Rise Up & Shine Podcast

Two women from different stages of life come together to talk about the struggles we all face. Out of the darkest moments of our lives we have found our way out and into peace, joy and a fulfilled life. Now, we have embarked on a journey to share our stories with you. Real, raw, and faith-filled conversation about our trials and triumphs. Bringing hope, insight and weekly tips that, you too, can rise up and let your light shine bright.

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Episode #65

Sometimes we can feel in complete disarray, right ladies? Our minds have trouble focusing or remembering, we just can't seem to get a handle on our emotions and we may be reaching for that wine, bag of chips, TV remote or phone more often these days just to cope. In today's episode, we talk about practical ways to get back to a centered self when our life seems out of sorts and finish the day feeling proud of yourself for showing up the way you want to.



Ashley
This is Episode 65. Centering Self. 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.
Welcome back everyone here is Claudine and Ashley, today we are going to be talking about centering ourself. Now especially coming off of last week's episode, we wanted to follow up with this topic, because this is a great tool to help us kind of feel more in control when we feel out of control. You know, when there's so much going on a lot of worry, a lot of anxiety, we talked a lot about our mental health. And so being able to learn specific skills and strategies to be able to center ourselves, to help us in our day to day, especially when we're feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, stressed out, you name it.

Claudine
Scattered?

Ashley
Absolutely. What can we do to center ourselves? This is a goal that we all tend to have for ourselves, but many times we just don't know what to do. We don't know, how do I do that? How do I just calm the crazy in my head. I know, I've felt that many, many times feeling like I just can't quiet down, that the rumination and those thoughts going on in my head, kind of feeling out of control with our emotions, you know, a lot of different things. But today, we really wanted to focus on centering self, because this is going to help every single one of us to when those moments do come those stressful times when we do feel out of control emotionally. And even in our own minds. You know, these tools, these practicals are so crucial and are just so powerful, to help us to be able to recenter ourselves to a place of calm and stillness where we want to be.

Claudine
Yeah. And it's good to make sure we differentiate between centering self and self centered because I know so many listeners may be thinking, well, that's not very Christian to be self centered, right, which is when everything revolves around you. And that's not what we're talking about today.
Today, we're talking about, practicals, like you said, when we're feeling off center, which includes all those emotions in that chaos and self criticism and procrastination. So we're going to look at tools and tips to help ourselves get centered within ourselves, but not be self centered, which is, you know, like thinking only about ourselves, right? But there is a time and place where we do need to get centered. It's kind of focusing on what we value returning to that, and not all the voices and demands outside of us because there can be so many, especially as a young mom, like yourself, or even myself, in the midst of lots of change, moving, helping my children move grandchildren, all that there's so many forces outside of myself that demand attention, and it can get very chaotic and I can do all kinds of things. But when I get back to the center of myself, and what I value, it's truly important. It helps bring the calm.

Ashley
Yeah, Claudine, I really loved how you worded that, I mean, bringing ourselves back to what we value, because that's the thing that really gets out of our heads. You know, I mean, we're not focused, we took our focus off of what we truly value. And it's like we're left scrambling, we're left scrambling to try and keep things together. But really, it can come down to a simple thing as we took our focus off of what we truly value and what is truly important. And it's hard with the hustle and bustle of the everyday you know, I mean, I know that even one very simple thing when I don't wake up early and give myself that quiet one hour to myself to just start the day and to start it off right and quiet, to myself.

Claudine
Did you say quiet again.

Ashley
Queit again is the biggest thing right I value my quiet time. But if we don't do that, and I learned for myself I don't feel like I can keep up the whole day. If I don't have that time, if I wake up when the kids wake up, I've learned over and over Gosh, I'm just scrambling, and I'm not focused, and I can't keep up. And I'm, I feel behind I feel behind, especially with having younger kids still, and a house to take care of. And so even that one simple little thing can really help with starting off the day, feeling like we're ahead of it, you know, kind of ahead of the game, rather than just always trying to catch up all day long. And then you go to sleep, and then you wake up and you do it all over again. Yeah. And that's where that chaos can come. That's where we can feel that chaotic. sense of, like, that's where we can really feel the chaos in our own heads. Like we're trying to keep things in control. Yet in our head, we could just feel so out of control. Yeah. And then a lot of times what we do, we might cope. Right, we might cope with things. And then that, in turn makes things even worse, because we it gives us that short feel good, you know, feeling for the moment. But then, overall, we're not getting our things done or feeling rundown more, and we're just not, we're not putting the focus on the things that are really important.


Claudine
Right, right. Yeah, when we're out of center, we don't trust ourselves. It's like we can't connect with those things that we truly value in our true feelings. I mean, I think for myself, sometimes I can get so caught up in what other people think, or what other people expect from me. And it doesn't mean that we aren't going to meet other people's needs. Because certainly as moms, that's one of our greatest things. And we both value that obviously, we want to be the kind of moms that take good care of our children. Right? That's something of value. Right? And be great wives, and hopefully, you know, do that as well. So there are outside needs. But when we get pulled and pushed in directions that don't align with what we truly value. That's where, for me the chaos and the disconnect happens.

Ashley
Yeah, absolutely.

Claudine
So Ashley, let's talk about some practicals. For me, I kind of did an ABC thing, it was kind of funny, I started thinking things that helped. And it kind of ended up in an ABC thing. But I know there's many other things that don't fit into a simple formula.
But I'll start off with so for me, it's an awareness, I can tell when I'm off centered, when I start feeling really scattered when I feel overwhelmed. And then when I feel completely unmotivated, like I just get stuck, right. It's that stuck feeling like I don't know what to do next, or there's so many things I need to do that sometimes I just pick something entirely different. They're not on the needs, like you know, yeah. It's like, Oh, I have to finish watching this show that I started out. It's just the coping. coping, right, right, because that's easy. I don't have to engage my brain. I could just go okay. But then what it leaves is it leaves more self criticism right after that. It's like, Oh, I should have done a, b and c. Instead, I went and did M which has no value whatsoever to what I'm trying to accomplish. Is it just an awareness like, Okay, this is where I'm at right now. I'm not centered, I'm off center, I'm off balance. I'm not feeling calm and peace. So just the awareness, we talked about that a lot.
A second, a practice that really helps is just stopping and breathing, breathing, just taking a few deep breaths, it doesn't have to be half an hour, but just a minute or two of stopping, slowing down and breathing deep, deeply, can really help. It shuts down the anxiety part of our automatic nervous system, and just calms us both physically, emotionally, mentally, and then one.


Ashley
Right, breathing slows down our heart rate. That's what happens when we start feeling really chaotic, our brain is on, you know, hyper vigilant, and it's on that fight or flight mentality yet. And so, you know, you're constantly getting that that flush of adrenaline and cortisol and your heart rate goes up, right? Because we're just frantic.

Claudine
Fight, flight or freeze. I think I tend to be in the freeze.

Ashley
Yes. Sometimes I do. I go back and forth between the flee and the freeze, I realize. And that actually kind of goes into the breathing because sometimes with anxiety, we can catch ourselves holding our breath, not even thinking about it. Completely unintentional, but it's I'll feel light headed all of a sudden, and it's, I'll remember, oh my gosh, I'm not even really breathing. I'm catching my breath a lot and writing and just did not even realize. But that is one of those things that is just so instinctual that our brain does because we're under so much stress, or we're overwhelmed or feeling anxious. Yeah. And there's a lot of great breathing techniques that you can look up as well. That really help. One of my favorites. I'm drinking gonna share briefly one of my favorite is nostril breathing. And you use your pinky and your thumb. And you take turns rotating, you know, with your thumb, you plug up a nostril, with your pinky, you kind of close off a nostril, right? So basically, as you breathe in and out, you're rotating and look that up, it is so incredibly powerful. That is the one strategy that has actually really helped me calm my body and my brain to calm and breathe, right, you know, breathe well and slow down that, that flood of that flood of hormones and my heart rate, that's the one that's proven, but there's so many out there, you know, to look up, so highly recommend that.

Claudine
That's a great one. I haven't practiced that one. So I do a 4-5-6 breathing, that's really helped me and I have a resource for that on my website. But it's so powerful, these breathing exercises to help us just be still and get centered. It's powerful, powerful work.

Ashley
Very much so.

Claudine
Another one for me is C, choose your focus, which again, there's one, we can only focus on really one thing at a time, truly focus. And right now I'm focusing on an ant crawling all over my computer. Getting off centered here, but let me deal with the ant. Okay. I Oh, I dealt with the ant. Sorry ant. Yeah. Anyway, so choosing our focus, and this really comes back to what we value. So we have to figure out first what we truly value, and then we have the ability to concentrate. Without deep concentration, our mind will be our master rather than our servant. And you and I talk a lot about that, you know, our minds, we have the power to control our thoughts, we have the power to captivate our thoughts and to think about things that are true and noble and right. And those are the things are going to help us get where we want to be. And so it really is about choosing on what we're going to focus on. It's powerful. And then right.

Ashley
Go ahead. Okay.

Claudine
Then my last one is, uh, don't, don't be don't ruminate or let negativity rule, right. And we do that so often. I think as women, we can ruminate over situations over circumstance of things we've said on things that have been said to us. And we just go on and on and on in our head. And we let negativity rule and then we are completely off centered, because we can't right? Because that's in the past when we're thinking about negative things, or we're ruminating, it's already in the past, and then we're staying there. So therefore, we're no longer present. Because we're in the past thinking about something negative or something we wished we could change. So don't the D for me is don't ruminate or let negativity roll.

Ashley
Claudine that's great. Exactly that that is most of it. Right? What is going on in our heads? Because again, as we talk about a lot is our emotions are a by product of what we're thinking about. And what is that our focus, right, what are we focusing on? And that has been a huge one for me, and that I help my clients with is where is your focus? What are you choosing to focus on? And it is sometimes it feels like we're not in control of our thoughts. But that's because we haven't trained our brain to be in control of our thoughts. I mean, it never even occurred to many of us, right, especially before we learned all this stuff, right? We were going through life, having no idea that wow, I can really control what I'm thinking and yes, you actually can and you feel your emotion will follow suit suit with whatever you're focusing on. And it could be we focus on other people, other people's needs, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can become to the extreme, especially for some of us, codependent types. It could be deadlines, we could be so focused on deadlines, which again, is not a bad thing, but it can control us to a point where it can be unhealthy. Again, the what ifs you mentioned that a lot of the what if this happens or what if that and what if, you know really our circumstances we really can allow our circumstances to take hold of our life and basically dictate our thoughts and our emotions. Again, the negative self talk like you said, right? The rumination, I am Queen of ruminating. Very much so I can create all kinds of stories in my head and negative talk. And you know, and we've mentioned before the things that you say to yourself, would you say to your best friend, would you say to your child, would you say to your parent, would you say to you know what, like, why do we say these things to ourselves? But we wouldn't say it out loud to somebody else. Well stop saying it to you. You know that was something that really helped me, wow, I can, I can stop saying these to myself, right. And I can stop saying these to myself. And again, it takes that conscious effort to choose what we're going to focus on. And I wanted to read the Scripture, Claudine, that is in my life, and I want to share with our listeners, and we know the Scripture, but everything that I've learned, and you've learned, and what we talked about here on the podcast is scriptural, right? I mean, there's so much science that backs scripture. Yeah. And this one was extremely powerful, because it really brought the practical aspect, it just, it made it make much more sense, you know, in a practical way, because a lot of times we could read something you're like, Oh, that's so nice. And it sounds so poetic, but right, it actually means like, actually do this. This is quite powerful.
So Philippians 4:8, and we know that's when I'm going to actually read the New Living Translation it says, and now do your brothers and sisters one final thing, fix your thoughts. There you go. Fix your thoughts. That implies you have the power and the control over your thoughts on what is true, honorable right pure, lovely, admirable think about the thing about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice, all you learned and received for me. So that again tells us that we have that power right now need to make that conscious choice to practice these things in our minds. And everything you heard from me and saw me doing, then the God of peace will be with you. And that's really centering ourselves, right to feel that sense of peace, right, and to align ourselves with what truly matters. And as Christian women, God is the center, right, right is the center and where our values come from, and our perspective should be coming from. And that's what we want to strive for. We want to strive to have that control over our thoughts, and to focus on those things. Because then you're going to feel the product of that, right, you're going to feel at peace, you're going to feel centered, you're going to feel a sense of calm. And those are the things that are so important. And they these practicals is we're sharing these are the things you do you know, to reach this state of a centered self. I think, you know, when life just get so crazy, and we all tend to do it. We all do well for a little while. And then we kind of fall off the wagon a while and then we get back on. But doing these things and being conscious and intentional. It's just so powerful, you know, and you're just gonna feel so much better.

Claudine
Yeah. Yeah, I'm glad you pointed that out. Ashley because it's Christian women. You know, Christ is our center, right? I mean, that's the value we hold dear is really it. it for me. And I know for you, it shapes everything else we do. And everything that we believe in is right coming from that Christ centeredness. So even though we're talking about centering ourselves, if that's our core value, to center our lives on Christ, it influences everything else. And I mean, it takes for granted. I think that, you know, every morning I start off with a time of reading and prayer, and that helps center my thoughts, like you're talking a lot about thoughts and that we have control. Well, that's what I choose to center my thoughts on every morning, which then I induced to center myself for the rest of the day. And we didn't put that in as a practice because I think most of us practice that. But for those that don't, it's a great opportunity to spend those early morning minutes. You know, that alone time, that quiet time talking about to really pray to really meditate on God's word, and let that speak to us. That brings all the peace and calm that I could ever want. It's those mornings when I'm too rushed or don't get up in time, and try to get off on my day on my own strength that usually I get way off centered real quick. Easy, simple and seems obvious. But we need constant reminders. I know I do.

Ashley
Mm hmm. Oh, absolutely. That's why alarms are great. Right, setting little alarms on your phone. Oh, Ding ding. Yeah. So Claudine, that also goes into that quiet time in the morning, to wake up before everybody. And actually recently, my husband and I were just feeling disconnected again. And so I decided, well, I got to wake up early again, with you like maybe twice a week before work. So we can just have that interaction have that positive interaction before he heads off to work. And we start our day, because I realized when I don't, when I don't have that time with him in the morning, I feel insecure in our relationship throughout the day, because I've been so ingrained in my brain that I've been programmed or conditioned, whatever term you prefer to use. But to think that there's, you know, we're so disconnected. And is he upset about something or, you know, I can get in that head, I just get in my head and just ruminate on these things. And nothing even happened. Nothing happened. Just the fact that we had no interaction in the morning, my brain instantly thinks something's wrong, something's wrong. Isn't that crazy? But that was my codependency all these years in our marriage. And so I'm still training my brain. No, everything's fine. But we realized, because we just went on a weekend away together without the kiddos, can you believe it? So we actually talked about that. I said, Yeah, I know, for myself, when I don't have that time with you in the morning, I instantly think something's wrong. And that, like not even consciously, it's just, that's just what pops up. And I had that feeling of disconnect from him. Yeah, he upset at me about something or it's so silly, but it's actually it is real, it actually happens. And so same thing, if we don't start our mornings, off, quiet, praying, processing, you know, through what we have to do for the day, or even how we're feeling how am I feeling as a mom? How am I feeling as a woman like, how's my heart doing? My heart doing what you know, and actually be aware, as you mentioned, that is so key to be able to just accomplish this sense of centering, you know, that calm, place of peace that we want to be.
And I also wanted to share one more scripture that was actually right before Philippians 4:8 and the message version, this is what happens to so many of us why we feel this lack of peace, and why we feel like we can be out of control in our minds and in our hearts, and just kind of being run by our emotions is a worry, you know, we can get so worried about things right, especially as a mom, you know, I mean, all of us worry about things for sure. But just for me personally, I know it did not. Like when I became a mom that just went over the top like I had so much more worry, you know, yes. Now I'm responsible for these little like, my husband can, he's fine, he can take care of himself. But now I have these children I need to care for. But this scripture, the message version just was it. It kind of opened the eyes of my heart, like I just had such a deeper understanding of why I get myself to this place of anxiety. And this is exactly you know, it's worrying. And so this scripture has really helped because so many times we try to control things. And right, we can't, there's so much that we can't control. We can't control our children. I mean, let's just face it, we just can't control our children. We can't control their husband, we can't control their crazy drivers on the road. Right? You know, but in our mind is like we want to control.
So in Philippians, four, six through seven, again, this is the message. It says don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray, pray, let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers. letting God know your concerns, like let God know everything you're feeling. We don't have to have this filter. When we're talking to God, you know, sometime right? Like we have to come to God and we have to be all put together and our words have to you know, articulate well and know I mean, just cry out to God let him know everything, all your concerns, all your worries, and before you know it a sense of God's wholeness. Everything coming together for good will come and settle you down. Like Hello. Yeah. Let's talk about centering ourselves settle you down. Right. It's wonderful. What happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life and that goes again to what are we choosing to focus on. So our focus, we need to fix those thoughts. And not on the negative to try to reshape, you know, be positive or not focus too much on other people's opinions don't ruminate, as we said, don't, you know, get don't go down that rabbit hole of the what ifs, right, or, you know, the what ifs is a very dangerous road. And of course, there are times where we do need to be prepared, right? We need to be ready prepared for things, but most of the time, we worry just to worry. Yeah. And it, it doesn't help us one bit.

Claudine
Well the ruminating is looking backwards, right? The negative self talk is looking backwards. And the worry is looking forward. So even when we're doing that we're not present, right? We're not present. Where God wants us to be in the present. And it's so true. I mean, I pray all throughout the day. I mean, sometimes it's just 10 second, oh my gosh, I really need help here. Or what was I thinking? Help me remember, I mean, constant prayer, like, not worried about how it sounds. It's just when you get deep into that relationship, you just show up like, right, we don't put on pretenses when we get together in our sweats or whatever, you know, we just come as we are right. I feel like prayer we come as we are. But even when you were sharing about your marriage, you know that story that's it shows what you value that you value connection with that person and that so right and so when you get centered on that, like, Hey, I value this, I want to focus on this, then you can come up with practical because we do have to find ways to help get centered and help you reach those goals to keep us there. Keep us in that calm state keep us not overwhelmed, not procrastinating. I mean, that's I tend to get there. I tend to get overwhelmed. I freeze. I procrastinate. Right, yeah. And it starts a vicious cycle. Great stuff. I need to practice some of this today.


Ashley
Oh, is an everyday thing right? Just to be intentional. And exactly what you said Claudine being present. I mean, it is so hard for us to be present. We're so stuck in the past, or we're so focused on the future. And I'm not talking about future goals and dreams those are great, awesome. Have at it. However, the worry exactly the worry. And that's where that rumination, again, can happen as well, we can just focus and create these stories. And I've done this, I know many of us do this. When we are maybe we need to deal with a conflict with somebody or we need to have an honest conversation with someone, we could play the story on our head of how the conversation is going to go as if it's happening in real time. Right? Right. I mean, we can play is okay, I'm gonna say this, but then they're gonna say that, and then I'm gonna say this and then, and then the conversation is not gonna go the way I want. So many times I have talked myself out of dealing with a situation or even sharing my feelings on a situation with a friend or with my spouse or my family. I have talked myself out of it, because I said, I played the story. I played the entire conversation, both sides in my head came to the conclusion of how the conversation is going to end. And they'd be like, Oh, it's not even worth it.

Claudine
Right? Oh, my gosh,

Ashley
I just won't even bring it up. I actually did that last week. And then I had to come up with reasons because my husband asked me about it. So did you have that conversation? No. And then I came up with reasons why. And I justified why I didn't. But did it go away? No, it's still in my head, I really need to have that talk. I really need to have that talk. It's still bugging me. And it's it's not allowing me to be centered and present. Because now I'm worried, again, about this conversation that I should have had that I talked myself out of. Because of the stories we create in our head. So being present is so important. Because we I mean, this is real time. This is where we live, we don't live in the future. We don't live in the past, we need to live in the future. And a lot of that takes being still right you still and know that God is God. like God take control of things. There's so many things that we are not in control of. Yet we have this false sense that we are in control of it and it's just not the case. And so I'm going to go through a few things as well. claudin that great practicals that I've used. You already talked about breathing. Breathing is phenomenal. That is a basic but it's so crucial and your physical self is really going to thank you for it. You know you can be focused on your breathing that is being present. You know that is really taking initiative to be present in the moment. Another thing is being out on nature going on walks, I try to go on a walk every day. And when I do, it just, it helps my brain Calm down, it helps my mind just not ruminate. And actually, it helps me process my thoughts. I'm not saying don't allow yourself to be in your head, but process in a way that's healthy and helpful and not ruminate on the negative, you know, and also the journaling that helps, right, we've tried many times about journaling, that could be making a list. So one of the things I've done is I make a list, I divide the paper in half, you know, one side, I write what I can control. The other side, I write what I cannot control. And putting that down on paper out of your head is so powerful because it gives you perspective. And then it gives you things Hey, what I can't control. That's my prayer list. Right? That's what I can pray about in the morning. You just give it up to God. And another term that we've heard that I know you have a different term is a brain dump, right? That and you call it a thought download whatever you want to call it, just get those thoughts out of your head and put it down on paper. It is extremely powerful. And wake up early to already talked about that. Right. That is huge. getting adequate sleep. Exercise is really important and exercises moving your body just helps. It helps with the breathing it I know for me even personally, it has helped me with anxiety. It's calmed, my anxiety and I can breathe. Well, I can breathe. Like I said, Sometimes I catch my breath. I can breathe properly, and it does. When you exercise you are focusing on your breathing. That's right. I think about exercise. Water. Again, we talked about water a lot and our relationships, right? If you feel disconnected, then just reach out, reach out to a friend. You know what I do I wake up in the mornings like this is five 5:30 in the morning, ladies, it is not like okay, six 6:30.

Claudine
That's what I call the middle of the night, I call that the middle of the night.

Ashley
It is 5 o clock in the morning. But it goes back to Okay, I recognize I became aware when I don't have this interaction with my husband in the morning. I feel so disconnected. And think about even with God right how easily we can be disconnected with God if we don't have that touch with you in the morning. Yeah, and or a friend. Right now we can feel very disconnected and insecure in our friendships perhaps because we are kind of forced to be disconnected, we can't really go out and we're starting to a little bit more I think we feel it's a little bit safer. And we're cautious and everything but make sure you know just don't get in your head and feel insecure in your relationships. Just reach out, send a text, make a phone call, you know just have that touch with your your friends. And then simple things like music. I like to listen to music that helps me feel empowered, or even like meditation, music just helps kind of calm my brain down. And I recognize and if our listeners really recognize when you start feeling that sense of anxiety or worry or feeling out of control, then I know okay, I might need to switch to meditation music I need to slow down my brain. Yeah, I don't need to hype up my brain and listen to Megadeth or Metallica. Candles, good sense, right? Like diffusers, those kinds of things. Those things are something that's like a nice little enjoyment to have around the house and you just kind of feel good a little bit. It just helps kind of bring you down a little and kind of helps calm. So those are some of the things that I wanted to share that have been extremely helpful. And really the nature the walks is another great one because it gives you time just of silence. It gives you time to be out in nature. And there's just a connection with nature that my husband and I took our kids camping. And I remember I was really deep in anxiety at the time. And when we went out and we hiked in about two miles camps for a night. I kid you not I couldn't think of any one thing that was making me anxious when I out there. Yeah, my brain was so calm and so at peace just looking out over the lake. I just I couldn't even think about what was I still worried about. It was it was magical. I never want to leave.

Claudine
I love the getting out in nature because we can really multitask there. We can be walking in nature. We can be praying, we could mean you know, working on our thoughts. We can do so many things all at once, right being still stilling our mind. So it's a great one. It's something I need to start. You know, I almost went walking this morning and I thought oh, it's just a little chilly. I mean, it was probably 52 I'm sure there's people in other places. They're like, wow, 52 It's so warm. But for me

Ashley
That's what we do. Right, Claudine and we come up with a reason not to. So many reasons.

Claudine
Right. And I really need to start that for many reasons. But even that centering practice every morning just to be in nature to walk, to pray, to center my thoughts, and get a focus on what I want to accomplish for the day. So you can ask me about that later this week asked me how my walk is going, but. Well, that was a great episode on centering self on learning ways to practice to overcome anxiety and overwhelm and just feeling off kilter, which we all do. Well, we wish all our listeners a centered day, may you find what you value and focus on that. Until next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll 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 wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at 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.

Episode #64

Self preservation is something every living creature does. From human beings all the way down to a single cell organism. We all share this unique God-given ability to preserve our life. It's a matter of survival. However, it can also be the very thing that holds us back from living our best life because, oftentimes, experiencing discomfort can feel like life or death. Today, we talk about ways you can keep this survival instinct from running your life and finally step out on faith and be all you were made to be.



Ashley
This is Episode 64. Self Preservation. 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.

Claudine
Welcome back listeners, I have a question for you all. What do you beautiful, talented, gifted, smart women have in common with a one celled living organism. That's right, self preservation. We all do it. It is a set of behaviors that ensure the survival. And all of us, a mature amazing women have in common with a one celled organism. It is innate, and it's built into us to survive, to be safe to be comfortable. So today we're going to talk about self preservation, the ways that it harms us the ways that it's good for us and how we can make sure that our self preservation, the instinctive part is not keeping us from rising up and shining and living our best life now. So Ashley, what are your thoughts on self preservation?

Ashley
You know, one word came to mind, fear. I have become all too familiar in the last three years with fear and the effect it has on my relationships, my life, but even more so my body. I think there is such a lack of understanding about, about self preservation about how our body works about how I mean, really, our brains are wired for survival. That's the oldest part of our brain since we were in utero, you know, developing for survival. So it makes perfect sense why we tend to go back to live on survival mode. You know, I mean, we hear that all the time. I mean, there I'm sure there's a lot of memes going on around the you know, the last year almost, with a pandemic about just being on survival mode. We're all in survival mode. Well, what does it mean? How did we get here? And what can we do to get out of it and really thrive? Because I, you and i had a great talk, right? This last weekend, it really helped me because I was doing the same thing. Oh, yeah, I know, I'm back on survival mode. And no one wants to live there, right? We're still living there. And it's so normal, but we can really understand how it's hampering our life, being able to rise up and shine and live our best life and feel true joy and peace. And that's what probably all of us are striving for right now.

Claudine
Right? Okay. peace and joy? Absolutely. Well, it's so true fear is one of the motivating factors and self preservation is our brain, our primitive brain is always seeking safety and survival. And another one that's involved is pain, right? Because if something is painful, we want to instinctively withdraw from the damaging situation. So those are healthy things to a certain extent. Now, when they start affecting our lives in a negative way, that's when it's time to discuss it to get some tools and practicals to help us so that we can live our best life and not stay stuck in fear or in avoidance of pain. Because if we want to live a life with no pain, we basically just better just sit in our living rooms on our couches and do nothing, right. Don't have any social relationships, although that'll create its own pain, because we are actually wired for social relationships, what we think if we've been in a painful relationship, why better not do that again? Right? Right, I'm not gonna fall in love again, because that hurt, and I want to survive, and I want to preserve myself. So I better not do that. Again, we know lots of people that get into their 40s or 50s, and have never been married. And I would bet you that there were a failed relationship, a very painful relationship early on. That kind of got wired into the self preservation mode.

