Written by Geraldine Muteka


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21 Jun, 2021

It starts with you – Self-awareness

So, to catch you up, if you missed our first post, we are on a mission to transform our work experiences from a focus of counting the time to go home to making the time count while we are at work. 

First point of clarity, (that I am sure you fully know by now as you are busy raising children and loving another aunt’s adult child) you cannot change any other person, but yourself. And let us be honest, even changing ourselves is rocket science most of the time. 

The first foundational stone that we therefore must lay is that it starts with you. The change, the work, all of it starts with you. Sometimes reading this sucks for me, because I am already exhausted from doing the “work” and I simply wish that other people or circumstances will change. If you feel that way, please give yourself permission to feel it without allowing it to overwhelm you or determine the action you will take. 

Acknowledging our thoughts and feelings is a major first step towards self-transformation. A huge part of our exhaustion many times comes from the many internal fights we have. Recognising that you have internal fights is a great first step to increased self-awareness.

Self-awareness is defined as our ability to read and understand our feelings as well as the impact our feelings have on others, and it is a key element of emotional intelligence. It is an inward look that requires time and intention. When we can read and understand our feelings, we put ourselves in a great position to act in ways that can positively impact ourselves and our environment. For example, you may find yourself feeling disappointed in how you responded when your boss asked for an update. You have all the right answers when you reflect on the conversation, but during the conversation you fumbled over your words. If you can identify what you are feeling during the conversation that causes you to react in that manner, you can do the necessary emotional preparation work. Your next conversation with your boss can then have a greater impact.

One of the ways we can increase our level of self-awareness is by expanding our vocabulary. This will enable us to accurately identify what we are feeling. Many people are limited in describing feelings, and words such as anger becomes the descriptive word for any emotion that is viewed as bad or happy the descriptive word for any emotion that is viewed as good. 

So how can you expand your vocabulary? Start your own feeling glossary, where you write the words with their definitions. An awesome place to do this is at the back of your journal or any notebook that you use to write your thoughts and feelings. Make this a living glossary by actively using the words in your own reflections and conversations. 

Stay committed to your growth. 

Till the next post … 

P.S. May you feel renewed. Please share new feeling words in the comments. The work of Daniel Goleman on emotional intelligence is phenomenal and worth further reading.


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