Self-Love and Self-Care: Nurturing Peace, Prioritizing Happiness, and Being True to Yourself

Are you ready to prioritize self-care, cultivate self-love, and build stronger connections within your community? In this episode of “The Fire Inside Her” host Diane Schroeder delves into a powerful conversation with Dr. Michelle R. Hannah, an expert on the topic of self-love. Together, they delve into what it truly means to love oneself, embrace imperfections, and lead in the midst of personal struggles. Dr. Hannah’s journey towards self-care and self-love, fueled by her battle with cervical cancer, will inspire and empower you. Discover the transformative power and significance of self-acceptance, and the importance of being your own cheerleader. Join Diane and Dr. Hannah as they share strategies for cultivating self-care, building authentic connections, and making daily intentions that prioritize your well-being. Don’t miss this episode of “The Fire Inside Her,” where you’ll find the key to unlocking a life filled with self-care, self-love, and purpose. Listen in and be inspired to embark on your own journey towards a more fulfilling and connected life.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah, through her life’s medical challenges and overwhelming love for humanity, the health, emotional well-being of people, and commitment to living authentically- is among the most influential women today. Dr. Michelle’s public speaking spans over 15 years and is the author of The Breaking Point: A Full-Circle Journey and workbook, The Vows: A Workbook for Marriage Success and Understanding Yourself, and her most recent book- The Self Vows; Seven Vows That Will Charge Your Life

Michelle has made several appearances on TV, Radio, Podcasts, and has collaborated with and featured in many blogs. She has recently been featured in articles for CBS, FOX, NBC & was voted #1 Relationship Coach of the year.

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Diane Schroeder [00:00:00]:

Welcome to The Fire inside her podcast, a safe space for leadership, self care and community. I'm your host Diane Schroeder, and it is my privilege to be your guide on the journey to authenticity. Hello, fiery souls. As you know, I am a huge fan of self care and every week I ask my guests what they do to take care of themselves. This week's guest is extra special because she is a self care queen. And what I love about this conversation and that I really want you to pick up from this conversation is the importance of not only self care, but self love and really learning to love yourself. All of you, the imperfections loving yourself when things are great and when things aren't so great. It was a really powerful conversation and I think the most challenging part is when we speak about loving yourself while staring at yourself naked in the mirror. I know that that is a challenge that I am not up for 99.9% of the time. And I love how Dr. Hannah encourages the baby steps to get there to truly love yourself. Dr. Michelle R. Hannah, through her life's, medical challenges and overwhelming love for humanity, the health, emotional well being of people, and commitment to living authentically is among the most influential women today. Dr. Michelle Public Speaking spans over 15 years and is the author of The Breaking Point a Full Circle Journey and Workbook the Vows a Guide to Understanding Your Marriage and Understanding Yourself, and her most recent book, The Self Vows Seven Vows That Will Change Your Life. Michelle has made several appearances on TV, radio, podcasts and has collaborated with and featured in many blogs. She has recently been featured in articles for CBS, Fox, NBC, and was voted the Number one Relationship Coach of the Year. This is a delightful conversation with lots of laughter and really focusing on going beyond self care, really learning to love yourself. Another incredible takeaway from this episode is learning to love yourself so that you can be part of a healthy, thriving community. And the timing happens to work out great because as you know, I'm launching my community on September 18, 2023. If you're curious, head on over to community for more information. Now on to the episode with Dr. Michelle Hannah. Welcome, Dr. Michelle R. Hannah. I'm so excited to have you on the show today. How are you doing?

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:03:37]:

I'm doing good

Diane Schroeder [00:03:39]:

If you don't mind just sharing a little bit about your story and why self care and self love and authenticity are so important to you. And then I'm really curious to hear more about the self Vows. That really intrigues me.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:03:56]:

