Lisa Nichols – Find Your Way Back
Lisa Nichols delivers a powerful speech about her struggles with abuse and depression, and shares her best actionable advice on how to make it through even your most troubling times.
I said “Yes,” but I wanted to say, “No, I don’t wanna do that.” He became physically violent with me. I’d never been in an abusive relationship before and I don’t have the … I felt as if I didn’t have the profile of a woman who would ever be abused verbally, emotionally and sure not physically. And I remember when that relationship finally ended and I was grateful that it ended and I was alive, because there were some days when my life was in danger. I had so much guilt and anger and blame and more than anything, shame. “How did I get here?” And the bigger question was, “How will I get out? How do I move from this place?” I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, sitting on the table and she asked me [inaudible 00:00:51] of questions. She left the room and came back with a piece of paper in her hand and she said “Lisa, you are clinically depressed and I need to give you this prescription.” I looked at the piece of paper and it said “Lisa Nichols, Prozac.”
I didn’t see that level of sad coming. I think once sad comes you don’t know it’s coming. One little circumstance, another circumstance, another missed moment where you don’t speak your mind, another moment when you don’t say what’s on your heart, another moment when you say “Yes,” and you really wanted to say “No.” Another moment when you just put everyone else in front of you. And here I was in the doctor’s office, clinically depressed. I asked my doctor, “Could I do something before I fulfill the prescription? Could I try something else?” Because when she said I was really, really sad, what I’ve realized was that I had just forgot who I was, that I have become Jelani’s mom, that’s all I was. I’ve become his fiancé, that’s all I was and then I was the woman that he’d abused, and then I was the daughter trying to hide the abuse from my father, my mother and then I was the motivational speaker trying to hide the fact that I was sad from everyone. I just forgot who I was and so I asked her, “Can I have 30 days to just discover me again?”
And I did three things. One, I put affirmations all around my house, reminding me who I was. “You are an unrepeatable miracle, you are beautiful in your own right, you are … You deserve healthy love, you are a child of God.” Everywhere I could look in my house was a posted note reminding me of who I was. I’ve read scriptures and I’ve read words that showed me my birth right. And then every day I got in the mirror and I completed three sentences. I looked in my eyes and I said, “Lisa, I’m proud of you and I’ve found seven things to celebrate Lisa for.” The second sentence was, “Lisa, I forgive you for.” I’ve found seven different things to cut the shackles of blame, shame, guilt, regret and anger around, and I said, “Lisa, I commit to you that.” And I made seven different commitments to myself every day for 30 days. When I went back to the doctor, I was completely ready to take the prescription and fill it if I needed to. I share with her, she asked me question, after question, after question again, but at the end she goes, “I have two questions for you Lisa.” I said, “What?” She said, “What have you been doing for the last 30 days and can I use it with other patients?” ‘Cause I have found my way back to me.
Another moment that I’m super, super grateful for was when my daddy took me on my first date. I was 12 years old and he took me out to a restaurant on the peer in Marina Del Ray. He ordered my drink and ordered my food and opened the car door and all the things you would do on a great date that I didn’t know anything about at 12. At the end of the evening, I went to walk in the house and my father was holding the door before me and he closed the door so I could not get in. I stopped and I was like, “Daddy, what’s wrong?” And he said, “I want you to know something Lisa. Tonight I took you on your first date so you get to see how you get to be treated. I wanted you to see how you get to be treated. Now sweetheart, how you choose to be treated, that’s gonna be on you.” The big moments in your life are made up by the little decisions you make. I didn’t make a big decision to get into an abusive relationship, I made a little decision to lower my integrity bar.
I made another little decision to stay, when I saw the first sign that he didn’t honor me the way I deserve to be honored. I made a little decision when I crossed over, moved past that moment of discomfort and allowed his words to make up for his behavior. It was my job to fall madly in love with me first, that no one was going to show how to love me that I had show, not only me how to love me, but I had to show other people how to love me. That you are the first example of what loving you looks like and the way you love you is the way the world’s gonna love you. When you say, “I don’t need rest,” then we believe you. When you say, “No, don’t worry about me, I’m fine,” we believe you. When you say, “No, I don’t need help,” we believe you. When you say, “I’m fine by myself,” we believe you.
Here’s what I’ve realized, words are power. Words speak life, word your life as a physical manifestation of the conversation going on in your head and that’s a physical manifestation of the words that are falling across your lips. If you want to create a better life, design a better conversation. If you wanna design a better conversation, think about a thought, not about them, but first about you. If you can feel right now, something steering in your soul, just that little something, you can’t even describe it, then you’re still in the game. It ain’t over yet, it’s never too late. At 20, at 40, at 55, at 75, at 88, it ain’t ever too late to press reset and fall madly in love with the life that you’ve been giving and then you’ll look up and your life is barely … Then you look up and your life is barely recognizable.
I’m a girl from South-Central LA, living between the Harlem Crip 30s and the Roland 60s. Have three fights a week to get home from school. I kicked out of college. I was considered academically challenged. I’m functionally dyslexic, still. I wear everything as a badge, I’m fine with it. It’s not … I’m not successful in spite of it, my success is beautiful because of it. I’m that woman who’s on government assistance. Okay. I’m that woman who got out of the abusive relationship. Okay.
But I’m also that woman who’s author or co-author of seven bestsellers. I’m also that woman who’s a CEO of multi million dollar business. I’m also the woman who has an international brand and touches over 30 million people a year. I’m also that woman. Don’t wear the labels and don’t let the labels wear you. You’re bigger than a label. I’m a woman before I’m a mother, I’m a woman before I’m a CEO, I’m a woman before I’m a daughter, I’m a woman first all things. I’m not a hero, I wanna be a she-ro and I wanna give her a chance. I say to you as your sister, if you don’t think you get to press reset, you better think again. It is not over. Matter of fact, it just begun.