Social awareness is an integral part of your personal and professional success. It’s a very important building block of relationships, and it helps you to feel confident and be respected. So what is it exactly?
Simply put, social awareness is the understanding of how people and societies interact and knowing how to behave in an appropriate, effective way. It also refers to levels of cultural and situational awareness. Here’s how you can develop and deepen your own social awareness.
First of all, you need to remain a student of life. Admit that you have a lot to learn. A big part of social awareness is realizing that all humans are equally important, and nobody is better than any other individual. Keeping this in mind also reminds you that it’s likely you are wrong about many things, and having an open mind helps you better deal with the changes in knowledge as you go.
Study the history of human rights and current affairs that are impacting how formerly denied human rights are now being acknowledged. Although some topics may be uncomfortable to address, ignoring them doesn’t make the dilemmas go away.
Therefore, it’s important for those who wish to change things and become socially aware to make a strong effort to understand difficult issues such as rape culture, animal welfare, white privilege, equal rights, fat shaming, and even how it is that human trafficking is still going on all over the world. Those are just a few of very many complex issues that one should seek to understand.
Next, dig more deeply than the causes themselves to the individuals whose lives are impacted on a daily basis by these things. Enhance your sensitivity to others’ needs. Consider how your actions may make someone else feel. If someone is disabled, being treated differently may be very painful.
Instead, be considerate without being condescending. If you are in doubt at first about how to treat someone, ask; although that may be an awkward conversation starter, most will be very thankful you are willing to learn and make such an effort. You are likely to earn respect at the same time that you grow in social awareness.
Be of service to your community. This one is a big deal because it’s a commitment to yourself and to an organization that you are going to show up and do the work necessary to grow in social awareness. There is typically another component that motivates volunteer work, but it’s also good to be aware of how you can learn from the experience to further connect with an awareness of the needs of those around you.
Whether you are volunteering in a soup kitchen or an animal shelter, you can use your empathy and observations to grow more emotionally intelligent and aware.
Practice speaking up for animals or other people on a consistent basis. You may opt to take a speech class as a part of this, or you could simply engage your friends in a friendly debate. Maybe you even make a podcast. That is all up to you. It is inevitable that you grow in social awareness if you are putting yourself in the role of the disenfranchised of society and thinking of how you can best stand up for them.