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What Causes Lack of Self-Awareness?

    What causes lack of self-awareness?

    You may not realize this, but you are constantly forming opinions about the things, people, and situations in the external world.

    As you go about your day, your mind is constantly busy trying to make sense of everything you observe.

    For example, you may be walking on the street and have a random thought about a stranger you pass by. You might think, “He looked like a cheerful guy. I bet he is having a good day.”

    Similarly, you might be staring at a tree from the balcony of your home and think to yourself, “I wonder when this tree was first planted. It has gotten quite big now.”

    This tendency of ours is the result of our awareness.

    Since we are sentient beings, we are always interacting with the world and that gives rise to countless thoughts and emotions within us.

    This is what makes us special as a species.

    However, there is another side to awareness that is perhaps even more important. And that, as you might have already guessed, is self-awareness.

    What Is Self-Awareness?

    woman walking alone outside

    To put it simply, self-awareness is the ability to see yourself objectively through introspection.

    In other words, it is the ability to focus on your internal world and understand whether your thoughts, emotions, and behavior align with your own standards or not.

    This requires a deep sense of self and a reflective state of mind. Only then can you evaluate yourself without any bias or prejudice.

    Self-awareness happens to be a rare quality because our focus, most of the time, is set on the external world.

    We are always thinking about other people and things that affect us.

    As such, we seldom think about how our own traits, actions, and behavior are affecting our daily lives.

    And we certainly don’t think about how we can bring the necessary changes to become better individuals.

    At least, not on a day-to-day basis.

    Why Is Self-Awareness Important?

    person holing her hand up feeling empowered

    So, you might ask why self-awareness is so important.

    Sure, it lets you understand yourself better, but why is that so significant?

    Well, the way you act in the outside world is a reflection of your inner world. The more you are in line with your values and principles, the more your actions and behavior will reflect that.

    Your awareness of who you are will allow you to achieve your ideal self that you want to portray in the world.

    Also, when you are clear about your values, thoughts, and feelings, you live with a greater degree of faith in yourself and your abilities.

    You know what you have to do to enhance your strengths and address your weaknesses.

    There is a sense of deep clarity that comes with self-awareness that helps you assess your growth in the various areas of your life and change course when necessary.

    What Can You Do To Increase Self-Awareness?

    person meditating

    There are tons of ways you can slowly increase your self-awareness. ( Check our article about how to increase self awareness Here)

    These range from little things to more thought-out strategies.

    Perhaps the best way that anyone can integrate into their lives is to spend time alone and just reflect (the old-fashioned way).

    This gives you time and space to connect with yourself and understand your thoughts better.

    Practices like mindfulness and meditation are other great ways to enhance your self-awareness.

    These have the added benefit of healing your physical and mental ailments. You can also start journalling every night before you go to bed.

    This, too, gives you a safe space to pour out your deepest thoughts and beliefs.

    And in the end, you emerge with a much better understanding of who you really are.

    Top Causes For A Lack of Self-Awareness

    woman in the countryside

    So, now that you understand what self-awareness is and have a general idea of its importance, let’s talk about the main causes of a lack of self-awareness.

    This will tell you about all those things that are acting as hindrances on your path to self-discovery and self-knowledge.

    1) Due To Cognitive Bias

    As we live our lives, our various experiences shape our minds in a certain way.

    Over time, we come to prefer certain things over other things.

    We start to prefer certain behavior over other types of behavior. This slowly shapes our preferences and we start to become biased.

    For example, if you like Apple’s products, you might be biased in favor of Apple even though other companies might make equally great products.( ok ok this is debatable lol)

    Now, it might not seem like it but your cognitive bias can keep you from being aware of yourself.

    That is because cognitive bias reinforces your existing beliefs.

    Instead of looking at fresh information that can counter your beliefs, you only look for things that can further solidify them.

    This tendency prevents you from looking at yourself objectively.

    It hides the aspects of yourself that you don’t want to acknowledge and exaggerates the aspects that you want everybody to see.

    self awareness quote 1

    2) Fear of Being Vulnerable

    This one is pretty straightforward.

    Many people don’t want to put themselves in a vulnerable place where they might feel weak or helpless. ( Who want that??)

    This tendency of theirs keeps them from introspecting and venturing inside themselves. They are afraid of what they might find. They shudder at the thought of discovering something they would be ashamed of.

    For example, if someone discovers that they have a habit of lying, they would naturally feel bad about themselves and that would be something they would have to confront.

    As such, they keep themselves confined in a bubble believing that everything is fine.

    Obviously, this is the opposite of being objective.

    It keeps hidden all the nasty things about yourself.

    In this state, you don’t realize that self-awareness is critical for one’s growth and development, even if it reveals your flaws and weaknesses. In fact, this revelation is what builds a path for you to evolve into a better version of yourself.

    3) Fear of Change

    Change is a fact of life.

    In fact, change is what has made life possible.

    Imagine if the Earth had stayed the same since it was formed! There would be nothing but molten rocks everywhere and there would certainly be no life!

    In some ways, we all know that change is inevitable and necessary.

    And yet, most of us are fearful of change.

    Evolution has hardwired into us that change is bad because it takes you away from familiarity and exposes you to uncertainty. This is exactly what keeps most of us from becoming aware of our true selves.

