People with genuine self-awareness tend to display these 12 traits

Are you self-aware?

Obviously, we are all self-aware in some senses. We know that we exist, and we are all capable of thinking not just about ourselves and the world around us, but also thinking about our thoughts.

Still, there are levels of self-awareness that vary from one person to the next.

Some people go through their lives without ever spending much time thinking about themselves, their thought processes, or their motivations.

On the other hand, other people are highly self-analytical and are very aware of their own patterns of behavior and emotions.

The thing is, self-aware people tend to be far more focused, collected, successful, and happier than those who are less aware of their own behaviors.

Keep an eye out for these traits and behaviors. They are sure signs of a person who has a high level of self-awareness.

1) They listen

One of the most noticeable traits of people with a high level of self-awareness is that they listen to others.

I don’t mean that thing we all do where we shut our mouths while we wait for the other person to stop talking. I mean they really listen.

You see, self-aware people have a deep understanding of human nature because they have spent so much time thinking about themselves. That means they are not arrogant and know they can learn a lot from other people.

They are also highly empathetic, because they know that under different circumstances, they might act the same way other people do.

All these traits combined to make them fantastic listeners. And the more self-aware people listen, the more they learn about others and themselves.

2) They accept responsibility

Self-aware people don’t play the blame game. When things go wrong, they have no problem admitting any part they may have played.

Here’s why: self-aware people take the time to understand themselves thoroughly. That means they are very aware of their own flaws and failings. We all say that nobody is perfect, but nobody understands that better than a person with a high level of self-awareness.

That doesn’t mean that they blame themselves unnecessarily or think that everything is their fault.

But it does mean they have a realistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, and will admit to their failings more readily than other people.

3) They don’t worry about what others think

Psychologists Shelley Duvall and Robert Wicklund are some of the leading experts on self-awareness. They defined this personality type as a person that aligns their behavior with their values.

In other words, self-aware people are guided by their own sense of right and wrong rather than doing what others think they should.

This means that self-aware people are often immune to social pressure and don’t really care what other people think about the way they live. 

This doesn’t mean they don’t care about other people at all, but it does mean that they don’t base their decisions on the reactions of others.

Funnily enough, this often makes self-aware people far more successful, and certainly far happier, than people who worry too much about other people’s opinions of them.

4) They are empathetic

If you spend a lot of time analyzing yourself and your thought processes, you understand that nobody is perfect. We all have those parts of ourselves we prefer not to face, the parts famous psychologist CG Jung identified as the Shadow.

In exploring and assimilating their own Shadow, self-aware people soon come to understand that there are dark parts inside all of us. That makes them extremely empathetic and able to understand the failings of others.

After all, when you know just how imperfect you are yourself, it’s hard to be judgmental about the flaws in others.

This empathy makes self-aware people some of the kindest and most caring people you’ll ever meet.

5) They can handle criticism

This deep understanding self-aware people have of their own flaws also means they are great at taking criticism.

The thing is, the self-aware person is already well aware of their weaknesses. When people criticize them, chances are they’re not telling them anything they don’t already know.

And because self-aware people can be highly self-critical, they don’t take criticism from others personally. Instead, they understand that criticism can actually be helpful in making you a better person.

As psychologist Tchiki Davis points out, a high level of self-awareness is a good predictor of success in life. 

There are several reasons for that, but one of the most important surely has to be that self-aware people are comfortable taking criticism when it’s warranted and can use it to improve themselves.

6) They manage their emotions

emotional hijacking People with genuine self-awareness tend to display these 12 traits

When we talk about self-aware people, one of the things we mean is that self-aware people are aware of their emotions.

Self-awareness means paying close attention to your emotions, and when you do that, a funny thing happens.

You learn that although emotions can be truly powerful, they can also interfere with you making a rational decision and stop you from seeing things as they really are.

Self-aware people know this, which is why they have excellent emotional stability.

That doesn’t mean they don’t feel the same emotions the rest of us do. But it means they can detach themselves from their emotions to see things as they really are. 

It also means they have a high level of control over their emotions and are not prone to dramatic mood swings or emotional outbursts.

Counselor Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury writes that people with a high level of emotional regulation achieve better balance and judgment of both their feelings and actions. This is another component of what makes self-aware people so successful and so happy.

7) They follow their dreams

Dreams are part of what makes life worth living. And often, self-aware people are the best equipped to follow their dreams and make themselves happy.

That’s because they deeply understand what they want out of life, and don’t simply go along with what others think they should do. Instead, they focus on their own skills and interests and use them to build the life they want.

No wonder self-aware people are often happier than others.

8) They don’t compete with other people

Understanding themselves very well, self-aware people don’t need to look outside themselves for a source of validation. Therefore, they are often completely uninterested in competing with others.

Having a high level of self-awareness means understanding that the only person you can ever really compete with is yourself. We are all walking different paths in life, and self-aware people understand that there’s no point judging themselves based on what others say or do.

9) They change their opinions based on new information

Part of being self-aware is examining your own prejudices and biases. Once you do that, confusing your opinion for the objective truth becomes impossible.

Self-aware people base their opinions on the information they have rather than their feelings. This means that their opinions are often subject to change.

That doesn’t make them fickle or weak-willed. Instead, it means that their opinions stick as closely as possible to the facts, making them more valuable than those based on emotion.

10) They are willing to change

And it’s not just opinions that self-aware people are willing to change.

Here’s why: self-aware people understand that they will never be perfect. We are all works in progress, after all.

Self-aware people are very knowledgeable about their weaknesses and are more than willing to work to improve them. 

Whether they want to get more physically fit, work on their emotional control, or pick up a new skill, they are always willing to change to become a better version of themselves.

11) They are humble

All this self-awareness and knowledge of their own flaws makes these people humble. Even though they may be very successful, they don’t let it go to their head because they are well aware of just how far from perfect they are.

But self-aware people aren’t practicing fake modesty. It’s just that they have a realistic understanding of themselves that prevents them from getting too bigheaded.

12) They read others well

Have you ever met one of those people who just seem to read other people really well?

If so, it may come from their own self-awareness.

Understanding yourself and your motivations and emotions is key to understanding others. After all, we’re not so different.

Those who understand themselves have a head start on understanding other people, so they can often seem quite perceptive when it comes to others.

Things self-aware people do

Do you notice these traits in people around you? Or do you display them yourself?

If so, you may be a highly self-aware person. And as you can see from this list, that’s a great thing to be.

Picture of Ryan Frawley

Ryan Frawley

Ryan Frawley is a France-based writer with a passion for psychology, philosophy, science, and anything that attempts to answer life’s biggest questions.

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