Aug. 31, 2022

Carrington Smith - Healing your daddy issues | Trauma Healing Coach

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In this episode, I sit with my guest Carrington Smith who is the author of Blooming. Carrington Smith is a single mom, attorney, business owner and executive search professional. For much of her life, it was a struggle just to survive, to hold it together, to stay above water. On her journey to self-acceptance, she learned the power of perspective and began to thrive when she changed her mindset.

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Transcript

N 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 friend Carrington Smith, who is the author of Blooming. Carrington, my friend, how are you? What is happening in your world today?

Carrington: I am doing great, packing for a trip, that's what I'm doing right now, ready to take some vacation.

Michael: Nice. I love it. I need to do the same. I'm thinking about Disneyland in Tokyo so, we'll see if I can make that happen life tends to be very busy though. So, for those who do not know you, tell us a little bit about your backstory and how you got to where you are today.

Carrington: Yeah, so, well, first of all, I like to refer to myself as ordinary. Although I do have a very unique backstory, I think from my perspective, one of the reasons it took me so long to wait to write the book is because I just considered myself an ordinary person. And as I like to say, I'm not a celebrity, a business Titan, a recovering addict, Holocaust survivor, you think about the memoirs that you gravitate to, and it wasn't until COVID hit and we suffered this universal trauma that I realized that all the things I'd been through in life, the traumas I'd been through prepared me much better than most people for this universal trauma. And that perhaps if I shared my story, it could really benefit others who were, you know, trying to figure out their way through what we were all going through. So just to kind of give you a little backstory, the one thing that does make me different is my great grandfather founded international paper company. And so, for those of you who may not be aware, paper used to be made out of regs. And it was my great-great grandfather that brought the patent over from Germany to make paper out of wood pulp.

And so, he founded international paper, which is the largest paper company in the world. And from that, he founded some banks, there was another, on the other side of the family, I had a relative who was, had a seat on the New York stock exchange, had a brokerage house, also had a bank. So, I came from a family that was just really storied and really, really big money. And because of that, there were a lot of expectations that came with that. And with my grandmother who lived that lifestyle, at some point the money was lost. I don't know the story, there's a lot of speculation about what happened, but in any event, by the time you get to me, there's hardly anything left. And so, there was a lot of bitterness in my family that was probably one of the biggest dominant qualities in my family was bitterness about them not getting with the generation before them had. And so, because of that, those heavy expectations on performance, as far as academically, socially, even though there wasn't the money to support those things, that's a big theme in my story. In any event, my mother married a doctor because she wanted to maintain that social status. Unfortunately, she married a doctor who had some very debilitating personality issues, which very much handicapped his career. We had settled down outside of Baltimore and something happened I don't really know exactly what happened, but we suddenly moved from Baltimore to the Seattle area. So, across country journey and left behind all of our family and friends on the east coast started afresh. And from there, my father got really involved in; he became a fundamentalist Christian and used Christianity to really sort of torture us. He would insist that we prayed, we didn't, he had a wooden rod, he would hit a swift. He would twist the Bible versus to make us do things that he wanted us to do. So, he had his own interpretation of God's word that was different than probably anyone else has. And he really just messed with our heads, he was also pretty violent as far as like, he beat our dog with a two by four until its broke half, which is a memory that's seared in my brain, I will never forget. He did things like he would tell me that I was not beautiful, he affirmatively told me I was not pretty. And I mean, what father does that to a daughter? And not only did he do that, he told me that not only was I not pretty, but my sister was beautiful. And this is something that my father is wife I've later learned is a malignant narcissist, it's a tool that they use to drive wedges between you and other people in your circle. So, it was between me and my brother, my sister and mother. We all competed for his attention and none of us had a relationship with one another, really, because we were all competing for his affection and he did this very deliberately, so it was a very sick family dynamic. And then finally, early on, when I went to college, I ended up getting raped, my family's response to that was pretty much the worst thing ever. My mother indicated she was ashamed of me and told me never to talk about it. And, you know, from there I started getting into bad relationships, I married and divorced twice, had tons of dead, you name it. I mean, I've gone through a lot in my life, but the bottom line is this is that, at every turn at every trauma, I always just kind of was determined that it wasn't going to define me. And this is where I think we all make these mistakes where we say, okay, this sexual assault or this childhood trauma, this isn't gonna define me.

