The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Episode 100--How to Make Radical Life Changes with Bianca Thomas

May 31, 2023 Billy Lahr
The Mindful Midlife Crisis
Episode 100--How to Make Radical Life Changes with Bianca Thomas
Show Notes Transcript

In this week’s episode, Billy talks with Bianca Thomas, a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Coach, co-host of Evolve Ventures podcast, and the COO, CFO, and Co-Founder of Evolve Ventures Technologies LLC., a global tech company whose mission is to accelerate the mindset of the world to shift to unlimited potential through combining beneficial insights drawn from elite brain health and peak team performers through executive leadership.

Bianca uses her extensive life experiences and a degree in psychology to help others understand and embrace their own identity, live in alignment with their highest values, change their limiting beliefs and create radical transformations in their lives. She is here today to share her own journey towards self-realization, self-love, and self-belief and how she applies this to her work as a therapist and in her own life.

Billy and Bianca discuss:

–Concerns about how her clients and/or potential clients may perceive her due to her vulnerability on her podcast 
–How she avoids projecting her own past trauma onto her clients
–How having low self-worth can attract other people with low self-worth and what to do about it
–Her battle with body image issues
–The concept of always loving yourself and if that is even possible

Want more from Bianca Thomas?
IG and Evolve Ventures website

If you liked this episode, check out these episodes as well:

  • Episode 3–The Only Way Out Is Through: Billy Battles His Demons with Mindfulness
  • Episode 4–What Is Mindfulness? with Sarah Rudell Beach
  • Episode 62--How BOTH Meditation AND Medication Can Support Your Mental Health with Bryan Piatt
  • Episode 90--It's Not Weak to Speak with Simon Rinne, Part 1
  • Episode 91--It's Not Weak to Speak with Simon Rinne, Part 2

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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis

Bianca:  We don't realize the way that we think. Like in all honesty, we don't realize how much our thoughts are really dictating our behavior. So we're sitting here thinking all of these terrible things about ourselves, wondering, why do I keep ending up in the same situations over and over, or why do I feel so terrible about myself? And it's really because the way that we think is dictating everything that we do and we don't realize how negative and destructive that really is.

Billy: Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr and educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher, and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow.

So we can live a more purpose-filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half with more curiosity, compassion, openness and awareness so you can take inspired and intentional action to jumpstart your life.

I do this in two ways. First, by sharing how cultivating my own daily mindfulness practice over the last ten years has helped me navigate the trials, tribulations and successes of my own midlife crisis. I also provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences so you can use that information to enhance your life with whatever you find relatable and practical.

And remember this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom is about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in. Because you just never know what life is going to throw at you.

So there just might be a conversation or two from past episodes that help you feel better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now. Whether those challenges be your emotional, mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, your finances, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience.

And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can jumpstart your life. And trust me, I take all of these conversations to heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations into my own life because my hope is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making.

So that inspires you to seek out the connections between our shared experiences so that you too can take intentional, inspired action. If you're looking for some ways to help you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who's been through it before. Join our mindful midlife community at for our free weekly group Mindfulness sessions, as well as other resources that will help you reflect, learn and grow.

This week's episode focuses on overcoming mental health challenges through therapy, which is obviously something that is near and dear to my heart because cognitive behavioral therapy, which is what we'll discuss today, is what introduced me to mindfulness. And as I've said before, mindfulness not only changed my life, but it most likely saved it as well. So if you want more episodes like that, you can check out my origin story, which is episode three.

Just a quick side note, if you're going to listen to that episode, keep in mind that those were the early days of this show. So so listen to that episode with a grain of salt, Right? Show some compassion. That is an opportunity for you to practice patience and compassion. You can follow that up with episode four with Sarah Rudell Beach, where she explains what mindfulness is.

Check out episode 62 as well. A Bryan Piatt who talks about his own mental health journey and how he combines meditation and medication to treat his OCD. And finally, check out my two part conversation with therapist Simon Rinne, whose Mindful Men movement is seeking mental health world domination. Listen to the episode and you'll understand what that means. Those are episodes 90 and 91.

So with that, let's meet today's guest. Our guest today is Bianca Thomas. Bianca is a cognitive behavioral therapist and coach, co-host of Evolve Ventures podcast, and the CEO, CFO and co-founder of Evolve Ventures Technologies LLC, a global tech company whose mission is to accelerate the mindset of the world, to shift to unlimited potential through combining beneficial insights drawn from elite brain health and peak team performers through executive leadership.

Bianca uses her extensive life experiences and degree in psychology to help others understand and embrace their own identity. Living in alignment with their highest values, change her limiting beliefs and create radical transformation in their lives. She is here today to share her own journey towards self-realization, self-love, love and self-belief and how she applies this to her work as a therapist and in her own life.

So welcome to the show, Bianca Thomas.

Bianca:  Thank you for having me. I'm glad we were finally able to get this set up.

Billy: Oh, yeah. Yeah, this is great. We chatted a while back, I think way back in the summer to see if we could make this happen in very excited to have you here. You've got an amazing story. I can't wait for you to share that and you've got wonderful insights as well. So I think this is going to be a really fun conversation for us to have.

