Episode 175 | July 2, 2019

Self Love and Self Worth with Dr. Dinorah Nieves


A Personal Note From Orion

There is one person that we often forget to put on our to-do list: ourselves. Especially as women, we are not only culturally raised to be primary caregivers for all sorts of people, but internally we have our feminine instincts which tend to come from a place of giving and nurturing. 

We need to remember that it is important to love ourselves as much as we love other people, and as much as we expect other people to love us. And regardless of who loves us, nothing will ever be as important to your inner fulfillment as how much you love yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes, to achieve your dreams, to live your life unapologetically. 

My guest today is a personal and professional development coach and a behavior scientist who helps people do well and feel well by taking in a whole person approach to wellness. You May have seen Dr. Dinorah Nieves on ABC’s The Chew, Braxton Family Values, and other television shows. She’s here today to share how and why you need to love yourself without feeling any guilt.

 

 

About Today’s Show

Hello. Welcome to the show. This is Orion. Welcome back. If you’re new, welcome. It’s so nice to have you. 

Today is all about self-love, stress reduction, feeling worthy and feeling good about yourself because you deserve to feel great about yourself. As my mentor, Dr. John Demartini, always says, “Whatever you did or did not do, you are worthy of love.” When you feel love for yourself, when you take care of yourself, everything else falls into place in a much easier way. 

Dr. Dinorah Nieves, or you can call her Dr. D, is a personal and professional development coach and a behavior scientist who helps people do well and feel well by taking in a whole person approach to wellness. She helps people change the habits that get in their way. Dinorah has been featured on ABC’s The Chew, Braxton Family Values, and many more. Now, without further ado, onto the show. 

Hello, Dr. D. Welcome to Stellar Life podcast.

Thank you for having me.

Thank you so much for being here. I appreciate you for making the effort to be on the show. I know that you’re going to give tons of value to our listeners. Before we start, can you share a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I’m a personal and professional development coach. I’ve been doing this for about a decade now. Before that, I was in nonprofit management, so I have experience there. My doctorate is in sociology and my masters is in communication. I deal with human behavior a lot in my work; specifically, communicating your needs, your emotions, your experience, and being able to listen and value the same in others. That’s a lot of the work that I do with people. 

I think I’ve spent most of my later years working with overachievers—that became my niche in my private practice. What I mean by that is people who are incredibly successful but not really happy, not sure how they got to one without the other. It’s like we were so sure that the success was going to bring joy and then bam!

One of the things that I really work a lot with overachievers on is self-care – really taking a step back, looking at what you bring and need, honoring yourself, and not working yourself into the ground tryi

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

ng to please everyone, trying to do everything, and putting yourself last. That’s also an overlap with a lot of the women that I work with. Of course, because culturally, we are trained to be nurturers – to always put everyone else’s needs above ours. A big step for people is to learn how to prioritize themselves guilt-free and unapologetically, and really take back ownership over their own sense of wellness. That’s what I help them do.

That’s beautiful. Usually, we teach what we need to learn ourselves or in the middle of learning ourselves. Are you an overachiever?

Yes, I am an overachiever. Not only a president but also a client – definitely fit the bill for a very long time in my life. Also, from that same perspective of wanting to make sure that people were well-taken care, or feeling like I could get the job done, or needing to prove myself because I was the youngest, or I was the brownest—whatever the situation called for—in whatever particular work setting. I spent an inordinate amount of my life, in my career, working hard, which I still do. But the difference is that I work hard now at things that I enjoy, so, it’s not hard work.

I think that’s an important thing for people to consider because oftentimes when I talk to people about self-care and about really rethinking their overachiever ways – they think that I’m trying to turn them into like a vendor on Venice Beach. It’s a way to tell them that they can just lay back, throw caution to the wind, not do anything and so. People are like, “Well, how would that work?” I don’t think it’s that black and white. I don’t think it’s, “You either work hard or you don’t work at all.” I think there are ways to work, to thrive, to live, and to even take care of others where we put ourselves first, experience joy, love our lives, build boundaries, and make choices around what’s good for us. Then there are all kinds of spaces when you live that way—to be helpful and caring to other people but not expecting them to fill the hole you’re not filling because you’re worried about other people.

I hang out with overachievers a lot. I’m actually in Joe Polish‘s Genius Network. Every time I go there, people talk about work-life balance, and it just seems like people have this extreme FOMO (fear of missing out) and also, fear of losing control and delegating. They’re like, “Nobody can do it better than me, so I have to do everything.” They try to do everything, and then they find themselves like you said, there is a void. There is something missing, success is not fulfilling, they work too hard, they work 16-hour days, and their health is getting affected. When somebody like that comes to you, what are some of the tips that you can give them?

