Stephani Grace is an author, motivational speaker, therapist, and mindfulness expert. Her book, Creating Real happiness A-to-Z: A Mindful Guide To Discovering, Loving And Accepting Your True Self was one of the things we talked about during this interview.
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00:01:30 Who Is Stephani Grace?
00:02:20 Becoming An Empty Nester
00:03:42 Why Stephani Chose Mental Health Therapy
00:04:41 What Is It We Have To Heal?
00:05:11 Unlearning Conditioning From The World
00:08:18 How Ego Is Different From Our True Self
00:08:36 The Conditioned Self
00:11:22 Knowing Who You Are Is The Key To Everything
00:12:37 People Come Because They Are Tired Of Suffering
00:13:09 Choosing Language That Works For You
00:13:26 Gratitude Or "What's Working" Practice
00:17:58 What Is Real Happiness?
00:23:59 Why Happiness Is In Our Control
00:25:17 How Acceptance Is Different from Giving Up
00:27:15 Why Going With The Flow Works
00:31:26 Opening Up To Possibilities
00:33:30 Preparing For The Worst To Keep Ourselves Safe
00:36:18 Self Acceptance
00:40:11 Self-Discipline Is Self-Love
00:43:41 Why Forgiveness Is Important For Happiness
00:52:08 What's In Stephani's Book?
00:52:58 Doing Mirror Work
I'm excited to announce a new resource I'm very proud of. This guide outlines the four daily practices I discovered on my grief journey. These techniques have helped dozens of my clients. Get it free today.
GEMS- 4 Steps To Go From Grief To Joy
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Brian Smith 0:00
Close your eyes and imagine what are the things in life that causes the greatest pain, the things that bring us grief, or challenges, challenges designed to help us grow to ultimately become what we were always meant to be. We feel like we've been buried. But what if, like a seed we've been planted, and having been planted, would grow to become a mighty tree. Now, open your eyes, open your eyes to this way of viewing life. Come with me as we explore your true, infinite, eternal nature. This is grief to growth. And I am your host, Brian Smith. Everybody this is Brian back with another episode of grief to growth. And today I've got with me Stephanie grace and stave Stephanie is an author. She's a motivational speaker. She's a therapist, she's a mindfulness expert. And her book is called creating real happiness A to Z, which is a mindful guide to discovering loving and accepting your true self. And that I believe is out now. Is that true? Stephanie? Yeah, it's
Unknown Speaker 1:09
out now as of May 1, all right. Yeah. So
Brian Smith 1:11
I thought so what actually got your buyer what was coming out this month? So with that one a welcome to grifter. Gross, Stephanie grace.
Stephani Grace 1:18
Thank you. I'm so happy to be here.
Brian Smith 1:20
Yeah, it's good to have your Stephanie. I always like to start off by letting my listeners get to know the person that we're talking to a little more. So tell me about yourself. Where do you live? What are your hobbies, all that kind of stuff?
Stephani Grace 1:31
Yeah, well, let's see. I live in Portland, Oregon. And I am newly a empty nester. So I was a single mom for 11 years, and my daughter just went off to college. So that's been a big transition for me this year. And I recently bought a house in Mexico. So I've been kind of going back and forth and enjoying the sunshine there and love the ocean and water. And here i i have my private practice. I'm a mental health therapist, but because of COVID I've been doing all my appointments online. So now, even though my practice has been based in Oregon, I, I can see people anywhere. But I spend the majority of my time here and yeah, sounds
Brian Smith 2:21
like an exciting time in your life. But it's a couple of transitions going on there.
Unknown Speaker 2:25
Yeah, some major transitions. Yeah, it's a it's a little bit bigger of a transition than I was anticipating, you know, learning to kind of have all this freedom that people think, oh, it's such a gift, which it is, but it's also a big shift, you know, to go from kind of having your focus be your child to then all of a sudden being like, well, what am I now what do I do with all this? This free time? Yeah, I can focus on me. Yeah,
Brian Smith 2:51
being a parent, you know, for me, it was is all consuming. And I remember when my oldest daughter went off to went off to college. It was it was a, I wouldn't say bittersweet. I missed her. So I guess I know how you feel about it. But I that was tough for me.
Unknown Speaker 3:05
Yeah, total, oh, my gosh, I miss her. So last time I saw her was January. So I'm, you know, the thing is, is that, of course you want your child and I'm so grateful that she is thriving and doing well. And it makes me so happy. And I want her to be independent. But also my heart misses her and I miss that, you know, the time that we had together and that she was in my house and a part of my everyday life. And now it isn't. That's it? It's a tricky, it's a tricky thing. So my heart goes out to all the parents who, you know, have to learn how to deal with that loss. Yeah,
Brian Smith 3:36
yeah. So So tell me how did you get into mental health therapy?
Unknown Speaker 3:40
Well, I think how I really got into it is from my I think, my own work I just found spirituality and psychology just fascinating. I feel like I'm you know, since I left home and went to college, I've just been voraciously attracted to reading spiritual books and books on psychology and things like that. And so I think, you know, it just I was just drawn to that work. And through my own healing work, I really felt called to help other people be able to heal and know their truth. And that's how that's really what what got me on this path that I have never felt like anything else was meant for me than this really.
Brian Smith 4:24
That's good. That's good that you that, you know, kind of what your calling was. And I know, you mentioned the word healing. We talk a lot about healing Mike Show is great to growth. But tell me about what is it that you think we have to heal from?
Unknown Speaker 4:39
Well, I think for everybody, I probably varies, but I think what we all have in common is that, you know, we we are all divine beings. And I think that the piece that we all have in common is that we all experience conditioning from our society. And I guess when I say healing from that, that's what I'm here for. referring to is that, you know, we, we need to unlearn the conditioning that we've gotten from our families and society and the world so that we can come back to knowing what our truth is. Because it, it is, I think, profound suffering to think we are something other than divine or our truth, you know, to think that we are our conditioning that causes us a lot of suffering, I
Brian Smith 5:26
think. Yeah, I completely agree with you. And it's funny, because it's something that I came to later in life, I knew that I had been wounded. You know, I didn't realize it seems like it's a universal thing.
