Sept. 12, 2022

Candice Smiley - Finding Radical Acceptance and Love | Mental Health Coach

In this episode, I am joined by my guest Candice Grace Smiley Candice is a mom, podcaster, social marketer, and essentialist who loves...
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In this episode, I am joined by my guest Candice Grace Smiley Candice is a mom, podcaster, social marketer, and essentialist who loves to engage in interesting conversations with other influencers and entrepreneurs. 

We talk about the power of saying no, listening to your own heart and speaks openly about subtle abuse as it occurs in relationships - personally and professionally. Deeply affected by the gaslighting and the experiences, she adopted an essentialist lifestyle, leaned on her personal network and practiced radical personal forgiveness, acceptance and responsibility.  The journey was not without its impact and Candice shares powerfully about dealing with anxiety, depression, shame and learning to let go.

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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, podcast host, Candice Smiley host of the show, create the ripple. Candice, my friend, welcome, you have quite the biography, which I did not want to read, cuz I think it's best suited for those who are them to do so for themselves. How are you, what is going on in your world today?

Candice:Oh, I'm wonderful. I'm so excited to be here. I've had a chance to listen to a number of your episodes and I'm in awe. I love it when people come and they are so willing to share from such an authentic place and I think the world needs more of that, so I'm excited to be here.

Michael: Yeah, I agree, without a lot of the fufu bullshit that I think we get tied into when we try to mask our truth for the sake of other people. So, I think that having a lot of clarity and authenticity is key to this journey. That said before we dive into this amazing conversation, tell everybody a little bit about you and how you got to where you are today.

Candice: Yeah, for sure. So, I’m first and foremost, a mom and I think that's been a huge part of my story is I'm moving forward because I knew I always wanted to be a mom and I had this amazing, beautiful childhood I grew up on a big farm. I was able to run around. I feel like my parents did a great job of protecting my childhood, which I bring up ‘cause I know it's a really big conversation for you around childhood and childhood trauma. But what it didn't prepare me for was at 17, I was sexually assaulted by a gentleman who I thought was going to be my boyfriend who had basically groomed me to be accepting of that gaslighting and manipulation and all that kind of stuff that comes and that moment was such a huge moment for me in my life. And it really took me down this path that I'm gonna kind of go through. But basically 20 years ago, I survived that once and then didn't know how to leave and didn't know how to get where I needed to go ‘cuz I'd never been empowered with some of that language and what ended up happening is then a number of years went by and I really couldn't adjust to what had happened and 14 years ago I decided that I was not going to take my own life. And I got up off the floor and made a decision that even though it had been, you know, six years and since I had felt happy and felt like myself, that it was time for me to do some deep healing work. I didn't know where to start, but I made a phone call and that really started the journey to healing; 11 years ago, unfortunately like so many people who come out of a trauma situation, we don't know, right? That there are people out there who prey on people who don't have great boundaries, you know, have been wounded once and so, we carry around that I'm walking wounded idea in our mindset and we become targets, I think, to people who would prey upon that. And I got into a relationship with somebody who then ended up leaving the country and me with over $350,000 of really bad debt. So, at a point in my life, when I was just starting to get my life back together, I was just starting to, you know, it's that part of my life, I should have been moving into buying my first home and some of these things, I was basically back to a place I had no idea once again, how to navigate, how to get through that, how to set great boundaries, how to ask for what I needed, even in that moment ended up skipping into foreclosure court and a consumer proposal, which was scary for me in my twenties, but I needed to get through that and figure out what was next and how could I get my life back on track. And for me a theme all the way through was just to not let them win that was like overwhelming. I was like, no, I'm going to be happy one day and when I'm happy, I'm gonna be really happy. So, you know, it kept moving through that, seven years ago, I welcomed my daughter into the world and that was another huge moment for me, because I feel like up until that point, I'd been doing the healing work, but I don't know if I'd ever been honest with my therapist. I don't know if I'd ever really had a moment where I sort of acknowledged and accepted what had happened, ‘cuz I think there's an element of radical acceptance and radical forgiveness. But I looked at this beautiful, small being and I thought maybe I can't heal myself from me, but I need to heal myself for her because otherwise I'm going to repeat a pattern and I didn't want her to go through a lot of the same thing that I had. So, that meant two years later, five years ago, I made a decision to leave my marriage, even though I didn't know if I was gonna be supported financially, even though I didn't know what I was going to do and how I was going to manage. I don't think anybody wakes up and wants to be a single mom, but I knew that for my journey and my healing, I needed to keep letting go of relationships and people that I hadn't set great boundaries in, and I hadn't really set myself up for, but it certainly wasn't easy being a single mom three years ago, I finally hit the pause button and I'd been saying it since I was 17 that I needed to finally hit, like stop and say, okay, I gotta do some really deep peeling work. And I was so terrified, Michael, like, I was so terrified that if I stopped all of that pain and all of that guilt and all of that shame that I had just buried and, you know, stuffed in many different parts of my body and hadn't really acknowledged was just going to take me over. And I was terrified that I might not make it through that, but it did. And I found some amazing therapists and coaches, and finally started being honest first with myself and that's the real premise behind when I started the podcast two years ago is I realized so many of the moments that happened in my life were because I wasn't listening to that little voice inside that says, this is a bad idea because I think one, we're not taught to two, we're not given the language and three sometimes it shows up and you have no logical reason why you can't trust this person or why, you know, you should make a different decision. And then there's this really awful moment where you need to tell yourself the truth, tell yourself the truth of, you know, who you are, what you've been through in all of it. And I've found that from that place of telling myself the truth, I found relief, not more grief, I mean, I finally cried for some of those things but there was a relief. I was like, well, now I can move forward. Nobody's going to hurt me with these secrets that I've been carrying for years, rebuilt my life, bought myself a tiny home, fell in love and then last year we welcomed a little boy into the world and so, I feel like my life has come full circle. And now I'm just passionate about talking people through, you know, that it took me 20 years to finally be honest with myself. It took me a long time to come to peace about what had happened, and then to be able to live from a place of integrity where it was no longer setting me up for more failure or setting me up for more grief and mistakes and that kind of stuff. So that's how I got from there to here.

