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Neena Perez

From Shame to Forgiveness with Neena Perez


[00:01:08] Intro Neena

[00:01:08] Miriam – All right guys. I’m so, so happy to have Neena Perez here with me today. I met her, I don’t know, maybe it was like a month and a half ago when you invited me to be on your podcast. I loved it, and I have not said this to anyone before since, but I was like, Oh my gosh, we would be friends in real life. We we’re almost like sisters.

[00:01:29] Neena –  We’re similar. Yeah, I agree. So many ways.

[00:01:31] Miriam – So I am gonna let you talk about your business, but I loved your podcast, Straight Talk, No Sugar added, and I was doing a little sniffing around on Amazon regarding your book, and it just seems to me that Not only do you care so much about like speaking authentically, but you’ve had some hard bumps in your life too that your book title- Hit Me With Your Best Shot :How I overcame a hard hitting life.

[00:01:58] You’ve had some hard spaces and you have like risen above that to a wonderful life. So let’s bounce in. Tell me a little bit about your business and then we’re just gonna talk where the conversation takes us.

[00:02:12] Neena –  Oh man. Miriam, thank you so much for having me. And you’re right, I do feel like you’re my sister from another mister, you know and you know, my business. So what I do is I really have finally aligned my business and you know, I started businesses, I’ve stopped businesses, I’ve gotten my degrees, all of that great stuff. But what I do now is I help women master their game.


[00:02:32] And what I mean by game, it’s an acronym for goals, their accountability, mind flow and energy. I do this by building or helping them build successful businesses and impact their lives the way they envision. So we create basically their step by step. And I have a whole team that I have built out that helps them create their funneling system, their software, their marketing, their automation, all of that stuff, because I realized that those were the things that were impacting me as I was trying to grow my coaching business.

[00:03:01] Miriam – I wanna see people rise. That’s really what I. I love it.

[00:03:05] Well, my audience is also comprised of men, so I’m gonna tell them, Hey, hang with us because we’re talking about self development and it doesn’t actually matter which gender you are when it comes to self development.

[00:03:16] Like, wow, these growth principles are the same, and the technical principles for growing your business are the same. Mm-hmm. .

[00:03:24] I think that the longer the, the longer we are alive, we find out which kind of problems we like to solve that don’t like rob us of our energy, and this is anybody and everybody. The longer that you’re in your job and you’re finding out. I can’t stand this.

[00:03:42] It’s so draining. You’re not in the right job or the right position.

[00:03:45] That’s right. And I think what I heard you saying is, you know, you niche down into the place that brings you the most joy. Mm-hmm. ,

[00:03:54] can we start with your book and can you just like give us a little bit, however vulnerable you want to be.

[00:04:00] Feeling Stuck in Abuse

[00:04:00] Miriam – Can you talk about some of the hard hitting spaces that may be motivated

[00:04:04] this book. .

[00:04:06] Neena –. You know what happened is I was tired of being stuck, to be honest. Yeah. I kept feeling around, like I was at this hamster on a wheel constantly. I’ve worked really hard all my life and I just felt like, what is, what is this for?

[00:04:19] Right? So what happened, I, I about 2018 I think is when I wrote the book about my life, because I finally said, I need to face these demons. I gotta face this. I have to go. And I’m gonna have to, you know, start walking the walk, right? So I started getting to the self development space maybe about 15, 20 years ago.

[00:04:40] I’m 50 now, so in my thirties and I went through a lot of my life.

[00:04:44] So, you know, it started young. My father, you know, and my mother were not married. They had an affair. My father was married, but they were married to other people. I was the product of that affair. And I think that, Already started me on the wrong foot, if you will.

[00:04:59] so then, My mother, I, I think she tried her best. She was young herself. She was in her, she was 20. But you know, I was abused. So when I, when she did remarry, her husband, you know, would physically abuse me, but then started to molest me. And that happened for, you know, a lot of my youth from my five, five or six years old to maybe nine or 10 years old, something like that.

Trauma at a Young Age

[00:05:22]. You know, it was just, it was just a very traumatic time because he was also very abusive physically as well. when he left, I was very happy. , I was very, very happy. But you know what, It left me damaged. So at like 13 years old, I met a, a man or a boyfriend. I was 13, he was gonna be 18. Very quickly got into a, a relationship that I didn’t know anything about at 13.

[00:05:47] Yeah, I was physically abused there as well, but that’s love, right? I mean, that’s what I knew growing up, so, mm-hmm. . But I had a child pregnant at 14 years old and eighth grade. I know I look at my kids now, I’m like, how did that even happen? 14 years old, pregnant. I had my child at 15. But you know what, Miriam, There was always something in me that just would not let this girl die.