But before we dive into that, we always like to have our guests talk about the ten roles that they play in their life. So what are the ten roles that you play in your life?

Bianca:  So the ten roles that I believe that I play. Number one friend to sister, leader, coach, teacher, lover, proud. Gay woman. A guide, Someone who never gives up and a light.

Billy: I like this light, and I think that's going to come out more here. As you talk about your role as therapist, which you did not list in there, which I think is very interesting. How come therapist does not make the ten roles that you play?

Bianca:  I do therapy in a lot of the roles that I play anyways. So like my role as a therapist, I don't believe it's just to be a therapist. Like, I really believe that in that therapy role. I am a friend, I am a teacher, I'm a guide. I play so many other roles in that.

Billy: Excellent. I like that. And you listed Guide as one of the roles that you're most looking forward to in the second half of life. So talk about what is it about being a guide that you enjoy now and why are you looking forward to being a guide in the second half of life.

Bianca:  You actually had on your show? One of my mentors, Kevin Palmieri, and he's been such an extraordinary influence on my life. And when I talk a little bit more about myself later, we'll kind of go into like how we met and how he ended up in that role. But one of the things that when he was coaching me, he really differentiated the difference between a teacher and a guide.

And what he said was a guide isn't someone who is always just looking to try to help people, looking to try to find people to do all of these things. A guide just is they are that thing. They just emanate that. And so my intention, my goal for this next chapter of my life really is to become like, fully and truly that thing.

Billy: It sounds like a guide is someone who authentically lives their message. And that's something that I think we'll both talk about. This, too, is that we are always working to live that message and maybe we're not fully there yet, but the work that we continue to do is moving us along in that direction. Would you say that's pretty close?

That's fairly accurate?

Bianca:  Yeah, absolutely. I mean, some of my greatest inspirations write like Oprah Winfrey, Brené Brown, Tony Robbins, all of these people, they're still that behind the scenes. It's not like the camera just goes up and off. They put on a show and then once the camera goes down, they're no longer that person. They really emanate that character and those qualities and they are their mission.

And that's truly what I want this next chapter of my life to be. Because the more I can be that, the more I can be that mentor, that guide, that teacher, that lover, the friend to everyone in my life and who crosses my path.

Billy: How does a guide then differentiate from being a leader? Because that's another role that you're looking forward to in the second half of life.

Bianca:  I think anybody can be a leader, but I think a guide is a little bit more intentional about it. If that makes a difference. It's hard for me to explain like I intuitively understand it, but it's hard to explain it. But I think a guide just emanates those characteristics so much more and like part of being a guide as being a leader.

Billy: Well, it almost feels like if you give somebody a map, they can lead you anywhere, right? But a guide is someone who knows the layout of the land and someone who knows how they're connected to that area as well. So I like that idea of but you can be a leader too, because you want to know which direction you're moving in, but then that guide is just the next piece of it because they're embodying every element of it.

And you embody being a proud gay woman. And that's something that you're looking forward to in the second half of life as well. Talk about that. I know we're going to dive into that a little bit deeper, but talk about what is it about being a proud gay woman that you're looking forward to in the second half of life?

How is that different from being a proud gay woman today?

Bianca:  This is the first time in my life that I'm actually embodying this. So when I talk a little bit more about my story, like it'll come out more. But I was hiding who I was for a really, really long time. And over the last year, I've really invested time into really understanding who I am and who the person is that I want to be.

And, you know, what is the change and the difference that I want to make in this world? And one of the components of that really is being gay. I'm not someone who like showboats or whatever. Like, I don't care if you know that about me or not, but it's more so to help other people out there who don't have that voice, who can't open up about the prejudice against the LGBTQ community.

And like that was me for a really long time. I didn't have that voice and I intend on being that voice like, you know, so many incredible women and, you know, men and other people in the LGBTQ community who came before me. So in this next chapter of my life, one of the things that I really intend on doing is becoming more of a voice for this community.

Billy: Well, I'll tell you what, here's a we're going to do. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, Bianca is going to share her story with us. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button.

Also giving the show a quick five-star review with a few kind words helps others find a benefit from this podcast just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose-filled life valuable.

My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm here with Bianca Thomas. You can find her on Instagram @evolvewithbianca. You can find her website, as well. They've also got a Facebook page, Evolve Ventures Society.

You can check all of that out there. And also be sure to give a listen to their podcast Evolve Ventures. Bianca, you have such a powerful story here and when you reached out to me and I read through it, I was like, This is a woman I need to speak to. So what are some of the pivotal moments in your life that helped you reflect, learn and grow to become the person that you are today?

Bianca:  Every time I tell this story, I get blown away by it like not because I think I'm so incredible or I'm so special or anything like that. It's just I really believe that the way that I got to a point that I am like it really was divine intervention in one way or another. And I'm not someone who believes everything happens for a reason and we'll probably get to that later on. 

But I do believe that I was guided to this point. So I grew up as this kid, Billy, who was just so broken. I had mental health challenges from a really, really young age. You know, I was depressed as a kid. I was very suicidal as a kid. I was self-harming. I was the problematic middle child who just gave my parents absolute hell.

