Self-awareness: The facts

Published on by Randy Nicholas

Self-awareness is the ability to understand one's own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours as separate from the environment and other individuals. Building your self-awareness can give you personal development tools that improve your relationships, performance at work, and self-control. This article gives examples of self-awareness, describes its five stages of development, and lists its benefits in business.

Why is self-awareness important?

Analyse and change behaviour

By becoming familiar with your own thought patterns and behaviours, it becomes easier to identify your strengths and areas for improvement as well as the best methods that you can use to build your strengths or correct your weaknesses. You can become self-aware by exploring the following dimensions through self-awareness activities, such as writing in a journal.

Dimensions of self-awareness

Learning styles and academic ability

By exploring your specific learning style, it becomes easier to determine your academic ability and the best methods to use for learning new information for personal or professional development. Many tools exist, which can help you to determine your unique learning style.

Career aptitude

Knowing which careers you are best suited for, gives you a direction to build your skills toward and reduces the risk of working an unsatisfying or inappropriate career.


Your personality traits inform how you will react to different people in different situations. In this dimension, self-awareness exercises will help you to adapt your communication style to a variety of situations.


Gaining specific insights into your core values, including political, religious, and ethical belief systems, can greatly increase your capacity for understanding yourself as these form the basis of many thought patterns and behaviours.

Five stages of development

Confusion and differentiation

During this stage, the individual moves from being completely oblivious of his surroundings to being conscious of differentiations in the environment.


At this level, the individual is aware that his own reflection is unique unto himself.


The identification stage is when an individual begins to recognise reflections as "self."


This occurs when the individual gains the ability to recognise pictures, movies, and images of "self" in the past.


In this final stage, the individual becomes aware of the self in the context of society, and is able to understand how they are viewed by others.

Benefits in business

Self-awareness can help you to identify gaps in your abilities to promote skills development. It can also help you to know your strengths and weaknesses, develop your decision-making skills, manage stress, increase your motivation, and build your leadership ability.


Published on Psychology

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