Join Gail Kraft and her guest host, Devon Pratt, Holistic Nutritionist, and founder of Devon’s Holistic Wellness as they discuss the concept of acceptance and when you take this too far. Our listener posed the question:
“There is much taught about acceptance – of yourself and your imperfections and of others and their imperfections, but little talk about where to draw the line. Sometimes acceptance can perpetuate bad situations that [we]need to [get] out of. Both sides of the coin need to be talked about together.”
Listen as Devon and Gail discuss this topic from different perspectives and help you understand when it’s time to make conscious choices that are supportive of you in creating healthy boundaries.
Gail: Hey, everybody, Gail Kraft here from the Empowering Process Podcast series and with me today is a very good friend of mine. And this is Devon Pratt, of Devon’s Holistic Wellness.
The reason why I hesitate is because Devon is a nutritionist for me. I call her, she’s got solutions like no tomorrow for me. Meals, she knows her food. She knows her vitamins. She knows how to get you well through what you’re eating. But that’s not what she’s here for, she’s here to work with me on my ‘Ask Me Anything’ segment. Thank you so much for joining us, Devon.
Devon: Oh, you’re so welcome. Happy to be here.
Gail: Oh, great. It’s a pleasure to have you. So this is what happened. I actually did a survey to start off with and got a bunch of questions from people who used to work with me or other coaches, or just people who I know who had some questions. And I said, “So if you wanted me to do a podcast, what would it be? Ask me anything.” and they gave me some pretty tough questions. So I reached out to some friends of mine. And I thought, “This is an opportunity for me to share the wealth and share the knowledge that I have the ability to tap into. So you’ll hear my perspective. And Devon may agree or disagree, and that’s awesome, because everything is perspective, I don’t have the answers; I just have a point of view. So I’m going to give you my point of view and that’s it. What do you think, Devon? Do you think you’re ready to do this?
Devon: I love it. I love it. Let’s do this.
Gail: Okay, so the very first one that we’re going to talk about in ‘ask me anything’ is about the talk of acceptance.
We hear over and over again, to be more accepting and yet, there’s a point of no return. There’s a point where you go beyond that. When do you draw the line where acceptance is not healthy anymore and it’s not benefiting you? And I know I’ve lived it. I’ve seen it. I work with it. Devon, I know that you’ve experienced it and with ourselves, not just with other people. And so I would say, first start with yourself. Self-acceptance, tell us some of your stories about self-acceptance, when you became aware that it was something that you needed to work on?
Devon: Well, actually, I very recently had an experience pertaining to this and it’s to do with my physical health. But ultimately, what I figured out was, it had nothing to do with my physical health, which it almost never does. It’s almost always deeper than your physical health, your body is just the barometer, if you will. And what I discovered was that I had been giving myself a pass for quite a while. And that’s hard to admit, that’s really hard to have someone… I was fortunate enough to have someone call me out on it, and say, “Hey, you’re not living up to your potential. You’re not calling yourself on your stuff. So I’m going to have to call you out on some things.”
And although it was really hard to hear, as I kind of took that in and pondered it for the next few days, I realized that that person was absolutely right. And that what had happened was, in my practice of being very gentle with other people, and being understanding and validating things for people, and really accepting where they are, and allowing that to be a space that we start from, that’s all wonderful, until we get to a point where we’re no longer holding ourselves accountable. And that’s where I was. And like I said, it’s a little embarrassing to realize that you’ve done that, especially as an educator.
So, you always kind of strive to be in a place where you can offer advice to people and to get to that place, you really kind of have to work on your own stuff. And so being able to have someone that I care about, and who cares about me, call me out like that, it made me realize that I had been too easy, too accepting, too validating of where I was in that moment and it was not allowing for growth, and I was holding myself back. So that’s kind of my most recent experience where it was really brought to the forefront. And it was a unique opportunity that really, although it was painful, it’s caused the most growth in the shortest amount of time. And it’s really been a gift, ultimately.
