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Ep #228: How to Build Unshakeable Confidence in Your Needs with Mara Glatzel

Feminist Wellness with Victoria Albina | How to Build Unshakeable Confidence in Your Needs with Mara Glatzel

Do you feel stymied by the question, “What do you need?” Many of us don’t know how to answer this question not because we don’t have any needs, but because we don’t know how to advocate for them. My guest this week is here to guide us through a process of getting back into partnership with our needs.

I’m sitting down with podcast host, coach, writer, and author of Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty, Mara Glatzel. She works with people to grow from self-abandonment to self-partnership by supporting them in reclaiming their needs, and we’re exploring what it means to be in partnership with our needs and how to start getting accustomed to trusting ourselves and our bodies.

Join us on this episode as Mara and I dive into the importance of building self-intimacy and self-trust as we begin gaining awareness of our needs. Mara is offering her insights on why we often don’t advocate for our needs, the reason it can feel alarming to wake up to our needs, and how to let your bodily wisdom lead you in championing your needs with grace, ease, and confidence.


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What You’ll Learn:

What it means to be in partnership with your needs.

How to let your bodily wisdom lead your wants and needs.

Why we outsource our needs to other people.

Mara’s tips for gaining somatic awareness around your needs when you feel lost.

The value of practicing slowness in getting your body on board with your needs.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty by Mara Glatzel

Runaway Bride - movie

Full Episode Transcript:

This is Feminist Wellness, and I’m your host, Nurse Practitioner, Functional Medicine expert, and life coach, Victoria Albina. I’ll show you how to get unstuck, drop the anxiety, perfectionism, and codependency so you can live from your beautiful heart. Welcome, my love; let’s get started.

Hello, hello, my love. I hope this finds you doing so well. I am here today with someone completely amazingly amazing, the wonderful Mara Glatzel. She's a phenomenal author, an incredible coach, a wonderful human. I'm so excited to share this conversation with her with yous. Mara, hi.

Mara Glatzel: Hi, thanks for having me. I love being here.

Victoria Albina: Yay. I'm so glad you're here. I told the folks a little bit about you. But there's so much more to what you do. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself?

Mara: Hi, everyone. I am Mara, and I am a podcast host, a coach, a writer, and the author of the book Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty. I work with people to grow from self-abandonment to self-partnership.

They do that through supporting them and reclaiming their needs. And even knowing what's on the table to need to begin with. Really building self-trust and unshakable competence in their relationship with themselves. I'm really happy to be here.

Victoria: Wow, I'm so happy you're here. So much of what you just said rattled my brain with how intensely we can forget what's possible. That's what just struck me, helping folks to remember what's even on the table.

Mara: Yeah. It wasn't until deep into my book writing journey that I realized that part of the reason I wanted to write this book right now, is to give us some vocabulary for what we are even allowed to need. So many of my clients are stymied by that question, “Well, what do you need?” Because they don't have the modeling, or the skills, or people in their lives who are advocating for their needs with grace and ease and confidence.

They don't know how to answer that question. Not because they don't have needs, but because they don't know what they're allowed to need. Like, what is literally on the table to need. And so, that's why I love to have conversations like this, because I think we all need role models. People who are willing to just have frank conversations about, “This is what I need, well, what do you need? This is what it looks like.”

A lot of people come to me and say, “Oh, well, you do this work, that must mean that you get all of your needs met,” which I will just get out of the way, at the top of this call, is patently untrue. None of us are getting all of our needs met. And that's okay.

We're so accustomed to thinking that we identify something and we have to make it happen, or we have to move towards it with a quickness. But in the realm of self-partnership, I'm always really voting for being honest with yourself and taking your time. Taking your time with what you need. Maybe you don't have the skills yet to ask for what you need. And that's okay.

Maybe there's something that you need that feels really audacious or big, or you know it's going to change your life, and you're not sure if it's for the better. You're allowed to be in partnership with your needs, in whatever way feels right and good and safe and possible.

