What is reflective practice, and what do you do with it? It will create transparency, to be able to better relate to yourself and with others.
Reflection is the ability to become an observer over your life. Asking yourself questions to drive alternate thinking. You will in reflective practice, have a deeper conversation. You will observe your experiences to describe them in greater detail. Review this and consider how you will do it differently, next time. Just as in the three principles of creating self-awareness; observe, question, reconsider.
When done well, you will get better at what you are doing in life with experiences, activities and people.
Why do you need it?
Consider for a moment what you know about yourself. What you know about others? How do you use that in your everyday life? You may lead thinking with assumptions, cognitive distortions (thinking styles that limit thinking, like black and white thinking) and misinterpretations. Reflective practice also demands you have the capacity to make mistakes, but more importantly that you can learn from them.
Without this skill you can lead a reactive life. Where little reflection and consequently no change occurs. It could see you impulsive, and you will be dissatisfied with your experiences. You may repeat patterns of behaviours and thinking. As consequently you leave thinking unquestioned, or are defensive. This will reduce your abilities for communication, relationship building and creation of life experiences you want.
Three steps to creating reflective practice:
- Ask yourself why, why, why, why, why. Drill down, to get a grasp of thinking. Get to the core of experience. An honest appraisal is required.
- Be prepared, this is a real opportunity for change. That is what reflection leads to. It is recognising that there was thinking that contributed to an experience, that you would like to work differently next time. Consequently determining HOW you will do that.
- Practice this skill. If you do not know where to start, find someone that is already doing this, that you can relate too. Modelling is one of the best ways we learn. It is a part of developmental psychology and modelling started in your childhood. You learnt basic skills like how to feed yourself, get dressed or talk with others by watching, and then copying someone (like a parent). When you surround yourself with individuals who model the behaviours you aspire too, you can see them in action. It can boost confidence for you to explore and adopt them more easily. Having conversations with openness, in reflective practice is key. You may find this a challenge at first, as you may be defensive (i.e. denial). Try to minimise defensiveness and instead explore it as part of your why.
Learning is a lifelong approach to becoming better at everything.
Reflective practice supports learning. What you focus on and are motivated to learn will drive your vision for your life. As humans our environments and the way we interact socially generates abilities to develop life skills. Reflective practice is one of many essential life skills. It will challenge your beliefs, values and world views when done well. You can become more adaptive in everyday life, rather than living with unhelpful thinking that in turn create a cycle of continuous undesirable experiences.