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Updated: Apr 30


Self-awareness competency involves understanding your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, as well as recognizing how they impact yourself and others.


1.Self-reflection: Regularly taking time to introspect and think about your thoughts, feelings, and actions can enhance self-awareness.

2.Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or mindfulness exercises, can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions as they arise.

3.Journaling: Keeping a journal to record your thoughts and feelings can provide insight into patterns and triggers, promoting greater self-awareness.

4.Seeking feedback: Actively seeking feedback from others, such as friends, family, or mentors, can help you gain different perspectives on your behavior and attitudes.

5.Emotional intelligence: Developing your emotional intelligence, which includes recognizing and understanding your own emotions, is a key aspect of self-awareness.

6.Self-assessment: Regularly assessing your strengths, weaknesses, values, and goals can contribute to a deeper understanding of yourself.

Open-mindedness: Being open to new experiences and information can expand your self-awareness by challenging preconceived notions and biases.

Understanding self and self-awareness is a complex and multifaceted topic that has been explored by psychologists, philosophers, and researchers for centuries. In general, self-awareness can be defined as the ability to perceive and understand oneself as a separate entity from others and the environment. Self-awareness involves both internal and external aspects of the self, such as one’s personality, emotions, thoughts, actions, values, beliefs, strengths, weaknesses, goals, motivations, and social roles. Self-awareness also involves the ability to compare and contrast one’s self-image (how one sees oneself) with one’s self-concept (how one thinks about oneself) and one’s self-esteem (how one feels about oneself).

There are different types and levels of self-awareness that develop throughout the lifespan. Some of the most common types of self-awareness are:

  • Visual self-awareness: The ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or a picture. This type of self-awareness emerges around one year of age and becomes more developed by 18 months of age1.

  • Emotional self-awareness: The ability to identify, label, and regulate one’s own emotions and to understand how they affect one’s behavior and well-being. This type of self-awareness develops gradually from infancy to adulthood and is influenced by one’s temperament, attachment style, and socialization2.

  • Social self-awareness: The ability to understand how others perceive and evaluate one’s self and to adjust one’s behavior accordingly. This type of self-awareness involves taking the perspective of others, being empathic, and having a sense of social norms and expectations. Social self-awareness emerges in early childhood and continues to evolve throughout the lifespan3.

  • Metacognitive self-awareness: The ability to reflect on one’s own mental processes, such as thinking, learning, memory, and problem-solving. This type of self-awareness involves being aware of one’s strengths and limitations, setting goals, monitoring progress, and evaluating outcomes. Metacognitive self-awareness is essential for effective learning and decision-making and develops mainly during adolescence and adulthood4.

Self-awareness is not a fixed or static trait that one either has or does not have. Rather, it is a dynamic and ongoing process that can be cultivated and improved through various strategies and practices. Some of the benefits of having high self-awareness are:

  • Increased confidence and creativity: When people are self-aware, they have a clear and realistic sense of who they are and what they can do. They are more likely to pursue their passions, express their ideas, and take risks. They are also more resilient and adaptable to change.

  • Improved relationships and communication: When people are self-aware, they are more empathic, respectful, and cooperative with others. They are able to communicate their needs, feelings, and opinions effectively and to listen and respond to feedback constructively. They are also more likely to avoid or resolve conflicts and to build trust and rapport.

  • Enhanced performance and productivity: When people are self-aware, they are more focused, motivated, and goal-oriented. They are able to plan, organize, and execute their tasks efficiently and effectively. They are also more likely to seek and use feedback, learn from their mistakes, and improve their skills and knowledge.

Some of the strategies and practices that can help people increase their self-awareness are:

  • Seek feedback from others: Asking for honest and constructive feedback from people who know you well, such as family, friends, colleagues, or mentors, can help you gain a more accurate and balanced view of yourself. You can also use tools such as [360-degree feedback] or [personality tests] to assess your strengths and areas for improvement.

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation: Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance. Meditation is a technique of focusing the mind on a single object, thought, or sensation, such as the breath, a mantra, or a sound. Both mindfulness and meditation can help you become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and impulses, and to observe them without judgment or reaction.

  • Keep a journal or diary: Writing down your thoughts, feelings, experiences, and goals can help you reflect on your inner and outer self and to identify patterns, themes, and insights. You can also use journaling to track your progress, celebrate your achievements, and express your gratitude.

  • Challenge yourself and try new things: Exposing yourself to new and diverse situations, people, and perspectives can help you expand your horizons, learn new skills, and discover new aspects of yourself. You can also challenge yourself by setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals and by seeking constructive criticism and feedback.

Understanding oneself and achieving self-awareness are complex processes that involve introspection, self-reflection, and a deep exploration of one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Here's an elaborative explanation of these concepts:

  1. Self-Concept:

    • Definition: Self-concept refers to the way individuals perceive themselves. It includes beliefs, opinions, and attitudes about one's own identity, abilities, and characteristics.

    • Formation: Self-concept develops through interactions with the environment, feedback from others, and personal experiences. It can be influenced by cultural, social, and familial factors.


  • Definition: Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one's own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It involves being conscious of how one fits into the larger context of the world.

  • Levels of Self-Awareness:

    • Basic Awareness: Recognizing emotions and thoughts as they occur.

    • Symbolic Self-Awareness: Understanding oneself as a continuous and separate entity.

    • Objective Self-Awareness: Evaluating oneself against external standards.

Factors Influencing Self-Awareness:

  • Reflection: Taking the time to think about and analyze one's thoughts and actions.

  • Feedback: Receiving input from others provides an external perspective.

  • Life Experiences: Events and challenges can shape and deepen self-awareness.

  • Cultural and Social Context: Societal norms and values impact self-perception.

Benefits of Self-Awareness:

  • Improved Emotional Intelligence: Recognizing and managing one's emotions effectively.

  • Enhanced Decision-Making: Making choices aligned with personal values and goals.

  • Better Interpersonal Relationships: Understanding how one's behavior affects others.

  • Increased Resilience: Handling challenges and setbacks more effectively.

Methods for Developing Self-Awareness:

  • Journaling: Writing down thoughts and feelings.

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Focusing on the present moment.

  • Therapy: Professional guidance and introspective discussions.

  • Feedback from Others: Seeking input from trusted friends, family, or mentors.

Challenges to Self-Awareness:

  • Defensiveness: Avoiding uncomfortable truths about oneself.

  • Blind Spots: Unconscious aspects of oneself that are not readily apparent.

  • Cultural and Social Conditioning: External influences shaping self-perception.

Continuous Process:

  • Achieving self-awareness is not a one-time event but an ongoing process.

  • Regular self-reflection and a willingness to adapt and grow contribute to a deeper understanding of oneself.

  1. Cultural Variations:

    • Different cultures may place varying emphasis on individual introspection and self-awareness.

    • Cultural norms can influence how individuals express and perceive themselves.

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