What is Self-Awareness?

Awareness is the human ability to pay attention to things. 

For instance, when you drive a car, you won’t simply start the vehicle and press the accelerator.

You will be aware of the road, traffic, and various driving rules. It is this awareness about what the vehicle can do, should do, and how to drive it that ensures you reach your destination successfully. We develop awareness by continually observing the world around us and learning from experience. 

Just like how awareness is about observing and understanding the world, self-awareness is the ability to focus on self.

Some people mistake self-awareness for sixth sense or gut feeling.

If we were to define self-awareness in simple terms, it is the state of mind where you are the focus of your attention. 

You are not born self-aware. A baby can roll off the bed or approach a wild animal without a care in the world. That happens because the baby is not self-aware beyond an elementary level.

Developing Self Awareness

Self-awareness develops soon after a baby is born. On a very basic level, even an infant is aware of external touch. Within a few months, the ability to recognize some sounds and feel of surfaces/objects and people starts emerging.  

At times, you might not even realize how self-awareness is instrumental in defining you as a person and helping you manage life’s changes. 

On a day-to-day basis, we don't really focus on ourselves at all times. It becomes an intricate and integral part of our sub-conscious that helps in the creation of our social presence, success in life, and is manifested in various forms according to the situation.

Scientific studies have found that the level of self-awareness starts developing in a baby around one year of age and this self-awareness keeps improving as he/she grows older. In most cases, there is a highly evolved sense of self-awareness by the age of 18 months.

Importance of Self Awareness 

Self-awareness skills are critical to our survival. 

Self-awareness definition encompasses various aspects of our persona such as the way we behave with others, our thoughts, our responses to situations, and people as well as our overall social behavior. 

Let’s take a look at a self-awareness example that will help us clearly understand the meaning of self-awareness. 

Imagine you are constantly failing to achieve your goals and desired performance levels at work. However, you feel that the results don’t correctly reflect your intellect or skills. 

In such a scenario, the most obvious thing to do would be to self-evaluate and find out the reasons that could be stopping you from achieving the results. 

By being self-aware, you can identify the problem areas related to your own self. It could be a lack of professional skill, a personal trait, or some habit that you need to work upon. 

The meaning of self-awareness clearly highlights how it is extremely important for success in life and how you can benefit from it in many areas:

1. Self-development:

Self-awareness drives us towards action. We understand, evaluate, and improve on areas related to our ‘self’. At times, you might need to learn some new skills to succeed at work. Or there could be a need to change your behavior towards a person or the approach towards a problem. By becoming self-aware, you can effectively progress on the path to self-development.  

2. Self-control:

Once you practice self-awareness, you start understanding not only your own personality but also how others view you. This gives you the ability to control your behavior, adopt creative and highly productive work practices. It helps you in accepting your abilities, traits, and be proud of them. Such an acceptance leads to an overall improvement of general self-esteem.

3. Decision-making: 

Once you become well-versed with yourself by mastering, you also become better at decision-making. There are fewer doubts, hesitations, and miscalculations, and more chances of making the right decision at the right time.

4. Better work success:

Self-awareness is the key to improving performance at work. It helps you understand your areas of improvement and strengths. Hence, your communication skills improve, confidence becomes higher and you experience higher job satisfaction.

Wisdom gathered over the years of growth is the driving factor behind your worldly success. This wisdom can be tapped into by practicing self-awareness. Be aware of this truth and you will find it easier to overcome hurdles.


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