Techniques for Self-Compassion and Self-Discovery with Jennifer Smullin

In this episode of Self Love and Sweat: THE PODCAST, visionary artist Jennifer Smullin shared her inspiring journey of overcoming physical disabilities, trauma, and healing from depression and anxiety. She developed Portrait Healing, a transformative course designed to help individuals cultivate authenticity, self-compassion, and self-discovery. Jennifer’s unique approach combines art, self-reflection, and emotional exploration to guide individuals toward finding their true selves.

Timestamps to help you navigate this episode
0:00 Intro
0:21 FREE Self Love & Sweat MONTHLY Calendar
7:06 Authenticity and Identity in Self-discovery
16:29 Unveiling Authentic Self-Perception Through True Mirror
21:35 Discovering What Portrait Healing Is
33:44 Exploring Self-Reflection and Growth
37:32 Sponsor: Snap Supplements 25% OFF using code LUNDEN25

Self-Discovery and Embracing Your True Self 

Jennifer emphasized the importance of authenticity in the healing process. By embracing our true identities and shedding societal pressures to conform, we open ourselves up to profound self-discovery. Through her own experiences, she learned to listen to her intuition and express herself authentically, fostering self-love and personal fulfilment. Jennifer’s Portrait Healing course encourages individuals to dive deep into “the true mirror” metaphor and video journaling to confront and accept their physical and emotional reflections.

Portrait Healing and Its Effects on Mental Health

Portrait Healing is a unique methodology developed by Jennifer Smullin, incorporating the use of a true mirror and video journaling to peel back layers of insecurity and promote self-acceptance. This process challenges individuals to confront their reflections, both physically and emotionally, fostering a deeper understanding of their emotional landscape. By recording themselves and revisiting the footage, participants engage in an ongoing dialogue with themselves, facilitating self-discovery and emotional growth.

Techniques for Self-Compassion and Resilience

Jennifer’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and self-compassion. Growing up in California’s Central Valley, she witnessed the strength and resilience of her community, which inspired her own journey of healing and self-discovery. Through Portrait Healing, Jennifer empowers individuals to tap into their emotions, rewire their nervous system responses, and cultivate self-compassion. This transformative process is akin to forming a new relationship with oneself, requiring patience, time, and a willingness to embrace vulnerability.

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 y et? T 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 checkbox 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. Happy today and welcome back to the podcast. Today’s guest is from my hometown, but I actually didn’t know her until about a month-ish ago. Her cousin is a friend of mine and we met and connected through Instagram, which is so cool I love social media for so many reasons because of that and we chatted and just yeah, had a really cool connection and just love talking about growth and life and being part of each other’s expansion, and so I’m excited to have Jennifer Smullin here on the show today. She is a visionary artist who infuses passion into everything she does. Her tenacity for life has driven her to overcome physical disabilities, trauma and mental health struggles, empowering her to help others on their own journeys. Through her personal experiences and challenges, J ennifer has learned the crucial importance of listening to that inner voice. Had she not listened to her own intuition, she may not have ever regained the use of her arm or discovered the powerful tools that helped her cultivate a tangible and meaningful connection with herself. This deep understanding and self-awareness led Jennifer to create Portrait Healing, a groundbreaking course designed to assist others in developing a self-loving relationship. J Portrait Healing emerged from Jennifer’s personal journey, offering practical methods to help individuals foster self-compassion, self-awareness and genuine self-connection. Her program is rooted in her lived experiences and insights, making the healing journey both empowering and transformative. Jennifer’s dedication to her own journey and her passion for helping others shine through in every aspect of her work, making her a beacon of hope and inspiration for those seeking to develop a meaningful life. And I’ll also add she has amazing hair. So if you’re watching this video, I love it, J ennifer. Welcome California, friend. I’m so happy. How’s life on the East coast?

Full transcript episode 181

Jennifer Smullin: 

It is good. Um, it’s sunny today, which we have not been having a lot of sun lately, so I’m really grateful for that. Otherwise, life is really good. It’s warming up. Summer is almost here. I’m already diving into my summer activities, so I’m really. Yeah, summer is my favorite season, so I’m really excited.

Lunden Souza: 

Same same and where Jennifer and I grew up. Did you like the heat? Did you like the summer heat we had in Merced, or did you just grow to like it?

Jennifer Smullin: 