Victoria: How would you define that? What is being in partnership with your needs? I love that phrasing, by the way.

Mara: For me, that means in frequent conversation with myself about my needs. It used to be that I wouldn't dare to admit something to myself, or I would kind of willfully ignore something until I was ready to do something about it. There was a lot of self-censorship involved with that sounds. Like, on some level, I know can't deal with that reality so I'm just going to put the cap on that.

But we don't really know what we're dealing with until we're willing to be in conversation with ourselves about it. And so, I find that divorcing the thought from the impetus to action, there's so much grace in there. Where you can have conversations and think, “Hey, I'm feeling this way. I'm having these thoughts. I'm considering this move. I am wondering about what this might be like. I'm willing to just talk to myself about that until I feel ready to do something.”

Sometimes we get more information. Sometimes that's time to kind of ready our courage or gather support systems, whatever that might look like. But for me, this is really a daily conversation with myself about… the doorway in for a lot of people, for myself included… I think is “What's not working? Where am I angry? Where am I resentful?”

That's this neon sign towards, “I need something that I'm not getting.” Am I willing to talk to myself about that first? Because it also used to be that I would try to work that out in conversation on the spot, which was not a successful strategy for me. I think it's a lot to ask. I have a pretty quick processing speed. But even still, it's a lot to ask of yourself to be thinking and talking simultaneously about things that are vulnerable, intimate, and  hard to name.

Victoria: Yeah, potentially activate your nervous system.

Mara: Absolutely.

Victoria: Yeah, that space you're talking about, that pause, is such an integral part of building self-intimacy and self-trust. Because for me, that's really where my body can come in. Where somatics can come in. Where attention and attunement to the nervous system can come in. Where my inner children can have some space to talk. And my socialized, conditioned brain can take a little breather, can step aside for just a second to let my bodily wisdom come through.

That for me, both knowing what my wants and needs are, feeling confident in them... Okay, so it's not a both. I often do that. I'm both, but then I can do like 12 things. I’ll un-trade my mouth from saying “both”, or I won't, we'll see what happens.

But yeah, feeling confident. Knowing what my wants and needs are. Feeling that they're okay, that has been a whole process, right? Then coming to believe that it's okay to voice them, and then voicing them. It’s this whole process that I had to get my body on board with, so that my brain could chill enough that I could begin to maybe, try to kind of maybe, say the things, maybe?

Mara: Yeah, absolutely. I can see in that the way that diet culture disconnects us from our bodies, and that we may be so accustomed to not trusting ourselves, not trusting our bodies. And so, the wants and needs are really of the body, by and large. I mean, we have mental needs, certainly, but it's slow technology.

And if we are accustomed to being these kind of walking intellectual heads, which I certainly was socialized that way, I was like, “Oh, I don't need to slow down. I don't need to take time. I don't need to be with myself. I'm ready. I'm prepared. I'm smart. Look at me, I can make it work on the fly.” And it's only been the last couple of years that I have slowed down… and motherhood, kind of by necessity… to realize how unfair of an ask that was of myself.

How much expectation we have to, first of all, how painful it is to be disconnected from your body and mistrusting of your body in such a core way. But this other piece of, “Okay, well, if I don't have that, the ‘body’, and I have this, the mind,” and the mind better be kind of on its feet all the time, doing the thing, being very charming, being very compensating for this lack.

There's a lot of grief in there. I think that grief takes time and care. And that's why there is a slowness, and such a value in getting our body on board.

Victoria: Right. I lived in such a functional freeze, right? Always wrapped up in sympathetic activation, but also collapsed to my own emotions. I describe it like living in a block of ice from the neck down. I felt mad, sad and glad. But not the depths of those things. Despair and rage, I could feel those two. But all the juicy middle, just sort of frozen for a really long time, from self-preservation.

That made me really numb to my needs. Because I was so numb to the complexity and the delicateness of my own emotions and feelings and felt sensation. And so, when the opportunity arose to be in the company of people who cared about my needs, I didn't know what to need.

