The Transformational Power of Self-Love and Positive Identity Narratives with Dr. Tanya Stephenson

Episode 146 of ‘Self Love and Sweat: THE PODCAST” we dive into a captivating conversation with Dr. Tanya Stephenson, a mental health and peak performance coach, psychotherapist, and clinical hypnotherapist. In this episode,we dig deep into the transformative power of self-love and identity, shedding light on how we can break free from limiting beliefs and unlock our full potential.

Watch & listen to this episode here:

Timestamps to help you navigate this episode:
(0:00) Intro
(0:20)  FREE Self Love & Sweat MONTHLY Calendar
(3:36)  Introducing Dr. Tanya Stephenson
(17:28Sponsor: Snap Supplements 25% OFF using code LUNDEN25
(24:14) The Importance of Self-Love and Self-Acceptance
(36:58Sponsor: Evolve Telemed 25% OFF Using code: LUNDEN25
(44:55) Handling Negative Thoughts and Emotions
(57:51) Embracing Vulnerability and Authenticity

Who is Tanya Stephenson?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson is a remarkable mental health and peak performance coach with a diverse skill set, including psychotherapy, clinical hypnotherapy, and more. Her unwavering dedication is to empower individuals to overcome life’s challenges and excel in every facet of their existence. She’s particularly passionate about the profound influence of identity and self-love on our journeys.

Her unique approach combines a blend of therapeutic modalities, such as hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, Rapid Transformation Therapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, energy work, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. By harnessing this diverse toolkit, she helps individuals unravel the constraints of their limiting beliefs, facilitating their personal growth, healing, and overall transformation.

Unlocking the Power of Identity

During the podcast episode, Dr. Tanya Stephenson emphasizes the importance of understanding and reshaping one’s identity. She describes how the way we perceive ourselves has a profound impact on our thoughts, actions, and ultimately, our life experiences. She highlights the role of self-love in this process, underscoring that it is not selfish, but rather the foundation for positive transformations.

Through her therapeutic interventions, Tanya assists clients in exploring their self-identity and beliefs. She guides them in recognizing and dismantling self-sabotaging thought patterns and behaviors that hinder personal and professional growth.

Creating Positive Transformations

Dr. Tanya Stephenson emphasizes that achieving success and well-being is within reach for everyone. Her multifaceted approach to healing and growth ensures that individuals can harness their inner potential and make positive transformations in their lives. By embracing self-love and a dynamic understanding of identity, we can overcome limiting beliefs and embark on journeys toward our full potential.

Full Transcript Episode 146:

Lunden Souza: 

Welcome to Self Love and Sweat THE PODCAST, the place where you’ll get inspired to live your life unapologetically, embrace your perfect imperfections, break down barriers and do what sets your soul on fire. I’m your host, Lunden Souza. Hey, have you grabbed your free Self Love and Sweat monthly calendar yet? This calendar is so amazing. It comes right in your inbox every single month to help you have a little nugget of wisdom, a sweaty workout, a mindset activity, just a little something, something to help keep you focused and motivated and keep that momentum towards your goals. So every day, when you get this calendar, you’ll see a link that you can click that will lead to a podcast episode or a workout or something that will be very powerful and quick to read. And then you’ll also see, on the top left corner of every single day, there’s a little check box in the calendar, and what that is is that’s for your one thing. You can choose one thing every month, or it can be the same, something that you want to implement and make this something that you can easily implement, like daily meditation or getting a certain amount of steps or water, for example, and staying hydrated and even taking your supplements. This can be something if you want to get more regular doing a particular habit and routine. You can choose what that checkbox means. So if you want your Self Love and Sweat free monthly calendar delivered right to your inbox every month on the first of the month, go to lifelikelunden.com/calendar. Fill out the form really quickly and you will have your calendar in your inbox within a few short minutes. That’s lifelikelunden L-I-F-E-L-I-K-E-L-U-N-D-E-N dot com forward slash calendar. Go, get yours for free and enjoy this episode. Welcome back to the podcast. Today we have Dr Tanya Stephenson with us on the show. She is a mental health and peak performance coach, psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist dedicated to empowering people to overcome challenges and achieve success in all areas of their lives. She’s super passionate about the power of identity and self-love, and Tanya uses her expertise in various modalities, including hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, rapid transformational therapy, neurolinguistic programming, energy work and cognitive behavioral therapy, to help people break free from limiting beliefs, heal, grow and create positive transformation. Tanya, thank you so much for joining us here today. It is two o’clock in the morning where Tanya is in Australia and she looks like she’s just ready to go for the day bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and alert. So thank you for making time in the middle of the night to be here to share your gifts with us. We really appreciate you.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Thank you so much. It’s so lovely to be here. Thanks for having me. I’ve been really excited, so it doesn’t really feel like 2 am.

Lunden Souza: 

I know we were messaging before earlier today and she told me it was 2 am and I’m like, do you want to change it? And she’s like, no, I’m just having some tea, I’m pretending like it’s a normal afternoon and we’re just going to do the podcast. So good on you. I love that.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Thank you, I really did. I stocked up on tea and I said, you know, I’m just going to catch up on stuff. I was really excited and time flew, so it was pretty good.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, I’m excited and, like I said, we won’t go too too too long and hopefully you’ll just fall into a deep slumber after this. But I’m just so excited, after reading your bio and learning more about you, to have you here on the show, and so let’s start with just a little bit more about you. How did you get into this space? Have you always known that you wanted to be helping people live better lives? Was it a particular situation in your own life that kind of catapulted this journey? What was that like for you?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, well, that’s a really good question. Well, I think I was always drawn to working with people, I think since I was really young as well, just because I had so many different dynamics going on with family, with friends, all kinds of relationships and just different things happening, and so I think I was always drawn to that, but I didn’t fall into it. So I ended up doing more of an education path and working with children and young adults, and I ended up doing my PhD, which I focused on identity, which is why I’m so passionate about it. And then I had a choice where I said, well, either I go into academia or I really choose to work with people, and so I chose to finally just jump in and just, you know, work with people, and I’ve been loving it so much since.

