Difference Between Self-Awareness and Self-Consciousness

Key Difference – Self-Awareness vs Self-Consciousness
 

Although there is a difference between self-awareness and self-consciousness, these are very much related. In psychology, attention is specifically focused on self-awareness. This refers to the knowledge that an individual has of himself. On the other hand, self-consciousness also refers to a form of awareness that an individual has of himself. However, the key difference between self-awareness and self-consciousness is that, unlike self-awareness, the self-consciousness is a preoccupation an individual has of himself. Through this article let us examine the key differences between the two states.

What is Self Awareness?

Self-awareness can be understood as the awareness or knowledge that an individual has of himself or herself. This assists the individual to set himself apart from others as well from the environment. Self-awareness allows the individual to have a better comprehension of himself, his highs and lows. To be more specific, it assists the individual to look into himself.

According to Psychologists, self-awareness is a concept that develops as the individual matures, starting from one’s birth. As the child grows up he begins to be more self-aware. Psychologists have extended their research of self-awareness to animals as well. Through various experiments such as the mirror test, psychologists have studied whether animals such as chimpanzees also have a developed sense of self-awareness.

Being self-aware can be very beneficial to the individual. Let us comprehend this through an example. Imagine a person who often finds it difficult to maintain relationships with others. This particular individual always ends up antagonizing others. If the individual is aware of this situation, it gives him the opportunity, to introspect and find out his flaws that contribute this situation. In such a context, self-awareness can be helpful. Now let us move on to the next word, self-consciousness.

Difference Between Self-Awareness and Self-Consciousness

What is Self-Consciousness?

Self-consciousness also refers to a form of awareness that an individual has. But the key difference between self-consciousness and self-awareness is that while self-awareness is healthy and allows the individual to set truly himself apart from others, self-consciousness can be unhealthy. It is almost similar to a preoccupation that an individual has where he will be conscious of every move, every word, etc.

We all can be self-conscious sometimes. For instance, if we are making a speech in front of a very large audience, or if we feel like someone is looking at us, it is natural to feel self-conscious. In such a situation, we do not behave as freely as we usually are. On the contrary, we are cautious of our every move. This is one of the reasons why in researches the researchers take extra careful measures not to disrupt the ordinary lives of the research subjects. When we are self-conscious, we attempt to be extremely accurate in our tasks.

Psychologists point out that if an individual is self-aware he is also able to comprehend when he is self-conscious. Hence, it can be highlighted that self-consciousness is also a form of awareness. This highlights that although there is a clear connection between self-awareness and self-consciousness they are not the same. Now let us summarize the difference between the two as follows.

Self-Awareness vs Self-Consciousness

What is the Difference Between Self-Awareness and Self-Consciousness?

Definitions of Self-Awareness and Self-Consciousness:

Self-Awareness: Self-awareness can be understood as the awareness or knowledge that an individual has of himself or herself.

Self-Consciousness: Self-consciousness also refers to a form of awareness that an individual has. It is almost similar to a preoccupation that an individual has where he will be conscious of his movements and behavior.

Characteristics of Self-Awareness and Self-Consciousness:

Nature:

Self-Awareness: Self-awareness allows the individual to obtain knowledge of himself.

Self-Consciousness: Self-consciousness makes the individual feel preoccupied with self.

Healthy/unhealthy behavior:

Self-Awareness: This is healthy as it makes the person know of his mistakes.

Self-Consciousness: This can sometimes be very unhealthy.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Vincent Bethell Self Aware Placard By SRHSP (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0) or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “RobertFuddBewusstsein17Jh” by Robert Fludd [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons