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Developing self-awareness starts early—and it can have a long-lasting impact

Self-awareness starts early

When a newborn child opens their eyes, their environment and the things they are exposed to reflect on the way they see the world. You’ll be surprised at how they grow up so quickly. At the age of 2, children are already starting to have a sense of understanding of who they are.

Notice how a child reacts differently to your voice or how they can identify who’s holding them. Children are at a stage of rapid brain development during early childhood where they can specify which is ‘me’ and ‘not me’. It is the first level of self-awareness and one of the most influential aspects that can impact personal development later in life.

Self-Awareness And Its Types

Self-awareness can be defined as the ability to identify and understand one’s capabilities as well as the implications of their actions to the people around them. According to a study, there are two distinct types of self-awareness that people can be categorized with.

The first is internal self-awareness, where people evaluate themselves based on personality, habits, emotions, values, and how they fit their environment. The other is external self-awareness, where people understand how others perceive them through the said factors.

Individuals who exhibit inward self-awareness are more likely to have a stronger sense of self and personal boundaries. On the other hand, those who fall under the outward self-awareness category are considered more empathetic. They can also create fruitful social relationships with others.

To become fully aware of one’s self may look easy. However, it is one of the hardest values to learn. Not everyone can easily connect with others much more to themselves—particularly those who have low self-esteem, learning disabilities, or anxiety.

Sure, it can be practiced. But much of it is rooted in the impact of early experiences that make upon how an individual see themselves and how they want others to see them.

How does early development affect self-awareness?

Understanding one’s self starts during the foundation stage—childhood. Based on developmental psychology, early experiences and development play an integral part in predicting and identifying future behaviors.

With this, children were always encouraged to build on their social skills. Cooperation, empathy, and collaboration are often pushed in school activities to teach them how to connect with others—values that they can bring later on in life.

But parents and teachers should recognize that it is also essential to highlight the importance of acknowledging a child’s feelings, choices, and abilities. Teaching them young about self-awareness helps them forge a clearer picture of who they are and what they want to be.

If children grew up knowing how to understand themselves, they are more empowered to be upfront with their emotions and peers. From here, they can freely express who they are, manage their feelings, set healthy boundaries, and forge meaningful relationships as they grow older.

By teaching them how to know and care for themselves, then caring for others will come as second nature to them.

How can self-awareness make you a better adult?

The keyword here is balance. Times are unpredictable nowadays, and being able to ground yourself is one of the core values needed to adapt during this time. By acknowledging this, your inner strength and empathy for others can continuously raise your self-awareness based on the foundation you built during your childhood.

Higher self-awareness is an essential part of an individual’s success—whether in personal relationships or career.

Here is a list of how understanding yourself deeper makes you a better adult!

1. Higher Self-Control.

People with high internal self-awareness can understand how their mind works. They have better control in regulating the mix of their personality, emotions, and priorities. With this, people with good external self-awareness can understand the perspective of others and how to better relate to them and society.

2. Better Decision-Making Skills.

Being self-aware makes you knowledgeable about your personal preferences. In the modern world, assumptions, biases, and rash choices are inevitable. So, having good decision-making skills from being self-aware both internally and externally can help discern these circumstances.

3. Happier and Less Stressed.

Self-awareness can lead to satisfaction and happiness. Having peace within you because you are aware of your impact on yourself and the people around you can bring more control over your actions. It can also boost your self-confidence and improve your overall emotional intelligence and mental health.

How To Improve Self-Awareness?

Developing self-awareness is influenced by a multitude of factors. So, even if it is already established during childhood or regularly practiced in adulthood, you can still do something to make it better.


Being open to feedback, criticisms, and compliments from your loved ones or work circle can help improve your self-awareness. Practice discerning information and considering outside perspectives that can help your betterment as a whole.


When the word ‘meditation’ is brought up, there is a high chance that yoga or mindfulness exercises are the first things that come to your mind. It is essentially correct, but there are also other ways to meditate.

After all, meditation only requires one thing: regain focus to feel your being. Do exercises or create routines that will let go of your thoughts. Trust us, meditating even for just 10 minutes every day can greatly improve your self-awareness.

Conclusion: Learning self-awareness is a life-long process.

It is never too late for anyone to rekindle the self-awareness they have developed through their early years. But it does not stop there. Self-awareness is also a way to be kinder, not just to yourself, but to the world around you.

There will always be more ways to learn and improve. Don’t worry, you’ve got a lifetime of that! Because every day is another opportunity to know yourself better and deeper than before.


Also check this short episode of the Learn with Bessern Podcast on the Human Skills to stay relevant in times of change


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