From the outside looking in Dr. Robin Smith had it all. She was well-respected in her field. She was a bestselling author who was in demand everywhere as a speaker. She was hosting a show on Oprah’s XM satellite radio channel and she was O’s go-to expert when it came to relationships. But all wasn’t what it seemed.
In 2010, Dr. Robin was in a serious car accident that left her unable to work. Her finances began to dry up. Next, her home was burglarized and her dog died. The downtime gave her a chance to reflect on her success. She realized that despite her rise and fame, she had lost herself.
As Smith explains in her new book Hungry: The Truth About Being Full, she felt like she was “emotionally anorexic.” She was “hungry” to be emotionally fulfilled.
“Even though I looked alive and vital, the hourglass measuring the aliveness of my soul was swiftly draining to the bottom. I was losing my battle to be myself. I was in my prime. My career was taking off; I was surrounded by loving friends and family. Yet it felt like time was running out,” she writes in the book.
So how can one be successful and not lose herself in the process? Dr. Smith tells MadameNoire in an interview.
MadameNoire: Most people feel overwhelmed when they are faced with a personal and/or financial setback. How do you focus to get back on track?
Dr. Robin Smith: Even when the event has crushed you, the challenge is to not let it crush your spirit. One of the essential keys in recovering after a major setback is to quiet the chaos from the outer world and the trauma of the event itself. It is important that you be able to hear, recognize and honor the inner wisdom of your deepest hunger and truest needs. Ask for support and help from the right people, at the right time, for the right things. Getting back on track is really not allowing the chaos and the trauma of the setback to remain the driving force of your present and future. It is imperative to de-fang, take the teeth out of the trauma so that it does not continue to bite the life-giving opportunities and possibilities from your life.
MN: Are there steps to take to reorganize your life and finances?
RS: Yes. First, identify your strengths and limitations. Identify realistic and healthy sources of support and assistance. Once you find the source, the next step is to be courageous, even in the face of your fear, take the action… ask for help. Being able to ask the right person, for the right help, at the right time can transform a life from a mess to a miracle. Be honest about what things you have done in the past and how you can benefit from the knowledge of what has and has not worked in order to gain a more favorable and empowered outcome.
MN: I understand some setbacks are totally unforeseen, but are their things you can do to prepare yourself?
RS: Expect the unexpected because life often unfolds in unimaginable ways. Pain and joy take turns visiting each of our lives. Try to remember that in the best or worst of times everything ultimately is a season and will pass. In these times, it is necessary to have trusted people around to help us remember this truth when we cannot. Ask each “setback” what it has come into our lives to teach us. The more we embrace and understand the lesson with self-compassion, it will increase our ability to endure even what feels like an unbearable winter. In the darkest of hours, while tempting, it is imperative for your overall emotional, spiritual, financial and relational health not to postpone joy. Do not reject love when it does come. Take the little bit of relief and let it soothe you instead of starving. When relief comes, take it. Don’t starve yourself looking for perfect when imperfect will have to do. It actually can be enough for that moment.
MN: What would your advice be to women facing an uphill fight to regain their lives?
RS: Love themselves with the same reckless abandon that they have loved others. Give themselves fully and completely to their own healing, recovery, and restoration; to be fully committed to their own search and rescue effort, to reclaim the divine life that belongs to them, to listen to their hunger pains that hold the seed of life, abundance, liberation and peace.