Student Support Services: Looking Inward

By Fred Standil
Student Services Advisor at Herzing College

While it may seem that there is a quick fix for everything these days, maintaining one’s sense of well-being is an ongoing process that requires effort. Introspection is defined as the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.

There is no shortage of people who, for reasons only they truly understand, purposefully avoid looking inward. Blissful ignorance may seem to be a productive strategy for navigating one’s way through the world, but it’s an approach that usually does not end well.

Introspection allows us to critically self-evaluate. We can not only take note of our behaviours, but actively challenge ourselves to better understand why we do what we do.

Many of us are only subjected to evaluation in the context of our roles as students, employees, etc. But if you value your own perception of who you are, it is very important to implement your own system of self-evaluation. Often, we have the solutions to obstacles that prevent us from achieving our goals.

Knowingly avoiding introspection tends to yield a form of learned helplessness. In simple terms, this means that we can develop a general sense of powerlessness that can fuel depression and cause significant problems.

It's not uncommon for children and young adults to look forward to more individual freedoms. But rights and freedoms come with responsibilities, and this is a critical concept to grasp early in life. While we all like to put our own personal stamp on our place in society, we must comprehend and be accountable to this principle.

Practising introspection allows us to knowingly and mindfully make good decisions. This is often referred to as self-awareness, and it is something we should value highly.

If you have not paid attention to your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in a meaningful way, it would be a wise move to do so. After all, if we have never taken a personal inventory, how can we possibly expect to develop into the person we strive to be?

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