10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

0 10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

The best way to tell if ‘someone else‘ is lacking self-awareness, it to identify ‘your own‘ self-awareness gaps.

Once you get past a mental block in your own life,  it’s easy to identify someone else that has that same block. They might behave in a certain way that you used to behave in, make certain excuses, or display certain body language.

If you’ve identified some of those same things in your own behavior, then it will be easy for you to recognize the same self-awareness patterns in other people (or lack their of).

If someone lacks self-awareness it may not be very obvious. You might just feel a ‘bad vibe‘ from that person.

In this article, we’ll get the perspective of experts, and take a look at some of the most obvious signs of clear lack-of-self-awareness to help you identify those signs in yourself, and in others.

Let’s Dive In.

But first.

What Defines Being Self Aware ?

how to become self aware 10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

Self-awareness is the ‘degree of conscious awareness‘ that you have for, what your body is doing, how you’re being perceived by others, and how your behavior may be affecting others in your environment.

Self-awareness is knowing your passion, strengths, weaknesses, understanding your emotions, your triggers, and understanding how you react in certain situations, and the effect you have on your surroundings.

Increased self-awareness gives you control over your life, your emotions, your re-actions, and your behavior.

Research has shown that 95% of people think they are self-aware, while in reality, only 10-15% are.

People lacking self-awareness don’t know the reason behind their actions. They don’t understand their deep rooted motivation for doing things. And they are usually missing out on a piece of  the bigger picture in their life.

Those who lack self-awareness often feel like “Life is happening to them” instead of “making life happen for them“.

Top 3 Reasons Behind Why Most People Aren’t Self-Aware –

1. Ignorance –

Through no-fault of your own. Self-awareness isn’t a class in school (it should be), so it’s not something that billions of us humans (on planet Earth) grew up with a conscious understanding of.

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2Ego –

Your ego is the perspective from which you see yourself. Those with large ego’s always see themselves as right (even when they’re wrong), and always think highly of themselves (even if they don’t deserve it).

In other words, your ego can block your perception of reality, and prevent you from being self-aware. As is evident, ego and self-awareness are in direct contrast to one another.

3. Fear –

Katie Krimer is a licensed Clinical Social Worker and she studies human behavior everyday she’s on the job. Krimer points out that self-awareness isn’t always easy, and can often be difficult, nerve racking, and indeed scary.

Many people avoid building self-awareness because it involves looking at yourself with 100% honesty, and sometimes being honest with yourself, and accepting reality for what it is, can invoke feelings of shame, guilt , and fear which can be difficult to handle. Fear can even control us unconsciously.

10 Signs Someone Lacks Self-Awareness

Understand it’s not always your fault (or someone else’s fault) that self-awareness is lacking.

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1. Making Excuses And Avoiding Responsibility

Giving yourself praise when things go well, but blaming others when things go wrong is a huge RED FLAG for lacking basic self-awareness.

This is called an ‘unconscious self-serving bias’, which is the habit that someone develops when they give credit to themself for good things, and blame others for the bad things.

Professor of Psychology, Dr. Art Markman, has been practicing and teaching psychology for over 30 years. Dr. Markman has published over 150 scholarly works and he understands better than most that self-aware people know when they make mistakes, and they take full responsibility. No Excuses!

Making excuses and blaming others for your failures is a way to shield your fragile ego. Worse off, by making excuses, you miss the opportunities to grow and learn from your failures.

2. Nothing Is Ever Your Fault – Never Admitting Mistakes

Never admitting mistakes goes hand-in-hand with making excuses, and is a tell-tail sign of deep insecurity.

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The team of experts at Psychology Today have found through years of experience, that some people have such a fragile ego, such brittle self-esteem, and such a weak “psychological construct,” that admitting they made a mistake (or that they were wrong at all) is fundamentally too threatening for their egos to handle.

This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign of making excuses. When someone can’t accept even minor mistakes, it suggests that they feel fear and inadequacy.

The fear of external judgment also makes them afraid of self-reflection and causes them to create an “alternate reality” that caters to their ego and boosts their self-esteem.

