In Episode #32, Dr. Jill Interviews Dr. Joy Miller, internationally known psychotherapist, author and leading authority on Relationship issues and Holocaust studies on Tips for Embracing Hope and Building Resilience in Difficult Circumstances.
Visit Joy Here: http://joymiller.com/
Dr. Jill Carnahan is Your Functional Medicine Expert® dually board certified in Family Medicine for ten years and in Integrative Holistic Medicine since 2015. She is the Medical Director of Flatiron Functional Medicine, a widely sought-after practice with a broad range of clinical services including functional medical protocols, nutritional consultations, chiropractic therapy, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, and massage therapy. As a survivor of breast cancer, Crohn’s disease, and toxic mold illness she brings a unique perspective to treating patients in the midst of complex and chronic illness. Her clinic specializes in searching for the underlying triggers that contribute to illness through cutting-edge lab testing and tailoring the intervention to specific needs.
Featured in Shape Magazine, Parade, Forbes, MindBodyGreen, First for Women, Townsend Newsletter, and The Huffington Post as well as seen on NBC News and Health segments with Joan Lunden, Dr. Jill is a media must-have. Her YouTube channel and podcast features live interviews with the healthcare world’s most respected names.
A popular inspirational speaker and prolific writer, she shares her knowledge of hope, health, and healing live on stage and through newsletters, articles, books, and social media posts! People relate to Dr. Jill’s science-backed opinions delivered with authenticity, love and humor. She is known for inspiring her audience to thrive even in the midst of difficulties.
Dr. Jill 0:11
All right. Hello everybody! We are live this afternoon with one of my dear friends, Dr. Joy Miller. I am just absolutely delighted to talk to her today because she is a wealth of information and has done some absolutely amazing things, which she’ll tell you about today, in the last… Well, her whole lifetime. There’ve been a few really significant things that I’ve been a part of this last year, and we’ll hear all about that today.
Dr. Jill 0:37
Our keyword today is resiliency. Both Joy and I have stories of our patients, our clients, our friends, and ourselves and how we have hacked resiliency. Today, I just know this is going to be like listening in on two friends with coffee [talking] about stuff that we’ve learned. Every time we get on the phone, we can be thousands of miles apart or even hours, months, or years apart and just jump right back in where we left off.
Dr. Jill 1:06
I’m definitely going to introduce her formally, but I want to tell you about this woman as a friend. I remember back in Peoria, Illinois, when I was the medical director of the Integrative Medical Center with Methodist. It seems like lifetimes ago, and we connected, I think, at one of the events that we did, and it was just an instant friendship, like an instant recognition of souls. You’ve heard me rave about friends on this show before, but Joy is just a dear, precious friend. And like I said, sometimes it’s a year or two before we talk in between, but we just pick right back up where we left off.
Dr. Jill 1:39
One of the things we were talking about recently was: How do we take care of ourselves during these times? And for two recovering perfectionists and people-pleasers, you’re going to hear just a little bit about our stories today. We love to serve; we’re healers, and that’s our gift to the world. We love what we do. But our conversation was revolving around: How do we actually really set good boundaries and make sure that we’re doing the self-care stuff that we teach everybody else how to do? So you’re going to hear us talk about that today and hopefully just get some pearls for yourself because it’s not even really about us.
Dr. Jill 2:12
I’m hoping that our conversation will spark in you some ideas and things about maybe where you’ve not been taking care of yourself or maybe where you’ve been worried too much about what other people think. And again, this is just coming from a real place in our own hearts as we walk through life and continue to try to achieve more but also just be better for the people that we serve. So I hope you’ll enjoy this today.
Dr. Jill 2:36
Of course, this will be recorded, so if you miss it, you can re-listen to it. Any links that we talk about, I will add them to the chat box. And then this will be on our YouTube channel, which is under my name, Jill Carnahan, into infinity. So if you want to watch it, we’ll be sure to share it there as well.
Dr. Jill 2:53
So let me give just a little bit of a formal introduction. Dr. Joy Miller has so many accolades. I could spend 20 minutes talking about her basic background. She’s an internationally known licensed psychotherapist and professionally trained author, and she’s the founder of a great center in Peoria, Illinois: Joy Miller & Associates. She is an Illinois state-licensed Clinical Professional Counselor as well as a Certified Master Addictions Counselor. Additionally, she’s been a part-time instructor at Bradley University and was a faculty member and mentor at Walden University’s doctoral psychology program.
Dr. Jill 3:29
She’s a leading authority on relationship issues and Holocaust studies. It’s one of the reasons I love her, just because she’s such a wealth of knowledge. If you want more information, her website is JoyMiller.com, and I hope you’ll go there because I am not even coming close to scratching the surface of all the published books that she’s written, the programs she’s done, the women’s lifestyle show, and most recently, Resiliency 2020 in September. And I’ll let her tell you a little bit about some of those things. But welcome, Dr. Joy Miller, and friend; it is wonderful to see you!
