How to rewrite the inner critic narrative with Susan Verde

voyv Apr 20, 2023


00:00:00    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 228. I got to hang out with Susan Verde. She is a children's book author with a new book out for adults. You might know her from the I Am series. That's what I know her from, we have her books. I love them and it was so exciting to get to chat with her about what does this look like for adults? And her book Say One Kind Thing is really about nurturing that inner voice within ourselves that I don't know about you. But like, gosh, I'm so good at letting that part of me show up. That's like Alyssa, you're not enough, you're not doing enough X Y and Z and really leaning into kindness. How do we treat ourselves with kindness? I'm so excited for y'all to snag her new book, Say One Kind Thing and dive into this conversation with us. Before we dive in. I have an incredibly exciting announcement. Preorders for my first book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions are open! Y'all, you can go and snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions preorder if you go to There are different retailers that have it available right now and then come back to that page and let us know that you snagged it with your order number and we'll send you some goodies right away and then more surprise goodies for our preorder crew to come. I just can't stop dreaming about living in an emotionally intelligent world and seeing all of you snag this book already is filling me with so much hope for that dream. Head on over to and snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions. Now all right folks, let's dive in! 


00:01:56    Alyssa

Hey there. I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education and co-creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy, vulnerable parts of being humans, raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together. 


00:02:26    Alyssa

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I get to hang out with Susan Verde. Susan is an author and she's written a bunch of kids books that you might be familiar with. The I Am series. New York Times Bestselling, casual, Susan, casual, and she teaches yoga and works on social emotional awareness, which, you know, is our jam over here. But Susan coming in hot with an adult book. Say One Kind Thing. Susan, I'm excited to dive into this. What led you into doing an adult book? 


00:03:07    Susan 

Yeah. Well, first of all, thank you for having me on. I love everything you do. It's like it feels like we're just connected. It's all that wonderful stuff. Adult books. Yeah. It was interesting because as I was doing this, I Am series and I was talking to kids and visiting schools and all that about caring for yourself, loving yourself, having the tools to accept yourself and take care of yourself, so then you can sort of take care of the world and the people around you. I would get questions from kids saying things like, well, are you always mindful? Or do you ever yell? And of course, the answer is, no, I'm not always mindful. And yes, sometimes I do yell. And it sort of got me thinking, like, how did I get here to this place where I feel like I can share this stuff with the little ones? And because I have a lot of parents who also reach out to me, I also wanted to sort of talk about what that looks like. And I really just wanted to be open and vulnerable in a way I couldn't with the kids books, but sort of get to the core of the same ideas and how I arrived there and how I'm still working on these things so I could feel more authentic. 


00:04:36    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. So I guess the goal with Say One Kind Thing is to take that I Am series and bring it into, like, what does this look like in the adult work, yeah? 


00:04:49    Susan 

That was sort of the general idea. 


00:04:54    Alyssa

I love the whole message of the book and the idea that we are worthy and that these words need to become our story. And as you were writing this, I'm curious what that process was. We were just talking about how we have Tiny Humans, Big Emotions coming out in the fall, too, and the process of writing. I was like, oh right, this. It was like a reminder to myself as I was going through it, and I was like, oh, yeah, bring that into parenthood right now Alyssa, you could really lean on this part, right? Like, it was my own little thing. I needed it. What was that like as you were writing this to yourself? 


00:05:33    Susan 

Yeah, I think it was kind of very similar. It was a different process. Because when you're writing children's books, it almost feels like even though there's the writing and the illustrating and we're not having these, the illustrator and I are not having these major conversations, it still always feels like there's this collaboration going on, and you've got all these people behind you. And for this one, it was no, I had to get up and write every day, and I was the only one who could hold myself accountable. I mean, I had deadlines and things, but other than that, nobody's checking in on me, so that was different. But also, like you said, there were points during the writing where I was like, oh, right, I experienced this, or I need to remember this. And there were even points where I kind of stopped myself from writing because I thought, oh, wow, I'm sharing a lot of things, and do I really want to go this deep? And so there were moments where I had to talk to myself and say, you know what? If you're not going to go this deep, if you're not going to be that open, then what is the point? You've just got to keep going. So, yeah, it was an interesting process. 


