#151: Creating Space for Self-Reflection in Your Daily Life as an SLP

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How to use Self-Reflection to Grow as an SLPs

 “I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in a mirror.”  Taylor Swift nailed it with those lyrics — self-reflection is hard, and most of us would rather avoid it. But. Self-reflection is also necessary if you want to continue to learn and grow… and the research backs that up.

In this episode of the SLP Now Podcast, Laura and Marisha discuss the importance of self-reflection in practicing self-care and self-kindness — and how honing this skill helps you to grow as an SLP.

Self-reflection involves taking a moment to go inward and think about our thoughts, feelings, and actions. By being mindful and reflective, we can better understand our own learning processes and improve our problem-solving abilities, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.

Because Laura and Marisha are both major research nerds, they discuss some of the evidence that shows self-reflection improves emotional regulation. They talk about how self-reflection enhances our learning because when we reflect on our own experiences, we can better understand our own learning processes and what we need to do to improve. With that knowledge — plus improved problem solving abilities and increased self-awareness — we’re better equipped to develop strategies that help us to be more effective in our learning and growth journeys.

While self-reflection has many benefits, it can also be super challenging — especially if we’re tasked with facing truths we’d sometimes rather avoid, or trying to be objective about our own behavior while caring for others. Laura and Marisha share examples of how this shows up in their lives, and how they remind themselves that self-reflection is a practice, and we don’t have to be perfect.

Ultimately, self-reflection allows us to show up for ourselves and others in a more intentional and compassionate way, leading to greater job satisfaction as an SLP — and — less burnout.

In this episode, Marisha and Laura discuss:

💛 The benefits of self-reflection
💛 What self-reflection looks like in the moment
💛 The power of creating space for yourself
💛 Building pockets of reflection into your day
💛 Embracing self-reflection and growth as a lifelong journey

“We are all doing the best we can with what we know in the moment.” – Dr. Laura Mansfield

 

Excerpts from the Episode:

[00:02:26] Laura: For a long time, I just felt so broken and I would get frustrated with myself. I didn’t want to be acting a certain way or reacting a certain way. And so by not embracing that part of me, I kind of pushed it away. And it would make it really hard to be self-reflective because I just wanted to avoid it. I didn’t want to go there… it’s taken me a really long time to be kind to myself in self-reflection and just be gentle with myself as I think about where I’m at when I self-reflect.

[00:03:29] Laura: No, that can be really hard. You have to be able to face those thoughts and feelings and actions, then it can be uncomfortable. And if you haven’t created a safe place, a space within yourself, to be able to do that, it can be really painful. I don’t know about you, but I would get myself stuck in these patterns, and then I would just be like, yep, there you go again, Laura. You know, there you go again, doing that same thing that you’ve said you didn’t wanna do, but you’re doing it again.

[00:09:43] Marisha: Yeah. This is definitely an area of growth for me. Where I’m currently at, I have a journal that I really love. It has prompts that are really supportive for me in scaffolding my use of this self-reflection. It asks me what my intention is for the day, what’s coming up for me. I think those are the two questions that are most in alignment with the self-reflection side of things. It also has a deeper dive weekly self-reflection where you dive into kind of like the thing that’s coming up most over the week… Having that self-reflection in my journal helps set that tone and helps make it easier to do that self-reflection in the moment.

[00:14:19] Laura: It’s taken me a while to learn it’s not fair to hold “10 year ago Laura” accountable to the things that today Laura knows. And that’s the same for all of us. We are all doing the best we can with what we know in the moment. And so we owe it to ourselves to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge we’re doing the best we can and be okay with, if we don’t show up the way that we wanna show up.