Okay, so it's interesting because self love and self care did not become a real thing to me until probably about ten years ago, which is interesting because I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in about 2002, 2003. And I say that because when they were first trying to diagnose me. They didn't really know what was going on, so I had to see so many different specialists to finally get diagnosed. So it was in between that time period, and I wasn't even thinking about self care, what that meant. I was very connected to always pouring into people. Even since I was like five years old, I've always been a giver. I was the one that if you said you like my boots in school, I will take them off and I will go home in socks, and I would just say that my mom would buy me some more. And that's how I've always been. It's just pouring, pouring, pouring. And so I didn't even connect that I was constantly pouring out, and I was literally just getting more and more empty, and it was making me more and more resentful. What I really didn't realize is I was really mad at myself because I had betrayed myself every time that self had said, yeah, you don't really want to do that, so just say no and don't do it. And I'm like, no, I can't say no because then their heart will be broken or their feelings will be hurt, never mind the fact that I'm barely surviving. So it wasn't a thing for me until about ten years ago where I just kind of felt like I was hitting a brick wall. It was like when you feel like you've done the education you were supposed to do. Raising my daughter, I got a divorce, like, before she was even here. So I was pregnant when I got a divorce. So it was just me, her, and thankfully, my mom helped. But I knew it would be time where she was going to get ready to go to college. And I just started to feel like, am I anything more than the titles right now because I'm a mom. And then you had all your career titles and a know, a daughter, but I was feeling like, okay, my name is Michelle, though that's a know outside of all that. And that's when I realized that I was terrible at self care, that I could teach it to everybody else, that I could define it for everybody else. I can give you so many examples. I could give you a whole agenda and an outline for your life. But yeah, I sucked at it. And so that was when I started my journey in what self care meant to me. And that journey has kept defining itself in different seasons in my life. So at this season in my life at 51, self care and self love means something different. So self care for me has really come down to protecting my peace, which is very intangible. So what that means is that if I'm being very intentional about, let's just say I wake up in the morning and I write my intentions. I write three things, and one of them is I'm going to be very intentional about protecting my piece today. That means that I cannot talk to certain people on the phone. That means that I cannot answer my phone in regards to certain people because I already know that they are going to make protecting my teeth a challenge. So that is really important to me. It's also important that self care looks like not a futuristic happiness, that I'm not waiting to a certain age to retire and then, oh, I can be happy. I can do all the things that I want to do. I take retirement days, and I take retirement weeks. And so what I mean by that is whatever I was going to do in retirement, that I felt that I had to wait to do those things, I do them. I just choose a day that I'm going to do it, or sometimes I choose a week, or sometimes I take three days to have my retirement moments. So that's what self care looks like for me now, five years ago, it was about the things like massage. I would go to a spa, like, every two weeks. I still do that. That is non negotiable, but that's not at my core for what self care means. And self love means something very different now at 51, it means that if it doesn't feel good, then I don't do it. Even when it comes to putting something on. Like, so many times I bought something and it looks so good on the hanger, and then I get it home, and I just don't like how it looks on me. But I bought it, and then if it was on sale, I can't take it back. It was on the clearance. So now I'm committed, or I'm trying to commit myself to fitting a circle into a square, and it's not working. I'm constantly pulling on it. I'm constantly like, does this look right? Are you sure? Is it okay? And even when it comes to that, if I don't absolutely love it, I don't wear it. If the shoes are uncomfortable, I'm not wearing them. So I think that's what's different now with self care and self love, to me is that I think it has to be evolving, and I think it has to be very personal to you.

Diane Schroeder [00:10:23]:

Thank you so much for sharing those wise words, because you're saying, I'm like, oh, man, I do the same thing. It changes. And I do think there's a difference. I think self care can help lead to self love, because if you start taking care of yourself and I couldn't agree more when I talk about self care, man, it is building capacity in your life. It is making connections. It is being consistent. It's the not sexy work that you have to go in to take care of yourself, to create a life that you can love.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:10:57]:

Absolutely. And I do believe that self love is more connected to value? And do I value myself? Am I worthy overcoming all of the self concepts, the negative self concepts that we grew up with and the things that sometimes our parents told us because their parents told them, and then we find out that we don't even believe that, and that's not even our truth. And so that is all a part of this self love thing, is really being able to accept self in any season. Even when you look at yourself and you're like, Michelle, I don't like what you're doing right now. I don't like how you handle that, but I still love you, girl. You know, I'm not going nowhere. It's that conversation that I think that we have to constantly have to evolve in self love. And then I think because of self love, we then say, okay, I got to take care of me, because if I love me, then I will take care of me first. So I'm not going to wait on anybody to give me my flowers. I love fresh flowers. I will go and buy them for myself. So if you want to go buy me some, great. But I am going to go buy the flowers that I want to buy for myself. If I want to go to a certain place for dinner and I want to stay there however long I want to stay and people watch or do whatever I want to do, then that is what I am going to do. And if anybody doesn't have it in their schedule to go somewhere that I really want to go, then I am going to go by myself. And you know one thing I want to say about just talking to yourself, I had this conversation yesterday with a client, and she says, I just love talking to myself. And I just sat back and thought, wow, when I was growing up and when people talk to themselves, because we had a couple in my family and they would say, that's your crazy aunt, that she's always talking to herself, nobody's there, and then she's having a two way conversation. That's really crazy. So they would say that, right? And then you would think, oh, I guess that's just my crazy aunt, right? But that aunt was on to something. Because if you can't talk to you, but you can talk to everybody else, but you can't talk to you, and you are the safest place. Because if I'm trusting me, then I'm not going to tell anybody, and it's me talking to me. I don't have to worry about trust. I can hear myself speak. I can say the things that maybe someone else I'm like. I don't want them to judge me. But I can have that conversation and I can hear myself out loud. I can strategize, I can think about options. So I think that's a beautiful thing, too, is when you get to a point where you're like, no, I love talking to me.

