How to Relax (When You’re a Type-A Stress-Case)

How to Relax (When You’re a Type-A Stress-Case)

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

It's Hard to Relax When You're a Superstar

[social_warfare]

Here at Growing Self our therapy and life coaching clients are generally successful, high-achieving people on a path of personal growth. Because of this, I have a soft spot for the superstars, and I know that being a go-getting, productive, conscientious, high-achieving, intelligent, successful person has many, many benefits. You get things done, you're on top of it, and you are probably extremely successful in many areas of life.

And… it's probably hard for you to relax.

How to Relax When You're an Over-Achiever

Because you are so conscientious and successful you probably do everything you're supposed to. You take vacations, you exercise, you have a healthy diet, and you practice self-care. But it still might feel hard to let yourself truly relax. Even when you're having fun you are thinking about the next thing, and doing “nothing” (as in the Dutch practice of Niksen) feels like a waste of time compared to all the important or goal-directed things you could (probably feel like you should) be doing.

Believe it or not, learning how to relax is a very important life-skill. Just like learning how to manage your emotions, making it a priority to exercise and sleep, managing your finances, having satisfying relationships, practicing good self care, and eating healthy foods, learning how to relax — how to truly relax — is a skill set that is acquired through education and practice.

Real relaxation, the kind that restores you and allows you to be more productive, more creative, more resilient, and happier, is much more than about taking a bath once in a while. Real relaxation requires a high degree of self awareness and commitment, as well as the development of specific internal skills. (Ha! You can always recognize a fellow Type-A over-achiever when they describe relaxation skills as a project — hello my friend.)

Yes, I know from both professional experience in working with extremely successful, high-achieving people as well as from my own personal experience, that being a Type-A superstar has a very real dark side including exhaustion, agitation, anxiety and overwork. Burnout is an experience that many hard working and conscientious people can succumb to if not careful. Without vital relaxation skills, you can start to experience a lack of motivation, tiredness, emotional numbness, and loss of joy and creativity in your day to day life. FYI, “Burnout” is real: It's finally gotten recognized as an occupational phenomenon by the ICD!

The Keys to Authentic Relaxation

Today's episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is just for you, my high-achieving compadre. We'll be discussing:

  • The mind-body connection that makes you feel stressed out even when you're relaxing
  • New ideas to help you prioritize your self-care and relaxation
  • The real source of stress (it's not what you think… except when it is)
  • Why “relaxing” behaviors (massages, hot baths, vacations) won't help you truly de-stress
  • How to combat the stressful thinking styles that will interfere with true relaxation
  • The skills and strategies that will actually help you reduce stress, relax, and restore your mind, body and soul.

I hope this discussion helps you achieve the rest and relaxation that you deserve, and that it helps you (paradoxically) become even more productive, creative, forward-thinking and successful as a result!

From me to you,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

[social_warfare]

Listen to the Podcast

How to Relax (When You're a Type-A Stress-Case)

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Damian Jurado and Richard Swift, “Hello Sunshine”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Build Confidence and Charisma

Build Confidence and Charisma

Build Confidence and Charisma

How to Be Interesting & Fun To Talk To

[social_warfare]

Build Confidence and Charisma

One of the most ubiquitous of our pandemic-life experiences has been the isolation of being at home all the time and having less opportunities to socialize with others. But… (knock on wood) the end may be in sight. If you're feeling a little rusty or nervous when it comes to talking to people and chatting up new friends and old, it's time for a refresher course on how to communicate with confidence and charisma. 

My guest on today's episode of the podcast knows all about how to be interesting and fun to talk to, especially under pressure. Kristen Carney is a stand-up comedian, comedy writer, online dating coach and “conversation coach” who's specialty is helping people be comfortable with others, be interesting and fun to talk to, develop an easy rapport with others, and be more confident about themselves — especially in conversation.

In this episode, you’ll learn how to carry more charismatic conversations with people to make not just great first impressions, but lay the foundation for an enduring positive new relationship. You’ll discover the power of self-confidence and self-awareness in your interactions with others, as well as some “pro tips” for easy things you can do to instantly set others at ease, be perceived as more likable and interesting.

Tune in to the full episode to learn how to build confidence and charisma!

In This Masterclass with Kristen, You Will . . .

  • Learn about how and why Kristen became a comedian.
  • Discover the power of becoming confident about yourself.
  • Find out how to embrace your shortcomings and make light of it.
  • Realize that judgment also comes from within yourself.
  • Understand how your mood affects others.
  • Learn how to get past the judgment of others and yourself.
  • Discover ways you can become a better conversationalist.

I hope that this conversation helps prepare you to get back into the ring with confidence and charisma, as you begin rebuilding your social life and network of friendships.

You can listen to this episode right here on GrowingSelf.com (the player is at the bottom of the post), and you'll find a full transcript of these episode down there as well. You can also listen to “Build Confidence and Charisma” on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you like to listen. Don't forget to subscribe!

Wishing you all the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Build Confidence and Charisma: Episode Highlights

#1: How to Talk to Random People

As a comedian, Kristen shares the anxiety that comes with standing up on stage and having the spotlight on you. Unlike other performances such as dancing, you’ll never know what kind of reaction you will get and how things will go along. In a sense, the feeling is almost like talking to a random person or being on a first date.

You only have the first few seconds to make a good impression. So if you’re dealing with social anxiety around dating or making new friends, how do you cope? Here are Kristen's tips:

  1. Remember, it’s natural for people to judge you. “You can’t control that, that’s going to happen regardless,” Kirsten says.
  2. Don’t put too much weight on whether a person likes you or not. When you focus less on being judged, people will be less likely to sense that negative energy.
  3. Enter situations smiling. Because people can sense the energy you are giving off, it’s always better to look genuinely warm and welcoming.

I didn’t want to fake-smile, of course. I just worked on the joy that is inside of me.” Kristen says that it took therapy for her to unlearn and let go of the discomfort she felt about herself, in order to build her confidence in these situations. (Listen to the full story of her personal growth therapy process in this episode).

#2: Develop Self-Awareness

How do you feel when you're around others? Kristen reminds us that even in situations where you don’t strike up a conversation, people will still sense the energy you are giving off. It doesn’t help if you physically look unwelcoming. People will naturally observe how you look and make assumptions from that as well.

Because of that it’s crucial to have self-awareness, and understand how your inner experience may be impacting others — wither you know it or not. Sometimes, although you may not be conscious of it, you become stuck in negative emotions. Kristen shares that when she’s annoyed or moody, for example, at a grocery store, it is very evident.

Kristen shares how it can affect others. “You know sometimes, I forget, this person is being a jerk, and then I realize well maybe, I’m putting out that energy of being a jerk.” 

After becoming aware of your energy in situations like that, you can still readjust. When you begin to unload all that negative energy, you also start to radiate welcoming energy towards others. Only becoming aware of this is doable for anyone and adds to your personal growth. 

#3. Embrace Your Shortcomings

Maybe your goal is to create chemistry on your first date, or perhaps to appear more attractive to an acquaintance, co-worker or new friend. However, we often overfocus too much on creating chemistry and getting people to like us that we bring ourselves down instead of becoming happier.

In these cases, we tend to have feelings of inferiority and insecurity, which is entirely understandable. However, to have more charismatic conversations, it’s crucial for you to embrace yourself.

I’ve realized that what I have to offer is unique and is great in and of itself without having to be like them,” Kristen comments about being surrounded by more educated, “decorated” colleagues. 

Here are some great tips that she’s learned from her personal experiences:

  • Stop trying to be anyone else. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, then so be it. It’s easier said than done, but once you get to that level, the pressure of fitting in “instantly melts away.”
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You may not like politics or literature, and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you any less of a person.
  • Remember what you have to offer is unique. You might have ways of doing or learning things that are different compared to others. Whatever you are interested in and however you do things is unique in itself.

In fact, as a comedian, Kristen usually makes jokes about her shortcomings. However, she has to catch herself when it comes from a place of insecurity. 

However, when you’re feeling good about yourself, you can use self-deprecating humor to call out your shortcomings. This doesn’t apply to just in-person conversations, as you can use this to be an exciting texter as well. In any case, it’s always better to keep it light and do this in small doses.

Ways to Be A Better Conversationalist

Other than being more comfortable in your skin, there is an art to having charismatic conversations. Kristen has a coaching program that helps people get past barriers like low self-esteem and teaches them great tips on what to do in social situations. Here are some of them:

  1. Become aware of your surroundings. Another way to start or continue a conversation is to pick up on things around you. For example, you can comment on a particular smell.
  2. Know your point of view and have a strong opinion. We are taught not to offend, but we can still hold our own opinion without being a jerk. Having an opinion allows for banter.
  3. Make connections between one thing or another. When you connect things, no matter how random it may be, you can create stories and witty conversations.

You don’t want to be shallow necessarily, but you want to be playful and short so that it doesn’t feel like work so that it feels fun,” Kristen says. You want to set the stage when you’re first drawing someone in and have fun doing so. The more in-depth conversations come later on once you’ve established a great connection.

Resources

  • Growing Self – our website has dozens of helpful articles written by several experts on communication, chemistry, and friendship.
  • Kristen and Chill – check out Kristen’s website, where you can find great resources on online-dating banter and having better conversations.
  • The Banter Coach – connect with Kristen on Instagram.

Kristen Carney has shared some practical and insightful tips on how to hold charismatic conversations. What did you connect and relate to the most? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment down below.

Did you like this interview? Subscribe to us now to discover how to live a life full of love, success, and happiness!

 

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Build Confidence and Charisma

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast

Music Credits: “Light Shines” by Atlantic Thrills

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Build Confidence and Charisma: Podcast Transcript

.
Access Episode Transcript

Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you're listening to the Love Happiness And Success podcast.

 

[Light Shines by Atlantic Thrills plays]

 

Lisa: That's Atlantic Thrills, this song is Light Shines. I thought it was a perfect song for us today. Because today we're talking about how to get your light to shine, particularly when you're out in the world talking to other people. Something that I think we've all maybe fallen out of practice with. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself, when we're back out meeting and greeting people in person. It's going to be like that, “Wait, what do I do with my hands again?” kind of moment. As I record this, we're still all sort of sitting in quarantine. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

 

I think that's something I've heard a lot about from clients, and people leaving comments on the blog and Instagram these days, is our relationships and our connections with other people are feeling more important than ever before. I think, we appreciate that much more than things that we feel we are losing or being threatened. I think that all of us have been feeling a little more isolated and compartmentalized than before. It is that much more important to figure out how to create really meaningful, valuable, good feeling connections with other people. And that's true for romantic relationships that are intimate partnerships, but also even friendships or connections with family—the people that are most important to us, and, and also figuring out ways to build those connections with others. 

How To Be Interesting

At the core of it, and I know we talk a lot about this on the podcast, is that the real fabric of our relationship is connection and attachment, emotional safety. I think being able to be truly authentic with others and have relationships that are characterized by caring, and a mutual appreciation, and all of these things. It is also true that especially when we are creating relationships—newer relationships, being they friendships, romantic relationships, how we show up in the very beginning can determine whether or not we have the opportunity to go deeper with people. First impressions do kind of matter. And not that it's you only get one chance, and then it's over, because that is way too much pressure for any of us to take on board. But it is worth considering. What is our leading edge when we first meet someone? If you are single and dating, how that first date goes is going to determine whether or not you have the opportunity for a second. 

 

I think that when we talk about romantic relationships or things related to couples, it is very easy to go into the deep stuff around communication and how we show love and respect. Those things are all incredibly important. It can be easy to get so into the weeds of that, that we lose sight of the fact that there also needs to be fun in a relationship, like to be a good friend to your partner, to be enjoyable to hang out with, to spend time together, doing light things that aren't the most serious things in the world. That’s really the bulk of how we spend our days with our spouse or partners, even our kids. 

 

And then also certainly with friendships. There is a time and a place to go into the deep stuff and to be vulnerable and to have those very authentic heart to hearts. Honestly, I think that it's true that if you can't do that at all with “friends”, it may not be the depth of the relationship that you want to have and. There's a lot of the rest of the time that we spend with friends that is devoted to just fun and companionship and being easy and light and just enjoyable. Again, it's like, the deep stuff is important. Chemistry does matter, that people feel a spark when they're with you, that people want to hang out with you. Like the song we were just listening to, there's a line in there that I love, “like a moth to the flame,” right. 

Confidence and Charisma

And so, I think that as we are discussing all different topics related to your love, happiness and success, it is worthwhile to be talking about how to build up your confidence in these interpersonal moments, and also your charisma, your chemistry, because you can be intentionally more charismatic, more fun to talk to, more fun to be with, make people feel chemistry when they're around you. This is not an impossible thing, even if you maybe are sort of—as I am, honestly, as many people—are kind of naturally inclined towards introversion. That is okay, that's good, that gives you depth and meaning. I think introverts are fascinating to talk to you personally. How do you put your best foot forward? Be your best self, particularly with people who don't yet know you? We have to do that to some degree to give ourselves the chance to get to know people more deeply. We don't do a cannonball into the deep end of the pool with intimacy, there's an on ramp. Being intentional about how you're coming across in the beginning is the on ramp. 

 

And so that is what we're talking about today on the show is how to increase your confidence, your charisma, your chemistry with others. And if this is your first time listening to the podcast, I'm so glad that you found this. I'm Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. I'm the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. I'm a psychologist, marriage, family therapist, life coach. And I spend a lot of time really, I would say the bulk of it, helping people with matters of the heart. And we talk about all kinds of things on this show, we talk about career and personal stuff, and growth and all good things. 

 

But really, I think, what I have clients talking to me about most of all, and what we do most of all, in our practice is it's really related to how do I feel more connected to other people? How do I have more genuinely satisfying relationships with others. Let's take a look at my patterns and relationships and kind of think about how those are going, so that I can make positive changes. 

That's again what we're doing today on the show. So I have lots planned for us around this topic of confidence and charisma. That is not all. 

 

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, I would invite you to go to the blog at growing self.com. If you go to the blog page, there's actually a search bar there and you can type in any topic that you're interested in. If this conversation we'll have today sparks more interest in learning about communication, chemistry, friendship, dating, go to the blog of growingself.com. Type any of those words into the search bar and you will see not only more podcast episodes from me, but loads of really helpful articles written, some by myself,but some by other people on our team at Growing Self. I get to work with all kinds of very smart, talented therapists and coaches who have a lot to offer you all for free on the blog at growingself.com. So don't let your journey of growth stop here in this moment with this podcast. We're going to keep going. 