[00:06:13] You know I tried to commit suicide when I was 13, so before I got pregnant because I couldn’t take it anymore. my boyfriend at the time, my son’s father, you know, was throwing me downstairs, was like beating me constantly. It was just an awful experience. I still have damage from that, like, One of my ears has a hole in it from when he punched me and the ear drum blew out and all that kind of stuff.


[00:06:34] the reason I finally left, I left that around, I think I was like 18. So I was with him five years of a seriously abusive relationship. And he put a gun to my head. Wow. he said, He’s gonna kill me. He’s gonna kill him. He’s gonna kill the baby, and then he’s gonna kill himself. when he, he put the gun to my head and he pulled the trigger.

[00:06:55] And when he pulled the trigger, the safety on the gun got jammed. I immediately went into what do I do? What do I do? So I started sweet talking him the only thing I knew to do while he was trying to unjam the gun, you know, Oh my, wow. So I was finally able to convince him that I loved him more than anything in the world, blah, blah, blah.

[00:07:16] And then, you know, right after that I left, I ran away. So I lived in a, a batter women’s shelter. I tried to get some therapy because therapy’s super important when you’ve had that much trauma. And you know, but life is, life still was hard. I had, I was a single mother now working a job, going to school, got remarried that, that with a narcissist, which was extremely hard to deal with that had a second child divorced.

[00:07:39] But now I’ve been married. I have to, 20. Wow. I think we’re going on 22, 23 years of With an amazing man. Yeah. We’ve gone through our tri our trials too, so there was a lot of stuff written in this book that he, he won’t even read it till this day. He’s like, I, I can’t do it. I can’t read it. Yeah.


[00:07:56] But self development and really looking at myself so I could stop self sabotaging behaviors mm-hmm. and realize that I am worth something. Is work. That took a lot of work. Yeah. But it also has been the best experience of my life. So, yeah, that’s it a nutshell.

[00:08:20] Miriam –  Mike drop .

[00:08:22] Neena – It’s a lot. A lot. I know. It’s a lot.

[00:08:24] Cut Yourself Some Slack

[00:08:24] Miriam – What

[00:08:24] do you say to a story like that? I mean, you are such a strong and vibrant woman. And the thing that I love about that story, that’s a story of redemption, of a space of second chances. It’s a story of Maybe natural consequences. Like, you know, you grew up in a space that taught you a warped version of love.

[00:08:47] So that’s what you followed until you knew better. I love this phrase, when I knew better, I did better. it gives us so much grace for those spaces in our life where we’re like, Why did I do that? Why did I choose that? it’s like, well, you know, we gotta cut ourselves some slack Sometimes you don’t have the best starting point. And I love, I love when you see someone coming from behind and they just blaze past, like you had to be someone who was so determined that this was not gonna be your life. You were not gonna do a repeat of what the first couple decades had been. So this space where he puts a gun up to your head and it misfires is the biggest aha.

[00:09:33] Of your life. Mm-hmm.  you do something about it. And then I’m gonna guess you had dozens of smaller aha moments. Can you talk about some other places where something in you clicked and you were like, I used to think this, or I used to do this, but no more. That is not

[00:09:53] in my future.

Writing a Book

[00:09:55] Neena –  You know, there’s, I don’t know if there’s like, there’s a few of them.

[00:09:58] So here, when I wrote the book especially, I started to relive a lot of those experiences because Sure. I didn’t wanna cheat myself. Writing the book, the book was written for me and then I realized the book was not even for me anymore. Yeah. It’s for someone else, right. And it’s impacted people in a very powerful way.

[00:10:16] So I realized that the book was for others. there’s five things I took away from writing this book that has really helped me, and I call it the fight back series, right? So mm-hmm.

[00:10:25] Shame

[00:10:25] Neena: One of them was shame. I had to realize. That there is shame that I was carrying for so long that didn’t belong to me.

[00:10:34] Mm-hmm. . So I, I learned how to navigate that within me to heal from that.

[00:10:40] The other one was forgiveness, because I can, can

[00:10:43] we slow down a little bit? Yeah. Because shame is like a buzzword these days. Mm. How would you describe what shame feels like to people? People sort of know they’re experiencing something, but it’s like, ugh, what

[00:10:57] is this?

[00:10:58] Yeah. You know, shame is, it needs a few things to operate and a couple things that it needs is for you to be silent for you to be secluded. Right. And for you not to, not to like speak up for yourself. Right? So shame is a very powerful feeling. I think. You co you get cowardice, you, you will coward back from things.

[00:11:23] You think that when others say and do something, you are extremely sensitive. So you get defensive. , Right? Because there’s something that is, that you think everybody’s against you because you know, they see you, they see something, and it’s not, you know, a lot of it’s not real. A lot of it is what we have been traumatized with and have made it that thing in our brain, right?

Shame Categories

[00:11:47] So when I had to go through shame, I had to. Put it into, And for me anyway, I had to put it in two categories. To me there was two different types of shame. There’s, there’s a, I call it a healthy shame. I know that’s a contradiction, but I’ll explain. And then the other one is a shame that is not, not for me, right?

