The aim of this article is to initiate discussion about the pursuit of self-awareness—a concept embedded in recent policy—as an educational goal. The authors argue that complex theoretical questions need to be addressed if improvements in policy and practice relating to personal, social and emotional education are to ensue. Such questions relate to possible interpretations of ‘self-awareness’, a term that may be linked to outdated theories, implying a ‘self’ to be discovered and the possibility that people can sustain a ‘sense of self’ across time and place. From this perspective, self-awareness may seem overly individualistic, obscuring more pro-social goals (e.g. empathy, compassion, citizenship). Drawing on sociological and social psychological literature, as well as data from an empirical study of identity construction, it is hoped to contribute to the provision of firm foundations for personal, social and emotional education through a stronger theoretical exposition of ‘self-awareness’. The authors' reconceptualised version highlights the importance of an expanded and flexible story of self, which they view as an invaluable tool for learning, fostering an openness to change.