Self-Awareness refers to an individual’s capability to understand and perceive the events and actions that make them who they are. It includes an individual’s actions, personality, emotions, beliefs, and thoughts. It is a mental state whereby the self becomes the main focus of one’s attention. Although self-awareness is central to who a person is, it is usually not something that an individual is acutely focused on at every time of the day (Brandl, 2018). However, it is woven into the main fabric of who we are. It emerged at various points, depending on a person’s personality and situation. Human beings are not self-aware from birth. However, evidence shows that infants possess a crude sense of self-awareness. Studies have also shown that newborns can differentiate between non-self and self-touch.
A more complex sense of self-awareness arises at one year of age. The sense of self-awareness emerges almost twelve months after being born. However, it becomes more developed at one and a half years of age. There are various levels of self-awareness. One theory of self-awareness suggests five main levels of self-awareness (Brandl, 2018). Children progress through the various stages from birth to approximately age four or five. Differentiation is when an infant begins acknowledging their reflection. This means they may detect something special or different concerning their reflection. The situation is when a baby begins recognizing their reflection and movements and being as separate from those of people around them. Identification is the stage during which a child completely knows or recognizes their reflection in the mirror. Permanence refers to having a complete sense of themselves. They could identify themselves in videos or pictures even as there are changes in appearance. Self-consciousness is when a child embraces a third-person point of view of themselves. They gradually become aware of the idea that other people perceive in certain ways.
There exists private and public self-awareness. Public self-awareness is the kind of self-awareness that usually emerges in situations when human beings are at the center of attention. This kind of self-awareness usually compels people to abide by social norms. When people are aware that they are being evaluated and watched, they often attempt to behave in a way that is desirable or socially acceptable. This form of self-awareness also contributes to evaluation anxiety. This is where people grow anxious, distressed, and worried concerning how other people perceive them (Brandl, 2018). A private form of self-awareness occurs when individuals become aware of some issues themselves in a private manner. This could occur when a person sees their face in the mirror.
Self-awareness can be improved in a variety of ways. Meditation is one of the means used to enhance self-awareness. The act of taking note of what occurs during the process of meditation could bring improved awareness of a person’s feelings and thoughts. Journaling is also a practice of self-reflection, which could help one to notice the ways that you behave and think. It also helps a person to highlight any areas that require improvement. It is a therapeutic approach to gaining insights into your relationships and events (Brandl, 2018). Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness go hand in hand. Emotional Intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to perceive their own emotions and other people’s emotions. People that display high EQ can respond effectively to emotions with some compassion and empathy.
It is widely believed that introspection improves self-awareness. Introspection refers to examining the main causes of our own behaviors, feelings, as well as thoughts. It is thought that there is no better way to know ourselves than by reflecting on the reasons why we behave in a certain manner. However, this is not to say that introspection is categorically ineffective. It is only that people are not doing it effectively. Answering the ‘why’ question is an ineffective self-awareness query. Studies have shown that people do not have access to most of their unconscious feelings, thoughts, or motives. Since so much has been trapped within an individual’s conscious awareness, people invent answers that feel true but are wrong.