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Feb. 8, 2022

The ingredients for joy and self connection. Shari Alyse's story.


Known as “America’s Joy Magnet”, Shari Alyse is a TEDx and Inspirational Keynote Speaker, #1 Best Selling Author, and Joy Guide. Shari has built a community of over 150k+ followers and has reached over 10 million people.
 
Shari’s deep commitment to others is motivated by her own journey through childhood sexual abuse and other childhood traumas. At seven-years-old, Shari found herself having to use her voice on a witness stand to testify against the man who had abused her.
She now uses her voice to speak around the world on self-worth, mindset, overcoming obstacles, and how to live a joy-filled life.
 
In 2013, Shari co-founded one of the first online holistic wellness directories and communities. She has been featured on numerous media outlets including ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS radio, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, to name a few. She has gone on to Executive produce and host multiple online TV and radio shows, most recently, the talk show – Heart to Heart.
 
Over the last 15 years, Shari has reached millions of people with her inspirational videos, speaking engagements, coaching and writings. Shari’s book, Love Yourself Happy, quickly became a #1 New Release and International Best Seller.
 
Shari believes that in the radical acceptance of ourselves, we truly can live a life we love.

Connect with Shari Alyse: https://sharialyse.com/
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Transcript

Shari:

that began the real journey back to myself because once I heard those words, I was literally you're supposed to love her. I started showing up every day after that saying, How can I love you today? What do you need from me? And that's where the hug started coming because I heard the voice that just that I just wanted a hug.

Melissa Bright:

Welcome to The Bright Side of Life, a podcast where people share their personal stories of struggles, pain and grief. But through all of that, they are still able to find the joys in life. Hello, hello, everyone and welcome to this week's episode of the bright side of life. I am your host, of course Melissa bright. If you have not yet subscribed to the podcast, please be sure to do so on your favorite listening platform so you never miss an episode. And if you just love, love, love the podcast so much and you would like to support the show. You can do so by writing a review on the website, sharing your favorite episodes on social media and with friends and family. Or lastly, you can make donations by going to the donate page on the website. Whatever you choose to do, however you choose to support the podcast I am very grateful. And also you can do all of that stuff right on the bright side of life. podcast.com And today, I am talking to America's Joy magnet. Cherie Elise Sherry is a TEDx and inspirational keynote speaker number one bestselling author, and joy guide, and she has built a community of over 150,000 followers and has reached over 10 million people. Sherry's deep commitment to others is motivated by her own journey through childhood sexual abuse and other childhood traumas. At seven years old, Sherry found herself having to use her voice on a witness stand to testify against the man who had abused her. She now uses her voice to speak around the world on self worth, mindset, overcoming obstacles, and how to live a joy filled life. In 2013, Sherry co founded one of the first online holistic wellness directories and communities. She has been featured on numerous numerous media outlets including ABC, Fox, NBC, CBS, radio, Huffington Post, thrive Go Global to name you know, just a few. And she has gone on to executive produce and host multiple online TV and radio shows. And most recently, the talk show heart to heart. Over the last 15 years Sherry has reached millions of people with her inspirational videos, speaking engagements, coaching and writings. And of course, her book Love Yourself Happy quickly became a number one release an international best seller. Sherry believes that in the radical acceptance of ourselves, we can truly live a life we love. So that's what we are going to be talking today. And we're also going to be talking about how self connection can lead to joy. That was a mouthful, but she has a lot of Kendrick credentials. Welcome to The Bright Side of Life. Sherry, how are you doing today?

Shari:

I'm so well thank you, Melissa, for entertaining me without long bio. I am excited to be here and to chat with you. And at the end of the day, all of the credentials, all that stuff doesn't mean anything if you don't feel good, where you are in your skin and who you are.

Melissa Bright:

Absolutely. And I totally agree with that. And so I always want to share story of like how I connected with people, and how I found you and Sherry and I have followed each other on Instagram for quite a while now. And I always saw that she was doing stuff on the news and all this other stuff. And then she just posted about her TEDx talk. And she posted like a 32nd clip. And I was sucked in immediately. And I'm like, I gotta go watch this full thing. And I'm telling you, I will link it in the show notes. But her TEDx talk was so amazing and so inspiring. And it was just awesome. And as soon as I saw that clip, I'm like, Okay, I got to talk to this woman. And I feel like with her being a joy magnet, and this being the bright side of life, like this episode is just going to be amazing.

Shari:

I love it. Thank you so much for saying that. And it's funny because I noticed you first too because you the yellow and the sunflowers and all that. I was like, oh, it's like my twin out in the world.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, exactly. Exactly. Okay. So as I mentioned earlier, that you just at seven years old, you did have to testify against somebody who had abused you, and I'm not going to ask you to go into all of that. But I really do want ask you what happened after that, who, and maybe before, you know, who was Sherry before the incident, and who was Sherry after, and then we'll kind of go in, you know what, who you transformed into even, you know, getting older, but let's just take it back to that time.

Shari:

Who it's interesting because whenever you experience any sort of trauma, whether you realize it or not everything changes. I mean, even even as far as your brain, like, they show that your brain actually changes after trauma. So I have a lot of memories that are very scattered a lot that aren't there. But what I do know for sure, is that beforehand, I was a lot more free, which is hard for people to believe now. Because I'm very, you know, out there and creative and joyful, as people say, and we'll talk about that, I'm sure. But there was a sense of safety in my world beforehand. And what changed after that was this feeling of not being safe. And I couldn't put that into words at the time, because, you know, I was a child, but what I have come to uncover over the years, and even a week ago, because we never saw peeling, and that's been my thing, is that I always want to and I always want to dig deeper. But this, it's almost like a wall like this, like this, the shield around you. And you always do just enough or just safe enough, you know, you put yourself out there, but there's still, you know, separation. So who I was before, was much freer, much more open. Hand, what happened afterwards is that I started to live a lot more safely, a lot on guard, being hyper vigilant about things, but I was so I was so committed to I don't know where this came from, to not letting that experience define who I was that I was not going to be I convinced myself that I was not going to be the person who didn't trust people, I was not going to be the person who was a victim. And I was going to and I'm just going to use your brand, I was going to look at the bright side of life, because I knew that I knew that things could be different. And I was not going to allow life to do that to me and what had happened. Right? Yeah. But that doesn't always go that way. Right.