Ashley
Oh, absolutely. I know. Another one is abandonment. You know, that is something that I dealt with, personally, throughout my life. And that still plays a part in my relationships. And I realize there's times where, because sometimes I'll just sit and ask myself, how come we're not so close? You know, we used to be so close, how come we're not so close? And I contend it just come to the conclusion that well, I kind of keep my relationships at arm's length. I don't fully invest and fully go after the way I want to, I think, right, you know, probably from the outside looking in, some will be like, really, you know, I think you're great and it's like, but I can feel it on the inside just because I've become aware that a sense of self preservation because I have felt abandoned at different times in my life. You know, I felt people left me for various reasons. And so that still can keep me in that self preservation mode. Well, I don't want to be hurt. Sometimes it's even a friend just moving away. You know, nothing. I mean, yeah, like super hurtful in our relationship, but still pain that I don't want to experience because here you develop this friendship for 5-10 years, and then they end up moving away. It's like, well, that's happened a lot. So I'm just going to kind of keep you at a distance. And almost I can keep things in my mind, I'll keep that thought in my mind, like this person had has the possibility, they might move away, who knows, they might move away. So I'm just gonna keep our relationship like this, and not get too close. Because I don't want that happening. And then I feel devastated that I lost a great friend, you know what I mean? So we do that in so many different areas of our life.

Claudine
So true. And that's what we're talking about today, just really examining the behaviors that keep us from living our best life because like you, like you just shared, I mean, that fear that someone could move, and you would experience that pain, again, keeps you from really loving people fully and experiencing the joy, right? Those people while they are with you, right? It's like, Hey, we cut ourselves at the knees like, I don't want to feel this. But we'll take this other kind of pain, right kind of discomfort instead. Because for some reason, that's not as bad, right? So funny. It is funny. So self preservation, there's some good things about it, because we are a society. And we're organisms that seek to preserve ourselves. That's how we get some laws and regulations, like things like seatbelt laws, those became laws because people were dying without wearing their seatbelt. So some good comes from it. A lot of our laws and regulations are based on preserving life. The bad part of self preservation, if it's, you know, done, from a subconscious level, and not from a mindful, intentional level is that we can live in fear, we can be stuck, we can struggle with anxiety or depression, right? Right, we can both relate. You know, and, you know, it's so true about relationships. And I shared this in one of our earlier episodes, but when I experienced pain from friendships, whether I felt betrayed or hurt, I've just cut them off. Like, I didn't understand reconciliation. Oh, that was the episode we did it on. Like, I didn't understand how to forgive and reconcile. So I would just cut it off, because I didn't want to feel that pain anymore. It's like, Oh, well, this person create pain. So I will just exclude this person from my life. The problem is, when we live on this planet, we are all going to hurt each other. I can promise you all this shocker. will hurt someone else. during our lifetime, not only I believe in the goodness of people's hearts, but just misunderstandings and unripened expectations and a lot we hurt each other as as humans and in social relationships. So we can't live in that place of fear. And that, again, is so much part of this is fear. But it can lead us to unhealthy relationships. Right? That's what we're talking about. Like you've shared before with codependence like you just say yes to people, which could could be part of an unhealthy relationship, just because you're trying to preserve yourself. Well, I don't want to have an argument or, you know, I know for me a lot of times I just said yes, because I didn't want to have an argument. So you just say yes. And now I'm betraying myself. My values and my desires in order to preserve the peace.

Ashley
Well and that's where my depression came in. Because I wasn't being true to who I was, you know, I wasn't, I had absolutely no idea who I was because I was living for other people all the time. And it took, you know, being in my mid 30s, to actually finally sit down and work through all this, oh, this is who I am. This is what I like, this is what I don't like, this is what I need, you know, I mean, all those things I just never knew. And it it was it was, well, I'm going to avoid this pain. From what maybe what I've gone through in the past, I want to prevent it from happening again. So I'm going to behave this way. But then inwardly not being true to self, then you just feel so much shame. And there's this inner conflict because Gosh, I want to make them happy, but I'm not happy and but I should be happy and I deserve to be happy. And you know, you just enter turmoil and yeah, but then you just get stuck in this pit and feel lousy, you know, so that there's no good on either side. When you try to live that way. You know,

Claudine
What I believe is women, all of us deeply deep down in our core, we want to avoid failure, embarrassment, humiliation, rejection, right? Those are the things we want to avoid. It's going to happen, but we want to avoid it and our primitive brain is working hard to help us avoid that. Unfortunately, it can lead to the safety of playing Small for example, like even in a job, you could be in an unfulfilling job. But oh man, I don't want to put myself out there and get rejected. I don't want to be embarrassed if I quit. And then I don't have another job for eight months, or, or the fear of lack of finances, there's so many reasons. And so we say stuck. And we play small because it's safe. And we have this constant whisper in our head, don't do that. Stay safe. You know, if only or you should, or all these little whispers. That is our primitive brain trying to preserve ourselves. But it really isn't helping us it's not helping us grow, expand and live life to the full.


Ashley
Right. And the basis of it is I mean, this was God given right. This is a God given matter of survival, our brain, our primitive brain, how it was developed, which is incredible. However, we, we have a hard time distinguishing between what's really a matter of survival and just what's just uncomfortable. Just comfort versus survival. If I see a bear coming down the mountain for you, when you're out on a hike, yeah, you're probably just not going to stop and think, gosh, what should I do in this moment? You're just gonna take off, right, you know, and sometimes it's even the worst mistake.

Claudine
I was gonna say, I think you're not supposed to run if you see a bear.

Ashley
But instinctually our thinking brain is like, I'm out of here. And you're just like, I'm just that adrenaline's pumping, I'm out of here. Right. Exactly. And you know, when you're under that tremendous stress, and there's you have to think in a matter of a second we don't we that's the thing. We don't think it's instinctual. You just write up and do it, you know,

Claudine
It's fight, flight, and freeze. Those are God given and it's instinctual. It does help us when we are to get to safety quickly, if, if I touch a hot stove, or there's a fire, I'm gonna run or I'm putting my hand on the hot stove. But these other times, they're for comfort. It's the truth, but we're not aware of it and our brains like No, I'm just trying to keep you safe. And no, really, you're not. You're just trying to keep me comfortable. You know, I don't want to feel bad feelings. So let's just stay safe.

Ashley
And let's distinguish Claudine. Yeah, comfort is not survival. Like I mean, I know we discussed that just right now. But yes, it's really important to keep that in mind. Because there, we do need that survival instincts. I mean, we absolutely need it. There's definitely times we we need that. But just how understanding how did we get here? And how did this comfort that we seek so much, and which causes so much harm in our lives? How did we get here? You know, it's really important to start focusing, how did I even get here? Like, what right? Why am I doing this? This is not, you know, as we talked about last week, within decisiveness to many of us, that feels like a matter of survival. I can't, I can't decide what's for dinner or bigger things I can't I don't know where to move to, you know, we're supposed to up and move our family, what do we do, but just knowing it's uncomfortable, that's part of life, you know, but using the other parts of our brain, the thinking parts, the rationale, the logic, to be able to plan and think through those things. And just to be able to distinguish between those two is power, it's really power.

Claudine
Yeah. Well, it's interesting. While I was researching for this episode, I was looking at the story of Abraham and Sarah. And that was a great example of Abraham doing some self preservation there because he encouraged Sarah, his wife to lie about being his wife, he was like, tell him, you're my sister, because otherwise they're gonna kill me because you're so beautiful. And he's gonna want you for yourself. And it was interesting, because, of course, Abraham is well respected and a prophet and, and did many great things. But in this particular instance, he chose to lie to self Preserve. And he didn't honor God and he didn't honor his wife for sure. But he he decided to lie, let her lie so that they would spare his life. But what's interesting is, once Pharaoh found out immediately, he was upset, like, why would you do that? Why would you put me in that position? Why would you, you know, put me in a position to be with your wife. That wasn't what I would have done. So it's just interesting to me that we have examples of it even in the Scripture. Even Abraham participated in self preservation by having his wife why, and it didn't benefit him. I mean, it really didn't in the long run and didn't honor anybody. And so many of us do that we do things like lying, or cheating. I've shared this before, I think but one of the things I used to do for many years, but it's been years since I've done it, is I would always run late and my husband would get on me about running late. So he'd say Where are you I'd say, Oh, I'm at so and so St. You know, thinking he'll think, Oh, I'm two minutes away. So he'll be okay. The problem was I wasn't it so and so St. I was miles away. But I wanted him to think that I had left on time. And somehow the last two or three minutes, I was just going to catch every light. I was trying to preserve myself, I was like, Oh, I don't want them to be frustrated by right again, I don't want to hear that talk again about being tardy. So I would just bib about where I was. And then eventually I got convicted about that was very deceitful. And then I thought, you know, one day, I'm gonna, my car's gonna die, and I'm gonna say, Oh, I'm on a street, and then my car's gonna die, I'm gonna be on z street, I'm like, I better stop all this nonsense, and either learn how to leave on time, or just face the consequences, which I think after quite a few years, he just realized she's tardy wherever she says she's going to be. Now of course, we've advanced of cell phone. So I use my timer all the time. I love it, I use my timer, I have turned around from being tardy. And my timer and my reminders are such helpful assistance, but we do it all the time. We are trying to self preserve in all kinds of ways. So actually, let's talk about some practical How can we what can we do to help us keep ourselves preserved, keep us surviving, right. But really, still living our best life and, and, and rising up and shining?

Ashley
Well, definitely the first one we all I need to do is awareness. You know, to spend time, really understanding and studying yourself, I would say in studying your patterns, studying your behaviors, your coping, some things, some behaviors we do. Many behaviors we do, we don't realize are actually coping, coping from our circumstances or situations or our feelings, trying to just numb out, you know, we don't realize that I mean, even still, like, I've learned this stuff, I know this stuff. But I it takes sometimes just a conversation with a friend to help point it out. Or when I finally kind of start, you know, the clouds start lifting and I can think a little bit more clearly. Like, oh, wow, I've been drinking a lot more coffee. Well, why am I drinking a lot more coffee? That's I'm coping. Right? earnings are tough. That's a little pick me up. I have been coping. And it's not necessarily a bad thing, right. But we don't always stop to think, oh, why am I doing this behavior. And it's a pattern, I noticed when it's overcast, or rainy, and the weather changes, I drink more coffee, when the mornings are tough. I get another cup of coffee, you know, I mean, I start is just really paying attention and kind of studying yourself and without judgment, no more with curiosity and just kind of think like, wow, like, almost from a third party right outside of the box. I mean, stand outside of yourself, just kind of watch yourself, do things go about the day and just start questioning? Why do I do that? Why do I drink a whole pot of coffee by 10am? Why do I you know, why do I react like this when my child says this or you know, whatever. But just study yourself with curiosity and try to find the patterns in your day, your day to day of, you know, what you could possibly be coping and self preserving. And you know, what specific situations and then you can actually start changing, right, you can write you know, I love having coffee, and I think it I think it would be better for me if I limit my coffee and then maybe have two cups and then it a glass of water or a sparkling water or just making healthier choices. But you can't start changing things if you're unaware, and awareness first and sometimes that takes time. You know, we have to be patient with ourselves. We can't be like I want to change this right now. I may work with some most of us on the other hand, it's gonna take time so awareness is key.

Claudine
That's a great one and I love that you brought up coping mechanisms we almost need to do a whole nother podcast on that on yes less self conscious coping, that we turn to that are mindless we just do it because it helps us to you know survive or to numb out or whatever. One of them that I do is ask myself if these behaviors these somewhat automatic behaviors it's self preservation does this lead me to the life I desire? Am I currently living the life I desire have I created and living that life? And do these behaviors help me get there? A lot of them don't. Like I know for me, you know, you talk about the coffee for me. I can tell I start watching a lot more Netflix. Start watching, you know, and it's funny you were talking about overcast because I'm like, Oh, it's so cold and dreary. I just want to sit on the couch with a blanket and watch a mindless movie.

Ashley
Right, nice and cozy, but yeah, it's coping.

Claudine
And it seems and it's so acceptable, right? Like, no one's gonna say, wow, you know, cutting took a couple hours off this afternoon and just, but the truth of it is, I have things I want to do. And if I continue to engage in that pattern of behavior, I'm not going to accomplish my business goals, I'm not going to accomplish my social goals, you know, connecting with others, I'm going to get too caught up in me, and just self preservation. So asking myself, do these behaviors lead me to the life I desire? And another one that we've talked about is managing our minds, right? the prefrontal cortex, it always starts with our thoughts, like, what are we really thinking? And so much of what we do is subconscious or unconscious, we're not conscious. And that's why awareness like you spoke up is so important, we got to get aware, like, What am I thinking? What am I feeling? Let me let me examine these thoughts. Are they even true? Are they noble? They pure? Are they trustworthy? So many of my thoughts are not, they're bright here. They're based of avoiding pain and seeking comfort, they're not really based on anything that I want it as a foundation for my life. They're not based on that. So managing our minds, really examining our thoughts, really taking them captive, really understanding what that means and renewing them. Because a lot of times we need to renew those thoughts, we need to make new thoughts to deal with the situation.

Ashley
And challenge challenging them, you know, when you really can pay attention to the thoughts around maybe a circumstance that's going on where that's leading you to self preservation? You know, and you're becoming more aware of your thoughts in your head, just challenging them? Again, not with judgment. But just like I said, Well, why do I do that? Why do I always go to this? Is this really as you said, Is this really leading to the life I want? Or is this contributing to who I want to be? You know, I was asked a phenomenal question yesterday, where is like, are you just wake up in the morning? And who do you want to be? You know, ask yourself, who do I want to be today? Are you the mom you want to be? Have you been the wife you want to be? Have you, you know, and it's, it really takes some of those questions to get you to think like, gosh, no, and not intentionally, you know, it's not right. Well, I'm crossing my arms and be like, Well, I'm not gonna do this. And I'm not gonna do that. And it's just gonna be all about me. And you know, nothing like that, but just really paying attention to. Okay, who do I want to be as a wife as my mom, as a woman? How do I want to feel? Don't I want I feel more peace? Do I want to feel lethargic? Do I want to feel lazy? Do I, you know, earlier, when I was a teen, I loved being lazy.

Claudine
It was great. I think all teens do. Teenage affliction,

Ashley
Right? And then exactly like, we grow up, you know, do I really want to be this person still? No. And a lot of times, it's just our pattern, our neural pathway that has been paved by these patterns by these ways of behaving. And I so met so much. So over the years, where it's so unconscious, we don't think about we don't actually intentionally think about, it is a hard day, I'm going to go do this because it makes me feel better. And you know, it's just something we do instinctually.

Claudine
Yeah, exactly. And you touched on another practical, which is really dealing with our emotions. And there's a point where we have to become emotionally mature, we have to become emotional adults, right? Like, we have to accept the 50-50 principle that life is 50% good and 50% not so good. As far as emotions, all emotions are God given we're not going to be happy 100% of the time, but we can influence our thought, or we can influence our emotions by thinking thoughts, because they create our emotions, right? So part of self preservation starts, part of taking part of acting in ways that help us live the life we desire, is dealing with our emotions, accepting them, like you talked about not judging them, accepting them? Why do I feel this way? What is going on that I feel this way? And also learning to respond from emotional from emotional maturity, not responding from fear or anger or resentment, but really becoming stone I was reading this interesting book that talks about the window of tolerance, and it's this natural state. Hold on. It's this baseline state of physiological functioning when we're not frightened, stressed, overtired or overstimulated and when we're in that place, our prefrontal cortex is steady and calm. And we can make decisions, we can respond in ways that will benefit us and not harm us or not take us down a path that's not healthy for us. So, you know, there's a lot of things we can do with our thoughts and with our feelings and with our actions, and that's the things that we work with our clients is really working on that thought, training, you know, management of our minds.

Ashley
Yeah, and the last thing I want to mention also, that was really beneficial for me was counseling. And this is for if you've had trauma, if you feel like you're really stuck, and you're having a hard time getting yourself out, depression, anxiety, a lot of that stuff, you know, PTSD, it's really important to have someone to talk to, to help dig that stuff out. And counseling was phenomenal with being able to bring out some of that past traumas, you know, that can keep us in that self preservation mode, to be able to move forward. So that may not be for everybody. But if you really feel like personal trauma from your past childhood, is just really keeping a hold on you, then that is a great route to go through to start the healing process.

Claudine
That's a great point, Ashley. Because as children, if we've gone through traumas, or even in our early adulthood, if we've gone through traumas, they you might really need some help. just dealing with that and overcoming what may have been wired in your neural pathways and the ways you've learned to cope that aren't healthy. And coaching is great for moving forward. But sometimes we do need to look back and deal with that uncomfortable. problematic past enable in order to move forward. So that's a great point.

Ashley
Yeah, and sometimes we don't realize that the past traumas are still affecting us today. A lot of times we feel like we've moved on, I've made peace with it. But there subconsciously, it's still there. It doesn't go away if we don't properly process through and so that's where the counseling comes in, because it does a lot of that out to be able to process properly, which will definitely help for sure. So yeah, thank you, everybody, for tuning back in with us today. And we hope these practicals have really helped you. One recognize if you may be in self press starvation mode I think many of us are right now, especially with a pandemic and this big thing that we're all dealing with around the world. But really to recognize it be aware and to make steps to move forward out of it to be your best self to live the life you want to live and feel good and have more peace and joy and just be who you want to be. So thank you for tuning back in and we will catch you next time.
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll 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 wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at 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.

Episode #63

There's something about being faced with a decision that can cause us so much stress and anxiety. Whether it's a big decision or even a small one like choosing what to eat for dinner. But why? In today's episode, we talk about common reasons why decision making can feel so difficult and stressful and we discuss tips on how you can make decisions with confidence!



Ashley
This is Episode 63. Making Decisions with Confidence. 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.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the rise up and shine podcast here with Claudine, another lovely morning. So I wanted to start this episode off by asking you all a question that's going to lead into our topic for the day. So here it is. Do you find it difficult to make a decision? Bom Bom Bom? Well, I do. I know many of us at one time or another no matter how big no matter how small have had have, have found it very difficult to make a decision for various reasons. And in today's episode, Claudine and I are gonna dive into what some of those reasons are. Why does it feel so difficult sometimes, whether it's a big decision or a small decision? I mean, I've been asked some of the smallest little things that really seem like no big deal, and it's just caused me so much anxiety. I don't know, I don't know. It's very amazing and powerful to discover why we do those things. Also focus on the practical that can really help decision making that much easier for us all for our own mental well being. So we don't freak out like sometimes I would do.

Claudine
You know, decision making is a struggle for many of us. And a, you know, making a decision by definition is to make a final choice or to select as a course of action. That's the definition. And I was reading an article that we can make up to 35,000 decisions a day. Now that sounded a little crazy.

Ashley
No wonder we're stressed out.

Claudine
I know. But by the same token, there's thoughts out there that we have 60,000 thoughts a day. So I guess more than half of those thoughts were deciding something that's crazy. could be as simple as what should I wear today? And what's breakfast? To what's really more complicated. When should I marry this person? Which university should I attend? Which job should I take? I mean, decision making is from the tiny tiny to the humongous. So but we make a lot of them apparently, in one day. 35,000 I thought maybe I made 10. So I was shocked.

Ashley
That's pretty amazing. You know, it's funny what you were saying Claudine about even to, you know, deciding Are we going to marry this person? I was thinking, gosh, it was a lot easier for me to decide, yes, I want to marry this man. And it is so much harder for me to figure out what is for dinner.

Claudine
Right? Right.

Ashley
That causes me a lot more stress than money.

Claudine
Well, yeah. And I got married at 23. And then.

Ashley
Me too.

Claudine
My decision making involved This is the father of my child, I should marry him.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. Well, that was easy.

Claudine
Yeah, that was easy, right? So but we are talking today about decision making, because so many people can feel stuck and scared and frustrated. By having to make a decision. I have one child, one of my four, who shall remain nameless that when they were younger, and we would go to restaurants would get so stuck in what to order, they would literally ruin our evening, because they just could not order. And so we had to stop going out with the kids. Not that we did that a lot. But on the occasions that we did, we just had to stop. Now as this child became an adult, they were able to communicate that they always had a fear that they would make the wrong decision. And they wouldn't like their food. And as a child that seemed pretty big in the scope of their life, right? No, you don't like your food, either send it back, you don't eat it, you order something else. There's so many other options. But the time when they were younger, they were not developed enough to realize that ordering the wrong food that they might not like would not be the end of life as they knew it. But that was one thing. Just a decision over what to order was like, you know, it affected all of us to the point where I had to stop going out with the kids because I was like, Oh, we can't go through this.


Ashley
Right. It's not fun anymore.

Claudine
No, it wasn't fun. As a side note, our family went on a cruise several years later. And they were allowed to order anything they wanted from the menu and as many items as they wanted off the menu and for some reason that they were fine with. I'll take this and this and this. So worked out just fine. Well, that's good.

Ashley
So Claudine, where do you fall on the spectrum? Because some of us it's harder than others. Right? Some, it's pretty easy, to some extent. But where do you fall? Is it hard? Is it more simple for you to make decisions?

Claudine
I think for me, it's become easier. I think, when I was younger, let's say my 20s. And even 30s is probably a little more challenging. But I think my natural makeup is to kind of just jump into it and let the chips fall as they may. And so now, because over the course of several decades, I've made, you know, quite a few wrong if there is such a thing as a wrong decision, or not the best So, but I survived. So now my brain knows it's not life or death. Right? Whatever I make a decision on it's not life or death. So there's some trust and safety built up, that I can make a decision and it won't end the world as I know it. Now, I'm not talking about jumping out of airplanes, I've made a decision not to do that. Kind of self preservation, which we'll be talking about next week. But there's certain things I don't do. I've made a decision not to do just, you know, to save my life.

Ashley
Yeah, you know, I've had times where I, you know, go into my closet, gosh, what am I gonna wear today? What am I going to wear? And I've had to figure out the the thing that helps me with just that, you know, the stress of picking out what I want to wear for the day is, well, who am I dressing for? I would ask myself, who am I dressing for? I'm dressing for me. So why is it such a big deal? What do I feel like wearing today, I feel like we're in this one. But it means something so simple can cause us so much stress. And then once we're dressed and we go on about our day, we don't think we don't give it a second thought. But for whatever reason, there are those little things that stop us in our tracks and right, like your child, I'm going to make the wrong choice. And that can be debilitating at times, especially when it comes to bigger decisions that need to be made in our life, which we all face. Right. So.

Claudine
So yeah, I mean, there's lots of reasons that we get stuck, right, we get stuck because of fear. When we make the right choice, we get stuck because fear of judgment, you know, as simple as getting dressed, if we know we're gonna go out or go to work or be out in public, we're like, what will others think of me if I wear this and fear of judgment of ourself, right? So a lot of decisions, we get stuck and we fear, right? So we get stuck in making decisions because of fear. We also get stuck because of overwhelm. There's so many choices, right? I mean, just even thinking

Ashley
Too many options.

Claudine
Way too many options. Wait, I mean, every night, my husband and I are skimming through Netflix, or maybe we should watch and there's hundreds if not 1000s? We're like no, no, I mean, it literally takes us about 30 minutes just to pick one film. And by that.

Ashley
That's pretty good. It takes us over an hour. Friday night, so usually our night to sit down and watch a movie together, watch something together, and it takes over an hour. And usually, my husband will be putting the kids to bed, and I'll start looking ahead of time to narrow the choices.

Claudine
Right? Exactly. It's so many options, so many options. So that can lead to overwhelm. Right? Another reason we can get stuck in decision making is lack of confidence. Right? Like it kind of stems back to making the right choice but confidence in ourselves that we don't know what else to go back to what if I make the wrong decision? negative self talk? I don't know what's right. I don't know. You know, so we can get stuck because of lack of confidence in ourselves that we can make the right decision.

Ashley
Claudine. I have a couple to add on to that as well. One is people pleasing and you kind of touched on that the judgment but this could be to a whole nother level. You know, if you're a codependent or just a people pleaser, in general you are it's driven by fear, driven by fear and you feel like oh gosh, I got to make this decision. So I can make the other person happy. Or I'm going to do this for the other person. And it can become toxic to us. If we think that way all the time, and it could be extremely difficult to make a decision because we're not in the other person's head. You know, I mean, this, I've shared this in the past on our podcast, how I have had birthday parties for my children. And I would just overwhelm myself because I was trying to anticipate what other people would want to eat or drink or, you know, do while they're there at the adults, especially not even just the kids, but their parents, their parents, I put so much stress on myself. But I was anticipating, okay, well, they might want this to drink, or they might like this, or maybe they don't like this. But it was driven by such people pleasing that I drove myself crazy. Yeah. And I was exhausted. And I didn't even enjoy it. Fortunately, my daughter did. And the people did, but I was exhausted. And I didn't admit. And I had to learn, like, gosh, stop doing that. Like, why do I keep making decisions based on pleasing others, and that will cause so much stress. Another is disconnection from our desires and our needs. So I have really related to this that I have, you know, growing up, and this can come from previous relationships, childhood, whatnot, but you see many times where a kid might tell their parents, well, I want to do this, or I want to buy that, or I want to watch this. And the parents might say, No, no, no, no, and be told no a lot, where their desires just kind of got rejected, you know. And so you can grow up feeling like, Well, my desires and my wants or even needs maybe aren't, weren't met. And so maybe I need to make decisions for other people that can go into the people, right? So we can have such a disconnection of what we really want and need. And that can make it very hard to decide. And that goes into my other personal example of dinner. You know, what's for dinner? Oh, my gosh, like, I would go visit my mother and she would ask me, before noon, what do you want for dinner tonight? Don't ask me that. I'm not ready to answer that. Give me three o'clock. Okay, three o'clock. I'll start thinking about it. But I did it. So I would have a very hard time deciding what I wanted to have for dinner, because I never really thought about what I want. It was very uncomfortable for me to consider what I want. Because it might be what something it might not be what someone else wants. So I will actually choose for dinner. And this happened a lot in my marriage. I mean, dinner was one of the most stressful times of the day for me, because I was trying to make something that maybe everyone else will like, and I'll kind of get affirmed, you know, get that little affirmation or just that I made something that they all liked, which you know, you have two kids and a husband, how often is that gonna work out? Right?

Claudine
Try four kids and a husband? You know, it's so funny with dinner because I made what I made. And if they didn't like it, I would always tell them, this is not Burger King, and you do not get it your way. I am not a restaurant, this is what we're having. Now, granted, over the years, there were certain items that came up, and they're like, we really none of us like this. I was like, okay, cut that out. But overall,

Ashley
Well, I do so you're gonna eat it?

Claudine
No, I didn't do that. No, I didn't do that. But


Ashley
I do one thing that has helped me with that just kind of side note, because it's funny, but I will say Well, what do I feel like eating today. And I'll start once in a while, not every night, but once in a while. Yeah, often throughout the week, I'll make what I would like to eat. Because I really like having tacos or I feel like having pasta and like I'm allowed to make what I want to make too. And it I mean, it sounds silly, but some some of us really do have to go through that little rationale in our head, you know, and be okay with choosing something that you want and be a little more connected with your wants and desires and needs.

Claudine
Well, it's so true and what you're talking about a lot of it is in our subconscious. So a lot of the decision making that we do is made by our subconscious we're not even aware of why we decide certain things. It's from the programming, from the experiences from whatever we learned in our childhood like for you obviously pleasing others, somehow developed them became a huge part of who you are right at an early age. And so that started affecting your decision making process. And it can lead us astray. If it's not intentional if our decision making process is done. Without awareness without intention, just on the subconscious level. We're gonna end up making decisions that we look at and like, why did I do that? Don't even make sense for the direction. I want my life. going, I don't even understand why I did this or thought this or felt this. So, yeah, a lot of it is from our childhood programming, you know? So actually, let's talk about some practicals to help those of us that can get stuck making decisions like how should we go about making big decisions, and we're talking more big decisions, because really little decisions like what to wear and what to eat for dinner while we can get stuck with those, those really aren't going to impact our life in a great way. We're talking more about bigger decisions when we're faced with Where should we move? And who should I marry those decisions that people can really get stuck with create anxiety can create depression, you know, when making those things? Actually, that's one of the reasons sometimes we don't make decisions because we're depressed, that could really be a reason. Like, it's hard to think clearly. When your brain your mind, your heart is depressed. Mm hmm. But making decisions can create anxiety, which is not the best place to come to to make a decision when you're anxious. So for practicals, I've written down a few here for our listeners and for ourselves. The first one is Christian women, obviously, we're motivated by a desire to honor and please God. So for me when I have to make a big decision. I really have to look at that. Well, this honor. God is real specific about principles in the Scriptures, but not about the How to like what to wear. I don't think God really cares what I wear. But I do believe he wants me to honor the principle of obeying the laws of the lands, which is where something is when you're going out in public, right? Don't overthink it? It's true, right?