Well, I think the first thing that we really talk about is, “Why are you doing this? What happened to you, very early on in life, that caused you to believe that you have to prove yourself so much or that you had to work so hard? What are these behaviors based on?” Because for a lot of us, these behaviors are based on false ideologies that we’ve been carrying with us. I came up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood and family, working-class parents, and they pushed this idea of, “You have to work hard for what you want.” They’re phenomenal parents. They did exactly what a parent should do which is, teach me a good work ethic. But the faulty premise that I took is that you can’t be successful, you can’t achieve, you can’t experience abundance, or you don’t deserve the things you’re wanting if you don’t bust your behind for it. That’s on me. That’s what I interpreted from what they taught me.

It's important to love yourself in the same way that you expect other people to love you. Click To Tweet

Oftentimes, we have these ideas and these beliefs. Then we go into adulthood, and we’re like, “Well, okay. But what about alignment? What about self-care? What about all of these things that really factor in just as much as working hard? What about burnout? What about all of these consequences that we didn’t talk about, and didn’t think about that are now actually decreasing my productivity because I hit a wall?” That’s really getting us. I want to say “us” because I certainly fall into the same category—to challenge and reconsider, to rethink and reconceptualize some of the ideas that feed our behavior. I think that’s really important.

I think another piece of it is analyzing why we feel guilty when we take a step back and take a moment for us, and looking at where that guilt comes from. It’s a lot of emotional analysis. It’s a lot of self-examination. It’s a lot of reflection. It’s also a lot of hardcore behavior change like, “You know what, tomorrow, leave at 5 PM and watch the building not come crashing down.” Really putting into practice some things that can teach us how to live differently, and surviving the things we fear.

Dr. D, you said that many times, we need to prove ourselves. We feel the need to prove ourselves because it stems from our childhood. Something happened, we developed a belief, and then that five-year-old child is running our lives. My question is, do knowing our why is enough? “I know why I’m like that, but how does knowing my why help me change it?” Because sometimes, people get to their why, and they still can’t change it.

It’s definitely a process that involves a lot of different steps. Knowing the why is only part of it. The important piece of knowing the why is it allows you to challenge the norms on which you built that behavior, the thinking on which you built that behavior and so you start restructuring the conversation inside your mind. That’s important because you’ll be more likely to change the behavior if you’re no longer justifying its value or its importance. That’s important. But the other piece of it, which is what you’re talking about, is really taking steps to actually change. What are the concrete things that you can do in your life? Who are the people that you can call that can be a support system that can start to alleviate some of the pressures that you’ve put on yourself? What are the coping skills that you can use when you’re feeling anxiety about surrendering control? What are the coping skills that you can use when you’re feeling anxiety about an unknown circumstance that you would otherwise obsess over?

Some of it is about building some of those skills so that you can change and soothe yourself in the process. Some of it is about really what sounds silly but really concrete things like setting a timer on your phone and leaving when it rings, making sure that you have an accountability partner that asks you at the end of every week how many hours did you work, or putting into place some sort of joyous engagement like an art class, a dance class, or something that’ll pull you away from the things that are burning you out into a world that’s going to help rejuvenate you.

Every goal should correlate to an accomplishment. For every goal you have in mind, think of an achievement you’ve done recently.

Do you think it has something to do with self-love?

Absolutely. Many of us, first of all, are not even told that we need to love ourselves. We’re so externally focused. We’re constantly looking for other people to love us, and we’re constantly out there trying to love other people. We really look at it as social engagement with another individual. We are rarely taught that it’s important to love ourselves in the same way that we expect other people to love us. Then if we are taught that we should make that a priority, very few of us are even taught how. How do you actually do that? How do you sit with yourself and get to know the things that you like? What kinds of risks do you take so that you can learn more about yourself? What are the appropriate ways to engage with yourself? What hobbies can you try? What relationships honor who you are? What relationships can you cut off? What practices in your daily life help you feel stronger? Which practices in your daily life suck you dry? 

We’re rarely taught to look at ourselves that way and we’re even discouraged sometimes. Above and beyond that even being taught, we’re shamed, we’re told that we’re self-centered, we’re told that we’re narcissistic, which is often misused. We’re told that we’re only caring about ourselves or that we’re selfish. As a result, we don’t really take the time.