Michael: Yeah, that's incredible. And so much of that journey I resonate with obviously, and I think a lot of people listening will. And you know, what initially comes to mind is that word, honesty that you used. How it can be this really terrifying moment of getting nakedly, honest with yourself, because you go and you look in the mirror and you have this experience and you can try to fucking hide it, but that's what it's right there, it's just waiting for you. And what I found, which was really fascinating and I think this holds true, you cannot lie to yourself. Like, no matter how much you want to on a long enough timeline, it will come to fruition, you cannot get away with anything like it's impossible. And I think that people try to stuff that down and run from it and hide from it. And that's so reasonable, right? Because you look at the scope of the world and you go, of course, why would you wanna fucking acknowledge his darkness? Why would you wanna deal with this pain? Why would you wanna address quarter a third of million dollars in debt? Why would you want to ever pull yourself out of a relationship that you're unhappy with? Why would you, why, why, why? Right plus goes on and on and on, but freedom only ever comes through honesty and it's so fucking cliche, but the truth will set you free, but it's people, I think that that truth is for other people but it's not, it's for you.

Candice: I love that you brought that up, cuz I say that all the time on my podcast, I'm like you do not necessarily need to tell your truth in its fullness to the world. The world may not deserve that level from you, but you do because when you tell yourself the truth and you're gonna live from this place of integrity, and it's like relief like I just, I want to tell people that all the time, like, I wish I had been more honest with myself. Like you say, from the beginning, sorry to interrupt but I love that you said that.

Michael: No, I mean, you're spot on and now that's gonna lead to the question, like why does integrity even matter?

