I experimented with radical self-reflection this year. My goal was to understand what prompts me to be out of step with what I value and believe, to tinker with discomfort, and crack open what I pushed down, shoved away, and ignored. I started by asking questions.
Begrudgingly, I have stayed open to an answer that is neither clear nor easy to follow. I desperately wanted the answer to be simple and neat, but it’s not.
I scheduled reflection time like I scheduled everything else. It was on my calendar, so choosing to reflect or not to reflect was an active choice I made every day. I was responsible for how I used that time. And responsible for the fruits of it, too. I did my best to be honest.
Should they be useful to you, here are ten questions I asked this year:
1. What do I value?
2. What did I once value that I no longer do?
3. Through my actions and behavior, how do I demonstrate to others what I value?
4. Are the actions and behaviors I demonstrate to others the same or different as my actions and behaviors I demonstrate when no one else is around?
5. What do I know to be true about me?
6. What used to be true about me that isn’t anymore?
7. What would others say is true about me?
8. What blind spots keep me from seeing or understanding ideas that make me uncomfortable?
9. [How] am I addressing my blindspots?
10. What have I learned by answering these questions?
And then I write it down. Say it out loud so I can hear it. Bear witness to it. Know it. Feel it. And be accountable to it.
This was hard. I experienced an incredible amount of shame, regret, fear, freedom, growth, and self-realization, exploring each in hopes of leading a more examined and active life — a more spacious life.