Ashley
Do us all a favor. Please wear something,


Claudine
please wear something out in public. It is the law of the land. And we are motivated to please God and honor the laws of the land. Right? I know, it's a silly example. But it just tries to show that there are principles to hold to and not necessarily like the specifics. Another one for me is to write it down. If I'm really stuck, I'll write down the pros and cons. Put it put pen to paper, get it out of your head, get it out of your thoughts, because in your thoughts, we're doing all this. But but but it should, should should. But put it on paper, get it just the facts, like as much facts as we can do with that our opinion. But what are the pros? If you make this decision? What are the cons? If you make this decision? What are the pros? If you don't make this decision? What are the cons if you don't make this decision, it really helps to put it on paper, to really see it with our eyes to write it with our hands, it does something to the brain. And then we can kind of get out of our emotions, and get our prefrontal cortex more engaged into making a logical choice, and not an emotional choice. Because we don't want to make decisions out of fear or out of some emotion.

Ashley
Not from an emotional place,

Claudine
Right? What's that, quote, don't make a permanent decision from a temporary feeling right? Not that anything's permanent. But even buying a house, you know, you want to do on a feeling like well, I just feel like I should live here, then it may not line up with anything else. And that's kind of a big decision to make. Another one is to pray about it. I think sometimes when I get stuck, I just pray. And it's funny that God will really make it clear. He'll just make it clearer. Maybe he'll block an avenue and it's like, well, I guess that's not that was that's not gonna work. So praying has been so helpful to me personally on so many occasions. Another one is seek advice, get input from others, there are people that know more than me on a lot of subjects on probably every subject. So you know, if I'm have to make a big financial decision, which we're going to be coming up to soon after the sale of our house, you know, I'm going to want to sit down with you and your husband because you guys have some things going on. Right? You have more experience in managing money than my husband I do. We have great experience blowing through money and losing money. But now we have a little money from the sale of our house. And we're going to seek advice like where should we put this? How should we invest this what has proven in your experience to be beneficial and to work in your favor? So seek advice. Finally, one of the final things too is just choose just make a decision making a decision is better than not making a decision because not making a decision. We're just stuck. We don't go anywhere. Then we get frustrated. We get depressed. It's like we're not living life to the full right when we're not rising up and shining when we stay stuck. So just make a choice. One way or another it will work out it always does. I look at all our choices. I mean one of are probably worse decisions was to buy a house when we moved to Nashville for two years, we only went out one weekend and looked at houses and then just bought one needed work, we had to put work into it, we never sold our house in California. So it was completely a financial Wait, like, I don't know how to say it, but it cost us financially. And then when we went to sell it was after the crash. So we actually lost about 100,000. So I could look back and say that was a really bad decision, it would have been better to just rent, decide which area make a decision financially, because we're basing our decision on the fact that our California house would sell, which it didn't. So we really couldn't afford that house. But the truth of it is, when I look back, instead of getting discouraged or having negative self talk, I look at all the good, I focus on all the good that came out from it, my next door neighbor became a really close friend, I wouldn't have had that experience that was something really good. from it. I loved my two years in that neighborhood in that house, it was a great experience, a very expensive experience, but it was a great experience. So a lot of good that came from what could be looked at as a bad decision. And we survived it, you know, we overcame it, we survived it. So for me just making a choice not getting stuck. And lastly is just trusting God during before and after, you know, when there's a decision to be made, just trusting that He will guide us that it'll work in our benefit in the long run. So for me, trusting God's been huge, like I said, with that, that experience, I had to trust him after, okay, that didn't turn out so well financially. But let me just trust you that in the end, you're gonna work it all out, and that there was a lot of good that came from it. So those practicals for me that help me make decisions, bigger decisions.

Ashley
Yeah, and I'm gonna put one in there as well as acceptance. I know this kind of goes into even the journaling or writing things down and prayer, but accepting that no matter what choice you make is, is the best choice you can make right now with what information you have. Right? And then like you said, later down the road, you'll say, Okay, well, maybe that wasn't the best choice but to have grace with yourself. Take it as a learning experience. Right? And that helps to build wisdom. So you can make an even better choice the next time. Right, another thing that someone would always encourage me or with that it took me a while to actually appreciate this piece of advice, because at first it was really hard and like I really don't like that. Right? Well, what's the worst that can happen? And I'm sure we've most of us haven't heard that before. Well, what's the worst thing that can happen? But even when I would think the worst, and it relatively maybe to other people, it's like, well, that's really not that bad. In my brain, it still felt like this is horrible. It felt like death. You know, I mean, it felt so strong because of that fear. And because of the beliefs in my head. The thoughts that I had about this circumstance, it was so strong that it did feel really awful. You know? Yeah, I mean, it could be like, well, like, for example, and this is gonna sound silly, but this is my codependency the word No, I struggled. Probably most of my life with the word no being told no. also being able to say the word no. And so when someone says, Well, maybe the worst that can happen is they say no. But that feels like I'm going to die. It Right. feels that strong in my body. But it goes way back re back to childhood way back of why I kind of built that belief up in my head. But the awareness and understanding made me focus on just accepting, okay, if someone does say no, accept it, it's gonna be uncomfortable, but accept it. If it is what it is. It's not it's right. It's okay. You're allowed to say no, I'm allowed to say no, be okay with that uncomfortable feeling. Right. And I think that is one thing that can really help us make decisions and easier yet take a lot of the pressure off is be okay with the uncomfortable feelings, right? It's very hard for us as humans to do that. Because we want to avoid all discomfort at all costs. But when it comes to decisions, there is going to be a lot of uncomfortable, uncomfortable. This is going to be a lot of discomfort. So we need to just accept it and it's part of life. It's okay. You know.


Claudine
That's a that's a great point. I love the fact that you brought that up because you We want life to just be all sunshine and rainbows. And it's not not emotionally, not mentally, not experientially. And even with our decisions, you're right, some decisions we make are going to be uncomfortable. And that's just part of life. And if we think that we have to make every decision correctly, and we have to feel good 100% of the time, we're going to get ourselves in trouble, right over and over again. So just accepting that some decisions will be difficult, they will produce pain and discomfort. But it really is, after going the greater goal, you know, what's the greater goal? What's your eye on if we're just making decisions haphazardly, if we're not being driven by our values, or by something deeper by our goals? Like, again, for me, as a Christian, well, woman, I'm motivated by desire to honor God, that's a, that's a value deep within me that I strive to, and I know you do as well strive to live. So that motivates and shapes a lot of my decisions, right? But what to expect that all my decisions are going to be right, or quote, unquote, perfect are going to bring just blessings and sunshine and happiness is not even realistic. That's just right. Like, that's just not the human experience. We're gonna experience at all the good, bad and the ugly.

Ashley
Yeah. And, you know, I also wanted to point out, I know, for us women, moms wives, when we feel like our decision can greatly impact for the positive or negative our family, it can be that much harder to make a decision or even consider making a decision. Because I mean, many of us have gone through Well, what school? Will my kids go to? Or even right now? Do I want? I mean, we're getting surveys, do you want your children to go to school? in person? Or would you prefer virtual learning or even a hybrid? And that's like, I don't know, you know, I mean, you have to take all these. Gosh, why, right? What my kids to go. But is that bad? Is it safe? Is it you know, there's a lot of decisions. And I know, when it comes to my children, it can be very challenging to make decisions, because especially as a mom, you know, when they're young, we're making decisions for them, right? where a lot of these things, and that is that can be very stress filled and overwhelming and debilitating at times. I know, for myself, I'm more of an avoider so I can avoid making decisions. I'll share a little I'll be honest, I'll share a little something. This last week, my son's teacher emailed me and said, Hey, your son showed interest in joining our cooking club, our little virtual cooking club. And the first thing I'm thinking great another thing on my plate that I have to manage. Okay, well I'll check that out. I'll fill out the information. And so she kept sending me the survey of which recipe. Ah, Claudine. I don't know why I kept putting it off and putting it off. But I just I couldn't I, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know what I want my third grader to make. But you pick I know, I know. But the reason why is because I'm so overwhelmed with other things. And this happens when we're dealt with a lot of stress. And we're overwhelmed already. Our focus. One thing I've really paid attention to with myself is I when I feel stressed out overwhelmed, I can't focus on one thing at a time, my mind. And that's why even now I'm having trouble sleeping. I'm waking up thinking I have something to do I have to do away, it's nighttime, and then I go back to sleep and then I wake up, I have something to do and no.


Claudine
I can tell you're not writing things down.

Ashley
I'm not writing things down. No.

Claudine
Because if you put them on paper, they would not be whirling around in your head.

Ashley
I know. But it's so funny because I've been putting it off and that decision. but then what happens when we put off decisions, then we're just gonna have more stress and it wakes you up at night. Yep, that's what it's doing. I've been having insomnia, because, Hello, I'm just not making a decision. And it causes more stress and more harm on our physical, emotional, mental well being. You know, that's really important to be aware of.

Claudine
And that's such a small decision in the scheme of things in life, like what should my eight year old make in his virtual cooking class? You know, that's like not gonna affect your family dynamics. It might affect you going the grocery store to make sure you have all the items that the extent of the effect but I would have delegated I'm a great delegator. I would have told the teacher you tell me and I'll pick up the ingredients. Yeah, exactly. I am doing that lately with friends that want to meet like last week. I was. You tell me. You tell me. She's like, Where do you want to have lunch? I'm like you tell me your choice today. Yeah. And unfortunately, she was like, no, it's your turn. You have to make decision. I was like, Oh darn it. Cuz I really didn't care. I wasn't familiar with the area. So man, I had to get on my phone and just figure out where we could drive through or get takeout.

Ashley
It could feel like a daunting task, right? I mean, something simple like that.

Claudine
Can during a pandemic, trying to figure out where it lead can certainly feel, you know, never thought about it a lot. Now, we got to figure out okay, who's open? Who's got heaters? Because it's been cold. So, you know, we don't know. And do we sit on the phone make phone calls? Do we drive? It's like, no, nevermind, let's just stay home.

Ashley
No, but it's so true Claudine. I mean, we we deal with the anxiety of it, even with small things, right. But when you think about I know, both you and I know people who have had to make very big decisions, whether it's, I got to pick up and move my family or my spouse lost their job, and now we got to do I go back to work? How do we do this? I know even with a pandemic, and the schooling, people have had to figure out do do the grandparents, watch the kids and help them with school? Do one of us, I mean, all this balance. Another is I have a dear friend, close to me who's dealing with custody issues, you know, in deciding that type of thing, okay, trying to be in agreement with their act, right? And or health issues, what type of health treatment are we going to go for, you know, like this or not, or medication or, you know, even if it's like cancer, radiation, like, all these big big right, that people got faced with. And I mean, the best thing you can do is just pray, right? Give it over and really release a lot of the negative limiting beliefs, self doubt a lot of that and just make a choice. Based off the best information you have the best you can do for the moment, and accept it just be okay with the choice you made. You know.

Claudine
I love that. That's a great one be okay, because in the end, in the end of it all, there's no right or wrong decision, there are decisions that may work out more in our favor or less in our favor, get closer to our long term goals or not. But there's no right or wrong, whatever decision we make, we can handle it, we can handle it, we can deal with it. And God can take those lemons and make it into lemonade. I keep thinking that I think of all the mistakes I've made and I think how he's worked through them all. And acceptance is so huge if we stop resisting ourselves and the negative self talk and just trust just really have that deep faith that it's all going to be okay. It really does in the long run

So well friends hopefully this has helped relieve a little bit of anxiety when it comes to decision making. And we have more resources on mindoverchaos.com and claudinesweeney.com and I have one really easy decision for you all. And that's to hit the subscribe button below. So thank you for listening and we will see you next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll 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 wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at 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.

Episode #62

The stigma, right? No one wants to talk about it. Anxiety and depression are two very common things we don't like to talk openly about because there is that looming fear of criticism or rejection. You may fear people will think something is wrong with you. And, as a Christian woman, you may also fear people will question your faith. Hear us when we say, "You are not alone". In this episode, we share our personal struggles with these unwelcomed guests and share specific steps that have helped us pull our way through to the peaceful side. It doesn't have to be a life sentence. It is possible to rise up over your anxiety or depression and shine your best self.



Ashley
This is Episode 62. Rising above anxiety and depression. 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.
Welcome back everyone to another episode here on the rise up and shine podcast and we are going to talk about something that many of us may be feeling right now. And that's anxiety and or depression. And Claudine and I have both battled with both of these things in our life and on multiple occasions. And especially given the year that we've come off of right 2020, the one that I want to forget. But coming into 2021, not much different. I know, there's a little more hope out there, which is great. But we have all endured a lot of added stress this year, a lot of disruption to our normal life or normal routine. And so it can really take a toll on our mental health. And Claudine and I both have even recently been having these issues knocking at our door, you know, not knocking want to come in. And in the past, we both have learned so many great tools of what to do how to, one become aware of when we're feeling these things, and also what to do that can help get us out of it. Because there can be a misconception that this is just the hand that you're dealt, and you're stuck with it for life, you know, and there are definitely varying degrees of anxiety and depression, different disorders, different challenges, maybe genetic influence, you know, there's a lot of different factors that can play in here to anxiety and depression. But right now we're going to talk about the practical tools that we both have learned that have really gotten us out to rise up and shine, you know, feeling like we can live our best life and feeling like there's hope to live our best life and to feel more peace in our life. And so we are here today to share these wonderful practicals with you, our listeners. So you too can also rise up and shine over these, especially this year, because we want to make this a great year, you know, 2021 even if things do not change, or it's going to take a while still for them to change. We still want to try and work through these issues, you know, and have our mental health just get that much better.

Claudine
Right, right, Ashley, I'm so glad we're talking about this because I feel like for me and my experience over the years, as a Christian woman, we don't talk a lot about mental health in the church. It's somewhat of a taboo subject, or people are ill equipped. And when we do bring it up, if we do share it with someone a lot of the responses, well, you just need to be faithful or you need to be grateful or are you praying about it. And I know I've shared this before. But that's those were the kind of comments that I got, which didn't help at all, they weren't helpful. In fact, they, they typically just made me feel even worse after I shared I understood the people's hearts, their intentions were good. But that's why we're here today to really talk about it. First of all, that it's okay as Christian women that we struggle with depression, anxiety, it's just part of the human experience. And actually, after doing a lot more research, I realized that so many of the great men and women in the Bible had struggled with depression, quarantine David, you know, who is thought to have written most of the Psalms. Some of them were written in periods of low times. I know one of his in Psalms 143:4 says, My spirit grows faint within me, my heart within me is dismayed. And I know that's how I felt for a long time. I just felt so dismayed. And my heart was just faint. I just was tired. I was worn out, I had brain fog. It was just hard to even function, right? Like just getting through a day, I felt like I was, you know, thigh high and mud. That's what an average day felt like, for me, like just trying to do laundry and dishes was really pushing me. My kids were in school, I wasn't home homeschooling, but it was just difficult. Just the basic chores of life were too much for me. And it wasn't any one specific big event in my life. Obviously, those can trigger bouts of sadness and grief and depression. For me, it was a lot of little things. It was little things that had compounded that I hadn't dealt with. And it was really a time where it was starting to point to deeper, deeper problems, the root of the issue, which is what I had to get in touch with that were really affecting me. But you know, today we're talking about depression, which I tend to suffer with more, and you with anxiety, which is more what you've struggled with. And with both of these, we just definitely want to make a side note if you are really really struggling with depression as far as having suicidal thoughts or self harm, or anxiety to the point where you're having panic attacks and it's affecting your physical well being, it's really time to call a professional. We are not professionals, we have both gone through this, but not to the point where either of us would have been harmed in any way, either through self or through our actions because of how we're feeling. So if you are really struggling with this, where it's really intense, and you're concerned for your health, please reach out to a professional and get some some help. You know, we're here with what's helped us, but we are not professionals. But here we are almost a year into the pandemic. So I know that this is a big issue. I know that people are worn out, they're tired, anxious, we're both fighting it off. Like you said, it's knocking on the door, right? question is, are we going to answer? Right? I know like an old friend, but no, not my friend. I don't want to have hospitality with you, you cannot come in. Right. So it's been a hard year for so many of us with so many other issues. And I know last week, we talked about comparison, which you know, can definitely affect depression and anxiety. So make sure you listen to that if you struggle with that at all. Because that's, you know, could possibly be a step to helping you ease it.

Ashley
Yeah, so let's talk about a little bit also some of the triggers. So there are some things that can even if you are more predisposed to anxiety or depression that can increase it or magnify it, that you can take steps to decrease, because we all want to decrease those in our life, right? The anxiety and depression they are not welcome friends. However, they are very real. And they are very normal human experiences that many of us, you know, are affected by and I know just even with anxiety, it affects more than 40 million Americans. I mean, this is not uncommon. This is not right. And right. I was learning a lot about this. I was pretty shocked. Because as you said, Claudine, we don't typically talk about it. There is kind of this stigma on it. like something's wrong with you, if you're getting panic attacks, and I used panic attacks. And I didn't know what was going on. Depression, I struggled with depression. And even then I didn't even recognize it. Like, I just knew I didn't feel good. I was tired all the time. And I just felt like I had no energy, like you said to do the dishes, for goodness sakes, I can't even get out of bed. And I did I did put a label on it. But right adding the factor of being Christian women, like you said, as well as sometimes we're just illiquid. And it's not talked about enough as if it's a normal occurrence. You know, it's very common. So one thing that we can do that does help that does trigger these is caffeine, caffeine and alcohol can trigger it. Certain health issues, like if you have low blood sugar, or thyroid functionality, you know, that can definitely affect it as well. certain medications might trigger it, stress sleep issues. I mean, think about it. Now, last night, I had a horrible night asleep and talking with my husband. It was a night where we slept with the kids and I left our puppy in the crate in our room. And he's like, do you think you were thinking about that and kind of worried I was like yeah, I guess you're right. I was worried about leaving the dog in the other room by himself. And I did not sleep but I did not feel good this morning. Right? And sleep issues definitely has an effect on it. And another big one is changes in routine. This one really stuck out to me because we all have experienced a change in our routine. Many are working from home many had to hire nannies or caretakers or ask families to help wash their children or while their children are doing school most children I know not all but most children are doing school virtually at home and some do go to work. Still my husband does go into work and I'm I'm home but there's a lot of varying changes in our normal day to day life. And one thing that I recognize for myself that could have happened with you as well is that we think in the beginning it's like well I can handle it you know this will be done soon right Claudine? Remember you’re like, It'll last two weeks.

Claudine
Two weeks? That was my professional guess.

Ashley
Well look at here and you know, we don't really stop us as humans are not the greatest at stopping to be aware like how we're really feeling about the situation right? Like, I mean, if you take an honest look, how many of us really stopped and I don't know if I like this very I'm worried about this or I'm, you know, we we try to just keep chugging along and just keep going as if things are normal. But down the road, it starts taking a toll on us, right? It takes a toll on our bodies, our mental emotional health, our well being our relationships. And I know, as we said earlier, that anxiety and depression are still kind of knocking at that door trying to come in because of these issues, because of these changes in our routine because of everything we've gone through in this last year. You know, stress, stress is dangerous. Stress can be good, but the stress that we've been enduring this year has definitely taken a toll on us and our bodies, and anxiety and depression are right they're trying to creep in.

Claudine
That's right. I don't even know what routine looks like. It's been so long for me. I know routine. I mean, we've been, you know, commuting back and forth between northern California in Southern California and traveling and living out of a suitcase. So I look forward to that. It's it. You know, I think in the past, it was a little boring, but now I'm looking for boring. Like much fun. That's awesome. I want routine. You know, another one is dehydration. I know, this is crazy. But I had a day. Gosh, it was probably a couple months ago now. I was feeling really down. And I went through all the practicals that we'll share with our listeners shortly. And I really I was like, This is so strange. I everything's great. My thoughts are in a healthy place. You know, I just couldn't pinpoint it. And then at some point, I went and got a glass of water big glass of water and drank it all. I kid you not, I felt remarkably better. That's like, Oh, I stay hydrated. Yeah, yeah, no, no joke. Like, if you get to the point where you're super dehydrated, you will not feel well, and could lead to just feeling really down and then discouraged and what is going on. But for me, I was just dehydrated that particular day, and sleep for me to another one. If I don't have a good night's sleep, it's really hard for me to be full of joy and pep in life. The next day, I really need a good amount of sleep. Yeah, at least, you know, I can go one night with not having good night's sleep. But if I go two or three, I'm a mess. I may just have to take a nap or rest during the day. It's like a big part of the aging process. But anyway, yeah. There's all kinds of triggers. Yeah, there's all kinds of triggers. And it's really becoming aware of what they are. And really, again, we talked about self love last episode, but really being kind with yourself, not judging yourself. I think we judge ourselves. I know for me, I definitely felt like something was wrong with me. Like, why am I depressed? Why should I be sad? Why should I be downcast? When my life is good, right? It's that balance of being grateful and being joyful in the Lord. But yet, my mind was anything but and it was a conflict, which actually then created more stress and more depression. But for me, just trying to wrap myself around that it was okay, that was part of the human experience that it was just a chapter, it wasn't my whole life, it wasn't gonna define me, like depression, anxiety do not define us, they're just saying go through. And actually, you're really good about sharing the sensation. So why don't you help our listeners because sometimes they may not even be aware, they may think, gosh, something's not right. But I don't know what it is. Why don't you share the sensations for anxiety, and then I'll share what my body felt like with depression.

Ashley
Right? So with anxiety, it really manifests in our bodies physically. And that's something that we don't always stop to recognize, we just know Oh, I just don't feel good, or I'm feeling jittery. But put a word to it a name to it is really powerful, because then we can really understand what's going on. So for example, with anxiety, your heart rate will go up, right, you'll start feeling you can feel jittery, maybe you might shake a little or tremble a little, your breathing might go shallow. I know sometimes when I felt anxious, even without recognizing it, I can catch myself holding my breath. You know, and that is really the fight or flight response. Because our primitive brain is saying, okay, there's a threat or a danger here that I need to respond to. So I'm gonna flood your body with adrenaline and cortisol, and we got to fight or flee, right? We got to do something here. And so our primitive brain is gonna that's just instinctually for survival. But what happens with anxiety is, especially if you have long term, your body's constantly in that fight or flight much more frequently. So you're going to feel those sensations, the increased heart rate, your palms might sweat, you might feel hot sweats, cold sweats, you know, your heart is pounding your, it also raises your blood pressure, you know, which is not something that we want. And so you'll feel it a lot in your body and sometimes you feel heat Sometimes you might feel cold. I know for myself, when I get anxiety, my body feels cold. So recognizing that as well, and there are research out there that has shown that you can kind of label, you know, by colors, label emotions by colors. I don't know, for some moms teaching their kids about emotions, we've talked about that, if you think about inside out the movie, inside out the emotion characters, they were all a certain color, right? anger was red, right away was yellow, disgust was green sadness was blue, right? We say that, right? I'm feeling blue while I'm feeling down and feeling sad. So being able to label those things is really powerful, because we can recognize what's going on. And really, I want to drive home the point that when we feel these things in our body, that's kind of our first sign like something's going on, you know, I feeling something, it's a message. Some people I have, I have somebody that I'm coaching right now, who feels issues in their throat, you know, their throat tightens up, or they feel it raspy, or they feel like they can't talk, you know, so it manifests differently for everybody. Sometimes it's this client of mine, their legs feel heavy, or tired, you know, and they recognize, okay, these are things in my body that I'm feeling, and they've been able to recognize it over time, that it's just anxiety. It's not necessarily that their legs are tired or sore, they're feeling that sensation of their body, because their mind is anxious, their brain is anxious and responding that way. So it can be slightly different for everybody. Another one could be a pit in the stomach, right? you kind of feel this pit in your stomach. I know I've struggled with anxiety a lot where I would feel ulcer like sensations in my abdomen. Yeah. And that went back to high school goodness. So there are a lot of different things I recognize. And it tends to be a pattern, it tends to be similar. So if you start recognizing when you're feeling worried or anxious, and if you really start paying attention to where in your body, what you're feeling in your body, you'll notice that each time you feel anxiety, it it shows up pretty much the same way. You know.

Claudine
That is so interesting.

Ashley
Yeah, it is very fascinating. But it shows to that. Okay, I know what this is, I know, this is anxiety, I know there is something I need to address, there's a need I have that I need to figure out, you know, it's a message, to think of it not so scary to think of it as a normal human emotion, but it's telling me something. And then there's a problem that I need to address or something I need to focus on. It's a message.

Claudine
Yeah, that's a great, great point. It's so interesting, because depression, at least for me, the physical sensations are almost the opposite. A lot of them are at any rate, for me, the physical sensations is a real fatigue, a real lack of energy, like you know, depressed again, you know, it's down so everything's lower. So I also get cold, that's the one similar when I get very cold that happens when I get tired. So for me, it was a real lack of energy and a real lack of motivation. But the physical sensations were just, for me fatigue, and weakness, even like I said, I shared earlier, like just doing the dishes wore me out, that's a sign that something's not normal. Our bodies are created to do a whole lot more than the dishes, but I would like do the dishes and then have to go sit down. That's where I'm at. I'm like, something's off here. This isn't I know, my body. I know, I'm getting older, but I'm not that old, I should be able to do the dishes, and then do another task on top of it and not be worn out and ready for a nap. So and then the lack of motivation, which is more mental. Even doing something fun seemed like too much work. It's just too much work. I just don't even want to do that. Like I don't even want to drive the car because that's too much work and right. So for me, there was the Those were the symptoms that something was off, that I wasn't well that I needed to pay attention to something like you said it was time to become aware and pay attention to the message. So those are some of the physical sensations of of those both.

Ashley
Yeah. And another thing that is really important to focus on is your behaviors. So sometimes if we haven't quite identified Oh, this is anxiety or this is depression, if you notice yourself doing certain patterns or behaviors, so for example, when I'm either depressed or anxious, I keep going for more coffee. I realized I have more coffee in the morning because it is my feel good. It makes me feel a little pick me up. So I will go for another cup of coffee. And then I recognize two is kind of funny. I mean, sometimes I just cracked myself up because now I know and then if I'm having a tough time if it's if it's a rocky start to our morning trying to get the kids on school and our morning routine and I'm feeling stressed out. I'm gonna go turn on my Keurig. And I'm gonna get another cup of coffee because I'm dealing with this challenge. But I'm going to have my nice hot cup of coffee that I call it a warm hug.

Claudine
I would think all that caffeine would add to your anxiety because.

Ashley
And it does it can right? Yes, it can. And ironically, I recognize that I can have a few cups of coffee and also time of day can affect it as well. Like I can have coffee in the morning, and then use I can even have a cup of coffee before I go to bed and be able to sleep like I can still do that. Fortunately, that's because probably I'm a good sleeper. However, if I'm experiencing more stress and more anxiety in my life in general, I noticed that that afternoon coffee will make me jittery. But it doesn't do that every time it does it when I have more stress going on. And I'm feeling more anxiety already. So I know, okay, if I keep going to more coffee, or that could be alcohol for you, or that could be TV for you. Or that could be you know, exercise even who knows. It's essentially a coping, right? Our behaviors that we're doing is just trying to make us feel good for a little bit. And it does for the short term, but it doesn't for the long term, because then that anxiety or depression is just still there. You know, we're not dealing with it. We're not recognizing the real issues at hand. We're just trying to make ourselves feel good for a little bit. And then it's like a hit right? We need another hit to make us feel good. And it does it releases those endorphins. And we feel good briefly. But it's not the long term goal. You know, I help us get out of these.

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. And it's so funny because you talk about your coffee, but I remember there was time when things weren't going great my life that I would have wine.

Ashley
Yeah, wine it's great too.

Claudine
Not so much that I was getting drunk, but right, wine is a depressant. And we think about that, if you're struggling at all with depression, you don't want to add any more depressants into my life, right? You need to bounce it. So with me not with caffeine, because then I would not be able to sleep. So wait until you're in your 50s.

Ashley
I know it's coming for me.

Claudine
The good sleeper. Actually, the older you get, the less sleep you need. So that's kind of nice. That's been a real great blessing. But anyway, there are practicals of dealing with our mental health because it really is so important. Our mental health affects every other part of our life. We both know that I'm sure our listeners know that. But let's talk about some practical tools that will help us and not just in the short term, but in the long term. Because like you said, when we do those short term behaviors, in the long run, they just actually can worsen right under the anxiety. So I know for me, and we've talked about this already, one of the first ones is just awareness, just becoming aware that this is a possibility. Like, I'm aware that I am probably depressed, like that was big for me, I think I was in denial for so long. I thought it was health issues, or I thought it was stress or for kids or all that but just really being able to acknowledge it and to say, you know what, I'm having some depressed feelings. And that's okay, now I didn't identify with it, I was real careful not to say I am depressed. Because when we say I am, it's kind of an identifier, but I struggle with or I have feelings of, or, you know, this is what I'm experiencing right now making it more of an experience instead of a label, like I. So that was really important. So becoming aware of what we are feeling, if anything, and then making sure not to identify with it. I'm not anxiety, and I'm not depression, those are just feelings, that physical or emotional, that will pass through. They're just here for a time and they will pass.

Ashley
Yeah, that's very true. And being aware of our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors and our needs, you know, because I think about when I have struggled with these things, I tend to go to what I want that will help me feel better, not to what I need. So when we feel depressed, when we feel anxious, there's something else going on, right? A lot of times anxiety is just worry, worry right here. What am I afraid of? What am I worried about? And it's having to dig, dig, dig to try and get that out of what is going on in our head that's causing us to feel those emotions and then also our behaviors, as we already talked about, you know, so I'll just briefly touch on is what are you going to, you know, what are you going to do to help you through it or to cope or to numb you out? You know, that could either be denial, just denying and, you know, not wanting to think about I don't want to think about it, and that doesn't help either. Right? And again, needs, needs are very important. What is it that I need? Do I need another cup of coffee? Probably not, do I need to go out for a walk? Yes, I probably need to go for a walk in the sunshine, and re identify those things. And again, and we've talked a lot on this podcast about our neural pathways, our coping has become our pattern. All right? Pathways are taking, right, the choices that we have made, is now embedded in us, not embedded.

Claudine
Conditioned.

Ashley
Yeah, is now conditioned in our brain that when this happens when A happens, and I feel B, and then I'm going to do see, you know, I might and so we tend to do the same things. That's why I say I noticed that I keep going for more coffee sometime, right? I go from like coffee to wine. And I know I should be having water, I should be drinking water, I should exercise, I should go on a walk, I should do this. But we don't tend to do that. Because it doesn't really make us feel good. And we haven't conditioned ourselves to choose the things that we need to do that's healthier for us.

Claudine
And it takes 63 days to get a newly established habit wired into our neural pathways. So for those of us, you know, we live in a fast food nation. 63 days is a long time, it's a really long time to decondition ourselves and recondition some healthier coping habits than what we've been doing and think I listened to you. And I'm like, Well, of course, you know, going on a walk is that's takes a lot more work than having a cup of coffee. Yeah, especially you you have young children, you either gotta take them with you or find someone to sit with them, you know.

Ashley
Oh no, I leave them home now.

Claudine
Oh, there you go. You know, but those things are typically harder. I mean, for me, it was so much easier to turn on Netflix, right? Oh my gosh, on and bed down on the couch and you know, escape my whatever was going on whatever, you know what's causing it a lot of times with depression, it starts with disappointment, right? We have disappointments, and we have done a whole episode on that. I think I was looking at it. The other day, I think it's Episode 47. If any of you listeners are interested, we have a whole one on disappointment. But when we don't deal with our disappointments that can turn into discontentment. And then when we don't deal with our discontentment, it can turn into despair. And there we are sitting in depression because something didn't turn out the way we thought it would turn out. Right. And so we do have to come up with ways to cope when we're disappointed even on the very front end, little disappointments, right. Especially parents, I mean, years are still young. But when they become teens and young adults, there are times we're just disappointed with their behavior, right? You're like, oh, why did they do that? Now I know, I raised them better than that. But they made that decision, right? Disappointment at a deep level with our children or with our spouses or course through this pandemic. I mean, there's just been so much going on and and with the election, that was last month, a lot of people were disappointed. And if they don't deal with their disappointment, if they can't let a disappointment come and go and let it pass, it's going to get a lot deeper. So right. That's another one.

Ashley
Yeah, another one is, journaling. journaling is phenomenal. Because a lot of times we don't, we just need to get our thoughts out on paper, you know, because I know from experience that I could just be so bombarded by the thoughts going on in my head, and especially if we're experiencing anxiety and depression, they're probably 99%, negative. Right? We're afraid of something, we're worried about something or we feel ashamed of something. Yeah. And we're not feeling good. And so journaling is huge. And on top of journaling, gratitude, I mean, even journal things that you're grateful for, and make it a habit because things that intellectually we know, well, I know I'm grateful for this. But to actually intentionally sit down, write it down, maybe every morning, even write the same five things. Sometimes in our head. It's like I know it, but I don't feel it. I don't feel grateful that when you're doing it on a habitual basis, that you will start feeling your heart will catch up, you know, to that intellect that what you know, you know,

Claudine
Yeah, research has shown that if you practice gratitude, like you said, with intention, not just like, Oh, yeah, I'm a grateful person, but intentionally like saying in your head or writing it down or saying it out loud, the things you're grateful for. You actually rewire your brain and your neural pathways, you make a difference in the makeup, the physical makeup of your brain. So it's really powerful gratitude. We can't go on and on and we can't say enough about gratitude and the power it has on the well being of our brains.

Ashley
Absolutely. Another one is self care, self care, self love. We talked about this even on our last episode. Self Care is very important to you. Right now, especially for me being home with the kids doing school trying to keep up with the house stuff. You know, I don't always feel like I'm doing a great job, I feel like, I just have everything on my plate. And I'm falling behind. And so the last thing to go is going to be me caring for myself, because I got all these things I gotta do. But then when you're not taking care of yourself, then you're not doing a great job at those things anyways. Right? You know, I've probably been more snappy, I've been more irritable, I've been more tired, I've been just like, less focused, because I have so much going on in my head, that I'm not taking time out. And yesterday, I was able to go out and go shopping for a few hours and run some errands just by myself and just kind of take my time. And I did, I came back feeling like, ah, I kind of took a timeout from my environment that I'm in 24 hours a day, and just kind of was by myself, and I didn't have to be needed for a little while. And I could go do something, I can go buy a new pair of jeans, or you know, and I was able to take care of myself a little bit. And I was able to come back just even for four hours get gas, right? I mean, yeah, I was grateful for the long lines at the Costco gas station. I thought, Wow, this is great if I can stay out a little bit longer. Yeah, I was feeling grateful for the long line. And so those are things that are so crucial. You can't make yourself last, you know, I mean, you can't you want to show up for your family. You need to show up for your family for yourself, you know, and to feel at your best you have to take care of yourself. And again, it has to be done with intention. As you like to say, Claudine, if you fail to plan you plan to fail, right? So if you don't schedule in, whether it's an hour a day or on the weekends, you have to plan in on a consistent basis to have some time to yourself to rejuvenate.

Claudine
Yeah, that that'll go miles and miles for her mental health, believe me, it will that was part of it for me is realizing that self-care was not selfish. That was a turning point for me.

Ashley
And Claudia, and even Oh, sorry, right now I realized is every two months, I start feeling like I'm melting down. And I'm going to have a breakdown, like I can run, run, run and do it all and be on all the time, you know, for two months, and then I crash. And then I can get a little rejuvenation and then I go for two months again, and then I'm crashing. And that was actually hard for my husband and I to both recognize and like I don't know why this is going on. It's like well, duh, because look at what are yours like look at yet our quote unquote, new normal is right now. Like I'm not getting any time to myself, I sent a message to my mom was like, I just realized that out of the 24 hours a day minus sleep. I have one hour to myself. That's like a lunch break.

Claudine
I'm telling you, when your kids go back to school, it's gonna be like vacation every day.

Ashley
I know. What am I gonna do?

Claudine
They're like, wow, I had so much time I'm gonna conquer the world. I'm gonna conquer the world. These kids are in school for six, seven hours a day,

Ashley
Maybe the house will be clean.

Claudine
That time is coming, my friend that time is coming. You know, another real important one, we touched on the beginning, but really seeking the help of a professional, someone that's close to me, was sharing with me last month that they'd really struggled with their thoughts for years, some really negative unswervingly just, you know, not healthy thoughts for years and years. And they wanted to seek my advice, my input about medication and I, you know, I'm pro medication, I don't think that, you know, I don't know, again, I'm not a professional, but I look at it more as a crutch. Like if your foot is broken, you're gonna need a crutch for a while until it heals. And that's the way I see medication. Sometimes it's, it's there for you while you heal. I don't think by itself without some kind of therapy, some kind of help to learn better tools to work effectively with all the trials and troubles we're going to face in this world. But then I recently talked to this person again this past week, and they said, you know, after months and months of seeking input and talking to professionals, he decided to go on a real low dose of antidepressant and honestly, it was it was the right decision for this person because they had been struggling for years. Unnecessarily and it wasn't something they just jumped into. Because I do think so many people are like just throw me a pill for everything, right? If we could just take a pill and lose weight. We do that if we could just take a pill and, you know, get straight A's we would do that. We could just take a pill like we you know, we're shortcut Charlie's, we just want to give me a pill and let it fix all my problems. But this person spent a lot of time and it's in conjunction with a psychiatry, sorry, it's in conjunction with a psychologist. So they're getting some cognitive behavior therapy at the same time to learn some tools and practicals to work alongside the medication. So it could be the answer for some people. I'm not saying everybody run out and get a prescription. But certainly, you know, sometimes as Christians, we feel like we shouldn't need any medication. But, you know, if you have diabetes, you're going to take your medication, if you have cancer, you're going to get treatment. If you cut your hand your finger while you're cooking, or chopping, you're going to put a bandaid on it, put some anti-bacterial disinfectant on it. So same with our mental health, we got to make sure that we learn the tools. But until we're in a healthy place, we might need some intervention of a more professional nature to get us to that next step. And the other practical for me, is really to serve when we are serving others when we are giving to others, it's really hard to be depressed. Now here's the thing, when you're depressed, the last thing you feel like doing is giving to others at least that's where I was at. But even if it's just leaving a short text, or writing a short card, something just to get out of ourselves to get out of where we're stuck in our own thoughts in our own heads and do something for someone else, it pays back in dividends, it really does. So serving find ways to serve my husband, I were just talking about that this morning. We're still in the middle of a pandemic. So we can't really go out. But we have to get creative in finding ways to serve other people to encourage others, which, you know, in turn encourages us.

Ashley
Well, were you encouraged by helping me and my husband the other day?
Claudine
Yes. So encouraged.

Ashley
We refreshed you. You're welcome for that.

Claudine
You're welcome. Yes. Well, were you refreshed? More important question.

Ashley
Uh, no, it took me a couple days to feel refreshed after that. But it was good. It was good. But yeah, it very well is needed. I also reached a point where I needed to see a counselor, you know, therapist, and it was really helpful just talking through things because they did have more, they did have more education. And were well equipped, you know, to write through deeper issues that I was completely unaware of. And a lot of things do get stuck in the subconscious that we're not realizing are still taking a toll on us today. And I think anxiety and depression that can very well be the case, I know for myself, I can be quote unquote, more sensitive, because I've had past experiences and traumas that I've experienced. And so that is a very real issue as well that can contribute to that, but being able to talk with someone, and we went through this type of therapy that was called brain spotting. And it was really amazing, because it just really reaffirmed how God created our brains to work, and it tapped into how our brain is supposed to work. And how we as humans, deny it that power to work functionally, because we're not properly taught how to process through things, how to process through traumas, or what to do with our thoughts and emotions, right? We're taught how to feel most of us were taught not to feel it was just be tough, or don't feel mad, or don’t feel sad, or don't you know, right. And yeah, so it really takes a toll on us. And that's why anxiety and depression can come out just result from them not dealing with things, especially long term, especially things that have gone on for a long time, or that are from your past. And so talking with someone that brainspotting. And I'll just briefly talk about in case people are curious about the brainspotting. Definitely research it, there's YouTube videos where you could actually see it being done as well. But I would listen to very soothing music or ocean sounds. And I She told me she had a pointer. And it has a lot to do with where your eyes are looking that can tap into your subconscious. So it's really fascinating. But she had this pointer and I would be thinking about something that I wanted to focus on that day. Right? It could have been how I felt sad about a specific situation. So she had me just think about that, right? Our thoughts, there's our thoughts. So just think about that in my head. And then I follow this pointer. And then when I'm following this pointer, it goes left and right, very slow, or up and down. And my emotions, as I'm thinking about the specific situation, intensify at a certain place. And if it was different every time it wasn't always this one point of focus that triggered it, but it was different for every situation. But then we would just sit there and sit there I’d stare at this pointer. And I would be thinking about this thing, this specific situation, and I would feel the emotions it was thinking about it created those emotions, and it was defying the emotions.

But my brain what was happening in my brain is that it was processing through those situations. And a lot of times it goes into childhood. It goes back to childhood. And we didn't process things especially from our fully developed brain. So now I was able to process things. With my adult brain, my fully developed brain with my prefrontal cortex, things that I experienced when I was younger. And I was thinking about it, I was focused on that situation, my body was feeling the emotions, but then it would come and then it would go. And there is also no talking when we would go through. She just sat there holding the pointer, poor lady, you know, holding it for 40 minutes. And while my brain was doing the job that God intended it to do, and it just really blew me away that wow, I mean, you can, there's times where you could probably just do this on your own, but it shows the power in our thoughts when we allow ourselves to think about what's making me anxious, why do I think I'm feeling depressed? Why do I maybe I don't feel good about myself? Why am I worried or afraid of A, B, and C, and allow ourselves to go there and feel the emotions, that's when they can subside? And we process through and allow our brain to do its job. And it passes. They come and go, right? Like the ocean, the waves come and they go, and we need to allow our brains to do that with our emotions.

Claudine
That is absolutely fascinating so interesting. Well we could talk about mental health all day long, all week long that's for sure. But one thing you said you talked about the power of thoughts. And Ashley that's what you and I do with our clients. We really help our clients pass their circumstance. Get awareness of their thoughts and the emotions those thoughts we're creating can help new narratives or new thoughts that help people better live life. To feel better and live better and love better. So I know again that was great. We have so much more to share and we will in the coming months. But if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or migraines. We're here with tips and resources either at claudinesweeney.com or mindoverchaos.com. And if it's more significant and more threatening to your physical health or emotional, spiritual health. Then please seek the counsel of a professional but we love you all we are here for you. Let us all get through this together. A new day is coming. The sun will shine again and we are all going to get through this and be our best selves ever. Until next time, take care.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll 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 wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at 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.

Episode #61

All of us do it. Often without conscious effort. Comparison. We compare our looks, our marriage, our kids, our homes. You name it. Although comparison can help us learn and grow from others it can also become damaging to our own mental and emotional well-being. This week we share helpful practicals to get you to stop comparison in its tracks and get more joy back into your life!



Ashley
This is Episode 61. Letting go of comparison. 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.

Claudine
Welcome back Friends, today we are talking about comparison. Teddy Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy. And if your joy is waning, Perhaps it's because you're comparing. So today Ashley and I are going to talk about comparison, why we do it. And practicals to help us overcome it because it does not lead to joy does not lead to peace, it does not lead to security. And we definitely can't rise up and shine when we're comparing ourselves to others. So Ashley, tell me is this something that you struggle with?

Ashley
Yeah, definitely. I would like to say all of us do, right? To some extent, definitely. There's different ways we compare and in different areas we can compare. I do I tend to compare a lot with people around me, I think motherhood is probably the one I'm most susceptible to comparing myself to when I see other moms because it you don't always know the inner struggle that other people go through in any area, right? So we try to put on our happy face when we're out and about and when we see people and yet inwardly, we could be really struggling. And that's probably my biggest one where I can find myself doing that, you know, especially with having the luxury, quote unquote, of social media.

Claudine
We'll be talking about that more.

Ashley
Absolutely. I mean, it could be used for good to keep in contact with family and friends. But it can definitely be tempting to see Oh, look what they're doing. Or look where they're going, you know, trips. That's another thing. What are they doing? So that yeah, that's, I do. I am not immune from comparison, unfortunately.

Claudine
Well, it's so funny on better. We didn't have social media when my children were young. I think it was huge for me, I think it would have been a bad thing for me. I can only look around at my friends around me, you know, or watch television and go Oh, is that what motherhood looks like? Yeah, different. You know, I was raising my kids. We were watching Little House on the Prairie. Really call me mom. Okay, call me out. Right? Wasn't too struggling about living in a cabin with no heat and no indoor plumbing. But anyway, there's so many things that we can compare with others. Right, right. You said mothering parenting. relationships. Yeah, travel. finances, right. We're seeing everybody's home. I was scrolling through Pinterest the other day, getting ideas. And I was like, how did these women a have time to do all these changes in their homes? But secondly, like documented all I'm like, Who's taking all these pictures and who's you know, writing all these blogs, I was shocked by how much time these women have to dedicate not only to making their homes look beautiful, but documenting the whole thing?

Ashley
Oh, yeah, I was gonna say that's, that's a big one, too, especially right now. You know, having the kids doing school from home. There's a lot of things that I've been wanting to do that I had goals for, especially in 20 that I haven't, you know, and still, when you see other people, how are they still balancing that all like they must have a nanny or three,

Claudine
And a maid

Ashley
A maid and a husband who stays home and. Yeah, very true.

Claudine
Well, it's very normal to compare. It's an indirect drive, you know, our brains are wired to compare ourselves to others to evaluate ourselves. So we're always scanning our environment. We're always scanning, you know, our surroundings, making sure we're safe and also evaluating ourselves. Where do we stand? Where do we stand on the social ladder, and, you know, ultimately, we kind of want to be in the middle, or higher to the top, but we don't want to be at the bottom. So our brains are wired to constantly compare and that's what can get us in trouble. It can help us keep us safe and right motivated, but also can lead to depression and anxiety.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. And it can really help us learn from others. You know, like you said, I helped motivate us. It can help inspire us. We can really learn a lot, but it can be used for good and it can definitely be used for the negative, you know,

Claudine
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when we compare ourselves to others who seemingly have more, we can fall into envy, insecurity, bitterness, discouragement, and overspending, right? It looks like someone else has that we want it to, and maybe we can't afford it. And we spend just to have that feeling. So those are some of the negatives when we compare ourselves to someone who has more. The other flip side of that is when we compare ourselves to others that have less than we do, then it can lead to arrogance, and pride, and just that smug feeling of Oh, I'm, I'm better than you, because I have this and this and this, or I'm doing this and this. So neither one are healthy as Christian women, we try to live a life of love and peace and joy, and neither of these comparisons are going to help us achieve that.

Ashley
Right? Absolutely. And what you were talking about, you know, researchers have given a name to right, it's upward social comparison, or downward social comparison, which I thought was really brilliant, because it was a great way of explaining how we can do this, you know, in a day to day life, or specific situations, if you're at a job, you know, you can look upward to others, and you can in a positive way, you can look up and be like, wow, I'm really aspired. I aspire to do what they're doing, I would love to be in that role, I would love to learn from them. You know, I found myself being drawn to people who are stronger personality, because I want to be more of that, you know, and that's a way to be motivated and inspired in a positive way. Some who may have lower self esteem, which I can tend to fall into have more of a lower self esteem, I can tend to compare and think I'm inferior, they're superior, I'm inferior, I'm not good enough. I'm failing at this. And, you know, I can really self evaluate, like you're saying, but in a negative way. And we do that so often, you know, we can really evaluate ourselves in a negative way. And it's not allowing us to learn and grow. It's causing us to suffer. You know, we're causing a lot of suffering on ourselves and feeling more depressed or feeling down and just feeling unhappy.

Claudine
Yeah. And we don't need any more of that, right. We're living in a stressful situation is it is Oh, yeah, I need to add this. And the funny thing is usually when it when it's focused on social media, let's say usually we're comparing our day to day life, right? We're usually scrolling that when we're in our pajamas, or sweats or we're lounging around at home, most of us aren't scrolling through social media, when we're dressed to the nines and out conquering the day, right? We're doing it in our downtime. But what we're doing is we're seeing someone's highlight reels, right? We don't post that typically, yeah, the highlights of our lives. And here we are, in our day to day, the mundane. And that's when we're scrolling through and looking at everyone's highlight reel, so to speak. So it's unbound, just from the get go. Like where we're at when we're scrolling. And what we're seeing.

Ashley
Absolutely, I had to really limit social media, I would say probably the last six months, I have rarely been on because I know, I recognize where I was feeling and just overwhelmed. You know, with everything this pandemic brought, I have enough on my plate that I'm trying to survive and you know, do well and do well by my children and their schooling and all that stuff. I got enough on my plate to know when I'm susceptible to that comparison trap. I know if I'm going to go on, um, gosh, I wish I was doing this look at they're doing that, how come they're doing that, and I can't do that and right. And here, and they're doing that and look at how beautiful and clean their houses, all those things. I'm just gonna fall susceptible to that comparison. Yeah, really have to be careful. And really, you know, be aware of where we're at and what we're feeling to say, okay, it might be wise that I limit this source in my life right now.

Claudine
Absolutely. Yeah. It's so true. I mean, we have practicals to help us with comparison, because it is normal. Our brains are wired to do it. We're gonna keep doing it. But we have to limit the comparing that brings us down, or that makes us brings us up in an unhealthy way where we're feeling arrogant or prideful about it. So let's talk about some of those practicals to stop comparing, because it's easy to stay right. stop comparing, but harder to do. So yeah.

Ashley
Let's tell our listeners Claudine. We already talked about one right? Limit social media.

Claudine
And it might not be all in social media. There might be a couple people that you follow that trigger you so like not everyone on social media, right? Because you know, but there are a few people that when I scroll through for some reason, it just triggers me. So those are the people I need to unfollow. No, and it's real simple. So I don't need to get Off social media entirely, but perhaps there's just a few people. Again, for me, just because recently I was scrolling through Pinterest. I'm not going to stop going through Pinterest. But I had to talk myself through it like, okay, I don't really know what's going on in the background here. I mean, they may, it may have taken him a year to do this post. Like, I'm thinking, I see the pictures, and I read the posts. And I'm like, wow, they did this on a weekend, right? Because a lot of them are like, so this weekend, my husband and I renovated the entire kitchen on a $500 budget. You're like, hey, How'd you do that? In a weekend on $500? And two, how are you writing this? And taking all that? I know, we have a crew. I'm so confused.

Ashley
We'll see. And you hit it right there. Claudine, when we see those things, we tell ourselves a story. We got this whole scenario of what must be going on? And how often is that really going to be true? Do we really know the inside scoop? No, not so much. I mean, I've seen people where they post their best picture of their family all smiling and dress nice. Meanwhile, you hear the backstory, and you're like, Oh, my gosh, I couldn't get my kids to smile. And we had to bribe them with this and this and this.

Claudine
And I was yelling

Ashley
All of a sudden, 123 cheese cheese. Okay, great. That's very true, we build that story in our head. And then that's that comparison, it's like, then we see them as being more superior and able to do more, because it does kind of tug at those desires in our heart. But right kind of increases that emotional feeling of envy, or jealousy, or bitterness, maybe, or just, you know, just an overall feeling of unhappiness, you know, gosh, I was doing this and then we start focusing on it, and we ruminate on it. And then we just go down a very bad path, the little rabbit hole. So true.

Claudine
And studies have shown that time on social media increases depression and envy, and decreases our well being so just you and me saying it, there are studies that back this up, there's research. The other thing is TV and books if those trigger you like, for me, not so much. But some people can watch TV shows, and then really fall into that like, Well, why don't I have that? Why is my marriage not like that? Like, oh, there's a script, there's light. There's directors.

Ashley
Like jack and this is us? Can there be any one more perfect?

Claudine
I know. Exactly. Right. So limit TV books, socially, anything that is your trigger. And that right? You know, really to know what triggers you when you feel that, you know, you just don't feel good inside, recognize that something's been triggered, and recognize what it is and then limit that. Another thing with a practical with comparison is that it really does help you see what's important to you. So dig deep about what you really want. Like if something is causing you to feel insecure or envious or bitterness what's what is it that you really want? Right? Is it really the clean house? Is it that people will think more highly of you, I mean, really get to the root of what it is that that the comparison is triggering within you. Because just limiting social media doesn't get rid of the root, either, because the minute you go back on it, you're gonna feel it again. So get in touch. So root of what you really, really want. Because usually, if you're feeling envious, or or bitter or discouraged about something, it's because there's something that you value that you don't have. So think of ways, get creative and think of ways you can get what it is you want.

Ashley
I have a great example for that Claudine to share. I will, I will. And you probably can relate to this too, especially with your circumstance last year and a half trying to sell your house. And I was thinking about how there are some people that I know and see that are I mean, making their homes beautiful, and buying new furniture and getting work done, or maybe putting in a pool and doing all these things. And I was starting to feel myself get jealous, like, gosh, how can we don't get to do that? And how can we can't buy this? And how can we have all this old furniture that are all scuffed up from you know, living, you know, our living situation with young kids and pets and everything. But it did I think what you were saying it was what is the deeper issue. And as you know, being great counselors for my husband and I, one of my deeper issues is I want to enjoy life a little more by spending a little more I would love to be able to spend a little more money on our home and make it look nice. But then, you know with my husband and I talking more about it well is it a good time because our kids are still pretty young and if we get nice stuff it's gonna get destroyed. And you know, I mean kind of.

Claudine
You will not be enjoying it. You will not enjoy it.

Ashley
Absolutely. But I I really paid attention because of all the work we've done right in our own personal life and learning all this stuff that I recognize how I was feeling and what those thoughts that was being brought up, you know, so for our listeners, just when you do get triggered, really pay attention to those thoughts that are coming up in your mind is very important, because that will tell you what you're really feeling about the situation and, and you know, what you do really value, you know, do I value having this home that looks immaculate and have all this nice stuff? Not really, the issue was, I would like to be able to spend a little bit more than what my husband is comfortable with, on our home.