Melissa Bright:

And you explained it so well, because it's something that I experienced also, in a completely different point in my life. But our common commonality, if that's even a word is the trauma. And when I lost my mom at the age of 25. That is when I truly felt like I I lost my innocence at that moment is everything that I thought the world was, you know, I had experienced pain before. But now it's literally like my worst nightmare that I didn't even know I had. And it was just like at that moment, the world was just a little bit less unfair. I didn't believe in fairy tales anymore. And that's just kind of stripped away from us. And as much as we do try to stay resilient and whatever we try to do. Sometimes we just don't We don't have power power over that.

Shari:

Absolutely. And it's so powerful because he does use more power. So yeah, just because I said bearable. Guy. You'll hear me make little snide comments to my own self. Yeah. So it's interesting, because we don't know, well, obviously, we don't know what we don't know. But what I found is that just about the fact that everything can start to seem so dim. And no matter how hard we try, you know, like I tried to be happier, I try to not be a victim, like I tried. But that stuff follows with us. And it carries. And I remember thinking, even though I tried to do all those things, anytime something happened, that would would be negative, I immediately thought that there was a dark cloud over my head. And so I had attached myself so much to the story of this dark cloud that would follow me which just talks about transformation to now then go from dark clouds to America's Joy magnet. Like it was a journey to get there. And one I think that can only begin or really be successful if we're willing to look at everything truthfully, and not try to hide some parts of it to only see this, you know, out of a different lens.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, now, being being older, let's take it let's say even just in your like early 20s Or even, you know 30s Where were you then? Mentally? Were you? Had you done any self reflection at that point? Did you know who you were? What were you like then?

Shari:

That was the heart of that was the heart of denying of suppressing of knowing my feelings. I mean, really, that was my 20s. Especially, I, I wanted to be a movie star. I wanted to be on television. I majored in theater in college. So I just moved to New York City after after college, and I was going to become a star. And that stems from two things. Number one, when I talk about multiple traumas, my parents divorce was a big trauma in my life, because we were my sister and I were put in the middle of that, and at that young age, having to choose between parents, and just what that looked like. And so what I found, though, was my mom was always really upset over my parents divorce. And what I found is that every time like, I did something funny, or if I just like, I watched her mood go from being really upset, and really down to a shift. And I remember thinking how much I loved that being able to change the way that she felt. And so then it became this, which I didn't know, like a game of how much I could entertain her. Yeah, so I know that my drive for wanting to entertain, and inspire and change feelings came from that young age. And then also, of course, from not having self worth, after what happened to be of being abused, needing external validation. Through, you know, acting and people being yea, shared, you're so good, like, I love you. And of course, again, I didn't know that that's what that was. So my life and my 20s to go back to that really consisted of me trying to, to find external validation through men, through achievements, and really just numbing all of the stuff that wanted to come up that I wasn't dealing with, with food. I mean, really, from high school on like, after seven, I started putting on weight. And by the time I was in college, and in New York, right after the graduation, I was 270 pounds. Because I was not dealing with my feelings. Yeah. So there was no, there was always a such an interesting thing. There was always reflection for me, because there was always this part of me this small voice that always knew that there was more like, that just didn't seem right. Show me how it is. But I was just lost in that, that I didn't know how to get off that hamster wheel. I knew that there was something outside, you know, outside of these four walls that I was in. But it was like, I didn't know where the door was.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So Oh, my gosh, it. What you were saying is so similar to like, things that I have experienced in terms of, you know, not being aware. But we were also aware of things that we were experiencing. But now I know for both you and I like we've been on this healing journey. So we can totally pinpoint certain moments when we've had revelations. But other times, like maybe we would still reflect but we still weren't 100%. Sure. And you said that you always knew that you wanted more something else. And I have always, always felt that way. And you explained it so perfectly of you just didn't know where the door was like,

Shari:

yeah. So roadmap like, yeah, yeah. How do I get how do I get there? I know that there's something out there that it's different than where I'm at. I know, I don't deserve this. I know that. I'm not treating myself. Well. I know these people aren't treating me well. But I didn't know how to get out of that cycle. I kept making the same choice again. And again, again.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. So now that we are there, and we you know, we talked about the whatever it could be the bad habits or suppressing feelings, so on and so forth. When was your defining moment? It can either be your defining moment or your breaking point, which a lot of people say, when did that come come for you when things started to change for you?

Shari:

It's interesting, because I'm actually working. I'm doing a second TEDx talk. And I work. I'm working on the script right now for it. And I'm actually sharing about this about how it wasn't literally one moment, it was all of the moments leading up to them being so exhausted. Like is if I always saw the brick wall in front of me. And I knew to slow down but I kept pressing on that gas pedal anyway. And I finally was at the point and this was around, I'd say like early 30s. I'm 47 now so you can get an idea of don't look at

