Examples of Self-Awareness

Examples of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to accurately see your own thoughts, feelings, values, strengths, weaknesses, and deepest motivations and to recognize how they influence your behavior. Developing self-awareness helps you build more meaningful connections with others and live an authentic, purposeful life.

Understanding Your Emotions

One key aspect of self-awareness is tuning into your emotions. When something happens, pause and ask yourself how the experience makes you feel and why. For example, if someone cuts you off in traffic, notice if you feel a flash of anger or annoyance. See if you can determine where those emotions are coming from and what story you may be telling yourself about the event.

Knowing Your Triggers

We all have certain triggers that set off strong emotional reactions. Becoming aware of your triggers allows you to better manage them. For instance, you may find that you get disproportionately angry when plans change last minute. By recognizing that trigger, you can develop coping strategies, such as taking some deep breaths or going for a walk when those situations arise.

Seeing Your Biases and Blind Spots

Due to our backgrounds and experiences, we all have biases and blind spots that can distort how we view the world and other people. Practicing mindfulness and empathy can help bring these into focus. For example, you might catch yourself making unfair assumptions about someone. By exploring those beliefs more deeply through journaling, you could uncover experiences that fed into them and learn to approach situations with more understanding.

Identifying Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Reviewing feedback from people who know you well can provide insight into strengths and weaknesses you may not notice on your own. Think about what colleagues, friends, or family members compliment or criticize about you. Look for any common themes around your abilities, skills, behaviors, or thought patterns. While difficult, being able to laugh at your weaknesses while appreciating your strengths is a real sign of self-awareness.

Knowing What Motivates You

Understanding what energizes you, brings you joy, and motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning is foundational to living purposefully. Take an inventory of your life and make note of what types of activities typically bring you feelings of passion, meaning, engagement or contentment. Also reflect on things that tend to drain your energy or dampen your spirits. Keeping those motivators top of mind can help guide better decision making.


What are some examples of self-awareness?

Examples of self-awareness include understanding your emotions and triggers, seeing your biases and blind spots, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what motivates you.

Why is self-awareness important?

Self-awareness is important because it allows you to accurately understand yourself, including your thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors. This helps you make decisions aligned with your values, build authentic relationships, and live consciously.

How can I improve my self-awareness?

Some ways to improve self-awareness include practicing mindfulness and self-reflection, tuning into your emotions, identifying triggers and reactions, being curious about your blind spots, seeking feedback and criticism from others, and understanding what motivates you.

What happens when you lack self-awareness?

Lacking self-awareness can lead to making poor decisions, damaging relationships, repeating unhealthy patterns, lacking purpose and meaning, and struggling with emotional issues like anxiety or depression.

Can too much self-awareness be bad?

While self-awareness is important, overthinking can lead to rumination, excessive self-criticism, and self-doubt. Striking a balance between self-examination and self-acceptance is healthiest for emotional wellbeing.