CVB: You are a life coach, a counselor, and an author. So, what caused you to decide to write this book?
Tina Yeager: I had such a long personal journey with low self-esteem, myself, even having an eating disorder for eight years. Then when I became a counselor, over and over again, I saw women in my office with low self-esteem, lack of sense of purpose, needing to find their identity in a positive way. I knew that I could only see so many women in person, even in speaking events. If I had a vehicle like a book, I could reach women further and deeper and in their own communities, forming groups where they could work together to resolve that.
CVB: So, what’s the message that you want to bring across from this book?
Tina: I want women to experience freedom from shame lies and to develop an identity that’s centered in high self-esteem in Christ so that they can fulfill their purpose in the kingdom of God.
CVB: As a counselor, as a coach, you’ve seen a lot of people who struggle with low self-esteem. Why is that?
Tina: I believe it’s always been a problem. We’re seeing it more now because social media makes it prevalent. We’re seeing so many false images of what we should be and of how we need to measure up to wrong standards and place our identity and worth and things that won’t satisfy us. People continue to go back, like drinking salt water, to those things that will never fulfill us instead of going to the living water, which is Christ, where we find our true lasting eternal identity.
CVB: People post mostly the good stuff of their lives on social media – like when it’s really a great day. Your typical day or your bad day, many people, if not most people, don’t post it up there. But people get caught in comparing themselves to others on social media. “Look at how great that is, and isn’t it great what is happening in their lives?” Have you seen that as well? How do you coach someone through that?
Tina: Well, in the book, I also discuss how princess Diana had that same problem. It doesn’t matter where we are in our social outward look. Everyone has something that is beating them down inside, or has them down in the inside of the past. She suffered in silence with eating disorders and low self-esteem for many years, even as a princess.
As women, we tend to be those princesses that suffer in silence and in our towers. If we were to get out and unmask those issues and begin to work together to build one another up, how much stronger we would be as women for Christ.
CVB: Yeah, absolutely. So, give us some practical tips from the book. It’s one thing to say, you need to do this, but it’s another thing to say, “Here’s a pathway to actually do it.”
Tina: I go through how to identify the lies that we hear. First of all, if something is a hyperbole, “I’m always this,” “I’m never that,” you can identify that immediately. Nobody’s that consistent if you are, you should be in the Guinness Book of World Records. So you know that that’s a lie off the bat. Also be careful if something is not consistent with the Bible and what it says about us. “You were created for a purpose. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you in his image.” Know that this is where you find your truth.
We need to recognize those lies. These are the ways that you talk to yourself as you would never speak to a friend or a daughter. Those kinds of shaming messages are always going to be a lie. They contradict the Word of God and history. We need to look at the truth. Put it in front of you. Write it on a note card. Put it on your mirror. Put it where you are attacked the most often. Place a post-it note on your computer if you need to do that, if that’s where you’re getting those shame messages from social media.
Make sure you’re in fellowship with other women that are going to be healthy relationships building you up.
CVB: That is so important. The opposite is also true as far as fellowship is concerned. A pastor that I knew said, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your character.”
Tina: Or show you your future. I’ve heard that said as well.
CVB: That’s very true. So it’s not only surrounding yourself with positive, but it’s also not surrounding yourself with the negative.
Tina: Yes. We need to set boundaries with people that aren’t healthy enough to help us move forward. And recognize that it isn’t about us having other people as enemies, because we never want to see people as the enemy. There is an enemy, but it’s not a person. It’s the enemy of Christ, who is the enemy of our souls. But if we know which people are going to build us up, we spend more time with those people and limit the amount of exposure we have to the negative messages. You need to put in 10 to one positive to negative messages into your life. So if you’re getting lots of negative, if it’s a mother-in-law that lives with you or something, that’s in your family and you can’t get rid of them in your life, you need to make sure you’re putting that much more positive to counteract that in your life.
