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The Importance of Self-Awareness

No one is perfect.  We all have our “quirks” and unique personalities, and sometimes these can even make us cute, special or endearing to many.  However, some “quirks” are a bit less attractive, and when they are, self-awareness is somewhat critical in either improving upon them or managing their impact on others.

That said, many people aren’t self-aware or aren’t self-aware ALL of the time.  Maybe it is someone at the gym who thinks that all of the equipment is his or her very own and doesn’t like to share.  Or, maybe it is a family member who believes that they are always right and that the rest of the world is wrong.  Or, maybe you work with a colleague who just doesn’t have any sense of how they bully others.  Some of these people can produce continual toxicity in our lives, while others may cause only a momentary frustration.  Whoever or whatever the case may be, these people are among us.

But why is self-awareness so important?  It makes us better people.  Here’s why:

  1. Empathy. Having the ability to see when we are wrong or when we have made a mistake allows us to see other peoples’ perspectives and to be empathetic to their situation or their feelings.
  2. Admission. Have you noticed when people aren’t self-aware, it is very difficult for them to apologize or admit that they are wrong?  Often, these people can’t even SEE that they are wrong in the first place.  They tend to think that they are always right and if something doesn’t work out as planned, it is always someone else’s fault.
  3. Man in the Mirror. If we can acknowledge our flaws, we can make positive change to improve upon them.  Knowing is half the battle…and if you can admit to the qualities that are less than stellar about yourself…you can change them or improve upon them.
  4. Tolerance. When you can see your own faults, it is easier to accept others’.
  5. Humility. Understanding that we ourselves are not perfect allows us to get off our high-horses.  Further, know we can always be better and as a result, can be thankful for the good that does come our way.
  6. Likability. Let’s face it:  No one likes a know-it-all or an individual who thinks they are always right.  Having the ability to see other peoples viewpoints, to be open and flexible, and acknowledge that you are not the only person who has the answer makes you a more attractive person.

So how self-aware are you?  Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. Do you listen to others during a conversation?  Or, do you tend to do a lot of the talking?
  2. Do you ask others how they feel about situations?  Or, do you make assumptions based on your own feelings?
  3. Do you think about how your actions affect others?  Or, are you confident that others are fine with how you handle situations?
  4. Are you aware of other people’s social cues?  Or, do you mostly focus on your own?
  5. Can you admit when you are wrong, and have apologized when you are?  Or, do you tend to think that things are wrong or go bad because of others?

If you answered yes to most of the first questions in each pair, you are most-likely self-aware.  If you answered yes to most of the second questions in each pair, you probably could afford to tune into other people’s reactions and do some inner reflecting.

Self awareness gives you the ability to be open, thoughtful and aware of how you impact others.  It is one of the best and most valuable qualities you can have!  Do you think you are self-aware?  Have you met others who aren’t?  How did they make you feel?

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , , , ,
  • Dear Brett,

    Yes, self-awareness is essential on the road to our spiritual growth and personal developments. These 6 points (1) empathy (2) admission (3) man in the mirror (4) tolerance (5) humility (6) likeability along with your questions are a great list for folks to look over in thinking about where they fit in on the continuum of self-awareness.

    Here’s to growing in self-awareness

    Dr. Jennifer Howard

  • Brett

    Thanks Dr. Howard!

  • tonia

    this is good

  • Ronnie

    Very true

  • Alexander Nii Ayitey Armah

    It’s very important to be self aware …. it enables you and makes you have time to observe very well people around you and what goes on around you ….. 1. empathy 2.admission in mirror 4.tolerance 5.humility and 6.likeability are very important points as stated in the article

  • jess

    how do u approach somebody who is not self aware in a kindly manner or will that person just react in an inapropiate manner because he or she isnt self aware.

  • KC

    I would agree with the article. I’m glad to know that I’m self aware, but I had a friend who wasn’t. Eventually, I had to walk away from the situation. I don’t really think she even knows what she did wrong, but I maintain my ground & hope that this is a lesson for the both of us.

  • Cecille

    Great work! Many people haven/t a clue as to where they are. I will share with others.

  • deepa

    yes nice i liked it so much but self aware is good but what about others who has not any self awar they become really toxic for others
    i think we cant change the person and their attitude so we hav to avoid this type of ppl

  • Nashan

    I bet that almost every one who read this superb article thought of some one or other who lacked in self awareness, any one except himself/herself. Well that is the lack of self awareness !

  • Tiffany

    Great insight. The first thought that comes to mind though is of those people who are very much self-aware but tend not to care about the impact of their actions. They know what they’re doing and understand the ramifications. How do you deal with these people? Do you just walk away? I guess, for your sanity, you should?

  • Chime

    Can people distort your self awareness?

    I know I’m not always self aware, but I believe this can be done and it has been done alot of times, especially if the person has less people with them to reassure their traits.

  • tyler

    I wish to thank you for sharing this. I have people in my life who aren’t self aware. One friend has particularly annoyed me lately, I take their behaviour personally. It seems like he has a complete lack of manners and common sense. He simply isn’t self aware. I wonder how I can approach him and point this out without starting a fight. Maybe I’ll send him the link to this site! Wish me luck.
    I myself often catch myself in not self aware mode and I work on it every day, sometimes I catch myself in a moment, and find myself embarrassed, and wind up apologizing. For the most part I am self aware though.

    PEI, Canada

  • TMJ

    I really enjoyed reading this article. It struck a cord with me because I recently had to stop communicating with a coworker, because she became very aggressive, rude, and opionated with me over a short period of time. I think because she thought we were close in age, the same race, she somehow saw me as an extension of herself or like a family member. I just got to the point where I felt so uncomfortable that I had to create a STRONG boundary with this young arrogant woman. It’s unfortunate because I felt that we could have learned alot from one another. My hope is that she will take a good look at herself one of these days and actually I want her to say something, because I definately know it will be my place to share with her how not only myself, but how others in the office see her. If this never happens then its probably for the best, as I would be more inclined to not spare her feelings, based upon how much she has pissed me off over the last few months. Hey what can I say I too am a work in progress :0)

  • Wonderful insights Brett. It’s so valuable for people to realize that they don’t have to walk through life unconsciously bumping into others. The more self-awareness someone has, the happier she can be and the more positive interactions she’ll have with others.

  • DanielMountain

    Most people I come across have either a small amount of self awareness or zero — they just react to things without thinking in retrospect and without imagination.
    I get tired of it, sometimes, but then I see individuals here and there who are like me. It has been this way for as long as I can remember.
    EMPATHY seems to be lacking in so many…