The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #217 - Dr. Neeta Bhushan
As co-founder of the Global Grit Institute, a mental health training platform for leaders and coaches, co-founder of the Dharma Coaching Institute, training thousands to live their best lives, and a thriving coach in her own right, Neeta Bhushan has helped thousands of people move past their heartbreaks, failures, and disappointments. And after years of research into human behavior, observing people in their worst and best moments, being a mother of two small children, and failing more than a few times herself, Neeta knows what it takes to get back up no matter what bowled you over. Her new book, That Sucked, Now What? is a real-talk guide to personal growth that draws on and embraces the suck–and helps you break through to lasting, audacious resilience.
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That Sucked, Now What?
Neeta's Personal Story
is pain and suffering required for growth?
coming to peace with our upbringing
the entitlement trap
what are we here for?
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends. Welcome back to the show. I am so incredibly excited about the conversation that I am about to have. So, the backstory on today's conversation, when I saw the title of the book for this author, doctor that we have here today, I was an immediate yes. I was like, “This is just perfect.” So, the book that we're discussing is called That Sucked. Now What? How to Embrace the Joy in Chaos and Find Magic in the Mess. So, like I said, I was an immediate yes just based on the title alone. Then looking even more into Dr. Neeta Bhushan's work, I realized that we're in the same sphere. We're talking before this. We have a lot of mutual friends. Then reading her actual book, friends, I have recommended this book to so many people. It really is incredible at just laying it out the way it is as far as sucky things happening in life and what to do when bad things happen and how to really reframe that and take back your power, have resilience, how to really reframe life.
It's interesting. I have one of my really good friends has been going through a lot right now and I've been telling him he just needs to read this book. I've been sending him little bits and pieces from it. So, I am really excited to dive into all of this today. I have so many questions. Neeta, thank you so much for being here.
Neeta Bhushan: Oh, my gosh, Melanie, what a beautiful intro. Thank you so much. It's been an honor to write this book and embrace the suck for so many and I think give people permission to do that and it's happening. So, thank you. I appreciate the kind words.
Melanie Avalon: I love it. One of the things you say early on in the book, you say something about how it's not always going to be okay and that's okay. That's just so freeing. [laughs] I've had so many moments since reading your book where little things have happened, sucky moments. The immediate thing I think now is, “Well, That Sucked, Now What?” It's a really great, really great reframe.
Neeta Bhushan: It's literally a mantra that I did this event for 300 women in June in one of my companies and I am like, “All right, I'm going to just give you the mantra and here it is and we're going to keep it simple. It's That sucked. Now what?” Let's repeat it and now dance to your own vibe, do whatever it is, shake it out, scream, whatever. So, it just became and I had so many people that came up to me afterwards that they're like, “Yeah, you just kept it so simple. Why couldn't I just do that?” I'm like, “Well, here it is.” So, there you go, little hack.
Melanie Avalon: Also, side note, I watched Pixar's Inside Out this week based on your recommendation in the book. [laughs] It was so amazing. But, in any case, so to start things off, I imagine a lot of my listeners are probably familiar with your work, but I was wondering if you could tell listeners a little bit about your personal journey. I actually already have a question related to your personal journey, which is, well, you'll tell it now a little bit, and if listeners read the book, they'll hear some more. You've been through a lot and so reading it really puts things in perspective. You also make a comment in the book at some point about how we shouldn't play the other people have it worse game. So, my two-part question is, I would love to hear about your personal story and also, how would you like that to land with people? Do we play the comparison game or how should we interpret your story?
Neeta Bhushan: Wow. Yes. Well, I have had some very sucky moments for me to have this honor and badge to actually write this book, because it's been quite the journey. Honestly, the unraveling of it didn't actually begin, honestly until I wanted to become a mother for the first time. I tell this story in the book, and it's the last chapter of the book, believe it or not, it's the last chapter of the book. Because of my upbringing and I'll get into that in a moment, and all of the things that we all go through, we all have trauma, big Trauma, little trauma. We all have certain things that may happen, whether it's being bullied at school or the first heartbreak. For me, I wanted to do things a little bit differently for me, getting into my walk with motherhood.
