Example of a Reflective Essay

A reflective essay is centered around the author’s personal experiences, emotions and thoughts. Its format depends on the audience, but structure always consists of an introduction, main body and conclusion. No matter which particular topic is chosen for the discussion, every reflective essay is based on the analysis of one’s own self and aims to provide both the author and the audience with a greater understanding of the author’s inner world. The following example will show how reflective essay may address one’s fears.

reflective essay

When I was a child, I used to be afraid of simple things, which did not even exist in reality. My vivid imagination easily created monsters in the attic, vicious aliens who would destroy our planet, ghosts lurking in the night. As I was growing up, my fears gradually became more real and understandable, for I started to be scared of dentists, homework, criminals, and other things which were closely connected to unpleasant associations of varying fear someness. Now, when I am a young adult, my anxieties have switched from imaginary pictures and real things to rather abstract concepts, which scare me more than anything.

The first and the most powerful fearful concept in my mind is loneliness. Maybe everyone is terrified of being alone, but in my case, this fear has become a source of constant anxiety. As I have lost many of my friends, I am afraid of losing even more close people. I understand that those friends have left my life due to various reasons. They graduated, or moved to another town, or radically changed their interests, or developed new priorities and aims. Thus, my relationships with them came to a logical and rather expected end, but sometimes I still experience the doubt that maybe I am the reason why they are gone. Since I do not understand what I might be doing wrong when communicating, I fear that I will never be able to eliminate this wrongness and even more people will inevitably leave me. Perhaps, one day I will end up on my own, and this possibility scares me to death. I do not want to lose someone else, even if this loss would be reasonable or beneficial.

My second fear is as abstract as the first, for I am also afraid of failure. I think that it is so strong because I have always been surrounded by high expectations. They are mere thoughts, not physical objects, and yet I feel as if they forcefully push me forward, not allowing me to walk away from the chosen destination. My parents expect me to achieve more than they have in their lives, perceiving me as an opportunity to fulfill their own dreams. Other relatives believe that I should be immensely successful in the future because I was unusually smart as a child. My friends think that I will never let them down, and while this particular expectation is rather flattering, I am afraid that I might not live up to it. Finally, I expect that I will be able to use my full potential and reach my goals. I am afraid that I do not have enough time or skill to always succeed.

All in all, I find it interesting that my fears are not directed towards factual objects or sources of real harm. I am afraid of uncertain possibilities, of what might or might never happen, but I think that this is worse than being scared of something objective. Because one can protect oneself from criminals, hide from the monsters, and refuse to visit dentists. Loneliness and failure, however, are constant dangers, which continue to exist as long as one lives. There is no protection against them and no hiding place to avoid their approach.