Are you weary of the pervasive thought that something is fundamentally wrong with you? Rest assured; you’re not alone. It’s time to challenge that mindset and embrace your inherent wholeness. In today’s episode, we journey through a world where resilience and self-belief are the keys to joy and confidence. We debunk the societal myth that we are fundamentally flawed and broken. It’s a profound conversation, echoing the stories of many amazing women I’ve had the privilege of working with, all grappling with the same destructive thought.
You’ll learn about various techniques that foster healing from trauma and help rediscover your innate worth. We underscore the power of being seen, and how this simple act can help us heal and trust in our ability to be well, even amidst challenges. By the end of our conversation, you’ll have discovered how to access your innate wellbeing and resilience, aiding you in navigating difficult times. So join me as we explore our inherent wholeness and wisdom together.
What you will learn on this episode:
– The importance of self-worth and understanding our inherent value.
– How to explore and harness our inner wholeness and resilience.
– The power of listening and its impact on healing.
– How to reconnect with our inner value and wholeness in the face of adversity.
– How to navigate difficult times by reconnecting with our innate well-being and wisdom.
– Techniques to access our innate wholeness, value, and wisdom even in the face of difficulties.
I absolutely love to hear your thoughts and get your questions.
You can email me at: Leighagermann@gmail.com
I can’t wait to hear from you!
This podcast is not intended to provide mental health treatment. Leigh Germann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and not a doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. She does not provide diagnosis nor offer therapy through the LeighGermann.com website or in the information offered on the website. It is important that you do not disregard professional medical or mental health advice or delay seeking professional medical or mental health treatment because of any information on the LeighGermann.com website including but not limited to blogs, newsletter, videos, podcasts, e-books, programs, webinars, courses and other services. Leigh Germann and offerings on LeighGermann.com are not providing legal or financial advice, business advice, psychotherapy, supervision, religious advice, or medical advice. The information contained on this Website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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In today’s episode, we’re talking about that feeling of being enough, feeling whole, valuable and safe, and how easy it is to think that something is wrong with us. This is Leadership Parenting, episode number 25. There is nothing wrong with you. Did you know that resilience is the key to confidence and joy? As moms, it’s what we want for our kids, but it’s also what we need for ourselves. My name is . Leigh Germann, I’m a therapist and I’m a mom. Join me as we explore the skills you need to know to be confident and joyful. Then get ready to teach these skills to your kids. This is Leadership Parenting, where you learn how to lead your family by showing them the way. Hi, and welcome back to Leadership Parenting.
I have had such a busy week working with the most amazing women, I think. Maybe during this week I’ve talked about almost every topic under the sun, from postpartum to grief, to life changes, to depression, anxiety, kids’ worries so many hard things. With every person, I’ve heard some version of the same thing Something is wrong with me. Then the despair and the fear that comes with that statement. It seems like with every woman. We spent a lot of our time together this week looking at that statement and turning it inside out and discovering, hopefully, the goal how false that statement actually is. It struck me this week how common it is to feel this way, to think this thought, and how quickly we go there when we’re having hard times and difficult feelings in our life. In fact, our whole society is kind of bought into the idea that when we struggle or deal with hard things it’s because something’s deeply wrong with us inside. I get it, it can really look that way, but it causes us a lot of problems. I know I run up against it in my own life that when I’m feeling really sad or anxious it’s like my mind just goes there to this big sweeping generalization that I am the problem. I want to talk about that today and to bring it to top of mind and see if maybe it might be affecting you as well.
When we’re dealing with hurt or any hard thing, we really need that unity, that sense of safety within our own selves to help us feel better. I know when I’ve made a mistake or lost my temper, just kind of haven’t showed up the way that I want to, I can feel so bad and get really critical. We’ve talked a lot about this in the last couple of episodes on self-criticism and compassion and how we often just beat ourselves up for our mistakes or things we’re disappointed in ourselves around. What I really need at that time is the compassion I can give myself to help me figure out why I lost it and how to learn from that and how to get better at doing it in the way I want, and also to problem solve and how to repair it. My wisdom is my best guide for that. That’s something that really no one else can do for me.