CVB: A trap for a younger or less mature person, someone in high school or college when they set boundaries in their life, someone will say, “Oh, you’re now a snob. Oh, you think you’re better than us?” Some people will fall for that lie because they don’t want to be looked at as a snob. When they’re in the process of building those boundaries, sometimes they get sucked back into negative relationships by those kind of attacks, or those kind of judgmental, shaming tactics. Have you seen that? How do you counsel someone to overcome that?
Tina: I think you need to understand that in order to be able to be a benefit to those people, you need to get away from them long enough to get well enough to come back and be the benefit to them. So see yourself as you really are. I’m in process of becoming something more. I’m not turning my back on people that Christ loves. I’m allowing him to bring other people into their lives, who can handle that, and they can respond in that way. Tell them, “I’m looking forward to a day when I can be there for you. I’m just not in that place right now.”
CVB: That’s a message that young people need to hear because they get caught in the negative peer pressure. You talk in the book about masks. What are masks and how does one take the mask off?
Tina: The masks are the way that we present ourselves as perfect when no one is. It’s when we try to put on that Pinterest image in public and pretend that we are always perfect, or that we’re always on. And we need to instead take that mask off and say, listen, I’m struggling with this. Who else is with me? Let’s learn to overcome this together. And that’s when we get stronger.
CVB: How do you do that? What are some practical ways to take the mask off and keep it off?
Tina: Oh, get in those healthy groups. And they have them on social media as well. Find prayerful groups of women who are already being real about their lives and are sharing ways that they are working toward overcoming – not just people that are whining, but people that are working on overcoming.
CVB: That raises a thought. I’ve been in groups where someone is sharing too much information and it’s too negative. They are unloading, but the problem is, is that everyone else is getting pulled down. How do you wade through that?
Tina: I think the moderator of the group needs to direct them to counseling because that’s where they need to go through the process, instead of being stuck in what we call a victim mentality. That isn’t to disparage victims because many become overcomers because they’ve worked through the problems. A victim mentality means you pretend that everyone is your problem and you never take personal responsibility. You’re not trying to overcome it. You’re just staying mired in it. And those people never get better. I’ve had them in my office. They just continue to come back every week and say the same things over and over again.
CVB: And that’s where you as a professional come in to try to help them – if they want help.
Tina: If they want help. And people need to want to move forward. That’s where we see the difference between what the enemy does to us and what God does for us. The enemy wants us to be paralyzed in our pain, in our misery, and in our shame. God’s process is always forward moving. Even when He convicts us, he’s convicting us for the purpose of progress, not for getting us stuck, not for beating us down, and not for leaving us there. He never ever does that.
That’s one way you can recognize a lie of the enemy. If it’s paralyzing you and keeping you from moving toward God’s purpose, then it’s from the enemy and not from God.
CVB: One of the challenges in this process is someone who finds attention from sharing their problems and living in a particularly negative way. They don’t want to give up the attention in order to get healed. How do you help someone like that?
Tina: Again, I think that person needs to be with a professional counselor who can help to redirect them and say, “I want to see you fulfill your purpose in this other ministry where you want to be. But in order to get there, I need you to go through these processes first.” The counselor needs to set those boundaries carefully and kindly and lovingly.
If someone has a personality disorder, that’s going to be a difficult thing for your group. And the rest of the group is not going to grow if that person refuses to get help.
Order your copy of Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You
Read an excerpt: Beautiful Warrior: Hello, My Name Isn’t
Award-winning author, inspirational speaker, and life coach, Tina Yeager also hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast and publishes Inkspirations Online, a weekly devotional for writers. She has won over thirty writing awards, including a 2020 Golden Scroll Award and 2013 FCWC Writer of the Year. Her fiction and nonfiction strive to clarify how we might relate better to others, to ourselves, and to God. Licensed as a counselor since 2005, she has over twenty years of experience teaching adults, teens, and children in academic, clinical, and faith-based settings. Learn more at tinayeager.com.
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