Are you frustrated because of all the unresolved pain inside you? It could be physical pain or emotional pain, but if left unaddressed, you risk moving into a repetitive pattern that directly affects your path forward.
Pulling yourself out of pain is powerful. You can empower yourself to learn and grow from your past experiences and become the best version of yourself. A simple shift in your mindset can alter the way you live your life, opening doors for various life-transforming opportunities.
“A painful experience is the energy that is improperly processed and gets stuck. … And unless [you unstick it], it is going to live … in your body and your conscious and subconscious [self]. Energy is meant to flow, and if it [doesn’t], then it creates … a block. … When you are in [physical or emotional] pain, [you must understand [that] there is a relationship with energy that needs to be attended to.” – Tina Lifford
Today, I sat down with the beautiful and amazing actress – Tina Lifford. I met Tina for the first time at her book launch a year back, and I could feel chills because of her energy, presence, and grace, and I couldn’t wait to have her on the Get Loved Up podcast for you guys. In this episode, Tina takes us through her experiences, and how she developed her habits to create a balanced personal and professional life and a loved-up mind.
Who Is Tina Lifford?
You all might know Tina as Aunt Vi (Violet Bordelon) from the critically acclaimed drama series – Queen Sugar. Tina is a Hollywood veteran and is also known for her role as a single mother, Joan Mosley, in the short-lived Fox drama-series South Central. She also starred as a CIA director in Scandal and as a mother-in-law in Parenthood.
In a career spanning more than 35 years, Tina has also acted in many feature films like Grand Canyon (1991), Mandela and De Klerk (1997), Blood Work (2002), and Hostage (2005). That’s not all, Tina is also a respected playwright for The Circle, which is an uplifting play about seven diverse women navigating the choppy waters of life together.
Additionally, Tina is an ‘Inner Fitness Trainer’ and CEO of the Inner Fitness Project. This initiative prioritizes your inner-fitness and teaches you how to manage your well-being effectively. With their guidance, you can learn how to navigate your past, present, and future with resilience, focus, and vision.
Adding another feather to her cap, Tina has authored a book: The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey Into Inner Fitness. It is an enlightening and inspiring guide towards the wonders of inner fitness and self-worth.
From Self-Publishing Her Book to Landing a Two-Book Deal with Harper Collins
Tina’s book was self-published at first and was launched by her in 2018. This is when Shaun Robinson, the well-known talk-show host, philanthropist, and President of the S.H.A.U.N. Foundation for girls, took Tina’s book home. This eventually led to HarperCollins Publishers signing a two-book deal with Tina.
“From that [book] launch event, Shaun took my self-published book home [and found] great value in it. Shaun then handed the book to her friend, who was going through some things. … [That friend turned out to be] … the newly-appointed editor at HarperCollins Publishers. … And then I [landed a] two-book deal [with them].” – Tina Lifford
What I love the most about her story is that Tina put herself out there with an intention, and things worked out for her brilliantly. This shows how Tina’s positive mindset and pursuit turned things around for her as an author.
Calming Her Ego
Becoming a writer was never on Tina’s mind, and neither was she experienced in the field.
“Intention is everything. [And my] primary intention … was to truly come out and … be all [that I could be]. … [I never thought about] writing a book, [but there was] something that wouldn’t leave me alone — [a calling]. … And it was the hardest thing I have done because I had to learn how to … use writing to get out of my ego. I was ‘trying’ to say something, ‘trying’ to teach something, as opposed to ‘being,’ and ‘being’ is always far more magnetic.” – Tina Lifford
Many people try too hard instead of just being themselves; they try to be something they are not. And that is in many ways related to allowing your ego to take priority. But how can you calm your ego?
“For a question like ‘how did you [do X]’ the answer is always ‘because I wanted to.’ … We must have the freedom to the degree that we shall have what we yearn for. … If you want freedom, then you must keep reaching. And the more you reach … a pathway [gets created].” – Tina Lifford
Not only did Tina reach, but she also created a solid foundation for herself. She allowed the message to come through her, watched it evolve, and touched many people, including myself. But this doesn’t mean that Tina didn’t have her fair share of rejections in life.