00:06:47    Alyssa

Yeah, it is interesting. I found myself, I think, one of the hardest things for me is how do I write this story as my story when it involves other people? Right. That's challenging for me, even on social or just like having a brand of like, how can I share my story while being mindful of other people's privacy? It's always a challenge. 


00:07:11    Susan 

That was a big piece. 


00:07:13    Alyssa

Yeah, it's huge. Because we are social beings and we don't live solo on this planet. I feel like I just need this book as like an everyday thing that I read, because being kinder to myself is something that would be such a lovely gift to give. I live often in the world of I'm not doing enough. I'm not enough in this area. Or it feels like I'm juggling all of these balls and some of them are going to fall. Right. And when they fall, the narrative in my head is often like, because you weren't doing enough. Right. If you would have gotten up earlier and then moved your body and taking care of yourself, then you would feel different in the morning. Or if I would have put more attention on my child who needed my attention in the moment when I'm trying to cook dinner and get things ready after school. Right. Like, it feels like there's so much pulling at me all the time that having that grace and saying one kind thing to myself about myself feels like it would be so powerful. But what does that journey look like to being kinder to yourself? 


00:08:27    Susan 

Yeah, I just feel you so much on everything you just said. And I think that's one of the reasons I wanted to write this down. Just to make the point that it's not a how to, it's not a you should, it's not, this is how you're going to solve all your problems and love yourself and whatever. It's really just my experience that hopefully will allow someone else in to feel seen and heard. But yeah, that inner voice that says you're not doing enough. And I think, especially as a parent, just because there's that additional thing you're juggling and it's someone else's well being and you're trying to be so careful about what you say and what you show and what you do, and it's just very overwhelming. And sometimes we lose it and sometimes we can't hold it together. And I think there is always that it's because you weren't doing this, or it's because you can't do this, or it's because you're not good at this. And just the practice of saying one kind thing or even not saying one mean thing. If you are standing in front of your child and you're doing something that you feel was a mistake or an error or whatever, instead of out loud saying, oh, I'm such an idiot, I'm such a jerk, they hear that, and that becomes the way they learn how to respond to themselves. So even just not saying that, if you can't find that kind thing. Don't say that mean thing. But it's a process. It's a journey. And just reminding yourself that you can say one kind thing. You have the words, even if it doesn't feel completely genuine at the moment, it's there. And it's just one of those things that the more you practice, the faster you reach for it. But in reality, we're all human, and part of our humanness is not being able to find those good words all the time. So there's also that piece that's, like, forgiving yourself for not being nice to yourself. That's also a kindness. Yeah, that's sort of what it looks like. 


00:10:50    Alyssa

When we're looking at this. Like, all right, I'm going to reach for one kind thing here. What might that sound like in the moment? 


00:11:00    Susan 

In the moment, it can be as simple as, I'm doing the best I can, I am human. My intention is love. That's enough. I am enough. I can learn. Any one of those sort of mantra-y things you can grab for. Just, I'm going to give myself a breath. Like that little bit of self care. That's one kind thing. So you really can reach for anything that comes to mind that is a good thing. It's not like there's a specific script you need to go for or anything like that, but in the moment, it could just be deep breath. I'm doing the best I can. I need a moment for myself. I'm okay, I'm enough. In this moment, I'm safe. That kind of thing. Just one thing. 


00:11:56    Alyssa

It's helpful for me to have those scripts, even if it's not like my authentic voice in the moment. Words are so powerful, right? 


00:12:04    Susan 



00:12:06    Alyssa

The narrative that's going over my head has been there for a long time, and sometimes I need a new one, and sometimes having scripts to pull from is key to me being able to access that in the moment.  


