130 Transcript: Learn to Love Yourself and Choose Your Own Path (with Kruti Desai)

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J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 130. Do you have parents that are a little bit too critical or a little bit too controlling? Well, in this episode, you can learn how to love yourself enough to choose your own path without guilt. Stay tuned.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

J: Hey there, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. Today, I am so excited to be talking with Kruti Desai who is a fiery passionate mama from Louisville Kentucky and she is just that; fiery and passionate. In fact, you can find her at Fiery Passionate Peacock on Instagram. Peacock is her spirit animal and she truly is a vibrant and happy woman. So we're going to go ahead and dive into this interview, but first I want to share our review of the week; that comes from Adurog. She wrote, “It is truly a time for women to feel empowered and strong. Jen Riday gives women the opportunity to see into each other, to understand our common struggles, and to begin believing that we are truly full of light and love.” Ooh, love that review and it's so true. This is a movement of empowerment; realizing that we're not victims of anything, that we can be happy, no matter what. We can choose to boost our mood, we can choose to engage in excellent self-care, we can choose to make a change. And the cool thing is that, in a family, when one person makes a change, everyone else has to shift in response; that's just the nature of the beast. So I'm so glad you left that review and I'm so glad that you see this as a work of empowerment. Well, I promise to bring you this amazing episode with Kruti, but let me give you a little bit of background on her.

So Kruti is in my Heal Your Heart program and she immediately stood out as the most outspoken, fun, bubbly, vibrant, energetic, authentic person, and we all just love her. She lights up a room wherever she goes and she loves to bring people together. She's the mom of a 5-year-old little boy named Robbie and you definitely need to go follow her on instagram at Fiery Passion A Peacock; I mentioned that before. I just love that name and you'll never forget it, right? Well, anyway, I know you're wondering what Kruti is all about so let's go ahead and dive into this interview all about how she cut those apron strings and said to her parents, “Hey, I'm going to choose my own life and you're not going to tell me what to do anymore. And if you want to criticize me, here's a boundary, I'm going to live the life that I love.” So inspiring, let's go ahead and jump in.

Hey everyone, I am so, so, so excited to bring you my friend Kruti Desai today, and I know her from Heal Your Heart and Vibrant Happy Women Club and I'm so excited that I got to connect with her because she loves people and people love her. She is energetic and vibrant and she loves bringing people together, and I am so honored to introduce her to you today on the podcast. Welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, Kruti.

K: Thank you, Jen, for having me.

J: Yeah. And so, Kruti, well, let's start with your quote, but then launch right into hearing a little bit more about you so they can get to know you.

K: Sure. So I've actually got 2 as I just felt like, you know, there's so many that I could have chose from. But one of them is by Helen Keller, it's, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.”

J: Mm-hmm.

K: And the second one is from Carol Burnett, one of my favorite actresses, “Only I can change my life, no one can do it for me,” so powerful.

J: Yeah, so tell us, you know, a little bit more of your story and how these quotes tie in with that.

K: Yeah. So I am born from 2 of… well, my parents who were from India, they came to America to live the American dream (whatever that was to them), came to Amarillo, Texas 3 years after they were married, and basically decided to set route in Amarillo, Texas. I was born in ‘81 and basically was brought up living the end life in the US State. So fast forward to a few years, here I am, the first of 3 children (the oldest of 3 children), and I basically had to learn English. So I learned the Indian language, you know, being raised by 2 Indian parents who knew nothing about the American culture; here we are on American soil, living the American life as an Indian born family. So being the oldest child, of course, they had no guidance, no… you know, they don't have the tools that everyone has today to be a parent or how to parent. So here I am being raised, being told, you know, “You're going to be raised as an Indian child. There's so many rules and beliefs some part of our culture what you can and cannot do.” So I grew up, and my sister, she's a few years behind me born in ’88. So I had a brother and a sister; I'm the oldest of 3, my brother's the youngest, so we've got quite a gap, so my sister and I are the closest. We basically… you know, we're having to lean on each other to kind of get through our everyday life and knowing that our parents were very strict with us, everything that we did or said or while growing up, you know, everything was judged or criticized.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So what I mean by that is, you know, here I am, maybe 12 years old and I'm being told, “Well, you've got to learn to cook. You’ve got to clean.” I mean, I was taught how to do dishes at the age of 6 or 7.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: A stool was put in front of the sink, you know, had to do dishes because that's what Indian girls are raised to do.

J: Yeah.

K: You know, they have to do laundry, they have to do dishes, they have to learn to cook. I didn't know how to cook at the age of 7 or 8, but I was told, I was taught fairly quickly.

J: So let's just try to list all the expectations of quote-unquote ‘the good Indian girl’, you know, as you saw it, as your parents saw it. (Laughs)

K: Yeah. So a good Indian girl (whatever that may be, because I don't think I was one of them) was…

J: (Laughs)

K: … you know, I had to get up every morning and we had chores; I had to sweep the floors. In every Indian household, you know, whether you have carpet or you have hardwood, most of them with tiles, so we had to sweep the floor. Whether there was dust on the floor or not, we had to sleep, we had to dust, and my grandfather would go behind and make sure that the cabinets were dusted and there was no dust anywhere.

