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168 The Power of Self Reflection

by Claudine Sweeney
February 15th 2023

Why is it important to self reflect? How often do you do it? It's not always easy, or comfortable, to take an honest look at our choices, thoughts or behaviors. If we want to be our best and live o... More

You're listening to the Rise Up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So, tune in weekly for Girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise Up and Shine podcast. Hi everyone so happy to be back here and shine podcast with my dear friend Claudine talking about another wonderful topic if I may say uh this one, I don't even, we've touched on this topic within our episodes, but we've never really dedicated a whole episode on it and I'm so excited, we are because it is so crucial and I know this is something both you Claudine and myself do on a regular basis that has helped us to be able to rise up and shine feel our best live our best live with intention.

Um and that topic is self reflection. Self reflection can be hard to do. It can be hard to take a deeper look within ourselves. Yeah, I don't know about you, claudia, I know it is for me um but without self reflection, things just bottle up. We aren't necessarily in tune with our needs, our desires, our emotions, our thoughts, our choices, We can often run on default rather than intentionally choosing who we wanna be, how we want to respond. And that can also lead us to feeling even more shame, more guilt, more frustration. Uh self reflection also takes a lot of humility and vulnerability and being honest with ourselves. And again, taking that deeper look within ourselves can be really hard because we are our worst critic, right? So when we try to attempt that, because I think a lot of us know it's a good thing to do, it's good to have a habit of that. But it can be hard, you know, we don't always want to be honest and completely transparent with ourselves, you know, it's hard enough to do it with other people, but it's also just as hard to do it with ourselves because again, we might feel a lot of shame, we might feel a lot of guilt regret, you know, you name it, but we wanted to take an episode to really focus on self reflection because it is a key component to, you know, live living a life that we love living out the fruits of the spirit, being able to feel fulfilled and more joy.

And so we just wanted to take this time, this opportunity to dive deeper into this. Yeah, absolutely. And you know, one of the things you hit on is that we have a lot of subconscious beliefs, right? We have programming that runs our lives that we're not even aware of. And self reflection is a great tool to use to bring that to our consciousness so that we can have a greater awareness of who we are and what we really value. One of the important reasons of self reflection is to know ourselves better and deeper. It also helps us manage our strength and our weaknesses. It can help us let go baggage that we've been caring for years. Talk about feeling lighter and rising up and shine. It is hard to rise and shine when you're holding onto a lot of baggage. And self reflection is a great tool to help us get in touch with what we're holding on and why and then letting it go. And it also helps us question our assumptions. And it's funny because today, the day we're recording, I actually had a conversation with someone who had an assumption that it's natural for Children to clean up after themselves.

Like that is a natural right? I'm like, okay, well I'm just gonna challenge that because my assumption, my belief is that it's not a natural skill and its skill that needs to be taught. And it was so funny because an assumption like that when it's unconscious when it's just you believe it and it drives you drive your behaviors right? You're gonna react differently. And I challenge that because my belief is that cleaning up after yourself, picking up after yourself is not a natural skill. I believe it's something that has to be taught, but our assumptions and beliefs create our feelings and create the actions that we take. So obviously someone who believes that it's a natural skill and ability will react very differently. When those said Children don't do it as to where I believe it's a training and teach issue. So two different things. But a lot of times we don't even know that that's going on in our heads and we think that's, you know, obviously everything we believe we believe is true for a reason, otherwise we wouldn't believe it.

I don't carry a bunch of untrue beliefs in my head, right? We all believe what we believe because we believe it's true. And so self reflection helps us get in touch with that, gain that awareness to help us see how we're doing and ultimately for our own well being. Yeah, I like what you said that we all believe what we believe because we think it's true and that is really a driving force in conflict. Yes. Conflict disagreements. But I like when you said that because if we want to live at peace with others, if we want to live at peace within ourselves, if we want to live our best life, we have to challenge those things that we believe to be true. Because, you know, when you've had conversations with people and it's like, it's just common sense, well, common sense is common to you, but more common sense is not my common sense, right? And we just grow up thinking that we all think the same. We all believe the same. And then when we come across others who think different, it's like whoa, wait a minute, something's wrong with you, we don't usually say wait something's wrong with me or not even something's wrong with me, but maybe what I think isn't necessarily true, right?