Claudine
And with that being said, I will say when you guys are well into your 50s and other people or eyeball into debt, you guys will be retired and travel around the world and enjoying life. And you'll be like, wow, I'm so glad I didn't get that new couch when I wanted to, because my kids would have ruined it anyway. And I had to get another new couch. So anyway, that's such a great, great sample. I know, for me, obviously, the comparison has been that every house around this is sold. So that triggers a lot of insecurity. For me, I had to dig really deep about feelings of worthlessness like I don't, I'm not worthy, right. Like, maybe God doesn't really love me and really want to give me what I want, right? With that, and really work on that and really get back to No, I feel very loved. And I'm very worthy. It's just timing. And the funny thing with this whole story is, it's a little soon to share, but our house is in escrow right now. And because of the timing, we're able to find a house that we would have never found right, never been able to get into. And as it hopefully will all turn out in a few months, we'll be settled in that new home, which couldn't have been a better fit for us. And we would have never found it had the timing, right. And any sooner or any later. It's just you know, when that story completely unfolds, I'd be happy to share it. But it's just amazing. And it's like, easy to sit today and go right. I'm getting everything I wanted. I mean, eight months is a long time in this real estate market to have a house sell. Yeah. And you know, when especially when every house around you I'm like, I'm looking at the pictures going this way. not as nice. Like, not even close it Yes. I look at the price per square foot help me understand. I just can't understand it. But you know, as it unfolds, things get clearer and clearer. And some Oh, yeah. We don't know. Like, even when we look at people around us, we don't know what's in their journey, we have no idea. And maybe social media makes it look right, or maybe even friends in our real life. But we don't know what's ahead in their journey.We have no idea and like, everything's, you know, up today and down tomorrow for all of us, right, we all have our peaks and valleys. And you know, we're comparing other people's peaks to our valleys, perhaps, but then time will come when we're going to be in our peak, and then there'll be in their Valley. And there's something to be said about just knowing that like, being aware that everything goes up and goes down. And so your up might be someone else's downtime, and your downtime might be someone else's uptime. But it all kind of evens out in the wash at the end. It really does.

Ashley
Right. And you know, a great point too, is considering how you said the peaks and the valleys, you know, and when we compare, it can kind of give us negative attitudes towards that person, because you feel jealous or envious. But when we recognize that we are all on our own journey, we all have highs, we all have lows, you were not supposed to go on the same road and the same journey as anyone else. It's all on our own. But when we do have those peaks, that prayerfully we are having empathy towards those people, you know, when they're maybe at their low, but also just keeping in mind, again, it goes back to our thoughts, that's not necessarily the person, you know, it's more what they have, or what they're doing with their life, you know, when you think about it, and so we have to be very careful about putting those emotions, you know, in in the middle of that relationship, especially a lot of times it's people we're close to, you know, that we can tend to compare more so in a positive or negative way. So it's very important that we don't ruin our relationships with these people, because we may be jealous or comparing ourselves because again, it's it all comes down to the story that we build up in our head. Yeah, like you said, Claudine, I thought is really fascinating. Because we talk a lot and this was the first time I heard you say that when other houses were being sold, it kind of came down to your self worth. And that's a much deeper issue than Oh, their houses have sold and ours has not and it's been a long time like that's much deeper and you would not have arrived at that conclusion, had you not learned all this stuff and learn to become more aware and be really focused on the thoughts that are going around in your head. You know, and that's what we want to drive home for our lives. Nurses really pay attention to those thoughts in your head.

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. Like intellectually I knew my mind knew but my heart was struggling, right? And then it becomes, for me my weaknesses, I contend to make it about God's love for me like, well, I really love them. You know that scripture in Proverbs hope deferred makes the heart sick. I'm like, God, my hope is heard. I have like 100 people praying for us, their hopes are gonna get deferred. But you know, it's easy now sitting where I'm sitting today to see how his timing was just right. But even two months, I mean, even two weeks ago, I mean, we were meeting in small group, and I literally was at the end of my rope. I mean, you all I'm like, oh, my goodness, guys, I'm going to lose. I was on the verge. I mean, between everything that's going on in our world, we're still in a pandemic regrowing almost a year, my house hasn't sold. I've been living out of a suitcase since practically March, although you have a lot more clothing items to my little suitcase. But, you know, I was getting to the end, like, I can't do this anymore. This is just too much. And, you know, sure enough, two days later, we got an offer. But I was willing to look deeply at myself, right. And I wasn't it wasn't a comparison at this point. But the comparison did trigger the deeper issue which I was able to work on. Important. I mean, really, we talk a lot about mental health on this series. It's why we do what we do, because we both really had to work to overcome and get to a healthy place where we could rise up and shine and really help others and be our best selves for our husbands and our kids and our friends. And everyone around us. So another practical is celebrate others victories. And I think about that passage in Romans that says, you know, we rejoice when others rejoice, and you brought that up. And that's so much harder to do, right? It's so much harder when you feel like you don't have to celebrate right have at least for me, that's my, you know, sinful nature, it's really hard for me to rejoice with others that have what I don't have, right. But again, it goes back to understanding that at some point I'm going to have to, and then I want others to rejoice with me. So really practice and it's practice, like a muscle, celebrate others victories celebrate that other people get to travel, celebrate, that other people's kids are doing really well, or getting married and having kids or whatever it is that we struggle with that their house is clean. Yeah. clean house and homeschool our kids, that's amazing. I was just telling someone the other night, I thought, Oh my gosh, if my four kids were young right now, and I was homeschooling for them, I think I would have lost my mind. But anyway, more power to all of you at home moms, because I just, I don't know, if I would have made it, I could now at 55. But you know, I was, I was 35 when I had four small children, so didn't have all the extra wisdom and grace for myself. So another practice was practice self love. And we talked about this a lot. And what does that mean, you know, really taking time to do things that nourish your soul that nourish your heart, I mean, it's hard to feel insecure or bitter or discouraged when you're loving yourself and, and taking care of yourself.

Ashley
Yeah, that is a huge one, especially how we talked about earlier with the upward social comparison, the downward social comparison, and even just the levels of self esteem, you know, some tend to have a higher self esteem, and some tend to have a lower self esteem, and me knowing that I have more of a lower self esteem. And I've had to work a lot on that in my own life and my own value and self worth. self care was very challenging, because I didn't feel like it was okay. I felt like it was selfish. And I should be thinking about everybody else all the time. And I have to be on all the time for everybody, that I couldn't do things for myself. And I actually had, like, my husband basically kicked me out yesterday because that you need to go do something for yourself. You need to go take some time. He was about ready to check me into a hotel for the night and I and you guys encouraged it too. You're like yes, I was like, I am going to be left alone to my own thoughts. I that is not a good place for me to be. I need to.

Claudine
You to have to wait till I'm back in town and we will go together.

Ashley
I'm like, I either have to be with people or I need to just be distracted and you know, go out for the day, which I did. I was able to go out and you know, get some new clothes. So I that was that was great. I came back feeling really good. But my issue was self care and like again, it goes back to those deeper thoughts. about it like, gosh, I felt like it was so selfish, you know, just because of my personality. And it's hard for me to ask for some time, hey, is it okay? If I take off for a few hours? Is it okay? If I go take a nap or a bath, I have a hard time asking for help in general. So self care, you have to have a really healthy, accurate perspective on self love and self care. Self Care is definitely part of self love and forgiving yourself having compassion on yourself not being too hard on yourself. I had several talks with people that I know a lot of us can relate to right now with it, especially as younger moms with younger kids doing school, trying to keep up with the house, we're a lot of us are feeling that burnout and overwhelm. And then when you add on the comparison issue, it just makes you feel worse, right and more overwhelmed, more stressed Adam or like a failure. So it's very important to focus on that self love what is self love look like to you have grace on yourself. You have compassion on yourself. You're doing great. Nobody has gone through this before. This is so new for all of us. We're doing the best we can. And yeah, just, you know, go easy on yourself. Don't be so hard on yourself.

Claudine
Well, you know, and I've had to do that. Because even for me, not with my children, because obviously they're all grown. But you know, I was hoping to launch my business. Last year we started you and I and we were doing workshops. So I was taking on a very different look. And so then I had to pivot is I'm building an online right business, but I look at all these women who in a year, you know, you read these stories or articles and they've already built a six figure income and a pandemic. And I'm thinking, Man, I'm just trying to get dinner on the table. I know. Granted again.

Ashley
Take a shower today. You know it's good.

Claudine
I know, right? Did I shower today? Do I even know what day it is? I've shared with a few people. We missed midweek. A few Wednesday's ago, we just didn't even know what day it was. We sat on the couch and at 8:30. I'd like to my husband's like, today's Wednesday. I totally forgot church. That's the you know, 30 plus years. Yeah, I've done that twice. That anyway. Yes. So, so many things. And I've had to have that grace on myself. Like, everything evolves, everything evolves the way it's supposed to, right, my journey is a little longer. So be it just like this home sale took a lot longer. But oh my goodness. And a few months when I'm sitting that new house, it's gonna be absolutely worth it. So we don't know what's on the other end. So yeah, be patient. Show yourself grace. I mean, it does say love is patient. Love is kind, you know, we have to remember those things and practice those for ourselves really have patient kind thoughts just towards our own selves. Another big one, to me that overcomes comparison is having a gratitude list. And I've prepared a resource that you can find on both of our websites at mindoverchaos.com, or claudinesweeney.com. And it's prompts to really do a good solid gratitude list that you can either add to daily or just review. And that keeps our heart in the right place. Because when we're comparing it leads us to envy or insecurity or pride. But when we're grateful, it leads to contentment, it leads to peace, it leads to joy. And that's where we want to live. That's where we want our hearts to be full of is love, joy, peace, contentment, not the others. So gratitude lists, we've got prompts for that. But that is powerful. And those are the things even for me, as we've been living here, for I don't know how many months now almost a year, but I've just had to every day, thank God that I'm close to my children and my grandchildren. And last night, we had our first sleepover with our grandson who's just shy of three and it was it was hysterical. He would not go to sleep because he's so excited to be at Granny's house, you know, but it was just a right we had the lights off for two hours and he was sleeping next to us on the floor in his little bed. But he would not sleep. He just kept standing up. grainy, you awake? No, we're sleeping. And it was like 7:30. So we're really hoping he would go to sleep. So we could watch a movie or something that did not happen. We just laid in darkness for like two and a half hours before fell. It was funny. And you know, if I had moved in any sooner, I wouldn't have had that experience. Yeah, we wouldn't have had that safe to fight every day to keep my mind focused on what I'm grateful for. And I think that's a huge practical for overcoming the comparison trap.

Ashley
Oh, yeah, it takes intention and sometimes even planning into your schedule. You know, you have to be more proactive with those things. It doesn't necessarily come natural. You know, I mean to, Okay, sit down and think of 10 things or five things that you're grateful for. It doesn't always come natural. You have To make a point to make it happen, and it really is, how do you want to feel? What, you know? How do you how do you want to feel with the comparison thing? Or how do you want to feel in your life and you know, we all want to feel better. We all want to feel happy. We all want to feel at peace. goodness sakes, right now, peace, please. Don't we all want peace and somewhat of normalcy. But really putting that into our schedule, as every morning, let's write something down that we're grateful for. It's very powerful.

Claudine
Absolutely. And my last practical is really spending time in your Bible. I mean, for me, what I've had to learn and realize is that my true standard The only one worthy of my comparison is Jesus Christ. Oh, I'm never gonna reach that. But that's my standard not you know, Susie Q on Instagram on how many followers she has, or what she looks like in a bathing suit. Eight or, you know, so many things that keep popping up. And I'm just like, Oh, is this is this my standard? I didn't know, I was so happy until I saw this picture. Now I'm like, oh, but you know, like, I didn't know that was my standard, but it's not. And the truth of it is Jesus is our only standard and the more we spend time in the Bible, that's gonna shape our thoughts that's going to shape our hearts, our emotions, that's going to change shape, our behaviors and our actions. Again, more peace, more joy, more love. So those are the practices that really helped me overcome comparison and the ugly sides of it. I found this scripture in the message version of the Bible and Galatians 6:45. And I thought it was such a great well written one, but it says, make a careful exploration of who you are, like what we talked about, and the work you've been given it and then sink yourself into that. Don't compare yourself with others. The other one, each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. I love that said, you know, we just have ourselves to compare ourselves to in Jesus and no one else.

Ashley
That was a really great scripture, Claudine, and I'm gonna have to look that one up. I like that that version is very true. You know, I mean, God gave us each our own journey. And, you know, we are made in His image and we get to create what that looks like in him. So everybody, thank you for tuning back in with us today. And we look forward to catching you next time. So we will catch you next week.

All right, everyone. Thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the Rise Up and 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 claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.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.

Episode #60

Forgiveness takes one but reconciliation takes two. Coming off of our last episode on forgiveness we needed to tackle the issue of reconciliation. Just like forgiveness, reconciliation is a choice. In today's episode, we define reconciliation as well as discuss when we should reconcile a relationship and when we shouldn't. Don't forget to subscribe and share this episode with a friend.



Ashley
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.

Claudine
Welcome back friends. Today we are talking about reconciliation. Last week, we talked about forgiveness. And we noted that there can be some confusion. So we thought we would do an episode just on reconciliation, just to make sure that we're all clear. And we have practicals to help us if there's a need to do that. So restoration or so reconciliation is the restoration of a relationship to harmony. So forgiveness is a choice we make to release others from our punishment. We talked about that last week. But reconciliation is actually restoring the relationship so you can forgive someone and not necessarily restore the relationship. Or you can forgive someone and restore the relationship. So that is what we're talking about today.

Ashley
Yeah, yeah, Claudine, this is going to be a great one, I'm going based off of last week's forgiveness episode, this is great, because there can be reconciliation in a relationship. And sometimes, as you said, there may not be reconciliation and a relationship and distinguishing between the two. You know, as we mentioned, last episode, and he, you briefly mentioned about forgiveness is really letting ourselves move on and heal from whatever pain we experience, whatever the circumstance brought us. And reconciliation is that choice of wanting to continue this relationship? And let's, let's resolve what is going on. And let's get both back on the same page, because we are both invested in this relationship. So we can move on and grow from this and have a healthy relationship. And really, it's a choice just as forgiveness as a choice. reconciliation is a choice. You know, I mean, I can think of many times, even in my marriage, where I felt Well, I I automatically forgive just because I love you. But I'm not ready to reconcile. Right? I don't want to reconcile right now. Let me be in my misery for a little while. And it's really important, it's important to take a look at well, who does that really affect? Yes, it affects the other person, but really, it greatly affects yourself. And I think it's important for us to share this with our listeners, because there are times where it just kind of has become a habit and a pattern. And we don't always stop to think you know what, maybe I can actually consciously choose a different route and consciously choose to reconcile. So that way we can have a relationship restored, you know, because especially if you're living with the person, or you see each other on a regular basis, whether it's family, a co worker, whoever it may be a child, a roommate, whoever it may be, if you're in constant contact with that person, and you need to be, of course, you're going to want to reconcile, that is going to be the healthier option for everybody involved. But it's going to be great today to share with our listeners steps on how to do that. And again, kind of talking the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. And again, if you missed last week's episode, on forgiveness, make sure you go back and listen to that, because this is a great second part to this topic. Right?

Claudine
Well, and it's great that we are differentiating it because I know for me when I was a young Christian, I didn't see a difference. So if someone hurt me, I thought I had to just allow them back into my life. Right? Sometimes that's where we can think that if I'm a Christian or Christian woman, that I'm a doormat, because people can treat me any way they want to, and I just have to forgive them. And like you said, forgiveness is a choice. And it's really releasing us from the pain involved and really releasing the offender from punishment that really God's gonna give not up to us to give. But reconciliation is also a choice. It's a decision to restore the relationship. And sometimes you can forgive someone and it might not be appropriate. It might not be healthy, to reconcile with them, right? Absolutely. In a lot of relationships, like family or coworkers will sometimes it's super important to reconcile, especially if you're gonna see someone every day, but there are also times where to have healthy boundaries, right where you don't want to let someone that could be a toxic relationship, to continue to have that effect on you. You can forgive them regardless for the behavior, right? But you don't necessarily have to reconcile. Because reconciliation, it does take two and you said that last week, you know, forgiveness takes one, but reconciliation takes two. And so, you know, there's a lot of times in our lives where we're gonna have to forgive on a continual basis. I mean, even Christians, we have to forgive each other. I mean, we still hurt each other, we still fall short and do or say things that hurt people's feelings.

Ashley
Oh, my gosh, yes. Aren't we all imperfect? folks? We're all imperfect. Remember that?

Claudine
Yes. So I know that I need forgiveness. And I know I need to extend it. And I hope that in those relationships, there can be reconciliation. I had a situation last year actually very close friend. I may have shared this earlier on a different episode. But I had a really close friend, and she felt like I had betrayed her. I had laid out some information that she had specifically asked me not to share, and I was really cautious. And I felt like I hadn't shared it. But I made it known to someone else that I knew. And so you know, in that respect, my friend felt that I had betrayed her secret or not, her secret wasn't secret was just information that no one was to know yet. And I kind of let it out of the bag that I knew. And so I'm so grateful because she respected our relationship enough to pull me aside and say, Hey, I need to talk to you about this situation. And of course, I felt terrible. You know that I bet my friend felt betrayed. But she wanted to reconcile. She wanted to make sure that our relationship was filled with Unity and Harmony, and not just swept under the rug because she could have right she could have just thought, Well, I'm sure Claudine didn't mean anything by it. But the truth of it is, it would have been there, it would have been in the back of her mind well, right, creamy that one time, I don't know if I totally trust her. So it was a great opportunity for both of us to talk it through. And she understood why I said what I said, I understood why she felt how she felt and our relationship was stronger than ever after that, because now there was this trust that if anything happens, we're not going to sweep it under the rug, but we're going to bring it to each other immediately. And so for me, it made me feel really secure in that relationship. So not that we need to come up to everyone, all our friends, every little thing, you know, you looked at me funny yesterday, and I feel really hurt. I don't mean that.

Ashley
You didn't like my post you didn't. I didn't get this emoji was this? Or do you have an attitude with me or what? We really can sometimes.

Claudine
Yeah, we really can. But it's so important. You know, as Christians, God is the originator reconciliation, he did everything to reconcile us to him. And again, it's a two way street like, right, given us Jesus, but we have to respond to enter into that restored relationship with Him to be in unity with him and in harmony with him. And so as Christians, we need to extend that to those in our life to be willing to reconcile. In Romans 12:18 it says if it is possible, as far as it depends on you live at peace with everyone. And I love that because it really makes it clear that it is on us to try and live at peace with everyone. But it also says as far as it depends on you sometimes if the other person isn't willing to reconcile or isn't willing to take the steps for a healthy reuniting of a relationship. Then we've done all we can do.

Ashley
Claudine. Yeah. So this is something that I had to really understand on a deeper level, the reconciliation I mean, you you made such a great point with our Jesus came so we can have reconciliation with God and our relationship and restore that relationship back to how it was supposed to be from the beginning. And we can take that mindset into every relationship we have, you know, and if you mentioned something earlier, way back earlier, since we started this episode, that's been jingling in my mind, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, I want to hit on this point, and you said boundaries. So one thing I had to learn that I want to share with any listener who can relate to this. Just because you are holding, yes, we want to strive for reconciliation. However, it's okay to have boundaries in establishing a relationship. It does not mean all or nothing. It does not mean we're either going to be friends or not, you know, I mean, it means I can still have this person in my life, but to a certain extent, maybe we're not going to be best friends. And as a Christian woman, I struggled with that because As you read that scripture, you know, make every effort to live at peace with everyone. I thought, well, we all need to get along and have a great relationship and be best friends. And it took some rude awakenings in my life and in certain experiences I went through, to realize that that's not reality. That's not what this scripture is saying, I don't have to be this person's best friend, I don't have to be the doormat or the fixer in their life or you know, the codependent one, and I'm going to make your life easy, or I don't, you know, all these things that I wrestled with, I don't have, I don't have to be those things for you. Because it's not my responsibility. My responsibility is to love you, and to live at peace with you. But it's also their choice to live at peace with me. And if they don't, then that's their choice. That's just how our relationship is going to be. It's not, it's not something that I need to put on my shoulders, as my as my job to oh my gosh, I need to do whatever I can to make this person happy. And being a codependent, that is what we do, we strive to make the other person happy. And it really took such a toll on my mental health and my emotional health and many women out there. And I just wanted to hit that home that the boundaries, it's I have people in my real life, I have people in my life that I need to see on somewhat of a regular basis. But I don't have to be their closest friend. You know, it is okay to be an acquaintance. It may still be loving still be is with them. Don't cry about them. Don't you know, make certain choices. But you just don't have to strive to be best friends with everybody. And that was really hard for me.

Claudine
Yeah. Me as well, me as well, that all or nothing thing. I'm an all or nothing kind of gal and it's like I'm either all in or all out, which is not healthy.

Ashley
That's right. And as you said, right. And as you said last episode with forgiveness, you tended to cut people out, got hurt. Well, that's not reconciliation.

Claudine
No, that's the opposite.

Ashley
You think about what kind of relationships do you want to have? What right? How do you want your life to be? What kind of friends do you want to surround yourself with? Do you want to keep cutting people out? And I know people who do and I can do that as well. And I, I tend to cut people out because I'm the victim. So and I think, oh, they don't like me anymore. They don't care about me anymore. And those are the thoughts that I play in my head. So I don't go to reconcile because it's uncomfortable. It's conflict. Many of us, most of us humans, our brains do not want conflict. Right? So we're not going to go, Oh, I'm going to go solve this. And I'm going to go talk with this person. Sure. I'm sure there's a small percentage of people out there who really don't mind the conflict. I am not one of them. I will avoid, but I'll play, I'll play the story in my head, right? I'll forgive them. Or I'll forgive myself, sometimes it's been something that I did that I needed to apologize for. But I will distance myself because in my brain, my mind will tell me that, well, I hurt their feelings. They don't want to be my friend anymore. Right? So I was kind of the opposite. And I would be lonely. You know, and and they're probably wondering what's going on? What's wrong with Ashley? How come she doesn't text or call me anymore? Meanwhile, I'm sittimg home. Yeah, I'm sitting home playing that story in my head on the couch all alone. But you think about it, right lady? So think about that. How are my relationships? You know, have. Have there been situations that have happened in a close friendship even? Or with a family member? That really we can reconcile? And most likely they want to reconcile, but I didn't give it a chance.

Claudine
Yeah, that's a great. That's a great point. And you know, we are meant to be in harmonious relationships, we are created to be in relationships, we are created to love and to be loved. But you know, being human is hard. It's really hard. Some days, it's harder than others. But we're all going to have some relationships that are broken by something one way or another. Whether it's a small, you know, betrayal or broken trust or something major. I mean, some of us have had major, major things happen to us in our lives. And it's a lot easier said than done to forgive and to reconcile, but yet it's still a calling to forgive. And one of the things when you talk about broken relationships and the stress, you talked about the anxiety and there have been studies done that when you know we have broken relationships or there's a lack of forgiveness, then it leads to stress and depression and anxiety in a weakened immunity. And I read this really interesting article where one doctor did some research and of cancer patients he was treating 61% Some of them had forgiveness issues. And I thought, Oh my gosh, that really affects your health doesn't mean it caused the cancer. But it was interesting that 61% of them had forgiveness issues. And when you have chronic anxiety, you know, you're producing excess adrenaline and cortisol, and those deplete the production of the natural killer cells that help us fight these diseases. And more than ever, now, as we're still in a pandemic, we have to keep our immune systems as strong as possible and keep our mental health, our well being our emotional well being our spiritual well being. And if we have broken relationships, and don't make an attempt to reconcile if the other person is willing, but the very least to forgive, it really affects our health. And that's powerful. So that yet another reason to forgive and to reconcile.

Ashley
And it's really important to keep that in mind right now, because we've all been isolated to a certain extent. I mean, there are some people who still go to work. But we aren't going out socially, you know, we're not really allowed to, and we keep getting these restrictions put on us and then lifted and then back on and we don't know what to do, can I go to a restaurant today? What can I do? Can I meet a friend. And so we've resorted to these zoom calls, and you know, but they're just not the same in our relationships. But right, because of this pandemic, and almost coming up to a year now. Oh, my gosh, it's so crazy to say that, but it's almost coming up to a year now, since this whole thing started. Imagine how easy it is now to isolate ourselves, when we experience something, you know, hurt feelings, or some sort of conflict that arose in a relationship or, you know, what, I don't have to see the person, so I don't have to reach out, you know, and reconcile. And wait, I'm just gonna move on, it's not a big deal, because I'm not going to see that person for who knows how long. And if you think about that, you think about well, I'm forgiving, and I'm moving on? Well, in theory you are, but those emotions and those thoughts follow you. They're not going anywhere, if you're not actually trying to reconcile, and you know, your heart is to just walk, like you said, sweep it under the rug, just try to forget about it. It doesn't work that way we try. And as humans, we try because when, you know, in our earlier years, that was kind of just the way of doing things as well just move on, just move on. And especially when there's going to be those relationships where we may not have the chance to reconcile. I mean, that's a kind of a different story here. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about when you do have the chance, you know, don't isolate yourself, because it's only going to hurt you. Yes, it hurts the relationship. Of course some more, but it's really only going to hurt you internally, because you're the one that has to sit with those emotions and those feelings. Yeah. Gosh, well, if only I said sorry. Or if only I said, Hey, it kind of hurt my feelings when you did this. It can sometimes take something like a five minute conversation. I mean, really. You know. And then and then it's done. And then you actually do feel good, and they feel good. And that relationship is restored. Sometimes we can get so hung up on these silly things. Well, he said, or she said, and you know, that we can get hung up on that. And like, Well, I'm not gonna be the one to reach out. I've done that on my marriage. I just talked with you earlier about that. I'm like, I don't want to reconcile right now.

Claudine
I'm gonna talk about it, but I don't want to do it.

Ashley
I know how ironic that that is our you know, our, our episode for today, doesn't mean that it's not easy. I mean, it doesn't mean that it's easy. It's sometimes it's hard, even in a relationship where I love and adore my husband so much. But there's just times where I want to feel justified in how I feel, he needs to be the one to come apologize he needs to be. And then when you sit and think about, Okay, come on, like really be the bigger person. Do you really want to go a week or two weeks? living like this living in this, you know, environment and like, we're just, you know, cold shoulder and separate corners of the house? No, that's not really what I want to do. I think I want to do that because I want to feel like I want to feel my I want to feel validated for my feelings. Right? But in the long run, that's not, that's not reconciliation.

Claudine
It's not healthy. Yeah. And especially you have two young children at home. So they're watching and learning, you're modeling for modeling reconciliation. So, you know, our children are all grown and out of the house. So we could do that. But like I've shared with you before my age, I'm just too tired to fight like, I forgive you. Okay, let's reconcile. So let's talk about some of the steps to reconciliation because we know that it's important for health reasons, mental, emotional, spiritual health. Important, God calls us to live at peace, as it depends on us. So we know it's something, it's his heart. It's what how he wants us to live. So we've talked about the first step, which is forgiveness. So there has to be forgiveness, if someone has done an offense to us has sinned against us or hurt us in some way. The first step is forgiveness, either way, or if we're the offender, there has to be forgiveness, the other person has to be willing to forgive us, or we have to be willing to forgive the other. So the next step in reconciliation is having to willing hearts two people have to want to be reconciled. And so you can have forgiveness. But if one party doesn't want to reconcile, then you don't have to willing hearts. So the third step is taking responsibility. And this is a big one, this is where the rubber starts to meet the road here, because you can have two people that want to have a relationship, and there's been forgiveness, and they both want it. But no one's taking responsibility for anything. And that's where we start having problems. I was talking to a friend recently, that was having a disagreement with their partner, and they just felt like no one, they weren't taking responsibility. The other person wasn't taking responsibility. They were just shoving it back at them. Well, you will, you will, you will, there's no way we're going to be restored to harmony and unity, when neither person is taking responsibility. And even even for me, like with my friend that, that I betrayed, I took responsibility right away. But she took responsibility in that she was told not to say anything. And she said it to me. And it was very humble of her to say, you know, I told you because we're so close, but I was asked not to and I shouldn't have. So she owned her little tiny part in it, even though it really wasn't her. And I think of another situation where I've been the betrayed one, where there's been forgiveness on my part, but there's not been a willing heart and the person has taken zero responsibility. And so it's very hard, you can't have a relationship with someone that won't even take responsibility for their actions. So that's important to know that that's part of the steps of reconciliation. Another step is really having a heart change, or, you know, repentance, we talked about that really turning away from the behavior, just having a heart change. And I'm not going to do that again. And that's part of setting boundaries if we've been betrayed by someone, and let's say they've even taken responsibility for it. But if they continue to do it, there hasn't been a heart change. That's gonna be a problem. We're gonna keep having issues. And that's kind of something you and I were talking about earlier, there has to be a heart change, like, Okay, I see how this hurts you, I see how this offends you. This is my offense. I don't want to keep doing that anymore. How can we find a solution where there's real change here, and it's not about being perfect, because we're never going to get there. And none of us are ever going to be perfect, but it is a change. It is a turn from the behavior that has offended like if I had gone with my friend who has since been more careful about telling me things, but if but has taught me some things, if I turned around and gone and let it out of the bag, I think that would have been bad. Like we had reconciled. But I think now there might be less chance of reconciliation. She might have still forgiven me. But I think the closeness the harmony, and the unity in the relationship would have been hurt.