J: Really?

K: The dishes had to be done every night. The kitchen had to be clean; well, you know, no dishes could be in the sink. Every time someone ate, everything had to be cleaned. Anytime there was a woman in the kitchen cooking, the kids had to be in there helping, especially if we were female. You know, the laundry had to be done. Usually, the men, they went and worked, and when they came home, the meals had to be ready and be prepared like, you know, I hate to say it, but like the submissive wife and the children were kind of part of that and making sure that was completed. And so, as I was getting older like 11, 12 and I was starting, you know, the middle school ages, you know, my parents were like, “You have to learn how to cook. You need to be in the kitchen and we're going to watch you and we're going to tell you how to do this so that way, when it's time for you to get married that your husband will appreciate this.”

J: Oh yeah. (Laughs)

K: And, of course, that's where the arranged marriage expectation came in that I was going to be…

J: Oh, so they were going to arrange your marriage, that was planned all along?

K: Yeah, but doesn't necessarily mean that someone had or even picked out.

J: Okay.

K: It just means that the expectation was my marriage would be arranged.

J: Okay, okay.

K: Yes. Yeah, that's one of the whole traditions that, I can definitely tell, we've deviated a lot from, especially in America; in India, it still happens. There was dowries, but my marriage, you know, we're not having… you know, it didn't necessarily mean a dowry had to be involved, but in the US, it's a little different. But regardless, my parents would start, you know, saying, “Well, Kruti, you've got to make sure you know how to cook. You've got to make the basic essentials of an Indian meal. If you don't know how to do that, your husband's not going to be happy, and then when your in-laws come over, they're not going to be happy.” And I was like, “Whoa, a lot of pressure already.”

J: (Laughs). Oh my goodness. Yeah.

K: Here I am, trying to live a life and go to middle school and already, I feel this guilt and this burden of, “I'm not doing this right.” And on top of it, my parents… well, more specifically, my dad, I love my parents, but body image, you know, it's like, “If you're not skinny or you're not… you don't look attractive, no man's going to marry you so make sure you're not eating a lot.” Well, when your parents tell you not to do something, I'm the type of person, I don't know about you, Jen, but when my parents told me no, I did the opposite; I did it. So…

J: Ooh, yeah.

K: I'm a rebel; well, technically, I'm an obligor when it comes to Gretchen Rubin, but I have tendencies to be a rebel.

J: Uh-huh.

K: And I didn't know that till now, but it all makes sense that, anytime my parents said I could eat, “Don't eat, like you're gaining weight,” what do you think I did, Jen? I ate, like…

J: (Laughs). Yeah, right.

K: As a grown teen, I'm… you know, I'm going to eat, right?

J: Right.

K: And that's the other thing, we were restricted on what we could eat. Cows are sacred in India and, you know, I was brought up as a vegetarian. And so we had a very custom meal every single day; of course, we cooked other meals. There was like tacos that we would splurge on and my mom would make something like Americanized Indian dish and it would be like enchiladas, but with the Indian twist, you know?

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

K: But every meal we had, our vegetables, our tortillas, a lentil soup, and then rice. And so, of course, rice is carby, but my parents would be like, “Don't eat too much rice, you're going to gain weight,” you know?

J: (Laughs)

K: So there was that body image pressure. You know, being 11 and 12, you shouldn't have to worry about your weight. No child should have to worry about their weight, even though we know to be healthy you don't want to overeat.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: But when my parents kept telling me, “Kruti, no man's going to marry you because of your weight,” that was something that I think was my lowest point in my life. You know, I think that's what like really hurt and I caused myself to like overeat. And I was never that little skinny girl, I was one of those girls that, you know, had blossomed and I was… like, on my dad's side of the family, there was quite a bit of like… we’re just big-boned women…

J: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

K: … on our dad’s side of the family. So body image was not going to go away.

J: Right.

K: And it was something that I had to worry about constantly.

J: So you're starting to rebel, you're in middle school, what did high school look like for you?

K: High school, I remember that so vividly. You know, it… it was scary, especially going in, I was the oldest. Everything was a challenge because I wanted to live and be a teenager. My friends would invite me over to sleepover so they'd ask me to go to the mall and I'm almost like, “No, you don't do that. We don't do that. Someone… our… of our family, we don't go to the mall; we don't just walk around. What are you going to do there?” you know? And I get it, I understand, as a mother now, why my mom did what she did, but I think there was a way about going about it. Because as a teenager, I wanted to experience and go to football games and go out with my friends, and sometimes, it was like I would have to lie to them and say, “I'm sorry, I don't feel good,” or I couldn't do it because, you know… I would have to make something up, not because my parents told me I couldn't do it; you know what I mean?

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. So you kind of were sneaking around; typical teenager stuff though, right?

K: Very typical teenager stuff, yeah. And so, when I was 15, everybody was starting to get pagers and phone, cellphones. Well, of course, I had a beeper but I felt like, “Why did I even have a beeper when my mom…” I don't know if everybody remembers beepers, but I had a pager and my mom would always text me ‘911’ and I'm like, “911 again?” I mean, it was at a point where I didn’t want to carry the beeper with me anymore.

