Today's episode is PACTED with great insights from Robin Towle into overcoming darkness in our lives through grit, mindfulness, and connection. You don't want to miss this one!

In July of 2019 Robin Towle was thrilled to be crowned Mrs International 2019. This was the perfect opportunity to share her platform for suicide prevention internationally. Robin is the founder of Wolf Pact. A nonprofit organization that teaches emotional life skills to teens . She started this out of her passion for her suicide prevention and hopes to help teens live happier healthier lives. She has written and produced “Room Enough”, a short film for her platform and is also the founder of Hope on the Hill, a suicide prevention event for veterans . Robin is an ambassador for NAMI Utah, Safe UT and a member of the State Suicide Coalition. Robin is a dancer, actor, director and writer. Robin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics with a minor in Dance from East Carolina University . While in college she was an ECU cheerleader and Pure Gold Dancer. Robin is the mother of six beautiful children. Robin feels being a mother has been her greatest accomplishment. She has home schooled her children for sixteen years and as a family they toured all 48 continental United States in an RV. Robin and her husband Kevin recently celebrated their twenty fifth wedding anniversary.

This Week’s PRO TIP is: Observe, analyze, and improve your interactions with others.

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[00:00:00]Neal Hooper:  [00:00:00] I am so excited for our guests today. And this has been in the works for a while. And I can't tell you how excited I am to have Robin towel on the show today.

[00:00:13] She is a powerhouse in so many ways and has so much value to share with us today. In July of 2019, Robyn towel was thrilled to be crowned Mrs. International 2019. This was the perfect opportunity to share her platform for suicide prevention. Internationally, Robin is the founder of Wolf pact, a nonprofit organization that teaches emotional life skills to teens.

[00:00:41] She started this out of her passion for her suicide prevention in hopes to help teens live happier, healthier lives. She has written and produced room enough, a short film for her platform. And is also the founder of hope on the Hill. A suicide prevention event for veterans. [00:01:00] Robin is an ambassador for NAMI, Utah, safe, Utah, and is a member of the state suicide coalition.

[00:01:08] Robin is a dancer, actor, director, and writer. Robin has a bachelor's degree in economics with a minor in dance from East Carolina university. While in college, she was an ECU cheerleader and pure gold dancer. Robin is the mother of six beautiful children and she feels being a mother. Has been her greatest accomplishment.

[00:01:30] She has homeschooled her children for 16 years. And as a family together, they toured all 48 continental United States in an RV. Robin and her husband, Kevin recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. in the few interactions I've had with Robin. I've been blown away by her strength, confidence, and big heart.

[00:01:54] Everything she does is geared toward making the world a better place. And you're going to. Feel that as we have [00:02:00] these conversations today,  robin, welcome to the happiness playbook.

[00:02:04] Robin Towle: Hi, Neal. Thanks for having me. 

[00:02:07]Neal Hooper:  there's so much depth to you and everything you're involved with. So I can't wait to dive 

[00:02:12] Robin Towle: in, 

[00:02:13]Neal Hooper: I just want to know. And for our listeners, what sparked your passion for the topic and what are you doing about it? 

[00:02:21]Robin Towle:  Well, it sort of built up. I had, several close friends and relatives experienced suicide in their family. And so that was like on the forefront of my mind. And when our local high school had eight suicides in a two year period, and I had two boys at that high school, towards the end of that, one of my children became depressed and I knew that.

[00:02:50] Those kids would still be here, had their parents known. And I knew that there was no way I could really know he was safe. And [00:03:00] so, I think I had some PTSD from worrying about him and also from the other people stories that were close to me. So I was really paranoid and, very worried. And so, we worked through that and when I did, I felt.

[00:03:17]one thing, I felt like if I had some of the tools from Wolf pack to help my son, that, maybe I could help him. But at that point he really wasn't open to that. So I wanted to create it for other parents so that, they could give their kids something that they didn't get to the point we were at.