Lunden Souza: 

What is the study of identity? Like, what do you study when you’re studying that?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

That’s a good question. So what I did was we I looked more at the development of identity. So we looked. Of course, what we did was looking at teachers and looked at really young children, and just really young children, about the age of three years old to about five, to see how they start to form their identity, really young and so just looking at language and what they hear, what they experience at home with their teachers, with their peers, and how that their identity starts to form and shift and how their behavior shift with it, and so how our identity really starts to develop so young and then that sort of carries through as we grow older, all the way up to adulthood. So things that happen really young really impact that identity formation. So, yeah, we looked at that and we looked at, you know, teachers and how they work with children and how they see themselves and their identity, their behaviors that are then impacted by their identity, and how we can actually work to shift that in adults.

Lunden Souza: 

So it was very interesting, yeah, and I imagine that there’s some like I want to. How do I say this? Like unconscious, like unconscious, like imprint from the teachers to the students that they don’t even realize that maybe the things that they’re saying or the way that they’re speaking to the students or treating different students, or maybe labeling them or encouraging them in one way or another, can really make an impact on those kids. And I bet you there was a lot of aha or awareness moments for teachers to understand that every word that they say, how they show up, really matters. Is it hard for people to not impose their model of the world, their identity, on other people? Is that really possible, do you think?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

I think that with the identity side of things in our beliefs it is so implicit sometimes that we don’t even realize we have certain biases and certain prejudice. And so that really came through and it’s so much of that is based on our own experience and the beliefs that we’ve formed along the way that it just feels natural and so it just sort of comes through in behaviors and that’s what one of those things I’ll just share very quickly was just specifically when we looked at gender for identity formation and it was so fascinating to see when we were working along the areas of STEM education so science, technology, engineering and maths and we just found the way the teachers would interact with boys and the way they would interact with girls was unintentionally different. And so it’s so young the girls took on those little, what we call microaggressions that are completely unintentional, but the girls would then sort of step back and start to take on more of a supporting role, going oh no, that’s a boys thing. And they were just three years old and you could see that shift happening and the teachers were really not aware of it. So we worked on getting them aware of some of the things they were doing and when they did, they really were really conscious of it and they changed how they were interacting and that led to other ripple effects with the children. But just becoming aware of that and having that self-awareness can be so impactful for yourself and then have that impact on other people around you too.

Lunden Souza: 