Diane Schroeder [00:13:56]:

Well, it's so freeing. You're talking about doing what you wanted to do and not expecting someone to do that with you or waiting on the maybe someone will want to go do this. It's freeing because you do what you love, you take care of yourself. And I learned to travel by myself at a relatively young age. And at first it was pretty scary because I didn't go do a lot of things growing up, we didn't have a lot of money, so we didn't really travel. My first big international trip was about a month long trip to Patagonia and Chile. It was before the, you know, and I went with a guy, and we stopped talking about five days into the trip. There's a whole lot of lessons to unpack in there. But what I found was I learned to love to travel alone because I could do what I wanted, I could see what I wanted to see. I usually didn't have an agenda. I made sure I had a couple of places to stay for the first few nights I was on the trip. But it was just flexible and it was really empowering. And I just really learned to get to know myself. So I think I'm listening. What can people take away? And how do people start when they say, oh, you got to love yourself in self care? It's so overwhelming sometimes. I don't think people just know where to start. And I feel what I'm hearing you say is you just got to start by loving yourself and taking care of you and so simple, yet so hard to do.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:15:23]:

Maybe start with liking yourself first

Diane Schroeder [00:15:26]:

Kind of date yourself.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:15:28]:

Yeah, because I think it's so big and it is so difficult to say love yourself when you really don't and when you really don't know how to do that. And what does that even mean? I think we first start with liking ourselves, which is like what you said. It's the date. It's like when you meet somebody and you like them, you want to spend time with them, you want to date them. We want them to be affectionate to us. We want them to hug us, but we don't even hug ourselves. We don't even kiss ourselves. And so most people go, how can you kiss yourself? Because you're thinking, kiss myself on my lips? No, I'm talking about you can kiss yourself wherever you want, wherever you can reach if you're real flexible. I need to work on my stretching and all of that. So right now I can't kiss my hand, I can kiss a little bit on my arm, but I'm going to kiss something. So think about it, how we date people, and then ask yourself, how much of that do you do to yourself? And that will start to put you on the path of really figuring out the things you like about yourself, the things that you don't like about yourself, the things that you are insecure. Try an exercise and stand in front of the mirror, no clothes on, nothing. Not even a pin in your hair for five minutes. And then concentrate on what kind of talk is going on in your mind from the very beginning. Usually it's the tear down. It's the, oh, my gosh, I cannot believe my stomach looks this way. Like, oh, my gosh, look at my butt. Look at my legs. Oh, Lord, I can't believe I have cellulite there. What is the problem? So you go through all of that, and then what happens? There's usually some silence where it starts to get very real. And now you start to get a bit emotional because now you've just realized how much you just tore down yourself. And it's all the physical part. Then you start to really reflect in where you are. What do you really see in the mirror? And that goes down a very uncomfortable space. Now, some people will stay with it for the five minutes, and some people will say, look, I'm not doing this. This is too much. Because maybe they get uncomfortable when the crying may be coming up, right? Because we will always say, as women, I don't want to cry. I don't want to cry. Don't make me cry, or whatever, right? But scientists say one tear releases 38 toxins. One tear sadness releases 38 toxins. So you better cry. Weep so you can get all of the toxins that is necessary in that moment for you to get out, because your body is saying, I need to release this. We're not going to be good if you don't release this. So I know you don't want to do the ugly cry and everything like that, because when I cry, cry, I can't cry. Cute. I can't. It's just always going to be very unattractive in the cry. But at that point, I'm just like, you know what? It is what it is, and at least I got it out.