 

But in service of our topic today, confidence charisma, I am actually enlisting the support of a true expert in this area. She's not a therapist, but she has some pretty unique life experiences that have really helped her understand the art and science of being engaging and being interesting and being not just fun, but funny to talk to. Kristen Carney is my guest today, and I'm so excited to introduce her to you. 

 

Kristen is an extremely interesting person. She is a stand-up comedian, who has another career really in helping people figure out how to communicate with confidence and clarity, be successful when it comes to things like bantering in the context of dating, and she has done so many interesting things. She is the co-host of the Ask Women podcast, and she has been on Loveline with Dr. Drew, the Adam Carolla Show, she's had her own podcast, and she is on Comedy Central. Are you still on Comedy Central? 

 

Kristen Carney: I wrote for them a long, long time ago. 

 

Lisa: That’s so cool! I think is kind of something.

 

Kristen: I'll take it, I'll take it.

 

Lisa: Yes. She's here today to speak with us and to share her insights on how you too, can be more interesting to talk to.

 

Kristen: Well, thank you so much for having me. The pressure to talk about being interesting when you're talking, for me to be interesting when I'm talking goes through the roof. It's like, be interesting, and then I'm on a podcast, maybe perhaps not sounding interesting when I talk about this stuff because it is really formulaic in a sense. So it turns out to be a conversation that sounds very self help-y, rather than super fun and entertaining, which is what I want people to be, right.

 

Lisa: Well, I apologize if my glowing introduction, but you're just about like, it's Kristen Carney, the most interesting and entertaining person in the world to talk to and you're like, “Ah, crap.”

 

Kristen: Yes, I'd like to set the bar low so that I can exceed it. I can blow people away because they had such little expectation. But I'll live up to your intro, I promise. 

 

Lisa: Well, actually, if we can even just start there. And I hope that this is okay to ask you about. So one of the things that I have been so interested to learn more about you and kind of your story and your background. So you had/have a career as a stand-up  comedian. Is that right?

 

Kristen: Yes, and no. Yes, I've done stand up for the better part of 10 to 12 years. It hasn't always been paying or on television. But it's been a consistent thing through my life, which has led me to different aspects of comedy and writing and performing and podcasting. And so it's really the common thread that's linked to all of the things that I do together. It all stems from stand-up comedy. Everything in my life stems from stand-up comedy. 

 

Ever since I was 12 years old and didn't do stand-up comedy, comedy was the through line through everything for me. I was class clown. I was bullied pretty badly. So it was a coping mechanism. My dad was really funny. And I didn't know how to pursue a career being funny, but I knew, “Ookay, I have a sense of humor. I'm very perceptive. I can see things. I'm observational, and I can make clever commentary. How do I make that a career?” 

 

And so I actually originally went into the creative side of advertising, to be a copywriter, because I thought, “Well, I can write a funny commercial,” or something. I never envisioned myself doing stand-up comedy. And it wasn't until I was in the advertising school that I was at in Chicago that I delved into stand up, because they actually made us take a stand-up class to see how we could write jokes, and then put that into commercials and advertising. And so that's how I ended up getting into stand up. 

 

So my whole life has just been influenced by comedy. But it hasn't always necessarily been directly me being on stage for 3000 people or something like that. I have done stand-up on TV, but I don't pursue it the way most people pursue stand-up. I almost put it in the background and let that lead me. 

Personal Growth

Lisa: Yes. Well, that's great. I wanted to ask about that because it seems relevant, but I mean, I can only imagine. To me, it feels like the third ring of hell to imagine like standing up in front of a room full of maybe slightly drunk people holding a microphone and they're all sort of looking at you expectantly, ready to be entertained. First of all, the amount of pressure and anxiety that you must feel in those moments, and yet I'm projecting here. Also the level of empathy that there are people among us who feel similarly in the context of a party or a first date, not just like, “What do I say?” What does that actually feel like? 

 

Kristen: For some people, it's a rush. It turns them into essentially like meth heads, like they need to get that next hit of being onstage. And then for some people like me, the rush is there, but the rush is weighed down by the anxiety that I do have before going on stage. I grew up dancing. And so I always loved being onstage. I was never nervous to dance on stage. It was a different experience. I always felt a rush 100% of the time. Whereas stand up, it's so dependent on you, and you never know the context or the scenario or what's going to happen. Whereas when you're going on stage to perform with a group dancing, it's all pretty planned out. You know exactly what you're doing and what's next, where stand-up is much more unpredictable. So the anxiety for me, could actually be crippling, and I had to find ways to cope with it. 

 

And really, part of the reason I don't do stand-up as much as I would really naturally desire is due to that anxiety. I never like to play the female card, like, “Oh, it's hard being a woman in comedy.” But it is kind of hard for—if you're not funny, especially like me, I mean, if you're funny, it's great. But when you're a woman, especially not funny, then trying to do stand up, it's even worse. 

 

You have a perception about you from the audience, that as a woman, you need to instantly break down. You need to win them over within 10 to 15 seconds. If you don't get them within those first 10 to 15, 30 seconds, even, it's pretty much over. That anticipation for me was always hard, because I don't look like I would do stand-up. I don't look very nice. I don't look like the typical prototype of what a comedian looks like. So I would always have to fight against that. I would overthink and over judge myself, “Does this shirt say the wrong thing about me? Is this going to make me unlikable? This side of my face is less likeable than the side of my face. What if this side of the crowd doesn’t like me? So yes, tons of anxiety for me. 

 

But once I'm actually on stage, and things are going well, it is that meth hit where you're like—not that I would know, not that I'm for meth, no judgement. But hey, this pandemic's getting long, you never know. But once that ship is sailing, and you're flowing, it's like, “Man, this is great. Nothing better in the world.” But to get to that point, sometimes it just doesn't feel like it's worth all the pre-pain that comes along with. Especially not just the pre pain of being on that moment of stepping on stage, but just functioning in an industry like that, it's very difficult. You have to be very social, and you have to really know how to work it and network and get chummy with people. I'm pretty introverted. I'm very extroverted, in certain senses, like to the extreme. But on a day-to-day basis, I'm very introverted. And so that always was very hard for me to upkeep these relationships and meeting people. 

 

So, yes, there's nothing I love more in this world besides comedy. Well, I love sleep. Sleep is probably number one. But number two, comedy and so, yes, that that has just been a consistent source of decision making, I guess in my life. But I've never been directly completely committed to just stand-up comedy. 

 

Lisa: Well I can understand why. I mean, because just the mental and emotional anguish and also like, even though there are moments when it feels good, and you're in the flow, and you're doing it like I'm also hearing that there's a lot of self-awareness that it's not totally in your nature to be the that that it requires. 

 

Kristen: Yes, yes, I'm very in my head and I'm very self-aware and over analytical and over judgmental of myself and hard on myself. So it is always been, I think, it's crippled me, definitely. But it's also shaped me in a sense that it's given me character, a sense of humor, because I don't go through everyday life feeling great and happy all the time because I'm so in my head. And I use that for my comedy, and I use that for my jokes, my point of view on the world and all that stuff. 

 

So I try to be grateful for it. But that's also me just trying to sound positive, because I'm on podcasts that's very positive. If I was on a podcast just for comedy, I'd be like, “I hate it, I want to, I want to never get out of bed and just pour alcohol into my mouth all day long every day.” But I can't right now, so. 

 

Lisa: Well, Kristen, this is the Love Happiness & Success podcast. So we keep it extremely real. And it is also 100% fun. 

 

Kristen: Good because all I want to do really is say, “Screw it. I'm staying in bed.” But then you just dig yourself a deeper hole. And so it's not worth it. It’s only going to be harder to get out of that hole. 

 

Lisa: So true. What I think is amazing, and what I was super excited to talk with you about is how it seems like you've really taken so much of what I'm imagining you've learned from these experiences as someone who like so many of us, tend to be self-critical to overthink things or judge yourself harshly? And then going into I think that the highest stress situation, and overthinking introvert could possibly be in which is in this, an entertainer kind of role. That what you've done is really kind of figure out how do I help people that are maybe kind of like me, figure out how to manage some of the anxiety. Not just feel maybe more confident or comfortable in these situations, but also have an idea of what to say, or what to be that will help them feel more confident about, like, making a first good impression, or like you were saying a couple minutes ago, like I have 10 to 15 seconds for these people to decide. 

 

I think that it's kind of a crappy reality. I would like to believe that we live in a world where humans can be more compassionate with each other and understand that it takes a long time to know somebody fully. While I think we all know that that's true, in practice, particularly when it's a new relationship, or when you're dating, when you're first out, like even making friends, like people do judge others pretty quickly. And it's also a reality.

How to Talk to Random People

 

Kristen: It is, it is. You can't control that, that's going to happen regardless. So you can put yourself in the best position possible. And then also not put too much stock into whether they like you or not. Having just this confidence, that's an unending confidence, it’s not affected. Of course, we're human beings. And if you want someone to really like you, and they don't really seem to like you, it's a bummer. But not putting much weight on it. Because when you do put weight on it, it shines through in your interaction. You can do everything right, but if you're in your head thinking these things, people are like dogs in a sense, well, in certain ways. I mean, not because they sniff their own poo, but because they can smell, they can sniff, they can sense. 

 

So people will pick that up. And so the less you are focused on that, the less people will feel that and you'll give yourself a better opportunity to be perceived the way that you want to be perceived, or in the correct way. So, with making a first impression, I actually went through this. And it was mind blowing to me because it was so simple. But when I was doing stand-up, I was trying to meet people, I was new to the scene, and I had a therapist and I just said, “I'm very upset because I'm a really good person and I'm very nice. But people react to me very—it seems very negative. It doesn't seem like they embrace me. I don't really feel welcome. And so I had to work on that for a while, but I realized I was carrying around a lot of negative energy and a lot of discomfort within myself. 

 

And so I did start working on entering situations, smiling. Just smiling. It's so simple and confident people smile. So you don't want to be arrogant. You don't want to be like, “I'm great. And I'm going to smile all the time because I'm perfect.” Just the way you've been looked at me when I said that, when I said, I smile, you smiled so genuinely. And there's such a warmth to that. And so I didn't want to fake smile, of course. I just worked on embracing the joy that actually is inside of me before going into these situations, and you have to be a little bit aware so that you actually do it. You don't want to be in your head, but you want to be aware enough where you are actively putting out a good energy. 

 

So I would smile, I would just smile naturally, if someone came up to my friend and I was standing there with a friend, I didn't stand there, like, looking off to the side or crossing my arms or like, when is someone going to introduce me. When the person would walk up, I'd smile too and I'd say hello. And it would instantly be a comfort level that didn't exist before. And so that was just mind boggling or mind blowing to me, because it felt like such an insurmountable mountain to climb to get people to like me from the get-go. 

 

And when I just started smiling, it made such a difference. My face specifically, it's very angular, it could be a little witchy at certain angles. I've got dark hair, right? So it's like you have to compensate for people because people innately want to judge that. We've been conditioned to maybe associate a long face with a witch or something. That's not their fault. And so, I've tried to accommodate them, in the sense, not tell them that, but do what I need to do to offset the programming that's already in their head about me, and someone who looks like me.

 

Lisa: That is so important. Let's just unpack this a little bit. There's this just awareness that people—we all do can just like, extrapolate meaning about who people are just from the basic way that their face looks. You're not saying this out loud because you're probably too polite, but that phrase like resting bitchface.

 

Kristen: Oh, I have a resting bitch face. I have resting C-U-N-T face, really. That’s how extreme mine is. I go past the… 

 

Lisa: Well. And now for my podcast listeners who don't have the benefit of seeing the video right now, you're also very, very pretty, too. 

 

Kristen: I'll take it, I'll take it. 

 

Lisa: No, really, you are.There can be this like that, perhaps we are all sort of projecting things that we're not completely conscious of that maybe people are sort of absorbing. They see a pretty girl who looks aloof. Just not because you intend to be aloof, but because of the way your face is literally constructed. And they sort of take that in as and start making assumptions. 

 

So you're saying that it was huge to just like, be aware of what people do, and then really intentionally, I think you use the phrase, counteract that programming. So that you go in with a smile, and you're being very aware of your body language, so that you have some—I mean, I hate to use the word control, because we can't control everything that's going on inside of other people. But you can like, tip the scales a little bit in your favor, is what I'm saying.

 

Kristen: Yes, absolutely.

 

Lisa: Yes.

 

Kristen: Yes. It was really helpful. I mean, it really changed a lot for me. It changed the relationships I was making. It changed the perceptions people had of me. I had stories that people told me when they first met me, they didn't know me, they didn't speak to me, they didn't think I was a B-I-T-C-H, or a bitch because of anything I did. They just saw me and thought, “Oh, that girl looks like a bitch.” And they wrote me off, and that was it. Come to find out once we actually strike up a relationship somehow, they're like, “You're nothing like I expected.” And so if I'd known that from the beginning, when I first met them, and was able to make conscious decisions of how I was holding myself or the energy I was putting out. 

 

I don't know if you get into this kind of stuff, but chakras and like the energy that is pouring out of your body that people sense, I noticed that if I just felt either annoyed or kind of moody, or if I pulled into a parking lot, at a grocery store to run into get groceries and the parking lot was full and then I'd walk in the grocery store with that energy of like, yeah, like “Get out of my way.” People would react to me, like that. They would feel that energy. 

 

Sometimes I forget, and I'm like, “This person is being a jerk.” And then I kind of realized, again, “Maybe I'm putting out that energy of being a jerk,” and then I readjust. But yes, it's life changing, it was life changing for me, really. 

 

Lisa: Thank you so much for sharing that. how much for sharing that. And I love it because it's so like, doable. I also hear exactly what you're saying, too. That it's very easy for all of us, and I certainly do this too, it's we're kind of unconsciously marinating in the broth of our own feelings, or being focused on something or annoyed with something and not fully aware of how we feel to be around. People can pick up our mood states through how we look and sort of how we're vibrating almost and that can really impact people too. 

 

So particularly if you're going into a high impact social situation, or a situation where you would like to meet new people or dating or make new relationships to be real conscious of that ongoing relationships, too, honestly. But like, especially in the beginning, before people have like compiled—I have had 150 set of experiences with Kristen and most of the time, she's lovely, and nice and pleasant and today, she's not really herself. But if somebody was just meeting you for the first time, and they didn't know that you were lovely and nice, they would take that sort of annoyed, irritated Kristen as being the truth about you, right?

