38 Transcript: How to Be More Compassionate with Your Family (with Jill Savage)

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JR: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 38.

JS: It's recognizing another person's pain. It's not necessarily agreeing with it, it's not giving them answers to pull them out of it; it's sitting in the pain with them.

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

JR: Hey there, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Dr. Jen Riday, woman's happiness expert, and are you feeling a little bit like me, starting to freak out as you contemplate all that you have to do before the holidays arrive; shopping and gifts and decorating and panic, you begin to feel a little bit overwhelmed? This can happen to the best of us. Well, I have something I want to give you today, it's called the ‘Eliminate overwhelm guide’. It has 2 simple questions that you need to ask yourself to reduce that stress and maximize your joy this holiday season. You can get your copy by going to jenriday.com/overwhelm or by texting the word ‘overwhelm’ to 44222.

On our last episode, I spoke with Callie Blount and she talked all about the art of showing love through hospitality. Callie is a high-energy southern gal who has figured out the art of balancing being an excellent hostess with showing love and being that true friend and landing on the side of community. Today, I'll be talking with Jill Savage on how to be more compassionate with your family. This is the perfect episode as we launch into the holiday season when things can get busy, but we want to have that loving amazing feeling in her homes. Jill talks about how we should feel, but not fix, and she's a mom of 5, she knows what it really means to do that. In fact, she has a husband, Mark, who has dealt with depression for years and Jill has learned the art of feeling with him, which is another way of describing compassion, rather than trying to fix him. So if you'd like to have more compassion and more love at home, this is going to be an episode you'll love, so let's go ahead and dive in.

Hey there, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women, I'm Jen Riday, your host, and today I'll be talking with Jill Savage. Jill is known as the go-to mom. She's the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization dedicated to being a mom's best place for answers. She's also a popular public speaker and has written 11 books including ‘Real Moms…Real Jesus’, the best-selling ‘No More Perfect Moms’, ‘No More Perfect Kids’, and her most recent book authored with her daughter, Ann, ‘Better Together’. Jill and her husband, Mark, live in Illinois and have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. Welcome, Jill.

JS: Well, thank you. It's good to be with you.

JR: I'm so happy you're here. This will be fun. So what quote would you like to share with us today?

JS: The quote I would like to share is that, “We have to stop comparing our insides to other people's outsides.” That is a quote I live by.

JR: Ah, that's a good one; I love that quote. So, “Stop comparing our insides to other people's outsides,” that's so important. Do you have a story to go along with that quote when you had to learn that lesson the hard way?

JS: You know, I remember the very first time that a friend shared with me that quote. It was a time when I was really having some struggles in my life, and I don't remember, I think we were out to eat and I kind of commented on somebody who had been sitting at the table near us and just looked like their life was together. And honestly, I probably looked like my life was together, but my friend and I both knew my life was not at that time.

JR: (Laughs)

JS: And so I remember saying, “You know, I just wish… I wish, you know, I had it all together like she does.” And that was the moment where… where my friend, Doris, said to me, “You know what, Jill? You got to stop comparing your insides to other people's outsides.” And that was huge for me, it really was, because I still… I mean, that is a quote I say to myself today. I will be in the grocery store in the checkout line and I'll see somebody and they either, honestly, will look like they're doing better than I am or worse than I am, and I think, you know, we all have those moments and we have to say to ourselves, “She has a backstory I don’t know.” And when we do that, it pulls us back from the ledge of comparison. And that ledge of comparison keeps us separated from one another, and I just hate that. So I have to preach it to myself. I have to recognize, even all these years later, how easily I still compare insides to outsides. And it’s really an important thing for me as an author and a speaker to share with other women as well, because I just think it's a way that we stay separate from one another; we separate ourselves from each other.

JR: Uh-huh, it's true; we draw these boundaries. Well, so I mentioned in the bio that you have 5 kids and you mentioned also you're at a low point when you're in that restaurant with your friend, is that the low point you want to tell us about today or was that just one of many?

