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I'm trying to look for that word to describe this natural quality that all humans have. It's a basic word, and the word basically means/describe something like, capable of feeling, and the ability to realize what's happening in your surroundings. Babies do not yet have this quality/ability, but it will gradually develop as a child enters probably the age of 3.

So, as an example to illustrate this, lets say, an 8 year old boy with Dwarfism is a patient at a hospital, and without the child's consent the doctor orders him to strip naked except the underpants and enters a room full of students where the boy is used as a visual aid in a lecture on Dwarfism anatomy and disease. One might think this is totally fine, the child is fine and that he's just a little boy. However, a child has [that word] too, so on the outside he might appear okay and unaffected, but that's just because he is unable to express his opposition and displeasure under the doctor's authority, but really he is embarrassed, upset or even terrified because even an 8 year old has [that natural quality].

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.


It may be attained slightly earlier than the age of three, though. The “terrible twos” are when a child usually starts to use the word No.

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Possibly Self-Awareness or Self-Cognizance

I don't know about age 3 though - I think an awareness of self happens more when children hit their teens - maybe the old "finding oneself" can happen at any age

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You may want the word dignity the phrase a sense of dignity. People can be self-aware without having much of a sense of dignity. Even a child can "lose face". Self-awareness isn't the quality that causes that despite its being a necessary precondition. A sense of dignity is also necessary.

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