Awareness and Self-Awareness

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I have recognised, over the last few years, working with so many different people, either not yet on their conscious journey or walking their path diligently, that there is a big difference between being ‘aware’ and ‘self-aware’ from a personal and business development perspective.

As individuals we all have different reasons for being here on this earth plane with varied lessons to learn and teach. I am in awe of the young people of today ‘who are there’ in their development without having to do the hard years so many others have had to do. As personal development only really became something people did in the 1980’s it is interesting to recognise the differences in the generations. Children born from the 1970’s onward were greatly supported by parents who had started to ask questions whilst discovering for themselves who and what they represented. Instead of following the traditions passed down in parenting, we started to question, thus giving our children a greater ability to make decisions.

I must admit that there are some flaws in this thinking as I watch the Generation X’s and Y’s who have no the boundaries, general respect or accountability that the traditional generations taught. I personally remember wanting my children to become aware of who they were and wanting them to have the right to choose by understanding the results of cause and effect.

In the very early 1970’s I did a course on ‘I’m OK, You’re Ok’ by Thomas Harris. It was the beginnings of Transactional Analysis (TA) and many of the concepts are still with me today. This was a time when we taught and gave children options on how they decided what they wanted to do, thus becoming aware that there was a cause and effect on the decisions they made. We used a new language in sentencing/questioning which was very different from what we were brought up with ourselves. I personally found this work fascinating and then went on to study TA in more depth.


Being aware is all about ‘knowing’ that there is something else other than just being here and doing life! Of course being self-aware is when one is conscious that it is their own responsibility to ‘do the work’ on the areas of life that show themselves needing growth.

Related: “The ‘Wake-Up” Call”

As a young child our social biofeedback is through parental mirroring. This creates our own emotional self-awareness and self-control so that we can start to find out our own identity. It is not until we grow up and start experiencing life that we start to recognise that this learnt behaviour either may or may not serve us well.

As a child the world is all about us. We see only ourselves and look to have our needs met as best we can and modifying our behaviour to get what we want. In our formative years, we create what is called a ‘habit’ in the Enneagram. This is a behaviour that supports us to get what we want from life. There are nine such titles, none of which are very pretty, and until we understand what our own habit is, we are unable to reason how to manage it. It will always be there and with time and patience we can learn to ‘manage it’ so that the behaviour changes to being conscious and redirected into something more positive.

The Enneagram is an eye opening tool used extensively for business management and spiritual contexts through seminars, conferences, books, magazines, and DVDs. It is a powerful approach to understanding our psychology, emotions and behaviour of ourselves and others. To discover more about the nine styles I suggest that you look at this site:

For me personally in business life I use the Wealth Dynamics profiling system by Roger Hamilton that divides all success strategies into eight paths. This tool helps small business owners to understand themselves and their innate gifts. This in turn supports them to understand who they need to put around them for their business to be successful. For more on this go to

Of course there are many other tools such as the well-known Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DISC Profiling as well as many more in use. Many traditional cultures, such as the Australian Aboriginal, the North American Indian and African and others, also have their own tools and way of determining life, all dependant on the beliefs and cultures of each group.

All these tools are able to help us gain greater understanding through a universal language that transcends gender, religion, nationality and culture. We are all unique beings even though we share many common experiences. These experiences are determined on how we play them out in our life from our different personality styles.

So, how do we define the difference between awareness and self-awareness?

Related: “Mindfulness”

Awareness is the ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects, thoughts and emotions or sensory patterns. In this level of consciousness, sense data can be confirmed by an observer without necessarily implying understanding. It really is a state of being aware of something. In biological psychology, awareness is defined as a person’s perception and cognitive reaction to a condition or event.

On the other hand, self-awareness is the capacity for introspection for self-insights. It gives one the ability to recognise themselves as an individual, separate from the environment and other individuals. While consciousness is a term given to being aware of one’s environment, body and lifestyle, self-awareness is the recognition of that awareness.

By understanding the difference and making it something that propels you to delve deeper, through your own self-awareness, you will gain a greater understanding of and for yourself.

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