I mean, I dealt with it. I spent a lot of time in the water and I was always dunking my head with a hose Literally my hair was just always wet. I have a mop and it’s so thick and I didn’t learn how to like thin it out until later on in life, so I was always hot. I love the humidity though, because, like the humidity, you don’t have to overheat before you get a cool down like you would in Merced, like with that dry heat, and it’s just like there’s always a little breeze, and then when it’s like really really hot, here it’s, you’re going to get a thunderstorm at the end of the day. So, like there, a cooling effect that happens, whereas in Merced it’s three weeks long. Your shoes are melted by the end of summer.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, I remember too I tolerated it, but yeah. For sure. Yeah, I remember, too, being in the pool sprinklers, water balloons, hoses, and then I remember really hot feet. If you were in the neighborhood as a kid and you wanted to run to like two doors down to go play with them, it was like the floor is lava, literally, cause it was super, super hot. Um, but, yeah, I’m so excited to, yeah, get to know you now and then also be able to have cool conversations about, yeah, common history and background in terms of our healing journey and like. Yeah, I’ve, I feel like and we talked about this on one of our first chats but there’s some really awesome people from our hometown that have done really some really cool shit. You included that. I get really excited to, of course, talk to everybody on my podcast and get to know all the things about all the people, but especially when, um, yeah, we have people from the two9 on Self Love and Sweat the podcast, I had Mallory Bueno here, who I did cheer with at Merced High, and we did a podcast together too, which was super fun, and one of the things that her and I talked about that you and I also talked about was incorporating our authentic way of showing up, communicating, shining, connecting, et cetera, from the place that we’re from, while also, yeah, being mindful that not everybody’s from where we’re from and just incorporating that authentic hometown vibe with a valuable expression when we’re coaching and teaching and connecting with others. And I think that’s what I love so much about. Personal growth and communication is like finding that vibe and that flow and that, yeah, authentic connection that doesn’t feel masky or doesn’t feel like you’re trying to show up in a certain type of way, and it always happens right. There’s just moments where it’s like I don’t know, but you and I talked about that, and I think that’s kind of where I want to start is how has your healing journey helped you show up more authentically? And also, I know that there are areas for me and we’ve talked about this too where it’s like what is the chatter happening that says, you know, we can’t be a certain type of way and coach on a certain type of thing. You know what I mean.

Jennifer Smullin: 

No, it’s, it’s such an interesting thing and I’ve actually thought about a lot more since we’ve talked. I think that, like, for me personally, I get stuck in it because we’re living in a time where everybody wants to understand each other by labeling them or something and as like as like a straight white female who presents lesbian or is like a tomboy or like all of these things that people want to like they see me and they’re just like oh, you’re this, but really I’m actually that. Like, oh, you’re this, but really I’m actually that. And so trying to rise above, like the culture that Merced brought on on top of that has been like this kind of like it. Sometimes it feels like an identity crisis because I don’t know how to be, who I was and how I was raised.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Like I was kind of trying to explain it to people that like, if you’re from Merced, you’re a little country, you’re a little hood, you’re a little of everything.

Jennifer Smullin: 

If you’re from Merced, you’re a little country, you’re a little hood, you’re a little of everything. And to try and like mesh that and have people understand that when you present a different way completely is like really confusing, and so I think that, like me, trying to just be like okay with it and just like, continue to show up. The way that I want to show up allows people to start to understand like okay, immediately they’re not going to get me, that’s okay. But as they spend time with me, they’ll start to understand like she’s a dynamic person, she’s got a personality that’s a little country and a little hood and a little all of these things, and that becomes Jennifer, rather than like another label that they want to place me as. So that’s been like. The thing that I have to constantly like remind myself and meditate on is like just be you. People may not get you right away, but with time, if they spend enough time with you, they’ll start to understand your dynamic personality and like not try to label it and just be like oh, that’s Jennifer.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, and it kind of goes both ways and that’s why I love. Meditation is like, the more time we spend with ourselves, then it makes it even more clear for the people that spend time with us more so, our values and who we are and what we stand for, sometimes rather than what they like see and you know kind of experience there. But yeah, I, just I, I think, um, I love how you said we’re a little bit country, a little bit hood, um, to put a little bit more meat on the bones. I have distinct memories of like drinking in orchards, in, you know, in the countryside, in the backseat of a, or like in the tailgate of a pickup truck, just like drinking beers, listening to country music and also, yeah, moments of going to hip hop clubs and dancing my ass off and having a great time, and Merced was really a part of that.

Lunden Souza: 

I also yeah, I just I’m thinking of right now, and maybe you also can too like phases of your life where it’s like every time there’s that change. There’s this moment and the way that I’ve been describing it now, because I’ve stepped into a new role as a director in for this company and it’s like it kind of feels like there’s one pant leg on it. Sometimes you’re like trying on this new pair of like who you are and also bringing, like you know, hometown stuff with, but then also refining this, and so there’s even moments, too, where it’s like the way I communicate with my friends versus my clients, versus on my podcast, versus also in this director position, with coaches and other people I mean, if you know a little bit of country and hip hop, I don’t have a not clean mouth Like I cuss and I say sometimes I have her like oh shit, did I say something in the lobby, you know?

Lunden Souza: 

And I’m like, wait, is there a pair? You know, there’s like how many F words did I use today? So I have to, you know, we also have to like read the room, but it’s like I don’t want to not cuss. It’s not about cussing, it’s just like I don’t want to not access some of these parts of us. But yeah, I think it’s funny because I also, when I lived in Austria, there was this girl named Kate and she was from our hometown area too, and it was like, as soon as we realized where she was from, our tone of voice and just kind of our demeanor of how we show up around each other.

Lunden Souza: 

Our tone of voice and just kind of our demeanor of how we show up around each other, how we showed up when we’re around and together, was very like it was different. We both had our authentic versions of ourselves. But then you’re also in Austria with 40 other countries and different people, and then you meet someone who’s there from your same hometown and it was like land and certain phrases and just funny things and memories. Um, we got to express an experience even more and um and yeah, it’s like a continuous thing, right. It’s like the continuous getting to know of your new self and then like preserving parts of you that you feel like make you you yeah Pruning role as being like a teacher and facilitator.