Handling the Fear of Rejection and Resolving Pain
How does one deal with rejection?
“The most painful and damaging kind of rejection is the rejection of self. There are many subtle ways [in which] we reject ourselves, and sometimes [we do it] by running after other people’s approval. … The next time you find yourself in pain, … [peek] into that pain and see what’s in it. [Mostly it happens] when you feel that someone is going to see you in a certain way. … And the reason that hurts is because you have already judged yourself as less in that particular way.”- Tina Lifford
We all have this fear of rejection because we want to be accepted, but the truth is that most people are not going to like everything that you do. So you must learn to rise above it to resolve your pain.
“One of the best ways to resolve your pain is to tolerate it … and be [at one] with it. … Pain is just so uncomfortable, and part of the reason is … because we keep telling ourselves that it shouldn’t be the case. … And we [keep] judging [the pain] … and ourselves. … [You must] acknowledge what is going on … because it subconsciously makes you present, … instead of putting you in avoidance … or judgment.” – Tina Lifford
The more you practice the art of ‘being present,’ the more you slowly start building upon confidence in a way that you can change your state for real, and you stop feeding your pain. But it takes a while for you to start believing that you have the power to manipulate your state, regardless of the degree of pain and anxiety you are feeling. Often, we misinterpret the triggers that set us off, but Tina defines it perfectly.
“The real trigger is the unaddressed pain and the stuck energy that wasn’t properly processed. [And your past experiences] stimulate and instigate the experience in the present. … The more you practice and become conscious, … you build your strength and resilience around those reactive moments.” – Tina Lifford
This helps you remain in the present and see yourself amid a trigger or reaction and gives you an opportunity to unblock the energy that lives inside you as a trigger point.
The Power of Journaling
Tina lays a lot of emphasis on journaling, which is a practice that has spanned her entire career.
“In my journals, I have written down what I want from my career and life. … Throughout the years … I [repeatedly] said in my journals … that I wanted to be a respectful, successful, and sought-after working actress. … I am aware that we do get what we want in life. … You must be clear [and] dare to invest in an intention without yearning.” – Tina Lifford
By journaling, Tina focused more on her underlying intent of being successful in whatever she did. This allowed her to follow her dreams without getting side-tracked by all the judgment and negativity around her.
All the judgment, shaming, and self-ridicule is just a fear, and nothing less. And if everyone loved and accepted themselves no matter what, then they would stay in the vibration of love versus fear. Stay committed to your dream even when things are tough.
Tina’s Relationship with Awards
Being in the industry that she is in, I asked Tina about how she dealt with the awards season and the pressure that comes along with it.
“I work to be worthy of all kinds of awards. I bring to my work a level of intention and … commitment that I hope is worthy of being awarded, and [at the same time] I am not attached to the awards. I don’t need you to see me if I am seeing myself clearly, and if I don’t [win] an award … I get to have … a very rational conversation with myself. … But if I am attached to getting an award, then my sense of self is lost when I am not awarded.” – Tina Lifford
Not being awarded is a good thing in a way because it then allows you to invest in yourself to such a degree that no one can damage your sense of self. And this way, you can show up guns-blazing in a level of excellence that is worthy of getting an award. But even then, if the results are not as expected, you wouldn’t lose your sense of self-worth, value, and peace.
“My perspective is that I am here for one primary reason, which is to grow and to know who I am. … When I find myself in pain and disease, I love myself, but I also get [inquisitive] about the beliefs, attachments, and conclusions I have drawn about myself. … And then I can rationally look at them and see where I need to adjust so that my peace is not disturbed.” – Tina Lifford
Our peace belongs to us, and if it is disturbed, it is mainly because of something inside us or our perspective that is causing the disturbance. We are not responsible for the circumstances but our experience of the circumstances.