[00:03:37]Neal Hooper:  Now Wolf pack is your organization and, it's just doing so much good. Where did that name come from? Wolf pact. And what's the idea behind that? 

[00:03:48] Robin Towle: Oh, I'm so glad you asked because that's part of the story behind it. So when my son was struggling, there was a story that meant a lot to him and gave him inspiration.

[00:03:58] It was the story of [00:04:00] the two wolves, the legend of the two wolves, native American chief tells his grandson. I have a war going on inside of me. Everyone does two wolves are fighting. One is. Greed and envy and self-loathing and the other is kindness, resilience, and love. And the grandson asked his grandfather, which will win.

[00:04:23] And the grandfather's reply is the one that you feed. And so my son found some strength in that, and it meant a lot to him. And it meant a lot to me, for him to have that. And, whenever we were having multiple suicides, it went around.  don't have the  children dress up because they felt like it was  the contagion, And it made me sad because I felt like these kids didn't get the recognition they needed when they were here, and they deserved to be remembered. And why, why did I feel this was happening? Did I really feel that it was being glorified [00:05:00] and. What my inspiration or revelation that I felt came to me was that when we're exposed to suicide, the curiosity of the human nature, we're always saying, well, how did it happen?

[00:05:13]what were they thinking?  if this happened to me? How would people feel? And so planting those questions, plants a seed. And as we. Say things to ourselves, the talk that we give ourselves, it gives that seed nourishment for it to grow. And so we have to be really careful what Wolf we're feeding.

[00:05:35] Right. we have to make sure that things that we're saying to ourself are feeding the right Wolf. We have to be strong enough not to go down that road because. Negative thoughts travel our neural pathways faster than positive thoughts and they're strongly reinforced. So the more negative we are, the easier it is to be negative.

[00:05:57]Neal Hooper: I love the origin there of Wolf pack, [00:06:00] because that is such a powerful metaphor. And if we're not being intentional about what we're exposing ourselves, who we're surrounding ourselves with the kind of media we consume, all of those.

[00:06:14] Things are whether we like it or not feeding the Wolf's right. And so we have to be really intentional about that and especially our thought patterns and all of that plays in. So I love that metaphor. here on the happiness playbook, we're all about connection, confidence and communication. Those are kind of the three CS of what we try to promote here.

[00:06:36] And I noticed a slogan for the Wolf pack, your organization. Is be real and connected, which I love. And I just wanted to dive into that a little deeper in your opinion, how do we achieve that authenticity and connection? 

[00:06:52] Robin Towle: Well, I think it's really hard because, I've always thought of myself as a person.

[00:06:56] Who's real that you could, maybe sometimes too real for some [00:07:00] people it's hard because when you feel like someone else is not real with you. It's very hard to be real with them. Right. Because they have their guard up. Then you've got your guard up and, I think it is a tricky thing, but I think for me , I saw something recently and it said, no, some people change because they.

[00:07:24] Reach a spiritual awakening. And some people change because the pain, because this becomes so great, they have no choice. And for me, I think it was the ladder, it just, it just got to a point I was trying to fit in everyone's box, that I thought they wanted me and my parents, my husband, my friends, my church, my children.

[00:07:48] And I wanted to fit in this, their boxes and they were all at different box and the truth is Neal, I didn't even know. I mean, I could think I knew what their box was, but do [00:08:00] we really know what someone else's box they expect you to fit in is there's no way that you can do that is exhausting. And it makes, for me, it made me feel like I was always looking for approval that I was never going to get.

[00:08:16] And. it just got to a point. I couldn't do it anymore. I just could not try to fit in everyone's box. And so the realization I came to was that God made me who I am. He made me like am, and that's not an excuse for me to go out and, engage in all my vices or engage in all of my weaknesses, but I need to love who I am and embrace who I am and those who were supposed to be in my life are going to be here.

[00:08:43]So, I just think really getting to know who you are and loving who you are and being okay with that is the best way to be real. 