Jennifer Smullin: 

I’m coming from like a very lonely blue collar background where I was doing upholstery work with headphones on in my ears all the time, not really communicating and talking with people. So now I’m having to like step into my voice and learn how I want that voice to sound, while also keeping true to like who I am and my like rough edges. But then also someone that I started dating recently has is like very into the music from where we’re from, hip hop wise, and he had like as soon as I learned that I was like I can feel comfortable around this person because he he’s gonna understand me on a on another level, like some of the words that we use or phrases, and it just there was like an automatic like acceptance of who I am, knowing that he had listened and like was really favoring like a very niche part of our music and culture.

Jennifer Smullin: 

No, it was Mac Dre.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, okay, cool, maybe you guys know it maybe you don’t, but if you do, shoot us a DM, because that’s what we also listen to, because what is it?

Jennifer Smullin: 

Right, yeah, so it’s just been really like at the forefront, like, okay, huh, these things are happening. I want to remain true to myself. That’s really important. I want to like remove this sort of simmering identity crisis that feels like I can’t be this person because of the world we live in and I’ll be too misunderstood or whatever, and that’s like a complex that I’ve carried for a long time, like I just feel misunderstood by, by everybody. So I’m always trying to find ways to make me understood, but really, in the ways that I’m trying to make myself understood, I’m actually helping people misunderstand me more because I’m not because I’m trying to fit into the way that they might think or their perspectives of things. And so, yeah, just really just showing up as myself and being like look, you’re not going to get me right away, and if you spend enough time you might start to get it a little bit more, but just being okay with that and and uh, yeah, finding my balance of cuss words.

Lunden Souza: 

Leaning into that in those moments for sure. Um, let’s talk about ways of yeah, instead of directing that attention outwards, of what others might think are fitting into that outward mold, and more of that inward introspection. And Jennifer sent me this true mirror and I literally just opened it up and unpacked it yesterday with a friend of mine, haley, and we set it up and I really I knew it was a true mirror. Okay, I knew that it was going to give me a reflection of myself. That wasn’t a mirror image, that was more the version of what people see of me. But I didn’t know like what it would look like. So I kind of just thought it was going to be a flat mirror that I hung up and somehow it, just like you know, flips and you look at it differently. But it’s actually like this box with mirrors reflecting, of course, because you need that to flip the image. But I just didn’t think of that when I thought of it first. And you put your face into it and you look at yourself as others see you.

Lunden Souza: 

And so me and my friend Haley yesterday we went on this awesome hike to this waterfall and then came back down, and then I grabbed the box and opened it and I was like, oh Haley, this is a true mirror. She’s like, oh my gosh, I’ve always wanted to look into one. I’ve been been hearing about them. And I was like, oh cool, cause I you know, it got delivered but I hadn’t opened it yet. So we opened it up and just like, set it up and looked at it and went through the little booklet that comes with it with some prompt questions, just to like, yeah, start using it. And so I know, because on when we first talked and what, from what I know about portrait healing and I want you to share more on that this true mirror, this perspective of yourself, not as we see ourself through a mirror, but as others see us, why is this important?

Lunden Souza: 

Why did you get into this version of healing for yourself, or this perspective, let’s say visually? Yeah, and I’m glad that I tried it yesterday before we talked today, because now I even looked at it in it this morning like kind of first thing. I just kind of went in and was like good morning, I just kind of looked at my eyes in a new way. Right, it was really cool. Actually, I put it in a place where it’s like almost at eye level. I kind of have to bend down just a little bit, but then I can put my head in. I’ll find a better spot for it, but for now it’s perfect. But why? And tell us more about portrait healing.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So why is because the way that our brains read body language and the way that our expressions are shown on our face are asymmetrical. So when we’re looking in a regular mirror, our brain is reading our emotions in reverse. So it’s not, they’re not being read properly. Like, for instance, a smile is asymmetrical. We smile, a side of our face is not as out as the other side of the face. That is always on the don’t quote me on this. I’m like going back and forth from the true mirror to reverse mirror and the whole thing. I get like dyslexia. But on one side of our face the smile is more prominent and the way that our brain reads that, if it’s non-reversed, is correct. But when we’re looking in a regular mirror, that mirror image is not being read correctly and our eyes are searching for for the emotion that we’re feeling to match, but it doesn’t, and so we automatically want to shut down to that. So, if you like, think back when you were like a kid. You know some people resonate with this, some people don’t, but I personally spent a lot of time in the mirror as a child. I could. I remember clearly sitting in front of a mirror and trying to relate to the person I was seeing, but because my body language and my facial expressions weren’t being read properly, the emotion got shut down, and so we have spent majority of our lives looking into this mirror, feeling our self, shut down with ourself, which then creates a whole other world of insecurities. Because you’re trying to see, like, the beauty in yourself and if you smile in a regular mirror, you’re actually seeing the opposite emotion. You’re seeing a sort of negative expression. It’s not really like mischievous or evil necessarily, but it’s just not the warmth, smiley human that you want to see. So the true mirror, being able to provide a non-reflection, a non-reflective reflection or non-mirrored reflection, allows you to look at yourself and have the emotional response that you would have with others because your brain is reading the facial expressions correctly. So to me that is like when I I had learned about body language and facial expressions prior to learning about the true mirror, and when I found the true mirror online on social media, I instantly was like Whoa, what is this? This is crazy.