Candice: I think it's everything. For the longest time I can remember when people say, you know, well, this person doesn't have integrity and I wanted to like dive into what that word meant and I did I love the meaning of words. I think if we understand that we create our world with our word and that of course starts what you're saying in here, that starts what you're saying to yourself up here. And I think from out of our miles, space so I've been diving into the meanings of words for years and years and years, it's one of the things that got me up off the floor when I wanted to kill myself is I knew what my name meant, and it meant glittering, glowing, white, and pure. And that mattered to me cuz at that point I just felt so ruined and broken. I had no idea how to get to a place of integrity here. I knew how to be honest with people, to a point, I knew how to tell the truth. I mean, I was raised like that, but I was also raised to be a nice girl and the etymology of the word nice means stupid. And so, I feel like that's like, duh, that's exactly what happened. I didn't set myself up to set great boundaries. I didn't set myself up to say, I was always negotiating with other, like with myself rather than other people. And I think integrity for me comes right back to the point of here. Right? It's an internal thing for me the integrity piece. It's much more than honesty. It's much more than truth. It's like, for me, when you're living integrity, I can feel it. I mean, I'm very into my body, very much in that feminine energy. When I feel like I'm integrity, it's a feeling of relief. It's just, there's no anxiety. I might be uncomfortable, I have to tell somebody the truth and I know they're not gonna like it, but I'm just so done with breaking my trust. I'm so done with compromising and making other people uncomfortable, that's what I have to do because if I don't, then I'm the one who's always uncomfortable and I'm just that's for me, that's not integrity. And so, the navigating that has been quite the journey, especially as a people pleaser.

Michael: And I think it's a tough journey just societally when often, I mean, you think about this and it's true. Like we come through and we understand how narcissism can affect us, how gas lighting can affect us, how all these things happen. And then we live in a world where that now becomes kind of the default for disagreement, which is a really, really weird experience that I see happening for frequently right now. And what I'm wondering is how do you kind of balance your truth when we live in a society that sometimes when you put your truth out, goes, oh, you're gaslighting me. Right? And so, now you're on this other side of this coin that you've spent all this time trying to understand ‘cause I think a lot of people are really, really fucking afraid to tell the truth because they're gonna get canceled, people will say you're gaslighting, people will say you're selfish or an egomaniac or narcissistic just because those are the hot words right now. And it's not that those words don't matter so let's be very, very clear about that. But I think there's an inundation happening when people try to step into who they are, where immediately it's like they're stonewalled because of their truth and it's weird right now.

Candice: Well, and I think, you know, I'm gonna put it this way. I was only ever accused of cheating in my relationships by cheaters. And so, I feel like that sort of an idea comes forward for me personally, if somebody would say you're gaslighting, I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa, let's talk about where that comes from because, you know, I'm in this space, I'm in this energy, I think really understanding those words has been important I know I've sort of leaned into that, but if somebody concerned about that, go look it up because I think that knowledge sort of frees you up to sort of stand in that as you move forward into it and through it. What I've observed, like you say, is this energy, I mean, the other day I said to someone I made, I was making a different decision than they would've preferred living in my truth, standing in my truth and I expressed it. And they came back and said, well, I'm just worried about you. And I went that's manipulation. Like I understand and I hear your concern, I hear that. And I wanna dive into that more, cuz clearly, I can hear that you care about me, however, the way you phrase that for me feels abusive. It feels manipulative because you'd like me to change my stance and make a different decision to make you comfortable and I can't do that. I can discuss with you, but we may have to respectfully disagree. And usually when I show people how subtle the language of this gossip and gaslighting and manipulation actually is in our culture, that it comes from people who mean well, but I've never been made aware that that's a boundary that that's rather than learning how to communicate your needs, your fears, what you need your truth in a way that the other person can hear you acknowledge it and help you find some peace in that, it just becomes another way to be manipulated.

Michael: Yeah. And I think one of the things that's difficult is still holding your truth in those moments. And so, that's where I'm pushing into, how do you continue to hold your truth, to stand fast in the face of that?

