to learn more about tools that can help you, a licensed therapist or counselor can support you with your goals.
Ruth enjoys spending time with her family, friends and dog. She loves to cook, spend time outdoors and go to the beach (even when it’s cold outside).
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