Spending quite a bit of time with myself, I have over the years formulated an opinion on introspection. The concept itself comes from two words – internal and inspection. Since I am not a medical doctor, I take the “internal” to refer to the “inner man”, that part of me that I call the soul and spirit. That part which I consider to be the “real me” as opposed to the shell in which I travel. Inspection is a verb, so it implies some kind of action on my part. I’ve said all of this to simply try and define introspection as the action of investigating the way I think and perceive life around me.
There is an art involved in all of this, because if I have a wrong/negative mindset concerning something, my introspection may soon turn into a morbid monster that precludes me from enjoying life. However, a healthy introspection, something based on identifying more positive experiences, can lead to me enjoying life more fully. It all depends on my point of focus in the process.
I have come to understand that there will always be aspects of the “inner man” that will need assistance, or that will need some pruning, chafing and polishing to make it shine properly. A diamond in the rough simply looks like any other stone, but when cut, pruned, planed and polished becomes a gem that is worthy of envy. Introspection should have the same goals and end result. I think that a positive introspection ultimately has the power to determine the way I move forward, the way I perceive life (people and circumstances), and also becomes the next stepping stone in my journey.
People have given it other names, like meditation or prayer, but in the end it all means the same thing: we come face-to-face with who we are. This encounter always presents itself with a choice and and opportunity – what do I keep, discard or change? Call it a mirror-encounter if you like. What do you see in the mirror as it reflects your soul? If our focus is negative, like the unchecked jealousy of Snow White’s wicked stepmother, the reflection will only continue to taunt and lead us on a path of ultimate self-destruction. Yet if we can identify that same jealousy as destructive, we have a choice and opportunity to change the eventual reflection in the mirror on our wall.
So my approach to introspection is always the same – no poisoned apples to follow in its wake.