The Bravery to Change
In this episode, Amy Shenkman Roter talks about her survival through a cult, how she escaped and now lives her life with the bravery to change and be her authentic self.
Amy talks about:
- Amy Shenkman Roter is a Licenced associate councillor & dating coach in her business Successful, Single and Not Willing to Settle.
- Amy did a lot of mini-steps, digging and searching before she finally found her true calling. Settling in life as a teacher first, then a councillor and now running her successful, single and not willing to settle coaching business.
- To Amy, to be brave is to be quiet where you are, and assess if where you are in where you want to be and be willing to pivot and change what you’re doing to get closer to where you want. A lot of people get comfortable and are afraid to make moves to get to where they are going to be happy. It takes bravery to realise what’s not working and be willing to change and take a leap.
- We get a lot of messages when we’re younger from society and the media which create our belief systems. Amy felt called to now do what she is doing, from her life lessons, she is helping women pull through what those messages were and be able to decide as adult women if we want to hold onto them or let them go.
- When Amy was younger, she felt that there was a way she needed to look and behave as a woman. When she looked at others, she saw them getting attention and thought she had to look a certain way to get attention. Amy felt like she looked different from everyone else, and therefore there was something wrong with her. This was the foundation for her self image well into adulthood.
- She thought that she could try out different things to try and find where she fit in, through college searching for attention, she was grasping onto anything and started living an extreme life. She had several eating disorders and continually felt empty.
- Not wanting to continue living an extreme life, she didn’t know what to do. She was willing to anything not to gain weight. So, Amy went to Over Easters Anonymous.
- At the meeting, Amy connected with the leader of the group. Feeling so desperate to find help, she was willing to do anything to whatever she said, as she felt like she was living within a prison of her own self.
- She felt brave that she went to the meeting. She was brave that she asked for help.But what happened, was that she ended up getting involved in a religious cult. In doing this, she had to give up everything in her life, including extensive travel, dating, her entire life, including giving up her friends and family.
- She felt brave that she threw herself in, to get freedom from herself.
- At some point, she turned her questioning off. She completely trusted in the women and the group, no longer in herself for three years. The woman who ran the group infiltrated her entire life, and she lost all of who she was. She felt like she needed to do anything the group told her to do to stay well. A time came when she had to stop and switch to see what was going on, and she started listening to herself once more. And she realised she wasn’t honest with herself. When she would visit her family, she was only allowed to take a member of the cult with her, and she was never left alone at any time. When she realised that her own beliefs were OK, that is was OK to know who she was, when she woke up and began asking questions and realised that she wasn’t wrong. Amy started to be authentic with herself and within the cult. Once she began to open up and started using her mind, she realised they were all suffering, and she finally left not long after the cult disbanded.
- From this experience, Amy learnt to never quiet herself again, or pretend to be someone else to get someone else to like her.
- Now, when Amy realises, she is unsettled; she becomes quiet at the moment, and tunes into why she is feeling the way she is feeling and listens to herself.
Amy's tips for living bravely
- Figuring out why she is feeling the way she is feeling, Amy uses the tools of knowing when we are feeling the feelings. But there is always time to reflect. When she asks herself the question, such as “what can I control in this situation?” Help her to understand her anxiety and become clear and focused again. Asking what your anxiety is all about and what are the things that you can do to calm it down can help. Recognising what anxiety feels like and having the bravery and courage to look at it are some steps you can take to alleviate these feelings within you and truly tune into who you are. Taking time to process situations, feelings and experiences, and allow yourself the opportunity to slow down, can help us find our focus and understand what we can control in our life.
- Connecting to our feelings to know what makes us happy, can help us to connect to who we truly are.
- Catch yourself, catch the thought and ask yourself, what can I do to make peace with this.
- Being mindful does not need to be meditating in the lotus pose; it’s taking moments when you can be quiet, allow yourself to daydream.
- Using the power of visualisation is extremely powerful; it is a significant step and tool to help people take the time to think about what you want. Give yourself permission to daydream to think about the life that you want.
- You can connect with Amy.