And so, we don't talk about it. We think that's the way to have it not define us. But what happens then is it actually comes to control us because we don't get it out, we don't deal with it and I like to call it the monster under the bed, it actually does define you. And so, for me, it took years of therapy for me to figure out that facing these traumas head on. And actually, and this is the real revelatory moment, not just confronting them and dealing with them, but claiming them and realizing that is part of my story and that the very most precious gifts and treasures were in those traumas. And by claiming them and taking ownership of them, I was also claiming the gifts that were in those traumas and that is what propelled me to greatness and happiness and purpose and where I am today.

Michael: Yeah, that's so incredibly powerful. And your story; my story has so many parallels, right? Growing up in a foundationally Mormon household with a hyper abusive stepfather, drug addict mother going through so many of those similar experiences being homeless as a kid, so on and so forth like you keep naming it, I'll keep checking off the list. And I found myself much like you in this moment of creating sovereignty in my life that came from the willingness to effectively own my story. Right? You said the monster under the bed. And I think that's so important because, and I say this all the time, child abuse is war, right? That the stuff that we go through, it impacts us, it shapes us whether you fucking like it or not, it creates who you are to an extent, but that does not have to be the definitive understanding of your truth, of your reality. You have the ability to become malleable, to change your environment, to change your world, to change your life, and eventually in owning your story what happens is you get to that place where you cannot have darkness when you bring it to light, it's impossible. What I'm curious about, because I think a lot of people listening will hear this and they'll say, damn, you know, you guys had some fucked up stories, there's somehow you know, something you're special, you're different, but I've always argued that's definitely not the case for me. Let's go back for a second ‘cuz I think this is really important because people will, and I used to be this way too at hear stories like this. I go, oh, well, you know what? You just know something I don't know. But what was happening? What was the catalyst? You said, you know, you looked at your life, there must have been a moment. Right? Where did this shift come from?

Carrington: Well, there were several moments. I mean the first one was when I finally did talk about being raped and the way I did that I was in a sort of friends with benefits relationship. I literally had zero normal relationships after I was raped. I mean, honestly probably made me to this day but I've been married twice, but I mean, like I so hated myself and thought that I was only worthy of sex. So, there wasn't that normal dating kind of relationship. So, this friends with benefits relationship that happened in law school, which was six years later, was the first kind of kind of-ish normal-ish relationship that I'd had. And I started to have feelings for this guy and started acting weird and he's kinda like what is with you? And I sat down at my computer and I wrote the story of my rape. And that was the first time in six years that I told the story and what I loved about writing it and I think this is important for people to understand is that a lot of times when we share our stories, people have their own filters and judgments that they immediately put on your story.

And so, then you feel like you have to shape, shift your story, like, cuz they'll say what really wasn't that bad or maybe you should have done something different. The beauty of writing it and sharing it is there was no audience there, no one passing judgment, no one telling me to share the story differently or highlight a different part. It was my truth. And when I shared it with him, he expressed empathy and kindness towards me. And this was the first time that it happened in relation to that rape until six years later, but that the way he responded to it, and I think this is more of a woman thing than a man thing woman. We always feel like we need permission. I felt like I needed permission in a way to forgive myself and there was no forgiving myself, I didn't do anything wrong, but to maybe stop experiencing the shame so much, be more loving and kinder to myself and own that part of my story. And once he was so accepting and loving towards me about it gave me that permission to kind of start taking the steps to healing from that and for me, that meant a lot of therapy. So, you know, and then as far as other times that were really pivotal in my life, another one would be after I was divorced the second time. And that is when I had a friend who said to me, you know, you probably don't wanna hear this right now but with adversity comes opportunity. And I mean, I was on the floor of my closet, crying and it just, those words stayed with me and I just kept thinking about that. And I started to suddenly shift from thinking about all that I had lost and given up and what was gone to the fact that I actually had a blank slate and I could start fresh. How many times in life do you get that opportunity? It's very rare. I was like, wow. My parents are so like pissed off at me at this point. I'm now twice divorced. I can be whoever I want. I can finally step away from that mold, that image of me, that they had. It was never a correct image; I can finally be who I really am. I can buy my own house, I can decorate it the way I want, I can create the life I want to leave. I can stop worrying about pleasing other people. Now I say that it took me many more years to get there as far as the worrying about pleasing other people sort of thing. But that was such a pivotal moment because when that shift happened with me, it also really stuck in my brain that anytime adversity happens while we have to honor that moment and grieve the loss and feel the pain and don't minimize, that's so important that you deal with it head on, but if you always have that glimmer of hope that you're focused on kind of, you know, okay, something, somehow is good is going to come out of this and that is transformative.

