Self-Reflection Leaves No Blind Spots for the Future

“People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind spot.” Bryant McGill

Bryant McGill, a respected thought leader and best-selling author, says that without self-inquiry, you’d be missing out a lot in life. It’s like having blind spots that would prevent you from seeing the big picture, or worse, cause you to fall again and again.

But what exactly is self-reflection? How can it help you as a caregiver?

Self-reflection is looking back in the past, not to dwell on it, but to sort through experiences to learn and improve oneself.

Reflecting lets you realize what things created problems or did not work. Your realizations, in turn, can help you avoid making the same mistakes in the future. They can also reveal which experiences made you a better person so that you can further nourish things that made you grow.

The benefits do not stop here.

Self-reflection is like a spiritual date with oneself, that ‘getting to know you’ part that we know of makes you more self-aware. An example is, “I get annoyed when a co-worker refuses to help me”. You know what things usually upset you.

It gives you great insight, too. "I'll help her often so that she'll be more supportive the next time." This way of thinking creates healthier working relationships within one's job.

Another good thing about being open to analyzing the past is that it helps dispel burnout, which is common in caregiving. When you remember your passion for your work and the many ways you have touched patients’ lives, it gives you back the reasons why you should carry on with even more compassion.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway of self-reflection is that the learning can make you more mature and more accepting of things that cannot be changed. It leads to wisdom and personal growth, and therefore, you tend to make the right choices in the future.

Things to Reflect on

A caregiver can reflect on what went wrong while at work, either with patients or co-workers. Take a look at our examples below:

1. A recent incident of a patient's fall
2. A miscommunication with a colleague that resulted in an error
3. Lapses in infection control practices that caused a disease outbreak
4. A patient leaving poor feedback
5. Distractions that delayed documentation

On the other hand, here are some positive events to learn from:

1. A previously uncooperative patient who agreed to be bathed without a fuss
2. A team effort that prevented a patient from having a complication
3. A huddle meeting that motivated and inspired you
4. Your ‘Best Employee of the Month’ award
5. Making your co-worker happy with your simple birthday surprise
How to do Self-reflection

Self-reflection is easy. If you make it your daily habit, such as doing it on your way home, you’ll soon be on the road to success. Use the guide below to help you.

1. Assess the situation.

Backtrack on the event in detail and take note of the people who were with you on those occasions. When and where did it take place? What happened in the end?

2. Remember your feelings at that time.

What did you feel when that situation occurred? Did you feel angry? Anxious? Irritated? Knowing your feelings in that experience can help you control your emotions should a similar incident happen again in the future.

3. Try to make sense of what happened.

An unfortunate event can stir a lot of confusion. As you analyze the details, you’ll soon realize what you’ve missed in the process and what you should have done instead. You’ll also be able to understand which things led to the negative outcome.

4. Develop your insights.

Is there a similarity to other past events? Can you see a pattern? Try to think of ways to do things differently so that you’ll end up with a positive result. How will this improve you as a caregiver? What can you do as a preventive measure to prevent errors instead of correcting mistakes after they already happened?

5. Put what you've learned into practice.

Your realizations after self-reflection would only be significant if you use them to improve your future as a person and as a caregiver. Take it as your personal success if you manage to change an outcome into a constructive one by applying what you've learned.

The past is full of lessons. It's only up to you to use your experience and discover how beautiful life is. Doing self-reflection leaves no blind spots for the future if you are diligent enough to learn from past mistakes and to enhance positive behaviors.