[00:12:05] when my stepfather, for instance, was molesting me as a child, I felt extremely ashamed. And when I told my mother and she said, Shut up and stop lying. I immediately felt stupid and ashamed, so I carried that with me for a very long time. So all of the times that he was molesting me, I never said anything because I was ashamed.

[00:12:29] Yeah. And as I grew up, I realized, No, no, no, no, no. The shame is his and I’m make sure he gets it right back. He, he could take it with him, you know what I’m saying? So yeah, there you go. And so I went in and I actually confronted him. I called him my monster cuz he was my monster for a very long time.

[00:12:46] Yeah, he left my mother when I was about, when my mother left him when I was about 10 years old. So I didn’t see him again or even really wanna speak to him again until I was maybe 30 something and I went and I put my nose to his nose, my eyes to his. And I told him, I said, You know what? You did this and this and this.

Guilt and Shame

[00:13:03] He goes, I know what I did to you. I said, Do you cuz you were drunk half the time. He goes, Oh, I remember. And I, I know what I did. I said, Good. I said, You know what? I choose to forgive you. I choose it. Because I don’t feel like it, you know? I said, Cause if it was up to me, this would not be happening right now.

[00:13:21] I said, But I have a faith that I follow. I have a, I have my faith in God and I feel like the only way to release myself from this prison is to choose to forgive you. So I chose it. And then there’s that shame. If I do something to you, Miriam, and I know that it’s I moral and it’s wrong, I should be ashamed of myself.

[00:13:39] Yeah. So that I can change my behavior. Yeah. And do something different. Right? Yes. So that’s what I mean by the two types of shame.

[00:13:47] Yeah. I li I love that dis. Extinction. I’ve heard some people separated out like guilt and shame. Guilt is what you do, but shame is who you are. Right. And that you have to confront that.

[00:13:59] I cannot imagine the courage it took to face your monster

[00:14:05] in person. It was hard. It was hard. Yeah. You got guts, lady. Oh my gosh. I felt like I had no choice. Like I, That was like something I had to do, especially because he’s the father of my brothers. So he’s still alive. And I, I called my brother one day and I said, Okay, I’m ready.

Turn the Page

[00:14:22] He’s like, Ready for Wes, I’m ready to go see your father. He goes, For what? ? I think I was afraid of what I was gonna do, but you know, I was like, Yes, I’m a tough girl. Yes, yes, yes. But I’m not there to hurt him. I just, and you know what’s so funny, Miriam, the guy is like five feet, maybe four 11. Yeah. Right.

[00:14:40] But when you’re five years old and a man is beating you with a steel toe boot or beating your, Beating you to the point of cutting your back open, you know, stuff like that. Right. And you’re a child. That is a monster. And he is huge. They’re ginormous. They’re ginormous, right? Yeah. And so I, yeah, I chose to forgive them.

[00:14:58] And when I did that, he hugged me. I immediately felt that weight completely off of me. I was like, I am. I could literally walk away. And I am done. This chapter

[00:15:10] Miriam – is closed. Yes. Yeah, turn the page. That’s it. Yeah, that’s it. Okay.

[00:15:16] Forgiveness

[00:15:16] Miriam – So your number two thing was forgiveness, and I feel like you’ve already talked a bunch on that, but if you, you wanna add anything more to forgiveness?

[00:15:24] Neena: No, I mean, I think the only thing I wanna add to that is I just want you guys to know that it’s not gonna be a feeling. Yeah. I, I don’t feel like, I mean, I guess it could be a feeling, but for me it starts with a choice. It’s an action. It really starts with an action. It’s a choice. It’s a, you, Some people have gone through horrific, more horrific things than I, and some people hold on to unforgiveness for silly things too, right?

[00:15:49] We do. It depends on, on your metric, on, you know, But at the end of the day, you have to be with. And if you are struggling and you’re going through self sabotaging behaviors or you’re an all or nothing person, or you’re a perfectionist, or you’re going through these things that are stopping you from growing, you may wanna look into that.

[00:16:09] Yeah. And just choose. If Miriam had done something to me and I just choose to forgive Miriam, that doesn’t mean I got a ho. Go have coffee with Miriam. It doesn’t even mean that you have to do what I did. Right. That was just something I felt like I had to do. But that does not mean you have to do that.

[00:16:24] You can forgive them and move on. Yeah, choose it and sometimes choose it every day. Yeah. Must be real. It doesn’t just happen because you chose it. Yeah. No,

Control Fear

[00:16:35] Miriam – no. Those patterns in your brain of fear, and I’m gonna, I’m not saying you felt this, but people often feel fear or hatred or resentment or you know, terror, anxiety, all, you know, we mull over them and mull over them and they dig a path in our brain and I think the forgiveness process.

