5 Characteristics of a Reflective Person

Do you think before you act? Are you not driven by impulse? You may be a reflective person.
5 Characteristics of a Reflective Person

Last update: 16 September, 2022

Maybe when you think about whether you are a reflective person or not, the image that comes to your mind is that of The Thinker, that sculpture that you can see in the city of Paris. You’re not entirely wrong.

When we go to the origin of the word “reflect,” it’s a concept that means to think carefully and attentively about something. Without a doubt, a reflective person tends to dive deep into themselves to know themselves better, to avoid acting impulsively, and to act in a calm and collected manner. Let’s take a closer look.

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What does it mean to be a reflective person?

Although we’ve already given you some clues, a reflective person is someone who doesn’t act on impulse, but takes time to analyze a given situation before responding or acting. This type of person cultivates their inner world excellently, which allows them to know what they’re truly like and their strengths and weaknesses in order to change, if necessary.

It’s crucial that you keep in mind that this is a personality trait that’s very difficult to cultivate if it hasn’t been acquired. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t become a reflective person.

You can do this, for example, by practicing meditation or other activities such as yoga. This way, you can learn to listen to your inner voice, observe your thoughts, and reduce your need to act on impulses.

a woman meditating on a mountain
Meditation leads us to know ourselves and explore our inner selves.

The advantages of being a reflective person

Being a reflective person has its advantages. To begin with, you don’t make hasty decisions, something that usually has serious consequences.

Someone who wants to change jobs and who does so without having conducted previous interviews to be able to occupy a new position and not become unemployed is not a reflective person, for instance. Careful weighing of options is a significant part of this trait.

Also, other advantages are that, thanks to this lack of impulsiveness, these people tend to take better care of their relationships since they tend to avoid saying or doing things they may regret when they argue. All in all, thanks to this capacity for reflection, the decisions they make are more coherent with who they are and the values they hold.

The five characteristics of a reflective person

At this point, you may have said to yourself, “wow, it looks like I may be a reflective person.” However, we’re now going to take a closer look at some of the most characteristic traits of reflective people to leave no room for doubts. Although it is possible to have some more marked traits than others, all of the following characteristics are usually part of this type of personality.

1. A reflective person knows how to listen

Active listening in certain sectors, such as medicine, is fundamental. As explained by the Spanish Association of Mental Health Nursing (AEESME), focusing on what the other person is saying, empathizing with their circumstances, and accepting them without making critical assessments or judgments is key. Not everyone is able to do this and, for this reason, it’s a very valuable characteristic.

2. A reflective person learns from their mistakes

A reflective person isn’t afraid to admit that she or he has made a mistake, ask for forgiveness, and learn from that fact in order not to make it again. The denial of mistakes is much more common than we think, but maybe you have never done this.

Then, maybe you are part of those who enjoy huge personal growth thanks to this ability to make mistakes, assume and learn.

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3. A reflective person manages their emotions well

One of the many keys to proper emotional management is not to act in the heat of the moment. This isn’t easy.

No one teaches us from an early age how to truly not to get carried away by anger, revenge, or hatred while still accepting these emotions exist. However, if you’re able to think before you act and speak, you don’t let your feelings dominate you. Thus, you feel more satisfied with your reaction.

4. They have a high capacity for analysis

Another characteristic of reflective people is that their capacity for analysis is very high. When faced with a specific situation, they quickly evaluate its pros and cons to make a healthy and correct decision according to their own values.

Knowing how to stop and take distance is not always easy. However, if you’re a reflective person, this likely comes naturally to you.

a reflective person
Being analytical in the right measure promotes good decision-making.

5. Patience is their virtue

Patience in this type of person is a remarkable trait. Thanks to all of the above, they’re calm because they’re not in a hurry to obtain a certain result.

Nor do they usually suffer from anticipatory anxiety, that fear that appears before something happens, because thinking about it already raises cortisol levels instantly.

You can be a reflective person

Have you discovered that you’re a reflective person? Congratulations! You have a personality with multiple advantages that will allow you to grow on a personal level, take care of your relationships, and feel that you enjoy a full life.

But don’t worry if you have realized that you’re actually the opposite. There are certain healthy aspects that can be worked on in therapy, such as reducing impulses or improving communication.

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  • Ayala, A. E. G. (2012). Trastornos de ansiedad: agorafobia y crisis de pánico. Farmacia profesional26(6), 32-39.
  • De la Cuesta-Benjumea, C. (2011). La reflexividad: un asunto crítico en la investigación cualitativa. Enfermería clínica21(3), 163-167.