If you or anyone you know and love has ever had issues with their mental health, you know how painful it can be. As we conclude our “For the Love of Being Seen and Heard” series, we just want to remind you that there’s no shame in admitting that you might need a little help. Maybe you’re feeling low, or more anxious than usual, or sad, scared, or just off—anything that feels different or keeps you from flourishing. Our guest today is here to encourage you to take agency over your mental health, and as a therapist herself, she’s here to help us shed those stigmas around seeking help from a therapist or counselor. Lori Gottlieb is a renowned psychotherapist, a bestselling author, and a leading voice in the mental health space. Her latest book Maybe You Should Talk To Someone leads us into her own experiences with the transformative power of therapy and gives answers to those who might have hesitations about beginning this process. Lori and Jen talk about:
Identifying the stereotypes about therapy and debunking them, plus what to expect so that you can a get the most out of your time with a therapist
Developing an attitude that mental health is just as important as physical help and that seeking a therapist is on the same level as getting a check up with a medical doctor toward whole body health
Jen’s personal experiences with therapy – and how she processed pain and betrayal, plus what it looks like to be in active recovery
Becoming aware of and taking responsibility for our own patterns, actions and responses to life events as it pertains to our mental state and interactions with others
As Lori says, “one thing that therapy will teach you is how to be your real, messy, imperfect, fallible self, but also still love who you are.”
We’re back with maybe the most foundational episode in our Being Seen and Heard series–and it’s all about how we see ourselves. Were you taught how to love yourself when you were growing up? Many of us never grew up hearing anything about embodiment, and maybe we’ve treated our bodies as “the enemy” for most of our years. Maybe you grew up in a time where you didn’t see people that looked like you, or had your body type represented in magazines, on TV or in movies. Perhaps you even had shame about your body (or still do), and you bought into diet culture and were constantly worried about your size and the number on the scale. It’s hard to see ourselves as beautiful when we’re looking outside ourselves for what that standard of beauty is. Our guest today is doing the good work of helping people see themselves differently, and it’s giving them freedom to love themselves for who they are today. Jessamyn Stanley has become a powerful voice for wellness and body acceptance (she also dubs herself the “Beyonce’ of yoga” – I mean who can’t get behind that?). After attending yoga classes with a friend, Jessamyn fell in love with it, but she noticed that she didn’t see anyone who looked like her or had a body like hers–and when she moved to a different city and wasn’t attending yoga classes anymore—she craved a community to share her practice–except she wanted all kinds of people and body types to be a part of it. She began sharing her yoga practice on Instagram back in 2012 and was amazed by the overwhelming response from many who had never done yoga before because they had felt just like Jessamyn had–that maybe it wasn’t for “people like them.” Her fledgling Insta-yoga classes grew into an organization called The Underbelly, a unique and inclusive digital wellness experience that now draws thousands of people into its safe and accepting space.
Jen and Jessamyn touch on these topics:
• Jessamyn’s experience with being ashamed of her body as a middle schooler and also being bullied for being different, and how she looks at those years of bullying as a revelation that everyone is self conscious about their bodies–bullies included
• The realization we all have at the end of the day; all we have is ourselves–and if we can accept ourselves as we are right now–not who we thought we should be, or who we might be–we’ll enjoy the ability to be fully present and authentic in all of our encounters
• Debunking the long held notion that many people have about black women (and also that black women have been taught to believe)–that they are “stronger” and “superwomen,” and what it means to allow themselves moments of rest and self-care
• Key changes that could be made to empower everyone to have their own agency toward self care, by making it possible for anyone–no matter how much money you make, or where you live–to participate in wellness practices like yoga
If we can face the truth about ourselves, and not turn away from the fullness of who we are–including the ugly and complex things, we can begin a journey to a shame-free life that will change the fabric of who we are and what we bring to the world.
This week, we’re wrapping up our celebration of small wins amid the 2020 dumpster fire, and we’re asking ourselves two questions: where we go from here, and how do we say yes what’s ahead? Savvy businesswoman and bubbly star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta Lori Allen has said yes to many things in her life: launching and running a successful bridal boutique for 40 years, fighting breast cancer, and managing the roles of wife, mom, grandmother, and daughter of aging parents. Lori and Jen break down how to push through resistance to change and break through to accept the next yes, even when we don’t know what’s ahead.
“If my faith cannot offer me something in the wilderness moments, it isn’t worth having,” says Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart. And as we explore the silver linings of this turbulent year, Rev. Naomi’s wisdom is just what we need as we turn our thoughts to how our faith has held us up, stretched our empathy, and asked us to hold suffering and joy with both hands. As Philadelphia’s Director of the Mayor’s Office of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, Rev. Naomi has spent the year trying to bring faith communities together with the goal of healing a hurting city. And for those who may not be able to see a way forward, Rev. Naomi reminds us that God is still right there, never leaving us alone. Because as she says, “we are always becoming,” meaning that even through the impossible, good can be brought out of any story—including the ones we never asked for.
