self-assessment and learning to grow

Recently a friend asked about whether we get enough feedback on our behaviour, and whether the way we think we are and how others see us is worth examining more closely. There is a process called 360 degree feedback, where all sorts of people answer questions about you and that paints a picture for you of how others see you. Of course, most of us don’t get to do that.
I have recently been thinking of the idea of being a reflective practitioner, in my case that applies to my psychology practice, but in reality it can apply to anyone. I find that often we can rush through life without taking the time to reflect, and this leads to habits forming in the way we respond. Reflective thinking should hopefully open our eyes to things we can do differently, which will help us develop ways of responding differently to situations.
What kinds of feedback do you get on a regular basis? For me, it is the way people talk with me, how they react to something I say, whether or not people appear apprehensive about giving me “bad” news, and how they share about life with me. If people are all work, then I know that perhaps I have been short with them, or ignored them when they have tried to humanise our interaction. So, I can change my relationships with others in a positive manner, by reflecting and learning. I can also ask them to tell me about my behaviour, what they have seen me do well or badly, and what they would recommend I do instead.
This is why cyber-interaction will never truly replace face-to-face relationships. Its often in the face-to-face that we build a relationship strong enough to take the criticism when it is due. I value my friends, and I try to accept their advice when it is given (sometimes not with as much grace as I could – I am still learning).
The other thing that reflection can do is help us evaluate how our lives are lining up with our values. We drift from core values easily and quickly in the bedlam of modern life, but reflection can help us to realign. By living by our values, we live better lives and are better people.

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