JS: Yeah, I would say it was one of many, but most of my low points have dealt with my marriage in particular. My marriage has just gone through a lot of ups and downs and my husband has struggled with depression for all of our 33 years of marriage. And so that was a time where things were dark for him, and when things get dark for him, they get dark for everybody around him and it becomes difficult. And so I remember that that was the situation that was going on in particular. And 5 years ago was the darkest of all the dark seasons. I mean, my husband got the lowest of low I'd ever seen him. I honestly worried at times if I would come home and find him alive.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: Which is a really scary thought that you… you know, to even worry that someone you love deeply would consider taking their own life. And… and it got so deep and so dark, he became extremely disillusioned. I mean, he was a pastor for 20 years, became disillusioned with his job, he had recently left pastoring. He became disillusioned with the church, with God, just with life in general, and in the midst of that, had an affair. And that was very, very difficult. I mean, you know, since that time, I've been through breast cancer, we have a son that we deal with mental health issues, and I think neither one of those things compared to the pain and the difficulty of that dark season of dealing with my husband's infidelity.

JR: So… goodness, so many things all in one, where do we begin?


JR: So… well, let's talk about that lowest of the low 5 years ago, was infidelity at that time as well?

JS: Yes, it sure was.

JR: Mm.

JS: Yeah, and he was just in such a dark place and he did not want to change the course he was on and eventually left, left the kids and I, and there's just nothing more painful than that; it was awful. And… and so, yes, it was deep, it was dark, but the beautiful thing is, it took 9 months and eventually, he did get his head on straight and he did come back and he did ask for our forgiveness and God has restored in huge ways, and now we have an incredible ministry to marriages, and particularly to marriages that are recovering from infidelity.

JR: Hmm. Well, so take us all the way back when you have young children and your husband was depressed, how did you do it with 5 young children and a super depressed spouse? Did you feel like a single parent sometimes?

JS: Yes, definitely. Mark always functioned in his depression. So I would say, to the outside world, most people wouldn't have known that he was dealing with depression. And even our kids, I mean, they would know when dad would be short-tempered or just seemed to be a little off or a little distant, and especially as they got older, you know, they would begin to tune into that. And so often times, I would… you know, especially as they got older, we talked about it openly. And they knew that, you know, dad would take medication and that medication would help him and… but at the same time, yes, I mean, a lot of times, I felt very isolated, I felt like, you know, a lot of the weight was falling on me. And honestly, I felt helpless.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: I think that's probably the hardest part is the feeling of helplessness, and I've never dealt with depression myself; I don't know what that feels like.

JR: Mm.

JS: And I remember… in fact, this was as recent as a year ago, it seems like things get hard in the winter for him. And I went back to our counselor, the counselor that we had gone to all the way through our healing from the infidelity, and I went back to him last year by myself and I said, “You know, I am really struggling because Mark’s in… he's kind of in a dark place again. It's not as bad as it's been in the past, but I feel so helpless.” And he reminded me, he said, “Jill, this is the point in which you have to validate; you have to pull that tool of validation out of your tool box.” And I'm like, “Okay, remind me what that is,” and he's like, “It's recognizing another person's pain. It's not necessarily agreeing with it, it's not giving them answers to pull them out of it, it's sitting in the pain with them. So being able to say, ‘Ah, that must just feel really dark to you. I'm so sorry that it gets hard like this,’ that's a validating statement.”

JR: Mm. And did your spouse… has he said that those help him out when you use those statements?

JS: Yes, absolutely, because he starts feeling like I am distant from him when I tried to fix him.

JR: Mm.

JS: But when I try to feel with him, he says that that makes me feel closer to him and then he doesn't feel as alone. And so that's been huge, me to learn how to feel over fixing. And then there comes time, sometimes, you know, I… “Okay, I need help thinking through this,” or, “I'm struggling,” or, “Can you..?” he will ask me in those… some moments where he needs, you know, somebody to help him think through strategy or direction or, you know, I… in fact, I just this morning, I just got a text from him and he said, “Hey, it's a hard day for me,” and he hasn't said that in a long time. And I said, “Well, guess what? We're entering the winter season,” so… and he was like, “Oh my gosh, I hadn't even thought about that.”

JR: Okay.

JS: And so… you know, so that was a moment and he was like… he had not even put 2 and 2 together that, “Oh my goodness, we're entering that season again, and there are some things that, you know, we can do.” And then I proceeded also, “Hey, I know this is hard, I'm so sorry. But thank you for letting me know,” and, you know, I reassured him I would be praying for him today and… and just, you know, tried to share a couple of validating statements so he felt like he wasn't alone in this.