Jennifer Smullin: 

His whole shtick is like seeing your you know, you saw on his social media. His whole thing is like seeing yourself now reversed and like you get this emotional feedback loop or whatever. I immediately bought it, started to implement it into my own like self care practices, and what I found was something extremely profound, like to be able to look at myself. And it’s really awkward in the beginning because you, you know you’re looking at yourself, but you kind of are having this like outer body experience where you’re just like I’m looking at myself, but it’s not the way that I’ve always seen myself and I’m also seeing a life in my eyes that I’ve never seen before. So, like when you smile, the feedback loop from your emotion in a true mirror it continues, but when you’re in a non-reverse, that feedback loop wants to stop because the emotion’s not being read correctly.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So in a true mirror you get to like really just go so deep with yourself. You could see yourself laugh, you can see yourself cry, you can give yourself affirmations, you can ask yourself questions like is this what I want? And then see the emotions on your face and get a read of that and see if that’s really true for you. Or what’s the hesitation, what’s the nuance, uncertainty, what is that? And it allows you to kind of dive in deeper about what you’re experiencing and why. But without that we don’t really have the fodder to go deeper, or it takes a lot of mental gymnastics to do it.

Lunden Souza: 

And what’s the difference between seeing it in real time in the true mirror and then takes a lot of mental gymnastics to do it. And what’s the difference between seeing it in real time in the true mirror and then seeing a picture of yourself? Because if someone were to take a picture of you, I mean, I also know that people have profound moments when they see pictures of themselves, especially when it maybe is like oh, I look happy, or I don’t, or my weight or whatever, like I know that can sometimes be that perspective. But I guess it’s the same and different, right Cause you’re a lot, you’re, yeah, you’re alive is inside the true mirror versus the picture, but I know you do both right in portrait healing.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Portrait healing. Yeah, so um, portrait healing is both I’ll.

Jennifer Smullin: 

I’ll answer your question first, and then I’ll explain what portrait healing is, but with a photo, yeah, you do have that profound experience, but it ends because you don’t get to continue relating to yourself. You’re just seeing a moment of relation In the true mirror. That gets to continue and you get to let your brain kind of unfold in like a communication style with yourself, style with yourself. So portrait healing actually it what portrait healing is now today was like a slow creation from my own life experience. That started out when I was I had just started therapy in 2016. And a few months into therapy, my therapist had said something to me that like really hit home. And he said I’ll never be able to feel the kiss of a loved one if I don’t take my mask off. And it was like whoa, like it was just like I get chills thinking about it now.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So I went home having that thought in my head and, at the same time, was very deeply depressed, dealing with suicidal ideation every day, struggling as an artist. I’m a photographer, so I was always trying to create outside of my mood. I’m generally a bright, colorful person, but at that time in my life my creative process was really beckoning me to to honor the dark parts, but I didn’t know how to sit with it. I didn’t know what that looked like. Um, and in that frustration one night, while trying to create earlier that day and just not liking what I was putting out sorry, I got this idea as I was falling asleep to document my depression, just document when I’m in those moments of really feeling my feelings. So the next day, with this like eagerness to create and also just heavily depressed, I set my camera up on a tripod and let the self time or the time lapse just like roll on its own and I just like went through my feelings. Time lapse, just like roll on its own and I just like went through my feelings. And when I pulled up the camera or the photos on my computer, I was really kind of expecting to see like a creative process, like I had set up a shot just so. So the light was right. You know, my hair was like a certain way, whatever, but I’m all. I did see that in it. What I actually saw more so was just like the raw form of my humanness and I immediately experienced this like kind of compassion for myself. And then this light bulb came on. It was like Whoa. They’re always telling us we need to have a relationship with ourselves. But how can we do that if we don’t witness our human experience? So from there it just kind of became like I was always taking pictures. I mean, at that time in my life I was heavily dealing with a lot of emotion. It was every day, all the time. So I was just constantly documenting and then I would.

Jennifer Smullin: 