If I see the problem as me like I’m deeply flawed and broken, then I kind of eliminate my inner abilities to show up and work on this situation. That is so scary and kind of depressing to believe that at my core I’m too broken to be able to deal or make changes or problem solve. I just fundamentally disagree with that. In fact, I told my husband the other day after this week, of this common theme that shows up so much and over the years it’s been the most common theme how we go directly to that place of thinking. Something’s inherently wrong with us. I told my husband I totally feel like I’m fighting battles every day, like I’m fighting for people’s lives. That’s really dramatic. I understand that I’m not a firefighter or a paramedic or a surgeon saving lives, but I’m just listening to women’s beliefs around their wholeness and wellness and I’m kind of going to battle for them.
And sometimes I get kind of desperate, like I’m constantly trying to find the angle to explain it better or draw it out so that a woman can see that she, deeply, inherently, is not the problem. How can I show you, like, how can I help you see that truth, that the problem here is not you. In fact, you need to help solve the problem. And I kind of look at it like this, like being out on the ocean. Let’s say you’re out on the ocean and you’re in a really, really big storm and you get tossed out of your boat into the churning water and there you are going under, getting pulled under and drowning. And there is your boat right there. I want you to swim to the boat. I know you got knocked out of it and you might be kind of surprised by that, a little confused by that, but there is your boat and you’re in the water drowning. I want you to climb back into it to be able to deal with the storm from inside the boat.
Maybe, in our panic and fear, we can think that the boat is the problem and that’s why we’re in the water, because the boat is no good. And what I’m trying to say is no, your boat is good, you are good, you have the wellness and the wholeness within you. We just fell out of it. Let’s get back into it. So your wholeness is your boat in the storm, you see, and when we can stay in it and connected to it, we can figure out how to feel better. And sometimes just staying connected to your wholeness, just knowing it and holding onto it, just that alone can calm things down and make it so the stuff going on around you isn’t even that threatening anymore. Because if you think you’re broken and then you know the ocean is gonna get choppy and stormy, man, that in itself is gonna cause us fear. Like, isn’t that? What anxiety is that worry and fear about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, and just that sense of doom, like I will not be able to handle it.
So today, my hope is to push back against this belief that we are fundamentally flawed or broken, and I wanna tell you I believe that every single one of us is inherently whole, valuable and wise, and that you were born that way and that nothing you do or think or feel or experience or that’s done to you nothing can change that, because there is nothing wrong with you. Just like in my sessions this week, what I hope it will do for you is allow you to see that within each one of us lives an essential self that is inherently well and wise. A great companion episode to this discussion we’re having today is episode number three about your true identity. I invite you to go back and take a listen to that, because we lay out the difference between your essential self and then the way that we see ourselves on a daily basis just in the world, with all of the crazy stuff that goes on in our lives, and that is what we call our self concept. So we’re not gonna go into that today. We’ve really addressed that well in the other episodes, so I invite you to go back and look at that. My goal is for all of us to see that within each one of us lives that essential self that is inherently well and wise, and I know this is a big statement, but I wanna share with you here just a little bit on my journey of how I’ve come to believe this and I hope it might help you begin to believe it too.
So from a therapist’s perspective, I see a lot of hurting people. I’ve heard something is wrong with me a lot. I’ve also heard I’m broken and as humans we have hard things we deal with and I think that that tends to be our goal that we can get rid of those things and fix the brokenness. Because depression feels like proof that we’re broken and trauma the things that happen to us. It feels like those things can break us and there’s a lot of fear and anxiety and even despair, like that hopelessness about not ever being able to be fixed Like man. That’s a scary thought.