J: (Laughs)

K: Because it was always, “911, home.” And she figured out how to text…or not text, message 911 and it just became unbearable that I just wanted to stay home. I couldn't even go out and enjoy…

J: Yeah.

K: … being a high schooler.

J: 911 meant, “Go home now, emergency,”?

K: No, it meant, “Call home.”

J: Oh. (Laughs)

K: So it was like I had to find a phone to call her, you know, I had…

J: I gotcha.

K: If I was at my friend's house or if I was…

J: Oh yeah.

K: I forgot how we called our parents back in the day…

J: Yeah.

K: … when we had a beeper, you know?

J: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, so fast-forward to today, we know you're married and it wasn't an arranged marriage, tell us how you got to that point where you kind of cut the apron string and decided who you want to be?

K: Yeah. So about when I was 26 or 27, still living at home with my parents because, in the Indian culture, you can't typically move out until you're married or your marriage has been arranged. So here I am, living at home my parents till I was 27, I worked for… in a call center; call centers are like general stereotype for Indians. But seriously, I loved working in a call center and was working… I was the manager supervisor, and I met my husband through work. I know we're not supposed to meet people at work, but hey, when you're at work 8 hours a day, met the love of my life. And you know what, Jen? He loved me for me. He approached me, he basically, you know, just normal flirting and just one thing led to another, we started dating. And as you can imagine, no one knew about his dating; we had to keep it very hush-hush. My parents had no idea, even though they had some inklings because Joe, who's my husband, who had come to my house because I just had surgery and he would bring my mom flowers and bring me flowers.

J: Oh.

K: And my mom’s like, “Who is this man bringing me flowers?”

J: (Laughs)

K: “And you, like who is he?” I'm like, “Oh, mom, he's just a friend.”

“Oh, okay.” And then he brought them ice-cream because ice-cream is a very good… you know, it's a dessert in the Indian family and it's something that, when you bring it as a item as like a honorary like appreciation gift kind of like… I don't know what exactly what's called, but my parents, you know, kind of welcomed it and he came in they offered him ice-cream and… But anyways, you know, one thing led to another; we dated for almost a year and a half. He proposed to me on 4th of July in 2008, and as you can imagine, I was freaking out. Like, how was I going to tell my parents that I had just got engaged to a man that was not Indian? And I basically was told by Joe, “You have until September 20 or the end of September 2008 to tell your parents or otherwise, I'm going to tell them.”

J: Ooh.

K: So I would take my ring off every night that he had given me and put it either in my car or I would take it in the house. And everyday from July 4th till September 27th, I pushed it to the edge where September 27th, and remember it so clearly because he and I just finished watching the very last episode or finale of ER, and we're both crying because it was such a good episode.

J: Aww.

K: And my sister texts me and goes, “Heads up, mom and dad think that, you know, they know something about Joe.” And I'm like, “How did they know about Joe?”

“Well, I kind of told them a little something.”

J: (Gasps) Oh thanks. (Laughs)

K: Yeah.

J: Yeah.

K: I love my sister, but she's also an instigator.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So I was like, “Well, better late than never.”

J: Yeah.

K: “I've got 3 more days till the deadline, so what better time than now?”

J: Right.

K: So basically, Joe and I had to quickly put our heads together, “Okay, get the car ready,” because at this point, my fear was getting disowned by my parents. The expectation had always been, “Kruti, if you ever break tradition, you're going to get disowned.”

J: Whoa.

K: You're going to lose your family. You're not going to have anywhere to go,” and all I knew was, I had Joe; I had Joe and I had my brother his sister because they still loved me, right?

J: Yeah.

K: They knew about Joe. And so what I did is I took my car, I was at Joe's apartment at the time, I went home, I literally was a ball of nerves; I feel nervous just telling you the story now because I was… I'm reliving it. I literally walked in the house, Joe was on standby, I texted him and said, “Okay, I'm about to tell my parents, be on standby.”

J: (Laughs)

K: And what I mean by that is he basically was going to be outside my house in 15 minutes in case they kicked me out because…

J: With the getaway car. (Laughs)

K: Exactly, because they were going to take away my car.

J: Oh my gosh.

K: They would take away everything. Like, I would literally have to handover…

J: Wait, who bought the car? Let me just figure that out, did they buy you the car?

K: Well, technically, I paid the payments, but their names’ on the car.

J: Oh man!

K: So you see what I’m saying?

J: Yeah.

K: Like, we traded in the previous… yeah. So that's the other thing; Indian families, like they hold stuff over your head, you know? It's like they've got it so it's kind of like they can pull it back if necessary.

J: Yeah, yeah.

K: So basically, I walked in the house, went into the room where I slept and took my ring off and said, “Okay, well, technically, I don't know why I'm taking it off; I'm about to tell my parents the most important decision of my life.” So I worked up the courage, sat on the side edge of the bed and freak out for a few minutes and then just go into the living room where they're both watching typical Indian shows on DirecTV Indian channels, Indian soap operas basically. And so I say, “Hey, mom, dad, I need to talk to you.” So as I sat there on the edge of the couch and I get ready to tell them, I just basically start crying, and my dad's like, “Why are you crying?” I was like, “I have to tell you something and I'm afraid you're going to be upset,” and my mom's like, “Just say it, just say it.” You know, she's got the stern face and she's like, “Just say it.” I was like, “Well, I met a guy.”

