In this week’s episode we’re chatting about:
This podcast is proudly brought to you by the company I am proud to partner with – and the company whose products I now exclusively use for my family and me: Beautycounter. Be in the know about better and safer beauty – be part of the beauty of Beautycounter. You can check out our product line at www.beautycounter.com/trishblackwell Beautycounter is a B-Corp, and for those of you who don’t know, B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
One of the promises I made to myself when I followed the calling on my heart to be a writer – and when I discovered freedom from the dark depths of my eating disorder – was that I would always be willing to talk about what others are unwilling to talk about. I will be a shameless truth-teller and I won’t ever apologize for it. I spent too many years feeling isolated, alone, and misunderstood, not knowing that there were thousands of others who were struggling with the same issues, insecurities and questions as I was to not share my story. It seemed that no one was talking about what needed to be talked about, and as a result, I bought into the lie that I really was messed up beyond salvaging. The truth is that we all walk through challenges, fears, insecurities, trauma, broken relationships, and seasons of loneliness – it is simply part of the condition of being human. Though the thought of the human condition might be discouraging, there is one element of being human that can bring great hope and encouragement, and that is that, as humans, we are children of God. God has given us each a story to live out, and I believe that it is our moral obligation to be transparent about our journeys that we might take ownership of it and then be brave enough to share it with others. When we share our story and our truth with others we become be a source of encouragement and hope. Truth shared builds communities and it creates courage in the most unlikely of places.
From time to time I am afflicted with a dark shadow over my heart. It’s the mark of exhaustion and it comes, almost predictably, after I have pressed on enthusiastically through months of pouring my soul on paper and into the microphone. It comes when I am sleep deprived, when the laundry pile seems endless and usually when Ellie is fighting a cold, not sleeping well at night and refusing to do anything but be held during the day. It comes when I realize that I walked away from a six-figure a year job to become an entrepreneur, or really, a mom-trepreneur, and on those days when I am barely succeeding at being a mom, let alone a mom and a business owner. They are the days I feel like I am going to break. And usually, I do. I cry in the shower and I take refuge in the judgment-free comfort of my sweatpants. My natural enthusiasm for life wanes and my hand finds its way to one too many pieces of Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark and one glass of Cabernet too many. In short, raising a tiny human being is exhausting.
The worst thing about these funks are the lies in my mind. I hear messages from my past – the ones I used to believe and be shackled to. They resurface and they taunt me, repeating themselves over and over until their volume is so loud it is the only thing I can hear. They tell me I am unlovely, that I am forgettable, and that what I do doesn’t matter, the latter of which is perhaps the greatest lie of all that too many of us believe.
So, what does one do when one feels like what one doesn’t matter?
I ask you this and am writing this blog post because this is a question we all have a need to answer because this lie is universal. At some point, almost everyone has felt the fear of really believing that they don’t matter. The danger of the lie is that believing it puts us on the sidelines of life. The fear of not mattering – in whatever way that might be expressed – causes us to live cautiously and with extreme sensitivity towards what others may or may not think about us. We become slaves to opinion and desperate for affirmation from others to give us our worth. It prevents us from living out our purpose and our potential and it steals from us the present.
There is power in a pen. Writing is the act of taking our intangible emotions out of our brains and giving them tangibility on paper. Give yourself the opportunity to release all of your emotions in a safe and cathartic way – take out a pen and paper and just start writing. It’s imperative when walking through a season of funk to get the thoughts out of your head because often when we see what we are thinking actually put to ink, we have the fortitude to recognize just how ridiculously wrong the thought it. Allowed to simmer and bred in the darkness of our inner fears, the thoughts will bred upon themselves and grow in destructive strength. Instead, we must bring the thoughts to the light. For me, it helps to remember that any thought that doesn’t build me or someone else up is a thought based on fear, and fear belongs to places of darkness. I have decided to live in the light. I want the freedom, the joy, the confidence, the fullness that comes from the light, and so whenever I can assess and analyze my thoughts at a crossroads to recognize what side of life they will direct me towards, I am empowered to push the darkness away and to choose the light.
Put your thoughts on paper and then take a different colored pen to re-write the thought. That is, take your dark thoughts and turn them into thoughts that belong in the light. Just doing this simple exercise gives you an active hand in using your mind as a tool. Remember, our mind is our greatest and most valuable asset, and we can choose to have control over it. We control our minds, so don’t let your mind – by allowing it to dwell in darkness – control you.
The most recent funk I experienced made me realize that I was holding onto thoughts for too long. Anytime we hold onto a thought for more than 30 seconds, we are inviting it in. In other words, we are hosting it and celebrating it. If thoughts have the ability to steal our joy (as anyone who has walked through a season of funk well knows), then hosting thoughts that are negative is like inviting a thief into our house and wondering why we feel so surprised and invaded when they steal from us.
The natural life of a thought is 30 seconds and it is up to you whether or not you will allow the thoughts that take life from you to have more life than they themselves merit. You are the master of your thoughts, but if you aren’t attentive, your thoughts will become the master of you.
We have an enemy in this world – and his goal is to keep us from living in the freedom of God’s great love. He does this by tempting us to believe lies of unworthiness and averageness. Do not let his deceit win.
The truth is that you matter. Your story matters. The little things you do matter. God sees and knows every small thing you do. He notices every seemingly unnoticeable act of love and kindness you give to others. He cares about every emotion you feel. He wants you to live fully and to lavish love onto this world as a reflection of His great love – and to do so, you must not allow any lies about your position and worth as a child of God to dissuade you from the path you are meant to confidently walk.