Michael: Yeah. It very much is. And I love that you said that because I think we often get stuck in this place where you're, the darkness feels insurmountable where life feels like you cannot possibly take one more step. You cannot try to do one more thing that like you're at the lowest of the low. And I think has been really interesting in my own journey is like leveraging the people in my life in a way that when they actually present something to me, I sit in it and I go, wait a second, you know? It's a forest for the tree’s mentality, because if you're constantly in your own shit and someone gives you a reflection and they go wait, but have you thought about this? And if you have the willingness to sit that, I think that's obviously one of the reasons why therapy's so powerful, but if you have the willingness to sit in the truth that sometimes other people expose to you. Now I think there's a lot of ways to navigate whether or not that truth is in fact true, or if it's someone being biased in a certain way and that takes a level of know thy self. But as you get deeper into this idea of the connections that we have. I think that you're exposed to people that are genuinely kind, empathetic giving, unfortunately, I think for so many of us, it doesn't start that way. And there's this level in which I don't know if this was true for you and so I'm gonna ask you a question, I had to convince myself that it was true, that all people were not bad. What has been your experience, especially growing up the way that you did, which again, I resonate with and so many people listening well as well.  What's been the path to like being able to sit in the truth with other people to have faith in, you know, whether it be therapy or self or whatever it is that has allowed you to connect with other human beings?

Carrington: That's interesting because, I mean, I think a lot of therapy, but I also think one of the gifts that came from my trauma was the gift of intuition. I mean, one of the stories that I talk about is how growing up the way I did with a father, who's a malignant narcissist in order to survive in that kind of environment where I couldn't even trust my own family really to protect me, cuz we were all competing with each other. I was walking on eggshells all the time. And so, I had to really become hyper aware about everything that was going on around me all the time and or just to survive. And that skill that I hone, which I really refer to as my gift is the gift of intuition, of being able to anticipate, of being more sensitized than other people, about other people. And so, because of that gift, it really gives me a leg up when I'm meeting other people on whether or not I can trust them. And I just mean in the really, really basic sense of whether I feel safe and not just safe physically, but mentally, spiritually it do I feel safe. And if I feel that sense of safety, then I'm really willing to be open and vulnerable and actually what I do for a living now is I have an executive search business where I interview executives on a regular basis. And what I love about it is that, and I say, it's kind of a shame we're not this way with our friends. But with all these executives that I interview, I get to ask them, like, where did you grow up? Tell me your life story. Tell me about a moment in life that defined you and how it changed you. I get to really learn what makes these people tick and what makes them special and hear their stories and the way that I'm so successful at drawing people out is that I actually volunteer parts of my story as I'm talking to them. And that makes them trust me more and feel more open with me. So, anyway, that's my answer to that.

Michael: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, actually, again, same, like growing up, I had to learn how to read people. It's probably the greatest skill that I have, other than my skill of the willingness to be publicly embarrassed. So, you know, I'll go get on stages I'll dance, I'll sing. I don't give a shit. Right. But it really was, it held true and it hold holds true for so many people that we have this radar and it's a survival mechanism at the end of the day that's what it is. As you were going through this journey, I think that for a lot of people, there's a reconciliation with the experiences of your past, in which there's this thought about letting go or forgiveness or just reconnecting sometimes if that is suiting, what's happening in life. Where in your journey, have you found that you've been able to reconcile with the past or is it something where you've just simply let go? Because I think a lot of people listening will go like, God, that your father would say such things and do such things in front of you. And then you have these experiences, don't you have anger, don't you carry so much vitriol. Like how can you be this person on this conversation laughing and having a moment of human connection?