 

Kristen: And that sticks. That's what sticks. So if you can alter that, then you're in a great position.

Social Anxiety

Lisa: Yes. Okay, can we pull back up just a little bit, because what you're talking about is so important in terms of that self-awareness. But what I often see happening like with clients, either therapy coaching clients, and I know that certainly I myself have been in this space, it's like, the way we are thinking about situations, even before we go into them are sort of like our inner dialogue around like, well, “They don't, they won't like me, because they'll think I'm weird. I'm different from that, or I'm not quite as good as XYZ for all these reasons.” 

 

People, I think, who struggle sometimes to feel confident in social situations, can really have a lot of that inner dialogue, that anticipatory like, that will prevent them from going into these situations in the first place. Or when they do, they already, like they're expecting something bad to happen. So they're not smiling, and they're not feeling great. I know that this is a very big complex topic. I mean, there are psychologists who specialize in social anxiety is like a thing. So there's a lot here, but I'm wondering, what you have found, from your experiences personally, in your coaching work over the years that has helped you offset some of that? I think it's such a common experience. 

 

Kristen: It is, and so what I can refer to is my own experience. The first thing that comes up in my head when you ask that is, I remember living in Chicago. I had just started doing stand-up  comedy. And all the kids or all the people who were doing comedy in the scene, were highly educated from Ivy League schools. They were high achievers in a way. They seem to—I don't know, I would kind of guessed that a lot of them came from money so that they were able to pursue something like comedy because they could. 

 

Whereas, I was not an Ivy League student, or in an Ivy League college. I was nowhere near even an A student. I was like a B- student. I didn't know anything about politics and big conversational things. I just knew who I was and what I like to talk about, and I felt so nervous and scared around them. And I couldn't be myself and I couldn't speak. I would just be completely quiet. It would almost feel like in my brain, a light switch would turn to the off position. I would have nothing to say, nothing to offer, no sense of humor. I knew it was in there, but it would just shrink, it would go away and I would clam up. 

 

I look back on that. I've come so far because I've realized that what I have to offer is unique and is great in and of itself without having to be like them. So the first thing that I recommend is becoming comfortable. And it's way easier said than done to just all of a sudden become comfortable with yourself, right? But when you stop trying to be anyone else, but yourself, instantly, a lot of pressure will melt away. When I was younger, I started to try to become them so that I could fit in. And the more I tried to become them, the less funny I would be, the more people wouldn't like me. It felt inauthentic. It felt fake. People could feel that. 

 

I would learn things just so that this person would maybe like me better, or that person would like me better. And I stopped doing that, I stopped comparing myself to anyone else. I started embracing who I am. And if I don't love to read about 18th century literature, I just don't. And that's okay. I never will. I'd make jokes about not reading essentially, like I read but I don't really read, And for so long, it was like, “What a loser, you don't read, you don't add up to everyone else.” But then I realized I get my knowledge in the way that I like to get my knowledge. I like to learn things the way I like to learn things. I love movies. 

 

I started to just embrace my shortcomings, and stop comparing myself to other people. And so when I would go into social situations, I started to feel great, not great, I'm not perfect by any means. But I started to feel just more at ease. “This is who I am. This is what I like, if you don't like it, if it's not good enough, I'm not interested in you either.” And it would hurt. It's not like I'm unendingly confident, I struggle a lot with confidence, always. But I just became more comfortable in my skin so when I would go into these situations, social situations, I knew what I had to say. what I had to offer was different than anyone else there. And that in itself was awesome, and was unique and cool. I would start feeling less anxiety. 

 

I've never necessarily had social anxiety. It's interesting because when I'm in a social setting, in a group way, with people that I'm relatively comfortable with, I turn it on. I don't know what happens. But I become like Robin Williams or something, like “I’m d, the d and funny and that.” And I really become myself. But there are certain people and certain circumstances, of course, that I would dim my light. And so that's happening way less. My light doesn't really dim anymore for the people that I'm around. And so that's kind of very long winded way to basically say, become comfortable with who you are. It's a lot easier said than done.

 

Lisa: Yes. Right? I mean, it's a process. I think that we can all totally relate to that to being around people that were worried about being judged by. I know, I've certainly been in that experience too. How hard it can be to kind of like, no, even though I'm not into these things, or they know something about music or bands or whatever that I don't know—it doesn't mean that I'm not a good and worthwhile person. I think that that's the theme for this year’s is that self-acceptance is really that core, so that you're sort of having that inner voice inside of yourself is like, “You are good. You are just as good as they are. It's all okay, you don't have to be anything else. You bring value.”

 

Also I love the other part of what you said, which is that if you do encounter someone who is judging you by their own weird yardstick that they're carrying around, it doesn't have anything to do with you. Good riddance, who would want to be friends with or in a relationship with somebody who's that judgy? That's not fun. Right?

 

Kristen: No. That’s the most empowering part of getting older is not caring. Cool, great. Awesome. You're cool. You have a million Instagram followers. I don't care. I don't care. And it's this book The Subtle Art Of Not an F. Okay, I didn't read the whole book. And speaking of not reading, I did listen to most of it on tape. If I ever go deaf, though, it's because I listened to so many books, that's going to be my thing. Like I do listen to books, I don't read them. But I do listen. And that was just reiterating the whole idea of just not caring that much, caring about the right things and forgetting about the wrong things. 

 

You said something that I wanted to respond to but it's, it's escaping me right now. Oh, I know what it was. You mentioned about maybe not knowing the certain music or all about music or something. What I recommend doing is embracing literally out loud your shortcomings. Calling them out. A confident person can self-deprecate because they’re secure enough that if they point out something that makes them vulnerable, they're cool. That's okay. 

 

So self-deprecation is a very good tool to use in small doses. Of course, you don't want to become Eeyore, just constantly, [mumbles]. But every so often, if you really don't know something, or you're really uncomfortable, calling out the elephant in the room, self-deprecating about it. I also recommend self-deprecating about the positive, so that you're able to call out that elephant in the room, but in a way that's not taking you down from you're starting at zero with someone and taking you down to negative 100. You're starting at zero with someone and you're actually going up to +25 by self-deprecating. And so, you self-deprecating about the good thing. 

 

I recommend making a list of things that are actually really great qualities about yourself that you could pick on in a way to humanize yourself.It's like the humblebrag kind of thing. But if you every single day have to make your bed or something that's a positive quality that you could totally pick on yourself. If you're—I use this example, once before that I liked, with men that I was working with. But this one guy, he's like 38, roughly. Kind of rediscovering himself. He said he was traveling all the time, he was taking singing lessons, he was learning to ski or just stuff that he's never done before. And he was doing tons of awesome stuff. So I said, “Self-deprecate about that and say, ‘I'm basically like a 50 year old divorced woman.’” So turn these things that are great about yourself as a way to self-deprecate you, you become very down to earth to someone. But meanwhile, also showing that you have confidence because it takes confidence to do that. But of course, the right situation has to arise to use these self-deprecation tools. But they're always there for you.

 

Lisa: What a wonderful, like, multipurpose little Swiss Army Knife of the communication technique. It accomplishes so many things at the same time. It's like showing confidence, it's showing wit, but it's also kind of like making yourself more relatable. I would imagine too, making other people who may be experiencing their own inner demons, “Oh, no, this person is so much more interesting than I am,” like that they feel more comfortable and safe with you, too. 

 

Kristen: Yes, I used to do that as a teenager who I—I hate to say the word bullied but I was pretty bullied. 

 

Lisa: Yes, I understand.

 

Kristen: I learned to self-deprecate to make people comfortable with me. To me, I felt like it made myself more likeable. It was also a defense mechanism because I thought if I point out my flaws first, I'll get to them before other people do, which is something I was so accustomed to people pointing out my flaws, telling me what was wrong with me. So it was a defense mechanism, but if used properly and in small doses, yes, it's a really good tool. So.

Charismatic Conversations

Lisa: I know that we don't have that much more time with you because it was a hard stop. I guess I'm also wondering that maybe in our last couple of minutes, if you wouldn't mind sharing, if there are any, and I know that you have like you have a coaching practice, you have a whole program based around this, I'm sure it's very involved. 

 

But like part of what I love about your work and what I was interested in speaking with you again, is that in addition to kind of helping people feel comfortable in themselves and kind of know how to handle themselves in certain social situations. I think that there is an art and a craft and things that you can learn for how to be perceived more positively around. Things to say, like there is such a thing as charismatic communication. Again, I know we don't have a ton of time, but I'm curious to know if there's like even one or two things that you can share about things that usually work if you would like to make a positive impression. We talked about smiling and sort of energy. But what else? 

 

Kristen: Absolutely, oh my gosh, there's so many places I could go with this. But to narrow it down, for time’s sake, one thing I always recommend is being very aware of your surroundings. When you're aware of your surroundings, what you're doing is, just becoming cognizant. Is it warm in here? Is the line very long? Is there a weird smell? The reason I recommend that is because that's a shared experience with someone else who is in the room with you. They're experiencing the same thing. They may not be aware that they're experiencing the same thing but if you pointed out, oh, my God, instant connection. “Yes, it is really smelly in here. Did you smell that?” “I smelled that.” “Oh, my God, are you wearing deodorant?” “No, it's not me.” All of a sudden, it can turn into a fun playful exchange, if you simply start out just aware of your surroundings. So that's one thing. 

 

The other thing that I recommend is knowing your point of view and having opinions and strong opinions. Not to be a jerk, but to give you a place to go from in conversation. Conversation will fall flat if you don't have a point of view on something, if you don't have an opinion on something. It's really the foundation of the banter work that I teach. We start out working on opinions and how to unearth the ones that are buried deep down, because we're taught to be polite, we're taught to not offend, we're taught to be amiable. And of course, I want people to be nice and lovely. 

 

But for men, specifically, when they're dating, if they don't have these strong opinions, they end up being thrown into the friendzone, or feeling a little bit like the beta male, like not the strong masculine type that women may be looking for. So knowing your opinions, and knowing how to deliver them properly, is something that we usually get into in the coursework that I do. 

 

Finally, the last thing that I would recommend, it takes a long time to explain, so I'm going to try to say it in about 20 seconds. When you want to be witty and you want to be clever, simply really all it comes down to is making a connection between one thing and another. And so yes, it's so hard to summarize. But basically, starting to draw lines, like little invisible lines between things is where you'll start to bring out humor. 

 

So for example, I'm just randomly pulling stuff out. If I'm in the airport, and there's a vending machine with the headphones, things like that. Usually people walk by, they don't make a judgement on that. So it's like, “Okay, a vending machine full of headphones, whatever, next.” Taking these little minute things and actually applying connections to them. So say I didn't have my headphones and I had a 14 hour flight coming up. I would say something about the vending machine being like my hero, that vending machine must be wearing a cape, it just saved me, just saved my life. That's not mind blowingly funny, but that's an example of making connections to bring out humor.

 

Those three things set you up to be pretty good verbally, but also physically in terms of the way you present yourself are important as well. I don't know if I just made sense with what I said there. 

 

Lisa: No, no, it's like the physical pieces and energetic pieces are like all the foundation. Then it's like the shared experience, what's going on, making connections between different things. Also you use the word playful, too. I would imagine that just having that kind of intention in the way you communicate and having strong opinions. 

 

Kristen: Yes, playful is key, especially in dating, the beginning of conversation of conversing or connecting. You don't want to be shallow necessarily, but you want to be playful and short, so that it doesn't feel like work, so that it feels fun, it feels like you're at an amusement park. And then eventually you can get to the heavier stuff. But when you're drawing someone in, short and sweet and fun and playful, is how you set the stage for  better things to come.

 

Lisa: That's an interesting conversation. I wish I had more time with you and I'm sure that my listeners are like “Wait. No, no. Don’t let Kristen go yet.” So where will they go if they wanted to learn more about you and your work these days?

 

Kristen: So my website is called kristenandchill.com. It's a play on “Netflix and Chill”, which is about hooking up because I've really just helped mainly with the dating stuff and guys trying to get the chicks. But they can also find me @thebantercoach on Instagram. I just started that Instagram page. I’m starting to build it up and get content on there. So if they want to hit me up or ask me questions, The Banter Coach on Instagram.

 

Lisa: Thank you so much. We'll be sure to link to those in the post for this and thank you again for your time.

 

Kristen: Yes, thank you for having me. You’re so lovely. So sweet to talk to you. 

 

Lisa: Talk to you soon. Okay. Bye. 

 

Kristen: Bye.

 

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What is Radical Acceptance?

 

How often in your life have you encountered a difficult situation? Whether it is huge and devastating like living through a global pandemic, being fired from your job, or losing a loved one, or a smaller nuisance like finding a hole in your favorite pair of pants or a thunderstorm disrupting your beach vacation. We all face difficult situations, and the next painful experience is often just around the corner. How have you generally reacted to such things? 

 

Many of us get stuck in thoughts like “It shouldn’t be this way!” or “Why me? This is so unfair…”. Often, those thoughts can linger as bitter, resentful, and angry feelings. For some people, this leads to a lifetime of feeling dissatisfied, stuck, and ultimately miserable.

 

Radical acceptance is the intentional and energetic practice of accepting reality in order to be able to truly make meaningful changes in your life. The concept of radical acceptance comes from the framework of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which teaches distress tolerance skills in order to help navigate difficult emotions and uncomfortable situations. 

 

We can all benefit from honing these skills, especially in a time when pain and suffering are all around us. Many of us are only beginning to recover from the emotional toll that 2020 has wreaked – it may be useful to understand the concept of radical acceptance in order to continue to move forward in the face of ongoing challenges.

Radical Acceptance is NOT…

Now, if you are unfamiliar with the concept of radical acceptance, one of the assumptions you may have is that it means tacit acceptance. For example, if there is infidelity in your relationship, radical acceptance does not mean that you are excusing it or absolving the guilty party of responsibility. This can feel paralyzing, have a detrimental impact on self-worth, and lead to feeling hopeless or resentful. 

 

Instead, it’s important to work on fully acknowledging what happened, why it happened, and what it means for your relationship. This will allow you to address it wholly and honestly, which can lead to some actual problem-solving and growth in the relationship and for yourself. 

