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In this episode, you’ll learn…

  • The “Play-Doh Method” that instantly erases overwhelm (6:13)
  • How a triangle stops you from overreacting during stressful and uncertain situations (7:36)
  • Why trying to fix everyone’s problems leads you down a road of loneliness and despair (12:37)
  • The “A-word” that magically turns a negative situation into a positive one (13:56)
  • Why counselors can’t solve your problems (18:46)
  • How being a “helicopter parent” robs your kids of future success (25:25)

If you have zero energy to focus on yourself and need extra support and accountability from women who know what it’s like to juggle a crazy busy life, then go to https://befitandfierce.com and become unstoppable with us.

Or, if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing our faith, join our Just Breathe Facebook Group.

Read Full Transcript

Hi there. I'm Jill Allen and this is find your fierce, the show designed for women to discover your fierce, unlock and unstoppable mindset. Build unbreakable courage and completely transform how you show up every single day. Each week I will bring ideas, methods and strategies that will inspire you to step into your greatness and live life on purpose. Let's be fit, fierce and unstoppable.

(00:33): Hey there, welcome to episode 27 of find your fierce so glad that you are with us today, kicking off a new mini series, tough topics, tough questions, real talk, and how we can show up in the world to make a difference, no matter what is going on all around us. And as we all know, there's so much going on in the world with pandemics there's division, there's fear, there's chaos. And I think there needs to be a strong while there needs to be a great discussion on how we can do our part, how we can show up without falling victim or getting caught up in that chaotic trap. And one of the insights and wisdom of my friends and experts in their field, we're actually starting the series off with a dear friend of mine. She actually was an educational administrator when I was teaching at the high school back in the day, and coached your daughter in basketball as well.

(01:20): Been working with her the past gosh, 10 years or so on her fitness journey. And now she is a licensed professional clinical counselor making even more of an impact with so many for the past eight years. Welcome Cindy reef. How are you? Hi, thanks. I'm doing good. This is definitely a challenging time, but there's a, there's a brightness. That's here. There's sunshine at the end of the day. So we're, we're doing good. That is awesome. Well, you're exactly right. There's so much sunshine and I want to really focus on that and how we can actually shine that light that I know that we all have. I mean, you've been on this journey for a while now. I mean, take us through that. You went from being in a school system for 30 years. And what prompted you to move into the counseling world? The clinical world?

(02:08): Well, basically when I started in education, I was just like a young age of 21, 22. And then when you retire at the end of 30 years, that's 52, it's kind of like you sit back and think I have more to offer, you know, just because you retire doesn't mean it's the end, all, you just kind of like, see what's going on. And then as I was working with kids and parents and teachers, and in that arena, it's kind of like, there's a connection and you know, that connection is important. So it's kind of like you take a self study of, okay, what's next for you? So the last couple years in the school system, I went back for another master's degree in the counseling field, just because I knew I had more to offer at the age of 52. That's kind of like, you know, it's new, new outlook.

(03:01): It kind of helps blend things more. And I would have to say the biggest part of, you know, retiring is finding me and what I can do and then what I can do to help others as well, because, Hey, we're still growing. We just may be older, but you know, there's, there's no end in sight at all.

(03:21): The fact that you have so much more to give. I think if we all had that perspective and knowing that we are here and we always talk about, you know, in all our episodes that we're here for a purpose and we have gifts and we need to be able to walk through those doors and those opportunities. And you've definitely done that. And I know you're making an impact and I, you know, I've seen you change for the last 10 years through your journey and now you're just paying it forward, you know, through that. I mean, tell us a little bit about your day. I mean, you know, I know you can't go into a lot of details, you know, with, with your patients and clients, but what is it that you see or, you know, with everything going on? I mean, there is a lot, I mean, there's

(03:59): So much that we can look side to side with them,

(04:03): Between the news and what we're reading and people's opinions. And what is it that you see

(04:09): General in general? I see that there is hope and that we can learn from this chaos. We have to learn to manage the chaos, but it's kind of like our life is ever evolving. So this is just something that's been, but to us, it's like, okay, now what do we do about it? Do we stay victim? You use that word earlier. Do we stay like, Oh, poor me. Woe is me. I'm easy. Or, you know, I'll never going to be able to get out and see the sunshine. And it's like, okay, so what can you do? What do you have control over? And what's going on? And if you start taking a look at that, then you can start breaking some of this down so that you can come out of woe is me. And it's like, what's the challenge today? What am I going to do today? Type thing.

