(00:00) You’re listening to the stay open to the possibility podcast with your host, Megan Mcavoy Matte, where we discuss all things, mindset and manifestation for you, high achievers, who are ready to create the life business, relationship and health of your dreams, no matter where you are in your life, you do get to have it all. It’s never too late. As long as you stay open to the possibility that that dream can come true for you. That is what I’m here to help you do.
(00:46) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Well. I am so excited because I have another amazing guest with me today and her name is Deneen White. Deneen and I have known each other thanks to social media, which right. Social media can be this interesting space where there can be a lot of the negativity. And then there could be these rays of sunshine that you get to connect with. And for me, that’s always been Deneen. She’s just on this process and on this path of becoming this amazing human being. And she’s just so loving and so thoughtful. And just one of those people who is so authentic that connecting with her from the very beginning has been a no brainer. She was one of my clients. She’s been in my masterminds. I mean, we’ve known each other for years. And so, I adore her and I’m just honored to have you on the show. And I would just love it. If you would introduce yourself, you know, share what it is that you do, your background, all of that with our guests, so that they can get to know you too.
(01:38) Deneen White: Well, Megan, first of all, thank you so much for having me on the podcast. This has been, it’s been amazing getting to know you over the years also. Um, but my name is Deneen white. What I do on a daily basis is I help take ordinary people and help them live extraordinary lives by helping them get connected into the entertainment industry. I work with a lot of people who are trying to be actors, models and musicians. And what I do with them is not only do I introduce them to high level entertainment executives, but I also work with them a lot on their mindset because when we meet them, they’re like, “Oh my God, I want to be famous. I want to do this. I want to do that.” And you have to take them from the, the idea of the glitz and the glamour, and like get down to the nitty gritty of helping them believe that they can actually be successful. So, that’s what I do on, that’s like the bulk of what I do. Um, something else that I’m working on right now with my two partners is also, we’re going to be launching an idea for entrepreneurs. Because so many times people want to be entrepreneurs, but they either don’t have the mindset, they don’t believe that they can do it, they don’t have the tech savvy because there’s a lot of tech that goes into this. And also a lot of times that they just don’t have the sales training. So, what we’re going to do is we’re going to give them, we’re actually launching this next month in September, we’re going to be helping entrepreneurs like with the 360 of their business. So, that’s a little bit about me.
(03:03) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Very cool! I love it. Yeah. You’re so passionate about what you’re doing. And I think that’s been also a big change too, in the time that we’ve known each other, which I think we’re going to end up getting into in our conversation today of going from where you were. Right? To where you are now, and for me, knowing you over the years, what I really see it as, and you tell me what you think, but I just see this expansion of joy in you and evolution of your purpose, right? Like, finding that who you are and what do you want to be doing, and actually like really going after and doing it at a high level. And so, I love to see it. And so, one of the things that I want to talk to you about is you had told me the most important mindset lesson that you’ve ever learned is that you’re in control of your reaction to anything that happens to you in your life. And so, I thought that was really powerful. Once you take control of your emotions and your reactions, literally everything changed. And I thought it was funny when you said literally everything, but maybe this is going to be what I was saying before, because literally everything sounds like a lot. So, can you fill us in on how you did this, first of all, how do you take control of your emotions and your reactions and all of that mindset stuff. Right? And then what changed? Cause literally everything sounds like, I mean, literally everything.
You are in control of everything that happens in your life.
(04:26) Deneen White: Well. Yeah. Well, first of all, for me, like just a little bit about my background, I’m Italian and I’m German. And I was always taught my whole life, this is just who you are. You cannot change those. So, at one part of my life, I was always told you can’t change anything. But then I was always being told to change everything about myself, because I was a super sensitive kid. Like if you would have said “boo” to me in third grade, I would have started weeping. So, I lived with this dichotomy, my whole life. You can’t change, but you have to change. You can’t change it, but you have to change. And growing up, obviously I was very confused. I was very angry person for most of my life because when you have these two forces pulling you apart, like how, how are you supposed to discern? Like, how are you supposed to muddle through this when you have no one helping you? So, probably about 10 years ago, I would say I started kind of dabbling a little bit in mindset work. There was a point where my grandmother passed away and they put me in therapy. That didn’t last very long because I was telling the therapist what I needed. It just didn’t work out well. But then I started working with people like yourself, Megan. And there was this one point when I was a part of one of your masterminds and I forget exactly what you said, but basically you told us what you need to do is you need to forgive yourself for things that you can’t control. And you have to literally go back to certain points in your life and literally like, forgive the little girl who’s just trying to protect you. So, I’ve took that and I ran with it and what I do now in my daily life, I’m not a hundred percent guys, like not a hundred percent yesterday. I was like flipping my lid on some, on just the situation.
But what I really realized is that if I allow you to trigger me, then you have control over me.