So I was known as the problematic one in my entire family just because I was so wild and rambunctious. But I didn't fit in and it caused a lot of discord between me and my family and how I really viewed myself. And so feeling like I didn't belong at home, I would go to school and I was this really shy but weird kid who was trying to fit in but didn't know how to because I didn't have any social skills.

So I'm trying to make friends with people and I'm just outcast as the weird person like that weird girl. Like no one wanted to be friends with her. So I didn't feel like I belonged at home and I didn't feel like I belonged at school. And that's where a lot of these mental health challenges started coming into play.

And even at a really young age, like I was ripping my hair out. So it's called trichotillomania. I don't know if you've ever heard of it. It's a mental health disorder where it's a stress response. So you literally rip your hair out. So I was completely bald. I had massive bald patches all over my head and my mom thought there was medically something wrong with me.

So she's bringing me to doctors all over the place, like for months and months and months and ended up seeing me pulling it out and realizing like I'm actually doing this to myself. So I'm going through all of these things. I'm self-harming, I have no place in the world. I had no idea who I was. And by the time I was 16 years old, I never knew what it felt like to be loved by anybody.

I really, truly did not believe that I mattered in this world, that anybody could ever love me or that they ever would give me the time of day. And so as a 16 year old, when the first person that comes up to you gives you attention, you're like, Oh my God, yeah. Oh my God, someone loves me, someone's going to pay attention to me.

And so I start dating this guy. Six days after we met, he tells me he loves me, and I didn't think anything of it because I'm 16. I'm like this hopeless girl. I'm like, Yeah, someone just loves me. Great. Awesome. It ended up being a very, very emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive relationship that I ended up being in for four years.

It almost cost me everything I almost dropped out of school. I almost moved to Colorado at 16, like I almost did all of these really radical things and I almost dropped out of college too, because I was dating this person in the first couple of years of my college. So thankfully, you know, we ended up breaking up and I was more broken than before.

It was like those four years just compounded and really doubled down on every single horrible belief that I had about myself that I am completely and utterly worthless. This world really would be better off if I wasn't here, and no one will ever love me. Like not even just romantic love, like any type of love, I'm just completely worthless.

It was also at this point that I started realizing my sexuality. I'm like, I think I like girls. So I'm in this weird phase of trying to, like, figure out who I am and where I belong. And I was in this really abusive, toxic relationship. So I didn't have any friends because I was only allowed to be around him.

So I'm exploring and I'm dating around and I'm dating guys and I'm dating girls. I'm doing all these things and it's just making me feel more and more and more empty. Like it's just confirmation that nobody will ever stick around for me. Nobody will ever be there. Nobody wants me. And it was during this time that I actually met Kevin.

So I met Kevin Palmieri, my mentor. I think it was maybe two years after that. So I was in that phase for a couple of years. But the one thing I really did have going for me was the gym. I was a competitive powerlifter. I was like crazy, crazy strong. And so I met him at the gym and he introduced himself to me and we became really, really good friends.

And he eventually became a mentor of mine. So I'm working with him and I'm getting my psychology degree at this point and he's like, You know, you really should listen to personal development. And I'm like, Personal development is bullshit. It's this like, it's this woo crap that people just reiterate the same point over and over again. And he's like, Bianca, just shut up and go listen to this.

And I'm like, It's not real psychology, is it? And that's it. And I'm like, Yeah, okay, whatever. So he's like, Just go listen to this and shut up. So I end up listening to Tony Robbins first and foremost, and something just clicked and I was like, This is what I've been looking for. This is what I wanted out of my psychology degree.

Everything he's saying, this is what I truly believe. This is what I've been searching for my whole life. Like to be like that and to emulate that type of person. So I'm working with him. He introduces me to his business partner, Alan, and I just become really good friends with the two of them. They both start mentoring me, so I'm just like completely entrenched in their orbit now.

Like I'm spending time with Kevin every single day. I'm spending time with Alan every single day. I actually live in Kevin's old apartment where they started the hyper Conscious podcast, which is now Next Level University. So it's a complete three sex. So it's wild. But so I am doing all of these things and me and Kevin are still going to the gym all the time.

He used to be ah, he's still I'm sure you like follow him on social media. He really likes fighting like MMA, UFC, all of that type of stuff. And I did karate as a kid and I was actually really good at it. So he and I would be going to the gym and we'd have our gloves on and we'd just be sparring in the middle of the gym and we're like around the same height too.

So there people are just seeing these two people beating the hell out of each other in the middle of the gym. I'm surprised we never got kicked out like, honestly, we're like really going at each other, right? So he's like, you know, you really should go try Muay Thai. He's like, There's this Mai Tai gym in West there where we live.

He's like, I think you would really like it. I used to go there and I'm like, Okay, I don't have really anything else that I was doing at that time. I was just in school. So I'm like, Okay, So I end up going there and that's where I met Amelia, my business partner. We have this running joke that she punched me in the face and it was like love at first Hook because that's really what happened.