Diane Schroeder [00:19:05]:

It's cathartic. You're literally not just releasing tears and emotion, you're releasing toxins. And I think when I get upset and cry, whether it's out of frustration or I just need to pop in a good movie because I'm feeling all the feels and I need to get it out, I feel so much better after I cry. And to go back to standing in front of the mirror naked, I have never done it for five minutes because of everything you just said. I'm like, wow, you are in my head. I've done it. And I'm like, I'll start with the best intentions. Like, I love you. I love my body. You have made a human. You grew a human. You carried a human. You've blessed me with so many adventures. And then it goes straight to negative, and I can't recover. And then it gets too uncomfortable, and I stop. So I will be the first to admit I cannot do the five minutes because that's a long time. It's a long time to stare at your naked body.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:19:56]:

It is a long time. So when my clients come back to me and say, I couldn't do it, I can get past two minutes, right? So then I say, okay, let's just stay in the two minute of it. Once a week, let's do two minutes. And then after about three weeks, I said, okay, let's move to two and a half. We do get to five minutes. But it's a journey to get to five minutes. Especially when your body has really been through some real illnesses, it is very difficult to face that certain things have had to happen to your body for you to live. And it's not your body that you knew when you were born or when you grew up. And it's not and it feels very violating. And then you have to accept the new body and accept that that old body is gone. And there's a grieving that comes with that as well. So this exercise is particularly hard for people that really have been through those types of issue or suffer with consistent chronic pain, which is something that I suffer from. So the mirror and me, we do have a very conflicting relationship, but I commit to doing the best that I can in that moment to go through that process.

Diane Schroeder [00:21:40]:

That is powerful. And I can imagine it's also a challenge for people who've had, whether it's childhood trauma or sexual abuse or things happen to their body, to do that exercise as well. And I love what you say about start small, five minutes. Maybe that's the goal, and maybe it takes a year to get to that goal. But if you start small and start accepting yourself and seeing yourself and just how you talk to yourself is so important. And I know that's something that I struggle with and it's something that I talk about on my journey to authenticity is how I talk to myself every day and just loving myself. And I've learned before I get out of bed, I say really nice things and I'm my own hype person. And then as the day goes, if it's a rough day, I am now my biggest enemy. I am brutal.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:22:35]:

Yeah. No, I get that. That's good though. That is good because actually what you just said, so many people don't do that. And I'm telling you, that would make a big difference if you just do that. Get out of bed in the morning. One gratitude. So glad that I am still in the world today. With everything that's happening in the world. I am so glad that I woke up today that I have another chance for a do over. That's why it's so important to forgive yourself daily. I do it every morning. And sometimes does it always work right away? No, because sometimes it's some stuff that connects to some other stuff and it's just difficult. It's a process to sometimes just to forgive yourself for some stuff. But you start with that. You do voice it right and then you set your intentions. I don't set any more than three because this is too overwhelming for me. So I just set three intentions. That means that come hella high water, I'm going to do the best that I can to make sure that those three things are what I get out of my day. The other thing that I do and trust and believe, when you turn 40, this is when you really should start doing this. I did not. So I am suffering big time for it right now. And that is stretching. I'm the kind of person that just likes to get to it. If I'm an exercise, let's just get to know. And I remember a trainer at the time and he said, michelle, stretch. You have to stretch. You can't keep doing this. And I'm like, I don't really have time to really even work out. So the fact that I'm here, I literally only have like 40 minutes. So I need to just get to it because I need to see results. I have time to stretch. That's like ten minutes. And you know what? I'm paying for it because now it is something when you've always been able to squat down. And then something happened about a year and a half ago where I said, I cannot get up. What is happening here? Like, my knees were shaking and I was like, what is going on? I had to grab onto something to pull myself up. I thought, that something. My whole nervous system honestly had just shut down. I didn't know what was going on. But I realized that because I didn't stretch and I didn't make that a part of my life. That of course, your muscles, you need to stretch them. They need attention. So now I'm forced to where I have to say, you cannot even go use the bathroom until you stretch. Everything literally comes after stretching in the morning because stuff just starts hurting. I'm telling you that this pain come from for no reason.

Diane Schroeder [00:25:51]:

Yes, I'm laughing, as you say that because I spent almost 24 years in the fire service. And so I have abused my body a lot, just physically, mentally, emotionally. And when I turned 42, I discovered yoga. So about five years ago, I found yoga and it changed my life. And I will tell you, it was the hardest, it still is at times the hardest thing I do. I'm like what'd you do today. I didn't even get off my mat. I think we laid on our back the whole time. And I can't move because I'm so sore. But it does help stretch. And that love to your body, obviously, it's part of self care, but it is also for the long gain. It's longevity. And after I left the fire service, I'm like, all right, I'm going to get in amazing shape. I'm going to lose all this weight. I'm going to be so fit. And about three days into it, I pulled a muscle and three weeks later, it was still pretty sore. So yes, it was so wise. Stretch, drink water, slow down, take care of yourself. I think you get to midlife and you realize you can't continue to go 100 miles an hour. You've got to slow down.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:27:05]:

You just can't. Water is such a healer. It just does so many things. It's so simple, too. It's just water. And of course, I think it does make a difference in terms of what kind of water you drink as well, too, because sometimes you can taste it that this is not good. Something's in this that is not good. Right. And I can totally taste the difference now between good water and not good water. That's not working for my body. And I think when you mentioned yoga, I think that yoga is the truth. It tells you the truth about where you are in your body, where you are in life. And I have so much respect for people that have just taken that on for a lifestyle. It is not easy at all. When you said that, you were just like laying on the mat, I totally understand that because I'm like, I want to do the moves that you're saying I do. Like, mentally in my mind, I really want to, but my body won't move.