[00:08:56]it ties beautifully into one of the four [00:09:00] principles of play theory, which is let go and play, which we're going to talk a little bit more about too, but sometimes in order to go outside of that comfort zone and to really grow and become and serve in the ways that we need to, and to build our communities, we have to let go of what others.

[00:09:17] Are thinking and saying, those boxes, right. That you mentioned and their, that they're putting us in, because until we do that, we can't really play and really build and develop and grow and serve in the ways that we need to. And so that's really important and really sets you up to be real and connected as you pointed out.

[00:09:39] Neal Hooper: And it's scary to do that. And especially if you've grown up in environments where. the opinions of others are highly valued. that can be a really scary thing to S to tell yourself, what I'm going to do. What I feel is right, regardless of those opinions, in those boxes that people are trying to place on me, but it's really [00:10:00] important to do that.

[00:10:00] And I love what you shared there. Very good. Can I ask you a question? What do you think? if someone. If you're in a situation where you feel you cannot be real with someone like you can't connect, like there is just not going to happen. What do you do? 

[00:10:21] That's a great question, because I think we find ourselves in those situations.

[00:10:25] Right. And especially if you are wanting and you crave a deeper, more authentic connection with somebody, but they're not allowing you in. I think that can be for a number of reasons. the first thing I would say is if that person doesn't feel safe, letting their guard down in order for that real connection to take place, sometimes it's really powerful , to help show them that it is safe to do so.

[00:10:57] An example I will reference, was [00:11:00] actually my wife and I, when we first got married, we had to learn. How to come together in a lot of ways, but I'm a very direct person and I love feedback and so that was really different from my wife who grew up in an environment where, feedback was considered a negative thing.

[00:11:20] And it was hard for us to come forward and for her to even give me basic feedback, I would ask her, Hey, I, I noticed, there was a little tension back there. Did I do something wrong or help me understand how I can be better moving forward. to me, they were just little course corrections, but those were really big deal for her.

[00:11:38] And so what I ended up doing was providing these little micro experiences where she could feel safe giving feedback. as she saw that it was safe to. To connect in that way and, to give me feedback and to see my positive reaction to it.

[00:11:55]then I think we built upon that and now every week we have a [00:12:00] feedback session on Sundays as part of a weekly planning session that we do. And it has just been such a foundation in rock for our marriage, but I think. people who are afraid to become vulnerable in order for that connection to take place, it goes a long way to help, help them have these micro experiences to feel safe doing that.

[00:12:21] Robin Towle: Yeah. I think sometimes it's hard because you may be the one who doesn't feel safe, and, it is a little bit scary sometimes. And when you don't feel safe, one thing that you mentioned is that you have a weekly session on Sundays. if you go on Wolf packs website, we have a family council that you can download, which I loved, which I think, and you can add your own things to it.

[00:12:48] Like you could add your, weekly feedback, so like we will do thing on there for our  family. We do things like, cute things the kids said, so we could remember [00:13:00] them and we bind it. we bind it and then we have like a family history  of the week. 

[00:13:05] Okay. We will definitely link that in the show notes. So you can check that out. 

[00:13:09] one of the questions is family achievements this week. And, you're acknowledging. And even if it's a small achievement, like, got up for school and didn't come clean or got your Eagle scout award, it could be a huge range, but you're acknowledging, the chief moments that your family had during the weekend talking about them.

[00:13:28], after I had my son go through his things and I had some issues as well with, different people in my life and my not be able to deal well with things.

[00:13:39] And I was bitter and I was bitter for several years. And my last baby that I had. I was in a hospital for 71 days in a different state where I ended up in emergency and I was in bed, on bed, rest in a hospital, in a different state for 71 days. And when I came out, I just was more [00:14:00] bitter than ever.

[00:14:00] I just felt like, maybe I had some depression from that, that manifest itself as, just being bitter, but I was really bitter. And so I would go to church and I didn't want to be there. I didn't feel valued for some reason or another and  so I opened a journal.

