Why Self-Reflection Is Key To A Good Relationship

Far too often, we don't take the time to truly think about why we behave the way we behave. We might blow up at our partner over something trivial or let our emotions get the best of us in times where crying just isn't the most accurate response to the situation. Understanding why we are the we are involves a lot of work. It's about unpacking not just the present but also the past. The first step in this understanding of ourselves is the practice of self-reflection (via U.S. News & World Report).

In knowing ourselves on a deeper level by taking time to self-reflect, we can bring a more authentic us to the relationship. It makes us more self-aware of our actions and reactions, giving us a chance to modify parts of ourselves that might need a bit of fine-tuning. But you have to make time to self-reflect. Which, for some, can be a struggle on its own. "Expand your capacity for self-reflection and solitude," professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at MIT Sherry Turkle, Ph.D., tells Cosmopolitan. "Contemplate your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. If you can be alone with your own thoughts, you'll be able to hear who others really are as well. You won't feel the need to transform real-time situations to meet your needs." But understanding our true and authentic selves isn't the only reason self-reflection is good for relationships.

Self-reflection teaches self-compassion

Even the most positive people can be really hard on themselves. We live in a society of impossible standards — on all levels — and being compassionate toward ourselves and learning self-love can feel like you're banging your head against the wall.

"When you think about how much time you've spent beating yourself up, comparing yourself to others, or being convinced that you were bad or broken, there can be quite a bit of grief," licensed clinical psychologist Alexandra Solomon, Ph.D., tells Self. "We are not responsible for the ways in which we were hurt, misunderstood, or neglected by caregivers when we were children. But it is our responsibility, as adults, to address and adjust the coping strategies we developed to deal with that pain."

Self-reflection gives us the ability to sit with our feelings and learn how to love ourselves again. That love and compassion can spill over into all aspects of our life, making for better relationship satisfaction. These feelings can inspire partners to take a more active role in nurturing what they have and strengthening relationship quality (via Psychology Today).

Self-reflection also teaches confidence

Although we tend to get caught up in the idea that confidence is just about how we carry ourselves in the world, there's more to it than that. Because self-reflection is steeped in bettering ourselves from the inside out, it helps improve confidence as we understand ourselves in a different and healthier way (via Lifehack). Having confidence in ourselves gives us confidence in things around us, too, including our relationships. Low self-esteem and lack of confidence can be extremely damaging to a partnership.

"You may be afraid that your partner will leave you, or you panic over other things that others wouldn't think twice about," social psychologist Heidi Riggio, Ph.D., tells Everyday Health. "This can lead to panic attacks or extreme jealousy." Because of this, practicing self-reflection can give your self-esteem and confidence the healthy boost it needs for your relationship to flourish. We're able to love and receive love better because of the confidence we have in our partnership (via PsychCentral).

Although everyone says that relationships aren't easy and require work, these same people sometimes fail to point out that relationships, especially good ones that have the best chance at success, need the two people in the partnership to work on themselves as well. You can't take two people who don't have a deep and reflective understanding of themselves, put them in a relationship, and expect it to be all hunky-dory. It's like trying to build a house with a cracked foundation — at some point, it's going to collapse. Even if it's only 20 minutes a day, take time away from the chaos of the world and self-reflect. Its benefits are endless.