At the time I was also doing a lot of journaling, and it wasn’t until about a year into that process that I got the idea to take a video of myself. I had some weird insecurity about eating in front of people to the point where I wouldn’t really share meals with anyone, and tying that thought back to what my therapist said about the mask and not feeling the taste of a loved one and me trying to find more ways to connect All the times that I had turned down dinner with friends was keeping me from making those connections. So I decided to take a video of me eating just to see what that would look like, because you know, if it looks bad then I can correct it, if it doesn’t, then my insecurity can be diminished. So I took a video and I watched me eat and I watched it and I didn’t look terrible or gross or whatever, and I kind of sat with that and I was like what? I’ve been carrying this insecurity for so long? Where did that insecurity come from? Why am I even holding onto this? What is this even about? And it took me a couple of days to figure out where that had come from, but out of nowhere. I had this flashback of when I was nine or 10 to having dinner with a family friend, with my family, and watching them eat and the way that they were eating grossed me out and I internalized how they were eating into my own insecurity and live with it for the rest of my life up until like 32. So it was just it was this such an aha moment.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So from there now I’m, I’m recording video all the time. I’m like setting up my, my, uh, my phone. I was using my phone now to take the video, uh, just to like make my bed or take a shower to I don’t know, to make dinner, to walk the dogs, to go run Like I would go to the park and run, just to see what I looked like when I was running, like I had just all of these insecurities that I wanted to see, to see if they were real or to see, like, what that was and what I needed to do to fix that or correct that. And every single time I took a video and saw that I was being insecure about nothing, then I would like dive in and be like, well, what where’d that insecurity come from? And then there would be all these questions that would come from it. Where’d that insecurity come from? And then there would be all these questions that would come from it.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So portrait healing has progressed from all of that to what it is now, which is using TrueMirror and video journaling. So video journaling I love video journaling more than I like written journaling, because when you’re doing video journaling, especially when you’re doing it in conjunction with the TrueMirror, you’re getting emotional validation from yourself, which which really allows you to go deeper and get into that, like raw on your high horse, like state. You know you’re just like letting it go and you’re ranting and you’re getting it all of it out. But when you’re writing you’re kind of inhibited by the speed of your hand. All the energy is kind of like from your elbow down. You’re not able to like get up and move your whole body and like really see all the expressions.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Um, so I I’ve implemented the two, and when you do the both of them together, I use them individually also.

Jennifer Smullin: 

It just kind of depends on, like, my mood, but when I really want to like dive into my experience, I’ll use both of them. So I set up the I have the tumor on my wall and I have a phone holder that’s connected to it, and I’ll hit record on my phone and start talking to myself in my true mirror, which is like talking to a friend. So I’m getting like this real emotional feedback loop. Like think about the difference between talking to a friend in person and talking to them on the phone, like even if it’s someone that you’ve known really well. I know you’ve mentioned your friend, your best friend, allie. Like even with her you probably on the phone, when you talk to her, you may have a harder time opening up and letting, letting all the things out, because she’s not there in front of you. You don’t know what she’s doing on the other end, like is she running around and are you being distracting to her? I don’t know. These are thoughts that I’m that I go through, yeah.

Lunden Souza: 

I definitely notice a difference between like texting or talking on the phone or especially in person not necessarily better or worse that I can think of now but there’s definitely a difference in the level of intimacy and connection we feel, even with the people closest to us, depending on yeah, if they’re alive in the flesh there or not.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Yeah, so so when you’re doing it in the true mirror, you’re getting that like alive in the flesh response from you that continues to validate you a hundred percent, without that like insecure, curious brain, because you’re seeing it in the real form, right I?

Lunden Souza: 

wonder. Well, I wonder if, because of what you’re sharing Like I remember when I first started making videos for Runtastic and creating content for social media, right you go through a phase where you’re so fucking critical and you’re just like I have to redo that. That sounds weird. I remember one time recording a video and I had roommates, awesome roommates who, yeah, just wonderful people, but one of them, gavin, I remember he came out of his room on time and was like okay, you’re done, you can’t record that video again. You said it already. Like I know the script, like he knew what I was saying. It was so funny. It was like a little Valentine’s day snippet that I had to record about like your heart rate and blah, blah, blah and running and getting your heart rate up and Valentine’s day, and he was like you’re done.

Lunden Souza: 

And I remember having to like rebuy all the groceries to refilm a cooking video, cause I just like didn’t like the way I looked or sounded or just something off the charts, right. So I wonder, like that’s? That was also like portrait healing in a sense, cause I had to get to the point where I was just like I don’t even care, I don’t even want to watch it. As long as you know the audio was good and crisp and like the video quality and the you know like there it’s not blurry, I don’t really care anymore because it’s time to move on. Post share, like, keep it moving. You know you can’t. It was just a lot like you hold yourself hostage and you’re stuck, especially when I was in a position of putting videos on every single week on YouTube right For within other companies. It’s like you have to work through that a lot, but I feel like that was kind of portrait healing, because you watch these videos and you see it and you’re like what am I worried about? Or why did I think that was so important that I said it this type of way and did it like in this order? Or like you mentioned the weird eating, like why did I think that I didn’t even see myself in that way?

Lunden Souza: 

And I wonder if that true mirror practice can really help people show up online and in a space where you are putting content out there, where you are putting things that people see, your, you know, your expressions and your movements and video and things like that.

Lunden Souza: 

Cause, when I didn’t think about that before, when you and I were talking, and I didn’t think about that, about the true mirror, when I was using it. But just now I was like, oh yeah, I remember there was a definite like wave of emotion and self-integration and learning and understanding that I had to really work through when it was time to record a bunch of videos and you’re like wait, what you know? And then it was like my skin was kind of crappy for a while and I had issues there. So then it was like what’s my skin look like and is this the right angle? It was just so much that I can see how then, after you film yourself going through a challenging day or whatever, you watch it and you’re just like there’s so much that comes from hearing your voice recorded and from seeing you. It’s kind of cool to think about it that way.

Jennifer Smullin: 

And so stepping into being a teacher and facilitator. Now I’m having to make these videos and show up. It’s been um like. It’s been interesting for me because I thought it would be easier for me to make these videos after having done all this work. But knowing that I’m making a video, to go post it on social media has been really difficult for me, because now other people are going to see it. Like with doing my own personal work, it’s no one’s going to see it unless I decide to post that. So there’s a difference.