So, I was living in LA at the time and finally with my partner. I haven't told the story very much, but I wanted to do everything natural. I was vowing to do it. I come from a background of Indian and Filipino lineage where they vow themselves on like doctors know everything. So, I had to convince not only my partner, who's also from India, but then his whole family, my whole family, that were going to do the natural thing. We were living in LA. We thought it was the coolest thing and the latest way to have a baby and the birth doulas, the midwives, and everything. I wanted to visualize my way to a perfect orgasmic incredible birth, [chuckles] and literally did a whole PhD, might as well have been a PhD, research on all of the ways, the supplements, the X, the Y, the Z, and everything.
I had my birth altar. I had all the manifestations, what his hair was going to look, his eyes, everything. I even had pictures. So, you can imagine all of these things up on my altar. When it led up to the week of my birth, I have all of these amazing classes and the love making, because you're supposed to be extra, TMI, but gooey and juicy. If you're in the zone of love making, then the baby's going to actually naturally come out. I'll have a beautiful water birth I've always envisioned. So, well, as probably the title of my book would go, that is not what happened and my story would take a completely different journey. I went into labor on a Monday and I didn't have him that night. I went into what's called a prodromal labor, which means that mammals actually do this. They'll go into labor at night, but then they'll stop laboring in the morning.
I was never told this. This is never a thing. [laughs] It was not one of the things I researched, by the way. I have a background as a cosmetic dentist. So, I'm like, okay, well, the contractions are coming, but they never progressed. So that was Monday, Tuesday same thing happened. Wednesday, now my midwives are worried. They're like, “Okay, why isn't she progressing?” Well, Wednesday, my in-laws from India would come to the US for the very very first time, very, very first time. I go into immediate good girl mode and people pleasing mode. This literally has been a pattern, a maladaptive pattern of mine for years, we'll get into why. All of a sudden, I go into, “Oh, my gosh, I want to make sure they're okay. I want to make sure everyone's okay.” I was pouring my energy outward instead of literally focusing in on my experience with the three of us, how I envisioned it and imagined it, that wasn't the case.
Then coming up to then Thursday night when we're doing the vibrators and the bouncing balls, and if you've never had kids before, you're like, “What the heck is she talking about? This is so out there, wacky wo woos.” Like, “Where have I landed?” It gets even better and worse all at the same time. I had a body worker who literally would come, because it's the LA thing to do. He came at 3 in the morning to help release some of the really tight muscles around my lower abdomen so that the baby could descend and so that I can blossom and open and have this baby.
Well, none of it was working. Sciatica pains all up my legs. I literally said, “I am done. I've met my edge. I've met my ayahuasca, my spiritual experience. I surrender. I'm okay.” Then my birth team and my husband's like, “But honey, you had told us at this exact moment, if you were to surrender like this, to say, keep on going.” I'm like, “No, no, no really, I'm pulling the curtain, pressing the red button, let me out of the escape room. Let's go to the hospital right now” Well, my backup OB would not be at Santa Monica Hospital that day. They would be at Compton, the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Compton, and shout out to those of you who know exactly what, where, and how Compton has been put on the map, it's probably not the safest neighborhood. We get to the hospital and this is where I started to have heart palpitations and my anxiety rose.
Now, I'm starting to feel the contractions even worse. This is because I vowed for decades that I would never enter a hospital room after losing my mom, my dad, and my brother through different medical diseases. At 16, my mom died of breast cancer, at 17, my brother died of an asthma attack, and at 19, my dad would die of stage IV lung cancer. So, hospitals in me would never meet. I would do everything in my power, in my full control, if I could actually control it, to never set foot in a hospital again. That I would work out and have the most amazing supplements and workout routines and all of the things and I had worked so hard in all of the ways to make sure I would not face what I actually needed to face. That was that life could be born in this amazing, chaotic place and I would reframe this place where so much loss had happened, so much grief had happened, and now redefine what it could mean to be a mother and actually mothering myself.
So, there I go into not just one, the security guard chamber where you have the metal detectors, not two, but three metal detectors, and I get into my beautiful oasis of, it wasn't a water birth, it wasn't a singing, chanting birth, but it was everything that I needed to birth my baby boy and to reconcile all of the feelings, the duality of the heart, the soft, the grief, and the joy, the pain, and the excitement and the magic of just letting go and surrendering. So, if that began this journey of really fully reconciling a lot of the feelings that I had buried in those two decades of me growing up and having encountered so much loss. Not only that, but also the toxic relationships and the abusive relationship that I would actually get into that would spark my own awakening in so many ways.