Candice: I think now that I have come to this place, from 14 years ago, getting up off the floor and saying, I'm going to be happy, I'm going to create this life that I love, they're not going to win. I hold onto that, like, that was one of those deep emotional decisions that, you know, changes you. And I don't know how I could be anything, but because the second I step out of my integrity and I bend for someone else. I feel it, I'm anxious, I'm irritable, I'm not at my best and I think as hard as it is, we need to learn to have those conversations that take courage, to have know our own boundaries. And it's hard to know your own boundaries if you've never set them or never taken that tough time. But for me, I'd rather walk away or have to say, Hey, I think we need to take a season apart, or I need to let you think about this because this is where I stand. And I don't even remember where I heard it now, but there's a phrase that it's like and having done all to stand. And I think that's sort of been my journey I haven't always had the courage to push forward as far as I want to, in terms of, you know, moving the boundary to where I know it needs to be, but I have been able to stand up and say, well, it's not where I want to be, but I'm standing here, I'm not going backwards. And so, I'd say to the person who feels like, how am I gonna get there is just start with these baby steps and there's this beautiful thing that happens through my timeline, which I didn't realize when it was happening, I felt like I was letting myself off the hook. I felt like I was taking the easy way out was I gave myself the gift of time, sometimes it takes time, right? It takes time for energies to cool. It takes time for you to figure out who you are and what you need and where your boundaries are. And I gave myself the gift of time. I knew six days after my daughter was born, that I needed to leave her dad but I didn't leave for a couple years. It took me that long to find the courage, to create a life, to do some counseling. There was lots I needed to do before I could set that boundary and say, you know, it's not working. I know it's not working and we need to go. And consequently, it was very peaceful and gentle when that happened but I remember standing in front of the mirror when she was six days old and being like this isn't good, like something needs to change either I'm out or we gotta do something, I can't do it. I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, oh, we can't even think about leaving until we lose the baby weight. We can't even think about losing until we figure out what we're doing financially. We can't do that. And I remember part of me said, oh, that you should get up and go and I was beating myself up. And the other part of me said, no, we gotta do this, we gotta figure out we can't go to all the way to the end, the finish line there's steps we need to do. And looking back now, I'm so glad that I gave myself that gift of time without knowing it because when I did finally set that boundary, I set it and it stayed and I think that's really important. So, I don't know how else to put that, except that, there's a growth period, there's a growing into it, there's a, like, I wouldn't trade me now for anybody, but it was a really hard-fought road to get to the point where you can say it, not from a place of anger or pushback, but just this deep calm, knowing this is where I stand right here.

Michael: And it takes time. And I think there's a tremendous in my own experience, tremendous amount of discomfort in getting to the place where that starts to hold true. And I think that comes from like, you've never done this before, it's brand new. It's something you're experiencing for the first time. And so, in that, just like riding a bike or anything, you're going to be a little bit scared, but the more that you do it, the more that it holds true, and it helps shape your identity. And to your point, a couple of things make tremendous sense to me. One, time is you have no idea what you're capable of doing in a decade. Right. And people are always like, oh, it has to be right now, right now, some things do need to be right now, if you're in danger, if you're in this weird predicament, if you need to quit a job, like whatever, there are some things like fucking make a decision, do it right now. And then there are other things where you have to sit in and acknowledge like you've got to be patient. And I think about it like this macro patients, micro movements, and just continuing to go, go, go, go every day towards the thing that you're trying to create, knowing that it's gonna take a very long time. And I think when you're able to adopt that patient, you're going to create a parameter of belief in yourself and confidence because you're moving towards something and I think that's ultimately how you create change in your life. The other thing that I think is really important that I want to go back to. As you said you were able to walk away when, in this place of trying to hold fast and stand towards your boundaries. And I think that's so incredibly important and we live in a weird society where people will cast judgment at you, they will say, well, it's your family, it's your husband, I don't know, whatever. Right. And you'll feel this trapped inundation in which you're supposed to stay. But I think that walking away is a really, really powerful tool and arguably one of the greatest forms of having a boundary. You know, one of the things that comes to mind when I get into intellectual arguments with people which happens more common than you'd probably imagine, there always comes a point a juncture, an intersection in which I think about a quote that Jay-Z once said that I use as a measurement for determining whether or not this path is even worth going down ‘cuz sometimes it's just not, right? Mentally, emotionally and that quote is “Never argue with a fool because from a distance people can't tell who is who.” And what that means, I'm not saying that person is a fool I'm saying maybe I am right, because I could be wrong too and eventually you hit this kind of impasse and it's just, nothing's gonna be different and walking away is really important because that's really about holding true to your boundaries, I want to go into this because I think it's really important. People hear this word boundaries all the time, we've broached it on the show, I've talked about it. What are your tools? What are the steps that you have taken in your life that you now help other people take in terms of creating and more importantly, because people are always like, I mood those boundaries, but more importantly holding true to that boundary ‘cause that's where people fall off.