Jennifer Smullin: 

But what has helped me make these videos is I have my true mirror behind me from where I’m making the video, so I can check my glance and just kind of like be like oh yeah, you are, you are, you’re alive, you’re like a human being and look at the thing Like I ‘ll catch myself when I’m talking about something that’s important, and just like looking and seeing like how excited or passionate my face is, helps me validate. When I go back and play back the video before I like post it on social media, I’m like, okay, no, like you saw yourself in real time, you saw that you were like really excited. You’re not going to pick it apart now You’re just going to post it. So it has helped, but it hasn’t. It’s made it easier, but it hasn’t, like, fixed the problem necessarily. So, yeah, it’s just it’s. It’s been an interesting.

Jennifer Smullin: 

It’s been interesting having, you know, having used the true mirror and video journaling through my depression and getting through all of that and then creating portrait, healing, like I spent a lot of time in the true mirror, brainstorming and taking video of myself just to like see, you know, like what, what was the thing that I got really excited about when I was talking about, like, what I wanted this course to look like?

Jennifer Smullin: 

And sometimes what’s really interesting is, when I’m in the true mirror, the thing that my brain holds on to when I play it back on the video, the thing that my brain holds onto when I play it back on the video. I discover that the thing that my brain holds onto is the safe thing, because my ego is still there, and so when I go back and play it in the video, I’m like, oh no, actually that idea is something I’m going to dive into more. Why did my brain hold onto this other idea when I was in the true mirror? And when I dive into it more, more often than not, it’s because it’s the less scary approach.

Lunden Souza: 

You mean, like when you’re having this dialogue in the true mirror and then leaving that, leaving that scenario in your mind, there are some things that you said that really stuck to you. But then, when you watch the replay later, something else that you said is even more like. I don’t want to say rabbit hole worthy, but kind of like. You’re like.

Lunden Souza: 

Oh, I want to go down that path a little bit more rather than this one. So in the moment, what you might’ve attached to as like a growth path or a way, an avenue that you wanted to go to, can change when you watch it again from that perspective, right?

Jennifer Smullin: 

Yeah, absolutely yeah. So you get to kind of like in the true mirror, even though you’re getting like emotional feedback from yourself, you still have your ego and your pride is more present, right? Because it’s always working to protect you and keep you safer from from a scarier thing like no matter whether it’s diving into a feeling or a brainstorm idea about facilitating a course, so but then you get the playback and you get to like go even deeper and then you get to replay it back and replay it back, like you ever hear a song a second or third time and you’re like, oh, I didn’t notice that beat in there before. Or a self-help book, and you go and like you read it again a second time and a different time in your life and you’re like, oh, this didn’t stick out to me the first time, but now it is. It’s the same idea from going from the true mirror to the video journal and having like a recorded version of that conversation that you just had with yourself. Um, it’s just, it’s like I, I like I get so excited talking about this topic because it is, it has been so profound in a way for me to like really be there for myself in a connective way. Like you know all the times that like I want to call someone because I’ve had a bad day, I now go to the true mirror because no one else is going to validate my experience better than me. I don’t give a fuck who it is Like. No one is going to validate my experience better than me. No one is going to know what I need in that moment. You know you can express and say that to people a thousand times, but they’re never going to meet you the way that you can meet you. And so I, um, I, I love the true mirror because it has given me that outlet to like be there for myself. And then, if I record that experience in the video journal, it allows me to really go deeper with myself and like analyze the things that I said. Oh, that sounded like kind of childish, like what inner part of your child needs to be heard right now, or so on and so forth. And it’s just, it’s really like to have these two outlets that you really get to to dive into and then compare, because you had one experience here and then another experience here, and then trying to understand why the experience here existed versus the experience here. It just there’s so much fodder for growth and like learning about yourself and all of that. So I just it’s been awesome for me.

Jennifer Smullin: 

I like I I’ve carried so many insecurities, like everybody else does, and I think that I’m just really grateful that I like have learned this stuff, because I I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now, like I wouldn’t be making a video or doing a podcast with someone like. This is all scary, I’m nervous, my armpits are sweating, but like I’m here, you know, and it’s just yeah. So it’s, it’s, it’s great. I I’m grateful that he, the artist who created the tumor, like saw something I’m grateful for, like my intuitive sense to keep striving and learning and taking the words of people to like heart and wanting to figure out how to like, yeah, feel the kiss of a loved one. What does taking that mask off look like?

Lunden Souza: 

And it’s just all led me to here, yeah, 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 2 5 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.

Lunden Souza: 

Now let’s get back to the show. All led me to here, so good, and to your point of being sweaty. Yesterday I was talking to kind of a mutual acquaintance that we both know, melanie Bonk and we were talking about something and I said I was like oh, yeah, that’s like a scenario that like makes your armpits sweat, you know, but like leaning into those moments of yeah, this is like uncomfortable, but that’s. I think that’s what courage feels like is like the sweaty armpits and then doing it anyway, or that moment of like, oh, all, right, but still stepping into it. I don’t think courage is this big armor feeling that you got this. I think it’s the stepping into it, despite that squirmy, wormy feeling anyways, and I know that’s probably a lot of what we feel and what it takes to then look into that true mirror and have that dialogue.

