I listen to my self-talk as well as my communication with others, paying attention if there are nuances that might show some deeper desires or needs that are being neglected. I remember going through a phase where I was feeling very bored and I found myself irritated with everything in the world. My honey was scrolling Facebook and the TV was on and everyone was paying attention to something other than me. I found my inner child screaming for attention and I wanted to micro-manage these annoyances. I was able to work through it (remembering that boredom is a call to be creative), but I really try to notice whenever these situations arise and use them to create beauty in the world rather than negativity or destruction because of a false belief that something in me is unlovable.
As a part of my series about “Connecting With Yourself To Live With Better Relationships” I had the pleasure to interview Lisa Solterbeck. Lisa has been in the field of trauma work since 2000. She has worked in systems such as juvenile justice, foster care, disabilities services, hospice and owns a holistic healing center called Journeys…A Center for Your Soul located in Salem Oregon with a primary focus on loving the self. She blends spirituality and psychology principles to offer tools for healing and self-love. Her focus looks at the subconscious behaviors that block our evolution as human beings. She has recently published a book called The Journey Back to Balance: An Intentional Path that focuses on the areas that people might miss in loving themselves and the world around them. She also published a deck of cards called The Essence Illumination Deck that helps people see where they might be blocked on their journey.
Thank you so much for joining us! Let’s Get Intimate! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
As a child, I was raised by a loving yet very religious family. I had many fears around God, salvation, and trying to wrap my head around the truth. I always knew I was meant to love at the deepest level and found it incredibly difficult to be in a world that had so many closed hearts. I knew there was a place of balance, where everyone was equal, and where there was no separation. I couldn’t find it in those I learned from. They seemed to suffer in their own quiet way. They held themselves back from speaking their truth, they didn’t give themselves what they wanted or needed, and they lacked the full range of emotions. Anxiety flowed; their minds and their hearts were not one. My family always encouraged me to touch lives, but I interpreted their message that I was to love to gain the approval of others and that, in turn, would help me be “good enough.”
Much of my life I’ve wrestled with this confusion, but in the process of my awakening, I have found the truth. The truth that love just is…nothing must be done to attain it. That search for approval stops us from attaining our own light and greatness and the knowledge that we are all one; only divided by fear of separation.
My final gift that I want to give the world is to not leave anybody behind who is ready to heal. It’s kind of my mission in life because I was a child that felt left behind.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships?
I recently published a deck of cards, The Essence Illumination Deck, and a book called The Journey Back to Balance: An Intentional Path. I am currently working on a dissertation that really shows the importance of self-love and bringing awareness to neglected needs. This will eventually be made into a book as well, as I’m building a theory base to help people understand the inner work that needs to be done to heal, create a state of harmony and balance within our own lives.
Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self-acceptance?
The economy crash of 2008 was really a tipping point for me, where I realized I had built a house of cards trying to earn my worth rather than claiming my worth. It left me fragile and vulnerable to the economic weather, shattering my ego and forcing me to go inward. I’ve done a lot of personal growth and inner work to heal those wounds since then.
According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?
I would hypothesize that the slight advantage in men’s self-esteem is that they are more focused on providing and duty, which has allowed them to find more inner confidence. Women, on the other hand, have been trained by society to focus more on external values rather than internal values. I would suspect that the low numbers in general, however, are related to the trance that our society puts people in by steering them away from self-love and instead toward false power.
We are very easily influenced by society, consumerism and our desire for instant gratification. Self-love is hard work, which we have been trained to avoid. There’s an article by biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton that shows that people act from our subconscious mind rather than our conscious mind up to 95% of the time!
As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?
If you don’t love yourself, your ability to attain your desired outcomes is impossible. Self-love is the foundation for a great life. So often we go on quests to seek things to fill that void of love, but we will become permanent seekers if we haven’t done the inner work.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
I think it’s really centered around the woundedness in our hearts, where we have old hurts that have been unresolved. The familiar stench of our past becomes something that we recreate because our mind only goes to what it knows. This is why self-love is so important; you’re bringing in something unfamiliar and training yourself to see the light that you truly desire. You want to create from love, not from woundedness, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy that will re-create the undesired outcomes.
When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but for our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?