Gail: For you, it was emotionally as well as physically painful, and I think that when it comes to acceptance, that’s a tough word. It’s one of those words I don’t like. There are words… Devon and I talk every once a while, there are words I just don’t like, and I try to understand why I don’t like them. And it’s because what they have become to me, not their etymology, not their root, but what they have become to me, kind of is diluted. And so acceptance is one of those words. It goes beyond tolerance even. So when I think of accepting myself, so for me, it’s, I’ll say, “Warts and all.” So accepting all of the terrible things that I have done, consciously, making a choice that I knew was probably a wrong choice. Because we’re not all angels, including me.
Devon: How very human.
Gail: How very human of me to purposely be mean, but then feel bad about it. But accepting the fact that… so I made that choice and suffered the consequences of that choice, and learned and grew from the consequences of that choice. And so was it a bad choice? No, it was an opportunity to grow. First, loving yourself is the most important thing. I can’t even go down the path of answering this question, until I first have to address, ultimately loving yourself no matter what. Just recently, I’ve created my word for this year and every year I create a word or a phrase that I strive to live up to, and this year, it’s unapologetically. And that is not a word, I made it up.
And why did I do that?
Because I came to realize there was still a part of me, a little voice in me that was going, “Sorry, sorry. So, I’m going to do this, but sorry.” Who? No, I’m not sorry. I’m not sorry because I’m not intentionally being mean, harsh, cruel, whatever. My intentions are pure, my intentions are to elevate the world, including myself. I need to lift myself up and be a model before I can elevate the world. And so, my intention is pure, then I can’t apologize for a choice that I made. If I leave you behind then I leave you behind, you’ll catch up or you won’t, that’s not my job. I’ll be a model, I will give you tools, I will show you a path; if you don’t take that path, it’s not my responsibility. It’s yours.
And it may not be the path for you, I’m showing you a path, not the path. My brother used to say, and it’s a biblical term, “There are many roads to Mecca.” More than one road. So first of all, find your path to your self-love, and be unconditional about your love. When you care about yourself, then when you take a look at whether or not you’re accepting of someone else, you actually don’t care.
Devon: So, it’s interesting that for this conversation, that you… it sounds like anyway, that you aren’t thinking about the tolerance and acceptance of other people. And I immediately turned that inward, which I think is just an interesting thing to take note; that there’s two completely separate, although very much the because ultimately, it all boils down to the same thing. But just something that I noticed.
Gail: Exactly. The thing is, if you have acceptance for yourself, which I think was your lesson this year, acceptance, even the little dark things, the dark side, I call it, then other people’s, what you think are flaws, don’t matter because you’re sure of who you are; you’re sure of where you’re going. And this podcast is all about power, purpose, and presence. Your purpose is knowing yourself and where you’re going, and there’s power in that. And you remain present in the moment, just from this one thing of accepting who you are, fully, truly accepting. Not from a negative perspective but from love. Love is the answer for everything, for sure. You’ll hear this.
Devon: It really is. It really is. Because no matter what the behavior, no matter what the direction, like you said, if your intention is love, then that’s the factor that reigns true, above everything else. I do think though, that you can reach a point with yourself, like what I had experienced, but also with the closest people in your lives, usually your children, your spouse, your partners, your friends, where that acceptance becomes a place where we’re not necessarily challenging the people around us or ourselves to be uncomfortable to see the hard stuff. To grow in directions that make them feel challenged and uncomfortable.
And sometimes, I think it can look more loving and accepting if you say, “I accept you as is,” it’s totally fine. But I think it does end up reaching a point, like you mentioned at the beginning, when we opened, where it’s not the most loving thing anymore. You’re not coming from a place of ultimate love if you are accepting behavior that is less than what that person is capable of. Whether that’s yourself or others around you and I think that can be a really challenging thing to take a look at.
