I had a job interview today, and as I always do, I walked out thinking of so many examples of the things I could have shared. I did share plenty though, and it made me realise how much I value reflection as part of my personal growth and to remember what I do know at important times like in interviews. I reflect the most through my blog, which I really enjoy sharing with others. That also means that there are things I can’t reflect on here, like confidential matters at work or significant family stresses.
Reflecting so publicly is a really interesting and unique process. When writing in a diary, it’s only me that has to see the words. No one is going to read them, so I wouldn’t have to worry about hurting feelings or being criticised. Reflecting publicly has to be diplomatic, I must consider how it will impact others and I have to be a lot more thick-skinned. A bit like when you discuss things out loud with other people.
The thing about reflecting in public is that is makes me think about how other people will receive it. It makes me review how much I know about a topic and I’m cautious of speaking like an expert, because there is always someone else out there that will have greater experience and knowledge than I have. It also means that I’m forced to be fair and to think about things from the perspective of other people. This is why I would rather word something as ‘I find this results in me feeling like this,’ instead of ‘you find this results in you feeling like this’. I’m not any sort of expert on how other people feel, so writing out my thoughts reinforces just that: they are my thoughts. Other people also have unique thoughts and I become more aware of that and how entitled to those unique thoughts people are the more I take ownership of how I feel.
Talking about my skills today also reminded me how much I still use the skill of thinking about things. Let me explain what this is. When I was visiting my aunt in Spain for the first time, I showed up at the airport with no bags (the airline had lost them), no phone or bank cards (they had been stolen along with my passport), no change of clothes and one hell of an adventure story. My aunt listened thoughtfully and then after I finished she went on thinking. After a little while she started speaking again and offered me a solution. I came to admire this brilliant skill while I was staying with her. I loved it and tried out the approach for myself. It came in handy in the interview today when the interviewers asked me to come up with another example for something. It was really hard to do, so I’m chuffed it’s something I have practiced before. I tend to find that in interviews my brain is so occupied by the now that it’s difficult to think about things I’ve done in the past.
I recommend publicly reflecting because if you do it right, it can give you the opportunity to properly put yourself in the shoes of others. When I write something I think ‘how would I feel if someone said that about me or to me’ and then I put myself in their shoes. Not only will it help guide what I say, it’s a great exercise in empathy. It is a lot easier to respect someone when you can see where they are coming from and to try and grasp what an experience must be like for them.
I also find when I am thinking about how another person sees a situation, I am less likely to take personal insult from it. Have you heard that saying that when someone is mean or such, it’s a reflection on them and not on you? I love that! Is the person being short? Maybe they are thinking about a lot of things at once. Have they just snapped? What else is on their plate that they think this interaction is so trivial. There are still times I find it hard to start by thinking 'this wasn't intended to offend me', and it is natural to be defensive and protect myself, but with daily practice being defensive or getting offended is no longer normal for me. On the days when I do at first get hurt by something, I will think through things and be able to let it go shortly after. I read a great tumblr post recently that said 'the first thought that comes into your head is conditioning, the second is who you are'. That's me every day, working to become someone who is fair and considerate. One day I'm sure the first conditioned thought that comes into my head every time is the well reasoned, thoughtful woman I want to become.
Hat: vintage Laura Ashley via Etsy
Top: Target (very old)
Skirt: Review Australia
Shoes: Forever New (Check out their full range of shoes at www.forevernew.com.au/shoes)
Location: Bendigo CBD
Photographer/shoot assistant: Goldfields Girl