Published On: November 2, 2023

Finding Balance and Prioritizing Wellness with Natalie Mullin

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What happens when a non-stop, hustle-filled lifestyle starts eating into your wellness, relationships, and peace of mind? Brace yourself for an enlightening conversation with our guest, Natalie Mullin, a wellness educator, and coach, who will take us through her journey of finding balance in her life, saving her marriage, and how that has inspired her to help others do the same.

We dive into the unique pressures faced by Black women and the ways societal expectations often lead to burnout and mental health struggles. Natalie emphasizes the importance of creating safe spaces for expression, prioritizing mental health and self-care, and having an accountability partner to ensure we don’t overextend ourselves. She also sheds light on the concept of ‘wellness days,’ and how having them can prevent us from reaching the point of exhaustion.

We examine the role quality relationships and a supportive community play in our lives. We share insights on how to identify and let go of things or relationships that no longer serve us, and muster up the courage to prioritize our needs and desires. We delve into the concept of JASP—Joy, Alignment, Sustainability, and Purpose—a tool Natalie uses to guide her life decisions and find fulfillment. Join us for this heartfelt conversation that encourages collective well-being, open communication, and ultimately, a more balanced life.

About Natalie Mullin:
Natalie Mullin, a Certified Wellness Educator, Speaker, Facilitator, and Coach, empowers multifaceted women to transform their lives through workshops, presentations, and coaching. As the host of “From a Full Cup,” a mental wellness podcast, she inspires women to dream big and take action. Drawing from her own challenges during a mental health breakdown, once she got to the other side, Natalie emerged as a thought leader in Disruptive Wellness. By prioritizing her well-being and crafting a strategic life wellness plan, she became living proof that one can align life with their values, goals, and vision. Her unique approach combining neuro-linguistic programming, holistic wellness, and life coaching empowers transformative experiences for clients. Natalie’s expertise focuses on helping multifaceted women develop a new relationship with time so they can balance pursuing life goals, wearing multiple hats, and prioritizing their personal well-being by establishing a personal life wellness plan, leading to tangible results and lives of purpose and fulfillment. Natalie firmly believes that with focus, clarity, direction, accountability, and support all women can improve their wellbeing and their lives.

Where to find Natalie:
From a Full Cup Podcast:

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Show Credits:
Richard Dodds (Host/Producer): @Doddsism
Show Music: @IAmTheDjBlue
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Still Talking Black is a production of Crowned Culture Media LLC. All rights reserved.

Richard Dodds:

This is Still Talking Black, a show where we discuss topics affecting blackness from a black point of view. I'm your host, richard Dyes, and on today's episode I am joined by Natalie Mullen. We talk about how her hustling, bustle lifestyle being triple booked and staying constantly busy starts to really affect not only her wellness mental wellness but the thing that she really cared about most. Sometimes the things that we care about most don't have anything to do with the hustling bustle, and we're moving in a way that the world tells us to move and not always trying to figure out the things that matter most to us. So how do we recenter and find the things that are really important to us and facilitate growth and prosperity in those areas? That is some of the things that we talk about on today's episode. So, without further ado, here's Natalie.

Natalie Mullin:

Hi, I'm Natalie Mullen. I'm a certified wellness educator and coach and I love supporting women who just feel stuck, overwhelmed, stressed, and they're just trying to find more balance in their life so they can spend more time with themselves, with their loved ones and those that matter to them.

Richard Dodds:

That's awesome you. You were like so ready for it. I like it when people are ready and they know exactly who they are. I always find it that I'm sorry. I always find it that when people can describe who they are and what they do, they have a good understanding of who they are. But the ones who don't struggle.

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, you're like sorry, cancel this, cancel this recording. You can come back next year.

Richard Dodds:

Practice- Like I'll call you back. Something came up, yeah.

Natalie Mullin:

What, mom, what you need me now I gotta go.

Richard Dodds:

I gotta go. I thought you put your phone on. Do not disturb. What do you mean?

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, Actually, I should do that right now.

Richard Dodds:

That's always a good thing, right, because people tend to call it the worst moments, right?

Natalie Mullin:

Right when you turn the mic on Always.

Richard Dodds:

So how did you start and how did you start to embark on your wellness journey?

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah. So for me it's okay. So let's start. So life was very busy and I was doing all the things that I thought I should be doing. So I was working full time. I had a gig on the side. I was saying yes to everybody. My calendar was packed from morning to night. I'd be like triple scheduled. I'd be on the phone in a meeting on the way to another meeting, have a social event after. It was just mayhem, but I actually thought that this was good. I felt like, oh, I'm really productive, I'm really working hard in life. This is the message I've always gotten from my parents. Like, you know, you've got to wear a card, you've got to be better than us and you know you feel like you have this burden on your shoulders. It's your responsibility to carry it. So, to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself. I felt like I was doing all the right things and I wasn't really paying attention to what was happening around me. And that, all of a sudden, one day, my husband said like he wanted a divorce, completely out the blue, and I was like I'm sorry. What word was that? What did you say? And, long story short, I had been so busy in my day to day life so busy, trying to juggle all of these other responsibilities, that I didn't realize that my personal life was being affected until it was basically too late. And this sent me into a huge depression because for me, that's all I wanted. All I wanted was my family. So then you kind of get to this point and you're like well, what was the point of me working so hard, chasing money, chasing success, chasing opportunities, if in the end I'm going to lose, like what matters most, what I was working so hard for in the in the first place? And after being in this depression for a while, I remember talking to one of my friends and she's like well, you have to snap out of it, like you can't just stay in this negative place for the whole time. And I'm like but how, like I, nothing is changing my life. He doesn't want to work it out. So what is going to make life better? And she's like you've got to do it for yourself, like you've just got to find it within yourself to pull yourself out. So I was like okay, I don't know what that means, but let me just try, because sometimes you have no clue how to move forward. But it starts with the decision to try. I will say that, and I was like I'm just going to try. So I tried to start surrounding myself with just positive influences. I went to therapy. I started talking to just a few wise people, because sometimes you're talking to people and they're not helping you. They're just actually adding to the clutter going on in your head. And, long story short, I was able to, I guess, kind of put together a roadmap for my own self of how to get out of there. I was like I had to find out, figure out self awareness, what do I even want out of my own life? And this is what began my wellness journey. So figuring out what do I want out of life, who do I want to become? And then, how do I get there? What activities do I want that are going to bring me joy and deep meaning, what are the values that I hold dear to myself? And that kind of became my wellness journey and eventually my whole life transformed and thankfully my marriage was restored. But it's within that kind of sitting by myself and kind of figuring out what kind of wellness journey do I want for myself. This is what got me into this work and I was like I want to help other women. I want to help other people who are kind of going through these same struggles. They feel like they're stuck or at their crossroads. Maybe they've put themselves on a back burner and they just don't see a way forward. Now that I've kind of figured it out for myself, I want to help do this for other women too.