 

There are huge social inequalities in society and issues like the current pandemic, poverty and homelessness, and systemic racial discrimination are examples of things that we certainly should not be “okay” with. They significantly impact the mental, physical and emotional health of the most marginalized members of our society, and it is healthy and normal to feel angry, anxious, or depressed in response to them. 

 

Where radical acceptance can help, is to keep from feeling suffocated or overwhelmed by these feelings. Acknowledging the stark reality of the injustices in our world, the danger of the coronavirus, or any other bad thing in front of you, can give you a mental leg up to being able to cope with these realities. 

 

Radical acceptance can help to illuminate just what is in your control, what actions you can take to alleviate a situation, and what is entirely out of your control. You get to face the emotions that these difficult situations bring up, rather than resist, fight, and deny them.

 

Essentially, the practice of radical acceptance is when you work to take the blinders off and strip away your default defense mechanisms. You go through all the reactions and emotions that exist about a particular situation until you reach a point of honesty and acceptance. As a result, this gives you freedom, clarity, and a feeling of overall well-being.

Let's Talk. Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Radical Acceptance Takes Time 

It’s definitely not easy to practice radical acceptance. As human beings, we experience emotions deeply and intensely and they can cause anxiety, depression, and other difficult physical and mental experiences. So, it makes sense that if we feel even a small sting of pain, we want to shut it off quickly, move past it, and be “done” with the difficult experience. 

 

Our culture often encourages us to move quickly past pain, which is highlighted in situations like when employees are discouraged from taking too much time off work for illness. With many folks fighting to stay afloat financially and caring for others physically and emotionally, it’s often difficult to slow down and acknowledge the painful things going on in their own lives. 

[For more on sitting with and processing big emotions see: It's Okay to Cry: How to Handle Big Emotions]

 

Practice Radical Acceptance In Small Doses 

This desire to move past pain as quickly as possible is why I encourage people to think about the practice of radical acceptance as building a muscle. Practice in small doses consistently to make it easier to learn and build on this vital skill. 

 

Often, it is helpful to have an outside perspective like a therapist or life coach help you notice the thoughts that are getting in the way of acceptance. The first step is to begin to notice “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts.” 

 

For example:

 
“This shouldn’t be happening!”
“I should be doing more…”
and “She shouldn’t have said that to me!” 

 

Notice that there is an underlying judgment in these thoughts. 

 

All of those thoughts are directly rejecting a reality. Something bad is happening, you aren’t doing the thing you feel you should be doing, and she did say that thing to you. 

 

Whether or not any of those things are okay or need addressing, the first step is to be more direct in your acceptance of them. Radical acceptance is all about moving away from ruminating about how things “should” be and focusing on how they actually are.

 

The next step in building the skill of radical acceptance is to open up some dialogue in your mind (or with another person!) about the difficult situation you’re facing. Rather than getting consumed in negative thoughts, try using questions like:

 

What events led up to this moment or event?

What are the physical sensations going on in my body right now?

What are the feelings that I’m experiencing right now? 

What are the assumptions or narratives in my thoughts right now? (E.g. “I can’t do this”, “He must think X of me…”)

Where do my thoughts come from?

What emotions or physical sensations are these thoughts trying to avoid?

How would I act if I had already fully accepted this situation?

 

Radical acceptance is a skill that can be truly invaluable to build resilience, improve mental health, and grow as a person in every aspect. 

Radical Acceptance for When Life Feels Out of Control 

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and a lot of it is out of your control. It’s normal and understandable to feel overwhelmed, scared, angry, and anxious. I hope that you can use some of these tips to practice making smaller mindset shifts in your everyday life and that ultimately this can give you a greater sense of control in how to navigate difficult times ahead.

 

I’d love to hear if you were able to practice Radical Acceptance in small ways. Leave a comment or reach out if you found this concept useful and are finding ways to incorporate it into your life. 


Warmly,
Sharmishtha

 

Life Coach - Career Coach - Hindi Speaking Therapist

Sharmishtha Gupta, Ed.M, M.A., LMHC, is a warm, validating counselor and coach who can help you uncover your strengths, get clear about who you are, heal your spirit, and attain the highest and best in yourself and your relationships.

 

 

Real Help, To Move You Forward

 

Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

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How to Say No to Others, and Yes to Yourself

How to Say No to Others, and Yes to Yourself

How to Say No to Others, and Yes to Yourself

How to Say No to Others… and Yes to Yourself

 

[social_warfare]

HOW TO SAY NO – Healthy boundaries are hard to maintain. Too often, particularly for hard working, high achieving types who have an enormous capacity to do many things (and well!) the default answer to personal and professional requests is, “sure.”

But just because you can do so much, doesn't mean that you should. We're used to putting others ahead of ourselves, whether it's going for a night out with friends when you're tired or when you're taking on that big project that you might not be able to handle. But at what cost?

Healthy Boundaries

To paraphrase writer Michael Hyatt, “Every ‘yes' to one thing, is a ‘no' to something else,” like, yourself. Think about it: Every commitment you make to someone else whittles away the time, energy, and mental / emotional capacity you have available. If you overload yourself for too long, you can become depleted.

But it's hard to say no without feeling guilty. Particularly if you're a people-person, it feels good to say yes. It's only over time, as you get stretched thinner and thinner, that you feel the consequences. Lack of self-care, lack of down time, spending too much energy on things that are not important to you, and too much time on other people's priorities. At worst, this can lead to burn-out, relationships with selfish people, or even depression.

Not good!

How to Say No

In this episode of the podcast, I'm speaking with author and coach Becky Morrison about how to reprioritize your time and energy so that it's in alignment with your authentic goals. Becky shared her own story about how, in the thick of a grueling career as a high-powered attorney (and working mom!) she had an “epiphany moment” that resulted in her starting to set healthy boundaries based on her happiness.

She dropped a few strategies that can help you fearlessly look long and hard look at whether your decisions are aligned with your long-term priorities and values, so that you can have the time and space for the things that are genuinely important to you. When you get clear on what matters most and make decisions from that place, it becomes easier to say no to others and yes to yourself.

Tune in to the full episode to learn how to discern when saying no can lead to more love, happiness, and success.

In This Episode You Will…

  • Take inventory of your life by clarifying your values and priorities.
  • Find out how to tune out worldly noise and get reacquainted with your inner voice.
  • Learn how to slow down and overcome perfectionism.
  • Recognize your inherent worth as a person deserving of happiness and success.
  • Get to know the different ways to say no gracefully.
  • Understand how to handle resistance from others who do not respect your boundaries.
  • Learn how to manage the outdated guilt that comes with change.

SO much good stuff for you on today's episode. Tune in to “How to Say No To Others, and Yes To Yourself” on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, or scroll right down to the bottom of this post to listen via the podcast player on this page. (Or wherever else you like to listen).

Thanks for tuning in!

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

How to Say No To Others, and Yes To Yourself: Episode Highlights

How Becky Broke the Wheel

A high-performing lawyer and working mom, Becky built her life on the outside looking in. For 17 years, she said yes to all people but herself. She was only able to break the pattern after going through two pivotal experiences:  

  1. Becky found herself writing notes on a toilet seat in preparation for an upcoming deposition while looking after her two-year-old in the bath. Only then did it hit her that her life was not sustainable. Something has to give.
  2. She also went through a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. When her life flashed before her eyes, she could only recall conference calls and meeting rooms.

After recovering, Becky began to take a hard look at the life she built. She realized that change doesn't have to be dramatic but can start with small adjustments that could balance family and career. In the end, she stayed in big law and moved to litigation.  

“I knew I needed to change. But I looked just outside the bounds of my current world, right? I didn't take down the walls and do a wide-ranging exploration of possibility. I just took the next thing that was a little bit outside…But the thing that I've learned over the course of all of these changes is that the gift we give ourselves [is] when we can look beyond the edges of what seems natural and next.

How to Rediscover Your Inner Voice

If you find it hard to say no to others, Becky outlines two steps to help you tune out external and internal pressures:

  1. Take inventory of your current life and group your experiences into what's working and what's not. If you feel uncomfortable saying no in your job, what value are you getting from it? What aren't you enjoying?
  2. Once you identify what works, ask yourself how you can get more of that into your life. Becky emphasizes that you don't have to go all out. Start by exploring possibilities. What did you love to do when you were young, and what gives you joy now?

Take the time to sit down and get reacquainted with yourself, “allowing your authentic self, a voice, a seat at the table, even if it in the past, [it] has been told to sit down and be quiet.”

More on “Being Honest With Yourself,” right here.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

High-achievers usually find it harder to define their boundaries. Too often, they think that doing more is the way to go. Even high-powered executives are not exempt from this feeling.

For Becky, setting healthy boundaries means seeing through the enduring falsehood that we are only worthy when we hit a goal or reach a peak. “How do we let go of this idea that there is some measure that if we hit it, we finally are worthy, we finally deserve to be loved, deserve to be accepted, deserve to be valued, and instead operate from a place of inherent worthiness?”

Pro-tip: If you struggle with low-self esteem, here's a jump start. Instead of asking whether you're worthy of love, start reaffirming that you are already good enough. Will it feel true at first? No. But, we are always a product of our own ideas. When you can shift your inner dialogue back towards self-empowerment, your feelings will follow.

The Path to Radical Self-Acceptance

Radical self-acceptance is often the first step towards changing your reality. There are two steps to help you let go of the burden of other people's expectations and love yourself unconditionally.

  1. Start by owning up to the fact that part of the reason you're working so hard is that you bought into the belief that you're not inherently worthy. Determining the cause can set more precise boundaries between your sense of self and how others perceive you.
  2. Learn to say no to opportunities branded as once-in-a-lifetime if it fails to serve your greater purpose.

Becky emphasizes that introspection is required to reach this level of clarity, which can be hard to achieve in our fast-paced society. When people are used to processing information at the speed of light, it's counterintuitive to slow down. Professional coaching and therapy may help individuals understand the tradeoff of their decisions. 

Instead of planning your day based on what you have to do, ask yourself what you should be doing instead. Figure out what's truly important and meaningful over the long run, and the rest can fit around that or maybe not happen at all.

Becky explains that there's a way to communicate your boundaries and preserve the opportunity. The answer isn't always black and white. You have to get people to understand where you're coming from and into “a more collaborative space of saying no as opposed to this idea that we have to be on this island of ‘No.’”  

Handling Resistance

When you learn to say no, you might encounter pushback from people who are used to stepping over your boundaries. 

Becky explains that this is a normal reaction and a necessary part of growth. “When you break a pattern, when you challenge a family system, it is going to be uncomfortable and potentially unpleasant. Just because you're uncomfortable doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. It probably just means you're growing.” 

When you are met with resistance, hold your ground, and don't give up your space. “You have to get to a place as you grow and as you build that muscle, where you begin to believe so much in your inner authority that that noise from the system doesn't even register. Because I know this is the right healthy choice for me.”

Types of Guilt 

In addition to resistance from other people, you might feel guilty for setting this new pattern. Becky identifies two types of guilt that may arise from saying no and defining your boundaries.

  1. Appropriate or healthy guilt is the guilt you feel in response to having done something that runs contrary to your values. For example, appropriate guilt may develop after you stole or cheated. This form of guilt is constructive since it tells us that we could have done better.
  2. Outdated guilt is based on a story that is no longer relevant to your present truth. Learn to let go of this disempowering guilt. For instance, Becky initially felt guilty that she wasn't spending as much time with her kids due to work. Later on, she recognized that she doesn't have to be like other moms. As long as she was happy being a career mother and living out her values, she can let the rest go.  

She concludes, “Every feeling that comes to us has some wisdom. So what is that guilt trying to tell you? What is the wisdom you can take from it? And what adjustments can you make in your behavior in your life based on that wisdom?

Resources

  • The Happiness Recipe – Sign up for the waitlist of Becky's upcoming book that will come out this spring!  
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Check out all the free articles and advice we have for you on the blog and podcast at GrowingSelf.com, where you can access resources to help you set healthy boundaries. You can also follow Growing Self on Instagram. 
  • If you could benefit from working one-on-one with a life coach to help you get connected with your authentic truth (and figure out a plan to actualize it) the first step in getting started is to request a free consultation with one of our experts.

I hoped this episode taught you how to say no gracefully so you can have more time for the things that truly matter. What did you connect and relate to the most? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment down below.

Did you like this interview? Subscribe to the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast to keep actionable, inspiring advice in your feed every week. Thanks for listening!

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Everyone experiences challenges, but only some people recognize these moments as opportunities for growth and positive change.

 

 

Working with an expert therapist or life coach can help you understand yourself more deeply, get a fresh perspective, grow as a person, and become empowered to create positive change in yourself, your relationships and your life.

 

 

Start your journey of growth today by scheduling a free consultation.

How To Say No To Others, and Yes To Yourself: Podcast Transcript

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Access Episode Transcript

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you're listening to the Love, Happiness, and Success podcast.

That's such a beautiful song. That song is called “Arrow Flies” and the band is Paper Planes. And I thought it was like the perfect song for us today because it's really tying back to that theme of getting clear straight shot, you know where you're going. And I think that's just so in alignment with our theme lately on this podcast about really getting in tune with yourself, and accepting yourself and not just even accepting yourself, but like making your own feelings, and needs, and rights, and growth a priority because it's really easy to get knocked off that path. 

And I wanted to speak about this today because what's been coming up a lot lately in therapy sessions, life coaching sessions, in my practice here at Growing Self with my own clients. Also, in some of the supervision groups that I've been a part of, it's like, people are really struggling between what they feel is their own truth and their own path, and all of these pressures that are trying to knock them off that path. Some of those pressures are coming from the outside. It can be tough to say no to others, or set healthy boundaries and relationships. 

But also, there's pressure that comes from the inside of us, isn't there? That pressure that tells us that we should be more or do more or have more or be something else that we're not. And that can be the hardest thing of all to set boundaries around. And it's crucial because until you can gain mastery over that voice in your own mind that's trying to derail you from what's true for you. It's really hard to do that in other areas of your life. So that's our topic today on the podcast. 

And before we jump into our topic, I just wanted to say thank you for being here with me. If this is your first time listening to the show, I'm so glad you found this. I am Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. I'm the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. And I am a licensed psychologist, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and I'm a board certified life coach. 