But if I see that trigger and I mean, I’m human. So I react. But if I can take that trigger and say, oh no, you know what? This is just a broken person who, and the brokenness in me is reacting to the brokenness in that person. If I can take a step back on those and look at the situation, logically, if you will, it’s not really logical to do this, but if you can take a step back and not react this early, if you can take a step back, then literally everything changes. And for me, what changed was not only now, am I 85% more of a more normal person because again I’m still, I’m human. Like we’re all, we’re all still working through this. But what changed for me is I also then gave myself permission to not live under the limitations of my family because my family values certainty. My family’s values, having a nine to five job, having a 401k, having all of those things. And once I started taking control of the way that I thought about myself in life, I stopped living for the expectations of my parents. I stopped living for,” oh my, okay. You know, if I want my parents to understand me, I have to allow myself only to make a certain amount of money within these constraints.” So, taking control of my emotions, then I also was able to take control of my life. And I was able to leave, like you mentioned, I was, when, when I first met, I was working in dental offices, which I still don’t even know how that was possible for over a decade of my life. But I was so unhappy because I literally had no control over my life, although I did, because I chose to be in that position. And now in retrospect, I can see that. So, now I’m in a position where literally I am, I get to choose the projects that I work on. I mean, sometimes like I don’t, but you know, cause whenever you’re working in a group, there’s, there’s crap that has to get done. But like literally now, like I’m, my job is to help people become successful. And that’s what I always wanted. Like when I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be a pharmacist. I wanted to be a missionary. I wanted to do all of these things. I always wanted to help people be successful in whatever way they want. And now literally, that’s what I get to do on a daily basis. So, for me, like, the whole world has changed. Literally everything changed when I took control of my emotions, because then I realized if I can take control of my emotions, that I can take control of this area of my life, and this area with my life, and this area of my life.
(08:58) Megan Mcavoy Matte: I love that. That’s so powerful. And one of the things that you said too was, I’ve said this, preaching this for years, I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but that forgiveness piece, you know, that can be so hard. And it’s been really hard for me too, because we can look back on these past versions of who we were and the ways that we were settling, and the ways that we were allowing ourselves to be unfulfilled in our career and our life. And then the other thing you said was that expectations really living under who other people want you to be in what powerful bonds and what powerful chains to break free from.
Because once you don’t have those chains tethering you down, you get to go forward and really take these bold actions to becoming, at your heart, who you knew you’re meant to be.
(09:44) Deneen White: Yeah. I literally travel at least once a month to all over. I’ve been traveling all over the country and especially I’ve gone through a loss this year and I never thought that I would be able to, be able to continue doing it. But it’s amazing! Once you, once you really take control of your happiness and once you take control of, “okay, this is what I want.” Like, something magical happens. I just can’t even describe it. But there’s just something powerful that happens. You don’t want to go backwards.
(10:18) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Right! Right. Well the universe, God, right. We both have relationship with God is going to show up to just support you. So, can you tell us a little bit about one of the things that we had talked about is that you have a journaling practice and that’s one of the daily practices that you have in your life. Now I understand that none of us are perfect. I have a daily practice and some days it just doesn’t happen. Right? And you tell us a little bit about what that journaling practice looks like and why it’s so important for you when it comes to performing at such a high level. Like you just mentioned, you’ve been through a lot this year and we’re going to get into that a little bit today and to still be able to keep going, right? And traveling and doing all the amazing things that you’re doing, despite that. How does journaling impact that for you?
Journaling practice and why it is important
(11:04) Deneen White: For me, journaling is kind of my north star, if you will. Because what it allows me to do whenever I sit down to journal, the first thing I do is I find something to be grateful for no matter what’s going on in my life, because gratitude is one of my core values. Because if you don’t appreciate, if you don’t appreciate the good and the bad, I it’s just, it’s a core value. Anyway, so, I always start out with journaling about what I’m grateful, like something great that happened, whatever it is. And then for me, my journaling time is a time where I can like take a hard look at myself because I think so many times, like in the past, I was always afraid to take a, like a cold, hard look at myself. But when I journal, I take, I, it gives me that opportunity to look “Okay, so, yesterday you got completely triggered by this one person. What was it that allowed you to, why, why is it that you allowed yourself to be so triggered for so long? And how can you change that?” So for me, my journaling practices, a lot of evaluation of what’s going well, what’s not going well. And like, what is it in me that I need to work on in order for that, to, for me to recover better the next time. The other thing I do with my journaling practices, I’m thinking forward, I’m always visualizing, okay, this is what I want, this is what I want. Because there was a day in my life five years ago where I want it to be sitting right here right now in this moment and I’m really, I really understand the power of visualization, of manifestation. So, if I’m not looking forward to where I see myself, then how am I ever going to get there? So for me, like journaling is, it’s like, it’s being grateful for this moment.
It’s looking back and seeing what I can change and then looking forward to where I want to go.
(12:49) Megan Mcavoy Matte: I love that. So, two big things that I heard too, right, in addition to the gratitude that I love, that, that massive level of personal responsibility.
(12:58) Deneen White: Oh my gosh! Yeah.