I had a complex childhood. But the time where I really hated myself was after going through an abusive relationship. I was brainwashed to think that I’m ugly and fat. I was called all those names and that the guy I was with, this predator, lived in my mind and I ended the relationship. Actually, I ended up in a hospital. It was the first time he got physical and then I broke it off. But I paid a painful price – physically and mostly emotionally. I had this post-traumatic stress and I used to go down the street and not look at people’s eyes. I really hated myself.

Mirror Work by Louise Hay

One of my most appreciated self-love practices was from Louise Hay which is Mirror Work. Louise says that when something good happens, run to the mirror and say, “I love you.” When something bad happens, run to the mirror and say, “I love you. I love you no matter what,” and so I did. In the beginning, it was hard because I used to look at my reflection and the girl in the mirror was crying. It’s like, “No, this is wrong. I don’t believe you.” I kept saying it and saying it. It took days and weeks until finally, I could look at myself without tearing up. Eventually, I started to believe in myself and I was able to look in my eyes and say, “I love you.” 

Another one of my mentors, Dr. Demartini says, “Whatever you did or did not do, you are worthy of love.” That was another piece that I took with me because we make mistakes and we’re not perfect. We’re not at a place where we think we should be all the time but it doesn’t matter because whatever we did or did not do, we are worthy of love. This Mirror Work practice for me was one of my catalysts for change. I did a lot. I worked on my physiology. I took martial arts to strengthen myself. I took yoga. I took dance. I did some spiritual work. It wasn’t just a theme, but my first step for self-love was this practice.

I love that. I love that. It’s so important. How sad for you that you experienced that violence, and how amazing for you that you were able to come out on the other end of it as strong as you are. Good for you.

Yes. Maybe it’s sad, but for me, sometimes we get gifts in life and we can’t see that it was a gift. It’s like a gift with the bow at the bottom. We don’t see the gift. But now, I look back and I’m like, “If this didn’t happen, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I didn’t go through it to change myself, I wouldn’t be able to teach others how to love themselves more, how to touch their hearts, how to empathize, how to connect with them on a deeper level.” There was a pain but I see it as a total gift right now.

Absolutely, and that we are not the sum total of our pain. Oftentimes, it can feel that way because you start collecting all of the things you wish you could have done differently and all of the moments that you felt embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid. Now, it needs to be addressed, it needs to be processed, but there’s a way to live through it as you just said where you can come out on the other end. If you’re stuck in all of the horrible things that you feel about yourself, then you can’t call into your life something you don’t think you deserve which is that love from another person or from yourself.

I just saw a documentary on Netflix, I don’t remember the name of it, but it’s about how social media affects young people. Some young people, they’re on the verge of suicide because somebody said something and trolled them online, or because they don’t have a mega following so they’re not worthy. It’s almost like a Black Mirror episode where your worth is by how many points you have. It’s happening in China right now, and people that don’t get enough points are not allowed to travel. It’s pretty freaky what’s going on.

It’s crazy. I tell people all the time, “Your self-value isn’t measured in any kind of a number.” If you find yourself looking at any kind of number, and I mean any number at all for it. If you’re obsessed with how many people you’ve slept with if you’re obsessed with what weight you have.

Being present and in tune with yourself is the only way to be happy. Click To Tweet

Never be obsessed about how many people you slept with, come on. You’re more experienced.

Right, that’s certainly not me. But there are people because we’re taught to carry all this shame and we’re so insecure. There are all of these ideas about who is socially worthy and who is valuable and who is not. People do look to metrics oftentimes. If you are measuring your happiness by metrics that are set up by other people, you are basically setting yourself up for unhappiness. If you look to the scale for a number to make you happy, if you look to your social media for a number of followers to make you happy, if you look to your bank account for a number to make you happy, if there is any kind of number, because we are slaves to our numbers, that is running your world and determining whether or not you experience joy, you’ve set yourself up for unhappiness.

I think it’s human nature to look for validation. I haven’t posted a new Facebook video in a while, but when I do, I do go back and see how many people watched it. It does correlate with my self-value, whether I want it or not. In my logical mind, I can say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. It’s just a number,” but subconsciously, I feel like I’m affected.

Here’s the thing, it’s okay to be affected. I’m affected. I agree with you, I think that we all do look for validation. I don’t think it’s a question of not looking for validation or not needing validation, I think it’s a question of being determined by the validation. That’s where I think we have to be careful. I look at the scale and sometimes I’m like, “Oh, that’s great.” Sometimes I’m like, “Oh, damn.”

I stopped looking at the scale.