Unknown Speaker 5:38
Yeah, I do think so. I mean, it's interesting. I was talking with someone the other day, who asked me about this, she said, Well, you know, I think I know some people who, who didn't have wounding in their childhood, and they are amazing, enlightened beings. And why do you think that is? And I was? You know, I said, Well, that's an interesting question, because I think it is possible. And I don't know the answer to that. I mean, maybe there are people who come here, you know, and already have done all their work, and they just get to enjoy this lifetime. But I do believe that most of us come here. To do important work, like Pete, you know, we have healing work to do to I believe that the goal of the healing is to come back to our truth to know that we are love, you know, and to learn to love each other and share love. And so if you come here already knowing that that's really cool, but I think it's probably pretty rare.
Brian Smith 6:33
Sam's gonna say, have you met any of these people?
Unknown Speaker 6:35
I haven't myself, you know, and I've been a therapist for 20. Gosh, almost 22 years now. You know? Yeah,
Brian Smith 6:43
my, I think we do come in knowing who we are. But I think the world kind of be set out in this, for lack of a better word we get, we do get this conditioning that says we're something less than that.
Unknown Speaker 6:55
Yeah, yeah, I completely agree. I mean, even I think people who are profoundly enlightened, like, you know, tick, not Han, and his book on gotcha, who's gonna escape my mind now, but the one where he talks about healing your inner child, he talks about even people who come from families that, you know, where they didn't have profound suffering, just from being the mere fact of being here in the world, you know, we, we get conditioning or wounding that requires us to heal our inner child, you know?
Brian Smith 7:23
Yeah, you know, as you said, that I was thinking about myself, and I remember one of my earliest memories, I was born in 1961. So I remember seeing the Vietnam War, you know, on TV, and thinking what kind of a world this is, when people were killing each other. And this was not wounding from my parents, this was just looking at the world and saying, This place is insane.
Unknown Speaker 7:42
Exactly. I mean, so that's the thing, even if you have good parents, you might, you might have struggles, you know, with friendships, right, you might get bullied or excluded, or it's interesting how each of us gets wounding that is very unique to us, but but really leaves scars or causes us to have beliefs that we are other than we are, you know,
Brian Smith 8:03
right. So we know, and I was looking at some of your work earlier, you use the term ego, which is a loaded term. And I think there's a lot of misunderstanding around ego. So first, I'd like for you to define what ego is, and tell me how that's different from your true self.
Unknown Speaker 8:18
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, you're right, it is, it can be very confusing. That term, when I use the term ego, what I'm referring to, is the condition itself. And so I use those two interchangeably, that and often I will say, the conditioned self rather than the ego, because I do think that the ego can be confusing. The important thing I like people to know about the ego is that the ego is a part of you. And so I think oftentimes I hear people saying, like Kilda, you go, we're hate that, you know, but we will never be free from our conditioning or our ego through hate or rejection, or, you know, anything like that, it the key to your freedom is by embracing and learning how to give your ego or conditioned self, what it needs in order to integrate and your ego is really developed out of fear out of keeping you safe. So its mission is really so you can empathize. You know, it's like it's trying to help you it's like, do this and people will love you do this people will accept you, oh, don't do that. You know, so everything that it's doing for you even though it's doing it in a way that's usually very critical and mean is designed to keep you safe and getting your needs met. So that that's that's the ego the true self is you know, you as love you were born as your true self as a Divine Being and you your true self is nothing but love and would never treat you in a way that is anything but loving and love. And so you know, you're in ego or your conditioning if you're experiencing anything other than that, right? And so, coming back to your truth or even knowing that there's these two parts to you is, I think the key to freedom and and happiness is a lot of people don't even realize there are two parts. They're walking around in their conditioning or their ego thinking that that's their true thinking that they may not even be aware of. That their conditioning is mean or stuff causing them suffering. They just think that's their their truth.
Brian Smith 10:15
Yeah, I completely agree with that. So I'm curious because I don't hear a lot of mental health therapists speaking in language that you use. Is it something you learned in school or just something you brought along with you?
Unknown Speaker 10:28
Yeah, definitely not something I learned in school i Yeah, it's interesting. I'm, this is just for my own journey. And my what my path, the path to my own healing and and just being a seeker, I feel that I'm a voracious seeker and kind of, you know, wanting to learn all of this. I've just been, you know, as early as I can remember kind of curious about all of this kind of stuff, and have come to know this through my own research and work on myself and then know now that this is the only way for people to heal and truly be happy, which is why this is the way that I work with people. And yeah, I don't I think there might be some places where, you know, their schools are teaching for therapists might be mindfulness based. That's what I say, when people ask me how I work with people, I say that my work is very mindfulness based.
Brian Smith 11:26
Yeah, I would say your work is spiritual. That works for you works, I don't mean to put words in your mouth. And I find it refreshing. And frankly, because I do know a few people I know someone who's actually psychiatrist who speaks in this type of language. And my belief is that that's the only thing that's going to heal us is really understanding who we truly are. I was just talking with someone earlier today, I was doing an interview. And I'm like, this is the key that to everything. And I think Western medicine has kind of beaten that out of a lot of mental health professionals that don't have that perspective.
Unknown Speaker 12:01
Yeah, I would agree with you. And it's interesting, because this is how I show up for people. And, and I will tell you, sometimes people are scared of the fact that it may feel too spiritual. But here's the interesting thing. It hardly anyone is scared away, because it resonates with them. On some level, they know that what I'm speaking is the truth, and they hear it somewhere in their body. And the thing is, is that people come to me because they're tired of suffering, and they want they want to find freedom from that. And I think they believe me, you know, I am a very passionate person, you can tell that when I'm speaking, I'm speaking the truth. And so I think people think, oh, okay, maybe she knows something. Maybe I'm gonna give it a try.
Brian Smith 12:46
Yeah, I think I think that's awesome. And if there is some fear of being labeled spiritual or being, you know, woowoo, I'm going through a training thing right now. And it's, it's, I think it's extremely spiritually based, but they've changed. They've taken another language to make it sound very, you know, scientific and everything, which is great. I don't I don't I don't mind that. But I like the fact that you don't shy away from it. Because I think like you said, people, we kind of know, on a certain level, maybe on a subconscious level, we know that what we're looking at is crazy. And we know that was gotta be a different way to do life. And so they come seeking someone like yourself.
