In today's episode, I am joined by my guest – Najwa Zebian. Najwa is a bestselling author and activist who has written a powerful guide to building a home for your soul called "Welcome Home". Through their candid conversation... See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/finding-home-within-yourself-after-heartbreak-with-najwa-zebian/#show-notes
In today's episode, I am joined by my guest – Najwa Zebian. Najwa is a bestselling author and activist who has written a powerful guide to building a home for your soul called "Welcome Home". Through their candid conversation, they delve into the importance of building your sense of self within yourself, rather than relying on others to define your worth. They explore themes of love, relationships, hope, heartbreak, and the necessity of pain in order to find inner peace and self-love. She shares personal experiences and insights, providing a relatable and empathetic perspective on the difficult process of healing after a breakup. Whether you're currently experiencing heartbreak or simply seeking a deeper connection with yourself, this episode is sure to leave you with a sense of solace and hope for the future. Tune in and discover how to build a home for your soul and find inner peace, even in the midst of heartbreak.
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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. Very excited to be back with you with another episode with author Najwa Zebian. My friend, how are you today? What is happening in your world?
Najwa: I'm doing so well today. So yesterday I got the official confirmation that my doctorate was fully accepted and I am now done my doctorate program.
Michael: Amazing! Congratulations! I cannot even begin to understand how difficult that is and so I just told from this side, say, amazing, that's take minutes a tremendous amount of hard work, especially with all the things you have going on. You know what, initially I came across you when I read one of your books after you were on Lisa Bilyeu’s Podcast, Women of Impact and Welcome Home struck me and I was like, man, you know what's really interesting about this? No matter who you are, we are all impacted by the truth of the reality that we live with in. And I think really the difficult aspects of life is the fact that we ignore it constantly. And so, I'm just wondering where you're at in life, what's happening now where are you heading for what's happening? What do you feel about the work that you've created and the work that you want to create?
Najwa: You know, it's so hard for me historically, it's been really hard for me to look at the work I do and say, wow, that's amazing. I would always think to myself like, this is what I do, this is what feels good to me. And even with school, like as I was finishing my doctorate wasn't feeling like I was accomplishing something great. There was a part of me that just was like, that's the right thing to do, you know, because I was raised in a way that's like, you know, achieve as much as you can. You need to go as far in school as you possibly can. You need to just work, work, work. And so, for me it's always been, I'm accomplishing all these great things, but on a deep level, don't see that as so amazing. And so recently, like within the last few months of my life, I've been reflecting on that and the more present I become with what I do. So, like if as I'm now, I'm working on my fifth book, so as I'm planning like tomorrow, I'm gonna start this chapter and start working on it. And that's only what I'm going to focus on and just all the other distractions because I'm somebody who's used to doing a billion things at the same time. But the more I'm able to focus on one thing, the more it helps me be present with it, the more it helps me see that this is actually an extension of who I am and that's something that needs to be valued and honored and it's making me validate myself in a way I've never done in my entire life because usually it's like you work on something, you put it out there in the world, and then people are like, oh wow, that's amazing, you know, you've created this thing that's helping me feel seen and heard, and I don't know that I felt that greatness in that work until I heard how great it was. And I'm really starting to change that like I had a moment the other day, I was working on the second chapter in my new book where, (04:07)CUT sorry, that was my fault. That's really funny about that. We knew that was gonna happen. Yes, it's so funny that we were like, both of us are putting our phones on silent and we're like, this is gonna happen. What was I saying? Yeah, I had a moment and it was honestly such a beautiful moment because I felt with my whole being like, this is gonna be a great book like, yeah, that, I don't know how to explain it. It wasn't a thought, it wasn't just a feeling, it was like a wave that went through my body where I 100% felt it like within every fiber of my body this is gonna be a great book. And I honestly never felt that before with any work I've done in my life.
