Maxwell Maltz said, “If you make friends with yourself, you will never be alone…”
Bonjour, and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Hello, beautiful friends. Welcome to another episode. How are you feeling? That’s a question that I’m asking people a lot these days because I know that our emotions are all over the place. We can go to calm, to anxious, in like 0.2 seconds because of the energy in the world right now.
But I want to offer you something; it is okay to be calm right now. In fact, I highly encourage it. And, for that reason, I’m actually hosting a week-of. Now, for those of you who’ve been around for a while, you know I love doing a Week-of.
We’ve done a Week of Joie de Vivre. We have done a Week of Gratitude. And most recently, in February, we did a Week of Love. But I was inspired to do a Week of Calm to give you some tools to help you navigate this time that we’re in with more grace and more focus and more clarity, and yes, more calm. And I would be so delighted if you would join me.
I’m actually doing this differently than the previous weeks-of. I’m going to be hosting these classes live for five days in a row. So, if you want to join us, head over to frenchkisslife.com/calm. And yes, in case you were wondering, I am doing a giveaway.
But instead of doing a box filled with many different items, I’m going to be giving away one thing that has helped me create more calm in my life. No, it’s not bath salts. It’s not beautiful music. Those are all great things. But this is a device that I use at least once a day; most days twice a day. And it’s my meditation headband.
And so, for anyone that signs up for this and participates in the Week of Calm, you will be entered into a drawing to win this meditation headband. As someone who resisted meditation for a long time, I have become such a devout believer in the power of meditation. I do believe that the people who are meditating during this craziness are the ones that are able to dive deep into the knowing that we’re all okay.
And so, yes, come join us, frenchkisslife.com/calm. Invite your friends and let’s commit to creating more calm in our lives.
It is time for a Community Spotlight. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And today’s spotlight is on BillieNJ. She left a five-star review on iTunes that says, What in the World?
Here’s what she said, “I’ve been listening to Tonya for about four years now. I’ve loved her teachings and incorporated them into my life where and when I could. I’ve even passed along my little secret to friends when they’ve told me their troubles. I knew if they’d listen, their troubles would seem smaller and more possible than impossible. But it wasn’t until the Coronavirus outbreak that I realized just how much influence she’s had on my life. When the world went crazy, I thought, in true Tonya fashion, what in the world? I knew we’d all be okay.
I put together a plan and executed it, not in a frenzy, and even took time to smile at strangers while preparing. Then, I gladly came home and started embracing the time I have had with my family. I’m still noticing the hysteria when I speak to friends or reluctantly put on the news. But that chaos is not welcome here.
I’m proud to say my daughters, 10 and 13, will be able to look back on these days and smile, knowing momma didn’t bring fear, uncertainty, and overwhelm into our home. They will be better prepared for all their days because I chose to French Kiss Life. Thank you, Tonya.”
Well, thank you BillieNJ. It delights my heart to know that you are leaving a positive legacy for your daughters, you are teaching them how to choose faith and love over fear. And that’s what we’re about around here.
Now, if you have not left me a review, what in the world? Head over to iTunes or Stitcher and let me know how this podcast and the French Kiss Lifestyle has touched your life.
In this episode, I want to talk about enjoying your own company. The way to think about this is to imagine that you’ve been ordered to go to a deserted island and you can’t take anyone else with you. You can’t even take your cellphone, so there are no distractions. There’s no social media. There’s nothing coming in from the outside world.
How do you think that would go? Would you have a good time? Or would it be very hard? If you would have asked me that question years ago before I discovered the world of personal development, I would have told you, “There’s no way.” That would have been torture; to be alone with my own mind.
It’s why I overate. I would start to have these negative thoughts in my head that I didn’t understand. I just thought they were who I was. And then, I would start to feel all kinds of negative emotions that I didn’t know how to process. And next thing you know, I was reaching for food to try to avoid that. I also avoided myself by working because, as long as I was working, I didn’t have to sit with my own thinking.
