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SE 23 | Healing From Deep Depression

 

Some of us go through difficult moments in our lives where we feel that the only thing left to do is count down the seconds until it is all over. We beat ourselves up along the way by having negative thoughts, forgetting to show kindness to our very own selves. Having gone through a tough period like this, Joie Cheng, M.S.W., The Queen of Transformational Book Publishing, takes us to her personal journey of healing. Authoring The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love, she imparts great and comforting wisdom on how we can heal from deep depression and suicidal thoughts through self-love. Joie also talks about the power of community, sharing her Facebook group called 100 Days of Self-Love where she found the support to love herself as well as other people who have gone through the same struggles.

Listen to the podcast here:

Healing Yourself: The Naked Truth with Joie Cheng

Self Love

SE 23 | Healing From Deep Depression

The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love

I am honored to have Joie Cheng as my guest. Joie Is The Queen of Transformational Book Publishing. She’s passionate about people writing their books and publishing them. She loves helping authors. She believes that when we share our stories, we heal ourselves and we heal the world. She has great credentials. One of the things she has done is a TEDx Talk. She’s the author of the bestselling book, The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love. It’s about her personal journey of healing ourselves naturally from deep depression and suicidal thoughts through self-love. For those of you who know me that is near and dear to my heart.

Joie is a featured author in the international best-selling book, Being Unapologetic, by Davide Di Giorgio and will be featured in the upcoming book series Success is all BS, Selling is all BS and Excellent Leadership is all BS by Stephen Dela Cruz. She’s the host of The Naked Truth Movement podcast where she interviews guests who are willing to share inspiring stories and be vulnerable. She has also been interviewed on over 30 podcasts including Conscious Millionaire with millions of listeners all over the world. Welcome, Joie. I can’t wait to hear your story and we can get into it. I’m excited.

Thank you for having me, Art. It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here.

Tell me how this life journey began, where you were born and how it all started.

I was born in New York. I was born on Long Island in Stony Brook. I’d like to say I’m a New Yorker but I grew up in Chicago. I’m definitely a Midwest girl even though I was raised there. I always felt like I should have been raised in Southern California, which is where I am now in San Diego because I love the moderate temperature, the sunshine. Whenever I see the sun, it makes me happy. If I wake up and it’s a cloudy day, it affects my energy and my mood. I feel blessed to finally be living my dream in San Diego.

I lived in San Diego for a number of years in Ocean Beach.

I’m living the dream. I’ve been staying at this oceanfront place off the cliff in Solana Beach. You get to hear the ocean when we go to bed and wake up to it and it’s amazing.

Let’s get back to how your story started.

In my twenties, I went through years of depression and suicidal thoughts. At the time, it wasn’t like there was anything going on in my life that would make it seem like I should feel that way. It wasn’t a sad, empty time in my life but it was a confusing time. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way. I had a good job. I had family and friends that cared about me. I was in a relationship and I had a good upbringing. I was raised with two parents that loved and supported a middle-class family and me. I didn’t go through a lot of challenges growing up other than my parents’ divorce when I was young. It wasn’t the best of divorce as far as there was a lot of yelling. It was definitely better once they separated to have that peace in the home even though it’s hard to have them broken up and to have to split the time between my parents.

I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way and I didn’t tell anybody even afterward. I only told my dad until I ended up years later posting about it on Facebook. I had friends from a long time ago say, “I had no idea. You always seemed happy.” Usually, it is the people that we don’t suspect. When someone ended up killing themselves, a lot of times we ask ourselves what the warning signs were. I honestly don’t think there are some times. I know in my case I don’t think there would have been any warning signs. I ended up in an abusive relationship during that time and that was one of the greatest gifts of my life because it helped me to see that I didn’t love myself.

I didn’t have that awareness before that point. Once I was in that relationship, I started reflecting and thinking I must not love myself. If I did, I wouldn’t be in this relationship and I wouldn’t continuously be in this relationship. When I would talk to my friends about it, they didn’t understand why I was in the relationship because they thought it was amazing. They were like, “Why would you be with somebody that treats you this way?” If you’re not in that situation, it’s hard to understand or if you have been in that situation because all of us have “good and bad aspects of us” in relationships. If it was all bad, it would be a lot easier for people to walk away from those situations but there’s good in there. There’s the emotional attachment when you’re in it versus outside perspective. It’s a lot easier to say what you should do and to give advice, but that was the gift and the turning point for me. I ended up going to that seminar for this healing work that I do with my clients, sometimes now called Matrix Energetics. It was through that abusive boyfriend. He introduced me to that work.

