Checking in With Yourself: Change from Inside Out (Part 1 of 3)

This is the first in a three part series about how to conduct a self-reflective inventory to help understand what areas of life are going well and the parts that need your attention.


No, I’m not going to ask you download anything or find a pen and paper for an online quiz. Instead I ask you to read this, and the subsequent posts in this series, with an open and reflective mind.


The last blog in the series will provide a series of reflective questions. Hopefully after following the bread crumbs I’ve laid out in parts 1 and 2, there will be tangible insights that you can take immediate action on to help create some change in your life.

If you’re a regular reader of the Psychological Wellness blog (thank you if you are and welcome to newbies!), you might be curious where I find the information I share here. Most of the time, it’s a blend of information taken from various areas of psychology and almost always based on good, solid science. While there are endless areas of psychology that apply to the general topics of Psychological Wellness, these will be focus of this series.

  • Communication

  • Personality styles

  • Positive psychology

  • Courage and vulnerability

  • Stress management and health


Often clients ask about ways to improve their communication. These are highly supported tips and techniques.

  • Be active in the conversation. When talking with someone, take the time to truly listen and if needed, reflect back what the person shared with you.

  • When bothered by what others say or do, check in with you. It’s likely that person is reflecting something you don’t like about yourself.  

  • Use the 3:1 ratio of positive to negative. There’s some great research indicating that for every negative comment we should make three positive comments. Try it!


One of the most common reason I hear clients seek out therapy services is they recognize on some level they’re just not showing up as their best selves.

  • A simple reflective process to see how you’re doing with being authentic is to ask yourself these questions when going to sleep at night. Why at night? That’s when we are not preoccupied with other things, and our brains are shutting down for the day. Do I like what I did today? Did I treat others like I want to be treated? Did I truly do the best I could in being my best self?

  • Related to authenticity is integrity. Simply put, are you being honest with yourself and others. Do you find the need to tell little white lies to cover up your behavior or make yourself look better to others?

  • Many years of study on personality types consistently show that being empathic and open to others naturally creates more of the same. When we can be flexible, open and friendly we are teaching others in our life how to treat us. The same is true when we’re genuinely empathic about the struggles others are experiencing, rather than judgmental and hurtful.

If you’d like to read more about being vulnerability, courage and being authentic I highly encourage you to read anything by Brene Brown. Not only does she walk her talk, but what she writes is based on scientific data gathered from every day people like you and me!


I hope some of what was shared here today sparked something in you. Please return to read more in part 2 of the series.


Dr. Erika McElroy

Smooth Rock Psychological Services, LLC



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