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15 Quotes to Encourage Self-Reflection

The process of self-reflection can help us discover why we feel, think, and act the way we do. By better understanding who we are and what we want, we can identify our values, develop a clear sense of purpose, and make the necessary changes to fulfill that purpose, leading to a greater sense of well-being.

Developing the ability to be self-reflective requires uninterrupted and sustained contemplation. Through meditative, mindful, and creative activities, we can learn to quiet our mind and turn our focus inward. Regular periods of introspection can guide us in strengthening our sense of identity and help us feel more in control of our lives. These insightful quotes demonstrate the importance of self-reflection in leading a happier, more enriching life.


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, travel writer

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There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
Aldous Huxley, author

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If these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.
Junot Díaz, writer

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Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.
Margaret Wheatley, writer

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The unexamined life is not worth living for human beings.
Socrates

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In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing — the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.
May Sarton, poet and novelist

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Self-correction begins with self-knowledge.
Baltasar Gracián, writer

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One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self-criticism.
Martin Luther King Jr.

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Find out who you are and do it on purpose.
Dolly Parton

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Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.
Carl Jung, psychoanalyst

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Self-reflection is a much kinder teacher than regret is.
Andrena Sawyer, business consultant

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I had the urge to examine my life in another culture and move beyond what I knew.
Frances Mayes, writer

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We cannot change what we are unaware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.
Sheryl Sandberg, technology executive and writer

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Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and reflection must finish him.
John Locke, philosopher

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Your treasure — your perfection — is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.
Elizabeth Gilbert

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Photo credit: Mondadori Portfolio/ Hulton Fine Art Collection via Getty Images

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About the Author
Kristina Wright
Kristina is a coffee-fueled writer living happily ever after with her family in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia.
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