JR: Wow, that statement applies really to anyone who's in a relationship, “Feel with them instead of fixing them.”

JS: Yes.

JR: Wow.

JS: You know what? It does. And I'll tell you, I have become a more effective parent learning that.

JR: Mm.

JS: Honestly, that was a huge learning curve for me. I'm not the average woman who is emotionally driven, I'm actually kind of logical driven, in fact, my husband and I are kind of opposite of what many marriages are; he's the feeler and I'm the fixer.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And so I would do that in my parenting too, you know, not realizing that I was kind of squashing my kids, not realizing that I was a little low on compassion. And that's really a place that I've had to do a lot of self-awareness and some spiritual growth to learn to really increase my compassion, to understand kind of where that came from, even in my own upbringing, which was very insightful for me as I kind of went, “Hmm, where did I kind of make a decision that feelings didn't matter?”

JR: Yeah.

JS: And I… it was really interesting. I went back, dug into my… you know, I'm grew up in a wonderful home, wonderful parents, I was very loved, and so I was like… but my family didn't do feelings a lot, so, you know, I thought, “Well, that's probably where it came from.” But, you know, I went back, I actually began to really pray about it and I was like, “God, would you just show me maybe where I kind of believed that lie?” and I… he took me back to 2 times. One time when my sister was hurt, she was hurt in a lawnmower accident. And it was obviously a crisis, a huge crisis, but in this lawnmower accident, I actually pulled her out…

JR: Aww.

JS: … a lawn mower. And of course, you know, ambulances came, it was craziness. And she was taken off to the hospital, she was in the hospital for weeks, everything about… you know, our family then revolved around seeing her, taking care of her. Well, the truth was, that day, 2 people were hurt; one physically and one emotionally.

JR: Yeah.

JS: And my emotional, what that was like for me was never tended to. And so I kind of went, “Hmm, well, I guess feelings don't matter, only facts matter. My sister’s hurt, I have to move forward.”

JR: Right.

JS: And, you know, you don't cognitively say that to yourself, but deep inside, you do. And then several years later when I was of dating age, I was dating someone for several years and he was shot and killed in a road rage accident.

JR: (Gasps) Oh my goodness!

JS: And, you know, we went to the funeral, I wasn't even driving yet so I remember my parents had to take me the funeral, and then we didn't talk about it anymore. So, again, you tell yourself, “Feelings don't matter, only facts matter.” So I realized, “Wow, I… you know, 2 times that I had just not given much credibility to it all had really kind of put an imprint in my heart,” and I needed to recognize, “Wow, those kind of planted a lie and I believed that lie and I've operated off that lie.” And, you know, kind of being a fixer not a feeler is really good as a leader.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: It’s not so good as a wife and not so good as a mother.

JR: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

JS: And so that's a place that I've really been growing and I've seen it changed my marriage and I've seen it change my relationship with my kids.

JR: So as you've learned how to feel more deeply, this compassion, it's changed your life?

JS: It really has.

JR: Well, so tell us, I'm sure there are many people out there who have shut down their emotions in the exact same way, so what strategies have you used to heal emotionally?

JS: That's a great question. One of the first that I did is, I used just a sheet of paper that has like 30 different emotions on it.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: Because honestly, a lot of times, I wouldn't know what I was feeling, you know, because I'd shut that down so much. And so if I was working through something… and I started using this with my kids too. If they were having a tough time or they were lashing out, you know, at their sibling or at my husband or I, I used this little sheet of paper called just ‘emotion words’ or ‘feeling words’, and I would say, “What are you feeling right now?” I would hand it to them and usually walk out of the room and go, “Would you just circle 2 things on here that would help me understand what you're feeling?” And I'm telling you, it was… it was so helpful, and they would usually do it. The first time I did it, I thought, “He's not going to do it.” You know, my son was like 16 at the time and I thought he's not going to do it.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And I walked back to him 5 minutes later and he had circled 3 words on there.

JR: Wow.

JS: And I was like, “Alright, now we can get to the heart of what's going on. We're not dealing with the symptoms anymore, we're dealing with the root of what you're feeling and what you're struggling with.” So eventually, when I wrote the book ‘No More Perfect Kids’, we put it in the back of the book that feelings list because it was so transforming for me personally, but also transforming in my ability to help my kids sort through their emotions as well. So that was one of the first steps was just being able to start identifying different emotions and different feelings. I would say the second one was to slow down and I would tell myself, “Feel, don't fix.”