And it’s. I think it’s so lovely when anybody, but especially adults, are open to feedback and understanding more of their unconscious patterns, bringing them to their conscious awareness and then being open to do better right, not being like don’t tell me what to do or like stuck in their ways. I really like when adults especially in the education space, parents, whatever can be like. Hmm, maybe there is a better way of doing them and I need to slow down a little bit so that I can be sure that I’m impacting and not imposing. Right?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Absolutely, and it’s so great that you’ve mentioned that, actually, because I think that links so nicely with that idea of self-love and self-value and self-worths, just because from my experience, you know, having that self-love and the self-value is it is, of course, about accepting yourself and really being aware of who you are and loving yourself, but it is I always say that it is different from the this is who I am, or you know, I am the way I am, which sort of links to what you’ve just said. And I think when we have that value for ourselves, it is also about knowing what our strengths are, knowing what areas we can improve on and being open to improve, because I think it’s about really loving and valuing ourselves enough to want more for ourselves and want to grow. So I think when we come from that place as well, of wanting to grow, it does, I think, have a really nice link there with just loving yourself and valuing yourself enough to grow, because I think when we don’t have that, we tend to be a lot more defensive.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, yeah, and more stuck in our ways and more protective of nobody ruffling our feathers, but I found a change and growth and just being open to that learning and growth has been probably one of my most profound superpowers is just being like, okay, like I know, and also I don’t know, you know. So there’s a lot of room for growth and I think, yeah, I think that growth is one of the main reasons why we’re here. I love that you touched on self love and before you and I pressed record, you were like I’m so happy to be here because, in the name of the title of our podcast, self love and sweat, you’re like I resonate with that so much and we were talking a little bit about like self love and relationships, both romantic and platonic, and I think some of those beliefs that we need to find somebody else to complete us, or someone needs to love us in order to feel love, or we might be searching for, like that missing piece that really can be found within and I use my shoulds lightly, but I would say should be found within first, you know. So how is, or how can self love positively impact our relationships and why is it such a foundational piece for us to actually really truly love and know what love is right in our other relationships.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I love how you frame that about. You know, just, just in that, in what you just said, there with you know, we come at it sometimes. We come at relationships, sometimes with oh, I’m going to have someone to love me and they’re going to, you know, give me what I need. And right there you’re coming from a place of need that I always say and I talk about this elsewhere as well where I say you know, it’s something that’s been, you’re not really falling in love, you’re falling more in need or you’re falling more in dependency, because you’re coming from a place of need and of craving and of really wanting your needs met. And I think when we come at it from that space, it’s more about us. We’re thinking about ourselves, we’re thinking about our needs, we’re thinking about our needs being met and how that person is supposed to make us feel. And I think when we come at it that way, it’s not really about us loving the person and loving who this person is and you know who they really are. It’s more about how they’re making us feel and what they’re giving us. And I often and I will touch on this love bit shortly, but I guess I just wanted to say that it’s so important to realize that when we come from that place of, this is how I need to feel and this is how this person is supposed to make me feel. So I feel like that’s so much power being given to another person power and pressure, because I think that’s a lot of pressure for someone to take on the responsibility of, you know, making us feel a certain way. But then it’s also that power and I think when you give someone the power to make you feel a certain way, you also give them the power to then take it away, and I think that’s a really scary place to be because it’s not coming from within you, it’s on them. And I think that’s one of the big reasons why self love is so important because it’s yours and no one can take that away from you. So when you have that self love, you value yourself, you have that worth within yourself, you love yourself, you know who you are, you’re so self aware. I think, of what my needs are, what my values are, why do I have these needs, why are these values important to me? And I think when we come from that place of self love, it’s so fulfilling and then we can set those healthy boundaries, and I think it helps us to communicate our needs clearly, because we know what our needs are and we know why. And I think it also then flows on to the standards we set for ourselves, what we choose to tolerate around us, the type of environment we create, how we communicate. I think the self love really impacts all of those things. And so I think, when it comes to relationships, you really, if you come from that place of self love and I save this very carefully, because self love to me it’s not a destination, it’s not like, oh, I’ve reached that point of self love now. I think it’s a journey and we have our ups and downs, but I think, as long as we’re aware of that and we’re coming from that place, so I think that that makes a really big impact on how we approach relationships. And so it really goes from that love for self to others and I think that’s the core place of where it all starts. Yeah, I think that’s that’s what I think when it comes to relationships and self love. But even with just friendships and platonic relationships, I think when we come from that place of self love, we’re so much more empathetic towards other people and non judgmental and understanding, because we extend that from within ourselves to other people. So I think it’s like that ripple effect of positivity when we’re in tune with ourselves and that just sort of spreads to those interactions that we have.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and I love that you said how self love is not a like destination. I definitely feel that in my life it’s been like a discovery process and like getting to know myself and like dating yourself, almost right. And I feel like on that journey you start to come head to head with your own dysfunctions, your own programming, your own big team, little tea, traumas and all these things that I like to call the masterpiece, like I often say, like I’m feeling like a masterpiece. You know there’s just a lot and it’s beautiful. But I feel like when we do that, and to your point of like in need versus in love, it’s like it’s almost impossible to ever imagine that another person, with their dysfunctions, their imperfections, their life stuff, like how could they ever fulfill all the things that we need? Right? And I think when we go into that journey of self love and just learning about ourselves and all those things, we start to learn how complex that is and how important that is. And now I’ve realized on my journey when I am in, yeah, with relationships, with friends or romantic relationships or whatever, I’m like there’s no way that they can fulfill all the things for me, there’s no way that I can get all my needs met from another person. You know, when I look at myself and my internal world, there’s no way even though I’m working on this regularly, I’m a coach on this there’s no way I could even provide that for somebody else. So how in the world am I expecting that? How do we know, like, if someone listening is like, hmm, how do we know if we’re in love or in need in a relationship, let’s say like a romantic relationship, for example, like how can we identify that? And then what would be like our first patterns to switch that? Do we have to leave the relationship? Can we find, transform or alchemize that in need to in love with our current partner, and what can that look like? Hey, really quick. I want to interrupt the podcast for just a minute to tell you about one of my favorite supplements for hair, skin, nails, digestive and gut health, and that is Snap Supplements Super Greens with Collagen. Now, if you’re following me on social media, you’ve probably seen me post about this a bunch because, honestly, this product tastes amazing and it’s jam packed with nutrients, like I said, to support healthy hair, skin and nails. It helps support detoxification, a healthy immune system and there’s even probiotics in there for a healthy gut. It’s non- GMO, no sugar added, soy- free, grass- fed collagen, and every scoop is going to give you seven grams of protein. And this is why I love it, because it’s not like a protein shake, it’s just a scoop of powder. It tastes amazing. I put it in water or, if I want more hydration, I’ll put it in coconut water and mix it up, and it’s like having a nice refreshing beverage that’s packed with a bunch of super greens and protein. So what I’m super excited about is that for listening to the podcast, you’ll get this discount here. Nowhere else, but for listening to the podcast, you can save 25% off on all your Snap Supplement purchases, including the super greens with collagen, and you do that by using code LUNDEN25 at checkout. That’s L- U- N- D- E- N. 25 L- U- N- D- E- N. Two. Five to get 25% off at checkout. You can shop on snapsupplements.com or you can shop on my website, lifelikelunden. com/supplements and you’ll see there there’s already an additional 10% taken off. But you, because you’re a podcast listener, you’re going to get 25% off when you use the code LUNDEN25 at checkout L- U- N- D- E- N 25 at checkout to get your Snap Supplements, Super Greens and Collagen and all your Snap supplements for 25% off. Now let’s get back to the show.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

That’s there’s a such good questions. I love that. I think the main difference between the in love and in need is when you’re thinking about yourself and when you’re thinking about the other person. And I think when a lot of our focus is on ourselves and how we’re feeling and what the other person is doing and how that’s making us feel, you know how we’ll be feeling today and I think a lot of times when we come at it from an in need point of view, we can have really big ups and downs because we’re constantly on edge with whatever the other person’s doing and how they’re feeling and what they’re the impact they’re having on us. So I think when we’re internal and we’re really the focus is on us and our needs. We’re coming from a place of being in need rather than in love, I think. And I think when it’s in love, it’s about the other person and it’s about who they are and what are their habits and what are their needs and how can I meet their needs and what can we do together. So I think it’s that shift from going from self to the other person and I think that’s really, really important and I think all of us have been at a point where you know if we’re not currently in a situation like that. We’ve been in a situation where we actually go ahead and run a minute do I love this person or am I just loving how they make me feel when I’m around them? So I think it’s really important to ask yourself that question, because it’s really about loving that person and who they are, and I think, yeah, it’s surprising how many times it’s really about a case of being in need. I don’t think that we need to leave the relationship necessarily, because I don’t think that we’re ever fully healed from whatever we’ve been through. I think it’s always a journey and I think both people can come from a place where they recognize that they’re on a healing journey. So I think if we’re actually able to reflect on that and we know we’re aware of what we’ve been through even if it’s not everything, we’re just generally aware of things that have happened and we’re aware and willing to believe and willing to go on that journey and acknowledge that with each other and come to that agreement of you know I get you, you know we’re both on our own journeys, but let’s do it together. So I think that’s when we can work on ourselves and be with each other, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I think that’s really beautiful. So, yeah, that’s what I think.