So as a therapist, how does a therapist make those things better? I think we have to answer that question what helps people? And I didn’t really quite know, because there isn’t one treatment that matches perfectly for one problem. It’s not like having the bacteria of strep in a petri dish and you can just put an antibiotic in and see which one matches it. So it treats it and kills that strep. Depression and anxiety have their own kind of lists of symptoms, and have you ever noticed how personal and unique each individual’s experience of these are. It’s like a new mystery to solve for each and every person, and I think that’s what makes our emotional and our mental wellness feel so complicated. It’s so personal and to this day I can’t say that I have a step-by-step list of what to do, what to say, what homework to give to make someone better.
And so I learned pretty quick and had to figure out that if I couldn’t apply like this magic formula and make it better, what in the heck was my role? And as I started out at the beginning of my career, I did my best. Mostly and really mostly I just listened, because I didn’t know a lot of techniques, I didn’t have a lot of experience. But the one thing I was good at, naturally, and especially after kind of the graduate school training, it was listening, listening and being present with people as they told me of their history or their pain or their feelings or their worries or their fears. And so I listened and it turns out that listening is one of the most powerfully healing things we can do with someone, with anyone, because the simple ability of being able to speak your own thoughts and feelings out loud when you are being listened to, you’re the one that’s speaking. It gives you a bit of a perspective shift, because all the thoughts in our heads sound really believable in our heads but when we say them out loud our brain gets to hear them just a little bit differently and often that gives us a chance to have a different relationship with those thoughts.
You know, I’d have clients say something that’s in their head and then kind of pause as they’re saying it and kind of chuckle or shake their head Like okay, okay, I know that isn’t probably true. As I say that out loud and as I watch people do this, I started to see that people have an ability to review their own thinking. If they could just slow down enough to recognize what they’re thinking and see it as something that’s happening in their thoughts rather than just like the flat out truth. If they could slow it down and hear it with just a little objectivity, something within them started to work in their own behalf to figure it out, and much of the time I believe it’s their own wisdom that kind of helps them reframe what they’re thinking or amend it, kind of auto correct it for them, so that they can see another way of thinking that may actually serve them better. Do you notice that that happens when you’re talking to someone Maybe it’s your spouse or your friend and that as you are talking you can hear yourself and the logic that you’re laying out to them. You start to notice some things. Right, they just maybe don’t make sense, or you start to auto correct it a little bit, fine tune it a little bit, because you were able to hear it out loud.
I had a woman do this yesterday. As she was talking. She was sharing her fears and this really yucky feeling she had and all the dark and depressing things she was thinking, and I just let her talk. She kind of dumped all that out and then paused and I just let it get quiet for a minute and she tilted her head and said there’s this little part of me right here, and she pointed to the side of her head. I think it was like the left side of her head. She said there’s this little part that says this isn’t exactly true. And you know this was such an awesome moment for me as a therapist to see someone identifying another option and being able to pinpoint it in her body. This is like super exciting. This is like a highlight of a therapist’s day, right, I asked her to put her hand on that spot on her head and just sit there for a minute.
That way connected, how does it feel inside your body when you listen to that little part? I asked her, and she took a big breath, commer, she answered. So I had her put her hand on her chest and I mirrored her hand positions. So there we sat, with both of us with our hands on her head and on our chest kind of funny right, like we looked kind of funny, but it was powerful. It was the shift that she needed, because she’d been feeling so bad like a failure, bouncing back and forth from the past to the future, remembering mistakes and then fretting and fearful about what terrible thing was gonna happen next and what all of that meant. And what she came up with was that she was the mess up, she was the flaw, and in those few quiet moments with our hands on our heads and our hearts, she could see something else that there was a part of her that didn’t believe that she was flawed. There was a part of her that was actually okay and that felt so much better. It was like she was able to crawl to her boat, to get to herself and get inside for a minute and see what was happening from that safer, more connected place, and her wisdom finally had a chance to weigh in and she noticed it. She had a moment of insight.