00:12:22    Susan 

I'm a big post-it person. 


00:12:24    Alyssa



00:12:24    Susan 

So I love that kind of thing. For me, personally, I love it even when, like you said, it doesn't feel like my authentic voice. It's just like, oh, I can turn and look and say, all right, okay. I'm enough. I'm okay. And just that little shift can make a big difference. 


00:12:45    Alyssa

I taught Early Childhood for a while, and in my classroom, I had a sticky note that was in all of my classrooms, and it was just for me. And it just read, they're not trying to piss you off. They need help. And I needed that reminder, right? Like, 7 billion times a day, I needed that reminder. When they're staring you in the face and they're doing the thing they're not supposed to do, et cetera. I love that I'm here for sticky notes. 


00:13:12    Susan 

Oh, so much. And I was a kindergarten teacher for many years, actually. One of my yoga training, kids yoga training teachers said at one point, something about every "bad" although I don't like the word bad, behavior is an unmet need. So it was the same as sort of having that sticky note that's, like, they're not trying to make you mad, there's something going or whatever. So. Yeah, I love that. 


00:13:44    Alyssa

Yeah, I needed it, and I still do. I have, like, little mantras around my life here that just help me remember. One of mine for my husband that often comes up is like, we are on the same team. We want the same things here. We're on the same team. Sometimes we're not playing like it. Right. But we are on the same team is a reminder that helps me get back to, like, all right, we can get back there. Might take some communication. 


00:14:16    Susan 

That's amazing. What a wonderful way to speak to each other. 


00:14:18    Alyssa

Yeah, well, to speak to myself, really, about him. About us. Right? 


00:14:23    Susan 



00:14:26    Alyssa

Words are so powerful, and so what we say to ourselves really matters. Right. And one of the things in this book that's so huge is acceptance. It sounds like that's a really big part of your parenting journey. Can you share more about that? 


00:14:42    Susan 

Yeah, absolutely. First of all, there's nothing like having kids that sort of brings out your own inner trauma that you have not dealt with, that you sort of thought you'd shoved away. But surprise. 


00:14:55    Alyssa

Here I am! 


00:14:56    Susan 

Hello. You didn't work on this! But, yeah, acceptance is huge. I've learned that my children are not extensions of me. They are their own individual selves. And I cannot place my fears, my desires, my expectations of myself on them. And I have to accept their journey now. I'm there to support it. I'm there when they need help, guidance, advice, whatever it is. But I have learned that accepting and just listening and being present is way more powerful than trying to change and fix and do all the things. And your kids go through a million different things. I had somebody tell me they were waiting to have children because they wanted to do it when they were ready. And you hear that a lot, and it's like, you're really never going to be ready because you never know what their challenge is going to be, what their personality is going to be like, what they're going to struggle with. You may pass on some special genetic issues, but you just don't know. And so you have to be ready to kind of accept it and not fight against it. And I'm not 100% successful at this all the time, but I have found in those moments where I can really accept, let go, listen. Those are the moments that are most supportive for the kids and most powerful for me and our relationship. 


00:16:45    Alyssa

100%. And it's so dang hard. I'm such a good problem solver. I feel like I definitely have the answer that would be the most helpful for you. And you as in the general you, as in my child, as in my husband, as in whoever, right? And that part of me surfaces a lot, my problem solver part that just this morning we had the flu come through our house and then strep throat. My husband's been on two different antibiotics and still sick, and it's not getting better. And he was, woke up understandably, still feeling frustrated and mad that he's feeling sick still, and every day wakes up thinking, maybe I'll feel better today. And this morning we're going through the hustle bustle of the morning, and he's carrying his anger and frustration. And that part of me that wants to fix, was so present, right? Like, I wanted to troubleshoot. I wanted to figure out what was going on. I wanted to take his anger and frustration away. And to be totally honest, not because I really care that much if he's angry or frustrated, but because it affects my household. 