Joy and pain aren’t mutually exclusive; they mingle together in our stories every single day. That’s probably never been more true than in 2020. In these moments, we reach for guides who have traveled through some dark moments and come out the other side, and we couldn’t have a better teacher than writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed joyologist Dawn Barton. Pain and loss have been familiar companions to Dawn for a long time. She’s lost a baby daughter, and a sister to cancer. She’s suffered through sexual assault and walked her mother through recovery from an aneurysm, and her husband through alcohol addiction. Dawn has seen suffering, but she’s also realized that even in the middle of pain, you can experience full-fledged joy. Moments of hurt create opportunities for others to show up for us, and allow us to experience love in ways beyond what we ever thought possible (and sometimes scary times lead to hilarious ones, as Dawn found during her misadventures with a prosthetic breast named Lucky). Ultimately, our lives come full circle when we get to help someone else through their painful moments the way that others once helped us.
2020 has shaken up so many of our beliefs. What’s normal? What’s safe? What does it look like for our families and our communities to thrive? These are life-changing questions, and today’s guest is someone who has been searching for the answers to these very questions for nearly two decades. Diana Oestreich was an American soldier in Iraq who received orders to keep her convoy rolling at all costs, even if children crossed her path. And in that gut-wrenching moment, Diana decided she couldn’t follow those orders, and she would fight for peace with sacrifice instead of bullets. Today Diana “wages peace” with love and justice alongside the organization Preemptive Love, and she and Jen talk about who the true heroes are, and how everything changes in our world when we choose to build bridges instead of walls.
Do you know who has a PhD in Small Wins? We do, because this week on the show we have The Lazy Genius, AKA the brilliant and delightful Kendra Adachi! Kendra is the woman who brought the Tim Riggins Salad and Change Your Life Chicken to the internet, and she is about to change our lives far beyond the fridge (though fun fact: that chicken is delicious). Kendra’s going to give us a treasure trove of pro tips, like the beauty of 17-minute naps and the stress-reducing way to clean up our kitchens (hint: zones, people—it’s all about the zones!). As a recovering perfectionist, Kendra’s learned how to strike the middle ground between “It has to be perfect!” and “Meh, I don’t care anymore.” She shows us how to care about what matters and let the rest go, because let’s be real: there’s just too much for us to care about everything. Plus, for all the Enneagram 1s and Type-As out there, Kendra reminds us that even if our plans are upended, it doesn’t mean our plans were wrong—it just means that life happened, and we’ll be okay.
And stay till the end for Jen and Kendra’s Hamilton love fest as they look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now in a world with Lin Manuel-Miranda and Disney+!
On the road to finding small wins, it’s helpful to watch for the “green lights” in our lives—those signals that indicate we can move forward when we see them—but also recognize and appreciate the yellows and reds that slow us down so we can take a second to absorb what life is teaching us. Academy Award-winning actor, minister of culture, and self-proclaimed pickle expert Matthew McConaughey is a man who’s had a few green lights show up over the course of his career (along with a few reds and yellows, he admits). He shares about it all in his new book, Greenlights, where he describes (in an oh-so-McConaughey way) his “sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls.” Matthew points out that green lights illuminate our way through the choices we make, and challenge us to ask some bigger questions: Are you living in the present? Are you being kind? Are you enjoying both freedom and responsibility? Matthew gives us a sneak peek into his motivation for writing Greenlights, and tells us about important women in his life who shaped and supported him all along the way.
Right now, we all need some small wins. And in our brand-new series called—wait for it—For the Love of Small Wins, we’re talking to thought leaders who remind us to look for the ways kindness and resilience has showed up in our lives this year. First up, author and life coach Valorie Burton knows all about something we each struggle with: guilt. She knows what it looks like, how it can disguise itself, and how ingrained it is in our daily lives. Valorie helps us identify the difference between authentic and false guilt, and walks us through the different types of guilt we experience, especially in 2020: mom/daughter/friend guilt, guilt for not doing more or better, guilt for not being involved enough in the causes happening around us. Valerie gives us the tools to begin to let go of guilt, so we can take the first step on our journey to appreciating the small wins of 2020.
We’re wrapping up our “For the Love of New Beginnings” Series, and we’ll just warn you, episode 5 may involve a tear or two. Our guests this week, as always for the last episode in a series, are straight from Jen’s tribe. Jen had occasion to meet Donna Cheek, a designer at Glory Haus home furnishings, during a visit to the company a few years ago. Donna’s life had never been easy; from growing up in an alcoholic home, to battling with chronic illness and ultimately facing homelessness. You’ll hear what kept her going, and the times she almost threw in the towel, and about the moment that hands were outstretched to offer some hope (in the form of another Glory Haus Designer, Sheila Lynch) that ultimately gave her the chance to start anew. It’s a story of courage, resilience, and the resounding message to “never give up.”
Take a peek around
If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.