(05:02): We get people to actually pose this question, obviously, but people listening to this, they're going to be like, wait a minute. What I need to hear, I need to hear this. And I think so many of us do need to hear it because we do get stuck in our, our mindset and our thinking. And so one person can say one thing to make us shift. So how can we begin obviously, self awareness of us being in that state of mind?

(05:25): How can we manage that? Well, there's a couple of things that just based upon that, that question there, that you think about one is your circle of control. What is it that I have control over? What is it that it's not? And if we take a look at what's going on, you can't control what other people do, but you can control what you say and what you do. You can't control the news. You can't control the sickness. You can't control. How long will it last? I can control how I treat others. I can control my positive outlook. I control how often I wash my hands.

(06:04): I can control whether or not I shut the remote control off of the TV set or finding things to do within your own element. So I can take a look at the concrete of control versus the playdough of control. You can still mold. You can still move that. Play-Doh all right. It's not solid. There are things we can do. You know? So for example, what school, the school year going to look like next year? I don't know. I absolutely don't know, but you can still work within it and, and kind of like, okay, so we're going to school and this is just an example, three days a week, all right. The other two days, then this is what we're going to do. This is how we're going to do it. When they go to school, they're going to, they're going to have a pack lunch, or they're gonna wear a mat.

(06:54): You know, you have control of that and that, and setting that stage for your child as they go out the door. So it's kind of like, yeah, you got one boundary set, but you can also set your own boundaries with what you have control over. And you can load that. You can move that like a Plano. The other thing that you talked about was thinking, okay, and that's where you need to start challenging yourself. I brought that out. You know, when we talked about being the Plato for me, and this is what I kind of do in a counseling session, and this is a big part of it is I, I do what I call the triangle approach, the thought triangle. Okay. And if you take a look at our triangle, there's three parts to our triangle. You know, we have the thoughts, feelings, and actions.

(07:45): So we might know that we're sad and we get mad and we throw something. But what was the thought was the thought I need to throw something or is the thought, Oh man, I can't believe that I'm so angry because they didn't put the clothes in the laundry shoot. Does that warrant that, can you still be angry? Well, absolutely. So how can you just kind of like flip your thought process to kind of like reframe it, flip it around and, and with kids, I will use helpful thoughts, unhelpful thoughts. You can even go as positive, negative. Oh gosh. That'd be good for adults too. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And it's kind of like reframe it a little bit and flip it around. Change that too. You still have a right to be angry. You still have a right to be sad. You have a right to be excited. You ever see a kid that's so excited that they just kind of like to do something. It's like, woo.

(08:52): It's great to be excited, but Oh, but this great. We're going to the beach. You're right. We're going to the beach. It's super exciting. But what I need for you to do now is focused on getting packed. Yeah. So that thinking sometimes we do, we have a thought and we do something, but we don't know what the feeling is. I'm a child habit, a tantrum. We automatically assume it's because they're mad. Well, maybe there's a little worry in there. Maybe there's a little bit of unknown. There's no validation to what's going on with what they're going through. So it's kind of like, okay, Ben, you kind of worked through that. Okay. So this is what you got going on. This is the thought let's, let's do it from this angle a little bit. And I know as an adult, I have to do this a lot, a lot. It's kind of like really, and it's that self talk that kind of like challenged your thinking, you know, we've got to challenge it a little bit and be accountable for what we say, but at the same time, we can't impose that thinking onto others either.

(10:06): Yeah. Well this is helping, not just for us as an adult and how we can respond and how we can show up. It's actually giving me some insight too, of being a mom or having grandchildren or having kids and, or even working with other adults, just people in general of how we can see both sides, you know? And I think that's something that I know that we need to be able to do. You had mentioned something about the school and how we can respond as an adult, but when you talk about Modi and I just had this in my head where our thoughts can sometimes mold our children's thoughts and it's how we show up. If we get all upset and worried and angry about no school, there is school, then our kids would have that same perspective and it would just kind of carry on. And I'm just using the school as an example, because we had talked about that. Do you have anything more to add of the influence that we all have on other people?