Melissa Bright:

eggs. Yeah,

Shari:

it's great lighting. And Instagram builders. Yeah, so it was mid third and I mean, early 30s, I was really aware of my exhaustion that I was at the point where I was tired of complaining about this life that I was leading and how unfair everything was, and how did it How come I kept choosing the wrong men, and why wasn't anything working out. And I do remember a moment though, because it shifted things for me. And it was one shockingly drunken night because I was partying a lot. And I was with my best friend. And we were just like, after hours back in his house, and there was like, a few of us, we were just talking, and I was doing what I always do, which was complain about the men in my life and all this, and he just looked at me, and he said, Sherry, what kind of woman do you see yourself as, and I just started, like, listing off this, you know, confident re self respecting, you know, motive, you know, inspired whatever, like I just listed off, and he just looked at me, and he could have said this to me two weeks ago, and I would have heard it, but that day, I heard it. And he said, so be her. And it was like, oh, first of all, I'm an actress. So I was like, Okay, I could play this woman, right? What ended up happening fast forward, is I started making choices that this woman that I imagined that I wanted to be, would make. So when the guy who was disrespectful, would call me, I wouldn't text him or call him back. And so I started making these small increment changes, and choices. And what I started to notice is that I started feeling better. And when that same pattern would show up with someone, and maybe because we're not perfect, I would fall back. And I would that that toxic feeling felt like poison in my body, because I wasn't used to it. And so that's really where the shift started happening. So there was a defining moment of being just exhausted. And then my friends saying that, and then me going on a different path. So it was almost as if somebody opened that door in that room for me. Yeah, let me see the possibilities of something different.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And I love that you say you, you really paint the picture of these certain moments in your life and like what they looked like, because so often, I've been curious, you can hear people's highlight reels of like, you know, what, what you've done, what you've accomplished, but in between there, you know, us saying what that looked like daily and then saying, you know, and I would go backwards, because, you know, that's what life seems to do sometimes. And it's not just this Oh, just, yeah, linear journey. That just, I think that's the right word, like just going straight. And never. I totally agree with you. So I did want to ask you, because this is something that I have experienced a lot, even now I struggle with it is, since I struggled so much with self worth and self love, when you would do these things to you know, not text that guy back or not do whatever. Did you ever get scared about like, stepping into somebody you knew you were? Does that question make sense? It's stepping into that person that you knew you want it to be? Because like, stepping into your higher self is scary as hell.

Shari:

Yeah. Everyday. It's scary now. Scary now up leveling because we, because our brains are hard wired to, to protect us to be in, you know, some sort of defined patterns. And so we want to stay in our comfort zone. And so anytime we stick our tippy toe out and like look around, it's like, oh, I just want to go back in. And so yeah, of leveling. Yes, absolutely scary. And that's why I said like, I would have never been able to just do it overnight. It started with that small, you know, choice of not texting back. But like you said, or I said, and then you you know, I fell back into those patterns at times because it became too scary. Yeah, it was, yeah. But the more and more that I made those choices, and the more and more that I was willing to risk, the more and more like that became the new comfort level.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly. Exactly. I love that you pointed out about how our brains literally do not want us to try new things because that's risk and that is not work, right? Yeah. And I need to remember that like I, because it is scary. I was talking to my boyfriend yesterday, I said, I think I am more afraid of success than I am a failure. Because success requires you to be a whole nother level of yourself. And then you're like, can I be that girl that shows up to that every single day. And I need to know like, you just remind me of that. Like literally our brains are supposed to tell us don't go that way. Don't go that way. And we just have to keep going

Shari:

Yeah, every day, it'll do that no every day because I mean, that's, like, you know, biologically, you know, from the past, like, we're always on the outlook for it, you know, on the lookout for always. And so if we can just stay in our comfort zone and our cocoon, everything is easier. And it's like, no, we call that out. And we make that the new safety, that the new comfort. And that's a lot of the work that I do, that I did with clients, but also really, personally was creating that safety within myself. Because as I mentioned earlier, you know, with with the sexual abuse and everything, I feel very unsafe in the world. And no matter what I do, and how I showed up, everything seemed unsafe. And the only way that I was going to be able to change that was if I created that safety within myself. So when things like a pandemic show up, or anything else, I'm actually feeling grounded in those heels dug into, you know, dug into the ground and really know I'm going to be okay.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And that is so huge. Because if, if it's not within yourself, and it's outside things, things can really shake and just like they did during the pandemic, and in everything else.

Shari:

Up leveling though, the same thing, like, you know, it's knowing that you have yourself to fall back on no matter how scary things get that you're gonna be okay, in it. Yeah, that's how you move to that next level. It's like, I know, this is scary as hell, but I'm going to do it anyway. Because I know I'm going to make sure I'm okay.

Melissa Bright:

Yep. Exactly, exactly. So without getting into too much of your actual like TEDx talk, I do want to talk a little bit about not only self connection, but how self connection can lead to joy. But I guess that I just know there are a lot of people out there that might like this might even be over their their head a little bit that they have no idea what emotional intelligence is, or like, I know myself, what do you what do you girls talking about? Well, I'm telling you, I thought I knew myself too. And like that all completely changed two years ago, when I really went on a healing journey. So if you could tell people, what is self connection. We'll start there. And then I have some follow up questions for that. Thank you to better help for being our sponsor, if you guys think you might need to see a therapist better help is amazing. They are online, you can do it from the comfort of your own home, you have the options to message them, you can do a phone call, you can do a video chat, whatever you feel comfortable with doing. They have several different types of therapists, if you need couples, or for marriage and family therapy, it's also available to individuals worldwide, better help is a monthly subscription. So you're not paying per session, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. So visit better help.com/bright side of life, that's better help.com/bright side of life, join over 500,000 people taking charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced professional. And for your first month, you're going to receive 10% off by being a listener of the bright side of life. So let them know that I sent you by using the link better help.com forward slash Bright Side of Life, the link will also be in the description section of this episode.

