I was raised to be self-reflective. It is instilled in me that we all have a kuleana (responsibility) in any situation. We have a part in both positive and negative outcomes. We were taught to take responsibility which enables us to self-reflect and grow from that experience, and do things differently in the future. For example, if there is a disagreement, both parties have a part in that disagreement. Maybe upon self-reflection you determine that perhaps your tone contributed to the disagreement; perhaps you misunderstood the other person.
Why is it a blessing? I have found that no one (and I seriously mean no one) could be harder on me than myself. In self-reflecting there are times where I realize I could have handled things differently, I could have used my words differently and sometimes maybe waited to have a conversation. There are times that I have been disappointed in myself; more than anyone else could be of me. All that being said, my self-reflection has allowed me to become a better person, correct my own behavior and understand myself more.
At the end of the day I truly believe that I am a work in progress (no matter how old I get). Self-reflection has allowed me to progress and to be honest with myself. I am not perfect and there are always things I could do better; there are also times I recognize that I have grown and give myself credit.
The hardest thing that I have had to accept is that not everyone is self-reflective. So the question becomes how does someone like me interact with someone who does not self-reflect? Sure it’s easy when two self-reflective people come together to come to a resolution. That is the curse.
When you are the first to admit your mistake/role in a situation you can be taken advantage of. A non-self-reflective person does not have a reason to be self-reflective therefore does not have to recognize nor admit their role. This can be challenging because it can feel like your are always to blame or you are always in the wrong. It can also feel like you are the only one trying to make a change in a siuation. Similarly, in this fast-paced world where we communicate via text, social media or email, it may be harder to recognize our role in a misunderstanding.
What I have learned over the years is self-reflection is hard. You uncover insecurities, characteristics you don’t like about yourself (like jealousy) and flaws you have to correct. It is innate human behavior to avoid these kind of things – which is why it is easier to not be self-reflective. However, because I am self-reflective I am able to be pono (right) with any outcome of a situation. I am content that I have done everything I can – taken responsibility for my actions, recognize how I can do things differently and tried to make things right.
The last couple of years I have lived by the following mantra – let your behavior be a testament to your character; and the behavior of others be a testament to theirs.