I also avoided myself through other people, relationships, and oftentimes, choosing ones that didn’t really serve me, but at least they were a distraction from myself. And that’s the thing; when you don’t enjoy your own company, you will do anything not to really be with yourself.
But then I met this lady named Catherine. She was an 82-year-old woman that I took care of in the intensive care unit. And I got to know Catherine really well because she was in and out of ICU for several months.
And what I discovered about Catherine is that she basically lived a life of solitude. She’d never been married. She had no children. She had a couple of romantic relationships when she was younger that lasted about a year. She was an only child, so she had no siblings. She had no immediate family. The only thing that Catherine had was her 10-year-old Pomeranian named Lady, that she absolutely loved.
And so, my assumption was that Catherine must have had a very lonely life. So, one night when I was taking care of her, I asked her, “Catherine, were you ever lonely." And she said to me, “Oh, darling, no. I’ve always loved my own company. I can’t imagine a relationship with more intrigue and fun and excitement than the one I’ve had with myself.”
Catherine knew the secret to an amazing life; to love the one you’re with and enjoy your own company. After that conversation with Catherine, I really began to question the relationship with myself. But I didn’t know how to change it.
And then, when I went to Paris for the very first time and I looked around and I said, “These people are French Kissing Life,” I knew at the core of doing that was that you have to enjoy your own company. You have to love the one that you’re with because if that relationship isn’t solid, other relationships will not be solid.
The relationship that you have with others can only be as good as the relationship that you have with yourself. So, I got to work. I was like, “Okay, you and you, you all need to figure out how to get along.” You need to be someone that treats yourself with respect, that loves herself, that enjoys her own company if you want to have a fulfilling life because, here’s the thing; you come into this world with you and you leave with you.
And yet, we spend so much of our time trying to work on our relationships with other people and we’ve not even taken the time to work on the relationship that we have with ourselves.
Now, right now, I’m coaching a lot of women in my programs who are telling me that they’re home by themselves a lot recently because of what is happening. And they’re struggling. They’re bored. They’re frustrated. They are upset. They’re sad. One lady told me she was miserable. And I asked her why. And she was like, “I just don’t know what to do with myself. This isn’t fun.” She’s used to having other people and other distractions. And now, she’s being made, literally forced, to stay home with herself.
Other clients are with all the people. All the children are home. The husband’s at home. sometimes the parents are at home. and they don’t even know if they enjoy their own company because they’re so used to taking care of everybody else and looking for everybody else’s approval and trying to take care of everybody else’s needs.
So, they don’t even know if they enjoy their own company because they haven’t had a chance to be with themselves in such a long time. But I think it’s a really powerful question. Do you enjoy being with you? Because if you don’t, that needs to become your work.
Because here’s the best news ever, you all; when you are your own best friend, you are never alone. And you can have fun no matter where you are. You make the most of every single moment because you’ve got your best friend with you.
For those of you who have best friends, you know what I’m talking about. You love being around them. You love going on trips with them. They make you laugh. It’s super-fun.
Well, guess what – you get to be that person for yourself. And that way, you’re not desperate for other people. You’re not choosing people just because you need a warm body around you. You’re choosing them because they add to your life.
So, how do you enjoy your own company? Well, I want you to think about someone that you love being around. And I want you to write down why. What do you love about their company? How did they make you feel? How did they treat you? What is your time with them life? And that is how you need to be with yourself.
When I was preparing for this podcast, I actually went into Slack and asked my team, I’m like, “What causes you to enjoy someone’s company?” And here’s what they said, “They are positive. They make me feel good. They’re interesting and interested. They’re caring. They’re respectful. They’re fun. They accept me for who I am. They are joyful. They make me laugh. They empower me. They encourage me. I feel at ease around them. I feel like they accept me. There’s a mutual understanding and trust. Someone you like talking with and enjoy being around. Someone who is positive and makes you happy. You can laugh together. You can just be yourself. Someone who makes me feel seen, can make me laugh, can talk openly about issues we may disagree on, but does not judge, just shares different perspectives. Someone with whom I have a commonality but also the differences keep things interesting.”
