Self-awareness, the ability to clearly understand our own values and behaviors, empowers moms to live confidently and creatively in their true authentic self. Become an empowered mom today by educating yourself. I am always thrilled to champion other moms in their journey to self-actualization. Contact me if you think you could benefit from one on one coaching in your self-awareness journey.
Self-Awareness Journey is not black and white
The journey of self-awareness is liberating. We are all capable of being self-aware, but we aren’t self-aware at all times. If we were then, well, we might not ever get anything done because self-awareness requires a commitment to narrowly focus all of our attention on ourselves. I would argue that it is rare for a mom to be acutely focused on herself entirely at any moment in time. Even just writing these few sentences in this article during my designated “uninterrupted mom time” I have been interrupted at least a dozen times. If a mom gets a chance to be acutely focused on one single thing, I am going to almost guarantee that she is not spending those precious minutes becoming more self-aware. I’m gonna bet she spends it alone in a room or a car or a bathroom where she can get some respite from any and all noise.
Let’s be realistic about self-awareness for moms. If a mom doesn’t get focused attention to do her job that pays the bills, then how in the world is she supposed to get focused attention to practice self-awareness? Right?! Here’s the thing though, self-awareness is not an all or none situation. It’s not like you either have self-awareness or you don’t. Self-awareness is cyclical. It ebbs and flows just like motherhood does and so during some stages of motherhood you are able to be very self-aware, while in other stages of motherhood it just doesn’t fit in a mom’s headspace. It’s hard to admit, but moms may not be as self-aware as we’d like to believe. My husband is agreeing with me on this one too and anyone who knows him can vouch for the fact that he is a truth teller. Alas, like all things in life, there is a silver lining. Self-awareness has no real end result or starting line so you can always jump back in where you left off or hit a reset button when you are able to work on being more self-aware.
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to be aware of one’s own personal characteristics, motivations, feelings, and behaviors. Being self-aware involves not only our internal (private) recognition of our traits and feelings, but it also includes external (public) self awareness, which is how other people perceive our behaviors and personality characteristics.
What is Internal Self-Awareness?
Internal self-awareness is the ability to clearly understand our own personal values, feelings, character strengths and weaknesses, motivations, and influence on the community at large. Internal self-awareness helps build strong relationships and increases self-confidence. While internal self-awareness is important, too much time spent thinking about her own conscious thoughts can be self-mutilating for moms who tend to be their own worst critic. That is why internal self-awareness needs to be combined with external self-awareness in the epic self-awareness journey.
What is External Self-Awareness?
External self-awareness is the ability to understand the way others perceive us. The people around us have a unique and different perspective of your personality, strengths and weaknesses, values, passions, and influence on the community at large. If you’ve ever had a job performance evaluation you can appreciate the difference in your perception of your contributions in the workplace and how a supervisor may view your contributions to your workplace. Many times you may be surprised to hear reflections about yourself from people you know and respect. Sometimes it’s painful to hear, while other times it may fill your heart with joy. External self-awareness is equally as important to internal self-awareness.
Moms benefit from having both internal and external self-awareness. Mom’s can also benefit from 3 other distinct types of self awareness: emotional awareness, social awareness, and organizational awareness. These other realms of self-awareness provide self reflection beyond the obvious major components of a mom’s day to day chaos.
3 Realms of Self-Awareness
What is Emotional Awareness?
Emotional awareness is the ability to understand your own emotions and how it influences your performance. My preschooler, like most, reminds me daily how rapid the emotional pendulum swings during the course of 24 hours. Our emotions play into our decisions, reactions, and ultimately our productivity. Emotional awareness can help us talk about our feelings and therefore manage conflicts with greater understanding and acceptance of our own needs, but also the needs of others. One of the easiest ways to bring more attention to your emotional awareness is to share your feelings. Sharing with the people closest to you is a good place to start for a mom, but honestly, it can be frustrating to share your feelings with someone who isn’t doing a good job listening (i..e your spouse). If the person you want to share with isn’t doing a good job listening, then find a new person or get yourself a chic journal and start spilling your guts.
