9 subtle behaviors of people with high self-awareness

Self-awareness is quite a tricky concept to pin down. It’s understanding our own needs, desires, failings, habits, and everything else that makes us who we are.

The more we understand about ourselves, the more we can adapt our behavior and actions to align with our values and goals. 

And interestingly, people with high self-awareness tend to display certain habits that set them apart.

We’re going to explore 9 of these today. 

So keep reading, you might just find yourself in the description or better yet, pick up a few tips to boost your own self-awareness.

1) They listen more than they speak

People who have a clear sense of who they are understand the power of listening.

You see, when we take the time to truly listen to others, not only do we gain insight into their thoughts and feelings, but we also learn about ourselves. We discover our own biases, our reactions, our judgments.

Individuals with high self-awareness understand this. They don’t dominate conversations or assert their opinions without considering the views of others. Instead, they listen, absorb and reflect.

This doesn’t mean they are pushovers or lack confidence. Rather, it shows they value other perspectives and are open to learning and growing.

It’s a subtle but powerful behavior that sets them apart. And it’s something that anyone can practice in order to develop greater self-awareness.

2) They’re not afraid of their flaws

This one hits close to home for me.

I recall a time when I was leading a project at work. I was so focused on the deadline that I overlooked the need for regular team feedback. It wasn’t until a brave colleague pointed it out that I realized my mistake.

Instead of getting defensive or brushing it off, I took it as an opportunity to grow. I thanked my colleague for their honesty, shared my misstep with the team, and made a point to include regular feedback sessions moving forward.

By the way, those who can accept their own strengths and weaknesses can embrace their shortcomings as opportunities to grow and improve. It’s not always easy, but it’s an essential step in developing self-awareness.

3) They’re mindful of their emotions

We all know that emotions are a fundamental part of our human experience. They influence our decisions, our interactions, and our overall well-being. 

But did you know that only 36% of people can accurately identify their emotions as they occur?

Believe it or not: people with a clear sense of their identity sit comfortably in that percentile. They don’t suppress or ignore their feelings; they recognize and understand them. They know when they’re feeling happy, frustrated, anxious or excited, and more importantly, they know why.

And by being mindful of their emotions, they’re better equipped to go through life’s ups and downs. They understand that feelings are transient. They don’t need to react on impulse, but rather respond thoughtfully. 

4) They set personal boundaries

Boundaries are an essential part of any healthy relationship, including the one with ourselves.

People with high self-awareness have a firm grasp of their emotional, physical, and mental limits. They know what they can tolerate, what makes them feel uncomfortable and when it’s time to step back.

They respect their own boundaries and, in turn, respect others’ boundaries as well. This not only preserves their well-being but also makes for healthier relationships with others.

Quick tip: setting personal boundaries isn’t about being selfish or rigid. 

It’s simply self-care. It’s knowing when to say no without feeling guilty, and when to step outside of our comfort zone without feeling overwhelmed.

5) They’re comfortable with change

Fact: Change is a constant in life, yet so many of us resist it. However, we need to understand that change is not only inevitable but also necessary for growth.

People who are at one with themselves don’t cling to past successes or dwell on previous failures. Instead, they see changes and challenges as opportunities to learn and grow.

And whether it’s a shift in career, moving to a new city, or even just adjusting to a new routine, these individuals embrace the uncertainty that comes with change. They’re confident in their ability to adapt and navigate through life’s twists and turns.

Being comfortable with change is a hallmark of mindfulness. It reflects a deep understanding and acceptance of how most things in life are just temporary.

6) They practice self-compassion

radical self love 9 subtle behaviors of people with high self-awareness

In a world where we’re often our own harshest critics, self-compassion can feel like a foreign concept. But for folks who know themselves really well, it’s a crucial part of their mindset.

These individuals understand that everyone, including themselves, makes mistakes. They know that flaws and failures are part of the human experience. And instead of beating themselves up over these missteps, they treat themselves with kindness and acceptance.

They allow themselves to be human, to be imperfect. They offer themselves the same compassion and understanding they would to a good friend who is going through a tough time.

Practicing self-compassion isn’t about ignoring our faults or avoiding responsibility. It’s about accepting our imperfections without judgment and using them as stepping stones for growth. 

By the way: it’s a subtle behavior, but a powerful one that speaks volumes about their level of self-awareness.

7) They seek feedback

Feedback can be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s essential for growth. I learned this the hard way.

As I mentioned earlier: I was reluctant to seek feedback. Because I was so afraid it would highlight my shortcomings and expose my vulnerabilities. But over time, I realized that feedback wasn’t an attack on my abilities; it was an opportunity to improve.

People with high self-awareness value feedback. They actively seek it from their peers, their mentors, and even their critics. They understand that different perspectives can provide valuable insights into their behavior and performance.

Sure, it can be uncomfortable at times, but they know the benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort. They’re not afraid to ask “How can I do better?” because they’re genuinely committed to self-improvement.

8) They’re consistently self-reflective

Reflection is a key behavior of individuals with high self-awareness. They take time out of their busy schedules to pause and reflect on their actions, decisions, and experiences.

They ask themselves questions like, “Why did I react that way?” or “What could I do differently next time?” They think over their successes and failures, not to dwell on them, but to learn from them.

This ongoing process of self-reflection helps them to gain deeper insights into their behaviors and emotions. It helps them identify patterns, understand triggers, and make necessary changes.

And they know that to understand oneself fully requires consistent self-reflection. It’s a habit that takes time and effort but reaps immeasurable rewards in terms of self-awareness.

9) They live intentionally

At the heart of high self-awareness is intentionality. These individuals don’t just let life happen to them; they live life on their terms.

They set goals that align with their values and take conscious steps to achieve them. Every decision they make, every action they take, is guided by a deep understanding of who they are and what they want.

Living intentionally isn’t about having complete control over every aspect of life. It’s making conscious choices that align with our authentic selves. It’s about being true to who we are, not who we think we should be.

In essence, living intentionally is the epitome of high self-awareness. It’s the ultimate manifestation of understanding oneself and navigating life with purpose and authenticity.

The essence: It’s a journey

Bottomline: the path to self-awareness is not a one-time event, but a continuous journey of self-discovery.

It’s about peeling back the layers of who we are, understanding our strengths, acknowledging our weaknesses, and embracing our uniqueness. It’s about being comfortable in our own skin and living life authentically.

According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Self-awareness is not an attainable goal. It’s a way of life.”

People with high self-awareness understand this. They don’t just reach a point of self-awareness and stop. They continually learn, evolve, and adapt. They make mistakes, they stumble, they grow.

So as we step out into our own journeys of self-discovery, let’s remember that it’s not about perfection but progress. It’s not about reaching a destination but embracing the journey.

Becoming more self-aware is not just about understanding ourselves better. It’s about living a more fulfilled and authentic life. 

And isn’t that worth the journey?

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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