Right, like you said at the viewers, you can look. You can have a reaction. You’re a human being. I’m a human being. I will look. I will have a reaction. But who I am as a human being, my worth on this planet is not determined by that. Now, can I have an emotional reaction or can my ego go bonkers in a moment? Absolutely. But then you pull it back. That’s what I talk to my clients a lot about because I do think there is this idea particularly in our world of enlightenment work or people doing the “work.” There is this idea that now you want to be this enlightened person that doesn’t have these emotions or doesn’t have these feelings. Of course, you have them. Of course, you have reactions. Of course, you have feelings. Of course, you have the wants or needs. Of course, those things are there. I don’t pretend to know how to make them go away. I’m not at that level of enlightenment.

What I help my clients with—and what I’ve been able to do for myself, and what has really made a difference for me, and them—is to make it, so that is maybe a conversation in my mind, but not a factor in my heart. It doesn’t determine how I feel about myself. It is only something that I think about for a few minutes, and then maybe rethink and restrategize. Think about what my goal is. What I’m trying to achieve? Why is that important? What can I do differently? But it doesn’t become about me, and whether or not I’m worthy. It becomes about, “Okay, what do I want? How do I move towards getting this?”

I love it.

I’m not better or worse at 160 pounds than I am at 138 pounds. But if my goal is to feel more energy when I get up in the morning and I know that I have a better likelihood of feeling that way at 138 pounds than at 158 pounds, then my goal is now to lose the weight. But that doesn’t mean that who I am at either of those weights changes or that I’m more valuable, or more pretty, or more anything. I’m just setting a different goal, and I have to strategize on how to move towards that.

With entrepreneurs, especially men, it looks like they do really correlate their self-value to how much money they make. It’s a condition of society. They’re conditioned to be, traditionally, the providers and achievers. When somebody like that comes to you, how do you convince them otherwise? How do you help them see their self-worth? Instead of just telling them, “No. You are worthy.” What actually do you do to allow them to see the light within themselves?

We explore a number of different things about people. In my book, I use the Eight Dimensions of Wellness as a guiding paradigm. We look at wellness through this comprehensive holistic lens. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness—I’ll just go through them real quick—are emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual and environmental. Those Eight Dimensions of Wellness guide the way that we do the work, and improving—in each of those areas—how you take care of yourself and how you focus on your wellness, which is one of the reasons I love when you talked about going to dance class, going to martial arts, the spiritual practice, and all these other things because we really are whole people. We need to address ourselves that way.

If you’re stuck with all of the horrible things about yourself, you can’t have something you don’t think you deserve.

Oftentimes, when people come to me, and they’re super focused on a success or a failure in one aspect, which is a little bit of what you’re talking about. If they’re focused on financial success, it’s a defining factor of who they are. Then we really encourage conversation around, exploration around and how they fare in the other areas. What do they contribute to the other areas? Where are they, in terms of taking care of themselves, or even being themselves, or even knowing themselves in those other areas? You’d be surprised at what I get.

I have people who are at the top of their game in careers and are super unhappy. Actually, I have a handful of clients right now who are in this situation, top of their game career-wise, super unhappy, and have invested so much in being who they are professionally that they can’t pivot. They can’t figure out how to move into who they really want to be, but they know now. They know, “This ain’t it, but how do I walk away from the six or seven-figure salary to paint all day, or to sing, or to open a bed-and-breakfast, or to do any number of other things that I’m sure where I’m going to find my joy?”

We spend a lot of time detaching them from the idea that all they have to offer is this particular area in which they thrive and really start exploring, “How they could really do good in other areas?” That could be socially, spiritually, emotionally. There’s a number of other things, then we work on transitions. I don’t advise anybody to quit their job and just do whatever it is that makes them happy.

But what I do help people do is work on the transition from unhappy to happy. Sometimes that means fewer hours at work and more hours at an art class. Sometimes that does mean to quit the job altogether and use the money that you’ve earned to invest in opening a business. How can we make that profitable business and, at the same time, you enjoy it? Sometimes that means taking a year off and during that hiatus, you explore another country. There are several ways for people to do that. But I think people have to be able and willing to move out of the idea that what got you here will get you to happy because, sometimes, what got you to success, isn’t the same thing that’s going to get you to happiness. It’s okay to pivot.

I’m an Aries. So I’ve been following my bliss my whole life. I traveled to Japan with $700 in my pocket when I was 21. It was my first trip out of the country. I went there for two weeks and ended up staying for 2 ½ years. I traveled around the world. I did many things. I like following my bliss. 

But now that I’m older, it’s almost like, “Okay, you’ve got to get more serious.” You’ve got to really do things a certain way and especially the circles I hang out with. There is a formula to do things. You have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, and be a certain way to be successful. There are seven steps, five steps, eleven steps, and all that. 