We went to that seminar together. It was through being there that I started to see things differently. I started to open myself up to a whole different world, a different way of seeing the world and seeing myself, understanding myself and understanding who we are. I truly believe that we are spiritual beings having human experiences. We’re not human beings having spiritual experiences. Through that seminar, I started to see things differently and it gave me the courage to finally end that relationship for good because I was in that relationship on and off of for a few years and we kept playing the breakup and get back together game. Eventually, it was like, “No, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” I also made the decision and realized that I needed to learn to love myself. I made the decision to end that relationship and to learn to love myself. After I did that, the universe started bringing opportunities into my life to support me in that decision.

How did your depression manifest itself?

I was never diagnosed with depression. I didn’t go see a therapist. I didn’t take medication. That’s why I healed naturally from it because I definitely did not take medication. Not that medication can’t be helpful or the therapy can’t be helpful for people. It wasn’t my path but what I did find was through the community as well. A big piece of my healing was to love myself through the community. I was a functional depressive person or I did function, but I had a hard time getting out of bed. I would have thoughts like when I would cross this bridge on the way to work, I would think what would happen if I jumped off this bridge. I would have a hard time getting out of bed, but I still would get out of bed and I would still go to work and be able to function. It was this feeling that I had and I couldn’t even imagine getting old because I couldn’t see myself living that long. It was hard for me to think about getting old because I can’t see past a year or this present moment far. I don’t know if that makes sense if you’ve had those thoughts or have been in that space.

What you described is prevalent in our culture that we have an opportunity here to help people. What you described is what many people experience every day. They go through it. I don’t think that there was anything abnormal about it. Those are normal feelings that we have. It’s when we let them control us to the point where you can’t get out of bed and you stop functioning, doing things and all that. We have these thoughts that go through our brain all the time. Being a Vietnam veteran and having all the challenges I had going through Vietnam, I saw a lot of guys that would start doing things that were not safe and not putting thought into it because they were depressed and they didn’t know how to handle the situation.

What you described is important. What I want to focus on is how you got out of that, how you healed yourself because we all have to do that every day. There’s stuff that goes on. It’s life. Sometimes you want to throw the towel in. Sometimes you want to want to stand on top of the hill and cheer. Hopefully, we have way more moments of cheering. One of the things that I want you to address too is you started at the end when you were talking about you couldn’t see the future and you didn’t see the future. I live in the moment because when you live in the moment, it’s the only thing that you can control. Did you learn to live in the moment? Did you meld looking forward and ahead? Did that keep you going?

When we share our stories, we heal ourselves and we heal the world. Click To Tweet

There are several things that the universe brought into my life to support me in learning to love myself. It was through self-love that I was able to heal from the depression and suicidal thoughts. Most people when you think of someone being depressed, you probably think they’re sad, they’re not happy and they should be happy or something. It’s not about being sad. I heard someone say one time that depression is anger turned inwards. When you’re depressed, you’re not sad. You’re angry at yourself but you might not realize you’re angry at yourself. I know that I didn’t have that awareness at the time, and I projected it onto other people. I thought people didn’t care about me which is a common thing. Which is why maybe when people, if they do decide to end their life, they can look at that and say, “Why are they selfish?” They’re not even in a space to think of other people. They’re in so much pain that they want to end their pain and they may not even want to kill themselves and die but they just don’t want to feel the pain anymore.

Depression is anger turned inwards. It would make sense that loving ourselves would be the antidote to that. It was when I shifted the focus to loving myself that I was able to look back then and realize I wasn’t feeling depressed anymore and I wasn’t having those thoughts. There are several things that supported me. One of the first things I learned at the seminar when I was thinking about your show and I was thinking about your name, Shower Epiphanies. I love that name. I wanted to share that because I know that sometimes I’m in sitting meditation, I’ll ask for guidance and I don’t usually get an answer at that moment. It usually comes in the shower when you’re not expecting it.