I was one of the only girls that could actually, like, go at it with her. Now, granted, you beat the living hell out of me, right? Like, truly beat the living hell out of me. She's world class, but I was the only one who, like, stuck it out with her. So we become friends. We're spending time together. I'm showing her how to do things in the gym.

She's showing me how to do things in and sparring and fighting and whatnot. And we start talking about our goals and dreams. And at that point, I had told her, you know, one of my dreams is I want to open up an integrated wellness center. I really believe that mental health is so much more than just the mind.

It's mind, body, spirit. There's so much more. And she's like, Well, one of my dreams is I want to do a podcast. Like, I want to be able to speak to people and help people. And I'm like, Oh my God, no way. My best friends have a podcast. Like, Why don't I introduce you to them? I'll I'll set you guys up, whatever, and you can see from there.

So they end up connecting. They help her, they help her set up the idea, whatever. She comes back to me and is like, I want you to do this with me. And I'm like, What do you mean you want me to do this with you? I'm like, No, I'm not doing that. Like, why would anybody listen to me?

I'm a train wreck. She's like, No, no, no. You're way more than you think you are. Come do this with me. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But I really believe in you. And I'm like, All right, I'll trust you. So this is March of 2020. So this is actually right. When the pandemic hit that we actually got started on this.

It was originally the White Power podcast, and we ended up changing the name. A year later, we went through a rebrand, number one, because in the tech world, right, everything is moving to audio. So when you say to Siri or Alexa play the Why Power podcast, it doesn't pick up on it. It actually said the White power podcast and we're like, No, no, no, no, no, no.

That's no, that's not.

Billy: This podcast. No, that's that's not what you want. That's definitely not what you want.

Bianca:  It's like, No, no, no, no, no, no. We're not doing that. So we ended up changing the name and we changed it to evolve ventures because we really understand that evolution is everything in order to become the greatest that we can be, we have to evolve. So we ended up changing the name a year later, but we started off as the White Power podcast, so we're doing this business.

I'm coaching people, I'm getting my degree, the business is growing and everything is just like on that business side, everything is going still so well. I like I never thought that I would be at that point. I never thought that I would matter, that my voice would matter, that I could help people or make an impact. But there was still that deep, deep part of me that just felt so worthless and so unlovable and like nothing I did would matter.

And so I ended up meeting someone. And it was the very same cycle, right? The same as that first relationship I was in. She didn't tell me she loved me a couple of days after we met, but we did actually end up having to move in together a month or two after because my parents found out that we were together.

My parents are very, very old school, traditional Middle Eastern, so being gay is like a no, you don't do that. And if you do, you don't talk about it. You hide it. Like, don't ever let anyone find that out. My parents find out. And it got so bad at home that I had to leave. They didn't kick me out.

I left. I chose to leave. And it was 2020. In the pandemic, there were no apartments and I had never been on my own. So she's like, Why don't you just move in with me for a while and go find your own place? So I'm like, I didn't know any better. So I'm like, Yeah, okay, fine, I can do that.

We end up staying together for a year, and it was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. I really believe it was a worse mistake than that first relationship that I was in, where I was being abused, because that relationship almost took away my business. It almost took away the people who, for the first time in my life, like, really loved me.

Kevin, Allan, Emilia, like my core unit, because I was changing so much as a being in that relationship that I almost lost everything. So it took a year, but I was able to get out of it and that was about a year and a half ago. So this last year and a half has really been me finally doing that work on me that I had been running away from for so long, which was really targeting those beliefs that I had about myself.

And that's exactly the work that I was doing with other people. So it's like, Hey, if you really want to help people, you got to do this work on yourself. You can't just help other people and not do it. That kind of ties in to that point I made initially, which was I want to be a guide. I don't want to just be a leader.

I don't just want to be a therapist. I want to be this so that I can be there for others, so that I can be the best mentor, the best person, the best woman, the best, you know, everything that I can be. So here we are a year and a half later. And honestly, my life has just completely changed and transformed as a result of all of those things that I went through, all of the lessons I learned, all of that deep CBT work that I did on myself, and now I really get to help other people do the same, like in my work as a therapist and as a coach.

And with the business that we're running.

Billy: Well, first of all, I want to thank you for sharing all that. And a lot of that is very deeply vulnerable. But that's kind of your forte. If you listen to your podcast, you are extremely vulnerable in the podcast. And I was wondering, do you ever worry that people or clients will hear that vulnerability and say, Well, I'm not going to work with her, that woman's a mess?

Or do you think it adds credibility in a way that's says, Look, I've been there before, I've done all that. I'm still growing through it to some degree. Let's figure this out together. I have some tools that you don't have. This is what I have used in order to move myself along on this journey. Let's try it out.

Let's see if these things work for you. They're backed by a science. They're backed by a psychology. I have that part of it, and I have the aspect of actually going through some of it. Does it lend a credibility then in that regard?

Bianca:  So when I was in that relationship, living with that partner a year ago, it absolutely was a hindrance because I wasn't living my truth. I wasn't living the things I was teaching. And in all honesty, I did have a lot of clients who left and it was honestly such a low point for me when I realized why they left afterwards.