So can we just pause and look at the word insight? It’s one word, but if you’re to put a space between the N and the S, you would have in site, getting some site into your own process and I would add, into even that deeper part of who you are, where I’m trying to really point out that deeper hole and wise part that we can’t always see but is always still there. And this insight is a skill that we can start to learn. And I found that when I let that happen with my clients, rather than me interpreting for them or trying to argue with them they feel a much more distinct shift, one that they can own and that they can even replicate. And it’s that shift back to a sense that they are deeply okay and they are a safe place to be. And I think part of it is that I’m sitting with them and that they feel that sense of safety with someone else and the fact that I was still there. I was still holding the space for them, respecting them and kind of holding them in esteem and seeing their goodness. And I’m the one I’m holding their belief. I’m holding the belief that they have inherent wellness inside of them, under all of that pain or those mistakes or that fear that they’re dealing with.
And I’ve learned that is my role as a therapist and I think, when I think about it, that’s our role as a parent, right, our role, yeah, is to teach, is to point in the right direction, but to mostly hold that knowledge for our children that they are okay to their very core. We stand as witnesses, watching them come into this world, being whole, valuable and wise, and reflecting that to them. That’s the most important thing we can do as a parent, and I think that can be maybe one of the most important things we can do for another human being To be able to say I see your boat, it’s right there, reach over to it, it’s right there, I’m not leaving you alone, I’m going to stay with you, pointing at your boat so you can get to it. So I think this is one of the biggest secrets to healing that we sit with those we love in pain and we see through all that stuff to their essential self and say I’m still here? And the bigger hope is can we sit with ourselves and say I’m still here, I’m with myself, even after everything I’ve just thought, even everything I’ve just done, I’m still here. I still believe this is our wisdom, responding to our own pain.
And the problem is the waves, it’s the storm, it’s the feelings. The problem is not you, and I know this can be hard, because we don’t always separate out ourselves from our feelings, or ourselves from our thoughts, or ourselves from the things going on around us. And this is why it’s so important to be able to have that sense of separateness, that you are not all of those things. You are a human being experiencing those things. Of course you’re gonna be scared, sometimes You’re gonna be in that water getting wet, dunked under, gasping for air, but you are not the problem. In fact, if you can feel safer, like it feels when you’re in the boat, you can handle those waves so much better and maybe they won’t even bother you.
I was working with a woman who’s gone through a really tough relationship. She, separated, has had a history of really hard relationships in which people haven’t shown up for her. Some have even betrayed her, abandoned her, and this is really hard. It’s so painful and causes her so many problems. And, as we met, the biggest pain in her heart out of everything was the feeling that she maybe wasn’t lovable, that she was the problem, that somehow deep down she was the broken one and that’s why all of the relationship stuff was happening in the first place and the despair that created was just so big and the panic was so big. It just felt insurmountable. Because if the problem was her, then she was in major trouble, right, because the source of everything was her unlovability. How do you fix that? I mean, the past becomes all of her fault, because it just gives everybody an excuse for why they treated her badly and her future would be doomed, because if she was broken at her core then she could never expect anything different. Like what a trap our minds make for us. Can you see that trap for her and can you see how our brain goes there and makes this faulty assumption and then we’re set on a path that is mistaken and from there we kind of keep rolling along not even knowing that we’re on the wrong road.
So all of those painful feelings we have that seem to prove that we aren’t good enough or that we are broken. They’re just symptoms that come from being disconnected in some way from that place of wholeness where you feel whole and valuable and wise. And this is what happens when we experience trauma. You know, it’s not the actual traumatic event that causes the damage to us. It’s how that impacts our view of ourselves, how it impacts our safety or that feeling of being okay inside. That’s what makes us feel traumatized. And when you look at trauma or injury this way, then all of those symptoms make perfect sense. They aren’t a sign that a person is broken or deficient, because that’s what we think right. And they must be broken because look at how awful I feel. They’re just simply an expression of how hurt we’re feeling and that’s what we need to attend to. So we’re trying to get at the question what is really the thing that helps people feel better and return to a sense of confidence or well-being?
