I’m Diana Swillinger and you’re listening to The Renew Your Mind Podcast, Episode 68, where one of my clients, Rianon, interviews me and we talk about Am I Enough? And Others Needs Before My Own and More. Enjoy.
DIANA: Hey. Hey everybody. So glad you’re here with me today. And it’s not just me, which I have come to think is more fun. So I’m going to keep having people on my podcast. But today I have Rianon with me. If you guys follow me on Facebook, you’ve seen her before because she did a Facebook Live with me, but she’s also a client and she’s gone through my entire level one coaching, so that’s pretty cool. But she emailed me questions along the way once and I never answered them. She sent me these three really great questions in an email and I’m like, HM, why don’t I answer them for everybody? Because what I thought is these questions are questions everybody has. So anyway, we’ll get to those in a minute. But in the meantime, welcome Rianon.
Rianon: Hello. Thank you for having me. Excited to be here.
DIANA: I just always love talking to you. So I think this is fabulous. So before we jump into the questions that you have for me, would you please tell us at least a little nugget about your journey, how you found your way to life coaching and what coaching has done for you in your life?
Rianon: Sure. Um, so I met you, Diana, through mom’s group. Um, you had spoke there and I mean, I was just instantly attracted to the work that you did and felt like I could relate to you and, um, your story. So m, I was really intrigued by life coaching at that point. Um, but I kind of hesitated to do it, as you know, because, um, I have a degree in psychology. I’ve also been through counseling, and I kind of felt like I knew it all. Not really, but it’s like, oh, is this really going to help? Um, so I’m so glad that I did it because, um, even though I had a lot of knowledge, um, I felt like I still really struggled to actually put it into practice and do that consistently. So you talk a lot about taking responsibility for what’s yours, like, your thoughts and your feelings. And I would say that I have struggled pretty much most, if not all of my life with regulating my emotions, um, just being very up and down. And I knew that I should have the ability to control my thoughts or my emotions, but it was like, I a lot of times couldn’t even recognize what I was thinking or even feeling. Like, I think when we first started, I was like, oh, I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I just remember sitting with the feelings wheel and trying to pinpoint what it was. So I think the biggest thing that I got was just realizing that I can manage my thoughts. I actually do have that ability.
Rianon: Um, I can then regulate my emotions and because, uh, all those things go together, I have this feeling of more control in my life and of my behavior. So, I mean, I feel like it’s helped me to be less reactive and more intentional with everything in my life, with my behavior, with the relationships. And actually it’s funny because I was talking to my husband about wanting to do the second series of life coaching that you have, and he was like, yeah, you should do that. Okay. Obviously it helped me. The other thing too, is like, you talk about practice and that more recently, I feel like I got away from doing some of these things that I learned and I was like, it’s so true that it works when you do it, and uh, you want it to become more natural. If you want it to have more of an impact in your life, you have to keep doing it and you have to practice so that it’s more natural. Um, it’s helped me with my relationship with my husband. Um, it’s helped me with my kids. And I think just giving me more hope that I maybe can achieve some things or maybe explore some different avenues in my life that I kind of thought, well, I can’t do this because I felt so overwhelmed with just with being a mom. Just like the day to day life. Um, it really just has been an amazing experience and I’m so excited to continue doing more coaching with you in the future.
DIANA: That’s awesome. And that’s just after twelve weeks. And usually people get partway through the coaching and I think you’re one of them too, where you’re like, when does this start working? When we were, ah, a couple of weeks in and stuff, I’m like, hang on, we’re getting there. But once you get past the halfway mark and start rounding the corner, it’s like, I can see the changes happening here. I can see how whatever it is, I’m less stressed, I’m more confident, I feel better. Mhm, so yeah, I really appreciate you sharing that. And you articulated it all so well. Because it’s funny when you said, uh, you were intrigued by life coaching, but you weren’t quite sure because it’s a little bit like, well, what is that?
Rianon: Right. Exactly.
DIANA: I know it’s psychology, and if that’s not psychology, what is it? But in a way, it’s taking concepts from psychology and my main concept is from cognitive behavioral therapy which is a psychological practice. And, um, it’s psychological theory that we put into place in a practical way. And it’s just the how is what is missing for so many people.
Rianon: Absolutely. Yeah.