I’m sure you can relate to all of those. For me, I wrote down some characteristics that I want to talk about because these are ways of being that we can be in relationship with ourselves. The first one is acceptance. I don’t know where we picked up this belief that in order to change ourselves, we must fight ourselves, we must disown ourselves, we must be at war with ourselves.
But it does not work because, trust me, y’all, if it did, I would have been happy when I was in my 20s and struggling with bulimia and my weight issues and all of the things that I was so desperately engaging in to try to change in order to accept myself.
I love the quote by Carl Rogers where he says, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change.” The first step to change is self-acceptance. But when it comes to enjoying your own company, the first step to doing that is to accepting yourself.
Can you imagine being with someone who was constantly telling you, “You’re not good enough. You need to change. I don’t like you the way you are. You need to change in order for me to like you better.” Chances are, we would not be friends with that person. And yet, that’s what we do to ourselves all of the time.
If you monitor the thoughts in your head and how much acceptance you have of yourself, you’ll be amazed. And we think that’s what we need to do to change, but it does not work. It just keeps you locked up in this toxic cycle that keeps you fighting with yourself.
But imagine if you were to practice accepting yourself as you are now. If you were to say to yourself, “I love you right now, no matter what. There is nothing that you can do that would not make me love you. I get to choose to love you because it feels good for me.”
I talk about the choice to love in one of my podcast episodes. I highly encourage you to go back and listen to it and to think about that choice for yourself. It never feels good to not accept yourself. It never feels good to not love yourself.
I was thinking about one of my best friends. And she has been with me during the worst of times. And at no point did she ever say, “You need to change. I don’t like you the way you are.” She would always just hold space for me and she would love me and accept me as I was. And within that container, that’s when I was able to change.
She didn’t insight shame or guilt or not-enoughness in me. She simply loved me and accepted me as I was. And then I realized, wait, I’ve got to do that for myself. It’s great if you have friends that do that. But maybe some of you don’t have those people in your life right now. Well, guess what – you don’t have to wait for them. You can be that person for yourself. So, acceptance is the first step to enjoying your own company.
The other one that I wrote down and actually some of my teammates mentioned too when I asked them the question, but it’s trust. Imagine having a friend that promises you that she’s going to show up for lunch every week and she never shows up. You wouldn’t trust her.
But that friend that, when she tells you she’s going to do something, she does it, you enjoy being around her because there’s a level of trust that you have for her. But oftentimes, we don’t enjoy our own company because we don’t trust ourselves.
We know that when people aren’t around, we’re going to be in the pantry eating food, drinking wine, doing all the things. I know because I’ve done it and you don’t even trust being around yourself because you don’t believe in your ability to follow through on your goals, to follow through on your dreams and desires.
And so, you’re trying to have a relationship with someone that you don’t even trust. But when you know you’re the kind of woman that when you promise yourself something, you are going to do it, that you don’t have to doubt whether you’re going to follow through, where you’re not worried about being left alone by yourself because of the havoc you may create, then you start to really enjoy being with yourself.
Like, I think about if I would have left Sarah at home when she was, like, three years old by herself. It wouldn’t have been a good situation because she didn’t have the ability to make mature adult decisions. She would have wreaked havoc all throughout the house. And yet, so many of us feel that way when we’re left alone with ourselves.
But guess what – you can heal that relationship. You can practice being a woman that when you say you’re going to do something, you do it. And you do it so often that it just becomes what you do. You would never think of breaking a promise to yourself.
This is a big one that I work with clients around because they’re so accustomed to the self-sabotage and disappointing themselves and now they have a story based on the past that that’s just who they are and that’s just what they do. But we go into the future and we’re like, “Okay, let’s look at the version of you that is creating the results she wants. Let’s look at the version of you that feels confident and empowered. How does she show up? How does she think? How does she treat herself? How does she feel?” And then, they begin to practice that. And before you know it, they become women that trust themselves. They have their own back.