So they didn't tell me in during that time, but I did end up finding out after that. They all left because they saw that I was such a mess they couldn't listen to me. Now it's very different. I'm not speaking from this wounded place anymore. Like I'm not in the middle of all of this stuff trying to figure my way out of it and then trying to help other people do it, too.

The vulnerability that I expressed with my client and on the podcast, it comes from a healed place where I've been through this stuff. I know and I really believe that this is like my mentor, Allen said, This is one of my superpowers. I wouldn't have said it that way, but he said it that way. He said, Your relatability is one of the biggest superpowers you have because you know what it's like to sit there in the pit of that like depression and shame and all of those horrible emotions.

And you know what it's like being there. And you also know what it's like getting out of it. And I really believe that that's actually a huge advantage. It's not a credit. It doesn't hinder my ability to help people. It actually enhances my ability to help people because I can really look my client in the eye and say, I've never been through what you're specifically going through right now.

I haven't, but I've been through my own demons, I've been through my own traumas and my own depression and all of these other really terrible things. And I know what it's like, so I know what you're feeling. But I also know we can get out of it. And here are the tools.

Billy: I like having therapists on the show who have been through it before, like Jason Klaassen, Episode 73, who lost his wife to cancer, Brian Pyatt, who was very open about his struggles with OCD. So when I talk to therapists who have kind of been through it before, I always ask them, like, when you're as transparent as you are and you know you're still going through it, so to speak, you have all the tools.

How do you not project your own past and your own experiences on to what your clients are going through so that you can actually see them as an individual and not as a projection of yourself?

Bianca:  A lot of inner work. Honestly, being a therapist, even when you haven't gone through a lot of trauma or whatever, is really I mean, being a therapist, being a coach, being a guide, a leader, whatever it is, one of the most challenging things you can do because you really are responsible for the person sitting in front of you.

And if you haven't healed those components of yourself, or if you don't have the self-awareness to understand who my stuff is coming out right now, this isn't even about them. Now I'm projecting you're going to have a really hard time being able to help them, being able to guide them and I am not perfect by any means. I do this sometimes.

I do. There was an incident recently where this happened with a client and she and I really had to talk about it afterwards. And I recognized and I opened up to and I said, Hey, I'm really sorry. I completely take ownership. I messed up. What happened was ABCD, whatever. But, you know, you have to be able to have that self-awareness to understand what is it that's coming out at that moment, and is it something with you or is it really about them?

And if it is stuff about you, you have to have the humility to open up about it. I've never had an instance where I was vulnerable and open with a client where it backfired. It's always been beneficial, especially when you can own up your own shit and say, Hey, I messed up, I'm so sorry, because it teaches them that it's okay to do that.

Billy: A lot of your self healing journey revolves around self-worth. In one of your podcast episodes, I thought you made an interesting point when you said that people with low self-worth attract other people with low self-worth, and I would see this in students all the time, particularly when I worked in the alternative program. Sewers would come in with socially emotional, behavioral academic challenges, barriers, and they would just kind of attract one another and wallow in this pit of despair or this pit of low self-worth.

How do you explain this from a therapist point of view, But more importantly, how do you help your clients recognize this within themselves that, hey, your low self-worth is actually bringing in a network of low self-worth as well?

Bianca:  So there's a few things that play into this. So I'm sure you've heard of the Law of Attraction. There's actually a scientific underpinning for it, and CBT does a really good job at explaining it. It's something called reciprocal determinism. And I've talked about this on the show many times. Reciprocal determinism is this understanding that we have personal factors, so like things that we believe about ourselves are self characteristic, our self-worth, our self-belief, the way that we see ourself, the way that we see the world and our personal traits that interacts with the outside world through our behaviors and through our experiences.

So we take us and we take us into the world, and we're acting on who we are, right? We're bringing our self into this world, having relationships and dynamics and experiences with other people, and that causes the world to reciprocate that. So like you attract that which you are because you're actually putting that out into the world through your thoughts, through your emotions and through your behaviors, which is the cognitive triad in CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy.

So the way you think and the way you feel impacts your behavior. And it's this never ending feedback loop. So when you're bringing that into the world, you are going to attract that back because it's what you're putting out there. And we look for what we already are. We look for what we already believe, we look for what we already feel about ourself.

So if you have low self-worth, you're not going to be able to attract someone who has really high self-worth because it's going to trigger a fear you have in yourself. It's going to trigger a negative belief you have about yourself. You're not going to feel like you're going to be good enough for them. You're going to engage in thoughts and emotions and behaviors that will actually put distance between you and that person.

So you're more likely to actually attract what you already know, which is probably someone else very similar to you. Like I'm sure you've seen the dynamics of there's always either like two incredibly, like really insecure people. There's one really insecure and like the turn of the decade now, which is like a narcissist, you'll see all of these different dynamics and it's because they complement each other and it's because that's what we know, because we grew up with that.

We tend to attract what is familiar to us because we all have a human need for certainty and confirmation bias. We look for what we already believe.