Dr. Joy Miller 4:03
It is so good to see you. You look wonderful.
Dr. Jill 4:05
Thank you. You too! And I know you’ve been staying safe during COVID and also trying to spend time with your precious son and grandbaby. Is it two now?
Dr. Joy Miller 4:14
Dr. Jill 4:15
I thought so. How old are your grandbabies?
Dr. Joy Miller 4:19
Four and one.
Dr. Jill 4:20
Oh gosh. And I bet they love Grandma Joy.
Dr. Joy Miller 4:23
Well, they do. They get away with whatever, so they love it.
Dr. Jill 4:27
Exactly. Well, thanks so much for taking the time today. And what we wanted to dive into today—we just kind of mentioned it on the phone, and then I know we both thought that this would be helpful for people—is that both of us have really been touched by Edith Eger, who’s an incredible woman. [She has] written two books recently, The Choice and The Gift, and I can include links to these. The reason I was introduced to her was actually [because she was] on your Resiliency 2020 [Conference]. Tell us just a little bit about what you just did recently and how many people it touched. I really want people to hear this and go back and sign up for the next one.
Dr. Joy Miller 5:02
Well, it was just one of these events that was a miracle in my life. I don’t even really know where to start. We were going to do a resiliency conference, but then the pandemic came, and we had to punt. I decided to do a streaming webinar. In the process, we already had a couple of celebrities, but we thought, “I wonder if we can get some more.” We already had Arianna Huffington and Alanis Morissette, and we just started contacting more and more people. I called Erin Brockovich because I knew her, and she said, “Of course, I’ll do this.” And we ended up getting 27 celebrities from all disciplines to talk about resilience, and everyone spoke with their own voice. They donated their time and energy to the cause.
Dr. Joy Miller 5:59
Our purpose was to just have different voices speak about resiliency and their views of what helped them become resilient. It ended up being a four-and-a-half-hour streaming webinar that included 5,000 participants from 69 countries around the world. And we also, for a final speaker, ended up getting Glenn Close, which was a surprise to everyone. But then we didn’t tell who the final person was, and we ended up getting Dr. Jill Biden to be our finale speaker. It was an amazing event. At this point, 444 people downloaded the webinar after the event, and we have a constant barrage of people saying: “Can we watch this? Can we see it again?” So we’re making arrangements right now to make that possible.
Dr. Jill 6:59
Oh good! And where can they find more information about that event or a potential future event?
Dr. Joy Miller 7:05
Well, now it’s Resiliency2021.com. And we’re hoping in the next two weeks that people will be able to sign up to replay the webinar and find out information about next year. And, Jill, you’re one of the participants for next year. I just found out that Arianna Huffington will be joining us. Rhonda Ross will be joining us. Edith will be joining us—Edith Eger. I think at this point we have almost 15 different celebrities that are signed up already, and it’ll be September 9th of next year.
Dr. Jill 7:49
Joy, I am totally beyond honored to be part of it, and I was this year too. I was joking because I was like, “I don’t belong in this crowd,” but it’s truly an honor that you’ve asked me. I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait till next year.
Dr. Joy Miller 8:02
I can’t either. I can’t either.
Dr. Jill 8:05
Aw. And this is how. So I’m going to give you a little background. I think I shared a little with you, but for listeners: I grew up with stories of Holocaust survivors. They call her the ‘righteous gentile,’ Corey ten Boom, who actually hid some of the Jewish survivors in her house. She and her sister were in Auschwitz, and her sister died. I’m not Jewish, but I love you, and I love all my friends who have that heritage so much. I love the resilience that you have shown and the voice that you bring. I don’t know why, but for some reason, it touches my heart very deeply—the suffering that your generations have gone through.
Dr. Jill 8:53
And Edith, especially, I had not known about her, but as I read her books, I love them and I love her so much. If you haven’t read The Gift and The Choice, The Choice is a book about her life story and memoir, and it is so impactful. And then The Gift is more recent. I highly recommend reading these books. Edith Eger is her name. She is just the most beautiful soul you could ever… And you can hear her. I actually got the audible versions, which aren’t read by her, but it’s a beautiful voice, and you can hear her words.
Dr. Jill 9:27
And of course, I have a copy of the book right here, The Gift, right in front of me. I think this was part of our conversation. And she even mentions Corey ten Boom in one of her books because the theme there, number one, is: How do we foster resilience in the most horrific things in life? And I don’t think any of us could come close to what she experienced. So as much as you’re going through right now, which may be really difficult or horrible, I don’t think any of us could ever claim to come close to what she went through. But for each of us, in our journey and in our difficulties, it doesn’t really matter that we can’t really compare. And even Edith says that. But what I loved was the theme of love and forgiveness and how this impacts our lives and our ability to be resilient.
Dr. Jill 10:18
Would you comment a little bit about how she might have impacted you, how long you’ve known her, or your relationship [with her]? I’d love to hear more from you, Joy.