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

I just feel like the more I do that, the more I try to be a sheep and follow the herd, the less I shine for myself or for others. Seth Godin has this book, Purple Cow. He talks about, “You want to be that purple cow; the one that stands out. You want to be your genuine self because this is what people are going to be attracted to.” I think that comes from following your bliss.

I agree. You have such great energy about you. You already have the guidance because it just comes through you. Here’s the thing, there’s a very delicate line between using the wisdom of others through the books, the steps, and whatever. And using the wisdom of others to help pave your way and still walking to your rhythm. It’s a very delicate balance because it becomes very easy to walk to their rhythm if you’re walking their path. It’s very difficult to walk your rhythm and your path and not have the support and guidance to help you navigate.

I think part of it is really being able to utilize the guidance that’s out there for us because there’s so much of it, and then still figuring out what is our internal guiding system telling us about how we need to do this, where we need to do this, why we need to do this, because the who, what, when, where and why of it are ours. They’re personal. They’re sacred. They’re nuanced. They’re rich. That’s what I think is really important, is to take in the wisdom, and then figure out how to apply it to our who, what, when, where, and why.

Easier said than done. Now, what are some tools that we can use to connect to our inner guidance and sort it out? Because I’ve been studying with many gurus, leaders, and luminaries. In the beginning, I used to be enamored by their greatness. I didn’t even see them as human beings and I used to put them on a pedestal. It’s like, “Oh, please teach me, Master.” I learned to be more discerning. But what are some of your tools to help people be more discerning and more in tune with their intuition and their own guidance?

I actually have, again in my book. I hate plugging the book.

No, it’s a good book and people need to know about the book.

Love YOU: 12 Ways to Be Who You Love & Love Who You Are

Thank you. It has so much more in there that I can cover in an hour. It’s called Love YOU: 12 Ways to Be Who You Love & Love Who You Are. The first part of the book talks about growing up, and then some early romantic relationships in which I lost myself and ended up constantly feeling alone. I didn’t know how to have a relationship with myself, and so the solitude was lonely. I talk about that. In the second part of the book, I talk about those eight dimensions of wellness. There are three activities in each dimension. So there are 24 things that I changed in my life that really helped me to find more balance and create a relationship with myself where I felt healthy and happy. My joy was my own and it wasn’t dependent on who called, who came, and who I dated, or what job I had, or where I was living. It was really something that I could bring into any moment of any day.

Then in the third part, I give some more concrete examples of how other people can do it for themselves. I talk more about behavior change models. I also talk about this thing, that I’m going to get into now, to address your question which is the IPP. The IPP is your Intuitive Precognitive Prophecy. It’s your IPP. Basically, it’s intuitive because you know it and you don’t even know how you know it. It’s just sort of like the logo, the Mattel logo on a Barbie, you know what I mean, it’s just a part of how you were fabricated. Then the precognitive is because you knew it before you knew things, it’s just been with you for so long. Then the prophecy piece of it is because it is prophetic. It moves you toward a point in the future that you’re not yet able to live, but through this, you can access it.

Your Intuitive Precognitive Prophecy or IPP is an internal guiding system, a vision of who you are that was created by you in your most spiritually-led moments. I have in there a guided meditation that you can do to help you start to really think about what is your IPP. “Where would you be if you allowed yourself to craft it from the very beginning?” If you didn’t focus on what your parents wanted, what your teachers wanted, what your bosses thought, or what your boyfriend’s called you; if it wasn’t really this externally created draft of who you are that you were living, if rather than that you were crafting it from a spiritually-oriented, safe, and whole peace inside of you, what would that look like?

It’s probably one of the most helpful pieces of the work that I did. Because one of the things I talk about in there is, if you know who you’re going to be, then this obsession over becoming it, and what you have to do to become it, and this shame of not living up to it that we’re always carrying around goes away. Because there’s no version of your life in which you don’t achieve who you are meant to be.

It’s like Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right.” When you are so connected to that version of yourself, the person that you’re going to be, and you don’t put a time stamp on it, or extreme expectations on how you’re going to get there, and you’re in a space of allowing this, and then you can grow into that Venus.

Absolutely. I think that for most of us, so much of it is about the pressure we put on ourselves, and so much of the pressure we put on ourselves is because we don’t…

Develop a healthy relationship with yourself to attract a healthy relationship with others. Click To Tweet

I can’t stop putting pressure on myself, can anybody help me?