Richard Dodds:

That that is like a really amazing story, and it's just so many times I feel like we're always here that we got to be busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. And what I've seen with especially like a lot of black people, unfortunately is that we spend so much time grinding that we never really get to live. And that's something that I struggle with too is like, where, where is the line between, like, making ends meet and grinding and doing the things that you really love? Like where, where is that line? Because so many times the rat race keeps you from doing that, to really enjoying the things that you love.

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, no, I was just gonna say though, like I think, even growing up, especially as Black people, I think a lot of us never saw our parents have true joy in the sense of play and leisure and relaxation. Like a lot of us, when we think of our parents or elders or just people in the community, we saw hardworking people, people who had one job, two jobs, three jobs, people who were always cleaning the house, always going to church, always going to community organizations, like they were just always doing something. So you grow up accepting that this is normal and, to be honest, a lot of people I think our parents' generation they took pride in that they're like oh, I'm a hard worker, and I think there is something to be said about kind of working hard. But there is also something to be said about getting to a place where we realize we deserve rest, we deserve to be able to slow down. Because what are you working hard for? You're working hard because you want to have an enjoyable life, and so many people are working hard and they never get to enjoy it. And I think sometimes we think we have all this time in the world are, oh, I'm going to enjoy life when I retire, I'm going to enjoy life when I get to a certain age, and we don't know how much time we're given on this earth. And so it's heartbreaking to me that some people work so hard to kill themselves over three jobs and you know, the day they retired, the day they die right, or they don't even make it to retirement. And so it's like what was it for? Your family never saw you, you never got to spend time doing things that brought you joy. What was it for? And I think that we need to be reminded that we do deserve rest, we deserve to play, we deserve to do joyful activities. That's not just about the hustle, not just about productivity, not just about success.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, I think, more than any other group, specifically black women tend to have the most amount of pressure to be. You know, you always hit a strong black woman Like they have such. It's so much with the intersection, with the intersectionality. You know, it's like being black, being a woman, like all these things come with different ways and societal norms that get put on, get put on everybody, and I feel like black women have it the hardest. So why do you think it is so important specifically for black women to focus and prioritize their mental health?

Natalie Mullin:

For black women. The reason I think it's important is because we are the staple of our households, we are the staples of our families, we are the staples of our communities and children are watching us and we are the role models. So when they see, oh, mom just keeps working hard, mom just keeps taking all of this on for herself, first of all for females, for black girls, they grow up thinking that they're supposed to do the same. Oh, I always saw my mom solving everybody else's problems. I always saw my mom going, going. I never saw my mom take a break, so this is what I'm supposed to do too. So the cycle repeats. But also even for our black boys, they say, oh well, mom's got it under control, so I'm good, like, let's just put it on the mom. And what happens is that our black males grow up and they just put everything on the mom and it's like no, mom needs some support, like mom needs the dad, mom needs the husband, mom needs the partner, mom needs the brother, the uncle, male support, because mom can't do it all. She is not a superhero, she is not a part of Marvel and you know, sometimes she gets tired, right. And I think that people just think, okay, black women can do it all and we can do a lot, but do we want to do it all? No, we really don't. And I think some black women honestly have a hard time even admitting that, like they know within themselves that they can't do it all, but they have a hard time uttering those words like I need help, I need support, because, again, it wasn't modeled for them. So we really have to change our language and change our thinking and accept that we can't do it all. We need support, we need a community. Mom needs to be able to take off her cape. Mom needs to be able to have a lighter load, because what happens is a lot of moms are going around and they're very unfulfilled, they're just tired. Like I think if you talk to a lot of black women who are moms, the word is tired and it's not a word that they come up and honestly say to everyone because again, they're trying to manage everybody else's expectations and everybody else expects that they have it together. So then they feel like, okay, well, I've got to have it together, but that's a lot of pressure. You can't even honor your own feelings, you can't even center your own wellbeing because you're trying to manage the expectations of everybody else around you, but in those moments when that woman is by herself, and even if she's not a mom black women by general we are just moms in our communities, right? So even if you don't have your own biological children, you're still helping with somebody's kids. Let me tell you right, even if it's in the neighborhood or something like that, there is a lot that black women do and we need to create a safe space where black women can say I'm tired, I don't have enough time to pour into myself, to focus on my own self-care, I want to rest, I want to do something fun for myself and I don't want to feel guilty about doing that. And if mom can do that, she is setting an example for the whole rest of the community that we can all take our turns for rest. We can all take our turns to slow down. We can all take our turns to find things that are joyful and allow us to live purposeful, meaningful lives instead of just running ourselves ragged, because that's not the goal.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, it's like I'm just thinking about all of the different like social norms that there have been, even like especially when you think about now, like women are the most educated group of people you know, at least in the United States, and you think about how things have changed so much like back, way back, when you think about the stereotypical type of household it would be the man would go to work, the wife would stay home and they would take care of the kids and the cooking and cleaning. And now that those roles have, I wouldn't say shift, but they've transformed Like both men and women, husbands and wives and wives and husbands and husbands, whatever the configuration is, usually everybody's going to work. Most times you don't have that live at home like somebody who's staying at home, and if that's the case, we can't say that all right, you're the wife. Even though you went to work, you still have to cook and clean and take care of the kids by yourself, because that's your position. And then, even in that I've seen like so many times you hear about the people who have done that I've taken care of the kids my whole life, I've taken care of my husband my whole life and now they might lose their husband and their kids are grown and now they're like who am I? And they don't know who they are anymore 100%.

Natalie Mullin:

It's an identity crisis, because their whole living and being was tied up in serving other people, but they forgot to serve themselves. And so when the kids move out the home, when they don't have anybody relying on them anymore, they're like what do I even do? And sometimes you even see this in women after they retire. Like sometimes you just see them, they're going around the house and they're cleaning a house that's already clean, because they don't even know what it's like to just sit down. They're always moving, their hands are always. They're washing up the one dish every single time, because they've just felt like they've always had responsibilities on their plate and it's like, why don't you go take a vacation? Like, why don't you go do something like go garden or go for a walk? And a lot of times they'll say, oh no, I can't, I have to be doing something. Like they feel like they're not, like almost like it's a bad thing if there's nothing to be doing. And I think we really have to check ourselves and we really have to have honest conversations and say like, no, no, no, this is not healthy. Because at the same time, our community, the black community, has so many health issues right, we have diabetes, we have hypertension, we have high blood pressure we have all of it, to be honest and a lot of this stuff is directly related to how we manage our wellbeing, and so it's like we're not eating properly, we're not exercising, we're not keeping the right amount of rest and the right amount of sleep, so it's like you have to hold the two things together. So, yes, there's a part of wellbeing that is, of course, focused on the mental part, about just being able to slow down at rest. But also, what are we physically doing to support our wellbeing? And, as a community, how are we getting ourselves and involved to be proactive about our health? Because health and wellness, it's a holistic right. They're directly connected together.

Richard Dodds:

I think that's a great point, that all of this kind of I always even myself like I start, if I'm not working out, I'm gonna get enough sleep. I start to fall into like a depression. Sometimes I'd be like what's wrong, like no matter what's happening, like I always. You just start to feel sad and worn down and it's like, oh, like my wife would be like oh, are you taking care of yourself? You're raggedy, you run down, you've been doing too much. You need to take a day to yourself. You need to go and do something where you're not working, just go and chill out somewhere. And like it's always important to have those people in your life that kind of tell you to sit down for a minute so that you're not, so that you don't have to get sick in order to slow down. That shouldn't be. The time that you slow down is when you're sick.

Natalie Mullin:

No, exactly. I just wrote a blog post about this on LinkedIn and it was talking about taking wellness days. And it's like at work a lot of times like we take a sick day. But a wellness day is a little bit different, because you take a wellness day before you get sick. As soon as you start to realize like you're feeling a little bit off, whether you feel overwhelmed or stressed or you're just not feeling optimal, you take that time now before you actually get sick, and say you know what? I'm just gonna take a day to reset, because sometimes we just need to reset, sometimes we just need to pause. And the other part of it is some people take a wellness day just to enjoy life, like my husband would take wellness days well, he called them wellness days. I need to sit at home and play Xbox. And at first I remember I was like this is so immoral. Like what are you doing? Like you should be at work. And he's like no, I just need to relax my mind. And it took me a while. But afterwards I actually saw how it impacted his mood and him having that time off to play X-MOS, which he really enjoyed. It really did kind of give him that kind of extra gust of energy and I guess it's the sense of calm within himself that he was like okay, I can go back to work now and I feel like I've done something for myself. And he would say like I'm giving all these hours to my job, like why shouldn't I be able to reclaim some of that time for myself? So that really changed my way of thinking and now I'm all for those wellness days and I'm like I think it's important that we talk about this and that we encourage other people to take them. I think it's so great that your wife is that kind of accountability partner for you to say hey, I notice you don't seem quite yourself. You might need to just slow down, because it's hard to see when you're running, running, running, it's hard to notice that you might be a little bit off. Maybe you're cranky, maybe you're irritable. You know, maybe you're making mistakes, but the people around you can be that support and just be like you know. I just want to check in, but I think that you might need to pause. You might need to take that time, and it's really important to listen to that instead of just saying no, no, no, I'm okay, because what's going to happen is you eventually push yourself too far and now you might become ill, you might have health concerns, you might be in a deeper ailment that's going to take much longer to recover from.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, I always end up burning out. But, like, just like your husband, I am an Xbox person and it was times where I was in an unhealthy like relationship with with the grind or the hustle culture to where I would I would go and I would work my job and maybe do a side job, maybe work on a podcast, and I would literally like work majority, like 80% of my day and I'll play Xbox for like an hour and then I would like I would get in bed and like I feel bad, I play games too long, and it's like you play games for like an hour, calm down, it's okay. And like it really took a long time for me to break that Like that. Oh, like if I'm gaming I could be hustling, I could be doing something else. So it took a, it took a lot for me to break that mindset. So, even like in thinking of that, like I think for you, like from your story, it seems like you found out what your real priority was in life and it wasn't working. Like that's the working wasn't your priority, it was a means to an end. How can, how can, other people start to find ways to prioritize their, their health and their mental health?