Dr. Joy Miller 10:25
Well, Edith is new to me as well. My studies were on the Holocaust, and I worked with the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, and I am on the board in Chicago with the Holocaust Museum. I originally worked with 15 different survivors who were all in Auschwitz and all women, and my study was looking at how women coped. So this has been my journey for the last 20 years. And as I was teaching a class, one of my students said, “Oh, today I’m going to go hear Edith Eger.” And I was like, “Who’s Edith Eger?” “How could you not know this person?” And he said, “She is so well known!” I started looking her up, and her book was recommended by Bill Gates and Oprah, and she said it was the most life-changing book she’d ever read.
Dr. Joy Miller 11:21
Edith is an Auschwitz survivor. She went in at, I think, 16. She came through the lines; she came to Dr. Mangele, who was at the front of the line, and he determined if she was going to live or die. What he asked of her was to dance in front of him. She was an Olympic athlete at that time, and the way she actually survived was to take herself to another place in her mind. She believes that our freedom comes from our choice of what we do in our minds. And that just touched me beyond belief! It was something that, in all of my research, I had never heard anyone say in that way. I knew that somehow people had to take themselves away from the experience. But the way she spoke about the choice and how it creates freedom—it touched something in me, and obviously it touched something in you.
Dr. Jill 12:31
Yes. I love that; that’s just a beautiful snippet of her beautiful life. The same thing. What touched me so much is… I’ve not had anything close to her difficulties or trauma in my life, but I’ve had little traumas, and I do believe that the resilience core is the belief that—and of course, Viktor Frankl has written extensively about this and has been a hero of ours as well—that will, no one can take away. Number one, Edith talks about what’s in our minds, and number two, that will to survive. You can be physically beaten, mentally tortured, all kinds of things, but that will inside of you, the soul level—no one can touch that, no one can take that, and no one can damage that. And that should give us all hope because, despite the outside world, we have the ability to transcend difficulties.
Dr. Jill 13:24
And I mean, again, in some of my relatively small difficulties, I do remember this idea that I could go to other places. We call it dissociation, right? But you know what? We think of that as bad. I always thought, “Oh, it’s so bad that I dissociate.” Honestly, it’s a brilliant skill in the right circumstances. And you’re the expert here, not me. But my simple way to look at it is that I realized: “Wow, that served me well. I can go to Happy Disneyland when I want to.”
Dr. Jill 13:51
The other day, and this is a silly example, I was getting an MRI. MRIs are incredibly noisy and loud and they’re claustrophobic for most of us. I don’t even have claustrophobia, but I knew going in there that I would have to mentally have the strength to endure this really, really loud noise around my head—it was a brain MRI—while I was there. So I took it as an opportunity to dissociate consciously. And I did; I literally had a lucid dream and went to a whole different land, almost like a dream of being awake.
Dr. Jill 14:20
I came out of there and thought: “Wow, I can do this! I can dissociate consciously from a difficult situation and have this incredible experience.” I literally had probably what an average person on drugs would have as a high, but I can do that naturally. And if we can tap in, and if we can teach people to tap into that level of consciousness… I think it comes from practices like prayer and meditation. I would love your take on this. We think of dissociation as negative, but there’s this piece here where we can harness energy to go somewhere and be creative. And what do you think of that? Or what are your thoughts on this?
Dr. Joy Miller 14:56
Part of my study was looking at coping strategies, and one of those was dissociation, or being numb—to say it in a different way. If you think about someone who, let’s say, has been raped or there’s incest within the family, the way many of them survive is to do exactly what you’ve said. In that circumstance, that coping mechanism is very positive, just like with you and the MRI. Something only becomes destructive when we use it too much or to the point that it is no longer beneficial. So let’s say we use eating as a coping strategy for stress. When you do it too much, of course, it becomes negative.
Dr. Joy Miller 15:47
But the coping strategies are there for a purpose. And I think people who practice meditation learn to take themselves—you used the word ‘transcend’—to another place, whether it’s your favorite place by the ocean or flying in the sky over whatever. You learn and you practice to become better at it and to get to that location faster, [whether it’s] that environment, that feeling, or seeing that light. It’s a very powerful technique. And if you’re in a place like Auschwitz, you need to find a way to transcend. Edith spoke about having hope, and she dreamed of going back and being with her boyfriend. Some of my other survivors’ hopes revolved around going back and being with their families. So relational things are always very powerful, especially for women, as they relate to resiliency.
Dr. Jill 16:54
Oh, I love that. Yes, let’s dive in because you really are an expert in your field. If you were talking to all of us as your clients… Say we’ve lost a job or we’re struggling with the stress of the children at home, schooling, or the uncertainty of our world, whether it’s politics, which we won’t talk about, or other things. There are just a lot of things that create stress, and we are at an all-time high with stressors. I’ve said this before, but from Selye’s work, there are four predictors of stress. They’re N.U.T.S.: novelty, unpredictability, threat to ego, and sense of control. And of course, someone like Edith had all of those every day. We have them off and on. I think, especially in the pandemic, we have a lot of them most days. What would you advise your clients or your listeners here about ways that they could deal with the stresses right now?