J: (Laughs)

K: “And I'm going to marry him and I am not going to get an arranged marriage, and it's Jo,” and they were like, “Oh, we knew it; we knew it.” And I was like, “What do you mean you knew it?” and they're like, “We just know.” So my mom starts crying and then of course, my dad starts asking me, “Well, what does he do? Does he make more money than you? Do you make more..?” you know?


J: (Laughs)

K: It was just the typical, “Is he going to take care of you?” you know?

J: Yes.

K: And so, at that moment, I felt a sigh of relief, but at the same time, I was still kind of scared because I'm like, “Okay, are they about to tell me they're about to take my car away and everything away from me?” No, one thing led to another and my mom just cried a little bit more and she's like, “Well, you know…” I don't even know what she said because I think I was just in disbelief and shock. And my dad's like, “Well, we want you to be happy,” and that's when I showed him, I was like, “Well, here's my ring.” And they're like, “Well, you know, we're happy if you're happy,” I was like…

J: Wow.

K: “Mom, dad, I'm very happy,” and I was like, “Okay.” So here Joe is, on edge, waiting at home or wherever…

J: (Laughs)

K: … in his car, for his cellphone to go off, and I'm like, “Okay, I think we're in the clear. Let's see what happens tomorrow.” Well, believe it or not, the next day, my mom's on the phone telling everybody in the family that we're getting married and that they're already setting a date. So in the Indian tradition, you know, you have to like pick a certain time of the year to get married.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So you have to look in the moons and the stars to see good dates and bad dates, because if you pick a bad day, it could be bad luck for you.

J: Oh.

K: Well, we went forward with a full blowing out traditional Indian wedding; Joe was very open to having that. It's like a 5-day party in Louisville, Kentucky, and we had a blast. So 2009, I found Joe and we… well, I marry Joe with 300 of our closest friends and family there to witness it, while everybody in the audience was served ice-cream…

J: Aww.

K: … during the ceremony, and Joe and I are up there sweating and starving and reliving… like we, to this day, that day is like a blur, but it was like the best day of our lives.


J: Yeah.

K: That we were able to find each other and he loved me and married me for me, Jen.

J: Aww.

K: You know, he loves me and it doesn't matter what I look like or what… you know, how much I weigh or anything, I mean, you know? And I was told and I really believed that no one's going to marry me because I'm not skinny, well, that's not the case anymore; he loves me for me, so… all craziness and all. So…

J: Oh, that's so good; that's so good. And so you have a son now, tell us about Ravi, right?

K: Yep. So it was a challenge. I was one of those people… I'm a type 2 diabetic so I struggle with that on top of everything else and I’m on an insulin pump and I've had a couple of miscarriages. And, you know, it's been tough and Ravi is not rainbow baby. I mean, he is my life, he's my world. You know, I think his moms, we all have our days we're just like at wits’ end, but, you know, I just snuggle up to him every night and he's my world. And he starts kindergarten, you know, in 2 weeks and I'm just excited and scared and nervous at the same time, but he's growing up and I just wish time would stand still because he just grow up really fast. So he's like the best thing that could have ever happened to me and I wouldn't change a thing about that.

J: Mm, that's so good. Well, so tell us more about, you know, all the lessons you learned from all of that and who you are today, how you like to show up in the world today.

K: Yeah. So I just… you know, I wish, Jen, I would have found you a long time ago; I think I didn't listen to a podcast ever before the beginning of this year. But I think one of the biggest things from my journey from when I was growing up and being myself is that I became very independent. I’m not saying that everyone has to be independent, but stop comparing yourself to others. I had to tell myself, “You know, I can't be like everyone else.” I would always look around I'm like, “Oh, that friends skinny,” or, “That friend's got a boyfriend and they're so cute,” you know, I had to stop telling… like I had to just realize, “Kruti, you’re your own person.” And I was very shy growing up. I mean, you wouldn't think that now, I'm a very… I’m an extrovert, but I don't know when that happened; I think I just realized, “I love people.” And some of my friends make fun of me, but I just thought, “I need to be myself, and the only way I can do that is by not comparing myself to others and accept me for me.” I had to start looking at different ways that… another quote that I… you know, I have written down that it's by someone that I found online, by Laci Green, it's, “Accepting yourself only as long as you look a certain way isn't love, it isn't self-love, it's self-destruction.” And I felt like I was just doing myself a disservice by constantly dwelling on, “I wasn't good enough. I wasn't losing enough weight,” or, “I wasn't going to the gym enough.” I tried every yo-yo diet out there, I did everything people told me to do; I had to stop, you know? I mean, I started my own… I have my own cake business and it's something that I do for fun. And I started it because it was a hobby but then it became another full-time job. I worked full-time during the week, I work full-time doing cakes on the side, also a mom and a wife; you know, it was becoming a lot. I defied myself and I had to basically realize, I had to take time for myself and do a little soul-searching and start sharing about accepting yourself first; that you can't… like, you've got to find yourself first before you can really truly, you know, go into that self-acceptance and self-love. I think a lot of that was about, you know, my weight loss was a big journey, and at this point, I just had to change my relationship with food. And with that, I lost 46 pounds because…

J: Wow.