[00:14:21] I started a journal on my phone and I started a gratitude journal. And so what I started doing was finding things. I was grateful for in the things that I wasn't grateful for. So I was, and, I would write down why I was grateful for being in the hospital for 71 days and why I was grateful to be at church, and I just started journaling  it was very therapeutic and it was a good way. To switch my negative thinking to positive thinking.  

[00:14:54]a lot of things that I was unaware. We're good things, when you're looking [00:15:00] for it, because like I said, the negativity travels so fast and if you're already down a negative path, It's taken over your thought process, but to consciously try to be grateful.

[00:15:12] And it was really interesting, I loved my nurses. Why was in the hospital? They were so, so good to me and those relationships, I will always cherish. And so I had that and I had the fact that my life was actually saved. And even with my son , my son's depression and worrying about him, at the time I felt like.

[00:15:31] There was nothing to be thankful for. I felt like I was forsaken, like, where was God during this time? But as I look back, my son self-medicated with Reese's cups Kool-Aid and Netflix, I mean, what a bigger blessing it could have been drugs, So I have a lot of blessings during this time.

[00:15:52] Oh, and that paradigm shift that happens when you really get grounded in gratitude is huge. And like you [00:16:00] said, whereas before one could look at the resistance, peanut butter cups and Netflix, and be like, Oh my gosh, what's he doing there's life. but then your perspective changes and you say, wow, 

[00:16:09]what a great thing that it was Netflix and Reese's peanut butter cups. And not like you said something much more, harmful, I want to shift gears just a little bit here, because it would be a shame to have Mrs. International 2019 on a podcast and not ask a little bit about that. So, just to start off that part of the conversation, I'm just curious.

[00:16:32]that's a big deal. What does it take to become Mrs. International? 

[00:16:37]I can go into a lot of different ways. So first I'm going to hit it on the head with your purpose. my purpose was strong with what's going on in the world today.

[00:16:48] I knew it was coming. I didn't know what it was going to look like. But about four years ago, I felt a force of people gathering for mental health and suicide [00:17:00] prevention, like never before. And I knew God was gathering people to do a work. People, he had prepared people who had struggled and knew what it was about people who were service-oriented and had a lot of empathy and emotional connection was important.

[00:17:19] And I could see very like-minded people gathering to do the same work.  There was a miss also named the year that I was in her platform was also suicide prevention.  I think your message is huge. number one, number two, I think for the girls who are wanting a national title or any title, pageantry sometimes gets a bad deal, but the truth is, .

[00:17:45] It basically promotes women to do good things in their community to have a platform to serve. And if you're there to look good for picture ups and things like that, you're going to get what you went [00:18:00] into it for, but if you really want to win, find your purpose from God. And fulfill that purpose with all of your heart and with all of your energy to serve.

[00:18:12] And it shows when you put that into it, when you go into your interview, you're not. You're not trying to sell them on you. You're telling them from your heart, what means so much to you and why you want to do this because you have a message that you want so many people to share. And when you go on an interview powered by that, your scores are going to be great.

[00:18:40]so that would be, my, Foresight on it, but my personal hidden, lastly, on my personal experience, I just got to a place where I couldn't fit in everyone's box anymore. And I realized God had created me and I had to be happy with myself, comfortable with myself [00:19:00] and to come from a place of love, always.

[00:19:03] And it's hard, I still fall. many times and every time I do, I'm like, ah, I'm supposed to be coming from a place of love because,  I'm pretty sure that was one of the key things that helped me achieve this is that when I went in it, I was full of love for everyone, including myself.

[00:19:26]Neal Hooper: just like you alluded to happiness is a skill, love is a skill as well, and we're not going to be perfect at it. But you mentioned a key ingredient here of happiness and love and that's looking outward, right? You were focused on building your community and helping those who are in a very dark place and really shining a spotlight on that.

