Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

Featured Image: A diary entry from October 2nd, 2008. I was 12 and apparently unsure about using vulgar language in my own diary.

 

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a lot of your time during quarantine thinking. As usual, I started with every mistake I’ve ever made in my life and reviewing every misstep I ever took. Then after that got old, I did an audit on every relationship I’ve ever been in and tried to extract some kind of lesson from it. Then there was the analysis of my unhealthy behaviors. This, of course, naturally led to a complete breakdown of the self, the ultimate level of introspection.

Andria that sounds exhausting, you must be thinking. Yes, it is, but I love it. It’s part of the reason I write in a diary. Every entry is an argument with my past, present, and future selves. Humans are not meant to remember everything, and so sometimes we miss patterns in our behavior because of that. When you write in a diary, you are documenting those behaviors but also lines of thinking. And I know myself very well because of this. Nothing about my behavior surprises me anymore. Even when I do something stupid, I’m just like ‘yeah, that tracks.’

The point then is to connect your feelings to behavior and outcomes: when I feel this, I do this, and this happens. Or, conversely, when this happens, I feel this, and I do this. Once you can identify those lines of thinking, you can actively start to intercept them, and you can learn how to shift those outcomes.

Self-reflection is critical, in my opinion, in learning and in changing behaviors. It’s also your best defense against stagnation. By taking some time to review and analyze where you are and where you want to be, and what’s working and what’s not, you can begin to make the changes you deem necessary for a fulfilling life.

I’ve found that journaling specifically is the best way to see your logic out in front of you. By writing out your thoughts and feelings about an event, you can get clarity on what sounds kind of silly to worry about and what is truly important. You can then, with a clear head, decide how to act.

I implore you to self-examine regularly. Take a seat and a deep breath and reflect on your actions and admit to your faults. Remember to be critical, but also kind to yourself.

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