K: … I changed things by doing things that better help me, versus going to the gym and working out for 3 hours. I haven't been to their gym I couldn't tell you in how long. And I'll be honest, at one point, I had 2 gym memberships. I was donating, Jen; I wasn't going, I was donating.

J: (Laughs)

K: And, I mean, a lot of my friends are like, “Kruti, are you serious?” I was like, “Yeah, I'm paying for 2 gym memberships and I'm not even going,” you know?

J: (Laughs)

K: So… and then I found yoga, and yoga is so peaceful and I just feel like I can do that at home. But at the same time, I just have changed my relationship with myself and started just looking at what I can do to make me happy. And I think, in turn, that's helped my weight loss, the stress has been taken away.

J: Mm.

K: I'm living the life that I want because I found it and away from what my parents expected me to do. And they still love me, you know?

J: Yeah.

K: They haven’t disowned me.

J: Yeah. So, I mean, I know a ton of people, I hear over and over again, people want to lose weight and they want to build self-love. So if you had to like narrow it down into steps that led to you being able to lose that way and to being able to accept yourself, what are the steps? Is it possible to figure out some steps for our listeners?

K: Yeah. So a lot of it is, you know, there is no magic pill and there's no… no magic formula to losing weight. A lot of it comes down to acceptance of you wanting to do it for you, not to do it for anyone else, not to do it for your husband, your kids, do it for your own self health; it all starts with you. And I think, once you accept that you want to do this for you, it takes patience; patience is like the next step.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: You know, I think it comes down to everybody expects you or themselves lose weight overnight, we didn't get this way overnight. It does not take 1… you know, 1 or 2 weeks to lose all this miraculous weight. A lot of it is changing the relationship with how you… you view food, how you view your relationship with food, and then just ultimately doing it for you. My biggest reason was doing it for… so I can be here and around with Ravi. When he's graduating, I don't want to be at that graduation hall and barely being able to stand up or my bones aching, I want to be active. But at the same time, I know what foods allow me to feel miserable and what foods don't make me feel miserable. So I'm just focusing on what those things are and it's a lot trial by error. Everybody's body and everybody's makeup is different, and to the point where, something that works for me, Jen, may not work for you, right? So I think it comes down to finding what works best for you and changing your relationship and wanting to do it. There's just so many avenues you could possibly explore, but that's what was… you know, I honestly, I found the ketogenic diet worked for me. And that's because, with my body and being insulin resistant, keto helped me. But, for someone else, it might be plant-based, for someone else, it might be just calorie ins versus calorie out.

J: Yeah.

K: So it really just comes down to, try it out, try it in a week 2 at a time, and that's how you will find out. That's how it took me figuring out what works best for me. And I loved it now; I don't miss it. I'm on vacation and I realized I can eat what I want to eat, but then I can go right back to the mindset of, “Okay, let's focus on what I need to do to make what needs to happen.”

J: Mm, that's really good. And so you mentioned decreasing the stress really helped you, so it wasn't being in the gym all day, it was more relaxing exercises and stress release for you?

K: Yeah. So I started meditation earlier this year and I think a lot of it is, when I meditate and in the morning when I wake up, I realize I need to just be grateful for my body. And affirmations is something that's huge now; I never used to stand in front of a mirror and tell myself things. And I've told a couple of my friends this recently and I tell them all the time, “I know this sounds crazy and it sounds silly, but stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are, that you look amazing, and that you are a strong, powerful leader; whether it be for work or whether it's for just being a mom, that I'm an amazing wife.” And, you know, a lot of that I acquired this year through you, Jen; just through your podcast and just through, you know, everything you have to offer. And because of that, I've been able to really take that and I'll wake up and I have no stress and I walk into work with no pressure on my shoulders, nothing… like no stress. I walk in carefree, happy, excited about taking on the world. And it all starts with just being able to kind of be grateful for what you are, every morning just… and it doesn't have to be a list of things, just think of one thing that you're grateful for.

J: So, well, let's talk a little bit more just about self-love, not necessarily tied to body image. What has your self-love journey looked like?

K: So myself journey, self-love journey, started in December. You know, I always used to tell myself like, “I don't have time to do things for me,” I felt selfish that I should be doing stuff for my family or they would make me feel guilty like, “Oh, you're always thinking about what you can go do with your girlfriends,” you know? But I think self-love is so important because, at the end of the day, if you don't take time for yourself, everyone else is going to be affected. And I think several of your past podcast guests, Jen, have also said this; like self-love is very important. it comes down to you have to make time, whether it's just 10 minutes to yourself going in a room and breathing or just going on a walk by yourself with no wife or no husband, no kids, no nothing. Like, you just have to be able to take that time for yourself, whether it's reading a book, watching a TV show, any guilty pleasure that you may have. In my journey, just the beginning of this year, I have a little bit of time set aside every week that I just go and do whatever I want to do; whether it's going for a walk, whether it's going to yoga, whether it's going to just work out with my friends or girls night. I am lucky that I have an amazing group of friends and a tribe of women like in the Louisville area that I get to hang out with once a month, we play Bunco. And they like, they’re… that's a cup filler; I get to go do that. And my husband knows that, he's like, “Oh, you’ve got your Bunco night?”

