Self-Awareness: 5 Ways to Know Yourself And Others Better

Introduction to self-awareness, its foundation, benefits and ways to become more self-aware.

Cover  photo for a self-awareness blog of woman with hands on her hips

Self-awareness is one of the pillars of self-development. That's because it affects your ability to evaluate your thoughts, feelings, and behavior and is crucial in correctly judging yourself and your environment. Being aware of one's self comes from psychological theory, the self-awareness theory.

This article discusses the following:

  • Definition of self-awareness

  • Self-Awareness theory

  • Types of self-awareness

  • Benefits of being more self-aware

  • Ways to improve your skills

What Is Self-Awareness?

Self-awareness is your capacity to recognize emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It plays a crucial role in people understanding and being aware of their behavior in a way that allows them to make better choices.

People with higher self-awareness are more conscious of their feelings, thoughts, or actions. Most importantly, they are also more mindful of both what they did and why they did it. Though it has gained mainstream popularity, the theory was studied in-depth in the 20th century.

What Is the Self-Awareness Theory

Black man sitting an overpass in deep introspection as an example of public self-awareness vs private self-awareness

Photo by whoislimos / Unsplash

The self-awareness theory states that when people are aware of their thoughts, emotions, and feelings, it influences changes in their behavior, emotions, and how they look at themselves. Shelley Duval and Robert Wicklund developed this social psychology theory.

The two types of self-awareness

The two self-awareness components in the theory are public self-awareness and private self-awareness. Public (external)self-awareness is evaluating yourself based on how others see you. While it can help improve your relationships and decision-making, it can also lead to hyper-self-awareness and fear of rejection.

Private (internal)self-awareness is understanding thoughts, emotions, and motivations. It has some of the same benefits of external self-awareness but can also help you regulate your feelings and accept yourself. However, it can also lead you to overthink and to be self-absorbed.

Why Is Self-Awareness Important?

Couple happily camping, demonstrating th benefits of self-awareness.

Photo by Zest Tea / Unsplash

Self-awareness plays an integral part in both your personal and professional life. It allows you to make informed decisions because you can better manage your interactions with others and make better decisions. It is an agent that benefits your personal growth.

The Role Self-Awareness Plays in Self-Development

Self-awareness is critical to self-development. It helps you behave appropriately, thus allowing you to continue being the best version of your (present) self. It gives you the skills to:

  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses

  • Set realistic goals and achieve them

  • Make high-quality decisions

  • Cope with hardship and other challenges

  • Build healthy relationships

Benefits Associated With Improved Self-Awareness

Understanding yourself and how you engage with others is the catalyst for self-development. It enables you to build life skills, determine what skills to use and which ones to improve upon. It grants an ongoing opportunity to grow, leading to the following:

  • Improved communication

  • Healthier relationships

  • Increased emotional stability

  • Better decision-making

  • Higher self-understanding

  • Greater self-confidence

  • Improved stress management skills

  • More empathy for others

  • Enhanced creativity

  • Greater Productivity

5 Ways to Improve This Skill

It's exciting to know that it is possible to become more self-aware. There are many tools and methods you can use to improve your self-awareness; here are five of them.

1. Pay attention to your body and emotions.

Often, people tend not to pay attention to how they react in different situations. Paying attention to how you physically and emotionally respond in stressful situations can help you regulate your emotions and minimize the adverse effects on your body.

Understanding what is happening and why you feel a specific way can lead to better decision-making when encountering a similar scenario.

2. Evaluate your thoughts.

Evaluating your thoughts can seem impossible at first. It's a process that requires patience. First, notice what you are thinking without judgment. As your thoughts come and go, observe them. Once you have established awareness, then label them. For instance, if you think, "I'm not smart," you may want to ask yourself whether the thought is helpful or encouraging.

If you find that your thoughts are not empowering, helpful, or encouraging, challenge them. You can do this by finding facts that contract those thoughts. For instance, you might challenge yourself by not thinking you are smart by listing skills you've acquired or talents that people come to you for insight. This process takes time to master, so be kind and patient with yourself.

3. Set aside time for reflection.

Setting aside time to reflect regularly can help you increase your self-awareness. Choose a time when you can go uninterrupted and find a quiet space. Think about your day and identify the good moments and the challenging times. Observe your thoughts and feelings about the day and write them down or share them with a trusted person or professional.

4. Seek feedback from others.

Woman getting feedback from another person

Photo by Mimi Thian / Unsplash

Seeking input from others can help you in several ways:

  • It can help you become aware of your limitations.

  • You learn from other people's experiences.

  • You can get validation or a different perspective on a situation.

Make sure that you let the person know what you need so that you can receive the support you need. Also, choosing the right people to get feedback is essential. Choosing an over-critical person with a bias can stall your growth. Lastly, be open to feedback, even if it's not positive.

Feedback can be tough to swallow, but with the right attitude, you can build a team that enjoys supporting and watching you grow.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique where you pay attention to the present without judgment. Some ways to do so are yoga, meditation, or simply focusing on your breath. Mindfulness takes time and practice, so do it daily, start with short periods, and increase over time.


Self-awareness is critical for self-awareness. By increasing your awareness, you will understand your thinking patterns and behavior. Self-awareness will help you make better decisions, achieve goals, and enjoy healthier relationships—digital access to self-development courses from professional coaches with expertise in this area.

Fortunately, there are quality self-development training courses to help you increase your self-awareness. Check out the mindfulness course today.