There are times that I go back and forth with the question of which is more important; pruning the leaves and treating the soil or cutting the bad roots and even uprooting all together to repot. Although I’m sure to have at least peaked the attention of some gardeners and plantsmen reading this, I must admit that I am not a green thumb by far nor am I talking about plants. I’m talking about myself.
In my years I have learned that we will eventually run into a time where we should stop and take an introspective look into our life’s journey and ask the questions, “how did I get here”, “am I happy with where I am” or “where did I go wrong”. I recently had this experience where I’d hit a wall and could not understand how I’d gotten there. How could my life had looked so different only a year or two ago and where the heck did I take the left turn? It was important to me because I didn’t want to ever make the mistake of going in that direction again. What was perhaps even more important however is how understanding the past gifts us with a better blueprint for the future.
I am a true believer in the practice of living for the present moment and letting the past and future work themselves out. But before I got here, I’d made many decisions that started ripples in time. Through my actions, those ripples brought me to a state of disarray because I didn’t remember the source of my state. Living in the present is comfortable when you don’t have to deal with anything connected with the past. But when your past comes to bite you in the butt or perhaps when it comes to gift a reward that pays in dividends, you can lose your peace and contentment if you lack control or understanding what got you here. This is how I got to my original question of which is more important; going all the way back to the root behaviors and choices that got me here or simply cutting the bad issues and behaviors where I am and moving forward?
Introspection is a powerful thing when done right. When done wrong, you can become obsessive and your self-reflection can create extreme depression and anxiety. To help on your introspective questioning I’d like to suggest the following “what” questions as opposed to “why” questions:
What experience do I want to create for tomorrow?
What do I want to add to my life today?
What can I attach myself to that’s bigger than me?
What distracts me most daily?
What’s the healthiest habit I can start?
Although there are many more questions that can be asked, I feel it’s important that after all is said and done, you’ve done more than you’ve said. You may also notice that none of my questions are posed to enhance a negative experience or feeling. This is important because your comments can easily become commandments for your life. A simple statement like, “I don’t like who I am today” can command your psyche and future behavior to reflect dislike and disdain for yourself. Be very careful and intentional about how you talk to yourself, even when asking questions.
Although introspection is a great start, it is only a start. Your understanding is insight into your faith and your faith must be what fuels your action. Good luck!
** To talk more directly about introspection, hit me on my contact page.
Have you ever considered introspection before?
How often do you take a look at yourself and your life?