Shari:

Well, let's say this simply, self connection is really just stillness with yourself. It's sitting in that space. And by space, I mean with yourself without distractions, really, at the end of the day, it's everything that we deal with all day long, all those emotions, everything that comes up for us that we often then go and distract ourselves with by, you know, as I said in my talk, like binge watching a Netflix series, shopping, overworking, even over even working out, people work out too much like even though it's a healthy habit to work out. But we do that because a lot of times we don't want to sit in that space with ourselves because it hurts too much, because there's pain inside of there. And so we have disconnected from ourselves. Because for a lot of us, not only is there trauma, which I feel like we've all experienced now with a pandemic, whether we realize it or not. But it seems scary to want to sit within that space with ourselves. So self connection is really about sitting in the space with your feelings.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And that is such a simple way to put it in. Some of the examples you gave are fabulous. It doesn't have to be you know, the easiest ones would be either, you know, eating your feelings, drinking your feelings. Drugs like those are the three major ones. But there are ways like you just said the Netflix just binge watching that and let me be clear, there's nothing wrong like I binge watch NetFlix yesterday, but that was because I needed to relax. I've had a very, very crazy week and I needed to just decompress. But there is other things like you said, I used to what I find myself doing and my boyfriend literally had to like, stop me yesterday, I will just clean the house like cleaning and not sitting with yourself. That is also a form of like, not dealing with things. So if you're just busy, and you might have experienced trauma, either relatively, like, recent or even years ago, that's what she is talking about. Yeah,

Shari:

yeah, I was gonna say behaviors in and of themselves are not toxic. It's the way that you use them. Like so if you're doing it to just like drinking like for somebody drinking a certain amount would not be toxic behaviors for them. But for somebody else, because of the why they're choosing it would be so and only we know. Like, only we know how that affects us and and why were avoiding I mean, you know, even just like the mindless scrolling, you know, for like I said, food was always my outlet. That's where I went. And I can still even now I know when I'm having a stressful or whatever day because I'm standing in front of the fridge, looking at it not hungry. And I see that and I go okay, Sherry, what's going on? Yep, like, yeah, so yeah, it's it's about the connection is about sitting with your feelings. So

Melissa Bright:

yeah, yeah. And I love it. And I love it. I love it. I love it. Okay, so now, Sherry, we know what self connection is? What does sitting in your feelings look like? And I just want to know these examples. Because people I'm sure, like, do you literally just mean sitting there? And just like thinking and like, what does that mean? So So can you give us examples of how can how can we connect with ourselves?

Shari:

I mean, there's so many different multitude of ways. I mean, some people do it through meditation, some people do it through dancing. Some people do it through yoga, I do it through taking walks with myself out in nature, because I know the difference between when I'm sitting here with my phone Mindlessly scrolling, and when I'm barely present, taking a walk, and my everything lowers, you know, like my stress levels, my anxiety, and I feel that connection. Sitting with your feelings, and I, I said, you know, it looks like just like, even going for a walk without your phone. Right? Like, just being fully present. It doesn't mean like sitting you know, on your couch in the InStyle oil, which for some it could be like, totally could be. But it's being fully present with yourself. And especially like, I often both, I have two things that I do every single day, and one is my self hug. I do that every single day, twice a day. And the other is as soon as I wake up, I placed my hands on my heart. And I say thank you. But I also asked myself how I'm feeling. Because it's really easy to go into our day, and start with a to do list and everything and not really be present with what we're bringing into the day. And so that connection of like, Hey, how are you feeling? And it's okay to feel sad, right? Like yesterday, I was taking a walk and I felt a little bit of heaviness and instead of going nope, things are good. You got to read No, I actually said what you said about, like not making ourselves wrong for the way that we feel right? So important to do that. And that's for me, like sitting sitting with your feelings. That's what sitting with yourself is inquiring asking, offering compassion, extending grace to yourself with all that you feel?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. One of my biggest ways that I realized that there was something up with me I don't want to say wrong, because I'm not wrong. But in my relationship with my boyfriend, I am one that reacts very quickly, because I am scared of disappointment and disappointing anybody. And so my reaction is usually anger very, very quickly. And for a long time, he has pointed this out he he doesn't get angry. He doesn't understand that's how my responses because that's not how he operates. And it took a lot of him telling me these things. And me finally listening and accepting. He might he might have there. There's something to this because that is not a normal reaction being angry very quickly. Is not I don't want to say it's not okay, but it's not okay. Especially when you're treating somebody that you love. Which that means there's something going on that I have not addressed yet. You know, and I just want to say that because that's one of the ways that I learned so much about myself is that I hadn't addressed my trauma from my dad treating me like crap when I was little to now fear of disappointment that it has now seeped into my relationship. Yeah, freakin 30 years late, however, 20 years later. And so that self connection, you know, being mindful of even that is because that's what got me to, to my stuff now and really trying to be aware and mindful of the way that I treat other people is I got to be connected with myself first.

Shari:

Yes, absolutely. And our relationships are our greatest reflections. And they're usually, you know, I mean, every day, like, as you talked about being, you know, angry and short, like, I was always super defensive, because I thought somebody was telling me that I was wrong. And I was made to feel wrong on that witness stand at seven years old. And so my natural reaction, as soon as someone says something, and they're like, I wasn't even saying that Sherry, you're like, why not like, and after a while, that's part of you know, that transformation was really looking. This is, again, part of my second TEDx talk was the willingness for us to, though be wrong, like to not be so attached to what we think and what we believe. Because all of that, you know, is does is not always right. And so the fact that you were able to reflect that's what self connection is, it's self reflection, it's looking at that it's saying, Hmm, maybe if a lot of people are saying this about me, or maybe if it, doesn't it, maybe they have a point, do you know?

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, yeah. 100%. Okay, so we've talked about what it is, we've talked about how we can self connect, now, how can self connection lead to joy? is going to be my question. But something else that you define in your TED TEDx talk is that there is a difference between joy and happiness? So should we should we define what joy and happiness is? First? Before we go into that question?

Shari:

Yes, sure. Well, because it's, I mean, it's, there's so they're so intertwined, and people use them interchangeably. And I don't think that they're the same for me and my experience, and even some research that they've done, and even the fact that there's not a lot of research on joy, because it's hard to research things that are inside of people, as opposed to on the outside. So simply put, our happiness is often dependent on external things, right? So, and this is so obvious when someone says, are you happy, Melissa? And then we have to stop and think about and go, am I happy? Because then we start to think about, well, I'm happy in my relationship, but I'm not happy in my job. I'm happy with my health, but I'm not happy. You know, like, there's all these things and happiness always comes from that aspect. Joy. On the other hand, we create joy, joy are moments that are within ourselves joy from a research base, is this feeling of reconnection or connection to something important? And so Joy basically is internal happiness is external. Which is why like, we feel like someone can define and go does this bring you joy? And you just say yes or no. Right? You know, it's like it's so clear cuts, but it always comes from within and even in my talk, I said, you know, happiness found outside of you joy is felt by leaning in.