All of a sudden something will come to me. I’ll be like, “That’s the answer. That’s the great idea I was looking for,” or something. I’m not good at writing those things down to remember or to say, “This happened in the shower,” but I love that name because of that. I’ve had that experience. One of the epiphanies that I had was I realized that I had these beliefs that were putting conditions on my happiness. There were a couple of beliefs in particular that I was having. One was that if I got married, I’d be happier. The other belief was that if I were single, I’d be miserable. I started to question those beliefs. I said, “How do I know that being married is going to make me happier?”

There’s a 50% divorce rate in our country. There are probably a lot of people that are married that are not happy. There’s no guarantee that when you get married, you’re going to be happy. How do I know that being single is going to make me miserable? What if being single was the best thing that I ever did? I had this fear of being alone, of being single. I had gotten from one long relationship to another. I had this pattern of going from one relationship to another and staying in relationships longer than I should have and not being happy but being afraid of being alone. That went back to my childhood. When I started questioning those beliefs, it gave me courage. It created space for me to think of a different possibility that maybe this belief I had wasn’t true. That because I had this belief, did I make it true? It gave me the courage to end that relationship.

That’s a powerful practice that came to me. I don’t know that I was in that space of feeling work and that seminar I went to. I came up with that practice and there a couple of other things that were supportive as well. One was I found this Facebook group called 100 Days of Self-Love. Every day I would post one thing that I loved about myself in that group and I would write in my journal. Sometimes I post on my personal page as well. That’s powerful because doing anything, when you do it consistently over time, then it’s going to yield results and shift the way that we think. Many of us are not kind to ourselves.

We have negative thoughts about ourselves and put ourselves down and we’re so much meaner to ourselves than we would be to anybody else. To start shifting that and hopefully becomes more automatic to think positively about ourselves but that’s not something that comes overnight. With that practice to recognize that we already do love things about ourselves now. It’s not something that we don’t already have and to start with what we already do love because there are probably things that are easy for us to love. Maybe it’s physical traits, maybe it’s our eyes or maybe it’s our hair whatever. Maybe it’s a personality trait but there’s something that we already love about ourselves.

Start with those things and then the goal is to eventually get to a place where you can love not just the “good aspects,” but the shadow aspects of ourselves. I do believe that loving ourselves means that we do love all of us and not the parts that are easy for us to love but the parts that are more difficult. Maybe we don’t want people to know about us, to embrace that and to say that makes me who I am and to know that all pieces of us are welcome and needed. They do also repurpose. Another practice that supported me was another Facebook group called What Am I Grateful for Today. Similarly, I would write down one thing I was grateful for, at least one thing every day, and I’ll post it in the group.

That shifts our mindset because when you’re depressed a lot of times you think you’re focusing on what’s missing in our life rather than what you have to be grateful for. When we start to look at, “What do I have to be grateful for now?” We’ve got more to be grateful for. It’s a great reminder that no matter what’s going on in our lives, no matter how messy our lives look or feel, there’s always something to be grateful for. Even the most basic, being able to be with you is amazing what technology has given us the ability to do. To have shelter, food and clothing, many things that people in the world don’t have, to appreciate what we have.

SE 23 | Healing From Deep DepressionOne of the things that you talked about was a mindset and I believe that having mindfulness about what we’re wanting and what our condition is. I call it the mindful perspective of self. When you have that and you start focusing and having gratitude for all the good things about you, it does change you. What I love is that you had the skill to see it and apply it because that’s what a lot of people do. A lot of reading on self-help books and they read and read but they don’t apply it. They don’t start using it. For you to do that, it’s commendable and I love you for it because it shows your strength of character and your focus on wanting to improve yourself. That’s what we’re all wanting for each other. We all want each other to be better. When we do interact with each other, we can do it honestly, fruitfully and with compassion, love and everything else.

Thank you. I wanted to share one thing about that with 100 Days of Self-love was that when I found that group, trying to find 100 things I love about myself at the time felt like a big stretch. I was like, “I don’t know if there are 100 things I love about myself.” That felt like this huge thing that I didn’t know that I could do, but I was willing to give it a shot. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking, “I don’t think I can find 100 things to love about myself,” I challenge you to give it a shot because you’ll probably find what I found and I did it for more than 100 days. I did it for over 365. I don’t remember the number of days, but I kept going with it. What I found is that there is an infinite number of things to love about myself. I believe the same is true for all of us.