Candice: It's true. I love that you brought this up because I am definitely a recovering people pleaser and I had no boundaries. I didn't have boundaries in my personal relationships, my friendships, my businesses. I just wanted to make everybody comfortable. And unfortunately, because of that, I said, yes, when I meant to say no and should have said no, and then immediately regretted it and had no idea what was next. So, for me, boundaries, really started when I started listening to myself and I sort of, you know, touched on that, you know, I call it, you know, it started that thing inside that says, oh, somebody crossed the boundary, something's uncomfortable here. I've stopped ignoring those. I've learned to start listening to those. And then I told myself the truth of that truth of that, I'm uncomfortable and that was hard in the beginning to acknowledge even to myself in my mind and in my heart, you know, in the bathroom, close the door, look in the mirror, talk to myself, I'm uncomfortable here. Something's not right. I don't know what's off, but it's not right, I'm uncomfortable. And just acknowledging that helps me realize, okay, well now I need to put up a boundary and that just means we're not gonna be more uncomfortable. I'm not gonna keep moving forward. I need to figure out how to make a change. The problem was once I started realizing that I didn't have any language, cuz I was never taught, this is how you say no, this is how like Noah's a beautiful word. And we feel like it's going to be a disappointment but I think it's a brilliant, you can't say yes if you can't say no, because I was saying yes to so many things that my life energy me was getting spread so thin and I wasn't showing up as I wanted, I was tired, I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. And so, setting the boundary went well, at least I'm not gonna go backwards. Now, how do I get out of this? Do I need to make a change? And so, I would say to someone, setting a boundary and maintaining a boundary is not actually that simple, it will be you'll develop the habit, but in the beginning, I would literally stop and go, I'm uncomfortable. Why am I uncomfortable?  And I know that sounds ridiculous, but asking myself that question was like, oh, I'm uncomfortable because this was said, I'm uncomfortable because I promised myself, I wouldn't do this. I'm uncomfortable because whatever it is. Okay. What do I wanna do about that? I would like to have a conversation about this. I would like to not do this. I would like to get out of this contract. I don't wanna date this person anymore. I don't want this to happen. Okay. How do I do that? And I know that sounds ridiculous, but going through this process made me become my own best friend, which I think I needed to become because for the longest time I had bought into this, you know, fairytale idea that there was gonna be some prince charming who was gonna show up and make it better. And I think the biggest moment for me was when I admitted to myself, girl, you're gonna have to rescue yourself. Nobody's coming. Nobody. You need to do it for you and why would you wanna be rescued anyway, like you're intelligent and all of these things and if you've forgotten, we gotta figure out how to get there. So, I became my own best friend. I had to practice some radical forgiveness first to me, and then move it to radical acceptance, which I think is a great place to move forward from. So, this happened, it sucks. I don't like it, that was dumb. I should have done something different, but acknowledging that feels like then next comes very naturally. What we could do about it? What I could say? Who I need to talk to? And in the beginning, I certainly had friends I trusted I'd say, Hey, I need to break up with this person. I need to make a different decision. Can I role play that? Can I jot down some notes? Can I send it in an email versus a text? Was it pretty when I was learning how to set boundaries? No, it was pretty messy actually. But then once they were there, it's really easy sometimes to let those boundaries get moved. And I think I have to always come back to that point of being my best friend, so if I was my best friend, what would I do about my boundary? Cause for some reason, it's easier for me to say, Hey girl, set your boundary, move it back and be my best advocate and I would say to people that's a big deal. And for me, I'm just not willing to compromise this feeling of relief and the way that I can show up for my kids, for my friends, for my partner anymore, because they deserve the best of me.

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that being your own best friend is really important. Like I think at the same terms of like loving yourself, because if you don't love yourself first, I can promise you, nobody else is gonna there for you. And you can attempt that and you can try and you can be in all the relationships and have all the sex in the world, but I promise you at the end of the day, you're still gonna be empty inside. Why? Because you have not gotten to that place in which you've reconciled your own truth with yourself to be able to allow you this space to step into that. And that's a very difficult, uncomfortable thing for anybody. Like, I don't give a shit who you are, I think that's a part of the human experience is the difficulty in being able to step into that reality and sit in some kindness and vulnerability, grace for yourself; for yourself when you're constantly in this place of like, if I'm not destroying myself, do I matter? And I think that's a really weird experience that people have to go through to be able to reconcile. One of the things that I think about frequently when I'm having a conversation like this, that I don't really ever bring up, but I wanna bring up here cuz you brought light to it. You said I was able to find love, and I think a lot of people don't think that they're worthy of it. Don't think they're capable of it. Don't think that it's in the cards for them, find themselves with their whole life being like I'm unlovable. So, what was your journey to not only getting to the place of loving yourself, but of allowing love to exist in your life?

