I only follow, connect with inspirational people and accounts on social media. I don’t feed my mind with negative or emotion-provoking messages as I protect my inner peace.
As a part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Janie Lacy. Dr. Lacy is a Licensed Relationship Trauma Psychotherapist who has thirteen years of experience working with those who have unsuccessfully tried to break free from their toxic relationship patterns. By addressing the root issue of their suffering, Janie creates breakthrough experiences from the inside out, allowing her clients to finally find peace within themselves they have so desperately longed for in life.
Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.
When I was pursuing an MBA degree, I meet a friend who was a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and we collaborated by facilitating workshops together for our University community as part of a Leadership Enhancement Program. This resulted in my interest to help others through the dark hours of their life.
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 am currently building an online course called “The Woman Redeemed Game Plan: The Step by Step Process to End Toxic Relationship Patterns” which will help women heal from toxic relationships so they can finally get the love they deserve.
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?
I was raised by my parents to be co-dependent. They did not have the ability to teach me how to mirror back my feelings and help me build a healthy identity resulting in the unconscious trauma of invisibility. This resulted in many dysfunctional relationships with romantic partners and friends. My eldest sister was also murdered by the father of two of her children, so that also lead me to research my family’s trauma and addiction history.
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?
Today more than ever, we are consistently comparing ourselves to the images on TV and Social Media. We see everyone else as prettier, thinner and perfect. This results in lowered self-esteem, body image issues and seeking cosmetic surgery.
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?
It is important to love yourself, so you are secure in who you are, accepting of who you’ve become so you are not desperate looking for other people to validate your feelings or existence. When we truly love ourselves, we can truly acquire the love that we deserve from ourselves and other people.
Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?
People will stay in mediocre relationships because they either settled in the thought that this is as good as it gets, afraid to be alone or don’t have the courage to leave.
You want to examine your relationship with the lens of “Am I my best self in this relationship” Does my partner support me continuously growing and pursuing my purpose?” Do I support my partner and meet his/her needs in our relationship? Do we have a safe emotional place where I can be myself and not feel judged by my mate? Relationships should add to our lives, and not take away and as a person practices reciprocity.
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 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?
There are many times, we can unconsciously function from our blind spots or past traumas. If we are not conscious of our core wounds in our current relationship, we can project onto our partners things that are not based in our current reality.
I remember a time when I had trauma reactions in a relationship that was unfounded in the current situation but rather were projected onto my partner because of a previous relationship where I experienced Betrayal Trauma. I had to learn to deal with my hurts so I could show up healed in my relationships and to be conscious of when my triggers are historical.
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)?
If we don’t like our own company, why should we ask another to enjoy being in our company? When we can sit with our thoughts meditate knowing we are lovable this can lead to a response to life versus a reaction to life. Most times, when we don’t understand our attachment to others — it can lead to dysfunctional ways of thinking about ourselves when we are alone. For example, we can feel that something is wrong with us if we don’t have someone consistently beating down our door to be with us.
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 we truly know who we are, we then know what we need in life. When we know what we need in life, we can have boundaries with people, places or things that don’t serve us well. We have the capacity to love others in a real authentic way because we know our value.
In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?
The main things that individuals and society can do to help people better understand and accept themselves is to be less judgmental about other people’s behavior and more curious and open to learning about others and their experiences in life. When we give the energy of acceptance, it encourages others to just be themselves which can have a domino effect in our society as a whole when more individuals can engage in consciously connecting with others.
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?
1) Morning Routine — meditation, journaling and devotional time — first fruits of the day to a less hurried start and a calmer mind.
2) Boundaries — I teach people how to treat me — don’t allow, accept and accommodate bad behavior in others — be kind and nice but let people know when they have crossed the line.
3) Prioritize things that are important me — self-care, exercise and rest which can lead to me feeling better about myself, higher self-esteem and confidence in the space that I take up in the world.
4) Purpose Focused — I put my energy, time and resources into the things that matter the most and are aligned with my life’s mission.
5) I only follow, connect with inspirational people and accounts on social media. I don’t feed my mind with negative or emotion-provoking messages as I protect my inner peace.
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?
Gifts of Impection by Brene Brown — Teaches us about self-acceptance
Rising Strong by Brene Brown — Teaches us how to get up after life has knocked us down
Facing Co-dependency by Pia Mellody — Teaches us to recognize our dysfunctional ways of relating to others and how to work our way out of the destructive pattern.
Joe Osteen Podcast — Encouragement and positive messages to look at life through the affirmative lens
The Potter’s Touch Podcast — Inspiration to live a purposeful life
Break Down to Break Through with Lisa A. Romano — Recognizing our unhelpful patterns so that we can break them
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene — Gives an hostilic view of the world and life through the lens of psychology
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk MD — Gives insight to how the body responds to our traumas and stressors in life and why we need to heal our body too and not just our mind.
Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. — Helps us understand how our childhood can play out in our adulthood.
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…
To teach people to go to their own “University” to learn why they do the things that they do and provide positive coping skills and techniques to catapult them to the next level so they can truly live a conscious life.
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?
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” ― Maya Angelou
It is a constant reminder that when courage shows up in our life, we can face our pain and turn it into purpose to fuel us forward.
Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!