I’ve spent thousands of hours taking classes and courses and trainings and certifications to find techniques that help, and I have a bunch of them and they are really good techniques. We’ve got a lot of study in this area. I mean, we’ve got cognitive behavioral therapy explains how thoughts work. We’ve got mindfulness that helps us stay in the moment. We’ve got hypnosis and EMDR that work with that kind of deeper part of us that’s harder to reach. We have validation techniques, self-care and on and on, and I’m teaching a lot of these to you in these podcast episodes. But all of these techniques are just a delivery system to help you get reconnected to your core, inherent wholeness, value and wisdom. Unless these techniques help bring people to that knowledge that they’re okay inside, deep, deep, deep down, the symptoms will not go away, or if they do, briefly, they don’t stay away, because the real healing factor is the knowledge that deep inside of us we are not broken in spite of the hard things or the abuse or the scary or despairing thoughts. And I think I learned this specifically as I studied how to help victims of assault, particularly sexual assault.
As a young therapist, I had this period of time in my career it was like right around about a year and a half where I it seemed like almost all of my clients were dealing with some form of this kind of abuse, and it was like an avalanche of one particular theme that I was trying to figure out how do I help people recover from this kind of abuse? And you know, these assaults and abuses, maybe they happened a couple months earlier or even years earlier. And all of these women that I was working with were carrying within them this deep pain that lingered and affected them. And to the last one, it was affecting how they saw themselves, how they saw the world and their safety in their world. And it wasn’t until we were able to look at how it was affecting their belief about themselves and start to talk about the fact that no one and no thing could take from them their inner innate wholeness or their value or their wisdom. Only then did the healing start to happen.
And once I saw that, that was the formula you know it wasn’t linear, it was really just one point on the paper, one point on the map, and we had to use any and all ways to get to it. I started to see in my anxiety cases that people feared not being able to handle things, and in my depressive clients that they would never feel happy or safe again, and in my postpartum moms who had hormonal changes and sleep deprivation and that sense of loss of connection to who they were. They didn’t feel safe and secure within themselves. These are all personal and unique situations with a common factor that feeling of not being connected to their wholeness. So it makes sense why we would go to a common problem. Right, it must be me, I must be the problem, and what I’m saying to you is that you, your inherent wellness and wholeness that is not the problem. It’s your disconnection from your wellness and your wholeness that is the problem.
So now I see my job as a mirror, as a reflector for people of that wholeness, and also as a problem solver to try to figure out what’s covering that for them, what’s covering that for you, how do you uncover that so that we can get reconnected to ourselves? My job is to say there is nothing fundamentally wrong with you. You have everything you need inside of you to be well and you have wisdom to guide you in knowing what you need to do to feel better. And we can figure this out. You are going to be okay. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying suck it up. You can’t feel upset or afraid. You shouldn’t be worried. I’m not saying that. These are human emotions. It makes sense. We feel disconnected from our wellness and our safety. That makes us feel freaked out. We need to be compassionate about this. That’s so important. But it’s also true that your value is not up for debate. It’s protected deep within you. It’s untouchable by all that has happened. Our thinking kind of starts to tell us stories that feel true, and it’s so human for us to get caught up in this kind of thinking.
I had a client a few weeks ago that kept shaking her head as I described this, trying to convince me that she was broken but there was nothing inside that could be used to make things better. And she said this because she’d been hurt on so many levels. She felt let down by others. She let herself down. She was feeling small and fragile and alone. And of course, she was feeling those feelings. They were coming from how disconnected she felt from her wellness and her wholeness. She’d been through some really hard things. She had not been treated with respect. Her wholeness, her value had not been seen or honored by other people. So I said to her I know this is painful, I know you’re still hurting and I know you can’t see it, but your wisdom, your wholeness, it is there. And then I pointed out as many of the little glimmers of light surrounding her in her feelings, in her thoughts, her periodic insights and times in which she felt some direction. They all seemed so small and insignificant, but they’re not. They’re the rays of light coming from within her that she just can’t put it together yet and see it. They’re the little lights of resilience that reside in all of us and I’m hoping we can look for these and kind of fan these little flames so they grow brighter.