“Yeah, I've got my Bunco night.” And, you know, I've got some really close friends that I can lean on when I need just to pick me up and, “Let's go get a pedicure. Let's go shopping,” we go food shopping. That way, it's just getting out and doing things that make us happy that are cup fillers. And I just think that is a priority that I am making in my life this year that I will never turn back and ever stop doing.

J: So someone listening is thinking, “Ah, that sounds like a dream, but I would feel too guilty,” what would you say to them?

K: Don't feel that guilt. I'll say right now, there's no such a thing as guilt; I thought that. Trust me, I think I’ve met several women being in the Vibrant Happy Women Club that I'm a part of, you know, there's several women that have 3 to 4 kids and they feel like, “I don't have time to do that.” Well, you know why? Time is something… we all have the same time in our days that we should be able to go and take, whether… and 10 minutes is not too much to ask. I mean, I'm sorry, but we all shower, right, we all… we take that time to get dressed, take a little bit longer. You know, just take that little bit of extra time for yourself; it is the most important thing that I think that anyone can… you know, that everyone needs.

J: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

K: You can't look back; you just can't look back. There is no such thing as guilt.

J: Yeah, it's true. And so you mentioned the Vibrant Happy Women Club and you happen to be one of our Vibrant Happy Women Club small group leaders. Tell us what you've learned from being in that tribe of women there.

K: Wow. I can tell you right now and, Jen, I think, thanks to you, like this group, it's so powerful. Like, everybody, there might be… you know, there's a lot of hesitancy. And I can tell you right now, being a small group leader and the women that I have the honor and privilege to be able to know, it's amazing. It's the amazing filler because you have 1 hour, that's 1 hour a week that you schedule and these women show up their most authentic and vulnerable self, and they get to be open and honest. It's nothing scripted, nothing's rehearsed, you know, we have guidelines as to what the podcast is and what to talk about, but I'll tell you right now, being part of that… like I’m…I'm getting goose-bumps just talking about it because, being part of that and talking to, you know, these women that are now my sisters and lifelong friends, these are people you are never going to forget. And I'll be honest, like right now, I'm in Florida, I've had the privilege of meeting 2 amazing Vibrant Happy Women Club members and we didn't want to leave each other. And it's just like so natural, nothing's awkward, it's like I get to meet them and it’s… it’s as if we'd known each other for years. And it's amazing what this concept of bringing everyone together like it's a book club, you know, that's brought together virtually, except it's a podcast book club.

J: Mm-hmm.


K: And we get to talk with each other and become lifelong friends and sisters. And the Facebook outlet isn't the only way to talk to each other, we're real-life friends; we text each other, we check on each other's kids. I mean, it's just… it's powerful. And the thing is, everyone is alike in just different way; so we're all the same way. I mean, I met one of the amazing leaders last night and we have so much in common, but yet, you know, we've just arrived and came to the same spot in different ways. And I can't say enough good things that it's just… I'm just very lucky and humbled to be a part of it as early and I'm glad I did it now. So if you're in doubt or if you think that, “Okay maybe… should I do it?” do it; you will not regret it, you will find your best friends. I know it sounds so cliché, but you will find your tribe. Every woman in the world needs a tribe, and without your tribe, you will not be happy. Like, seriously, every woman needs their tribe; I can't say that enough.

J: Yeah, it is kind of about tribe. But without putting any words in your mouth, what do you feel like this entire big Vibrant Happy Women movement is about? Because I know you get the sense that it's bigger than me, it's bigger than you, what is it? How would you describe it someone who doesn't understand?

K: Wow, it's very powerful. It is a huge movement. I think, like you said, it is bigger than us, but it allows you to be your most authentic self and talk and just share your vulnerabilities with like-minded women that you wouldn't be able to do just to your husband or to maybe your next-door neighbor. I mean, you're able to do this with someone in California and just be yourself. I mean, it makes you recognize what you may have always know and deep down inside, but until you hear somebody else recommend it or suggest it, it's not going to happen. And then all of a sudden, you have an aha moment, you're like, “Wow, I would have never thought of it that way,” but deep down inside, you've heard it before, you just do it because someone else said it in a different way, you know?

J: Yeah.

K: I think it just comes to the surface a little differently.

J: When you have like-minded women talking..

K: Yeah.

J: Yeah, I feel like it's kind of a movement also just where we're all learning we're not alone, we're all connecting, because so many women are lonely in the world today, but also, getting the permission we need to take care of ourselves. I feel like that's at the real heart of it; take care of ourselves and love ourselves without feeling guilty. I don't know, would you add anything to that?

K: You are dead on. And, you know, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to be married or you have to be a mother, any woman; if you're a woman, you need to be part of this club. We talk about anything and everything so it doesn't necessarily… I don't want anyone to think that they're not part of this because they may not be married or… we talk about every aspect of every life obstacle, journey, you know, milestone. And like you said, it's all about self-love without feeling guilty.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: No one should feel guilty about self-love.

J: Cool, I love it. Well, let's take a quick break for our sponsor and then we'll come back and talk about your morning routine a little more and some of your favorite things.

