Badass Counseling w/ Sven Erlandson

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This is a podcast episode titled, Badass Counseling w/ Sven Erlandson. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week on&nbsp;<em>The Badass Women's Council</em>, Rebecca sits down with Sven Erlandson from Badass Counseling. Sven is a speaker, spiritual counselor, and author of 6 books, including&nbsp;<em>There's A Hole In My Love Cup.</em></p><p>In this episode, Rebecca and Sven discuss why doers and achievers have such a hard time being still and how we can encourage others to own their own voices and fill their own "love cup." Tune in now!</p><p><br></p><p>You can follow Sven at @badasscounseling or click below:</p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Getting to know Sven
04:07 MIN
Winning your parents' approval: What we all should learn in our 20s
03:47 MIN
What we(doers and achievers) fear most is being still
01:48 MIN
You have to give a shit about yourself
02:53 MIN
Encouraging others to own their voice
01:24 MIN

Speaker 1: (singing)

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hello. This is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession, host of The Badass Women's Council podcast, and I am super glad that you're here. Today's guest is Sven Erlandson from Badass Counseling. And when I sent his TikTok to my friend, Courtney, immediately she watched a few of his videos and said," I'm obsessed with him." And I felt the same, which is why he's here, so here we go. Sven, how's it going?

Sven Erlandson: Great. How are you, Rebecca?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Super good.

Sven Erlandson: Yeah.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: So I found you on TikTok where all greatness exists, right?

Sven Erlandson: Clearly. Easy.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And of course, the first thing that got my attention is Badass Counseling is the name of your business and your TikTok, so of course, that gets my attention. And then I watched a few of your videos, and in minutes I messaged you and I'm like," I need you on the podcast." So here you are.

Sven Erlandson: Yeah, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me on. I'm grateful.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Tell us a little bit about you. I'll just say right now, 1. 5 million followers on TikTok, that's no small task. I mean, the amount of reps that you got to put out there that people actually want to watch, as somebody who's new on TikTok, impressive. Yay.

Sven Erlandson: Thank you.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Author of a book called There's A Hole In My Love Cup. Tell us a little bit more about you and your background. Who are you?