I remember that, leaving… I was in an emotionally abusive marriage. That was a no-good situation. And my needs were very actively shot down, to the point where I sort of, definitely, from self-preservation was like, “Alright, I have no needs. Great. I have no wants, I have no needs.” Because if I kept my mouth shut, I was temporarily safer. So, 10 points to pass me, for doing the best she could with the skills she had in that shitty situation.

Once I was out of it, I remember not asking for help. Doing all the things and running myself ragged. And the people I was calling in, being like, “Yo, I can take the garbage out.” I was like, “Someone else can do anything?” I remember sort of being shocked, having to pause, and be like, holy shit other people are capable. Which allows the space for my needs to have value. Yeah, it's wild. It's wild, how we step out of it and back in.

Mara: It is wild and I find that we go in one of two ways. One is, shut this operation, no needs here. Not a problem, I've got it. I'm fine. And the other direction is needy. That classic kind of hungry ghost ‘no matter what you give me I still need more.’ Pursue, pursue, pursue, pursue, pursue. Which is more my brand.

Victoria: I definitely did that at first. I definitely got into that relationship, from that co-dep, fixer, emotional outsource. Saying, “Yeah, you're a hot mess. Let me fix you. Let me fix you. Let me fix you. Let me fix you.” And then when that got slapped down enough, I was like, “Okay, I am a hungry ghost, who will keep her hunger silent.”

Mara: Yeah. I think for me, the pain comes in around wanting so desperately to matter. Having our needs acknowledged and met is so closely aligned with that. I mean, it is such a young desire. Do you see me? Do you care about me? Do I matter to you?

When you carry that, it can feel so tender that we do either put up all of these walls or become hungrier and hungrier; and or both. And yeah, I think for me, in my journey to really holding space for my needs, has come through the door of, am I willing to matter to myself? And realizing that, in that kind of hungrier phase, there were a lot of things that I was trying to outsource that I was unable or unwilling to do for myself.

That I was unable or unwilling to attend to myself. It's like, “I want you to make me feel loved.” And I'm not doing any of my own work to build that in my relationship with myself.

Victoria: Why to people do that?

Mara: Well, I think in some ways we're socialized to. I mean, I think there's personal reasons for it, too. But I think, in this situation, I had so bought this lie that when you become worthy, somebody kind of scoops you up and marries you and loves you. And what love means is, “I know exactly what you need, and I'm going to give it to you.” That's love, right?

“You don't have to say anything. There's nothing about mind reading going on here.” But that if somebody isn't doing that, that must mean, “They think I'm not worthy.” All of these things that are happening in this kind of subtext. And for me, that came through the door of a lot of romantic comedies. A lot of romantic comedies.

Victoria: I was thinking of Jerry Maguire.

Mara: Yeah. Which seems silly, but have such an impact on you. That story of ‘somebody's going to kind of love me into existence.’ And not wanting to have to be the one to do that for myself.

Victoria: Especially when we're taught we can't, right? We're not enough to do that for ourselves. That we need our knights in shining armor to come rescue us. Such damsels that we are. You and I are true damsels. True damsels.

Mara: Yeah, well, in that feeling too, is it's embarrassing. “If I have to do it for myself, that means nobody else is willing to do it for me.”

Victoria: I'm not worthy of someone doing it for me.

Mara: It’s so terrible. Such a spinster.

Victoria: I’m not good enough.

Mara: Yeah, there's a lot in there.

Victoria: And worse than that.

Mara: Yeah. I don't like cats, so that will be a dire life for me and you.

Victoria: That would indeed; I'm allergic to like every third cat. It's weird. Sometimes it's fine. Sometimes it's not. I don't get it. The science evades me. Different dander. Yeah, we wouldn't do well as spinsters. This is now a show about dander and spinsterhood.

Mara: Well, I think these concepts are so ridiculous, in so many ways. Like, when you really look at it and you think, “How could I, as an intelligent, thoughtful human, still believe some of these lies, these myths, on some base level? But they work their way into your worldview. They work their way into your system. And yeah, we carry them.