Unknown Speaker 13:23
Yeah, I mean, and if people don't, excuse me, if they don't like the terms I use up, I throw something out. It people feel repulsed by like, I have a lot of clients who don't like the word God, and things like that, then I say, Fine, let's choose a word you like, if you choose that word you feel comfortable with let's let's put it in there. You, you can choose any language you like, you know, and even sometimes I have people. One of my favorite practices is gratitude practice, because it focuses on what's working. And it's something that I always tell people, if you're only going to do one thing that I recommend do that because it's easy. You can do it just in your mind. You can pair it with something you're already doing. But if you don't like the word gratitude, because it feels too spiritual or godly to you, then use what's working practice, say, Okay, let's do your what's working practice every day.
Brian Smith 14:11
You want it's funny, I want to I want to pursue that because you bring up gratitude, because again, I was just talking with someone earlier about this idea of gratitude. And frankly, I heard it probably five or six years ago, I was very resistant to it. I'm like, This is what this is crazy. This is not going to work. And I can tell you after having practiced it for several years, I am a real believer. So why is it you think the gratitude is so important?
Unknown Speaker 14:34
Well, I think that what it does is it shifts your focus to first of all, what's working and then it begins to help you with self love and hope and things like that. Because you feel that you are worthy. Because what you're focusing on is is is what's what's working and then it makes you feel like oh well things can work out For me, or things can get better, because that's what your brain is, is focusing on, you're no longer focusing on what isn't working, or what will go wrong. You know, it's, it's just very simple, but it helps you to, you know, just just realize what, what you have and what's working. And I mean, the number one thing I get from people when I ask them to do gratitude practice is that, well, I just say the same things every day, and then I get tired of it, and I don't want to do it anymore. You know? So here's the thing, first of all, okay, well, if you're grateful for the same things every day, okay, that be grateful for the same things every day, that's okay. But the more that you do it, the more that you'll find that there's even more to be grateful for. And I often ask people to pair it with something. So for example, and pair it with when you walk your dog, if you have a dog, then when you're out in the world, it changes your perspective, because you're out in the world, and you're walking, and then maybe you'll be like me in Portland, Oregon, oh my god, I'm so thankful that the sky is blue right now, or that the sun's shining, and then, oh, it's spring, and look at all these beautiful flowers. And maybe you run into another dog owner, and they're very kind or, you know, you get to see, you know, some cute animals, who knows, but then all of a sudden, because you're in that way of thinking, you start to notice even more that you can be grateful for and, and you can try it out as a scientific experiment. But if you start to focus on what you're grateful for, it just creates more and more of it. So pretty soon, you've got more and more things working for you.
Brian Smith 16:30
Yeah, I completely agree. And you know, you, we've talked early, you're in Portland, Oregon, I'm in Ohio. It's high this time of year is just back and forth. One day, it's cold, it snowed a couple of weeks ago, today, it's it's 85 degrees. And it's sunny, so and I love the warmth. So um, you know, I think sometimes, you know, I hate the winter, but because of the winter, I love the spring so much more.
Unknown Speaker 16:55
Yep, yep. That's the contrast, right? I mean, that's what I believe is that contrast really helps us to learn what it is that we need to learn. So it's like, if you have times where you don't see the sun, it really makes you understand what it's like to see it. Whereas if you have a lack of love, if you really, you know, appreciate it when you learn to have love or you know, you you experience love.
Brian Smith 17:18
Yeah, it's funny, as we're talking about this, I speak with someone a few weeks ago, and they said their, their father is from Cuba. And they said, you know, they never talked about the weather. And it's interesting, because it's always I guess, 80 degrees and sunny, you know, here, the first thing we do we jump on a zoom, you know, I asked what's the like where you are? Because we're always no, because it does change. And we can learn to you know, appreciate the cause of the contrast, we can learn to appreciate the nice weather.
Unknown Speaker 17:42
Yes, yes, exactly.
Brian Smith 17:45
So, um, yeah, one of the questions that I asked you for some, for example, questions, and this was a great one. It's like, what is real happiness? So what is it? What is real happiness?
Unknown Speaker 17:57
Yeah, so what real happiness? What I mean by that is, I think that a lot of times, people don't feel happy, because they're placing their happiness on something external. So it's like, if I get this job promotion, I will be happy. If I lose weight, I'll be happy. If I find my ideal partner, I'll be happy. But what happens is, when people reach these milestones, often they find some reason I'm not happy. So now I need this other job. And maybe there's something wrong with my relationship. So I think that people often think that external things will bring them happiness. But the reason why external can't bring us real happiness is that it's not sustainable. So I mean, what happens when when your relationship ends when you lose the job, or you don't get the job, or you gain your weight back? Right. And so real happiness is about what you and I were talking about earlier, it's about learning that it comes from within that it's about you understanding your truth, that the understanding that your conditioning is not your truth. So in order to find real happiness, you first have to understand that, that there is such a thing as conditioning, and that it isn't you and all those messages that you've gotten from your conditioning about how you have to be in order to be accepted and loved, isn't valid. And so when you understand that, then you can begin creating your relationship with yourself. You can become your own best friend, your your partner, your mother, your father, and, you know, show up for yourself in all the ways that you need, and love and accept yourself as you are, regardless of what you're doing in your life. You're always there for yourself. That's real happiness.
Brian Smith 19:45
Yeah. And you kind of talked about the early you were saying how the ego sometimes will kind of beat us up right and tell us that, I guess we are not good enough or our circumstances aren't good enough. And so as long as you're listening to that, you I can virtually be happy.
Unknown Speaker 20:02
Yeah, yeah. I mean, and that's the thing that's hard. You know, I know that what I'm talking about, I make it sound like, Oh, it's so easy. Just find your true self and love yourself. But I understand that, that the conditioning can be so profound, right? I understand. And the reason why I am so patient and I, I believe that anybody can find real happiness is because I've done it, and I've come from a very far place in terms of finding it. And I know that even though it can be hard work, and you know, it takes practice to be willing to retrain your neural pathways and, and it takes time to willingness to sit with yourself, I know that people can can find it. And I know that anyone can do it.
