SAFER Training Programme (English)

Life Skills Theoretical Background – Growing Self-Awareness

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the term “Self-awareness” is the: “good knowledge & judgment about oneself”. In the psychology literature, the term represents the: “capacity to focus attention on one’s own thoughts, emotions, traits, motives, goals, needs, etc. and to self-evaluate”. According to Morin (2011), when in state of self-awareness, one actively identifies, processes and stores information about the self and thus has the capacity of becoming the object of one’s own attention. Self-awareness also entails a sense of continuity as a person across time and includes a feeling of self as being distinct from the rest of the environment (Kircher

The study of self-awareness emerged as a field within psychology in the 1960’s, despite being discussed in philosophy since ancient times. Its beneficial contributions to psychological functioning have been highlighted; without self-awareness, people would not be able to self-regulate, exercise empathy / take the perspectives of others, or experience pride and self-confidence. However, self-awareness may also have negative facets, i.e. lead to self-criticism. Research suggests that the positive and negative facets of self-awareness are reconciled when people have reasonable self-standards and when they are optimistic about meeting their standards.