Having my baby came full circle in reckoning what are some of those feelings and emotions I still had? I wasn't okay with my own rage that I couldn't control that my dad was diagnosed after losing two members of my family two years before that because I had deep postpartum depression. So, that was where I wanted to really focus my attention. I had already written the book Emotional Grit. I had already written a few other books in the coaching space, but I really wanted to help others and make it fun that through my grief I had found slivers of joy. Not so many moments of it, but slivers. So, much so that I wanted to make this punchy and give frameworks that have fully come full circle. It wouldn't have been possible if I didn't go through this wild reckoning and reclaiming myself, of allowing myself to be mothered by a system that I had thought fails my family.
Here we are. Your question and such a beautiful question, Melanie. You ask around the comparison of stories and like I said, big Trauma, little lraumas. We have our own stories. I'm grateful for the experience that I had. I also know that now with the deep deeps of our sorrow, the deep deeps of our grief and if some of you are going through different identity walks or different shifts, maybe a breakup, a shift in health, a business endeavor, a new project, there are going to be those tough moments. It goes without a doubt. It's like when we enter that next level of who we're becoming, who we are, this is our growth edges and expanding to what is uncomfortable. Going to that hospital, I have met other women who would just allow themselves because of their own ego or their own fears, not surrender to the moment to whatever the pain is.
Of course, for me it was like visceral pain, but it was also psychological and deep-rooted trauma, fear that I had to literally face head on. I had to reframe that initial second of entering that hospital, of like, “This is the place that's going to bring forth life and I am going to reframe that full circle.” So, I think accepting our journey as our own in the messy, chaotic ways and understanding the gifts and the deep messaging behind it and it may look different for everyone and it's not ours to compare. Because everyone has their own journey and this is mine. So, thank you for asking that.
Melanie Avalon: Well, thank you for sharing that. When I read the book and read that chapter, I viscerally was shuddering just thinking of that experience of that whole birthing experience. But it's so incredible how, what came from it, and everything that you just shared and this framework now that you can bring to people. Okay, I have so many questions from that. I had a conversation back in 10th grade that I will not forget. I went to this an evangelical Christian school. So, it was in Bible class and we had this massively long debate about whether or not pain and suffering was required for the human experience in order for life, I guess, to better, was it required? So, my question is because you made a comment about how certain things wouldn't have been possible if you hadn't gone through these really tragic things, "Is pain and sucky moments required as a catalyst for something better in life or for a change or is it not?" Then the second part of that would be, "Does every painful moment have the potential for magic and change or are some things just that and they're just bad, like the end?"
Neeta Bhushan: Yes. Oh, yes. So, gosh, I love this. Wow, it's a great question from the 10th grade. I feel I used to grapple with this so much and I used to hate that was my story as a teenager, because I feel like those were some of the books that I also read when I was a teenager going through seeing my mom in the ICU for about five years, in and out of the hospital, and then going through such a public loss of losing my brother. I mean public because we went to two different high schools and literally because his death was so unusual, he was completely healthy. It was immediately a year after my mom died and I was a senior in high school, he was a sophomore. Our high schools were kind of rival. They were across the street from each other. So, it just shook our community that A, a young life could be lost, but B, that this was just out of the blue.
There was so much that I had to be okay grappling with of the anger or the rage that there was nothing that I could do and nowhere to actually even keep those emotions. So, I had to suppress it. I became the one that bypasses. There were no words for it at that time, but I had to, “Be the strong one.” I know that many of us probably grew up thinking that many of us grew up probably thinking like, “Oh, you're the oldest or why can't you be more like this person? Or why can't you be more like these ideas.” Of course, they would always say, “He's now with your mom. He's now with your mom.” I totally believe that because they were so close. They were two peas in a pod. I was always jealous of their relationship and he was like the younger brother, he was the middle child. But I do spiritually believe that they are together and I feel as though for a lot of the pain that we try to suppress, it will come out in different ways, and it may come out in different ways years later, decades later. It might turn into maladaptive behaviors where it comes out in interpersonal relationships.
There is a reason why I had codependent patterns in my 20s and it got me into these toxic relationships. It's because I didn't have a tool or know even how to process some of these emotions that then didn't make me want to actually even go to school. Because I didn't want to be the one that stood out, because people don't have languaging like that. Young people in high school, we all just want to fit in. We all just want to belong. We all just want to be understood. That was not the case for me.