Brian Smith 20:51
Yeah. Well, you know, it's, it's interesting, because just because something is simple doesn't mean that it's easy. And I guess that's the thing, you know, and sometimes, for us that have the similar message, people look at you and say, what's not that easy, I just can't be grateful all the time. And I just can't make myself happy. Because you can't, you can't just think your way out of it. But there is there is work you can do. There are techniques, there are things that you can do. And the first thing is understanding what's making you unhappy.
Unknown Speaker 21:21
Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. You know, as humans, we all have ups and downs. So even though I understand all of this, and I feel that I can be enjoy most of the time, I also still have times where I'm grumpy, or I fall off and do things I don't like. But the point is that I understand that. And I show up for myself in those times. And I know that I can't control external, but I can work with myself to be okay, internally, and I can support myself in the ways that I need when externally external isn't going the way I want? Yeah, well do that.
Brian Smith 22:03
Yeah, it's and I think that's, that's an important thing to say, because, you know, people might hear this message and say, Well, if you're saying, If I do this, I'll be happy all the time, and nothing will ever bother me. And I'm assuming that's not what you're saying.
Unknown Speaker 22:17
Yeah, I mean, that's the funny thing that you know, that I've found I've been, I've been doing my own this work for over 20 years now. And I think I thought when I started on the spiritual journey that like, one day, it would be like that, where you're like, oh, things don't bother you, or you're just happy all the time. But actually, that doesn't happen. And it's kind of a little bit of a letdown when you realize that life continues to be challenging. And people continue to sometimes be mean, or things happen the way that you don't want them to all the time. But go, what changes, it's still painful. But what changes is that you understand that how you show up for yourself, and you understand that it doesn't get to mean anything about you that you define your truth, your worth, your love ability, nothing else external gets to and nothing else external, regardless of how hard it is, gets to take anything away from you unless you let it.
Brian Smith 23:13
Yeah, I think you know, the thing is, I haven't found it disappointing yet. But because the thing is, I'm like, we're I think we're here to learn. And I think we're here to deal with these challenges, and they're gonna be things that we don't like, the world is still a crazy place. And I hope I never get to the point where I don't let those things upset me in some way that what I don't because I think I think our emotions are all important and that emotion of, of anger, if you see injustice, I hope I always have that. But it's how it's how I deal with it. It's how I sit with it. It's how much I let it affect me and how long I let it affect me.
Unknown Speaker 23:47
Exactly. Yep. And that's, that's the reason why happiness is in our control. Right? It's because we, we, you're right, like things are going to bother us or upset us. But it's up to us how we manage that and how we take care of ourselves how we show up for ourselves, and how we let it impact others because it's our responsibility to take care of our own emotions and such so that they don't go on to others.
Brian Smith 24:15
Right, right. Well, and the thing is, I guess, again, kind of maybe putting words in your mouth, but we don't have to be happy about the situation but we can we can learn to deal with it. And you know, I read a book many years ago by Viktor Frankl, you know, talking about a man's search of meaning and I'm like, if this guy can be okay, in those conditions, then I should be able to be okay in any conditions that I'm in and that's the thing you know, you're not happy about the conditions but you learn how to how to deal with it, I guess.
Unknown Speaker 24:43
Yep, exactly. Acceptance is one of our keys to freedom, right? That's what it's about is like, we don't have to like it. But then that's our choice. We can either not like it and be mad about it and let it ruin our day or our life. Or we can accept it and and be Learn to be okay, and have a good life or a good day. You know, it's up to us really?
Brian Smith 25:05
Well, let's, let's talk about acceptance. So how is acceptance different from, say giving up?
Unknown Speaker 25:10
Ah, good one. Well, I believe that giving up is about closing yourself off. So it's like giving up as kind of not really being open or feeling it. Whereas I feel like acceptance is maintaining your openness. So allowing yourself to feel however you feel about whatever it is you're accepting. That's what I think.
Brian Smith 25:37
Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I know, you say acceptance is your key to freedom. And I think for people that will say, Well, of course, I have to accept what is but what's your, what's your experience been about people accepting what is,
Unknown Speaker 25:53
um, it's hard for people to accept what is I think, I think that's one of the hardest things, I think that it's really hard for people to kind of get over that things don't often go our way, especially like, in our society, we're really built on a society where people are like, you work hard, you get this, like, you, you know, you want to, you have goals, and you achieve them. And so we're kind of set up to kind of have goals and expectations. And when we don't, it doesn't go exactly the way we want people feel like failures, or they feel like, life doesn't like them, or God doesn't like them, you know. And so I think it's hard for people to understand that. And, and what I say is that it's okay to have goals, it's okay to have expectations, of course, you need them to be successful, the piece that you want to work with, is your attachment to them. Because interestingly enough, I'm sure you know, life is constantly moving and constantly, but then it hardly ever goes exactly how we want it to. And so if we can kind of just understand that and know that, yeah, we have our goal, but it might, it might, you know, like, look differently than we originally set out. If we can be flexible in that way and accepted as we go, then then we are much happier. And we're going to be much more successful too. And they could end up being way better than it was going to be anyway.
Brian Smith 27:17
Yeah, that's that's a great lesson. That's a lesson that took me a long time to learn because I in my career, I always had goals. I wanted to do this, I want him to get to this level when a certain company or whatever, and I and then when I didn't get it, then I was like, Oh, well, this is terrible. But then you find out later on. This actually worked out better, you know, for me, because I didn't get that or even I am get fired from a job. And it turned out to be a great thing. But you know, at the time, I certainly wouldn't have thought it was a great thing. Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 27:45
yeah. I mean, I feel the same way as you do in my life. In the beginning of my life, I used to sort of be a type A personality and would be like, very driven and goal oriented. And now, you know, I'm, as I've done more and more work, I understand that. You know, I'm just accepting that how things go or how they are going to go and the more open we can be that it's just allows us to, I think have a lot more successes sort of trusting, I think that things will work out for you in the best way possible. And I think being able to have that belief is very helpful.
We'll get back to grief to growth in just a few seconds. Did you know that Brian is an author and a life coach. If you're grieving or know someone who is grieving his book, grief to growth is a best selling easy to read book that might help you or someone you know, people work with Brian as a life coach to break through barriers and live their best lives. You can find out more about Brian and what he offers at WWW dot grief to growth.com www.gr IE F the number two growth.com or text growth grow T H 231996. If you'd like to support this podcast visit www.patreon.com/grief to growth www.pa TREON n.com/gr I EF the number two g r o wth to make a financial contribution. And now back to grief to growth.
