|Not sure about the origins of this particular illustration, but it is a pleasing image nevertheless.|
Here is another idea for the new year when it comes to steps we might take toward more conscious and intentional self-improvement. How about we cultivate the habit of self-reflexivity?
That involves making a more concerted effort to become more introspective, willing to look closely at our foibles, and how we might address them in a more productive way. Let’s also look closer and more critically at our related attitudes, choices, actions, and routine behaviors.
Not to the point
of stasis of course (and goodness knows many have that in abundance), but it might be wise for us to take a hard look at
ourselves more than we tend to do in the hustle-bustle 24/7 digital world of the 21st
century. The decision to examine ourselves more honestly and thoughtfully can help us recognize
certain negative, self-defeating patterns and make some concrete changes in our
lives that smooth the road before us. Both on an individual and a broader social level.
Cultivating the habit of self-reflection, clear-eyed assessment, and appraisal of the way we have been up to this point, how we are at the moment, and what we would like to become also helps us to be more considerate of those around us. That, in addition, make us, as individuals, more pleasant to be around when it comes to interpersonal relations (home, school, work, etc.). It is likewise an idea that might, in the long run, make the world a kinder, gentler place in which to live.
Pie-eyed, "love is all you need" naive optimism? Maybe so. But hear me out.
While there is still much that is good and admirable about people everywhere, there is also no denying that humanity, the way we view and treat each other, as well as how we view and treat the physical world around us, has become shortsighted at best. And really very ugly at the worst.
Simply perusing the daily news, in whichever modality you might choose in 2022, is proof positive of that last point. Tell me if I might be wrong. But I don't think that I am too far off the mark here.
Along those lines, it is far beyond the time in which we must take consistent, concrete steps forward toward positive and lasting change in the way we are day to day. That forward movement starts with an awareness of and a willingness to look more closely and critically at our individual selves and the way we do things. Whether that involves how we tie our shoes and neckties, or how we address more challenging issues like pervasive racism, political unrest, and climate change.
Failure to do so, means that we, and indeed the world, will continue to become an even rougher, meaner, and more unkind place. Any given situation is never static. Things either improve, or they grow worse. Are we up to the challenge getting ourselves back on track somehow?
One cannot help but wonder.