Lunden Souza: 

And I, as you were saying this, sometimes I like get visuals. I’m kind of a visual person and I think of, sometimes, when I talk about relationships, I’m like, okay, sometimes you’re in the driver’s seat and sometimes you’re in the passenger seat. Sometimes you’re in separate cars going on the same freeway in the same direction, but kind of at your own pace. And when I think of in need relationships, I think of that’s like when you’re always in the passenger seat, expecting your partner to always be in the driver’s seat, driving you exactly where you need to go, versus being in love, being like, hey, where do we want to go? Okay, what does that look like? Okay, maybe you have to drive for a little bit. Okay, now I have to drive for a little bit. Maybe we need to pull over, maybe we need to like change the tire and we need to like assess and check the map and even decide, hey, do we still want to go there? Maybe on this journey we decide, oh, maybe we want to go this direction, and kind of what I was thinking about in the visual is just like not expecting that everyone’s going to be like you know, guiding you to exactly where you think you want to go and bringing you there and rolling out the red carpet, but being more collaborative in that. Where do we want to go? What does that journey look like? Who’s driving when? When do we need each other’s help and support and kind of acknowledge the different roles that we can switch at different times? That’s just what I was thinking about in my kind of internal representation there.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, I love that so much. I’m going to use that analogy. That was fantastic. Yeah, no, I love that. I think it’s like you said. You know, it’s that collaborative give and take and working out and seeing where the other person is and what we can do and what we need and what they need, and it’s like a dance, I think, and it’s not easy. It’s not easy and I think that’s where that self-awareness plays such a big part, where we go well, these are my needs, and I’ve talked about this before in a couple of places where I say you know, there’s a difference between anxiety and needs in a relationship, and if we can really identify what our needs are and we can communicate them with our partner and we both see what the other person needs, what our needs are, and we know that we can meet each other’s needs, and if we can’t at the moment meet all of the needs, we’re willing to try to get to that place. And I think that openness and communication there is so important, because then the dance just becomes so much more fun.

Lunden Souza: 