Carrington: Well for me, I had this epiphany where somebody had asked me what my greatest gift was. And I said, well, that's easy, its intuition, like hands down, that's my superpower. And they said to me, well, where do you think you got that gift? And, you know, I reflected and I said, well, I got it because of my childhood from walking on eggshells. And in that moment, I had a realization and that realization was that if I was thankful for the gift of intuition, I had to be thankful for the path that birthed it. I could not divorce one from the other. And when I realized that I suddenly had a moment of gratitude about my past and cuz you ask people like, you know, would you change anything about your past? And I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't endured the things that I did. And so, the answer is I wouldn't change anything even as hard and horrible as those things were, they made me who I am today. So, when I had that moment of like, oh my gosh, I'm actually grateful that I went through what I did, because it has me to where I am today. I suddenly had the ability to forgive my father. I can't explain it, but I suddenly was like, okay, I need to reach a place of forgiveness for this man and for whatever reason, this was the path I ended up on and now let me be clear though. Forgiving is not re-engaging. For me, I think a lot of people, think you forgive that means you let them back in your life. Not me. I reached a place of forgiveness, but I also realized he's a very toxic person. And so, in order to forgive and I couldn't even start to heal to forgive until I terminated the relationship. I think that's another point to make. So, as I like to say, when you're in a relationship with somebody toxic, every time you're involved with them, it's like they're peeling off the scab of a wound and just getting in there and reinfecting it. The only way you can heal and reach forgiveness is to separate yourself from them so that the wound can heal. And it wasn't until I said, bye dad, I can't have you in my life anymore, that my life, it just really started to bloom. I finally, even though I was doing all this work, if you have toxins kind of coming into your garden, you're not gonna bloom to the fullness that you need to, you have to cut the toxins out. So, once that happens, really, when I started to really reach happiness, joy, and purpose and fulfillment.

Michael: Yeah, that's powerful. And you know, I actually really, I'm so, glad that you said what you just said about the idea that you do not have to let these people back in your life. Like you don't, and that's so much about ownership and that's so much about sovereignty, right? Because it's really easy and in this society and this fucking pisses me off more than anything, and we live in this culture that says, well, it's your family and I'm like, and what's your point? And so, I think that it's not about like, for me, I think in my experience, I told my mother when I was 18 years old, I said, I'll never talk to you again. And I meant that and until the day she died, I think I talked to her one time. And that is the only way I'm here today.

Carrington: It's a survival thing.

Michael: It is. And in that moment, I think what people really need to fucking hold onto is like, forgiveness does not mean re-entry. It is not the same thing. And you have to be okay with that, cuz I don't know if you experienced this, but people were pissed at me.

Carrington: Oh, absolutely. As I like to say, short of your parent being an acts murderer or a child molester, society does not give you permission to cut your parents out. There's a lot of societal pressure, that's your dad, that's your mom, you need to have a relationship with them. And as I like today, that's not okay, I can't have those toxic relationships. So, I had to give myself permission and I had to reach a place where I was able to cut him out of my life and not allow him back in. So that was really important.

Michael: What happened though? So, I wanna go into this for a second, because I think this is really important, this might be one of the most important things we'll ever talk about on this show. What started to transpire in your life when you made that decision?