Candice: Oh, I love this question. I always wanted or knew, like I looked into the meaning of the word love, right? So, I'd been attached to this idea. The problem was that I had adopted so many of these, you know, cliche, not true ideas around it and I think I really had to come to that place of loving myself. And I hate to say that because we only have one word for love and there's so many different kinds of love, but more than that, I had to come to this place where I respected myself and respected myself enough to set boundaries and do these things and what did I really want? And there was certainly a time where I didn't even value my life enough. Right. I wanted to take myself completely out. And so, I think it was coming back to, I wanted to fall in love with myself. I think deep down inside, I wanted to get to that place. And at some point, it became less like a dude or someone I'm much more about how I felt for me. And so, it’s odd, it was subtle to be completely honest with you, Michael. Like when I'm talking to women and they're like, well, I wanna find love and I'm like, yeah, but are you healed? Did you do the work? Because I didn't do the work at 17, I didn't know I needed to do the work or who, or how. And so, I dragged that feeling of being unlovable, I dragged, I make everybody comfortable, even if I'm uncomfortable through every single one of my relationships and so, I compromised, right? The people are like, well, how did you end up with $350,000 worth of debt? And I'm like, cuz I compromised. I kept on doing these things. I didn't respect myself. I didn't have the courage to say no. I thought I was unlovable and who wouldn't love me. And if I could go back to her at 17, I'd say girl, hit the pause button and hit it now, go find some therapists go find someone you can talk to, do the hard work to heal because unfortunately we don't attract what we want, we attract who we are and that's what's crazy. Is it wasn't until I finally hit the stop button. I did 14 weeks of intense therapy where I saw a therapist on Monday and a feminine balance coach on Thursday and I was pretty much reaching out to anybody I knew in my network who had a modality or healer. And I said, I wanna do your program, I wanna do the thing and I dove into it and I emerged on the end of that with my therapist saying, you know, you should get back in the dating game and I was like, I'm good, not gonna do it. I'm happy. Like I'm actually happy. Let's not mess this up. And my feminine balance coach saying, well, why don't you just learn how to have new conversations? Cuz Michael, I had to have different conversations. I didn't know how to be the healed me in my business relationships, in my friendships and certainly not in my romantic relationships, that was a whole new me to show up and say, these are my boundaries, you know, and this kind of thing. So, what was really interesting is the person I ended up reaching out to for this experiment I showed up and his comment was you are different. I don't know what it is, but you're peaceful, you're calm, what is it? And I said, I just did 14 weeks of healing. And I'm learning how to say, here's my boundaries, I'm learning how to function differently. Do you wanna go on this experiment with me? Long story short that my vulnerability, and it was a strength vulnerability. It wasn't that vulnerable that I felt before where I was like weak. It was like, this is me, I'm good. I love me. I love me and it's taken me a really long time to get there. And his comment was, oh, well I love me too and we talked about the books we were reading, we talked about dreams, we talked about goals. It was a different respect, I felt respected and from that respect and friendship, the love was just the next step. And my dad had always said, when you fall in love and you choose that person, it should be the easiest decision of your life and it had not been easy until that point, to be honest with you, I don't know how many people I dated that I didn't actually like, and that's not surprising to me cuz I didn't like me for the longest time. So, I just fell into relationships and got into relationships people who, of course they were going to hurt me. I was still hurting me. I was using them to hurt me. And when I took radical acceptance for that, and I said, it's me, I'm the only one in the relationships, I need to heal me. If I never find someone, I'm happy. I'm going after my goals. I'm good. But I didn't give up on love. I didn't say love is awful. I knew when everything fell apart. I didn't lose trust in men though I said that, I didn't lose trust in women though. I said that too. I had lost trust in me. I had to fall in love with me and start to trust my decisions again, because I've made some doozies so that was the real journey. And then the love came easy and that is probably the thing that still makes me crazy. When I think about it. I'm like, how is that even possible? I mean, I know it's possible, but it feels fairytale on this side. And my partner said to me, he said, this is the most interesting thing he says. I always thought you meet your person and its sunshine, lollipops, and roses. But in reality, you meet your person and the work continues. He's the best mirror in my life to show me all the areas that I'm still not free and that's probably the biggest blessing is when I get triggered, I own that, he might hold space for me to do the healing work, but it's my job. He comes home grumpy from work, that's up to me to say, yo, bringing it home from a place of kindness

