Sitting on the train, I look at the people standing on the platform as they catch themselves in the darkened glass of the train window. They move their head slightly from side to side, but their gaze remains fixed, fascinated by a face they see every day. What is it about our own reflection that captivates us so much? Is it because we make an effort to look good and we like to admire our work? Or are we looking for flaws which might need correcting? Whether it’s admiration, correction, or curious fascination, we require our reflection to be able to do it.
If we wish to see what lies beyond our physical appearance, the approach is the same. Written reflection is particularly useful because it fosters a thorough consideration of our reality. It invites us to look more closely at the detail of who we are. The closer and more often we look, the more we see; and the clearer we see it because with repeated investigation our reflection becomes more polished. Do it regularly (try it for 5 minutes each day) and you become more open, more curious, and more adept at describing what you see, which itself creates a greater awareness.
The words you write become a record of your progress; undeniable evidence for those times when self-doubt takes hold, or when your mind tries to tell you you’re getting nowhere. Soon you begin to see your writing as an instruction manual for your self. You become more effective because you see yourself more clearly. Inevitably you see others more clearly, too. Shifting from a blurred picture of the self to a more distinct image of detail and nuance, you become more aware of behaviour, patterns and habits. It’s like learning a new word – suddenly, the word is everywhere and we can’t believe we never noticed it before. But it was always there.