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Transcript

[00:00:00] Laura: So we talked about self-care and self-kindness, and it's hard to have self-kindness if we don't start with self-reflection.
[00:00:08] Marisha: Mm.
[00:00:08] Laura: Right. Cause we have to think about where we're at. And there's a lot of research, you know how much I love my research.
[00:00:15] Marisha: Oh yes.
[00:00:16] Laura: About self-reflection. I think we know what it is, right? It's going inward, right. And thinking about things inwardly. And we have to think about kind of our thoughts. And we have to catch those thoughts, be mindful of what we're thinking. We have to be mindful of our feelings and what's going on in our bodies. And then we have to be reflective about the things that we're doing and make some space for ourselves to consider those things and why we're reacting the way that we're reacting.
[00:00:42] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:00:42] Laura: Like we've talked about before, remaining curious about those things and not being judgmental about what's going on. And I know we'll probably talk about mindfulness another time.
[00:00:52] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:00:53] Laura: But if we can reflect, have some self-reflection, there's a lot of research about how it improves our [00:01:00] emotional regulation. It enhances our learning because when we reflect on our own experiences, we can better understand our own learning processes and what we need to do to improve and develop some strategies so that we can be more effective in our learning and growth. It improves our problem solving abilities, our self-awareness.
It reduces burnout, which I know is like a key thing that we both wanna be able to achieve for SLPs. And you've done so much with SLP Now to give tools and strategies to SLPs. If we're not reflecting on where we're at with what we need to accomplish, then it's gonna be really hard to develop some strategies to deal with burnout and have that job satisfaction piece that I know we want.
There's a range of benefits, so that emotional regulation, the learning, the problem solving, increased self-awareness ,and reduced burnout. But while it's important, it can really be challenging. Have you found that it can be challenging to be [00:02:00] honest and objective and as caring for yourself as you are able to care for other people? Has that been challenging for you?
[00:02:08] Marisha: Just a little bit.
[00:02:09] Laura: A little bit.
[00:02:11] Marisha: No. It's been very challenging.
[00:02:13] Laura: Yeah.
[00:02:13] Marisha: I feel like that's a lifelong journey.
[00:02:17] Laura: Absolutely.
[00:02:18] Marisha: Honing that skill.
[00:02:19] Laura: And I don't think we ever stop learning
[00:02:21] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:02:22] Laura: About ourselves.
[00:02:23] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:02:23] Laura: And how to be better versions of ourselves. I would agree with that.
And I think for me, for a long time, I just felt so broken.
[00:02:30] Marisha: Mm.
[00:02:31] Laura: And I would get frustrated with myself.
[00:02:33] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:02:34] Laura: And I didn't want to be acting a certain way or reacting a certain way. And so by not embracing that part of me, I kind of pushed it away. And it would make it really hard to be self-reflective because I just wanted to avoid it.
[00:02:47] Marisha: Oh, yeah.
[00:02:48] Laura: Didn't want to go there. Like, Nope, I don't like that, but I'm not really gonna go there. I'm just gonna say it's his fault or her fault. Or the situation's fault,, or the job's fault, or the position, or the role, or [00:03:00] whatever it is. It's taken me a really long time to be kind to myself in self-reflection and just be gentle with myself as I think about where I'm at when I self-reflect.
It can be really hard to face some unpleasant, true things. None of us are perfect, and I don't always show up the way I want to show up. And it can be really hard to face those kind of unpleasant, like "Yep, I did say that and nope, I am not proud of it."
[00:03:28] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:29] Laura: No, that can be really hard. You have to be able to face those thoughts and feelings and actions, then it can be uncomfortable.
And if you haven't created a safe place, a space within yourself, to be able to do that, it can be really painful. I don't know about you, but I would get myself stuck in these patterns, and then I would just be like, yep, there you go again, Laura. You know, there you go again, doing that same thing that you've said you didn't wanna do, but you're doing it again.
[00:03:55] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:03:56] Laura: Does that bring up anything for you?
[00:03:58] Marisha: Yeah.
And [00:04:00] I'm curious. What does self-reflection look like for you in the moment? Do you have a daily kind of practice where you set aside time for that? Or is it more in the moment? How does that play out for you?
[00:04:14] Laura: In the past, I can't say that I was very self-reflective because I was so hard on myself that I would think about things after the fact. I would get myself stuck in these patterns of reacting. Without giving my self space to reflect.
[00:04:33] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:33] Laura: And so I think in my own personal growth journey, I've realized that I can give myself space in the interaction.
[00:04:40] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:41] Laura: And I can, I don't have to have the answer in that moment. I don't have to respond right then. I'm allowed to say I'm not really sure and I need a minute to think about that. I think I'm the type of person who in the past. And this is something I'm still trying to grow. Like I [00:05:00] wanna put like a perfect little bow on things and have it all evened out and worked out and be okay with it.
And I'm learning and continue to learn and grow in sitting in the uncomfortable sometimes when things come up and being okay with that and being okay with wherever I am. I don't have a work example that comes to mind, but I do have a kid example that comes to mind. My son could be a very good orator and debater.