Dr. Joy Miller 17:49
That’s a question that I think we’re all asking ourselves and the people around us because the normal things that we used to use are not working right now. We’ve never been in a situation like this. In the past, for me, being around other people would have brought me some sense of resilience; that connection and that energy made me alive. Now I don’t have it. I can’t connect. I can’t hug. I can’t be near someone. So if I’m speaking to my client, or more importantly, speaking to myself, I need to look at new ways to find that connection.
Dr. Joy Miller 18:38
And to speak very personally, that would be finding the connection with myself, which is the hardest thing for me. So I would be talking right now to my clients about: Let’s look at what you’ve tried in the past. What’s helped you get through stress? What are some other techniques that we could use? Does humor help you? Does journaling [help you]? Maybe looking for things to be grateful for every day [helps you]. For me, this whole pandemic and the last nine months have been about facing my worst fear. But my greatest fear, I guess, is being alone. And this has been the opportunity, and it’s been the most amazing journey ever.
Dr. Jill 19:28
Joy, I couldn’t agree more. And what I was just thinking as you were speaking is that I think the thing that’s different here is that it’s really laid bare. Most people have medicators—I just use that term; I heard it somewhere—whether it’s obviously addictions like alcohol or drugs. But there are [also] socially acceptable addictions like work, which has been my past, or even overeating/undereating. Even relationships, sex, or other things can be medicators, and of course, they can be healthy or unhealthy. But [it can be] anything we use to escape feeling or being in the reality of what’s happening to us.
Dr. Jill 20:04
And what I’ve found for most people, and I will include myself, is that during this time, we either have more time or more emotional space because we don’t have so many options for medicators. If we were with people, busy, or doing [something], we might still be busy, doing [something] or on Zoom, but there’s more space emotionally to actually have to deal with and process the stuff that maybe we’ve been able to keep buried up until now. Do you feel like that’s accurate?
Dr. Joy Miller 20:30
I do, and I really think that’s an amazing overview of this whole concept. It’s this space that we’ve never been used to. I can only speak for myself, but I would fill it with doing something else, achieving [something], writing another book, starting another company, or who knows what, or taking care of someone. At this particular point, I’ve been able to use these nine months to see that it’s my choice to not really connect with myself or love myself. And once again, my biggest fear was that if I didn’t do these things, I wouldn’t be loved. So it comes back to that whole relational aspect. And I think for many people, that’s what they’re discovering right now. A relationship with some people, their families that they hadn’t been close to, or this relationship with themselves, hopefully without the medicators.
Dr. Jill 21:37
Yes, oh gosh. And this is where our conversation led. We were both in chapter three of The Gift with Edith Eger, which we mentioned earlier. It’s called “All Other Relationships Will End”. And I remember us almost in tears on the phone going: “Oh my gosh, can you believe this? This is so relevant to us.” And I wanted to read just a couple of little clips, and then we’ll talk about how it’s affected us. She talks about how all relationships will end. And in the end, we have ourselves, and we can’t abandon ourselves.
Dr. Jill 22:05
And just like you, Joy, I have some deep-rooted fears around being alone, and even more so because of my history. I was very dissociated during my cancer at 25 and then my Crohn’s at 26. I think I had to survive. And talking about caring for the people, I went into the mode of making sure everybody was okay because that’s what I did up until then. So I never really allowed myself to grieve or feel the trauma of being diagnosed with an aggressive, life-threatening illness at 25. I was taking care of other people. But that fear still is in me that I’m working through of not only being alone but being alone and sick. That’s a big fear of mine that I’m grappling with. But she talks about this.
Dr. Jill 22:44
I love it because we can’t abandon ourselves. We always have ourselves, and when we start to really understand and integrate this, we can’t really be alone. And for me, I have my faith in God and that presence in my life. And she talks about: “So how can you be the best-loving, unconditional, no-nonsense caregiver to yourself?” Then she goes on to say: “It’s difficult to relinquish our old ways of earning A’s and discover new ways to build love and connection.” So for people who are overachievers and use work as a medicator, again, amen. We also love to serve and take care of other people, and that’s a gift. That’s a beautiful thing. But sometimes we can do that instead of either taking care of ourselves or going to the deep roots of why we’re doing that.
Dr. Jill 23:30
And some of the things that you and I talked about were how, through no fault of theirs, our family somehow fostered the idea that achievement and taking care of other people were the ways that we got love. Or we just integrated it; it wasn’t anyone’s fault but our own. But we did that. So this is kind of breaking that habit. And then she says… And I love this because my family is very like, “Don’t be selfish; take care of others first,” and all of those kinds of rules. And she said: “It’s good to be selfish to practice self-love and self-care.” And I’m relearning that it’s not selfish to take care of yourself.