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, I think it really starts with checking in and seeing what are your priorities, like, what is the most important thing to you? What is the reason that keeps you going and keeps you motivated? Why are you doing the things that you're doing? Right, because most people are not really just working hard just for the sake of making money. A lot of people are doing it for their families or for their loved ones, or because they themselves are trying to maybe get financial freedom or something like. There's always like a deeper reason, and I think it's really important to know what is that deeper reason. What is that why? Because once you know what your why is, you can put it, you know, you hold it there and you say okay, this is my why. Now I need to analyze the decisions and the choices I'm making with the, with the resources I have, whether time or money, and see am I contributing to my why or am I taking away from and how am I like? How are the two reconciling each other? Right? And so I think for a lot of people, they just kind of need to slow down and think how am I supporting my why? And I like to use this with my clients as a tool called JASP, j-a-s-p, and so when you're making decisions for yourself, right? First I'll ask yourself does it bring you joy? Is the thing that you're trying to do? Is it bringing you joy? Is it in alignment? That's the A is alignment. Is it in alignment with the values you have for yourself and for the future you want for yourself? Because if it's not in alignment, then it's a no, then the S is for sustainable. Is what I'm doing sustainable? Can you keep working 80% of the day? The answer is no. You are going to go lead to burnout or even worse, and sometimes we think burnout is the end of it. It can be worse. It can be very severe health consequences, it could be a heart attack, it could be all sorts of things, or it could be a lost relationship, like it was at one point for me, right. So, is it sustainable? Are the things that you're doing, are you saying yes to everybody and everything, or are you trying to do too much all at once? And I'm not saying like just don't do anything and don't be ambitious in life. I'm an extremely ambitious person, but there is a time and place and sometimes you have to say, okay, I'm going to have to slow down and I'm going to have to do this now and then. I'm going to do this then or I'm going to only allocate so much time to this, but I'm going to have a hard stop and when I have a boundary over my time so that I can still find time for myself. And then the P is about purpose. Is this helping me fulfill the purpose that I have in life? Because I think a lot of people go around and they're just kind of living life day to day, kind of on this hamster wheel, but they don't feel any sense of deep meaning, like deep fulfillment. They don't feel like they're actually doing things to contribute to others, to contribute to the world. And I truly believe that we're all here for a reason and I feel like we're all here to help each other, lift each other up, support each other. And I think a lot of times when people feel disconnected from their purpose, it's because they're within their own selves, they're within their shell, they're not using their gifts and talents to kind of help other people in the world. And so, again, look at that decision. Is this something that is leading me towards purpose or is it leading me away from purpose? So, jasp, j-a-s-p. Joy, Alignment, sustainability and Purpose and that can help you to make decisions, to better set up your life in a way that can be fulfilling for you.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, I think that's so solid, that's such good advice, like I like that JASP. I'm gonna have to write that one down and use that one in my own life. So I think, like specifically we kind of talked about it before, talking about how, when black women prioritize themselves, like it's a stigma attached to it, what ways, how can we start to change that stigma and make it okay for I mean not even just specifically black women, just because they do so much for black families?