And he knows that I would say that about him. And I love my son very much and he's very forceful in the things that he can say. And I find myself as a mom sometimes, wanting to have the answer and wanting to just give the answer right then. And there was a recent time where he wanted me to write him a note so we could get out of school early.
And my immediate reaction was, "No, I'm not gonna do that." And then I felt him starting to come at me with his words of all the reasons that I should do it. And I realized in that moment I felt berated. I was tired. We were headed to a [00:06:00] dinner with the family, and I didn't wanna be in this tired, overwhelmed space, but I had just worked a really long day, had an afterschool club with my kids, and I wasn't in a space that liked the berating.
And so in that moment I checked in with myself, realized what I was feeling and that I was being reactive to him. And I just said, "you know, I'm kind of feeling berated right now and I know this is what you want. I know I said no, but I'm gonna pull back that answer and I'm gonna tell you I just need a little bit of time. I just got outta work. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I need a little time to breathe before we go to this dinner. Cause I wanna be able to celebrate this person's birthday and be in a better space. Can we just table this? I will give you an answer later tonight, but I need some time and space to think about it."
[00:06:47] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:06:47] Laura: For me, that's like a huge growth journey for me, and it's a small example, but it's something I find myself doing more and more in my life where I'm checking in with what my [00:07:00] body's telling me. I'm not ignoring it. I'm not plowing through. I'm not just trying to provide an answer cause I feel like I need to.
[00:07:08] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:07:09] Laura: And I'm saying, okay, what do I need? What am I okay with? And then trying to communicate it in a loving, caring way and just saying, "nope, this is kind of where I'm at. This is what I need. I'll get back to you."
Developing that ability to give something space has been a huge part of my self-reflection, and not ignoring the signals that my body's giving me when I'm feeling anxiety or overwhelmed and just being okay with it and checking in with myself. " What am I feeling right now? Do I need something right now? Is this the situation or is this me? Is this my perspective of what I'm bringing on it?" Sometimes I take things and it's not how the person intended it, it's how I've interpreted it.
And so am I willing to say, "oh, [00:08:00] this is how I'm taking that. Did you mean it that way?" And giving the person an opportunity to either say, "yep, that's exactly what I meant," or actually, "no, it's not what I meant at all." So how about for you?
[00:08:11] Marisha: I have another question. Is the self-reflection process triggered for you when you're starting to have an emotional response?
[00:08:19] Laura: Yeah, not always.
[00:08:20] Marisha: What would start the self-reflection process for you?
[00:08:23] Laura: Actually I think it's embedded in my life. I have daily practices of thinking about how I wanna show up for my life.
[00:08:31] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:32] Laura: The type of person that I wanna be.
[00:08:33] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:34] Laura: The kind of love and care that I wanna have for the people in my life. And so for me, that starts first thing in the morning.
[00:08:41] Marisha: So setting that intention at the beginning of the day.
[00:08:43] Laura: Yeah. Of like the kind of person that I wanna show up for and being really honest with myself.
[00:08:50] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:08:50] Laura: Which can be really, really hard, you know, even in relationships where I know I'm loved and valued when I don't show up the way that I want to. [00:09:00] Being able to say, "I didn't show up the way I wanted to show up in that situation, and I'm sorry."
[00:09:05] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:06] Laura: Can I try again? Can I have a do-over? Can we start that again? Because that wasn't what I meant, or that came across this way and it's taken me a really long time to get there. So I think it's both, and I think it's thinking about how I wanna show up.
[00:09:20] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:21] Laura: The type of person that I wanna be. How I wanna love the people in my life and show up for work and my family.
[00:09:27] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:28] Laura: And as a friend, and then in the moments being really honest about if I am being that and knowing nobody's perfect and I can't be perfect.
[00:09:39] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:09:40] Laura: But it's taken me a really long time to get there. Yeah.
[00:09:43] Marisha: Yeah.
This is definitely an area of growth for me.
Where I'm currently at, I have a journal that I really love.
It has prompts that are really supportive for me in scaffolding my use of this [00:10:00] self-reflection. It asks me what my intention is for the day, what's coming up for me. I think those are the two questions that are most in alignment with the self-reflection side of things.
It also has a deeper dive weekly self-reflection where you dive into kind of like the thing that's coming up most over the week.
Like a gratitude practice is really helpful in setting the gratitude mindset for the days and the weeks and the months.
Having that self-reflection in my journal helps set that tone and helps make it easier to do that self-reflection in the moment, although, I have no clue what percentage of time I actually do the self-reflection. I put kind of a lot on my plate and I sometimes move really fast. Part of my personality too wants to [00:11:00] avoid conflict.