00:17:59    Susan 



00:18:00    Alyssa

It affects the day to day. It affects his ability to be present with us and connect. And then my child feeds off of it, and it's a domino effect. And I noticed this, I do not always notice it prior to opening my mouth, but I noticed it this time this morning, and I was like, yeah, it really sucks that now there's this energy in the house and that we're starting our day with this energy. And just acknowledging that for myself was like, okay, it led to a part of the acceptance. I can allow this to be a little bit longer now. 


00:18:41    Susan 

It's huge. Yeah. I always want to fix everything, sometimes now that my kids are older and they know me well enough and they can articulate things well enough, they will say, they'll say something that they're concerned about or whatever, and they'll say, you don't need to do anything about it. I just want to tell you. But there is this sort of instinctive part that just wants to fix, take it away. And then the voice comes in that's like, well, you should be able to do that because and you're the one who everyone's looking to. You should be able to do it. You're the partner, you're the person. So, yeah, I mean, it's huge. There's a chapter in the book one of my sons has OCD. And so it's been a lot of, like, let's find the right doctors. Let's find that. Let's do this. We'll fix, we'll change, we'll whatever. And at a certain point, I had to let that go and just accept that this is part of his journey and I could be here, but I don't have to fix everything, right? I'm not going to fix everything. I've got to let that go. But there was that moment I think I talk about when we were on the playground, and he went through a period of time when he was little where he only wore pajamas, and another kid was on the jungle gym and was like, how come you're wearing pajamas? And my first instinct was to defend and deflect and explain and blah. And I went so far as to respond for him, but I fought my instinct to be like, why are you making...this child was just asking. He wasn't making fun. There was no, but instead, I just responded with, well, how come you're wearing that T shirt? And he said, oh, well, it's because I like it. And I was like, well, that's the same thing. And I thought that was great. I fixed it, I solved it, whatever. But he later came to me, even as a little one, and was like, Why didn't you let me just answer? Like, I can answer for myself. So that fix it person is another voice. And just the next time I was able to acknowledge that, right? Remember that? And so moving forward, I could change that. 


00:20:59    Alyssa

Yeah. It's so hard to notice it in the moment. It's so hard, and I resonate so much. Sage, my little guy, presently only wants to wear cozy slipper jammies. He calls them his, like, footy jammies, cozy slipper jammies. And yeah, I was like, oh, yeah, I can fast forward to this on the playground. What I want in those moments, the part of me that has experienced embarrassment, that has experienced that discomfort of social interactions that don't go in an ideal way, thinks that if I can show up in those moments, I can save him from experiencing that. Right? If I just swoop in and answer, he'll never have to experience that hard thing I've experienced. 


00:21:51    Susan 

That's it. And that's sort of where that projection of your own stuff comes in. In the end, we can't protect them from it. 


00:22:02    Alyssa

Damn it, Susan. 


00:22:04    Susan 

I know, right? But we want them to have so they have the resilience to get through it. Not that we want them to suffer in any way, shape or form, but some of these experiences are okay to have. We want them to have a range of emotions so they can get through that and realize that they don't have to get stuck on it, that everything sort of changes on. It's so hard. And it's so hard, especially in the moment, you're just, like, raw. 


00:22:35    Alyssa

It's so hard. And just allowing, that's where the acceptance I feel like, for me, really comes in, is allowing people to truly be in a hard like, this morning, allowing my husband to have a hard morning, to be like, I'm going to be in a space of feeling mad and frustrated for a little bit. And when I practice it with Zach, with my husband, with myself, then when it comes to Sage, it's easier for me. Right? Then when I'm like, Sage is feeling mad about something, it gets easier for me to say, like, he's allowed to feel mad without me fixing it, without me changing it and just knowing, like, yeah, this is a part of being human. Sometimes being human means I'm sitting with you in your hard stuff. And sometimes being human means we're having a good time and being playful and both of those have to exist. And I think that's a crappy part of acknowledging what it looks like to be human. 