I know. Here’s the thing, I talk about it in the book as well, I talk about the cognitive discrepancy. So much of the pressure that we put on ourselves is a result of how disappointed we are in ourselves for not living up to who we thought we should be right now. We carry it all day, all morning, all night, in our sleep, it haunts us. We’re haunted by who we thought we should be and the disappointment we feel within ourselves at not being that. Now, the funny thing about that is everybody wants to be different. Even the people we think we should be are comparing themselves to other people they think they should be.

I spent an inordinate amount of time over the last few years working with celebrities and doing television coaching and consultation on some television shows. It’s interesting to see how many people compare themselves to celebrities. Then when you work with celebrities, the celebrities are comparing themselves to other people. No one is happy with who they are because everyone is working sort of at a backlog. Whoever you’ve conceived yourself to be is always a step ahead of who you already are. Now, if you can just live with that, if you can just accept the idea that the version of you that’s pushing you will always be a step ahead of where you are, which means where you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be. You’re never going to be that version because it has to be a future version in order to pull you along. If you can just accept that, you’re fine. But what we do is we torture ourselves by comparing ourselves to other people or worse to the “us” we are not yet.

One thing people forget to do along the way is celebrating our achievements. We achieved something great and we’re happy for five minutes. It took us a few years to get it, we’re happy for five minutes, and there were like, “Now what? I need to be there. I’m here, but I need to be there.” Like you’re in a skit from Sesame Street, “But I’m here, but I want to be there.”

Right. Then we get there, now there is here, and so now you want to be there. Every time you get to a there, there is the here. If you’re never comfortable being here, then you’ll never be comfortable there.

It’s important to stop and smell the roses. If you’re in a funk, it’s important to go back and count your blessings and be grateful. Also, count all your achievements and think about the younger version of you that so wanted to be where you are today.

That could only dream. In my 20s, I could only dream of having a relationship as fulfilling as the one that I’m in.

Tell me more about that.

Yeah, what do you want to know? But the reality of it is that’s such an important piece of it. We forget the “us” that created the life we now live because we’re just so busy obsessing over being somewhere other than where we are. Being present is the only possible way to be happy. Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t all have goals, and we don’t all have things we want to accomplish. But it’s like you said, can we celebrate where we are?

Take in the wisdom and figure out how to apply it to your who, what, when, where, and why.

I used to be very big on vision boards. I used to love a good vision board. I would have workshops where I would teach other people how to do vision boards. Vision boards are still really good and I encourage them. But I got to a point in my life, where all vision boards I did was building up my anxiety because all I would do was stare at the vision board. Rather than think of myself as creating what was on the board, I would obsess over what I needed now to make that more possible. When I started to work with overachievers I understood why.

It became tortuous. Listen, I’m not perfect. I’ve had moments where I was even less perfect than the very-not-perfect I am right now. I would end up doing that. It’s very different for me now, but I understand that mentality because I lived it. What I encourage, particularly my overachieving clients to do now, is have a vision photo album that you put somewhere in a drawer or whatever, and have a board with your accomplishments, or have your vision board next to your accomplishment board. Really, take every moment not just to look forward, but also to celebrate the present.

That is so beautiful. It’s so unique. I’ve never heard that idea before.

Particularly for those of us who are work-oriented, future-obsessed, or those kinds of things, it can be a very soothing way to set up your goals. Because every goal, in many ways, correlates to an accomplishment. I will guide my clients often through that exercise, “For every goal you put up there on your vision board, put on your accomplishment board right next to it. Something that you’ve already accomplished in that same area.” Because it really does compliment and balance what we tend to focus on which is this over obsession with what’s to come.

I like what you said. For me, I believe in vision boards. I have two articles on orionsmethod.com about vision boards, and how to make them, and how it affected my life. Actually, most of the things I really want to manifest—the big things—I do them through vision boards. I never got anxiety around it. For me, it was, “Okay. I’m going to put the order on the vision board, and then I’m going to put the vision board away. Then maybe a few months later or a year later, I’ll go back and look at it.” Every time I go back and look at it, I’m like, “Oh, that happened, and that happened.” I don’t have the part where I obsess about it, but I can totally see how that can be, so I love that idea of accomplishment board. Wow, that’s such a big deal. That’s a wonderful name.

It’s a way to shift your perspective around who you are because we do focus on what we’re not.

Let’s talk about your love life.

Yes, so what do you want to know about my very hot love life?

Your summer hot love life.

What can I tell you?

What did you do to attract your person? Did you do a vision board? What did you learn in the process?