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, honestly, it starts with what you tell yourself. At the end of the day, we are taking on a lot of messages from society and a lot of messages from other people, their expectations, what they think you should be doing. And I really believe in disruptive wellness, and disruptive wellness is all about pushing back on society's narrative of how you practice wellness for yourself. You have to kind of honor your own needs and recognize well, this is what I need. And along with recognizing what you need, you have to realize that you're worth it. And so for a lot of people, they have challenges putting themselves first because they don't think that they're worth putting themselves first. They don't think they're deserving of that space. And if you're in that place, you've got to shift your mindset. And I am telling you anybody who's listening to this right now you are worthy and you are deserving and you don't need anybody to tell you otherwise. And if anybody has made you feel incapable or not worthy, not deserve it, that is a lie. And you need to rest those beliefs down. And you've got to believe it for yourself. And it might take some time, and I understand that, because some people have really been beat down. They've been, they've been told their whole lives one thing right. A lot of this comes from childhood. So if you grew up in a family or you just had people when you were younger, that kind of made you feel like you weren't worth it. It's a lot of years of programming that you have to undo, but every day you've got to start telling yourself I'm worth it, I'm deserving, I, I good things should come to me. And you know you've got to start changing, changing your brain and how your brain thinks, to believe that you're deserving of it. And then you need to just go live it out. If you, if you think you're worthy of something, then you need the action to come alongside right, because there's no point in thinking right. We see a lot of women who like, oh, I'm worth this, I'm worth that, and then they get together with somebody who treats them like Josh and it's like okay, well, your actions don't match your words here, so the two need to go together. So if you think you're worthy and deserving, how would you treat a person who is worthy and deserving? If you think you're a queen we want to use the word queens and kings in our community how would a queen act? How would a queen take care of herself? Where would a queen physically place herself? How would a queen dress? How would a queen, you know, restore her own self? How would a queen allow people to talk to her? How would a queen monitor access of who who can get to her, right? And so it's like we've got to establish boundaries and practices that are going to be supportive of the person that we want to be. They have to be in alignment with each other, and I think the the last point I'll say on this is about being in community. I think you've got to be around people who talk the same talk and walk the same walk that you want for yourself, right? So you know that phrase birds of a feather flock together. So if you see yourself on a certain level and the people around you are not on that same level and they're not trying to get there either, I'm not saying you have to fully cut them off, but you might need to distance yourself more and you might need to find other people who are like-minded and are going the place that you want to go and are treating themselves the way that you want to treat yourself, right? So if you are a person who wants to elevate yourself. Maybe you want to. You know, just spend time with yourself. And self-care doesn't have to be about money. I really want to talk about that too, because sometimes we're thinking self-care is like, oh, I got my nails done. Or oh, I went for a massage, and everybody has different financial situations. And also you could be getting your hair done and your nails done and still be extremely depressed and unwell inside and it's just for show or it's just outward things. But when I think of wellness, I'm really thinking about the state of mind, like, are you content with who you are as a person? Are you content with how you show up in the world, how you live out your day to day actions? And if you can, then you are honoring your own well-being, right? We? Nature is out there. We can just take a walk in the park. We can take a walk down the street and breathe in the air. That is free and that can be a form of self-care. We can close our eyes and take a nap. I am all about an app, okay, and that can be, because it's giving yourself permission to rot. So I never want people to think that self-care has to be going and buying fancy bags and you know our community, sometimes I don't know, I don't know why but people like sometimes it hurts me. This materialism thing comes and we talk about this soft life and it becomes a showy thing and again it's like but are you, are you happy with the person you are inside? Like we have to really kind of look inside, find the people that are like-minded, that can encourage you and support you and be like okay, we are going towards this version of wellness, this version of whatever it is, that aligns with the version that you have for yourself.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, it is like it's funny. We always I feel like I talk about it so much as we do tend to be showy and like, especially like social media doesn't help at all just because you can put out a front, and so many times I have seen people like put out a front and then when you actually talk to them and you you get to them on a personal level, they're really just super depressed and it's just so sad to see you hate it. That's why you got to check in on your friends, with who you think they're strong. You got to check in on them friends, Make sure that they're doing well, because sometimes they go through stuff and you can't even tell from the outside looking in.

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, and you have to get to a place of vulnerability too, because sometimes you check in on your friends and they're holding back right, and so they're like oh yeah, everything's good, Like I'm great, Everything is right. But sometimes you have to push a little bit and be like no, like really, how are you? But also you have to lead with that too right, Like you can't just expect people to open up to you if you're not willing to open up to them. And I'm not a person who's like go talk your business to everybody, because that's not helpful. But if you can find a few close friends and just be like no, it's okay. We're really going to form a space of honesty that when we come together we're going to be honest and if things have hit the fan, then we're going to say things have hit the fan or like I'm not feeling good, I feel like there's pressure, I feel like I can't perform, I feel like I'm an imposter, I feel I'm inadequate, I feel like the cards are stacked up against me. Whatever it is you want to find whether it's one, two, three people that you can truly be just your honest, open, vulnerable self with, and that those people are going to take your words and hold them in a safe space and support you, because sometimes you're honest with people and that their response is not helpful, they're like, oh well, that's your fault and they're just blaming you. And you're like this is not, this is not helpful, Right. And so I see that a lot. I see people. They put their trust in the wrong people and so the people that they talk to all they do is tear them down even more, and that is not helpful to anybody. So you got to find people who are going to lift you up, who are going to support you, and if you don't have those people in your life because some people honestly don't I would say to like try to start listening to other positive people out there and just pretend they're your friends, Like right. Like go on a podcast, go on YouTube, go read a book of people that you feel like are living the kind of life that you'd like and listen to the stories that they went through. Sometimes I find it like helpful to just listen to people who go on through some really, really, really hard stuff, because a, it's like okay, I'm not alone, but B, it's like if you see how they were able to kind of come out of their own mess and build resilience or whatever. You can take ideas from them as you're still looking for your community of support. But like, don't stay isolated, Because when you stay isolated, all you do is talk to yourself and no matter what. Like, our negative self talk is so, so, so strong, even if we're trying to be a positive person. The negative like almost always wins and it's like they're battling each other, but like, the negative is just strong. So you've got to find ways to build up that, those positive voices, those positive influences in your life, so that you can cling to them, especially when you don't feel like you have that faith in yourself or you don't feel like you have that belief. And that's why it's good for other people, Because other I know when I was at my lowest, I had nothing. I was just empty, empty, broken, broken. But the people around me would be like Natalie, you can do this, Natalie, you're going to get through this. Natalie, life is not over Like. And they just kept pouring that truth into me While I truly felt like I was at the bottom of a pit, until I eventually was able to take their words and kind of lean on their strength and and and move forward.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, I think that that's all like. That's very good advice. It's just, yeah, community is so important like humans weren't meant to be alone. I feel like as technology grows, and I mean especially after COVID, so many of us section ourselves off and isolate. It's so, and it's like I'm not going to say my, but someone who's been around like before the internet was really like a thing thing. You know what I mean. I know right. Well, like the way making friends is so much harder now. It used to be. You would make friends everywhere, like at church, at school, like just going to the grocery market, and it's like so much like we do not speak to each other anymore, we don't do stuff. It's like you really have to be really intentional when trying to make friends. Now, Like, since I've left college, I can't even think of like outside of maybe like a couple or a handful of people. I can't even think of any new people that I've met that I would really consider a friend that I did not meet, like in college or at work. You know what I mean. And sometimes you do want that separation, so it's even hard to like try to be friends with people you are with. So community is important.