Sometimes the best you can do is grieve and let go. Other times you’ll need to take an action step or say your truth. Or maybe you’ll need to change an unhealthy behavior that must stop. Whatever it is, do it now because holding yourself back can’t continue.
The book I wrote, The Journey Back to Balance: An Intentional Path, really talks a lot about this and is about exposing chambers in our lives where we need to be filled from the inside out, in a healthy way.
These are a few of the “stops” and “starts” from my book:
· Thinking you can change things outside of yourself to make the inside whole. To grow is an inside job.
· Positioning yourself as better than or less than others.
· Thinking someone else is going to come and rescue you.
· Pretending you are weak. You got this!
· Grounding yourself and working on truly staying present in the moment.
· Taking an honest inventory of your fears, looking at what is true fear and what is false fear. Move forward accordingly.
· Creating a list of places you have undervalued yourself and others and make a change.
· Allowing people into your life who want to support your needs and wants.
You are precious and you were meant to shine!
So many don’t really know how to be alone or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?
Spiritually, we would say this is an esoteric crisis where we have a separation from the self. It seems like we want to run from this feeling of being alone because that’s when we feel our pain. Society teaches us to avoid this pain, but to sit and work through it is actually the doorway out. Learn to be alone with what you are feeling… to be with ourselves is where reunification with the self can be obtained.
There’s an African proverb that says “When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” I think that really applies well here; learn to love yourself and work through the pain so you will not be easily toppled when the wind storms come. This doesn’t mean that we don’t need support and community, they can assist us in getting the courage to be with ourselves.
How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?
When you know yourself, you can truly know others. Our ability to expand our world is dependent upon knowing our true desires. If we build from misinformation, we become misguided.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
· Spend time in nature.
· Work on breathing and mindfulness techniques.
· Get curious about the self.
· Notice your feelings. Know that you are not your feelings, but rather that they are the road signs to your life.
What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?
· I like to take quiet time, maybe 15 minutes at a time, where I talk to my inner child, asking how I am, checking in with needs, etc. I really make it a priority to do this daily.
· I take baths to ground myself and center myself, tuning the noise of the world down by lowering lighting and allowing myself to feel the deeper feelings I have in my body.
· I make sure to maintain deep soul friendships. I ask these friends if they see things in me that I am not aware of and if they can see something I’m missing that would honor me better.
· I listen to music and notice if there are words or themes that resonate with me, and I follow that vibration inward.
· I listen to my self-talk as well as my communication with others, paying attention if there are nuances that might show some deeper desires or needs that are being neglected. I remember going through a phase where I was feeling very bored and I found myself irritated with everything in the world. My honey was scrolling Facebook and the TV was on and everyone was paying attention to something other than me. I found my inner child screaming for attention and I wanted to micro-manage these annoyances. I was able to work through it (remembering that boredom is a call to be creative), but I really try to notice whenever these situations arise and use them to create beauty in the world rather than negativity or destruction because of a false belief that something in me is unlovable.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?
· You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
o Louise Hay does an incredible job helping individuals understand that their self-talk and ways for looking at the world really affect our reality, and then ties those thoughts to physical aches and pains that may manifest by not dealing with those thinking errors. In addition, it offers new ways to talk to yourself with love and kindness.
· Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping
o This book offers a paradigm shift on the reasoning for why life happens and offers tools for, as the title suggests, radical forgiveness. It’s a really powerful book that I have seen help many clients who come through my door.
· Feelings Buried Alive Never Die by Karol K Truman
o This book really highlights how not dealing with our pain and suffering can cause physical ailments and delay the functions in our futures. It also helps the reader learn how to turn negative thought processes into positive ones.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…
Helping human beings know that they are sacred and that there is a place in the world where their light is meant to be, teaching them to claim their self-worth and self-value. Claiming these things, even after being harmed, is the key to a greater world!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by?
Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?
Strive not to be of success, but rather to be of value — Albert Einstein
Value and knowing that you are lovable and worthy of being an equal contributor to our world is necessary to be fulfilled in life. I find that people that are wounded don’t know their value. If you know your value you’ve probably done your healing work and fallen in love with yourself. If you don’t, however, you will discount it and live in a way that devalues yourself.