(12:59) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Right? Like that. And that’s really a theme that I’m hearing right now. And it’s also something, I mean, you know me and you know I speak my mind about all the things. Dear God, the 20 and 21, can we see a whole lot more personal responsibility? Like…
Personal responsibility: You are not a victim
(13:16) Deneen White: Yeah. I don’t want to, I don’t want to talk about the chaos of 20 and 21. I feel like in general, if people would have stopped watching the news and started looking inside, the world would be a better place today than it was before we started all of this chaos. But unfortunately, people were glued to CNN, glued the Fox news, instead of like looking in the mirror of their own soul and coming out stronger. And fortunately, for like, what we did, and I’m sure your clients too, Megan, but like, fortunately we were able to take a whole bunch of people and move them forward. But yeah, I mean personal responsibility, I mean, what you have to understand is that you’re not a victim, like something may have happened that caused you to be a victim in that moment. Because I mean, I’ve had stuff like that. I’ve had, I’ve had stuff happen that shouldn’t happen to anyone, but am I going to continue to allow that person to have control over me?
Or am I going to take control, forgive myself for holding onto that for so long and move forward.
The personal responsibility, I guess that’s one of my other core values now that we’re sitting here on this podcast talking about it.
(14:25) Megan Mcavoy Matte: No, it’s so powerful. There’s I love that. I love that. So let’s go! I think that really feeds into the next question that I have in a lot of what you were saying about, you know, looking into the mirror and that self-reflection and taking that time to really sincerely do that. We need to carve that time out because we’re being inundated at all times and that our lives are just busy period. Right? And so, you have a blog that talks about how we hide our true selves. And can you tell us a little bit more about that? How do you stop doing that? Because I think most of us want to be authentic. Right? And what kind of fears do people have when they finally do become themselves? Like you had mentioned earlier, not living under the expectations of your parents and being who other people want you to be.
The fear of success and the fear of being authentic
(15:19) Deneen White: Okay. So taking off a mask is the scariest thing in the whole entire world. Honestly, because we all want to be liked. We all want others to like us. And I, for the things that I found for myself and then for other people that I’ve worked with is, I think everyone thinks that they fear failure, but I want to pause it. That people actually fear success because when, if you stay in failure, everything stays the same. You’re going to continue with the same friend group. You’re going to continue with your family being happy. When you’re going to go to the grocery store and you’re going to be just as unhappy as that person. Everyone’s going to understand you. But when you start attaining a certain level of success, which you need to do in order to attain a certain level of success, you have to take off your mask, then everything, again, everything literally changes because like I know for me, um, when I first took off the mask, I was like, okay, this is what I was dabbling at first. No one understood. And people like, I remember there was a moment when I was working in the dental office where like my boss was watching my Instagram, my boss was reading my blog and he’s like, “You are not the same person there than you are here, you’re living a lie!” And I was like, “Well damn, you’re right, I am living a lie! I am working for you!” You know what I mean? Like in those moments, so, how do people take off the mask?
I mean, it literally starts with finding a tribe of people that you can unmask yourself with.
Because if you don’t have that tribe, like if I hadn’t met you on so many other mindsets, I would have never had the guts to do this. And I’m fortunate that I have a supportive significant other also who’s like, okay, you know what? Like “Deneen, come on now, you know, better than that.” So, like for me, um, being, having the ability to take off my mask comes from having a tribe of people where you can be safe and you can see that even if there’s like two or three people that can see without the mask and like “AAAAAHHHHH!”, that’s huge. And then that builds up your, your muscles to be more authentic. Because again, like, um, I have two Facebook pages, one is where like I’m showing my business stuff and like, it’s, it’s one, it’s one group of people. And then I have another one where it’s like that, the old me that people still know. And I’m like, I’m actually working on kind of killing that one off because I don’t like that old person anymore. But I think the unmasking process is just, you have to build the muscle. Like you have to be able to be authentic in front of someone. But then on the opposite side, you also have to be willing to be authentically yourself and say, “F it! You know what, if you guys don’t like the person, I’m sorry, I’ll find a new tribe.” I don’t know if I really answered your question, but I think that’s a tough question to answer.
(18:12) Megan Mcavoy Matte: No, I think that you totally did. And it’s something too that I remember us, um, you know, working through and I, I feel like I’m not frustrating confidence, cause you already said this, but it’s a fear that a lot of people have about those friendships changing. And I know it’s something that you and I for sure worked on it. Cause we worked on it in the confines of the mastermind and it’s something for me too, that I have struggled with. Like I remember I went through a big period in my life where I pretty much shed practically everybody. Because it was just, when I look back on the old version of who I was, if there’s no way this new version of who I was would have attracted, not, I’m not trying to hate on those people either. Like we’re not judging, but the new version of who I am, not only wouldn’t attract those people, but also would never hang out with them and it becomes hard, right? Cause we can have kind of this guilt and the shame and it’s so much safer. I think you did answer it really well because you made a good point. I think you made one of the best points about how I’ve ever heard it. Framed where I remember when I first heard somebody say, you know, the fear of success, I was like, why on God’s green Earth would anybody ever fear success? That’s what we all want, right? We made it made sense because you’re like, okay, when you actually tap into success, and that level, and that version of who you want to be, a lot of things are going to change.