Natalie Mullin:

Community is important and I feel for everyone. And you know what, like working remotely for those who do it, like that doesn't help in a lot of ways too. And also, I think, just as we age, like I think about that too. I think a lot of the friends that I have are from when I was younger, and whether at church or from school university, same thing. Like after that, it kind of was like oh okay, well, we're just kind of done. But then some of those people you just kind of fall out of touch with, especially when people move or just life circumstances change, and so you really do have to be intentional and put yourself out there. And this is where I would say, though, quality over quantity, because there gets no point. Like I'm at a point right now where I have a bandwidth that's pretty backstabbed, so I can, I can't really accept too much more friends in my life. Anyways, I just don't have the time to keep up with them in the way that I would like to. You know what I mean like to be a good friend. So at this point I'm like, okay, who are the people that are close to me that I know, that I can commit to regularly check in on them and that I can receive the energy that they have. Because as a friend it's a give and take relationship, right, it's reciprocal, and you have to be a good friend for people, which means sometimes you're listening to their hard difficulties and troubles and trials and I can't take on all too much of that. So I have, I just have to know, like what, what I can emotionally handle and because I have a young son too, right, so he, he just takes a lot out of me Like. okay, I'm more cognizant now. I just don't have the same. I can't be on the phone till two, am talking with people about there. I just can't do it. I just need to sleep first of all, like, I just need to sleep, but I have to have energy for for my son, because obviously he's the priority. So I think when you're looking for friends, man like, and I don't have a specific like, oh, this is the best advice, but you do have to put yourself out there to try to find people, because I do not think we are meant to live in isolation, just like you said, and I think it is so important for our well being to be in a relationship with other people, not just romantic relationships, because I see some people who their significant other is like they're gone, it's like they're there and all and be all, and that is putting entirely too much pressure on that other person and that person cannot be it for all. People Like I cannot meet all my husband's needs. My husband cannot meet all my needs. Right, like you've got to, you got to spread the load. You've got to have some other people available to you and so you've got to see, like, how can you put yourself in communities or spaces where you might attract like minded people and hopefully you have something in common. Like you know, if you're a podcaster, maybe you buddy up with another podcaster, maybe you go to a networking event or something. Or if you like sports, maybe you join a team and then hope you might find a friend that way with work. Yeah, I understand that, because sometimes you're like oh, you know what, I'm good with you.

Richard Dodds:

Like we could go for a drink, but then that's where it's got to stop Right, like sometimes and you've got to see, you've got like.

Natalie Mullin:

I have some good friends from work and others. I'm like Remember I had it someone and I was like, oh, please don't message me on my Instagram. Like.

Richard Dodds:

I try to keep this professional.

Natalie Mullin:

Like I try to keep my personal and professional separate. But you've just got to find ways and even put it out there. Sometimes I would, literally I would tell my hairdresser I'm like, oh my God, I'm just trying to find some friends, like some, some new friends that were kind of headed in the direction of where I wanted to get. I would just kind of put it out there in the atmosphere you could do vision boarding or just write it down journal. But like you have to, you have to identify what you want. Like you need to know what you want and you need to put it out there so you can attract those right people to you in the first place. But it's not about having tons and tons of friends, it's about having that core group that you know you can rely on, that you're there for them and they're there for you.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, that's all good points. I think a lot of them, like a lot of my good friends some of them I don't even get to talk to all the time and I think like a great sign of like a great friend is that you guys might not talk for a couple of years and you see each other and say, hey, how you been Like blah, blah blah and you talk like you never lost touch and that's how you know that you have like a really good, true bond with that person. Just because you think about you talk. If you get, you got a job and then you get. If you get married, you have kids, like everything that like you families, like your parents trying to keep in like that stuff going. Like even when I was like a single man, like just working a job and like doing whatever else I did, it was hard to keep up with people. It was like now like married, like I'm trying to make sure my household is in order, so it's just a lot more so it's like I always appreciate. Like those two friends is like we haven't seen each other in two years, but if you saw us talking you wouldn't be able to tell, just because if they need something, they can hit me up and I'm there for them and vice versa, I'm always there and it's a reciprocal thing, like you said, and I don't expect anything from them that I wouldn't provide to them on the same level. And I think that's an important part, because sometimes friendships can be very one sided. Like they, they're there, like they can come when you, when you need them, when they need you, I'm here, but you need them, and then they don't want to listen and that's not really a friendship. And I was going to say anything. It's like be careful of one sided relationships, whether it's like a, like a sexual relationship or like whether it's a friendship. Like, just be very careful with one sided relationships. If you're not getting something out of it, just either intrinsically or one way or another, then that might not. You might need to reevaluate that friendship, because that might be one of the things that's causing you stress and pulling you down 100%.

Natalie Mullin:

And I think people need to do those check-ins. And I think sometimes too, like people, especially black women, like we really believe in this idea of potential, right, and we're like, oh my gosh, especially with, like a significant other romantic relationship, like, oh, but this person has so much potential, and so they just keep giving, giving to give their all to this person, that person. They give nothing back to them but a headache, okay, but they still keep going and it's like, no, we do have to pause and do that, check it and be like am I being treated the way that I want to be treated? And this is why it comes back to alignment. And you have to know what you want for yourself and you have to know what are you deserving of and what are you going to maintain as your standard, because what you set as the standard is exactly what you're going to attract. So if your standard is way down at the bottom, well, that is what is coming to you. If your standard is way here at the top, that's what's going to come to you, and if anything else that doesn't match the standard comes to you, you're going to be like, oh no, sorry, you just you know me. So, um, reciprocity is so important. I think we're just in a selfish time where people are just about like me, me, me. I remember I had this friend and it's like I don't know what happened, but she just kind of changed and all of a sudden it's like anytime something negative was going on in her life and she wanted support, messaging me down oh my gosh, this is this. Of course I'm a supportive person. I'm like oh man, I'm so sorry. Here's encouragement, here's this. Then you don't hear from her again. All of a sudden. Next next thing comes up in her life. All of a sudden she's back. And so it's like sometimes you're like wait, I'm noticing a pattern here. When I just reach out to you to say hi, you're not even responding.