JR: Ah.

JS: Because automatically, I will default to fixing without thinking about it; it's just my natural default. And so I literally preach to myself, “Jill, you know, you’ve got to feel, not fix.” And so I will do that going into a… you know, dealing with a situation with one of the kids, with my husband, even at work. You know, what I've learned is, you know, they say, “People don't care what you know until they know that you care.”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And even in the work environment, I will tell myself, “Alright, connect with them on a human emotional level first and then let's dig into the rest of what we need to talk about,” and what a difference that makes.

JR: Mm, “They don't care what you know until they know what you care.”

JS: “Till they know that you care.

JR: Okay.

JS: Right. Yeah, it's huge. You know, several years ago, I wrote a book called ‘My Heart's at Home: Becoming the Intentional Mom Your Family Needs’. And this was probably 2 or 3 years after I had really started paying attention to this feeling thing and. In that book we talked about 12 roles that home plays in our life; like, ‘home as a trauma unit’, ‘home as a safe house’, ‘home as a rest area’, ‘home as a pep rally’. And that ‘home as a trauma unit’ was a chapter that really came out of this learn curve in my life, and I told a story in there about our daughter. She had applied to a… it's called a lab school here in our community; it's associated with Illinois State University. And it's a high school that her older brother and older sister had both applied to, gotten in, and had gone to all 4 years of high school. Well, in her mind, you know, “Oh, I'm going to do the same thing. I'm going to apply and I'm going to go to Uni.” Well, she applied and she did not get in.

JR: Mm.

JS: And the old me would have probably been compassionate for about 5 minutes…

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: … and then would have said, “Well, let's figure out what you're going to do from here. This is reality and let's figure it out.”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: But the new me that was learning how to… to be sensitive, to feel, recognized that this was very painful for her. Because the school that wanted her big brother and her big sister didn't want her, and it was rejection.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And not only that, but the rejection came 4 weeks before her brother graduated from that high school.

JR: Aww.

JS: And so, you know what happens in the last 4 weeks, I mean, you're going to choir concert and senior programs. And so here we were going to the very place that was bringing up rejection for her. And so I realized, I needed to feel for a lot longer than 5 minutes. And so we sat in that pain with her for a good month because that whole month, she had to go to her brother's graduation and choir programs, and we were even sensitive about some of the things. Normally, we would say, “Hey, everybody goes,” but we allowed her to not because it was so painful for her. So I learned a huge lesson because, after that month, then she was able to begin to take a deep breath and she was able to say, “Alright, well, what are my options? If this isn't where I'm going to go, what other options do I have?” And then I felt like my voice had some weight with her because I sat with her in that pain.

JR: Oh yeah. Oh, this is such great parenting advice. And you've mentioned that in connection with ‘home as a trauma unit’. So… so the idea is to feel first and then after, offer the advice second.

JS: Right.

JR: Right? Okay.

JS: Right. And sometimes I mean sometimes you just feel and there is no advice to offer; maybe they're not even asking you for advice. And so you learn to feel with them and… but a lot of times when you feel with them, that makes you a safe person for them to ask the advice of.

JR: Mm, I love that; makes you safe. Okay, well, so what book is that? You were mentioning ‘home as a trauma unit’, ‘home as a safe house’.

JS: Yeah, that one's called ‘My Heart’s at Home’.

JR: ‘My Heart’s at Home’; ooh, that's such good ad… when you listed those off, I thought, “Well, goodness, you're acknowledging that home can be all these things,” when you talked about comparing our insides to others outside, we have this stereotypical view in society that home never should have any trauma, right? (Laughs)

JS: Right, but it’s not true, I mean, it's not true at all; every family struggles, every human being struggles. And that's why, you know, the concept of comparing insides to outsides is so huge to me. And honestly, it's probably the biggest message that I am out there heralding to mothers in particular because I think that we tend to isolate ourselves, we tend to say, “Oh, nobody would understand,” or, “We're the only ones that are as screwed up as we are,” and… and the truth is, we all have pain in our lives and so we need to recognize that.

JR: Right, right. And so you're a woman of faith, I would love to ask you, what is the purpose of struggle and hardship? Some people think, “Why me? Why me?” do you feel there's a purpose to the struggle?