Michael: Yeah, that's powerful. And I think respect plays an incredibly pivotal role in this journey. I think your father's words are very sage and should be taken heed of because it's so very true. You know, I remember once and it did not make sense to me when I was fucking 24-year-old stupid, but I had an ex-girlfriend tell me love isn't supposed to be hard and that did not calculate in any capacity. And part of that is because my experience of love and childhood was always pain, suffering, hurt, yelling, violence, all of those things and it wasn't until going down the journey and stepping into a lot of healing that I was able to look at and go wait a second. What if there was no yelling, no screaming, no hitting, no fighting, no cursing at each other. No pain, no suffering, doesn't mean the relationship's gonna work, but it does mean that that's the entry point. Right. And much like you, there was a lot of fucking terrible toxic relationships. I don't wanna call 'em toxic. They just weren't good. They just weren't fucking good. Right. And so, you get to this place though, where you go through this process and then yes, to your point, which I think is really interesting. The people in your life, all of them will become mirrors for who you are and if you're willing to like, sit in that even though a lot of time it'll be uncomfortable. Right? You're gonna learn truths about yourself that other people are gonna help you find out. And that's a really hard thing to do especially if you're a person like me and you're incredibly stubborn, but have had to learn how to not be. But it'll give you the greatest sense of self because you'll sit and reflect even today at the gym I was sitting and I was reflecting on this conversation I had just had and thinking to myself, what is the value of me being a victor in this conversation and coming the conclusion that there is not one. Right. And so, that becomes really beautiful, there's a practicality in shutting up when people are talking to you. One of the things I'm curious is, when you continue to go deeper into this journey, let me preface it first. I have made a declaration publicly that I believe that this journey is a rest of your life game. I don't think that you'll ever do anything once and your life will be different. And I think that Tara Brach’s book Radical Acceptance is arguably one of the top three books of all time, I recommend it to people all the time, but define what that means for you? Cause you've mentioned the word a few times and I don't want people to get, have that lost in this conversation. For you what does radical acceptance actually mean?

Candice: Thank you. Let started out as radical forgiveness and that for me was sort of this letting go. But the acceptance is another level for me; the acceptance, like of what happened to me is really like looking at it, being willing to feel it, if it feels uncomfortable, like we're not leaning away from it. And I'm the girl, if I go to the gym, I have to hide cardio in something fun ‘cuz I don't wanna do it. If it doesn't feel good, like not doing it. So, I had a tendency to pull from that wasn't what was uncomfortable. I pulled away from relationships and people who made me uncomfortable, usually cuz they were pushing me to another level. And acceptance for me, feels like I have to lean in, like we're not running away from this, we're not ignoring it, we are turning and facing the music. So, I needed to leave my marriage, that's uncomfortable. That's sad. That is horribly sad. There are dreams that got lost. There are so many different things. And for me, the acceptance is coming to that place where I just stay in it until it doesn't feel so awful, I guess if I could say it any other way, it's this place where I come to and go, it is what it is and be okay with that even if emotionally that might come a little bit longer. It's really coming to that place where there's an ownership, there's a radical responsibility and that moved me from victim, which means everything was coming at me to victor to, I have a choice; choice it's such a huge part of my life now because I choose to accept the things that come my way. I don't go, well, this is awful. And pass the buck or pass the lame. I stand in that and say, this is it, this is totally it. What are we doing from here? And I want people to sort of own that because the only way I can put it to you is this leaning into it rather than leaning away from it and letting the experience be what it is. And also, like letting myself go through that ‘cuz sometimes it even happened this morning, I'm going through something and I'm like, I'm really uncomfortable by this. And I didn't know what to do when I went to bed last night, but I woke up this morning and I'm like still uncomfortable, but I think I'm gonna talk to so and so for me, that's an element of that acceptance. This is not cool, but I'm not running from it. I'm like I'm in it. I'm accepting what is so I can move to the place of, I own this and what am I going to do moving forward? How do I want to move this place?

