Women and Emotions – No More Apologies: Dr. Anita Phillips

“Women are taught not to trust their gut, not to trust their intuition, but we have so much power in that space.”

Episode 01

Have you ever been told you are “too emotional,” or if you display sadness or anger that you’re “overreacting,” or (gasp) – even “hysterical?” Women have long had their emotions weaponized against them. And as part of our For the Love of Therapy series, we have a trauma therapist and mental health expert Dr. Anita Phillips at the mic to share her thoughts and findings on why embracing our emotions can be the key to living our most powerful life. Dr. Phillips extensively explores the societal pressures that often lead women to suppress their emotions. She argues that emotions are not a sign of weakness, but a source of strength, and should be embraced rather than hidden. Women’s emotions are a reflection of their experiences and individuality, and they deserve to be expressed freely and without apology. She believes that if we can shift our perspective around emotions, we can achieve a healthier mental state and improved relationships, fostering a culture that values emotional authenticity and rejects unnecessary emotional censorship. 

Jen and Dr. Anita discuss:

  • The agency we have over our emotions and we won’t flourish unless we stop and listen to what our bodies and our feelings are telling us 
  • That our emotions are not “red flags” they are clues that guide us to the best and healthiest way forward
  • We shouldn’t see emotions as our enemy, and that internal war over them is not our destiny–we are created to flourish
  • Principles from Dr. Anita’s book, The Garden Within


Episode Transcript

Hi everybody! Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. We are in a series right now that is so powerful. It’s called For The Love of Therapy. We thought about being cute with a name, but we were like, let’s just hit it right on the nose–For the Love of Therapy. Obviously, we have had tons of therapists on the show and they’ve been weaved into a million different series for different reasons hitting on a therapeutic aspect as one of the themes, but it was certainly time to center therapy as its own subject. We have assembled an amazing roster of therapists, experts, and mental health specialists, and we really have built the series out to hit various layers of the therapy conversation so that we’re not missing any of the hidden corners. 

I really love today’s conversation. This is an empowering conversation. Whatever life is giving you right now that is circumstantial in nature, your outside influences on you that you have no control over are creating a complete experience for you. This conversation will serve you well because it will remind you if you dial in here, that you have a ton of agency. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t cost money, it’s at your fingertips. It’s as close as your own breath, literally. I really love today’s guest. Have you ever seen that little meme on the internet that says “Humans are basically houseplants with more complicated emotions?” I like that. I mean, we definitely need sun and water, but our emotions are just as important as nourishment. 

We actually cannot flourish until we stop and listen to what our body and our feelings have to say because our body, will never, ever lie to us. So our guest this week is helping us tune in with that listening, explaining why it matters. You’re going to love what she has to say. We have Dr. Anita Phillips here today. She’s a trauma therapist and a life coach, and her work lies at the intersection of mental health, obviously faith, and culture, which is of course super fascinating to me and of course, an intersection I have lived at most of my life. 

She has seen firsthand and will talk about her own story for a bit, the beauty that can come out of embracing our emotions head-on, even when they’re messy or painful. Dr. Anita is a third-generation pastor’s kid, which has its own set of complexities. She grew up with a sister with a mental illness, which she talks about at the top of the show, which obviously impacted not just her whole family, but her initial curiosity into mental wellness and mental illness–the flip side of the coin–which left her with a lot of questions and ultimately turned into her pathway into her field. She is a sought-after speaker with countless media appearances. She’s the host of In The Light with Dr. Anita podcast. She’s an advice columnist at Oprah Daily. She’s got a book out that I cannot recommend enough. It’s called The Garden Within. You’re just going to want to stick it in your shopping cart and you’ll see why at the end of this conversation. You will see how this material and metaphor weave through her instruction in a way that it’s just powerful. 

Everything that she has to teach us about emotional processing and how we are designed is just enlightening, encouraging, and empowering. I told her at the end of this conversation, that I’m just walking away feeling like I have a lot of control over what I do with my feelings, with my emotions inside my body. Those are not like red flags. They are, as she calls ’em, “hunger pains.” They’re clues. They are telling me the best, healthiest path forward. You’re going to see what I mean. She is so engaging, so lovely, smart, and encouraging. I’m so happy if you haven’t already met her, it thrills me to get to introduce you today to Dr. Anita Phillips and just welcome her to the show.




What is the Vagus Nerve?

For the Love Podcast Episode Featuring Dr. Hillary McBride

The Garden Within: Where the War with Your Emotions Ends and Your Most Powerful Life Begins
by Dr. Anita Phillips

CONNECT WITH Dr. Anita Phillips
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  • Visit jenhatmakerbookclub.com and use code READ at checkout $5 off your purchase!
  • Get 10% and Free Shipping when you visit trustandwill.com/forthelove. See how Trust and Will can benefit you!
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