That was one thing I wanted to share it’s that was something that was a big stretch for me at the time being depressed and the state I was in. I didn’t think that was possible, but I was willing to give it a shot. The other thing is with the community aspect, it is important even in that setting. It was a virtual community but being able to be a part of a group where everybody is on the same journey. Everyone’s there to learn, to love themselves and to be grateful. There’s so much power in a group energy, in people coming together. They call it the synergy where one plus one does not equal two, it equals three or four. It’s so much bigger the sum of the whole than the individual parts.

There is power in community and that’s another thing when it comes to depression where that makes it hard too is that people tend to isolate themselves. They tend to not reach out for support, and I know that it’s not easy when you’re in that space. I know it wasn’t easy for me and I didn’t even share it with anybody in my family or my friends, nobody knew. These communities I found online supported me. To know that if you’re in that space that you can find communities. It doesn’t have to be in person. It can be virtual if that feels safer. Women’s circles, in-person circles was also something that helped me in my journey as well and asking for support was a big thing like to reach out into recognizing that I can’t do it alone and that we’re not meant to do anything. I know we have a culture especially here in the US that is focused on being independent and doing things yourself versus in other cultures that you do a lot more things together as a collective or a tribe. To know that I believe that’s how we’re meant to live and a community is not solo.

What happens with people within our culture is that it becomes safer to isolate than it does to be a community. With what’s going on in our country with the political divisiveness that there is, it’s driving people more that way. I have friends who will not go interact with people because they’re afraid that they’re going to say something and that brings me to the word fear. Fear is isolating. It isolates you and you’ve got to have the expectation that everything is going to be right. I talk about faith a lot and faith not being in the religious sense but being in the sense that no matter what goes on and what happens, we’re always going to be okay if we think we’re going to be okay. If we don’t think we’re going to be okay, we’re not going to be okay. I always encourage people who are showing any signs of depression or anxiety that they’ve got to get out there and challenge those anxieties and they’ve got to challenge the depression. The only way you can do that is through community and going out. It’s like Pavlov’s dog, once you start doing it, you get that reward of interaction, and you get a little bit more reward each time you go out. It helps you.

A couple of things I wanted to say, one was what you shared about how it’s safer to be alone versus to be in a community, that it’s safer for us. I don’t think that’s true. That may be perceived safeness because if we’re able to be a part of a community. Being in a circle, the circles I’ve been blessed to be a part of, what I’ve experienced is for one thing understanding when I’m in that circle with other women, I find all the things I thought were “wrong” about me or different about me that it’s not right. You realize that maybe all the thoughts you have in your head, somebody else has those thoughts too. “I have this crazy person in my head, and everyone else must be normal. I’m the one that has these crazy thoughts,” but then you hear other people say what you always thought in your head and you realize, “I’m not the only one that has these thoughts.” It definitely makes you feel less alone when you are able to find those communities. When we’re in those communities, then any issue that there is, there’s already the answers in that community. If we pull all of our resources, all of our gifts, everything that we’ve got that everything is available when we come together.

What I was saying is exactly what you said but what I was trying to put across is that when people isolate themselves, their thought is that they’re protecting themselves, that that’s comfortable. Not that it’s healthy but in their minds, they’re saying, “I’m safe because there’s nothing that can hurt me. No one can hurt me because I’m alone,” which is the furthest thing from the truth about healing yourself. It’s in their head. They see it like that. It’s a perception that is incorrect.

The other thing I wanted to add with that is self-love has been a big part of my journey with healing myself from the depression and suicidal thoughts. The other thing that helped was living my purpose. I believe that it’s both pieces and that’s why sometimes we see these celebrities and that seem like they’re living their purpose and thinking maybe it seems like, “They have it all. They’ve got the fame, they’ve got the money, they’ve got all these things,” and yet they kill themselves. Why did that happen? I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know if there were drugs involved in that because that definitely can play a part in it. It could also be that especially when you’re in such the public eye like that there can be a lot of pressure to be a certain way. It’s hard to admit then that you’re struggling. Maybe they weren’t loving themselves and sharing their struggle.