(11:03): Absolutely. And, and it's kind of like part of, you know, that thought triangle I talked about is the awareness piece, but it's also being aware of what your automatic responses are because those automatic responses have been ingrained in us for a long time. Okay. So it's kind of like, for example, back in my generation, okay. Not that I'm old or anything, but my generation, my mom had meat and potatoes and a vegetable for dinner every night, meat, potatoes, meat, potatoes, vegetable, okay. Mean potatoes. And it's kind of like, Whoa, you know, it's like, how could the castle, Raul, how about a sandwich? How about something different? So it's kind of like when I, you know, when we first got married and I was still a senior in college, it's kind of like, mean potatoes, are you serious? Right. Let's have tomato soup and grilled cheese and call it a deer.

(12:04): Or how about my husband fixed dinner late night so that the automatic responses are there. They are ingrained. And sometimes we have to challenge that. It's kind of like, you know, those people that are, you know, can fly off the handle rather quickly. Oh yeah. And why is that? So they're used to doing that habit is a habit for them. It's their automatic response. It's kind of like the people that, Oh, let me fix it for you. Let me do this for you. Let me do. And you just can't do that. Especially, you know, six and everybody else's problem because you have to be strong as well type thing. But yeah, we have to be aware of what our automatic responses are. And then that's when we can say, okay, let's change that tune a little bit. Let's tweak it a little bit to, maybe we can, you know, that automatic response and come down a little bit and it's opens our minds a little bit more, but yet still have a feeling of whatever it is. Just not as intense.

(13:19): The automatic responses. I shared this with you guys last week, I had the automatic response of speaking during my son's driver's test last week. And I just kept saying it was automatic. It was just an automatic thing guys, by the way, he failed because I spoke automatically and not thinking before I did that. And so as, as hard as it was on him for doing that, it was such an eye opener for me. And I took it as seriously, a major learning experience that, Oh my goodness. But that took a lot of growth. I mean, I could have easily gone back into the blame game and, but I knew like, Oh my gosh, that automatic response of me just saying blinker caused me to fail. And so I definitely grew from that and what my habits were as a mother,

(14:09): You came in and you told us about that, and you said, I need your help, Cindy. I need your help. Was the word that I used with you. Oh gosh. What did you use? Awareness. Awareness. Yes. Acceptance. Acceptance. You can't have a do over on that situation in time. So you have the acceptance of, Oh, what a learning experience. But you were aware that it was an, a learning experience and then it's kinda like, okay, from that point on, okay. I can imagine this next test. If you don't have must masking tape or duct tape on your mouth. I don't know what it will later after he passes this test this week, when he passes this test this week, then you guys can just laugh at it. It just it's just, yeah. And just flip it around. It's like, okay, now we know

(15:06): Good. Well thank goodness. Well, he handed me a roll of white duct tape last night

(15:13): There, Right before I went to bed, he goes, I got this for you for Wednesday, but then here's the thing. Not only acceptance, but actually learning from it. And I know you had mentioned this at the beginning that we actually need to learn and be able to carry it over. Not just to be aware now what we're aware of it, but now do we have the choice?

(15:32): You do have the choice. Yeah. You learn from it. And again, it goes back to, okay, let's reframe things. Let's look at it or wow. That worked. That was awesome. I liked it. And that's how you can kind of like learn from it. And sometimes there's going to be that situation where it's going to be. Yup. It is what it is. I'll have to accept it. I don't like it, but bam, you know, so don't, don't allow it to hold you back either. Right. Okay. Because then you will be owning it forever and ever, and every time you see a blinker or hear the word blinker, it's going to put you in something else. It's like, we got this timing. So yeah, absolutely. But you did talk about kids in our automatic responses, which is, you know, if we take a look at what's going on right now, you know, kids are watching, kids are watching us as well.

(16:34): And with that, you know, one of the questions is families. You know, how do we have our family be safe and healthy during all this? And what is protection? Well, first of all, be honest with the kids on what's going on, you know? Cause they're going to hear things, they're going to see things. The other thing too is remember that kids are more resilient than what we give them credit for. And it's kind of like, yeah, you know, it depend on the NGO. I understand what's going on. They're watching us. They are absolutely watching us. And we got to be that role model. It's kind of like, all right. So going back to the blinker situation, if you did the blinker situation and you knew it, and then all of a sudden sentence of four letter words come out and your son's right there. Yeah, yeah. It's kind of like, Oh, and then he starts dropping, you know, a few of those words. It's like, it's okay. Mom did it. Yeah. Well, my first words were, Oh my gosh. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry.