Sven Erlandson: Real simple, I had come out of high school and I went into the Air Force Academy, was going to be a fighter pilot and all that, and grades were good and everything, and I got about two years in and I realized, wow, I respect all these men and women, blah, blah, blah, and I love the military, but I felt called in a different direction. Ended up spending roughly the next 15 to 20 years preparing for and then serving as a Lutheran pastor. Simultaneous to that, I just sort of developed a counseling practice, but because I was a pastor, I wasn't really charging, even outside of the church. And I sort of come from that ethos of go where the need is greatest and serve people, and just do it for fun. And then a series of circumstances... Someone was put in front of me who needed counseling. It was sort of friend of a friend, although friend of a former father- in- law. And the former father- in- law said," Sven, you know I don't really like you." And I'm like," Oh. I wonder where this conversation is going." He said," But you have a gift, and I have someone who needs it." And this particular former father- in- law was involved with Wall Street and so on and so forth, and this particular person was a very senior exec. And this was, oh gosh, 20, 25 years ago, whatever it was. And I worked with that person and managed to turn that guy's life around in a very short period of time. And then, so what happened was sort of plop, plop, plop, not right away, but over the next couple years, he knew somebody who needed help. So simultaneous my being a pastor and then getting kicked out of ministry about three times, this other thing was sort of happening. And I was also writing books. My first one I started writing back in the'90s. And so you've got the books, you've got speaking and lecturing at the college and graduate level, and then you've got all these sort of things, and it wasn't weaving together. And I didn't really have any sort of significant success, per se. I had just sort of committed to doing what I loved to do, but only for as long as it feels good to me. Then when it doesn't feel good, I give myself permission to quit. And then things just sort of flowed, and then by the mid 2000s- ish, the counseling practice was really coagulating, and that's when I formed Badass Counseling. And the real primary group that I was working with was Wall Street, finance, professional athletes, entertainment industry some because I was living in California at the time, and academia and so forth. And it's basically, it was now everything's badass. Every book is badass, this is badass. And it's great, and I love it. And I love Badass Women's Council. I think that to see women getting that and changing their belief system is... I love what you do. And I love your last book, Write Your Own Story. I just think that's fantastic, because women need that and I love it. For me, the people that I work with are people who wouldn't be caught dead in a therapist's office, but who have accomplished, or at the top of the food chain, or on their way to the top and they know they're on the way to the top, but they're looking for someone who thinks like they do, who has that killer instinct, but who also knows how to get them to accomplish the one thing in their life that they can't control. They have everything, yet they have this big hole inside. It's the one problem they can't fix. They don't know how, and they need someone who's better at life and this one tiny little niche than they are and who can navigate that. And so that's sort of what's been the career over the years, and then this whole TikTok thing just took the books and everything else to a whole different level. And so I get kidded by those who are close to me. They're like," Sven, you've always done a massive amount of volunteer work." And I spent two and a half years... I gave up all my life possessions, living on the street, working with and living among the homeless, sleeping on concrete every night for two and a half years. And," You've always sort of done that, Sven, but with this TikTok thing, you're getting bombarded." Hundreds, literally hundreds of messages a day through my direct message or through my phone call and so forth. And because my parents were clergy and I used to be clergy, I feel a really strong sense of commitment. I can't get them all by any means, but I do far more unpaid work than paid work. And so it's this lovely balance for me of people at the very highest echelons who are influencing policy, who are influencing people's lives, but then all the nitty- gritty of all the people down the food chain. And so it's been tremendously gratifying. It's great.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Ah. I love that. Someday we'll have to do a podcast about how you got kicked out of ministry. I'd be really thrilled to hear about that.

Sven Erlandson: Will do.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Because I love Jesus, but church pisses me off a whole lot of times. And this whole idea of what you love to do, and that's the similarity that we have, is I work with high achieving career women who have had some level of success, but it didn't feel quite like they thought it was going to. Right? I got the title, I got some money, I got the granite countertops. I've got all these things that, if you look around, say that I'm successful, but when I lay my head down at night, there's this just feeling of striving versus thriving, is the way I talk about it.

Sven Erlandson: Yes.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And to me, thriving is when you're doing what God wired you to do because you have courageously, going against what everybody else said you should do, to do that thing that you know you're supposed to do. So I love that we have the same, I think, passion about it, but different ways that we get there, which is-

Sven Erlandson: Absolutely.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...a beautiful thing.

Sven Erlandson: Yep.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: There are some topics of some TikToks that I want to bring to the show today.

Sven Erlandson: Great.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: The first one is about winning your parents' approval. You said," Here's what I think we all should have learned in our 20s." Tell us about that.

Sven Erlandson: Yeah. The ultimate... Well, there are several ultimate decisions, but one of the ultimate decisions that has to be reached that people aren't even aware that they're being confronted with when they're in their teens, especially when they're in their 20s and they're beginning to launch, or should be launching, is they're fundamentally having to choose between, what is that... If they can even identify it. You talk about purpose. What is my purpose? What is my calling? What gives me passion? What lights me up? Okay? And very often, if a person can't identify it, it's because they've got all this pain, all these fears, and all the BS beliefs they've been taught about themselves while growing up, packed on top of that, so they can't hear the voice of God or the voice of the universe or the voice of their own soul. They can't hear it, because it's all that other inaudible. All right? So what they're living for, what they've been conditioned to live for so much is those other voices. And so the choice becomes, do I choose to continue to placate or please or seek the acceptance of or seek the approval of those other voices? And by other voices, usually, 99 times out of 100, means Mom and Dad, Mom or Dad, Dad or Mom, whoever raised you. There are other voices in society, peers, society, whatever. But it's BS. I mean, yes, sure, they're there. The most powerful people in your life are always the people that raised you, the one or two, usually. Okay. And it can be three in the case of step- families. Whatever. That being said, so what you're being forced to choose between, whether you're aware of it or not, is, do I choose to continue to please those voices? Because that's where I've gotten strokes. That's where I've gotten the attaboys. Or at least by pleasing them, then they don't hurt me.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Or even negative attention, some kind of attention, right?