Depression is anger turned inwards. Click To Tweet

Both of those pieces were critical for me in my journey. Know that if you’re reading and you’re thinking, “Maybe you do love yourself, but you still feel like something is missing to consider like, ‘Are you doing what you’re here to do?’” I do believe that we all have a unique purpose, that we all have gifts that we’re here to share with the world. If we all were able to focus on that, the world would be a much better place. It can be easy especially when we’re empathic, and we care about the world to get overwhelmed by the world. There’s so much going on in the world and to think like, “What can I do? How can I solve all these issues?” I don’t think it’s our job to fix all these problems. Focus on what you’re here to do because if we all did that everything would be much better. We are designed to do something. You have a unique purpose that you’re here to do.

Live up to your own expectations. That’s what it is because when you live up to the expectations of others, you’re not living. You’re living through them, not yourself. That’s why it’s important to set your expectations, the core of what you want, what your purpose is. I do a lot of work with that with people on identifying what they want and how to get there through their expectations. We see our expectations through faith and fear. When you have the faith that everything is always going to work out, I say it to my kids all the time and I say to my clients all the time, “Now is going to be okay, tomorrow is going to be even better.” As long as we keep having higher expectations in our core and we keep meeting them, things always work out. It’s when you get other people’s expectations thrown into it and you try to live to them, you don’t live your life and that’s sad.

I found myself focusing more on the future or being able to live more in the present. Through my journey, I definitely think when we focus on the present moment it’s hard to be anything but happy, unless something annoyed you at that moment. Usually, if we’re in the past, we’re focusing on something we’re sad about or regret. Something that maybe happened in the past, maybe it was a relationship that we’re still holding on to. You can look back and be happy about the past. I’m not saying you can’t do that but a lot of times we might be feeling sadness or regret in the past and then when we’re focusing on the future. We can feel a lot of anxiety around the future because it’s something that isn’t here yet. Being in the present moment is important. That’s all we have. I went to a retreat called Present Moment. The woman that co-founded it, she needed that reminder for herself to be in the present. That place, the energy there is amazing. They have a Wi-Fi but you don’t even want to be on it when you’re there. You just want to be there. It’s on the beach and it’s this beautiful place but the energy is what makes it special.

It is a practice. I can’t say I’m 100% perfect of being in the moment all the time but it’s something that is a continual thing to come back to. I found for me when I started taking ballroom dancing lessons, I did that for a few years. I thought, “Why do I love this so much?” One of the things I realized is that when I’m dancing, that is the only thing or a few of the things I ever do where I’m in the moment. It forces me to be in the moment because if I try to think about the moves, I’m going to be behind the music and the beat. I can’t think and move my body quick enough. If I allow my body to do what it knows it needs to do, I trust that my body knows what to do.

Being the woman is a lot easier because if you have a guy that can lead you, knows what he’s doing and as long as you know how to allow him to lead which is not easy as women. A lot of us like to be the leaders, like to be in control and it is hard to let somebody lead. If you can allow that person to lead and be a good follower, then it’s easy as a woman then to enjoy being in the moment. That’s what I realized and that’s why I love it so much because it forces me to be in the moment. When I’m in the moment, there’s not a lot other than a joy to experience.

That’s why it’s important for people that are experiencing depression to doing something because it takes your mind away from the negative part of it and puts it back into the moment which is always positive. Whatever’s going on right, there is where at least it should be positive. Physical activity is important for part of the healing process of depression. Go out and do ballroom dancing, go out bowling, go out running or jogging, go to the gym and workout. That’s why therapists always suggest it because it brings you to the moment. It’s hard to think negative thoughts when you’re ballroom dancing, bowling, baseball, basketball or any physical activity.

It’s also things that are fun for you. I’m working with a trainer. I was exercising regularly. I was going to yoga and I was going to meditate. I was still feeling depressed and I know everyone’s journey is different. I know a friend who said yoga saved her life. It helped her through her depression. For me, that didn’t work. It was these mindset pieces in the community. It was all these other aspects with that combined that supported me. I agree that doing something that makes you happy, that brings you joy. My happy place is the beach. I’m fortunate enough now to be able to go at any time. When I was feeling depressed, I was in Chicago and it’s a lot harder to access the beach physically on a regular basis. Do things that bring you joy.

I definitely agree that we create our reality through our expectations. It’s what we believe in whether we believe everything works out or not, but also that when you’re living from that place of faith, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have fear. You’re going to feel fear still. It’s not like, “I’m going to decide to have faith. Therefore, I’m not going to have fear.” With the faith, that means you’re going to experience the fear. It’s not a matter of not ever wanting to feel fear because that’s not possible. It’s just not letting it stop us saying, “I recognize there’s fear here and I’m going to keep going because I believe that what I’m doing is worth the fear.”