00:23:38    Susan 

Yeah, exactly. And I think that's why I sort of didn't want to approach this as a how to or you'll fix everything because you won't. There are going to be these moments where those things exist, where the bad feelings exist, where the hard experiences exist, and that's where that sort of acceptance and letting go comes into play versus the fixing the how to, the you must, you should, kind of thing. 


00:24:10    Alyssa

Have you been scrolling the Internet? And there's all these tools for calming your child and how to regulate and whatever, and you try them and your child just gets amped up or that doesn't work. Or you find yourself in these cycles where it's like epic meltdown. Try to come back from it and you just feel like you're putting out fires all day long. If this is you, you aren't alone. And we collaborated with an Occupational Therapist to create our Sensory Profile quiz. This is going to help you learn about what helps your child regulate what's happening in their unique nervous system. We are all different and figuring out what you're sensitive to or what helps you regulate is the key for actually doing this work, for getting to a regulated state, for having tools, for calming down, for having tools for regulation. Head on over to to take the quiz for free. You can take it as many times as you like for as many humans as you'd like, and we will deliver results right to your inbox to get you kick started on this journey. 


00:25:28    Alyssa

Yeah, I love that. One thing that comes up in our village a lot is the difference between being nice and being kind. Given the title of your book, Say One Kind Thing, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on the distinction between those two. 


00:25:44    Susan 

That's an interesting idea, concept. I think we can be nice, we can be polite, but that doesn't mean we're being genuinely kind. I think kindness is more sort of understanding what's happening in the moment, having that presence, versus just doing the thing that you know you're supposed to do in that moment. So there's a difference between saying, oh, I'm sorry, then I'm sorry you feel that way.


00:26:20    Alyssa



00:26:24    Susan 

No, you're saying the thing you're supposed to say, but being kind is going over and having a conversation about it. Like, hey, I saw that you felt this way and then I felt this way. And kindness is sort of allowing another person's story to be involved in your story as well. So, yeah, there's definitely a distinction. I mean, nice, we can all be nice. It doesn't mean that we're kind. 


00:26:51    Alyssa

Totally. Kindness for me, feels more authentic and genuine and I think it often wades into the waters of empathy and yeah, nice. As a recovering people pleaser. I've said and done a lot of nice things when I actually wasn't coming from a place of kindness, but was doing them as a self protective measure, right, as a coping mechanism to try and be liked or feel included or make somebody just stop paying attention to me. If I can just do this nice thing, then their eyes will be off me. Yeah. It wasn't always or often from a place of genuine kindness. 


00:27:40    Susan 

Nice sort of is figuring out, okay, these are the social constructs that we live in and this is how you express being nice. But if you're not coming from that place of kindness, that's all it is, it's just this sort of performative, okay, I'm being nice. But if you're coming from a place of kindness, yes, there is that empathy or attempt at empathy or some kind of trying to understand, work out, figure out that kind of thing. 


00:28:14    Alyssa

Yeah. When we're in this space where we're trying to say one kind thing to ourselves, about ourselves, and that other part pops up, that is so very loud inside of me that's like, no, you're not worthy. Like, do better, you can handle this, you should be able to handle how do we navigate that? 


00:28:41    Susan 

Yeah, I mean, that voice can be so loud overpowering and the kindness to yourself can feel like, inauthentic because you've got this other louder commentator talking to you. But I think it's just there's a bit of sort of acknowledging that that voice is there to try to protect you in a way. So it's not there. I mean, it is telling you all these things that are not useful to you and that are not kind to you, but at its core, it's trying to protect you from humiliation, from embarrassment, from making the same mistakes again, from not doing the things that you should be doing. So if you can almost say to that voice like, I hear you, I hear you, I know where you're coming from, but this is actually what I'm going to say to myself. And that's very again, all of these things are so hard to do in the moment, but the more we practice, the more we respond that way, sort of more it becomes a natural way of responding. So I definitely have that voice a lot. And sometimes it's mine, sometimes it's 