So that's why self reflection is quite a powerful tool to be able to challenge those thoughts, to be able to challenge the things our beliefs especially. And you and I have talked about this a lot and we've done it in our own personal life when we challenge those from a place of self love and compassion and grace, then it opens the door to that self awareness and really change cannot happen without self awareness and self awareness cannot happen without self reflection. So that's why this topic is so important because you know, I mean just those beliefs if we want to, like I said live more at peace or just feel better within ourselves, let's challenge those. I know both you and I have had similar beliefs like well if I'm not busy doing, I'm lazy, right? So to us that felt true. So if we took the time to self reflect on that journal about it? What not ask ourselves certain questions and just challenge it from a place of curiosity. Huh? I wonder is that is that true?

Where does that show up in my life? You know, how is that affecting me, then we can really gain this awareness and decide, maybe I don't have to believe that anymore, maybe it's not true, maybe I can change that thought in my head and again with you and I as life coaches, that's it's thought work, it's constant thought work, you know, and self reflection is thought work right? We need to be aware of those thoughts that are coming up and are those subconscious programming in our minds, you know, so we need to bring out that awareness and self reflection. It gives our brains the opportunity to pause amidst the chaos and sort through our observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, that's what I like, right? Like what else, what else could he have said that? What else could have been going on in that situation and make meaning right? When we self reflect, we can find alternative interpretations and meaning and that meaning becomes learning which can then inform our future mindset and actions.

There's really growth comes from self reflection, I mean I think you and I both obviously as coaches, we've been trained and we help teach others but we will and be who we are and have the level of well being and a life that we desire, if we had started with self reflection, it's impossible to have those things and do those things without self reflection. Absolutely. And just as you said, you know, it's growth self self reflection is really the foundation for growth and it's having a growth mindset, so if we're if we want to have a growth mindset, but we're not willing to self reflect that just won't happen. You know, there's going to be that disconnect and so really and we know, you know growing up, especially if you've listened to this podcast a lot, we talk about processing, allowing our brain to process our emotions, really focus on our thoughts being intentional, our thoughts, aware of our thoughts, aware of our beliefs and so much of what has happened over the course of our lives, especially in our generations, that we haven't been taught how to feel our feelings.

We haven't been taught to really think about our thoughts. We haven't been taught to choose our thoughts wisely, We've been told to make wise choices right, but not necessarily even why choose wise thoughts. And so what has happened, especially as you know, you grow older and you experience life, life's ups and downs and certain trauma, certain discouragement and challenges in life and when we don't allow our brains to process what we're feeling because well I'm too busy or I don't want to feel those uncomfortable emotions or I'm just gonna distract myself and not think about it because you know, I need to move on, that's the strong thing to do. That was definitely one of those thoughts I bought into, but what's happening is we're not allowing our brain to process the situation, what meaning are we putting to it, what how do I feel about that situation and when we don't do it, it's damaging to our mental health, our emotional health, even our physical health. And that was a big eye opener for me, uh with self reflection, it allows us to process, it allows our brain to do the job that God created it for, right?

There's so many functions of the brain, but to be able to process situations as we go through them, what this person said, what this person did. Maybe I made a mistake here. Maybe I should have spoken up there, or maybe I should have said no, all the different things. If we allow ourselves to self reflect from a place of again, self love and compassion and grace, our brains can process and that allows us to actually move on in a healthy way and grow and learn from the experience. Maybe I need to set up better boundaries, maybe in this relationship, maybe it's toxic. Maybe I need to step back a little bit, Maybe I could apologize for this area. Maybe I need to grow, maybe, you know, whatever it may be, all the situations differ, but it's it's pretty amazing. Again, the power of self reflection with our brains, our health, our overall well being. So that's why it is so crucial to really take this seriously.