I just thought that if I work harder and I grew up with an Indian father and a Filipino mother, so it was very much like Asian tiger parenting. So, it was like, you're going through this massive chaos, but it's focus on school. Focus on getting straight A's, because that is going to be your ticket out of whatever, the pain that you're actually going through now. That's literally what I believed that okay, this is the hard stuff now and this hard stuff is fucking hard, but we're going to get through it. So, what do you have to do? Become a doctor, dentist, lawyer, engineer. That's the path. That was a path I literally took. I didn't know any other choice.
For going back and now meeting so many people who-- and I also share this in the book, but in 2016, when moms in the Bay Area had got a hold of one of my pieces of work, my very first book. This is the Bay Area. This the head of the tech industry, where Palo Alto is, Silicon Valley, etc. I got a call and this is when I had just recently transitioned. I had probably given a talk to Google, probably around in the same time frame. This group of moms had called me to come and speak to their group at this school in the Bay Area. I'm like, “Why are they calling me to have this chat around emotional health?” I'm like, “I'm not a mom. I wrote this book. But, okay, I'll go there.”
The first question they asked is, given someone who had lost so much loss and been through as much as what you had gone through, can you give us advice? Because here in our community, we just lost three people, three of our teens, teenagers to suicide. I made a choice in that day, and they had asked, “Can resilience be built?” One of the things that I talk about in my book is making peace with our upbringing. Because so often we either are growing up with helicopter-hovering parents who don't let us do anything, who don't let us make a mistake, we want to go far away from pain, and we don't want to get our fingers dirty and we're rolling up our sleeves, and we don't want to have dirt in our fingernails. Then, we have this fall, like our first rejection from a college or first rejection from a first love and we don't know how to handle it or a first troll on social media. Because we haven't built the muscle fibers to withstand those falls, because we're trying to avoid pain. Because somebody is actually saying, “No, I've got this for you. I got this. I'm going to do this for you.”
Having gone through such a deep, visceral journey, that breakdown is so pivotal because it is through that breakdown where we break through. It's through the feeling, the going and understanding, okay the pain of that heartbreak to actually reconcile and integrate how we are now going to move forward and what are we going to take into our next relationship? Is that going to make us better or worse for our next friendship? If we had been betrayed by a girlfriend in the past or an abusive coworking environment or a boss or a business failure and situation and for these teenagers, it wasn't the case.
They pretty much grew up with everything on a silver platter. The best schools, probably a ton of pressure and that wasn't the case for them. So, it was the beginning of the start of teaching mothers, people, high achieving people, that the pain also comes with the joy. It's embracing the duality of both. We're so afraid of getting into the mess. We're so afraid of getting entangled in the journey and not having it be a certain way or perfect that we're afraid of the uncertainty. But it's through that uncertainty if we embrace it, that's where grace is. That's where that compassion is. That's where I'm even redefining the word resilience to not just be strong. Heck, I was fucking strong for the first two decades of my life, so much so that I got into a very toxic relationship because my worth was on this other person to define my self-worth.
Then, it was a journey to untangle that and figure out what my maladaptive behaviors were growing up, what I needed. Because abandonment was such a huge strength for me that I was willing to take whatever anyone was going to treat me as because I didn't believe in myself. I would really abandon myself, just like how I felt abandoned in that wound of all of my losses, but that takes deep deep introspection. That's one of the threads that I talk about in part two of the book in Building Your Bounce Factor. It's such a beautiful concept and oftentimes we think we know certain aspects of ourself, but then we see years and years of patterning and years and years of perhaps maybe dysfunction or years and years of things that didn't go our way. So, sometimes, we get stuck in our suck where we feel like we can't get out of it.
Melanie Avalon: So many things here. Speaking of defining and redefining resilience, I have a really big question here based on a little nuance in my life because you were talking about how we think resilience is this big, strong thing. We have this idealized I think view of what it looks like and you talk in the book about the pitfalls of comparing it to heroes and these grand ideas and how it's not necessarily that. Does it also involve where you want to be resilient? What I mean by that is there are some things that I can just objectively say I'm not resilient with, but I also don't feel the need to be resilient there. So, my example is I'm not really good with the outdoors. I like air conditioning, and I like being inside, and I like night events. It's even to the extent I'm like-- like my sister, for example, is climbing the mountains and doing all the things. So, I always think, like, “Oh, she's so resilient in the outdoors.”