[00:16:55] And you would have to correct me if I’m wrong, is I choose to no longer mu over this anymore. Yeah. I release this, I release you. You know, whoever, you know, if you’re one of, if you are a believer in God, I have a strong faith as well. It’s like, God can deal with you. A my, my holding onto this isn’t punishing you anyway, whoever the you is, but B, it’s holding me hostage.

[00:17:24] Like when I talk to people, whether it is, it doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status, it doesn’t matter your gender, everybody wants to be happy. That’s what they say. You know, it’s like, and, and they go through different things trying to find happiness or joy. Yeah. Pretty much everybody. If you get like, Why?

[00:17:43] Why do you want this? Why do you want this? Why do you want, And you get it down to like the seventh, why? They’re like, Look, I just

[00:17:48] Neena – wanna be happy. Right? It’s like,

[00:17:50] Miriam –  okay, right. You’re not gonna be happy holding onto this thing that’s just around you. No matter what they did. You know, they may have stolen your past.

[00:18:01] Don’t let them steal your future.


[00:18:03] Neena – That’s it. Let it go. That’s it. I, I agree with that a thousand percent. And you know, I think. You also have to remember that you are in control of you. You’re in control of what you’re feeling. They might have done what they did. You have no control of that. You have no control of that.

[00:18:19] Yeah. But you do have control of you. Yes. And you also have to remember that there’s another strong piece to this, and it’s self forgiveness. Right. Because I think sometimes the most the, the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. Right. It’s, I, to me, it’s one of the most difficult things I had to do is to forgive myself for some choices that I had made that did not serve me well.

[00:18:42] Right? Yeah. Yeah. But the most important aspect of self-forgiveness is honoring yourself and knowing that you are, you are flawed, that you make mistakes and that it’s okay, you know, you don’t have to. You know, keep beating yourself up over the same mistake, but you can say, I made this mistake. And I’m gonna choose to forgive myself because I’m going to learn to change the tide here, love myself more, know I have one life, impact my life so I can impact others’ lives.

[00:19:11] It’s just as important as forgiving someone else. Oh my gosh.

High Performers

[00:19:15] Miriam –  I’m so glad you brought that up. That’s just so true. You know, my audience is primarily entrepreneurs and high performers, and so many times their drive. Comes from these spaces of whatever, abuse or hardship or neglect or whatever, and they said, You know, I grew up that way, but never again.

[00:19:37] And they don’t realize that that lack of self forgiveness, they think that that’s what makes them successful, right? And it’s like, no, you would be successful 10 x if you learned how to love yourself. And the people around you, whether it’s your team or your family, or you know, whoever, they would appreciate that too, because when you don’t love yourself, you don’t treat

[00:19:58] Neena: the people around you well.

 [00:20:37] Having Empathy

[00:20:37] Neena – Yeah. Well, you don’t have empathy, right? Yeah. And so and you, you miss a lot. You miss a lot, especially when you don’t forgive yourself. But one of the things happened when I, when I did this book, is I really had to forgive myself for, I, I had, I had abortions. I wrote, I wrote about it in the book. And and it hurt me for a very long time, but I just kind of suppress, suppress, suppress.

[00:20:58] And when I wrote the book, I had to confront it. And I remember talking to my husband at, at the dinner table. He’s like, What’s wrong? And I just broke like a dam. I was crying. It was bad. It was really bad. . He just sat there and held my aunt. But I realized that I needed that. I needed that. And I needed to say, You, my friends did the best you could with what you knew.

[00:21:20] Yes. And you got this. Yes, You got. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so I’m learning. I’m still learning. I’m still learning. But it’s a beautiful, beautiful journey. Yeah. I’m

[00:21:30] Miriam – pretty sure Michael Angelo said at the age of like, somewhere in his mid eighties co impor. I am still learning. And I love that. I love that, that, you know, I mean, unless we’re dead, I hope we’re always learning right day after day after day, you know?

[00:21:49] So take us down your list. What’s number three?

[00:21:53] Standing in Truth

[00:21:53] Neena – standing in truth. I believe that there is you know, when you are going through shame, then going through the forgiveness piece, it’s important that you stand in truth of those things as well. Like I said, distinguishing shame. With what’s yours and what’s not yours, Taking personal responsibility, right?

[00:22:14] Mm-hmm. Having forgiveness for the truth of what happened. Not, not sugarcoating it, not saying it didn’t happen, not trying to avoid it, but actually looking at it. So standing in truth. In truth is a real big thing for me. I don’t deny things. I don’t lie. Things I don’t sugarcoat. My show is called Straight Talk, No Sugar Added

[00:22:34] It, it, this, it’s just not gonna serve you well, right? And it’s not going to help you. It’s not going to help you push forward. In fact, it impedes you, it stops you from being able to. See and feel and experience what’s really happening around you. So when I wrote this book, you know, standing in truth was really important cuz remember my mom and stuff, they’re still alive.