Gail: Well, one of the things that happens is in acceptance, sometimes, we also separate ourselves. In fact, Americans are experts at separation. Whether it’s political, whether it’s socio-economic, whatever it is, “This is your group, this is mine. I’m going to find my people; I’m going to find my tribe. I’m going to live in my small community. And I don’t care what you do,” that’s not acceptance. That’s not tolerance even. And what you end up experiencing when you do that, rather than connection, is extreme loneliness. It’s very, very strange. But you’re no longer challenged. You no longer grow.
I have always said that if you don’t challenge me, I don’t grow. I am going to be wrong, probably as many times as you are. I’m just telling you a story from my experiences. You have different experiences, so if you share your perspective and why, I’ll probably go back and chew it over a little bit. And maybe not completely come around to your perspective, but I definitely have changed mine, simply by hearing yours.
Devon: You’ve expanded, you’ve expanded, you can’t go back to the same dimensions that you were. If you allow yourself to be in a place of… and again, you’ve brought it up a couple times now, your intentions. You can definitely tell people’s intentions. And so, in my experience, when that person came to me and said, “This is not okay, this is not good enough. This is not what you’re capable of,” although it’s hard to hear, I was very much in a place where I was open to that.
And I could hear that without being defensive because I knew with all of my being that this person was incapable of coming at me with anything other than love. And so, knowing that piece, although I didn’t initially connect all the dots and get to the same place that I would eventually get to, I did know that whatever that piece of information was, it was coming from love. And I think when you’re doing that, it’s important to be on either end of that conversation, very open and very loving. Regardless of whether you’re the person that’s doing the…
Gail: The hard conversation?
Devon: Yes. Or the listening because both sides are equally difficult.
Gail: And this topic of hard conversations has come up a lot lately, for me and with my clients and hard conversations is not the argument. It’s not the blame. It’s not the pointing the finger. Really, hard conversations really are exactly what you’re talking about. “I know that this is going to maybe even hurt a little bit but here’s my observation as to what’s been going on. And I don’t think that’s okay for you.” And I don’t think this… in fact, I’m pretty sure I know who you’re talking about. This person would not attack you. This person absolutely wants you to be the best person that you could possibly be. And when you know that, then you’re, well, more open. When the same conversation, the very same words even, come from a person who is accustomed to pointing blame, you’re not going to receive it. That’s not a tough conversation. That’s an argument.
Devon: Do you have people that you feel comfortable enough to allow them to kind of call you on your stuff?
Gail: I do. You’re one of them.
Devon: That’s good.
Gail: I have people that have called me on my stuff and then there are those who will call me on my stuff and I think, “Clean your act up first before you…” Right? “When you clean yours up, we can have this conversation but right now…” Right? And it doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong. However, I am one who will then go in the car and take a ride and go, “Alright.”
Devon: “How much of this can I unpack and find some truth in?”
Gail: Because there’s a little bit of truth, even in the blame. There’s a little bit of truth there somewhere, so you can always find it. And so, when you are accepting of others, it’d be easier to answer this question, whoever it was that gave this to me, if I knew some specifics and details, because then I can address it more succinctly. To give a general statement is not cool. It’s just not going to fit every situation. But in some situations, we might accept something because it’s socially acceptable, in fact, we’re told socially, we should accept. And yet, there’s part of us that knows that this is wrong. That this acceptance is not congruent with who you are.
And so, at that point, I would say, sit back and ask yourself, why is it not congruent with who you are? Is it because of the way you were raised? Is it because of the stories you were told? Or is it really something that is not resonating with who you are, at your core? That takes work. It takes unpacking, as you said, Devon. And so, the ‘why’ is always the question. Why? So that’s when acceptance is a social thing.
I’ll give you an example from my first marriage, one of his lines was, “Unconditional love. You should love me unconditionally.” And I actually, for a couple of years in that marriage thought that I was pretty messed up because I didn’t love him unconditionally. When he was out drinking with the guys and not coming home, I kind of didn’t love him. When he was spending our money and I didn’t have food on the table, I kind of didn’t love him. When he was cheating on me, I kind of didn’t love him. And so many other things. And I accepted the blame for that because I thought when you say I do, it’s unconditional love and we should be working through these things. And, “What am I doing wrong, that I’m driving him away?” And it wasn’t until we went through counseling, when he walked out, that the councilor looked at me and he says, “You need to make a decision.” And I was not ready to hear that at the time.
