Notes from the Team
Good companion groups enrich us. Self-care and self-reflection benefit from good attention from others and to transforming power within and beyond us. Self-care and self-reflection prepare us for liberation and discernment. Kins wrote, “I come to my companion group reminding myself that I am whole and willing to be changed, to be vulnerable and honest to share. I bask in the idea of letting myself be in the group, trusting in the feedback with less control.” When we don’t take care of ourselves, we lose touch with our core selves and are unavailable and unprepared. Healing can take a long time, but this is the beauty of companion groups— to be open, let go, accept attention without explanation, and stay relaxed and non-anxious.
Self-care contradicts past painful experiences. We cannot keep our pain and get better too. When we are not ready to give up our pain, we relive it through self-neglect and self-harm. But when we are ready, taking good care of ourselves contracts the pain, allows for healing, and accepts the grace and pure gift of life and its transforming power.
Receiving good attention also contradicts trauma, which sets in when we were overwhelmed because we felt caught alone and unable to face the situation. “Doing it alone” becomes a reenactment of the trauma. The healing power of good attention from others and self-care, allows us to be self-reflective.
Self reflection requires vulnerability, a willingness to be honest to ourselves about our mistakes and weaknesses to learn, change and ask for help. It also requires emotional healing and maturity, because many of us were severely shamed or punished at home or school for any mistake or weakness. Self-reflection also develops the skill to step outside ourselves to see from an outside perspective. This skill increases our empathy, which in turn increases our capacity for self-reflection. Our ability to do this makes us better able to adapt to changing or difficult situations. Integrity increases also, when we can reflect accurately on our core beliefs and values and honestly see the ways they are, or are not reflected in our lives.
Privilege blinds us to others’ experiences, which limits empathy and the ability to self-reflect. By definition, we cannot see what we cannot see. So we need the feedback of others and to take their experiences and perspectives seriously to break out of our narcissism. We must watch out that self-reflection does not become circular self-centered thinking to avoid real life issues. Self-reflection is not being overly self critical or judgmental or another way to ruminate, self-obsess, or avoid action. To self-reflect in a healthy manner, we see mistakes as opportunities for learning, yeah! We see weaknesses as opportunities to help one another and value others’ strengths that builds community, yeah! We see the ways we hurt others or the natural world as opportunities for change, apology, and forgiveness, yeah! Good self-reflection leads to understanding, perspective, insight, discernment, and integrity through right action.