Melissa Bright:

Yes. I love that. Yeah, and that was a huge aha moment for me because the whole world I feel like is is in terms of happy like, when will I be happy how what makes me happy? Just all of these things and it's just very interesting to me. Yeah. Oh, and I have been there many many times like even with my podcast like that journey is you know, not I tried to celebrate the small moments and the small victories and like finally when I'm like, you know, Jay Shetty status, like, I want to enjoy all the moments in between because I might not be Jay Shetty status for like, eight years. Okay. Am I just gonna be miserable for eight years? And then finally I'm like, Oh, cool. I'm like number one mental health podcast. That was fun. Okay, next like no, I want to enjoy all the in between. Yeah,

Shari:

there's always another bar with happiness. There's always you get there and it's like, oh, wait, that didn't work. That's what I thought about my weight once I lost all this weight cuz I was like, You know what, if I lose weight and I'm skinny, I'm finally going to be happy because then I'm going to take better care of myself. I'm gonna respect myself more and it was like no, I lost all this weight and I still had the same challenges that I had. You know, I just recently saw this powerful coach that I know friends and she went from not having money to now lots of money and she coaches women on how to open you know, abundance. and everything. And she just recently just put out a post saying that she is basically not happy that she thought that having all this abundance and everything would but then she found herself caught up in another lifestyle of that and having like no freedom and all that. So there's exactly what you said, happiness is always out there. It's always something we're chasing. And we always think that it's going to bring us some sort of, you know, oh, the pearly gates open in our lives. And I remember that actually, really quickly. Most of like, I had his clear moments of that years ago, I was living in West Hollywood when I was pursuing acting at the time. And I had this great social media following. And I remember one day laying in my bed and scrolling through my phone, and I posted something and people were leaving all these beautiful comments, and they were like, you're the best share, you're so inspirational. You're this, you're that like amazing things, right. And as I was scrolling, I remember just sitting there reading these just words at me, and I felt so numb inside. And up until that point, I always wanted to have all of those accolades, right. I thought that that was ultimately what I wanted. And in that moment, I was so sad. And in that moment, I felt so free. Because it meant that if the stuff inside the phone, the things that I thought would make me happy, aren't that it was actually inside of me that I had to find out what it was within me that, you know, what I was looking for that would be fulfilling and contentment. And that's what joy was, is.

Melissa Bright:

I love that. I feel like I just had this aha moment. And I've talked about this on my podcast before, some of my biggest revelations have came about two hours before waking up. And I I'm not a scientist, but I know that there's research or something like your brain waves slowed down whenever you're sleeping. And I don't know if somebody else has talked about it on my pocket.

Shari:

sciency Yeah, yeah. But some

Melissa Bright:

of my biggest it's like, I'm talking to myself, and I will get these answers. And it's kind of like you, me, building a social media presence is something that I have to do for my podcast. And of course, receiving accolades is great. What came to me this morning is, none of this is going to matter. If other people aren't truly getting help that I want them to get out of what I'm putting out on social media, I don't want you to follow me just and then me being like, oh, cool, I just got another follow. I want you to follow me because I want you to get something out of the messages that I'm trying to tell you for you. And that came to me this morning. And I'm like, okay, so I need Yeah, I like it when revelations come to us. I

Shari:

know I love those moments. And they do for me too. And I've got a million notes in my phone from three o'clock in the morning, where I'm just like, I It's like, everything's been downloaded to me. So I'm just like typing away, go, go, go, go. And here's the thing, your next revelation will be it also doesn't matter. I'm just telling you what your revelation is with mine, because I say one. But the next one was literally, and that doesn't matter, either. Not that people don't matter in what you're doing. But if at the end of the day, you can't look at yourself in the mirror, and love you see back without the people in the world changing because of the work that you're doing. This morning, I took my walk, I was crying because I cry often. I always like I sit with my I sit with my inner child a lot like on my walks and stuff. And I cried because I was like, none of this matters. Like I just have this conversation. Like none of everything I matter. I just I love you. I was saying that to myself. And I'm so proud of who I am and the work that I do in the world. Not in the external sense. But in showing up as myself and being kind to myself and being kind to others. Those are all the things that ultimately the end of the day really matter.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, that's huge. That's huge. And that

Shari:

is your revelation. I was just saying. Like, it's where I'm at now. So it's like top of mind, right?

Melissa Bright:

But it is true, because I am very also a firm believer in like, practicing what I preach. You know, like, when I tell people and encourage them to share their story. I would never say that if I had not already done that, like publicly on my podcast on my social media, you know, and so I just want to live the words that I'm saying and most of the time on social media, the stuff that I do put out, it's those small voices that I just put out on social media that I heard first, and now I need to tell somebody else about it. So you're right, that will be the revelation that that comes to me. I have no doubt know your own journey. But no, I have no doubt. I have no doubt. Okay, so since we did answer that question, now, can you explain and I know you kind of touched on it Really how self connection can ultimately lead to joy.

