How to use reflection to uncover your authentic self

Throughout 2021 we will help you to unify body, mind and soul to help you transform your life in a meaningful way, and this month we are looking at how you can use reflection to uncover your authentic self. 


Who are you, really?


Here we will show you how you can reflect on the past in a meaningful and useful way, so you can build towards a happy and successful future.


Whether we know it or not, a lot of us are living double lives. We let the outside world see a version of us, based on how we think we should be rather than who we truly are. But that often leads to feelings of sadness, inadequacy and frustration. When it comes to transforming your life, you need to have a grasp on who you are intrinsically - what makes you tick, what’s important to you. Once you know who you are on a more authentic level, you’ll be able to live a happier life and make long-lasting changes with ease.


Reflection is a powerful tool and has been proven to have positive effects. In 2014, Harvard Business School students discovered that call centre employees who reflected on what they learned from a short 15-minute course, performed 23 per cent better than their colleagues who weren’t given time to reflect.


Below are 5 reflection exercises for you to try over the coming weeks, they will help you uncover your authentic self so you can unlock your true potential in 2021.


You will need:



Keep a reflection diary

For 10 days, keep a diary. At the end of each day, note down all the things that gave you energy and all the things that left you feeling drained. In short, what gives you joy and what takes it away?


At the end of the 10 days, you may be able to see some trends. It could be that you’re losing a lot of energy on friends who always come to you with problems or only when they need something. On the positive side, your morning walk could give you energy, setting you up for the day. Write these patterns down as they can help you identify what you want your life to look like based on how you feel energetically.



Get to know yourself

Think back to your childhood, before you were a teenager. What were the classes at school that brought you joy? What did you love to do in your spare time? Often, we have a better grasp on our authentic selves when we’re a child, before the outside world and our ego put expectations on us.


Write this list down in your reflection diary.


Now, think about what you would like someone to say about you at your funeral. What would you like to have achieved? How do you want to be remembered? Note it down.


Ask others what they see

Reach out to the friends and family you really trust. Ask them what it is that they think makes you uniquely you. You might be surprised by what they see in you, or it could confirm what you already thought.


Write everything down that they say in your reflection diary, even if you don’t agree, and sit with it. To live authentically you need to see, own and be proud of the wonderful qualities and values that make you who you are.


List out your core values

Take at least 20 minutes to think about what your principles are, what are the things you deem important? Your core values. Are you honest? Open-minded? Do you value status, money? Make a list, without judgement, no one has to see your list but it will help you to steer a path towards living a more authentic life.


We know it’s a lot of writing but jotting everything down in your reflection diary will help you to paint a picture of who you authentically are.


Be mindful when listing your values, are there any that you feel shame placing importance on? Ask yourself why this may be and take the time to reflect on this weekly. Which brings us to...


Schedule weekly reflection meetings

Whether it’s at the end of a work week or on a Sunday, schedule 45 minutes to sit with yourself and reflect on the week.


Ask yourself:

Were you able to do more of the things that give you energy?

Did you try to honour your inner child in some of the things you did?

Is there anything you did that would have made your friends and family proud?

How did you lean into your core values?


The aim of these reflection meetings is to, over time, get to know your authentic self and, in time, you will be able to let the world see more of who you truly are.



Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson is a UK beauty editor with over 13 years of experience writing for magazines and websites including ELLE, Grazia, Women's Health and Byrdie. She has a keen interest in all things beauty and wellness, especially skincare because who doesn't want a clear, glowing complexion?