Richard Dodds:

Don't even respond back Right.

Natalie Mullin:

Like I'm like this is, this is no, so it's just a no. And you've got to know when you've got to walk away from whether a friendship, a relationship, a partnership that is not mutually beneficial Because all it will do is, if you were the giver, you're going to become jaded eventually and that's that's not the goal. You want to be in relationship with people who make you feel good and where you feel appreciated, where you feel respected. And I completely agree with what you said about like yeah, I have those friends too. I might not see them for a couple of years. And you see them and you're like, oh my gosh. And like sometimes I don't even realize it's been so long. Like in my mind, I'm like, oh, we just talked the other day. And then I'll look up my WhatsApp and I'll be like, oh, 2021, like for real, my bad. Like you know but it's okay, because when we come back together, not only are we good, but I feel like I can still be my full, authentic self. And I think it's so important to be around people that you can just be you. You don't have to have pretenses, you don't have to watch what you're saying, you can just come as you are. They accept you for who you are the good and the bad because we all have, you know, pros and cons to us and you can just be. I think that alone is supports your well-being. When you can just be around friends, that you can just be chill and just be who you are, I think is very freeing and very powerful too.

Richard Dodds:

No, I totally agree with that. And it's funny because even thinking about cutting off friends is like I can't remember friendships, that in whether you end on my weather, they end on my, whatever happens. And it's like thinking of like one of the takeout, Like I was so devastated when we decided that we weren't going to be friends anymore. But in those coming weeks I felt so much peace, just because I didn't realize what that person had constantly been putting on me, like the negativity and the things that came along with it. I felt like at one point in my life I lost a bunch of friends at the same time for various reasons and I was like man, I feel so much lighter in it. It's like not even to be cheesy, but it's like a Drake song where he says like he's been losing friends and fighting peace, and it's like I kind of like I kind of understand that lyric in a real way, Cause it's like I've lost some friends, I found peace and it's crazy that you would think that like losing a friend would be so devastating, but it's a time and a place and sometimes that time passes and that friend is no longer a friend in the way that you, or maybe they can't support you in a way that they need support, Cause we all are changing and growing and we're not always changing and growing together.

Natalie Mullin:

And that's it. And it doesn't have to be like a bad thing, like do you know what I mean? Like it can just be like listen, for the time we were friends, for the time we were in a relationship, for the time whatever it was good. And now we're just walking two different paths. I wish you all the best. I'm going here, you're going there. There's no hard feeling. You know what I mean, because I think sometimes people are clinging, they're holding on to something that needs to die. Like they just need to let that. Whatever the relationship is going on, they just go and they're holding on to it and all they're doing is causing themselves more stress and heartache. And if they would get to a point where they can say you know what, I released this, they would find that same piece that you're talking about. But not everybody is like okay, making that choice, and I think it's out of fear, like they're just fear of the unknown right, like they don't know what life looks like if they don't have that person in their life. But you just have to say look, what do I deserve? Am I deserving of peace? Am I deserving of joy? Am I deserving of just a stress free life or just maybe a more uplifting life, like sometimes it's just like the vibe, like people are pulling you down and you're like I'm trying to go higher. So I just I just got to do what I got to do. But this is when you got to put yourself first and you say, like, again, I have to put myself first. What do I need to become the person that I want to become, or to get closer? Do you know what I mean? As you said, we're always evolving, we're always growing. So you've got to be thinking in that forward kind of journey and not everybody is meant to be on all parts of the journey with you and, as I said, you can respect them. Maybe, like for this part of the journey it's been real, it's been great and I'm grateful. I'm so grateful for this time.

Richard Dodds:


Natalie Mullin:

I got to keep, I got to keep moving, you're going to stay, or sometimes they go the other way and that's OK. And I think when I finally accepted that because I was that Klinger I was like, oh no, I'm going to be with everybody forever. And you know, it was hard. I remember, even in relationships where I should break up with a person, I just was like, no, I just can't, I'll make it work.

Richard Dodds:

Break up with me or I'll make it work because you know.

Natalie Mullin:

And then after I'm like but I'm not happy, Like why am I doing this to myself? And then eventually you kind of get that confidence and you're like no, I know what I deserve, or I know what I'm worth and I know where I'm headed, and so I'm going to have to make some tough decisions and get going with it.

Richard Dodds:

Yeah, that's. I feel like that's how it always is. It's just it's really hard. I mean, it's hard to change, and even when you think about relationships, I always think of it as a competitive thing. It's like you don't want to lose. It's like I can make this work and it's like why are you spending so much time trying to make this failing thing work? Why not find something that works without you having to change who you are? Because, whether it's a relationship or romantic relationship or just a friendship, if you can't be yourself around that person, then it's not going to be. It's not something that's sustainable. When you go back to your, to your uh, yeah, is it? J J, J J A S. P yeah, yeah when you're like is that, as is this, sustainable? And it's like if you're not being yourself, it's only so much either you're going to completely change who you are and that'll probably alienate people in your life, or is this not going to be sustainable, and that is just. I think that's something that that a lot of people end up contending with.