Ashley
Yes. And I was actually gonna point that out as well. Claudine. Like, what do you do? Because some of our listeners might be wondering, Well, what do you do when that person keeps repeating the offense? You know, when they keep doing the same thing over and over a second, we've talked about this, and I've told you how I feel and why do you keep doing it? And and as you said, yes, it definitely does take a heart change, for sure. And I bring this up, because especially in relationships where like, our marriage, you know, I mean, that's the right one for myself, which is kind of what I'm referring to, but it can go with other relationships that, you know, family, people that are in our lives for good. Right, but thinking about, okay, we've had this conversation, we've talked about this for 15 years of our marriage, 30 years of our marriage, why does this keep happening? And I'm not talking about those big things that are anything like abuse or neglect or nothing like that. That's not what I'm talking about. Here. I'm talking about just Well, when you do that, that always hurts my feelings, and you're not, that's not my need. And you know, those those smaller things that really aren't so extravagant, but still hurtful. And we can feel and I've gotten there in my marriage. You know, fortunately, I've learned so much over the last three years where I have, I see the awareness and I see the choices I have. And it has really changed our marriage for the better. But there are times where you feel like, gosh, we've talked about this over and over and over and they're not changing. They're not changing, but keeping in mind that They love me. They're trying their best. They are right, because I am Emperor. Right. And yes, we may just need to talk about it again. Maybe we do.

Claudine
Yeah. I think that's that that's part of it. Definitely. If there's the willingness to go, Wow, I'm really sorry, I hurt you, I know I did. Again, we are going to keep hurting each other, especially in marriage, you know, you have two sinners living under one roof, it's just going to happen over and over and over again. And depending on the day, I know, there's some days, I'm a little more snippy. And it has nothing to do with my husband. You know, I'm just stressed, or I'm just feeling whatever I'm feeling that day, and maybe be a little short with him. And that'll hurt his feelings. And he certainly has talked to me about that before. But it really had nothing to do with him. But then I'm like, yep, you're right. You're right. I and it helps me to take a look at where am I at Gosh, I'm feeling really stressed today, or I'm feeling really isolated today. Or it helps for me to, to get a pinpoint on what my true need is. So a lot of times it's that for each person to go, where am I at that I'm still doing this because I don't want to do this. Mm hmm. And then for me for, for my husband and I, we've had the opportunity over the 30 years, 30 plus years, when we're stuck. Now you're talking about being stuck. When there's a pattern that keeps repeating itself, then it's time to involve a third neutral party, whether it's a pastor, a church, or a counselor, or coach or a trusted friend, someone a third party that might have neutral eyes that might be able to untangle the little, little little ball of string because I think we can get so stuck in our own patterns. That that we can't even see clearly. Yeah, for what the other person needs. I know for me, that's been huge. I get so stuck and seeing things through my eyes, right? Because who else's eyes, am I gonna see him? It's a concentrated effort to really step out of my own mind, my own body, my own experience and go, Okay, how is this? How is this for him? How is he taking this information or this experience in stepping out of it? That really helps me then connect with, okay, this is his knee, this is what he needs and, and be what I need to be. And the same with him, like help him. We've had some great talks, we've been driving a lot, obviously, because we're commuting still from Northern California in Southern California. So we have that five, five and a half hour drive. So we have a lot of talks. And it's been good to really gain an even deeper understanding of each other, even though we've been together. 30. Gosh, we're gonna celebrate 33 years in July, which is crazy, but true. So anyway, so yeah, so definitely, I think sometimes there is a time if we're stuck, we might need a mediator, we might need a third person to help us along these steps. And the final step is really rebuilding trust. And that's part of seeing the change behavior. So there has to be a rebuilding of trust. And trust is not a feeling. It's not like well, I trust you today, right? Because our feelings change. They change moment to moment, they change day to day. I mean, yesterday morning, I was like, feeling low and blue. by afternoon I was feeling upbeat chipper and then by nighttime, I was feeling kind of eh, again, you know, it just changed all day long. I'm like, Okay, my circumstance. I'm pretty aware of my thoughts, what is going on, I thought, stress and fatigue and, but rebuilding trust is huge. And so the person who did the offense who did the betrayal or the hurt, they have to consciously work on rebuilding trust. And it's not a feeling it's actions, it has to be seen. Like for me in for instance, with my friend, I was really careful about being rebuilding trust by not saying anything to anyone, like being really careful, like, even something that was not something I was told not to say. Right, right. You know, I just can't speak to that.

I'll have to call them directly and ask him I was like, you know, I really wanted to make sure I stayed within the lines, because I valued my relationship. And I wanted us to be in harmony, unity. So the trust isn't action, you know, it's not a feeling why trust you today, right? Oh, I don't know, that would be very unstable. So those are the steps to get to reconciliation. And over the years, I mean, like I said, and like I said last week, my friends from high school or my early adulthood, when they would hurt me, I would just cut them out. And I remember one situation, it was a pretty severe betrayal. Like one of the worst things, you know, my opinion someone can do to a friend. And I remember several years later, she sent a letter asking for forgiveness and all that. Yeah, I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. And I still had so many narratives in my head. Like you were saying earlier I had this whole story and I was the victim. How could she do something like this after I had done for her, and so I just took the letter and threw it away, like looking back now, I would never do that. But that's who I was, you know, my early 20s. Like, I just wasn't ready. I'm like, Nope, can't forgive, can't do that. But she made every effort to reconcile by writing a very heartfelt, very apologetic letter explaining her behavior and all that, and I was not ready. So I was unwilling hard at the time, and just threw the letter away. And so you know, that was 30 years ago. So God only knows what happened. But again, I wouldn't do that today. But that is how I behaved 30 years ago, and honestly had nothing to do with her. So her narrative could be, Wow, she doesn't care, she hates me or that it just was, I'm just not ready. I don't trust it. Trust was so broken, I didn't understand the concept of rebuilding trust and all that I was an all or nothing kind of guy. were either all in or you're all out, she was all out.

Ashley
Yeah. And you know, when you think about it, when you sit and stew, or what we like to call ruminate and play that story over in your head. The longer you do that, the harder it is to reconcile, right, the harder it is to even want to try to attempt reconciliation, you know, because you're just sitting and stewing in your own feelings and thoughts. And it's just swirling around, and you're building yourself up to Well, I was the one that was hurt here, and I shouldn't go to them, they need to be the one to come to me and apologize. And, and most likely, that doesn't happen. You know, sometimes they don't know, they may have hurt you. Maybe it's unintentional. Other times, they might just be in a bad place. And they're struggling, or maybe they've never been taught. There's so many different reasons. But yeah, you hurt yourself. When you sit in that place. It's okay to sit in your emotions and feel the pain and feel the hurt and the sadness. But it's very important to be careful what we're telling ourselves, we can't sit and play that victim and stay the victim because we're a victim. We were the one hurt, you know, from the other person's offense. And it's just a matter of circumstance, sometimes, you know, and it's what we do with it. So it's really important to be aware. And again, we talked about awareness a lot, because power, the neural pathways that you have paved in your brain, is caused by what you're thinking, you know, what patterns of thinking you stick to. And if you stick to I'm the I'm the one hurt, and they need to do this and that and you know, I didn't do anything wrong, or whatever. I mean, there's a million different things that could Yeah, that's going on in your head. But when you keep playing that over and over on repeat in your head, those are the thinking patterns you've created in your brain is like, Okay, this is our normal way of thinking, this is a general pass, right? That I have set out. And you know, that's exactly how you'll keep thinking. And anytime you see that person is going to trigger again, those same thoughts, and that's gonna be the way that's gonna lead you to how you feel emotionally, it's going to lead you to your behavior. So it's very crucial to remember because I mean, I did this in certain relationships. Ironically, I would say, these types of people keep following me in my life. Like, no, it's not like they're following. Yeah, yeah, it's, it's my pathways, my neural pathways that I have paved in certain relationships, that I've had the same way of thinking. And then it would cause me to feel the same feelings. And then I would back off and isolate and withdraw and be hurt, you know, and be this victim. And I took away my own power. Because I was sitting in this place of I'm the one hurt and you offended me, you hurt me. And so that's how I lived my life. And in my relationships, it would be the same thing. You hurt me. I'm the one that should be here. be sad.

Claudine
Right. Right. And sometimes.

Ashley
Do I want to live that way? Really?

Claudine
No. And sometimes you have to wonder why someone doing something to hurt us. I mean, are they just hurting themselves, then as a friend, I would want to be compassionate, because we know hurting people hurt others. So it's the friend that would go, gosh, you you know you really snapped at me. Are you okay? Have that compassion for them? And the other part is to I do anything like you know we do have to stop and ask ourselves, was there anything in my behavior that could cause them? Maybe I triggered them, you know, maybe they responded that way because it was something in me. So it goes both ways. But I think it's important that we talked about reconciliation today. differentiate between forgiveness and reconciliation, and really see the importance we want to stay healthy mentally, physically, spiritually. We want to have relationships that are harmonious and unified and just be able to live life to the full it's hard to rise up and shine if you've got a trail of broken relationships behind you.

Ashley
Right? That's right. Thank you everyone for tuning in with us today. And don't forget to subscribe and share this episode with someone you love somebody you know that he can help benefit you guys this was such a great episode. I know I'm gonna go back and listen to it a few times. But thank you again for joining us and don't forget to check us out also at mindoverchaos.com and claudinesweeney.com and tune back in with us next week.
Friends. Thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.

Episode #59

Forgiveness is one of those things we all need but it can also be so hard to give. Everyone of us has been on the receiving end of either intentional or unintentional pain by another. The words "I forgive you" may come easy but true forgiveness in our heart? Well, that's a different story. In today's episode, we talk about the effects that an unforgiving heart can have on our bodies as well as practical steps you can take to reach true forgiveness in your heart so you can be free from the pain once and for all.



Ashley
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.

Welcome back friends. Well today we are in for a doozy. I like to think today we're gonna be talking about forgiveness. Now forgiveness is something that we have all been given. Hopefully, it is also something that we all need to give to others. And there's a lot that goes into forgiveness, it really could trigger us. When we think about forgiving someone, some people, it may be easier to forgive some people, it may be very difficult to forgive them and but today we want to break it down because it really can impact our well being and that is why we are here. That is why Claudine and I are here every week to talk with you guys about your well being because we want to live our best life we want to rise up and shine. And forgiveness is a huge factor of that. So we're really going to break it down today guys about really taking a look at ourselves, checking in with ourselves. And we're gonna offer some great practicals right out this episode, to learn how we can forgive rise, it may not come easy to you. I used to think it was easy for me to forgive. But as we'll share a little bit later, I realized oh, maybe not so much. What do you think Claudine?

Claudine
I was the opposite. I thought it was hard to forgive because for me, forgiveness felt like I wasn't protecting myself or I wasn't. You know, I was like gonna put myself in more hurt if I forgave. But you know. The Webster defines forgiveness as to give up resentment. And so it's interesting, really, when we forgive. It's not even the other person. I mean, they have done the action that's hurt us, or betrayed us. But we're giving up the resentment that we hold within us. So when we forgive is really healing and like you said, we can't rise up and shine if we're holding on to bitterness and resentment. And surely the Scriptures teach us that. But science has a lot to say about this as well. And so I thought I'd start off with a few things that forgiveness isn't.
So forgiveness is not a denial of what happened, right? We think, well, if I forgive this person, then it's like erasing what happened. Right. It is not weakness. You're not a doormat, right? Many of us women, we don't want to be doormats and just say oh, I forgive you. And then the person does it again. And that's our fear, right? If we forgive someone, they'll continue to do that behavior. It does not mean forgetting, it does not right? Does not diminish.

Ashley
Forgive and forget. That doesn't really work out. Well. Does it work out for you?


Claudine
No, they're two separate things forgive and forget. It does not diminish the wrong done against us. Right. And it does not require an apology. Now that's an interesting one, right? Because I think for many of us, we feel like well forgive them when they say they're sorry. But that's not what true forgiveness is it can happen regardless of an apology is being made. The other thing is not to confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. Reconciliation is to restore the relationship. And so you can forgive someone and still have boundaries set up and not necessarily restore the relationship depending on you know, what was done.

Ashley
But you know, you think about it, reconciliation takes two. To have both parties in the relationship. Forgiveness only takes one.

Claudine
That's exactly right. Ashley, that's so powerful. And when we hold a grudge or resentment builds up, we ruminate over the offense. Right? I know you're going to talk about this later. But this is how our brains work, right? We just keep thinking about it. We keep thinking about the wrong that's been done us. And we remain a prisoner to our pain. And we harm our brains and our bodies by doing that. So that's why today is so important. Because if we really do want to be well and we want to heal, we have to learn the importance of forgiveness and how to do it.

Ashley
Claudine exactly what you said we keep ourselves in the pain of the event. When that person we keep reliving it as if it's still happening. Because we are allowing ourselves to stay in those negative thought spirals, you know those negative thought patterns, about the situation and about this person. And I recognize that for myself when I had an issue with someone And if I saw a text message from them, it would trigger me all over again. And I will feel the pain again. So any interaction anytime I saw the person or, you know, heard about the person or was going to see a person, it was like reliving that pain all over again. And that's where I recognize the power of this forgiveness, because I thought, Well, yeah, I feel like I forgive them. Like, I feel like I always forgive someone before it. But I learned it's my codependency. I just want everything to be good. Sure, I forgive you. Sure. Okay.

Claudine
You just brushed it under the rug.


Ashley
I just brushed it under. Yes, I brushed under the doormat, and I was the doormat. But that's exactly what was happening. I didn't necessarily forgive because I was still holding on to the pain. I kept myself in the victim mentality, because of where my head was because of how I thought about the situation. And yeah, I may have said those words, you know, in myself, like, I forgive you, not necessarily to the person. There's not much reconciliation there. But I told myself, I do forgive them. Let's move on. But I didn't move on. Right. That's why we want to talk about this, because we've learned these things. And we need to release ourselves from that pain and not allow ourselves to be stuck there. Because there's a lot of damage and harm that happens to our own bodies. Our physical bodies are emotional, mental well being.

Claudine
Yeah, yeah. When we don't forgive, it can affect our memory, our work performance, and it continues on us our path of negative emotions, we just feel bad. Even though like intellectually, you can say I forgive you. But if we have not truly forgiven from the heart, if we haven't dealt with those emotions, they stay there. And then we wonder why we don't feel well. We wonder why we just feel down or tired. Right? Because those negative emotions sap our energy, and if we don't process them, they stay they reside in our bodies.

Ashley
Oh, absolutely. And that's what I learned as well that I want to share with our listeners that when I was going through counseling in my own healing, and I learned, I, you know, I just thought we'll just move on, just move on from the traumas that I experienced move on, I thought, that's what you're supposed to do. Well, moving on is one aspect, but processing, in letting go is a key component. And when you don't do that, then you can't fully move on, you know, you move on, in theory, but all that pain is still trapped inside, you know, and it it affected my memory, it affected my focus it affected a lot of areas affected my relationships.

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. And it's funny, because you were talking about your thoughts. But when we don't forgive, we can't even think about the situation neutrally or naturally anymore, the body reacts. And we feel that stress, like it's just happening again, like you mentioned, and so who wants to keep reliving, you know, and, and healthy and unhappy memory. But that's what we're doing when we don't forgive. And then yeah, our brains release the stress, chemicals, cortisol and norepinephrine. And that's the fight or flight. So we're constantly in this state. So we're constantly in this state of fight or flight, and we may not feel like it. But if you're feeling down, if you're feeling tired, these are some of the reasons because your body is producing these neurotransmitters, these stress chemicals, because you're holding on to some negative emotions and or negative thoughts about the events in your life.

Ashley
And here's a good indicator, if you ask yourself, if you take an honest look and ask yourself, has someone ever told you you're sensitive? Do I feel a little bit more sensitive? And I learned that I thought, well, there's a reason for it. It's not just there's a reason for it. So we may be more sensitive, because we are in that fight or flight mode right much more often. And we're on constant alert, that part of the brain is on constant alert and looking for any other attack or threat or potential pain, you know exactly why it resembles and then just like you said, you get the flood of emotions or the flood of like you said, you get the flood of hormones, and it keeps us just in that state, that emotional state of reacting, ya know, and being overreacting.

Claudine
And the funny thing is, when we don't forgive someone, we remain attached to that person who's heard it. It's a negative attachment for now attach. So forgiveness is a total release. It's a release of the resentment but it's a release of the attachment. It's a release of the negative emotions. It's a release of the negative thoughts. It's very freeing. But not so easy, right?

Ashley
When you think about it, it's almost as if it's a power. Yeah, no, it's if we don't forgive this person or we still hold this grudge against this person, it's almost like having this power over that person that I'm not gonna let you do that again. You know, you cannot hurt me again. But it's a false power, we are actually keeping ourselves as the victim and giving them the power our right to still allow us to feel the way we're feeling to feel that pain, that anger, that resentment, that bitterness, what have you that hostility? You know, we are giving them that power. And let's take the power back people to get power back.

Claudine
Yeah, it's hard to rise up and shine when you're powerless and, you know, depressed very hard.

Ashley
So Claudine, let's talk a little bit about the benefits and also some of the harm that can happen on our bodies and our well being.

Claudine
Okay, well, some of the benefits of course, we've kind of already touched on but is that freedom, you will automatically feel better both mentally, and emotionally and physically, once we release that resentment release that negative thought about the hurt, once we enter the state of forgiveness, we are mentally emotionally and physically better off.

Ashley
Right, you'll feel more peace?

Claudine
Absolutely.

Ashley
That's right. And some more things that are benefits when we do choose to fully forgive and process through the pain is it decreases the risk of heart attack, it has a huge toll on our bodies as well. And as we mentioned earlier, it also can decrease our blood pressure. Now, it also can improve our blood pressure, it can decrease the risk of anxiety and depression and even the severity of it. And that's what I experienced it the reaction, I haven't felt depressed in a few years now, because of working through some of these traumas that I didn't fully process. Yeah, it also can improve our cholesterol, our sleep, think about it, when you're holding stressed and it wakes you up at night. It can also reduce pain, physical pain, it could be emotional pain, definitely the emotional pain. And also, like we mentioned earlier, it keeps us in that fight or flight. And so those hormones are constantly flooding through. And that can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, we already said depression and anxiety. Yeah, and all in all, it just exasperates that stress response of our body because we're on constant alert, right?

Claudine
And let's talk about the spiritual significance of forgiving. I mean, as Christians, if we don't forgive, how can we expect to be forgiven or turn that around, we who are forgiven, are expected to do the same for others to forgive them, it would be rather hypocritical, to not forgive those who have sinned against us when we certainly have been forgiven of a great deal. So that was a huge motivation for me when I understood the great length that God had gone to forgive me for all the things I had done, it became much easier for me to turn around and forgive others. But on a spiritual level, how do we grow? How do we really be conformed to likeness of Christ? If we don't learn how to forgive? And give it freely. So one of the things since we've touched on how important it is to forgive all the reasons it benefits us, let's talk about some practicals. Ashley, because, you know, again, I didn't know how to forgive. For me, when my friends hurt me in high school, or even my early adult years, I would just cut them off. Like, okay, we're done. Like you hurt me. We're done. That's not the most effective way to go through adulthood is cutting off everyone who's ever hurt you no matter what the offense? Why, or you know, even in this day and age, I can find myself well, you haven't called me back. I've called you three times. I guess we're not friends anymore. And of course, now, my prefrontal cortex is more developed. I'm like, No, we're friends. Maybe something's really going on with my friend. Maybe I should check on them. So let's talk about the practicals.
I think the first one is to acknowledge the pain. Like you said, sweeping it under the rug is not effective. I mean, it's a great time to journal it or sit with someone that you trust that you're close to acknowledge the pain. This is what happened. stay neutral. Again, stay not neutral, but stay with the facts like this is what happened. This happened. This was said this was done and this is how I felt. You know, really get specific Think about the pain and damages caused you.

Ashley
That's that's a great point. Because I think so many of us, that's what keeps us from processing our emotions and the events that we experience. And it could still keep a hold on our life. Because we tend to move on, and we tend to ignore it, you know, we tend to just, well, I'm not going to think about it anymore. And you'd think that that would be helpful, but we forget that it doesn't go anywhere. Yeah, if we don't process and say hey, I felt really angry about this. It's okay. Because we think that we shouldn't be angry or frustrated. And we don't want to stay in those emotional spaces. But we do need to acknowledge that I felt hurt. I felt angry when this person did I felt righteous. When this happened. I felt you know, feel it. It's important to feel our emotions in order for them to go away. And if you keep trying to push it, push it aside, is going to keep trying to pop up. any situation. Right. We know that from experience is going to keep trying to rear its ugly head until we feel it and deal with it.

Claudine
Yeah, I'm laughing because it reminds me of housework. You know, there's sometimes you just don't want to deal with housework. And so you just hide it, you know, like time? door? Yeah, like that one room and you're like, I can't deal with it. I don't want to deal with it. So I'll just close the door. Because if I don't see it, it doesn't exist, right? That's true. The problem is it does exist, and it's still there. And your brain knows it's still there. And it's going to have to be tackled one day or another. I don't know. Yeah, I don't know what maybe hoarders think they're just not dealing with anything any of the time. But anyway, usually, it was just one room or one drawer, if I was in a really good place was just one drawer. But acknowledge the pain. Yeah. So can't you can't close the door on your pain. I guess that's the takeaway. Don't close the door on your pain. acknowledge it, open the door. Feel it, feel it. The second one is empathy, which is really trying to see how the other person possibly could have done this. For me. I've said for years and years hurting people hurt others. I figured this out many years ago, and it totally helped me. When someone is hurting you. They're not in a great place. Honestly, like who that is filled with love and light hurts people. No one, no one, but you're filled with love and light and you're doing great. You're not hurting people intentionally or accidentally because you're coming from a place of love and light. But so for me to really take on like, what could that person possibly been going through themselves that they would say something like that, or they would do something like that? To me, and obviously, usually more hurt. When it's someone close to us. If a stranger. I'm walking down the street and a stranger says something negative to me, I don't, there's no need to forgive. I'm like, well, they're crazy. They don't even know me. But it's usually someone close to us that causes us the pain. And we have higher expectations, which you know, that could be a whole nother podcast, but we have expectations of those close to us, like you will not hurt me. But really trying to get into the other person's shoes. And you know, what story? Do we tell ourselves? Are we the victim in this story? Because usually, when we have to forgive where the victim, right? Is the perpetrator, possibly a victim? I mean, what's going on in them that they felt the need to say something hurtful or do something hurtful? That's really how they behave the way they behave. Right? Like, don't they know better? I know better. They should know better. And don't they care? But we tell ourselves stories like well if they love me, they wouldn't do that, especially in marriage, right? I mean, how many stories can we tell ourselves about our spouse? Well.

Ashley
Oh, my gosh yes, then you start compairing. And then just get yourself in a really bad place.

Claudine
I don't think he loves me, this marriage is a sham, you know, we're like.

Ashley
I'm not gonna make him dinner anymore. You know he likes it.

Claudine
Yeah. And of course, none of that works out very well. That's not who we're choosing to be. But those thoughts that we have those thoughts. So empathy has been really powerful for me just trying to see what could that person possibly be? And sometimes I just know, like, I know, in certain situations in my own life, that the people who have done me, you know, some hurt or done things that really hurt me or someone I love. They are limited, like, they just don't have the know how they don't. That was the best they could do. I mean, it's sad, but that was the best they could do at the time. I'm like, you know, it is sad. That was your best. But that's just where they are and accepting that people. Not everyone's where we think they should be right.

Ashley
Yeah. Expectation well, and to have the perspective that we're all imperfect, right, you know, in varying degrees yet in varying areas, but we all are human, we all are imperfect, we all have gone through our own experiences that have kind of helped cultivate who we become. Yeah. And therefore that other person, whoever they may be, also went through their own experiences. Yeah. And this is how they became, you know, and just keeping the mind the mindset that it's, we're just all imperfect, we're doing the best we can, like you said, some things just seem like common sense. That you figure, okay, I guess, but they're only going to experience the life. You know? Yeah. So they're only going to have to say, their life is going to be filled with those experiences based on how they're behaving. So they may not feel the love and the light in their life because of certain choices they're making.

Claudine
Absolutely. Another practical is choose to forgive. It's a choice. Like, we'd like to think that forgiveness is a feeling right? Well, I'll forgive them when I feel like it. Well, our feelings come from our thoughts. So we have to have the thought I'm choosing it's a choice, right? We can make to forgive, I want to cancel the debt. And that's what it was. And in essence, I read an article the other day that this, I think it was, yeah, it was a doctor that he forgave, like, hundreds of 1000s of debt, his clinic was closing. And he just forgave all his patients with outstanding debt. He just forgave it. And I thought, that's so powerful, just that feeling when you're forgiven, like I have had debt forgiven. And it's powerful, how much more wrong or wrong that we've done to someone where they say, I forgive you, and you just feel so forgiven. It's just powerful. But it is a choice. We have to think it in order to do it, and then to feel it. But it starts with a choice. And the other practical for me is again, and I've touched on it is lean on God's grace. I mean, I have to go back to my list of what God's forgiven me of, you know, and it's powerful to read the scriptures and see all the things where I had quote, unquote, sin, I'd fallen short and hurt God. And when I remember that, when I get in touch with who I am, apart from him, it's really easy to forgive others. their trespasses against me right. Like that prayer fun when we were young, at least when I was young, forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us. And I remember that it's a two way street, God forgives us, but we have to turn around and give it and sometimes we do have to lean on God's grace. Like he's given us His grace. And I need to lean on that to give the same grace to others because it's not easy. It's not my flesh for sure. I'm not in my nature super forgiving. I'd rather be alone and protect and cocoon and, you know, block everybody out. But I can't as a Christian woman can't live that way. And certainly not if I want to rise up and shine and live life to the full. I can't be my best cocooned safe and cocooned in my house. I think we call that depression when I went through that for a couple of years, right? So those are my practicals that have really helped me.

Ashley
Well, and I will share practicals that have helped me as well. And it's very specific to each thought that pops up. Right. So that scripture in Second Corinthians 10:5, take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. So I knew that, okay take every thought. Wow that sounds so poetic. I like that. Okay. And I just was mostly focusing on making sure you know, have pure thoughts and think positive and see the good and people be loving and generous. And, but when it came to people who I felt have hurt me, then that didn't really come so easily. Like, there are a lot of thoughts swirling around those circumstances. And it I mean, we have millions of thoughts millions or 1000s a day.