And in addition to my work seeing clients and managing Growing Self, I am here every week for you to be offering you hopefully helpful advice and new ideas that help you create the love, happiness, and success that you deserve. So many of my topics, including the one for today, come from listening to you and your questions. I've been hearing from you on Instagram @drlisamariebobby, and also on the blog at growingself.com

If you have been one of the many people that has jumped into the conversation in the comments section on the blog lately, please know I am working through them I'm I really want to answer every single one of those, not just myself but like thoughtfully and so I am working my way through them. It takes me a while but I get there. And as I'm doing so I'm listening to what's going on in your life and what is important to you. And so if you've chimed in to ask a question and let me know, thank you, I really appreciate it. 

And that is again one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this topic today which is around how to set healthy boundaries so that you can say “no” to things that are not important, to say no to people who are trying to take up precious time and energy that you don't have to spare, and not for the purpose of saying no and being obstructionist. But so that you can say yes to the things in your life that are most important and invest your valuable time and energy. 

 

And let's face it, limited resources in what really matters most to you, be at the relationships that matter most, the friendships that matter most, the personal growth experiences that matter most to you. And it requires a lot of clarity and commitment to figure out what those things are so that you can begin building healthy boundaries around them. Not for the purpose so much of keeping things and stuffing people out, but to like, protect you and protect what is actually meaningful and valuable in your life. 

 

That's what we're doing today on the show. And I'm so pleased to have us be joined today by an expert on this topic, we're gonna be speaking with Becky Morrison. Becky is a former attorney who did this growth process in her own life, she had some moments like I think we can all relate to where she realized that she wasn't really saying “no” to things that didn't feel good for her so that she was able to say yes to the stuff that did. And she has sense really turned this fine art of boundary setting into a career. And she's going to be sharing her wisdom for how to figure out what your boundaries are, and how to set them effectively with us today. So, Becky, thank you so much for joining us.

 

Becky Morrison: Well, thank you for having me. I'm excited for our chat. And we're talking about one of my clearly one of my favorite topics, so yeah. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Wonderful. Well, we'll just sort of set the stage. Why don't you tell us a little bit about you, and how this became such a passion for you? 

 

Becky: Sure, well, I mean, it really starts, I'll tell you a little bit about my story in my life. So I had about a 20 year career that led me through corporate into law school into practicing as an attorney then into working on the admin side of law firms. And then from there, sort of expanded my world. But during that early part of my career, which lasted about 17 years, it was really a lot about what I thought I should do. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: Right? What was the next logical step for me? What made sense to everybody looking in from the outside? And in that journey, I began, and I can talk about sort of some of the moments that caused me to do this. But I really began to unwind my own happiness and figure out instead of what it was that I thought I should do, what was it that I really felt was right for me? And often that meant saying no to a lot of things that other people might think would traditionally be clear yeses, right? I took a number of pay cuts along my path, I took a number of what might be considered reputational hits, right? 

 

Going from practicing attorney to admin there, but there were people who were like, but you're on a partnership path, why would you not continue? And so really getting comfortable with looking hard at how to have in my life more of what mattered to me? Not just more, not just the undisciplined pursuit of what can I have? What can I get? What can I add to my resume, to my list, to my bank account? But rather, what do I really need? And that required more than anything. What taking a hard look at saying “No,” and taking a hard look at boundaries? And taking a hard look at what I didn't want more than what I did want? So. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, that is really, I mean, hats off to you because that's difficult. 

 

Becky: It is.

 

Dr. Lisa: What—no, really, the easy thing is to just sort of do the next thing and be even subconsciously kind of pressured or influenced by societal ideas about who we should be? what we should want, right? And I guess I'm curious to know. Was there an event or sort of a catalyst where in your own life you said, “Wait just a minute.” This is actually because for a lot of people, there's like that; there needs to be a pattern break. Something has to like shake you up a little bit for you to look around and be like, “No, actually, I don't have to do that.” But I'm just curious. This might be overly personal, but I'm curious.

 

Becky: I'm happy to share. So there's two that I'll talk about. And the first I'll tell you, I mean, I talk—I tell people, I had a bathtub moment. Let me explain what I mean.

 

Dr. Lisa: I have shower moments. I know what you mean. Yeah.

 

Becky: Well, just wait. So this was early in my career when I was a practicing attorney. I was in the middle of preparing for a big case. It was my job to prepare our experts for deposition. And at the time, my husband was working in counterterrorism, so had a super intense career, something in the world had blown up and he needed to stay at work. So we have a two year old, I went to pick her up at daycare. And then I found myself at eight o'clock at night sitting on the bathroom floor with my notepad on the toilet seat. That was toilet seat and the cordless phone clip to the back of my pants and the expert on the phone and my two year old in the bath. 

 

And I looked around and I was like, “I'm a rockstar, likem look at me, I'm doing all of it. Who says you can't have it all? Who says you can't be a working mom, lawyer, highpower, all this.” And then just as quickly as that thought came, came the thought, this is not sustainable. I can't, I don't want to do all of this. I don't want to live like this. I don't want to always be pulled in multiple directions, I want to be able to focus and I want to be able to engage with my daughter fully and with my work fully. 

 

And I'd love to say that that was it, that that was the catalyst for big change. But it was the catalyst that got me started thinking. And then probably about 18 months later, maybe slightly less. I had a life threatening ectopic pregnancy. And I tell people that story and what I remember about it is, you know how people talk about when they're, when they think they might die having it having their life flashed before their eyes. And what flashed before my eyes was conference calls, and meetings, and conference rooms. And I, after recovering from that, really took a hard look at, is that what I want to have my life look like? 

 

And then not that there's anything wrong with meetings, and conferences, and conference calls when you're working on something that's meaningful to you, but I was helping large companies merge and get bigger. Again, nothing wrong with that work. It's important work. It's important to our economy, but it was not feeding my soul. 

 

And so, that was really—those two sort of—that beginning of the journey at that bathtub moment. And then that real sort of pivotal, like; is this what I want my life to look like moment, were what drove me to take a good hard look at how to change it, how to get more balance.

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. Thank you for sharing that story. 

 

Becky: Of course, I was just gonna say I love—and again, I loved to, love to say that I; then I quit everything and became a coach. But that's not how it went either. Right? And you said that it's always easier to do what's logical. And so I knew I needed to change, but I looked just outside the bounds of my current world, right? I didn't take down the walls and do a wide ranging exploration of possibility. I just took the next thing that was a little bit outside and ended up still in big law, still working with litigation folks just in a different role, which was an awesome fit for that time in my life. But the thing that I've learned over the course of all of these changes, is that the gift we give ourselves when we can look beyond the edges of what seems natural and next.

 

Dr. Lisa: Well, and it's, again, it's hard work to do and like so when I've worked with people around this, there can be so many, not even just external pressures to that kind of like, make us feel like we need to do certain things that aren't always congruent. 

 

In my experience, those external factors are actually much easier to deal with, than the voice on the inside that's kind of badgering you into doing things that maybe aren't truly congruent for you. And so, I guess I'm wondering, first of all, for someone listening who's like maybe I'm not living in a way that feels really good for me. But when I think about doing anything else, I start to feel really uncomfortable or anxious, uneasy. Where would you suggest someone even beginning to unwind that; what do you think is the key first step?

 

Becky: So, with my clients, there's two pieces that I would say that we start with. The first is to really take a true inventory of what's in your life right now. And I don't just mean, I have a job, I have this much in my bank account. Deeper than that, what are you—what's the value you're getting from your job? What's working about it for you? What are you enjoying? What aren't you enjoying? What's feeding your soul? What isn't feeding your soul? And really, it's almost coming up with two columns of what's working, and what's not. That's step one, just to understand where you're starting from. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Right.

 

Becky: Often when I do that people find that they have pieces in their life that they haven't fully explored or appreciated that don't require them going against any internal programming to get just a little bit more fun, joy, happiness, satisfaction. But the next step is really then to say, “Okay, looking at this, looking at the things that I'm—that are that are working for me, how do I get more of that? And let me give myself permission, even if it feels scary, even if I have a pit in my stomach, even if it's against my patterning and programming, to really spend a little bit of time exploring what's possible.” 

 

Or maybe possible is even the wrong word, frankly, because a lot of people will put their own false limits on possibilities. But just what's out there? What else could I do? What would I—what am I love to do when I was a kid? What do I love to do on the weekend? what do I love to do that I don't get paid for? And trying to find some of the sort of, first of all, getting all of it out of your head and into some tangible, visible, organizable medium. So that then you can try to find some of the commonalities that you can connect the dots and say “When I was a kid, I loved coloring with crayons. And now in my free time, I really enjoy working with color in my house.” Well, there's a—that's a silly small example. 

 

But there's a contrast there that you really are a visual person and you like color. Well, how can we incorporate that into your life? That and it doesn't always have to be a drop everything, change everything kind of thing. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Sure. 

 

Becky: I think it's about getting acquainted with what really drives our happiness and satisfaction. And because we are so attuned to both these external voices, and it's you said “The internal voices in internal patterning, many of us haven't even sat down to have that conversation with ourselves.”

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, so it's getting reacquainted with yourself. Your authentic self is really the—a big first step.

 

Becky: And allowing your, I mean, I think you—allowing your authentic self, a voice, a seat at the table, even if it in the past, has been told to sit down and be quiet. Right? That's hard. And that's where we start to play with your nervous system being either a partner or a detriment to your progress because of that past programming. So.

 

Dr. Lisa: The way I hear that, well, that's great advice. And so now let's, let's apply this to another situation. So I'm sure that many of your clients fit this bill, too, but there are a lot of people in the world who are high-achieving, they're smart, they're competent, and they are capable of doing so many things. And they also have a tendency towards, I hate to say perfectionism, but like, let's just call it extremely high expectations for themselves. Right? 

 

And one of the things that, that I have encountered so many times with my clients, is this like, difficulty in, almost like, saying “no” to themselves, in some ways. So it's not like saying yes to a certain career, or even other people sometimes, but it's like, there's this core belief that, “Yes, I can do all of the things, I can be making gourmet dinners, and being a mom, and being an attorney,” and you know what? They can. They actually can because they're competent, and they're smart, and they're organized, and they can do all this stuff, but should they?

 

And it can be a lot of personal growth work I think for some people to, like, begin getting acquainted with their own limits, and being able to have this sort of internal dialogue around, “I could do XYZ today and I could. Should I? Do I want to? Like, that piece of saying no to themselves, almost.

 

Becky: Yes. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: Yeah. No, I wanna, I want to get a T-shirt made that even for myself that says, just because I can doesn't mean I should, right? 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: Like, that is the story of the high achiever, right?

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: Highly capable. And because and maybe even some history of, if you have the capability, you should, kind of being programmed in there. Especially, when it comes to helping others, right? Like when you combine high achiever with somebody who likes to nurture and care, it's like, a recipe for a whole lot of can with not a lot of boundary. And I do think it's about getting clear on what matters to you. “Yes, you can. You're right, you can do all those things. Why?” What is it about doing those things that ties into the life you're trying to live that ties into your top priorities right now. 

 

For example, if your top priority right now is something professional. Does that mean that you can maybe set aside cooking gourmet dinners for your family and find them another healthy, wholesome way to get fed and tying it back into that anchor of what matters and your priorities can be helpful in starting to draw those boundaries. I think, again, what happens is, we fall into this pattern of believing that to have more, we need to do more. 

 

And so we keep adding and adding and adding without ever stopping to think what did those additions are actually meaningful to our, to our success, and I use happiness and success interchangeably because for me, the way I define success is I am successful when I am happy. But that's how I think about that. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, got it. Okay, well, I love that takeaway that just because you can doesn't mean that you should, and to do some very thoughtful exploration on what really matters. And another thing that I think we should be talking about, too, is this piece of—when I have kind of, like, drilled down into this with clients, particularly that certain breed of like Superwoman, superstar, successful women. What I have often found, like, at the core of this are very old beliefs around like worthiness and sort of, like, I am worthy of love when I am achieving, when I am doing specifically when I'm doing things for others. 

 

And to—like, to the point where they'll run themselves ragged, like, around these old scripts because there's like this deep, subconscious association between, like, their worth as a person, and all the stuff that they do. have you encountered that with your clients? 

 

Becky: Only all the time. Yeah, yeah, no, I mean, worthiness is a theme that comes up. It comes up in that way, it comes up in so many ways. And when I saw I got my executive coaching certification at UC Berkeley, when I was there, we did an exercise, and there were 33 people in my cohort. And the exercise sort of required us to look at our fears and dig down to the deepest level. And every single one of those 33 people was afraid they weren't good enough. Every single one. 

 

And I sat in that room, and that my takeaway from that was, these people are bomb, like, there are some cool individuals who've done some amazing things, not only that they're good human beings. And they're walking through life feeling not good enough. We all must be wrong, like, we all have to be wrong. And so how do we let go of this idea that there is some measure that if we hit it, we finally are worthy, we finally deserve to be loved, deserve to be accepted, deserve to be valued, and instead operate from a place of inherent worthiness. 

 

And then how does that change your decisions? If you believe—if you can shift your belief or beginning even just to shift your speaking and thinking, even if it's not a deeply held belief yet to “I'm already worthy. Now, what do I want to do?”

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, that's so important that if I, well, and first of all, I just love what you said that that is like a primal fear. I think at the core of—if not actually, everybody, pretty much everybody. 

 

Becky: It's like, 99.85, right?

 

Dr. Lisa: Right. Am I good enough? Am I worthy of love? Am I okay? And this all the energy that gets expended into trying to prove that to ourselves and to others, right? And you're saying that if you can shift that and just begin to; that's the theme of the season for me, and this show is radical self acceptance. You are actually just fine exactly the way you are. And it is okay to have cheese and crackers for dinner, sometimes. It is okay to say, “You know what, I'm tired. And I think I'm just going to sit down and rest as opposed to doing all the 85 other things that I could do for this day.” If you were actually just fine in doing that. What would it change for you? 

 

Becky: Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa: That's powerful.

 

Becky: It's a big thing. And as I sit here, thinking about it too, there's an element of this that—and you said it, and you alluded to it because you say you get to that place with your clients. But I think we often don't recognize that that's what's underlying our behavior and our choices. 

 

And so, first step, right? is being able to name it. Being able to own the fact that I'm trying to do X, Y, or Z because, in part, at least I have this fear about being loved, about being worthy, or I won't be worthy if I don't or whatever, however you phrase it, identifying it's critical because if you don't identify it, you can't shift it. And then there's something else in there about—I know want to what, but I'm sorry, I lost my train. 