We talk about this sometimes. I think the best thing that I think that I did to attract a healthy relationship in my life really was developing a healthy relationship with myself. It’s very interesting because, by the time he came into my life, I had already become so happy with being alone that now, he had to be better than me being with me for me to keep him around. It’s a whole different standard than it used to be. Before, the guy just had to be better than the last guy, but now, the guy had to be better than last night by myself which was freaking awesome. It was a completely different standard. I think he had done a lot of work on himself as well and had come to a similar realization. But the only way I can actually be in a relationship with another human being is if I enjoy being with myself. Otherwise, what am I asking them to do? I want them to be happy with me, but I’m not happy with me, and so now we’re in this crazy cycle.

You can't build light in a relationship from a dark place in your heart. Click To Tweet

We were both doing this work at the same time not knowing each other and then when we met, we really bonded more than not over this work and over our understanding about the importance of boundaries, communication, our own coping and soothing mechanisms. The importance of meditation, and the importance of having a spiritual center—not necessarily to be confused with religion—really having all of these key pieces that I had been working on. And I was able to say to him, “Oh, I read this book. Let me introduce you to Neale Donald Walsch.” He was like, “Oh, that’s great! Also, let me introduce you to The Untethered Soul.” There were all these overlaps where we were complementing one another, so similar interests, different experiences. We weren’t bored over sharing a similar interest because we were bringing to it these very different experiences, and it was great.

We’ve been together, it’s going on seven years. Over the seven years, there have been 98% phenomenal moments. There have been 2% of moments where I just look at him, and he looks at me, and we’re like, “What the hell? Why are we totally off today? I can’t stand you. You can’t stand me. What’s happening?” We’ll just sit and talk, or we won’t talk if he needs a moment, or I need a moment. Part of that is really about how well we know ourselves because in knowing ourselves, we don’t have to chase after one another; in knowing ourselves, we don’t have to fear what we’re going to say, or how we’re going to take it, or what it’s going to be, what it’s going to mean, or what is this—all of those things that creep into conflicts, and things that come up for other people.

Of course, we’re not exempt from those things, but they have a different place for us. Because it’s really about, what did we learn from this conversation that will help us love ourselves better in the future, and in turn love one another better in the future as opposed to any conflicts coming up, and being a deal breaker, an ender, an angry night, or a pissed-off morning, or whatever it would have turned into with another relationship? It’s been exciting and fun. We travel, talk and play a lot. I think he would say the same thing is, it’s mostly rooted in how comfortable we were with who we were by the time we got together.

I love it. Every time you hear a story, you have this conversation in your head about, “Oh, how does it apply in my life?” I met the love of my life, my husband, at a self-development seminar. We met after six days of soul shedding, of working on ourselves, and being really intentional. We were very open, raw, and vulnerable. That’s why when we met, we didn’t have those games or evil vibes. We met at a very pure place, and we connected on a very deep level, so much so that we said I love you to each other within 24 hours. Then nine days later, he proposed to me on a hot air balloon in Vegas. I was a captive audience in a little basket in the sky, and I said, “No,” but there was nowhere to run.

I’m sure that made the ride down all kinds of fun.

Yeah, we descended into the dry land below with a slight light in our hearts. Anyways, nine months later, he proposed to me, and I said, “Yes.”

That’s awesome.

I like that. I like the idea of knowing yourself and being ready. Because if you’re going in a relationship, and you carry your past, and you’re without clarity, then you bring all this heaviness and fogginess into the relationship. So much so that you can meet the person that is probably your soulmate. But because of the heaviness and the fog, you won’t be able to either recognize this person or connect to that person on a deeper level or even maintain the relationship for a long-term relationship.

That’s exactly right.  You shouldn’t. Because if you’re in a relationship, and you don’t love yourself, and you’re not in love with yourself, you are asking of someone to do something you cannot do for you, and that is a very difficult way to live in eternity. It’s exhausting. Can you imagine?

I’m with you. Totally.

I think it’s important. Now, we say this all the time, “We hope it works forever.” I hope it works for you forever, but its working is the condition. You don’t want to be in a relationship where you’re trying to make it work constantly, and it’s not working, and you’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole just because you can’t be alone or because you’re empty.

And so many people will do it.

Another statistic that I talk about in my book about how many people are happier being in a relationship with someone that they’re not happy with than taking the chance of being alone. It’s unbelievable. In Spanish, there’s this saying that says, “Mejor sola que mal acompañada,” which is better alone than poorly accompanied. People say that, but they clearly don’t mean that because one study that I read, found that 99.7% of people that were surveyed claims they would feel worthless if alone. Fear to be alone because of the negative judgment of others or simply feared spinsterhood or not having a long-term companion. A small percentage of that group even said that, “Any relationship, even a horrible one, was better than not being in one at all.” That’s craziness.

