Self-reflection

– The awkward mirror of growth and redefinition

Self-reflection – pretty much my super power. It’s linked closely to my ability to name emotions, understand how they fit in my life, what lesson or ‘take away’ will support my life in a positive manner, and then to let the situation go.

Everyday is a learning day, so they say. Every relationship and interaction may serve to highlight something that’s occurring in your world that needs addressing. When thinking about it like that, it sounds exhausting.

What if you focus on the moments that stay with you, the ones that linger in your mind, the ones that pop into your head when you’re distracted or doing something else? Those are the ones I like to give a bit of extra attention to. It feels like there is something ‘undone’ something that needs addressing and ‘cleaning up’ emotionally.

Depth personally and professionally

My usual conversations with close friends are highly self-reflective. I hold myself to a high standard around being introspective and clear on who I am as a person. This is partly due to being a counsellor and being sure I’m not bringing my own ‘stuff’ into someone’s session, and partly because I really value creating depth in my personal relationships.

What depth and growth looks like to me may be a little different to your own personal definition; I see it as making choices to sit in discomfort and have the harder conversations. The little ones you might slide sideways and let time take care of, or the big ones that cause a complete severing of relationship. This also comes with knowing your worth. Being grounded in your sense of self and what defines your own personal integrity.

Real life example:

In a social setting, I had felt dismissed by a close friend. A throw away comment they made had impacted me unexpectedly, causing me to feel as if my support and care was worthless in their eyes. This is not necessarily what they had intended, but was how it landed for me. It would come to me in the shower, whilst I was cooking, as I was driving. I knew there was something that needed exploration for me to integrate. The next time I saw them, I spoke about it.

Though I was apprehensive about having this conversation, I also knew it to be the right choice to maintain my own integrity within my relationship to Self. My friend then had the choice to see where I was coming from and make their own decisions on how they wanted the friendship to look.

Me:​ “The way you said that throw away comment, I felt dismissed. As if my holding space for you when you needed it wasn’t important or worthwhile. I understand that the reaction is my stuff, not yours. I also know that I have a choice to talk to you about it or not. For me, if I don’t let you know stuff like this I’ll build up invisible barriers in our relationship and things will gradually feel weird and less connected. If I tell you things and talk to you about it, I think we can have a deeper friendship and I’d really like that with you.”

My friend declared they’d rather not be weird and were happy that I’d brought it up. We hugged it out and I was proud of myself for being brave around my own integrity and value.

It is much easier to know things in theory, to speak with clients in therapeutic spaces and reflect with them whilst they navigate their own sense of being. It makes so much sense when it’s external. Being able to self-reflect, know your own value, hold your own worth and declare your boundaries in the face of other’s behaviour – that is when the work starts. Rubber meets the road kind of stuff. It’s also one piece in the puzzle of inner peace. The practical application of theories and thoughts.

What is an example of how you demonstrate to yourself your own sense of self awareness? How does that look from the outside? How does it feel from the inside?
What is a choice you could make in the next 24 hours that would reinforce that feeling?

If you’re unsure/don’t know where to start – drop me an email. Supporting people in finding their own solutions, pathways, inner light is how I like to live my life.

Yours in joyful abundance,

Hx

Loo roll & low backs are interesting things…

As you move through life, it’s interesting to reflect on the areas of life and little things that peak interest. One night, in my friend’s kitchen we were making dinner and talking about the idea of public toilets and how they impact and influence people’s life experience. In the moment of the conversation, my passion for body mechanics and how to look after the physical body came roaring forth. I had never before spoken out loud about my habit of doing a “low back impact assessment” when sitting on the loo. 

With a background in occupational rehabilitation and exercise physiology, I have found myself pondering the set up in many bathrooms and their associated impact on the human form.  With approximately 80% of Australian’s experiencing debilitating back pain in their lifetime and the toilet being a fairly central part to most people’s daily experience, there is an ongoing risk assessment happening in my head.  

How are these two linked? Why on earth do I care? 

Essentially, when you’re seated your low back bears all the pressure of your torso weight plus the load of gravity. Your leg muscles are not there to absorb the forces and distribute the impact into soft tissue. This is why people with back pain sometimes can’t sit for long periods of time and find standing to be an effective form of pain relief. So, there you are, sitting on the throne with some low back pain which may or may not be exacerbated by the simple act of sitting. The next layer to this situation is that when you add rotation into the mix, the load and pressure on the disc that lives between the vertebrae is further increased. Take a minute to ponder this… Where is the toilet paper typically located? 

In public stalls, the TP is within comfortable reach to the left or right. There is a convenient wall right there for the holder to be drilled into. Most of my bathroom angst comes about when I’m in private homes. Which, let’s be honest, if you’ve got debilitating back pain is where you’re going to spend most of your time.  Toilet roll holders in open plan bathrooms usually require the individual sitting to twist most of the way around to get the required squares for their needs. It is either that, or hope you have excellent shoulder range of motion so you can keep your torso facing forward whilst reaching behind you in a blind search. 

I spoke with a site foreman friend about this who has worked on many new apartment builds along with commercial construction. He outlined that for disabled toilets there is a whole page in the Australian Standards that identifies exactly where the loo roll and even type has to be located and used. Great for public spaces, but there is no building code for private dwellings and it’s usually left to the person installing the holder as to where it ends up. This conversation pretty much reinforced my notion that for something frequently used, not much consideration is applied. 

Thought overkill potentially.

It comes down to quality of life for me. If there are things a person can do over the course of their daily life to decrease or mitigate pain, I’m all about it. Particularly when pain is the dominating factor in their current experience. Decreasing the amount of loaded spinal twists someone performs over the course of the day will only facilitate a decrease in sensitivity in the affected area. One less movement aggravating an already annoyed and upset soft tissue. 

In a strange and functional way, understanding where your toilet roll is located falls into ongoing self care – especially if you’re currently experiencing an aggravated low back. In a world filled with ways to look after yourself, why not add a little bathroom reflection / low back impact assessment into your work day? Sit on your throne with a quiet confidence that you’re looking after your body for the long term.