[00:22:55] You know, so I had to write this book, but standing in which what was true, regardless of other people’s feelings of what was going to be exposed, you know? Wow. That was tough.

[00:23:07] Miriam –  That, that’s tough. That takes, again, so much courage. I know so many authors who wait until their parents die before they write the truth.

Owning It

[00:23:16] Neena –  I considered it, she read about a chapter. Called me a complete liar and threw the book and didn’t speak to me for like six months. Yeah, yeah. Wow. And that’s okay. I expected it. I expected that we’re okay now we’ve healed. But yeah, it was, it was a tough one cuz I, you know, it was something that, you know, I, I grew up, you respect your mom, you just respect your mom, right.

[00:23:39] And that’s just what you do. But writing the book, I think felt to her like a bit of a smack in the. Because I exposed it and saw, I went to go visit her. It was about six months after the book was written or so, and she was done with me. And so she said, You lied. You lied. I said, Why mom? Why, why did I lie?

[00:23:57] Well, you said this. I said, this happened, this happened, this happened. You know what happened? I said, Okay, so now that we’re actually gonna talk about it, or at least I am, We’re just gonna go ahead. I said, we’re just gonna go ahead and just, I’m just gonna lay it out. And I did. And she did not like it, and I didn’t wanna hurt her.

[00:24:12] That wasn’t the intention. No. The intention was we can’t keep denying and lying. When I grew up, Miriam, it was in our household. What happens stays in the house. It doesn’t matter if the, because she was also abused. So domestic violence, all of that was something I grew up around. Alcoholism, all of that stayed in the.


[00:24:33] It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter how many people he did it to. It didn’t matter who he touched. It didn’t matter what happened. He stayed, it stayed in the house, and that’s where it stayed. So when I did this, Woo, it was like she opened up our door. What’s going here? It was bad. I had a, Yeah, I had some pushback, for sure.

[00:24:52] Yeah.

[00:24:53] Miriam – Well, you broke. You broke a family rule. Keep keep it silent and I’m impressed. That you were able to work it out with her, Because sometimes people can’t, Sometimes people just need the other person to acknowledge that it all happened and whatever, and it just goes south. It’s a testimony to just your vibrant, loving spirit that you were able to work it out with her. So well done.

Part of Forgiveness

[00:25:17] Neena: I had to. I had to thank you. Yeah. It’s a part of the forgiveness piece. Mm-hmm. , right? It’s a part of the, Yeah, and when I also owned my. I didn’t apologize for that because I didn’t have anything to do with that. But I did apologize for the hard time I gave her as I grew up. I gave her a hard time, but I gave her a hard time cuz I was angry with her.

[00:25:36] Yeah. You know? Cause she didn’t protect me and so but I said to her, I said, You know, mom, I’m sorry I gave you, I gave you a run for your money. She goes, You know what? I’m sorry too. That was the first time I’m 50 that she has ever apologized. Wow. I know. I took it. I didn’t even, I didn’t ask for an explanation.

[00:25:56] I took the, I’m sorry. I held it in my heart and that’s it. Yeah. Oh my gosh. So

[00:26:05] good. That is so good.

[00:26:07] Let Go 

[00:27:39] Give Yourself Space

[00:27:39] Miriam –  I love it. It reminds I was talking to my admin yesterday and she, I was asking if she’d had a good weekend and she said, Oh yeah, we went through our closets and we got rid of all of these things we don’t need anymore.

[00:27:52] And I said, Isn’t it. Awesome. Now you have this space and this openness and it feels like you lost weight. And she’s like, I love it. That’s what you’re talking about in an emotional, spiritual, psychological, all of that. You just get rid of that garbage. You don’t, It’s not that you’re pushing it down under, cuz when you ignore it, it always comes back to bite you.

[00:28:15] In the end. It, you have to deal with it. .

[00:28:19] Neena –  That’s the hard part, being self-aware. Woo, This is fun. Talk .

[00:28:25] Miriam –  All right, number five.

[00:28:26] Dream Big

[00:28:26] Neena –  Dreaming big. Yes. I realized that I was a very small thinker. And a lazy thinker. And what I mean by that is, is I’ve allowed many, many things circumstances, situations, media, whatever it is, influence my thinking and we follow along with the crowd.

[00:28:49] I’ve gone against a lot of things in my life. That’s why I’ve always been known as a straight talker. But there were things that I was accepting as my thoughts and belief systems that weren’t. So I’ve had to discover that for myself.

I decided that I’m going to stop being a small thinker and a lazy thinker. and that I’m gonna be somebody who actually does the research myself, checks things out for myself, does the reading for myself. and then open up my mind to dream big It has been that.

