Most of us live in a society where every mildly interesting moment we experience is uploaded to “the cloud,” and our thoughts are only worth expressing if we can do so in less than 140 characters.
But, aren’t we supposed to be the most expressive and philosophical generation yet? Is this really the extent of our complexity?
It’s not a very big surprise that most of us don’t have everything figured out in our 20s. So, why aren’t we taking the time to reflect on our lives instead of posting a picture of our latest fancy dinner to Instagram with ridiculous captions like #foodporn?
The simple answer is because it’s easy. It’s effortless to Snapchat a picture of your scrumptious dessert or to take a group selfie with friends in order to subconsciously validate your current lifestyle.
The unfortunate part of this trend is that it trivializes any deeper reflection, which is exactly what is necessary to maintain any sense of direction at this crucial stage in life.
I’ve seen far too many young people become engrossed in their day-to-day routines and activities and then wake up a month or a year later, wondering where those elusive “best days of their lives” went.
But, we can always check our Twitter feeds to learn what we were up to back then! Oh, right. It’s probably just a bunch of selfies, pictures of food and pseudo artistic shots of sunsets.
All sarcasm aside, it is vital we take time to reflect on where our lives were heading and whether we are truly content with them.
It is only through making an effort to record our thoughts in some substantial way (as in, more than 140 characters) that we will gain insight into who we are and how we think.
Not only that, but true self-reflection provides people with a means of tracking self-growth, along with being able to assess how we’ve changed for better or worse.
Most importantly, self-reflection enables one to gently apply the brakes on this fast-paced journey through life. Self-reflection gives you the chance to appreciate those beautiful intricacies that too often pass by in a blur.
Unlike most of my friends, I’ve been blogging ever since high school, which was about six years ago. Up until recently, very few people read what I wrote, but honestly, it makes no difference to me.
Unlike most social media users, my primary motivation for blogging stemmed not from a desire to entertain or share my thoughts with others, but for myself. In this sense, the purpose my blog serves is similar to a journal. I want to be able to look back and know what I authentically felt and thought at any point in time.
I don’t aim to make my life seem more interesting than it is, and I don’t attempt to seek approval from people I barely know (something of which most social media users are guilty).
This sense of clarity is just one of the many benefits that naturally arise when you are the main audience of your writing.
I recently looked back on some of my old blogs from high school and was rather surprised by how different I sounded. My priorities were different (“OMG, that girl I had a crush on totally looked at me today”), the way I viewed the world was pretty naïve and my writing style seemed much more primitive.
Nonetheless, it was very enlightening to see the evolution of my personality over the years in such detail. One should not always focus on what has changed, but consider what has remained constant.
There are several facets of my personality that have been static throughout the years, and consequently, I was able to gain insight into who and what truly mattered to me.
Oftentimes, it’s difficult to see progress or even change in our day-to-day lives. Today is not so different from yesterday, and we expect tomorrow to be similar, as well.
But yet, we are slowly changing. Our journey through life is not adequately measured on a scale as small as days, but rather, on far longer horizons.
It is as if we are climbing very tall mountains by way of a very gentle slope. If you pause for a moment and look around, everything seems relatively flat.
Upon “zooming out” the progress made and forward progression is more visible.
This ability to take a step backward and examine the bigger picture in our lives is the real power of self-reflection.