Reflection: A Uniquely Human Quality
The ability to reflect is an inherently human quality as reflection requires higher thinking to exist.
Many animals are able to recognize or learn from experience, but reflection requires a developed pre-frontal cortex, and even then, unfortunately in some, that is still not enough.
We have all come across someone who is unable to step back and “reflect” upon themselves, their behavior, and situations in general. When one comes across someone of an unreflective nature, one tends to want to exit their presence quickly. Why? Because these people are dangerous to themselves and to others. They are unable to tap into empathy and to see themselves as others see them. They also tend to always want to be right.
The ability of reflection is somewhat of a learned process and it has a few key ingredients: humility, empathy, forgiveness, optimism, and wanting to become better. I guess pessimists would reflect on becoming worse, but for argument’s sake, let’s leave pessimists out for the moment. Reflection also needs time. Quiet time. Some might even say that you enter a contemplative or meditative state when true reflection takes place, as it takes us deep into our thoughts and feelings. Our mind tries to understand our heart.
Reflection does make us more human. Through reflection, we are able to bring loving kindness into our life on so many levels: personal, family, work, community…world. If successful reflection takes place, we solve issues that bother us, correct our behavior if needed, and it makes us arrive at a place of healing and opportunity. We understand that we are not alone, and that what we do, our thoughts, and ultimately our actions have great effect upon our lives and that of others.
In this new year, I invite you to first reflect before we lay out our plans, before we set our intentions. Reflect on where we are today… how do we feel? Are we good where we are? Who are we? What’s more important to us? Give yourself the gift of reflection, you more than anyone deserve these moments of contemplation that will bring change… because everything is change.