Victoria: Yeah, that's when I think of inner children and hearts, right? I had this part inside me, that we've come to call the “settling part”, that believed from my childhood that I was not worthy of love. Because I wasn't attuned to the way I wanted and needed in childhood, didn't feel seen, I didn't feel worthy.

And so, this part within me, it was a very powerful part that ran the show for a very long time, told me to settle, right? That if someone looked in my direction and was like, “You're okay.” I was like, “Okay, great. Then I'm you.” And this part made me settle and settle and settle. Kept me in relationships that I consciously didn't want to be with. I didn't want to be with this, whomever. But this part insisted that I stay.

This part of my subconscious was really running the show. And it felt like there were two sort of fighting parts within me, because there were, right? And so, it was through a lot of coaching and therapy, and other largely somatic modalities, that I was able to work with that part, and release unburden that part and get it out of my body.

The difference in my life is outstanding. In my friendships, in my romantic relationship, everything in my life is the thing that I wanted and needed; the thing I'm settling for. It's such a huge difference. It takes finding those sneaky, hidden, subconscious recordings. Those little tracks. Those cassette tapes, right?

Mara: Yeah. What I think it's so important about hearing you say that, for all of us who are listening to this podcast, hearing you say that, is that standing on the precipice of doing things differently, it can feel like “I have everything to lose, and nothing to gain.” Because I really can't imagine it if I haven't experienced it.

And so, this is why I think these kinds of conversations are so important and powerful. Because we need to hear other people saying, “Yeah, you know…” I mean, you didn't say it was scary, I'm putting that in your…

Victoria: … in my little mouth. But it was scary. It was scary for quite a while, until something clicked. I mean, to be that gal quoting Anaïs Nin, “We all have to…

Mara: We must; it’s our due diligence.

Victoria: It is our due diligence, as spinsters, future spinsters of America right? “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more (painful) than the risk it took to blossom.” We're going to call it a paraphrase, because I think I got a preposition or two too often there, but close enough.

There was just a day where staying in the constant pain of self-abandonment, of settling, of saying, “I don't have needs. I don't have needs. It's fine. I'm fine. I'm fine,” that was way too painful. I couldn't stomach that any longer.

I didn't know what was coming, and it was scary. And I couldn't stay in what I was in anymore. That was unbearable. I'm so grateful. I'm really grateful to all the friends, all the people who supported me. And to my privilege to get to do this work and keep doing this work, and have all this support.

Mara: Yeah, and it's interesting hearing you say that, too. It's that piece of, in my experience, you only have to be the tiniest ounce more on the side of ‘I have to do this. I have to be who I am. I have to need when I need. I have to be willing to back myself.’ We live in this, ‘it's either a hell no or it's a hell yes’, kind of culture. And there's so much nuance and so much space. That very tender spot of it is just a half of a pinky nail on one side of the scale.

That's what it is. And here we are, moving forward from that place. It's not a ‘hell yes’, but if it was any other way,…

Victoria: Right. Yeah. That ‘hell yes, hell no’ thing, it's just another way to be in a limiting binary. Right? It's just a patriarchal framework in dolled up hashtag wellness clothing, I guess. Right? Because the body works in subtlety. And the subtle body is the one I want to be attuned to, the energy body. It's where I get my best information.

Mara: Yeah, so I could say a ‘hell yes’ for tangible items, but for I think, like relational things or making moves in my life, I can usually see it from about 75,000 perspectives…

Victoria: Pisces.

Mara: Pisces. And then I'm like, “No, I mean…,” you know.

Victoria: I am such a Leo; Leo-Sag-Taurus. Let's also just put those three out there. With so much Virgo in my natal chart; my progress chart is like lousy with Virgo right now. So, my way is “I don't know, I mean, I want, I want, I want to, I don't know, I could… Let's go!” It's like a switch flips.

Making podcasts, my friend Kara was like, “No, you need to make a podcast. You need to make a podcast.” I was like, “Okay, I'll figure it out. I'll do it. I'll figure it out.” I just let it sort of marinate, and then one day I bought the mic, called the guy, made the art. Like, did it.