Brian Smith 29:26
Yeah, I love what you said there. But it's again one of those things that some people might say, Well, why should I trust that things are gonna work out for the best? And that might be a question someone comes back at you with?
Unknown Speaker 29:37
Yeah, and what I would say is okay, well what if you want to focus on the worst, you can do that? How does that make you feel? Does it make you feel good? And so it's like you have a choice. You can choose either one. If you want to feel bad and focus on that it might not work out. You can do that. But it's going to make you feel bad and you're not going to it's not going to feel better Interesting. So you might as well be open to what you want and trust that it'll work out because that feels better. You know?
Brian Smith 30:08
Yeah, I wish someone had told me this about 40 years ago. Because I, you know, I think a lot of us think, Well, I'm just being a realist, you know, I'm just being a realist things never worked out for me. Things don't work out, you know, the universe is a cold and accepting and, you know, uncaring place. And I'm just gonna live in that truth. You know. And so I think people feel like, in a sense, sometimes they're, they're just being realistic when they think that,
Unknown Speaker 30:34
yeah, and they're being miserable. I mean, that this is the thing is that what we focus on is what we create. So you know, and it does take people I meet people like that I have clients who start out like like that. And it does take people a while to begin to shift in that way. But what happens is, when we're focusing on what's working, and we're focusing on what could go wrong, that does create our reality. And so that's what your reality will look like. And it'll keep proving to you over and over that things don't work out for you. But what you want to do is just begin to be willing, that's all it takes and open and just begin to move over in the other direction to just like, this is when I would prescribe gratitude practice. All right, let's just start with that one step each day. So begin to focus on what's working, and whether people believe it or not, there's at least a few things working in their life. Right? And so you start with that, just start focusing on what's working. And then let's start to explore well, how do you want it to look, this is how it's going. But how do you want it to look, let's, let's explore that. And then I would have them begin to practice focusing on how they want it to look. And if they can't, if they're really struggling with that, then I would give them the phrase like, well, wouldn't it be great if it could go that way? So then that kind of put that like, helps their ego, the ego doesn't like definitives. Like, if you're like, Well, this is how it's gonna go, then it's easy for them to say, well, you know, my ego goes the opposite way. But if you if you say something like, well, wouldn't it be great, it allows your ego to not get so rigid? Because it's like, I'm not saying it's going to I'm just saying, wouldn't it be great?
Brian Smith 32:15
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, it's one of the things about human nature is that, and this is not a bad thing about human nature, it's evolutionary. Because we focus on the negative, we focus on what's wrong, it's a great way to get fixed things as a great way to avoid danger. And back when we were running around, you know, running from saber toothed tigers, it was really important to to recognize, you know, danger right away and to react to it. But I think now, we've kind of overdeveloped that, that thing. And as you as you've so well said, it makes us miserable. And there's always so many things that are going right in our life. I don't care who you are, you know, I literally challenge anybody to tell me that there's nothing going right in their life right now.
Unknown Speaker 32:59
Yeah, exactly. And it's funny, sometimes people think that we can, we can help them find it, though, because there is just the fact that they're awake and alive, you know, that they're able bodied or that they have a home or you know, there's so many things that that could be working. The interesting thing about what you were just saying is that people really like to cling to that because they think it prepares them for bad. They think that it keeps them from being disappointed. They think that it somehow by going over all that could go wrong. They're kind of keeping themselves safe. But that's actually not true. It actually just causes you anxiety, it causes you suffering. And you're gonna be disappointed whether you prepare yourself or not. So why not focus on how you want it to go? Right? Yeah. So
Brian Smith 33:49
yeah, great example that I when I was younger, I hated flying. I had this anxiety, terrible anxiety about flying. And I realized after I was in therapy, I thought that my anxiety was actually keeping the plane in the air. And if I relaxed, then the plane would crash, which is a ridiculous notion. But I think a lot of times we do we have this, this kind of superstitious, superstitious thing that if I, if I think things are gonna go well, not only am I going to be disappointed, I'm going to make things go badly. So I have to always be on the, you know, on the defense.
Unknown Speaker 34:20
Yeah, it's exactly right. What you're saying. Yeah. And so we we really want to get the message out to people that oh my gosh, no, you're causing yourself so much. Undue anxiety and suffering, like you could be free from that and focusing on what you want and what works because that is not helping you one one bit. In fact, it's actually making it worse.
Brian Smith 34:42
Yeah, well, this is the thing I always tell people the one thing that we do know is that you said you're making yourself miserable. Now we don't know if you can really change the world with your mind or not. Maybe you can maybe you can, but we do know your make yourself miserable by always worrying about what's gonna go wrong.
Unknown Speaker 34:56
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, the thing is, is that one of the things I tell people to ask themselves is like when, you know, anxiety is future based. And so when we bring yourself back to the present moment, that is the only place that we're free. And so you can ask yourself in that moment, is there anything wrong in this moment? And that's a good question to ask yourself, because usually, for the most part, I would say there isn't. If there is, then you can ask yourself, Well, is there an action I can take? And if there's no action, then you can say, Oh, I'm like, I'm sorry, I had that off. But
Brian Smith 35:32
yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And I, I've actually come to that question myself. And it's a question I've used a couple of my anxiety, you know, because 99.9% of the time, in this moment, just at the wrong people, if you ask them that, they'll go to the future. They'll say, Well, I'm this could happen, or that could happen. But if you bring it back to this moment, the moment you're sitting right here in the chair, what do you really need right now? And that's a great exercise.
Unknown Speaker 35:59
Yeah, yeah. Because what we find is, is that, you know, when we're right here, in this moment, everything is okay. And we're free. If we're in the future, we're anxious, supporting the past, we're depressed. But here,
Brian Smith 36:11
we're free. Yeah. So we've talked a lot about acceptance, acceptance of circumstance, let's talk about self acceptance. I think that's another thing people struggle with, is just accepting who we are.