(19:33) Deneen White: Yeah. And like, for me, just recently I had the opportunity to go out. Um, there’s a girl I’ve known literally since, before she was born, like I literally changed her diapers. We were the best of friends for years and years and years. Recently, I had the opportunity to go out and hang out with her. And I was like, within the first five minutes, I was like, I love you. But this is, I didn’t say this to her. Well, I may have. But I was like, this is a huge mistake, I have nothing in common with you or any of these people sitting here. And I was like, like I stayed because out of obligation, but I, it’s amazing. And it’s like, sometimes it’s even difficult to go hang out with my family. And I hate to say that out loud, but like I love my family, but my sister, the other day was like, “Why are you working on a Saturday? You should just go get a 9 to 5 job.” I’m like, “So, I can be just as unhappy as you?” That’s the thing that people don’t realize.
Like when you start reaching a certain level of success, people aren’t going to understand and you have to be okay with that.
And like you said, I like, I literally have shed all of my friends from my old life. Like, “Oh my gosh, let’s get a beer.” I’m like, “One day… I don’t think so.” But it’s not that I don’t love them because you know what, like there were some friendships that got me through some really, really, really hard time, like the hardest of times. But now, I’m a completely different person. And I like who I am now. I didn’t like myself for the first 44 years of my life. So, like I’m reveling in the fact that I liked who I am now.
(21:08) Megan Mcavoy Matte: I love that. That is so huge. And I totally get, I totally get you. I mean, I moved, I moved away from where I live. So…
(21:16) Deneen White: I’m thinking about doing that too. We’re actually in the process of that now, so we’re thinking to move west, so… (Megan Mcavoy Matte: If you come to Colorado, I’m here.) Anywhere that there’s internet, I can work. That’s the beauty of what I do. So…
“Hardships don’t only make you stronger, they make you more empathetic.”
(21:34) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Right? Same. Well, you kind of just set into this next question where you had some friendships, right? That got you through some really challenging times and being your friend, I know that you’ve definitely had some big challenges this past year. I remember seeing one of your posts on social media that said “Hardships don’t only make you stronger, they make you more empathetic.” And literally since I saw that post, it was like, I needed to talk to her about this. And so it was a couple of months ago, And I’m wondering if you can tell us more about that and then how empathy is also a sign of strength. Do you think it’s hard for people to be truly empathetic?
Empathy is a sign of strength
(22:13) Deneen White: To answer the first question then, the empathetic question is definitely yes, but I’ll get to that. So, for me, I’ve gone through this year. I lost my mother in April and it was literally the hardest day of my whole entire life. I was there when my grandmother passed away and I thought, okay, you know what? Now I understand. But when I lost my mom, something happened and it literally was like, I mean, I don’t think there’s any way to under emphasize or overemphasize how hard it is to lose a parent. Like whether you have an amazing relationship or not. There is something that happens. And I never really understood that, but I know with my mother, about 10 to 12 years ago, she went through cancer. She had stage four breast cancer and then she had lymphoma. And literally like they, it was, again, it was another one of those situations where you don’t understand what you’re going. You don’t understand how going through the shittiest point in your whole entire life is going to actually radically transform your life. So, when my mom had cancer, before that, I was kind of a, I was a realtor, I’m not gonna lie. “Just suck it up. C’mon! You can do it!” You know, ”God will get you through.” And it wasn’t, I wasn’t intentionally being that way because I literally didn’t understand. So, my mom survived cancer and I learned that people who throw those platitudes like, “Honey, God’s got you”, that doesn’t help. Like, I don’t mean to be mean, it doesn’t help. So, I learned when my mom had cancer, like what really helps someone who’s going through a situation and what’s not. And one of the things that I learned during that time was I don’t think anyone ever said this to me, but I said it to my son, I was like “This just sucks!” And then a couple months later, one of my best friends at the time, her sister died of liver cancer and she came over and like the only thing I could say to her is, you know, like I could tell you I’m sorry, but I know that’s not going to make you feel better. “This thing sucks!” And she was like, “Deneen, you encapsulated it in one moment.” So, I think when you go through losing a parent, when you go through with whatever situation you’re going through, after you get through the emotion of it, if you look back, if you process what you went through, there’s a strength that’s built in you.
When you break a bone, the way that the bone reforms, it’s actually stronger than before it was broken.
And I feel like for me, going through losing my mother this year has made me a stronger person. Because first of all, I now know like if when someone comes to me and says, “oh my gosh, I lost my mom.” Sometimes the only answer is a hug. Um, but all these things have made me more empathetic because now I’m not that person is just going to tell you, “Don’t worry, Jesus got you” or “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” Like, I now know that the best thing that anyone ever said to me, “This really sucks!” “I know it sucks!” You know what I mean? So, and being empathetic in this world is really hard because empathy means that you’re actually feeling what someone else’s feeling. And I’ve always been an empath. And I didn’t know until the last couple of years that its actually a strength. I always thought it was a weakness because whenever I’m around someone who’s in pain, I still haven’t mastered this. If anyone wants to teach me how to do this, please do. But like, I feel people’s pain. Like, you can kind of build up a wall toward it, but I haven’t. My wall has a lot of holes in it still. But I think being empathetic is very much a strength because then you can truly feel that someone else is going through and people can feel that you can feel what they’re going through. So, being empathetic is very much a strength. Sometimes it’s a weakness too because for me, I can’t stand being in crowds. I can’t, I literally can’t tolerate people that I know are two-faced. You know what I mean? Like I literally, like I have no time for that. Whether I work with you or what, so for me, it’s a strength and a weakness. If that makes sense.