Michael: That's really beautiful and I'm glad that you're having that experience ‘cause I think that it's one, well, I hope that it's one that everyone can experience at some point in their life. When I wrote my first book, I remember sitting and having a very similar thought, you where I was just like, this is what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to write. I'm a writer by nature. I started writing as young as seven years old. I journaled all the time. I wrote a vampire romantic comedy when I was like 11, like just am a writer by nature. And I sat and I wrote that damn book, and I was just like, this is what I'm supposed to do and I wrote the second one. I was like, this is what I'm supposed to do. Then I wrote the third. I was like, this is what I'm supposed to do. And then one day I was having a conversation with Grant Cardone and he looks at me and he goes, dude, you need to take your flowers. And what that signified, what that really meant was like pause and allow the admiration, the accolades, the acceptance of doing something great to sit in you and be like, yeah, I did something good. And I think that's really, really f*** difficult for people because we expect that thing that we do that's good to be this life changing, earth shattering, unbelievably recognized thing where suddenly you have things, celebrity money, wealth, abundant, blah blah and sometimes like I think it's just like I did the thing I said I was gonna do and I'm proud of myself.
Najwa: Yes. Absolutely. And you don't know who's looking at you from the outside thinking that's amazing. And you know, I wish I could achieve that. It may be to someone, it's an earth-shattering thing, but to you, the person who's actually achieving it, you think that's just what I'm supposed to be doing. So that's why I do the work that I do, that's why I wrote Welcome Home about building a home within. It's all about you being able to see the value in yourself and the value in what you do without needing the external validation for it. It's about you taking that time to say, this is who I am, and I've actually created something as small as it maybe, again, an extension of me; it was an extension of what I believe in. It's an extension of my passion. It's so necessary for everyone in the world to do that for themselves.
Michael: Where do you think, with this being new, so you may still be pondering there, but what is the shift that occurred that has allowed you to have that thought? Especially with the new writing because for me, like it was literally Grant telling me that that shifted things for me. And sometimes we need that proxy but what happened for you? Like how did you get to that place?
Najwa: I would say it was a series of moments throughout my life where I would feel this little knock inside, like something that was telling me, what you're doing is incredible and you need to give yourself credit for that. And I wouldn't listen to that because I was raised in a way that thinking that way, like thinking fully of myself or of the work that I do means that I'm not humble or that I'm arrogant, or that I'm just taking advantage of the gifts that I've been given or whatever so, I never allowed myself to do that. And I honestly think that over time with the number of knocks that I had within, and with just really learning that, building my sense of who I am outside of me or waiting for that external validation whether it was from my parents, my family in general, my community, my friends, the people within my circle who do the same kind of work that I do, waiting for that just kept me waiting for something that was never going to happen because I was never going to feel of the work that I was doing, like in the most authentic way possible. I wasn't going to feel that way by getting everybody else's approval or everyone else looking at me and saying, Hey, that's great. I needed to feel that was great. And it just happened when I thought of the analogy of how we build our homes in other people, and it's not just in other people, we build our homes. So, our sense of who we are, our sense of safety, we build it in people, we build it in dreams, we build it in careers, we build it in communities. We think as long as I'm welcome there, as long as I achieve that, as long as I progress in that, then I'm safe. Once that came to me as why can't I have all of that inside of me? That was the life changing moment. So, I'm sure you've talked about this a lot, the alignment between your mind and your body.
So, you can learn something logically, but it's gonna take time for your body to also align. So even though I had this realization years ago in 2016, that's when the TEDx talk about building a home within ourselves and other people, it's been the last year or two of my life that I've actually began to live in a way that fully embodies that. And so, to anyone listening, and I'm sure this resonates with you. It takes time for you to start living by what you know, so don't judge yourself for knowing, and not doing just be compassionate with yourself and say, Hey, this is something new I've learned, and it's gonna take time for me to unlearn what I knew before and to start applying this new lesson.