Dr. Jill 24:04
And she goes on—one more thing I’ll read and then we’ll talk—[to say]: “When you’re free, you take responsibility for being who you really are. You recognize the coping mechanisms or behavior patterns you’ve adopted in the past to get your needs met. You reconnect with the parts of yourself you had to give up and reclaim the whole person you weren’t allowed to be. You break the habit of abandoning yourself. Remember, you have something no one else will ever have. You have you; you have a lifetime.” And then she says, “That’s why I talk to myself: ‘Edie, you’re one of a kind; you’re beautiful'”— I just love her—”‘May you be more and more Edie every day.'” So Joy and Jill, may you be more and more Joy and Jill every day. And then, “I’m no longer in the habit of denying myself emotionally or physically. I’m proud to be a high-maintenance woman.” I’m going to end there, and then we’ll talk.
Dr. Jill 24:50
But I love this because I remember when I traveled back in the day, I would go for a weekend and take two suitcases because often I took a blender, an air filter—whatever [else]—and extra shoes. And I’ve got into the habit, and I decided: You know what? In the elevator, when someone would say, “Are you going to Europe?” I’d be like: “No. I’m going for the weekend.” And I said, “It’s okay to be high maintenance if you’re high performance,” and they would shut up. So I’m learning this because I realized: “You know what? To take care of myself, it’s okay. I’m not going to apologize anymore.” That’s a lot. But I’d love comments, Joy, on that chapter and how it impacted you, because it was profound.
Dr. Joy Miller 25:25
It was a profound chapter. And she always has these little quips that I hang on to. She is formally trained as a logotherapist, so she’s always looking for meaning or purpose. But she has this way of saying things. Actually, I spoke to her this afternoon, and she has something where she says: “Uh, you’re depressed because you’re not expressing.” And I think that’s so true that when we are caught, whether it’s a pandemic or in our stress, we pull inward. We become depressed. We go inside ourselves. And [for] the last nine months, all of us have [had] a choice. We have the freedom to go into that depression and become a little ball, or we can take it and start to express [ourselves]—as we are [doing] today, or just like everybody that was on the webinar—[and] to look at this as: What can we be grateful for? What have we learned? Where are we finding freedom?
Dr. Joy Miller 26:47
I’m finding freedom for the first time to just feel okay with myself. And I know there are a lot of people out there who are probably [thinking]: “Oh, what is wrong with this woman? I can do that all the time.” I can’t do that because I’m used to taking care of everyone, being a therapist, checking on my patients and clients, and doing 10 other things. I got the love that way. But I found that if I… This is really maybe stepping too far over, but I felt like if I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have the love; I wouldn’t get what I needed. So it was like constantly being on this performance treadmill with no way out.
Dr. Jill 27:37
Yes. Oh, thank you for expressing what we’re all feeling. I couldn’t agree more. In my whole journey, the same exact parallel. That’s why we were like, “I so understand you” on the phone recently. The same thing: I feel this responsibility to respond to every inquiry, every text, every phone call, and every need. And I’m realizing in the last nine months that I humanly can’t do it. [With] that amount of response, even if I want to, I can’t. And a few months ago, it took me to a really… kind of a down… I’ve really never been depressed, but I was as close to that as I ever could have been because the joy was not as bright. It was like my light, instead of shining brightly, was just more of a flicker.
Dr. Jill 28:21
It was this depletion because I was responding to everybody’s needs but my own. And again, there’s no selfishness in making sure you get sleep, food, rest, and even quiet time. I wasn’t able to take care of all the needs of the world that were demanding of me and then also take care of myself. So for a while, I chose the world. And then I realized: “Oh my gosh. I’m not going to be okay. My light is going to dim if I don’t really go back to the foundation, turn off the phone, and stop answering every request that comes my way.”
Dr. Jill 28:50
And again, we both love to help people. It’s not an obligation. It’s not something that we don’t enjoy. To me, and I know [it does] for you too, it brings great joy to our lives. But there’s a limit to our capacity, and I realized I had hit my limit. I couldn’t go on like this. So this whole reformatting of this time for me has been [about]: What is the priority? Where do I want to pour out my energies? And what’s going to happen is that as I say yes to some things, that means I have to say no to others, and that’s hard.
Dr. Joy Miller 29:20
Wow, that’s a really big question! I think first of all, it’s the exploration of just finding out how far you’re stretching yourself and really looking at that. One of the things that I do a lot for people who are always overly responsible for other people is to make them aware of how often they’re doing that. It sounds silly, but I have them put a rubber band on their wrist. Every time they find themselves feeling like they have to take care of someone or something else aside from themselves, they have to snap their wrist with the rubber band. And most people come back and say: “Oh my gosh, after two days, my wrist was totally sore. I had to take this off.” And I think it’s just so unconscious for many of us that we forget ourselves.
