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Self Reflection

What is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is the human capacity to observe and analyze one’s own cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes. It helps to estimate the effectiveness of skills and how they can be improved.

What is self-reflection?
Self-reflection is the human capacity to observe and analyze one’s own cognitive, emotional and behavioral processes. It helps to estimate the effectiveness of skills and how they can be improved.

Reflection is an important part of learning. That goes for any role, be it professional or private. A small example. Suppose one day you make a dish based on an old recipe. The meal fails completely. Next time, you don’t follow the exact same recipe, but adjust it so that the meal will hopefully be a success.

Thinking about your own skills and own actions helps to achieve improvement.

Self reflection meaning

Self-reflection is defined as the mental process used to increase understanding of who you are, what your values are, and why you think, act, and feel the way you do.

This is also called thinking about one’s own being, or metacognition. When people reflect, they are more aware of what motivates them for different things. This helps them develop and grow.

Sample questions for self-reflection

Self-reflection can be used in many situations and contexts. A similarity between these situations is that you ask yourself questions to initiate the reflection process.

In general, we distinguish between three forms of reflection:

  • Reflecting on personal functioning
  • Reflecting on professional conduct
  • Reflecting on individual professional conduct

There are a number of models that help with this, such as the Korthagen reflection circle diagram, the STARR reflection model, Gibbs’ reflection model or David Kolb’s learning styles. Other well-known names when it comes to learning and reflection are John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Kurt Lewin.

Examples of some standard reflection questions are:

  • What are my strengths?
  • What are my weaknesses?
  • How can I use my strengths and weaknesses for my self-development?
  • What core competencies do I possess?
  • What am I less good at?
  • How can I improve my weak points?
  • What problems do I experience at home or at work?
  • How do these problems affect the way I treat others?
  • What have I already achieved? What else do I want to achieve?
  • What things am I not happy with?
  • What things in my life would I like to improve?
  • What makes me happy?

Benefits of self-reflection

It is clear that reflection and self-reflection are at the basis of self-development and self-fulfillment. It brings many advantages.


Research published in Harvard Business Review shows that leaders who engage in self-reflection every day feel more motivated and less exhausted than leaders who don’t.

Happiness at work

Similar research shows that a moment of self-reflection during, for example, travel time, makes you happy and more motivated. In addition, regular self-reflection ensures that people are more productive.

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Self confidence

Regular self-reflection increases the chance of making better decisions. A consequence of making better decisions than before is that people experience more positive results. This in turn makes people feel more capable and confident. This also benefits our self-esteem.

Borton’s Model of Reflection (1970) explained

May 14th, 2024

Borton’s model of reflection: this article explains Borton’s model of reflection, developed in 1970 by Terry Borton in a practical way. In addition to what this reflection method is, this article also highlights the importance of reflecting, the three phases…

Gibbs Reflective Cycle: Theory and Example Template

November 30th, 2023

Gibbs Reflective Cycle: this article explains the Gibbs Reflective Cycle by Graham Gibbs in a practical way. Next to what it is, this arfticle also highlights the steps of the Reflective Cycle, the realtionship with experiences and a downloadable and…

Kolb Reflective Cycle Explained

November 30th, 2023

Kolb Reflective Cycle: this article explains the Kolb Reflective Cycle, further developed by David Kolb, in a practical way. It covers what the model of reflection is and what the four stages of learning and the different learning…

Kurt Lewin biography and change theory

September 7th, 2023

Kurt Lewin (1890 – 1947) was a German-American psychologist, who is known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational and applied psychology. He is recognized as the founder of the first study group dynamics and organizational development. Famous…

Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES)

August 16th, 2023

Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES): this article provides a practical explanation of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) concept. The article begins with a general definition and explanation of this concept, followed by a description of the topic of work…

Executive Coaching explained

July 4th, 2023

Executive coaching: this article explains executive coaching (leadership coaching) in a practical way. The article starts with the definition of this term, followed by information about the power, different stages and benefits of this form of coaching. Enjoy reading! What…
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