Does self-awareness affect how we communicate with people?

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most effective communication happens when both parties in the process are in an appropriate environment (no distractions, enough personal space, etc.) and are self-aware enough to be interested in what the other person is saying. The connection between effective communication and self-awareness is clear:

  • "Self-awareness means that you know how your thoughts, emotions and behaviors affect others and you’re able to manage yourself so that the other person is an important part of the conversation.
  • Self-awareness helps you be more comfortable with yourself so you can relate to others with genuine confidence and kindness.
  • Self-awareness allows you to get out of the way and let people tell you what’s important to them without letting your stuff complicate the interaction.
  • Self-awareness gives you the ability to shift from always having to talk (the result of ego) to listening to people instead.
  • Self-awareness helps you communicate with others on a deeper level because you make them feel valued and important.
  • Self-awareness helps you understand how others see you and how you can adapt to make more meaningful connections and build stronger relationships.
  • Self-awareness helps you collaborate with others."

On the other side of that, people who are not self-aware are also generally poor communicators. These are the people who embody all the worst communications habits. They do not listen, preparing their next response instead of paying attention to what the other person is saying. They monopolize the conversation and constantly focus on themselves, sometimes demeaning others as they do so. They might also say nothing, failing to contribute their input into the conversation, or they may even cut the conversation short if it is not about them or interesting to them.

These poor communicators are not aware enough of themselves, the people they are communicating with, or the etiquette of polite and meaningful conversation. In short, they do not understand that there is value in learning what someone else has to say and in participating in the process of trying to express or understand a point of view. 

People who are not comfortable with themselves (have a low self-awareness) are generally not comfortable expressing themselves in any meaningful way with others or even being with others in a true and conversational setting. Effective communication requires a give-and-take which is best achieved by self-awareness, which is also part of other-awareness. 

yamaguchityler eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Self awareness is key in communication. Imagine speaking with someone and you're both expressing your individual thoughts and beliefs. You delve deep into conversation, and you're both able to learn and listen off each other. This type of meaningful interaction all stems from self awareness and confidence. If we are unaware of our own thoughts and beliefs, how can we expect to form a rational argument. If we do not even understand ourselves, how can we express how we truly feel? Our answers, our conversations, and the way to communicate would all be a false portrayal of our own selves. 

Self awareness will only lead you to a more complete and round human being. Understanding and getting to know who you really are, will translate into an untapped confidence. You will begin to realize your strengths, weaknesses, limitations, potential, and you will be able to maximize on your own beliefs. Being able to go from there, and learn from it are valuable lessons that we all come to understand at our own pace and time. Being self aware is essential if we are ever to progress as people.