Carrington: Okay. So, for me, there were, as I like to call them light switch moments or light bulb moments, but a couple things happened. One in particular when I was in law school, my third year of law school, I was in the hospital, I had this weird something going on. I had like cups of fluid coming out of one of my ears, they strapped me onto a table, they injected me in my spinal cord with contrast dye and they flipped me upside down to see if it was a spinal fluid leak, they wanted to see if the dye would come out my ear. But when they injected me with contrast dye, they hit my spinal cord. So, I ended up being in the hospital for five days, getting shot up with Erol every four hours because I was in excruciating pain. And my father being a doctor, I asked the guy that I was dating at the time I said, would you please call my father and see if he can talk to the doctors and figure out what's going on here? And so, he calls my father and he's like, your dad wants to talk to you and he hands me the phone and I put it to my one good ear. And my dad says, Carri, your mother and I have been talking and we just think it's really important for you to know that we're not paying for this. No get, well soon. No visit me in the hospital. No talking to the doctors, no card, no flowers, no, we're not paying for this. And in that moment, I felt complete abandonment. And so that's actually why I ended up getting married the first time, this guy who I was actually engaged at the time, but really had no intentions of marrying took me to the justice of the piece while I still was drugged out. I remember the wood panel walls. I remember the yucky carpet. I remember nothing of getting married to him, nothing. So, it makes for a great story, but it was the abandonment. So that was the first moment where I was like, okay, I don't need this man in my life. Now my mother ended up ending up having dementia and was in assisted living. And so, I maintained a relationship with him for a number of years because of that. But right before my mom passed the year before he came to visit me on Christmas. and was there Christmas day. And with my two kids, I'd gone upstairs a very quickly shower and while I was showering, my boys, I guess, were roughhousing, I didn't really know, but I hear screaming and running up the stairs and slamming doors and I get outta the shower. I'm like half showered. I'm like, what is going on? And I go and find my son, and he said, Grandpa choked me. And I was like, what? And so, as those events unfolded came to find out that he had indeed was taken, my son picked him up by his neck, pressed him against the wall and choked him. And I was like, look, that was another light bulb moment for me, where I was like, you got away with that with me. You don't get to fuck with my kids. It's like that mama bear came out. I was like, get the fuck outta here. And so, I told him, you never get to see my kids ever again, but I still won't maintain contact because he was my father and because he was overseeing my mother's care. After my mom passed away, that's when I was like, why am I talking to this man? Every time I get off the phone with him, I engage in some sort of self-destructive behavior, whether it was, you know, eating ice cream or picking a it on my face, I would do something self-harming and people started to point that out to me and I was like, I'm done. I just decided I'm done. And so, I was like, this is it. I'm done. And I just ended it. There was no point to have him in my life anymore. He just was causing me harm and he was not allowed at that point to even see my children. So why even continue the relationship.

Michael: Yeah. And I think that's one of those things were so many people are in that scenario and even though it's difficult and even though you don't want to and inevitably, I can almost wind my watch by it. When I am coaching someone, a moment of passing comes where we have a conversation and I say to them, does this person actually need to be in your life? And that's a really, really hard conversation to have with people and it's not saying that maybe on long enough timeline, you know, circumstances, change, people heal, whatever, like that person may come back, but there's a period to your point where you have to step into really ownership over exactly what's happening. And I think one of those hard truths is recognizing that you're no longer a child and that person doesn't get a say. And that's like literally fucking reprogramming yourself, but what I want to go into is like, what started to happen in your life after that moment? What were the things that you noticed, how you changed, how you grew, how you healed? Because I want people to see cuz for me, everything got different. And I wanna know what happened for you.

Carrington: Yeah. Well, first of all, I mean, I actually, before that happened, I spent a year on the couch, literally with a psychologist every day, five days a week for a year on the couch, psychotherapy to deprogram me because his messaging was like a tape in my head where I immediately something would trigger me and I would go back there and always beating up on myself, telling myself I was worthless, just all this negative self-talk. And I'd already done that work, but any time I would talk to him, it was like fingernails on a chalkboard, I go right back there. So, it was really recognizing the dialogue I was having with myself and I think this is a key point I like to make with people and that is, these everyday micro decisions that we make and part of those micro decisions that how we view something, how we view an event and the story we tell ourselves the perspective that we choose that's determinative of our lives. And so, for me, understanding that I needed to change the way I was viewing things, shift my perspective and change the internal dialogue I was having with myself.

You know, that's something you'll do the rest of your life. Everyday I try to get better about that. I find a new way I can talk to myself. But it was again transformative. And another thing I did something called healing hypnosis, which I never thought I would ever do anything with hypnosis but basically what happens with healing hypnosis is my therapist would have me travel back to a memory and then have my present-day self-talk to me when that event happened. And so, it's creating self-compassion and learning to view yourself lovingly, which when you grow up in a toxic environment, we were never treated lovingly, so we don't know how that happens. So, to finally get to a place where I'm having a loving conversation with myself saying, you were just a little girl, you were just trying to do the right thing. You didn't do anything wrong, you know, and saying, I love you to me, that has been really helpful.

Michael: I love that you said that. What role did be vulnerable with yourself play in this?