Lunden Souza: 

And so, when you do your portrait healing and people that you work with and training and coaching, I guess everybody gets a true mirror and you have prompts. Or I need to Side note, we need to chat about how I connect the phone tripod thing to then film me the right way in the true mirror. So yeah, just a side note. But I know that there’s like this process right, you get the true mirror, you set it up in a certain way. There’s probably certain questions that you dive into and a process like how do you, um, let’s say, coach on corporate portrait healing? But then also like, day to day, what are some of the experiences with the true mirror and with this dialogue of getting to know yourself, getting that relationship with yourself going? Like, what are, what are some practices that we’re doing on this journey?

Jennifer Smullin: 

So, um, portrait healing, the way that I’ve got it worked out is it’s really um, it’s like a toolkit. The toolkit is the true mirror, the video journaling and the guide that I created, which is like a step-by-step process that includes all of these different prompts to help you get to the bottom of different emotions. So the way that I work with people is I’m just teaching them. It’s like an instruction manual. I’m teaching them this instruction manual. There is a, it’s like a handholding process through all of it. Anytime someone gets stuck on something, there’s something for them to refer to to help them get unstuck.

Jennifer Smullin: 

A lot of people, you know a lot of people know that they want to tap into their feelings, but they’re having a hard time doing so. So the step-by-step process helps them tap into that parasympathetic system or or nervous system to shut down the protective parts of ourselves. Because this is like something that I think a lot of people need to understand. When it comes to vulnerability, emotional vulnerability, our animal instincts are saying we’re going to die because their vulnerability in our brain, our brain, doesn’t know. It’s not physical.

Lunden Souza: 

Get eaten. I said vulnerability, like get eaten in our body, like yeah, you’re open.

Jennifer Smullin: 

You’re exposed. It doesn’t understand that, like, emotional vulnerability doesn’t mean physical vulnerability. So we have to like, override that by being like okay, this is an emotional vulnerability, I know I’m not actually going to die, like I’m not, like I’m not, I’m not in danger in any way.

Lunden Souza: 

Um so, when we where was I going with this? Well, we have to like rewire that part of us of like, um yeah, of being able to no-transcript. No, no, no, no, no, this is actually a safe place to be.

Lunden Souza: 

Safe place to be, but we’ve gone into fight or flight or, like you mentioned, the parasympathetic, sympathetic nervous system that some things just turn on all the alarms when it’s like not necessary anymore. It’s like actually vulnerability can be like a place to land and connect and find truth, not to like, you know, freak out and feel like you’re going to die, but that’s sometimes what it feels like and it feels like that sometimes, sometimes a lot more than others, and then sometimes just for a little split second and then you get back to that good feeling of what vulnerability and connection can be with yourself and with others. But yeah, to answer your question of where I think you were going with that, I think that’s really where it is is, like you know, the reprogramming steps with the, with the video journaling, with the prompts, with the repetition and facing it like going nose to nose daily literally.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Yeah, so that step-by-step prior to getting to the true mirror, it’s just, it’s like a couple of steps that help people, set them up for shutting down that fight or flight so that they can actually sit in the true mirror and be open to themselves and be okay that it it’s not as deep as you maybe want it to be yet, but just taking those steps there and I try to tell people that, like, the relationship you’re building with yourself in the True Marine Video Journal is literally like any other relationship. It’s identical, it’s freaking identical. Everybody’s so afraid, oh, I don’t want to look in the mirror. Like that sounds scary. Well, part of the reason why we’re so afraid to look in the mirror is because we’ve been seeing ourselves reversed our entire lives and we know what that looks like. That emotional response feels icky and we want to avoid that.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So the way that I try to explain it is when we first sit in front of a true mirror, it is equivalent to being in a room full of people and seeing someone that catches your eye and you’re like watching them and you’re like, oh, this person is existing. In a way that makes me want to go communicate with them. I want to go approach this person, but if you don’t see them exist, you’re not going to approach them. That’s literally you can’t. There’s no one to approach if you don’t see them exist.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So we have to put ourselves in that place of seeing ourselves exist and witnessing ourself a little bit, so that we feel like we want to build a connection with that. And then think about once you do go approach that person and you start to build that connection. You’re not going to immediately be like this is who I am, this is all of my deep, dark secrets. You’re going to baby step your way there and then maybe in a few months you’re now telling your life story or whatever. So it’s the same thing here, but it feels like we want it to go faster pace because you’re like, living in this body, I should know who this person is, but I don’t, and we’re like there’s like an eagerness with some nervousness.

Lunden Souza: 

So yeah, so it’s just like eagerness with some nervousness, so yeah, so it’s just like eagerness with some nervousness, yeah, going down and wanting to go deeper and grow, but it’s like, yeah, this, like let’s do it, but then also a little like both, both and that, let’s do it, and then also like let’s protect it and heal it in the process too. A little bit of both. I feel like eager. I resonate with those two feelings that you mentioned simultaneously.