 

I know what I wanted to say; what you were saying about being willing to have cheese and crackers and being willing to to sit down and rest. And it goes beyond that it's being willing to say no to the opportunity, for example, that everyone else says once in a lifetime, if it's not the right one for you. Like being willing to say no to the raise, to the promotion, to the—and I'm not that I'm encouraging that is the only answer. But we just get in this, drive up the ladder, up the ladder, up the ladder, up the ladder in so many ways, and I'm just not convinced that up is the only direction.

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, no, definitely, definitely. And I think there's also this, like, humility that comes after you've done a few of those is just this understanding of like, the enormous amount of time and energy it takes to say yes to certain things, specifically career oriented things sometimes. 

 

And that there's always this, like an algebra, the equation is balanced on both sides. And if you say yes, to the investment of this time and energy and doing all the things, you are saying no to something else. And like I think with some people, they don't really fully understand what they're saying no to, when they say yes to some of those opportunities, like with your story saying “No, in some ways to being fully present with a child, or saying no to their own self care, or mental or emotional well being” and it's like, being —get starting to get clear as to what the the price of admission really is for the yes, choices that we can make. 

 

Becky: That I think that's it and then when you add—when you layer on the fact that we live in a society that moves at the speed of light, literally, right? 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

 

Becky: We're operating in 160 characters for the majority of what we do. We are not in a place where we're slowing down to actually evaluate what we're saying no to. So not only meet women, may we not be able to appreciate the full scope of it, we're not even having that reflection. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: We're not even able to take that inventory. And so to me, that's a place where and maybe you feel the same way where things like support, like coaching, like therapy can create this opportunity to begin to explore this stuff that we just aren't even listening to, right now, given the pace that we're moving, and it can help clarify those no’s, I mean, if sometimes I'll sit with a client and I'll and we'll have exactly this conversation, “Well, okay, you want to say yes to this? Well, what are you saying no to?” 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: And when you force somebody to articulate it, I mean, oftentimes, we'll get three things in and they're like, “Yeah, no, can't do it. I'm not gonna say yes.” Like, I'm not willing, this is not something I'm willing to give up. And I'm like, “Well, what, what was it that was stopping you from seeing it?” And it's like, again, all that noise, all that messages, and then the speed at which we're operating? 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. Well, that's wonderful. I mean, and I think that you bring up a such a good point is that time and sort of space and spaciousness for that personal reflection, isn't itself such a luxury to be able to see things so, so clearly, for what those choices really are. Because when we're going so fast, I've done that in my life, and just sort of like doing whatever is in front of you, and this and this, and this and this and not really like thinking that much about it. 

 

And over the years, that's something that I've had to work really hard at, is almost like becoming more fully aware of what those trade offs are like. So for example, if I don't say no, to being constantly present with things like email, social media stuff, phones, like, it's hard for me to do, like really deeper, more creative work. So I have a couple days of the week where I say no to answering email. You know what I mean? 

 

Becky: Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa: Like, no, and I'm not gonna respond to texts,… 

 

Becky: Yeah.

 

Dr. Lisa: and I'm not gonna do any meetings and it's like because I need to have boundaries around that, that deep time. And, yeah, I'm sure that everybody has their own sorts of things like that. But…

 

Becky: That’s right.

 

Dr. Lisa: you know as I said… 

 

Becky: And I think, I'm sorry I interrupted you, 

 

Dr. Lisa: Oh, no, no. Go ahead.

 

Becky: All I have to say is, I think about—so I'm kind of a productivity system junkie, right? Like going back way to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. 

 

Dr. Lisa: I was there. 

 

Becky: And, like, then getting things done. And then, you know I mean, there's all these different systems… 

 

Dr. Lisa: Right.

 

Becky: …and my challenge with them has been, and continues to be that they are focused on processing what is in front of you as it comes… 

 

Dr. Lisa: Right.

 

Becky: …without any consideration of whether that is the thing that you should be processing.

 

Dr. Lisa: Right.

 

Becky: Seven Habits tries to tie it back to your values and all that stuff. But I mean, most of them are about moving through the process of processing information, kind of, like you said, with the email and all this stuff that's coming at us. And even as I think about one of the techniques I adopted early in my career was on Sunday nights, I'd sit down and plan my week. 

 

Only recently, have I made the shift to making that focus on planning, not just what do I have to do? How am I going to get it done? But what should I be doing? What is the thing that needs to get done? What is going to feed my priorities, feed my progress, feed my happiness? Let's schedule that. And then let's figure out what we're gonna do about whatever, whatever's left because there's always stuff left, right? There's so much to do. And so am I going to delegate it? Am I going to postpone it? Am I going to take it off altogether? But it's that shift in what that activity is even about that's meaningful? 

 

Dr. Lisa: Right.

 

Becky: And that might sound subtle, but it's big.

 

Dr. Lisa: Oh, no, no, that you figuring out what is actually important? How am I going to prioritize that? And then everything else can either fit around it or not happen at all? 

 

Becky: Yes.

 

Dr. Lisa: And maybe that's okay. Yeah.

 

Becky: Yeah. And giving yourself I mean, look, I work with a lot of clients who work in organizations where they initially come to me and say, “Why don't we have the freedom to say no.” That is true, to some extent, but it is always true to a lesser extent than people realize.

 

Dr. Lisa: that you have more agency than you think you do.

 

Becky: Absolutely. 

 

Dr. Lisa: So I think what you're saying is, and I think I've heard this with my clients, too, is that there's a bit of a catastrophic narrative. And if I say no, then some terrible thing will happen. What if you found when you start spelunking around in there, what are some of the catastrophic ideas that people need to realistically assess? 

 

Becky: First I've—I offer you this thought. So I recently did like an informal poll on “Why don't you say no?” And the number one reason that people didn't say no, is they were afraid of missing out on a professional opportunity, like fundamental FOMO, but in the workplace, right? Just if I say, “No, they won't come back to me.” I think there's a couple things I found, as I've dug in, right? Some of it does come down to worrying about “Am I good enough? Will I get recognized? Will I succeed?” And then we have to dive into all kinds of work—productive work around what does success actually mean to you versus what you think it should mean? Blah, blah, blah. 

 

But also, there's a little bit of digging into people get confused, like, they think somehow, when you're asking them to say no, and and they haven't been saying no, that what you're saying is, you know that your boss has given you this project, and you just walk back into their office and handed them and say no, right? That is not how we say no, right? There's much more that goes into communicating the “no”, in a way that can preserve opportunity, right?

 

Dr. Lisa: Say a little more about that. Because I think that that's important. 

 

Becky: It is important. I mean, when you think about if the primary motivator of not saying no in the workplace is I'm afraid that I will miss out on an opportunity. You can go to your mentors. You can go to your supervisor. You can go to the people on your team and say, “This is how I see the world. This is how I see the prioritization, this is why I think I'm going to say no to this. 

 

Do you see as it—are you seeing something I don't see? Do I need to think about the answer further? Or maybe they just look at that and say, “You're absolutely right.” The best thing for you, for your career, for our team, for the situation, for the project is to say no to this. And so to get people in a more collaborative space of saying no, as opposed to this idea that we have to be on this island of “no”.

 

Dr. Lisa: Right. Right. And sort of shifting the conversation into what is actually the most valuable use of my time. Like, these are the things that I could be doing in this finite amount of time and energy that I have, which of these is actually most important? And if it is this thing fine, but just know that not all of these things can all be happening simultaneously. So we have to make some choices. That's a good, good, yeah. 

 

Becky: And again, it comes to slowing down. I'm sorry, it mean…

 

Dr. Lisa: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

 

Becky: …it comes to slowing down. It comes to giving yourself the time to not be stuck and aren't getting the answer right now. And I have to say yes or no. And so I just need to pick one and I'm going to pick yes because no it's too scary, right?

 

Dr. Lisa: So this is an important conversation around I mean, we've been talking about how to kind of like, almost manage your energy, right? Both at work, and also in terms of how you're managing yourself, and like how you spend your time and energy in your life. 

 

But let's talk just a little bit about the reality of having to set boundaries or saying no, in personal relationships because I think that this is not just difficult for sort of internal reasons. But this is why it can get actually hard for external reasons because what I've seen with clients, particularly adult children having to set boundaries in their families, particularly their families of origin, there is a system that expects us to sort of be a certain way, right? And every time we as individuals start doing things a little bit differently, setting boundaries, saying no, there is actual pushback from that system. 

 

I mean, I had a meeting with a client earlier this week, and won't go into detail. But this person very appropriately set a boundary with a parent and this parent started berating them, calling them names, “You're a bad kid, how dare you, this is hurting my feelings.” And it was an extremely reasonable and appropriate boundary in the context of what this person was going through. But, what we talked in that session a lot about was, here's an example of you being healthy and appropriate and setting a boundary and having actual systemic pressure now trying to make you give that up and be more gratifying and accommodating for others because you other wanted you to say yes, in that moment. And you said, “No,” this is real. 

Becky: Yes.

 

Dr. Lisa: This is real. What would you and your clients talk about when it comes to this situation? Because it's common.

 

Becky: It's so common. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

 

Becky: And I think the first thing that I like to get people to really accept and almost like, I'm trying to think of the word but like, put into their cells, is this idea that when you change and grow, which means like, when you break a pattern, when you challenge a family system, it is going to be uncomfortable, and potentially unpleasant. Just because you're uncomfortable, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong. It probably just means you're growing. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

 

Becky: So just the mere fact of expecting some discomfort when you say no, tends to make it less uncomfortable.

 

Dr. Lisa: That's a good point. That's a good—and so yeah, that when you almost, like, grow and become healthier in the context of maybe a less healthy system, that system is going to have a negative reaction sort of in response to your health. And that's normal and expected. 

 

Becky: Yup.

 

Dr. Lisa: Continue on.

 

Becky: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: And it's about reconnecting with your inner authority, right? I mean, you give the example of this conversation you had with your client, which is just beautiful, right? Here's somebody who is really listening to what they need, and putting a boundary in place. That is something to be celebrated, even if the system doesn't like it. Right? And so you have to get to a place as you grow. And as you build that muscle, where you begin to believe so much in your inner authority, that that noise from the system doesn't even register. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. 

 

Becky: Because I know, this is the right healthy choice for me for my happiness for my success for my family, for myself, for my health, whatever it is. I hear what you're saying, but this is still the right boundary for me and I get it so change. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, definitely. Good. Well, so, so much more we could talk about, like relationships and all of this, but, I think that this is important. And so then one one last thing, another sort of inner obstacle that can certainly be supported by relationships when people do say no, is that they can feel guilty. I think sometimes, and certainly some of these relationships can contribute to that feeling of guilt if we're being displeasing to people who would like us to be saying, yes. Do you have any last thoughts on how we can manage those feelings of guilt that might pop up? 

 

Becky: Yeah. Of course, I do. So the way I think about guilt is this. There's two forms of guilt, probably more but I like to put them initially in two buckets, there's guilt that's appropriate guilt where we have done something that is contrary to values that matter to us. I'm guilty because I've lied, I'm guilty because I've—I lashed out at somebody. I'm guilty because I stole something. That's all stuff that those are values that I hold that I went against, and I feel guilty. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Healthy, appropriate, constructive guilt. 

 

Becky: Yes.

 

Dr. Lisa: It's informing us that maybe we could have done better.  Yeah.

 

Becky: Absolutely. The other bucket I call outdated guilt. Guilt, that is about a story that is no longer relevant to our current facts. And the way that I talk, like the example that I like to use for my own life is mom guilt, right? I, as a mom, who has chosen to have a full time job outside of the home, my whole momming career, there are times where I look around, and I feel guilty, right? I'm not measuring up to other moms, I'm not around as much as they are, I'm not able to do the fun things that they do, but then I stop. 

 

And I recognize that for me, it is a fact that I am a better, happier person, when I am working outside the home. And that's my fact. So why am I feeling guilty about something that is a fact for me, but not a fact for somebody else? Right? And so it's not those, like there's some community values there that I no longer share. And the only communities values that I care about are my families when it comes to that issue, and we have an agreement that this is what works for us. And that's enough to let that guilt go. So I think it comes down to first bucketing your guilt into old guilt versus guilt  that's still true and then you figure out what to do with that guilt… 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

 

Becky: …based on where it lands.

 

Dr. Lisa: That's a great point. So first of all, like, am I actually doing something wrong? If

yes act accordingly. 

 

Becky: Yeah. 

 

Dr. Lisa: But the other piece is like, Who's whose ideas about right and wrong am I listening to right now? Are those true for me? Are they true for my family? And to be able to, to push it back and saying, “you know what, we're all right. And I'm not doing anything wrong right now.”

 

Becky: And at the end of the day, if you do that inquiry and find that “No, actually, these are values, and I am feeling truly guilty.”  That's okay, too. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

 

Becky: Every feeling that comes to us has some wisdom. So what does that guilt trying to tell you? What is the wisdom you can take from it? And what adjustments can you make in your behavior in your life based on that wisdom?

 

Dr. Lisa: What a beautiful takeaway, and that sounds like really, the theme of our conversation today is, is listening to yourself, trusting yourself taking guidance from it and acting accordingly. And when you do that, it becomes much easier to figure out what to say “no” to that you can say “yes” to the things that are truly important.

 

Becky: Yeah, absolutely. 

 

Dr. Lisa: Great. Beautiful message. Well, Becky, it's been such a pleasure to speak with you today. This has been a fun conversation. Thank you so much. And if my listeners wanted to learn a little bit more about you or your work, where would they go?

 

Becky: So the best place to go is to my website, which is grantleycoaching.com. And then if you go to backslash podcasts, or just the podcast tab, you can find out a whole bunch of information about the coaching work that I do, as well as I have a book coming out in the spring, called The Happiness Recipe: A Powerful Guide to Living What Matters and it's really a action based guide to exactly this issue, figuring out what's important to you, and then how to have more of it in your life right now.

 

Dr. Lisa: Well, congratulations. I'll have to keep an eye out for that. Thank you so much. 

 

Becky: Thank you so much.

 

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Radical Self Acceptance

Radical Self Acceptance

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Radical Self Acceptance:

Why Accepting Yourself Changes Everything

[social_warfare]

Radical Self Acceptance

Are you already worn out from pushing yourself toward another goal? Do you feel that no matter how many times you try, you are still not growing or changing? If your answers are yes, you might want to take a step back and try radical acceptance.

