People with low self-awareness display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

There are many metrics to gauge the quality of a person’s character. 

But few are as effective as getting a feel for their level of self-awareness. 

People with high self-awareness have a distinct advantage in life; they can navigate myriad situations with finesse and clarity. 

But when you’re lacking in self-awareness, things for you will not likely go as smoothly. 

You can become a liability in life, akin to a headless chicken running aimlessly through its coop. 

Your relationships can suffer–and so can your overall ceiling for success. 

Hence, developing a sense of self-awareness is very much in your interests. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the telltale behaviors of people with low self-awareness. 

Once you get the idea of things, you can make the necessary adjustments. Let’s dive in!

1) They blame others 

When you know yourself and your shortcomings, you don’t often tend to shy away from accountability. 

You know that making a mistake here and there is a natural part of existence. 

In fact, I’d argue that there are few things more human than committing the odd blunder. 

People with low self-awareness don’t tend to share this way of thinking. 

When things go awry, and they’re liable, they often attribute blame to either external factors or other people–maneuvering as best they can to cleanse themselves of any culpability. 

This is particularly common in the world of high-stakes politics, for instance. 

A crooked, inept “public servant” might be in hot water for their incompetence. 

Rather than accept fault like a true leader, they’ll skillfully project blame onto others, typically vulnerable and innocent groups, effectively influencing and distracting public opinion. 

And they’re so deluded and lacking in self-awareness that they might even believe their own deceit. 

Well played. 

2) They don’t reflect 

People with low self-awareness aren’t exactly known for their regular bouts of deep introspection. 

In fact, they might distract themselves with petty diversions as a subconscious way to avoid self-reflection. 

The discomfort of thinking about their actions, their inner emotions, thought patterns, and missed opportunities can be too much for them to bear. 

A person with high self-awareness, meanwhile, might use these shortcomings as a platform for personal growth and learning. 

I have a relative who, let’s say (and without going into too much opinion), lives quite an unscrupulous lifestyle. 

Whenever I see him, either at his home or occasionally in his car, he has the volume of the radio or TV always cranked up so high that it’s difficult to communicate. 

I’ve always suspected that he’s used excessive levels of noise to avoid self-reflection, to actively avoid thinking, and to limit any opportunities for enhancing his self-awareness. 

I call it voluntary denial. 

Rather than learn, he’d rather just not know. 

3) They repeat the same mistakes 

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. 

Well, frankly, I don’t know about insanity, but this saying definitely applies to those with a distinct lack of self-awareness

Admittedly, as a sort of wayward youth in my own right, I would commit the same mistakes often. 

Back in school, I’d frequently get in disciplinary trouble, having to deal with regular suspensions or morning detentions. 

And the grounds for my troubles would always be similar… 

I’d get in trouble for playing hooky, for binge drinking canned Jim Beam colas, for generally just being disobedient both in and out of class.

It seemed I never learned. 

And when I did get caught, I’d always give the same spiel “This is a wake-up call. This won’t happen again ever.” 

But it would happen, repeatedly. 

Why? Because I was young, I was foolish, and I lacked the self-awareness to understand and recognize the patterns in my behavior. 

Growing pains. 

4) They have a resistance to feedback 

Sometimes, people with a lack of self-awareness feel like they know it all. 

And they’ll act accordingly. 

When faced with constructive feedback or criticism, for instance, they might take it personally, getting defensive or dismissive, rather than charging it to experience. 

Self-aware people know that there is no such thing as a perfect person. 

Not even Keanu or Beyonce. 

Therefore, they generally remain open to feedback, both good and bad. 

But this isn’t quite the case when you’re lacking in self-awareness. 

You might resist honest criticism, taking it as a personal affront rather than anything else. 

Rookie move. 

Speaking of rookies, when I first opened my dream restaurant business about a decade ago, I was confident, one would even argue brash, about the quality of our food. 

I embraced all the favorable feedback, relishing the ego boost each one gave me. 

But one day, I spotted a particularly harsh review. 

Granted, the woman made some valid points in her feedback. 

Yet rather than engage her, admit our wrongs, and be diplomatic, I got overly defensive. 

I ended up having a lengthy, heated debate with the wronged client. 

Ten years later (ten years of developing my self-awareness), I now realize that I was completely in the wrong; that rather than becoming hostile, I should have been accommodating and kind. 

Instead, I lost a customer–but at least I gained a bit more self-awareness.

pic1995 People with low self-awareness display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

5) They have difficulty understanding emotions

With self-awareness, comes a sort of heightened perception of human emotion in general. 

This means that you can empathize and understand the struggles of other people, acting with compassion, where necessary. 

Individuals with low self-awareness, meanwhile, might struggle in this department. 

They lack the sensitivity and emotional intelligence to read people, to understand, and to identify their own emotions and the emotions of others–which often means avoidable misunderstandings and misinterpretations. 

6) They ignore personal values 

We see this sort of hypocrisy in supposedly ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ institutions all the time. 

Without going into specifics, I think we can all name a few people who like to preach from their moral high horse to us wrongdoers, yet have a wealth of skeletons in their own closets. 

A lot of the time, in cases like these, I’d say that these preachy individuals aren’t even fully cognizant of the insincerity and misalignment between their actions and words. 

I believe that they truly find ways, however twisted, to justify what they do and how they act. 

They don’t see themselves as contradictory or inconsistent–as most objective parties will. 

Why? The reasoning is simple: they lack the self-awareness to do so. 

7) They have a limited understanding of strengths and weaknesses 

I have a friend who once believed he could do it all, who believed he could multitask on a superhuman level and perform each task with stunning efficiency. 

Well, it’s safe to say that this friend had a low level of self-awareness at the time. 

He was both an external optimist and a people pleaser. 

At one point, he became a managing partner of three of four major, demanding businesses, fully confident that he could conquer each one. 

The reality, however, proved to be quite different. 

You see, people with low self-awareness often have an inflated (or deflated) view of their abilities–lacking a realistic sense and assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

Sadly, for my once incredibly confident friend, all his businesses crashed, and he accumulated an ungodly amount of debt–and just as many lawsuits and relationship fallouts. 

A hefty price to pay for a lack of self-awareness. 

But the good news is that he did eventually learn; and I can say with certainty, that since then, his self-awareness levels have improved considerably. 

Today, he’s handling his one (not four) business quite handily. Good on him. 

8) They tend to react, not respond 

You can always tell a wise person from an emotional loose cannon by how they respond to adversity. 

If they react impulsively, making rash, ill-thought-out decisions, and perhaps acting unaware or oblivious to the impact of their actions, this says a lot about their character or lack thereof–and more, their level of self-awareness. 

However, if they respond thoughtfully, taking in all the information–and rather than panic, they internalize the situation and react methodically, this indicates a high level of self-awareness (and awareness in general.) 

Do you know how many avoidable accidents and mishaps could be avoided daily if only people acted with more wisdom and self-awareness? 

I don’t have an exact statistic, but I’m guessing a lot! 

Final words

Developing true self-awareness doesn’t come overnight. 

It takes dedicated daily effort. 

It takes introspection, reflection, seeking feedback, and being open to understanding oneself more deeply. 

So, take baby steps. Celebrate your wins, both big and small. That’s what growth is all about. 

Keep moving forward. 

Before you know it you’ll be as self-aware as they come; and at that point, there will be no turning back. 

Picture of Clifton Kopp

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Ideapod! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.