Mm-hmm, definitely. So what are some steps that we can take? If someone listening is thinking, okay, I get why self-love and self-acceptance and that self-compassion component is so important, you know, to improve my life and relationships. But what are some practical steps that we can take to cultivate more of that in our daily lives, Like where should we start and what do we do or not do?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, well, I think that when we’re born as babies, I think we’re born without self-love, I think we’re born with a sense of confidence. So I think we really are, as babies, just born with that and I say this all the time. But you know, when you’re a baby, you know that if you cry, someone’s going to come, most likely there will be someone who will come and your needs will be met, and you just have that. You just know inherently that that’s what typically happens and when we start to walk, we’re going to fall and it’s okay. You know, don’t really hear babies say you know, walking’s not for me, just don’t want to walk. You don’t hear that, because I think you inherently were born with that quality of that self-love and the confidence and resilience in what we need to do. But I think it’s those experiences that we have along the way and what we learn, that we start to learn not to love ourselves, and so I think that what’s important is that we’re learning to love ourselves again. So it’s just finding that what we lost along the way and what I love to do and I think this really helped me personally when I started my journey was I just listed out a couple of things that I liked about myself, and I won’t even say love, because for some people they’re like why don’t love anything? So you know, if love is too strong a word, let’s start with like. And it could be anything like I like how kind I am to other people, or you know something like that, and that’s fine as well. And I think that when we start to say that to ourselves, first of all we listed out and I just say you know, say it to yourself. If you can look in the mirror and say it to yourself, try. That can be quite confronting when we’re starting with it and it feels really weird and a lot of people feel like it’s a lie. And I say you know, just keep saying it until it becomes true, because when we told ourselves we’re not good enough for the first time, that was a lie, but we said it so many times that it became our truth. So I think that we need to just tell ourselves a better lie, and that’s what Miresa Peer talks about as well. You know we’re lying to ourselves all the time, so let’s tell ourselves better lies. So if we even feel like it’s a lie, and it’s really weird to say nice things about yourself to yourself. I think we just need to start doing it, and the more we do it, the less weird it feels, because I think our mind likes what’s familiar and it avoids what’s unfamiliar to it, and so that negative self-talk becomes what’s familiar and comfortable, and so when we start to say good things to ourselves, our mind goes oh gosh, like this is unfamiliar, I don’t like it and we want to avoid that. But we just need to train our mind in that direction and make that what’s familiar to the mind and make the negative stuff unfamiliar. So it’s a journey, I think, and I think we have to stick with it, even though it’s really weird. I think a lot of people I work with find it really weird and then I’ve got to push them to keep going. So I think we’ve got to really work on that. So I think that’s really important and I think one of the other things I think is to really challenge that negative self-talk, because sometimes we just say things to ourselves which has no basis at all. So to say things like I’m good at nothing or I can’t get anything right, and it’s like well, question that a little bit. You know what’s the evidence for that Didn’t you do this and you managed to do that. So I think just looking for evidence and challenging that negative self-talk can be really helpful. I think your environment is so important and I say this all the time to really audit your relationships and surround yourself with that positivity. So if you can limit your exposure to negativity people who do a lot of comparison just try to avoid that in your environment. And I think the other one that comes to mind is probably forgiving yourself and just going easier on yourself, as you would to your friend or to someone else. I think we’re so much harder on ourselves than we are to people we love. So I think just letting go of things we’ve done in the past that were embarrassing or bad, you know, just letting it go and to understand that when we grow, we learn from experiences and it’s not about sitting and dwelling on them. So you know, sometimes I say that trauma ends when the action ends. We just keep it alive in our minds, and so I think let go are some of the most powerful words out there. So I think it’s really sometimes you just have to let go and forgive ourselves for things that we’ve probably been holding on for a bit too long. If I did that or how could I have done this? And I’m a bad person, for example. I think it’s important to recognize that growth and also, I think, is the setting expectations for ourselves. I think sometimes we set really unrealistic goals for ourselves and then we don’t achieve them, and then that sort of makes us feel inadequate. So I think setting realistic goals is really important. So don’t don’t set goals that are just unachievable.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, yeah, I love that. Oh my gosh, so much came up as you were sharing those tips which I think are so yeah, so powerful. So the one thing that you said was which I’m very much on board with is sometimes we can’t say certain things we love about ourselves in the mirror, but maybe we can say I like. So I think that there is some element of like, maybe not taking like a giant leap forward in what you might say next, but like a substantial step. So it might not be I love and I think I’m amazing, but it can just be I like, or I’m cool with, or I’m learning to like about myself this. So that way there’s some congruence happening. Right, just a little bit. I remember I started my career in the fitness industry, worked in fitness for a long time and at some point I just became really aware of like. Despite working out all the time, like being in shape, whatever, I was not saying kind things to myself. I didn’t like the way that I looked. I was always picking myself apart, like all these things. And when I had that moment and was working through some hormonal disarray, that happened, I think, because of that intense self, kind of destructive putting myself down type of behavior. I remember getting like sticky notes and putting them on my mirror and writing things I liked about my body and I remember writing like I like that my thighs touch. I’m closer to be a mermaid. And it just made me laugh because I remember like thinking like, oh my gosh, your thighs aren’t supposed to touch and if your thighs touch then you’re like not in shape or whatever. Or in when I was younger I would sometimes get teased for my nose my dad’s Portuguese, and we have like the Portuguese nose and I remember writing there like I love my Portuguese nose it looks like my dad and my aunt’s, you know and just reminding myself kind of where it came from. And so I like that because, you know, sometimes it’s not just like I love my body and I think it’s amazing and I look great. It’s kind of like acknowledging some of those little things we would normally pick apart or whatever and just framing them in a little bit of a better light there. I really loved that and I often will say it’s not toxic positivity, it’s language of possibility, and so choosing words that are a little bit of a stretch, but not so far, on a whole different you know planet that we’re like we don’t even know how to kind of get there. And yeah, that’s been something that’s been coming to me a lot, because there are things you know so like you mentioned, so many you know negative, self self limiting beliefs that we just like you said the first point, we said it. It was a lie then, but we just said it so many times that we believed it. And so getting ourselves to be on board with something else and kind of do the, the unlearning or the reversal and restrengthening in those directions, is really cool. How does our internal dialogue shape our mindset and our outcomes? So like when we’re saying maybe some of these things and we don’t really believe them yet, but we’re starting to and we’re kind of getting on board, like what is that shaping process look like? And I know for everybody the there’s no like magical duration of how many times you say it and then, after 10 times, then you believe it, right. So how does that internal dialogue, what we say about ourselves, actually really shape our, even like our identity, right, in terms of what we talked about at the beginning, of who we believe we are in our identity? How can we use those different words, different thoughts to kind of reprogram our identity and who we believe we are.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, no, that’s such a good question. And then, before I answer that one, I completely relate with the nose. My background is somewhat Middle Eastern and I have that Middle Eastern nose and you know, I love how you said. You know, just reframing how we look at certain parts of us can really make a big difference. Just looking at it differently, just reframing a language around that. Yeah, I love that. Yeah, with with our internal dialogue, I think, like you said, you know, it does really link so closely with identity and who we think we are. And I think, unfortunately, with our internal dialogue, most of us, or at least a lot of us, seem to have the the critic instead of the cheerleader, and I think it’s so important to try and transform that critic slowly but surely into being a cheerleader, because the more we say something about ourselves, the more we’re having that internal dialogue or I can’t really do that, I’m not good enough for that, or I’m too old, or I’m too this and you know, just just things that we say in our minds. And I think the more we say that, it becomes our identity. And once something becomes our identity, our behaviors and actions will inherently align with the identity that we’ve created for ourselves, and so then those actions will create our world and our reality. And so I think it’s really important to make sure, as much as possible and as we’re on that journey of self love and self awareness, to actually Create consciously create the identity that we want to have, instead of letting that identity be created for us. So I think it really shapes our reality when we think about, okay, well, who am I? No, am I not enough? And if we think that we’re out of place now, where our identity is somewhat on the negative side, I think one of the things, one of the things I love doing with people I work with as well, is okay, well, who would you love to be if there was no limits? You know who would you be? And we actually write that down, and then I, and then we give it a name. So it’s like, you know, let’s, let’s call, let’s give it an alter ego. Like I always say, beyonce created Sasha fierce because she was so shy to be on stage, and then she created this identity Until she didn’t need it anymore because that’s just who she became. So I think it’s so important to create that identity for ourselves really consciously. Sometimes I’ve realized that people. I’ve spoken to some of the people I’ve worked with you know, when we talk about them, they’ll say I’m just a mom, and that’s their identity. I’m just a mom. And you can see the internal dialogue there that’s led them to that point. And I always say to them like what do you mean? You’re just a mom. Like a mom is so many things. You’re a friend, you’re a therapist, you’re an artist, you’re a chef, you’re. There’s so much going on there. So it’s really like expanding that identity and I think the more we have that internal dialogue in the more positive sense, as Baby steps as we need to take, I think having a vision for who would I love to be, as weird as that feels you know, I give it another name but I think that’s once we create that. I think it’s about changing Internal dialogue to stop matching that, because I think once we have that end goal of what we want, it becomes so much easier to get there.

