Writing Self-Reflection: Discovering the path to the real you

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Writing Self-Reflection: Discovering the path to the real you

The Self-reflection is an ability to subject oneself to critical examination. It is considered the basis for growing internally. Professional and private goals are easier to achieve by reflecting on one's own behavior. Self-reflection is very important when dealing with other people.

Reflection helps to better understand one's own thinking and behavior. During this process, emotional and psychosocial processes are scrutinized. In the next step, what is perceived is evaluated in order to recognize mistakes and change inappropriate behaviors. Here you will learn what self-reflection means, how to apply this technique, write a reflection and use the findings for yourself.

Mental process in writing self-reflection

The biological view explains the Self-reflection as the ability to promote the emergence of neural patterns in the nervous system and to compare them with each other. On this basis, the mental process known as thinking or reasoning emerges.

From a philosophical point of view, self-reflection is a way of developing different ideas and approaches to solutions on a mental level. The main task of self-reflection is thus to compare several ideas in order to be able to decide on the best course of action depending on the situation.

self-reflection writing

5 steps for successful self-reflection writing

Writing down a reflection serves to deal with what has been experienced and to gain important insights. Reflection reports are often written after seminars, training courses and internships. The written documentation of a reflection is also applicable in the private sphere.

This involves writing down the findings of self-reflection in order to process what has happened, develop solutions to problems, and promote solution-oriented thinking.

Writing a self-reflection causes:

  • Training the ability to reflect
  • Dealing with feelings and thoughts
  • Gain in self-knowledge
  • better understand other people's behavior and accept

A reflection is written in the first person. The reflection report is divided into several sections. These are:

  1. Introductory sentence
  2. Introduction
  3. Main part
  4. Close
  5. Conclusion

The written version of the self-reflection begins with an introductory sentence. This describes the goal of the reflection. An example of self-reflection is gathering facts when changing jobs. The Setting Goals is then to reflect on whether a change of job makes sense and will help you personally.

The second step in writing a self-reflection is the introduction. This is basically an extension of the introductory sentence and contains important information. The opening paragraph can be a summary of the situation or the introduction of the project.

The main section is the third point in writing a reflection. This section focuses on the reflection of the specific situation. A fact, problem or background is described in detail. The question is whether the expectations were met or not.

Insert subheadings

Which goals have already been achieved and which plans should be realized? When writing the main part, you mention how you assess the situation in retrospect. What conclusions do you draw? What do you understand better now? What questions still need to be answered? A longer description of the reflection can be made clearer by using subheadings.

In the last section of the written self-reflection, the own evaluation of the situation is presented. The conclusion describes the insights gained during reflection and contains suggestions for improvement in the future.

The concluding sentence concludes the reflection report. Formulate a concluding sentence that summarizes what you have written in a few words.

Structure your thoughts and experiences in your reflection

A structured way of thinking facilitates self-reflection. Think about your experiences in the order of events. Think positive when reflecting. The goal is to analyze your behavior and understand yourself better.

During a self-reflection, the following should be improved:

  • Self-awareness
  • Decisiveness
  • Structured, analytical thinking
  • Promotion of Learning processes through objective assessment
  • The ability to question things critically

Structure your thoughts by focusing on the essentials. Set focal points. Do not get lost in details. Your self-reflection should follow a "red thread". Think your thoughts to the end. Allow for completely new insights.

self reflection definition

Known reflection questions at a glance

Self-reflection means thinking about oneself, taking a deeper look at a situation, and critically examining behaviors. To inner clarity targeted reflection questions are helpful. The questioning deals with interrelationships and interactions.

Examples of self-reflection questions include:

  • What do I really want to achieve?
  • Success - what does it mean for me?
  • What makes me happy?
  • Why is this goal so important to me?
  • What needs to change in my life?

Writing self-reflections: 8 tips against writer's block

You want to write a reflection, but you just can't think of anything? Writer's block is a mental phenomenon. It often happens that people are not able to write down their ideas, thoughts and feelings.

There are many reasons for writer's block. Writing a self-reflection can be challenging when it's about something very personal. Sometimes it's just hard to find the right entry point into a topic. Don't put off writing your self-reflection! The following 8 tips will help combat writer's block:

  1. Focus on your topic and eliminate distractions
  2. Organize your thoughts
  3. Structure your report
  4. Take breaks in between
  5. Keep a diary
  6. Motivate yourself
  7. Reward yourself for your perseverance
  8. Relax you

Avoid these common mistakes when writing reflections

Poor reflection reports are not conducive to gaining new insights and setting goals. Avoid these common mistakes when writing your reflection:

  • Overstate negative experiences
  • Do not ask open questions
  • Stray from the topic
  • Incomprehensible writing style
  • Overestimate limits of self-reflection


Self-reflection is an important learning and experience process. The process plays a major role in personality development. Questioning oneself and writing reflection reports are the first steps on the way to self-knowledge.

Objective self-reflection improves self-perception and self-awareness. The ability to reflect is an important prerequisite for gaining essential insights.


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