(26:41) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Totally. Yeah. I’m super energy sensitive too. And I struggled with the same thing as like picking up the energy of those who are around you, you know? And I think you, you answered the question too, but if not, I just want to know if you have any more that you want to add to this. Do you think that it’s truly hard for people to be empathetic? Right. Because one thing that comes up for me is that most people, I think the statistic is upward of 70% of people just when it comes to emotional intelligence, cannot identify their own emotions in the moment. So, I think for somebody like maybe you and I, where we already are energy sensitive and we’re doing so much of journaling work and self-introspection and stuff like that, identifying our emotions. But do you think part of the challenge that we see today with why people can’t be empathetic, right, and they give those platitudes, like you said, is because they can’t even identify the emotions in themselves. How are they going to do it within you?
(27:36) Deneen White: That’s a really good point. I’ve never thought about it like that. Yeah. I think that most people, when they go through trauma, when they go through any difficult situations, they’re going to therapy where they’re, they’re not actually being taught to face what’s bothering them head on. It was kind of like you have cancer and you’re going there and they’re putting a band aid on your arm or they’re “It’s okay! You know what? Just smile and you’ll be okay.” They’re giving you medicine that doesn’t actually solve the root cause of the problem. So yeah, I think that, um, I think that a lot of times people have trouble being empathetic because they don’t understand the emotions in themselves. And they’re ashamed of their emotions also because there’s so much of a drive. Like I said, at the top of the top of our podcasts, like my mom, “Don’t you let them see you cry.” You know what I mean? So like, I think that people are not being taught anywhere, really how to deal with her emotions. Therapy doesn’t teach you how to deal with your emotions. It’s just teaches you how to like deal with your triggers, it doesn’t teach you how to stop being triggered.
(28:46) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Well, that’s where people like you and I come in. I mean, a lot of my courses, I’m thinking of one course in particular with this is exactly what I do. I teach people, what are your emotions mean? How do we handle them? How do we handle our triggers? How do we actually take the time to respond from them? You kind of said without me even asking the question, because I always find it, fascinating, people will ask me as a mindset coach. I’ve been teaching mindset for coming up on 20 years, right? September 11th, the anniversary is coming up in a month, right? And, um, they’re like, are you a therapist? You have training in that? And I was like, no, I come from the school of hard knocks and get knocked on my ass and having to learn all this stuff to change. And so it’s like, it always boggles my mind, how clients can come to me and have worked with therapists for years and get no results. And then I have one call with them and they’re like, you just changed my entire life in one sentence. Because we’re not going to sit here and put the band aid on and rip the band aid off and see what we need to do to treat that wound. You feel it, and you know what? It might involve the fact that we need to peel some more freaking layers of skin, it’s gonna hurt. Like, sorry. It’s gonna hurt. It’s just amazing. So that leads me to my, sorry, go ahead.
(30:06) Deneen White: No, but that also leads back to personal responsibility. Like, people don’t want to be responsible if they still want to blame someone else for, for what’s going on in their lives. And I’ve just, again, I’m over casting blame on anyone. So…
(30:21) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Yeah. Well that’s the change in a victim mindset, right? I’m not a victim, no matter what. And I love how you said that earlier, we’ve been victimized. It’s 2021. If you haven’t been traumatized or victimized in some way or something, then you are some kind of…
(30:35) Deneen White: Then you are still an embryo. Let’s be honest.
(30:37) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Yeah. Right. You’re a magical unicorn, like good for you. So, that leads me to my next question. And I know some of my questions are kind of long, but they’re thoughtful, because I know you have so much value to add, is how is empathy different from compassion? And you were just touching on this, right? But in dealing with your mom and in one of your blogs, you say, whenever something happens that causes other stress or grief, I immediately go into militant mode. But you’re like, you can get through this, right? I take over, I go into action. And what I realized today is that my coping mechanism, which I think this is another example of taking responsibility. You’re like, I’m coping by projecting that on to you for grief can come off as lacking compassion and being too intense. So, how does somebody become more compassionate? And there is a difference between empathy and compassion. And I love to teach on this and I’d love to hear from your experience because you are really in the trenches of this. And especially in this past year, I think that you have been and to be able to self-identify in such a way to see that about yourself. So, what’s the difference between the two and how does one become more compassionate?