Sven Erlandson: Well, yeah. Absolutely. And negative attention. Well, why would anyone want negative attention? Because I'm not getting positive attention, so I'll choose negative attention because it's better than no attention, because no attention means you don't exist. I don't see you.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's right.

Sven Erlandson: Right. And so do I continue to either please them, seek their acceptance, avoid their criticism by being on their agenda, or do I choose my agenda? Do I begin to find my own voice and have the courage to heed and follow that voice? And here's the problem. The problem of following your own voice now, whether it's at 20 or at 30, or I've got clients now that are, a few in their 60s even, wrestling with this exact thing, this notion of, do I follow it now? Because if I follow it now, those people whose approval I've been seeking, whose criticism I've been afraid of, they'll be happy to rain down hell on me, to criticize me. I know I will pay such a price now in going after what I want. They'll mock me. They'll undermine me. They'll doubt me. They'll turn everyone against me. I'll endure hell if I do that. Too high a price to pay. Well, here's the downside. So don't choose that. Don't choose that. I got bad news for you. Come 30, come 40, come 45, come 55, your life will grind you to a halt. You may have all the success in the world, and you and I both deal with successful people, and we've all encountered it where they have the success, they still have that gaping hole inside. They still have this depression that has worn them down, or this high anxiety, however it might manifest themselves. Why? Because they are not living their life. They're not living authentically. They have all the accoutrements, but they're not living authentically. And so the price, the pain that's been going on since they were 20, let's say, and chose that, now they're 45, those 25 years have been increasingly hellish, and so now they finally have to choose themselves. And the price, when you're married, you have a mortgage, maybe you have a couple mortgages, and you have kids, the price of turning that aircraft carrier that is your life in a whole new direction, oh hell. All the disappointment, all the misery, all the... Yes. Okay. What's your experience?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: inaudible.

Sven Erlandson: Tell me.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, seven and a half years ago, and my book starts out telling this story, I got pneumonia for two months. And I was somebody who was never sick. Runner, healthy, high achiever, go, go, go all the time. And so for two months of stillness, for the first time in my life, God had a chance to chat with me a little more in depth because I wasn't running myself crazy. And in that two months, I discovered that I was living on a 23 acre estate, been married to a man for 18 years. We were killing ourselves trying to stay together. Two kids, two dogs. From the outside, we looked like the measure of success.

Sven Erlandson: Right. Right.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And on the inside, I was dying. All my creativity... I'm an artist. Everything about what lit me up, I had traded for another million dollar sales award and another this and a bigger house, and all these things. So I undid my entire life. First I got a divorce, and I stayed in the house for a couple years to see if that gave me joy, and then I decided that wasn't fun anymore, so sold the house. Then I decided if I still downsized and wanted a new job, I'd get a new job. So over a period of four years, I unwound all that and rebuilt it the way it feels right for me.

Sven Erlandson: I think that's fantastic. And what's interesting about that, There's a word in the Hindi language, and the word is neti. And neti simply means not this. And there are times in life where we don't know what the path is. All we can say is neti, neti, neti, neti, not this. As I tell my clients, the path to discovering who we are requires discovering who we're not. And so we sort of back our way into that path. But it's great because we're finally, for the first time in our lives, in touch with my own voice. And I may not know what I want, but the process of stepping up to the buffet of life and tasting and sampling and having the permission to say no, and to quit when you've gone down a path, like, "No, doesn't feel good. No, I'm going to let it go. I'm going to let it go," until you find those things that you want to make a meal out of. So I love that story.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Well, and I help women and a few good men with career transition, and people think that they got to get it right. I'm like," Well, you may start this career and very quickly realize it's not for you. That's good. We're testing things out. Quit. We'll move on to something else."

