How to be Aware of Yourself, Others, and Your Impact Unto Others

Have you ever stopped in the middle of a conversation because you realized you were too loud? Or how about when you are walking at the doorway while reading on your phone, then just stop and see that you are blocking the way for people? How about while driving, you realized that you are drifting towards oncoming traffic? These are some examples of the many instances we forget to be aware of ourselves, which lead to others' dismay.

So, in these terms, how do we define awareness? Is it common courtesy? Is it stopping for a minute and assessing your surroundings by your senses? The answer is all of these plus more. We can say, then, that awareness is just being in the present moment, which entails moving one's attention to their current situation.

Is Awareness a Task?

Seeing awareness as a task seems a bit pessimistic? Is being aware like a 9-5 work time, where you log in then suddenly becomes aware for that said period? Not quite so! This is because being aware includes three aspects: self, others, and the impact of the self unto others. As mentioned, awareness is being in the situation. Then, it would be better to see it more as something inherent but can be registered into one's system whenever they like, than a task.

Does awareness require practice? Definitely.

Awareness vs. Paying Attention

Although the two are synonymous, they are not completely the same. Concentration on the person or thing is central to paying attention. Is the same true for being aware? Not really. For instance, let us picture this situation: You are reading a book. You see words and understand them. This act itself is paying attention — you are paying attention to the book you are reading. But does this mean that you do not know where you currently are sitting? This is where awareness comes. Awareness is knowing where you are situated and the things within that sphere while paying attention to what you are doing. One can be aware of something without having to pay full attention to it.


Self-awareness is a must-have skill. It is simply realizing that you have space for your own. It may be on the train, the sidewalk, the dining table and this space is not necessarily tangible. In the situation where you are too loud in a public place, you stop halfway because you become aware of your voice and that people might be getting annoyed by it. Self-awareness is not always about an intra-reflection (or just you realizing it to yourself). It can be someone telling you about your voice and you realize it.

With this, we realize that conversely, not being aware creates bad externalities. This manifests another aspect of self-awareness: that it overlaps with the interests of others. Being self-aware then means being aware of others, too. You are being too loud, and your interest to be poise and mannerable extends to not wanting to be an object of annoyance for others. You keep it down because you do not want others to perceive you as wild, animalistic, and self-centered.

How to be Aware

The pandemic took a toll on our social interactions. It forced us to isolate ourselves and live in solitude for some time. The avenues for us to reflect, meditate and think outside ourselves have also been affected. The space that we have becomes the only space we care about, which affects our awareness. Now that we are trying to go back into society and live with the new normal, we realize that we have to start breeding awareness in ourselves, others, and our actions. How would we do that?

  • Assess your reality. Take a step back from the constantly moving world, and take a minute to use your senses and examine your situation. This helps ground the reality of your situation.

  • Think of what is in your control, and those that are not. Believe it or not, you are accountable for some aspects of your situation. Would going on your phone while the other person result in something good? Would repeatedly calling someone who has a bad signal because of a storm help? You have to identify what you can control and use them to your advantage to be more aware of the situation. This prevents you from blindly blaming anyone or yourself for no concrete reason at all.

  • Reflect, or keep a journal. Being aware does not necessarily mean being in the situation. Sometimes, awareness can come from an effort of wanting to be. Occasionally, awareness only happens after the situation. Although it would be better if one has been aware of the situation, this is better than not being aware at all. Ask yourself the basic questions of what, where, when, etc. Then, after contextualizing it, think of what you did and your motivations or reasons for it. Let us say that you were loud at a gathering earlier because you extremely relate to the story of your friend. Then, think of ways that could have been done instead to better the situation. You could have just gestured your excitement, for example.

  • Read. Reading expounds empathy along with knowledge. You will be able to reflect easier and think faster in situations when you read all the time. Also, reading helps you turn yourself into a party outside of a situation, which helps in analyzing your situation and looking at it in the bird's eye view.

Do note that being self-aware takes patience, determination, and practice. Take it easy on yourself, and always reward yourself when worthy. You are loved and therefore you have no reason to not love yourself. And it does not even require others to love you before you love yourself. Practice this, as this is a way of showing love to yourself.