The time in isolation during the pandemic was of grief, loss and anger, but for many it was also of self introspection. James Schmidt in a TedX Talk discusses the importance of self reflection He compares it to how we look into the mirror and examine ourselves, change how we’re looking if we don’t like it a lot. Just that for self reflection, this examination is internal.
He defines self reflection as “the capacity of humans to exercise introspection and the willingness to learn about the fundamental nature purpose and essence.” He then goes on to say that due to the routine of our busy lives, we become disoriented and these questions start lurking in our mind about why things are the way they are, whether you have what it takes to be who you want to be, and more.
Schmidt also says while you can avoid these questions momentarily, “they will confront you”. “Those moments when you have to face yourself usually occur when there is a big change or shock to your life; it’s when you have to look at yourself and think about your fundamental nature, purpose, and essence.”
Schmidt shares about the sudden passing away of his father, and the grief, loss, and eventually, reflection that that brought on, “I thought about where life had led me so far, all of the people that gave me joy, the things I was proud of, the regrets I had and, of course, the people I have lost.” He calls it a “harrowing experience” and says that “I did take the opportunity to learn to reflect upon myself. I gained a new perspective on life because I had to confront death, and through self-reflection, I have found some guiding principles that I will live like the rest of my life.”
He advises to “take time to talk to people” beyond just casual chats because people “have fascinating stories to tell as “they demonstrate invaluable lessons that help us put our lives into perspective stories make people and help us understand their and our circumstances number to appreciate what you have.” He also says “appreciate what you have” and “leave a legacy”, elaborating to say that “my dad left a legacy and instilled many important values in me. I’m a hard worker because he was. I make it a point to learn something or become better at something every single day because that’s what he told me to do.”