Sven Erlandson: That's right.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: You don't have to have something that you just, this is it.

Sven Erlandson: And I like what you said. I like how you started the story of your own self, that basically you got sick, you got rocked, and it forced you to be still. You and I have both had clients, and even in our own lives, where COVID was a blessing because it shut them the freak down.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Sven Erlandson: And I have clients, a couple actually, who the husband and wife filed for divorce in, let's say January or February or March of 2020, and they're still locked because the courts shut down and everything. So they've been locked in a divorce cycle for literally years with no progress being made. And some of them, I mean, they're real go- getters, and they're motion, motion, motion. So they're stuck in this place where they can't move forward with their lives, and it's not the way it was, and it's forced them to look at their own shit, to really look at their own stuff. And now in retrospect, they're saying," Holy cow, what a blessing it's been to be forced to shut down." But that's a question I want to raise for you, and you're working with women, and many of the women I work with, and men too, especially doers and achievers and so forth, the thing they fear most is being still. The fear they fear most is being as opposed to always doing. What are your thoughts?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, I'm in the process of building this solution with another business partner of mine, Eliza Kingsford, and it's a daily stillness practice. And she's a neuroscience expert, and we're getting at the science behind, if you don't do this and you live, you've normalized this frenetic activity, you'll never have a satisfied life. You'll always be chasing. Right?

Sven Erlandson: Right.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And so it's that stillness where you get to talk to you. And also, all the stress that comes at you all the time isn't changing. You probably have a relationship, kids, a job, a mortgage. So unless you're getting rid of all that, you have to figure out how you're going to deal with all that. And the only way that we can deal with that is through daily stillness. And when someone says to me," Well, I just need a vacation," I'm like," You don't need stillness twice a year. You need it every single day." And so that's how I rebuilt my life, is I committed to stillness every single day, every single morning, and just to figure out, what was that? What was God's voice saying to me? What was I supposed to be doing?

Sven Erlandson: And the thing is, it's easier to commit to something when we begin to see results or fruit from that, such as working out. If you start working out, once you see your first bicep, it's like, holy shit. Now I have momentum. I want to work through more, when you begin to see the fruit. And the thing about that stillness, that silence, that solitude, is it very quickly yields fruit.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: The first part of it is, and a doctor that was on the show... Gosh, I'll have to look it up and tag her. Her name's not coming to my brain quickly enough. But she said that," We're all addicted to something." She had worked with addicts and different people throughout the years, and she said," We're all addicted to something." She said," High achievers are addicted to busy productivity." So stillness is detox.

Sven Erlandson: Right.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And so now that I've got that as a frame, I say to my clients," This is going to suck. You're going to hate it. You're going to fight it. You're going to tell me you can't do it. And I'm going to tell you, you have to get through it. Because on the other side of that detox is this beautiful place where you get to listen to you maybe for the first time."