Unknown Speaker 36:21
Yeah, yeah. I mean, that's the key, right, is learning to love and accept ourselves just as we are. And I think, you know, as you and I have been talking about, often, our conditioning that we get from our parents in the world, we learn that sometimes how our needs or how we are is somehow not okay, and and then that's what we're working with. So when you're talking about self acceptance, and so we have to unlearn that piece or get away from that, because our society really will send messages to us about what is ideal or, or most acceptable, and people feel if they don't fall into those categories, that then then they're not, right. And so it's understanding that nothing external gets to define us nothing external gets to determine our love ability, or our worth. And that's why that spiritual piece that you and I've been talking about that, at our core, our truth is divine, and that we, we are love, and we are enough, just as we are.
Brian Smith 37:31
Right. So how do we how do we get to start to accept ourselves? What are some things we can we can do?
Unknown Speaker 37:38
Yeah, well, I mean, one of the biggest things, I think, is for people to begin getting to know their true self, again, to begin to understand that, that who they really are beyond the conditioning. And so I always like to introduce meditation to people. And I like people to begin to sit with themselves in their, their body to learn to begin to get away from the chatter in their mind from their conditioning. And so that's often scary for people and people are often like, oh, that's hard. I can't sit with myself, you know, I don't have time. But here's the thing, it is hard for everyone, you know, the Buddha called our mind the monkey mind for a reason, because all of our minds are monkey minds until we sit with them and train them. And here's the other thing, I tell people, You have five minutes, if you tell me you don't have five minutes, I know that that isn't true, because everybody can create five minutes in their day. And that's the most that I like, prescribed to people is five minutes at a time so that it feels really easy and doable. And so just start by doing five minutes. And I know that isn't a lot. But it's like more about creating the habit more of beginning to get comfortable sitting with yourself. Getting comfortable, being quiet, is a lot of healing. And, you know, coming to love yourself is learning to be uncomfortable. It's like learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable that we can tolerate pain, and sometimes, you know, sitting with ourselves and quiet can feel intolerable or painful or sitting with our own pain can feel intolerable, but that's our key is learning to tolerate that.
Brian Smith 39:15
Yeah. You know, when people tell me that they they don't have time. And it's a phrase that I try not to even use anymore. I will say that I haven't taken the time to do something not that I don't have the time, we all have the same amount of time in a day. And we and we prioritize our time. So what I what I tell people is, you know, certainly you're worth it right, you are worth spending five minutes on because we spend all of our time running around doing other things and not enough time on self care. And one thing I love about what you're saying is you know and we're sick we're both saying this is not necessarily easy. This is not something that you're just going to fall into this is this is work and that's that's why what your book is and tells us decided we do this.
Unknown Speaker 39:58
Yeah, yeah. Exactly, I mean, one of the things that I've recently come across that makes so much sense to me. And now it's one of my favorite things is that self discipline is like the biggest act of self love. Because if you think about it, that is so true, because it's, it's not easy to always make the choices that we need to make to honor ourselves or love ourselves. But, you know, taking the discipline to do the things that we know are going to help us get where we need to go, is is what it takes. And that I think, is the one number one reason why people don't heal or people don't find real happiness is because people don't want to do anything different, or they don't want to practice they don't, they don't want to take the steps, and I get it. But it doesn't have to be hard. It's like we can do it. That's why my book is the way that it is is it's like I know that things have to be very small and easy for people to be able to do them. And it has to be consistent in terms of them being able to stay motivated, and to make the changes that they need to make.
Brian Smith 41:09
Yeah, I like your like your five minutes meditation, because so many people start off meditation, they just tried to sit on the cushion for half an hour, which is almost impossible to do. And they'll do it once or twice, and they're gonna give up like, well, this is terrible. So if you start off with something sustainable, like a simple gratitude practice, like you mentioned earlier, or five minutes a day of doing meditation, or maybe five minutes, a few times a day, you know, maybe you can find a way to incorporate that into your day, then you can start to have some success, and then it feeds on itself. And that's, that's what I, you know, I've discovered and hopefully that we can get this message across to people. It may seem hard at first, but then you could we think of habits as bad things, you know, they're bad habits, but you can also create good habits.
Unknown Speaker 41:57
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And that's one of the other things about creating real happiness in the book is that it's like a lot of different options in terms of things people can do. And my hope is that people will find one or two that resonate for them that really feel like, Oh, these are doable, I can add these to my life, and then they begin to make them a part of their life. Because here's what I know, our world is such that if we don't create practices or things that keep us on our path, keep us where we want to be going, we will be pulled off, we will be pulled up over and over or not, you know, just not be on our path if we don't have things that inspire us or keep us on the path that we're on.
Brian Smith 42:40
Yeah, well, that. Yeah, that was we talked about earlier that the world is I think it's a crazy place. I think, you know, I don't think too many people would argue that with me. And for us to stay on our path. I love that image. You know, we've got to be disciplined, we've got to be, we've got to be focused, and people, I hopefully people will accept that message. Because I think it's really important to we have to create our own happiness, you know, and that's, that's why I love the title book, creating real happiness, because it doesn't just happen to us. It doesn't just fall out of the sky. And as you mentioned earlier, it's not gonna be brought to us by our circumstances, you know, we can win the lottery tomorrow. A lot of people think that's the key to their success. But, you know, their key to happiness, but look up what happens. The lottery winners?
Unknown Speaker 43:26
Yep. Yeah, I know. Not most of the time. It does not change their life for the better. Right?
Brian Smith 43:32
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Well, another big subject that you talk about, and this is a this is a tricky one for people is forgiveness. So tell me about forgiveness and why that's important.
Unknown Speaker 43:43
Yeah, this is a hard one for people and I often have clients who feel resistant to this. And here's why is because often people think that when we talk about forgiveness and means that we're saying it's okay if people treated them wrong or abuse them, but when we're talking about forgiveness, we are not saying that somebody's bad behavior is okay. And we're not saying that you deserved it or anything like that. I believe that self forgiveness is about self love. And so when we're not forgiving someone we're holding resentment, anger, pain in our body, and that's causing us suffering only us suffering, not the person who hurt us. The pain that we have in our body is only impacting us.