This whole process has all gone together, overcoming the shame learning to forgive standing in my truth. All of this is, is culminated to dreaming big, right? So that I can open up my space to all the different things that I need and want in my life, right? Yeah. So I, I think that all of this, at least for me, writing this, writing, just my autobiography alone, And I’ve written a couple of other little books here and there, but that one really helped me to dream Big Miriam and.

[00:29:52] Letting all those things go, like I, like I talked about, has, has really gotten me from a mindset of poverty, which I always had. I was always struggling and lacking and struggling and lacking. Even though I work really hard, it has nothing to do with that, right? Mm-hmm. . It’s just that I never thought I deserved more.

Open Your Mind

[00:30:11] Yeah. I just never thought that, and so now, Opening up your mind and dreaming like, Oh wow, I can actually, Why can’t I attain things in my life? Why can’t I serve others? Yes. You know, why can’t I have the things that others have? I never thought I could. And it was because I was just focused on working. I had to work, pay the bills, take care of my kids, work, pay the bills, take care of my kids, works.

[00:30:36] And I never looked up, you know, to take a deep breath. Yeah. And then when I did, All hell broke loose because Nina was like, All right, let’s go. So my goodness, year now, every year I dream big. Every year I get up, I say, Okay, this year, what am I going to do differently than I did last year? And that happened Miriam, because I used to journal.

[00:31:01] And when I opened up my journals, I realized that all I had to do was erase the number and put the new date in for the new year because it was a. every year. And I said,

[00:31:13] That’s a little shocking. That’s a wake up call. It was

[00:31:16] a wake up call. Yeah. And I realized every year I now dream a little bit bigger.

[00:31:21] Every year. A little bit

[00:31:22] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: bigger. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:24] Boundaries

[00:31:24] Miriam –  Can you give an example of thinking small versus thinking a little bit bigger that isn’t necessarily. Monetary. I wanna give, you know, I, I feel like I’m tracking with you. I know what you’re talking about. You’re speaking my language, , but I want some concrete examples.

[00:31:43] You know, I used to think this way and it was a series of steps, but now I think this way,

[00:31:52] Neena –  you know I think that one of the things that I’ve learned is boundaries. Boundaries was a big one for me. I didn’t have. Right. Because my boundaries were crossed since I was a child, right? And so I didn’t really have boundaries.

[00:32:09] I was either very angry or very submissive, you know what I’m saying? So it was, it was like really opposite spectrums. And I realized that I was always the yes person, the people pleaser, the, you know, going there, you know? And yeah, I fought some people, but most of the time if I really wanted you to like me, or if I wouldn’t really wanted to be accepted, Then I would be over the top serving all the time, doing all the, to the point of my exhaustion.

[00:32:37] Yeah. Right.

[00:32:37] Miriam –  What did you, you learn that you could say no to? Boundaries are like my pet project. I love Boundaries. Boundaries. Is


[00:32:44] Neena – it? Oh, I love that. I love that. You know, I learned that I don’t ha, I didn’t have to be everybody. This is just small, but I didn’t have to be everybody’s taxi. Right, because my family didn’t have a car.

[00:32:56] I was the one with the car. It was like, Oh, can you pick me up here? Can you drop me off there? Can you pick me up? And then one day I was like, No. What, what? What did you say? ? Right? The answer was no. And I, and I, and let me tell you, it’s not easy, Miriam. I hung up the phone and I felt this overwhelming guilt.

[00:33:18] Yeah. You know, like, Oh my gosh, that was not nice, you know? Yeah. And then I said, No, you sit your behind right here. What does this feeling feel like? And this is before I knew about self development. This is just me talking to myself. What does this feel like? Why does you feel this way? Is this really the truth?

[00:33:36] This is me talking to me like, before I even knew what self development was, but I realized that every time you, you put a boundary, Not only are they gonna be uncomfortable, you are going to be uncomfortable. Yes. Yeah. You have to learn to be uncomfortable, you know? Yes. Because your life gets a hell of a lot easier, Miriam, Let me tell you.

[00:33:59] Nobody calls me today, .

[00:34:03] Be OK with Discomfort

[00:34:03] Miriam – I don’t. Know why in our era, our country, our society, you know, if you’re in PE or you have an athletic trainer, they tell you if you work out this muscle, you’re gonna be sore, drink a lot of water, it’s gonna be sore. It’s not a big deal, it’s just normal.

[00:34:24] But nobody tells you when you stretch yourself emotionally. Yeah, it’s gonna be uncomfortable. And what you described, you did such a good job of describing how it feels. When you give someone a legitimate no, it’s legitimate. You aren’t everyone’s taxi driver. And I remember the first time I told somebody I was no longer going to be attending all these meetings and they looked at me like I was crazy.

[00:34:51] I said, I still wanna be involved. Send me the minutes. I’m not gonna attend these meetings anymore. And my gosh, Yeah. My life, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Right? You know, . But for a while there was that feeling of, Oh, are they gonna be mad at me? And how is this gonna look to people and blah, blah.

