We all like to think that we know ourselves pretty well. After all, we’ve been living with ourselves our whole lives, so how could we not?
However, the truth is that many of us lack self-awareness.
In fact, a study conducted by organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich found that 95% of people think they’re self-aware, but only 10-15% truly are.
If you’re starting to worry that you might be one of those people who lack self-awareness, don’t worry.
Lack of self-awareness is actually pretty common and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
The most important thing is that you’re willing to work on it.
And trust me, the effort will definitely be worth it!
Improving your self-awareness can lead to better relationships, improved mental health, better decision-making skills…the list goes on!
What Does It Mean To Lack Self-Awareness?
If you’re not self-aware, you’re basically a walking blindfold. People who lack self-awareness are obliviously stumbling through life, unaware of their own impact on others and the world around them.
They’re like those people who talk loudly on the phone in public places, blissfully unaware that they’re being incredibly annoying.
Or like the guy at the gym who thinks he’s being all suave and smooth by checking out every single woman within a ten-mile radius, not realizing that he’s actually coming across as a total creep.
In short, lacking self-awareness is lacking the ability to understand yourself, who you are, and your influence on those around you.
But it’s not just about being oblivious to social gaffes – people who have a low level of self-awareness also have a hard time understanding their own feelings, emotions, and motivations.
They might find themselves in the same arguments or upsetting situations over and over again because they can’t see what role they’re playing in the drama.
If you want to avoid being that person, it’s important to work on developing a greater self-awareness.
Pay attention to your own actions and words, and try to take an objective look at how you come across to others.
It’s not always easy to be truthful with yourself, but it’s worth it if it means avoiding those cringe-worthy moments of cluelessness.
What Causes Lack Of Self-Awareness?
A lot of people go through life without ever really stopping to think about themselves.
They just go with the flow, never questioning their motivations or their actions.
But what causes this lack of self-awareness? Is it simply laziness? Or is there something deeper at play?
The truth is, there are a number of factors that can contribute to a lack of self-awareness.
For one, many people are simply aren’t aware of how they’re behaving and how it’s affecting others. They have blind spots and self-awareness gaps that they’re just not aware of.
Often they’re juggling work, family, and social obligations, and they don’t have the time or energy to focus on their own thoughts and feelings.
Additionally, some people are simply more comfortable living in denial.
They’d rather not think about their shortcomings or their problems, so they choose to ignore them instead.
This is often rooted in fear – fear of vulnerability, fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of not liking what they find out about themselves…
Finally, some people simply don’t know how to be introspective. They’ve never been taught how to reflect on their own experiences and learn from them.
Self-awareness isn’t a biological skill, it’s not something we have, it’s something we need to learn. And we don’t know what we don’t know – so if we aren’t told we are supposed to be self-aware, aren’t taught self-awareness skills, then it’s easy to see why so many people lack this important skill.
Whatever the cause, a lack of self-awareness can have negative consequences.
People who are out of touch with themselves are more likely to make bad decisions because they’re not taking the time to consider all the options. They’re also more likely to get caught up in negative emotions like anger and resentment.
So if you’re looking to make some positive changes in your life, start by turning the spotlight inward and getting to know yourself a little better.
15 Signs You Lack Self-Awareness
Lack of self-awareness can be a real issue. If you’re not aware of your own flaws, how can you hope to improve?
If you’re not sure whether you lack self-awareness, here are some signs to look out for in yourself, or in people you know.
These are signs that cover both external self-awareness and internal self-awareness, which are both important in gaining a deep understanding of who you are.
1 – You’re always the life of the party or the center of attention.
There’s nothing wrong with being the life and soul of the party, but if you’re always needing to be the center of attention, it might be because you lack self-awareness.
You might not realize that you’re hogging the conversation, or that you’re always the one who’s talking the loudest.
If you feel the need to always draw the attention back to yourself, or that what you have to say is more important than what others have to say, this can be a sign that you lack self-awareness.
You’ll also likely be the person who is always filling quiet moments with talking, interrupting others and talking over others, and even bringing up drama and gossip as a way to seem ‘in the know’ and relevant.
2 – You have no filter.
This can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the situation. But if you find yourself constantly saying things that offend or upset people, it’s probably because you lack self-awareness.
It’s important to be able to read a room and know when it’s appropriate to share certain thoughts or opinions.
If you can’t do that, it’s likely because you’re not very aware of how your words and actions affect others.
3 – You’re always right.
This is a sure sign of someone who lacks self-awareness.
If you can’t see other people’s points of view or admit when you’re wrong, it’s likely because you’re not very aware of your own shortcomings.
Being able to step back and look at situations objectively is an important part of being self-aware.
Oftentimes, someone who lacks self-awareness will take this even further and go out of their way to prove they are right.
They become incredibly defensive and sometimes even aggressive about being right, even when presented with logical explanations for why they aren’t right. Think of the 9-year-old kid who argues with everyone and thinks they’re right… but in adult form.
