Bae and I have gotten into some pretty heated arguments. And like most couples, when the shit storm is raging, words start flying around that can bounce between the walls of our minds for longer than we’d like to remember. This can happen in any relationship, whether with our parents, siblings, friends, or lovers. What’s important about these moments is that after we’ve cooled down and said our apologies, we reflect on the situation to better understand ourselves.

Reflection is probably the best tool I was ever taught. Most of us do this naturally, but it comes in the form of anxiety about what we could’ve done or said differently, how we were perceived by others, or wondering if how we acted was good enough in some way. This pattern of thought can become dangerous if it consumes too much of your mind. 

Reflection should lead to some revelation of self discovery. Instead of replaying what went wrong over and over, focus on why it went down the way it did by concentrating on your reactions. Ain’t no one in charge of you but your self, and it’s foolish to think otherwise. Tracing feelings back to the root of their cause reveals a lot about ourselves, what makes us tick, and the types of personalities we should avoid. 

Sometimes this is going to suck. Sometimes it’ll be you that’s the asshole and needs to change. No one is perfect; we’re all flawsome. Apologizing when we’re wrong is a sign of maturity.  Changing the problematic behavior is even better, and is a sign of successful adulting. It won’t happen overnight, but becoming aware of an issue through reflection is the first step to rehabbing your salty ass self!

Seriously though. If you’re serious about growing, becoming a better person, and getting what you want out of life, reflection is a necessity. Soon after you’ll realize all of your relationships will have become much stronger, and most importantly, the relationship with yourself will grow exponentially. 

Here are some reflection tips to try:

First, go somewhere and do something that feels safe and calming. Go jogging, sit under tree, take a walk around town; take a bath or treat yourself to the spa! Distraction should be minimal so avoid TV and cell phones. 

Allow yourself to FEEL. Pay attention to what you’re feeling, where it stems from, and how you handle negative feelings (hence the safe space). Sometimes this is some scary shit. Proceed with caution—  this can lead to some major self discovery if explored honestly. 

Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. What is working and why? Sometimes the answer to our problems are things we already do. Maybe there’s a whole lot not working and you see the same problems popping up time after time. If this is you, explore why. If something you’re doing isn’t working then figure out what that is and take ownership of it. Then change that shit. You’re smart. There’s no reason to chase your tail when you already know it can’t be caught. 

Be honest with yourself. Explore the depths of your childhood. It’s a psychological fact our parents are the #1 reason we’re fucked up. As grown adults, we have the power to change our behavior. If delving into childhood trauma is too painful, consulting a licensed therapist is the best way to overcome it. 

You are in control of yourself now. Don’t let you down.