Lunden Souza: 

Have you heard of EVOLVE Telemed before? It’s the super cool opportunity to be able to Meet with your doctors without going to the doctor’s office, right from the comfort of your own home. I recently got my full blood panel done CBC with differentials, thyroid panel, hormone panel, all the things and I was able to meet up with one of their doctors directly on a video call, go over all of my results, have just a really comfortable, great conversation, really understand the process of Doing my labs and what it means and giving me more feedback than just like, hey, your labs are normal, you know all good, just going through everything step by step by step and really giving me clear insights as to what I see in my lab. So it was cool, like all I did was get the paper off of the online portal. You’ll have your own patient portal and you get the order and then I went to the lab where you get your blood drawn. I did that. It took like 20 minutes. 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Super simply. Just go to  evolvetelemed.com and that’s E- V- O- L- V- E- T -E- L- E- M- E- D dot com EVOLVE Telemed and then, when you decide what labs you want to get done, what information you’re interested in whether it’s balanced hormones or balanced health You’ll be able to get that personalized, expert concierge level service, and you can get it for twenty-five dollars off. So don’t forget to use the code LUNDEN25. L-U-N-D-E-N. Two. Five and yeah, just doing your checkups, staying up to date with your health and well-being ahead of time, and Do it with EVOLVE Telemed. Now let’s get back to the show. Yeah, yeah, and creating who you want to be and then deciding okay, well, how would they talk to themselves? How would they talk to others? How does that person engage in relationships with their kids? You know, what does that person do in the morning? What does that person do in the evening? What is that person like being able to create that? And actually, this morning, when I was on my walk, I Was making this video, because I was sometimes, when I’m walking, I’m like thinking about topics that I want to create and share on social media, but I I Was Sharing about, okay, when we decide who we want to be, right, no limits, we just are like this is the person I want to be. Maybe it’s derived from, you know, mentors in our lives or just a variety of different things coming together to decide Okay, this is, you know, who I want to be. Our old program is gonna try to come in. It’s gonna be like nope, we’ve always been this way. So here’s this thought, and we’re gonna throw back in a lot of these old familiar thoughts and and for me, the real win is and when I coach my clients on this too, we celebrate it. I’m like, even if you have to Like correct and check yourself like 20 times a day as you’re on this journey to becoming that person that you want to be, where you’re like, nope, actually I don’t want to be that person anymore and I want to. You know, in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory what’s his name, willy Wonka? He says often in that movie I watch it a ton as a kid he’s always like strike that, reverse it. And so I like say that to myself in my head strike that, reverse it and just put something else you know there instead or decide, hey, that’s not who I want to be anymore, this is who I want to be. And those are like because I was in fitness. So I say these are like the bicep curls for your brain. This is your opportunity to you know, to show that old programming who’s boss like no, I’m not gonna be that way. This is the person I want to be and I’m not gonna, you know, make that decision. This is the person I want to be and I think the most I don’t know the example of my in my own life that I Can think of. That makes me laugh and maybe you can relate, or others too. But there was a lot of anger in my past and after looking kind of where it might have come from and just noticing some, like lashing out angry behaviors, like when I’m driving, for example, and if somebody and this doesn’t happen as often, but it makes me laugh when it happens like if someone cuts me off or whatever, I’ll like yell and like flip them off and then I’m like wait, nope, I love you, I hope you have a great day, you’re amazing. And I just like it’s like that one angry, frustrated domino knocks down the other domino of being like nope, that’s not the person I want to be. I’m not gonna, you know, yell and whatever, but it’s just like sometimes, yeah, we’re driving, we’re just on autopilot, we’re not thinking about being the person we want to be. You know, maybe we are a little bit, but just kind of dinted on. Then all of a sudden something happens that maybe triggers an old response and you know it’s up to me to be like nope, strike that, reverse it. Let me, you know, wish some love or send a little blessing or send a little like kindness to that person. Of course they didn’t hear me, right. I mean they could have. I guess some people get angry enough and roll down their window and yell at the person, but, like in the situation I’m describing, like nobody heard me but myself, right? So I could have easily been like you know, forget you you’re, you know you suck you driver or whatever I want to say and yell at them and I could have just sat there and not corrected it Because nobody’s watching, right, it doesn’t matter in some cases. Sometimes People can get into that habit of like, you know, if nobody sees, it doesn’t happen. But what I found is like that the biggest leaps come when you make those actions despite nobody watching, like nobody’s there, nobody can you know, is monitoring you to see if you’re in alignment with who you want to say you want you want to be or not. It’s like those are the moments when it’s just you and you deciding, hey, who do I want to be, how do I want to show up, and you know what is that next best action. And so I correct myself a lot. You know, there’s moments even, yeah, when I’m around other people and I just notice like maybe I’m frustrated or like judgment comes up and I’m like nope, you know, go ahead, show love. How can you, you know, lean into who that person is even more and not try to change them, not try to judge them? So I find myself kind of playing that coach and student role with myself regularly and at first it was a Little bit more, I would say, aggressive than I think would be necessary. Now I have a little bit more compassion, like you mentioned, forgiveness for parts of us that maybe just weren’t serving us and just like weren’t kind or whatever. And that’s been a really beautiful journey. So how, what does it look like when you catch yourself? Or how do you encourage your clients to like Keep showing up as if, even if you know the old programming comes knocking and is like you sure you don’t want to be this person anymore? Are you sure you don’t want to be in need or angry or resentful or judgmental anymore? Like we’re just double checking, we’re gonna give you like a little, a little taste to see if you eat the whole thing right. And I think that awareness of like old pattern and new pattern. How do we like, do that even better. How do you transition into new pattern even better?