Looking Inward Instead of Outward

For the past month, I’ve been getting more into meditation as a daily practice. I’m trying to use meditation as something I look forward to during my day-to-day, instead of adding another item to my to-do list that I need to check off. This lets me put less pressure on myself (which is nice), but it also lets me go into those meditations with a bit of a freer mind. And it’s that freer mind I’m grateful for, because that plays a big role in looking inward during meditation – something I’ve really struggled with before.

To be honest, I don’t need an expert opinion on why I might be afraid to look inward; years of experiencing depression and anxiety make it clear that looking inward isn’t as simple as it seems. But it’s not just the desire to look inward that I’ve realized is difficult – it’s also the ability.

There is a lot of vulnerability needed to be able to be honest with yourself, and the desire to want to unpack that and figure out how to use those moments for growth is invaluable. But for my busy brain, it became just as important to find ways where that was even possible. Wanting to look inward does nothing to help quiet the noise in my head, and to slow down enough to take a conscious look inward – even during meditation.

I’m finally able to quiet down some of the noise in my head for a few minutes at a time, and in that quiet I feel like I’m getting to know myself. But I’m still fighting so many instincts to look outward, to compare myself with the world and to judge myself against that. And in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to compare yourself with anything and anyone that comes across your screen. You don’t even have to be aware that it’s happening – with the way we use digital media now, it’s a constant battle.

The other challenge with looking inward is that I’m trying to change the perception I have of self-reflection. For a long time, I thought a successful look inward meant changing something about myself. If I didn’t change in some way, than my self-reflection was a waste. I never thought of it as getting to know myself for who I am; I was mistakenly trying to get to know the person I thought I wanted to be. I was adding pressure and putting unrealistic expectations on myself when it was to any look inward.

When it comes to mental health and wellness, I can’t change my attitude or approach unless I know what I’m up against, and now that I’m aware of how I’d like to improve, I’m hoping there’s an easier path to improvement here. But I’m also going up against decades of thinking differently, so it may take time. But with patience and understanding, I’m hoping I can look inward much more than I used to.

I know I struggle with looking inward, but now I want to hear from you! Do you think people have difficulty with self-reflection and looking inward? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!

10 thoughts on “Looking Inward Instead of Outward

  1. Mentally Ill In America April 19, 2022 / 10:41 am

    “I never thought of it as getting to know myself for who I am; I was mistakenly trying to get to know the person I thought I wanted to be.”

    The last half of this sentence is amazing, and really resonates!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. guyleneiswriting April 19, 2022 / 1:38 pm

    “For a long time, I thought a successful look inward meant changing something about myself. If I didn’t change in some way, than my self-reflection was a waste”
    I think this is a very meaningful sentence. Self-reflection is never a waste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith April 20, 2022 / 1:05 pm

      I’m almost embarrassed about the way I used to view self-reflection and self-improvement. I’m excited to see what insights come from recognizing what you’ve said, that self-reflection is never a waste. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Josh Murray April 19, 2022 / 6:20 pm

    I’m still trying to give meditation a chance, but I understand the fear of looking inward. Continued luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith April 20, 2022 / 1:08 pm

      This is the most success I’ve ever had with meditating, but I would say that it’s the fifth (maybe sixth?) time I’ve tried to really get into it. I understand where you’re coming from – wishing us both luck on these journeys!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hello Simon April 26, 2022 / 3:30 pm

    I’ve never tried meditation before. Self-reflection is a difficult thing for me because I have such a negative view of myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith May 5, 2022 / 10:49 am

      This is probably my fifth or sixth time where I really tried to get into meditation, and the self-reflection aspect of it is a big barrier. But the more I’ve done it this time, the more I’ve seen how meditation doesn’t have to include that type of reflection at all. But I totally understand the challenges it can bring.

      Liked by 1 person

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