Billy: Well, I think that's an interesting segue into this next question, too, because you talk about people with low self-worth, kind of attracting to each other or kind of the yin and the yang with low self-worth and narcissists. And you've talked about the turn of the decade and we talked about that where Janine Faith in episode 82, if people want to learn more about how to actually use the word narcissist moving forward and what that actually means, that sort of thing.

But it's interesting that you talk about that synergy and the law of attraction, because you and your co-host, Amelia, you really remind of my good friend and former co-host Brian on the bass, because I feel like I'm constantly on this self-worth journey where I'm trying to figure myself out and that sort of thing. Whereas Right. So competent and charismatic that it's almost as if he just can't lose and.

I almost feel like that's sort of the dynamic between you and Amelia as well. And you have great reverence for Amelia in the same way that I revere Brian. Do you think comparing ourselves to the success of other people is part of the reason why we see people with low self-worth continually surrounding themselves, with others, with low self-worth?

You've kind of answered this already, but how do we then get to a point where we stop saying that I'm not good enough and then we elevate ourselves slowly but surely? Because I think that's the really hard part, right? What do we do? What do we see? How do we change those thoughts, beliefs, behaviors so that we stop seeing ourselves as worthless?

Bianca:  To answer the first part of that, I have the most reverence for Amelia. She is hands down, the most intelligent and the most extraordinary human being I've ever met. And honestly, I'm going to say it bluntly. She's probably the most extraordinary person on this earth. I believe that wholeheartedly. It has been the greatest blessing of my life. It's also been one of the hardest challenges, because when you have someone like that who you're this with and you're always connecting with and you're always talking to, it's hard not to compare yourself to that.

And I really believe in all honesty that seeing the happiness and the success and the love that she had with Allen, right, that mentor of mine, she and him actually met and they're basically the same person. So they ended up getting together. And when that happened, I really believe that was one of the big reasons why I went looking for love again, because I felt so alone.

And the extraordinary ness of their relationship really made like it triggered me, not because they were doing anything wrong, but to your point, because of what I already believed about myself. And so how do you actually use comparison for good? I think, number one, being around people, it gives you an opportunity to ask questions and to learn. And I believe that in all honesty, that's why I've been able to become the person that I am right now.

Because, yes, it was hard, but I asked them questions and I really wanted to learn, like I really wanted to learn. What is it that you guys did that got you to the point that you're at right now? Why is it that you guys both have had your traumas and your own pains and your own, you know, difficulties, but you've been able to become who you are?

And so I really, really utilized the people around me while trying to battle my own limiting beliefs of I'm never going to be good enough compared to them. I'm never going to be enough around them. So I really had to challenge and recognize, you know, what are the thoughts that are coming up when I am around them? Why are they coming out?

What beliefs of mine are being triggered that are making these thoughts start to come out and then these feelings and then these behaviors? So one of the greatest things that you can do, and I have every single one of my clients do this is really start to track your thinking, because most of us don't realize how absolutely toxic our thinking is to ourselves.

We don't realize that these beliefs, these core core beliefs that we really hold about ourself are impacting our every single interaction, the way we show up in the world, the way that we show up in these situations, and how we think and how we feel and what we do. So for anyone listening, the first thing that I really urge all of you to do is to start understanding where is it that your mind is taking you because you will eventually be able to backtrack to those core beliefs that you have, which are probably having to do something about your worth, your love ability, or your sense of hope that there's no hope in the future, that nothing will ever work out for you, that you're incapable, that you're incompetent. And that's really what I have to do for myself. So I really had to recognize, okay, a lot of my beliefs come around worthlessness and on love ability. And now I'm really keen on what are the situations that trigger that for me and why and I can work through it in those moments.

Billy: I can honestly say that my mindfulness practice has helped me to recognize when I am spiraling in a tornado of negativity. And we talked about this with Brett Hill on episode 34, the somatic experience of mindfulness, and where I start feeling anxiety attacks and where I start feeling those emotions of low self-worth and self-doubt. So I really like that idea of tracking your emotions and I think meditation is a great time to do that and just being present with what the thoughts are that are coming up and asking yourself, Is this thought that I'm having a kind one to myself, or is this thought something that is a self-limiting belief?

So I'll tell what let's give everybody a minute to ponder that one right there. And when we come back, we're going to continue talking to Bianca about some of these other topics that she covers in her podcast. You want to stick around for those as well. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis.

New episodes come out every Wednesday to help you get over the midweek hump. If you'd like to contact me or if you have suggestions about what you'd like to hear on the show, visit and click Contact us while you're there. Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter to get free weekly meditations as well as free resources from our reflective Learn RO program.

You can also click on the show notes for links to the articles and resources we referenced throughout the show. If you want to check out my worldly adventures, follow me on Instagram @mindful_midlife_crisis. My hope is that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose-filled life.

And while you're at it, remember to show yourself some love every now and then, too. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm here with therapist Bianca Thomas. You can follow her on Instagram @evolvewithbianca. You can go to her website Her Facebook page is Evolve Venture Society.

And of course, you should listen to her podcast, which is Evolve Ventures. She does that with her co-host, Amelia. We've talked a little bit about Amelia. We've talked a little bit about some of the episodes that you've covered. You mentioned that you're a competitive powerlifter. And one part of your journey that I find really interesting is that you did this episode on Body Image, and I follow you on Instagram.