Michael: Yeah. And having compassion with yourself in that journey, and like, people need to hear what you just said because I think one of the unfortunate nomenclature is about what we do is people look at us and they go, oh, they've got it all figured out. Right? They've written the book; they've coached the people, they have the podcast, they've been on the stages, they've been on the shows, and I'm like, you know, I'm learning this shit like you are every day, it's like just in front of you trying to figure it out the same way you are and I think people are so tired of being talked at, right? All while we ever hear of people telling us how to live, how to show up, how to do this, how to, and my thought is like, I'm you, like, I'm one of the same, when I'm speaking 99.999% of the time, it's like I'm talking to myself. When I’m writing I'm talking to myself, doing whatever it's a reminder to me like, it's like I've learn these things. I'm trying to put them in practice. I'm make mistakes all the time and it's just like, what do you do? You rinse, you repeat, get up and keep going, you keep trying, keep pushing forward. And I think the hardest part of it is, and I'd apply this to anyone, the hardest part of it is knowing that you know what to do, but not doing it, and not beating yourself up through not doing it, but instead asking yourself, why did I not do it? And then leveraging that to be able to continue to move forward. People always get stuck and being like, well, I'm not good enough. I'm not you. And I hear you saying that I should love myself internally and external things aren't gonna make me happy, just like the other 97 freaking people I listen to. But how do you like for yourself, like as you're in this process, you’re looking at like, you're building, you're at where you're at right now. Like how do you reconcile what we're talking about right now? Having the knowledge and yet still an application altering at times?
Najwa: So when that happens, I immediately know that there's something inside of me that's out of alignment. So, this is how it usually shows up for me. There's something that I wanna do, I wake up in the morning and I'm like, this is what I have to do today. But then I find myself doing absolutely everything but that one thing. I'll get up and clean, I'll eat, I'll shower, I'll think of all the other things I need to do and start doing them. There's a part of me that's resisting doing the one thing that I know, not only want, but need to do for myself as a form of showing up for myself. And so, when that used to happen in the past, I wasn't aware that that was active resistance to applying what I know. I just thought, oh, maybe I have ADHD or maybe I'm just not motivated enough, maybe I just don't miss enough. But now that I've become aware that that's what happens when I'm actively resisting the application of what I know, I quite literally drop everything I'm doing and I just sit in silence and that mess that's going on inside of my head, the chaos, I kind of let it settle down, so that I could actually listen to it instead of it just being this chaos that I'm trying to numb by doing all the other things that I don't really need to be doing. And usually what those voices are telling me are the exact same stories I have been trying to silence my entire life. You are not good enough. You don't deserve this. Who do you think you are to achieve something like this? And so, I'm subconsciously allowing the stories that have limited me for almost my whole life to jump into my present moment. And once I'm able to recognize that I sit there and I'm like, no, that's not true. I just say, oh, that's interesting that you know, I've had two or three days where I've been able to focus on what I want to do, but then out of the blue, there's one day where I'm just not, I feel like I'm not able to. Maybe my body needs some rest. Maybe I need a break. This has been life changing for me, maybe I've been surrounding myself with more negativity than the counter positivity to it and that's just worn me down. So, maybe I need to talk to a friend or talk to somebody who I know understands me. So, being aware when that resistance is happening, giving yourself some time for that chaos to like, think about it, like muddy water, you have to give it a little bit of time for things to settle so that you can get a little bit of clarity on what's going on. Listen to what's going on, and then treat yourself the way that you would treat someone you love. Do for yourself what you need in that moment. And then you'll be able to be able to side on a time when you're gonna start that task again. And one of the things I always struggled with was, the time in between me deciding to do the task and actually doing it, I was constantly worried about the task getting done. So, I have to actively tell myself, Najwa you've decided to start this work in two hours, that's when you start doing that work. We're not thinking about it right now. We're not worrying about it right now. It's not going to get done just by thinking about it for these two hours. You are going to get it done in two hours. So, I know that's a really long answer, but it's because it is a really complicated process, it's not as simple as, no, when I find myself not doing what I know I want to do, I just wake myself up and change it, it's a process.