Brian Smith 44:30
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Unknown Speaker 45:06
And so when we choose to work on forgiveness, we're releasing that from our body and freeing yourself up, which isn't, which is an act of self love. And the the steps that I think are important to truly be able to forgive. The first is the work that you and I've been talking about is that first, we have to do our own self love work, we have to understand our own worth our own truth, so that we know regardless of what happened to us externally, or happens to us externally, that it doesn't get to mean anything about us or define anything about us. So it's important for us to know that truth, before we can work on detaching from other people's behavior. Because the second piece of forgiveness is we can call it empathy or understanding how somebody may have shown up in the way that they do. So it's like, Why do you think this person who hurt you showed up in the way that they did? You know, and so, you know, taking the time to think well, okay, I can see why their behavior might be that way, you know, understanding how they were raised or their circumstances. And then, you know, or maybe you you don't understand, or you can't fathom it, but what you can understand is that this person's behavior, whether it feels like it or not, is not personal, it actually has nothing to do with you. It's about their conditioning, their life circumstances, and it isn't personal. And so it doesn't get to mean you're not lovable. You're not worthy. You're not, it doesn't get to mean anything about you. And so those are the keys and in terms of really, truly being able to rid yourself of pain that another person has caused you.
Brian Smith 46:54
Yeah, I think what you just said there is so well, like everything you just said there was really, really important, but to not take it personally, that's one of the Four Agreements and I love the Four Agreements are so simple, but there's so profoundly true. We tend to take things that people do us, like they did this intentionally to hurt me. Someone cut you off in traffic, when no one's really trying to cut you off in traffic. No, maybe they were rude, maybe they weren't paying attention. Maybe they were distracted, but they weren't trying to cut you off. But that just seems to be the way that our ego reacts to things right, I guess our egos thinking I'm going to protect you from this happening to you again. And that that can block that forgiveness by when we say Oh, I know that they meant to hurt me, I know that that this person is out to get me.
Unknown Speaker 47:38
Yeah, that's exactly right. You know, and that's, that happens all the time. And a lot has a lot to do with our own work, right? Especially like when we get into our interpersonal relationships, if we have blocks or things we haven't healed, then that's what we see in the world. So like we you know, if somebody doesn't show up in the way we want, we think, Oh, well, they're, they're showing up in that way. Because they don't love me or they were, you know, like you were saying they're trying to hurt me or, but but really, everybody is truly showing up the best that they can in any given moment based on their current conditioning and circumstances. And I know, this is not a popular thing that I'm saying. But I do believe it's true. And so it's like, if somebody hurts you, it's about their skills, their conditioning, whatever's going on in their life, and it really isn't about you. Well,
Brian Smith 48:28
you know, it's interesting, you say that, because there was a guy's debate with years ago on the internet. And he would always say that no one truly does evil, that everybody does the best they can with what they know with where they are, and there's conditioning in their circumstances. And I know that you're right, people push back against that. And they say, No, there are truly evil people in the world. And there are people in the world that do do things that are evil, that's definitely true. But in their minds, they're justified. And we all do we all do things in our minds are justified, and we're all imperfect beings. So as you said, if as we do this work on ourselves, and as we learn to accept ourselves, the good and the bad thing, we can look at other people and say, Well, maybe they don't have the skills that I have. So maybe that's why they did what they did.
Unknown Speaker 49:15
Yeah, I agree with you. I do also believe that their people do evil things or that there are, you know, really evil things that happen out there. But I also like you said, I believe that it's based on their their stuff that you know, they're there. Like you were saying they most likely believe they're justified in it or, you know, some something to that effect it has to do with their conditioning and their life circumstances. Yeah, sorry. I can't remember the second part of what you you that asked me something.
Brian Smith 49:47
Well, I would just say that I think that you know, I was just agreeing with you about people acting the best that they can that that I think is one of the keys you talked about the two keys of forgiveness as one of the keys of forgiveness is understanding that people are not out to get you. You know, there are people don't wait, don't sit around all day thinking about how they can hurt you. And the other thing is, as you said, doing the self love and acceptance, which allows us to have that empathy for other people. But I think the really, really important thing about forgiveness, and I grew up in a Christian tradition, because sometimes people think forgiveness is about the other person. And I need I need to let go, because God told me I needed forgive. And I don't want to hold things because other people, but you said it so well, when you're holding on to anger and resentment. And also, you're just hurting yourself. You're not the other person is probably not even thinking about you.
Unknown Speaker 50:35
Exactly. Yeah. So I think if we can shift it, reframe it to it being about us, it's about loving ourselves, letting go of that, and it has nothing to do with that person, why continue to abuse yourself or create pain for yourself? Like you're continuing the abuse, in a sense, right? By allowing yourself to carry that around or hold on to that. So let letting go about free frees you? Yeah,
Brian Smith 51:03
and I've seen people forgive some, you know, incredible things, you know, and people will look at them and say, well, aren't you a saint? Because you did that. But again, from from the perspective that we're speaking of, that's an act of self love. That's an act of self care.
Unknown Speaker 51:17
Yep. Yeah, yeah, it's such a gift we could give to, to ourselves, you know, all these things you and I are talking about in terms of not taking things personally and letting go of, you know, holding on to negative emotions, it's just that is a gift to us, it allows us to free up space in our body for higher vibrational energy, right. So higher level emotions, and then that impacts the world because then when we show up in the world, we're showing up at these higher levels, and we're then able to lift others up or help others. And so it's just all of this is really just, you know, helpful to us and others.
Brian Smith 51:57
So, tell me about more about your book. So how is it? How is it laid out? And when people get the book, what what can they expect to find?
Unknown Speaker 52:05
Yeah, so the book is, it's a very approachable book, I did it that way on purpose. So because, as we talked about before, people, I think get overwhelmed by things that are too big. And so I wanted it to be very small. So it's small, it's written in an A to Z format, which is why it's called creating real happiness A to Z. And so what I've done is kind of taken my favorite things that I have used over the years with myself and my clients, and I put them into this little book. And each, you know, it's like, through the alphabet. So you know, starting with A through Z, and you can do it in any way that you want, you can read it cover to cover, and read each entry and and do the exercise, every entry has an exercise or a practice for you to do and, or what you can do is just kind of, you know, use it every day and open flip to a page and read something and do the exercise, you can do one a day, or you can choose, you know, do one and work with it for a little while. Like for example, one of my favorite things in terms of tools that we were talking about for self love is mirror work. And I think that mirror work is something that you need to do on an ongoing basis. So longer than one day, I would say if you want to trim your work, do it a minimum of like two weeks, something like that, you know, to practice helping yourself.