Admitting mistakes requires mental toughness, emotional maturity, and  self-awareness towards your actions.

3. Emotionally Unstable – Emotional Reactions Doesn’t Match The Situation

The more self-aware someone is, the more they are in control of their emotions.

Feeling negative emotions 10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

If someone’s mood swings irregularly it’s a good sign for lacking self-awareness. Emotional outbursts indicate a lack of control and emotional instability.

There’s an old saying by Sister Elizabeth Kenny, that…

“He who angers you, conquers you”

Those with high levels of self-awareness know, understand, and have complete control over their emotions.

Lacking self-awareness shows itself clearly with those who are unable to control or identify the emotions they’re feeling,. or the triggers that caused them.Having a lack of self-awareness with no emotional control will put your friendships, relationships, and career at risk.

You might get angry easily and react to situations too quickly.

When you have an emotional sense of self-awareness, you become able to, not only identify your emotional triggers, but solve them.

4. Constantly Needing Other People’s Approval

 Needing approval from others, instead of relying on your own “”inner strength””, to support your values and beliefs shows a lack of self-awareness, self-belief, and self-reliance.

begging for approval 10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

Psychotherapist, Dr. Ilene S. Cohen has authored 5 books and is very well respected amongst her peers. Dr. Cohen writes that when others’ acceptance of you impacts how you make decisions you lose both self-awareness, and overall awareness of what’s really important to you.

Having self-awareness means knowing what exactly you want, so there is no need for other people’s approval.

However, self-aware people always do leverage other people’s opinions and perspectives to improve through critical feedback.

5. Having No Direction And Never Satisfied With Life  – Having No Reason For Your Actions

Finding direction in life isn’t always easy! But, if you don’t truly know yourself, you won’t know what you want from life.

Lacking self-awareness can mean lacking awareness of your goals and dreams.

What this looks like is someone just ‘floating through life’, constantly distracted by doing what feels good ‘right now’, but not ultimately not getting any deep feelings of fulfillment.

When you get to know yourself, you’ll know where you want to be. Knowing what motivates you to get up each day to push forward.

In the context of the universe, the purpose of human life cannot be fully understood. If anything, Haman life seems infinitely small and meaningless within the scope and size of the known universe.

Lacking purpose can leave you feeling just plain ‘burnt-out’.

However, being self-aware with-in the context of the 50-100 years of life that we have on this planet, being happy and having an individual sense of purpose makes living worthwhile.

Cornell University professor of Human Development Anthony L. Burrow, believes that “Purpose is a forward-looking directionality, an intention to do something in the world,”

When you look inwards and get to know yourself, you will find definite reasons for your actions.

Finding purpose will motivate you to pursue life with more passion and awareness.

6.  You Get Defensive When Someone Gives You (critical) Feedback

Does negative feedback and critique make you angry? Do you find it hard to accept critiques?

Childhood tantrums 10 Ways How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self Awareness (the science in 2022)

This could be a sign of not wanting to accept reality, and not being as self-aware as you certainly could be.

Defending yourself against critical feedback, rather than hearing it out objectively, is a sign of low self-awareness and immaturity.

Critical Feedback Helps You Grow.

Based on my own personal experience, taking criticism ‘with-out getting defensive’ is difficult at the start, to say the least.

Getting defensive to criticism is a natural reaction, just like flinching when someone jumps out to scare you.

But, just like a ninja learns not to flinch with practice, you can learn not to get defensive.

Career development expert Nicole Lindsay knows all too well the pros and cons of getting defensive to critical feedback. Writing to the audience at Daily Muse Inc., Lindsey agrees that in the heat of the moment, “many of us react with defensiveness and anger or—even worse—attack the person giving feedback.

But the truth is, “we need to get over it.”

There’s extreme value in constructive criticism and what better way to get direct feedback and widen your perspective of awareness.

7. The Things Done To “Feel Better” Don’t Actually Help From a Long-Term Perspective

Dealing with negative emotions is difficult, which is why there’s multiple multi-billion industries built around short term escaping and numbing of emotions.

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For example, drinking, gambling, online shopping, scrolling on social media, and smoking cigarettes to name a few.