Dr. Joy Miller 30:25
And it’s so easy, especially as women, to care for everyone else. Like you, I was taught that I should not be selfish, that my job, my purpose, my role, and especially as a therapist, is to take care of everyone else. As you said, it’s not bad unless I’m not caring for my own health. But at this point in my life, my purpose and my meaning have changed. It’s now about giving back in a different way: With my heart and more honesty. And I’m trying to do it not as a way to achieve love or achievement but to just be with someone in a different way and to be with life in a different way, where I’m part of it, not a vehicle for fixing things for people. I don’t know if that made sense.
Dr. Jill 31:36
That totally makes sense. I love how you explain this because it is so relevant. And the thing that came to mind that I know I’ve struggled with in the past is expressing needs and having needs. I think I learned somewhere along the line that it’s better to not have needs and that “you definitely don’t express them.” So this idea that I might actually need something from somebody else… But what you realize is, like… Say you call a friend and like: “I’m really struggling; can you go on a walk with me?” Or “I would love [to spend] some time with you. Would you have time for coffee?” Or “I am in such a bind. Is there any way you could pick up the dog for me?” I would never try to ask those things of other people, right? But the truth is, that’s the ability to allow them to love you back. So you’re actually denying them of some of the love that a friendship or relationship could have. But that’s a struggle I’ve had: Actually expressing or acknowledging that I actually have needs.
Dr. Joy Miller 32:31
Absolutely, and that ‘I can’t do it all myself.’ And I think to be resilient, you have to be able to see that you need other people or allow them to be part of your life. And as you said, sharing. Whether we’re miles apart or years apart, we can ask of each other, and it feels safe. I think it’s also important that we mention that to do this, you have to be with safe people. That really is a disclaimer that needs to be said. To be resilient, you have to find safe people in your life. If you keep going back to the people who have harmed you, you’re probably going to get harmed again. So it’s important as a part of resiliency to—and I know this is hard for so many people—just let some relationships go by the side.
Dr. Jill 33:38
Yes. Joy, again, I love your words of wisdom because I feel like I’ve learned that in the last several years. I have so many beautiful friendships and relationships, and I’ve had very few that have been pretty toxic. What I realized is that for someone who’s an empath and an energetic being, in the extreme level, I really feel other people… It’s this gift because it helps me to feel patience, understand where they’re coming from, and understand what they need from a diagnostic perspective. But on the other side of it, I realized more than ever, especially recently, that I really have to protect that inner circle. Like, I can’t have any negativity—I just can’t. I would love to, but my body won’t allow it. It won’t function because, energetically, I feel it. It takes me down. So I’ve been really working on that as well and setting good boundaries. Not that they can’t be connections or relationships in some capacity, but with the inner circle, I’m really specific about who I allow there because my body, my mind, and my spirit don’t do negativity.
Dr. Joy Miller 34:37
And I think it’s relational and also environmental because you wouldn’t put bad food into your body at this time. But you have things surrounding you. I look at your room, and it’s so Jill because I see the things around you that you love. And when you choose to be more yourself, you put more things around you that illustrate the real you. And I see it there. I think as we clear out our lives, we do bring things around us that are more nurturing and loving versus things that we feel like we have to have.
Dr. Jill 35:31
I love that. And I have to tell you a funny story about this room because you’ll get this, and I’m sure the people listening might too. But it’s a funny story. I used to love the color red. I bought a red BMW motorcycle—like, bright red. I’d wear red. Like, bright in your face red. And I recently redecorated and got some new things in the kitchen. And probably in the last year or so, all of a sudden, I looked around my house, and I have a lot of this beautiful teal. And I joke: This is a metaphor for my transformation in the last several years because red is very masculine, very in your face, and very vibrant and loud. And I think it was compensation for the fear of either not being protected or not being in touch with that feminine side—lots of things. I won’t go into this. This is a whole psychological discussion. But all of that to say—you get the idea—red is a little different than this very gentle teal color.
Dr. Jill 36:12
I come in here, and literally, I’m like, “Ah, I love this room! It so feels like my soul is refreshed and calm.” And now in my kitchen—it was accidental; I had no plan—I looked around, and subconsciously, everything’s now teal. So I joked with a friend: “I’m going to have to repaint my BMW motorcycle to a beautiful teal color.” But it’s a metaphor for the transformation [that comes] from accepting all parts of ourselves. And I’ve talked to another fellow medical doctor who’s a woman in this masculine world. We talked about how ten years ago—you remember this—I would wear a black pantsuit when I’d speak. That’s not me! But I did it because I had to fit into this masculine world.
Dr. Jill 36:53
I’m actually this delicate flower. I hate saying that. I’m actually really tough too. I’m really sensitive, and I never acknowledged that half of me for most of my life. I felt like I had to be tough. I had to be masculine. I had to be red. And all of a sudden, in this transformation, I’m embracing this delicate, tender, sensitive side. I’m sitting and meditating instead of running out and doing Orangetheory. These transformations are very, very real. Most of us have a bent towards one side or the other, but when we acknowledge the full spectrum of ourselves, all of a sudden we redecorate.