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, I love that you shared that. I think it’s so important to actually talk about these things because it’s normal to have emotions and thoughts come up and I think I don’t think I’ve had a lot of anger, but I think doubt is a big one and I think that sometimes comes creeping back and just knocking on the door. You know I’m still here, so I think that’s something that I’ve had to learn a lot about and work with. But I love that you brought that up, because I think there’s so much out there about, you know, positive, positive, positive all the time, and you know that toxic positivity, like you mentioned, and I think it is unrealistic to say that. You know we can only have positive thoughts and I think that, because there is so much of that out there, you know it’s positive thinking only. You know, only think positive thoughts that I think a lot of people feel like when they get a negative thought, they think they’re going backwards or they’re not making as much progress as they should be, whereas I think it’s so important to recognize that sometimes we can’t control the thoughts that come up. We have thousands and thousands of thoughts that come go through our mind every day, so we can’t really control that and just filter through the positive ones. But what we can control is what we do with those thoughts and how much time we want to give a particular thought. So you know, even if we have a negative thought come through, like you said, you know it’s like oh no, it’s here, I’m going to put that away. Now I’m going to get another thought in and let’s, let’s flip that around. So it does happen and so it’s really, I think, recognizing that we do have negative thoughts sometimes. We can’t help that. What we can control is what we do with it and how much time we want to give it. So I think that’s that’s so important to recognize. And one of the things that I do for myself and that I do with my clients as well is just using that pot ladder where I just get them to get a piece of paper. And I think once I’ve done it a couple of times, you can just do it in your mind, but I would say, you know, get a piece of paper and draw a line right through the middle and on the left side. I say, you know, write the words thoughts and then a little bit down right towards feelings, and then write actions and then write results, and do the same on the right side. And so on the left side we start writing the negative thoughts that come up, you know. And so I’ll just say, for example, you know there’s no way I can do this, so write that down and really sink into that thought and then think about what are the feelings that come through when you get that thought. You know you could have things like helplessness, or you know anxiousness, or you know feeling worthless, for example. And it’s like, okay, let’s sink into those feelings. When we’re feeling anxious and worthless, and you know, hopeless, what actions are we going to take? And they say, you know, probably do nothing, because what’s the point? So, okay, well, if you’re going to do nothing, what result do you think you’re going to get? And it’s like, well, probably be stuck in the same place. Okay, if you’re stuck in the same place, what part are you going to have? And typically we go right back to the first part, which is I can’t do this. And then I tried to consciously flip that thought on the right side and go okay, if there’s no way I can do this. What’s the opposite of that? And if we say I can smash this, not a problem. And so we write that down and then go through the whole thing, where we go, okay, but what’s the feeling when you say I can totally do this? You know you’re excited, you’re, you know, just motivated, for example. But when you’re feeling excited and motivated, what actions do you take? And you actually start taking the steps and if you take steps, the results you get are completely different, which then reinforce the positive side of thinking. So I think I do that exercise of my clients, of people I work with many, many times over, until they’re able to do it in their minds, and then they catch that thought, like you said, and then just flip that because they realize how much of an impact thoughts have on our feelings and what that does with the results we get. So we kind of get stuck in that cycle. So, like you said, so important to catch those parts, be okay with it, recognize it and then say goodbye and flip that around.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and you said thoughts, feelings, actions, results. Right, that’s what the order was thoughts, feelings, actions, results. Yeah, and I think anyone listening, because even as I was listening to you, it’s like we can feel that difference in feeling when we actually take the time to dissect it a little bit. I think oftentimes we end up on that left side of the paper that you mentioned, in a loop. We don’t even know there’s the option for the right side of the paper. We’re just like in this loop, going, going, going, and until we take the time to break down some of those steps and start to recognize like, oh, this domino next knocks down this domino, which knocks down the next one, and that’s why I get this results and outcome. And how can I notice a shift in my nervous system response, how I feel what results I’m getting when I choose and decide to be, you know, on more on that right side, or just choose, like you said, okay, if you’re being this when you’re not being that, what are you being? So when you’re not, when you’re not thinking this negative or, you know, self deprecating thought, then what are you thinking instead? What’s the opposite, what’s the counterpart to that? And going through and realizing like, oh, not that I mean maybe not from doing that exercise once, but over time you really get to see like I’m kind of in charge of my state. There’s going to be moments where I’m not super conscious all day and things will slip in, but the more that we get conscious of that right side and those states we do want to be in. It’s sometimes hard, I find to, and you know, every now and again it’s different, but it’s hard to let that left side of the paper, those negative thoughts, it’s hard to let them create by unnoticed. Now, like now it’s really like they come, but it’s like they come very, very like I’m here versus like I’m over here, like they’re very noticeable for me when some of those negative you know, self doubt, you know just some of those thoughts start to come in. So when we do this work more often and we get our nervous system acquainted with the left side of the paper and also the right side of that paper, I feel like we recognize and notice it even more. And I think that’s where the like, the intuition, or that gut, knowing or being able to, you know, tap into that a little bit more is helpful because you actually know and can recognize some of those feelings and responses.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, absolutely, and it’s. It’s so interesting that you mentioned that because sometimes we don’t, like you said, we don’t even realize how much time we spend on the left side and it just becomes. It’s just so normal for us that we don’t even recognize it and, in fact, someone I’ve worked with recently, we didn’t even get to the right side because they just found it so profound to realize that, wow, they’re all negative. I spend so much time here and they just want to sit with that for a moment, because they never even realized how much time like that almost every thought they were having was negative. So, yeah, just recognizing that in itself is such a big first step.

