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  • Writer's pictureEliza McBride, MS, NCC

Journal Prompts: Identity & Self-Reflection

Reflect on and answer these journal prompts with as little or as much information as you wish. These journal prompts can help you process who you are on a fundamental level.

Think and reflect on specific examples from personal experiences.

Basics: When did I realize each of these specific aspects of my identity? How do each of these categories impact how I navigate everyday life?

1. What are your racial, ethnic and cultural identities?

2. If you are not Indigenous, what generation are you in your current country of residence? What language(s) can you speak?

3. What is your gender identity and sexual orientation?

4. What spiritual or religious backgrounds did you grow up with/around, and do you still identify with these beliefs and practices now?

5. Do you have any disabilities?

6. What type of socioeconomic background did you grow up in? Do you still consider yourself to be in that SES bracket?

7. What are some of the first things people notice about you when they first meet you?

8. What typical assumptions do others make about you based on their first impressions?

Family-of-Origin: How did my family impact my sense of self growing up, and how does my family still continue to impact me now?

1. Did you grow up in a single-parent/caregiver or multiple-parent/caregiver household?

2. Growing up, what was your relationship like with your parent(s)/caregiver(s)? How has your relationship changed or shifted over the years?

3. (If applicable) How many siblings did you have? Did you get along with your siblings?

4. What is your relationship like with your siblings now? What has changed over the years, and what changes would you like to see?

5. What was the general environment like in your home?

6. What was your role in your family? What were the expectations placed on you in your household? Do you feel like you fulfilled these expectations?

7. Growing up, did you feel that you received the attention you needed? That your basic needs were addressed? Did you feel a sense of belonging, love and acceptance from other family members?

8. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being closest and 1 being not close at all, where would you place each member of your family-of-origin? What are your reasons for each?

Interests, Hobbies and Skills: What do these say about me and the type of person I am? What changes have I noticed over the years, and what changes would I like to see?

1. Think of at least 5 interests that you have. How long have you had each interest? What makes these things interesting to you?

2. Think of at least 3 hobbies that you practice. How long have you engaged in these hobbies? How much time, energy and resources do you invest in these hobbies?

3. What particular skills do you feel you naturally have? Do you feel like you’ve cultivated these natural skills?

4. What skills do you feel like you’ve learned/gained over the years? How did you gain these particular skills?

5. What hobbies or skills would you like to learn or cultivate? What makes it appealing to you? What will you do to learn and cultivate these hobbies and skills?

6. Do you have a professional identity? If you were to draw a pie chart of things that make up who you are, how much space would your professional identity occupy?

7. Is your current job related to your interests? What specific skills do you get to use?

8. What is your ideal profession or work environment? What are some things you hope to accomplish through your work or profession?

Personality: What have I noticed about how I feel about the world around me, how I process and deal with new experiences and information, and how I engage with others? How has this changed or shifted over the years?

1. Do you consider yourself introverted (need time alone to recharge) or extroverted (need time with people to feel energized/recharged)?

2. How do you feel about new experiences? Do you tend to welcome new experiences or tend to favor/stick to what’s familiar?

3. On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being “always” and 1 being “never,” how often do you think about other people’s feelings? Do you tend to prioritize other people’s needs and/or feelings over your own? How important are others’ feelings to you?

4. How often do you feel like you need someone else’s approval or attention to be satisfied with something you accomplished? How comfortable are you with receiving external praise and validation?

5. How often are you able to feel happy or satisfied with a personal accomplishment without seeking validation from others? How do you feel about giving yourself praise or acknowledgement for doing a job well?

6. Would you describe yourself as someone who worries often, or someone who is more laid-back? How do you handle conflict and stressful situations?

7. Do you like to plan ahead or prefer to wait and see? How do you handle surprises?

8. How comfortable are you with speaking up when you disagree with someone about something? How do you go about speaking up?

9. Do you prioritize how you feel about something over what you think about it? Conversely, do you prioritize what you think about something (logic) over how you feel about it (emotion)?

10. How often do you listen and follow your intuition? What gets in the way of following or listening to your intuition? What were some past results of listening or not listening to your intuition?

11. How do you feel when given constructive feedback from others? How open are you to making changes based on feedback?

12. How do you function in small group settings? Large group settings?

Relationships: How do my relationships with others reflect who I am as a person? What do my past and present relationships (romantic partners, friendships, etc.) say about who I am?

1. When you are seeking a romantic partner, what are the top 10 qualities that are the highest priority for you? Why? Are these qualities that you focus on for yourself?

2. What have your past romantic relationships been like? (e.g. distressing, unstable, abusive, loving, boring, exciting, etc.)?

3. What have you learned about yourself from past romantic relationships? Present romantic relationships? Do you like who you are in these relationships?

4. Do you feel that romantic relationships are a high priority for you? What particular needs do romantic relationships fill for you?

5. Do you feel like you are able to make friends easily? Why or why not?

6. Do you prefer a small number of close friends, or a larger circle of acquaintances? What are the reasons for your particular preferences?

7. What are the top 10 qualities that you look for in a friend? Do you feel like these are qualities that you possess or are working on?

8. How do you handle rejection? How has this changed over the years?

9. How do you handle conflict in relationships (i.e. romantic partnerships and/or friendships)? Do you prefer to downplay/ignore until something explodes/implodes, or do you prefer to address the issue(s) right away?

10. Have you felt joy in your relationships? Do you feel like you can enjoy the moment, or do you feel anxious about something distressing happening soon after?

11. How do you communicate a need within a relationship? Do you feel like these methods have been effective? How has your ability to communicate needs changed over the years? How would you like it to change?

12. Do you feel like you can be your authentic self within your romantic relationships and/or friendships? How has this changed over the years? What changes would you like to see?

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