Self-awareness is not quite as straightforward as it may seem

Most of us start each day looking at a reflection looking back at us from a bathroom mirror. Without many of us even realizing it something incredible happens next. In that moment when the agency that resides behind our eyes meets the stare of the flat image on the pane of glass in front of us we recognize ourselves, understand we are part of humanity and feel our sense of self-awareness which is underpinned by an intimate, if mostly unarticulated, understanding of self-esteem.

Just in case you’re starting to feel special, all this is something we share, in most part, with monkeys, pigeons and crows. In psychology this is known as the mirror test and many higher-functioning animals seem to pass it.

Self-awareness is a action that involves the construction of mental models of representation that are, to some extent at least, constructed out of our understanding of others’ understanding of us – and I pause here to let you think about that for a moment.

Reflections, it would appear, are an integral part of how the brain sees the world and then sees itself seeing the world. So, our morning ritual, mundane as it may at first seem, is part of a more complex process of waking up and relocating our sense of who we are, what we want and how we will get it, back within our body.

Self-esteem is a sense of the value we place on ourself. That value then determines the effort we are willing to make to protect that self from harm and possible loss, cultivate it further, help it develop and take steps that lead to a journey that is meaningful.

Self-reflection is a process. Self-awareness still ambiguous as far as definitions go. Yet, bit by bit we are chipping away at the mystery of our selfhood. We are beginning to understand the limits of self-awareness and selfhood, particularly in cases of damaged brains.

Awareness is more than consciousness. It is the application of cognitive processes in the analysis of situational context in an intentional capacity that can lead to further growth. In The Sniper Mind self-knowledge is revealed to be a cornerstone of the identity we create for ourselves.

Our morning ritual in the bathroom mirror is a multi-faceted process that forces us to construct complex answers to the simple question of “who is looking back at us?” It precipitates a process of self-reflection which demands us to define everything that we think and feel is real.

You have coffee. You should also have donuts, cookies, croissants and chocolate cake. It is the weekend. So, have an awesome Sunday, wherever you are.