Neeta Bhushan: You're like my husband. He's been a burning man. He's like, “I don't know if I'd do that again.”
Melanie Avalon: Oh yeah, oh yeah. It's literally to the point and I thought about your book, and this happened two days ago. I went to see Wicked. It was the touring Broadway show, and I went to see it here and I was going with a date. [laughs] So, he texted me beforehand and was like, and it's hot here in Atlanta. It's hot. So, he was like, “Do you want to meet outside the theater and then go in together? I was like, “No,” [laughs] Because I got to have my first impression in the air conditioning. I got to go to the bathroom first, I got to like make-- So, I had no interest in waiting for him outside theater. I was reflecting on that, and I was like, “Wow, I'm just so not resilient when it comes to the outdoors.” But also, I have no interest in being outdoors outside the theater. I'd just rather be inside. So, my question is and this probably makes me sound very privileged, which is also something you talk about in the book, but that's a side note what are your thoughts on where resilient manifests in our life and if we want it there or not?
Neeta Bhushan: Yes. Oh, I love that you're bringing this up. Out of 200 shows I've been on, you're the first to ask, what if you don't want it there? I love that so much because not everyone needs to be resilient in every single area of their life and that's okay. I feel like as I'm entering what I like to call my soft girl era, because shout out to the opposite of having to be strong all the time. I think there's a time and a place and I think that for me and for those of you who I think the original or the mainstream term for resilience is being strong and being tough as nails. Those motivational hyper-glamorized memes of those top motivation videos circa, Tony Robbins style works for some.
I think my definition of resilience is also to be actually soft, agile, fluid, and adaptable to whatever is coming your way, I envisioned it. The analogy is I love dance and I grew up with dance. Dance was one of the things, movement was one of the things that really honestly saved my mental sanity during a lot of the loss that I had endured. But if you've ever seen trapeze artists or just ballet dancers, the way that they move on the trapeze, one person going from bar to bar, they are catching each other's moves. They are bending and flexing in each other's way. They're not breaking because they're not so tough, they're not so rigid. I think it's a deeper question to ask oneself is where do I need to be resilient if that's not a part of my life? If I'm not trying to build a business that requires all of me or if this is just my hot girl summer era where I'm just going to be and I have these standards and that's totally okay. That's a personal question to ask. But I think this usually comes up when we're going through sucky moments, when we're actually going through tough moments to actually say, “All right, yeah, being brave” and actually saying, “I don't want this here, or I don't think I really need it here, and being okay with that.”
Melanie Avalon: So, when these moments happen, because they happen more than I would like to admit. In the back of my head, I'm like, “It would be nice to be resilient in that area of my life.” But I look at my life energetically and my energetic buckets and I'm like, “That's just not where I want to put my energy tackling that.” I guess maybe it goes to knowing your limits.
Neeta Bhushan: Well, it's part of our bounce factor. One of the things that I bring up in the book is if we're not understanding our background is one piece or what didn't go well in the past. I think a lot of times when we bring this up, people usually ask me, “Well, Neeta, how would you relate this to dating or even failed work gigs or things that we were just trying to get off the ground and it's not working. Or maybe you're trying to get your body in a certain way and certain things that you've been putting such hard effort on, is it working?” One can argue and say, “Well, you're not trying hard enough.” Or another person can say, “Well, actually, is that really what you want? Or is this for something or someone else?” Then we get into our current environment.
Our current environment is your ability to withstand good stress. I think that's the thing that to your question earlier on, “Well, do we want this pain or do we not? Can we get by without it?” Well, I think for example, wanting to bio hack, go to the gym, lift heavy weights, you're going to have a period of time where, yeah, you're going to break down those muscle fibers in order to stimulate new ones and there's going to be a period of soreness and recovery and in that time, that's how we get bigger muscle fibers. It's that same token of putting yourself in these good stress vibes, whether it's the cold plunge or having a difficult conversation instead of ghosting somebody or instead of distancing yourself from a friend who probably said something that you didn't agree with, you're like, “Actually, let's get on the phone and have a conversation.” Those are probably some of the hardest ways to build that muscle because most people are like, “I don't want to do that. That's actually too hard.” But is it when you can actually be leaning into a relationship that you want to deepen or maybe even deepen that relationship with yourself or a loved one instead of actually turning your back.
