February 2021 – A transcript from a recent interview
Interview with Lizzie Oz
The purpose of these questions is to gain a better understanding of how to overcome trauma and to have a better understanding from a different perspective.
1) What are some ways that work best to gain a healthier relationship with yourself?
To develop a healthier relationship with yourself it’s important you understand who you are – to do this, you must go within. That is, to become aware of your thoughts and to feel your feelings.
To know and understand that you’re a person with feelings and you are living your life every day through your experiences, so, when you feel good, life feels good and when you don’t the same happens with your experiences. This is just the beginning of knowing yourself through this awareness of thoughts and feelings.
To have a healthier relationship with yourself is to be kind, caring and compassionate towards yourself. So, how does that practically look?
When you look in the mirror, consciously choose to say nice things about what you see and feel within yourself. We very often berate and ridicule ourselves – creating that as our experience. For example, I look so ‘ugly’ today – your experience will mirror that with ‘ugly’ experiences – perhaps someone is mean to you and you don’t understand why… it’s because you are mean to yourself by calling yourself ‘ugly’, this cycle repeats itself constantly through your thoughts and feelings.
So, be ‘mindful’ of your thoughts and feelings, initially this can feel overwhelming yet as you become more aware and conscious of your self-talk and inner dialogue, things will shift positively.
Also, please know and understand this, you do not require anyone else’s permission or approval to be who you really are, only change for you and no one else. We often dis-empower ourselves by seeking approval from others, comparing ourselves or seeking permission to do or be who we really are… we compromise our true selves to fit in, be liked, loved or maintain some kind of status yet we often continue to feel unfulfilled in many areas of our lives. Do what feels good for you.
Positive daily habits will also contribute to having a healthier relationship with yourself, so not only are you aware of your thoughts and feelings but you also support those positive thoughts and feelings with behaviours and habits that make you feel good.
Some examples include Mind Training – Specifically, Mindfulness, Meditation and Stillness, these practices help train your mind to slow down, be present and feel what each moment in life has to offer as opposed to rushing from one task to the next, feeling disconnected with life or constantly having overwhelming feelings like stress, anxiety and frustration – that feel uncomfortable and can contribute to reactive behaviours, negative habits or unpleasant situations.
Some other suggestions include: Engage in physical exercise and various forms of movement daily, this energises your body and improves your mood. Consume quality nutrition based on eating whole foods as close to nature as intended to nourish your body from within and provide optimal energy for yourself. Ensure adequate hydration, namely water to assist your body to function optimally.
Surrounding yourself with supportive, loving and caring people – people who you choose to be with is as important for your well-being as any of the other suggestions I’ve just mentioned.
A really powerful way to develop a healthier relationship with yourself is to embrace the attitude of gratitude. So being thankful and appreciative of something or someone (including yourself). When we are grateful, we shift our perspective immediately to love and kindness. You can be grateful for so much – take a moment to list 3 things now!
2) Why did you choose to become a ‘Life Mentor’ and share your story? What inspired you?
I initially started down the path of training to be a Life Coach yet the philosophies and foundations within the industry didn’t quite align with me. I started thinking more about “what is it that I do?” and as I asked myself that question multiple times over, the word ‘Mentor’ kept surfacing, this evolved from people I had already been helping from time to time.
For me, a Mentor is someone who guides and supports people and deeply draws on their life or professional experiences to do so… my focus area was ‘Life’, yet more specifically helping people to change and transform their lives and overcome negative past experiences, so it was only natural to combine the two and become a ‘Life Mentor’.
Becoming a Life Mentor was more of an evolution rather than a single decision. It was inspired many years before I officially became a ‘Life Mentor’.
I was going through some of the most challenging and most difficult times in my life during my late 20’s and at one of the lowest points in my life where I was actually contemplating my own life, I had a significant moment… I said to myself, “If I can get through this, I will make sure no one ever has to feel alone, that no one will ever feel that they can’t overcome something, or that life is supposed to be full of pain and suffering – I will show them exactly how to overcome anything and feel supported every step of the way”.
