There is a fine line between reflection and dwelling.
Reflection is debriefing what has happened; gathering lessons from the experience for application in future situations (positive reflection will improve performance).
All dwelling starts as reflection…just not the positive kind. It focuses less on the actual facts of the situation and focuses heavily on the personal failings we often identify in ourselves as the method to evaluate our personal performance.
Here’s the main problem with dwelling (that I personally know all too well):
IT PREVENTS US FROM BEING PRESENT IN OUR DOING
Seriously, we knock ourselves out of the fight…the fight doesn’t do it for us. In education we care deeply about our students, parents, and colleagues; this is a powerful aspect of our profession, we are all passionate about people and the development of others. Yet, it becomes easy for us dwell on mistakes we have made within those relationships.
Dwelling isolates us from support. Dwelling suffocates us from doing.
Dwelling becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because dwelling remember starts as reflection…reflection is gathering lessons from an experience for future application. What happens when the lessons we gather tear us down? What does that precipitate in future situations of similar context? I can promise it isn’t good…
So this all begs the question; how do we move past dwelling into doing?
Here are a few strategies that have worked for me before:
- Set micro goals: > Create a framework for daily success if we find ourselves in the dwelling funk…
- Get Doing…Anything: > Dwelling loves to catch us alone, it is when our mind is idle that it will strike most aggressively.
- Learn Where we Dwell: > We each have certain times when dwelling is most pronounced, mine is right before falling asleep, I can sense when I’m dwelling because my mind is restless…in those moments rather than dwelling for two hours trying to sleep, I’ve learned to get up read, journal, or brew some decaf coffee. I don’t go back till I know I’m going to immediately fall asleep.
- Seek Support: > We cannot be in this profession long-term being the lone ranger, gather others who will help keep our minds positive in perspective and actions.
We will all face times of dwelling…it is inevitable…we are in a profession that can consume the mind because our minds are relationally wired. Being proactive in confronting dwelling will yield positive outcomes not only for ourselves, but our students and others around us!
Remember when we feel ourselves dwelling…get up and start doing! Have a blessed Fall Friday! 😉 Thanks for reading!!