Melanie Avalon: Tying into that as far as the way we experience the world and things being hard and then touching on what I mentioned about the privilege, I love the part in the book, two different big topics, but they relate that you talked on, which was not being a victim. So, a victim mentality and also this entitlement mentality that can be pretty pervasive and also how it compares to privilege, all of that. What is the role of people feeling entitled today, feeling like a victim, personal agency versus agency? What are your thoughts on these topics?
Neeta Bhushan: Yeah. Oh gosh, the Entitlement Trap, that's Chapter 3 of my book [laughs] and then we go into the chip on your shoulder that happens when we are proving ourselves to the world. So, here's the thing. I love that you just checked in with your privilege because I feel for so many of us, we're actually privileged to even have this conversation right now. I remember this vividly. Quite a few years ago, I had somebody on my team that was in a different part of the world, eastern Europe. I was talking about some of these concepts and they were like, “That is not a big problem.” I was like, “Okay, you're working on this launch. We're in the middle of the launch. This is not the time to bring this up.” I'm like, “Wow, that person, no longer on my team anymore-- But that person back then was bringing up something that I really wasn't aware of," and it was privilege because that person was living in a part of the world where they're like, “It's not even safe to be outside right now.”
You're talking about these conversations. So, I say this because we're so lucky to be having these conversations because it's conversations that I know my parents definitely couldn't have. They were assimilating from a different country and they were trying to keep up with the Joneses and this was not even on their radar to check in with their mental health or even their emotions. A lot of it was like screaming and yelling. I grew up with phrases like, “I'll give you something to cry about or you're resilient Neeta, this is happening because you're the oldest and you've got this and you're so strong.” I know for some listening, I'm not the only one and maybe there's some resonance here. The Chapter that I talk about, Privilege Versus Entitlement. Now, privilege, we already talked about understanding and there're different kinds, whether it's the race privilege, and most people talk about that, but I'm even talking about beauty privileges where you grew up, certain things that you probably had more access to than others.
The idea with entitlement, now, I am having a whole different dynamic around entitlement because I'm asked to speak around entitlement quite a bit. I have my own kids now, and I have two little ones, and they're toddlers. I want to make sure that for my next generation that we are having open conversations around this. I think that many times and I talk about this in the book, that our entitlement trap is usually thinking that there is not enough, that there is a lack mentality in the world because there is not enough that we are going to compete and that we are so deserving of. I didn't win the first two rounds. I remember my son when I was teaching him chess literally just a couple of months ago, and he's like, “Mama, you won the first two rounds. I need to win this round.” I'm like, “Do you really? Like, you better. We got to earn that.” I'm like, “Oh, my gosh. This is where we learn entitlement,” because he's 4. He's like, “But that's not fair. You won the first two rounds.” I was like, “No, bro.” Then he started crying because mama beat him. But I got a little competitive there. [laughs] In the book, page 40, I talk about entitlement seems logical. It's a seductive mindset because it also leans on things needing to be fair. “Well, mama, you won the first two rounds, so I got to win the next round.” Entitlement is validating, it's practical, it's focused, but it's also a lack mentality that there's not enough to go around. It's coming from a place of lack versus when we talk about manifestation, manifestation can seem like there's entitlement there if we are focused on the lack.
The reason why manifestation works and why we're all so obsessed with it is because if we are tuning to the frequency of abundance, which is a very different energetic frequency than lack. I'm obsessed with this whole conversation because I think that a lot of times, we all feel entitled. There's a whole exercise in the back of this chapter of like, “Okay, were you entitled when you wanted to get cut in the front of the line, when you were late to the airport, and you had only 20 minutes to check in, and the TSA line was like around the block, okay, feeling entitled. When you were trying to get to your appointment at 10 o’clock, but you left the house 10 minutes late and there was traffic on the highway and so you decided to drive on the shoulder and then when the cop pulled you over, maybe gave you a warning, so entitlement. So, it's also checking in with ourselves, where those things actually come up and how it is part of this idea of our ego and our ego can play a great role in the victim mindset, and also how we sometimes are fueled by our ego either to prove ourselves to the world, which is why it goes hand in hand my chapter around you need guac for that chip on your shoulder.