So I kept pointing out the things she told me as she was talking about this stuff, and then suddenly she kind of paused and blinked a few times and said you mean like clouds. And that kind of took me by surprise and I kind of had a blank look on my face because it was so. She got so calm all of a sudden and had this kind of random question, and so I kind of paused and she said like clouds that cover up the sun. And in that moment she got it. She saw the reality in her own way. She caught the vision of what I was trying to describe to her and then I was like, yes, exactly, that’s your wholeness, it’s like the sun. Yeah, like your sun, it’s your wellbeing, it’s your value, and it gets covered up, just like the sun has weather Clouds that cover it. And we don’t assume the sun’s gone just because we can’t see it or feel it. We know it’s still there, it’s just covered.
And then she took kind of a big breath and sat back and everything just kind of shifted for her in that moment and she had a little bit of a smile, which was such a change from just a few seconds ago, and she said I think I kind of am starting to see it and so I asked her to just take her internal temperature, put that hand on her chest and check in and see how she was feeling right now. And she said I feel a little calmer and maybe even a little more hopeful. And that’s what we’re going for, like what changed. Nothing externally had changed in her life. In those 30 to 45 minutes we’d been talking what was different in her life or in her world. Her past was the same, her problems were still there, nothing changed except she’d connected to that vision of her essential self and it allowed her to step out of the storm for just a second and see it from a different vantage point.
It was rain in her life. Rain in her life, not like acid rain that was melting her. She was getting wet, but it couldn’t hurt her inner wholeness. She was back in her boat in that stormy sea and she had a different vantage point. She had a glimpse that she was safe enough to figure out what to do next and that very probably she was going to feel better again, that this was a temporary difficult time. It didn’t have the power to destroy her deep within. And if we can just all know this, it makes the hugest difference in our life. It changes things. The perspective we have, the belief that we’re experiencing temporary disconnection from our wholeness, allows us freedom to be well in spite of challenges.
So what we’re going for here is to learn to say instead of there’s something wrong with me, instead to be able to say there’s something covering up that feeling of connection to my wholeness or my wellness. Like we get close. When we say something’s wrong with me, really what we’re saying is I can’t find me. I’m having a hard time feeling connected to that core safety part of me, and I think that’s perfectly reasonable. That’s what happens when I’m in an anxiety swirl. I don’t know if that ever happens to you, but it does to me. I get into this kind of swirling vortex of thinking about awful things that could happen or maybe happen and how I need to plan for it or solve it before it happens.
Every time this is happening to me, I think I am getting to understand a little bit more what I need to do, because I’m disconnected from that sense of wellbeing. I’m kind of flopping around in the ocean out of my boat and if I can kind of get centered and start to listen for what I need and say, I’m having a hard time. Right now I am whole, valuable and wise and I’m feeling overwhelmed and angry or upset, and that’s okay, I can work with that. What do I need? This is what we’re working to get connected to and learning to trust. First, to understand who we really are, what defines us, and that’s the whole valuable and wise vision of you. Second, to gain insight and really understand how you’re working and not being surprised by it. And finally, to open up what’s possible for you.
So who you really are is inherently whole person who has a baseline wellness, and I’m gonna say this is your normal state, and I know this might not be how you feel all the time. Aren’t normal or baseline states supposed to be how we feel the majority of the time? Well, we’re talking about human beings with a lot of survival mechanisms, living in a world that actually behaves backwards. Our world thinks that our values, defined by things we attach to, like labels or degrees or accomplishments or marital status or the amount of money we have or how much we weigh Like it can feel tempting to think that these are the things that actually make us whole, but, just like my client said, those are like clouds that cover the sun within us. Our job isn’t to find out what’s wrong with you. It’s to discover the wellness within you, because within you you are all right and from that place we can start to find the light and begin to show compassion to ourselves and get connected to your wisdom, and from that place of wholeness you can hold onto yourself through the hard things.
So you may be thinking right now that if we have all of this wholeness and wisdom inside, why does it always look or feel that way Like? Why do I feel so bad or get anxious? Why don’t I naturally feel it? And I think it’s because we attach our wholeness to things outside of ourselves and we definitely didn’t do that in the beginning. If you look at a baby, babies feel their wholeness. They’re just in it all the time. They don’t need stuff or to please people or any of the external things to be well. If they are hungry, tired or hurt, they cry and then when they get attended to, they’re restored to their happy state. But for whatever reason, as soon as we learn that there’s a world outside of us and approval and preference and comparison, we start to attach our wellness to those external things.
