Self-awareness and change are inextricably linked

A sculptured candle providing glimpses of light through its body as its layers uncoil towards the apex, allowing the light to shine brightest. This is a metaphor for striving towards self-actualisation through self-awareness.

Candle, Berry NSW artist, 2014


“What is necessary to change a person is to change his/her awareness of himself/herself” (Abraham Maslow). Self-awareness and change are inextricably linked.

Who was Maslow and what did he mean?

Maslow was the founder of the humanist movement in psychology, which evolved in the 1940s and 50s. It emphasised each individual’s unique capacity for personal growth and self-understanding. Maslow believed that all people have an innate motivation to strive towards fulfilling their potential (self-actualisation) and that it is this striving that brings happiness and contentment. He developed a Hierarchy of needs (1943-54), with the need to pursue self-actualisation at the top of the pyramid.

What is self-awareness?

“Self-awareness is how well you know yourself: a psychological state in which people are aware of their traits, feelings and behaviour. Alternately, it can be defined as the realisation of oneself as an individual entity” (Crisp & Turner, 2010).

Why is it important to become self-aware?

Having a better understanding of ourselves gives us a stronger self-identity and sense of self. It empowers us to make the changes we seek in life.

Three tips on how to develop self-awareness

  1. It is the striving that is important, not the arriving. Allow yourself to imagine your best self. What are you doing, thinking and feeling? How do you view yourself and others? How do you view the world?
  2. Know your values, and stop and consider whether your actions and life directions are in line with these.
  3. Prioritise your personal growth and stretch yourself. This may mean varying your routine or trying new things, or facing a past avoidance or fear.

Contact Linda Magson, Sydney therapist and counsellor, to make an appointment.

I was touched to receive this testimonial from a client who made significant changes in her life due to increased self-awareness.

Linda has helped me embark on a quest for self-improvement and has helped guide me in the right direction over the years. I value her gentle approach and her way of letting me see things from my own perspective so I truly understand my behaviour or of those around me, and in turn, see the real value of change. Her suggestions of action plans are always helpful and there is nothing more satisfying than leaving her sessions feeling lighter and more hopeful. BT 22/05/2011