Courtney Burg from MomboJombo.org, is a mama of two (with two more babies on the way!) sharing her own journey to healing with holistic approaches that she’s studied (she’s currently working on her PhD) and applied to her own life.
Courtney has been inspiring me for a few years now and we’ve developed a beautiful friendship through Instagram. I message her often to ask for her insight on a variety of matters, and I check in with her Instagram posts daily because no matter which words or thoughts she chooses to share that day, it always seems to be relevant to my life in some way.
Read my interview with Courtney Burg below…
YOU’VE SAID THAT PART OF OUR HEALING IS TUNING INTO OUR TRUE SELVES, THE ONES WHO ARE HIDING BEHIND LAYERS OF PROTECTION. CAN YOU BREAK THIS DOWN? AND HOW CAN WE BETTER TUNE INTO OUR TRUE SELVES?
Often we build up layers (or defenses) to construct a sense of safety and security in our lives. This starts very early in childhood, and can look like people pleasing, perfectionism, over achieving or other creative ways to earn our worth. Problem is, all this “work” really leads us to losing ourselves, and it’s hard to remember who we were before the world got its messy hands on us. In order to reconnect with our true selves, we must begin peeling back the layers and staying curious as to why we really need to prove ourselves at all and perhaps where we learned this in the first place. I always suggest starting with Inner Child work. I have a guide for this on my website.
YOU’VE ALSO SAID THAT EXPECTATIONS CAUSE MOST HEARTACHE AND DISAPPOINTMENT, AND THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO RELEASE EXPECTATIONS. WHY DO EXPECTATIONS CAUSE SO MUCH HEARTACHE AND DISAPPOINTMENT, AND HOW CAN WE WORK TO RELEASE THEM AND STOP PLACING EXPECTATIONS ON OURSELVES AND OTHERS?
We give away our happiness when we expect others to give us what we can only give ourselves. We also push away those we love when we increasingly become resentful, disappointed or hurt by their inability to meet our expectations. When we communicate our needs in an honest and clear way, we become more equipped at accepting what we deserve and walking away from what we don’t. I always say believe patterns of behavior, not words. The hard part of acceptance at times is being able to walk away from relationships that aren’t encouraging or safe, but this is a part of expanding into a higher version of ourselves.
MUCH OF YOUR WORK IS CENTERED AROUND INNER CHILD WORK AND THE WOUNDS WE ALL CARRY WITH US FROM OUR CHILDHOODS. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT?
We walk around with wounds because we are human with a vast array of emotions and needs. Many of us never felt seen, heard or validated as a child, and this pain can cause continued heartache late into adulthood. Recently I have been working on a series that covers Attachment Styles, and how differently caretakers’ abilities to meet or attune to the needs of a child directly affects that child’s ability to engage in relationships as an adult.
HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM THESE CHILDHOOD WOUNDS AND DO THIS INNER CHILD WORK SO THAT WE CAN IDENTIFY ANY NEEDS WE HAVE BUT AREN’T ADDRESSING?
I like to remember that “triggers are teachers,” and they remind us of areas that need some extra loving care. Unfortunately, many people spend the latter part of their lives confused, hurt or bitter because it’s easy to blame others in this arena. However, if we can begin to notice what triggers us, take inventory and care for ourselves in ways others never could, we can reclaim our own happiness instead of displacing that work on those around us. Again, inner child work is key.
LET’S TALK ABOUT BOUNDARIES SINCE SO MANY OF US WEREN’T EVER TAUGHT HOW TO SET THEM, AND WE DIDN’T HAVE THEM MODELED FOR US. WHAT STEPS WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO IS JUST GETTING STARTED WITH BOUNDARY WORK?
I always say the best boundary to begin with is saying “no” as many of us never felt allowed or empowered to say it. Look at children today…they are forced to share, forced to hug, forced to say and do things without an adult ever considering their personal limitations or point of view. We learn very early on to abandon ourselves and our inner needs, because no one ever stood up for us in this way.
As adults, it’s no wonder we can’t say “no” to volunteering, helping a friend or picking up that extra responsibility. Here we begin to feel run down, resentful and irritated with those we love. When we begin to peel back the layers and love ourselves without working more to earn our place, we feel more empowered with practicing our “no” and thus begin to break free from our old ways that leave us feeling stuck.
I always say boundaries are little “love notes” to those around us. They clearly describe how we show up for ourselves and how others can also show up for us. It’s a win-win.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR KIDS TO LEARN HOW TO START SETTING THEIR OWN BOUNDARIES NOW, AND WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE CAN DO TO ENCOURAGE AND HELP THEM LEARN TO DO THIS?
I really believe that the best way we can “teach” our children is to model first. Children are picking up messages every day just by watching and hearing how we navigate our own boundaries.
I encourage parents to continue growing their own boundary practices, while also empowering their children. A common example of this would be allowing a child to deny a hug from a family member, coach or teacher. Very early on we force a child to hug against their will in hopes to show appreciation and respect. Instead what this does is it teaches a formative lesson that says to the child, “my needs don’t matter.” I encourage parents to sit in their own discomfort and worry less about what others think of their parenting style or child’s manners and more about what their child needs to feel safe and heard. Our children need us more than we need the badge from others that we are doing this gig “right.”
YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT JOURNALING. WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO START JOURNALING BUT ISN’T SURE WHAT TO WRITE OR HOW TO START?
I love journaling! I have kept a journal since I was a small child. It’s incredibly therapeutic and healing, but it does take time to build the habit. Lately I’ve been reading my devotional in the morning and journaling before bed. I would suggest to not put any rules or restrictions on how you journal or when. I would just keep it simple. Set a timer and write for 5 minutes a day. It doesn’t matter about what. It doesn’t have to be deep or life changing or profound. Imagine writing like you’re talking with a close friend. Let it flow naturally, and it will grow how it needs to over time.