JS: Well, unfortunately, we just live in a very broken world.

JR: (Laughs)

JS: And so I think that the struggle, the pain, the hardship is just a natural byproduct of the human experience and honestly, makes us yearn for heaven where there is no pain and hardship and all of that.

JR: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

JS: But we were promised that on this earth. So, you know, I think it is just a part of the human experience. But I think that it does make us stronger, I think that it makes us more compassionate if we will allow it to; it can make us bitter or it can make us better. And if we'll allow it to make us better… I mean, when I went through my cancer journey… so I had breast cancer.

JR: Oh my goodness! You keep listing more and more things; you’re amazing.

JS: I know. I'm telling you, the last 5 years have been something, let me tell you.

JR: Wow.

JS: But when I went through breast cancer, I mean, I had to go through chemo so I lost my hair. And I had to go through radiation, I had to have surgery; all of that. And you know what? I am much more in tune with people's physical pain after going through that than I ever was before I had that experience. So I believe it's made me a better person. I think it's made me more insightful. I think it's made me slow down and… and to sit with people in that pain because I know what a difference it made for me. I mean, my husband said that the hardest thing about me going through cancer was he couldn't fix it, and so all he could do was be with me. But I'll tell you, I learned that people just being with me was huge. You know, just when I went to a chemo, I would have different friends or my sisters or my… my kids would go with me and sit the 2, 3, 4 hours of getting that chemo treatment. And, no, they couldn't fix anything, but I wasn't alone.

JR: Right.

JS: And that's huge.

JR: Yeah.

JS: So I do believe that hardship can make us stronger, it can make us more compassionate, and I think honestly, it is also a way in which we draw closer to God, and that that really… I mean, I would not wish the hardships that I've been through on anyone, and yet when I look back, I can truly say I probably felt closest to God during those times than when life is easy. So I'm grateful… you know, I'm grateful for it from that perspective. I feel like I… it's strengthened my faith.

JR: Great. Well, what is exciting you about your life today, aside from all these amazing books you've written? Do you have a new book that you're sharing right now?

JS: Ooh, yes. Well, actually, my husband and I just finished the third book in the ‘No More Perfect’ series. So the first one was ‘No More Perfect Moms' and the second, ‘No More Perfect Kids’, and we just finished ‘No More Perfect Marriages’, and it is actually coming out in February of 2017; so February 1st, so we're very excited about that. We do tell our story of recovering from his infidelity, but more than that, what we do is we identify 7 fades that every marriage experiences and the 8 tools that it takes to turn around those fades. And it's not a book that's just for people in crisis, it's a book for every married person because every marriage goes through those struggles; those places where we separate from one another 1cm at a time and we don't even realize it.

JR: Mm.

JS: So our hope is to help couples start to recognize when those centimeters start happening and how to turn back around and walk in the right direction so that the fade stops and you can stay committed to one another.

JR: And that's ‘No More Perfect Marriages’, coming out in February, right?

JS: Yeah, it's coming out in February; it can be pre-ordered now.

JR: Hmm.

JS: And so we're really excited about that.

JR: Oh, that's great. And we will put a link to that pre-order page if you'll send that to me…

JS: Sure.

JR: … on our show notes page at jenriday.com/38; so, perfect. Well, let's talk about some of your favorite things, Jill. What is a habit that has really contributed to your success, especially being able to crank out 11 books? Oh my goodness.


JS: I would say that self-care is not selfish. And it took me a long time to understand that, but one of the things I do each morning is, I get up and I take an exercise class. And that is a way that I'm taking care of my body; it gives me energy. I always also take time to have a little quiet time with the Lord. And that… I perceive all of that as self-care. So I am filling up my tank so that I can turn around and I actually have something to give to others. And it took me a while for that. The other piece of that though is I'm an introvert and so I'm refueled by being alone. And so another part of self-care is figuring out ways that I can be alone. And I'll tell you, when my kids were little (and I 5 of them), finding alone was not easy. But, you know, I had to… I had to figure out ways that I could refuel in the way that matched my personality and my temperament. And I think that that makes a huge difference because a lot of us are trying to do what we're doing on empty tanks, and it's not healthy.