Think about how easy it is to have our wellbeing attached to the happiness of our children or someone approving of us or our financial security. Let’s see what else is more Approving of my appearance, people agreeing with me, feeling like I’ve got the support in doing what I’m choosing to do. All of those things often kind of feel like they’re sticky for me, like I’m gonna feel good if I’ve got those things and then if I don’t have those things, my wellness or my wellbeing, my wholeness, kind of feels a little insecure. So this is just an illusion, because anything outside of us cannot give us our wellbeing and I know this and I’ve taught this for years now. I believe it truly with all of my heart and I still find myself falling into this trap, holding tight to these external things, riding that crazy up and down roller coaster of feeling like I’m whole and valuable when things are going the way I want, like when my kids are all happy and I have enough money and my friends are calling me, and then plummeting if my kids are sad or the budget is tight or I didn’t get invited to that dinner.
Like my innate wellbeing is so much deeper than all of these things but my mind is distracted by them and gets caught up in them and tells me so many stories about what all of these things mean about me Is the key to helping me sort through these things and put my attention on my true nature, my true home base. It’s our wisdom. That is the key to helping us sort through these things and put our attention back on our true nature and kind of go back to what I call that home base. So think for a moment what that place of wholeness and innate wellness feels like to you. Can you think of a time when you felt it? I remember a time when I was in the woods in Northern California, in the redwoods, and kind of by myself in this beautiful misty forest with these giant trees, and I felt a connection to myself and I felt quiet inside and just safe, so whole.
This is one of my anchor memories that I use in my meditation time or times when I’m seeking to find that feeling again when I’m laying in bed and not able to sleep or having a hard time. It’s a bit of a touchstone and I bet somewhere in your life you’ve had a moment like this that you can recall. You know we’re really good at pulling up scary and punishing memories to reflect upon and kind of remind us or scare us as we’re worrying, but we’re not so great at pulling up beautiful memories that connect us to our wellness. And this is actually one of the tools we have to strengthen the pathway to our innate wellness to remember moments and reflect upon them willfully, even breathe into them, and connect that breath with the image and the feeling. You’re kind of using all the parts of your brain and your body to bring you to that space where you can calm your body and reflect on that wholeness that you have within you. And I’ve had that feeling on smaller scales After making a big mistake and feeling that crush of disappointment in myself, and as I started taking slow, deep breaths and practicing some self compassion, I was able to really reach for that essential self, that idea that we’re talking about today, trusting that she was there and that she was bigger and stronger than the pain I was feeling in the moment, and just knowing that that could kind of help me be compassionate with myself and help me get through it.
And I even felt it today as I was speaking with a woman who was in a lot of sadness and I could actually bear her sadness and be witness to it and sit with her because I know she has the wholeness and wellness underneath these cloudy problems, and I felt this rush of gratitude that I could see it for her and that I knew it applied to me too in my own problems, and I just wasn’t afraid for her. It was just a puzzle to solve, to find the way for her to get back to her knowing and her connection. And I could tell her that I just know we’re going to find a solution to this. I just know you’re going to feel better. Those are probably more examples from my life than you wanted to hear, but I hope it might help you think of sometimes in your life where you can see how your innate wholeness has showed up to help you.
And I bet if you took a minute and asked yourself what it feels like when you are in your well-being, when you’re connected to that essential self, you’ll come up with a list of amazing things that we all seem to desire to have more of in our life. You know, when I ask myself this question, what I come up with is those feelings of having more confidence, feeling hopeful, feeling competent to handle something, or creative enough, or resilient and compassionate and optimistic, like just being more able to be my best self. You don’t have to go out and find these feelings. We were born with them. That’s what innate means. They come as part of you and we get to find them and uncover them. So the truth is there’s nothing foundationally wrong with you. That is such a powerful statement. This is a process, and there are a few things you and I can do to begin to build a stronger relationship with our essential, whole, valuable and wise self. So let’s talk through a few of those.
