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Introspection, compassion, correction

Written with intention on 01 May 2024

The The Reflective Growth Triad is a mental toolset that I've used in my path of Self-discovery.

  • Introspection is what allows me to reflect on my thoughts and behaviours. It's what allows me to study my feelings, attitudes, thoughts and models of thinking.
  • Compassion allows for empathy and care in dealing with myself and with others. It's what softens my judgmental nature. It's what converts self-hate to elf-acceptance
  • Correction is the action step where I combine the insights gained from my self-reflection/ introspection and the understanding from my compassion to make the changes needed towards the better.

It sounds great on paper, but in reality I can conclude one thing - following this triad is simple, but not easy. Through test and trail, I've discovered that the triad cannot function if one of the key components are missing. For years I've applied it in a very dysfunctional way, and even now, I often catch myself not following through at times. Here are the three main examples on how one missing component leads to lack of progress.

1. Introspection and Compassion without Correction

What is it

Introspection allows one to reflect thoughts and behaviours. Compassion allows one to reflect from an empathetic and kind viewpoint.

What's missing

Correction is the action step where one applies insights gained from introspection and the empathic understanding from compassion to make a positive, lasting change.

Result of absence

With the absence of correction, there can't be tangible improvement or change. While one could self-reflect on their faults and empathise with oneself and others, without the implementation of corrective action, there is no ground for practical progress in any domain. The stagnation that often occurs when we face lack of progress can lead to a cycle of always-unmet goals, constant dissatisfaction, which can further erode confidence and self-efficacy. Applying this long enough, the lack of correction can result in innate, subconscious behaviors that impede personal growth and the ability to adapt to new challenges or life in general.

2. Introspection and Correction without Compassion

What is it

Introspection helps self-assessment and understanding of one's actions, motivations and thoughts. Correction involves making the necessary changes based on these understandings.

What's missing

Compassion is what brings the necessary softness and empathy to the complex process of growth (no matter of the domain). It is what's ensuring that the changes are made in a kind, healthy and understanding manner.

Result of absence

Lack of compassion can make the process of self-improvement a harsh, toxic and potentially dangerous environment for oneself. It often leads to unrealistically critical attitudes toward oneself and others. With time, this develops in low self-esteem, strained relationships, inferiority complex, anxiety and depression. Without sufficient self-compassion, people may become less resilient, struggle to recover from setbacks, and find it more challenging to maintain motivation and pursue their goals effectively.

3. Compassion and Correction without Introspection

What is it

Compassion is what allows care and kindness in dealing with oneself and others. Correction guides us to the application of changes and improvements.

What's missing

Introspection is the deep, often painfully honest personal reflection that tells one why changes are needed to be made and identifies the root causes of our issues.

Result of absence

Without introspection, our changes tend to be superficial and misdirected, lacking real depth and understanding. Often, we only scratch the surface of our underlying issues, mistakenly believing we have a deep personal understanding of them. This results in ineffective, shallow solutions that fail to address the core issues, rendering our efforts misguided and generally lacking impact. A life guided by compassion and correction but devoid of introspection can lead to self-delusion. If this cycle persists, it can erode one's overall well-being and hinder genuine connections with others, as relationships may suffer from a lack of authenticity and depth.

Personal Practical Findings on The Reflective Growth Triad

Here's my comprehensive list of personal findings I gathered, discovered and learned for practical exercises aimed at enhancing self-awareness, compassion and personal growth.

In-the-Moment Introspection

Example: While training I feel this anger build up inside of me. I pause and ask myself.

  • What made me feel anger at this moment?
  • Do I have control on what's happening?
  • What's the control do I have?

Post-Factum Reflection on Behavior Throughout the Day

Multiple times a day, usually when things quiet down, I think about interactions, conflicts or frustrations that occurred. I reflect on how I handled the situation following questions of this sort.

  • Was my behaviour aligned with my moral values?
  • Could I have handled the sitaution differently to achieve a better outcome?
  • Am I being true to others?
  • Am I being true to myself?

If I have more time on my hands, the questions unfold and I follow them up depending on the situation.

Morning Gratitude, Bed Time Gratitudee

"Thank you {X} for giving me the opportunity for this new day"

"Thank you {X} for the lessons I learned throughout this day"

Every morning for the past 10 years, I've been thankful for the opportunity to experience another day in my life. Every night for the past 10 years I've been thankful for the opportunity to complete another day in my life.
This applied when my grandmother died. This applied when my child was sick. This applied when my father died. This applied when my grandmother got sick.
I truly am giving my best to be thankful for each and every day of my life -- bitter, joyful or mundane.

Structured Peer Feedback - Therapist, Wife, Close Friends, and Family

  • Therapist: I discuss recent behaviors or emotional reactions during my sessions and ask for professional feedback
  • Wife, Close Friends, and Family: I ask for feedback like "How do you think I handled the conversation with [Person]? Did you notice anything about my behavior that could be improved? Do you agree or disagree with how I framed X, Y, Z?"


Ultimately, the Reflective Growth Triad is not just a theoretical concept but a living practice that evolves through my daily application and persistence. It makes me face the challenges to remain committed to my growth, even in the face of difficulties. By embracing this triad, I've stepped on the long road of transformation - that's not merely to improve my personal well-being, but to deepen my self-understanding - from witnessing my brightest strengths, to forcing myself to be engulfed by my darkest shadows.

The journey of self-discovery is indeed "simple, but not easy" - it forces me to confront and reshape my inner most self - day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.
- Miyamoto Musashi

Without self-knowledge man goes astray in his thoughts, is dominated by diverse passions, tyrannized by violent desires, troubled about many and vain things, and leads a disorderly, distracted life, erring in all things, wandering on the way, staggering at every step; ...
- St. Nectarios of Aegina