00:30:01    Susan

my dad. Sometimes it's somebody else, but I have learned to be able to say, all right, I hear you, and, yeah, I feel like crap in this moment, and I get you, but that's not really like, I know you're trying to protect me, but that's not really what I'm going to say to myself right now. Even if it doesn't, again, feel authentic in the moment, it's just countering right there. It sort of can shift and help you learn to reach for that sooner. 


00:30:33    Alyssa

Sure, I love that perspective and mindset that that part is trying to help you. And for me, that helps me have compassion for that part, right, of like, all right, you want to make sure that I'm lovable. One of the things for me growing up was I'm from a family of five kids, low income family, and having needs was not how you showed or received love. Being needy, being high maintenance, there's a part of me that would rather die than be high maintenance. It is the worst thing I could be. And so when other parts show up and say, you get to advocate for your needs, this comes up for me a lot in parenthood in terms of sharing the mental load. And I just recently said to my husband, like, listen, I know everyone's been sick. I know you've been really sick. And it feels like, I'm taking care of me, I'm taking care of our child, I'm taking care of our house, I'm taking care of everything, and you're only taking care of you. And that's starting to feel overwhelming and lonely. And as I'm saying it, that other part of me is like, oh, my God, he's not going to love you right. You're not going to be lovable. But I love that shift of having compassion for that part that pops up and says, you're not going to be lovable. And just being able to validate, like, yeah, in childhood, you weren't able to always advocate for your needs. It did feel like your love and worth was in jeopardy when you did, and it isn't here. This is a different relationship, and you're an adult now, and it isn't here. For me that is such a helpful reframe. So thank you for that gift. Love it. 


00:32:29    Susan

No, it's true, though. And I think I learned as I got older that the voices I was hearing from the people who were supposed to love me unconditionally were because they had so much fear that they were trying to prevent me from experiencing the same thing like we talked about. And so, again, having compassion for that voice also gave me sort of more compassion towards those people as well, and more of an understanding of where they're coming from. 


00:33:03    Alyssa

So powerful. Yeah, compassion is where it's at. And it's so hard to access sometimes. So hard. So what about in those moments where you don't say one kind thing to yourself and you do allow that part of you to take over that isn't being kind to you? What does a repair with yourself look like after? 


00:33:28    Susan

There are always going to be those moments, right? And those moments and maybe you end up just going to bed. Maybe you're like, this day needs to be over and you go to bed. But the nice thing is you can revisit, maybe. For example, when I was growing up and I'd have these sort of interactions with my dad, I was always waiting for the follow up, the I'm sorry. Or the this or whatever, the explanation, and that never came. But as your own self caring person, you have that opportunity to talk to yourself the next day, the next hour, the next moment. When you're feeling good, you can bring attention to that and sort of think about that voice again. Like, okay, it was loud, and I just gave into it, and I'm a human being, and that's going to happen. If that happened to my child, I would be more forgiving than I am to myself. So you kind of just have to let that happen, accept that that happened, and then have that conversation with yourself. But you know what? I got up this morning, and I'm trying again, and that's really amazing. Like, I didn't give up or I understand that again, you were trying to prevent something from happening or protect me, and I allowed that to take over. Now I have the opportunity to try again or to move on or to understand that the next time. That's what's happening. 


00:35:10    Alyssa

Yeah, we don't have to fix the past. 


00:35:13    Susan



00:35:13    Alyssa

Right. But my fixer part would love to. 


00:35:19    Susan

Right there with you. 


00:35:21    Alyssa

But if I could just undo that, get a rewind. 


00:35:24    Susan

Can I rewind? 