Number one learn that you have this innate wholeness, value and wisdom within you. You may not have been taught that. You may have actually been taught the opposite, even though you don’t always see it or feel it, or maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard it. It is there nonetheless, just like the sun is there on a cloudy day. Number two understand that we all mistakenly attach our wholeness to external things and end up thinking that those are the things that define us and control our well-being. Number three this is something we all deal with and not another sign that you are broken. See how our mind works. It circles back around and says out of all of us, I must be the only one that struggles with this. And I’m going to say we all struggle with this. It’s just part of being human.
Number four our wisdom is the thing that helps us know when we’re attached to our essential self and when we’re disconnected and attached to external and changing things. And the best way to know where you’re attached to is how you’re feeling when you’re at peace, with a sense of calm, versus that wild ride of feeling up and down with all the anxiety and despair that goes with it. Those are the two differences in feelings. Anytime you’re feeling despair, you’re probably disconnected from your center. Anytime you’re fearful, dejected, berating yourself, feeling unloved, you’re dealing with the cloudy sky, having a hard time seeing your own light. Once again, I’m going to go back to number three. This is something we all deal with and not a sign that you’re broken.
Okay, number five we can practice connecting with our essential self. Just inform us. We can listen and read about wholeness in all areas that we gain knowledge in books and scripture and podcasts. We can journal times that we feel that interconnection and record those glimmers, like we just talked about and like I do, like I’m pointing out for my clients, by the way, you can also point those out for your kids, right? You start looking for them in your children’s lives, it will start to help you learn to look for them in your own. We can build in quiet times where we connect with our moment. You know, do a little bit of that meditation where we just sit in that present moment and choose to believe this, because what you believe is a choice.
Whether you realize it or not, you can choose what you want to believe around your wholeness and value. The more that you’re hurting and tempted to think that the problem is you at your core, that is exactly when you need to reach for that belief deep within you that you’re whole. So the more that you are hurting and doubting, the more you need to reach for that truth. I’m really far away from my boat right now. That’s okay. It’s okay to say that. Or I’m feeling a little far away from my boat, from my wholeness right now. It’s understandable, of course you do. It happens to all of us. So find a little bit of time every day to feed this truth. Maybe you use some music to help you remember. Put together a playlist of songs that remind you that you’re okay.
I read scripture each day and I read blog posts or copies of talks or listen to things that strengthen this truth for me, and my affirmations state these things clearly, and I listen to them as I walk in the mornings. I guess what I’m saying is that we can do things to strengthen this in our lives, kind of weight training for our minds and our hearts. These small repetitions will build strong muscles. When I choose to believe that there is nothing wrong with me, that’s when I feel hope. That’s when I start to feel a little bit of peace. That helps me work through the problems I’m dealing with and I’m so much less afraid of mistakes. The more I believe it for myself and others, the quicker I’m able to recover from the hard things that just seem to come with being in this life.
So, my friends, there is nothing inherently wrong with you. You are whole, valuable and wise. No one lives with the sun shining perfectly in the sky all the time, but just knowing it’s there is such a comfort. There’s no homework for you to do. Just consider this. It doesn’t have to be a task or a chore. It can be a quiet thought at the back of your mind that your wisdom gets to unwrap and start to give you little doses of it in your life, so that you start to feel safer, more optimistic, more hopeful in being able to feel your feelings and handle the challenges and still be safe and loved and whole. This is the journey we are all on Understanding who we are, how we work and what is possible for each of us.
Well, thank you for your patience as I walked through my favorite favorite topic. You’ll hear me talking about it again and again, because I go to battle every day, fighting for this light to be seen in my life and in yours, and I hope you will join me in looking for it in your own life. I want you to know I see your light and I believe in you. I will talk to you all next week. Take care. The Leadership Parenting Podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal, medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again and take care.