The Movie That You Must All See
On asking Tina about her favorite movie of 2019, her response was hardly surprising.
“[It was] definitely Joker [starring Joaquin Phoenix]. … It is one of the best mental health or wellness movies [out there]. It depicts the importance of understanding that everything we say and things that happen with us make a difference. So watch how you treat people, watch what you say, and watch what you internalize.” – Tina Lifford
I have added the movie to my watch-list, but the film shows a larger perspective from what I have heard. It perfectly depicts how damaging your behavior can be for someone going through a challenging phase in life. The lead character becomes the victim of his own circumstances, leading to destruction on a large scale.
The Meaning and Importance of Inner Fitness
Inner fitness does affect your physical fitness and what you eat, and how you work out. If your mental health isn’t on point, then you might not want to go to the gym or eat healthily.
“The main part of inner fitness is becoming connected to yourself and redefining yourself. … You have the opportunity [to be] surrounded by information [and] given time to be with yourself. … [It] allows us to take charge of lives and then be on our individual journey to what it looks like to be truly alive.” – Tina Lifford
Diet and exercise are super important in terms of being proactive where physical fitness is concerned. But being more conscious and aware and observing yourself, and interrupting the patterns that no longer serve you is the basis of your inner fitness.
Tina then shares the different ways in which she gets loved up and feels empowered in any circumstance that presents itself.
“I get loved up every single time I think about my family, … or every time I … choose friendship or a relationship. … I get loved up … by just willing to have fun and claim that as a priority. I get loved up every time I go to my journal and dare to dream and re-think what I [feel] is impossible for myself. I get loved up by just standing firm [for my] commitment [to] life, and the opportunity to thrive.” – Tina Lifford
When things don’t seem to be going your way, spreading love and absorbing the energy appears difficult. But with real practice, commitment, and a balanced mindset, you can learn to stay positive and thrive in the worst of environments, like a lotus flower.
Get Loved Up with Tina Lifford
This interview with Tina Lifford inspired me a lot, and I am so grateful to her for sharing the nuggets of wisdom with us all. Do check out this full episode for the bits of information that I could not fit into this post and learn more from Tina’s incredible journey to becoming a human being filled with love, compassion, and a lot of positive energy.
To understand more about Tina and her life, check out her YouTube channel — Tina Lifford and the Inner Fitness Project. You can also connect with her on Instagram @tinalifford, Facebook, Twitter, and the Inner Fitness Project website.
Tina highlights a quote by Ernest Holms that she just loves — “Faith is the most important thing in your life. It is impossible to arrive at the grandeur of its possibility through petty thinking and small ideas.” And in this cosmic connection called ‘life,’ Tina believes in herself and always keeps a larger vision in mind while pursuing her own goals or helping others in achieving theirs.
It was a great honor to have Tina on the show. If this episode touched you in any way, then please tag @tinalifford and me, @koyawebb, on Instagram, with a screenshot of this episode and your most significant takeaways from it. We would love to hear about it.
Love, if you can focus on being your best self instead of on the things outside, you’ll be more spiritually aligned. And in that space, you can get through pain and rejection.
- What it felt like to self-publish Tina’s book and then get picked up by a major publisher (3:42)
- How to calm your ego (6:21)
- 2 ways to handle the fear of rejection (12:50)
- How to deal with pain (16:56)
- Steps for dealing with unresolved pain (25:22)
- How to stay committed to your dream when things are really hard (33:55)
- Tina’s experience of playing Aunt Vi on Queen Sugar (37:02)
- Tina’s perspective on the awards situation in Hollywood for black actors (52:17)
- How to deal with criticism of your work (56:50)
- How Tina gets loved up (1:05:50)
- What inner fitness means and why it’s so important (1:07:20)
Links mentioned in this episode
- Queen Sugar
- The Little Book of Big Lies
- Water Dancer
- Inner Fitness
- Order Koya’s book Let Your Fears Make You Fierce