SE 23 | Healing From Deep DepressionWhen I look at my life and the things that I’ve done, the moments where I felt the most alive or the moments where I had a lot of fear up until that point of whatever it was I was doing. This feeling of being alive comes from us being out of our comfort zone. Doing things that stretch us, that take us out of what feels comfortable. It’s not an easy thing because we are wired for comfort. We want to be comfortable. How many of us would purposely make the temperature in a house cold or hot? We always try to do things to be comfortable. We want to feel comfortable but that’s not how we feel alive.

The greater the challenges that we have, the more rewarding it is to us in our psyche. If we always lived in comfort, we wouldn’t get much accomplished. We wouldn’t do any personal growth because the most growth that I’ve ever experienced is through the most challenging times I’ve had. I was nine years old when I was abandoned, Vietnam and the loss of my wife in 2006 to ovarian cancer. They were all extremely challenging points of my life, but I learned so much about life and living and it gave me such strength and perspective to live in the moment. It’s hard for me even to verbalize everything I learned through the experiences that I’ve had. I believe everything that we do in life is meant to teach us lessons and it’s when we shut those lessons out that we do the most harm to ourselves. I look at every one of those experiences as a learning experience. It was an experience for me to learn something about myself, about others and move on and live. I’m going to do that until the day I die. I just want to live.

Everything that we experience, there’s a lesson there. The truth is that if we try to shut out the lesson, in my experience, it keeps coming back. It might show up in other ways, in different ways of the universe. It wants to support us and grow in our evolution. If we don’t learn a lesson, I don’t know about you but I know I’ve had that experience where something happens and then something happens again and you’re like, “Why does this keep happening?” There’s obviously a lesson here that you haven’t picked up. I have to get the lesson and that’s how you know you’ve gotten the lesson when something doesn’t keep showing up.

I was trying to think back on my life and what is there that I have not learned from and have it repeat itself. I can’t think of anything because I do look at everything as a learning experience and maybe that’s why it doesn’t repeat itself.

That’s amazing because I can’t say that I haven’t had lessons repeat themselves. I believe growth is a spiral. That it’s not a linear process. It’s not from point A to point B in a straight line. It’s a spiral which means that you’ll end up probably coming back to places where you feel like, “I thought I healed this.” It doesn’t mean that the work that you’ve done didn’t work. It means there’s another layer. There are more layers to uncover. I had a mentor that shared that with me and that’s true. I do believe that growth is a spiral. It’s not a linear process. I know that’s been my experience to my life where things have come back around and I think, “I thought I learned this already,” but I did. There’s more that’s coming up for healing and it’s an opportunity to look at it.

With my TEDx Talk, that definitely was the next level thing for me to do. I posted on my Facebook page when I was getting ready for my talk all the stuff that came up around that for me and how it was me. My talk was about self-love and it was an opportunity to love myself more because I could have gone one of two ways. I could have either let that defeat me and go, “Who am I to do this?” I was close to saying, “Do you know what?” Calling these people and saying, “I’m sorry but I can’t do this. You’ve got the wrong person. I’m not the person to do this.”

It was one of those things that brought up so much stuff around. My life’s not perfect. I still struggle. “Who am I to give this talk?” I had to say, “This is my purpose. I know that I’m here to teach anybody self-love. This has been my journey and I know that there is no destination, that it’s not about being perfect. It’s not about having a perfect life. It’s not about never struggling. Part of the message is that when we love ourselves it’s an ongoing process. There are still moments where we are going to struggle.” That’s what the tools are there for and to know that it’s a never-ending process. Even though it didn’t feel good at the moment to go through that process and to recognize that, this is all part of my message to share with people and that this is happening that I can love myself even more. To show more compassion for myself and to realize, “This is what I’m here to do. If I weren’t meant to do this, I wouldn’t have gotten the talk.” Sometimes we have to borrow other people’s belief honestly.

We may not have our own belief in our self and to know that these people that chose me to be the speaker at their event that they believe in me. Even if I’m in not believing in myself at this moment, I’m going to borrow their belief because I don’t think that they would have somebody on the stage that’s not going to do a good job because then it looks bad on them. They have faith in me even though they barely even know me but from what they saw in my application that I sent to them, that they have enough faith in me to know that I can do it. Truly, I knew deep down that I could, but there was a lot of stuff on the surface that had to clear up.