Another thing that I discovered as I was preparing for this podcast that really causes me to enjoy other people’s company is that they have high expectations of me. Now, they accept me as I am and they expect the best from me. And it’s not because I’m not enough. It’s not coming from a place of, “You need to be better.” It’s coming from a place of, “Because you are enough, this is what I see for you.” Big difference.
I’ve been coaching women a lot around this because they’re like, “If I am accepting of myself and if I’m enough right now, why would I change?” And I’m like, why wouldn’t you? Because you want the best for yourself. And so, I realize that the people that I surround myself with, they hold those expectations for me.
It’s like your children. You love your children. You think they are enough. And because you see their potential, because you see what is possible for them, you hold this high expectation for them. You challenge them to be their best, to show up as that version that you see them as. And yet, many women have very low expectations of themselves. They have very low standards.
And you will always create what you expect. And so, to enjoy your own company, create expectations out of love. Hold that container of, “Here’s where I see myself. Here’s what I do deserve because I am enough.” And then do the work to fill that expectation for yourself so that you get to feel proud of yourself. I love feeling proud of myself. It’s one of the best things ever. And you do that by having those high expectations.
Okay, the other one I wrote down is kindness. We like to be around kind people. Be kind to yourself. Seriously, some of you are so hard on yourself. You’re afraid to make a mistake, and then when you do make a mistake, you beat yourself up, which is so not necessary. And not only is it not necessary. It’s holding you back.
Again, I don’t know where we got this idea that to create amazing results in our lives we need to beat ourselves up. It doesn’t make sense when I say it, and yet, that’s how we often go about trying to do it. I’ve really changed this one because I used to be so much harder on myself than anyone else could have ever dreamt of being.
In fact, sometimes, when women will say negative things about me, I’m like, “Girl, I have said far worse. I get it. I have thought far worse things about myself than you could ever think about me, so I totally understand you.” But now, I love being kind to myself, even when I do just stupid things, I make big mistakes, I’m like, “That’s okay, you’re human. I love you, no matter what. This s part of the journey.”
Talk about having your own back. That’s how you do it. You start with kindness. You start with how you want other people to treat you. You treat yourself that way. You don’t want other people beating you up for being a human and making mistakes. So, don’t beat yourself up.
And that’s a great segue into the next one, which is encouragement. We love to be around people who are encouraging, who are like, “You can do this,” who are cheerleaders, who when we’ve fallen down, they’re like, “Come on, let’s get back up. You’ve got this.” And yet, we don’t encourage ourselves.
Many of my clients, when they first start working in Slim, Chic, and Savvy, they’ll say things like, “Well, I fell off the wagon.” I’m like, “First of all, there’s no wagon to fall off of.” But what they do is they have this story that they have failed, they’ve made a mistake, and then they beat themselves up for it, which keeps them locked up in that cycle. They can’t win when they are falling down, beating themselves up, they can’t get back up.
And I teach them, I’m like, “Listen, you have to encourage yourself. You have to be that coach for yourself, that cheerleader for yourself that, when you make a mistake, when you go off-plan, when you don’t get it right, that you get yourself back up from a place of love and you’re like, hey listen that’s how you learn, that’s how you grow, that’s part of the process. Let’s keep going.”
And the women that do that, I’m blown away with what they create. They lose the weight, if that’s what they’re focused on. They go out there and they start businesses, they start making more money. Why? Because they had their own back and they encouraged themselves the entire way. That is how you create results. And that is how you enjoy your own company. So, are you encouraging yourself?
The other one I wrote down is I love to be around people that are interesting and exciting. Do you excite yourself? Are you interesting to yourself? Back in the day when I did not enjoy my own company, I was boring.