Michael: Yeah. I think about, so I got this giant whiteboard over here, you can't see it, but it's probably most of the whiteboard, it says; “close the gap” And that is a reminder to me to of recognize that in silence, which is that gap, that's where you discover your tools, your power, your ability to continue to forward into the thing that you need. Be mindful of the gap, because what happens if you don't mind the gap, you're gonna fall out. And that's what happens, you get to burnout, you get to exhaustion, ruin relationships, you're eating for foods, you're not taking the pause. And ultimately, here's what I discovered because I'm the procrastinator, I am so, like people don't understand when I say this, I am so incredibly lazy. Like there's nothing more exciting to me than watching movies and eating gummy bears and getting stoned all day long, right? But I don't do that ‘cuz that's not an alignment with the person that I'm choosing to be. And if I didn't step into the pause, that moment of right before the decision where I'm like, oh, the thing that I could do is not go to gym and eat a cheeseburger, right? Which is very easy. Or I could go to the gym knowing that I'm taking care of myself. And in that pause, I'm basing it on a very simple question. I ask myself, what do I need? And so it's very much the same thing that you're doing, but by asking myself that question, the thing that started to transpire is the word that you were using just a moment ago is I'm able to step deeper into authenticity because then I'm asking that question like, what do I need? Do I need it for me? Do I need it for you? Why is it the thing that I need to do or accomplish coming up right now and being interrupted, right? There’s always an underlying reason, but I think people get scared of that, right? They get terrified of. And I'm curious about your thoughts on this because you're someone who at star is rising and continually rising and had amazing books, some great talks, you know, amazing on stage, we've been on all the podcasts, all the things, and I think about this a lot and I don't know if it's true and so, I'm curious. When we're growing up and your background is very interesting to me, growing up feeling invisible. I felt this same way, coming from trauma, coming through being a homeless kid. And the one thing that I always wanted subconsciously was to be seen and I think that’s a lot of what people have when they're invisible as a kid. So, you go through that and then you're faced with the opportunity to have the exact thing, right? To be seen. And I think a lot of people stop themselves. What I'm curious about, and this is something I'm working out in my life in real time, is I think people are more afraid of being successful than they are failing. I'm just curious, just you’re thought how that strike you?
Najwa: I think part of the reason why people are afraid of being successful is once you're seen, you're afraid that you're fully going to be seen. And if you inherently think that you have flaws and there's something wrong with you, part of you, that's always going to run away from that exposure. I can't think of any other reason for why someone would be more afraid of succeeding than failing. Also, failing in a way proves to that person what they already believe about themselves, and we are very likely to follow patterns and paths that lead us to a very familiar story, a very familiar ending. And so that's why what might seem to us like I'm trying to change this belief about myself, it turns out to be, I'm trying to change the ending of one thing in my life so that I could change that belief about myself, for example. A relationship ends, and you already think that you don't deserve to be fully and wholeheartedly loved for who you authentically are because you think there is something wrong with you. There's a lot for you to work on whether that's something that's you're conscious of or you're not conscious of, if that's how you're operating, if that's what's pushing you to behave the way that you are behaving. So instead of going back, that's like, I don't deserve love. I don't deserve to be prioritized. I don't deserve to be unconditionally loved. I don't deserve to be punished. I don't deserve da, da, da. Instead of going to that belief and changing it. We want to change the ending of this relationship as in try to revive it, try to bring that person back because we somehow believe if this ending shows us that someone stayed, then it changes the belief that we don't deserve someone staying. Does that make sense? And I know that we kind of it took a tangent from the initial question that we were talking about, but I think it's very important to be aware of what kinds of, I don't wanna use the word ending ‘cuz I used it enough. What confirmations are we chasing after? Because if the confirmation we're chasing after is that we don't deserve success, then you, we are not going to succeed. If the confirmation we're going after is something is wrong with me, and if the whole world sees me, then that means they're gonna see what's wrong with me. So, I don't wanna be seen then that's what's going to happen. So that's my answer to that question.
Michael: I think a lot of it is you have to find in anything in life that you want, that you desire, you have to find the willingness to step through the fear of the unknown and to tap in the courage to walk that path.
Najwa: It's the only way.
Michael: It's the only way. And what really s*** about that is its f**** hard, right? It's so incredibly difficult to be where you're at today, in this moment and say, that's the thing that I want. And then have the willingness to pursue it and to take a step every single day because the thing about just being a human being is we often pull ourselves away from the unknown because it's safe, but you have to be willing in some capacity to get unsafe, then I hope you not danger this way. Right. And have the willingness to walk that path for you. And I think that you hit spot on about beliefs because ultimately your beliefs are going to be the very thing that help you navigate the world and more so what do you believe? I dunno about this, but perfect example. We're having this conversation before we record and I go, every time this is gonna happen and there's a beat. You manifest and manipulate the environment to create the exact thing that is in your mind. And I think people fail to realize that because they are so stuck in a small. Where the only thing that they understand is how they're raised and you get trapped in that. And you and I, while very different backgrounds experienced that. How did you get untrapped from the small thinking that was ingrained in you to be able to shift your beliefs, to have the courage to go towards the things that you want?