Diane Schroeder [00:28:27]:

Yeah, it's such a connection. It's the most impactful exercise or practice. I've learned to connect my mind and my body. It's a great equalizer. What I love the most about it too. One of the biggest takeaways I've learned in my yoga practice is it's about stability. You can't do those crazy balancing things on one leg if you're not stable first. And when I speak to people, I talk to a lot of men about self maintenance or self care. And I always say it's not about balancing your work life balance. It's about being stable. Before you get into balancing position, you got to ground and be good with who you are at a foundation so that you can focus in different areas of life. Because if you're always trying to juggle and balance, that's not sustainable.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:29:21]:

No, it's not. You really just were on it with that one about the foundation, because men also are wired differently. They're like, just give me the plan so I can fix what I need to fix and then I'm going on my way. That's how they think, right? And it's like, yeah, no, this self work and self love, self care, your journey, that is about foundation. It is just not an agenda I can give you. I can help you through that. Or plan. When life starts, lifeing plan is just pointless at that point. The foundation is not. But sometimes the plan just does not go the way that you think it's going to go. And then you have to be willing to accept that pivot and be okay with what is that next step, even though that next step was something that you had never thought that you would even be considering.

Diane Schroeder [00:30:31]:

Yeah, well, it's being open, right? And I think, too, you can't be open if you're always worried about pleasing other people, filling everyone else's cup, taking care of everyone else. You can't be open to the gifts the universe wants to give you or the lessons, because it always starts with the whisper, and then you get it like a tap on the shoulder, and then it knocks you on your butt.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:30:57]:

Oh, it does

Diane Schroeder [00:30:58]:

Yeah, to your point, you just got to have that foundation. So we've spent a lot of time talking about self care and self love, and clearly those are so important to being authentic, because if you're not doing you and you're not being genuine to yourself, you're not being authentic, clearly. What role does community play for you? How important is community to you and who you spend your time with and what you focus on for your tribe and the people in your life?

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:31:31]:

So that in itself is a journey, and I think that age has a lot to do with defining that as well. My circle is really small. Like, really small, like five people. I think you always have to have at least two people in your circle that are way smarter than you. And I also feel that my circle has to understand intimacy, authenticity, and how important it is to be self aware and accountable. I think those things are very important as far as my community. One, because intimacy, the deeper connection and always being open to that, it cancels out, for the most part, a lot of judgment because you can't be totally vulnerable and open to vulnerability, to give it and receive it, and you sit in judgment, especially the worst kind of judgment, which is to yourself. So that's why I say the intimacy and the deeper connection of that, that connects to vulnerability. The authenticity, is about not lying. Like, you take my choices away when you lie to me, because if I knew the whole story, I might make a different decision. So even when you say, oh, well, I just didn't tell you, that is a lie of omission. So if I'm being authentic, that means that I'm being truthful, I'm being honest, and I'm being transparent about how I feel. Now, is there a way to say certain things? Yes, we should have empathy, absolutely, and compassion. But authenticity, it allows me to get to know you. Not the representative, but really you. The pain, the sometimes emotional roller coaster of it all, the fear, the frustration, the beauty of you, the silliness of you, all of you. That's what authenticity allows me to now connect to. In our small community. And I say small because mine is small of who's really in the core of that, right? Another thing you mentioned about being a cheerleader, I always looked for everyone else to cheer me on, and lord knows I have been through the disappointment of that journey. So at some point I had to really figure out how to do that for myself because I did not know how to do it. So in learning that and in doing that now, it still feels good when your tribe, when your community will cheer you on and be genuinely happy for you, there's no jealousy. There's no envy in that. They literally are aligned with your purpose. And I think that that is huge is because your tribe has to be aligned with your purpose now. It's your purpose. It's your baby. It is unique to you. So it's never ever like when you have a child, people can love that child. They are not that child's mother and they are not going to love that child like you love your baby. Right. But the people that love your kid and that support your kid, right, they're aligned with it. So even when my arms are very weak, that tribe is actually going to be the pillar to say, oh, okay, you know what? You rest and we are going to keep driving this purpose forward because, see, here's the thing about purpose. And this is really I just got chills. This is so important. When you don't do your purpose, when you resist your purpose, when you are like, I'm not leaning into that because I just don't want to do it. Whatever it is. We've all been there and we've all done that. Everything is connecting in the world. So this person over in New Zealand can't even break through because you are like, no, I'll do my purpose ten years from now. I'm not doing it now. I'm not ready for all of that, whatever the case may be that you're not leaning into it. Right? So because everything is connected, they can't even break through because you are connected to their breakthrough in some way until you get your stuff together. And here's the other thing. See the universe, absolutely. The wheels will get to turning when you lean into that, the wheels start turning. Okay, now we're doing it. But I need you to lean in over there, too so the other part of the wheel can continue to turn. So this other person over here can really get that breakthrough and they can show up in the world and do what they need to do to be here, the reason why they were born. So you affect the universe when you decide that, no, I'm not going to do that. I don't want to do that. What was me or whatever you're going through. And I'm not trying to minimize it. I'm just saying that sometimes we have to just say to ourselves, okay, yeah, maybe I don't want to do that. Maybe I don't want to lean in like that. But I end up doing it because it's the reason why I was born. I know exactly why I am here in the world. I know. And so because I know that I would betray everything, every cell in my body, if I don't stand in that purpose.