Devon: He was ultimately asking if you were going to accept that behavior from him.
Gail: Right, either accept it or leave, but I can’t stay. I can’t stay the way that I am. And the day that I decided to end it was the day he raised his hand. And I had a child who was a year and a half, he raised his hand, and I’m like, “She is not growing up thinking this is cool.” And so those of you who don’t know the story, 99% of the people I know, don’t know the story. And so that’s where acceptance, when you pull in, if you find yourself pulling in hurt to yourself, blame to yourself, in order to accept a situation, that’s when it’s wrong. That’s when it’s time to draw the line. That’s when it’s time to step back and really question the validity of your acceptance. If you’re causing self-harm like that, then it is not cool.
Devon: So, when you say that I think about situations in my life, and maybe this isn’t what you were referring to, so correct me if I’m wrong. But what I was thinking about when you were talking was situations in my own life where I was at fault. I was the problem. And so, me accepting responsibility for that, and feeling bad about that, rightfully so, was exactly what was required to move forward and make change and change that situation. And maybe this is more of what you were referring to, if I had just continued to feel bad and just didn’t make changes, but I became okay with the situation by thinking that I was just horrible.
Obviously, that wouldn’t be the healthy way of handling that situation. But don’t you think that, or do you think that sometimes, accepting that responsibility and placing blame wherever it needs to land, including if it’s you, then that’s where it needs to land… do you think that that’s kind of an appropriate way of looking at that on occasion, or is it just a kind of across the board?
Gail: Exactly. You’ve got to be honest with yourself. And here’s the trick, so you stepped away from the blame game and took a look, and took accounting of what happened, and realized that what you saw was your own cause. So, you were the cause, and the results were because of you. And at that point, you took responsibility, which for me, that means your ability to respond, you took an emotionally intelligent perspective, and figured out how to respond in a healthy manner. Because we all will make mistakes and have to accept responsibility for corrective action on those mistakes. And that was certainly not that situation.
There have been plenty of times in my life, and in everybody’s life where we’ve messed up, either intentionally or unintentionally, because there are unintended consequences that we can’t foresee with the actions that we take. And when those come up, we have the ability to shift and to pivot and to do something a little differently. I will say that one of the best jobs that… and I’m going to get a little harsh here, I was working at John Hancock, I was in the controller’s department of their property and casualty division. And my boss came up… the fiasco doesn’t matter what happened, and he was, “You fucked up.”
And believe me, that word was used frequently in that department. And I looked at him and I said, “You’re absolutely right.” And he stopped, and he goes, “So how are you going to fix it?” I said, “Well, here’s my plan…” And that was it; that was, to me, a huge lesson that, okay, I can say, “Yes, you’re absolutely right. I can see where I was the cause of what happened.” And I now know what I need to do to step back, fix it, and then correctly move forward so it doesn’t happen again.
Devon: And now you feel empowered, instead of disempowered, from a situation where had you denied that and not accepted that you were responsible, then you could have missed out on an opportunity to really show them what you were made of. Because like you said, everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do with that information that really decides who you are. And so, you showed them exactly where you were by accepting that responsibility and moving forward with a solution.
Gail: Right, exactly. And so that action was not blame. There is a difference between placing blame because blame is your subconscious mind protecting itself. Here’s the thing. You’re going to hear a lot throughout all of these podcasts about what’s going on in your subconscious mind. And its job is to keep you safe, which means its job is to keep you empowered. And that means, “You’re not to blame. Never, never, you’re not to blame.” So, your subconscious is going to point the finger before accepting blame. That’s going to be our knee jerk reaction, always.
It’s our emotionally intelligent, conscious mind that then can go, “Wait a minute. Let’s back up a little bit and take a look at how this unfolded, and what can be done,” and accept the piece that is yours. And not accept what’s not. So, when we talk about again, acceptance, a piece that’s not yours, I will tell another story that’s not told often. And this happened, just maybe 2016. I had a situation that I had consciously put myself into, thinking that I was going to support this woman and we were going to create a business that was remarkable, and it fell flat.