Najwa: There is visualization technique that I don't know if anyone else came up with this, but this is what I came up with for myself and I imagine a world that's small and I'm in that world, like I imagine myself like a little dot. Okay, so that world is made up of all of those small things, the rules, the things I was taught were going to lead me to be the right person or things I need to stay away from, or what makes me a good girl, what makes me a good daughter, what makes me a good whatever, that's the world I was raised in. And then I imagine around that world a much bigger world where there are things I haven't seen and I haven't learned, and I haven't given myself permission to think of, because I was always taught that giving yourself permission to think of different perspectives and different beliefs must mean that if I'm talking from a religious point of view, it must mean that I don't believe in God or that I'm a sinner in some way if it's from a cultural point of view, it must mean that I'm somebody who's a rebel, somebody who wants to ruin her reputation and her family's reputation. And so, when I allow myself to feel that there is a much bigger expansion around me than the little tiny world that makes me feel small and trapped and like if I don't follow all these things, then I'm in trouble and feeling that bigger expansion as opposed to feeling like it's the end of the world if I don't follow what this world is telling me to follow, to follow, then it just makes me feel like there's so much more around me for me to connect with and so much as in people and places and thoughts, like I'm not confined to these people in this small world, there's so much more. I'm not confined to the thoughts in this small world, there's so much more.
And so, when I find myself on a more practical level, getting stuck on one thing, like this is a very silly example, but it's something I thought of if I'm about to post a picture on Instagram where I just know that I'm gonna get negative comments on the way I'm dressed because I did used to cover, I did used to dress a lot more conservatively and now I don't. And so, there's a big portion of my audience that would be offended. So, instead of getting stuck on, I know I'm going to get negative comments. I know that this is gonna give me a headache and I'm gonna feel down and I'm gonna have all those shameful thoughts and feelings bubble up to the surface because I attached my worthiness for so many years to the way that I dressed and to the inches of skin that I covered instead of allowing that little thing to stop me from putting content out there that I know is going to help so many people. I just see that big, what seems to be like a big looming problem, like these negative comments, I just imagine myself literally bringing it to be smaller and smaller and smaller, and then I start looking at the other small things that are possible like this is gonna help other people, this is gonna inspire someone, this is going to help me feel like I have courage to not care about what people think. And so, that little thing is only as big as we allow it to be.
And going back to something you said earlier, it's that mindfulness, it's that awareness, like once you see it for what it is, you're able to do something about it. But if you continue to allow yourself to be pulled into those little things without pausing to think about them and to think about how realistic they are, how logical they are, and what I mean by that is like our perception of reality is oftentimes to sit as an outsider to yourself and have that conversation with yourself and say, is it really that big? Like imagine one of your friends who thinks differently from you, and what would they say to this? So, once you bring that little thing to your awareness, then you can make it as big or small as you want, and then with more practice of making it small, you will subconsciously start doing that without even having to pause as much as you would when you begin this process.
Michael: I think natively as human beings, and it's probably built into our biology as a survival mechanism, that we catastrophize everything and we do the worst in everything. We go, oh my God, this one thing that actually probably means nothing is the end of the world, it's not.
Najwa: It's like the worst thing that could possibly happen. I would rather dive than do this, that's what the dialogue that goes on. Right?
Michael: Yeah. And I think that's a really dangerous place to be because that's gonna cripple you, that's gonna keep you tough to an identity that is not going to have the ability to continue to propel forward. Everybody faces it, I'm not studying here being like, I don't, you know, recently we announced one of our conferences and I had nothing ready. Right? And I was just like, nope. Tell everybody about it now ‘cause it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it's not perfect. Doesn't matter if you don't have everything like that. It doesn't matter if blah, blah, blah, blah, blah because ultimately, and I think about this a lot, if you believe that the thing that you're doing is for the betterment of yourself, your community, your school, your church, your society of the world like you have a moral obligation to do it even and I would dare say even, and especially if you're scared because that fear is an indicator that you're moving into the right direction. Right. Because like, how else are you gonna know? And we get so caught in it, we think to ourselves, and I've had this experience too, where I'm like, yeah, but they're gonna judge me. I'm not good enough. Like I don't have 96 degrees and I don't have a high school diploma, so who can trust me? And then I’m like, yeah, but I've helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world written, bestselling books, you have to remind yourself like the great things that you've done, to your point, leverage those to continue to move forward.