Melanie Avalon: So, what would the feeling-- because when I read that in the book about the entitlement and that the core of it was a sense of lack. So, I'm not going to lie, I read that and I was like, “Is that true? Is that really true?” So, then I was like thinking back through times when I have felt entitled or deserving of something. So, what would it feel like to deserve something that's not coming from a sense of entitlement? Like, how do you know when you actually do “Deserve something?”
Neeta Bhushan: So, when we're talking about entitlement, it's usually the energy behind it, the frequency behind it is coming from a place of fear. Fear, lack that maybe at the end of this, it's a subconscious belief, but I don't deserve or it's not available to me. When we are thinking of now in abundance. So, it's not available to me. So, I am going to hoard, I'm going to fight, I'm going to compete for it. I'm going to put somebody else down for it. That's the energy behind it, because there isn't enough. In my first book, I talk about the three fear cultures. The culture of aversion. This isn't enough. The culture of scarcity, there isn't enough. Therefore, I'm going to hoard in the culture of unworthiness because at the root of it, I don't feel enough. So, in the culture of aversion, we're going to do everything it takes to avoid shame.
So, I'm going to keep working, working, working, working, working, working hard, and so we're going to cling to whatever that feels scarce and limited. If we are talking, which is why the discussion of manifestation is so beautiful. If we are able to tap into the frequency of joy and these are our top vibing emotions. Joy, abundance, peace, excitement, all of these higher vibing emotions, we can tap into that. “Oh, yeah, there is enough for everybody.” So, I'm going to cheer you on because your success is my success. Because if you win, that means I win. It doesn't mean I'm secretly jealous of you that you got that promotion and I'm going to talk behind your back, or whatever the case that these human emotions that actually happen. No, it's actually like, “Wow, I'm so excited that you're calling this in and I want this so badly for you.” You're cheering the other sister on and you're like, “Fuck, yeah, let's go for it, let’s go for it together.” So, cheering you higher. That is definitely the opposite energy of the lack of the entitlement.
Melanie Avalon: Well, this actually ties into maybe one last thing we can touch on, which it's something I've thought about a lot and felt pretty strongly about and I got so excited when I read you talk about this in the book because I was like, “Somebody else is reframing it this way.” So, because I'm very goal driven and I love achievements, accomplishing things, career, and life. Then when I do, then it's time for the next thing. I have always really liked that experience. I like accomplishing the benchmark and then I like raising the bar to the next level to sound really cliche. But then I also feel like we're often told in society that that feeling of achieving something and then feeling like there needs to be more, it's couched as a negative because it's saying, like, “Oh, you thought that you wanted this thing, but really the bar is always just going to keep moving higher and higher.”
That's posited as a negative, but I've always seen it as like, “Well, it's great.” It's like your iPod example. You talked about when you really wanted-- when the iPods were coming out, you really really, really wanted one. You thought it was going to be really amazing, and then you got it and it really was actually amazing, [laughs] like it was. But then obviously we're not using the iPods the way we were back in the day, so now there's something new. So, I guess the question all of that, the meandering is when we're trying to achieve things and we have this moment of achieving them, how should we feel then? Is it okay that we're always raising the bar? Where should the end goal be? I'm just really curious your thoughts on all this.
Neeta Bhushan: So, I love that and I think you already sensed my inner competitive nature there with my four-year-old. I think that for a lot of the ambitious queens that I have, even in my community, and we have this conversation all the time, I think the biggest thing that I want to bring back, especially when I'm brought into these circles as well, to speak is, “What are you doing it for? Is it your own goals? Is it your own desires? Is it a placeholder for something deeper?”, which is, okay, there's no judgment here or there. It's just understanding. What is that North Star for you? I see the two coins and I think why you're bringing this up as it could potentially be a negative. I'm all about ambitions, goals, boss babe era, slaying it, and all of those things.
I also know my tendency is to burn out if I'm not making sure that I'm centering a goal around. If it's a goal that's just, okay, achieve, achieve, achieve or is there something else behind it? I'll give you the example. One of the things I shared this recently, but one of the things that I wanted for this book was, all of the biggest titles, to be on the billboards at New York Times, Times Square, I mean, all of the things, magazine articles and all of it. Once, I achieved it, I was like, “Oh, okay, wait, was that just like a peak experience that I just wanted to have? Some of the things or the DMs coming out at the time when this book was actually launched,” I had lost sight of all of those things because I was just, like, chasing, chasing, chasing, chasing at the expense of having extreme mom guilt. This is probably one of the first times that I'm sharing the behind the scenes of my actual book launch. But I had extreme mom guilt and I had extreme shame because my kids were now wanting our caretakers, our nanny and even my husband putting them to sleep over myself.