Michael: Yeah, that's very powerful. This has been an amazing conversation, before I ask you my last question, tell everyone where they can find you?

Candice: They can find me on my website, which is just I've adopted an essentialist lifestyle. And so, for me, less but better is a big deal. So, whatever I'm up to, whatever social media platforms are calling to me at that particular point, they can find me there.

Michael: Brilliant. And of course, we'll put the link in the show notes for all the listeners. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?

Candice: I was thinking about this one ever since I stumbled onto your show and fell in love with it. I think for me being unbroken, when it's everything and coming to that place of realizing I'm not broken by what happened. I felt broken for a very, very long time and from that place of realizing I'm not broken, moved me to this place of freedom because of that acceptance of what was, this radical responsibility of what happened, but also that I'm in control of what I do moving forward. That's freedom, that's life. So, I was trying to figure out a word and I think it's everything to be respectful of me, to love what happened as part of my tapestry of my story, and to be embracing that everything that happened back there is setting me up for everything I could possibly do in the future.

Michael: Brilliantly said, and I totally resonate. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation. Thank you so much for listening.

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And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

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Candice Smiley


“20 years ago I survived a sexual assault from my boyfriend.
14 years ago I decided not to kill myself.
11 years ago I was left with 350 k worth of bad debt and ruined credit.
9 years ago I had a #MeToo moment.
7 years ago I welcomed my beautiful daughter into the world.
5 years ago I left my marriage to fall in love with myself.
3 years ago I allowed myself to fully heal and reconnect with my feminine;
2 years ago I rebuilt my life, moved into my own tiny home and found my Lifetime Love.
Last year, I started my podcast and welcomed my baby boy earth side."

Candice is a mom, podcaster, social marketer and essentialist who loves to engage in interesting conversations with other influencers and entrepreneurs. Her favourite conversations are the ones that take courage to engage in. (Check out her podcast, Create the Ripple Podcast)

She has learned the power of saying no, listening to your own heart and speaks openly about subtle abuse as it occurs in relationships - personally and professionally. She’s become a voice for listening to your own truth and speaking it clearly, powerfully - at home, at work and in your life. She spends her time living - in a tiny home (250 sq ft), traveling, speaking and sharing candidly with others how to live life after betrayal, to trust themselves, to speak up for themselves and set powerful boundaries.

After a narcissistic partner cheated on her with multiple women, left her (and the country!) with over 350 thousand dollars worth of bad debt, Candice was forced to rebuild her life, her credit and her trust in herself. Coming out of this, she encountered her own “Me Too” moment dealing with sexual coersion and harassment in her professional life; saying no resulted in her being the target of gossip that tarnished her reputation.

Deeply affected by the gaslighting and the experiences, she adopted an essentialist lifestyle, leaned on her personal network and practiced radical personal forgiveness, acceptance and responsibility. The journey was not without its impact and Candice shares powerfully about dealing with anxiety, depression, shame and learning to let go.

When grief rocked her world a little less than 2 years ago, Candice knew it was time to stop her life, hit the pause button and finally do the deep work to heal her heart, self and mindset. Emerging from this place, Candice has begun to embrace her fierce and receptive feminine nature. The journey to be and embrace all the parts of herself has led her to the place to start her wildly successful Create the Ripple Podcast; Trust the Niggle and Tell the Truth - where she features other amazing guests who are not afraid to do the hard work of personal development, listen to their own minds/heart and then speak up and out for those things that matter; to themselves and to make a difference in the world.

Candice loves her essentialist lifestyle for the beauty and freedom it offers her. She can never resist the urge to take off her boots to walk barefoot into a clear mountain lake or stream. When she is not connecting or writing, she can be found disappearing into the backcountry trails of Canada with her life-love Mark and losing herself exploring waterfalls and mountain trails. She is a quiet introvert who adores eating clean foods and reading a great book.

Michael UnbrokenProfile Photo

Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.