(17:36): You spoke. Like I knew at that, at that point. And just to be honest with you, that kid always apologizes when he is in the wrong or when he feels that he had messed up. So that is so true. Well, okay. So Terms of protection and I know there was a question guys, we put out there and you got in, you can also, we're going to do this series here for the next couple of weeks. So if you guys have a question that you want to ask, please send that in. But someone had said as there's so much going on, what is the most important thing to do to keep you and your family safe and healthy during a time like this? And, and what does protection mean to you?

(18:13): As far as protection means to me, it's, it's not my question to answer. Okay. It is what you, as a family have decided in your guidelines on taking a look at what that is, because, you know, again, it goes back to being that role model, being honest and, you know, and putting it out there. But we also have to teach our kids that as well. So you, as a family, as a parent or even a partner in a relationship, you know, what does that, what does that look like? You know, oftentimes counselors are thought of telling me what to do. Okay. That's not necessarily my role. I might give some little bit of insight, but you've got to figure out what is it that I, you know, need to do? You know, people come to me like I am so sad. I can't figure out I had no motivation.

(19:08): Okay. Well, what is it you want to do? Okay. And then let's identify what are those barriers? So you are responsible for your own growth. Okay. What can you do to help you? And then that's my role as a counselor is to help you find insight to that. Maybe identify what the barriers are and go from there. So when it comes to, you know, family safe and healthy and protection are a common census there, but you have to define it for your family and what that protection would be and what safe looks like for you guys. And what's healthy for you.

(19:48):So then I guess it could lead to, is there a right or wrong in this, which might lead to the other question that came in, you know, why are there so many binary thinkers

(20:00): Out there

(20:02): We encourage more thoughtful and kind understanding

(20:06): People? Well, yeah, that is a tough one. And it's kind of like, okay, that's almost beyond my scope as a counselor that you take a look at, you know, more of, that's more of a socialist, not a socialist, that's a sociologist question and, you know, take a look at society, but let's bring it back to some of the automatic responses that we have, you know, you know, in the binary thinkers, let's say their automatic responses. This is concrete. This is the way it is. You have to believe in the way I say it is. Okay. Well, if you are aware that you're coming across that way, then you need to go back to the thought triangle again. All right. What is it that I'm doing? How can I be more Plato ish, but still being solid on, on your foundation of beliefs as well. Okay.

(21:03): We can't impose this stuff onto other people, but we can kind of have a tolerance with what's going on and you know, and we talk about kindness and whatever, where's the empathy. Where's, where's the empathy, you know, that kind acceptance, acceptance, you know, we can agree to disagree. All right, you put suntan lotion on, I put suntan oil on you eat veggie burgers. I have a hundred, hundred percent ground beef burger baby, but I'm not going to impose that onto you, but you gotta be aware that sometimes, maybe your thinking is so concrete binary that you have binders on, like what we do with the horses, you know? Well, let's start opening up those binders a little bit. It's kind of like tunnel vision. Well, let's just open it up a little bit or you don't have to necessarily change your belief or your stance on anything.

(22:06): Whether it's with the pandemic, we wear a mask, not wear a mask, you know, the racial division that we have going on. I mean, you may not change, but having the empathy and looking at things from this person as a human being. Yeah. Cause you know, every once in a while, you know, you find yourself driving through like a stir, for example, when you see some rundown houses or whatever, it's like, man, why did they just tear that down and make those people move out? And it's like, Whoa, wait a minute. That's somebody's home. That is somebody's home. You know, to them, it's a mansion. We have to be aware of that and accept that, that may, you know, that's somebody's home let's. Yeah. So what's so back to how we can show up and do our part empathy. That'd be your go to that would be, you know, go to recognize the environment in which people are operating in and kind of like, yes, there's one thing to set the boundaries and we do set boundaries, then that's part of being a concrete, you know, but you also have to be able to reframe things and you know, and challenged that a little bit, you know, no swimming after you eat for 30 minutes, right?

(23:28): Oh yeah. So are you going to hold that one or not? Well, that's up to you and you know what you guys have decided as a family for safety and healthy. Okay. What's best for you. What's best. It's kind of like let's face it, me being a, my kids, they had to wait 30 minutes grandkids. Oh, let's jump in. Now we take a look at health and safety and you know, and make sure everybody's doing okay

(23:58): And what works best for one family. Again, having the acceptance and love and empathy that it may not work

(24:04): For another and recognizing that environment. Yeah. We just have to be more tolerant and the empathy factor as well. Yeah.