One of the things that I think happens often, and this was my experience for a long time, is when you get out of that small world and you start looking up the bigger world and you're exposed to the people, the information that thoughts, the topics, it can feel massively overwhelming. Like, you're in the same world, I would imagine you've probably had this experience where you go sit in the room with one of these people and you go, I'm overwhelmed. Or you learn something, you go, I'm overwhelmed like, whatever that might be. I've learned how to not be overwhelmed, like disallowing it from my life, but how have you been able to manage when you open up that world and make it big to not get consumed by it thus getting crippled by the very thing you’re seeking?
Najwa: I know exactly what you're talking about because I remember experiences of sitting with people in this field and being like, wow, like they've really figured it out and I'm nowhere near that and like I remember that was like in the earlier days. The most important thing for me, honestly, and I'm not using this as a buzzword, is to be authentic with myself, that's it. Just ask myself, who are you? Who are you? And what do you genuinely from the bottom of your heart and your soul, and with your whole being want to be doing in the world? Are you doing your absolute best? Yes, that's it. Just be as you are in that room with those people, it's great that they are able to do what they do and that they've figured things out in a certain way, but that doesn't take anything away from you. Like that's how I speak to myself because I walk into those rooms and you can let me know if your experience has been different. But I would feel like I was like energetically bleeding like my energy is just going everywhere and I'm thinking all these thoughts of I should be doing that, and how did I not think about that? And I just had to stop because when you do that, there's an element of, I don't know who I am, so I'm looking at who others are and what they're doing, trying to build an image of who I am. Does that make sense? So, for me, taking the time to learn about myself and to learn about what my strengths are and what my, I don't wanna call them weaknesses, but things that don't inspire me, things that don't push me, things that I'm not going to waste my time on, because to me, they're big hurdles, like mechanical things, like things that I could hire someone to do. I have to be honest with myself about that and the rest just falls into place. Like when you don't feel like there are gaps, going back to what you said, gaps in your being and who you are and the way that you define yourself, then you're not a walking like here gimme that, let me put it here to fill this gap, here gimme that. And it could be just again, what someone does for themselves, how far someone else has come. So instead of looking to fill those gaps from those people, just take the time to figure those things out for yourself, because that's what's gonna make you unique.
The number of people I've met who are trying to make it, whatever that word means, and to build a name for themselves who have I can see it, they're actively staying away from being original, they are just looking at what everybody else is doing and trying to get an amalgamation of all of that and saying, well, if all these people succeeded, then I will succeed. But what makes someone stand out is who they are. So going into those rooms with that mindset has been transformational for me.
Michael: I love that. And I think that applies to literally everything, right. And not just specifically, you know, whether or not you're going universal development conferences or blah, blah, blah. And the thing that struck you asked me if my thoughts might be different. I love that you used the phrase energetically bleeding because I remember like, when I really first started this process about 10 years ago, when I got deeper into it, you know, I would be in rooms with guys like Gary Mayer, Brendon Burchard. And then one day I actually started telling myself a different story ‘cause I'm such a proponent, we are the stories we tell ourselves. Peiod. You are who you decide that you are. And I made a decision one day, I was like, oh, these people are my peers ‘cuz think about this. When you're hanging out with your friends, if you're in the right friend group, you never worry about, am I wearing the right shoes? I did my book selling copies? Is my family perfect? Do my kids got the right grades? Like you don't think about that when you're in those right circumstances.
And so, I just started looking at people as my friends, you know, I go, you're my friend, I don't care if you have a million followers, or one, I don't care if you're a stranger on the street or if you're the president of the world. Right? I'm looking and I'm your friend and because here's what's really fascinating about life, enlist you look at it, we're all gonna die. And so since we're all gonna die, maybe we should be more collaborative in our effort together while we’re here and recognize that the person that you think has it all is suffering in ways that they wish that they had what you have.