Shari:

So, joy for me, and in what I've learned, and what I've shared with others and have watched their journey is really about the full acceptance of ourselves, the full connection and the full acceptance of ourselves. And so for me, it's about redefining joy, that it's not about moments, it's not about things. It's not even about the childbirth of the field of sunflowers, although those create moments of joy, right, the most joy that I have ever felt in my life is every single time I show up as myself, every single time I honor myself and my feelings, every single time that I allow my creative self that's there to flow, every time that I speak my mind, and I speak my truth, every time that I that I am fully me aligned in my body. That's joy. And we only know that when we are connected to ourselves, when we have those moments of check in when we are aware, when we practice self compassion. So that's why I say joy is always within us. It's allowing ourselves to be fully ourselves. And the more and more of us that show up every single day in that space, the more and more joy we feel.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, this was another like mind blowing moment when I watched your TEDx. I was like, literally that is when I started getting happy, not not like that. When I decided to accept myself for all of my flaws for things that I was shameful for, for, which was basically back in 2020. I finally like I released all of that, you know, there were so many things I was shameful for which I mentioned a little bit on on my post in the boot camp thing. You know, I was shameful that I didn't finish college, I was shameful that I didn't own a house, I was shameful. I could give a hell less about being married. I'm not shameful for that, because I haven't found the person I now have, but we're not in a rush. So like I have, with just so many things that society said you had to be by a certain time and a certain age that I didn't, and I didn't because I lost my number one supporter, as a very young woman, and I lost myself. So, you know, we'll people might say, well, Melissa, that's an excuse, you could have finished college, you could maybe, but maybe that just wasn't my path. And this was how it was supposed to be. But once I and that's why I say vulnerability is super power. Because when you finally accept your flaws and everything, nobody else in the world can use that against you. Because you already know. And you're working on it.

Shari:

Being three, being fully human, like if we were all meant to be the super power super beings, I don't believe in this is probably gonna sound like Lulu and grace, but I don't believe we would have came into this being you know, into this form, if that's the way we were supposed to be. We all just stayed in like heaven or wherever it is that you believe you know what I mean? Like, but we're here to fully experience being human, which means feeling all of our emotions, and so not punishing ourselves because of our sadness, not punishing ourselves, you know, when we're jealous, or we feel that anger, we're quick to react, whatever that looks like. So the more and more that we accept and are okay with our human pneus. Again, back to the more and more we just feel joy because we're living our truth. There is nothing more beautiful and joyful than living your truth. That's it. Yep. That's freedom. I mean, all of that. Those are all like ingredients to me of joy.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I feel the same way. And you know, if you have not, if you're listening to this, and you have not done any kind of self connection, or anything or any reflecting Yeah, it's, it's gonna be uncomfortable, I promise you and I swear, it's gonna be uncomfortable. But it's something that is is so worth it. It's so worth getting to know yourself. And Sherry has such a beautiful story of going to Tuscany and, and finding herself and it's just amazing. And it's not for, you know, one person and not the other. Everybody can can do have self connection. And I'm telling you when you sit with yourself, and this is when people say like, you know, people have asked like, do you really hear voices like, you don't? Well, you might hear voices, but I they things just come to you and they come to you just either as a thought or something that is your subconscious, your Higher Self, your whoever telling you these things. I'm Cherie, do you want to share that story about Tuscany in the church? Do you know what I'm talking about? Of course.

Shari:

Yeah, I mean, and what's interesting is I didn't have time in Italy had talked to go into what actually happened before five years before that when I first came face to face with my seven year old self. I that really? Yeah, that was the catalyst for Italy actually. And then in that moment, and I don't think I don't know how much time we have, I want to you can, I'd love to share that because that was his start. So I was this has gone on. And I was like, what, 10 years ago, I don't remember 10, whatever it was, at least a decade ago, I was waiting tables really more than that now. And I was getting ready to go to work. And I was taking a shower. And in my shower, I found myself in the corner of my shower, just like sobbing, just like on the floor in fetal position. And it was the first time because over the years, you know, I obviously thought about the abuse, but I had never really connected to it, like embody everything. And in that moment, that day, it all came back to me. And I just I had to get to work. So I was driving to work. And I remember like, just like guttural sounds like tears flowing from me. And I just pulled over to the side of the road. And I called my manager at the time. And I was like telling her like memories and abuse and all this and she said, Sherry just go like take time, like whatever you need, just take the time that you need. And it was one of those like literal signs because I got home back to my apartment. And I didn't know what to do. I just knew for me that I always needed to get in my car and drive. Like I always needed to go somewhere else outside of my four walls. And I turned my computer on to try to figure out what I was going to do next. And I there was a pop up for Sedona, and I've never been Have you ever been to Sedona? Arizona? No, I went to Okay, so I didn't know anything about Sedona except the fact that everyone said it was the most spiritual place in the US. And so I was like, I talked about this in one of my talks though, but I was like, I don't know, this is like spiritual or mystical, but I just needed somebody to do like this exorcism of these feelings that I had out of me. And so the next thing I knew I was in Sedona, like eight hour drive. And I'll fast forward this part I spent a few days there like there's like these vortexes that are supposed to have like their feminine masculine and have all these different healing powers. Well, there's nothing like expectations I like I went there like all this stuff is gonna happen. And nothing really happens memorable those two days. So on my drive out, I was going past this last vortex that I did not want to go to because there was nothing sexy sounding about the airport vortex. But I thought it was so beautiful here. So I just want to take in the view. And so I parked and I walked up to the top of the vortex and I was taking in the VISTA. And then I turned around to go back to my car. And this is gonna sound crazy to a lot of people. But when I turned around, there was my seven year old self, just leaning up against the rocks in mice like camp shorts that I had used to wear and feathered hair. And just she had her arms. I had my arms wrapped around her knees and she looked up at me and she literally said it took you long enough. And we sat like I always tell people that we sat for like what seemed like hours and talked and I but it was probably just a couple of minutes, I'm sure. And I told her that I loved her. I told her that I told her that I just couldn't keep on protecting her anymore that I was keeping her at the safe distance within like with my weight and everything, you know, trying to protect her so no one could hurt her and that I loved her and I said goodbye to her. Yeah. And I went back to my car and I drove back to LA and everything seemed like a little bit lighter, but there was still something wrong and missing. So now fast forward five years, to Italy to Tuscany, and I'm brokenhearted. My fiancee at the time. Well, no, he's my boyfriend at the time, who's now my fiancee spoiler alert. We had broken up. And I went off to Italy too, because it was like, Well, what else am I gonna do? You're supposed to move here with me. And I didn't know what else to do. And so I always had this dream of going there. And over that summer. I just I found myself like I disconnected from everything. And everyone and I spent a lot of time with myself. That was true self connection was like, that was sitting with every feeling that I had ever had every heartbreak, every disappointment, every everything. And one of my last days there in Italy, I was at my favorite Church, which is called San miniato el montay. And I was I would always go early in the morning because it was super quiet and it was beautiful. And it was just you can watch my TED Talk to get all the details. But yeah, yeah, I did it. But basically I was just there with my eyes closed. Like I always was just feeling the church and I heard the words like as an audible voice and also within so that just simply said you weren't supposed to leave her. You were supposed to love her. And that, for me was the moment on the vortex in Sedona, that I wasn't supposed to walk away from her that day there, or on the witness stand, because at seven years old, I felt like I disconnected from her fully because it was too painful to stay in that space with her. Mm hmm. And that began the real journey back to myself. Because once I heard those words, I was literally you're supposed to love her. I started showing up every day after that saying, how much how can I love you? How can I love you today? What do you need from me. And that's where the hug started coming. Because I heard the voice that just that I just wanted a hug, growing up. And so I heard, so give her a hug. And I did. And then everyday after that,