Mara: Yeah, and here we are. What a beloved podcast you have.

Victoria: Here we are. Yeah, yours is pretty damn good too, I’ve got to say. It's certainly good. It's really good. Hey, so how do we get back to ourselves and our needs when we get lost?

Mara: This is one of my favorite questions, because, boy, do we ever get lost, right? First, let's just normalize that. Because I think I find so many people are in pain because they've gotten lost. And we get lost. I mean, we get distracted, we get busy, we get all kinds of things. I find that for most of us, doing this work of self-partnership requires energy.

So, I'm always looking at meeting the needs of the physical body first, to give us some of the energy that we require. And so, for me, that looks like prioritizing a consistent bedtime. Prioritizing feeding myself meals throughout the day, including breakfast. I have become a real breakfast fan.

Formerly, I’d drink coffee till 1pm. It is little wonder that the adrenals said, , my body was like, “Well, this doesn't work. We don't drink water, we only drink coffee, we don't eat breakfast. No.” So, now I eat breakfast. But I think those two things are really important.

For some people, it's getting outside in nature and moving your body. For some people, it's physical touch, orgasming. Whatever helps you kind of wake up again in your body. Which can be an uncomfortable process, because depending on how long you've been offline, it can be alarming to wake up in your body, totally recognize your body. It may feel like there's a big hole you have to dig yourself out, or something.

Victoria: Yeah, and particularly for folks where their body’s been the site of trauma. I just want to make sure to say that. That going into the body and being present in the body is a whole…

Mara: Absolutely. But I find that asking yourself what you need is excellent. Also, having something to start with if you're not able to answer that question. So, say I asked myself what I needed and it’s just like static panic, overwhelm, things are not going well. I'm drinking out of this 32-ounce mason jar. Can I drink one of these before breakfast, one of these between breakfast and lunch, and one of these between lunch and dinner? That is a thing that I know to do that helps me immediately.

Victoria: Oh, I love that.

Mara: So, if I can't answer the question of what do I need, or I can't figure out how to get more rest. I mean, with rest it's like I know it's a 10pm bedtime. So, with the food, I know it's scrambled eggs for breakfast. So, having some things that you can just start doing when you notice that you've been lost for a period of time. Especially if that “What do I need” question feels really fuzzy, can be useful.

Because then you can just start with those things. You're stabilizing your blood sugar, you're getting more hydration, you're getting more rest. You're adding to your physical capacity to be with yourself in a powerful way.

Victoria: I talk about this as remembering that you're a taller toddler. Because we are all just somewhere between two-and-a-half and three, we're teething, and we forget to do the basics. And then, we wonder why we're grumples. We're all grumples in the world. But remembering you’re a taller toddler is one of the first and most important steps to somatic awareness. Right?

We all want to regulate our nervous system. And people ask me all the time for somatic movement practices, and “How do I do these complex things to regulate my nervous system?” We forget that it starts with wake up, drink a big glass of water, brush your teeth, right? Do get sunshine on your face, and create routine that is supportive and loving and gentle.

I say that really specifically because I think we can get sold this bill of goods if we're not doing the like super, white, cis dude, CEO, get up at 4am , hulk it out, ice bath kind of routine we're somehow failing ourselves. Yeah, don't get me started on ice baths. So, if you want to we could, but maybe later. Gentleness, compassionate, kind; gentleness. What is a more basic human need than that?

Mara: Exactly. Well, and how interesting, speaking of ice baths, how interesting it is that we want to bypass what is gentle and what is kind and what is consistent, in favor of what is shiny and proven. The things I will do to avoid just being with myself every single day, and having that be the answer are many.

So, I say this with compassion, because that idea of a shortcut is so ever present. And what I know to be true about myself is, I don't want to be bypassed by a shortcut. If I were thinking about it from a perspective of my partner, it's like, “I don't want them to take the easy route, I want to be worth the hard thing. I want to be worth the daily recognition. I want to be worth you thinking of me, and making intentional choices that take me into consideration.”