Empathy and Compassion
(31:43) Deneen White: Empathy is literally feeling someone else’s feelings. So, if someone is sad, like I love the line in Steel Magnolias where Dolly Parton’s like “I don’t let anyone cry alone”, that’s me, you know what I mean? So, empathy is feeling is feeling someone else’s emotions, the way I see compassion is, that’s taking yourself out of the equation so that you can comfort someone else. And for me, I’m a Virgo, I’m a type A personality, I love to be in control and I literally hate seeing people I love in pain. So, um, when I, when I wrote that it was, I can still remember because it was, I think that blog I wrote two years ago because we had a situation where our family dog died and everyone was broken off into pieces and I was like, “Okay, well, this is what we need to do. First of all, we need to take care of this situation.” And it’s like, it seems like such a small microcosm if you’re not a pet person. But like, even with mom, my mom passed away, does the same thing. I’m like, okay. So, I got there. I was “Okay. So, we need to make decisions. We need to do this. We need to do that. I need to do this.” And I was like, again because like, I, I know I want to take away that pain. So, compassion is understanding that people need to go through the emotions in their own way and giving them the freedom to do that. And, um, empathy is like actually feeling the pain.
(33:11) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Gotcha. Yep. I like that a lot. And so, in what way would the world be a better place if we all acted with more compassion?
(33:18) Deneen White: In what way would the world be a better place? Oh my gosh! I think that one of the other things about compassion is that it’s not judgy. You’re not judging someone else for going through. So, if you just allow people the freedom to go through what they have to go through on their own terms, and maybe like if you’re there to guide them. But like, if we were more compassionate about people who are homeless, for example, or if we were more compassionate about people that are addicted to drugs, if we just… I think what’s compassionate, it’s like Jesus taught, like just love people, like if we would just love people where they are versus trying to get them where we want them to be. Like, if you had been militant with me, “Deneen! You need to work on your mindset, you need to do this, you need to do that.” It’s like you would’ve forced it, it never would have happened. But because you came to me with compassion and empathy, like, I know what you’re feeling, this is something you need to through, this is the way I suggest you do it, but you do it on your own pace. It’s like, you weren’t like watching me, like, “Deneen, sit down!” You know what I mean? So I think, if we would allow people to be who they are and to go through whatever they’re going through without judging them, I think the world would be a better place. Because I mean, again, we talked about this too, you turn on the news and people are like, “AHHHHH!” Everyone’s freaking out. “You need to do this. You need to do that.” But you know what? Like, let people come to their own conclusions and love them through that process and guide them if they ask you for guidance. Don’t force your opinion on them.
(34:51) Megan Mcavoy Matte: I love that. That’s actually nice to hear. Because I sometimes think I’m a bit of an ass kicker when it comes to mindset work. And I’m like, do I ever cross as like this militant ass kicker? But I also think the compassion piece in that space and that grace to grow are just so important because it’s not going to happen otherwise. You know you’re right. You’re totally right. So, you’ve already mentioned this a little bit, but I think it’s important to share, you know, speaking of grief, you face that on head on with, with losing your mom. And I think it was unexpected, right? It wasn’t like we saw this coming. And so I’d be interested to know what that taught you about yourself and in life in general. And one of the things for me, so, my daughter was born as you know, in December of 2019. And so by that March, the world had gone into lockdown. And pretty much when I had my daughter, I was told, because it was winter and RSV and flu season, that I needed to stay home, right? We needed to stay home and keep her incubated, which I look back and I’m like, thank God we didn’t. We like, went out and we lived our lives. We did things because then all of a sudden in March, the world got shut down. And so, obviously my grief is different than, than what you went through. But I did notice finally, and it took some peeling back some layers, that I was actually grieving, you know? And I’m sure a lot of us in this past year were, and I think there’s layers to this, right? Layers to loss, but I was grieving this accident, like smaller things too, can be grief. Like, I couldn’t go to mom and baby yoga. I couldn’t get away from my kid to go just to a yoga class to handle the postpartum for monal everything. And so, grief is a truly fascinating thing. And for me, what I found I did is that I pushed it away a lot as a means to survive and be a mom and show up for my kids. And I actually hid it behind a lot of anger. And so, what my question for you is I feel like you’ve obviously experienced a much higher level of grief than I did and not that we need to compare each other, but like, it’s just a fact, right? And so, what has that taught you about yourself in life, in general? And for those of us who have a tendency to do what I do, which is push that away and minimize it, how do we actually lean into it to just, you gotta let it out, right? Like, you know, talk to us about this because grief is one of those things that if you don’t let it out, what’s going to happen?