The Bible (John 8:32) tells us to know the truth and that the truth will set us free; and that is true. But what is also true is that we sometimes have to fight to hold onto the truth. We must fight to remember truth when the lies and fears we feel seem louder in our minds. We must fight to make our thoughts submissive to us and we must fight to always choose the right attitude.
Sometimes we might not want to fight, but we must. When I was a little girl, if I woke up in a bad mood, my mother would make me go, get back in bed, and under the covers, wait a minute, and then get back up “on the right side of the bed.” I fought her on this ritual. I hated doing it. But she taught me something valuable through it, and that is, sometimes, by doing that which we don’t want to do – by fighting to force ourselves to do the right thing – we can literally change the entire outcome of our day.
When we feel like what we do doesn’t matter, it can be hard to shake the funk. It is a sadness that burns deep into our bones. One of the most effective ways to remind ourselves that we in fact do matter, and that we are in fact greatly loved, is to go out and proactively express compassion. Compassion is feeling for someone and then actually doing something about it. This will get you out of your skin a bit – and back into realizing that who you and what you do matters. The human connection that you have – and your ability to love others well – is enough to give you value and purpose in life.
Brandon’s late grandmother Lucia, after whom Ellie is named (Eleanor Lucia Synan) preached purpose and love to her family, and in her wisdom, understood that no one’s mind is impervious to the temptation of negativity. She taught by example and she taught through repetition, and she shared with her future generations her answer to what to do when you are in need. Her answer? Sow a seed. Have a need? Sow a seed. If you are in a financial crunch, give some money away. If you lack kindness, be kind. If you are in need of confidence, spend some time building others up. Whatever you lack, sow, and you will reap what you sow.
You matter. More than merely mattering, you delight God. That’s the true image of the expression of a father, isn’t it? As children of God, He is our Father and as our Father, He delights in us. Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) says: “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
It leaves me to a personal mental memo I am noting for myself, and if you have ever experience the foggy funk I have above described, then this memo is for you too:
If the God of the universe delights in me with gladness, then how dare I ever believe the pathetic, life-stealing lie that what I do doesn’t matter. What I do will always matter, not because of what I do, but because of who I am. I am a child of God and because of that I can be brave; because of that I know I am loved.
My name is Anna Hilty; certified Holistic Health Coach and inspiring developing entrepreneur, I first started following you through Confidence On The Go podcast three years ago and it had come to me when I needed it the most. At that time I was in the middle of an extreme “healthy” lifestyle; the bodybuilding lifestyle. Measuring my chicken breasts, brown rice, and/or broccoli in dozens of plastic containers & being a slave to the clock for eating every three hours. Precise workout plan; Mondays, Back & Bis, Tuesday Tris, chest, & Cardio and etc.
Listening to your weekly podcast, really was the introduction to wellness & personal development into my life and for that I have to express how grateful I am. Now I am a practicing Holistic Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.
Thank you again for the value you put out into the world, which I know is worth so much more than actual paper money and something I strive to do. Even though you don’t know me personally, through your podcast you have become one of my mentors. Have a wonderful day and give Ellie a big kiss from a huge supporter!
Anna S Hilty, HHC
BREAKOUT sessions are booked for 2016, and doors are opening next week for the first session. I am only accepting 10 people per BREAKOUT session, so lock in your spot now. Find out more about BREAKOUT at www.trishblackwell.com/breakout
February 7, 2016 is the start date of our next session! Grab your seat now!
Trish Blackwell’s BREAKOUT program changed my life by helping me to take off my blindfolds and put a compass into my hand. It is an extremely well rounded program that allowed me to gain insight into how to truly put an end to self-defeating habits, set a clear intention for what I want out of my life and create a roadmap to getting there. Since starting the program there have a number of break through that completely changed the course of my life. I put an end to an old, comfortable, unsatisfying relationship that was going no where and created the space I needed to meet the wonderful, inspiring person in my life now. I embraced a new level of confidence at my current profession and was promoted to a position with more responsibility, more traveling and more opportunities to lead. I have started a one-year plan to undoing irresponsible financial decisions in the past and see financial stability and planning as a part of who I am now. But most importantly, I have greatly reduced negative self-talk and have become my own biggest fan. Living in a world where the voice in your head is a positive, supportive one is absolutely priceless. I think differently about myself now because I choose to love myself unconditionally.
My life now is light years away from where I was last year, or even just prior to the program. Having someone amazing in my life that I actually feel worthy of is something I only would have dreamed of before. It is still scary to be leading high energy Yoga Sculpt classes, playing a higher role at my job and taking the beginning steps to working with women in recovery on their own health and confidence goals – but I just keep moving forward and doing it. I learned what my strengths are and how to best use them to continue on the path to success.
Initially, I was a little skeptical about the program, I loved the Confidence on the Go podcast and Trish’s book but the financial and time investment for BREAKOUT didn’t seem like a good fit. I finally took a leap of faith and went with my gut instinct to just go for it and it was worth every minute, penny and then some. We can all live meaningful, powerful lives if we just take the first step in choosing to invest in ourselves. By surrounding ourselves with positivity and a clear plan we are unstoppable. Embracing Trish as a mentor and coach was one of the best decisions I have ever made. BREAKOUT is a complete guide to starting a journey of self-discovery – the possibilities are endless. I am so grateful for the experience and for the shifts that have taken place in my life because of it.