Welcome back, Kruti. Let's talk about some of your favorite things. First, what does your morning routine look like; simple, complex? What do you do every morning?

K: Well, it's very simple right now. I'm the type of person, I hate… I'm not a morning person, I'm a night per… owl, so I hate getting up. I'm the type of person that stays up late; and I shouldn't do that. So usually… well, my morning routine is about to totally change now that I have a kindergartner in my life.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So I will be getting up in the morning, and I've actually been introduced to a new concept of miracle mornings. So I'm going to start incorporating that and waking an hour earlier in my day to start doing that. And so what that would typically look like is, I get up around 7:30-ish so I'm going to start getting up around 6:30-ish and incorporating this into my everyday morning routine, and then taking my son into school because I would like to start taking him his first year, and then heading into my normal 9-to-5 corporate America job that I partake in. So basically, my morning routine is basically just… it's a very simple one and I'll just be getting up and taking him to school then heading into work to start my day.

J: Mm-hmm, perfect. And so miracle morning, you'll do some… an hour, what will you be doing in that hour?

K: So I just was introduced to this topic yesterday, believe it or not, and I'm very intrigued and I started sharing it.

J: By our mutual friend, Monica, right? I know she loves…

K: Yeah.

J: … miracle morning.

K: Yes.

J: (Laughs). Okay.

K: She told me about that, yeah. And she told me it's about savers, and so you do something… 10 minutes of these 6 things, and it incor… you know, you can make it your own so I'm really excited about doing that because there's no right or wrong way of doing that.

J: Mm-hmm.

K: So I'll start incorporating that into my morning routine. And then just… I want to be able to, you know, finish my day strong, so I'll go through my day. And then, in the evenings, I come home, have either a meal prepared and then either do a workout or I'll just spend time with my family.

J: Perfect. And what's your favorite happiness tool; the one thing that, if you dropped it, you'd be way less happy, or vice versa, the one thing that adding it made you so much happier?

K: The one thing that adding it made me happy?

J: Well, either; if you took it out, you'd be super less happy or because you've added this one thing, you are so much happier; you know, your favorite happiness tool, mm-hmm.

K: Oh, yes. So one of the things that makes me… that I have to continue doing it's like making a list. And so, if I stop doing this, I would be totally lost because something I've recently started doing is making a list. When my life gets crazy or hectic, I make a list. And it could be a number of lists, but this might be anywhere from I'm like, “What inspires me?” or, “What am I grateful for? What are things that I love about myself?” you know, “What are my happiest memories so far?” I just like getting stuff on paper. I'm a writer, and believe it or not, I have all these journals, anytime I see a cute binder or a journal, I buy it. I'm one of those gullible people that it speaks to me; if it's got some inspirational quote on it, I buy it because I love writing.

J: Ah!

K: So if that was out of my life, I would die. (Laughs)

J: I love that because it's like gratitude journaling on steroids, you're answering all kinds of questions that would inspire you.

K: Exactly.

J: Ah, that's a good one. What's your favorite easy meal?

K: My favorite easy meal is tacos. And I have recently started making taco boats since I take romaine lettuce with me doing the ketogenic diet lifestyle, is basically just making the tacos in any shape or form after… you know, it's just cheese, avocado, the taco meat, and then basically putting it on romaine lettuce, and it's one of the easiest things I can make in less than 30 minutes. The other thing I use is an instant pot, but of course, those meals are a little bit more complex. But instant pot is the best thing I could have ever bought. And so if you want something easy, the instant pot to make like easy eggs and you can make egg salad, but tacos are my favorite simple meal.

J: Mm. So your favorite kitchen gadget then would be the instant pot, I'm guessing?

K: Yes, instant pot. Even though the KitchenAid mixer because I bake a lot, I'm on my third KitchenAid mixer in my lifetime, but yes, the instant pot is the best kitchen gadget ever.

J: Mm-hm. And a favorite life hack.

K: My life hack is, I think any person whether you're a mother, a wife, an individual, a leader, anyone, I think you should always have blank note cards with you wherever you go. I travel with blank note cards, I probably have stock, I have thousands of note cards at my house.

J: (Laughs)

K: All kinds of designs. And they don't necessarily have any kind of words on them, some do, some say ‘Thank you’, but I carry blank cards with me because you never know who you're going to come in contact with and what person may or may not need some type of words or just words of affirmation or some kind of encouragement or something to leave them by. It makes my heart happy when I'm able to leave someone a note card with a handwritten note versus something that you just buy and that's already got words printed on it.

J: Ah, yeah.

K: I just love being able to leave that with someone, whether it's a stranger or someone you’ve known and forever, I love note cards. So that's my biggest life hack.

J: What is your favorite book?

K: So my favorite book is ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin. I just read that recently and it has just been eye-opening. And I think just after having read about ‘The Four Tendencies’, having gone back and read ‘The Happiness Project’, every person, if you have not heard of Gretchen Rubin, please do so and read that book. It allows you to just see a totally different side and just get different ideas because everyone deserves to get some little bit of eye-opening experience.

J: Yeah, that's a good one; I have that one too. I'm glad you liked it.

K: Yes, I loved it. I got… I did an audible book on it.

J: Mm, smart. And what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman?

