Reflection and Discernment in
a Dynamic World
Reflection is a careful thought about oneself, one’s behaviour and one’s
beliefs. It means reviewing past experiences and making insights about them. Reflection
is like looking into the mirror and saying what you see.
It is necessary, because it encourages personal growth. Reflection helps
identify our mistakes and how we can improve on them in the future. It also strengthens a person’s emotional intelligence
and self-regulation, because during self-reflection, you have the opportunity
of checking your strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals and to also check
your impact on the people around you. Self-regulation involves being able to
correct yourself and adapt to changing situations. This is the building of a
Reflection enables one to act with Integrity. This occurs as a result of
conscious effort, reviewing all the actions made and decisions taken and
comparing them to the values you hold in esteem would help you monitor and
control yourself and slowly help you become a person of integrity. Over time, reviewing and reflecting on your
past will help you solidify the decisions you make according to the values , it
helps in effective decision making and asserts confidence because you are very
comfortable with the decisions you take.
Self-reflection is usually difficult at first or could be even
embarrassing but after some time, it becomes efficient and very useful to you.
It also helps to develop critical thinking skills and creativity. There is no
one superior way to reflect and it is important to choose a method or process
that fits you. One model is the Gibbs Reflection Cycle. It consists of six
stages: Description, Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusions and Personal
Action Plans. In this case, reflection is more of a cycle. Conclusions drawn
from the evaluation and analysis stages help the person create a new plan for
action. When this new plan is implemented, the process begins again to reflect
on these new actions.
Discernment is the ability to perceive clearly the differences between
things or people, and make decisions based on those perceptions. The first step
is acknowledging that we are not all the same. Some people are smarter, better
looking, louder, more annoying than others.
Discernment means setting firm boundaries and measuring everything we encounter
against these standards; it is like gauging everything you come across to see
if it is aligned with your personal goals and values. Lastly, discernment is
the cognitive ability to distinguish: the appropriate and inappropriate, the
real and unreal, the eternal and temporary and the good from the better.
This is important, because discernment allows a person to make good
choices that are aligned with their values and goals. If you have a friend that
is known to be very loud and restless person, you know not to make that person
you study partner, because your goal of achieving an “A” may not be achieved. A
person who is negative, puts people down, and carries around anger all the time
has bad energy – we choose not to spend time with them because it’s simply not
healthy for us. We don’t have to tell
other people “that’s a bad person”. We
know they aren’t good for us and it will become self-evident for others who use
their discernment. Discernment gives us clear perception and the ability to
make good choices without having to be better or worse than anyone else.
The world in which we live is
a dynamic one; it changes. Life is not a finished product, but an on-going
process and thus, people, the environment, and our goals are constantly
evolving. In the midst of this constant evolution, reflection and discernment
have become a necessity. As technology keeps improving and with the creation of
the Internet, we are now bombarded with so may different types of information,
in the form of articles, videos, and social media. It is important to use our
discernment to distinguish what is true and what is false and also what is
appropriate for us to see and take part in.
Also, society and its
values keep changing. In the past, slavery was an accepted practice and now it
is not. Before, homosexuality was not accepted, but now it is. With all these
new changes, we need to discern which ones we, personally, can accept. Even
more specifically, our circle of friends and acquaintances changes as we move
through the different stages of our lives. It
is important to differentiate those that harm us or hinder our journey and those
that divert the focus of the journey. Our own values and goals change as we grow up,
so it is important to reflect every once in a while to make sure that they are
still relevant to our current situation. Our
perceptions of self and others need a constant re-visit.