JR: I'm an introvert as well and so I resonate with what you said about finding ways to be alone; nothing energizes me more. (Laughs)

JS: Yes! I know; I know. I have a dear friend and she also is an introvert and her husband asked her one year (and her kids were probably, I don't know, in grade school at the time), and he said, “What do you want for your birthday?” and she said, “I want to go to a hotel all by myself.”

JR: (Laughs). Well…

JS: And he was like, “Serious?” and she was like, “Oh, I'm serious.” And you know what? He got her a hotel room 5 miles from their house.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And it was the best birthday present she'd ever had.


JR: Well, I'm laughing because I have done the exact same thing.


JR: Oh, this is wonderful. I… introverts, unites!


JS: Yep.

JR: So, Jill, what's a favorite easy meal that you eat fairly often?

JS: Mexican, that would be one of my favorites because, when I buy my chicken or my beef or whatever, I bring it home and I make it right away.

JR: Oh.

JS: So I… let's say I buy, you know, 6 pounds of chicken breasts, I'll put them all in the Crock-Pot and I will let them cook all… cook all night and then I'll put the Mexican seasoning in it, and then I'll freeze it cooked. And I do the same thing with hamburger; I will brown my hamburger and then back it up and put it in the freezer. And then that way, when I want to make chili or Mexican or whatever, it's already browned, it's already ready to go; all I have to do is thought and heat it up, you know?

JR: Oh, that's so smart. Do you do the hamburger in the Crock-Pot as well?

JS: Sometimes I do.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: Not always. I have done it both ways. I prefer to do it on the stovetop only because I can crumble it a little bit better.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: But I have done it in the Crock-Pot as well. And so… yeah, so I would say Mexican because it's usually, it's pretty easy see to pull that out and then just throw the toppings together and let everybody just, you know, make their own. So…

JR: Yeah, that's a good one.

JS: Mm-hmm.

JR: And a favorite kitchen gadget.

JS: Favorite kitchen gadget would have to be my little chopper. It's one of those that you hit the top of it and it chops things up like very small; I think I got mine from Pampered Chef. I love it because that's how I chop up my onions and my garlic and even my kale and things like that that I want mauler pieces; and so I love that. It's loud though; they always know when I'm, you know, making something yummy because they can hear me hitting that thing and…

JR: (Laughs)

JS: … making a racket, but, yeah, it's my favorite. In fact, mine's falling apart so I'm going to have to get myself another one. I've… I’ve used it and until it's about used up. (Laughs)

JR: Yes, I have one of those too. I'll put a link to that in the show notes page as well. And the favorite book; I'm sure you have several. If you want to share more than one, you can, but you don't have to. (Laughs)

JS: I would say ‘How We Love’ by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. This book was a game-changer in my marriage; it was an absolute game changer. We read it in the midst of that really dark painful season after my husband came home, and we read it together and just found, oh my gosh, we… it identifies your love style, but… which is going to sound funny, it's your dysfunctional love style.

JR: Oh.

JS: The one that you carried from your home of origin by default; we all do. And, oh my gosh, it pegged me down, I mean, just to a tee and it pegged my husband to a tee. But then what they do is, they talk about how those… you know, they pair up the love styles. So for instance, I'm an avoider, my husband is a pleaser. And so then they talk through, “Well, when the avoider marries the pleaser, this is the little dance that they do.”

JR: (Gasps) Oh boy. (Laughs)

JS: And… and we were just like, “Oh my gosh, this is us! This is so us!” It was absolutely… and so then they talk about how to get out of that damn, “What do I need?” And their encouragement is that, all of us need to move towards a secure style. And so, as an avoider, and so I avoid emotion; see, this is all working together with what we even talked about earlier. So I tend to avoid emotion. And now, avoiders, they're very confident, very independent, okay, and that's me to a tee.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: But guess what? My independence was sending a message to my husband that I did not need him.

JR: Aww.

JS: I didn't intend to send that message, but I was.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And that often happens. And then, my husband is a pleaser, he was always trying to draw close to me and, you know, to please me. Now, my husband grew up in a pretty unhealthy home environment and so he was trying to draw close to me, but I'm an avoider, I'm like, “Give me my personal space.”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: And so we were doing this dance. And so, oh my goodness, that book, ‘How We Love’ by Milan and Kay Yerkovich was a game changer for us.

JR: I'll definitely have to get that. I can't wait to hear what type I am.


