How to become your true authentic self with Dr. Alison Cook Ep.8Oct 11, 2022
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How do you put a stop to painful patterns that keep recurring in your life?
How do you trust yourself to make wise decisions even in difficult circumstances?
How do you find your voice and speak up for yourself while still being kind?
In today’s episode, our guest is a therapist who’s specialized in the integration of both theology and psychology and is the author of the new book: The Best of You, where she reveals her breakthrough strategies to discover your true self, find your voice, set wise limits, and still be a loving person.
Dr. Alison Cook is a psychologist for over two decades and writer who has earned the trust of thousands of women through her practical, wise, and compassionate approach to becoming a whole person. Her popular blog and podcast reach over 50,000 women each week. For over two decades, she has helped women heal from past wounds, develop a strong sense of self, forge healthy relationships with others, and embrace the holy, sacred work of becoming their true selves in God.
“I Had No Clue Who I Was”
Dr. Alison Cook starts off the interview by sharing with us that she went into psychology but had no idea who she was. Because of that she went into burn out quite easily and had to take a step back to receive the healing she needed. She knew she needed to heal before she could help others.
The Best of You
The best thing we have to bring into our lives is the best of who we are. She shares with us that she has had to go on her own journey of healing. Because of this, she was able to write the book The Best of You.
Dr. Cook gets real with us and lets us in on the tragedy of having a stroke one night before a date with her husband. As she was putting makeup on, she suddenly couldn’t move her finger and it registered what was happening to her. She was able to get to the hospital on time. The ‘why this happened’ was hard for her to understand. She realized she had to go through the process to understand and make sense of her trauma and heal from it.
What Does Trauma Do to a Child?
After going through this medical trauma and seeing how difficult it was for her as an adult, she started to wonder..... what happens to a child when they go through trauma. She realized that we pair things together that do not necessarily go together, and she realized this when she would start to get nervous and anxious when getting ready for date nights. Her brain was pairing the stroke to getting ready for a date with her husband.
Why is it Hard as Women to Recognize What They Need
Dr. Cook shares with us that there are so many reasons why women are conditioned to look externally. She explains that women tend to look externally for what they need and that there are so many different layers. She talks about the past and how it was not too long ago, women didn’t have certain rights or opportunities. Then we also have the childhood wounding and the messaging that the world tells us. All of these components contribute to the conditioning of women's brains.
“You can’t heal what you don’t acknowledge. You can’t transform what you have pretended doesn’t exist. You don’t heal in the context of shame, criticism, or spiritual bypassing. You heal and become your true self in God in the context of safety, honesty, love, and compassion.”
Dr. Cook tells us that it starts with ourselves when it comes to what we need. We shame ourselves and bypass our own feelings. Internally is where we have to pivot and change. We have to become aware of the voice within.
Pay Attention to What You are Paying Attention to
We have to get curious about ourselves and what is beating us down, Dr. Cook shares. She wants us to advocate for ourselves and steer our own lives. She lets us know that it starts with being aware and once we start to be aware, that we will start to be more and more aware of our actions and it will soon become just a rhythm of the day.
You Aren’t Being Selfish
Dr. Cook reminds us that tuning into yourself is not selfish. The middle ground is where we should be. It’s recognizing that our needs matter and so does the other person’s needs.
“We create something so much more beautiful when it’s two whole selves coming together and saying ‘this is what I want and need’ and ‘this is what I want and need’.”
It’s not that it’s all about our needs, but we are going to bring our needs into the relationship along with the other person bringing in their needs in. When we do that, we are able to be better wives, mothers, and friends.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Dr. Cook talks about how women tend to feel shame in setting boundaries. We have to know what we actually want before we set boundaries. We have to get clear within ourselves first so that guilt doesn’t set in when you start to disappoint others by saying “no”. When you start seeing the fruit of boundaries, making those hard decisions starts to get easier.
Are You Betraying Yourself
Dr. Cook talks to us about codependency. She explains that codependency is a pattern where you are so focused on the other person that you lose connection with yourself. The other person will take all that they can get from you. Neither person in a codependency relationship is doing their own self work to heal and get better.
We’re Hard Wired to Want the Affection of Our Parents
Dr. Cook gives us some helpful tips on how to heal from parents who misuse their authority. One of the valuable tips she shares is honor your parents while honoring yourself. She shares with us that it's important to pay attention to resentments towards our parents and the healing we need from that.
“The best way to honor your parents is to become the most beautiful version of the soul they created.”
When you are healing yourself and doing good in the world, you are showing your parents respect, even if they do not see it that way.
On the Other End of Boundaries
When somebody has harsh boundaries and you find yourself on the other end of boundary setting, Dr. Cook encourages us to ask ourselves how we can learn from the situation, and to turn toward the work of your own healing.
When you have done your own work, you are able to honor what they want even if you don’t think it’s right.
Boundaries Can Be Weaponized
Dr. Cook talks with us about the true meaning and point of setting boundaries. She discusses that they should not be put in place to punish somebody else. They should only be put in place because you were hurt and for yourself. Boundaries should not be used to control others but are about you and what is best for you. It’s about taking care of yourself.
I Don’t Trust Myself
Dr. Cook tells us that freedom in not being afraid of any part of yourself. It's about being at peace with oneself and not being at the mercy of other people who hurt you.
Sometimes when we don’t trust other people, it’s more about trusting ourselves, Dr. Cook explains. In order to trust ourselves, we have to pay attention to ourselves. We have to pay attention to cues within ourselves and within our relationships.
“You build trust with yourself by paying attention to yourself”
We Need to Know What Safety Feels Like
Dr. Cook ends the conversation by reminding us that we need to know what safety feels like. She talks about how we need to know what safety is with ourselves and with other people. We need people to see our pain and to build community and relationship with one another. I hope you enjoyed this interview, you can catch the full episode here.
If you are looking for more encouragement, you will love my interview with Alli Worthington, make sure you check it out!
How to connect with Dr. Alison:
Learn more about Alison: https://www.dralisoncook.com/
- Boundaries for Women Course
- Best of You Book releases in the UK this month