Jennifer Smullin: 

I just we’re always being pushed, yeah, in every aspect, in relationships and in our career and whatever. Those edges are always being pushed, but somehow or another yeah, when it gets turned on ourselves, we think it should just be automatic and it’s just. It’s not, it’s, it’s identical to everything else. Um, so, yeah, the guide helps people go through all of that. Once they’re done talking in the true mirror, they take that video journal and they preview it, and then they do a little like note taking on some of the things that they’ve noticed, or a feeling, or a judgment, and then in the following step, they have, um, a variety of prompts to help them.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So, if you’re feeling jealousy or judgment, or you want to understand your motives behind something, or what your intention should be, or you know whatever, there’s a set of questions that help them dive into that feeling more where did it come from? So on and so forth. And when we start to understand the root of that experience, the next time we’re feeling that judgment or that jealousy or that feeling, we get to say hold on, wait, this isn’t about that person, it’s actually about this other thing that I’ve already identified, which now allows us to emotionally regulate, and so on and so forth, and it’s just like one step leads to the other, and it’s just um.

Lunden Souza: 

I love it. Yeah, one thing I wrote down here, um, or that I just thought of that. I wrote down cause I wanted to ask you because I love doing a lot of things for healing with my eyes closed. Right, I love looking in the mirror. I also love meditating and visualization and hypnosis and all the things like that, and I’m wondering if this looking in the mirror, eyes opened process and seeing more of what others see can help my internal representation of that visualization when I’m meditating or when I’m doing different NLP techniques to switch the perspective. There’s sometimes when we’re out of our own body and in the experience of someone else, maybe looking at us or engaging with us, to gain wisdom in that perspective, and so I imagine a more accurate portrayal in my mind’s eye through using the true mirror with my eyes open would then help me go deeper with my eyes closed. Does that make sense?

Jennifer Smullin: 

No, a hundred percent. I knew what I wanted to say. I really love that you brought that up because I think that that perspective that we have of ourselves in our head, without the true mirrors, where that mental gymnastics to self-love comes in, because you’re literally having to fight your ego and your pride and your view of yourself, but when you put yourself in front of the true mirror, you get to actually like there’s no lying to yourself anymore. You’re getting to see the real, raw you and have compassion for it and see your humanity the same way that you would for your friend Like you, don’t. You know what I’m saying.

Jennifer Smullin: 

So, and as I’ve done this work more, I do find myself like if I’m out with friends or I’m doing something, I can actually see myself doing it and I I like to call it like the witnessing bird, um, and so it’s just that like little bird, that’s like perched up, you know, on the tree branch, like watching and seeing, and yeah, and that’s like the third person perspective of us, that that we that is so skewed because we aren’t seeing ourselves in reality, and so that’s like it’s helped me feel less insecure in the moment with people, like social anxiety is not as big of a deal for me anymore, because the way that I’ve the imagery that I have of myself makes me feel confident versus the the imagery that I had of myself prior to doing this work.

Jennifer Smullin: 

Yeah yeah, very like. If I can honor my human experience, somebody else not honoring mine becomes so much easier like oh, you don’t want to honor my human experience, you don’t like? Fine, I’m just going to go back to my tumor and honor it myself right, yeah, honoring, I love it, I love it.

Lunden Souza: 

I took a lot of notes today, just like little things that stood out to me, and you said something about, like, yeah, pushing the edges and just talking a lot about, yeah, viewing ourselves from different perspectives, which is so powerful to me, especially with my eyes closed. So, like that, eyes open and eyes closed, conditioning for what I like to do in my work-ins I’m very excited about from a personal perspective. And, yeah, let everybody know where they can connect with you on social media or your website or ways that, if someone wants to dive more into portrait healing and these video journals and all of this cool, yeah, healing modality that you’ve created, how can we do that?

Jennifer Smullin: 

So I have two places that I’m most active on. It’s on Instagram and with my website. My website is www.portraithealing.info. Um, and anybody that’s listening to the podcast. They can reach out. I am offering a hundred dollars off to anybody who comes through self-love, um and sweat podcast to as a discount to them. Um, and then for following me on social media. I’m learning to get more active there, but you can find me on Instagram at portrait dot healing.

Lunden Souza: 

Yeah, yeah, that’s right, I know I follow you. I was like wait there’s. I was like is that the right?

Jennifer Smullin: 

one. Yeah, it’s all new and I’m just like what is the, what is the handle again? Yes, but yes, it’s portraithealing and yeah, I would love to. If anybody you know decides to follow me there, send me a message. I’d love to know that you came from self-love and sweat and give you a follow back and just connect with you, even if you guys want to hear more about my story or hear some tips or something like that. Like I, this is a thing that I love to talk about and I’m very passionate about, and even if you don’t come to me through the course or wanting to be a student, I am very open to any conversation. So, um, yeah, I would love, I would love that, yeah, thank you.

Lunden Souza: 

Any aha moments, questions, connections that’s how you and I connected was through the DMs on social media, so there’s power in that. Even if you’re from the same hometown and didn’t know each other yet, at some point you might through the interwebs. The beautifulness of all of that. Thank you so much for being here, Jennifer. I appreciate you. Thank you, guys for listening. All the links and ways to connect with Jennifer and get a true mirror and all of that are in our show notes and description, wherever you’re watching or listening to this episode. Thank you so much for being here and for listening, and we’ll see you at the next episode. All right, thank you. 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 Hitspot. Austria production.