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Signs You Lack Self-Awareness

When you lack self-awareness, everything in life becomes harder—especially dealing with people. These signs indicate you need to up your emotional intelligence.

Did you ever meet someone who had zero idea of how he or she came across? They may have been exceptionally rude, unrealistic when it came to expectations, or just seemed clueless as to general social behavior. It's cringe-inducing, and at times, pretty painful to watch.

Speaking as someone who has lacked self-awareness for the majority of their life, I can tell you that a lack of self-awareness is as painful as it looks. Not being aware of why you act the way you do, or why others act the way they do, is brutal.

It puts you on edge, it sets you up for disappointment, and worse, it alienates you from others. It can affect every aspect of your career and life. You may need to take time to look at yourself and rethink how you behave.

Are you worried that you're your own worst enemy when it comes to behavior? Watch for these warning signs that suggest you lack self-awareness.

You refuse to listen to other people, and assume anyone who thinks differently than you is wrong.

Lord help us all, we live in an age of echo chambers online—and that makes it hard to determine if you lack self-awareness. We are so easily inclined to believe our opinions are always right, because the net makes it easy for us to find dozens of others who have the same beliefs we do.

That being said, you should always step outside your echo chamber online and listen to what others have to say. When you refuse to listen to others, especially when they are trying to be polite or offer up proof to their statements, you're doing yourself a disservice.

A key to being self-aware is the ability to look outside your perspective, impartially look at facts, and be open to new ideas. If you fly into a rage when you hear people who have different ideas from you, you lack self-awareness.

When people challenge your ideas or offer feedback, you get defensive or come up with excuses.

This goes hand-in-hand with being an active listener. When you lack self-awareness, it's very common to take things that are meant to be helpful as an attack on your character or intelligence.

Genuine, objective feedback can help you become a better person, and improve your skillset. Refusing to accept it gracefully or take it into account means you lack awareness about your skills.

If you're caught making a mistake and lack self-awareness, you'll make excuses as to why it happened. Excuses don't allow for personal growth and often make the entire situation worse.

By taking the blame, you are giving yourself an opportunity for growth. You need to know both your strengths and weaknesses to succeed, after all.

People often call you a bully.

You might not see yourself as one, but make no mistake about it. Bullying is in the eye of the beholder. A person who acts like a bully, be it through actively hurting others or by pushing others around subconsciously, is not a good thing.

Bullying behavior means that you either don't care about how others see you, that you are actively avoiding issues that are deeply hurting you by hurting others, or that you lack the ability to put yourself in others' shoes. Either way, it's a sign you lack self-awareness on a grand scale.

You are very passive-aggressive.

Believe it or not, passive-aggressive behavior is not usually a sign of a healthy mindset. It's a behavior style that deflects from issues that are bothering you, but you might not have the guts to confront. You might not even know what the problem is; you just want to avoid anything near it altogether.

Do you know why you're passive-aggressive? A little introspection may help you overcome this behavior, and make you more capable of communicating your needs with others—just be sure to ask yourself if you are emotionally equipped with great defenses or making excuses and acting out.

You don't "get" most people.

Do the actions of people just not make sense to you? Have people told you that you don't understand how social matters work? If peoples' reactions to you don't make sense, or if you can't really understand where they're coming from, chances are you lack self-awareness.

Most people have reactions that can be easily understood if you take a look at how you'd react in their position. You also can figure out how your actions are perceived it you practice more introspection—and that can help you learn how to relate to others better.

You don't actually understand why you act the way you do.

A good indicator that you lack self-awareness deals with how well you understand your emotions, actions, and behavior. People who lack self-awareness often feel constantly off-kilter, anxious, or angry. They usually can't even pinpoint what really upsets them half the time.

Do you find yourself unable to explicitly explain why you are upset? You might also be able to understand why you behave the way you do if you look at past experiences in your life. Awareness is not an image, and being self-aware is so much easier when you understand that.

You have an urge to control everything.

Self-aware people know that no man is an island, and also realize that they're not always right. They are normally more okay with giving up control, trusting others, and being able to mitigate the anxiety that comes with not knowing all the answers.

If you don't have a decent level of self-awareness, risk becomes a threat. A person who can't help but micromanage others and control every little detail doesn't realize how badly this affects everyone around them—and how counter-productive it can be.

You are prone to emotional outbursts.

Emotional outbursts happen for a wide range of reasons, most of which involve a lack of self-control and self-awareness. For the most part, people who are emotionally intelligent are able to control themselves and understand their emotions.

When you don't have much self-awareness, you can't figure out why you feel the way you do. You also might not realize what the consequences of an outburst can be—or even care.

It's hard for you to keep friends long term.

Friends are the people you have around you that "get" you, support you, and make you feel good. Most people are always down for new friends, but when you're not self-aware, they don't stick around.

A surefire sign of something wrong is a revolving door of friendships. If people can't ever seem to stick around, there's a pretty good chance that the recursive loop of self-awareness is causing you to do something to drive them away.

Nothing is ever your fault.

Be honest with yourself. Do you know you've messed up in the past, but haven't been able to take the blame? People who are not self-aware often don't see themselves at fault, or may even live in denial of the problems they cause.

Chances are, if you really, truly think you lack self-awareness, you're probably right. So, maybe it's time for a little introspection?

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