I promised myself I would do all I can to help people to live a better, healthier and happier life.
This moment and realisation gave me a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning – I didn’t know how I would do this at the time, but with small steps, positive changes and sharing my story, everything changed – for the better.
Sharing ‘My Story’ was something that initially required a lot of strength to do.
I was sexually abused by a close family member for nearly 7 years during my childhood and when I opened up to my family about what happened at 27, I wasn’t believed and then not long after I was disowned by my family.
That was extremely painful to experience yet I wondered how many other people in this world would have experienced what I had or something similar, either in their childhood or during their adult years… it became my mission to share my story to help others.
I recall when I first started ‘opening up’ to friends and even work colleagues and sharing my story, I was blown away by the direct impact it had. So many people started sharing their own personal stories with me saying ‘that happened to me too and you are the only person I’ve ever told’ and that by me ‘opening up’ gave ‘them a voice’ and became a catalyst for change for them and even the beginning of their healing.
My inspiration was the people who I shared with initially and who shared with me… that by having a conversation, by speaking up or even listening actually helped people, it changed lives and even saved lives (from the feedback I’ve received).
That’s inspiring to me and gave me a deeper understanding of why I went through what I did during my childhood and beyond – to now be of service to help continue to make a positive difference in this world despite what challenges I’ve personally had along the way.
3) How often do people come to you for advice/help through your website? What are the common things people come to you for?
Personally and professionally, I seem to share my message and perspective of the importance of living your best life and valuing yourself always. I constantly have conversations with people wherever I go and have a deep desire to at least shift their perspective through our ‘chat’ or ‘connection’. I believe we can all make a difference in any given moment.
Following ‘opening up’ about ‘My Story’ and sharing my purpose work with people via You Matter Life Mentoring (and the website) I’m contacted via different platforms for help. Mainly email, FB Messenger, via presentations/talks, videos and also some of my products such as my E-Book/Audiobook and private FB Group (Life Chats with Lizzie) along with general word-of-mouth referrals.
Since starting in 2017, I’ve helped hundreds of people directly through personal mentoring (1:1) and in conjunction with my online program (Free Yourself for Life Program) and have now shifted completely online to reach more people beyond my community and physical surroundings. I tend not to focus on numbers as such but the quality of help and service I provide and share to make a difference to people’s lives – its always about focussing on quality over quantity for me.
The most common things people seek advice or help with reach far and wide in the scope of life. To share a few… unhappiness and unfulfillment in their lives, lack of purpose or direction, relationship troubles with a partner/family member or even themselves, low self-esteem, confidence issues, emotional, physical and mental health challenges and those who have had negative past experiences – simple, complex or traumatic, mainly from their childhood and who are wanting to overcome them and heal.
4) What made you choose the title “You Matter” for your website?
There’s a powerful story behind ‘You Matter’.
When I contemplated my life at 27 and I reached my darkest hour, I had this surreal moment of ‘shall I do this, shall I quit and exit my life, give up, end it all and escape the pain’…
There was this moment of complete stillness, not a sound, not a noise, just peace for a few seconds amongst the irrationality of it all, and then I heard this voice in my head say……
“You Matter Lizzie, now show yourself this every day and your life will get better”.
In that moment something shifted within, something profoundly shifted – from contemplating taking my own life to taking action within moments.
Many years of showing myself I matter is what truly guided my healing from my past. That moment was life changing and is why I called the business You Matter Life Mentoring.
I continually share my message of ‘You Matter’ first and foremost then others.
If I am ever asked to define ‘You Matter’… ‘You’ relates to you, being uniquely and authentically you and to ‘Matter’ is to be important and significant to one’s self.
When you live this way, your whole life changes within you and around you. So, as you can see there’s quite a lot of depth to You Matter.