Doing anything consistently over time is going to yield results and shift the way that we think. Click To Tweet

Where was it that you went to your TEDx? Where did you do it at?

Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Didn’t you have flight delays?

I don’t know if you know the whole thing around this universe tests us whether you believe in that or not. If that’s true, the universe was definitely testing my commitment to my purpose because it was a journey. I traveled for almost 24 hours on four hours of sleep. I barely had any coffee. I was trying not to drink coffee because I try not to drink coffee, but I did have to get a matcha latte. I will admit that at Starbucks at the airport just to hold me over. I was afraid I would fall asleep and miss my flight because I had a seven-hour delay in Chicago. Thank goodness for free Wi-Fi so I was able to catch up on some shows because I try to look over my talk and my mind was like, “This is not happening on four hours sleep.”

My mind could not process anything. It was one of those journeys and as you saw you’re following it and I know many people were rallying from me and that was helpful. I was a keynote, another opportunity to ask for support. I could try to do this on my own and trust that. I know I’m powerful and that I have powerful angels that would support me. I was like, “Why do this on my own?” I know that collective energy is powerful. Why not reach out and tell people what’s going on and get the support? At the end of the day, what I always come back to is it’s not about me.

It’s easy and that’s another thing when it comes to depression is that we end up focusing so much on ourselves. When we’re living our purpose, remember that it’s not about you. It’s a continuous thing too, for me especially. I always come back to that place of when I’m struggling. What am I focusing on? Most likely I’m focusing on myself. When I’m focusing on others, I feel like there are fewer struggles there because it’s much easier when I shift the focus, when I recognize that this talk is not about me. This is about the people that need it. When I can focus on that, any challenges, it clears the path.

It’s like, “Even though these things are coming up, I’m focused. I’m committed because this is not about me. I know there’s somebody out there that my talk could potentially save their life because that’s what it did for me, that self-love, and living my purpose and these practices saved my life.” That’s the power in this talk. I had to come to a place of surrender though because there were all these flight cancellations and delays and things were out of my control that I had to say, “God, I put this in your hands. If I’m meant to be there, I will. If not, I can only do so much.” You can only fight and resist what is so much until at some point we have to surrender and say, “Leave it to God.” God knows. I believe God has got our best interests at heart. If I’m meant to be there, I will and I had to get to that place of full surrender.

That’s called faith.

I had the faith but it was a test for sure.

Our faith gets tested thousands of times a day probably for people, especially when you are out in the community. It’s tested quite often, and your strength of character to see your faith through is what defines you, makes you who you are. That’s what makes you special. What makes you special? I can tell you what I think.

The obvious answer is it’s who I am because I am special. We’re all special but I know I have a big heart. I know that ever since I was a child, I was here for something bigger than myself and I share these sometimes on shows. I don’t know if that sounds cheesy, but honestly, I don’t even know where it came from. It’s something that I’ve always had inside of me. I guess I’m a child and I always knew that I wasn’t here to make a lot of money and to have fun with my life but to make an impact on the world. That makes me special.

Do you know what I was going to say that made you special? Is it your heart? When I first met you and I’ve talked to you over time. It solidified in my mind that you have this beautiful heart and spirit about you. When you have that, it shows in your sparkle of a smile, it shows in the sparkle of your eyes. It becomes your persona of who you are and people sense that. At least I sensed it. I can’t speak for other people. I sensed that but if I sensed it, other people sense it too. That is the beautiful thing about Joie Cheng is her heart. That’s why you can help people because you’re willing to share it. You’re willing to share that heart because a lot of people live in that fear space and don’t share their heart. If we all shared our heart as much as you and I do, our world would function at a whole different place. People go out and they function to the expectations of others. They think that instead of being themselves, we have to perform to what they think people want us to be. You see it every day. You see it in the workplace.

No matter where you go, you see it all over. When we speak from our heart, even I get along with people who even don’t express their heart in a positive way because I see through it and I can address it. One of the things people say about me is you’ll always be able to draw people out. You always make people smile. It’s because I can see it. I can see when they’re hurt and they’re dealing in anger. I want to make them feel better. I want them to feel good about themselves. I draw them out and they talk to me. We go to New York City and I get on the subway, I cannot talk to people. People think I’m weird, but I start talking to people and pretty soon I’m talking to three or four people and we’re all talking and it changes the whole thing. You see people start smiling, moving, enjoying and relaxing.