My big interest was weight loss. I didn’t have hobbies. It was before I discovered my love of France. It was before I discovered my love of the world of food and wine. It was before I had interesting things to focus my brain on. And so, to be with me, I was, like, bored and uninterested. It was just more of the same old, same old.
But when I started to develop interest and hobbies, I started to become exciting to myself. In fact, right now, I love waking up in the morning because I know I’ve got a good book to read. I’ve got something that I’m curious about, something that’s going to entertain my mind in a positive way. And so, therefore, being with myself is fun and interesting.
But if you think about it, if you’re so accustomed to focusing on what you think is wrong with you and your flaws and what you think you need to change about yourself, you’re probably very bored with yourself. There’s nothing exciting going on within you that really allows you to love being with yourself.
And so, I want you to think about what are things that you’re curious about that you want to learn more about, that you want to explore? Because you have the ability to be interested in yourself. It’s just like Catherine. She always had exciting projects. She always had exciting subjects and adventures awaiting her.
And so, she was interested in her own interest, which allowed her to enjoy being with herself. The other thing that is a must for me to be able to enjoy someone else’s company is that they have to be fun. So, how do you create fun with yourself?
Well, if you think about it, it comes down to your perception of life; how you view things. There are some people that can look at a situation and find everything that’s wrong, everything that could potentially go wrong. They look through a very dark lens.
Whereas people that tend to be more fun have a way of looking through a lens of humor, finding something to laugh about, finding something that feels a little bit lighter, even amidst the chaos.
A great example of this is I remember certain people that I worked with when I was a nurse and even when they were sick, they would find something funny about the situation. They would lighten the atmosphere just by their perspective and how they viewed what was going on. We get to be that way with ourselves.
When something goes wrong, we can spin into doom and gloom, or we can find the humor in it. I am very proud to say that I laugh at myself all day every day. I love to say that wherever I go, there’s a party, because the party lives within me. I have fun with myself. I make fun of myself. I don’t take myself too seriously, which allows me to be in my own presence and have a lot of fun doing so. So, do you take yourself too seriously? Do you tend to focus on the doom and gloom? Or do you look through the lens of humor?
Charlie Chaplin once said, “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” I suppose that’s why some of the funniest people out there have journeyed through periods of torment. When you’re able to play with your pain, when you’re able to find the light in the dark times, when you’re able to laugh even when you’re in the midst of chaos, what you’re going to end up finding is that you enjoy your own company because you’re so fun to hang out with.
So, let’s talk about the last thing that I wrote down around what is required to enjoy your own company. And this is the most important one. And that is to enjoy your own mind.
A lot of times, we don’t want to be with ourselves because we don’t like what is going on in our mind; the thoughts that we think. And for many people, we believe these thoughts are true. But they’re just thoughts. They’re just sentences in our head.
But when you believe them and they’re so negative, of course, you don’t want to be with yourself because it’s too painful to do so. But the first step is just to realize they’re just thoughts. I have the craziest thoughts in my head every single day. But I’ve come to love my own crazy.
I don’t reject it. I don’t try to resist it. I don’t try to get away from it. I’m actually fascinated with some of the things that go on in my head. I enjoy my own mind, even when it’s crazy. And ironically, by doing that, I have less crazy in my head.
Do you know what it feels like for me? It’s like my brain is a store. And anything I want is available in there, meaning I can trade in one thought for another. I would literally get to walk into the store and decide what thoughts I want to think, where I want to focus, and then when some of the crazy thoughts come up, I just allow them. I don’t resist them. I don’t make them mean anything other than I’m a human being having a very human experience, which includes having crazy thoughts.
And then I can laugh at them. I can find the humor in them and I can be with my own mind and enjoy it. to me, this is at the core of enjoying your own company, is really enjoying your own mind; all of it. A lot of times, we only want the positive without the negative, but you don’t appreciate the positive unless you have the negative.