And back to, is that something I'm ready, able and willing to do for myself? That was a hard pill for me to swallow. But that's what I want. That's what I need.

Victoria: I just need us to stop and come back to this point, like 400 more times. I wouldn't want anyone else to bypass me and to leapfrog over my needs, My partner, my parent, my siblings. The people I love, right? What we most want. This is where we started. As little kids we’re craving, we need, we want, in order to feel safe in our nervous systems. It is vital that we know that we are significant, and we belong in our village.

That our collective believes that we matter. That's how we create safe, securely attached nervous systems. A safe, securely attached sense of self. And yet in adulthood, capitalism has taught us, white settler colonialism has taught us, the patriarchy has taught us, to bypass this core most important thing, which is to be with ourselves.

Mara: Yeah, it's funny, I have a four-year-old and a seven-year-old. I have like a daily reminder of this. Literally, all they want is for me to stop everything that I'm doing, get down to their level, and just give them my own kind of unhurried attention. And it is amazing how challenging that is to offer. How many things you think you're supposed to do instead, and how important all of those things are.

And so, I can see how that plays out in our relationship with ourselves, too. But yeah, the power of just being like, “There's nowhere else I'd rather be than right here with you.” And you can give yourself that. I mean, I think that part of this work is that we really put romantic love on a pedestal. Followed by friendship, love, and then down there somewhere in the very dirt is my partnership with myself.

Like, “Oh, God, no. I do not want that to be the answer. I do not want that to be the answer.” I hear that from so many people. “I want it to be anybody else but me. Please, let it be my family of origin. Please, let it be my friends. Please, let it be this romance that will save me from everything. Dear God, no. Not just me and myself.”

Victoria: Super annoying.

Mara: Which is such a shame. It's a such a shame. I was recently at my 20th high school reunion, and somebody said to me, “Do you have hobbies?” I was like, “Yeah, I do have hobbies. I'm writing this YA fiction book, and I like to knit. I like to have all these different things. I'm thinking about doing community theater or maybe burlesque. I started hula hooping again. Do you have hobbies?”

She was like, “No, I asked because I kind of thought it was a myth that grownups have hobbies. I'm so surprised that you were just able to prattle off all these things.” I was like, “Oh, yeah. I'm interested in this. I'm interested in that. I bought this new hula hoop, it's really fun.” But I did not use to have hobbies. I did not use to have a working understanding of what lit me up.

It's so much more fun to be in relationship with myself, so that I can notice. I was in Denver; we’re recording the audio book for Needy. I was in this Uber and all of a sudden, I thought to myself, “Community theater.” I used to act a lot when I was a kid.

Victoria: Yeah, me, too.

Mara: If I wasn't attuned to myself, I would be like, “That's stupid. You're dumb. You have little kids. You don't have any time. That's embarrassing. You've been out of the show for so long. You're never going to…,” whatever. But being in relationship with myself means, oh, wow, I am endlessly fascinated to become reacquainted with these parts of myself. Acquainted with new parts of myself for the first time.

Just live for that desire. Right? And that brings so much joy and juiciness and satisfaction to life that's just beyond, “What do you do for money?”

Victoria: Yeah, well, it reminds us that there are so many parts to us. That we can revel in the complexity, and, as always, hold space for the fact that that too can feel really scary when you’re really shut down to yourself. I love that you're modeling and highlighting the joy and the gifts that can come from remembering what you want and need in life.

And then, walking through that pathway that we were talking about, of remembering. And I say remembering, “Good people have come to me.” They're like, “I've never known what I want and needed.” I'm like, “No, no, my darling. You are a newborn.”

If anyone listening has ever been a newborn, you know that you screamed when you had a need, and you knew what that need was. What, clean diaper? Food? Or fart stuck in belly, “Someone get them out,” right? We all have this core knowing of what's for us.