Everything is either love or a cry for love. You could say there are only two emotions: love and fear, but the fear is still a cry for love.

Every human being craves two things. One is to be heard and then the other is for validation. I call it love and validation. People want to be loved and heard and want to be validated for their thoughts and actions. Those are the two human traits that are craved the most by people. If you can meet that in people, you can win them over. Love them and validate their feelings. It comes through listening and all those things.

That’s why being in a circle of people is powerful because that’s exactly the experience I received being in circles was that it was an opportunity to be heard. To finally be able to share whatever was on my mind and not have people judge me or if they did at least, they did it silently. They were holding space and allowing me to speak what’s on my mind without feedback, without advice, without any comments and holding space. We would do this thing where we put our hands out and sending that person love. It was a way of saying, “I hear you, I see you and I love you without saying those words.” Validation and love are what we all want and we’re all here to have.

Focus on what you're here to do. If we all did that, everything would be so much better. Click To Tweet

This is a great way to start learning about what you’re up to and what you’re going to do. What have you got coming up? Where can people get hold of you?

The best place would be my website at JoieCheng.com. I’ve got clients I’m working on, helping them share their story to publish their book because I believe when we share our stories that we heal ourselves and we heal the world and it’s true. The greatest thing we can do to leave an impact on the world is to share our story and to share them in the form of a book because we’re no longer in the physical form. We’re all going to end up transitioning at some point. We don’t know when that is. A lot of times it’s easy for us to think, “I’ll do it later and I’ll have someday.” The present moment is all we have. Not to wait for someday because your life could end in a moment.

I’ve had friends die in car accidents immediately. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Know that leaving your legacy is important because eventually, we won’t be around our family, our friends, anybody that knew us. To be able to leave something that could change someone’s life and have the power even to save that person and someone else’s life long after you’re gone. To have that, to leave that, there aren’t even words to describe the feeling. It’s such a freedom and a peace in knowing that when I die, I’m going to feel like, “I’ve left an impact on the world that’s going to live on forever.” That’s my passion. That’s what I believe I’m here to help people, to support them in getting their story out.

One of the things that are coming up for me is destination writing retreats. I’ve been thinking about how I’ve gone through many trainings and I have many gifts. I’ve done yoga teacher training, I’ve led deeksha blessing circles, the healing work I do, meditation, women’s circles. To be able to bring everything together as well as combine that with my love for travel, there is something powerful about being able to meet with people in a group setting to share intention, to share a story and to meet somewhere in a beautiful space out in nature which is healing too. A part of my journey is being out in nature, to do that and to have that space to be able to create, to write, to get our books done. I have a whole list of places. My goal and dream are to be able to do my bucket list items. I was going to travel for a few months to 25 countries. To take all those places that I want to go, have people meet me and get our books done, that’s what we have to look forward to.

I couldn’t have said that any better about what we live for. It’s been a pleasure having you. We’re going to have to do this again sometime. I’m always here to support you as I am my audience. I’m always here for you and you can get ahold of me at ExpectationTherapy.com. It’s been a joy. I love you to death and I’m always here for you.

Thank you.

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 About Joie Cheng

SE 23 | Healing From Deep DepressionJoie Cheng, M.S.W., The Queen of Transformational Book Publishing, is passionate about helping people write and publish their books so they can make the income and impact they desire and deserve. She believes that when we share our stories we heal ourselves and we heal the world.

Joie is a Patrick Snow certified publishing coach, international best-selling author, TEDx and professional keynote speaker, mentor, healer, circle facilitator, and a trained yoga teacher. She is the best-selling author of The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love about her personal journey of healing herself naturally from deep depression and suicidal thoughts through self-love.

Joie is a featured author in the #1 international best-selling book Being Unapologetic by Davide DiGiorgio and will be featured in the upcoming book series Success is all B.S., Selling More is all B.S., and Excellent Leadership is all B.S. by Stephen De La Cruz.

She is the host of the podcast The Naked Truth Movement where she interviews guests who are willing to share inspiring stories and be vulnerable so fewer people feel alone. Joie has also been interviewed on over 30 podcasts including Conscious Millionaire with millions of listeners all over the world.

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