5) What advice do you usually give other people to help them grow from their experiences?
The main advice I share is that there are always two perspectives to everything in this life. That every experience you encounter has two different ways of being perceived. Most people will usually adopt a fear-based mindset when it comes to negative past experiences, which certainly has its purpose yet if you ‘hold’ onto a negative past experience constantly, it is what directly influences your ‘present’ experiences. Its like a song on repeat – not necessarily an uplifting song though!
When you view a situation or experience in the opposite light of fear, you develop the open mindedness to learn from the experience through the eyes of compassion, understanding and even love. When you shift into learning and growing from your experiences you create healing and self-empowerment. The experience no longer controls you as you have gone within yourself to face what you fear most and have released your fears to grow and expand within yourself and to be more true to who you really are.
I also reinforce to people why its so important to develop a healthier relationship with themselves. We very often blame or project onto other people our negative experiences through our actions and feelings. The cycle perpetuates the more we practice it – for most people this is a ‘conditioned’ way of behaving and being.
We learn this from the people and influences around us growing up – our parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, schooling, society and so on. When we learn about ourselves more deeply (which we are not naturally taught) we take full accountability for ourselves and our lives. Instead of blaming other people we take full charge of our actions and go from being a ‘victim’ of something to ‘thriving’ in life. It sounds like a big shift, it’s actually much easier than that – it’s simply a change in perspective and then also living this way through your positive actions each day.
For people seeking deeper understanding and growth within themselves I share more profoundly on inner healing and forgiveness. Many people find it very difficult to forgive others in this world yet it leaves the individual to suffer for as long as they continue to believe in ‘their story’ and they will usually hold onto hurt, bitterness and resentment which in turn is a detriment to themselves not the person or people involved.
Forgiving is ‘For-Giving’ back to you and not the person or people who may have ‘done you wrong’. It doesn’t make whatever happened acceptable however it releases you from pain, resentment and suffering and is an extremely powerful healing foundation.
6) What inspired you to create the “Free Yourself for Life Program”?
I’ve been studying personal growth since I was 12 years of age, I’ve been passionate about the field. I’ve read countless books, completed courses, programs, seminars and so on, in effect it was all part of my own healing. After nearly 20 years of absorbing all sorts of information and education along with my professional experience as a Registered Nurse for nearly 18 years now – I felt this deep desire to create ‘something’ that could help people and lessen the time it would take for them to change and transform their lives. Not everyone wants to spend 20 years learning life lessons.
So, I was sharing a lot of what I had learned through my personal and professional life experiences to help people via my mentoring sessions – through this kind of sharing I kept noticing ‘emotional patterns’ or similar negative past experiences and behaviours associated with them, I continued to share similar advice and suggestions yet it was always unique to the person I was helping at the time… I could feel a burning desire to not only help people while in my presence but beyond that too.
One day, I was walking and talking with a client (my office was the beach, park or lake) and she said, “Lizzie, I wish you could be with me 24/7 because everything you share with me makes so much sense and helps me so much”. By the time we’d finished our session I went straight home and started writing all my ideas for what is now known as the Free Yourself for Life Program. It’s the blueprint for people overcoming their negative past experiences and learning to empower themselves for life. It’s a mentoring program where I guide people step by step through the program and via unlimited email support as well. So, essentially, I can be with people 24/7!
I put what I’d learned through all of my experiences into a program so people wouldn’t have to spend 5, 10 or 20 years working it out themselves through trial and error so to speak. For me, knowing how its impacted individual lives and then the flow effect its had on people around them is what gives me the greatest fulfillment and sense of purpose – to know that all of my learning and experiences were more than just about ‘getting through’ but to be life transforming for many.
7) What was the best thing you ever did for yourself that helped you the most?