DIANA: We know what things could be. We know what we want them to be, and we just keep hitting our head against the wall because we can’t quite figure out the how. Mhm. That’s so true. Yeah. Awesome. Okay, so now flip the tables. You get to ask me the questions you want. And, well, real quick, uh, what I noticed about these three questions, which I love, that these were the ones you had for me, because this is part of what I’m so passionate about, is I am solidly rooted in my faith as a Christian. I accepted Christ when I was four years old. It is at the center of everything I do. Yet I couldn’t figure out how to be happy or content until I started figuring out how to renew my mind. And so life coaching honestly brought in a lot of the biblical principles and just gave it a practical in, uh, all my studies in life coaching, it became practical. I knew how to put it into tools. I knew how to make it work in my own life. And then it feels like sometimes for some people, there’s a divide. Like, there’s the Christian concepts, and then there’s the life coaching concepts, or there’s the Christian concepts, and then there’s the psychology concepts. But how do they work together? And I really think they do. And these questions that you have for me, hopefully, will pull it all together for you and for the listeners. So. Okay, I’m ready. Go for it.
DIANA: Take IT away. Yes.
Rianon: And I just have to say that is so true. And that’s one of the reasons that I love you so much, because I have always felt kind of torn, like, well, am I doing the right thing? Does this concept fit within my faith? Because sometimes people that don’t understand it can think that it’s contrary. It’s not. But it’s just kind of seeing it within the right context. So I’m so excited you’re going to answer these. So, yes. Um, the first question that I have for you is, as Christians, how can we believe that we are good enough when the central message of Christianity is that we aren’t good enough on our own?
DIANA: Yeah, because it’s both. Um, the first thing I think of with this question is, good enough for what? If somebody’s good enough to be in the Olympics, they’ve hit some sort of measure to be in the Olympics, so they’re good enough for that. If they’re good enough at speaking Spanish and English, they could take a job as an English Spanish translator. If they’re not good enough, they can’t. So the question is, what is good enough for what? Is it for what? And I think we all apply it to ourselves because we want to be a good enough person. But it’s also such a vague concept. Uh, I don’t think we ever like, let’s peel it apart and see what am I actually trying to decide I’m good enough for. And in the Christian context? Well, in life coaching, let’s start there. I’m trying to teach everybody, you’re good enough. You don’t have to judge yourself, you don’t have to put yourself down.
You don’t have to think you’re not good enough. Because when you think that way, you’re going to feel terrible. And when you feel terrible, the things you do in your life and how you behave are going to come out of feeling terrible, like inadequate or disappointed with yourself or self loathing. And the actions and the behaviors that we do out of that aren’t great. So let’s think we’re good enough. Let’s love ourselves, let’s be okay with ourselves. But then if we’re good enough, why did Christ have to come die on the cross for our sins? The only reason he would have to come die on the cross for our sins is because we’re not good enough. But then we have this time dynamic, too.
Like, okay, Christ already died on the cross. That’s happened. Therefore we should be good enough because the price was already paid that his blood already washes over our sins and covers them. Yet here we are today, and we’re still struggling with sin. So maybe we’re not good enough yet, because if we were good enough, then we wouldn’t be sinning. And then it all gets very confusing. So I had this discussion once with somebody in my church life group where we were talking about being worthy, and I’m like, we’re all worthy. That’s why Christ was willing to come die for us. If we were not worthy of Him coming to die, he wouldn’t have done it. Yet he did, and he did it for all of us. So each one of us was worthy. And then a friend of mine who I love and respect, and we never had an argument about this. It was just a discussion. She said she didn’t say it in, um, direct contradiction of my statement, but she just happened to say it right after she started talking. She’s like, none of us are worthy. We all need Christ and the atonement for our sins so that we can be made worthy in his eyes. And we were both right. Mhm, so the central thing that I love to land on is that there’s no way Christ would have come and suffered such a horrible death for somebody who was not worthy of receiving that. So that means we’re completely lovable. We’re fully worthy, and he values us completely. And that’s why he did that.
There’s nothing we can or will not do in our lives that can touch that. It is God, is his love, is his sacrifice already happened. It’s complete. But we still strive to be better so in a way, we could be complacent and be like, I don’t need to improve anything because God’s covered it all. But we respond to what he’s done for us by wanting to grow closer to Him, wanting to grow our character, wanting to become more spiritually and emotionally mature, wanting to live out his desire for our lives. And we haven’t gone to heaven yet. And without Christ’s sacrifice, we might not be deemed worthy to cross the threshold and enter Heaven. But now we are because of his death. So it is a, uh, what came first, the chicken or the egg? And we could talk about it all day long, but I will stand on the every day.