So, what if you could just learn to be with all of it, to enjoy all of it? Then you could decide what you want to think on purpose. So, my friends, I feel like our number one goal should be to enjoy our own company because then you’re never alone. You are always with someone who loves you, who delights you, who entertains you, who makes you laugh, who encourages you, who fascinates you, and who has your own back.
What a wonderful way to be in the world, right? It reminds me of my favorite quote by Oscar Wilde that says, “To love one’s self is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” So, I’d love to hear from you; what do you love about your own company? Tag me on Facebook or Instagram and let me know.
It is time for J’adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And with everything that is going on in the world and the conversations that I’ve been having with friends and clients, I feel like one of the beautiful things that is coming out of this is a desire to take control of our financial futures, to be women who are savvy with our finances.
And before on the show, I’ve shared one of my favorite investment platforms called Wealthfront, if you go to frenchkisslife.com/wealthfront you will see what I am talking about. And that has been one of the platforms that I have used to grow my wealth.
Now, of course, with the stock market crashing a couple of weeks ago, the tendency for a lot of people was, out of fear, start taking money out of the market, but I’m in it for the long term. I’m in it for the long haul and I know that market corrections are always going to happen, that we’re going to have dips in the market, but if your look at the trend, it is always upwards.
But there’s another platform that I’ve been using recently that I really, really enjoy because it’s so simple to use. There’s a lot of research that it includes in the platform. and it costs nothing if you start with their introductory platform.
You can upgrade to the gold, which is like $5 a month that gives you a few extra options in terms of trading. But the platform is called Robinhood. In fact, if you go to frenchkisslife.com/robinhood you can get a free stock. And when you sign up using my link, I get a free stock. We all get free stocks. Free stocks for everyone. I feel like Oprah, “You get a car, you get a car, we all get cars.”
Who knows, maybe one day I can give away cars, because you know I love giving away things. But right now, it’s a free stock. But when it comes to investing, just so you know how I think about investing, I think about having a diversified portfolio.
And what that means is that you don’t put all of your money in tech or you don’t put all of your money in real estate, or you don’t put all of your money in biopharmaceutical companies. You really look at having a diversified portfolio because as changes happen in the world, that will affect the stock market.
And sometimes, one industry is doing amazing and another industry is not doing so great. But by diversifying your money and putting it in many different places, your chance of success is so much greater.
And one of the ways that I diversify my own portfolio is investing in my own brain. To me, that is my biggest investment. But when it comes to money, the way I think about money is money is like little soldiers who you send out to work for you, and always looking at what the possibilities are and always looking for opportunity, you can begin to train your brain to find those things.
And one of the ways that you can do that is through the stock market. And what I like about Robinhood, again, it’s so simple to use, it’s like you don’t have that big entry of needing $5000 or $10,000. You can get started with $5, which I think is a beautiful thing to start building your wealth.
But I’m not big on investing in individual stocks unless there is a company that I just feel really good about. I know, when I go about investing, it’s a moral and ethical investment as well. I have to feel good about the company. I have to feel good about what they’re creating and the good that they’re doing in the world for me to be able to put my money behind them to back them. And when I come across a company like that, I love knowing that I can go on Robinhood and buy stock and invest in that company.
This is different than Wealthfront, where you basically answer a series of questions, they help you identify your goals and your risk level and how long you’re going to be investing, and based on that data, they put you in the find that they think is going to be the most beneficial for you.
Both are incredible, incredible investment platforms that I personally enjoy. But when it comes to your money and even to your life, I always want to empower you to make the best decisions for you and to do it at your own risk.
I am a decent investor. I’m not a professional by any means. But I have studied and researched quite a bit and I find it to be really fun. It’s enjoyable for me. And so, if you are someone that’s wanting to get into investing, go check out Robinhood. Again, you can go to frenchkisslife.com/robinhood.
Have a beautiful week, everyone. And I cannot wait to see you next week on the podcast. Cheers.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss Lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The Three Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs, by visiting frenchkisslife.com/mindset. Because, after all, mindset is the new black.