Najwa: And you can't see that because on the surface you can't see it. And going back to something you said earlier, like, what am I doing here? Well, you're there for a reason, it's not like you were just woke up in the room and you're like, I don't know these people and I don't know why I'm here. You're obviously there because you earned it somehow. So, stop allowing so much of that energy that you have, which is limited, really, just questioning whether you deserve to be where you are or not. If you're there, then you've earned it and just see what you can offer instead of just being quiet because you're like, anything I'm gonna say is gonna be wrong and it's not gonna be as good as what they're gonna say. And so, I'd rather just really, I'd rather stay small. I'd rather stay quiet. I'd rather not contribute.
Michael: Yeah. I'm gonna ask you a very specific question and alignment in that because is something I think about all the time, especially when I'm coaching. I try to push people into recognizing the words that they're using and the way that use them ‘cause those patterns create lifestyle and quite often, especially in the beginning of working with people and just case as well, we always look for the negative outcomes of circumstances, right? No matter what, these endings, this confirmation always pushing towards the negative. But particularly in intimate relationships, especially if you've come through pain or suffering or trauma or abuse, or you've been in a narcissistic or toxic relationship, whatever that means, however you define that, and then there's something good, right? And you’re like, Oh, this must be too good to be true. Now we're catastrophizing this. Now we're looking for the out. Now we're looking for, you know, they don't like me because of this, or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You know where I'm going with this, so I'm very curious about like if this whole conversations around the concept of identity and being okay with who you are and navigating the world of filling yourself first, intimate relationships are probably the most difficult things that we do as a human species. How do you find the positive when all of your background and all of your body screams, the other shoe's gotta drop and this is gonna turn better eventually?
Najwa: Well, first you have to be aware that is what you are thinking like you have to be aware that you are anticipating the worst possible scenario that that is how you've functioned for X amount of time in your life because without that awareness, you're just going to continue following that thought process and that pattern, and you're gonna keep sabotaging something until it actually ends. So, becoming aware of that takes a lot of like introspection and thinking, what is reality showing me? And does it align with what I already believe about it? So, for example, you might be in a relationship with someone and everything is going well, and there's still that little voice in your head that's like, just wait for it. And then, you know, on a random night, you text that person, they don't respond to you for a couple of hours and you immediately think, see, I knew it. So, in a moment like that, you pause and you say, okay. Does this happen often or did it just happen one time? Because what this voice is telling me is that this single event means that this person is going to leave just like everybody else left, but it's just a single event. If it's happening every single day, that's a different story. And so, again, going back to what is reality showing me and what am I trying to make it mean based on how I already think? And you have to challenge how you already think that's happened to me, but to me perfect example that I'm telling you about, and I was like, everything was going great up to that moment, and I didn't get a response and I was like, see, that's it, they all do that. And I could feel this like rush of emotions in my body that felt so much like disappointment, like just reliving every other moment in my life where I felt abandoned and the response of my body was so much bigger than this little event, which is someone didn't respond to me for a couple of hours when, you know, it's at a time where he normally would respond. And then he calls me two hours later and I could tell from his voice, he’s like, I'm so sorry, I fell asleep on the couch and when I heard that, I thought about it later ‘cuz this was during the time where I was becoming more aware. Right. If I had just gone to that conclusion that this is it, this means that everybody's the same, and this relationship's bound to end at some point, and all the things that I already believed, if I had made that decision, then nothing that he would've said was gonna change my mind. That's it. But I had to look at reality and give myself permission to think in a different way than I used to think before. And instead of seeing one behavior as an indication of a pattern, I was actually looking, is this a behavior or is it like a one-time behavior is it a pattern? So that's what I urge people to do, is really look at reality and what you're making of it, and then when you do make a mistake of coming to a conclusion because you've been triggered, because it this happened at some point in another relationship, and you're like, if I had listened to my gut in that moment, then I would have spared myself that pain so, I'm gonna listen to my gut in this moment so that I don't feel that pain. But when you do that, are you actually listening to your gut or are you listening to your fears? Are you listening to your gut or are you listening to your childhood trauma and what it taught you about yourself?