Melissa Bright:

oh my gosh, I literally just got like so many goosebumps from that story. But that, that this is stuff that will happen to you. Like, when you do self connection, these, these things will come to you. And I'm telling you listen to them, because that is your self telling you these things. And so I want to share a story with you that I've shared on my podcast, I had a reverse experience I was doing Jay Shetty, in last January was doing like 21 days of meditation, he was going live on his Instagram. And one of the days was he asked us to go back to a time when we were our younger selves. And you I don't know what he said. And I probably didn't even pick the right age, I just thought of who I was as a little kid. And he's like, and I want you to tell them, whatever, whatever, whatever. And then I was fine. I was fine. Then he switched it. And he wanted the younger self to tell the older person. And I lost it. Because for me, even though I had some trauma in my childhood with my dad not treating us, right, my biggest trauma came as an adult. That's when I really felt the world was not in my favor. And so my younger self telling my older self, it's okay to be free. It's okay to act silly. You don't have to take life so seriously, like I am sobbing while Jay Shetty is still doing this meditation. And that was so powerful for me because I felt laughter losing my mom, I did lose a lot of my innocence and silliness. And I had to take life a little bit more seriously, because when is something else bad gonna happen? It's just crazy, like, but it is so important. Also like for your inner child and taking care of our inner child.

Shari:

Yeah. Know, the last keynote that I gave. I literally said, we always hear like, what would you say to your younger self? And I talked about how I wouldn't say anything to her. I would let her speak to me. Yeah, I would tell her, I'd let her tell me what she needs and how like I just said before, how I could love her how I can sit with her. Because most of us, most of us are in this reformatory. I don't know if that's a word. Like I just made that up. But pretend it's real. Love it, I love it. But like trying to like, you know, get acceptance and people pleasing so many of us because we're taught that as young kids, like by our parents, if you do this, do that you're a good girl, you're a good boy. And so we learn that. And so we often betray our own voices in order to receive that love from outside of ourselves. So actually listening to our inner child and seeing what they want and what they need, and not what everybody else does is such powerful work.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And if you're looking for a place to start to do self connection, if you want to even start there in terms of like, what would you tell your inner child? I mean, so many of us have went through something when we were younger, or, you know, society has shaped us to tell us who we're supposed to be. But like, think back of when you were a little kid and what you enjoyed and what would she tell you now? I think that would be a great exercise.

Shari:

For sure. Absolutely. Yeah. It's all just about like the questioning and the willingness, the willingness to sit with yourself. The willingness to just inquire the willingness to when you're in pain to not run from it. So just sit with it and say, Hey, I love you. You okay? What do you need? Like that willingness? That's, again, what self connection is, and there's there's not a there's not a blueprint of how to do it. It's just not running from

Melissa Bright:

any of it. Yeah, yep.

Shari:

And then on the days that you do, being okay with yourself and offering yourself compassion and literally saying like you can say, I know that day was scary for you. I don't want to deal with it. It's okay, I got you now, you know, it's that that. Yeah, that's how I talk to myself.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I love that. Oh my gosh, it's so powerful. So powerful. Thank you for sharing that. So I know we only have about 10 or 15 minutes left. But I do want to ask you, um, you have a couple of things that I wanted to make sure that we mentioned, first of all, you have a book. So I would love Love, love, if you could please share your book, what it's called and what it is about.

Shari:

So the book, thank you, the book is Love Yourself Happy, a journey back to you. And it really was written a lot in Italy. And I share in detail the stories that I shared about Tuscany and about Sedona and about my abuse. So it's, it's really I call it a road trip, a road trip back to ourselves, because like I said, getting in the car for me and getting on the open road is so healing for me. And so the book is just filled with what I call detours rest stops and fuel ups. Just sharing, you know, the personal journey that I took, but with lessons which are fuels up fuel ups, and things like a chapter, a rest stop, called Stop looking on the bright side, I just want that whatever like, which is always looking on the bright side, but also be willing to look underneath and like toxic positivity, you know, just the importance of that, but all different chapters, and it really just shares the journey of how we're always everything we've talked about looking for happiness on the outsides, ultimately come back to ourselves.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, that's awesome. And just so you guys know, if you go to her will, in the show notes, I will drop all of her information. But also, if you ever go if you go to my website, you go to her individual episode page, all of her information is also there from where you can find the book, website, so on and so forth. And as we have said, Sherry also clearly is an amazing, amazing public speaker. She would not be here off today. Um, but yeah, if any of you, you know, she is open to doing any kind of public speaking or anything. So if you if her story resonated with you at all, please also connect with her. Sherry, just so I can say it audibly, not. So they have to go to shownotes also, but where can they connect with you. So they

Shari:

can go to my website, which has all of my social links. So it's Sherry elise.com. And my speaker page on there, my author, page, all of that, and I'm super active on Facebook and on Instagram, you can just look me up by my name, and you will find me and those are the best ways to connect.

