Self-awareness vs self-consciousness

Self-awareness vs self-consciousness

Though being self-aware and being self-conscious seems to be similar, we can differentiate them to better understand our personal journey.

My understanding of self-awareness is strongly rooted in what we call first-person practice in our academic programs. Through various thinking tools that facilitate authenticity, we aim to cultivate a deeper understanding of our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and patterns.

On the other hand, self-consciousness seems more concerned with our perception of how others view us. In Filipino, we think about the term “nakaka-conscious”, which may mean how we feel embarrassed about how others may be seeing us. While self-consciousness may serve as a helpful reminder to maintain social norms and etiquette, excessive focus on external perceptions can hinder authenticity and hinder personal growth.

The world makes it easy to compare ourselves with others. It takes discipline and deliberate practice to gain a more sober understanding of ourselves while it’s convenient and provocative to rank ourselves and others.

If we are supposed to live fulfilling lives and to lead meaningful organizations, it would be such a tragedy if we cannot gain insight about who we are and what we are meant to do. If insight visits us during the unexpected pauses in our lives, then we might miss it if all we care to hear are the noises about what others expect us to be.

Luke 18:9-14. The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity – greedy, dishonest, adulterous – or even like this tax collector.’


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