There’s no way Christ would come and sacrifice Himself, and there’s no way God would lavish each one of us with unconditional love and mercy if we weren’t valued and worthy. And I looked up definitions because I always do, um, prized. Valued is to be prized and esteemed and worthy is just having worth or value god esteems us. There’s nothing we can do to change it. We are good enough and out, uh, of response to that. Let’s step into that, let’s draw closer into that in relationship with Him, and then we will naturally want to grow in our character and all that. You’re the one who asked the question.
Rianon: Um, yeah. And I think that, um, the response is true. I think, um, it’s like we always need to realign ourselves with truth, right. A lot of these things we know, but we can just kind of get knocked off that path and kind of get away from it. So we think, oh, maybe that’s not true. Kind of along the lines of what you said, too, is thinking that God loves us, uh, it’s not based on our actions and how freeing that is. I mean, that’s the gospel, right? And so it’s kind of like almost like renewing that where it’s like, okay, if I messed up, if I yelled at my kids or I did this or that, and I’m feeling bad about it, that’s not a cause for me to no longer love myself. Like, God doesn’t base his love on our actions, but I feel like we do that to ourselves all the time, right? We feel like we’re more lovable, um, if we’re doing well versus we feel like we’re screwing up. And so it’s just kind of that reminder of like, I am worthy of love. I can still love myself even if I have messed up.
DIANA: Yeah, that thought error is ours.
DIANA: That’s not coming from God. That’s us thinking we’re less lovable because of our performance, basically. Mhm, and we’re just making that story up. God’s shown us over and over again and what he’s done that that’s not true. We just make it up. I guess we have some natural tendency to try to prove our worth.
DIANA: And so there’s a, uh, learning as we grow closer in our relationship with God, where we realize the closer we get to Him and let Him in and let Him guide our thoughts and our emotions and all that, the more we realize that’s just stuff we make up, it’s not true at all.
DIANA: Yeah. All right. What else you got for me?
Rianon: Okay, so the next question I have for you is many of us have been taught to put others before ourselves. So we feel guilty or selfish when we take care of our own needs. How can we look at this in a more helpful way?
DIANA: So I don’t know where this came from, but somewhere in and I’d like to study this someday because I’d like to learn more about why so many Christians think this. I even heard it on a podcast the other day where I was really resonating with everything they said. And then the guy said, because we as Christians need to put other people before ourselves. That’s what Christians do. And I was like, Wait a second, that is depleting if we do that, especially women and moms, mhm? If we regularly believe that we have to put others needs ahead of ourselves, we get depleted.
Because if I have a need for rest but I don’t honor that. I come to help others from an unrested state. If I have a need for peace, but I don’t honor that and get that met, I come to other people’s aid from an unsettled, unpeaceful, stressed out place, mhm, whatever else it is. If I have a need for energy but I don’t honor that. I don’t find a way to feed myself, so I get more energy. I come to help other people from a place of little energy. So that’s what I did. I always put my husband church service, my children, even friends, like, oh, they need help painting the baby nursery. Okay, I guess I won’t take a nap. I’m going to paint their nursery because they asked. And I put other people’s needs above my own. And I did that for a couple of decades and I just hit a breaking point where I was so depleted I didn’t have anything left to give. So I don’t know where that came from in the Christian world, especially, put his knees before your own because we end up depleted. So someone’s probably shouting Bible verses in their car right now as they’re listening. There probably is one. And yes, we are supposed to consider others as better than ourselves. This is talking about, um, not being arrogant. And it’s talking about having humility and it’s talking about having love and compassion. It’s not talking about going to everyone else’s AIDS without taking care of yourself.