Melissa Bright:

Yes, and last name is a Lys E. So just no confusion. Okay. Hi, Shari. Shari. Do you have any? Okay, I have one more question for you. But before that, do you have anything that we have left out that you that we didn't cover that you would like to cover that you would like to share? And if so, feel free?

Shari:

I mean, I think you did a really well, I know you did a really great job. And like really just covering everything. I think anything that I would share right now would be just a repeat of stuff. So if I was just to leave anybody with anything is just to be kind to yourself and gentle with yourself and patient with yourself that there is no rush on anything. And that you're doing the best you can.

Melissa Bright:

I love that. Yes, we all need to tell ourselves that daily, daily for and that

Shari:

we're doing a great job. I just remember being with a coach once and she just said that to me. She said you're doing great sherry. And I broke down and cried. I was like why did that just affect me so much. And it's because of all the pressure, especially this day and age with social media and comparison and like where we think we have to be like that. We're just it's never enough, right? And so when she said you're doing a great job, it was like my whole body exhale. So I think everyone needs to hear that too that you're doing a great job.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah, I even yesterday, I struggled Yesterday I told myself that Sunday where I'm doing this TV bootcamp. I've been doing it for like the last six days along on top of all my other stuff. And I told myself yesterday was my decompress, relax, and I started getting really, really anxious. I was like, most you got to go do something. You got to clean the house. You got to do this. And finally I opened up to my boyfriend and I said, I'm kind of struggling today. I feel like there's a million the dishes need to be done. The laundry needs to be done. But I can't I need to just stop and decompress. And he's like, I will not let you go to the laundry. I will not let you clean the dishes. And like I kind of needed that because I wasn't going to stop myself, and I a lot of times won't allow myself to relax because there's there's always this thing I could be doing. Is that Yeah, and that's,

Shari:

yeah, keep busy, keep busy because as long as all the stuff comes up,

Melissa Bright:

uh huh, uh huh. And this is me coming off a high of such an amazing week. But then I felt like I had to keep going. Mostly you can't decompress. Mostly keep going, you got to do this other thing. And this other thing and this other thing. So telling you the highs and lows. Seriously, okay. So I asked all of my guests this, in your own words, what does the bright side of life mean to you?

Shari:

Hmm. The Bright Side of Life means to me knowing that everything is always going to be okay. No matter what. Yeah, like, That's it, having that confidence, that safety, that sense of trust in myself. And in life? That is always going to be okay.

Melissa Bright:

Yeah. And it's, you know, I know some people that if they're, if they're listening to this, and maybe they're going through stuff, and they say, how, how can she say that? And it's just when when you are so safe, and you love yourself so much. You can fall back on yourself when things are not okay. Yes. And I think that's what Sherry's exactly trying to say is you can lean on yourself. Yeah.

Shari:

It's exactly what I'm trying to say. Because I put sense of safety in the world and all outside of me, and that will never bring that to you. But when you should, when you can rely on yourself that no matter what is happening, you will be okay. Then you can confidently say that. And you can take more risks in life.

Melissa Bright:

Exactly. Exactly. Sherry, it was so great to finally talk to you face to face. We've been messaging so much over this past week and a half. Thank you so much for everything that you have not only done for me, but everything you're doing in the world, you are amazing. I greatly appreciate you coming on here to share your story.

Shari:

Thank you so much for letting me share it really in for you in the work you're doing in the world.

Melissa Bright:

Thank you. Thank you guys for listening to this week's episode of The Bright Side of Life. Oh my gosh, I am so glad that I finally got to sit down with Sherry and have this amazing conversation with her. If you guys enjoyed anything that Sherry was saying, all of her information is in the show notes, I highly recommend going to check out her TEDx talk. It is literally I think nine minutes long, and just such great messaging. So no, we did not talk about everything that she we did not talk about today, everything that she says on her TEDx talk, so go check that out. And if you guys would like to also get her book, all the information is in the show notes. Or of course, you can always go straight to the bright side of life podcast.com And then on her episode, it will have all of her information if you press on guest. So also with that being said, if you have not yet signed up for emails, be sure to do that. Right now. When you sign up, you get a free seven day journal prompts. So if you don't know what the heck to write about in your journal, I'm going to give you the ideas already. So there you go. And guys, you know how this goes. If you know anyone that may need to hear Sherry's story, please please share it with them, because we never know if this is the one that puts hope back in their heart.

Shari Alyse Profile Photo

Shari Alyse

Speaker, Author, TV Personality

Known as “America’s Joy Magnet”, Shari Alyse is a TEDx and Inspirational Keynote Speaker, #1 Best Selling Author, and Joy Guide. Shari has built a community of over 150k+ followers and has reached over 10 million people.

Shari’s deep commitment to others is motivated by her own journey through childhood sexual abuse and other childhood traumas. At seven-years-old, Shari found herself having to use her voice on a witness stand to testify against the man who had abused her.
She now uses her voice to speak around the world on self-worth, mindset, overcoming obstacles, and how to live a joy-filled life.

In 2013, Shari co-founded one of the first online holistic wellness directories and communities. She has been featured on numerous media outlets including ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS radio, Huffington Post, Thrive Global, to name a few. She has gone on to Executive produce and host multiple online TV and radio shows, most recently, the talk show – Heart to Heart.

Over the last 15 years, Shari has reached millions of people with her inspirational videos, speaking engagements, coaching and writings. Shari’s book, Love Yourself Happy, quickly became a #1 New Release and International Best Seller.

Shari believes that in the radical acceptance of ourselves, we truly can live a life we love.