Claudine
So many.

Ashley
Yeah, we have 1000s, who knows maybe millions of thoughts a day, right? And to take our thoughts captive is not easy work. It takes practice but in specific situations. It is. It's powerful. It really is powerful to help with moving on and processing. So this was how I processed I've done research on this i've you know, kind of formulated my own little list that I wanted to share of here are specific practicals and steps you can take to process through your pain and move on from that. move on from that hurt. So the first thing and you touched on as well is acknowledge the pain that you felt. Because this is what I learned that I did not do. As I mentioned earlier, I just kind of will just keep moving on, keep moving on, just be tough, be strong, keep moving on. But that's not processing, it's get stuck in our subconscious. And those emotions that we don't process get stuck in ourselves. And that's how our cells get sick, and we get sick, and you know, all that stuff. And so to acknowledge that, hey, this is how I felt when this person said that or when this situation happened, I felt really hurt, I don't understand I felt really hurt. And just feel it, you know, go ahead, it's okay to feel whatever the emotion bring. If you feel angry about it, then feel angry about it. But then we move forward. And the next step is stop the dialogue in our heads. This is where we actually take the thoughts captive, you stop that rumination of this person said that and then I did that, and they you know, and then you start circling on not just the facts, but your opinions on that person and opinions on the situation that have, and you just keep thinking and thinking and thinking and you focus on it all day long, and you can't focus on anything else. And you know, and this is where it affected my memory, it affected my relationships that affected everything. Because I would get stuck and sit and just think about this situation or this person, and how dare they and how dare they say this to me or how you know, and it just brings up a whole flood of emotions on top of what I was already feeling, right? So maybe I was feeling sad. Well, now I'm feeling really angry.

Claudine
And then you're just paving those neural pathways everytime you think it, you're just paving it make it stronger, and stronger and stronger.

Ashley
And every time you see the person or every time their name pops up on your phone, anytime you see them on social media, just those flood of emotions get, you know, triggered again. So stop that rant that goes on in your mind. And also, not just in your own head. But how you talk to others. are you complaining about this person to others? Are you there's a situation where we had a roommate that was living with us, and the only conversation my husband and I would have was about this person, right? Because I was around them all the time. And I was really struggling and I had so much, you know, I was so frustrated. Talking about well, this happened today. And then that happened today in that and right. He was like I can we talk about anything else. But you get so fixated right when we allow it to go on in our heads. And the next thing we need to do is to refocus our attention, right? So we stopped that dialogue, we write those thoughts captive, make them obedient to Christ, make sure that we're not you know, punishing the person right in our own heads or, you know, out loud as well, but refocus our attention. And this is what you touched on is having more compassion on the person. Yeah, seeing, you know, where they came from, you know, hey, they probably got to this point in their life because of their childhood or because of their experiences, you know, that's bad, have empathy for them, you know, and that will change your heart as well. And that's where the forgiveness comes from it true forgiveness comes from the heart, not just from our lips, I forgive you. It was way beyond that. Yeah. And then what has really helped me is I pray for that person. So I had to stop the rant in my head. Right? You focus what my thoughts were focusing on. And then I pray for that person. Yeah. And then the prayer for that person really drives home that compassion, yes. Because as you said, we all have been forgiven. You know, that's why Jesus came and died on the cross, our debts are forgiven. And we need to show that same grace to anybody and everybody out there. It doesn't mean we're letting them off the hook. Not mean we're condoning what I did. It does not mean that we're saying, Okay, well, let bygones be bygones. You know, there's still power and boundaries for sure. But it's letting ourself emerge from the cocoon, as you said, and really be our best and feel our best and our physical, mental, emotional well being it really we hurt only ourselves when we choose not to forgive. So those things have really helped. And actually, I have one more I forgot to mention, self affirmations. So when I realized, especially from certain experiences, I went through certain traumas, relationships, it tend to trigger how I felt about myself. Yes. And so I kind of created so like the dialogue I had about this event or about this person. I also had a dialogue about how I felt about myself, and it was negative. I felt a lot of shame. Yeah, even when we don't necessarily do the offense. We still take on a lot of shame and if you you've experienced, so Certain traumas, you'll know that like, Oh my gosh, you feel really shameful. But you didn't do anything wrong, right? You know, it's like that's not fair. Yeah. And so I had to work a lot through self affirmations and how God sees me and how I was created in his image, right and just repeat those and have sticky notes on my mirror, I put sticky notes in my car, I had them on my phone. I had them everywhere, so I can read them because I didn't necessarily believe them. But I would read them so much. It's strictly meditation, meditate on those meditate on the scriptures, right how God sees us, you know, we are the apple of his eye. And that really helped me process and move on and feel better about myself as well. So I wasn't still keeping myself in that victim. mentality. You know,

Claudine
That's awesome, great stuff. It's a lot. I mean, forgiveness does allow we're trying to cram a lot in, it's something that, you know, pervades everybody's life. Everybody has to deal with it. Everyone's been hurt. Everyone has hurt someone else. We have to learn how to give up that resentment. We need to learn how to process the pain so that we can be free so that we're not victims, but we're victorious in this life. We want to live a life of victory. Well, I will close this off with this scripture. It's been really helpful for me in Colossians 3:13 it says bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another forgive as the Lord forgave you. And again, that's the one that helps motivate me, but we know forgiveness is a tough issue. And we've got resources for you at mindoverchaos.com, and claudinesweeney.com and we are here to help. Until next time.

Ashley
Friends. Thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.

Episode #58

It may be a new year but we may not be very interested in a new year's resolution coming off of the year we just had in 2020. What if we simply decided to have more focused attention this year on what we are already doing? Perhaps focusing on more positivity. Or more time with the family. Maybe more attention on your health. In today's' episode we talk about what focused attention is and how to be more mindful of where our attention is really going and how to keep our attention focused on what really matters.



Ashley
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.

Claudine
Welcome back listeners. So the beginning of a new year 2021. Are we all excited about that? Or what? After 2020, I'm ready for a new year. So actually, I don't know if you know this about me. But I do not make new year's resolutions. Is that something that you do?

Ashley
Um, it's one of those things that I've attempted to do. But I don't always just because I try to keep the mindset that I should always be growing. So it doesn't take the turn of a new year to do something like that a new goal or something, but I do kind of fall into the social, you know, expectations of, Okay, well, what am I gonna attempt this year? Do you like how I said that, what am I gonna attempt?

Claudine
Well, I stopped many years ago, I was like, This isn't working, I'd make resolutions. And by like, January 15, it was clear that that wasn't happening. But you're right. I like to have a growth mindset and see, what am I gonna grow in this year, and I let that evolve? And yeah, you know, come to fruition on its own. But at the same time, there are certain things that I really do want to focus on. And so we thought today we'd talk about focused attention, what it takes to get that focused attention, how it works with our brain, and all the ways the practicals that will help us have focused attention. So that's what we're talking about today.

Ashley
Yes. And I'm really excited. Claudine, because especially as we started a new year, this year is very different than the years previous. You know, I mean, we are all coming off of quite an interesting year in our time line, you know, right. Um, I think for me, I was kind of thinking about, oh, what kind of goal do I want to set for myself, and I'm just already overwhelmed. Like, I don't want to take on a new goal. But I like this topic, because it simplified it, you know, is there are definitely things that I want to focus more on, rather than this big, feels almost impossible feat to try and, you know, do this new goal, like, Oh, my gosh, I just want to try and maintain the life I have now. Right? Really, it's what do I want to focus on? And I'm just gonna do that. And I think many of our listeners very well may feel the same way. Like, I'm not really interested in having a new goal for myself.

Claudine
I'm just trying to make it through the day, make it through the week, make it through the year, right.

Ashley
And this last year, towards the end of this last year, I was hoping to run a half marathon. And there's nobody out there running half marathons, at least not in a group.

Claudine
Not in California.

Ashley
Well, I guess I don't have to do that this year.

Claudine
Right, right. So I know for myself, I took some time and just really sat and focused on what do I value, like what things that I value do I want to put my attention towards? So instead of making these goals, like I'm going to lose 10 pounds, or I'm going to make $20,000? In a month, whatever? Instead of making goals like that, I decided to focus on what do I value? What are the things three things I want that I really value that I want to give my attention to this year. And so for me is exercise, you know, we just came back from. I we just came back from three weeks in Mexico where we were out daily walking and exercising. And so coming back here to the cold and just limited, you know, ability to work out. I mean, we can always walk but that's something I really want to focus on. I want to put my attention on exercise. I want to put attention on my business. And I want to put attention on my relationships. I feel like with COVID in the pandemic, a lot of my relationships, I haven't seen a lot of people, right most of us haven't, especially in California. We're real limited right now. to who you can spend time with I mean, we're together right now physically, about five feet apart, maybe should back up a foot.

Ashley
I promise I won't spit on you. But you know, I think.

Claudine
You've got your screen.

Ashley
Yeah, this pop filter is gonna help. It's it's doubling as a mask.

Claudine
But every, every day no matter what aren't we, our attention is focusing on something, right? So our brains are taking in an enormous amount of stimulus every minute of every day. And so what we choose to focus our attention on will directly impact the quality of our life.

Ashley
Oh, my gosh, Claudine. I want to say Ding, ding, ding, you hit it. I mean, this is exactly what I was thinking more recently, because, you know, coming up to a new year, like I said earlier, it's not like I want to take on a whole new goal. I mean, that just seems overwhelming. But focusing on specific things that I'm already doing that I just want to improve on, or I just want to do a little bit better. Or, you know, like, even if it's my relationship with my kids, I just want to maybe do something a little different. Like, let's go on walks every day, let's play a game every day together, whatever it may be. But it's not necessarily taking on this big thing and doing something completely different. That's just big admirable goal. But something that you're doing right now. Yeah, just want to give more attention to. And it really helps take that pressure off, because many of us may feel like we can't add on any more. Wait, I mean, I feel like that right now. Like there's really not that much more, especially with this virtual school, that I really do not want to take off. Like, I want to give off a little bit like, I want to take some off of my plate. Not add more.

Claudine
Right. When I think that when we really take the time to focus our attention, we're calling on our prefrontal cortex. And I know, you're going to talk a little bit more about that. But when we take the time to direct our focus, then we can get more accomplished. And it's less stressful, right. And that's one of the barriers to focus attention is stress. And who hasn't felt stressed since last year?

Ashley
Oh, my gosh, yeah. stress. It's stress is not a fun thing. I mean, it definitely helps us because it helps grow us, it helps us improve in areas. And it really, yeah, it really calls us higher, you know, in our own being, but really, it can be such a barrier to the goals that we do have, or where we do want to give our attention. And I know for myself, my areas that I want to focus on are my own well being. And I mean that by, like my internal dialogue, you know, because yes you and I, Claudine, I mean, we know this stuff, we teach this stuff, but it doesn't mean that we're immune, you know, the stresses and these negative thought patterns that we've had our entire life and I still can creep in and the more stress we have, the more we can still go to those old patterns of thinking. And for myself, and I know many other moms especially and anyone really out there. If you can relate to this, when we think more negatively, it's going to take away from what we really want to give the attention to because right attention is starting to turn more and be focused on negativity. And when we go through such trials, and really challenging things, especially this year that we've all faced, our attention will go more towards the negativity, and then we won't feel like we can grow with that we can enjoy something of what is going on right now. You know, there's nothing I can really be grateful for this is just too hard of a year, you know, you might have so many different challenges, but there is something to be grateful for. There is always a positive side to it, you know, something good that comes from it. And it we just really have to pay attention to where we are putting that focus,

Claudine
Right? Absolutely. Yeah, there are barriers to focus. I mean, again, when we think about all the stimuli that's coming in, that we see every day, our brains are being constantly bombarded by I don't I don't remember the number of 1000s 1000s of little stimuli every minute, if I'm not mistaken. So our brains have to figure out what do we want to focus on. And typically, we choose the things that are at the forefront of our minds, the things that we've kind of decided this is important, or this is important to me, I value this, you know, or if it's something like you know, have you ever noticed, like if you just got a certain kind of car, red car, or a certain kind of car, all of a sudden you see them all over the road, right? You've never noticed them before. Now all of a sudden, everybody drives a red car, but because that's become important now because it's become personal. And so now all of a sudden, you're you see it there. They're just as many red cars today is there a year ago but all of a sudden the brain has decided This is important. And it pulls that information in. There other barriers to focusing is all the distractions. Like right now as we're sitting here and talking, my phone just vibrated, right now, Who could that be? And I can't see because I turned it off. But someone is trying to reach me. And it's a distraction. Right? There's so many social media, notifications.


Ashley
And how strong is that urge to go and look?

Claudine
I know, I do want to look, but I'm gonna wait because right now I'm focusing my attention. I'm being present with you.

Ashley
But how simple that little thing that little device can just instantly distract us. I know, for myself, because especially with doing the virtual schooling with the kids and sitting down with one of my children for most of the day, I have to turn my phone off and put it away, like put it upside down. So I don't see it. And because otherwise, you know, out of sight, out of mind, it really is. But if I see it, then my mind is going to constantly Oh, my gosh, is someone trying to contact me? And those little distractions can really take away from what is important, right?

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we know that we know, we know there's things competing for our brain power all the time.

Ashley
I tell you, I get a little discouraged when I get those hay day, this game that I'm addicted those little notifications, and I just can't go and attend to my farm.

Claudine
Oh, my goodness. I have no notifications on my phone. I have disabled them all. I learned that. I learned that years ago. So the only thing that notifies me are texts. Well, if you want to focus your attention on more important things, you're gonna have to disable your notifications.

Ashley
It's a little joy in my life.


Claudine
Yeah. Another barrier to focus attention is procrastination. Now you would think, how could that be a barrier? How could that distract us more? But the truth of it is when you procrastinate, you're putting off something you know you need to do. And then your brain. It doesn't file it away behind a locked door. No, it's still there. Like we said this before, it's like when your phone has all these open apps on it. They're still there. And they're still using battery power and memory. That's right. Right instead of just doing it, but it's you know, we talk about procrastination. I think we have have we?

Ashley
We have, a few episodes ago. And you know, Claudine, I was thinking about this today because I was helping my daughter with organizing her room and cleaning up and I was sharing with her because she's very similar to me, it's like, if you put it off till later, it's not going to go away your mind, right? constantly be thinking about I have to do this, I have to do this, right, you're not gonna really get to enjoy your day because you have stuff that you have to get done. And I really recognize that when I have a lot of todos, that I'm pushing off and kind of procrastinating, I'm physically tired, and I feel like I have to nap. And it's usually around the same time of the day. I feel like I'm so tired, I need a nap. And I when I sit and think about it's like, No, I just have some things on my list, I realized I need to get done.

Claudine
And of course, we don't procrastinate the fun things that things that we really enjoy. It's always the things that we need to do, but we don't really want to do. So that's the hard part because they need to get done. Like I don't really love house cleaning. I really don't. But I still have to do it more often than not, you know, so. But those are the things that I want to push off like, Oh, yeah, I can do that later. I can do that later.

Ashley
But a very much a barrier to what we focus on that is important. Because our brain is still gonna be subconsciously focused on those things we need to do. We can't be present like you said. Another one Claudine. That is just really rings true for me that I've worked through a lot is trauma. So I wanted to share a little bit about this because I when I was going through counseling, I was actually told by my counselor that she asked me She's like, do you think you have ADD? I'm like, not that I was told. Do you think I have ADD? Tell me more please. And we were going through, you know, the DSM manual and the symptoms and she was asking me all these questions, Mike. Yes, yes, yes. It sounds to you, like you have ADD. I'm like Oh my gosh, that explains so much. And I cannot tell you when I came home and told my husband, he just like lit up. He's like, yeah, that sounds right. Okay, settle down. But what I realized is, as I was working through my trauma, my issues, quote, unquote, issues, and I was healing. those symptoms were subsiding. And I was so curious as to why like, Why Why was my attention getting better? Why was my focus getting better? Why was my memory getting better? Right, remembering things. I'm like, I've never remembered to do that. I remember driving my husband's car to the gas station, and he told me before I went, he's like, now when you get the gas when you fill up the tank, please Push this little button so you can reset the mileage. Because he likes to, you know, check out miles per gallon. Oh my gosh, I was like, Yeah, right. Okay. Sure, babe. And I did, I went and I push that little button reset his miles. And I went home. And I told him I was like guess what I did it. Because even just that small little thing and a matter of 10 minutes, I just would completely forget, you know what it was like in one ear out the other. My memory was so horrible, my short term memory. And but as I was healing and working through all that stuff, it just got better and better. And I mean, I felt like I was able to be more organized and prioritize better. And just my brain was that much more focused. It was really fascinating. And as I was doing more research, it did show that as you're working through trauma, it's because we're so stuck in the emotional parts of our brain, that the executive functioning of our prefrontal cortex just wasn't working to its capacity, because we were functioning more from our emotional state. And I'm like, Oh, my gosh, that explains so much. And I was, as I was working through that stuff, it just became clear, my brain was getting clear, my mind was clear. And I my executive functioning from my prefrontal cortex was being able to work that much better. So I could have more of that focus attention, I tell you like, it was just, it blew me away. Quite amazing to discover that?

Claudine
It makes so much sense if we have unresolved trauma, or even traumas that we've started to work through because I believe that all these emotions if we don't deal with them, if they're repressed, or we resist them, or suppress them, they're still there. Again, like an open app on our phone, and it drains us. And until we acknowledge it, become aware of it and process it, it's there. And it is really hard to have that focused attention. When the part of your brain is saying, Hey, you know, I need help. I need help. But we're not helping it because we don't want to deal with it. Right? Yeah, we're not even aware. We need to deal with it. Yeah. So that's a great point. So let's talk about some of the practicals to really help us focus our attention. Again, one of the first things for me is just even realizing what I want to focus my attention on. So I named my three. Well, let's talk about some practicals. That can help us with the things we've made a decision to focus on in 2021. So one of the things for me, and we talk about this quite a bit, but one of the things for me is to write it down. So if I write down like on an index card, or a piece of paper, exercise, my business and my relationships, and I see that every day, those are triggers. The other thing with writing down is that the process is it's getting coded. Like we have so many things that our brain that our prefrontal cortex can think about and process. But when we write it down, the information is now encoded. And it our brain decides, oh, this is good for long term. Let's keep this in the long term memory. So that's what actually writing things down. Does. That's the physical, the physical, some kind of practical?

Ashley
Yeah, I mean, that's why probably most people who did somewhat well in college actually wrote down the notes.


Claudine
Yeah, right. Well, yeah. And that's what studies show the people, the people who wrote it down that use their hands, and actually, I was reading about a study. And the people that write it with a pen and paper actually have a better memory than if someone writes our notes on a laptop. Isn't that interesting?

Ashley
Oh, yeah. Oh, I believe. I definitely prefer to have things handwritten.

Claudine
Yeah. And when we write down then we have external storage. So again, we've taken it out of our brain, we've put it on paper, our brain now can kind of relax and go, okay, it's stored elsewhere. It's safe, especially if we pin it up, and we could see it as a reminder.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. One, how many of us have felt so cluttered in our brain that we just can't focus on one thing at a time. And as soon as we write it down and make our list, then it's like, wow, I can think now. Right? I know, I'm thinking I can prioritize this list. Like my husband was telling me that for years is like, Ah, that's nonsense. And then eventually I finally listened. I was like, Okay, I guess you can help me with this. And So we would go through and write down all the things racing. And you know, as women, we have a million things racing through, right? And he would sit down with me write it down, and then we will go through a number it, yeah, after we wrote it down, but I couldn't number it in my head of what was more of a priority than anything else, like I had to get it out of my brain onto the paper. And then you just kind of see it from a distance, right? And then you can actually start prioritizing and organizing. Yeah. And it really, it's quite fascinating.

Claudine
It is, it's very fascinating. When we talk about the encoding, it's what happens when the brain when it sees something, and that information gets transferred to the hippocampus for analysis, right, that's a big word makes us sound really smart, right. But that's the part of the brain where the brain decides what's important to store in the long term. So again, there are some true mechanical things going on in our brains when we write things down on paper. Another one that's really important for me to get focused attention is breathing. And that kind of goes a little bit in response to what you were talking about, but with all those emotions, and sometimes when we get stressed, or we get emotional overwhelmed, and sometimes when I wake up in the morning, if I have a busy day, like I'm overwhelmed, I can't focus on anything, but just taking a few minutes to breathe to be really mindful breathing. And we both have resources on our website.

Ashley
Yes, we do Claudine. And here's another big word for you. The Amygdala. That's my favorite.

Claudine
Yeah, you love that one. But when we do these breathing exercises, it actually calms down the amygdala, it brings it down and allows the prefrontal cortex our thinking, rational part, to get back into control there.

Ashley
Which is what we want to feel right right to feel in control. And in order to feel in control, we have to settle down the emotional. Yeah. Because as you said, Would you wake up, I get the same thing. I wake up. And I know it's a busy day. And Case in point, the last two weeks, right, we had my daughter's birthday, and then Christmas, right. So I had a lot to do. And every day I was up till the wee hours of the morning, and then I'd wake up early with the puppy who has to go to the bathroom at six in the morning. And I was up all day, and I had all these things to do. But if you wake up like that, and you're it's like a threat, you know, your brain is taking it oh my gosh, I have so much to do. And I'm overwhelmed. It's like a threat. Yeah, so your amygdala is going to, you know, right, lock that baby gate. Yep. And the prefrontal cortex is going to be like, I'm not a commission. I mean, I'm not gonna work on this right now. But the breathing really helps calm the amygdala so that way our emotional part of the brain can just take some time and just settle down. And the cortisol can settle down because we're, you know, the rush of stress hormones. And then we can think, and we can rationalize, and we can plan and we can, you know, use our logic and time management, all those things that the executive functions, right, you know, we need to be able to have focused attention.

Claudine
What's so funny, because today, I knew I was going to see you and we're going to record this we left at 9am this morning, my husband and I were in town, we had a whole load of things to get done on this side of town. And we won't get back to where we're staying till 9pm. And we yesterday we were talking to our day, and I'm like, No, no, come sit next to me. We have to see it on paper. Everything on paper, 9am leave 10am this spot 11:30 this spot, and I had the whole day mapped out till nine. And he's so funny, cuz he watches me and he sees me write all these things down. He's like, honey, if that's what your brain needs, I'm like, Yes, what my brain needs. It's also what your brain needs. You may not realize it, but I'm actually I'm actually acting as your prefrontal cortex. So I'm just telling you where I drive, you're just listening to me. I'm like, Hey, now we're going here. Now the maps on. So anyway, it was a crazy day, but I had to write down I was like, there's no way I can live. I did this all yesterday. There's no way I could live this day tomorrow if I don't have it all in writing. And it was great. Because today, I just knew we're going from here to here to here to here it was it was smooth. We had a really smooth day as full as it was.

Ashley
When you know, when I was not writing things down. When I would have a busy day like that. I would just spend the whole day worrying I was gonna forget something. I didn't forget anything yet, but I just was worrying that I was gonna forget something

Claudine
Which is stressful, which is a barrier to focus. It's like a vicious cycle.

Ashley
Exactly, I've had no focus attention, right, just focus on I'm gonna forget something. I'm gonna forget something. And I remember my mother in law's like, well, what if you do, what's the big deal? I'm like, I guess that's right. Yeah, isn't a big deal. Unless I forget my kids somewhere, right?

Claudine
That would be bad.

Ashley
But it's really not a big deal. But writing it down as something as simple as that just writing it down on paper does wonders I mean, it just gets it out of your head so you can focus that attention because what you're gonna focus on is just going to magnify that. I was focused on the worry. And all I felt was worry, you know, yeah. And that doesn't help any anybody out.

Claudine
Yeah. And that's a great point you just made whatever we fix our attention on. That is what we're going to magnify. And we know that that's the truth, whatever our thoughts, whatever we think about we bring about, I heard that many, many years ago. And I didn't get it until the last few years when I started studying all this. But what we think about we bring about in our brains will look for evidence of what we believe. So if we focus our attention, on health and wealth and well being, that's what we're gonna see our brains gonna find that in our lives, it'll find it, the brain will search for it and go, Oh, look, here's this. And it's so funny. We think, you know, what's that saying? When the student is ready, the teacher will come? Well, it's really when the students brain is functioning properly, then all the objectives come the lessons come, the blessings come whatever it is they come.

Ashley
You know, it's funny, you say that, because I was thinking of all the different conversations I've had with people with varying different opinions on this year and how their perception is of 2020. And I really tried hard not to focus on all the negative in 2020. And there was a lot It was hard. It was very different to it was against my plans. Nothing really went according to my plan. Sorry, Ashley.

Claudine
No, it did not mine neither.

Ashley
Right. But as I look back, the more I focus on what didn't happen, or what I didn't like, or the negative, I was fueling the negativity. And so many people are just gosh, I can't wait for 2021 it's going to be a different year, because 2020 was horrible and blah, blah. And well, if you go into it with that mindset, right, gonna start off the same as I felt in 2020. Yeah, it really is, if you start changing that perspective, and thinking, you know, what, I'm going to make it what it is, I'm going to make it what I want it to be I'm focused on a, b and c, this is what I want to see this year, right? It's who I want to be this right. And if we focus on those, then it will come about our brain will be like, Okay, this is what we're gonna do. But if we keep focusing on Oh, my gosh, another restriction on it, you know, and I can easily fall into that, because wait, I wanted to go on a trip I wanted. But no, no, it's okay. It will happen eventually. It's okay.

Claudine
I want to go sit in a restaurant in a restaurant and be served.

Ashley
What's Happy Hour? I don't even remember what that is anymore.

Claudine
But no happy hours. Yes, it's so true.

Ashley
Right. So whatever we focus on is what we're going to bring about is what's going to be magnified. And so if we want a great 2021, then we need to focus on those things. We need to have focus attention on what you want it to be like, right, who you want to be and what you want this year to be like how you want your family to be how you want your work to be how you want your well being to be whatever it is, you can do it. You know, that's right, it really takes your mindset, because you're going to bring about your emotions, your actions are all going to follow but you believe. Let's believe the best people.

Claudine
I'm believing the best. I'm believing that this will be an amazing year, actually, last year was amazing for us. I know, you know, for a lot of people is very difficult. And we've had a lot of challenges. It's not to say it hasn't had its challenges. I mean, we've basically been living out of a suitcase since March, which you know, the older you get is a little more challenging.

Ashley
Well, you have been exhausted over couch surfing.

Claudine
That's right. Traveling, we've traveled a lot, which sounds so glamorous. And it really has been fun. And it's been a wonderful experience. But there are challenges that come with it. But we've just decided to focus all our attention on all the great stuff. And it's made such a difference in our emotional mental well being absolutely everything you just shared. And I know you've got a couple practicals that have really helped you.

