Academic level – Undergraduate 3–4
Type of paper – Reflection paper
Topic Title – Understanding of self and others
Watch any of Dan Siegel’s videos and discuss how the information Dr. Siegel shares enhances your understanding of self and others.
I have improved my understanding of how my inner world functions due to a comprehensive overview of the concept of mindsight introduced by Siegel. Siegel has presented me with the idea that mindsight is a perception of one’s inner world that remains in a state of self-awareness and is ready to change one’s behavior (What is mindsight?, 2009). Although I have always been aware of my inner world, I did not think I could actively change it during my self-analysis. It was a striking and fascinating experience, and I realize that people have a much greater power over their “self” than they typically think. However, I believe this process is highly challenging and requires an understanding that such resolutions and actions are possible.
Furthermore, Siegel’s videos have introduced me to a different knowledge of others that does not stem from pure empathy but a more informed realization of other people’s minds and how it may resonate with my decisions. Interestingly, compassion from Siegel’s viewpoint has made me reflect on how much my feelings are transferred to the person I empathize with: “Compassion in this way is used for how we feel another person’s feelings, how you can feel felt by someone else” (On integration, 2009). It was revelatory to me to comprehend that even when I feel objectively observing others, I can be partially affected by my view of self and how I see other people’s attitudes to mine. At the same time, it has allowed me to realize that, similarly to me, most people probably do not possess a strong grasp of mindsight.
Knowing about the brain was surprisingly fascinating because it showed me how many gestures I consider random are influenced by natural biological reactions. I knew about people repeating yawning after each other, but for some reason, I had never realized that such mirroring could occur in different situations, such as seeing others drinking water (On understanding the brain, 2009). Making sure that I recognize my body and brain reactions as natural responses can help me be more attentive to myself. Many people view their immediate reactions to a particular issue as real, while in many cases, it can be an explanation of a vital mechanism in me working differently than I expected.
Furthermore, mindsight is a valuable tool for placing oneself in the world across multiple social and mental dimensions. People have different states that may contradict each other, and either desire different goals or even have varying coping mechanisms and attitudes (On integration, 2009). By focusing on my unity as a whole person and putting myself in a place that realizes the existence of other people’s insights, I can achieve a healthier and more natural self-placement in society. It also shows me that if I have challenges when interacting with others, it can show only a part of my beliefs that has not yet integrated into my entire picture of self.
Finally, Siegel’s explanation of integration has dramatically shifted my view of therapy and self-healing by focusing my mental journey on a task that is probably the only suitable response for a satisfying life. Previously, my focus on health treatment was predominantly related to addressing a specific part of myself. Nonetheless, Siegel’s videos highlighted the need to connect all parts into one specific unit (On integration, 2009). Surprisingly, it has motivated me to think about myself and others more complexly, realizing that judging myself or others only by one specific pattern or behavior is subjective.
On integration as a source of strength. (2009a). YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TK62FdzzTs&t=18s.
On understanding the brain. (2009). YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9H1eEXzbPM.
What is mindsight? (2009c). YouTube. Retrieved August 8, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKwQuGCPeFk&t=130s.