You know, if we want to be our best and live our best life. Yeah, well, and as Christians, we know that this is an important part of our faith in our walk with God. Um I think of second Corinthians 13, it says examine yourselves, test yourselves or do you not realize this about yourselves? And you know that is in in reference to our faith, just examining ourselves in regards to our faith. But I think that's even totally relatable to examine ourselves to our thoughts and our emotions and our part and circumstance or our relationship. It's just such a great opportunity to do self reflection, which is examining ourselves and testing ourselves, thinking through our thoughts and feelings and actions. Well, actually, why don't we share some practical? Because I do think there's some practical that can help make self reflection a little easy because I know some people, it's so funny now that I've been coaching for a while and I'm sure this happens to you as well. I can tell who does self reflection and who doesn't.

It's very clear, like it's really clear for me who spends time who's really in touch with their thoughts and their feelings and their actions and those people that aren't. So let's give some practical because it's something I believe I had to learn. It was natural skill for me. So number one slow down and take a few breaths, you want to do self reflection when you're calm so physically calm, slow down. Your your systems right? And take a few deep breaths that will happen to do it and when you're calm, then you can go forward and do the reflecting, right? Absolutely. Because I've been telling my kids this all the time that when we get all worked up and upset our thinking brain stops temporarily. We cannot rationalize, we cannot problem solved. So we need to slow down breathing definitely helps. Like you said, it actually, deep breathing will slow our heart rate and allow our thinking brain to be able to do those things. Yeah. Number two choose one thing to reflect on at a time.

And again, this is with curiosity, not judgment because we are our worst critic. Don't be hard on yourself just with curiosity. Just wonder, huh, what is one thing that I could have worked on or what is one thing that maybe even is still on my mind? You know, that's occupying a lot of stuff in my mind. Right? Focus on that one thing. You know, we tell our clients, we tell our families, we even for ourselves just if we want to grow in an area or if we have a goal, pick one thing. So when we pick one thing, we're not overloading our brain, you know, it allows us to think clearly allows us to problem solve and don't overwhelm yourself. Well, one situation or event at a time to focus on. Yeah, absolutely. # three, when you think about that situation, ask yourself, what did I think? What did I feel and what did I do in that situation?

So it's really important and this is a great opportunity to write it down. Like for me it's really helpful to write it down, then you see it. So you have this situation you want to reflect on and then you ask yourself, what did I think, what did I feel and what did I do? Just the facts, don't get all. You know, you don't have to create story here. Just write down the facts. Yeah, that's really important. The story and the next one. Number four ask why why did I think that? Why did I feel that? Why did I do that? Just try to dig deeper. This is where we can dig to that deeper layer, you know, where is this coming from a lot of times? It's past, right? Maybe I overreacted here because it was a trigger that actually happened with my husband this week. Yes, there was you know, and it took the self reflection in the moment. I didn't see it in the moment. I didn't realize what you know that I was triggered until I allow myself to reflect, think about it a bit more, ask myself why then I can see, oh I responded this way because of past situations and so that feeling is still there.

And so when I was kind of triggered those emotions all over again, even though it totally different circumstance, but it just triggered the same feelings. So when we ask ourselves why again it brings us down a little bit deeper and gain more of that awareness, right? Yeah. In order to gain more self awareness. Self reflection is important and ask why it's very important. Yeah, the y helps us really get in touch with it. This is where the work is, number four is the work, right? The other one slow down, pick one situation, the what those are, you know, tactics. Yeah, it's just, it's like math two and two equals four. When you get to the why this for me is like, what english was for me in high school was just very difficult. Like I'm really good with numbers and facts. All this thinking and writing and processing was difficult for me when I was younger. But the why is the work? And it's like for you, of course you self reflected quite a bit and or have more self awareness.

So you can understand this situation. The emotions I felt were really related to a past situation, but that's what happens to so many people. In fact, this conversation I had today, there was a great amount of emotion released, negative emotion released, but it had really nothing to do with the current situation. It was over. It was bigger than the current situation really should have had. But because of past expo experiences, there was a lot of emotion, the why is because I have a past experience that really wasn't resolved. And so a lot of times we can look back and say, oh I have some unresolved hurts or I have some unresolved feelings and and we're carrying them. This is the baggage we're talking about and we're carrying them forward into all our other situations and relationships. And I remember many, many years ago my husband and I well actually I saw the counselor by myself and I had so many, you know unhealthy unloving feelings towards my husband and through careful, you know, this wasn't self reflection.