Sven Erlandson: Well, okay. Well, and so now let's take the same concept and overlay it onto, let's say you're a woman. We're talking about women, so let's stay in that, though it certainly applies to men as well. But you're a woman in you're inner relationship, and it's getting sucky, where it's been really sucky for quite some time. And what about that fear? Not that this is the only fear or even the biggest fear, though for many women, it is the biggest fear, and that is the fear of being alone. Then my fear in ending this relationship, oh shit, then I'm alone. And alone is simply a derivative of silence. All of a sudden, there's no one there. And as I talk to my clients, I say... And they'll say," I'm not really afraid of being alone or whatever." And I'll say," Well, wouldn't it be safe to say that potentially what you're really afraid of is that when I have someone, those voices that have been inside of me my whole life saying,'I'm no good. I'm not good enough. I'm too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, the real me doesn't matter.'" If I have someone here, their mere presence is a counter message to all those crappy things I've been taught about myself since I was a child. Once this person is no longer here, all those voices come rushing up and throb in my head and spin, spin, spin, like clothes in a dryer, and it spins. See? I'm no good. See? I'm unwantable. He left. I'm alone. See? I'm no good. Right? And so that fear of being alone isn't just the silence, per se, but in fact, the deafening noise of the voices inside, which also lends to what we were talking about earlier, what you were mentioning earlier, when a woman or when someone has the success, but still it's not gratifying. And now we're feeding into the whole notion of imposter syndrome. Well, imposter syndrome is, again, driven by those voices inside of me that I'm no good. And so those voices, the fear, the pain, and the BS beliefs that I was taught about myself, those are what's inside. That's what we're really afraid of. It's not being alone in and of itself. It's what happens inside of me. It's the same thing. The notion of what's happening inside of me driving what's happening outside of me is the same reason we try to control things in life. We try to control things in life why? Because when things are popping or out of control or it causes... and the anxiety starts to suffocate me, so I have to control external circumstances rather than learning how to not only control internal circumstances, but go to the root of what's driving them. What is the fear? What is the pain that is driving that anxiety that drives me to control in the first place? So once again-

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Absolutely.

Sven Erlandson: ...we're talking about the voices. We're talking about the messages. As I talk about in one of my books and with all my clients, when we're children, we're wet cement. When the highway crew comes out in front of your house, the road crew, and they pour the fresh sidewalk and they level it, and then at the end of the day, they put the tape around it so all the little pecker head kids in the neighborhood won't come along and walk in it or take a stick and write Tommy as a fink, right? So they put tape around it, they go home to dinner, and all the little pecker head kids come out.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I was going to say.

Sven Erlandson: They walk up, they press their hand in it and they press things. Right? And here's the thing about wet cement. What you press into it hardens. It calcifies. Well, a child's soul is the same way. The messages they're receiving, not just the explicit one, but the implicit ones, the ones that at the core are rooted in the three most terrifying messages and destructive messages for a child. One, I'm not wanted, or I'm wanted. Two, I'm no good or I'm not good enough, or I am good. And three, the most powerful one, who I really am doesn't matter, or I matter. Those three messages, once they get pressed into the wet cement of the child's soul, that hardens, and that's what's driving the equation at 39, at 52, is those core beliefs. That's why in my crosstalk-

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Say the third one again.

Sven Erlandson: The real me matters.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Who I am-

Sven Erlandson: Who I am, I matter, I don't matter. But I have to tweak that a little bit, because many kids grew up getting the message I matter only if I'm meeting Mom's needs, or only if I'm bringing Dad inaudible.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I'm a good boy or girl. I do my chores before I do-

Sven Erlandson: That's it. Versus the real me-

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yes.

Sven Erlandson: ...who I am, my voice matters.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's the one I run up against the most, I think, is-

Sven Erlandson: Oh, of course it is. It's the most powerful one.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: ...the high achiever, productivity, I've got to be producing or I'm not worthy, or I'm going to be in... That was my family. We didn't talk about feelings. Oh, dear God. No.

Sven Erlandson: Right. Right.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But we'll go work together in the barn for three hours, and that's love. You either worry about each other or work together. That's the only two things.

Sven Erlandson: Right. I get it. I get it. And so the effect, then, if the child is getting the message my feelings don't matter, my voice doesn't matter, the child's brain, quite logically, and the child may be unconscious of it, but the child's brain quite naturally goes from my feelings don't matter, my voice doesn't matter, to I don't matter. I mean, it's not that big a leap. You can understand. And then that's the message. That's what's inside that soul. And so, then, what does the child, what does that little six- year- old girl or that little 10- year- old boy, what do they then spend their life believing? I don't matter. Other people matter, so I get my love by giving love first. I get my love by proxy. I'm going to give you this much. Just give me a little bit of love in return, because I can go a long distance on a little bit of love.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Especially women. I can go a long distance on... I'll give to everybody else. When I asked a woman to pay for a coaching package and she immediately like," Oh my gosh, women are the worst about spending money on themselves." And I'm like," If this was the amount of your kid's lacrosse program that starts next week, you would've already written me a check and gone out to the local sporting goods store and doubled that with equipment."