Grief is a living, breathing organism
(37:24) Deneen White: If you don’t let it out, what’ll happen is you’ll wind up in bed for a week or two weeks or a month and have a nervous breakdown because I’ve been there as well. Because, um, I can, I can talk about that as well. But for me, grief is, it’s a living, breathing organism. There are books that are written on grief. You go through this stage. I don’t even know the stages of grief. What I can tell you is that grief is a living, breathing organism, and you never know when it’s going to come up and hit you in the butt literally. Because there are days where I’m totally fine and then there are days where I just sleep all day. But what it’s taught me as a human being is that, first of all, I’m going to talk about the chaos of 2020. I actually hadn’t seen my mom since Christmas of 2019. So for me, when she first, it was over a year since I had seen her, I talked to her all, I had talked to her all the time and actually two days before she, um, so just you guys want to know, my mom had a massive stroke. Um, I got a phone call on, I talked to my mom on Saturday and we had an amazing conversation. It was literally the best conversation we had had in a year and a half, two years. Like, she was happy. It was an hour long conversation. It was amazing and to be honest, in retrospect, I think she had known she had a stroke, but she just wasn’t like letting on. But anyway, so I got a call. I had an amazing conversation with her on Saturday, on Monday, my sister called me, it was like four o’clock in the afternoon. And she was like, “Deneen, what are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m working. What do you think I’m doing? I’m always working.” And she’s like, “I need you to sit down.” I was like, “Why?” She said “Mom had a stroke.” And I was like, “Okay. So, mom had a stroke.” Like, she’s still mad at that for getting a new roof, for not consulting her or like mom had a stroke so you’ll know? Mom had a stroke and they just took her out on the ambulance. And I was scheduled to leave two days later to go on a business trip. And my boyfriend, God bless his soul, he said, “Well, you know, we don’t know what’s going on. You want me to take you to your parents right now?” I was like, no, no, there was nothing I could do. So, um, so Monday, Tuesday morning, bright and early, I was in New Jersey with my dad. We spent time with my mom. And the next day we made the decision to take her off life support. So, um, it was very sudden. It was very, very sudden. And what I learned in myself is again, that I’m very militant and that I’m very protective of the people that I care about. Like I made sure that my dad and my sister were supported because they were the ones that were there every day, taking care of my mom, because the reality is her health had been deteriorating and I wasn’t there. So, not only was I dealing with my dad losing his, they said they’d been together since they were 20. So, they’d been together for as long as I’ve been alive literally. I was dealing with my sister who had all of this guilt because even though she was there every day, she and my mom always bumped heads unless she was feeling guilty because she didn’t realize that my mom was having a stroke because she had a stomach ache or something. And then I was dealing with my own guilt of not having seen my mom for so long. And then I also had family, Oh My God! Like people wanting to come to, I’m like “No. No. No.” We need to grieve in our own way.
So, what I learned about myself as a human being is that I’m much more resilient than I ever thought I was. I learned that I’m a hell of a lot stronger than I ever thought I was.
And I just learned that some things just suck having to sit there with your mom and like, I was the one that was holding her hand when she took her last breath. And I learned that I can do really, really hard things and I can still help other people no matter what. Because, um, Deneen 3, 4, 5, 6 years ago, wouldn’t be here having this conversation with you because I don’t know that if I hadn’t done the beat mindset work that I’ve done, if I didn’t have the support system that I had, I don’t know that I could have survived that guilt. So, um, and, and I think grief, I don’t think that you can really say that there are different levels of grief because all grief is the same. I have a lot of friends that had babies last year and they all have, they’re all going through very similar things that you are like, oh my gosh, like my, like my one friend was in Spain when she had her son and literally they, they were in lockdown. Like, literally she couldn’t take her baby out to see the sun because they weren’t allowed out. So, the thing I want, as far as grief, it’s a living, breathing organism. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Some days, again, some days you could be totally fine. But the thing that you have to do with grief is you have to face it head on. Like, you have to cry those crocodile tears and you have to have someone in your life that will allow you the space to grieve. Because I think like, like myself, when my grandmother passed away, like I pushed so much of it down that one day, like I smelled her perfume and I completely lost it. I was like in the CVS or something like, what is going on? So, with grief, the way that I deal with it, and again, I’m not, obviously, not a counselor, but I’m very well… with grief, is I dance with it. Like, I allow it to, I allow it to be whatever it has to be that day. Like when my mother, when we were in the hospital, like, they were like “What is wrong with these people?” We were like laughing our asses off. We were like telling funny stories about her the next day when we went to the funeral home, um, the guy who was the funeral director was actually like someone I went to high school with. And we were like, we were like, my uncle was like, here, take a box of tissues. This is going to be the hardest day of your whole life. We were like, “Okay. None of us had ever planned a funeral.” So, we didn’t know, right? We were at a funeral home and we were laughing about like, “Oh my gosh!” But for us in that moment, grief was laughter because my mom would have been like pissed at us, and we were there, “Wohoo!” She was like, “What’s wrong with you?” Like I’m at home with Jesus. I’m dancing, stop acting crazy.
So, I think grief for everyone is different, but you just have to let it be what it is.