We just forget it over the course of being a human, particularly when we're raised in emotional outsourcing and codependent, perfectionist and people-pleasing households. And so, we get to remember, and slowly say yes. For me, that's the key. Right?

I talk about how baby steps are way too friggin’ big. No one should be out there taking a baby step. Are you bananas? Don't do that on my watch! There will be no baby steps around here! Because you're going to fall right on your sweet little nose. The physics is off. It's too big.

We think kitten paw, little, teeny-tiny... Even though we've just talked about how we don't love cats. But I love the concept of a kitten’s paw. Just look, in paw-sized step, towards saying ‘yes’.

The thing I tell folks to ask themselves about is their morning beverage. How many people drink coffee because it’s what your parents drank? Their parents drank it and so you just drink coffee. Do you even like coffee? Do you even like it light and sweet? Do you even like it black? What do you want? Do you want Chai? Do you want maté? What do you want?

Mara: Yeah, so two things. The first is, thinking about that baby. I often talk about babies too, in my work. Really, from a place of having compassion for ourselves. Because for so many of us, we are babies having needs, and our caregivers are on the job for the first time. A lot of shit can go down sure, even this early, right?

So, even that early, we begin to encode, “I have a need. This person looks mad. This person looks, I don't know…,” and we start to have these stories about what it means to have needs and ask for our needs to be met. So, when we start to do this work, it is really important that we are endlessly compassionate to ourselves.

For some of us, it is pre-verbal, how deep it goes. And so, if you're feeling like, “This is really hard. This is impossible. I feel really genuinely scared to do this,” there is space for you here. And of course, you do.

The second piece is for the morning beverage. I don't know if you're familiar with Runaway Bride; here's my rom-com socialization at work. But in Runaway Bride, she is always eating her eggs the way that whomever she is dating at the time is eating their eggs. And so, it's this whole thing.

It becomes this moment where you see that she doesn't know herself. She's just positioning herself in relation to whomever she is in a relationship with. It's Runaway Bride, so she runs when she gets to the altar, over and over and over again.

Then there comes this moment where she's finding herself and she's sitting at this table full of eggs... I talked about this all the time in my work… this table full of eggs. Every single kind of egg that you can think of. She's trying them all, and she's deciding for herself what kind of eggs she likes.

I love that, and I love the idea of the morning beverage, it’s taking these things off of autopilot and asking. I am a coffee diehard, and I am really specific about the kind of coffee that I will drink. I'm actually really specific about everything. So, I almost never drink alcohol, except for at one place where they have really great craft cocktails that they make with tweezers.

Victoria: Oh, wow, yeah. Keeping it pretentious.

Mara: It’s elaborate. Oh, yeah, there is part of my aesthetic that just loves things that are made with beakers and… Oh, yeah, I love that.

Victoria: Wait. Sorry to interrupt. What's your moon and your rising?

Mara: Libra; both. I was just at this restaurant, and I said, “This drink, what kind of glass does it come in?” The bartender was like, “I'm sorry, what?” I was like, “Well, if it has a stem, I'm out.”

Victoria: Oh, I only want things up. Okay, we have to have this conversation.

Mara: But I was like, “I’m also partial to these one, kind of big, square ice cube. I want it in a rocks glass with a big, square ice cube. So, tell me what is on this list that I can have.” And he was like, “No one in my life has ever come to me and had a glass specification.”

Victoria: Well, welcome, friend.

Mara: But here's the thing, you get to have specifications. And the experience of receiving that from yourself is really delicious. Not just because the drink is delicious. But the experience of having exactly what you want, the coffee you want, the chai you want, as you want it.

Victoria: Believing you're worthy of it. I think that's where people get stuck, right? That's where people get stuck, is in that story ‘that I'm not worth it. I'm not worthy of getting what I want. That's for other people.’ And so, that's where these teeny, tiny, kitten paw step work came in for me. To start to show myself, to provide evidence for my mind and body, that the world wasn't going to end.