Sven Erlandson: Amen. Amen.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Like," Really?"

Sven Erlandson: That's right. That's right. And that's why, unfortunately, and my clients hear me say it all the time, but unfortunately, change. Change out of that mindset that my entire life is wrapped up in loving on my kids or loving on my husband or whatever. What ultimately shifts it, unfortunately, change will not occur until the pain gets bad enough, but her pain of living this fricking misery has got to get so bad that she finally stands... I literally had a client today who this exact same thing happened. And she's 44 and she's been married for 20 years and serving the kids and serving her husband, and she's a successful woman herself and so forth. And she said," I finally, only in basically the last six months." So she's been in this relationship for 20 years. And if you're in a relationship for 20 years where it's all about the other person or it's all about everyone else, that means you were conditioned for that long before you ever met your partner. Because someone who believes my love comes from me and not from others would never allow a relationship like that. And so someone who's in that... So she said," So now, Sven, only in the last six months, I've given myself permission on a Saturday morning, when he's all mopey and he wakes up mopey, to not make my feelings and how I feel about my day sewn up in his feelings. It's not that I don't care, but I give myself permission to not care because I've done it for 20 years, and I realized I can't change it, and he doesn't want to change it." And she says," And I know it's not much, and I've got so much more to..." I said," You don't realize. You're 44 years old. You have spent, 44 years old, locked into a pattern of behavior, and you literally took a step in the last six months, giving yourself permission to step away from that daily, weekly. You have no idea how big that is that you broke a 44- year pattern of behavior."

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Oh, I love that.

Sven Erlandson: The first steps always the hardest. But anyway. Yeah, it's huge stuff. It's huge.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Well, and that ties into another one of the TikToks that I love, which is... And it's all over TikTok, especially on my side of TikTok, where the women are saying," I'm so tired of being strong, and I just want someone to give a shit." And I love your response to that, which is?

Sven Erlandson: Which is, the reason that you're tired of being strong and the reason that you want someone to give a shit ultimately is because you don't give a shit about you. Ultimately, it's because you have been conditioned to believe that you get your worth, that you have to be strong for everyone else. You have to take care of everyone else. Your worth comes from taking care of everyone else. And I want someone who gives a shit about me? It's because you're giving a shit about every... At what point, at the core, do you give a shit about yourself? Go ahead.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And are willing to fill your own cup.

Sven Erlandson: That's what I mean. Yes.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Are willing to take care of yourself. Right?

Sven Erlandson: Yes. That's it. That's it. Go ahead, please.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: No. I get so worked up about it. I had a client right before this as well, and we've worked together for three years and I love her deeply. And if she doesn't start taking care of herself, I can't make her do it. And I finally said today," You're sick every two or three months. This pattern is going to continue until you decide you're worthy of taking care of yourself."

Sven Erlandson: That's right. That's right. And so women, men too, but women are conditioned to, what I talk about in my book, to be a love camel. And I used to be this, a relationship camel. And a camel can go a long distance through a desert on a little bit of water stored in their hump or in the form of fat, and they can make it through a desert. Well, a relationship camel is the same thing. Like I said, I'll give you this much. Just give me a little bit of love, because I can go a long distance on just a little bit of love. And so women become conditioned to do that. And so, yes, you're not filling your own love cup, and so what it ultimately requires is, again, that your pain has gotten so bad that you're willing to give yourself permission. Women keep waiting their whole fucking lives for someone else to give them permission to live and for someone else to give them permission to matter, because the most powerful people in their lives taught them they don't matter, or they only matter insofar as you're meeting my needs, Dad's needs, or my needs, Mom's needs, that they're waiting for permission. And very often, I believe, my theology is such that God, universe, soul breaks us through pain, that pain is gift because it breaks us of those old patterns. It breaks open the crap that wasn't working till we finally give ourselves permission to live. Because I guarantee you one thing. You can get far more from a full cup than you can from an empty one.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Right.

