Importance of Self-Introspection
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
How often do we take out a few minutes from our busy schedule to talk to ourselves? Self-introspection is a way to do the same. It is the examination of one's thoughts and feelings. There are different ways to practice this art. Some of them are diary writing, self-talk, meditation, etc.
Naina was upset because she scored low marks in her mathematics test. The results for the unit test were out and she failed in mathematics. She found herself worthless. She believed that scoring low marks has lowered her worth. She got depressed. She buried her face under her pillow and began to weep. She had the habit of diary writing, and like every day, she mentioned this event. While she was writing, she realized that her belief in linking self-worth to academic failure was wrong. She also came to know that she made silly mistakes while solving mathematical problems. The next morning, she started afresh, and she worked hard more on the subject. She promised herself that she would perform well in term-end examinations.
The above example is of the ABC model, given by Albert Ellis. It's an REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy) technique. REBT is a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that helps to resolve emotional and behavioral problems. It also helps to manage relationship problems. It focuses on the present instead of the past. This therapy changes the irrational beliefs into rational beliefs that ultimately improve the quality of life.
ABC model is a framework that assumes your beliefs about a specific event affect your reaction to that event. Where
‘A’ stands for the activating event or adversity. (Naina's unit test result)
‘B’ stands for beliefs about the activating event. (Naina finds herself worthless when she looks at her result)
‘C’ stands for the consequences which include one's behavioral or emotional response. (Naina feeling depressed).
We come to know that the Consequence is not due to 'A' but because of 'B'. Feeling depressed after getting low grades is not right as any failure cannot decide your worth, but to comprehend your weakness and working hard towards it is very essential.
Talking with yourself or the habit of diary writing will gradually change our beliefs into more rational ones. Your beliefs will change and so your choices. When similar events take place, you may feel sad, but your conscience will remind you to make a rational choice and move ahead.
At every stage in your life, you will come across various events that are examples of the ABC model.
Some more examples are:
You have a presentation tomorrow on ABC topic.
When your classmate does not invite you to the party but invites everyone else from the class.
At your cousin's wedding, instead of you, your sibling is asked for help.
In-office, your colleague doesn't reply when you greet him/her 'good morning'.
How to practice
One should ask open-ended questions like:
What is my passion?
What makes me happy?
What are my deepest values, that makes me love myself?
Daily make a note of the event that forced you to think or react negatively
After writing the incident, ask questions such as:
What made you feel sad/angry/ depressed/ nervous/ embarrassed and similar emotions?
Why did you react in the XYZ way?
Is my belief rational?
How can I improve on it?
Not just make notes of the disturbing event, but also of the wonderful and happy ones. Always cherish your good memories.
Self-talk can be done anytime and anywhere when you go for a walk in the garden when you are having a cup of tea/coffee. You can do this while lying on the bed, before going asleep. Just remember that you need to create a quiet space for yourself and relax.
Make it a part of your routine to master this art. I practice self-introspection and when I flip back pages of my diary I laugh out loud, as I find how on petty issues, I had fought with my friend.
Changes you will observe
You will find the inner you and will discover the hidden talents.
You will face your fears as you will become more confident.
You will free yourself from the clutches of negativity.
You will be more focused on your goals in life.
You will be able to cope up with troubling situations healthily and effectively. You will realize that you don't have total control over the outcome, and sometimes, adapting to unfavorable situations is the only choice left. You will rather improve yourself and not grumble over such situations.
You will define happiness on your terms. You will gradually have the desire to be good and will activate your inner spirituality. You will not expect anything, not even any approval from others. You will be content and will always showcase the best from within.
How amazingly Self-introspection interconnected with Psychology and Spirituality!
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.