Self Reflection and Change

Gail, for website

by Gail Schuster, LCSW

We have just concluded the High Holy Days, or Days of Awe on the Jewish calendar. This is a time defined by the celebration of the coming year as well as intense self-reflection. By openly and honestly looking at ourselves, we have an opportunity, with the new year, to modify our behavior to become a more satisfied and content person.   

Neither the process of self-reflection nor of making changes is simple. To change, we need two things: a goal and an awareness of where we are now. Understanding that we are not now where we want to be becomes our motivation for change. If the distance between where we are and where we want to be is too great, we may feel paralyzed, which can lead to feelings of depression and low self-worth. We need to be realistic about goals and start with small steps that are achievable.

Be as honest as possible when analyzing where you are and what you would like to improve. This is not a time for self-absorption or narcissism. We all have beliefs, attitudes and ideas that have been with us throughout our lifetime, and they govern our thinking. It is through changing our thinking that our long-held beliefs start to change. This is how change occurs in our lives.

So where do we start? Some people can easily identify the changes they want to make in their lives. For others, this is a daunting task. The 10 questions below, published by entrepreneur and writer Wayne Sutton, may help you start the process and keep you on the path towards self-reflection and change: 

  • Am I using my time wisely?
  • Am I taking anything for granted?
  • Am I employing a healthy perspective?
  • Am I living true to myself?
  • Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day?
  • Am I thinking negative thoughts before I sleep?
  • Am I putting enough effort into my relationships?
  • Am I taking care of myself physically?
  • Am I letting matters out of my control stress me out?
  • Am I achieving the goals that I set for myself?

If you find that you are struggling with the process of self-reflection and change, consider seeking the assistance of a professional. An impartial second party can help you identify problem areas in your life and determine where change would be beneficial. Here’s hoping that the hard work of introspection and change will bring each of you a more fulfilling and satisfying life in the year ahead.

CJFS offers counseling by licensed professionals for people of all ages and faiths. Medicare and other insurance plans are accepted. A sliding scale is available for private-pay clients. For additional information, contact Clinical Director Stu Jaffe, stu@cjfsbham.org or 205.879.3438.  


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