Diane Schroeder [00:38:01]:

Wow. That is beautiful and so true. And I think the universe conspires to help you when you lean into what you're supposed to do. And if you don't take care of yourself, if you don't love yourself, if you don't surround yourself with all the right people, it's a lot harder to get there, and you may never get there. I love how you said it's, throwing off the whole universe.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:38:30]:

It does, because we're all connected. What we really should be doing is actually having the heart to help all of us that are in this journey. That's what it really should be. But it's not, and we know that, and that's why it's so important that we do have those tribes that are there. And one thing I just want to tell your audience about friendship, okay? So anybody that knows me knows that I do not use that word loosely. I will say I know you. I will say we hang out. You're a good person. We have fun together. But I may not say that we're friends, because friends goes to a whole, nother deeper level. I mean, I've really thought about this for years about what? Friendship, what it means for me, right? And probably because I met a lot of people that betrayed me, lied to me, and did so many unfriendly things. So I know what I don't want, right? But when I see something that is a deal breaker for me, it doesn't have to be for you, but it's a deal breaker for me. So lying, we can't do that. Not being loyal, we can't do that either. If somebody tries to hurt me, stab me in the back, just devalue my character, try to come against my purpose, try to tear that down, too. And so for me, that says, oh, when people show you who they are, believe them the first time. You don't have to show me 29 times. I saw it. I'm going to get the lesson, and I'm going to keep it moving. Now, I'm going to forgive you, but that doesn't mean that I need to reconcile with you. I forgive you, but that doesn't mean that I need you now in my space, because you already showed me who you are. Now, see, with friendship, I have a best friend, and we talk about this all the time. You could not do all those things to my best friend if those are her deal breakers, and then you and I go and share a cocktail and some food together. No, because, listen, if I love you and you have tried to now destroy somebody that I love. We cannot walk together. We need a whole state of separation. So that's just that on that when it comes to friendship.

Diane Schroeder [00:41:21]:

How powerful. And I think about that. My circle is also small. And my best friend, we've known each other since we were in 6th grade, and we always joke, we're ride or die friends. And my son was with us yesterday. And she goes, you know what that means, right? She gives us an example of a movie. Someone called and said, I need you to help me with something. I don't want you to ask any questions, and we're never going to talk about it again after it happens. And I was like, yes, that pretty much sums up our friendship, if we need it. And if anyone did her wrong or hurt her, I would be furious. Because those are genuine gifts.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:42:05]:

Yes, absolutely. And I love the way you put that because the unspoken of it all, that is what it really is.

Diane Schroeder [00:42:15]:

My son, he's eleven. He's just looking at us like, okay, whatever.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:42:21]:

But it's so true. I've known my best friend since I was four. So at the end of the day, it's almost like you come for her. You are absolutely coming for me. How could you not, right? So that's just what it is. And I think that when it comes to love and friendship, there's no way that you could call your friend, hear something in their voice and then just say, oh, you'll be all right. No, my best friend, if my tone is off, she is pulling up like your tone and sound, right? What's going on with you? Love cannot stand by idle. If I know something is going on with you, there's no way.