In this episode, I help you understand how radical self acceptance works and why it is essential. It is an emotional intelligence tool used to guide us to understand and value ourselves. And consequently, lead a better life. 

Listen to the full episode to better understand radical self-acceptance!

In This Episode, You Will . . .

  • Understand the relevance of radical self acceptance in your life.
  • Recognize (and release) your tendency to beat yourself up for having feelings.
  • Learn how to accept your feelings without judgment or shame.
  • Become aware of how toxic shame can worsen your well-being.
  • Find out how unconditional self-acceptance can help in your relationships.
  • Discover self-love through practicing mindfulness.
  • Recognize the power of facing negative emotions. 

You can listen now by scrolling down to the podcast player at the bottom of this page, or tune in to “Radical Self Acceptance” on Spotify.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa

Radical Self Acceptance: Episode Highlights

The Relevance of Radical Acceptance

The art of radical acceptance — radical self-acceptance — will change so much more for you both on the outside and the inside than you will ever even know.

There are four goals of radical acceptance, which are a prerequisite to genuine personal growth. You have to ask to understand:

  • Who are you?
  • What is important to you?
  • Why are you the way you are?
  • What works and what does not work with you?

Stop Beating Yourself Up

When people stress themselves out into something they should be but are not, they become the opposite of their goal. These people start to create an internal emotional environment, which is the antithesis of the calm they need.

As a therapist, I often recommend radical acceptance to my clients, but sometimes are apprehensive at first. It's because they equate “acceptance” with “giving up.” That is not the goal. The goal is to feel calmer and less stressed or upset about what's currently happening. From that space of strength, you will be much better able to take steps towards changing the situation. (If you want to. You don't have to).  

What is Radical Acceptance?

Radical acceptance is about believing our inner reality or experience and not judging ourselves for having it.

When people don't feel good on the inside, it’s because there is a gap between how they perceive the way their world is or how they are and how they think they or their world should be.

In 2018, a group of psychology researchers examined the overall mental and emotional wellness of several people. They compared two groups of people: those who were accepting of and those who did not like experiencing negative emotions. The first group had excellent mental and emotional wellness, but not because they experience less negative emotions. It is because they openly accept that they will experience negative emotions from time to time.

Accept Yourself

The true path to happiness and wellness is not eradicating any challenging emotions, difficult situations, or problematic thoughts. Rather, it is understanding non-judgmentally that it happens sometimes. Not only is it normal and expected, but it is also okay.

You do not have to change or escape from negative emotions. In other words, you do not have to do anything at all. You have to let the negative feeling stay inside you, then observe it mindfully. It may float off, but sometimes, it does not, and it becomes a persistent feeling of sadness. However, this negative experience is never an indicator that you are a flawed human being.

Once you accept negative experiences as a normal, healthy, and expected part of your life, you will feel incredibly liberated.

Toxic Shame

Here’s an analogy to better understand radical acceptance: If you're feeling sad and you go to somebody who loves you, and you say, “I am so sad right now. I don't know how we're gonna get through this.” Sometimes it's just so hard. And to have someone be with you and say, “Yeah, it really is hard,” without judgment.

To be straightforward, you do not need someone who will try to fix, change, or reject your negative feelings. Most of the time, you will only feel worse or alone. It’s because they are indirectly implying that you have feelings you should not be having.

You may also tend to shame yourself for having negative feelings. It is intolerable for you to show that you are not okay because you believe you should be okay. And as opposed to this, radical acceptance advocates that it is okay not to be okay.

Unconditional Self-Acceptance

A byproduct of practicing radical acceptance is having compassion, tolerance, and love for yourself even when you are not 100%. You are also better able to connect with people when they are not okay. Since we can face our own negative emotions, it becomes more comfortable to sit with others who experience the same.

In my experience in couples counseling, when one vents out their negative feelings toward their relationship, the other's acknowledgment and acceptance are enough.

However, when the other chooses to reject and disprove their partner's feelings, the conflict starts. It is just one more moment where there wasn't understanding, empathy, and tolerance for the reality of the other person. And all of a sudden, they feel lonelier and more ashamed.

How to Practice Self-Love

You should start by choosing to release the idea that you should be feeling anything specific. You have to believe that relentlessly stressing yourself out for not being okay will only sink you.

Here’s a Buddhist story about two monks who were robbed and were pushed into a river:

One monk got too consumed and distracted by his anger that he drowned and was never seen again. The other monk also felt anger but was able to return to a place of radical acceptance. It no longer mattered to him how he got in the river. What matters is that he is in the river and what he must do to survive.

When you get wrapped up in negative emotions, it becomes nearly impossible to get out on your own. Nonetheless, you can strive to shift into a space where you acknowledge and accept what is without any judgment. From there, you will be better able to see and try to solve the problem.

The Power of Facing Negative Emotions

Even with radical acceptance, you are allowed to feel resistance to what is happening. You are allowed not to like what is happening, wish it was different, or feel sad about it. Sometimes that sadness can point us in the direction of a thing that we would like to create in our lives, but we don't know what that is until we listen to the sadness.

The people who have been working hard to avoid their negative emotions do not like grieving. So I help people like them to understand that negative emotions are not bad. It is healthy for a person to feel legitimate sadness, anger, or grief.

People are also afraid of accepting negative emotions because they might get consumed and never be okay again. This fear exists because they have been avoiding these big emotions for so long.

I also guide my clients through their negative emotions:

  • Touch your negative emotions without any judgment.
  • Examine what the emotion feels like in your body.
  • Talk about what you feel at the moment.

There is power in facing your negative emotions. When you stop resisting your truth and rejecting your feelings and begin to radically accept any and all of how you really feel, that in itself becomes a point of resilience and truth. It is also a point of growth because you are not afraid to admit when you are not okay. 

Resources

I’ve introduced you to the essential life skill of radical acceptance. What did you learn and can apply in your life from this episode? We would love to hear your thoughts on the comments below this post. 

Did today's discussion inspire you? Please review, subscribe to, or better yet, share the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

Wishing you all the best, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

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Radical Self Acceptance

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast

Music Credits: Denver's Mike Masse, with a cover of “Dear Prudence”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Radical Self Acceptance: Podcast Transcript

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you're listening to the Love, Happiness and Success podcast.

 

[Dear Prudence by Mike Masse]

 

It’s just one of my favorite songs of all time. “Dear Prudence,” of course, recorded originally by The Beatles, that particular version, is performed by a really talented local Denver artist by the name of Mike Massé with an “E” on the end, M-A-S-S-E. He has a website mikemasse.com, and he does all kinds of cool stuff. So you should definitely check out more of his things. And if you ever like to hear that song again, you can call Growing Self and talk to Erica, first of all, who is a gem. And then if you're lucky enough to get put on hold, like, if she's transferring your call or something, we have the privilege of using Mike's lovely song as our hold music. So, thank you, Mike, and thank you for enjoying this beautiful song with me because it's good stuff.

 

And so, that is our segway into our topic today because we are talking about how to be engaged with a world as yourself, as authentically as is your truth and with the world as it is. And, practicing I think new for some of us but very important life skill of radical acceptance. And I am very deliberately posting this particular podcast for you on the week after the turn of the year because how much of the time are—you know this time of year, it's like, “Okay, this year, I'm going to make all these changes. I'm going to go to the gym, I'm going to starve myself, I'm going to make myself do XYZ,” and it's like, so exhausting. 

 

We also know from research that any kind of new year resolution thing is generally not helpful when it comes to making real and lasting change in our lives. And there are certainly things that are. We've talked in the past about habits and really like doing deep work on yourself. All of that is well and good. But for many people, the biggest, most important, powerful life-changing point of growth is not changing at all, but rather experimenting with something called radical acceptance, radical acceptance. 

 

If you want to take it up a notch, we could talk about radical self-acceptance and how we understand, and appreciate, and value ourselves for exactly who and what we are. And absolutely release the inner critic and the judgment and the self-blame and even just that uneasy feeling that you should be doing something different, something better, something more. You should have a goal, you should have a resolution, new idea. Radical acceptance is a release of all of that. 

 

And that's what I really want to talk with you about today so that I can just—hopefully helpful counterbalance in your ear if you are being besieged by other forces in your life right now. Who are doing this cheerleader “This year is the year everything is gonna be different” voice in your ear, and that may or may not feel congruent for you. 

 

Radical acceptance that's what we're doing today on the Love, Happiness and Success podcast. And I'm so glad you're here to join me. I am Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. I'm the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. We're based in Denver, Colorado, but we see clients all over the world. We specialize in couples counseling, marriage counseling, and a lot of coaching. I think more of what we do than therapy these days is really in the coaching camp. But because me and everybody on the team, we have a background in mental health. Like myself, I'm a licensed psychologist, I'm a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and I am also a Board Certified coach. So I like to think that we take it to a deeper level. 

 

And that's also what I try to do for you in this podcast is, give you hopefully helpful new information, new ideas and, and different ways of supporting you on your journey of growth. So we're always talking about your love, happiness, and success. And the topics that I select for my podcast are all about you. I am listening to you, thank you, if you're one of the many who's gotten in touch recently on Instagram @drlisamariebobby or gotten in touch with Growing Self @growing_self on Instagram, or through our website. We have a very active blog community at growingself.com. There's always a lively discussion in the comment section. You can also connect with us on Facebook if you like, or you could just send an old fashioned email to hello@growingself.com if you would like to share what's on your mind lately. 

 

And our topic today is born of what I'm hearing from you, which is that, boy, there are a lot of you—and hey I can relate, who can't? Who is just, like, coming out of the end of this year feeling like you've been through a meat grinder on so many different levels. And it's hard to even know what to do next, or what to try, or what to grow, or if it's even possible to have goals right now. And you know what, there's again, a time and a place for growth and goals. And I'm right there as a life coach, but I tell you what, as a psychologist, the art of radical acceptance, radical self-acceptance will change so much more for you both on the outside and the inside than you will ever even know. 

 

I see there's this weird paradox when it comes to personal growth, that before people can really change and grow and develop and do anything different. They must first understand themselves, understand who they are, understand what's important to them, why they are the way they are is often very helpful. And also, get a lot of clarity around what is working, what isn't working, to begin to create a plan that will move you forward into a different reality.

 

And here's the paradoxical part in my experience, both as a life coach and as a therapist, when people, as we so often do—no judgment. But when we expend a lot of time and energy into feeling upset—usually with ourselves, sometimes with other situations—when we badger ourselves and criticize ourselves and shame ourselves into being something that we should be that we're not, it creates an emotional environment inside of us, that is absolutely the antithesis of the kind of calm, compassionate, non-judgmental way of being that true growth and mental and emotional health really requires. And there is an enormous amount of value in figuring out how to accept yourself and the world around you.

 

Many times when I first introduced the idea of radical acceptance or radical self-acceptance to my clients, they have a very common reaction, which is some variation of “So, do you mean I'm just supposed to give up? That I'm just supposed to tolerate these things that feel intolerable to me? That I'm supposed to stop trying, that I'm supposed to stop doing the things I think are important for me to be better or some aspirational thing.” And, so it's like, there's a lot of anxiety when people think about moving into a space of self-acceptance, or even general acceptance because it feels like this is hard to put into words, but I'll try. When people don't feel good on the inside, it is because there is this gap between how they perceive the way their world is, or how they are, and how they think they should be, or their world should be. So the larger the gap between what you want to be or what you want your life to be about, what you want to have, and your present reality, the more unhappy you will feel. And this is always true and can be useful when we apply it to generating motivation—topic for another day. 

 

But what is incredibly insidious, and what happens so often more often than you would think, although if you can relate to this, they'll probably be like, “Yes, I could see other people doing this too,” is that when people believe that they should be happy, they should be free of negative emotions, or dark emotions, they shouldn't be angry, they shouldn't be sad, they shouldn't feel upset or disappointed, or guilty or even shame, when people have inner experiences that are different than what we think they should be, this, in itself, can create enormous feelings of unhappiness and shame. Because we feel something that we believe we shouldn't feel. This is a little bit mind-blowing, okay, but I want you to like, let it sink in for a second. 

 

The fact that we aren't okay, the fact that we are not having a good time, or not feeling good about something is itself a cause to feel badly about and beat ourselves up. Say you are feeling a little low, or depressed, or not motivated, or don't want to get up and go jogging at five o'clock in the morning when it's 10 degrees out, okay? Just say that you don't actually feel like doing that. If you haven't cultivated this radical acceptance idea, that inner reality in itself, can then generate all of these negative feelings. This, “What is wrong with me? Oh, my God, I am such a loss. Why am I depressed? There's something wrong with me for feeling the way that I do. Oh, my God, I wish I felt better, why don't I feel better, I really want to feel better. Ah!” And it turns into this, like, avalanche snowball-ly thing of beating yourself up for like, being a human with human feelings, and desires, and longings, and sadness, and loneliness, and all of these other things that are actually the human experience. 

 

And so when we talk about radical acceptance and radical self-acceptance, what we are really talking about is how we can have an inner reality, an inner experience without judging it, criticizing it, believing that there is something wrong with us for having it in the first place.

And this isn't just my idea, I'd like you to know that. There have actually been a number of very interesting research studies. I think one of the more recent ones was in 2018. 

 

A group of psychology researchers compared the overall mental and emotional wellness of people who were really pretty good at accepting the fact that they had challenging emotions sometimes, compared to the overall mental and emotional wellness of people who really didn't like the fact that they sometimes had negative thoughts or feelings. And what they found is very interesting, and I think an important takeaway, which is that the people who identify themselves as most generally happy is having a lot of mental and emotional strength and wellness, and really like being the most psychologically resilient and hardy, we're not the ones who were experiencing the least amount of negative or dark emotions. The people who were most resilient were the ones who were most accepting of the fact that they did have difficult feelings sometimes. Isn't that interesting? 

 

That the true path to happiness and wellness is not eradicating any challenging emotions or difficult situation, or problematic thoughts, it is rather understanding nonjudgmentally that that happens sometimes. And that not only is it normal and expected, it is okay. And that you don't actually have to do anything, to change it, to escape it, to make it be different. You don't have to do anything at all. Because the fact is that when we, really patiently, compassionately, and mindfully sit with exactly who and what we are, and how we feel, and think about why we feel the way that we do, and how it's absolutely legitimate when we see it through our own mind. And if you just kind of like, let that feeling be inside of you. It just is there for a little while.

