39 Thought-Provoking Self-Reflection Quotes Everyone Should Read

What is the point of self-reflection?

To even begin to answer that, you need some idea of what the self even is.

You’re not alone if you feel you’ve spent too much of your life avoiding that question. 

Some moments show you more of who you are than others.

And you’re left wondering whether to dig deeper or just accept it and move on.

Digging deeper is always an enlightening choice.

If part of you is at least curious, it can’t hurt to read the thoughts of those who’ve known the same feeling. 

What Is an Example of Self-Reflection? 

Hands up if part of you is worried that self-reflection means putting yourself under a microscope and focusing on your faults. 

We know that hesitation, but flaw examination is so not what we’re doing here. 

The point of self-reflection isn’t to punish yourself for what isn’t perfect but to simply be more aware of how your mind works without judging or “shoulding” yourself. 

We collected the following quotes to encourage you — not to make you feel lesser-than. 

Let the thoughts of other self-reflectors inspire you to know and to love yourself better.

39 Powerful Self-Reflection Quotes 

Spend a moment with each of these quotes, and make a note of those that resonate most.

Keep these handy to inspire and motivate you to know yourself better. 

1. “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

2. “We always see our worst selves. Our most vulnerable selves. We need someone else to get close enough to tell us we’re wrong. Someone we trust.” – David Levithan

3. “Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

4. “Some nights are made for torture, or reflection, or the savoring of loneliness.” – Poppy Z.Brite

5. “One of the saddest things in life, is the things one remembers.” – Agatha Christie

Self-reflection quotes
6. ”It is always our own self that we find at the end of the journey. The sooner we face that self, the better.” – Ella Maillart

7. The cosmos is evolving toward greater self-reflection, allowing us to open the eye of Spirit and see our source.” —Alex Grey

8. “How sad and bad and mad it was – but then, how it was sweet.” – Robert Browning

9. “The writer’s curse is that even in solitude, no matter its duration, he never grows lonely or bored.” – Criss Jami

10. “Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.” – Gautama Buddha

Self-reflection quotes
11. “I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn.” – Robert Frost

12. “People will walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

13. “I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.” – Charles Bukowski

Self-reflection quotes
14. ”What we perceive about ourselves is greatly a reflection of how we will end up living our lives.” – Stephen Richards

15. “Sleep seems to hammer out for me the logical conclusions of my vague days, and offer them to me as dreams.” – H. Lawrence

16. “The moon is the reflection of your heart and moonlight is the twinkle of your love.” – Debasish Mridha

17. “Believing doesn’t make God real. Unbelief doesn’t make Him disappear. Your opinion doesn’t change reality.” – Randy Loubier

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Self-reflection quotes
18. “Our power lies in our small daily choices, one after another, to create eternal ripples of a life well lived.” – Mollie Marti

19. “When the world is itself draped in the mantle of night, the mirror of the mind is like 20. the sky in which thoughts twinkle like stars.” – Khushwant Singh

20. “The past can’t be changed, can it? It can just be forgiven.” – Elizabeth George

21. “If every library is in some sense a reflection of its readers, it is also an image of that which we are not, and cannot be.” – Alberto Manguel

Self-reflection quotes
22. “Your greatest self has been waiting your whole life; don’t make it wait any longer.” —Dr. Steve Maraboli

23. “Remember your connection with the cosmos. Remember your connection with the infinity and that remembrance will give you the freedom.” – Amit Ray

24. “If you are not evolving, you are dying.” – Marcus Lemonis

25. “Sometimes, a girl just has to dive under the duvet and regroup.” – Jody Gehrman

Self-reflection quotes
26. “People who have had little self-reflection live life in a huge reality blind-spot.” – Bryant McGill

27. “They seemed no closer to the tops of the peaks that rose before them. It was only by looking back, to the forest far below, that she knew they’d climbed.” – Kristin Cashore

28. “How could you cleanse yourself if you couldn’t forget?” – Ann Brashares

29. “Take time daily to reflect on how much you have. It may not be all that you want but remember someone somewhere is dreaming to have what you have.” – Germany Kent

30. “Great ideas emerge from useless fragments of thoughts.” – Michael Bassey Johnson

31. “I had the urge to examine my life in another culture and move beyond what I knew.” – Francis Mayes

32. “There is no future without a past, because what is to be cannot be imagined except as a form of repetition.” – Siri Hustvedt

33. “We are more severe judges of our own acts…We judge our thoughts, our intents, our secret curses, our secret hates, not only our acts.” – Anaïs Nin

34. “Here is the world, and you live in it, and are grateful. You try to be grateful.” – Michael Cunningham

35. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Jung

36. “One travels more usefully when alone because he reflects more.” – Thomas Jefferson

37. “Great leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, self-reflection, education, training, and experience.” – Tony Buon

38. “Our self-image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become.” – Maxwell Martz

39. “Self-reflection is a humbling process. It’s essential to find out why you think, say, and do certain things…. then better yourself.” – Sonya Teclai

How Will You Use These Quotes about Self-Reflection? 

The best way to benefit from these reflection quotes is to keep them where you’ll see them. It also helps to incorporate them into your self-care habits.

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Use a favorite quote as a journaling prompt.
  • Write them on a whiteboard you’ll see. 
  • Make a poster or desktop wallpaper with your favorites.
  • Use them as discussion topics with your therapist or coach.

Let these quotes on self-reflection spark curiosity about your true self.

Now that you’ve looked through all 35 quotes on self-reflection, and you have some ideas on how to make the most of your favorites, which one will you keep handy today?

The goal here is to grow as you become more aware of what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling, and what any of that means to you.

You’re not here to judge yourself for not being perfect. 

A habit of self-reflection makes it easier to be patient with yourself and others. 

Love is always the ultimate goal. 

Read on this curated list of self-reflection quotes that will definitely make you more aware and informed of what you are feeling and thinking.

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