I don't say that flippantly, because I've had many times in my life where it felt like the world was going to end if I said something or shared something or did something or took care of myself, right? But the world is not going to end. Everything's going to be okay. And soon enough, everything will be so much better if we just show up and begin.

I talk a lot about bridge thoughts. We don't lie to ourselves. We don't b.s. ourselves and say, “Hey, I suddenly believe that I am super worthy of love and good things.” That's not how brains and bodies work. That's just garbage. So, we bridge; we create a bridge to it. We slowly, gently, begin to believe that maybe it's possible. That perhaps there is a universe in which it might, in fact, be okay for me to consider maybe knowing what my needs are and honoring them.

We create that huge bridge, that huge linguistic bridge, between us and  the thing, so that our mind and body can come into ventral vagal. Can relax and can say, “Okay, all she's proposing is a maybe. Maybes are unlikely to murder us. So, I'll consider believing.” We’ve just inched, an inched, an inched, closer.

“Do you have any rocks glass with the square ice?” Also, I don't really drink alcohol. It's like immediate heartburn. “But I want it up. And I want that glass to be painfully cold. I want a gorgeous stem. It must be up.” You get yours, and Leo gets hers. It’s a luscious way to live, isn't it?

Mara: It really is. I think what is so powerful for me about this is that it is woven into the messiness of daily life. We have this idea of, “Oh, I can have what I want and need somewhere out there in the land of blank calendars and days off from work and the children are grown up,” or whatever. Everything is free of obstacles.

For me, it's like, “This day is a shit show. But this coffee is exactly as I want and need it to be.” And this moment, or this meal or this bite or these five minutes while I'm listening to this podcast and brushing my teeth, whatever it is, creating those pockets right in the life that you have now. Which I think can feel impossible, and has absolutely saved my life a million times. So, so necessary.

Victoria: Yeah. So deeply necessary. I feel like we could talk forever and ever.

Mara: I love this conversation. Thank you.

Victoria: I love how I feel invigorated, expansive, but set in this deep foundation of calm. My heart feels so grounded and centered. It's a really beautiful feeling. So, thank you for that.

Mara: You are so welcome. That is like a dream.

Victoria: It's pretty rad. I'd say, on a scale of one to really great, I would say it's amazing.

Mara: There you go.

Victoria: That's the best Likert scale anyone's ever heard. So, there you go. I think we should do it again. Will you come on the show again?

Mara: Yes, absolutely. That would be great.

Victoria: I think everyone should go buy your book. So, will you tell them all about it? Will you tell them where to find you, about Needy?

Mara: Yeah. You can find me at And yes, you can find all kinds of things that I offer. I have a fun quiz: What do you need right now? That'll give you some fun resources. Buy the book. The book is great. I am biased, but it's a good book.

Victoria: I'm not biased, in that… I mean, I am because I adore you. But you know what I mean? It's not my book, but I blurbed it. I’m here for it. The book is legit, super friggin’ good.

Mara: Thank you.

Victoria: Thank you. You were about to tell them where to find it.

Mara: Yeah, it's called Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty. You can find it wherever books are sold. I am very partial to the audiobook, which you can find on Audible.

Victoria: And IndieBound is a great place.

Mara: IndieBound, absolutely, bookshop.

Victoria: Just as easy as going to the one named after a rain forest. But you are giving your money to your community, to local, independent, family-run booksellers. Because you buy through them, they buy right from the publisher, so the money stays in your community instead of going into a quadrillioners pocket.

Mara: Absolutely.

Victoria: So, there you go. Mara, you're just a dream boat. I can't wait till our next conversation. Thank you for being you. Thank you for putting all your magic into the world. I'll talk to you soon.

Mara: All right, talk to you soon.

Thank you so much for listening, my love. What a beautiful conversation. I hope it inspired you to take good care of yourself, and to listen in and learn more about your own wants and your own needs. Thanks for listening.

Let's do what we do. Gentle hand on your heart, should you feel so moved. And remember, you are safe. You are held. You are loved. And, when one of us heals, we help heal the world. Be well, my beauty. I’ll talk to you soon.

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