The best thing I ever did yet the hardest thing was to ‘open up’ about ‘My Story’. A story that I kept secret for almost 20 years. I’d never talked about the childhood sexual abuse I endured yet it was always so present within my emotions and feelings and felt like this constant burden and darkness within me. I wore that ‘mask’ to cover it up for so long and act like I had my ‘life sorted’ until I reached rock bottom in my life. The amount of emotional and physical energy you use to suppress a negative past experience is phenomenal. So, when you are open and honest about anything, you truly do free yourself. Every single human being on this planet has ‘A Story’.
8) What do you believe is the most common long-term effect for childhood trauma? And how does someone overcome it?
There are multiple effects, but mainly living a life filled with doubt, fear and mistrust.
When you have been violated or abused in any way you live with limiting beliefs that drive negative feelings and addictive or negative behaviours. It’s a vicious cycle and until you go within and identify the underlying cause the cycle will repeat itself in all areas of your life – your Health, Relationships, Work/Study, Friendships and even affect your finances. The constant cycle of self-sabotage and self-defeat can be extremely frustrating, overwhelming and even crippling.
The brief answer of how you overcome childhood trauma is to confront, accept and release your past. To go within and understand the underlying cause and how that has/does impact you emotionally, physically and mentally and then flows onto every area of your life as well – once you learn the Emotional Conditioning cycle, it changes everything.
Essentially this is what I help people reveal and discover during the Free Yourself for Life Program, guiding them step by step in learning, growing and healing from any negative past experience they’ve had. The other side of that is living a life filled with freedom, happiness, purpose and fulfillment!
9) What is something that you think needs to be created/made aware of in society and educated more on about childhood trauma and the long-term effects?
Definitely creating a space, platform or movement that any person affected by childhood trauma has the freedom to speak up about what happened without a stigma being attached to it.
For most part there’s an underlying fear and dread that you’re burdened with at a young age (when the trauma occurred) and many people affected have been threatened to never ‘tell anyone’ or ‘speak up’… when you live with that fear for so many years it can be very challenging to open up about it.
I feel the more we talk about it and share ‘our stories’ with those we trust the more we (people) will find the courage to share as well, knowing they are certainly not alone.
The statistics are quite alarming, 1 in 5 Australians under the age of 18 have been sexually abused – and that is reported cases – not everyone reports. Speaking up is the first step and secondly learning to overcome and heal yourself from within.
So, education programs that are designed to empower a person yet will still require their input as opposed to more traditional western medicine modalities of ‘talking’ or ‘medications’ to deal with the symptoms not necessarily overcoming, growing or healing from their negative past experiences.
We always have a choice as an adult, you can choose to be a victim of something or choose to survive and thrive. I help people who are willing to do the (inner) work and who are wanting to change, I understand this wholeheartedly from my personal experiences and have witnessed the transformations in those who have committed to themselves (and the program) to change, transform and heal.
Through ‘opening up’, learning life education and people developing a healthier relationship with themselves is what I believe directly creates long lasting change. Also, always feel your feelings as opposed to blocking, suppressing or resisting them.
10) What do you think people struggle with most when dealing with past trauma experiences?
The most would be the constant burden and fear you carry and live with until you ‘open up’ and release it. That feeling of hopelessness, not being good enough, that continual battle with your memories, images, thoughts and feelings associated with the experience/s or event/s.
Also, never truly feeling or being yourself, as you carry ‘your story’ or ‘secret’ yet don’t know what to do about it or where to start. It’s crippling for so many and I’ve not only experienced it but witnessed it through my nursing career, having spent the last 10 years working in a large public hospital Emergency Department and witnessing first-hand the devastating effects of childhood trauma for people in adulthood.
At the end of the day – its integral to feel your feelings – all of them and share them with someone/people you trust.
We all have the ability to learn, grow and heal through any experience in our lives. Its always an individual choice. No one can force you, no one can do your ‘inner’ work, no one can take away your pain. All the answers you are searching for are always held within, they’ve always been there and always will be.
It’s up to us as individuals to decide our next step, but we are never truly alone and yes, we all do matter.