Sven Erlandson: And no one's going to feed your love cup, no one's going to honor your love cup unless you do it first. Some will because they're naturally loving, giving people, but you have to honor your own love cup. Otherwise, now it's you. Your parents may have sent you the message. And I'm going to let you go because I know you're raring to go.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: No. I'm just so excited.

Sven Erlandson: I want to see you run with it. But when we're children, we're taught, you don't matter, you don't matter, you don't matter. But now, once you become aware that was the messaging that I was taught, now, if I continue to choose those patterns of behavior, now I am saying it, and I'm aware I'm saying it. I'm now the one saying it to the world," I don't matter." And you really got to ask yourself the question," Am I okay confirming the message that was foisted onto me at age six, at age four, at age 12, the message you don't matter? I am fundamentally re- victimizing that child that I was." When that child, that little girl was taught she doesn't matter, that was wrong, and that child has dealt with that since. But now, if I'm aware of it and I'm keeping my voice squelched, that little six- year- old that took all of her real feelings and she put it into a vault, and she's been carrying around that vault of all her real feelings because it wasn't safe. And now she's bringing it to you at 28, at 42, at 59 and saying," Here. You're stronger than I was. Please unlock our real feelings." And if you keep your real feelings squelched, you are re- victimizing that child. You are confirming you don't matter and that she never mattered to begin with. Now it's you hurting that child. Now it's not the parents. Now it's you. Are you okay with that?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, I love that. Oh, I love that. Well, sometimes the only way I can get clients to get it is I will say to them," Are you going to pass this on to your son or daughter? Are you going to model this for them? Is this what you want them to do?" Because I can remember looking at my... My daughter's 20 now, but when she was a toddler, she had this curly blonde... She looked like Shirley Temple. It was ridiculous. And I was frenetically running around, always packing for the next business trip, and in a minute, and not really paying attention. And I looked at her one day and I thought, shit. She's going to do this too, and I hate the way it feels. So if I don't stop, she's literally just sponge picking up that this is the way world works. And I changed it and I started honoring stillness. I didn't know what I was doing at the time. It was just instinct. But we would come home, and it's the hour of the assholes, right? You get home from work, you pick up the kids from daycare or school. They're little assholes. You're a big asshole. Everybody's an asshole for about an hour when you get home. Right? And so during the asshole hour, I would either go take a bath, go for a run, or just lock myself, and they would get two SpongeBob episodes, because that's about 18 minutes. Right? And a snack. We measured time in SpongeBob episodes, and it was like, we all need a break. And then we'd come back together more loving and kind, and now my kids respect alone time and stillness. There were times they'd have kids over for sleepovers or whatever, and they'd come up from the basement and they'd go," Can you make them go home now? I'm done with this."

Sven Erlandson: That's great.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: And I'd be like,"Yep. I'm in." And I'd be like,"Time to go home."

Sven Erlandson: That's great. That's crosstalk.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: But you've got to model it. You've got to model it.

Sven Erlandson: Yeah. And with that, if we go back to those three core messages, I'm wanted, I'm not wanted, I'm good, I'm not good enough, and I matter, I don't, that in the pressing of those into the wet cement of the child, now as the most powerful person in this child's life, or one of two, let's say, as the parents, what am I doing that is causing that child to get the message their voice doesn't matter, their feelings don't matter? Now, does that mean a child always gets their way? Oh, hell no. I come from a family of six brothers, right?

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Oh, geez.

Sven Erlandson: And I'm crosstalk-

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I can't even imagine that.

