"Crafting a clear vision of what you hope to create can have tremendous benefits," says therapist David Klow, LMFT, author of You Are Not Crazy: Letters From Your Therapist.
Asking yourself a few self-reflection questions before setting intentions for the year ahead will help you to discover what you really want to accomplish. The answers might reveal your heart's deepest desires.
"I think people who self-evaluate do so because they know they do not have all the answers, they are imperfect, and they know that their circumstances eventually change," says therapist and author of Finding Peace When Your Heart Is In Pieces Paul Coleman, PhD.
The self-reflection questions therapists ask themselves
1. "What do I wish people understood about me better that they don't understand?"
Sometimes people hold themselves back because they feel misunderstood. "While it references 'other people,' it's really about oneself; what do I need to do in order to be better understood? And if others did understand me better, what difference would it make in what I want to achieve or who I want to become?" says Dr. Coleman.
When asking yourself this question, Dr. Coleman says it's helpful to consider your unique strengths and weaknesses. In terms of strengths, you may notice there are some that you aren't using to your full potential. And weaknesses can point to areas of growth you may want to focus on in the coming year.
2. "What do i want to let go of?"
"This question can be used to identify aspects that are no longer serving you," says Klow. Maybe you want to let go of anger, resentment, or other emotions that are taking up valuable mental space, draining your energy. Or maybe what you want to let go of is something more tangible, like a dresser full of clothes that no longer spark joy. Klow says it can also be used to get rid of methods that are preventing you from being more effective and efficient. Letting go creates room for something that serves your life better.
3. "Am I an emotionally clear and clean vessel?"
Laura Rhodes Levin, LMFT, and founder of The Missing Peace Center asks herself this question not only in December, but throughout the whole year. "I think it’s important that a therapist has his or her own mental health in good shape. It is so important to be clear for your patients to avoid unnecessary transference and compassion fatigue," she says.
If you are a caregiver or work in any sort of field where others' often share their personal struggles with you, this is a good question to ask yourself, too. After all, the cornerstone of the whole self-care movement is that in order to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself first. Asking this question could lead to realizing that you need to find more time to emotionally care for yourself on a regular basis. And that's a revelation that could definitely lead to a beneficial life-change.
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