[00:35:12] And you have to get over that space and say, Now I’m not talking about being a selfish jerk. The people who need boundaries are like, Oh, I can’t. I can’t, I can’t. The people who don’t need boundaries are already selfish saying no to everything. If you say no constantly. You do a little evaluation and find out if you can be a little more giving.

[00:35:33] But in general, most people don’t understand actual boundaries where I end and where you begin. Where you end. Yeah, where I begin.

[00:35:46] You Can Say No

[00:35:46] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Well, now I just say no is a complete sentence. Because what, what used to happen, and I think, I don’t know if this is more women, but it it because I work more with women.

[00:35:55] I think it is, and you know, from what I’ve observed is that we tend to say no with an explanation. And and I’ve given the women that I’ve been working with permission to just say, no. Without the explanation unless it’s needed. Right, Right. Cause you don’t have to be rude. No. But but if you’re saying no and the person’s like all offended and all over the place, cuz you’re saying no, you don’t have to explain.

[00:36:17] That’s their emotion. And they need to deal with that emotion. Yes, Yes. And you need to be okay. And I think that’s the hardest thing, at least for the women I’ve worked with and myself, was to say no. Pause, like, just literally just stop my mouth from speaking, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , but boundaries has been a beautiful, beautiful thing to learn.

[00:36:39] I’m sure I still have some to do, but the, the great part was, is that I started it in my life, but it has transitioned to my work as well. I’ve of course put boundaries up. I have to. Absolutely.

[00:36:50] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: You have to. Otherwise it takes over your whole life. It does, yeah. And there are so many ways. I love your sentence that you don’t have to give a reason.

Make and Keep Commitments with Yourself

[00:36:59] I echo that a thousand times. There are other ways you can say, You can also say no. You can say no, but thank you for asking. Yeah. Or you can say can I get back with you in 24 hours? And then you can say no when you’re not with them. Some like the straight up no is a hard one for people to learn. They have to work up to that.

[00:37:22] Yeah. So there’s some, there’s some no steps that are, you can be gracious and not let the other person run your life. I can remember teaching people. , you can say, No, I’m sorry. I have a commitment already. That commitment doesn’t have to be to someone else. Sometimes that commitment was to myself. Mm-hmm.

[00:37:45] I had already said, I’m gonna spend X amount of time doing whatever. It wasn’t open space for someone else to run in and just, you know, run all over it. I’m a big fan of, of being truthful. And that was the truest thing. I actually had a commitment to myself, and when you keep commitments to yourself, then your shoulders go back and you walk a little taller and you value yourself differently.

[00:38:12] So I love, love, love. It’s so true that you’re a boundary person.

[00:38:17] Neena –  Yeah, I am . I’ve grown to be right. I wasn’t always, but you know, I think anybody, even in business, you know, you don’t have to, I always say that everything that glitters isn’t gold, right? Mm-hmm. . And so you know, one of the things that’s I think more difficult for entrepreneurs and, and leaders and stuff is to say no to another, yet another opportunity.


[00:38:38] Yeah, another opportunity, right? Yes. Because there’s thousands of them. You know, sometimes, especially if you’re on the online space, you’re gonna get bombarded with emails and texts and messages about go join this group and that group and join here and go this. And if you don’t learn to say no. Or this is not for me right now, you know?

[00:38:58] You are going to run yourself ragged and you’re gonna get very frustrated. I know. I was, yeah. I was trying to join everybody’s group that I liked them as people, so I joined everything. But then I realized that I felt bad at the end because I couldn’t commit to it all. Yes. Right, right. So it’s a boundary to you too, like you said, maybe committing to.

[00:39:18] And just saying no, because you need to, because you can’t say yes to

[00:39:21] everything

[00:39:22] Miriam – because we’re finite. We’re human beings. We are not, you know, digital bits that can be just, you know, shaved into smaller and smaller pieces. Right. It’s like we’re, we’re living and we need open space and we need time to reflect.

[00:39:38] We need time to connect with the people we love. We need the time to do our. own Jobs

[00:39:44] and it’s so easy to, at different junctures in your life, to be the yes man or woman where it’s like whatever the other person you wanna be liked and you wanna help and you want you, and then you lose your way. Mm-hmm. , so.

[00:39:59] Mm-hmm. , this has been really, really good.

[00:40:01] Noisy World

[00:40:01] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Tell me about some of the things that you are, maybe the concepts you’re chewing on right now, like in, at present day.

[00:40:09] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Yeah, I’m thinking about a lot of things, right?

[00:40:11] So it’s getting busier and so now I have to start making some choices. Yes. You know, of how I will manage that calendar and, and schedule. Because you know what, Miriam, I also discovered that it’s very noisy in this world.