Sven Erlandson: Well, one was a girl, but she was a brother, and she basically was a guy, so I just say six brothers. But yeah. And Mom made it very clear, Dad too, that everyone has chores and you got to learn to play on a team, and that's necessary. But the bottom line is, our feelings were honored and heard, and our voice was heard and honored. Because now, if I as a parent am engaging in things that cause my child to not hear their own voice, to not give value to how they feel and what their thoughts and their aspirations, their dreams, their disappointments, their failures, their own voice, then I'm fundamentally, I'm now the one teaching the child that they don't have worth at the soul level. And despite all my things where I may say," No, my kid can do anything," and blah, blah, blah. And it's always those. I require all my clients to write an autobiography before they come, and-

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I love that. I saw that.

Sven Erlandson: Absolutely. And so it's always the ones that say," No, I had a great childhood. I had a normal childhood. My parents were encouraging." It's always those where it's buried the deepest. And we go down, we go down, and they got those messages that your voice doesn't matter. Except now if I'm the parent, I'm the one relaying those messages. I'm the one pressing that into the child's soul. And so my clients know that I love them, and I love them dearly, but I'm not afraid to say," How can you simultaneously engage in these actions that are sending this negative message to your child of I don't matter, or they're not wanted, and simultaneously claim that you give a shit about your kids more than anything else on Earth?" I'll say to them," I love you. That is bullshit. As long as you're engaging in these things that are conveying those messages, it doesn't matter if they're at the best schools. It doesn't matter if you give them lots of hugs and kisses, because you're also sending a counter message, and I guarantee you that counter message sinks deeper."

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: We're going to have to have two more episodes at some point about how our education system does very little, if nothing, to honor anything about our uniqueness. It's all about compliance and it's all about teaching people how to sit in a straight line, and you got to raise your hand if you are courageous enough to have an opinion. And yeah. Don't get me started there because we don't have enough time today.

Sven Erlandson: Fair enough.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: However, I think if we can encourage enough people to own their own voice and listen to their own voice, what I like to say is that if we stand tall in our story, others are looking at that saying," Well, if they're doing it, maybe I can do it too." So you get this ripple effect, that if I'm willing to courageously stand in my story, I'm going to encourage somebody, probably somebody I don't even know, to do the same thing.

Sven Erlandson: Absolutely.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: That's how we get change.

Sven Erlandson: Absolutely.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Somebody's got to just start on themselves.

Sven Erlandson: Well, and to your point earlier, I mean, the idea of women becoming strong and honoring their own self, they need other women who are doing it first or who have done it in the past. And on the flip side of that is men being allowed to have feelings, being taught that the correlation between honoring what's going on inside of me and happiness, that they're integral to each other, that it's not just about toys and bullshit. But they need men who can model that and still be men that they look up to, because it's a counter message from what they're used to. So yeah, we all need those models and people who have had the courage to do it or do it a bit more, or do it more than any woman in our family ever did it before. Okay, great. Now you're setting the tone for the next generation, and then they're setting... Yep. I totally agree with you.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Yeah. Okay. We're running out of time, and I hate that because we could keep talking for hours and hours and hours.

Sven Erlandson: Agreed. Agreed.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: I hope maybe you'll come back again sometime.

Sven Erlandson: I hope so too. I enjoyed it very much.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Excellent. So find you on TikTok, Badass Counseling, Instagram.

Sven Erlandson: Yes.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Are those your two kind of main platforms?

Sven Erlandson: Same. Yeah. And YouTube and Facebook. All Badass Counseling. Yep.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: All the things.

Sven Erlandson: Yeah.

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Okay. Awesome. We'll put links in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here.

Sven Erlandson: Thanks for having me, Rebecca. I loved it.

Speaker 1: (singing)


This week on The Badass Women's Council, Rebecca sits down with Sven Erlandson from Badass Counseling. Sven is a speaker, spiritual counselor, and author of 6 books, including There's A Hole In My Love Cup.

In this episode, Rebecca and Sven discuss why doers and achievers have such a hard time being still and how we can encourage others to own their own voices and fill their own "love cup." Tune in now!

You can follow Sven at @badasscounseling or click below:

Today's Host

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Rebecca Fleetwood Hession


Today's Guests

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Sven Erlandson

|Author, Speaker, Counselor