Lunden Souza: 

And I think that awareness about some of those loops, a lot of the practices of self love and self compassion, really circles back to what you mentioned and I want to touch on now is like, those needs right, we think we need someone to complete us and we need someone to do all the things for us, so then we can feel a type of way, but when we start to do this work, we start to uncover more of our actual needs, like the things that our mind, body and soul actually need, and we get better at communicating that to, whether that’s in the form of setting boundaries or communicating with our partner what our needs might be. So how can, or like maybe you want to elaborate a little bit on about how, like this work can help us actually really uncover what we really do need and how can we start to communicate that with the people that we love? What does that look like? And how can we bravely set boundaries when people are repeatedly knowing who we are and how we want to show up and what our needs are, but like blatantly disregarding it?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, that’s so important to talk about, I think, because if people are, they know what our needs are and we are communicating them clearly and they are blatantly disregarding them, then that’s something we need to check when we audit the types of people we want to have around us, because if we are being very, very clear about what our needs are, they are reasonable. We are communicating them clearly. So if someone is actually just not putting in the work and just disregarding that, then is it really the place where we want to be and is that something that’s aligned with us? So I think it’s really important again to be aware of that, because sometimes we can’t really understand why we’re feeling so agitated until we sit down and go, okay, well, this is what’s actually going on here, and I think that you know how you said. The communication is so important, and the more we are self-aware about what our needs are, it just becomes so much easier to communicate as well, and I think one of the examples was for me, was with me and my partner when, early on, I just had learned behavior from watching my parents and you know my mom she’s going to hate me for saying this, but she, you know, would she would resort to the silent treatment because of her past and what she had learned. And I learned that from my mom and it was funny because I’m actually not like that. I need communication. If there’s an argument or disagreement, I want to talk about it and I want to sort it out. So I was just doing the learned behavior. You know, that I picked up from my mom and so with my partner, I remember this one time he did something really small when someone came over and I ignored him and I started to just give him this silent treatment. This was years and years ago and he kept trying to talk to me and I just kept ignoring him and I realized as I was doing that that I was feeling really bad myself because this was just feeling wrong. And when that person left, my partner said to me you know, if you keep doing that, there’s going to be a point where I’m not going to try anymore because it hurts so much that I need just. You know, I’m going to stop to protect myself. And it was because he said that to me that I went whoa, hang on, I don’t want you to stop trying, I want you to talk to me. So why am I giving you this silent treatment? It’s the opposite of what I should be doing. So I think that was a big moment for me when I said, no, that’s actually not what I want. And so when we know what our needs are, I think we can be more vulnerable in communicating exactly what we need, because, luckily for me, he did that in that moment, instead of just backing off and not saying anything, which could have just gone in a completely different direction. So I think it’s so important to just say look, actually this is what I need from you, and so if we know what our needs are, we can communicate that, and then we give the other person a chance, a real chance, to meet those needs, instead of, you know, just expecting them to read our minds and just just meet us where we need them to be.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, no, mind reading. I think that’s, yeah, the worst thing to do in relationships, no matter how long you’ve been together. It’s just, like you know, keep communicating, keep sharing. It seems like you both had this need for connection. It’s just that you were just, you know, doing the be learned behavior that you always, you know, saw and just ended up doing it. And in the end you both wanted that connection, you both wanted to meet each other, but you were just not acting in accordance to that or at least in this scenario, maybe you weren’t. And to have the, you know, a partner with the wherewithal that can be like, hey, you know, I see this, what you’re doing, this behavior and here’s how it’s affecting me is so beautiful and so important. And I love that we touched on the communication because I think, you know, with friendships, relationships, even ourselves, like we just think we’re supposed to just know and mind read, and like you know, you should just get it or high, and you know he should just know, or she should. Just, you know, it’s like no, actually, because in this process of continuous growth within ourselves, our needs might change. What might be important to us in one season might change in another season. You know, the way that we or our partner or our friends meet a particular need might change throughout different seasons, and so I’m always an advocate of, for myself, for people I love, my clients like go out and have those tough conversations, the ones that feel so, you know, naked and vulnerable and uncomfortable, because you know those are the ones that are going to deepen the connection and that you’re really going to be able to dance for a long time with versus, if you just, you know, play this role and expect this person to do all the things to meet it, it’s, it’s not a dance, it becomes more of like a tug of a tug of war, and I just I love communication so much. I think words are so important.

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

They really are. They really are and the more we do it and be vulnerable, like you said, it’s actually so much courage and being vulnerable. And so once you do that, you realize, oh, you know, this really worked in my favor and if you were vulnerable and you know it didn’t work out well, were you really meant to be there in the first place? So it’s always going to work out for you in one way or the other. And the more we do it, the more we realize that we can be ourselves and it’s always going to take us in the right direction.

Lunden Souza: 

Hmm, Dr Tanya, thank you so much for being here. Thank you for staying up way past your bedtime for us and bringing all your wisdom and love and beauty and just everything I feel. So I feel overflowed after this conversation, so thank you. I think it’s one thing what I love about this podcast is not just that I get to talk, but that I get to have good conversations with people like you. So thank you for everything you do in the world and how you show up and how you’ve grown. Let us know, the listeners know, how they can connect with you social media website, maybe any chances to work with you one-on-one. How can we connect with you more?

Dr. Tanya Stephenson: 

Yeah, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me, because, yeah, I didn’t even realize it’s three in the morning here, but I’ve had such a lovely conversation with you. So thank you so much for having me. It was just so lovely to connect. And if anyone wants to reach me, it’s just at Dr Tanya Stephenson on Facebook and Instagram and pretty much everywhere, and or they can get on my website on www. drtanyastephenson. com and send me a message there so you can reach out to me wherever and then, yeah, take it from there. I’ve got lots of exciting things coming up that I’m very excited to share in the next couple of weeks and, yeah, yeah, love to hear from you.

Lunden Souza: 

Thank you so much. You guys go follow Dr Tanya, get connected with her. If there’s any aha moments or things you want to continue the conversation about that we talked about on the podcast, send us either one of us a DM, let us know what stood out to you, let us know what really hit your heart or what really just kind of opened up your mind a little bit. I always love to hear feedback from listeners. So thank you guys for listening. Thank you, Dr. Tanya, for being here, and we’ll see you at the next episode. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of self love and sweat the podcast. Hey, do me a favor Wherever you’re listening to this podcast, give us a review. This really helps a lot and share this with a friend. I’m only one person and with your help, we can really spread the message of self love and sweat and change more lives all around the world. I’m Lunden Souza, reminding you that you deserve a life full of passion, presence and purpose, fueled by self love and sweat. This podcast is a hit spot. Austria production.