Dr. Joy Miller 37:27
It’s so interesting. And I never really considered the red part of you. [laughs]
Dr. Jill 37:37
You remember, right?
Dr. Joy Miller 37:38
Dr. Jill 37:38
You probably didn’t even know me, but years ago, I was much more masculine. And I feel like I’ve really transformed and tried to embrace that other side of me.
Dr. Joy Miller 37:48
Well, I feel like you or me… People, behind me, I’ve got the red. My wall is red here and very Asian. But I feel that the tranquility from the environment and the color allow me to be expressive for the first time—for myself.
Dr. Jill 38:12
I love it. It’s like we have both sides. Again, there’s nothing wrong with it. I love red, and I love my red BMW, and I love the teal. I think the environment and the color can actually help us be more of who we were meant to be, because I love your decor. I’ve seen other parts of your home and other places, and I think it’s absolutely stunning. And I can see how it would encourage you to have more of a voice.
Dr. Joy Miller 38:39
Absolutely. And you know, we’re talking about this, and it’s funny because I’ve been talking to two people who are actually decorators and designers about being part of the Resiliency conference. I really believe that our environment and shaping it and creating a design around us in all ways is a very, very powerful tool to express not only ourselves but to find some peace and some tranquility. It’s kind of like if you go to a hospital, you’d never paint the room red. There’s a reason why they paint it yellow or blue. They want you to be calm.
Dr. Jill 39:23
Exactly. Oh, I love that because it really is an expression. This transformed when I painted this room. And who knew? Now everything is teal instead of red. One thing, as we were talking before, reminded me of one of the last summaries of this chapter. And just a practical tip we could give to listeners is that Edith talks about writing for a day or a week in your journal [the following things]: What percentage of [your] time do you spend on work, love, and play? And sometimes, if you’re in the clinic and either one of us is seeing clients, we might be loving and working at the same time. And I just thought about that.
Dr. Jill 39:56
I haven’t really done the exercise yet over a 24-hour period. But I’m guessing I might be 80% work and 10% play. Well, the love, I think, would be in there, so maybe 50% to 60% love, 80% work, and then like 10% play. I’m not very good at playing. But I was encouraged by that because I think that’s an area of growth. And one thing I’ve done: Three years ago, I had some friends who loved to color, and I was like: “Oh brother. I don’t have time for that. Like, who would sit down and color? It’s a waste of time.” Well now, Joy, I literally drive around in my car, and I have a bag of coloring books, colored pencils, and pens because if I happen to stop at a coffee shop and meet a friend, we will often now color. And I love it. And it’s playing, and it’s playful.
Dr. Joy Miller 40:40
It’s interesting because it also connects you back to your inner child and a part of your inner child that you didn’t get to have. For many people, one way to really not only express themselves in a new way but also to connect to parts of themselves that… Many times, as children, we find ways to protect ourselves. We find ways to be more resilient. And then we lose those techniques and those capabilities because it’s not cool or we think it’s stupid. But I find myself coloring all the time. It’s great to have a granddaughter because I color—
Dr. Jill 41:24
Oh, I love it!
Dr. Joy Miller 41:26
All the time—and do graphs.
Dr. Jill 41:28
I love it. And I’ve seen some of your darling videos, and they just make me smile! Oh, I love it. Gosh, there’s so much else we could say. [There’s] another thing that might be practical to leave with people—I remember this; I wrote this; this is in my journal—from Edith’s book. She was talking about [how], when she sees clients—she’s a psychotherapist—she always asks these four questions. So this might be practical for you guys [who are] listening. And this would be to liberate yourself from victimhood, so [this is] part of that chapter. She said, “What do you want?”—like, for yourself, not for anybody else.
Dr. Jill 42:01
The second question is: “Who wants it?”—because often we’re like, “Oh, well, my dad wants me to go to school to be a doctor.” Well, what do you want? What do you want? So it’s separating that out from not just what you want or think people want you to want, but what you actually want. So the second question is: “Who wants it?” Is that you or somebody else?
Dr. Jill 42:19
The third question is, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”—because often we have these dreams, these ideas, and these things that free us to be the person we were meant to really be. But the last question is: “When?” Like, when are you going to do it? So making a plan [is useful]. And I wrote this down because I thought, “What a great thing for me to really check in with myself, every bit about: What do we really want and how do we get there?”
Dr. Jill 42:41
Joy, you’ve done so many amazing things, and I can’t even begin to name them all. You’ve written at least seven books. And you’ve done the Women’s Lifestyle Show in Peoria—it’s been super successful for decades because it was when I was back there—and now the Resiliency [Conference] and many, many, many other things. What’s next for Joy Miller? Where would you like to see yourself?
