Real Reflection comes from our Hearts, not our Heads

Jun 15, 2022

We each carry some version of a heavy load with us everywhere we go – marital issues, performance challenges, financial troubles, parenting hurdles, etc. These circumstances trigger emotions within us that lead to reactions that either help us survive these challenges or hinder our abilities to move beyond them. We often view these situations or problems as things that happen to us, not because of us, causing us to fall into a hole of lack of accountability thinking where we resort to things like victim thinking, finger pointing, blaming, storytelling, gossiping, venting, making excuses, and feeling helpless to avoid dealing with the root of the issue which is our emotions.

We’ve been trained to allow our brains to do all the work, to think our way out of our “problems” instead of viewing them as merely our current state of existence and directly dealing with the emotions that get us stuck in the hole. We want to think our way of our problems, so we come up with all the reasons, excuses, and stories about why and how we got here in the first place. This approach allows these challenges, not the solution, to become our focus, and therefore our reality. It’s all that our brains can see and focus on.

“This is a problem because there aren’t enough people…”

"This is happening because the other team didn’t do what they were supposed to do…”

“I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have enough time…”

This pattern is seen even in the world of business. When an employee goes to their manager with a problem they’re facing, we almost always see the manager jump into problem-solving mode and begin coming up with possible solutions to solve the problem using their brain. We rarely see managers encourage their employees to feel into the emotions they are experiencing and support them in working through the challenge to a solution themselves.

What we’re missing and is needed to overcome these challenges and problems is to use one of our other three “brains”.  

What do I mean by “one of our other three brains? Recently, I was fortunate enough to participate in a training on mBraining or multiple brain integration techniques (mBIT). This training introduced me to this topic of how we have more than just the brain in our heads. We actually have more neural networks in more places in our bodies than just in our heads. We also have these same networks in our hearts, our gut, and even our nervous system. 

What causes us to get stuck in our problems? When we only use our brains, we are trying to “think” our way out of our challenges. But many of our workplace challenges are actually related to our emotions/relationships, or our “heart brain”. Or they stem from our identity/action/safety or our “gut brain.” If we want to move through our challenges, we will have to consider how to use them all. 

Therefore, when we are dealing with a problem or challenge that is rooted in emotions, we have to get out of our heads and into our hearts. And the way we do that is through real reflection.

What do I mean by “real reflection”? Real reflection allows us to translate what we have experienced into insights and ultimately action in our lives. Without it, we are unlikely to create meaningful change in our lives. It keeps us stuck in the hole, unable to move forward in our lives.

Real reflection takes us through a process that helps us respond to difficult circumstances in a way that prevents us from falling into the lack of accountability hole and allows us to overcome challenges without the burnout, exhaustion, and frustration. In order to get real reflection, we have to:

  1. Start with Acceptance – accept your circumstances for just life, without blaming, judging or victim-thinking by sticking to only the facts of our current state of existence.
  2. Understand the Challenge Fully – drop into your heart and recognize the emotion that is driving your reaction and discover the meaning behind the frustration, stress, or anxiety
  3. Give Compassion allow yourself to feel with your heart whatever is causing the reaction and give yourself self-compassion
  4. Create Reflection – connect with your heart and ask yourself “What action do I need to take?” or “What have I learned and how has it changed me, or will it change me?”

When we go through real reflection, we are able to overcome our circumstances in a way that leads to action and positive results instead of a lack of accountability. We overcome the challenges in our lives by Real Reflection that comes from our Hearts, not our Heads.

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