00:35:25    Alyssa

Yeah. I think that's so important because so many of us in parenthood especially, but just as humans, I think, carry so much guilt. It's not just the in the moment, what did we say or do? It's then even afterward, we're walking around with the guilt around it. And I recently I had a hard morning with Sage. I woke up not having slept well. I had a bunch going on for work, and I had been solo parenting with him a bunch recently. And I went to bring him to childcare and found out that it was closed, that his provider was sick. And I just melted. Right. Like, I was like, I needed that. I was depending on, like, okay, I can hold it together. I can be as present as possible. He'll get to childcare. I'll be able to have some time to reset. And I'm not a parent who thrives as a stay at home parent. I am a better parent because I have childcare. So it was just like, I felt like I was crumbling, and I was like, okay, I'm not going to be the best parent I've ever been this morning, and that's okay. What can I take off my plate this morning, to make it as easy for myself as possible. I was like, yeah we're going to have chicken nuggets, there's just going to be as easy of a morning into naptime as possible, for myself. And it's not going to be perfect, and that's okay, I had to like give myself that gift. And at one point, I kind of lost it, I'm not a big yeller but I'll get like snappy and snippy and sarcastic and just rude. And can be a jerk, and I was just like being, I wasn't being kind. And then, I also though didn't at all after that before nap feel like I could genuinely apologize to him. I hadn't had the space for myself to genuinely reconnect. And then I was able to tag team with my husband, he was doing the afternoon, and I was like, you know what, and i stepped away after nap and calmed. I did some work, I got what needed to be done and what I was excited to work on done, and I was like hey, I'm going to go do more work but can I just pop down? I just want to connect with him. And I popped in and I repaired, and then I went back to work, and I truly didn't carry the guilt with me in the afternoon of, like, yeah, I wasn't the best parent ever. Like, I was like, all right. For me, letting go of that required doing my end of the bargain for repair. And then it was like, okay, I can move forward. But I think that so often we do carry that guilt. It's like we navigate the repair, and then we're still beating ourselves up. And as I was thinking about your work and your book, I was like, maybe the kind thing to do is to notice that guilt and say, like, oh, you're trying to protect me and prevent this from happening again. And the kind thing I can do for myself here is say, I'm not going to take that guilt with me. I'm a good mom and I'm doing enough. 


00:38:54    Susan

Yeah, that's so powerful. And I think that's all of those things are so right. We do carry all this guilt, and I have it too. Things I wish I had done or said differently or things that I didn't get the opportunity to repair, things I can. The one sort of gift of the kids getting a bit older is being able to then reflect and admit and talk about the things that they wished had happened or you wished had happened or have those conversations. But that kind thing can absolutely be letting the guilt go because you can't rewind. And how is that serving you to carry that around? How does that interfere with your current interactions with your child or other parents or people in your life? So it's really hard, but that one kind thing can absolutely be letting that go. And again, understanding that it's there to try and prevent it from happening again and protect you. And so you can have that compassion, but you don't need to carry it. I think there's something in the book about how at least with I noticed with the moms I've interacted with, but I'm sure it happens with all parents, but anyone who identifies as a mom or all of that. But there's always this sort of like confession. We do these strange moments of confession and it's very interesting, like, you know, oh, I'm the worst mom. I did blah, blah, blah this morning. Like, we just have to kind of get it off of our chest in order to move forward. We don't want any advice. We don't want you telling us, oh, well, yeah, that was really especially we don't want that, but we just need to confess it so that we can move forward. And I think that's part of the letting go process. And I think that's why it's really important to have community, other people to talk to and be able to not call yourself the worst parent, but to say, oh, I had this challenge this morning and it's making me feel ABC and let it go. But we do have the tendency to say, like, oh, I did the worst thing or I made the worst mistake. And if you can kind of reflect on that and be like, really? You didn't make the worst mistake, like, your kid's fine right now, you're fine right now. Everybody's okay. There's time for repair, there's time for conversation. But just like that act of sort of sharing what that burden is that you carry around can be really powerful also. 