So, you have to be very careful with not seeing things as very black and white, like this single event might mean whatever, like things you see on TikTok. If the person you're talking to only talks to you on Snapchat, that's a big red flag. Don't talk to them, that means they are not serious, that means why? Like, why do we come up with these things? And so, when we start believing them and we see them in real life, we're like, yeah, I heard someone say that and that confirms for me the belief that I already have, that everybody's the same, they're all gonna walk away, so I'm gonna believe that. And then you say, so, when that does happen, because it happens, we're human. Be honest about it and tell the person that that's what you were thinking and feeling based on what you've gone through before. And if this person is going to use that against you, there you go…
Michael: Wrong person.
Najwa: Like you have your answer, then it's not someone that you are meant to be with, it's not someone one you want to be with. If you open up to them and that brings you closer, okay, then you're golden. But this is what usually happens. We stick to what we did because we don't wanna admit that we may have made a mistake and we fall into that victim mentality of I've been hurt so much, and you know, if I just slipped up this one time and came to a conclusion that wasn't true, then I blame it on everything I've gone through in the past. No. Be brave enough to sit down and say, that was really silly of me, I hurt you with my words, and this is where it came from. So, don't beat yourself up over falling into old patterns, just be willing to break those patterns by actually speaking them out, you know, by talking about them, by just involving this new person that you're trying to build something with in that breaking which wow, we are talking about being unbroken and this seems very unbrand.
Michael: Yeah. Right. Well, you know, I think you're spot on and confirmation bias is super dangerous. You will always find supporting evidence for the belief that you choose to have.
Najwa: There's evidence for everything.
Michael: Yeah. And especially with stupid social media, like don't get it twisted, social media's as dumb as the day is long like do not be consumed by somebody dancing on TikTok trying to give you life advice. Trust me, in 18 seconds. You do not know enough to know whether or not they're credible, but that's the world we live in I digress ‘cuz that will go down a very dark path real fast. This conversation's been absolutely incredible, my friend. Before I ask you my last question, can you please tell us where we can find and learn more about?
Najwa: You can find me on all social media platforms, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, it's all Najwa Zebian, my first name, last name. My website is najwaebian.com that's where you can find information on my books and podcasts, stories of the soul. And you can find my books at every bookstore.
Michael: Not a hard person to find. My last question for you, what does it mean to you being broken?
Najwa: Hmm. That's a very big question. I think a big part of being Unbroken is fully believing that you deserve whole unconditional love and support and belonging whether you are fully healed, whether you are in the process of breaking, whether you're in the process of rebuilding yourself back up, being unbroken doesn't mean that you are not going through hard times, it doesn't mean that you're not making mistakes, it doesn't mean that you haven't mistakes, it doesn't mean any of that. It means that you continue to believe that you deserve all good things during all of those phases in your healing. That's what it means to me, and I just came up with that right now.
Michael: Yeah, beautiful my friend. Thank you so much for being here, Unbroken Nation, thank you for listening.
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And Until Next Time.
My Friends, Be Unbroken
I’ll See You.
Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
Najwa Zebian is a Lebanese-Canadian activist, author, speaker, and educator.
Her passion for language was evident from a young age, as she delved into Arabic poetry and novels. The search for a home—what Najwa describes as a place where the soul and heart feel at peace—was central to her early years.
When she arrived in Canada at the age of sixteen, she felt unstable and adrift in an unfamiliar place.
Nevertheless, she completed her education, and went on to become a high school teacher, where she spoke at multiple schools about poetry, diversity, inclusion, education, equity, culture and more. She has a Bachelor’s in Education, Master’s in Education and Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Her first students, a group of young refugees, led her back to her original passion: writing. She began to heal her sixteen-year-old self by writing to heal her students.
Since self-publishing her first collection of poetry and prose in 2016, Najwa has become an inspiration to millions of people worldwide and a trailblazing voice for women everywhere - name dropped by the New York Times, The Huffington Post, and CBS News, among others. She has also creatively collaborated with Google, RBC, Kohl’s and Cirque du Soleil.
Drawing on her own experiences of displacement, discrimination, and abuse, Najwa uses her words to encourage others to build a home within themselves; to live, love, and create fearlessly.
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