So I finally was like, you know what? I have to invest in myself. I have to I can’t pretend I’m the perfect Christian person, uh, because what I was doing was I was yelling at my kids because I was stressed out. I would like, flip out at the little thing and I was exhausted. And the kids would wake up in the morning and I’d be begging, God, please let me sleep. I can’t do this anymore. And I’d go to work and just like, I can’t do this anymore. I’m, um, overwhelmed. It’s too much. So I had to dial it back. I got really good at saying no to people. Now I’m like the master at saying no. Lots of people ask me to do lots of things. I say no a lot. I love you. And that’s a no. So that’s one thing I do. But I know when I need rest. I build in days off because I’m an entrepreneur. I’ll put days off on my calendar. I do things. A, um, mentor, uh, at church. This is kind of where it all started. When I was getting stressed out all the time, she was like, in those moments of most stress, I want you to go to your list. You want you to have three life giving activities and you have permission to walk away from what’s going on as long as everybody’s safe, right? And go do one of the life giving activities. So this was just my first practice in feeding my own soul. And I think one of them was running. I used to run, don’t anymore, walk now. One, uh, was gardening and one was practicing my, um, worship music at the time. So I would go do those just to speak to and feed my own soul a little bit. And that started the journey for me. And now I have lots of practices in place where, uh, you know, like, lately, this year, I’ve need to go to bed at 09:00. P.m.. That’s just what I need. I’m like, okay, I need some extra rest. For whatever reason right now, that’s what I do. I take care of me. My twelve year old daughter, if she stays up later than me, she’s on her own. She’ll figure it out.
So what happened when I started doing this is I became a better mom. I stopped yelling at my kids. I don’t yell at them all anymore, ever. It’s just not even a thing. Because I’m taking care of my own needs. I’ve been able to come to people with unconditional love and drop their expectations. Drop, I should say drop my expectations of them because I’m okay. I don’t need them to perform in a certain way to try to help myself feel okay. Because I’ve already taken care of my needs to help me feel okay. So, uh, I like to go back to, since we’re kind of talking in the idea of religious ideas and stuff, I like to go back to love your neighbor as yourself. So if the way you’re loving yourself is by denying yourself of all your needs, that’s going to leak into how you love other people.
There’s no way around it. So what I found is the better I love myself and honor my needs, the better I show up for everyone in my life, and they’ve noticed the difference, and they tell me I’m happier. They’re like, I can see the happiness. I can see the peace. And you’re so kind and encouraging and respectful. These are the things they notice in me. And so I would never go back to putting everyone else’s knees before my own because I’m a rotten person when I do that. So that’s my own experience and the experience of many, many other people I’ve talked to and women I’ve coached. Absolutely. Uh, all right, do you have anything to say on that one, or you want to go to the last question?
Rianon: No, it was great. My only thought was, I was thinking, like, our main priorities are a relationship with God, right? But that implies that there are two. It’s a relationship, so it would make sense. Right. It’s God and us together. Um, it’s our responsibility you’ve talked about that before, to take care of those needs. And I guess it totally makes sense the way you just said that, because if I’m not taking care of my needs, I’m expecting other people to do it. Which way is more selfish, us taking care of our needs so we can show up better for other people, or right.
DIANA: They’re like, you’re so selfish. I did get that, by the way. When I started doing a lot of this stuff, I had been told I was selfish. And I’m like, uh, you want me to try to suck what I need out of you instead, right?
Rianon: That right. Yeah. Uh, totally true.
DIANA: All right, last question. Let’s do it.
Rianon: Okay, so the last question is one of the most helpful things I’ve learned is to hold space for our thoughts and feelings without judgment. Yet sometimes I get tripped up because, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to judge? How can we hold on to our morals and values and still be non judgmental?
DIANA: Yes. So one of the things that I teach in life coaching is if we are being judgmental of other people, which is when we think there’s something wrong with, um, them, they’re not doing it right, they’re screwing up. I can’t believe they did that. Or how dare they? They’re so in the wrong. When we’re judgmental like that, it usually is coming from a place of we are holding judgment for ourselves as well. And it feels icky feels, uh, icky to judge other people, and it feels icky to judge ourselves, yet we are making judgment calls all the time. Like, to judge is to evaluate and make decisions. Of course we’re going to do that, and we all still hold values. So I’m going to make a, uh, judgment about situations.
Like, let’s just say I’m in Colorado. I’m sitting on a patio. People next to me, uh, might be smoking marijuana because it’s legal there. And so I’m going to make a judgment that their actions are not in line with my values. I make that assessment, that judgment. And I might even think I don’t think that that’s a great way to pass your time. And I can make a judgment on that about how it aligns with my values. But I don’t have to judge the people like, you guys are idiots for sitting here smoking pot because really, I don’t know what their situation is anyway. Um, or there’s something wrong with you, you’re not doing it right. Or I’m offended. I don’t need to make those kind of judgments of them, but I can still judge the situation. I can even judge their behavior and make decisions of what I want to do with my life according to the judgments I’m making.
