Reflection is looking back on an event or an experience and asking ourselves what we can learn from it.
We can’t go back and change the way we behaved in any situation, but we can learn from it. If we feel a lot of guilt about a situation, reflecting on it and being able to identify ways we can ensure it doesn’t happen again in the future can go a long way to helping us relieve some of that guilt.
Commonly in nursing practice especially, reflection is used as a tool when a mistake has been made, an error, so that those involved can learn from it, making it less likely for the mistake to occur again. However this isn’t and shouldn’t be its only use.
In our mission to live our best lives, we need to be able to take all things that happen, both good and bad and learn from them – about ourselves and also about those around us.
We often do reflect on situations, however if we don’t do this in a structured way, we run the risk of not pulling the best learning from it, or worse yet finding one reason why the situation occurred that can relieve ourselves of responsibility or blame and move on, without learning.
Reflecting in a structured way, will enhance the amount we can learn and also the depth of what we learn. There are many reflection tools out there, the one I’m most familiar with and have used most is Gibbs reflective cycle (https://www.brookes.ac.uk/students/upgrade/study-skills/reflective-writing-gibbs/) since doing a lot of work around core values. If you are not yet familiar with what our core values are, or what your own core values are, you can read my blog ‘why are values important’ here, or you can download my free workbook for exploring your core values here.
Reflection should involve asking yourself questions around your behaviours and your feelings, but also questions around what else you can make from the situation, for example was it a highly pressured environment, was there an external pressure to react quickly as well as understanding a situation from another person’s perspective.
Reflection can be done in many different ways, the way I am suggesting here is to utilise a time after the event or situation when your emotions are less strong, which will give space for you to truly reflect on all of the elements, without your thoughts being clouded by strong emotions.
Using reflection regularly can help us to identify our strengths and weakness, which can help us to seek out situations that play to our strengths and avoid situations that may bring out our weaknesses. It can also allow us to make a plan for the next time a similar situation arises – therefore ensuring that next time we can react / respond / behave in a way that is more in line with who we are and who we want to be – with a ready prepared response.
Structured reflection can take some practice to be able to delve deeply, you may find it helpful to use the workbook and to write down your answers, you may also find it easier to reflect with a coach who is experienced and qualified at drawing out the things you may not be able to see. If you are ready to live your best life and would like a helping hand to get you there, click here for a free clarity coaching call with me.