Diane Schroeder [00:43:14]:

Well, and the beauty of genuine friendship and relationship and that type of love is it's not just in the good times either. I mean, when I need to hear something hard that I don't want to hear, yes, she'll tell me. I may not receive it very well initially, but I'm always so grateful that she loves me enough to tell me the truth, even if it's the ugly truth, even if it's something I don't want to hear. And I think that really is so important when it comes to community and who you put in your community. You don't want to surround yourself with people that are just going to tell you that life is rainbows and unicorns and glitter and doesn't mean you can't be optimistic, but you need the truth. And the truth is not always pleasant.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:44:01]:

You know what? You just said something. Speaking of glitter and someone that's going to hear this podcast is just going to die laughing when they hear this part. So they sent me something like a meme where when you're irritated with people or people just are saying stuff that just has no common sense at all right? It was saying that, just get some glitter, just keep it always in your pocket and just kind of sprinkle the glitter on them. It takes the frustration off of, what are you saying? So you just sprinkle the glitter, right? And I told her, I said, oh, I'm about to go buy some glitter.

Diane Schroeder [00:44:46]:

I said, you're going to see me.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:44:48]:

Sprinkling glitter the whole summer?

Diane Schroeder [00:44:50]:

And you know exactly what that means.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:44:52]:

And you know exactly what it means.

Diane Schroeder [00:44:55]:

That is awesome. How have you translated your self care, your community into how you lead and leading as an entrepreneur and running your own business and really being what I like to say, a badass? How does all that fuel your leadership?

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:45:15]:

I have to lead myself always first, before I lead anybody else. If I'm going through something that I am not in position to lead, then I have no problem with backing away for a moment until I get it right. Because we make decisions from whatever we're going through and what we feel. So if I'm feeling a space of desperate for whatever the reason or very insecure for whatever the reason, then I'm going to make decisions from that space. And if I'm leading someone, then that can actually end up spilling over. So I have to always lead myself first before I even show up to lead others. And I honestly have learned that the greatest leaders show people their woundedness. So that is a big reason why people have really connected to me. Even all through the pandemic, my business didn't suffer because people know they can connect with me and I am real human, and they don't pass all the accolades, the titles and all that stuff. When they really sit down and speak with me, they know that I am a real person. And some parts of them is in me too, so they don't have to worry about, oh, I can't say this because she's going to look at me a certain way or she's going to judge me. The only thing that separates me from them is that I've overcome some things. It's not even the textbooks or the professionalism. It's the experience of life. That's what may separate us in terms of where we are in life, maybe age and experience. But other than that, we both bleed. We both can be really hurt. And we both have absolutely, at some point, went through some type of unbelievable heartbreak that we didn't know how we were going to get out of it. Or maybe it's something dealing with their health and being very scared that maybe you are not going to wake up the next morning. And what does that do to your legacy, your child, that may be left here? These things are very human experiences, so I think that's really important too. People are at a place where they need help. They're not interested in all your statistics and your PowerPoint. I mean, I'm not saying nothing about PowerPoint. I think it's great when you can be creative with it and keep me engaged. I think it's great, but at the end of the day, nobody's really caring about that. At the end of the day, it's like, okay, but how can you help me? What are some answers, resolutions that you could give me to get out of whatever I'm in?

Diane Schroeder [00:48:27]:

Right? I say that my word for leadership is love. That when I am working with people, when I was working with my crews or may not have always agreed with them, I may not have always liked them at times because we lived together for 48 hours of time, I always loved them. And you got to love on your people so they can feel that. They need to be able to feel that you genuinely care because if you don't, they're never going to progress. You as a leader will never progress because you're holding your own self back by getting in your own way.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:49:04]:

Exactly. And they won't trust you.

Diane Schroeder [00:49:07]:

Right. Which is that is the currency when it comes to leadership. Like you said, you can have all the fancy degrees in the world and check all the boxes and be really successful, but if they don't trust you, they're not going to follow you.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:49:20]:

No, not at all. And I think that people have to trust themselves though, too, is because a lot of people say that they don't trust people. And I get that. I totally understand what that means. But if I trust the decision that I'm making and let's say that the person does, something left. But I trust the decision that I made because maybe I made that decision for a reason, regardless of how they reacted to it, who knows, five years down the road they may say, wow, she reached out to me. She really tried to help me. And I reacted from a place of 14 because at 14 I didn't heal that trauma. So I acted like a 14 year old. And now that I can see it, I now get what she was telling me and then they start to grow from what you actually have said to them. So sometimes just because you make a choice or a decision and you know that you're supposed to make it so you're trusting yourself. Just because the other person may act up, that doesn't mean that you didn't make the right decision. When you know in your core that that was what you were supposed to do

Diane Schroeder [00:50:41]:

That is a perfect way to leave people asking more for this conversation because it's true. It is trusting yourself. And just again, it all is connected right. If you've never trusted yourself, it's probably not going to happen tonight when you stop listening to this podcast, you're going to have to do some self reflection and you're going to have to start small. And I also think because we're so hard on ourselves if you can look back and say, look, I've gotten this far in my life. Maybe not the best decisions, maybe not the path that everyone would take, but look how far I've gotten. There's a good starting point for that. We all have tools.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:51:22]:

Yes, absolutely.

