What is Awareness?
Awareness is being able to “read” people and situations and make an assessment of their intent. In self-defense parlance, it is the ability to anticipate the probability of violence before it happens.
Awareness is not about being fearful or paranoid. It is a relaxed state of alertness that you may use normally in your everyday life. You need not be in a heightened state of awareness at all times, your level of awareness should just be appropriate to the current circumstances.
Awareness means knowing what to pay attention to, paying attention to safety-related details, and matching the degree of your awareness to your circumstances.
The brain recognizes things by comparing them to a mental map of an experience. Psychologists call these maps, "schemas." They consist of accumulated knowledge, experiences, and beliefs that are activated when we recognize patterns associated with them. Just as a doctor may diagnose unseen injuries comparing the patient's symptoms with a mental map of possible diseases, we may learn to diagnose a potential confrontation by comparing our surroundings with mental maps of similar circumstances that led to trouble.