I was like, “Oh, fuck. I could be going, okay, yeah, I got things that I wanted.” There were some things that didn't happen that I really wanted. Then when I actually go back into my DMs or ready to post, but I see the DMs coming through, and some of them are like, “Wow, Neeta, I was in a toxic relationship for two decades. After reading your book, I just had the courage to leave, you have no idea what you've done for me.” Or there's somebody who created those acronyms for my name, Navigate Each Emotion Towards Acceptance, Neeta.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. [laughs] Its next level.
Neeta Bhushan: Reading that, I'm like, “Oh, my gosh, I'm creating this mini movement of people to actually really feel deeply.” While these accolades are really great, what I'm actually wanting is not that I'm wanting the feeling of, all right, this feels complete, and it feels like I feel content in this way. I think many times chasing the outwardly, the goal is just a replacement for what we actually are, the emotion that we're actually trying to feel. Which is why I go back to when we're trying to create our manifestation for a partner or who we're calling into our life, whether it's a friend, the dream career or the place that we want to go to. The thing I always ask people is, “Okay, you want all of these things, but what are those things going to actually-- what is the emotion that you're actually chasing? Is it joy? Is it happiness? Is it freedom? Is it magic? Is it excitement? Is it sexual expression? Freedom? What is it?” So, that we can tune in and tap into that and let's see if that actually relates more towards the goals we are actually chasing. Because at the end of the day, all right, another award for this book is great, but then I had to fly to two other places to share my story and then it took away from being with my family. So, it's like making those choices then. I think aligning it with whatever stage and season it is in your life. If it's that stage where you're like, “This is my go-getting stage Neeta, I get it, and I'm going to go balls to walls because this is where I'm at,” then great, honor it and also make sure that you have your own POC.
What I like to call in the book your personal observation check in times where you're tuning in, “Is this energizing me right now or is this depleting me?” Because I'm doing about a lot of these podcasts and some of them, I'm like, “Oh my gosh, having this chat with you, Melanie. I'm like, “Oh my gosh, this is amazing.” But then there were some where I am like, “Oh man I'm taking away from the bedtime of my kids at the expense of what or it's taking you away from X.” Is that goal really juicy and worthy to you? What does that actually mean? I think that's the misnomer that so often we forget when we're in the chase. I think the chase is good. The chase gives us purpose. The chase gives us that next evolution of exploring our edge.
It's the third thing that I talk about in building your bounce factor. It's your full emotional capacity. But in order to understand your full capacity to feel, we've got to be okay with the fall. We've got to be okay with breaking things. We've got to be okay with the failures, the shit that doesn't work out. Because maybe the next thing is going to work out and the next thing
Melanie Avalon: While speaking of kids, I know you have to go get your kids. I will let you go. The last question I ask every single guest on this show and it's just because I realize more and more each day how important mindset is. The thing that I think I really pair when I have this feeling of goal achievement is, “Do I have gratitude surrounding it?” Because I really just love having a moment and basking in it and just feeling the gratitude to keep it all centered. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Neeta Bhushan: I'm grateful I get to have these conversations that are so deep and vulnerable with you and pouring into your audience and that we were able to that-- we've been wanting to do this for a really long time, and I'm so grateful that we have finally connected. What you've been able to build with your audience is just incredible, it’s fabulous. I can see why because you are such a thoughtful interviewer and I'm beyond to now be in your orbit. Well, thank you for having me.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much. I echo all of that back to you and listeners, we've barely touched on anything from the book. Get the book. That sucked. Now what? It has a full applicable five-step process for when you experience these things in life and what that's going to look like and how to really reframe everything. I cannot recommend enough, everybody get the book. Thank you, Neeta. I'm so, so grateful for your work. I'm so excited that we're connected. Hopefully, we can meet when I come to Austin.
Neeta Bhushan: Yes, absolutely
Melanie Avalon: You are amazing. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Neeta Bhushan: Thanks, Melanie.
Melanie Avalon: Have a good day.
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