Diane Schroeder [00:51:24]:

Even if the tools are archaic and even if we need to update our toolbox and add more to it. You've gotten this far in life, and you can keep going, and you can always get better. I mean, that's the beauty of it, right? You can always learn, you can always forgive, you can always move forward.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:51:43]:

Absolutely. You literally get a chance every day for a do over.

Diane Schroeder [00:51:48]:

Well, this has been such a lovely conversation. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable and telling and speaking your truth, along with action steps and wisdom for my audience. How can we find you? I'll put all everything in the show notes, of course, but is there a certain way you prefer to be contacted?

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:52:10]:

Well, you can definitely find me on Instagram, so you could go to @michelle_r_hannah, and then you can go to @theselfvowsretreat. So s e l f Vows retreat. And that is such a treat. We are actually doing a self vows retreat in September. They're actually going through the Self Vows program. We've never done that as a group before, but they're going through the Self Vows program altogether before they go to the retreat. So it's been an absolute amazing experience to kind of test that right now. So that's a good thing.

Diane Schroeder [00:52:53]:

Okay. I love it. Thank you for doing the work and for spreading your light and inspiring women to continue to love on themselves. And really, it lifts everyone up, and we make the world a better place.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:53:09]:

Absolutely. Thank you for doing this. I appreciate it. People need this. They hear so much stuff, like, even sometimes through the music, that's not encouraging or uplifting. So listening to podcasts like these, you just don't know what that breaking point for somebody is, and then they hear this, and it's just enough for them to do something different.

Diane Schroeder [00:53:32]:

I couldn't agree more. Well, thank you again. And the last question I'm going to ask is, what is a song that when it comes on the radio or spotify I guess people don't really listen to the radio that you hear. That just takes you back to a really happy time in life. Do you have a specific song that does that? Or genre of music?

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:53:59]:

So I grew up in a very musical family. My father played 17 instruments by ear. I played the accordion of all instruments for seven years. Okay. So I am very musical, period. Right. But there is a song, and actually, we play it every time that the ladies when we do ceremony for Self Vows retreat, we play it every time. And I don't care if they are sick of hearing this song. This song just does it for me. It's actually by Anthony Hamilton, giving you the Best of me. And it's something about the music, the words, even though it's him talking to a woman. Right. I'm like talking to myself with that song. And occasionally I will be like, okay, I'll talk to my husband this time when the song comes on. But really, that is my love song. It's just my love song to me. I just love the song. It makes me feel so good. Everybody knows that when the song comes on at any given time and can I just give one more? Is Frankie Beverly amazed before I let go? Listen, I will do the electric side. I don't care where we are. I don't care who's looking. And then I will invite the community of people. Come on, come on. Let's all do it.

Diane Schroeder [00:55:28]:

I love that. Music, dancing, there should be more of it should be mandatory. We should all dance more and listen to more music. In my opinion.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:55:37]:

Yes, absolutely. It just makes things lighter and lets you know that it's okay. Maybe it's bad, maybe you feel really bad, but it's not the worst.

Diane Schroeder [00:55:49]:

No. And I had one of those boards where you can put quotes and stuff on and I've had it up for years now. It says, why be moody when you can shake your booty? And every time I'm cranky or the boy and the man in my life are cranky, I'm like, why be moody? Let's dance. We need to dance. We just need to pause what we're doing and dance it off.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:56:11]:

I love that. I'm going to tell my husband that today because he cannot dance. Listen, that thing where they say that all black people can dance, honey, that is not true because he cannot. But I'm going to tell him that because I'm going to say, like, look, it's not even about dancing. It's just about you just shaking your booty. That's it. So I love that.

Diane Schroeder [00:56:36]:


Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:56:37]:

Thank you for that.

Diane Schroeder [00:56:38]:

Well, thank you so much.

Dr. Michelle R. Hannah [00:56:40]:

Thank you. This has been great. I needed this today.

Diane Schroeder [00:56:44]:

Absolutely. Thank you. Another great conversation. Thank you for giving the valuable gift of your time and listening to the Fire inside her podcast. Speaking of value, one of the most common potholes we fall into on the journey to authenticity is not recognizing our value. So I created a workbook. It's all about value. Head on over to to get your free workbook that will help you remember your value. Until next time, my friend.