Self-evaluation is not about longing for our past but instead learning from it!
Some say: Always look forward, never look back! So, if by looking back, you find yourself longing for those past days and focusing so much on what you once did that it distracts you from being content and enjoying what you can still do at the moment, this is a valid point. In this respect, I struggle in tennis, falling prey to looking back and longing for the game I once played with its power and speed. But, in doing so, I steal from the moment and all it could be If I would just let it.
However, self-reflection and evaluation are different from looking back and getting stuck in the past. When we evaluate ourselves, we create opportunities to take pauses and learn from our experiences.
Self-reflection is essential, it does indeed stir up feelings of embarrassment, regret, and sadness, but it also stirs up levels of self-validation, self-approval, smiles, and laughter which can add to our contentment.
For example, looking back on one such moment was embarrassing and funny.
It was in the late 80s; There was once a popular sitcom cartoon on TV called “The Simpsons,” One of the characters was “Bartman,” which was the superhero alter ego of “Bart Simpson.” Although I was not a fan of the show, Virginia gave me a pair of Bartman shorts for my 30th Birthday.
A couple of weeks later, probably in November of 1989, we met our friends Jan and Wayne to play mixed doubles tennis. It was a chilly day, so we all started in warmups. As we played, the clothing trickled off till I was down to a T-shirt and my new shorts. A few points after removing my warmup pants, Jan paused the match to ask: Are you going to play in underwear? I quickly stated: No, these are Bartman shorts; Virginia got me for my Birthday.
Jan responds: with a flap in the middle?
I was instantly embarrassed as I realized they were “Bartman boxers,” not shorts. I had never worn boxers and assumed they were regular shorts. Needless to say, I immediately put my warmup pants back on, was relentlessly teased, and we laughed about it.
However, this moment of embarrassment etched a permanent place in my mind, and I learned at least three things from experience.
- Assumptions are dangerous (Be more careful)
- Details are important (Pay closer attention)
- Relentless teasing ( It’s going to happen)
Without self-reflection and self-evaluation, we hinder self-accountability, which helps us make better choices on what to and not do in the future.
Scripturally, We find attributes of self-reflection and evaluation attributed to many of King Soloman’s writings. A man gifted with wisdom from God. And, in the Psalms of David, more on this later.