There’s no, I don’t, I don’t care who writes a textbook on grief, just burn it. Don’t read it and just, just lean into it. Like, don’t be afraid to say, okay, you know what? Like for us, it was three months the other day when my mom, since my mom passed, I don’t know how that’s possible, but like that day, I allowed myself just to cry all day. Like, I allowed myself the space to just feel, because if you don’t, if you don’t allow yourself that space, you’re not doing your, first of all, you’re being cruel to yourself because I mean, elephants grieve their young. As a living, breathing organism, you’re allowed to feel. So, just like allow yourself that. And I think a lot of us have a lot of grieving to do about the last two years of the craziness that’s going on in the world. I just, I wish that I could give like a 12 step program to get over grief, but like, there’s no, just, I think just allow yourself also when you’re grieving to look in the mirror and just again, be self-reflective like, okay, why am I crying in this moment? Like, how is this serving me? What is coming up? And just allow yourself, allow yourself to grow through it too. Like so many times when you hear the word grief, it’s a constricting word. Like “Oh grief!” But you know, there is a dance to it. I don’t know. I feel like, I feel like grief can be beautiful if you allow it to be because it’s a human emotion, like you just have to, don’t be ashamed of it. Like we all, we all go through it. That was a really long answer. I hope I answered your question.
(45:34) Megan Mcavoy Matte: It was awesome. No, because you hit like a lot of things too, that I’ve been thinking about where there’s something to it, which is probably for a whole another conversation, right? But I’ve always had this thought with grief to have having been there in different iterations in my life. And I loved how you said, if there’s a book, burn it. I feel that same way about pregnancy and childbirth and motherhood and all this stuff. What to expect when you’re expecting, get rid of that book. Dammit. But like, so I was actually really glad to hear you say that. And, and you ended on a note that is something that I’ve thought about too, just being introspective and, and taking a step back and doing in a way, thank God for grief. Because to me, what grief shows us is that we’ve had something really special, right? Like if we didn’t grieve, like whether it’s your mom or for me, one of the big ones I remember in 2014, that completely changed the entire trajectory of my life was when my grandmother passed away. And that changed everything, you know, from the person I was dating to where I was living, we moved cross country, to the business that I was running, to who I am at my core. And I’m able to look back at those moments and be like, it was hard, really freaking hard. And yeah, I was a mess. And you know, like leaning into that, but also being able to say, you know, what that tells me about life is that there was somebody or something that I appreciated so much and loved and valued so much to feel like this about, to actually take the time to need to grieve. And in a way it’s like, what a blessing that is because there are people who go through life that may not have that, you know? They may not have that experience of, no, I think we all go through grief and so I’m not saying that. But on that big level where you’re like, I loved so much and I still do, right? We don’t ever stop loving people just because they’re not physically here. Wow! What a blessing that is. And so the last question that I have for you, and let’s end on like a really happy note, right, the work that you do and what is it that you love most about that? And I think you might’ve already mentioned this, but in the event that you didn’t and I’m just so happy to hear you’re not in dental offices anymore. Because from the moment I met you, I was like, if there’s anything I’m going to impact in your life is that that’s not going to be a thing anymore. I don’t care how freaking long it takes, but I am right here beside you because that’s not a thing. Well, what do you love the most about the work that you do? And I think you shared a bit about how you ended up in that, but love to, to know that. And then lastly, how can people find you?
What you love the most about the work you do?
(48:22) Deneen White: The thing I love about what I do is I literally am helping people be successful, whatever that means for them. Like, for some people, um, having the confidence to take a good photo, that for them, that’s success. For some people, like literally, I have one person, I’m going to share a little success story with you for a few seconds. Um, but we have this one woman that started working with us, like literally in April of 2020, like the height of the chaos. And she came and she was like, “Okay, well, I’m just going to try this out. I don’t know how this is going to work.” And now literally a year and a half later, she is, she has a billboard in Brooklyn. She’s like working for like huge brands, like Apple and Verizon, like she’s living her best life. So for me, the thing I love most is when there’s that spark, where they go from being like this little, “Oh, I don’t know.”, completely lacking confidence to having the confidence to go out and step out and do something scary. So I, I, I have, I’m, I’m fortunate that I have a lot of people that I can like say that to. And a lot of times it’s because it’s just little things that you say. Like, so my favorite part about what I do is seeing people transform. Like a lot of times, they go from being like someone who’s not confident to someone who’s confident, or maybe they have, go from living in rural Maine and now they’re living in LA and they’re like booking all kinds of work. So for me, like, that’s what I love, I love doing. Um, and as for, if you want to find me, Instagram is probably my most active form of social media and, um, @DeneenMWhite
(50:05) Megan Mcavoy Matte: Awesome. Well, you, my dear are amazing. I just want to thank you so much for joining me today. I feel like you added so much value to our listeners, and I know for sure, there’s going to be plenty of people listening, who are, can absolutely relate to things that you’ve been through and things that you’re going through. And so I just, I cannot thank you enough. So, go find Deneen and follow her. She is fantastic and I hope you all have a great day.
(52:18) Thank you so much for listening to the Stay Open To The Possibility podcast. If you loved what you heard today, make sure that you subscribe, share this with your friends. Leave a positive review for us. It helps more people to find our podcast. If you’re interested in hearing more about our courses, visit www.MeganMcavoyMatte.com and be sure to follow me on Instagram, Meg_Mcavoy_Matte. See you next time!
“The life that you lead is a story that you tell yourself, change your story, change your life.” – Deneen White