Dr. Joy Miller 43:06
It’s an interesting question because someone said to me, once… We spend half a year in Florida, and our dear friends—one of them is a physician. He knows me, and he’s saying: “Joy, why do you keep doing these things? You know, you’ve done it all. You see something, you do it,” whatever. “Why can’t it just be enough?” And the point for me—and I’ve heard Edith say the same thing—is that time is limited. I want to be able to experience and feel everything that I possibly can, whether it’s spending time with my grandchildren, walking on the beach, or whatever.
Dr. Joy Miller 43:55
I really think that what I want at this point—the ‘When?’ is now for me. And it’s really to allow myself to not necessarily get awards, achievements, or whatever, but to really be with the universe, breath, and life, to watch the ocean, and to really be with people. Right now, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to just meet someone and say: “Tell me how you got where you got. I want to hear about you. I don’t want to hear [about] your achievements.” I mean, all that stuff is just different clothes. Yes, so I’ve done a lot of things. Yes, I’ve had achievements. But I really want people to know the real me inside. And if they’re not willing or have no interest, then I need to move on. So right now, the ‘When?’ for me is now, and it’s to be the most real I can possibly be.
Dr. Jill 45:05
Gosh, we are so aligned. I feel the same way. I’m just like, “What does this really look like?” I always joke about the dancing bear, which is like a performer. A lot of times in my life, I felt like I had to perform to achieve love, compensation, or whatever. And I’m moving away from that model. I want to just be myself, not dance for accolades any longer, and, like you said, just be seen and loved for me. Now, I love what I do in medicine. Don’t worry, I’m not going to stop seeing patients. That’s such a joy for me. It gives me such joy, and I love to do that. But the other thing is that I traveled a lot before March of this year, and it was really hard on my body. I don’t think I acknowledged it. So I think things are going to be different. And then writing is this creative solo endeavor, and it takes a lot of time alone. I love it. It’s still very difficult, but that’s a whole different thing. So who knows? But I’m doing the same thing, reevaluating: Where does the most joy come from? and the relationships that we have and the connections. And even with our conversations and spending time with you—I have such great joy with our conversations, Joy. [laughs]
Dr. Joy Miller 46:15
Can I just add that I think it’s really important that people who are listening take time and look at: What have they learned during these last nine months? What can you be grateful for? There are terrible parts of it. I’ve lost one of my dearest friends during this time, and I’m fearful that I’m going to lose my husband, who has cancer. But there are so many wonderful things here. And I’m hoping that people can see that part of resiliency is about looking at those things and celebrating the successes that you’ve made.
Dr. Joy Miller 47:03
You’ve made it through nine months. You’ve done whatever you needed to do. You’re taking steps. And I think sometimes we forget what we’re accomplishing, and no one has ever done what we have done in these last nine months. We are really amazing. If you have made it through this, this is something that no one else has ever done. And you deserve to get a lot of credit because we’ve been through something pretty dramatic, and hopefully we’re coming out the other end soon.
Dr. Jill 47:33
Yes. I love that you say that because it is; it’s just building that confidence that we are going to make it. And yes, if you need some encouragement, go get Edith’s books. They’re both so good. I can’t recommend one over the other. Final words, Joy. What would you say to leave people [with]? You’ve just given us some great tidbits of hope. Anything else you want to leave people with as far as hope, resilience, or tools to get through?
Dr. Joy Miller 48:01
I think I’d like to leave people with… I guess, the hope that you take time to look at: What is your purpose?—to try and discover that. But more importantly, to look at right now who you are and what you can be grateful for within yourself. And it’s not about where we’re going; it’s about what we’re discovering within ourselves.
Dr. Jill 48:33
Wow, I love that. That means anything outside can be changing and uncertain, and you still have this groundedness here that transcends all of that. I love it. Also, I’ve always heard: What we focus on grows. So we can focus on the good, the grateful, the relationships, the people we love, the people we have in our inner circle, all of our patients and clients, and all of those things; or, we can focus on the negative. And I choose to focus on the good, and that definitely gets me through a lot of days.
Dr. Joy Miller 49:04
And I have the choice to find wonderful people in my life, and you are one of them. And everyone who’s listening to you right now is so lucky to have you in their life. You are really amazing!
Dr. Jill 49:17
Thank you, Joy. I feel the same about you. You have touched so many lives, and I’m grateful. The universe had a definite plan for us to connect. And who knows what the future holds? Give your website. Is JoyMiller.com your main website? And then Resiliency2021.com. Is there anywhere else you want to give for people to find you?
Dr. Joy Miller 49:38
No, I think they can find me at one of those two places for sure. I don’t hide too well.
Dr. Jill 49:43
I love it. And be sure to join next year. I’m sure the information is already on the site for 2021. It’s a great event, and Joy did amazing work putting it on. Well, thank you all for listening. Joy, thank you for coming on today. I have so enjoyed talking to you, as always. I hope you have a great evening!
Dr. Joy Miller 50:01
Thank you so much!
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The product mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations or relationship with your physician. Please review references sited at end of article for scientific support of any claims made.