9 signs you’re genuinely self-aware, according to psychology

by Isabel Cabrera | April 11, 2024, 11:36 pm

Self-awareness — it’s a term we throw around casually, but it’s deeper than just being conscious of your actions.

It’s about understanding your motivations, emotions, and their impact on others.

According to psychology, being genuinely self-aware goes beyond introspection. It’s about recognizing how you’re perceived by others too.

But how can you tell if you’ve reached that level of self-awareness?

Well, there are certain tell-tale signs that can help you identify this and in this article, we’re going to reveal 9 of them.

1) You’re comfortable with your emotions

In the realm of self-awareness, emotions aren’t your enemy.

Quite the opposite, actually.

Genuinely self-aware individuals have a healthy relationship with their emotions.

They don’t shy away from feeling, nor do they let their emotions control them.

However, this doesn’t mean they’re always zen or unflappable.

It means they recognize their emotions for what they are – a natural response to circumstances.

They allow themselves to feel, and understand the root cause of their emotion, and then decide how to act on it.

Here’s the deal:

This emotional intelligence is a fundamental aspect of self-awareness.

And if you find yourself able to do this, it’s a clear sign that you’ve reached a high level of self-awareness.

2) You’re not scared of feedback

Feedback.

For some, it’s a word that reeks of criticism and judgment. But for the genuinely self-aware, it’s a tool for growth and improvement.

I remember early in my career when I was working on a project that I was really passionate about.

I put my heart and soul into it, and when it was finally done, I was excited to present it to my team.

The feedback I received wasn’t what I expected.

There were more suggestions for improvement than there were praise.

Initially, it stung.

But then, I took a step back and looked at the feedback objectively. 

Want to know what did I realize?

Well, I figured that feedback wasn’t an attack on me or my abilities. It was an opportunity to learn and grow.

From that day onwards, I started seeking feedback proactively, because I understood its value in helping me improve and become better at what I do.

You as well, if you find yourself open to feedback, willing to accept it without taking it personally, then chances are you’re genuinely self-aware.

3) You’re aware of your biases

Let’s face it:

No matter how logical or rational we believe ourselves to be, we all have biases.

It’s an inherent part of being human.

As a matter of fact, our mind takes shortcuts based on learned patterns, leading to unconscious biases.

What’s the result of these biases?

An influence on our decision-making process and coloring our perception of people and situations.

Self-aware individuals recognize this.

They understand that they too are susceptible to biases and make conscious efforts to identify and challenge them.

They question their thoughts and decisions, always checking if they’re being influenced by a hidden bias.

They strive for objectivity, even when it’s uncomfortable.

4) You know your strengths and weaknesses

There’s a certain power in knowing what you’re good at and where you need improvement.

This knowledge isn’t about inflating your ego or being overly critical of yourself.

It’s about understanding yourself in a balanced and realistic way.

Sounds impressive?

Well, genuinely self-aware people have a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.

They know what they bring to the table and where they might need help.

But this isn’t just about skills or talents — it extends to emotional strengths and weaknesses, as well as social ones.

That’s why you won’t find genuinely self-aware people claiming to be good at everything or downplaying their talents.

The thing is that they are honest with themselves.

5) You take responsibility for your actions

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human.

However, how we handle those mistakes can be a clear indicator of our level of self-awareness.

People who are genuinely self-aware don’t shy away from their mistakes or try to shift the blame onto others.

They take responsibility for their actions, owning up to their errors and missteps.

What’s more, they understand that mistakes are not failures, but opportunities to learn and grow.

Consequently, they don’t see them as something that diminishes their worth, but rather as something that can enhance their understanding and wisdom.

That’s why you should ask yourself:

Are you really that person who doesn’t run from your mistakes, but instead faces them head-on?

Because if you are, then this is a strong sign of genuine self-awareness.

6) You practice empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s a quality that goes hand in hand with self-awareness.

When we know ourselves deeply, we can better understand others.

Believe it or not, this understanding doesn’t come from making assumptions or judgments, but from genuinely connecting with the emotions and experiences of others.

How so?

Well, genuinely self-aware people strive to understand others at their core.

They seek to walk in their shoes, to see the world through their eyes.

And in doing so, they not only deepen their connection with others but also with themselves.

Simply put, they learn more about their own emotions, reactions, and values.

Honestly, this trait indeed shows that you’ve learned to look beyond the surface, not just in others but also in yourself.

7) You value your personal growth

Personal growth isn’t always an easy journey.

It requires a willingness to face our fears, confront our weaknesses, and push beyond our comfort zones.

I recall a time when I was offered a promotion.

It was a step up, a chance to lead a team and make a bigger impact.

But it was also a step into the unknown, filled with new responsibilities and challenges.

I could have stayed in my comfort zone, doing what I knew I was good at.

But I chose to take the leap.

It was scary and challenging, but it was also incredibly rewarding. At least, I learned more about myself in that year than I had in the previous five.

And the same goes for genuinely self-aware people — they understand that growth often comes from discomfort.

Most importantly, they’re willing to push their boundaries and embrace new experiences because they value their personal development.

8) You understand your values and live by them

Values – they’re not just words or ideals, they’re the guiding principles that shape our actions and decisions.

Genuinely self-aware people have a clear understanding of their values.

They know what truly matters to them, what they stand for, and they strive to align their actions with these values.

Of course, this isn’t always easy.

It can mean making tough decisions, standing up for what you believe in even when it’s unpopular.

Or even worse — letting go of opportunities that don’t align with your values.

But when you live by your values, you live authentically.

Your actions are a reflection of who you truly are and what you believe in.

9) You’re open to change

Finally, I have to admit that change is the only constant in life.

And being open to change is perhaps the most significant indicator of genuine self-awareness.

Why?

Because we’re all work in progress. 

Self-aware individuals understand that they will evolve, grow, and change over time.

They don’t cling to old versions of themselves or resist change out of fear or comfort.

Instead, they see change as an opportunity to learn, grow, and become better versions of themselves.

They remain flexible, and adaptable, and are always prepared to reassess their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors in the face of new information or experiences.

Reflection: The mirror to self-awareness

As we navigate life, we must remember that self-awareness is not a trait that some are blessed with and others are devoid of.

It’s a skill that can be cultivated with time, patience, and practice.

As you move forward in your journey of self-discovery, take time to reflect.

Listen to your emotions, question your thoughts, challenge your biases, embrace your strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Because every step you take towards understanding yourself better is a step towards living a more authentic and fulfilling life.

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