K: To me, it means that I have found a tribe of women and a people that I know that I can talk to. I just feel like this year, I feel so happy. And everyone always asks like, “Kruti, why are you so happy? Like, you’re just so cheerful and so go, go, gung-ho and everything,” and I'm just like, “I don't know, it's all about making time for myself and not feeling guilty,” my husband even sees it. My husband even says, he's like, “Jen Riday’s done something to you,” like, this Vibrant Happy Women Club, he sees the interaction that I have with these other women. I just love helping people and I love connecting people and getting to meet other amazing women, and that makes my heart happy. And that's what it means to be a vibrant happy woman is joy, it's just happiness. And just, whether someone’s fat, is trying to like help them and find out what's wrong. I know I'm not a miracle worker and I can't like change like… you know, make that situation turn it around, but I can talk to them; I'm a great listener. So it's like one of those things that's like being a vibrant happy woman, it's just all about finding my tribe of women; and I have now found that, but I'm going to continue to grow my tribe of happy women for years to come.

J: You know, that just reminds me, you're kind of helping me set up the Vibrant Happy Women retreat, so, I mean, aren't you kind of excited? I'm super excited to meet you in person.

K: I am very excited to meet you, Jen. I feel like I've known you for years, but to think we've not ever met and we're get to meet in February in Florida, and now we're going to be lunch long friends, you're never going to get rid of me, Jen.

J: (Laughs). I know, it's true; I can feel it too, I really do. So love it.

K: Hopefully that's a good thing; hopefully that's a good thing and not a bad thing.

J: No, it's a great thing! I mean, I love all you guys, but, yeah, you're especially awesome, thank you. (Laughs)

K: Aww, I appreciate it. I know, you don't have favorites, but, you know?

J: (Laughs)

K: You’re one of my favorites. You don't have to say it, I'm just saying.

J: Right, right. And what's a challenge you'd like to leave for our listeners?

K: Yeah. You know, I think going back to what I said earlier is like, “When life gets hectic or it gets crazy, do one of these things. Make a list.” And, you know, I used to tell people like, “Make several lists,” no, just make one list and your life is just, you're so overwhelmed, you're so stressed, and if it's about finances, make a list of all the items that are causing you that stress. Or do the opposite, you know, make a list of all the things that inspire you. Make a list of all the resources for self-care. When you put it down on paper, there's some type of like relief that comes from being able to put it all out on paper. Lay it out there and see what happens. It's amazing the feeling of relief, it's almost like transferring that burden from your shoulders or inside your heart on paper and it's almost like… rip it up and burn it or just throw it at someone or in the trash can, and it will bring you a sense of relief. Try it; it will definitely make you feel better.

J: Awesome, that is excellent advice. I'm going to buy more pretty journals and think of you as I fill them out.

K: Do that.

J: Oh, one last thing, Kruti, where can people find you if they want to connect with you? Because I'm sure they will.

K: Yeah, I am on Instagram under The Fiery Passionate Peacock.

J: Ooh! I like that. Where did that come from?

K: So my spirit animal is a peacock. It's all about being loyal and happy and just, you know, being very passionate. And so I am working on becoming a, you know, certified life coach and that's where my business is going to take me and I'm all about helping people. So that is where that name, I just… it resonated with me and I wanted to make sure it was something bold and it caught the attention, so the fiery passionate peacock.

J: It's beautiful. And I'm imagining your brand colors, I mean, you've got the peacock colors right there, right?

K: Yes, I do; I'm so excited.

J: Oh, fire; fire is orange, that's good too I love it, love it. Well, thanks, Kruti; thanks again for being on the show.

K: Yeah, thank you so much, Jen.

J: See, I told you Kruti is amazing and I'm so excited to get to spend time with her in person at the Vibrant Happy Women retreat in February, 2019. I hope some of you will be there as well, and you can learn more by checking out that link to the retreat on our show notes page at jenriday.com/130. You’ll also see a link there to the Vibrant Happy Women Club which Kruti talked about in this episode. The club is the place to build your tribe, to find your tribe, to develop these friendships that will last a lifetime. And Kruti's right, the friendships are amazing as we bring together these groups of women all on the Vibrant Happy Women journey essentially, wanting to take a better care of themselves, wanting to have healthier boundaries, wanting to find their purpose and live in alignment in a higher vibe way, and we come together and we discuss the podcast episodes every week. It's like book club except on steroids with a podcast instead of a book. And if you want to have some big personal growth for the rest of 2018 and into 2019, if you want to be held accountable and have those friends with you on this journey, then definitely check out the Vibrant Happy Women Club. You can get on our wait list at vibranthappywomenclub.com, and enrollment will be opening later on in October, so stay tuned for that. We'll have that link on our show notes page at jenriday.com/130. Again, you can get on that wait list at vibranthappywomenclub.com. Well, thank you so much, I will be back again later this week with a happy bit, and I will be back next week talking with Claire Shipman all about building confidence, especially in girls; it's so important. There are gender differences in confidence (did you know that?) and they start to develop in adolescence. But there is a solution and you have to learn the special way to parent your girls so that they will be more confident. We can work with that nature by giving a little bit of extra nurture in this area. So we'll talk about that next week, and until then, make it a great week. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.