Ashley
Yeah. So really focusing on the emotional response is a key one, especially if any of us has experienced trauma. And that could be big, small trauma, whatever, but it follows you into adulthood. Let's Yeah, put that out there right now. And I have recognized in myself and other women that I have coaches that whatever trauma we have experienced is going to come about and our reactions to circumstances. So one that has that still keeps trying to creep in is just how I feel about myself as a wife. Yeah, um, and with the circumstances this year with the virtual school. I mean, hello, I was a certified teacher. I am a certified writer, and it still was quite different than teaching in a classroom you know all the resources at your disposal. All kids go home, and then you're pretty much done for the day. Yeah, teachers are working to the wee hours of the morning trying to keep trying to do their very best for the kids and get the kids engaged and, you know, create material and content for the kids. Oh my gosh, it's just I mean, seeing my kids, teachers, it's I, my heart goes out to them. But still,it was such a transition from what our norm was. And any time that we go outside of what is familiar and comfortable, if we have experienced trauma, it is happens to everybody. But if we have experienced trauma on top of that, oh my gosh, like it can really wreck us it can really mess with our mind. And it can make us feel inferior, less than, like a failure. What you know, you name it, it can make us feel like a lot of different things. And so just really recognizing what is going on in your head, how you feel about yourself, how what your percept what your perception is on the circumstances that are going on, and watching the negative self talk. Really is a big one, make sure that whatever you are facing you don't take it out on yourself. You do that a lot. We really could be mean to ourselves. And we also have an episode, The mean girl within, about the negative self talk that we somehow allow, you know, ourselves to do. And we really have to be careful with that. Because we want to live our best life, if we want to rise up and shine cannot let the negative dynamics go on. We have to be strong, we have to be resilient, we need to push on, press on towards the goal and make it a great year, make it a great 2021 and make it the life that you want it to be despite the circumstances going on. You know, it doesn't matter.

Claudine
Yeah. Yeah, those are great ones. I mean, I think those are the things that really helped me to really focus my attention. But I know when I get back, wherever back is, but when I get back,

Ashley
Hopefully back here.

Claudine
Hopefully back here. I will be putting up my three index cards of the things that are important to me, I'm going to put them in different places so that it reminds me so that even with all the other things that have to get done during the day, obviously we have to clean the house and we have to grocery shop and all those mundane things, you know, returns it's after Christmas, I've already made one return. I've got to make another one tomorrow, but from the Christmas present that just weren't quite right. I don't know if you got any of those. But there's always distractions. So, but seeing those index cards for me a visual reminder to focus Okay, this is what can I do today? to exercise even if it's walking 10 minutes, one of the things we did in Mexico is we walked a lot and my goal is to do 10,000 steps by 10am. And I did it one day. That's it. Usually I made it by 10:30 are the days we went walking.

Ashley
Well it helps you wake up before 9 clock.

Claudine
Well, no, we were up early. But yeah, it wasn't out walking.

Ashley
Can I just ask was it barefoot on the beach?

Claudine
No, we so we had. I know we did walk a lot on the beach. But there was an outdoor gym three and a half miles away. So we would take the best there. And then we do few of the little machines, my husband more than I. And then we walk back the three and a half miles. So the whole thing took about Yeah, it was really great. And the weather was wonderful. Yeah, it's almost 10,000 steps. Just about give or take. I was at like 9890 we got back to near our hotel where we were having breakfast and I was like, hold on, we got to walk up this little strip. I gotta walk back and forth a few times to 10,000. But so that's something I thought, well, when we get back, I'm going to try to do 10,000 steps by 10am I thought that's a good goal. And if I don't do it, then I'm gonna have to do 11,000 by 11 or 12,000. Meanwhile, I haven't walked once since since we got back we've only been back a week but.

Ashley
So are you up to 20,000 steps?

Claudine
Right now. I'm probably like 150,000 but the truth of it is my attention got diverted when we were there. There were no distractions. That was it. Like I didn't have anything else here we came back a few days before Christmas there was. Yeah, a lot of distractions, very valuable distractions, but distractions nonetheless. So those visual reminders are key.

Ashley
Right. And I think mine would be one index card that says you're killing it today. Ashley,

Claudine
That's awesome.

Ashley
Because that can really cover lots of areas. You know, I mean as a stay at home mom during school with the kids taking care of the house providing for the family like that's that's pretty much all I need as a reminder, you're killing it today.

Claudine
That's awesome. Well, I think I focused my attention as much as I can on this particular topic at this particular time.

Ashley
I agree.

Claudine
But I do have one Proverbs. That I'd love to share. And it's proverbs 4:25. Keep your head up your eyes straight ahead and you're focused fixed on what is in front of you. So that's a good one.

Ashley
2021 is ahead of us, folks. Let's do it.

Claudine
Until next time.

Ashley
And make sure you tune back in for next week's episode on resiliency. It'll be a great one coming off of this year. So Merry Christmas, everybody. Catch you next time.
Friends. Thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.

Episode #57

Resilience is not something we're born with. Too bad, right? Fortunately, it is something we can learn. Just like a muscle that strengthens with exercise we can flex our resiliency muscle to make it stronger despite what challenges we face. After this past year, we all have the ability to make ourselves more resilient than ever. In this episode we share with you just how to make that happen.



Ashley
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.

Claudine
Welcome back lovely listeners. Today we are talking about resilience in what better way to end 2020 than talking about something we've all had to dig deep and find within ourselves resilience. Webster defines resilience as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change. And I'm telling you after the year, we've had, we've all had to find some semblance of resilience in our lives, whether you're really great at this and you have a strong resilient muscle, or you're just hanging on by a thread of resilience. We've all really had to dig deep this year and figure this out, because we have had change and misfortune like no other years, certainly nothing I've ever experienced in my, you know, five and a half decades on this planet and Ashley, you are many fewer years on this earth. I know it's been a year.

Ashley
Two and a half decades, no doubt

Claudine
Close but you know, I there's a quote from Louisa May Alcott that says I'm not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. And that's, you know, another thing why we're here why we're up at rise up in shine is really helping other women learn how to sail their ships, because the truth of it is there are going to be storms in this life. Pure and simple. There are sunny days, and there are stormy days. And the best we can do is learn how to sail our ship to really rise up and shine in this life and live life abundantly like Jesus came to give us. So Ashley, why don't you share a little bit about this year and how your resilience muscle is going?

Ashley
Hmm. Well, first off, I was pretty sure I heard someone's bubble burst there will be storms. Um, I I think sometimes we can tend to think life should be pretty smooth, or we at least want it to be pretty smooth. Right? It's like that's our goal, our goal in life is have have a smooth sailing ship. Right? I think I really think that we believe that and for whatever reason, whatever we were told whatever influence whatever we learned from a youngin, you know, young girls that we should have a very easy life and it's what we make it and but in all honesty this year is really shown all of us. We all are equally sharing this challenge. You know, I mean, it's something we've never experienced in our lifetime. And we all are handling it in varying ways. You know, whether we are numbing ourselves in denial or pretty positive about it. You know, who knows? Who knows how how we're doing? I have felt the myriad of emotions, I started off pretty positive, thinking that this isn't really much different than what I'm used to being a stay at home mom. And you know, we didn't put our kids in preschool or anything. I did homeschool for preschool until they went to kindergarten and my husband still went to work during this whole pandemic. So I felt in the beginning life wasn't too different. And so therefore, it's it really wasn't challenging at that point. But I would say probably about two and a half months in, it hit me. My emotions and my thoughts about it changed. I felt like okay, I'm not liking this anymore. I'm being told like to visit my family I should feel bad about it. Like I shouldn't go visit my family in the summertime and what's going on? We can't go to the pool. We can't. And it was when all of the things I felt like we're missing out on hit like it just came to this realization. Oh my gosh, I went from this is pretty typical. Like I'm used to this, too. Now we're missing out on this. And you know, the weather got warmer summer came and we can't go swimming. We can't do this. We can't go there. We can't go to the movies. We can't all the things that we would do. We couldn't do anymore. And I think that's when the reality really set in those restrictions and the challenges that came with that and then my mood changed?
Perspective went from feeling optimistic and positive to pessimistic and negative and grumpy. I'm like, this isn't fun anymore. And so I did, I experienced it all. And then I kind of, I would say, in the last two months, I probably have gone back to feeling more positive. And just accepting, you know, this is what it is, I'm not gonna hold this timeframe, like, it should be over by now. You know, my mind do I think, yeah, it would be nice if this was all done, and we're all back to normal to whatever that's gonna look like. But yeah, you know, I've at least gone back to, well, we're strong. You know, we're strong, we're healthy. And we're just we're getting through it. We're gonna get through it, you know, we're gonna make the most of right, really crazy situation. So I did I kind of just made this full circle from being positive to negative to the positive again. So who asked me next month? And let's see where I end it.

Claudine
Yeah, well, I believe with all that we're talking about today, and the tools and tips we're going to share, you're going to be just fine. It's funny when this all started, I remember saying someone Oh, well, this will last about two weeks, which should be over in about two weeks. And now what are we nine months later?

Ashley
It felt like a year to be honest, it feels like a full year almost.

Claudine
I know. But it's getting there nine over nine months as far as restrictions and quarantines and mass squaring and all that. And, you know, LA is as bad as it was nine months ago. So


Ashley
That is a full that baby right there.

Claudine
I know right?

Ashley
Think about that.

Claudine
That is it's a long time. It's a long time. But I remember in the beginning thinking, Oh, this is just gonna last two weeks, and we went down to LA to shelter in place on our property down there with a few of our children, we thought, well, this will be a good place for a couple weeks, we'll spend time with them. We ended up being there seven weeks, which was unexpected, we each brought a carry on. And that's basically what we lived out of. And then we went back up to Sacramento just to pack up our rental that we had up there and then go back down to LA while we're in the process of selling our house. And so for us not only did COVID hit, but we've basically been living out of a suitcase since March. Now at this point, we're back in the main house on our property. So we're starting to acquire things like kitchen tools. My my son was cooking dinner when I was like we have no tools. We have no tools in here. And so we've started to keep playing a few tools. I know where the kitchen tools, where's the rolling pin, we have no rolling pin. Anyway, we started to accumulate a few things as we've been living in the main house now for quite a few months. But that has also been difficult for me honestly, part of the difficulty has been adjusting to that change that technically we're living out of our suitcases. And what we thought would be a few months has now turned into, I don't know, six months or so. And the sale has taken longer than we thought. And luckily, that's rounding a corner. But you know, how well did I adjust? And I think it was a shock that it was going to go on this long, you know, and it's so why is it important to be resilient because it's the capacity respond to the pressures that we're all going to face on life and the tragedies and it's been very tragic. Not only we had COVID and a pandemic, we've had Black Lives Matters. We've had all that racial tensions, we've had an election that was you know, certainly volatile and certainly polarized. You know, people are on one side or the other. There's not this happy middle. So it's been a year of incredible pressure, a lot of pressure. And how quickly we respond to that is is how resilient we are. And it's been challenging.

Well, we now know from the latest - brain, as you and I talked about is just wired to survive to keep us safe. So whenever there's change or misfortune, like our primitive brain is like, got to keep us safe got to survive. The problem is our prefrontal cortex starts thinking, and judging and making assessments and then we start thinking, Oh, this is bad, right? And so then we start thinking, I can't do this, right? How many times have you ever found yourself in a difficult situation? thinking I can't do this anymore. I know, as a young mom, I thought that a lot like, I can't do this another day. I just cannot Right? But of course I could. But my thoughts start getting me in trouble. And so a lot of it too, is just our learned patterns of response to you know, what's going on. Sometimes we just have thought and felt in certain ways for so long that that's just our natural default response. And so learning how to become more resilient is so important, because, like we both said, there's going to be storms in life, right? It's just not a walk in the meadow. Like I thought it would

Ashley
We have to be adaptable.

Claudine
We do, we do have to be adaptable? So I know you were saying that? Did you went from positive to negative to positive again, it really was in our thoughts. And you and I talk a lot about our brains and rewiring our brains. And we know that thinking new thoughts, we can create new neural connections, we can rewire our brains and that expands our capacity to respond to the storms and struggles of our lives. It does expand our resilience. It is like a muscle we can grow our resilience and as difficult as this year is I think a lot of us have naturally grown this resilient muscle and a lot of us if you haven't, it's not too late. You still can

Ashley
Right and it's very much a learned skill. You know, it's something that you can learn and grow in and get better at and like you You said I felt this whole gamut of emotions throughout these nine months full term Baby, I'm going to start calling that pandemic as a full term baby. That I, it was my thoughts. It was how I was looking at the situation. Yeah, right. Not necessarily how was I feeling about the situation? Because that's still a product of what's going on in my head. So what am I thinking about? What am I thinking about this situation, we really have to pay attention to that. Because we don't always know we're not always great at being aware. And self reflecting, I think we just try and go go go and whether that's busy or not, you know, like, our schedules, what have you, or if it's just not comfortable. I know some people who they just don't feel comfortable sitting in silence, sitting by themselves in silence. And just thinking people do not feel comfortable with that. However, it is so important for our well being and for resilience to build resiliency, because we do need to be aware of our thoughts. And we do need to kind of self reflect to be able to grow that muscle, like you said, and overcome this, you know, and not not experienced this whole gamut of emotions. I mean, I say that not like, it's not okay to experience the negative emotions. I mean, that's just part of who we are. We all have those emotions, and it's just part of life. It's nothing to feel bad about, like, Oh, my gosh, I've been feeling so angry. It's, it's it is what it is, you know, you're allowed to feel angry. That's fine. Do you want to stay there, though? What do you want to do about it? Do you want to stay there? Or? And really, the reason why I was changing is because and I know this stuff, you know, I mean, I know this stuff. I know. Oh, yeah, I just kind of like what I call I fell off the wagon. I say that I fell off the wagon, my thoughts. I let my emotions get the best of me again, because I'm not thinking properly. And it was it was my perspective, the way I was looking at the circumstance. Is what was changing, not the circumstance. The circumstance wasn't changing, that caused my emotions to go up and down and all over the place. It was how I was looking at the circumstance. Right? And so first, I was positive and oh, well, it's not really too much different. I'm used to this. And then I got Okay, I'm tired of this. And now we add the factor of school virtual school. Okay, oh, my gosh, this is really challenging. This is hard. You know, that primitive brain is like, this is a threat. This is hard. I don't know what to do. I've never done this before. And how to best help my kids or how, you know, how I felt I was feeling very negative about it. And what was happening is I was expressing my negativity in every conversation I was having. So as people were asking, what How's it going? Well, I'm sharing with them all my thoughts about it, but then it's just fueling those emotions, you know, I was verbally expressing the negativity so I was feeling negative about the whole situation, like the emotion I was feeling negative. So it took having to change that again, right? And reframe my thinking into being more positive. And we hear that a lot like the power of positivity, and yes, positivity is great. However, I was a very positive person. And but sometimes I use that as a crutch to kind of that was also my numbing, you know, or my coping, I'll say, sometimes being positive ended up being my coping because I was not processing how I really felt. So I really want to put a plug in there because we have to be very careful about the positivity like being positive is fantastic. Just make sure you're not using that to cope with the situation and therefore not processed through how you're really feeling we really have to be in touch with all of our emotions, how we're feeling right, okay, I feeling frustrated right now about the situation that's okay, feel it, feel frustrated for a little bit, and then be like, you know, okay, now I'm ready to get up and let's move forward. You know.

Claudine
That's powerful and I think too, you know, we have to be really careful with our positive thinking if we try to tell ourselves a positive thought that we don't really believe then we have this you know, subconsciously we don't believe it if I say My life is amazing. But inside I know it's not amazing. I'm not gonna really believe that I can keep telling myself that all day long. So we have to find truthful thoughts we have to find but so that we can truly believe like yes, this is a difficult situation. But every day I'm getting closer to the life I want to lead so we do just have to be careful with our, our thoughts that we choose thoughts that we can honestly believe I know for me, one of the ones because I totally believe in the Bible and the scriptures, one for me is, is really just meditating on scriptures, they've helped me so much become resilient. And one of my favorite ones is, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. And so through this difficult year, there have been times I thought, I've come to the end of my own power, like, I can't do this. And other day like, I'm done, I want this over. When you talk about frustration, I'm like, I'm so done. I want to be in the next chapter already. And yet, that's the scripture I have to go to, that's the one that I have to meditate that I have to renew my mind on is I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength, it's not my strength anymore. It's his strength that I've got to depend on and lean on to get me through this challenging time. So for me, one of the practicals is really relying on scriptures, which I believe are truthful. And even though I may not be there yet, I can keep saying that over and over. And I do believe it, and then it gets my heart there. It gets my emotions, they're like, you know what, this is going to be okay, I can feel peaceful, I can feel competent, I can feel calm. Because I know that I'm leaning on his strength to get me through and not my own doing. So that's been huge for me this past year.

Ashley
Yeah, I really have focused more on being positive. But in a proactive way, if that makes sense. A practical way, I guess. Yeah. Is like the virtual school has been the biggest challenge. I was actually talking with a friend yesterday, about like, you know, we're just catching up, how you doing? How you doing? How are you handling everything? Well, let me tell you, um, the virtual schooling for any other parents out there, it is what it is. It's not going away right now yet. And it's really how we approach it is going to also be influential on the kids. And that's kind of what I was seeing that I had to be careful of that helped me change my perspective, because I'm like, okay, as much as I thought that I'm not influencing my views on it to the children, I think in conversations, they may be hearing, you know, visiting with family or talking with other people that they kind of are picking up pieces that it's been negative for mom. So then they might start thinking of it as negative. And that was eye opening for me, because I don't want them to have that experience. That's not what I wanting to teach them. I'm wanting to teach my children resiliency, I need to be modeling it, you know, for my children, so that way, they could become resilient adults, when they face challenges. And the virtual thing was very challenging for me. And it's hard, but doesn't mean we can't do it. But how you shared that scripture, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I mean, even the first two words, I can, you know, I mean, we could stop right there. I can. And what's happening is we kind of focus on I can't too much, I'm tired of this, I can't do this anymore. I'm done with it. This needs to be over. And when we focus our attention on that, those negative thoughts and we cycle cycle cycle through those negative thoughts and our our conversations are filled with those thoughts or those words, you know, we're just feeling that negativity. And that's how we're going to be living and that's how we're going to be getting through this. There's just very negative big when is it over? And yeah, we all feel that to an extent. I mean, I'm not saying completely deny that like, Oh, this is great what I'm learning and growing and nothing like that, but still be moving forward. You know, let's keep were tough. Like this is a tough situation, but we're tough too. We can do it. So that all goes into one of my first practicals that I want to share is just the thought awareness, being aware of our thoughts, self reflect, kind of gain an understanding of how you're feeling what you're thinking about the situation, I, you know, ask yourself, did I really actually ask myself how I'm feeling about this, and what's going through my mind about this? I mean, anything through this year, really, it doesn't have to just be the pandemic. And ask yourself what your conversations have been filled with. And even I think it's important to to ask your if you have kids, if you have a roommate, if you have a spouse, ask how they're feeling about it, what they've done, what their takeaway is about this whole year, you know, what they've been thinking about, and just really gain some understanding for yourself. It's really crucial. I mean, we can't move forward, we can't gain resiliency without awareness. And it's so important to go to our thoughts. What are we crying about during this situation? Because we're all dealing with it differently. There's not one common thought about this year, you know, that we like all share. I mean, there's definitely similarities, but we all have different views about this year. And so that's why it's not conditional based on the circumstance is conditional based on you, you know, and what is going through your head. It depends on how what you're experiencing.


Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. And another practical is really, like you already mentioned, but really feeling the emotions. I think so many times we want to stop it, we think, well, if I'm a faithful Christian, I shouldn't feel doubt. I shouldn't feel fear. I shouldn't feel sad, you know, I should have faith in all these things, and rejoice all the time, right. But the truth is, this has been a really hard time, there's been a lot of change. There's been a lot of tragedy this year. I mean, a lot. It's been in the news, a lot. A lot of trials, a lot of challenges. And so it's okay to feel things. And like you said earlier, it's one thing to feel it's another thing to be stuck there. Like it's okay to feel frustrated. It's okay to feel angry, it's okay to feel sad. We just don't want to stay there. We don't want to get stuck there. But when we resist or repress or resist, then it continues. And so it's really allowing and learning. I mean, for me, I had to learn how to feel my feelings, how to disallow like, I feel really sad. And guess what, that's okay. It's not a reflection of who I am. And it's not who I am. It's just a feeling that's passing through me, right? It's just a vibration in my body. It's just energy, you know, higher or lower, or more expansive, or more restrictive energy going through my body. And it's okay to feel it. It's part of the human experience. God has given us this whole range of emotions, for our life on within our life, and it's okay to feel like it's what we do with it. That's right finds us you know, do I just stay sad? Do I stay depressed like I did for years? Or did I figure it out, get sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and move on and figure it out? Which you know, you and I both did. So really feeling the emotions I know several times I've just felt really sad and you know, when I tell myself I'm feeling really sad. Guess what, it's okay. Today, I'm sad, tomorrow's gonna be a new day. I'm not gonna be sad tomorrow. And the cool thing is putting this into practice, my emotions have dissolved so much quicker. They come and they go just like Wayne. And they go, I just ride the wave. I don't try to stop the way. You know, I like being in the ocean. We've been watching the waves here the last few weeks good luck being in the ocean trying to stop a wave. If you can, not right, exactly. Put your hand up and say stop wave. I mean, Jesus could do that. But we are not him. So we can't stop the waves. But we can ride the waves and same with our emotions, we may not be able to stop them when they come, but we can ride them and we can allow them to come in and out and through us. That has been really helpful for me.

Ashley
Yeah, if I can interject and say something as well that you hit something that really resonated with me about being stuck in our emotions. And I really believe with anxiety and depression, those are examples of being stuck in our emotions. And I say that because I lived it. You know, I mean, our anxiety is being stuck in worry and fear. And depression is being stuck in fear of being stuck in shame. You know, really how I view myself. And with this year, we can really be hardcore worriers and hardcore, self condemning, you know, just judging ourselves too harshly, you know, like, not doing a good job, not being good enough mom, wife, you know, just being Yeah, whatever it right for you. But that is, those are examples that I have lived personally, that was me being stuck in those emotions, because I didn't know how to work through what I was feeling. You know, I didn't have the resilience.


Claudine
Yeah, yeah. And the other thing that has been a practical for me is be flexible, be flexible. And I think about there's a parable or story. And I'm gonna butcher it a little bit. But hopefully, you'll get the point there's an oak tree is strong and mighty. And it's very rigid. And a bamboo is not as rigid and very flexible. When the storm comes, it's the oak that can break, you know, the branches can break, but a bamboo will bend with it. And I think about my own life, the amount of flexibility I've had to have this year, it's just something new for me really growing in being flexible with where I live with the amount of things I have around me to live with the amount of we've done a lot of traveling, which we love, but that didn't. You know, that seems a lot of change. I mean, there was a point when we were on a road trip, I think we slept in like seven different beds, and two and a half weeks. And the older I get, the more I really appreciate stability and sameness. Yet this year has been one where I've needed to really grow in flexibility. And that's part of being resilient is not getting stuck in how we think things should be right like being flexible with the outcome. And that's what I've been telling myself, these last few months, I'm not going to get attached to the outcome, like I'm not going to get emotionally attached to the outcome, especially with our house. I'm like I had a deadline in my brain when things should have happened. And that deadline came and went. So then I was like, Okay, so I'm not going to get attached to that outcome, I'm not going to have an emotional feeling because the outcome didn't turn out my way. I'm just going to be flexible here and ultimately, really trust God, right, have faith that his timing is better than mine, but have that flexibility really. And that's part of being resilient, really being resilient to the change to the the trouble. The challenges that have been part of this year. It's like wow, this year, you know, you and I sat last January and made goals for the year and we had all these plans and we had workshops planned and we did one and then the pandemic hit and everything went out the window we had to regroup and renew. So yeah, so for me, really it's been believing a true thought. You know that God is with me that I can do this through his strength. It's allowing myself to feel the emotions and understand that they're going to pass. It's just like riding a wave. They're not here to stay. And I think sometimes in the past, I was fearful about feeling sad or fearful or scared or anxious because I thought I'll never go away, right. But the truth of it is, when we allow those emotions, they do pass and they pass rather quickly. And the third one was just being flexible, not getting attached, not having an emotional attachment to the outcome, or really wanting things to go my way. Really, it's being surrendered. Ultimately, that's what flexibility is being surrendered. But those three have really helped me come through this year really able to still rise up and shine, right? It's been a super difficult year, a lot of things have been blown out of the water. But yet, we both can still rise up and shine here, and encourage others to rise up and shine through resilience.

Ashley
Mm hmm. Yeah, and I'll share a couple more for myself is accepting the circumstances, you know, as just part of life, it accepting it, this is what it is right now. And not wishing for something different. And that's where I started going down that negative spiral again, because I was wishing for something different. I was wishing that school was different as I then when more districts were starting to go back to school, or they had less hours or whatever, just the differences from our situation. I was focusing on those. And I was wishing ours, our situation was different. And so therefore it created those negative feelings. Yeah. And irritated. And then it wasn't helping anybody. You know, I wasn't feeling good. It wasn't helping my kids. It wasn't helping. I was exhausted all the time. My husband and I started bickering more because I was so stressed out and it just, you know, I mean, it's like a ripple effect. You know, there's one situation I take on negative with a negative mindset, and then it affects other relationships or other situations. And it's just you know, it everything affects everything else. That's right. Oh, accepting, like, Hey, this is what it is right now. Let's make the most of it. Let's do the best we can and have that self compassion to you know, that we're doing the best we can. This is so unique for all of us. And let's just get through it, you know, get through it. Our health and with that resiliency intact, right for the next storm, because there will be a next storm. And yes, those what is to come.

Claudine
Well, this was like a level category five hurricane right this year. So hopefully the next storms will be like, you know, drizzle. Light.

Ashley
Yeah, for 2021 right?

Claudine
Right. There's not any more category five typhoon, Hurricane tides. Cause we've seen a big one.

Ashley
Another one is challenging yourself. Now that could look different for everybody. It could be a goal that you wanted to accomplish that you didn't you know that this totally derailed you this year, maybe wanting to get back on that track. It can be just having small victories throughout your day. You know, let's say we're going to have a fun school experience today. I tried to think let's write let's just make it fun today. Okay, let's just relax, just have a good time with it. Um, it could look different. And I also started running again, exercising, like, there are certain things that I know I need to be doing that I just felt like, Oh, my gosh, I have no time to do this anymore. And added factor. We got a puppy recently. And so it's like, oh, wow, now I have a third child. What did I do? So challenging yourself and allowing for victories because I think with this situation this year, many of us might not be feeling very victorious. And so are we might not be feeling very good about ourselves. Like, gosh, this is such a bummer a year. This is I mean, this is really hard. And we could be feeling really negative about that. So having something that you want to challenge yourself to do. Challenge yourself to be more positive, challenge yourself to become more self aware, like whatever it is, just challenge yourself. And the last thing is not to get stuck on the past. Right, this bill passed. We all right. Don't think it's going to last forever. I mean, it feels like forever, because it's been, again, a full term baby. Yeah. I'm never gonna get tired of it.


Claudine
Feel feels like forever.

Ashley
It does. But we will. We will be on the other end of this. You know, there's hope there are good things happening right now. We see the light at the end of the tunnel, and just not being stuck in the past and be like, Oh, my gosh, that year, you know, just really take this year and just think, what are things that I learned? What were some positives about it? What good things did come from it? You know, maybe it's not a surplus of toilet paper, and that's okay. Maybe it was we had more family game nights. I mean, during this pandemic, my daughter said, I love our dinners, and we asked her why she's like, because we play games and we laugh and have fun while we eat dinner. So she had a great experience right? And it was just about luck. And so we tried to make the most of it, you know, even though we couldn't really go out and do the normal things we like to do. We still tried to make the most of it. Have fun within our four walls.

Claudine
Yeah well I'm really glad we got to talk about resilience today. I mean I think after 2020 there was no more interesting and applicable topic than resilience. And I know that everyone out there you guys you have got this, wherever you're at right now, you've got this. You are doing it and you are rising up and you are shining. And if you need more help drop us a line. So I will leave you with this quote from Helen Keller, all the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming and that's what resilience does it helps us become overcomers and we are all doing that. Until next time have a great New Year and welcome 2021.

Ashley
Friends thank you so much for tuning in with us today. We hope this episode has brought you one step closer to living the life you love. Until next time, remember the world needs who you were made to be.