[00:40:24] It’s getting very noisy in my calendar. Yeah. So I, so that’s what I’m chewing on right now. How do I want to also be good to self, good to myself, good to my spouse, right? My children are all adults now, thank God. But my husband still needs time too. And when I’m coming home every day, like, sorry, got a coaching call.

[00:40:44] Sorry, babe, about dinner, you know, is in the pot. I’m gonna go downstairs. That’s not good either, right? No. So that’s what I’m chewing on my, my boundaries in life, you know, what I’m going to bring to the table, to this world, and what’s the best way for me to show up. I also try to now put everything in perspective of is it serving me or not serving me?

[00:41:04] And so I’m really just expanding who I am as a human being. Yeah.

Shed Your Shell

[00:41:09] Miriam –  Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. The it, I mean, some people don’t like these analogies, but in order for a crab to get bigger, it has to shed its shell, you know, it breaks that shell and then it comes out and it’s all pink and soft and then it gets a new shell that’s bigger.

[00:41:27] I love that a snail has to like come out and go into a new one, or, I mean, not to get gross, but bugs have to do it too. And snakes like we have. Crack open pieces of us and get rid of it in order to move into that next phase, that next space, that next level. And part of moving into that next level is saying that used to serve me that idea that habits, that behavior, that relationship.

[00:41:56] And I’m grateful for it, but it isn’t taking me into this next space in life that’s, right You know, and that’s right. If we believe that we’re here for a purpose, each of us is looking for that space, How do I maximize why I’m here? How do I, not in a bad way, but how do I earn the oxygen that I breathe? What, what makes it worth me?

[00:42:20] You know, taking up this space. It’s this giving to the other people. It’s giving to the people in your, you know, your immediate area, your spouse. I, I really appreciate that you talked about

[00:42:32] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: that.

[00:42:33] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: If you’re serving all of them and you lose this close to you mm-hmm. , that’s no good,

Find Order in Your Life

[00:42:38] Neena –  right? Mm-hmm. , Well, I was always like that.

[00:42:41] I was always like driven to work really hard, you know, like give my blood, sweat and tears to everything I put myself into. If my marriage is falling apart, that doesn’t make any sense because at the end of the day, he’s the one that takes care of me when I’m not. Not my job, not my company, not my business, none of that.

[00:42:58] My husband does. Yeah. Yeah. And so he comes first. It’s God, then my family, then it’s business work, all that stuff. Right? So that’s, that’s the order in my life. And and you know, I think I do a, a practice where I think things in my life, so like the old thinking, like you just said, you know, You know.

[00:43:16] Thank you for having, I actually do. I thank it. Yeah. I. The abuse in my life because it’s made me the strong woman that I am today, and I learned a lot from it. I learned not to be abused. It showed me how to see abuse in others to see if I can help in some way. Mm-hmm. , you know? Mm-hmm. , I’ve learned to pour into nonprofits that work with domestic violence.

Invest in You

[00:43:36] Right. So, So I think that issue, I think that experience, I don’t wanna go back to it, but I thank it. Right? Yeah. Same thing with the old ways of thinking. You know what, I used to think before that I, I thought you could squirrel away nickels and dimes to try to save some money to be, you know, wealthy. One day was actually making me impoverished until I realized that I needed to invest in me.

[00:44:00] Mm-hmm. and. You know, and so when I took my investment and I put it in my education and I put it in me, and I put it in my business, now I’m thrive. , right? Because I got out of the squirrly. Small thinking. Yes. And I think we all have to do it one step, one, one degree at a time. One step at a time. It’s taking 15 years.

[00:44:19] It’s not like I just got up as like you, I got this. No, . Not how that happens. No,

[00:44:25] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: But I would bet that there was an aspect of I got this. For that time, that age of you, that version of you Oh yeah. Got that nugget and you ran with it, and now this age of you and this version of you is getting the nugget and running with it.

[00:44:43] Do It Afraid

[00:44:43] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Before we end, what, what would you tell your younger self? If you could just say something straight to her, what would you say?

[00:44:51] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Do it afraid. Do it anyway. Just do it anyway. Cuz I used to live a lot in fear. Of getting in trouble, fear of getting hurt, fear of what will happen to me.

[00:45:03] I always say to myself, Listen girl, you’ve got this. Do it afraid. Do it. You got this. Oh, I love that,

[00:45:11] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Nina, thank you so, so much. My audience knows that we do a donation in your name to one of four charities you chose Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary because you said that you had rescued quite a few dogs and cats.

[00:45:26] So we’re gonna do that in your name. Thank you for this time and just your wisdom and your enthusiasm. What a joy. And you better believe I’m gonna be. You know, knocking on your door, you know, six months or a year from now and saying, Hey, let’s do this again.

[00:45:42] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: This was good. This was so fun. Thank you for having me, Miriam.

[00:45:46] Thank you. You’re welcome.

End Credits

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

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