We make judgment calls all the time on the road. Should I stay in this lane or should I change lanes? Is a judgment call which path we’re going to take whether this person is safe to be around or not. I go walking alone and I go on a path, uh, by the river that’s somewhat secluded and it’s extremely safe. But I still make judgments. If I’m passing two females coming the other way and they’re chitchatting and laughing, I make a judgment that I’m safe. If there’s a middle aged man coming the other way alone and there’s no other people around me, I make a judgment. I might be less safe. If there’s three men walking together and they’re chatting and they’ve got a dog, I might think this seems more safe. I’m just using my experiences, like being alone with a man on a path where nobody else can see us could be less safe than being alone on a path with two women who are giggling where nobody can see us. I’m not really judging that person. I’m just making a judgment of the scenario and what I think may not be safe. And then as Christians too, we may make judgments about someone’s behavior and we’re called out, I think it’s in Matthew, if someone else has sinned, to bring it to their attention. And if they don’t respond, you bring somebody else, and things like that. And, uh, I understand that, and I think there’s a place for that. And I think we make judgment calls like, oh, that person’s having sex with somebody before they’re getting married. Maybe they’re not supposed to do that. That kind of goes against my values, and it goes against what I understand the Bible says about it. Maybe I think that’s unfortunate, but I don’t have to then think of that person as a bad person or that they should be condemned or something’s wrong with them. I don’t know if I’m explaining this as well as I wanted to, but.
Rianon: I think that’s great. Everything that you’ve said is great. It’s like you’re making judgments for your own well being or safety, but not judging the person. I mean, that really makes a lot of sense. Yeah.
DIANA: Or even we’re in Wisconsin, and we had national, um, news was made in Kenosha when there were some, um, policing issues and there were some riots down there. My judgment of the situation was that people have the right to be heard. They have a right to gather. They have a right to voice what they say. They have a right to be angry. They have a right to think whatever they want to about the situation. And I also made a judgment that I didn’t think they had the right to burn down someone’s car dealership. I judged that they were in the wrong for doing that in my brain, but I didn’t take it to a place where I’ve judged them as being better or worse than me. I did not judge their value. I did not promote myself to being above them, and I did not demote them to being below me. That kind of judgment, I think, has no place in God’s kingdom of love, compassion, grace, and mercy. But we can still have values and make judgment calls from that. So that’s the differentiation for me. Mhm.
Rianon: I love that. That’s so good. And that is really very helpful. So thank you for that.
DIANA: You’re welcome. Well, I think this was super fun, and I hope we do this again. I think it could be really fun. I didn’t tell you this, so we’ll just say this right here, right now, live for everyone to hear. But I think we should do this frequently, and maybe you can help bring listener questions to me, um, and interview me. And kind of in this way, I don’t even need to know what the questions are ahead of time. They could be a surprise, but I think that would be really fun. What do you think?
Rianon: I love it. I would love to do that.
DIANA: All right. Brand new series with RianonRhiannon. We’re going to have you back. I’m going to go to the renew your mind Facebook community. So if anyone’s not in the community yet, you should totally join Rianon’s there too, right?
Rianon: Oh, yeah.
DIANA: So I will post in there. Or we can just keep it going in there where people can come and ask questions and questions posed in the Renew Your Mind Facebook community. You could bring them to the podcast and interview me.
DIANA: All right, so if you’re not in Renew Your Mind community, head on over to Rympodcast.com, and somewhere on that page is a link to join the Facebook community. Or you can, uh, go to Diana Swillinger coaching on Facebook. And there I think it’s pinned at the top of the page. You can ask to join the group. So you should totally come hang out with us over there. All right. Anything else you want to say today, Rianon?
Rianon: No. Thank you so Much. I love you so much. I’m so glad that you do this. I am. This is wonderful. And all of your work, your podcast, everything you’ve done has really been helpful. And, um, I always get excited to listen to you every time you put something out there. So thanks for what you’re doing.
DIANA: Oh, you’re welcome. It’s my privilege to do it. All right, y’all, that’s what I have for you this week. So until next time, take care of you.
As an advanced certified life coach, I help Christian women trying to live their best lives, but they still feel unsatisfied and stuck. I teach thought management skills that work so you can enjoy life again and step into who God has created you to be. Don’t forget to head on over to Rympodcast.com to get my free resources or a free coaching call.