Brian Smith 53:35
So tell me about tell me about mirror work?
Unknown Speaker 53:37
Yeah, so mirror work, I think, is one of the most profound things you can do in terms of loving yourself loving and learning to love learning to connect with your true self. It's the other thing aside from kind of meditation mirror work would be the other thing I would add to that. And so what it does is like you look yourself in in the mirror in the eye, you feel that in your soul or your heart center, and you'll notice it people can everyone listening can try this. But we often avoid looking directly at ourselves in the mirror, it's possible to look at yourself in the mirror without really looking at yourself. But when you're doing mirror work, you make sure that you really look yourself in the eye. And then you choose a phrase. So like most likely I would want somebody to start with like, I love you or you are so lovable, something like that. And you say it to yourself, like 10 times in a row in the mirror. And what will happen when you look at yourself and you say that it will trigger your ego. Your ego might talk back to you like say, no, no, I don't or Oh god, look at your eye wrinkles, or Oh God, you look awful today, you know, it will stir your ego up. And so that's kind of one of the ways you can kind of begin to see your truth versus your ego. Right. And so you you notice that your ego gets stirred up but you continue to look at yourself, and you continue to tell yourself that that you love yourself. And you just keep focusing on that. But if you do that every day for two weeks, I promise you You're going to begin to soften, you're going to begin to shift, you're going to begin to feel more connected to yourself, and more separate from your ego.
Brian Smith 55:07
Yeah, I like that. I like that work that you're talking about. Because I think it's really important that we understand that neither one of us say that the ego is our enemy. Because I don't believe I agree with you 100%, we can't get rid of our ego, we don't want to get rid of ego, because we cannot be human beings on this planet without an ego. But our ego was kind of like the overall protector. It's like, okay, you need to calm down, okay? You need to just take, take a backseat, because our true self, you know, knows better. So we kind of integrate the ego. And as you were saying that I'm like, I don't want to look at myself in the mirror. That sounds terrible. But it's the same thing. When you talk to people about meditating. People say, I don't want to be in love with my thoughts for five minutes. Because, you know, my thoughts are crazy, you don't understand what my mind is, like, you got to, you've got to face that uncomfortable thing, to kind of, to kind of push through it, you know, and to say things like, you know, I love you to myself, or you're, you're worthy. And then think about, why does that make me so uncomfortable? You can say it to somebody else. But can you say to yourself,
Unknown Speaker 56:10
yeah, that's why it's so powerful. Because we don't, we don't do it. We don't, we just don't look at ourselves. And we, it's an interesting thing, how, you know, we just don't really talk to ourselves in a loving way. Or I often have clients say, it feels so weird to talk to myself. And this is what I say to them. You're talking to yourself all the time, it's just that you don't recognize it, because it's so conditioned that it just flies by It feels weird, because you're now you know, shifting it to be more positive. And so it sticks out only it's only uncomfortable, because it's new, you're always talking to yourself, it's not weird to talk to
Brian Smith 56:44
you, and you're probably calling yourself stupid and dumb and fat. You know, this, this is another thing that I realized a little while ago, I would say I was saying terrible things to myself. And things I wouldn't say to another person. So I stopped it. I was like, No, you can't you can't say that to yourself. Because we we believe it. And it's it's we it's almost we do we have this mind this thing inside of us, that tells us what a terrible person that we are. And and we can't stop it. So I love the fact that you're you're helping people with really practical ways to do this ways to start making that shift towards the higher self or towards the true self.
Unknown Speaker 57:19
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Thank you. It's so it's so important. I mean, really, I want everyone to love themselves. I want everyone to be happy and at peace and to have the freedom from suffering, because it's our divine right? We deserve that. And we, we think what an amazing world we would have, if we were all walking around in that, you know, happy it would just make our world such a much more pleasurable place to be.
Brian Smith 57:42
Well, that's the other thing that you know, because, again, we might think that this is selfish. And again, from my tradition growing up, they would have said, Oh, this is such a selfish thing, because a lot of the Eastern traditions are about turning within. But the thing is, it's not a selfish act, it's actually a gift to the world. Because if you show up as a better person, and everybody who shows up with a better person will have a better world.
Unknown Speaker 58:03
Yes, that's true. I mean, the thing is, we are all connected, Whether people believe that or not, which is why, you know, we impact each other so much. So it's like, when you're around somebody who vibrates at a really high, energetic level, they can literally lift somebody who's at a lower vibration up just by being in their presence. And that's because we're connected. So it's like, we are helping people, you know, it's like, and when we are shining our light, we're reminding people of their light, or of who they are, right?
Brian Smith 58:32
Absolutely. So Stephanie, tell people where they can find you where they can find out more about you and just let people know how to connect with you.
Unknown Speaker 58:40
Yeah, well, I have a website. And so Stephanie grace, my name doesn't have an E on the end. So it's just WW that Stephanie grace.com, Ste pH A, and I G R A, C, E. And then I also am very active on Instagram. And you can find my Instagram by searching for Stephanie grace note E on the end, I do a mindful minute, most days, either a video or a post just to kind of help people like we were talking about stay on the path to have a little you know, little reminder or daily inspiration. Yeah, those are my my main my main ways. And then also, of course, you can buy my book creating real happiness, A to Z, and that's available at most places now.
Brian Smith 59:24
Awesome, awesome stuff. It's been a pleasure meeting you anything you'd like to say before we wrap up today.
Unknown Speaker 59:30
Gosh, what it has been, I just one of the great things about writing this book has been that I get to meet amazing people like you, you know, it's been so fun to come and talk with you. And it's my absolute passion to talk about this kind of stuff. So it's just such a treat for me to come and talk with like minded humans and to get this sort of message out in the world for others and hopefully we are inspiring people and helping people to know like, oh yeah, I can do these small things and maybe begin to change my life, you know?
Brian Smith 59:59
Absolutely. Well Have a great rest of your day
Unknown Speaker 1:00:01
thank you you too
Brian Smith 1:00:05
don't forget to like hit that big red subscribe button and click the notify Bell thanks for being here
Transcribed by https://otter.ai