And as a result, I went back to San Diego and I had no home, no clients, no income, and lots of debt. And my brother had said, “We have a home there, we’re not there for a while. Why don’t you go there, get your act together? But when we come back, I want you gone.” And so, I’m like, “Okay.” I did land a job but the job wasn’t going to start until week after they were returning. And my sister-in-law said, “No big deal.” Not so with my brother. And his anger at the fact that I was not planning to leave immediately came directly at me. And so, he called, I hear, “blah, blah, blah,” and he’s yelling and screaming.
I knew exactly what was going on. He was mad at her for not talking with him first, and then offering this to me, and I’m stuck in the middle. So, I’m like, “Oh, no, I did say I would be out before you got here. I’ll make arrangements. I’ll get all of my stuff out. No problem. Yep, I’ll be gone.” It didn’t satisfy his anger. And I was gone. I found a place, put my stuff in storage, and fortunately, was gone. And when they came to San Diego and I went to visit like I always did, and you could cut the air with a feather. It was brutal. It was crazy.
I heard, “You need to apologize.” I said, “Apologize for what?” Well, for the argument, there was no argument. It takes two to argue and my response was, “Yep, hear ya, got it, I’ll be gone. And by the way, thank you for the opportunity. So, I had a place to land to get my act together, but I’m gone.” And I would, for about a month, go over to see them and try to at least get some level of understanding. And the last time I saw them, I literally was starting to sit down at the table and my sister-in-law said, “All you need to do is apologize.” And I grabbed my stuff and said, “I don’t know what I would be apologizing for,” and I left. That’s not accepting what’s not mine to accept and it’s tough. That was my best friend that I left behind. My sister-in-law and I were friends for over 30 years.
Devon: Is there a way when we get into situations like that, where we have to kind of back out of that specific pinpoint situation into the bigger picture and say what they need? And this is just an idea, it’s dependent, obviously, on circumstances. But do you think there’s ever a situation where we would be able to or want to find a way to apologize in a way that is truthful of how we feel? Maybe by saying, “I’m sorry that you’re upset. I’m sorry that you feel like I’ve done something wrong. I’m sorry that this is coming between us.”
Gail: Done and done.
Devon: It just wasn’t going to be any…
Gail: Yeah. There wasn’t going to be. But he had to direct his anger at me because he couldn’t direct it at his wife, and I totally understood that the second I got the phone call. And I totally accepted the fact that, “Okay, so if I have to be who he blows up on, I’m not going to get riled up over it. I’m just going to let him blow off steam.” And there was a backstory that had nothing to do with me, going on also in New England, that just fed his flame and it was really too bad. Really, really too bad. So, in that situation, again, they still get happy birthdays from me and Merry Christmas, and all that kind of stuff. I still reach out and say, “I know you’re alive still and I’m glad you’re healthy,” and that’s about it.
Devon: And that’s an acceptance of the situation. That’s you saying, “Here’s me accepting what is. It’s not ideal, but this is what is and so I have to…” Acceptance can be in lots of different forms.
Gail: Exactly. Exactly. And it’s okay, and it’s really so okay. You know, the phrase that things and people, and experiences come into your life and they leave. It was time for that season to end. And here’s another thing, boy, this is going to go on longer than I thought. And this is a lesson from that sister-in-law that I got when I was 16 because I moved in with them when I was 16. And a friendship had broken up, maybe I was 18 when this friendship broke up. And it was over a fight that was a fabricated fight, and I just didn’t understand. And she said, “Gail, sometimes it’s time for something to end and people aren’t brave enough to say it’s just time to end. So, they have to find a reason to create an argument in order to make it end. It’s just time for this to end.” And that happens with divorces, big time with divorces. How can you hate someone that you fell in love with? Even the story that I told you, was that a nasty, terrible divorce? No. It’s a man that I fell in love with and had a child with.