    After all, when you realize things about yourself that you’re not proud of, you would naturally have to change those aspects about yourself.

    You would have to come out of your comfort zone and do things that might be uncomfortable.

    self awareness quote 2

    4) Fear of Being Wrong

    Sometimes, other people know you better than you know yourself.

    This typically applies to your loved ones who either live with you or have known you for a long time.

    During random conversations, these loved ones might reveal some of your flaws or bad traits to you.

    They might do so in the hopes that you would own up to these drawbacks and work on them to become a better person.

    However, as it often happens, instead of owning up to their bad side, people pretend that it doesn’t even exist.

    Even when loved ones tell them about these negative traits, they don’t introspect or self-reflect. This is because people like these have a fear of being wrong.

    They fear shattering the subjective reality they have created for themselves wherein they are absolutely fine and nothing needs to change.

    This fear keeps them from going inside themselves.

    Knowing that they were wrong all along while others were right would be too much for them to handle.

    self awareness quote 3

    5) Lack of Self-Esteem

    This is another common reason why people lack self-awareness.

    While generally, a lack of self-awareness causes a lack of self-esteem, the opposite can be true as well.

    For example, if you tend to believe that you are not worthy of good things in life or that you are not good at anything in particular, you wouldn’t want to even explore yourself properly. After all, you have already reached the conclusion that there is no point in exploring yourself since there is nothing to explore!

    Obviously, this is just your subjective opinion about yourself.

    The reality could be vastly different.

    It could be that you possess immense capabilities that could help you become successful in anything you put your mind to.

    It could be that you possess remarkable strengths the likes of which you have never seen before. And yet, because of your lack of self-esteem, your self-awareness would suffer.

    self awareness quote 4

    6) Avoidance or Laziness

    This might not seem like a serious cause for a lack of self-awareness, but it actually is.

    I mean, think about it.

    If you happen to be someone who likes to avoid challenges or is just lazy, you wouldn’t want to do any serious work about self-discovery.

    You would be content with living your life from one day to the next doing the bare minimum. Don’t get me wrong.

    If that’s how you want to live life and are happy with it, that’s completely okay.

    However, if there is a voice inside you that tells you that life should be about more and that you have a whole world to discover inside you, then that’s a cause for concern.

    This is when your laziness comes in the way of self-awareness.

    And that can be overcome only when you take steps to consistently push yourself out of your comfort zone. Check our article about the 10 tips to stop being lazy Here.

    7) Lack of Feedback From Other People

    A lack of feedback from other people (especially your loved ones) is another common reason for a lack of self-awareness.

    I mean, there are two ways you can be more aware of your thoughts, emotions, behavior, and perception.

    Either you introspect and learn about them on your own or you receive feedback from other people and reflect on their opinions. If you don’t do the former, you have to rely on the latter.

    However, if you don’t even get feedback from others, you are bound to lack self-awareness.

    This might typically happen to people who don’t have that many loved ones or to those who don’t take them too seriously.

    It could also happen to people who don’t receive support or guidance from others.

    It is only obvious that without feedback, there is no realization.

    And without realization, there is no change for the better.

    self awareness quote 5

    8) External Influences

    External variables have a huge impact on us.

    Our interaction with them shapes our personality, thoughts, emotions, and even values.

    For example, if you belong to a particular culture and you keep hearing that you need to be a certain way and act a certain way, your behavioral pattern will take shape accordingly.

    Similarly, other people, media, and societal expectations can all influence your idea of how you should be as a person.

    In this situation, you might not want to see yourself objectively and understand your true inner self.

    That’s because there would be no point in doing that.

    Since you are expected (or influenced) to be a certain way, there is no point in understanding your uniqueness.

    For example, society puts a really high value on material success. And if you accept that as a fact of life, your inner nature of wanting to lead a non-materialistic life wouldn’t matter!

    And so, you might not be motivated enough to want to look within.

    self awareness quote 6

    9) Past Trauma

    This is another reason for a lack of self-awareness that is not often talked about.

    If a person has been through traumatic experiences in the past, like abuse, exposure to violence, mother wound, neglect, loss of a loved one, etc., they can become disconnected from their inner self.

    Their own thoughts and feelings about themselves might get replaced with shame, guilt, or worthlessness.

    For example, if a person has witnessed the loss of a loved one, the trauma of that incident can scar them for a long time. They would be completely captivated by the memories of the person they lost. In this case, self-awareness would be the last thing on their mind.

    In fact, even understanding and functioning in the outer world would become a challenge.

    self awareness quote 7

    10) Fear of Being Judged

    Finally, this is something that affects a lot of people.

    As humans, we are all social animals.

    And so, the opinions and views of other people matter to us no matter how much we deny it.

    But things can take an ugly form if we allow the opinions of other people to interfere with our lives, especially when it comes from jealous people ( check our article about how to deal with jealous peole HERE) or toxic people around you. The best example of this is perhaps self-awareness.

    If you are too concerned about what your loved ones or even strangers will think of you if you do something that is true to your nature, it is only obvious that you would not want to explore yourself fully.

    You would be more worried about others instead of wanting to understand yourself completely.

    In other words, you wouldn’t be honest with yourself.

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