January is a great month to reflect back on our past year and plan a good year ahead. Well, introspection and reflections are a great tool to analyse our growth and improve in areas where we need to. However, reflections can turn out to be unhealthy in two instances. One, where you reflect and go back to live in the same manner without any attempt to change. For example, if you look back and find that this year you had a lot of conflicts with your family members, you found yourself procrastinating a lot, you gained some extra pounds, you picked up some unhealthy habits and then did nothing about these reflections then they do you no good. The bible talks about something similar in James chapter 1:22-24 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” Therefore, choose to be committed to growth and a better you.
The second unhealthy form of reflection is when we ruminate about things in the past and get trapped in the cycle of guilt and regret rather than a healthy correction. For example, a person who has been in a toxic or bad relationship, made bad career or work choices, knowingly or unknowingly ended up in difficult situations or just a careless move in any area of your life. Dwelling in the circumstances; the details of how and where and why things happened; how it was unfair; how it shouldn't have happened can all lead to a lot of guilt. The weight of this guilt can be so heavy that one may have difficulty moving forward with a healthy attitude. The bible reminds us in 1 Timothy 2:17, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We can choose to reflect on the past with an objective of learning and then chose to not let those thoughts overwhelm us. One question that can help you do just that could be what are my three take away statements from my experience. Once you have got the answer for the same, choose to focus on your takeaways and your action plan and move forward. Let our reflections this season be meaningful and effective.