Self-reflection, a necessary task

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Living on the North Shore comes with many expectations, but one of the most prevalent is that we should all be taking high level classes and involved in as many extracurriculars as humanly possible.

While this adds stress to the student body, it also takes away from certain aspects as well. Being so busy running from one activity to the next we lose the time to reflect.
I don’t know this because I have a bunch of time in my schedule that I spend self-reflecting. Rather this idea came to me when I was sitting in Yom Kippur services and was forced to reflect.

Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday that centers around self-reflection and atonement for previous wrong doings. It is a time where you are asked to contemplate on the past year and ask yourself what changes you will make for the next one.

Usually Yom Kippur is one of my least favorite Jewish holidays. The services tend to be heavy and unlike most Jewish holidays, this one doesn’t focus around food. So when it rolled around this year, needless to say, I wasn’t very excited.Yet as I was sitting in services this year, my mind started to wander away from the melodies that filled the room.

As I was no longer engaged in the service, I began to reflect on the past year. I thought about how I conducted myself and how I could improve myself for this next year.
I pondered how I can be a better daughter, mainly by not getting upset with my mom when I am overwhelmed, or how I can be a better sister, by checking in with my sisters and their lives while they are away at college.

Although I wasn’t paying attention to the prayers at the time, I wouldn’t have had this moment of self reflection without being at services. I needed the reminder to take the time to be introspective.

I know self reflection isn’t easy and it’s not something we always want to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Most students enjoyed their day off by relaxing, spending time with friends and the occasional few used this time to catch up on homework. The day was not spent reflecting. I don’t mean to sound pompous, I most likely would have spent my day the same way if I wasn’t Jewish.

Although I seemed to stumble across my own self-reflection, it’s something I believe everyone should actively engage in.

Whether realized or not, we all need time to reflect—a designated time to press pause on our busy lives and think about how we can be a better version of ourselves.

This doesn’t need to be a big to-do, just a few minutes to cognizantly think about your actions and what you want to improve on. I know many of us would rather spend these few minutes doing something else, or claim we don’t have time, but taking this time plants the seeds for growth-that you are unable to achieve if you don’t take the time to reflect.

To me, self reflection and growth are what Yom Kippur is about and those qualities aren’t exclusive to Judaism. Rather they are things we can all benefit from. Sometimes we just need a nudge. Perhaps Yom Kippur isn’t too bad after all.