He helped me reflect the count and that's what coaching and counseling does. It's you know, reflection together. But I really realized that I was bringing a lot of thoughts and beliefs and assumptions from previous relationships and from things I believe from my childhood into my present that really had very little to do with my husband. So what a freeing experience to let go of all that baggage. Yeah. You know, I was thinking something for those with younger kids. I was thinking number four asking why that's like the common core of math, Why it's not just the facts, right? Two times two is four. It's well, why did you, why is it that what, how did you get that? It's so funny. That's doing the work. Just a little humor in there for those really Other teachers and 4th grade parents and number five, the final one Journal all these things. This is a great opportunity you want to self reflect journal.

This is a great, even just random, this is what I'm thinking, this is what I'm feeling today. You know, we're getting ready, we're pre recording this. So when this comes out, I'll have just gotten back from four weeks in Mexico and honestly, I brought a specific journal just to journal for my month there. I plan on spending a lot of time journaling and just getting in touch with, you know, I don't know what, but just getting in touch because it's been super busy the last couple of months and to have that time to set that time aside to just reflect, reflect on last year, reflect on this coming year, reflect on my relationships with my husband and my Children and my grandchildren and my friends and my biz all those things. What a great opportunity. Just journal and it's not something I'm great at. I know you're better at it and you do this more often, but this is something I really want to grow in this year and just really get in touch more with my own self and reflect some more. Yeah, journaling is great because even this week, you know, it reminded me, gosh, I need to write this stuff down because I fell out of the habit as we all tend to do.

But it just builds up when we're not self reflecting when we're just going on default, especially as life is busy and more things kind of pile on your plate, It's just swirling around like a big mess in your brain. And so writing it down, just gets it out of your head on paper. And again, that's a great way to process, Let your brain process all the things, you know, whatever that may look like for you and being able to look at it objectively, which is really helpful because when you look at it objectively, then you can find the things that need a little tweaking. You know, maybe I over, maybe I over spent this week in our finances, Maybe I overcommitted to things, Maybe I crammed my schedule, maybe I, you know, overreacted to the situation. Uh, so yeah, that's a crucial part in helping us process and be able to see it kind of outside looking in, you know, that's a great example. Just to give a real practical, you said cramming your schedule, this is something I used to do all the time.

So to self reflect on that. If I said, if I had had a really busy week, that's what I would say, I had an overwhelming week. That would have been my situation. Number three, I could've asked myself, what did I think feel and do that week and then number four would have been why. And if I journal that I probably get in touch and we've talked about this before, but for me, I used to keep real busy because I didn't want to be labeled lazy. And another subconscious reason is I really didn't want to deal with a lot of feelings. I was feeling this, I'm talking you know 10, 20 years ago but I didn't want to deal with the feelings, the negative feelings, quote unquote negative feelings I was feeling. So I just kept real busy then I didn't have to feel anything. So that's how I got in touch with some of those things. But it's funny you mentioned that the cramming the schedule because that was definitely something I had to self reflect on to grow out of it. Oh yeah and for those who are like me, I was the Yes girl. Yes, sure. Okay, I could do that. Yes, yes. So I would just take too much on and then it was so overwhelming because I have to do it all rather than asking for help or saying no.

Which was very hard for me and that again, asking why why do I do this? Why do I keep doing this? Oh I have a hard time saying no, why why is it hard for me to say no because I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint them or they're going to reject me or you know all the things? And so again it allows you to get deeper deeper deeper and then that's where you can decide. You can choose to change something. Is this working out for me? Well maybe it worked out for a while and it helps me survive this portion of my life. It's not helping anymore. It maybe it's time to change this. Maybe I can start practicing saying no, maybe I can start practicing, study healthy boundaries. Maybe I can practice journaling every day. Right? So yeah, well I hope this topic has been helpful for you. If you need help with self reflection. Ashley and I are here, you can check out our website at Claudine Sweeney dot com or Mind over chaos dot com. And we have resources there.

You can also schedule a free 30 minute discovery call with either one of us and we could talk more about this or any other topic that we have spoken about or whatever is on your heart because we are here to help you rise up and shine and live your best life now till next time take care. Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

168 The Power of Self Reflection
168 The Power of Self Reflection
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