And from where I'm sitting, you were absolutely crushing it in the weight room. But in that episode, you just flat out said, quote, Listen, this is an area where I still struggle to love myself and quote says, Hope you could talk a little bit more about that. What is that struggle?

Bianca:  I find it so funny that you picked out that specific episode to. I'm really grateful that you have listened and you really caught that and I appreciate the compliment. Thank you very much. I think that was one of the most raw episodes we have ever recorded because I just remember I could not speak in that episode. I think Amelia spoke the majority of that episode and I was hysterically crying because I still very much struggle with body image and with overcoming that belief that my body is whatever it is.

And I really believe it comes from being in the family that I was in. My parents really did their best and this is not to like shame, blame, guilt, chastise my parents at all. But I grew up in a culture where your image is everything. And my mom, I love her so much, but she is so deeply insecure and struggles so much with her own self-worth that she tried to like, do everything she could to make us be perfect.

And in my culture, it is not uncommon for just everyone to make comments about your body and to honestly really body shame you. So I grew up always being told basically how I need to look a certain way. I need to be a certain way. I'm too big, I'm too small, I'm too this, I'm too that. And when I started when I started powerlifting, when I was I think I was 17.

Yeah. When I was 17, I gained a lot of weight because to be able to lift the weight that I was lifting, you know, I had to gain some muscle and I had to gain some size. And I didn't really know much about like healthy eating and nutrition and whatnot. But like, I knew how to lift and I knew how to eat.

So both of those combined, I got pretty big, I got pretty muscular. And the amount of shaming that I got for that, not only just from my family but from other people too, like on social media, you know, saying that I looked like a man and I was hideous and just all of these things, it just kind of reconfirmed and reconfirmed that which I already believed about myself, which is that, you know, I'm worthless, not good enough.

I'm not lovable. And having just grown up in that family that I did, everything was about how you looked and being thin and being and being feminine and being all of these things that I just I never believed that I was. So, you know, it really built this negative relationship with my body, and it's something that I'm not healed in this yet.

So I don't really talk to many people about it and I don't coach many people on it because I'm still, you know, really working through it. But it really does tie back into CBT, which is the beliefs that we have about ourselves and the way that we engage in the world based on those beliefs. So I had this really raw belief that my body was just not beautiful, that I didn't have a good body, and that meant all of these terrible things about me.

And so in that episode, I really wanted to have that dialog because I know how many other people are going through it. And that's why I said in that episode, you know, I'm not here to guide or teach anyone on this because I'm still going through it. But I really believe it's important that we just have a conversation about it.

Billy: You know, you brought up something interesting there. It made me think back to conversation that you were having in a different episode, I believe, where you had talked about how your mom would go overboard or and take you shopping or buy clothes, the SAT in the other, and you extended gratitude for that. What I'm wondering is, was there an overcompensation do you feel, on her?

And when it came to making sure that the appearances were always top notch? And do you think that even just some of that plays into the body image that the way that you see your body image?

Bianca:  100%. My parents and my culture. I recently made a tech talk and I'm like trying to build my following on there too. So I've been seeing a lot of the content on there from like other Middle Eastern people and something that a lot of them say is, you know, their parents don't know how to show affection, their parents don't know how to, like, verbally show love.

And honestly, that's something I struggled with as a kid because I'm just such like a physically and verbally affectionate person. And I never really got that as a kid. They show love through action. They show love through doing so. My mom would take us on these like three day shopping sprees every single weekend. So Friday night, Saturday, all day, Sunday all day, we'd be going all over Massachusetts, in Connecticut, in Rhode Island, the entire New England area going and my mom would spend all of this money like getting all of this stuff for us.

And that was her way of showing love. But it also was such a hindrance because in one way, shape or form, I was always told how I wasn't good enough that like, Well, this will only fit if I look like this, or this will only look good if I do my hair like this, or I need to do my face like this.

And my brother being the oldest. My parents work 1415 hour days when I was a kid, so my brother really raised me and my sister while my were working and he lapsed right on that, you know, he latched right on that. So my brother taught me how to do my hair and my makeup. Like my brother taught me how to dress myself and having both of them.

Again, this is not to like, shame them or attack them. This was just my experience of this. They were doing all of these things and it just made me feel completely worthless. Like I'm not capable of doing anything. And I will only be loved if I look and act and be the way that, you know, they want me to be.

And because I wasn't, I felt so unloved. And I in it caused a lot of problems. Like I have this picture that I've posted a few times on my Instagram and it's me as a young girl and I'm wearing this white t shirt that's like all dirty in these shorts and I'm wearing like a hat and I look like a rag doll.

Like, I just looked like I was running around in the dirt or something. And that was my natural state as a kid. Like, I was very active, very playful, very like outgoing and energetic and whatnot. But that was suppressed a lot because I was supposed to be this. I was supposed to look like that. I was supposed to be this person that I wasn't.