[00:11:01] Laura: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:01] Marisha: Sometimes, I make it to the end of the day. Whoa. All of these things happened.
[00:11:06] Laura: Yeah.
[00:11:06] Marisha: It's just at the end of the day or the end of the week, and sometimes it takes you even longer to really reflect on something that's happened.
[00:11:14] Laura: Yeah. That's a beautiful gift to give yourself too, to not feel like you have to have any answer really.
[00:11:20] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:21] Laura: But you just give yourself as much space and time as you need. To reflect on things.
[00:11:25] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:11:26] Laura: And being willing to enter that space. I think for me too, the emotional piece of it has been a huge part of the journey because I didn't have language for emotions and I was very uncomfortable with anything but feeling okay. So if I didn't feel okay, I just shoved it.
[00:11:44] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:11:45] Laura: Down.
[00:11:45] Marisha: And we'll get to talk about emotions in the next episode.
[00:11:48] Laura: Yes.
[00:11:48] Marisha: Which is exciting.
[00:11:49] Laura: It is one of the reasons that makes self-reflection hard.
[00:11:52] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:11:53] Laura: So I think it's important to like bring that up too.
[00:11:56] Marisha: Yeah, absolutely. And one other thing. I'm [00:12:00] still working on being able to reflect more consistently in the moment. I do sometimes, but more often than not it ends up catching up with me later.
There's a lot that I still need to explore there, but I've started building breaks into my day. I work full-time SLP Now with like little snippets working with students.
With both of those I have little intervals to check in with myself. I do try and do a little bit of self-reflection, build that into my schedule.
[00:12:33] Laura: That's great.
[00:12:34] Marisha: I help make sure that that happens because I know it's very important.
[00:12:37] Laura: It is.
[00:12:37] Marisha: I don't wanna unknowingly be carrying all of these things. So that's where I'm at.
[00:12:43] Laura: Yeah, it's a really good points cuz a couple of the other things that make self-reflection hard. I mean, we talked about facing those unpleasant
[00:12:50] Marisha: truths, the emotion piece. But two of them are lack of time.
Mm-hmm.
[00:12:55] Laura: And lack of practice.
[00:12:57] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:57] Laura: And I think building in those times, as [00:13:00] small as they might be able to be or need to be, to really be intentional. I mean, we have so much technology at our fingertips, right. We can put in reminders on our phones for anything.
[00:13:11] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:11] Laura: So building some of those things into the tools that we're already using can be helpful.
And remembering that it is a practice, like all the other things we explore on the podcast of gratitude and mindfulness and self-kindness. Those are practices and we don't have to be perfect. Being objective and having difficulty being objective about it can be another thing that can make self-reflection hard.
[00:13:36] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:13:37] Laura: So making sure that we are honest with ourselves, but also objective and kind, being okay with wherever we're at. Because it's okay. Wherever you're at.
[00:13:47] Marisha: Yeah. And one kind of statement quote that's been really helpful for me is that we are exactly where we need to be. We are exactly [00:14:00] where we need to be.
[00:14:00] Laura: Yeah. And we all do the best we can do with what we have when we have it.
[00:14:04] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:05] Laura: So I think sometimes for me, self-reflection would lead to looking back and having regret. Because I didn't show up in a way that I wanted to, you know, years ago.
[00:14:19] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:19] Laura: And it's taken me a while to learn it's not fair to hold "10 year ago Laura" accountable to the things that today Laura knows.
[00:14:28] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:29] Laura: And that's the same for all of us. We are all doing the best we can with what we know in the moment. And so we owe it to ourselves to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge we're doing the best we can and be okay with, if we don't show up the way that we wanna show up
[00:14:46] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:47] Laura: Say I didn't show up the way I wanted to show up, but it's okay.
[00:14:50] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:14:51] Laura: I'm still worthy of love. I'm still able to contribute. I'm still lovable and loved and cared for, and I [00:15:00] can show up differently and I can think about it and decide what I wanna keep and what I don't wanna keep. And we can change any time. It's part of the beauty of life of.
[00:15:09] Marisha: Mm-hmm.
[00:15:09] Laura: You know, being able to grow based on what we're reflecting on and what we see.
[00:15:14] Marisha: Yeah. And how boring would it be if we had it all figured out?
[00:15:18] Laura: Oh yeah.
[00:15:18] Marisha: We want some of that drama in our lives. Right.
[00:15:21] Laura: It definitely keeps things interesting.
[00:15:23] Marisha: It would be so boring if we had it all figured out and even 40 years from now, we'll all still be learning.
[00:15:32] Laura: Oh, yeah.
[00:15:33] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:15:33] Laura: Absolutely. And you know, we all get stuck sometimes, but it doesn't make you broken.
[00:15:38] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:15:39] Laura: Yeah. You're just growing like the rest of us.
[00:15:41] Marisha: Yeah.
[00:15:41] Laura: That's okay. So be kind to yourself, spend some time reflecting if you don't find yourself having a regular practice, think about what that practice might look like for you.

 

marisha-mets-about-mobile

Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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