While this can also be a sign of someone who lacks emotional maturity, it is also a clear sign that you need to spend some time becoming more self-aware.
4 – You regularly find yourself in awkward situations and don’t know how to get out of them.
If you’re constantly putting your foot in your mouth or saying things that make people uncomfortable, it’s a sign that you need to work on your self-awareness.
These situations usually arise because you’re not considering how your words or actions will be received by others.
Sometimes you may not even be aware of the awkward situation, but you’ve certainly made others feel it.
5 – You’re always the last to know when something important happens.
If you find yourself constantly left out of the loop, it’s likely because you’re not very aware of what’s going on around you, or because you don’t take the time to listen to others when they’re talking.
This can be a sign that you’re not very interested in the lives of those around you, or that you’re not tuned in to what’s going on in the world.
Both of these things can make it difficult to form connections with others and build relationships.
Make an effort to be more engaged in your surroundings and pay attention to the conversations people are having. This will help you stay up-to-date on the latest news.
6 – You feel like you always need to control everything, and no one can do things we well as you.
Do you find yourself constantly trying to take control of every situation? This can be a sign that you lack self-awareness.
When you’re always trying to be in charge, it can mean you’re not very confident in your own abilities. You might feel like you need to prove yourself or that you’re the only one who knows what’s best.
Alternatively, it could mean that you are overconfident in your abilities, and lack confidence in the abilities of others, believing that only you can do something well.
This can be exhausting for those around you, and it can also lead to arguments and conflict.
7 – You don’t really know what your strengths and weaknesses are.
Self-awareness is key to personal growth. If you don’t know what your weaknesses are, you can’t work on improving them. And if you’re not aware of your strengths, you might not be using them to your full potential.
We are often quick to focus on our weaknesses, but knowing our own strengths is important too.
Take some time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What do you struggle with? Once you have a better understanding of these things, you can work on improving yourself.
8 – You’re not sure why, or even if people like or dislike you.
We’ve all found ourselves wondering if someone likes us or not, or wondering why someone has a grudge against us, but if you’re struggling to understand how people feel towards you more often than not, it could be because of a lack of self-awareness.
Self-awareness allows us to see ourselves through the eyes of others. When we lack self-awareness, we can have difficulty understanding why people react to us the way they do.
Sometimes people simply don’t care what others think of them, and that is absolutely fine, but if you cannot figure out why someone doesn’t like you, of if you’re a person who is likable, then it may be because of a lack of self-awareness (perhaps even masked by saying you don’t care what others think…).
9 – You make in-the-moment decisions without thinking about future consequences.
Spontaneity can be a whole lot of fun, but only ever focusing on quick wins and instant gratification can lead to some long-term consequences.
If you’re always making decisions without thinking about the future, it’s a sign that you lack self-awareness. You might not be considering how your current actions will affect your future self.
It’s important to be mindful of both the short-term and long-term effects of our decisions. Weighing up the pros and cons of a decision before making it can help you avoid any future regrets.
10 – You have trouble taking criticism, even when it’s constructive, and become defensive.
Nobody likes to be criticized, but it’s important to be able to take both positive and negative feedback well.
If you find yourself getting defensive when someone points out something you could improve on, it could be because you lack self-awareness. You might not be aware of your own flaws, or you might be too attached to your own way of doing things.
Try to be open to criticism and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. It can be difficult to hear, but constructive criticism and honest feedback can help us become better versions of ourselves.
This is also for people who are quick to make excuses for any of their own shortcomings and cannot admit to being at fault for anything.
They’re the ones who always have something going wrong, but it’s never their fault. They’re late to work because the traffic was slow, they lost their game of tennis because the sun was in their eyes, they have no money in their account because they had all their bills come in at once…
11 – You find it difficult to empathize with other people’s points of view.
We’ve all heard of the saying ‘to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’, and it’s something we should all try to do more often.
People who lack self-awareness really struggle to see different points of view, or empathize with the emotions of others in different situations, and really struggle to see past cognitive biases.
We see this so often, especially within groups and where people belong to a collective with shared beliefs.
Think of any religion – most people who have their own religious beliefs believe wholeheartedly that they are right, and that their religion is the right one. They often struggle to see any other point of view, or empathize with people who have different beliefs.
The same goes for political views and opinions on the world in general. It can be difficult to empathize with someone whose views are completely different from our own, but it’s important to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.
12 – You lack insight into your own motivation and behavior.
Why do you do what you do? What makes you excited? What motivates you to get out of bed each day? Why do you react the way you do to certain situations?
If you don’t have the answers to these questions, it’s a sign that you lack self-awareness.
Some people are completely in tune with their own motivation and behavior, and they know exactly what makes them tick.
They’re able to use this knowledge to their advantage, and they’re usually pretty successful in life as a result.
If you’re not aware of your own motivation and behavior, it can be difficult to achieve your goals. You might not be aware of what’s holding you back, or you might be going about things the wrong way.