00:41:37    Susan

So huge. the method that I created is called the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I don't think that we're meant to process emotions in isolation. We're social beings. And exactly what you were just saying, that just sharing it, knowing that we're not alone in it, that there's a safe space that we can share, that the very notion that you can open your mouth and share with someone something that you aren't proud of means you feel safe enough to do that with them. You're not afraid of shame with that person. And that's really powerful. It's really, really powerful. And we all need one human we can break down to that we can share that stuff with. And I think for a lot of us, we didn't have that in our parents. And now we look to peers to say, like, can you handle some of my hard stuff without me feeling shame? And we do. We try it on for size. Mine is often I'll be like, oh, yeah, mom of the year award over here. And it's like the failure from the day or the mistake or whatever. 


00:42:53    Susan

Mine is the A plus for parenting. Yeah. 


00:42:57    Alyssa

Another mom of the year over here. But just like and every time I share it and just getting it out, I mean, shame breeds in silence and in secrecy. And so I think you're absolutely right that it is so powerful and we do need that community. And it doesn't have to be in person. It's even just a text of like this is my morning. 


00:43:20    Susan

Some way of just letting it out and in a safe space. It's huge. And I think it's so important. And I feel like part of what I did with this book is in the hopes that I'm putting it out there, in the hopes that it will be received in a safe space. And I'm hoping that whoever reads it will feel like, oh, I've been there too. But just having someone listen and they don't even have to say anything, just being able to know that they won't make fun of you or shame you or make you feel bad that they're just hearing it, and that's huge. It's really important. 


00:44:04    Alyssa

Yeah, that is huge. What's your hope for someone reading this book? What do you hope that they get from it? 


00:44:14    Susan

I think my hope is that they can see that being kind to yourself, changing the conversation in your mind and the conversations you have outwardly in your relationships is a journey, is a process, is not an exact science. There's no miracle cure to make you always respond this way or that way, but that here's a journey. Here's one journey. And maybe there are bits and pieces you see that you can relate to, and maybe there are bits and pieces you can take away to sort of help you on that same journey of being kinder to yourself. I always tell kids when I go to visit schools again, which is one of my favorite things to do, I have the kids do some breathing and whatever to start. But I always have them do these sort of affirmations. And it can be, especially if they're older, like 5th, 6th grade. They're like, why am I saying this stuff out loud to myself? But it has to start young. And I remind them that if they don't feel good inside, if they're carrying all this negativity about themselves, it's so hard to be kind to anyone else. It's so hard. And even if you don't think it is, it seeps out. And so we need to practice. We need to practice until it becomes something that we sort of naturally gravitate towards. And just as I didn't know I was allowed to do that, I want them to know they are allowed to do that. And that's what I want people to know when they read this book. You are allowed to be nice to yourself. You are. And that doesn't mean go get a pedicure or take a bubble bath. That means letting your guilt go, saying one nice thing to yourself, having compassion for that loud, critical voice. So all of those things, accepting your sort of humanity, humanness in the world. And so that's what I hope it does. 


00:46:31    Alyssa

I love that. What a beautiful gift. And you're right, it's so key to empathy, to compassion for others starts with us. It's so much easier to do for others when we do it for ourselves. Awesome. Susan, thank you for writing this book. Thank you for your I Am series as well. I love it so much and I'm just grateful for you. Where can people find you, connect with you? Snag the book? 


00:46:59    Susan

So the book should be is available anywhere books are sold, your independent bookstores, Amazon, Indiebound Bookshop. You can also go to my website, which is, very simple. And you can email me there too if you want to reach out and connect. I try to respond to all my emails and you'll find information about books and where to get them and all of that good stuff. And you can also find me on Instagram @susanverde. 


00:47:29    Alyssa

Thank you, Susan. Have a lovely day. 


00:47:32    Susan

Thank you so much. You too. This was wonderful. 


00:47:43    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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