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, no, I 100% agree and you just have to. Sometimes in life you have to make hard decisions Like that's just what it is. It's not like it's easy sometimes to to walk away from a relationship or to end something like. I'm very empathetic to that, especially when maybe you saw this as your future right and you only saw it going a certain way. And it's not. Or you just been, you've just been friends with someone for a really long time and you have all of that history. But again, what do you want for your own self? Because you're holding your own self back. It's like you're robbing your own self of future joy. But it's because we don't believe that there's better for us. Sometime, like we think like, nah, I just got to hold on to what I have right now. It's like a scarcity mentality. It's like, well, I don't think there's enough out there for me, I don't think there's better out there for me. So I'm just going to cling to the little I have and try to make it work. But not only are you trying to make it work, you're actually miserable at the same time. So it's counterproductive in in always. Not like you're trying to make it work and you're happy Like no, like when you're forcing something, it's never good, right? If you, if you have a banana, it's not ripe and you, you try to force right. But or do it with mangoes. It never tastes as good as if it just ripened on its own. So if it is not naturally coming to be, you just need to let it go, and sometimes it comes back to you, right?

Richard Dodds:

Sometimes it does yeah.

Natalie Mullin:

And sometimes it doesn't. And you just got to be open and just trust that the universe has that God, whoever you believe in, has something better out there for you and that if you are deserving of it and you put yourself out there, you attract that good to you. But you've got to believe that you're worth it and you've got to believe that it's out there for you and you've got to. And you cannot receive if your hands are closed. You know what I mean. If you're holding on to whatever it is you're holding on to, how are you supposed to get the new stuff? You've got to let it go, have your hands open and then you can receive what's there for you.

Richard Dodds:

That's such a great point. We talked about this before and when we've spoken before and it's like your podcast title from a full cup. It's like I just I love that, because there's so many times you can't pour from an empty cup. But I just wanted to talk to you and I wanted to ask you what does from a full cup mean for you?

Natalie Mullin:

Yeah, so for me, from a full cup is the goal. Like we say we can't pour from an empty cup, and people just kind of leave it at that oh, I can't pour from an empty cup, and it's like, okay. So if we can't pour from an empty cup, it means that we need to fill our cups. So we need to be intentional again, put in that practice, put in that auction of pouring back into ourselves and Managing our well-being, managing our self-care, managing our need, so that we're not running on the empty. So it's like what are you doing to proactively pour back into yourself? How are you becoming a better person? How are you meeting your own needs? How are you taking care of yourself so that you can show up for others? And it's like for me, it's not from a selfish place, right, like a lot of people are like oh well, self-care is selfish and oh, you can't remember, from an empty cup. I remember I heard this person say I'm just going to have my cup full and leave it and I was like oh, okay, like for me that's not, that's not what I think. I think that, like, I want my cup to be full so that from the overflow I'm able to help everybody else around me. I'm able to serve everybody else around me. I'm not a selfish person. I want to give, but I cannot give and just have nothing for myself. I want to have so much in me. I want to be so happy, so joyful, so peaceful, so patient, so abundant. I can give, give, give to everybody else and we can all be filling our cups together. You know, like that, like I think it's at a wedding where you would have like that champagne glass and they pour it in the first glass and it runs out right, real fancy stuff. That's what I want, like I want to be that top cup and like I'm full and it's like trickling down and we're and this is how we get to a collective wellness. And I was just talking to somebody about this on a podcast the other day and it was like we think about our own individual wellbeing, but are we thinking about the collective wellbeing? Because, at the end of the day, if I'm good but my family isn't good, my friends aren't good, my neighbors, the strangers across the street aren't good, am I really good? Like how are we all moving forward? And again I said like I feel like our society is very selfish, but if we could take a pause, there is something to be said about the collective wellbeing and I think we really understood it during COVID, because I think that was one of the few times in life where you felt like you felt when other people were unwell, whether emotionally, physically, like you were so connected to what was happening in everybody else's households. And I think we need to keep the collective wellbeing at the forefront, even like in a workplace environment. It's like you might be here, like, oh, I'm good and I'm doing my work and it's like, well, your coworkers are stressed and burnt out, like, are you going to lend a hand, are you going to offer, if you can, to support them? Because it doesn't. It doesn't work for the team, like, and I think sometimes we think we're all disconnected from each other, but I think we're like, like, like humanity, we're a team, like we need to play together, we need to support each other. Just like what you said about community, we need to care about each other. And it's like what is the point of me just being well, all on my own and like you're hurting over there, like, surely there might be something that is in me, a gift, a talent, a skill that I have that I can use to support you, to encourage you, instead of just like being bad all by myself? Well, that's not, that's not the goal for me. So I just think that if we can get to a place where our cups are full, we can better act out our purpose, better live out our purpose in life and live that meaningful life, because I really do believe we're all meant to live full, abundant, thriving lives and our cups have to be full to do that. So we have to be intentional about that and then we have to realize our cup is not just full for ourselves, so that we can serve others, be there for others and together as a collective, we can lift each other up.

Richard Dodds:

That's so well said. Well, thank you for coming on the show. I really appreciate talking to you.

Natalie Mullin:

Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's a great conversation.

Richard Dodds:

So, again, I'd like to thank Natalie for coming on the show. If you'd like to learn more about her or her podcast from a full cup, I'll make sure I leave that information in the show notes. Still Talking Black is a Crown Culture and Media LLC production. You can find out more about the show at stilltalkingblackcom, but until then, keep talking.