Gaining insight into your own motivation and behavior is an important step towards becoming more self-aware. Once you understand why you do what you do, you’ll be able to make better choices and achieve your goals more easily.
Looking at your past experiences and asking how you felt leading up to, in the moment, and afterwards can be a great way to use your own experience to create an understanding of emotional self-awareness.
13 – You’re always trying to please others and rarely think about what you want or need.
People pleasers are often people who lack self-awareness. They’re so focused on making others happy that they forget to think about their own needs and wants.
This can be a difficult trait to change, but it’s important to try. People pleasers often end up feeling used and taken advantage of, because they’re always putting other people’s needs before their own.
It can also be a sign of low self-worth, which also can be linked to a lack of self-awareness.
14 – You’re not really aware of your own emotions, or how they affect your behavior.
We all have our good moods and our bad moods, but some people are completely unaware of their own emotions and how they affect their behavior.
If you’re not aware of your emotions, it can be difficult to control them or manage them in a healthy way. You might find yourself reacting angrily or having emotional outbursts to things that wouldn’t normally bother you, or lashing out at people when you’re feeling stressed.
It’s also difficult to understand other people’s emotions if you’re not aware of your own. You might find yourself feeling confused or overwhelmed by other people’s emotional reaction, because you don’t really understand what they’re going through.
Self-aware people tend to have more emotional control because they understand their triggers and they know how to calm themselves down when they start feeling worked up.
15 – You find it hard admitting you don’t know something.
Admitting that you don’t know something can be difficult for anyone, but it’s especially hard for people who lack self-awareness.
People who lack self-awareness often have a hard time admitting when they’re wrong, or when they don’t know something. They might try to act like they know more than they really do, or they might avoid asking questions for fear of looking foolish.
This can be a difficult trait to change, but it’s important to try. Admitting that you don’t know something is a sign of strength, not weakness.
It shows that you’re willing to learn and grow, and that you’re open to new ideas.
If you’re nodding along with a lot of these traits and finding that you resonate with a lot of them, it could be because you lack self-awareness.
It doesn’t mean you’re a selfish or bad person, it simply means you could benefit from a little time spent self-reflecting and becoming more self-aware.
What To Do If You Lack Self-Awareness
So, you’ve realized you’re lacking a little in the self-awareness department and you want to do something about it. Fantastic! The hardest part is already done.
Now, it’s time to start making some changes. Here are a few things you can do to become more self-aware:
1 – Keep a journal.
One of the best ways to become more self-aware is to keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you to understand them better.
It can also be helpful to look back on your journal entries and see how your thoughts and emotions have changed over time. This can help you to understand yourself better and see how your emotions affect your behavior.
Journaling can also help you make better decisions, become more aware of your own personal values, understand your personality traits and what makes you the person you are, and generally make you a more self-aware person.
2 – Spend time alone.
It’s important to spend some time alone, so that you can focus on your own thoughts and feelings. This can be difficult if you’re used to being around other people all the time, but it’s important to make some time for yourself.
Spending time alone doesn’t mean you have to be isolated from the world. You can still go out and do things, but it’s important to make some time each day to be alone with your thoughts.
For some people, spending time alone is way out of their comfort zone, but it can be a great way to get in touch with your inner self and spend some time getting to know who you are.
3 – Observe your behavior.
The best way to become more self-aware is to simply observe your own behavior. Pay attention to the things you do and say, and how they make you feel.
Think about why you do the things you do, and whether or not you’re happy with them. If you’re not happy with your behavior, try to change it.
4 – Talk to other people.
Talk to other people about their thoughts and feelings.
This can help you to understand your own emotions better, and it can also help you to see things from another person’s perspective.
It can also help to talk to people you trust about your own work on self-awareness, and ask for their feedback. This can help you to be more accepting of feedback and give great insight into how others perceive you.
5 – Be honest with yourself.
It’s important to be honest with yourself if you want to become more self-aware. Don’t try to ignore your negative thoughts or emotions, as this will only make them worse.
Accepting that you have negative thoughts and feelings is an important part of becoming more self-aware. Once you accept them, you can start to work on changing them.
Becoming more self-aware takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. It can improve your relationships, help you to understand yourself better, and make you happier overall.
So, if you’re lacking in self-awareness, don’t despair! Self-awareness is like a muscle that needs to be exercised to strengthen. And there’s always room for improvement.
Most of us go through life not really knowing ourselves, not having high self-awareness, and spending too much time on social media – projecting the image we want others to see.
We think we know what motivates us, what our values are, and what we stand for, but often times we’re wrong.
We allow our emotions to guide our decisions instead of taking a step back and looking at the situation objectively.
We get caught up in our own thoughts and opinions and forget to open our minds to other people’s perspectives.
We believe that we’re always right and that everyone else is wrong.
This lack of self-awareness can lead to a lot of problems in our personal relationships, professional lives, and overall happiness.
By learning to question our own assumptions, being open to other people’s points of view, and practicing mindfulness, we can start to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we want in life.
Leading to true self-awareness, and becoming happy and confident in who we are.