What is Social Awareness
Social awareness is the ability to recognize and respond to the emotions and needs of others. The foundation of social awareness is looking outward to appreciate the emotions of people around you. Being socially aware is important for moms because moms are natural leaders. The most important thing a leader does is inspire and help others become their best selves. Mom’s are traditionally naturally gifted with the ability to read a room and gauge the feelings and needs of those around them. If you are someone who is naturally social and can easily sense the feelings of others and read body language well, then kudos to you. Social awareness is a one piece of the puzzle that will take less effort for you to master. If you happen to be less aware in social settings try to practice empathy. Empathy is, by definition, the ability to share the feelings of another. Empathetic concern in response to conflicts or when resolving problems makes other people feel heard and valued. Think about when you resolve conflicts with your children. There are always two sides to a story. Empathy also creates space for you personally to control any unintentional impulses that would otherwise create further conflict resulting in stress and anxiety.
What is Organizational Awareness
Organizational awareness is the understanding of the systems in which we operate. The systems that surround moms can include families, school community, church, neighborhood networks, the professional workplace, and even government systems which affect us more broadly. When we recognize the purpose, patterns and power within the systems around us we are empowered to be creative and express our authentic selves. By contributing our uniqueness to the systems that affect our lives we unveil our truest selves to the world around us. Organizational awareness, when executed with authenticity, is a gift. Contributing to the greater good of our community helps give us purpose and leads us closer to self-actualization.
“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect.” — Brené Brown
Ways To Practice Self-Awareness
If you want to expand your self-awareness here are a few key things you can do.
Seek honest feedback from loving critics
People who love you and genuinely care for you will tell you the truth if you are willing to listen. Asking others to give you some reflection about their perception of your character, motivations and personality traits is invaluable if you are searching for more clarity in your identity.
Pro-Tip: Family affirmation activity
Affirmations are also a great tool to use when you are aiming to be more self-aware. It’s actually a great thing to focus on for the fall season and especially the Thanksgiving holiday. You can create an affirmation wall using a tree with fall colored leaves or a turkey with fun colored feathers. You’ll post the base image of a tree trunk with branches or the body of a turkey. Then each day of the month you write affirmations for each person in the family and by Thanksgiving you’ll have created a beautiful wall decoration filled with thoughtful affirmations for everyone in your family. It sparks great conversations and gratitude.
Ask yourself what questions instead of why
According to research by Dr. Tasha Eurich, to cultivate self-awareness, we should be asking ourselves questions that start with what and not why. What questions help moms examine themselves objectively, opening the door to hope and future opportunities. What questions empower moms to act on self reflection instead of wallowing in our new found insights about ourselves that we may or may not like.. For example, if you ask yourself, “Why was I left out of the neighborhood moms group? Your mind might take you to a place of blame, guilt and internal biases. If you would instead ask yourself, “What can I do to be a part of the neighborhood moms group?” This focuses on the future and not unproductive gossip or blame.
Journaling allows your conscious thoughts to surface without interruption. Journaling doesn’t have to be perfect grammar, complete thoughts or even correct spelling. It’s simply a means of self-reflection. When your mind is released to fantasize, grieve, worry, and even celebrate it releases our unconscious thinking and provides a space for private introspection.
Pro Tip: Journal prompts for self-awareness
If you need some inspiration for your journal entries, here are some questions to ask yourself to discover some of your own truths.
Today I am excited to…
What am I feeling right now?
What do I need?
I feel relaxed when…
What makes me stressed out is…
I’m angry because…
For me a normal day is…
What makes me feel smart?
What brought me joy today?
One thing I am an expert at is…
Take away: Self-awareness is a powerful tool for moms seeking a purpose driven life
Mom’s move about their day checking things off their to-do list and no matter if the tasks are for the household or for a job outside the home, many days don’t incorporate a single thought about her own feelings, behaviors, or motivations. I hope this information motivated you to jump back in and practice self-awareness. No matter what season of motherhood you find yourself in right now, self-knowledge is empowering. There is no greater tool than self-awareness for a mom who is searching for a more fulfilling, purpose driven life.
About the Author
Kelly Hater, owner of Mama Bear Domain, has over 15 years of coaching experience. She is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and has a bachelor's degree in Health Promotion from the University of Cincinnati.
She specializes in helping clients overcome mom burnout by empowering them to stop existing and start living. Her clients no longer let mom guilt steal their identity and goals. Moms deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. She personally has overcome overwhelming mom struggles herself and has first hand experience. Kelly gives her clients the accountability and support they need to take action. Go Join NOW The Mom Coach™ “on demand” for the proven program, monthly challenges, journal entries and more.