All of these behaviors are normal in moderation or with the intent of having fun, but in excess and with the intent of numbing emotions these same activities take on a completely different meaning.

 If you’re not aware of why you’re doing what your doing or partaking in ‘emotional escaping’ activities in excess it could become an unconscious addiction that escapes your awareness.

We often unconsciously revert into a ‘default mode’ of some sort of “”escapism”” when it comes to dealing with negative emotions.

By becoming self-aware of the reasons behind why you might partake in some of these behaviors, you may find yourself ‘more in control’ of your life than you realized you could be.

8. Tending  To Micromanage

Micromanaging is something we all often do with-out being aware of it to hold onto control of a situation. People may micromanage for a number of reasons, such as fear, loss of control, inexperience, or insecurity 

Business managers are most susceptible to micromanaging because it’s their job to manage in the first place. BUT, husbands, wives, mothers, and fathers everywhere can also fall victim to micromanaging.

Medical experts need to make life saving decisions in seconds which is why the American Association of Nurses teaches that micromanaging is the enemy of both collaborative empowerment and can have devastating effects on a team. Ironically, by releasing authoritative power, you strengthen personal power

9. You Can’t Laugh At Yourself

If someone can’t laugh at themselves, it’s a serious sign of insecurity, emotional instability, and lacking self-awareness.

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A 2018 study published in “Psychology and Individual Differences,” found that  people who regularly poke fun at themselves exhibit greater levels of ‘emotional well-being’.

In an interview on NBC professor, Dr.Ursula Beermann, has found that aside from authenticity and a healthy awareness of others, those who don’t take themselves too seriously can step back and look at themselves, or mistakes they have made, from an outside perspective

10. Constantly On The Phone

Spending too much time on the phone is becoming the new pandemic. Lack of awareness for screen time is becoming more & more prevelant.

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Are you bored, anxious, or nervous? Are you looking up a co-worker? Are you posting something to prove a point? Are you spying on a friend? Are you posting for attention? Are you ””phubbing”” (phone snubbing) someone by hiding behind your phone?

How conscious are you of your phone, internet and social media use?

Whatever your reason is, it’s important that you understand why you’re using social media.

Are you addicted to the internet? Here’s a guide we published to help you find out.

Be Mindful Of Why You’re Scrolling

As soon as you open an app on your phone you’re bombarded with videos and photos specifically tailored to match your psychological profile for maximum engagement. With-in seconds you forgot why you logged in to begin with and are now mindlessly scrolling.


Be mindful of why you’re scrolling and what your primary objective is.

[Here’s a complete GUIDE to Help You Use Social Media More Consciously]

Why It’s important to be Self-Aware

Self-awareness is the quality and skill in life that will bring out the best in you and enable a higher level of happiness and enjoyment in life.

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Dr. Eurich points out that higher levels of self-awareness are associated with higher job satisfaction, higher relationship satisfaction, feelings of more personal and social control, higher levels of happiness, and less anxiety, stress, and depression.


  • Improves self-control, creativity, critical thinking, and self-esteem
  • Facilitates decision-making
  • Improves emotional stability
  • Better Leadership Skills
  • Increases confidence

Self-awareness is proven to enhances thinking, confidence, reasoning, behavior, and overall life. Self-awareness gives you a purpose to live with.

Conclusion: How To Tell If Someone Is Lacking Self-Awareness

There is nothing wrong with low self-awareness, as there is always room for improvement. The easiest way to tell if someone else is lacking self-awareness, is to improve your own self-awareness.

But if you’re getting ‘bad vibes’ from someone and you’re not sure why, it certainly could mean that person is severely lacking basic self-awareness skills. By identifying your own weaknesses, it makes it much easier to spot those same weaknesses in others.

Sticking with the theme of this article, if you have any critical feedback, we’d love to hear it.

Let us know your thoughts.

[For a more detailed guide on becoming more self-aware Here’s an Article We Wrote w. an Additional 54 Tips on self-Awareness]

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Also, if there’s anything we missed, left out, or got wrong , we’d love the feedback (good or bad)

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Thanks for reading !

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