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  1. 1. A Beginners Guide to Introspection Looking into Yourself: the Power of IntrospectionHave you ever wondered what part you might have played in a quarrel? In a communication breakdown? In a misunderstanding? Dont feel bad or be surprised if you answered no.Why? Why is it easier to say that the problem is the other guy and not us? It seems to be inherently easier to say Im OK, youre not when considering interpersonal interactions. We naturally tend to look outside ourselves for the reasons for problems. Less than 5% of people naturally tend to look within themselves rather than without for answers to problems. Introspection is defined as the inspection of ones own thoughts and feelings; the process of self-examination.Encyclopedia Britannica adds that introspection is the process of observing the operations of ones own mind with a view to discovering the laws that govern the mind. What laws govern your mind? Can you see into your motives, your psychology, and your self-image?Most of us dont take time to consider how we got to be the way we are now. We just are and thats as far as it goes. The truth of the matter is we didnt just get that way; we were influenced by a vast multitude of factors: genetics, culture, family, education, social orientation, trauma, birth order - the list goes on and on. Each of these factors was woven into the tapestry that makes us who we are - that causes us to react to others in the ways we do.But in an argument or misunderstanding we dont usually think, what is my part in this? What did I do or say to cause this misunderstanding. Its much easier to look without rather than within. Taking responsibility for ourselves means being willing enough and honest enough to question ourselves about what drives us - and much more than that, introspection means a willingness to change what we see in order to make changes. Copyright 2009 KITES Behavioral Training India |
  2. 2. A Beginners Guide to Introspection FAQs Im having trouble even being interested in the topic. Why should I even be concerned about introspection?This may not be an answer you like, but you dont need to be concerned about your inner life if you want to continue the way you are today. However if you have even an inkling that you might be the cause of someone elses unhappiness or that your self-centeredness is the cause of some problems between you and others, then introspection is a skill you might want to cultivate. Im okay; problems I encounter are in others. How do I convince them of that?Most of us are okay with ourselves. How could we be otherwise? We are so used to living with ourselves that its difficult to even conceive that we might be less than perfect. While some of the problems might and probably are in others, this does not give us the right to excuse ourselves from doing some inner exploration. Before you try to convince someone else that they are the problem, you must take the time to question your own motives. If you can be honest with yourself then you will be better able to speak about the other persons problem. What kinds of questions do I ask myself? What am I trying to discover about myself?Not why do they make me so angry? but why do I get angry? is a better approach. Am I being selfish, self-centered, or just wanting my own way? Am I trying to manipulate the other person through guilt or bad feelings? Am I being lazy? These are only a starting place. Copyright 2009 KITES Behavioral Training India |
  3. 3. A Beginners Guide to Introspection How do I get someone else to be introspective?There is no sure way to get another person to be introspective. Perhaps if they see you being more thoughtful about your motives they may question themselves. But in the long run you cant make anyone do anything about their inner life unless they see the benefit for themselves. Why should I change? What does it benefit me?My personal belief is that the self-discovery found through being introspective is a reward unto itself. But, more practically, self-honesty can yield greater peace in life - less strife within and less strife with others. There are things about my (spouse, boss, friend, kids) that infuriate me - how does being introspective make adifference?Ive found time after time that the thing that irritates us about another is often a weakness we have in ourselves. Seeing that weakness in another person infuriates us when actually we have the same problem - if we would be honest with ourselves.Introspection is not a cure-all for relationship problems. It is a valuable tool for growing up inside and becoming a happier person. Copyright 2009 KITES Behavioral Training India |
  4. 4. A Beginners Guide to Introspection In a country where blame has become the means to excuse one's self from responsibility, pointing a finger at others, or even some unseen force of nature has almost become the national pastime. Rather than be accountable for our own choices, many Americans have learned that they can conveniently find fault elsewhere. Are you overweight? Well it must be a reaction to the pressure that society has unjustly put on you to be model-thin. Perhaps you didn't get that puppy you wanted for your 12th birthday or you find comfort in food because you were inappropriately touched when you were a kid. Maybe you have an abusive spouse, or you're depressed, or maybe your planets are just out of line. To admit a willing contribution to a spike in Hagen Das stock or that your exercise regimen consists of chewing and R.E.M. would force people to make some difficult choices, and present options which may lay outside of our comfort zones. More importantly, it would require honesty when we are self-evaluating. It's easier self appease by laying blame elsewhere rather than be responsible and doing the work it takes to correct the course. Without honesty, there can be no introspection.A Beginners Guide to IntrospectionIntrospection is the art of understanding about yourself and how you react to events going on in the world. Any life coach worth their salt will tell you that introspection is one of the fundamentals of self-improvement.The more self-aware you become, the more you're able to understand others, which helps you in many ways. Why? Because self awareness gives you an idea of how people tick.To take introspection to its highest possible level will benefit every aspect of your life. Through introspection you can begin to change aspects of your behavior that don't assist you in being a success, you can identify the specific things that make you happy. Introspection is not just about learning about yourself for it teaches you about the world in general. Copyright 2009 KITES Behavioral Training India |
  5. 5. A Beginners Guide to Introspection Perhaps the most significant thing of all about introspection is that it encourages you to challenge existing beliefs and values that you may take for granted. Introspection acts as a torch into the soul that gives us the information we need to make the necessary changes, it helps to engrain a sense of realism counterbalanced with a optimism and self belief for the future.Introspection requires you to spend time thinking about the things that are going well in your life, as well as what is wrong. By shifting the focus in this way you allow yourself to see the unsavory things about you, but you are placed in a frame of mind that will take decisive action. On a positive note you may discover extra things you enjoy and do well in. Introspection is a great way of highlighting an area that you have an interest or skill in. You encourage yourself to incorporate new behaviors and positive thinking, but you do not dwell on the past of previous failings.Introspection increases you levels of self awareness, but it also improves your decision making ability because you feel more confident in the knowledge you are basing your decision making on. Limiting decision making is any decision that decides not to proceed with something on the basis of not feeling capable of doing it. Any decision you make that is reached by you thinking that you are too stupid or bad is an example of this. The more limiting decisions you make in your day to day life increase the likelihood of this type of decision making becoming habit.Through developing your sense of introspection to its fullest extent, you will become far more honest with yourself. There is little point in being a little bit honest or biased against your weaknesses. It is essential that you manage to avoid looking at yourself through rose tinted glasses. The best way to do this is by asking the right questions and answering them honestly.You have to become self aware to the point where there are no secrets being kept from yourself. Truth, no matter how unsavory, is the first place to start before finding solutions to your problems. Copyright 2009 KITES Behavioral Training India |
  6. 6. A Beginners Guide to Introspection So, the best way to find stuff out about something is to ask the relevant questions. In your case the relevant questions should include things that answer specific questions about yourself, such as 'What are my biggest strengths?' and ' What am I weak at?' Search for the most honest appraisal possible. Do not be afraid of confronting your weaknesses because it takes strength to do that! From learning your weaknesses, you become aware of what to build upon and what to exclude from you future positioning.Introspection is a highly emotive process: You need to identify the dominant emotions of your character in order to understand who you are.Labeling an emotion precisely is not that important. The most important thing is to be able to analyze your thoughts and behaviors in a way that shows you where your attention is being focused on.With that in mind think abo