Devon: But that was the only way that it was going to end.
Gail: Right. And I’m married and divorced a second time. And I mean, we are very friendly. We’ve got his car here. He’s with his girlfriend, buying a house in Florida. I mean, cool. It just was time. It just was time. And that’s a hard thing for most people to recognize, never mind, and that’s accepting that it’s over.
Devon: Or changed.
Gail: Or changed. Right.
Devon: And change is difficult. Change is difficult for people. Even if miserable, even if it’s miserable, they struggle to let go of that one.
Gail: Well, it’s your subconscious wanting you to be comfortable where you are. Why do battered women stay with battering men? And there are plenty of battered men too, by the way. So why does a person being battered stay with the person doing the battering? Because they don’t know anything else.
Gail: Right, “This is where I know. This is what I know.”
Devon: “I know I can do this.” “It’s horrible, horrible, but I know I can do it. I don’t know what’s out there.”
Gail: I was talking with someone one time who didn’t know what relief felt like, until we finished a conversation and they felt relief. I have many clients that come to me that don’t know what self-respect feels like, don’t know what love of themselves feels like. We can’t do any work till we get there first. If you don’t love yourself or think you deserve it, then I can’t make it happen. We have to get you there first. Then anything you want, we can accomplish. So again, we get back to full circle. It’s all about accepting us. Accepting ourselves.
Devon, so she is a holistic wellness, amazing woman. And yes, she might talk to you about, “Here’s your food choices,” she may shop with you, she may even come into your kitchen and cook for you.
She will do what it is that she needs to do to help you with your nutritional aspect. But she also knows that that’s only part of the story and she helps you with the emotional aspect too. Because many of the trauma, and many of the issues we hold in ourselves, and many of us find food and beverage to ease the pain of what we’re going through, and she recognizes that pain and she sees it.
So, Devon, tell us a little bit about your business and how we can get in touch with you if we want to.
Devon: Well, I guess the biggest thing for people to take away is that I do have a free Facebook page. There are many recipes and tips, and tricks. I show you what I’m eating in my own home. I want you to be able to see how this looks in real time and so being able to show people what that looks like on a plate, “This is what a balanced meal looks like. This is how long it takes to cook that meal. This is me on a regular person’s budget, cooking real meals that take a reasonable amount of time.” So, the Facebook page is really just a way for me to connect with people and show a larger audience what really goes on behind the scenes.
As far as the individual one on one client work. As you mentioned, I do come into people’s homes, I can help you cook, I can help you figure out what exactly you need for information so we can go to the grocery store together. We can take all those new foods that we just purchased and get back to your house, and I can show you how to cook all these new things that you’ve never cooked before. We can really get into what works for your specific life.
Because your schedule doesn’t look like my schedule, your budget doesn’t look like my budget. And so, assuming that everyone across the board has the same needs, I really wouldn’t be serving people as well as I would like to. And so that’s a lot of it. And just kind of figuring out what’s underneath your food choices is a huge aspect of what I do. So being able to do that in people’s homes is a nice way to really connect with people on a personal level. So that’s the job in a nutshell.
Gail: Go ahead and look up Devon Pratt, P-R-A-T-T, Devon’s Holistic Wellness. We will have the information underneath this so people can click and go and see you and check out your Facebook and connect.
Devon: My website.
Gail: Your recipes are amazing, website too. And that is?
Devon: DH, Devon’s Holistic Wellness. So, dhwellness.
Gail: Awesome. Thank you very much, Devon. And again, if there is something that resonated with you, and you know someone who this might resonate with, please do share it with them. If something came up during this conversation with you, go ahead and make a comment and I’ll add it to the next ‘ask me anything’ segment. And like, share, do whatever. It’s awesome to spend time with you guys. Thank you so much, Devon, everyone. Have a great day.
For more information on working with Devon, you can reach her at:
www.dhwellness.com; HTTPS://WWW.facebook.com/dhwellness, firstname.lastname@example.org