And so me and my mom, like, clashed so, so badly. And I wanted to be who I wanted to be, and she wanted me to be someone else. And I know it's because she loved me and she thought she was doing the right thing. And I've seen so many parents do this. Clients of mine tell me that they went through exactly the same thing.

Billy, where their parents, they thought they were doing the right thing. They thought they were doing what was best for their kid, but they were destroying their kid on the inside because they weren't seeing their kid for who they actually are. They weren't nurturing who the kid actually was. And so we grow up being these dysfunctional adults who have no emotional intelligence, who can't build relationships, who keep ending up in these maladaptive cycles.

And then we're like, how the hell did I get here? I'm such a messed up. Like, I actually had a call with a client yesterday and she was so raw and vulnerable in that call, basically saying, I feel like youth trash. I feel like a 13 year old trash girl. And I'm like, Do you want me to be honest with you cognitively and emotionally?

You are. I don't think you're trash, but you're basically trapped in the mind and the emotion of a 13 year old because you were stunted at that age and now you're 30 years old trying to basically make up for 30 years worth of trauma. So, yeah, you're going to be emotionally stunted. You're not going to have like the cognitive and the emotional capacity of someone your age who didn't go through the things that you went through.

And Billy, we all have that. Every single one of us has our thing. Mine was my family and how I interacted in the world and in relationships because of that. And I know every single person has that thing, whatever that thing is. And that's really what we're trying to do out of all ventures is to help people break that cycle.

How do you stop perpetuating that maladaptive broken cycle because you're not that person anymore? And how can you really understand who you really are now and how do you move forward being this new person, not repeating the same broken beliefs cycles and thought, emotion and behavior cycles that you generated from a young age.

Billy: Woman to get you out of here on this? A lot of what we've talked about in this episode has revolved self love. And I'm going to play devil's advocate this time around. So in one of your episodes, you talked about how one of your clients told you that her goal was to always love herself, and your response to her was something to the effect of, Yeah, that's impossible because there's no possible way to always love yourself.

And at first I thought, Yeah, that's true. You can't always love yourself. But then as I was walking around, I looked at it a different way and I was like, Well, now I actually kind of disagree with that because I know my parents love me and they have likely gone through a wide array of emotions with me over the course of 45 years.

But they have always loved me. So why then do you think it's impossible for to always love yourself? Can't we feel disappointed in ourselves? Can't we feel shame within ourselves? Can't we feel regret within ourselves? But yet still love who we are at the same time? Because it almost feels like that explanation makes emotions mutually exclusive. Am I missing something here?

Defend yourself, Bianca.

Bianca:  It's not that you can't always have that deep and, ah, love for yourself. That's not what I meant by that. But you're not always going to be in this state of, like, feeling on top of the world about yourself and feeling like you're this extraordinary human being and always being at a ten. And that's what I meant when I was saying that to that client.

I think the goal is to have a deep inner love for yourself. I really do believe that. I believe that that's everyone's goal on this earth. But you're not always going to be happy with yourself. You're not always going to be proud of yourself and so happy in like all of this, honestly, this bullshit narrative that's on social media nowadays where it's like very fluffy and very honestly, I believe a lot of the message out there are toxic because it's perpetuating this narrative that just impossible.

You're not always going to be in a good state. Things just are always going to be amazing. And to this point that I made earlier, I don't believe that you can just positive think your way into good situations and good things happening to you. And not everything happens for a reason. I don't believe that because you can't hear the stories that I have heard from client eight and tell me that there's some divine God out there, a divine reason that this is happening, that they have to go through this.

You didn't have to go through that. But what I believe is that you did go through it. And what are we going to do now, now that you did go through that horrible, traumatic, tragic thing? How can you take your power? How can you use that rather than let it dictate the narrative about your life that you're destructive or that your completely disabled now or that your whatever it is, the belief that you've developed about yourself?

And that's really what I meant in that I believe all of us should be working towards the goal of self-love. But you're not always going to be in love with yourself. You're not always going to like think you're sunshine and rainbows are falling out of you. There is going to be hard stuff that happens. There are going to be hard times, there are going to be tragedies that come up.

How do you deal with. So that was really what I meant by that.

Billy: Well, thank you for that clarification and thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your insights with us today. Bianca, I really enjoyed this conversation that thank you for having it with me.

Bianca:  Thank you so much for having me here.

Billy: Hey, if you enjoyed this week's episode, be sure to look in the show notes for all of Bianca's contact information. And don't forget to subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts so you never miss an episode. If you're an Apple listener, you can do that by clicking the plus sign in the upper right hand corner. If you're Spotify listener, click the follow button and then click those five stars under the cover art to show the show some love.

If you like what you hear and you're looking for more, but you're not sure where to start, click on fan faves under the podcast habit w WW dot mindful midlife crisis dot com. While you're there, don't forget to sign up for the mindful midlife community so together we can reflect, learn and grow. Finally, I know Bianca and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may also find value in Bianca's expertise and life experiences.

Remember, the purpose of the show is to help you navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. And I hope this conversation provides some insight that will help you take inspired and intentional action so you can jumpstart your life. So for Bianca, this is Billy. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy and loved.

Take care friends.