When I was in graduate school one of my professors asked the class what was one of the most important human characteristics we needed more of.
My response was self-awareness. I still feel strongly about this today.
The Self-Awareness Theory
The self-awareness theory was developed by Duval and Wicklund in 1972. Self-awareness is the ability to see yourself through reflection and introspection.
When you are not self-aware, you are likely to go through your day unaware of your thoughts, feelings, and actions and how they impact you and those around you.
By contrast, if you are self-aware, you are able to self-evaluate yourself throughout the day. You are able to realize you are not your thoughts and feelings but instead, an observer of your thoughts and feelings. You are also more aware of others.
Self-awareness is essential to self-control. If you want to be intentional with your words, actions, and thoughts, you must have self-awareness first.
Benefits of Self-Awareness
People who are self-aware are more likely to possess the following:
See other's perspectives and points of view
Engage in positive self-development
Make better, more sound decisions
More successful relationships
Everything else falls into place
If you are self-aware, then characteristics like kindness, respect, empathy, honesty, and dependability are more likely to fall into place.
If not, then a person has the capacity to recognize a weakness in a characteristic and work on self-development in that area.
I still think we need more of this in the world
Currently, I think there are waves of people seeking out better self-awareness and self-development.
I would also argue there are many people who operate on the opposite end of the spectrum with no real desire to challenge their belief systems or see others' points of view.
Regardless of where you are in self-awareness, continuing to improve in this area can shed positive results across many areas of your life.