JS: You can actually go out to… I think it's howwelove.com and actually… they've got a free online quiz.

JR: Hmm.

JS: And it's real easy to do; give you some insight, a lot of information on their website.

JR: Great. We'll have a link to that book and the quiz on our show notes page at jenriday.com/38; oh, that's great. Well, what's the best advice you've ever received, Jill?

JS: The best advice I've ever received would have to go back to what we talked about right there at the beginning because I really was stifling my relationships, I was stifling myself, and I was almost paralyzed by comparison. So when my friend, Doris, said to me, “Jill, you've got to stop comparing your insides to other people's outsides,” I would have to say that advice was very freeing to me. It was… I didn't realize how much I was doing it, and as I said earlier, I still have to remind myself each and every day that… gosh, I mean, I will go there without even thinking about it and then I have to go, “No, wait a minute, I'm sure she has pain in her life.” And we do that with our… all parts of our life. Like, I can compare my kid to other people's kids. I can compare my marriages to other people's marriages. And, you know, I was thinking about that the other day, you know, recently in the news has been Brad Pitt and Angelina Lee breaking up. And it's like, how many of us looked at them and compared our insides to their outside and thought, “Oh, theirs is the perfect love story.” And, I mean, I'm sure many of us did that, and yet we come to find out, no; because we were comparing our in size to their outsides.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: I bet if we compared our insides to their insides, hmm, we're all not that much different from each other.

JR: Right, right.

JS: You know, so I think that really was the best absolute best advice ever given.

JR: And finally, let's find out your personal happiness formula. So if you had to create a 3 to 5 part formula of actions or beliefs that make you happiest, what would that include?

JS: Faith plus family plus friends.

JR: Ooh, I love that. And I think that's a wall quote in my mom's house; I love that.

JS: Is it?


JS: I just really think that all 3 of those are what we are designed to do on this earth, and I think they're all key. And if one of those was missing, we would feel that. And so the book that my daughter and I just finished and it just came out in the spring is ‘Better Together’ because you're not meant to mom alone. And that really is that friendship piece. I think a lot of times we're very isolated and I think even in our culture, you know, things that women did together 100 years ago, we do alone now.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JS: You know, women used to cook together, they used to quilt together. And when they would do those things, wisdom was passed along. But, unfortunately, we're doing those things isolated and so I think we really have to work at that friendship piece. But faith, family, and friends, I think is my personal belief for happiness.

JR: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, and tell us one more time where we can find you and then leave us with a parting challenge.

JS: Well, you can find me at jillsavage.org or you can also find me at heartsathome.org. Hearts at Home is the organization I lead, we do conferences for moms; just like a teacher would go to a mom conference, moms can go to a Hearts at Home conference. And usually, our conferences see about 4000 to 6000 women in attendance, so they're pretty big events; so either jillsavage.org or heartsathome.org. And the parting words that I would leave you with is, we can't be a perfect parent, but we have to stop trying to be perfect and embrace being perfected; that's what God does with the broken places in our life. And so my challenge is to stop trying to be perfect, but embrace being perfected.

JR: Mm, very good advice. Well, Jill, this has been a fun, fun interview and I'm so glad you could be on the show.

JS: Thanks for having me.

JR: Take care.

JS: Thank you.

JR: I really love what Jill talked about during this interview because she's got it figured out, we have to concentrate on how we feel; not only how we feel, but learning about and knowing and validating how others feel. So often in our society, we're so busy being hectic and stressed and rushing that we can't even pause for a moment to know how we feel or to think about how another person feels. So remember I offered you that freebie in the beginning called the ‘Eliminate overwhelm guide’, please download that, do the exercises, answers… answer the 2 questions so you can stop feeling so overwhelmed and really start to pay attention to how you feel. I really believe this is the foundation of your own personal happiness, but not only that, the foundation of happy and fulfilling relationships with your spouse, with your kids, with everyone. So, again, just start by eliminating that overwhelm so you can focus more on how you feel. Get your guide by going to jenriday.com/overwhelm or by texting the word ‘overwhelm’ to 44222. On Thursday, I'll be back for a happy bit all about finding more free time during the holidays. If that doesn't sound like an oxymoron, I don't know what does; free time during the holidays, impossible. Well, it is possible actually. I'm going to talk about that during the happy bit on Thursday. Until then, make it a great week. Take care.

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