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That goes against my nature, but I get it. Especially when you get older, the clock is ticking, and you’re like, “I have to be with someone.”

We’re socially conditioned that way. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t be that way. I’m not suggesting that we should always be alone. I love spending my life with someone else, I think it’s great. But I think the fear of being alone will drive you into some dark places.

You want to get into a relationship for the right reasons because anytime you fake it, anytime you go into a relationship with an agenda, or for the wrong reasons, it’s going to break. Unless you come with a pure heart, eventually, it’s going to break.

You can’t build light in a relationship from a dark place in your heart. You just can’t.

That was beautiful and deep. I’m sure we can talk a lot about relationships, maybe another week of interviews.

Let’s do it.

We should, totally. I would love to have you back on the show. But before we finish, what are your three top tips to living a stellar life?

Living a stellar life, my three top tips, take time every day throughout the day to do one thing that at least makes you feel alive and that you enjoy. That could be painting, swimming, meditating, that could be anything. But every day, at least one thing that makes you feel joyful and alive—that’s tip number one. Tip number two is, be in healthy relationships without exception. You don’t owe it to anyone to be in a relationship that is not helpful and healthy in your life—that’s number two. I would say number three, trust yourself because we each have an internal guiding system, an Intuitive Precognitive Prophecy, something inside of us that moves us in the direction of our joy. If we can learn to listen to ourselves and trust ourselves, we can really become the best, highest, healthiest versions of us.

Beautiful. Thank you so much, Dr. D.

Thank you so much, Orion.

Thank you. Where can people find you, connect with you, where can we get your book?

Yeah. Go to my website that’s www.dinorahnieves.com. You can find everything on there. I have an app with guided meditations and other nifty tools that’ll help you get through your day. I have my book there Love YOU: 12 Ways to Be Who You Love & Love Who You Are, I also have a workbook for that book, and a Latina edition for that book so please, pick that up. Then I have a monthly podcast with Tia Robinson who’s a mindful coach. She’s phenomenal. She and I get together and talk about everything that stresses women out, it’s called S.O.S. – Sisters Overcoming Stress. We talk about nutrition, relationships, family, friendships and anything you can imagine. Definitely check that out. I’ve also got links to my blogs there and to some YouTube videos that you can watch. Everything is on my page.

Perfect. Thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate you.

Thank you so much, Orion. I really appreciate you and what you’re doing and your testimony. You’re very, very powerful so keep going for it, and let me know if I can ever be helpful.

Thank you and thank your listeners. Do something that makes you feel alive every day. Be in a healthy relationship without exception, trust yourself, follow your joy and live a Stellar Life. This is Orion. Until next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

✓ Honor yourself. Love the person that you are. Change your limiting thoughts into encouraging affirmations and celebrate your accomplishments in life. 
✓ Don’t work yourself to the ground. Exhaustion can negatively impact you physically, mentally, and emotionally. 
✓ Don’t hesitate to take a step back when you’re overwhelmed. It’s okay to take a break or ask for help. The world will not end if you rest for a little while. 
✓ Learn how to prioritize yourself without guilt. Women often feel bad for saying no to others at the expense of their happiness. It’s important to put yourself first in order to better take care of others.
✓ Challenge, reconsider, rethink, and reconceptualize the ideas that feed your behavior. Self-awareness is the key to true self-love.
✓ You are not your past or your pains. The mistakes you’ve made in life don’t reflect who you are as a person. Learn from them and let it go so that you can see the bright future ahead of you. 
✓ Never measure your self-value against society’s expectations. You are more than what people say about you on social media.  
✓ Have the courage to change your path when you’re no longer happy. If you don’t love what you do or where you are in life, know that there are many opportunities out there waiting for you.
✓ Utilize the guidance that’s out there and manage your resources effectively. Seek help from experts and communities if you need it. There are many people who are ready to support you in becoming the best version of yourself.
✓ Grab a copy of Dr. Dinorah Nieves’ book, Love YOU: 12 Ways to Be Who You Love & Love Who You Are.

Links and Resources

About Dr. Dinorah Nieves

Dr. Dinorah Nieves (aka Dr. D) is a personal/professional development coach and behavioral scientist, who helps people do well and feel well by taking a whole-person approach to wellness. She helps people change the habits that get in their way. Dinorah has been featured on ABCs The Chew, WE TV”s “Braxton Family Values” and OWNs Iyanla Fix My Life.

 

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