On the long, winding road of self-awareness, tracking our process is not always easy.
With so many twists and turns, we cannot see how far we’ve come or how much further we must travel.
Without seeing improvement, it can be easy to assume all those hours of meditation, journaling, and mindfulness are not working – and we may even think about throwing in the towel.
While we may not be able to become enlightened overnight, there are MANY signs we can look out for that suggest we are moving in the right direction.
You can find these tell-tale signs in your emotional tendencies. If you regularly feel the following ways, take this as validation that you’ve become fully self-aware.
Self-aware people want to learn about themselves to reach their potential in life. But you can only learn about yourself if you are curious.
So, one feeling that all self-aware people experience is curiosity.
They consciously explore their strengths and weaknesses and seek to understand how their mind works.
Curiosity is what allows us to reflect in a productive way rather than overthink and worry.
A 2016 research study, “Measuring the Effects of Self-Awareness,” explored the differences between healthy reflection and unhealthy worry.
Anna Sutton, a specialist physiotherapist at Manchester University, carried out various focus groups and self-report questionnaires. She found significant evidence that rumination impairs social intelligence while reflection enhances it.
Of course, curiosity also goes hand in hand with this…
If you want to change your reality, you must first be willing to change your mind…
You’ve likely heard this before, but what does it mean?
Well, to put it simply…
If you stay close-minded, you will never develop the self-awareness you need to evolve.
This is because our minds are full of deep-set beliefs, thought patterns, and paradigms, which are a result of our upbringing and past experiences.
Only when we open our minds can we become aware of these tendencies and start to change them.
So, if you’ve recently noticed that you can see things from other perspectives, this is a huge sign that you have become self-aware.
Anna Sutton’s research supports this, too.
Sutton found that self-aware people typically possess the ‘openness to experience trait’ and can see the bigger picture. In contrast, those who lack self-awareness have a smaller perspective, focused explicitly on negative views and emotions.
3) Desire to improve
Of course, there is no point in becoming aware of your flaws if you only accept them and don’t try to change them.
So, truly self-aware people don’t only feel curiosity to learn about themselves but also a burning desire to improve.
And one key feeling you will need to make positive changes in your life is this…
Self-aware people are realistic. They are aware of their flaws and limitations, so they understand what they can and cannot achieve.
But this doesn’t mean self-aware people do not dream big.
While they know they are not perfect, self-aware people know that by continuing to work on themselves, they can attain and achieve more.
So, what sets them apart from dreamers who lack self-awareness is that they can determine which of their dreams are attainable and which are less unattainable.
This allows them to set the right goals and develop plans to achieve them.
As the famous quote goes, “The truth will set you free.”
So, a crucial part of being self-aware is being honest with ourselves. If we lie to ourselves, telling ourselves that we don’t have weaknesses or flaws, we will never grow.
Self-aware people examine themselves with 100% truthfulness. They acknowledge and accept everything they discover about themselves, the good and the bad.
If you only acknowledge your positive traits, you’ll not only never become fully self-aware, but you will also develop a false perception of yourself.
Moreover, self-aware people are honest with themselves whenever they make a mistake.
This is because they don’t have an inflated ego that makes it hard for them to admit that:
- They don’t know everything
- They are not always right
Instead, they admit their mistakes and turn them into lessons to improve.
What’s interesting about the journey to self-awareness is that the more you learn about yourself, the more you realize there is still to learn.
Self-awareness is a lifelong practice. As human beings, we are ALWAYS growing and evolving, and the work is never done.
This is why cultivating total honesty is essential when you first start this journey AND as you continue to develop awareness.
Now, being totally honest with ourselves can be challenging and even painful. So, to truly acknowledge the bad parts of ourselves, we must be able to access the following feeling…
Self-aware people understand the importance of keeping their body, mind, and spirit in optimum condition.
Their high level of awareness makes it easier for them to feel when they are pushing themselves too far or not taking care of themselves enough.
When they observe this, they pause and prioritize their well-being.
They feel compassion toward themselves instead of beating themselves up for being tired, irritable, or less productive.
Likewise, self-aware people don’t force themselves to be happy and positive constantly. But they don’t see their pessimistic mood as an excuse to wallow in self-pity either.
Instead, they honor how they feel and give themselves what they need. A truly self-aware person never feels bad for taking some much-needed time out to recharge.
7) High intuition
Self-aware people feel compassion toward themselves because they can tap into their inner being and read what their body or soul is telling them.
They are not just awake but strongly connected to their inner voice. Because of this, they can make decisions with assurance and confidence.
Self-aware people can also see patterns in things. This helps them learn how certain things affect them and determine what experiences they should pursue and which they should avoid.
For example, do you get strong gut feelings about people that always turn out to be right? If so, this suggests you have high intuition and self-awareness.
8) Contentment with being alone
Because self-aware people have done their inner work, they feel content enough with themselves to spend time alone.
Self-aware people have excellent inner relationships. So solitude does not feel uncomfortable to them, as it does to people who have not dealt with their issues.
What’s more, self-aware people do not feel lonely when they are not in the company of others.
Instead, they see solitude as an opportunity to reflect on things and explore themselves further.
9) Empathy to others
While self-aware people have done the hard inner work to evolve, they remember where they came from and how difficult it was to make that first step.
So when they see other people struggling, they don’t see themselves as better than them. Instead, self-aware people can relate to how others feel because they were there once.
And guess what?
Science also supports this link between self-awareness and empathy.
In a 2022 study published in BMC Psychology, researchers Jacob T. Miller and Paul Verhaeghen surveyed 407 undergraduate students. They found that the higher a participant’s self-awareness, the more compassion, empathy, and ethical sensitivities they had towards others.
This is because when you develop self-awareness, you also gain deeper awareness and mindfulness of the experiences of others.
You know everyone is on their own path and going at their own pace. Everyone is doing the best that they can do in their current state of evolution.
With this empathy and compassion, you don’t look down on less self-aware people. Instead, you lead by example and act as a positive role model.
According to Clinical Social Worker Shelley Aronov-Jacoby, a highly self-aware person can influence outcomes, make better decisions, and communicate clearly and intentionally.
But we can also find clues to our current level of self-awareness through the way we feel inside.
If you feel a strong sense of curiosity, ambition, and intuition coupled with compassion toward yourself and others, there is a good chance you’ve reached “self-awareness city.”
And if you relate to just a few, this is also positive news that you are heading in the right direction. So keep going!