Carrington: I think a lot of times, and this happens a lot with friends is they minimize what happens to us and they're like, it really isn't that bad. I mean, even with my son getting choked, they're like, oh, come on, Carrie, it wasn't that bad, you're exaggerating. Are you kidding me? Like, what do I have to do to like, you know, like what has to happen for people to let me off the hook with my father, he choked my son. But internally to be vulnerable, I had to be to really see myself fully and acknowledge the pain that I had experienced, because again, everyone else was minimizing it, I had to own it. I had to say, look, all this stuff that happened to me, it really did happen to me. And it really was incredibly harmful, but facing it and again, owning it and you know, acknowledging it and saying, look, this was shitty, this really sucked. But what can we learn from this? What can we take away from this? Where are the gifts in this? Cause I like to say, and you know, the tagline to my book is, you know, blooming finding gifts in the shit of life because shit is quite literally fertilizer. And it's in the mess failures, traumas of life that we find what we need to bloom into our greatness. So, but in order to harvest those gifts, you have to be vulnerable with yourself and acknowledge your traumas, failures, hardships, and own them.

Michael: Yeah, you do. And I think that the vulnerability in that is giving yourself permission to not downgrade the reality. Right. And cuz I had the same experience where so often I'd be like; it wasn't that bad, you know? The listeners of this show know when I was four years old, my mother cut off my right index finger. And so, I carried that and I would look down, I'd be like, oh, it's fine. Right. And then one day I was like, actually, no, this is fucking awful thing that happened. Like this is really bad, but the vulnerability of the willingness to step into that, what it does is it allows you the space to step into truth. And I think the biggest thing about what happens in these traumatic experiences is we're stripped of truth because we automatically, for most of us, we'll become dissociated, we'll remove ourself from it. We'll go. It's not that big of a deal. But when you go and you look in the mirror and you're like, that thing happened, that's actually the turning point like that's the moment you start to take your power back. I want to tap into something here that you said that I think is really important that I think often in passing, it's looked over, but you talked about this ability to start to love yourself and say, I love you and say, it's not your fault, right? In the beginning for me and I'll speak for myself it was so fucking uncomfortable to be able to do that, that it was like for years, I just struggled, I'd go look in the mirror and say it and say it and say it. What advice would you give to anyone who's like listening this and they're struggling, they don't necessarily love themselves, they're still in that place of just so disassociated and so avoidant of this, like what would you tell them? How do you start?

Carrington: Yeah, I guess for me, probably being a mom has helped because, and I know that doesn't apply to everybody, but when you're a mom, I mean, I'm trying to be kind and sweet to my kids and compassionate and loving. And the dialogue I was having with them was very different than the dialogue I was having with myself.

Michael: That's so important. So many people need to hear that.

Carrington: Yeah. And so, this whole idea of the healing hypnosis, where I would travel back as my adult self, to my former self in that moment. Suddenly, you know, it's the mom voice saying, no, no, no, you know what you did, there was nothing wrong with what you did, you were such a beautiful little girl. You were just trying to help your dad or try hard, or, you know, you didn't do anything wrong. And so, I think that being a mom now has helped me because I'm coming at it more from, well, it's the adult me, speaking compassionately to the younger me and you're right. I mean, particularly with narcissism on the rise and such a focus on it, people feel like saying, you know, I love you to yourself, there's something wrong with that. But the truth of the matter is actually narcissists hate themselves. And while they may go around fronting, like they're the biggest baddest thing and desperate for that recognition. If they actually love themselves, they wouldn't need it. And so, for those of us who want to avoid being like that, we actually need to engage in that conversation with ourselves because the more we love ourselves, the less we need the affirmation of others.

Michael: And there's freedom in that. And one of the things that happened for me was this sense of radical ownership. What I think very highly of myself, I do because for the first 27 years of my life, I thought I was fucking piece of shit because of the programming to your point in the same way that your parents did you. And I think that that programming, the only way it changes is you have to affirm what you believe in a positive narrative, like through self-love, through compassion, through empathy, through grace because the turning point in this journey was like, oh my God, this is so difficult every fucking day. Right? It's so hard every day and there were days where like, I was just like, what's the fucking point of this? Like, why bother? Like literally why live? And what I started to understand about myself, probably more so than anything was this really strong ability to be compassionate with myself. What do you think? Cause I went through the book and it was powerful and there were so many different takeaways that I had, but I feel like I'm maybe biased if I save what I think, but instead I'm gonna ask you, because I think it's more important. What do you think is the number one thing that you left in that book that will help people?

