How I Let Reflection Cultivate My Growth
By Briony Towler, (@brionynicole)
The idea of reflection in thought is tied to inner peace, closure, and personal growth. But how do you find the method of reflection that works for you? Trial and error. Reflection is not something that comes naturally to many people. We live in a world where everyone is constantly on the go, and sometimes we are purposefully busy to keep our minds from reflecting on the past or present. The latter is what hit me in the face like a ton of bricks a year ago.
At the end of 2017, I had a sudden epiphany after a situation occurred in my dating life. I realized that I was stuck in this cycle with dating. Shortly after realizing this, I started to dissect other parts of my life and found sources that caused this broken cycle. It dated back to a significant event that happened in high school — the hardest part was accepting that for ten years it subconsciously affected my decisions and my mental health. The phrase "it's not you, it's me" had never been so relevant in my life. I knew that I needed to take the time to dive deep into who I was. So I did.
The first thing that I started doing is writing. And though my hand often hurts from writing, I wrote about any and everything that was on my mind. Writing became a therapy for me. I kept a journal and would periodically go back and read the entries. I even had a journal where I took the time to chronologically go through the significant events, good or bad, that happened from 2008 forward. It started as this 15-year-old girl who just needed to trust herself and speak up a little and migrated to the girl who was quiet but threw daggers with her words at times because of bottled up anger. Then fast forward to now, a girl who is just trying to figure out what is her and what is just her bottled up emotions. I knew that to move forward to what I felt was the next step; I had to get comfortable with talking about my past in detail. I needed to relive the emotions that I pushed down for so long. I had to forgive those who didn't know that they hurt me, and I had to forgive myself. I was incredibly emotional. I sat in silence a lot to hear my thoughts. Sometimes I would sit and cry, but I began to feel better and felt I was ready for the next step.
The next planned step I am still in the process of starting, and that is therapy. There has been a lot of talk about therapy this year, and I think that it is time that we listen. My year of reflection has taught me that there are some things that I am not going to be able to talk myself through and I will need help. Mental health is a hard topic, but the truth is that I have struggled with mental health issues since 2008. At the time I was a teenager and did not know that I needed help. But I have realized that I do. And it may not require medication, but seeing a professional provides the perspective of someone outside of your mind. Reflection can start on your own, but in my opinion, for the most thorough reflection, therapy is needed at some point.
With 2018 coming to a close, now is the best time to reflect or prepare for reflection. Thinking of the good and the bad from this year, and strategizing on the future. Taking the necessary steps to ensure growth and pushing forward will ensure that you have a productive 2019.