How to Use Your Sensitivity to Change the World (Interview)

Hiya Gorgeous,

You’ve probably heard of the phenomenal woman I’m interviewing today. And if you haven’t, I’m honored to introduce her to you.

Glennon Doyle Melton is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Carry On, Warrior and, more recently, Love Warrior, which was a 2016 Oprah’s Book Club pick. Glennon has also been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. She’s the founder of Momastery, an online community reaching millions of people each week, and the creator and president of the non-profit, Together Rising.

I’ve been a huge fan of Glennon’s work for years, and I deeply admire the way she unapologetically speaks her truth and stands up for women’s rights. So, I couldn’t be more happy to bring her insights to you today. This conversation is rich and there’s a juicy nugget for everyone—sensitive souls, writers, those struggling with addiction or low self-esteem and individuals who just want to connect with their intuition.

Let’s kick it off by going right into the belly of the beast, the place where Glennon’s remarkable journey began: Addiction.

Kris: For everyone reading this who is living with addiction, what’s the first thing you want them to know?

Glennon: Addiction is a hiding place where sensitive folks go to hide from pain. Everybody’s got their hiding places, some more seemingly dramatic than others. Booze, drugs, sex, shopping, Facebook, unkindness… are all hiding places. And, we all go there because they’re “easy buttons” that keep us from the inevitable pain of being human. We’re afraid of pain–we all are. But, all the good stuff—all the wisdom and courage we need to become the people we need to be next—is actually inside the pain. So when we hit our easy buttons, go to our hiding places and skip the pain, we miss all of our growth. So, I’d say: You’re afraid of the wrong thing—quit being afraid of the pain and start being afraid of the easy buttons.

Kris: One of your big messages for sensitive souls is to feel your feelings and share them. What do you do if someone reacts negatively or doesn’t want to listen?

Glennon: Well, we have to choose carefully where we do our truth-telling. One thing I remind people is something my friend, Nadia Bolz-Weber, told me: If you’re going to share widely—make sure you’re sharing from your scars, not your open wounds. Love Warrior is intensely personal, but it’s not a diary. I started turning it into a memoir two years after it all happened, and I had enough distance to look at all of it somewhat objectively. I wrote the book and rewrote it, and with every paragraph asked myself: How is this not just about me, but about the reader? About all of us? How can I turn my personal story into something universal? I sifted through my own pain and mined it for gold to share with others. When we truth-tell widely in real time, it’s alarming to people because it can feel more like a cry for help than an act of service. You have to be still with your pain before you can offer it up and use it to serve and connect with people you don’t know.

So, in real time, we share with our tiny circle of trusted friends and maybe our therapist. Then, when we’ve found some meaning in it all and feel some peace about it, we can take it wider. At that point, if folks don’t want to listen, no worries. Everybody doesn’t order the same thing on the menu. But, if you’ve got a story burning inside you—it’s likely that somebody out there is burning to hear it. The more personal it is, the more universal it is, too.

Kris: You’ve shared that your mantra is just to do “the next right thing”. How do you connect with what that “thing” is when it might not be immediately clear?

Glennon: The only way to know what the next right thing is, is to get very still, block out all the voices from the world and go inside yourself. There is a knowing that rises inside of us when we get quiet enough. Some call it God, others call it intuition or wisdom. It doesn’t matter what you call it—it only matters that you know how to tap into it. To me, it feels more like gravity settling in than words I can hear. This is the new revolution for women: To stop explaining our damn selves. Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. That’ll take us all the way home.

Kris: Let’s shift the conversation to women and girls. In your book, Love Warrior, you speak out about our culture’s messages to females and how these messages shape their health and relationships. Can you talk about that?

Glennon: We’re all born whole. We are trinities—body, mind and soul. The goal is to stay whole. But, girls get so many threatening and objectifying and shaming messages about their bodies so early and so relentlessly, that many of us stop identifying with our bodies. We just vote our bodies off the island. We agree with what our culture tells us: Our bodies are not the divine vessels of love and wisdom that they were created to be but rather, just objects meant to be judged and shamed and grabbed and starved to meet the demands of the moment.

So, we stop loving and listening to our bodies. We start caring more about how we look than how we feel. We stop caring about what we want and only care about being wanted. We stop knowing what we desire and only know how to be desired. Sex becomes hella confusing when you’re not in touch with your body. So, we have to host reunions for ourselves. We must figure out how to vote our bodies back onto the island and start paying attention to the wisdom our bodies offer us. Our bodies will tell us every last thing we need to know if we’re listening.

Kris: And lastly, I have to ask you about how you take care of yourself with everything going on in your busy life. Can you share some habits that help you stay well?

Glennon: I’ve been trying to meditate twice daily. I suck at it. Mostly, I fall asleep or think about the seven-million things I should be doing instead of meditating. But, I’m not going to give up. Leaders need to be folks who are centered and in tune with the current of truth and love that lives inside of stillness. I have a tattoo on my wrist that says Be Still. It reminds me to sit my ass down and remember the two things I know: There is a God keeping all things together. And, that She is not me. So, I should surrender before I work. Faith, and then sweat. That’s the key for me. Stillness, then action.

Kris: Thank you, Glennon!

I hope you found some guidance or understanding here that will help you take a step toward greater self-compassion, inner growth and healing. I know I did.

Peace & stillness,

Kris Carr

P.S. Need some inspiration to be still before you act?

As Glennon mentioned, meditation is an amazing tool to find stillness and clarity. Check out my Self-Care for Busy People meditation album—with tracks for every occasion, and with some as short as 4 minutes, you’ll be able to find a moment of quiet in your crazy, beautiful life.

Photo credit: Kathryn Kuehn Photography