Carrington: I think it's what I just kind of mentioned before and that's about mindset. And as I like to say, mindset is a muscle and if we take from our negative experiences and find the gifts in the shit and shift our perspective and make it a habit of shifting our perspective and looking for opportunity in the adversity, that is probably the most powerful thing that we can do. And it's daily choosing how we're going to view something that happens to us, whether it's good or bad. And an example I like to give is like, say you get a flat tire. And so, a lot of people would be like, my whole day's gone to shit, everything's gone wrong, you know, my schedule, they just blow a gasket. Right. Well, what if you take a pause and go, okay, this suck. Always acknowledge this suck. Don't pretend it's not bad. This sucks. Okay. But suddenly I'm gonna be sitting here on the side of the road for an hour or two, I have a found hour or two that I didn't have before. I can call that friend. I've been meaning to call. I can listen to that audio book that I've been meaning to listen to. I get to reorganize my day and now suddenly some things had to be canceled that have opened up space to create time for something else. But it's how you choose to view the event itself that determines the outcome of your life. So, all of these things that happen in life, if you choose to view it as my whole, life's gone to shit, everything sucks, you know, I can't get a break as opposed to wow, what can I learn and take from this? When you view it from the, wow, what can I learn and take from this? You stop being a victim and you start owning your power and saying, okay, like, so when COVID hit, I was like, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. This is a once in a generation moment where suddenly like with the great depression, half the fortune 500 companies were founded suddenly with this pandemic. This is one of those moments in time, one of those rare moments in time where there's gonna be a lot of innovation and change and as opposed to, you know, wanting to hide under a blanket or something, I was like, wow, what do I get out of this? How do I use this opportunity? And it's totally the frame of mind that I approached it with and that's that mindset is a muscle it's retraining your brain to look at things differently. And that really is probably the most important thing that, you know, one of there's so many lessons in the book, that's kind of the through line I think, but I'd love to hear what you think it is.

Michael: Yeah, I agree. Well, no, that's what I was gonna point to as well, because there is this shift that you must make in the way that you're making meaning of your environment because it's really easy to be, especially in this fucking society, it's really easy to be woe is me. Life is against me, recession gas prices, like whatever it's like but you know what? You live in the greatest time in history to be alive. And I think when people are willing to sit in that, and I know that's a difficult truth, and I know that's a hard thing for people to want to sit in. And I've been on all sides of the spectrum financially in my life from homeless and getting cars repoed to, you know, going and being an incredible mastermind. But everything in between, like, I've always kind of just tried to look at life, especially recently, is just making meaning of it, for what it truly is and not being so dampen by society. Here's the thing about the media that I want people to remember, everyone knows that the media is meant to make you sad. Like it's just is the nature of it, so instead think about the positive things in your life and not every day. Look, some days suck like that's life. Sorry. I hate to break it to you. Right. But there's always something that you can look into and look for in those moments of pain, of hurt, of suffering and recognize that there's a strength that comes outta the backside of it. Right? And so, I totally agree with you. And that was the same takeaway that I had. Before I ask you my last question, my friend, can you tell everyone where they can find you?

Carrington: Yeah. So, my personal website is www.carrington-smith.com You can download the first chapter of the book for free. And again, the book is Blooming Finding gifts in the shit of life by Carrington Smith, and that's available on amazon.com. And it's also available on audible. I actually read the book myself, so you can hear me talking about my live story. And then of course, on all the social media, Instagram and whatnot is @Carringtonatx standing for Austin, Texas. So, you can find me Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, all those different places.

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

Carrington: It means to me that as opposed to hiding everything that I was ashamed of claiming it and making it part of my story and finding the gifts and the shit that is being unbroken.

Michael: Beautifully said. Thank you so much for being here.

Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.

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Michael Unbroken

Coach

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

Carrington Smith Profile Photo

Carrington Smith

Author

Carrington Smith is a single mom, attorney, business owner and executive search professional. For much of her life, it was a struggle just to survive, to hold it together, to stay above water. She has survived sexual assault, two divorces, piles of debt, abuse, religious mind games, the death of loved ones, and the loss of close friends. On her journey to self-acceptance, she learned the power of perspective and began to thrive when she changed her mindset. In her debut best-selling memoir, Blooming, Carrington combines wit and wisdom to share her journey through the shit of life to a life bursting with joy, opportunity, and purpose. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Tulane Law School, Carrington resides in Austin, Texas, with her two teenage boys.