And then that sort of floats off, then you don't have to do anything to change it. 

 

And sometimes it doesn't float off. It's sort of a persistent feeling of sadness, or loneliness, or disappointment that you carry around with you for a while. And that is also okay. It doesn't mean anything is wrong with you. It doesn't mean that you're some sort of uniquely deficient human that you're having that experience. That is the human experience. And when we can accept this as being a normal, healthy, expected part of our life, sometimes it is incredibly liberating. 

 

Very analogous to if you're feeling sad, and you go to a friend or family member or your partner, somebody who loves you, and you say, “I am so sad right now, I have just had the hardest day. I am just so sad about some of the things that are happening in the world. I don't know how we're gonna get through this. I just sometimes it's just, it's just so hard.” And to have someone with you, and be with you and say, “Yes, it really is hard,” without judgment, without being like, “Look on the bright side.” Without saying, “Look, this funny cat meme I found. Watch this cat meme. It'll cheer you right up because you shouldn't feel sad. I'm going to make you not feel sad. Let's fix it. Let's do something. Let's change it.” Right? 

 

I mean, how do you really feel in those moments when you're like, “No, I'm actually sad right now.” And somebody's like, “No, no, that's not okay.” It feels worse. It feels like you shouldn't have the feeling in the first place. It feels lonely. That feels like the person that you're trying to share with how you're feeling doesn't understand you. And it feels like you don't have the right to your feelings. Feels like kind of shaming, like, “Oh, I guess nobody else feels this way.” Makes you feel more alone. And think about how often we do that to ourselves without really even realizing it. You know that it's so intolerable for any of us to just not be okay sometimes. So, we have to take an antidepressant or to do something to be better because I'm not supposed to feel this way. 

 

And radical self-acceptance is just predicated on this one idea that it's actually okay to not be okay. And how do we have compassion, and tolerance, and love for ourselves when we're not 100%. And fascinatingly, like we don't want to attach specific outcomes to our radical acceptance practice because that is entirely not the point. 

 

But I will also say that often, a happy byproduct of a good radical self-acceptance practice is that when you become able to tolerate and have compassion for and just sit with nonjudgmentally, any and all thoughts and feelings that happened to be true for you in the moment, you become much better able to stay compassionately connected to other people, in their moments of not okayness. 

 

When we are putting a lot of energy into criticizing ourselves, judging ourselves, feeling ashamed about the way we feel, and you know, like, “I feel so bad and ashamed because of the fact that I feel shame sometimes,” right? When we have that going on, in our own mind, it's like this almost frantic energy to escape what is happening inside of you, if it's not happy and light and all good, which it's not sometimes you're not a damn robot, like, it's part of the human experience. 

 

But when we can't do that inside of ourselves, for ourselves, it is virtually impossible to sit with somebody else who is actually in that place. And you see that a lot, especially my role as a couple's counselor, like some couples where they're both just dying to be seen, and cared about, and understood, and loved for who and what they are. And it can take a lot of work sometimes in couples counseling to just sit with a couple and have one person say, “I just feel so sad sometimes and I feel like you're disappointed in me. I feel like I can't be the person that you want me to be. And it just, sometimes it makes me feel like just withdrawing or it's too hard to try that I'll never be who and what you want me to be and that makes me feel really bad about myself.” For somebody to be able to say that, and have it be heard, and received, and loved by someone who cares, without having to change it, that moment in itself is enormously healing. 

 

Compared to the exact same sentiment that's expressed to a partner that says, “You shouldn't feel that way. That's not true. That no, let me tell you five reasons why that's not true.” And honestly, but like the paradox here is that they're oftentimes trying to make their partner feel better. They're saying, “No, no, no, don't feel that way. Don't feel that way. Because here's—because I'm going to tell you why you're wrong. And that wasn't always true. And that is not what I did, by the way.” And so it like, turns into this defensiveness and this push back, and that is a rift in the relationship. It is just one more moment, where there wasn't understanding, there wasn't empathy, there wasn't tolerance for the reality of the other person. And that person all of a sudden feels lonelier and more ashamed. And more like how they feel so badly about themselves as actually true.

 

So, it happens in relationships, and it happens inside of ourselves, and it's time for it to stop.

So how do we do that? How do we push back against self-judgment and move into a space of radical self-acceptance? I think it begins with a choice. You have to decide that it is actually okay for you to not be okay all the time. And to release this idea that you should be feeling anything specific, because you will feel sad, lonely, disappointed, guilty, angry, shame, I think we all do, from time to time, annoyed with yourself, annoyed with other people. 

 

And there's an enormous power that comes with making a decision that it is okay. You are allowed to have all of those feelings. It is normal and expected for you to have all of those feelings. And there's nothing wrong with you for feeling the way that you do sometimes. And that it is really the thing that will hurt you is to relentlessly beat yourself up and judge yourself and criticize yourself and demean yourself and shame yourself for not being okay, and not being happy, and not being perfect. That is what will really sink us. 

 

I think the idea of radical acceptance, in addition to being applied to radical self-acceptance, is also enormously helpful when it comes to accepting circumstances that are not what we really want. And there's a story. I think I've probably shared this before in a previous episode. But there's a Buddhist story that illustrates the point of radical acceptance. And that I think, again, we can all relate to.

 

And the story goes that there were two monks walking by a river minding their own business, and this person maliciously came out of nowhere, and just jumped them and robbed them and took their stuff and threw them into the river. And this was a cold, fast deep river, a dangerous river that we're rapids. Now these two monks are in this river, and there's rocks and whitewater it's bad, I mean, it's like really a bad situation. And the first monk is like, “What just happened? That was not okay.” And he's like, the guys walking off in the distance like carrying their money like, “How dare you? I can't believe you did this. I am so mad. That was angry.” And like just absolutely beside himself wrapped up in the anger, and the injustice, and the horror about what had happened. And was just in the state of “I cannot—this is not okay.” And because so wrapped up in this emotion about what had happened, he drowned. The river got him; he breathed in water and hit his head on a rock and was never seen again. 

 

The other monk was equally distressed and upset and that same emotion, and like “I'm so—how dare that? But this is not okay.” And then very quickly, came back to a place of radical acceptance of “I am in a river. I am in a fast cold dangerous river, does not matter how I got here. What matters is the fact I am here now. And what do I need to do right now to survive this.” And “Oh, look, there's a branch sticking out over the water, I'm gonna see if I can paddle out over that way,” and grab hold of that branch, and hauled himself out of the river and lived to fight another day. 

 

Did that second monk have the right to be just as angry and upset at the injustice of what they had just experienced? Yes. And what he was able to do is mindfully accept that even though a bad thing had happened, he was able to kind of release the almost judgment, like, release the ideas about what should be happening compared to what was actually happening. And instead come into the, here and now, where he was in the river. He was accepting the fact that he was in the river and figuring out what he could do in this present moment to make his situation just incrementally better without being upset about it. 

 

And also not getting attached to any outcome. There might not have been a branch there. There may not have been a way to make that incrementally better. And so we would have floated along for a while, just in the river. I am in a river right now, sort of looking around what's happening next. But it's this, like, mental state of being present, mindful, without judgment or angst in the face of difficult circumstances. Because when we get all wrapped up in our anger or injustice of it all worked up, shaming ourselves around, “Oh, my god, this is so terrible that I feel the way that they do or that this thing is happening.” It becomes impossible to get out of it on our own that the inner experience that we are having in response to something external, an external circumstance that is happening, “to us,” or that we don't want that be happening right now. Or that same level of angst and judgment around an inner experience that we think should be different is what will ultimately sink us. 

 

And the big, the big lesson, a big shift is coming into a space of being able to say, without judgment or criticism, “This is happening, this is happening.” And can I solve the problem? You know, if there is a solvable problem, let's go ahead and do that. But you will be much better able to find solutions and actually solve problems. If you're in a space of acceptance, right? Then like laying on the floor, bawling your eyes out. “So what is happening, what do I have to do, but one foot in front of the other.” 

 

And then also, when it comes to that radical self-acceptance, to be able to say, “I don't like this. I don't feel good about this situation. I wish it were different. I feel sad that this is happening. And that is okay. I'm allowed to feel sad that this is happening.” And as we've been discussing in other podcasts recently, not only is it okay for you to feel sad or angry about something, what is the hidden gift, even of the sadness or anger? 

 

If it is motivation, to say, “You know what, I don't want to do this again, what do I actually need to do to not have this particular life experience again, because I don't like it.” Or “If I really listen to this sadness right now, what is it telling me that maybe I need to listen to, like, why am I sad? I am sad, because I miss my friend, or I miss my life, or I miss feeling stable in my world, or I miss maybe a relationship that has ended. I feel sad about that.” And you know what, sometimes that sadness can point us in the direction of a thing that we would like to create in our lives, but that we don't know what that is until we listen to the sadness. 

 

But you know what, sometimes sadness says, “You have the right to grieve. You can be sad, and experience a loss and feel the sadness of that loss.” It is grief, and it is okay. Because the path through grief, like so many other things, is not rejecting grief, talking yourself out of grief, making grief go away. It is embracing it. Allowing yourself to be sad and angry and all of the things for as long as you want to or need to. And then that's it. That is actually the work of grief. It's giving yourself the time and space to feel those feelings and trust that even in dark emotions, especially in dark emotions, sometimes the act of feeling them and being present with them is in itself, the paths through them. 

 

I know that sounds weird, particularly if you have been a negative emotion avoider. When I present this idea to some people who have worked really hard for a long time to not feel bad things, or you know that they label as bad in their own mind, right? That's oftentimes part of our work is having to say “that's actually not bad, it's healthy.” It's a challenging emotion. And it's incredibly healthy to feel legitimate sadness, and anger, and grief, it's a good thing. So we have to reconceptualize that, first of all. 

But the other part and I don't know if this is true for you, but I've had people say, “I am afraid that if I accept this feeling if I allow this feeling to come in, and be inside of me, and if I really let myself feel sad or mad, or any of these things, that I will be consumed by this emotion. I will be lost forever. I will always feel this way. And I will never, ever be okay again.” I know that like when I say it out loud, it doesn't sound like a rational thing. But it is so true when people have become afraid of fear, afraid of sadness, afraid of big emotions, it is because they have been avoiding it for so long. And that's part of the like, cognitive framework that makes them push it away as “No, I can't let this in because if I do, I will be steamrolled and lost forever. This sadness will be a bottomless pit. I will never, ever be okay again.” 

 

And so then, of course, what we do in therapy, or sometimes coaching is to actually have a little experiment or somebody practices sitting with me, and touching that anger or that sadness that they've been resisting for so long into practice. Just accepting it nonjudgmentally without trying to change it, or make it go away. And we talk about what it feels like in their body. We talk about how it makes their face feel flushed, or their stomach hurt, or that makes the tears come. We talk about the thoughts that come up alongside of it. We talk about the feelings, and then after a while, there's not really anything more to talk about, we're just sitting there breathing, looking at each other. 

 

And then I say, “Now what are you aware of?” “I feel better. Actually, it sort of, like, didn't last as long as I thought it would. I'm actually alright.” And that, that is really the moment of healing and truth because when people stop resisting their truth and rejecting their own feelings and begin to accept, radically accept any and all of how they really feel, that in itself becomes a point of resilience and truth. And is a point of huge growth. 

 

Because when people are okay to be not okay, when they can say, without judgment, or self-criticism or shame, like “I feel ashamed of myself right now. Or, you know what, I am kind of judging myself right now.” And that's okay. I do that sometimes, like without it turning into this big horrible thing. They can then be like, “I'm judging myself. I do that sometimes.” I don't want to judge myself and be able to sort of walk themselves through that the way you would compassionately take a child by the hand who's wandered into something that maybe is not really to their highest and best like, “let's go over here.” It's like this friendly way of being with yourself. Like, “You know what? You don't have to judge yourself for this. You don't have to beat yourself up. Let's go back and listen to that podcast. Dr. Lisa recorded a couple weeks ago, where she made us list out all of the awesome things that we have done and all of the strengths that we have, why don't we revisit that again, because that is true.” Yes. 

 

And to also be able to sit with that inner child sometimes and say, “You know what? You have every right in the world to be sad. And to wish things were different and I love you. And I'm just going to sit right here with you while you have these normal, healthy, legitimate feelings that do not need to be changed. They just need to be felt and embraced. And we're just going to sit here and do that together without any attachment to any particular outcome, and certainly not with any expectation that they're going to go away because they don't need to. It's all okay.” 

 

Radical self-acceptance. So much compassion, so much love in this perspective. And before we close today, I would also like to share that if you've been inspired by these ideas and like, “Yes, I want to get better at radical self-acceptance,” you will invariably find that it's hard to do that. And I would like to just invite you to consider that—it is hard to practice radical self-acceptance, and it is also okay to struggle with radical self-acceptance. Yes, and not have it turn into another thing that makes you feel bad about yourself. If you are not always perfectly self-accepting, because it's hard. And it's okay. 

 

So, radical self-acceptance, and also radical acceptance of reality is a—I think, incredibly healing and affirming, and empowering way of being, that is also irrefutably true, and is also something that you have 100% control over, no matter what else the world throws at you. And it can be difficult and disempowering to set goals and be pushing yourself onward and upward and constantly and all these things. And again, time and place for that, but that foundation of radical acceptance and radical self-acceptance is a strong floor to stand on. If you decide to build on it down the road, great. But it's really hard to do, to do more until you accept what is. 

 

And so that's the idea that I would like us all to be sitting with this particular New Year season. I hope it helps you value and accept and appreciate all of your experiences that are valuable and worthy, without judgment. And just like “Dear Prudence,” you too get to be in the world and loved and appreciated for exactly who and what you already are. You don't have to change anything. And you have the right to feel exactly the way you do. And so do others. As you practice self-acceptance and self-compassion, you may notice yourself having more compassion and empathy for people around you. And happy byproduct as you feel more accepting and comfortable in yourself. You will also, as a happy byproduct, strengthen your most important relationships while you are, at the same time, strengthening your relationship with yourself. So all good things. 

 

I hope that you enjoy it. And I hope that you also respect and appreciation for the parts that aren't fun because there are light and dark and all things, and it is all valuable and rosy, just like you. All right, talk to you next time.

 

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