(24:14): Well, let's, let's just recap here and add in if I miss something cause I took notes, but you know, how we can and what I took from it is what is it that we have control over? Okay. Concrete versus being moldable. If that's a word, Absolutely loved it. The points being, thoughts, your feelings and your actions. And we need to be able to reframe some of our thinking, becoming aware of our automatic responses. And then I love this one: figuring out what we need to do, what works best for each of our families on our own, coming to light on that. What's some guidance I think. And then having that personal responsibility when it comes to growth

(24:58): And another big word in all of this is balanced and balanced. And I try to challenge my clients especially, you know, teens, because if we were to draw a balance, a line and we put the fulcrum in the middle, the triangle, but what are the two extremes, chaos and rigid. Okay.

(25:19): So you've got chaos and rigid and we're trying to,

(25:21): Okay. And you're trying to balance. And the other thing too is you can replace any of these words, like parenting over, protecting, doing everything for the kid. You know, it's kind of like, where's the balance. You can't protect your child from everything, but you know, because when they become an adult, they got a problem solved. Mom's not going to be there to fix it all. So whether it's bigger out what, what's the balance for you, you know, and we can move a little bit of one way and the other way that then, you know, we should be able to put the thought triangle into place, challenge our automatic responses, look at other people's environments and empathy and, and just be kind and manage the chaos that we're we're here and learn from it.

(26:12): Yeah. I mean, I just kept thinking of a Teeter totter. I mean, life's Teeter totter and we need to be able to go through that and give a little, and

(26:23): It's like nutrition. We can be too rigid or we can be too loosey goosey. Well, what kind of works? You know, for me, I'm trying to balance a little bit more of the carbs. I'm just kind of like learning because I have such a great trainer, by the way, she's lost like 40 pounds. Yeah. But the thing is that, you know, trying to figure out what that balance was, you know, you think that protein bars are the grids, you know, better than a handful of candy. And then you take a look at that, the carbs and it's like, are you serious? Right. So for me, I'm trying to find that balance of nutrition, trying to balance time management, trying to balance whatever comes across our way. And, and, and that's what we need to be more aware of and challenge our own thinking and what do we want to do to help ourselves?

(27:16): And it just goes back into that thought triangle. I love that. I love it. We need to be okay. So if people have further questions on mental health or you know, how to, how can someone move?

(27:29): Well, basically there's a lot of mental health facilities here in the Fairfield County area. Definitely, you know, reach out to someone, encourage someone. And the other thing too is think of it as your overall health. You know, we go to the doctor because we don't feel good or whatever. Well, if there's something missing, you know, mentally, then, then it's okay to seek some help for that. That doesn't mean, you know, it's it's Oh, you have a disease or something like that. No. And the same thing is with our spiritual health, where do we go for our spiritual health? Well, we, you know, whether it's the church listening to it online or whatever, we have to take a look at our whole self and mental health is a, is a component of that and do reach out because it's kind of like, you know, as counselors, we will help you determine what you need to do to work on you and identify what barriers you are having and help challenge those automatic thoughts that you have.

(28:35): Okay. So no matter where they are, we need to, they need to find there,

(28:40): Oh yeah, there's the counties. Any counties have the Adam board, they will have a list of resources for you. Doctors offices have huge resources. They link with us a lot. So there's plenty of opportunities out there.

(28:57): I love it. Thank you so much. We are always on a mission here on the find your fierce podcast to be the best version of ourselves to be better today than we were yesterday and to always be working on ourselves. So if you have zero energy to focus on yourself and need extra support and accountability from women who know what it's like to juggle a crazy busy life, go to be fit and fierce.com and become unstoppable with us. Or if you want to join a sisterhood dedicated to growing your faith, join our just brief Facebook group heads up on the next episode, we are going to continue this real talk series. But this time with Captain Lord, Mike was a pastor and youth leader with the salvation army. Thanks so much for joining us today. Cindy, thanks so much for being here. Please subscribe, share this episode, link on your social media. As we all know, someone that can benefit and I

(29:42): Would love it. If you would give some feedback and a review as well, talk with you next time. Be fit, be fierce, be unstoppable. See ya.

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