[00:19:49]to serve that group. And I know when we look outward, others do feel that, and they can't help, but want to, to get on board and promote and [00:20:00] support that. So that is a very cool insight. And what an awesome experience that must have been, as a contestant for Mrs. Utah, and then Mrs. International, I'm sure you experienced a great deal of pressure.

[00:20:14] And I'm just curious, what did you do to be present in keep that anxiety under control in those moments where you had to go up in front of all these people  promote your message. 

[00:20:26]Robin Towle:  Well, I think one of the things was I stopped trying to fit in people's boxes, in stopped caring what people thought about me.

[00:20:33] And I went up and just authentic. And I think that my anxiety was really leveled before I went into it, because I was. To the point. I just wanted to be authentic. I just wanted to be me. I didn't care if people were like, Oh, what is she doing? why is she doing, or I don't approve of this, or I don't approve of that.

[00:20:57] I didn't care what anyone [00:21:00] thought. What I cared about is how I felt. If I felt like I was doing the right thing, if I felt like I was doing, God's will. And if I felt like my relationship was building with God, I know I'm not perfect. And I can't always, be what I know God probably wants me to be, or, but that is a progress.

[00:21:20] It's not one thing for me to get there. And so, I gave myself grace and knew that God loves me no matter what. And as I gave myself, grace, it. Allowed me to have a relationship with him, a good, healthy relationship with him without feeling judged or, it just helped me know. He loves me.

[00:21:44] And he knows I'm on a path and I'm trying, and I just stopped really caring what other people thought. So I think that took away a lot of the anxiety. I also feel like Wolf pack actually prepared me to be Mrs. International, the skills [00:22:00] within Wolf pack, I hired a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in teens and told her what I wanted.

[00:22:08] In this program and helped her write it because of what I felt like my son needed and, work in those skills. Help me. So when I was on stage, just for an example, one of the things, I'm on stage and my biggest fear, like I did not know going into Mrs. International, that I had to answer an own stage question.

[00:22:29] That was a current event. And I don't like that. I don't like not knowing what my question's going to be when it's not a personal question. When it's something that has to have. an educated view and you can't prepare for it. And we've all seen those girls go viral. And so I had a coach that helped me with it and I just would say, Oh, Susie, don't let me go viral, please.

[00:22:58] I can't go viral. [00:23:00] I was really freaked out about it. And so when I may top 15, I had to answer this question. You didn't have to answer it unless you may talk 15. And there were hard questions about things like how you feel about Brexit or specific questions about Brexit or about fracking. And if you don't know that word, like if you're not familiar with Brexit or fracking, .

[00:23:21]how would you even answer that? Except for, I don't know. I've never heard of that before, which was really what I was going to do, because the truth is I didn't want to get up there and be asked something and look like a fool. You know what I mean? So I'm waiting and all the girls are answering their questions and I'm like trying to remember what they're answering and their questions were hard.

[00:23:44] And I was like, this is like making it worse. And I'm like, Robin. This is not helping you. So I go around and behind the curtain, I go behind the curtain to like, say a prayer, get some peace. And I look [00:24:00] in the mirror and when my kids were little, and they would play football. I would say, guys, you gotta be the go-to guy.

[00:24:07] You know what the go-to guy is? The go-to guy is the guy they know they can always count on.  you have to get to that point where you are self-confident enough. You've practiced enough that whenever they throw you that ball, you're not like, Oh, I hope I catch it. You are like, I'm going to catch this ball.

[00:24:24] It's coming to me. It's my ball. you gotta be the go-to guy. And that story came to my mind. And I looked in the mirror at myself and I said, You are the go-to guy, you are not going to drop this ball. And I turned around and walked on the stage.  my answer to the question actually came from another question I had prepared for. So I could use that information and the question I was asked, that was grit, which is one of Wolf packs.

[00:24:52]Chapters. And it was also, how to persevere. I used the grit and the positive affirmation, from Wolfpack [00:25:00] and was able to go on stage and answer that question. So I think Wolfpack definitely was a big help for me being ready. 

[00:25:09] Wow, what a story. I'm putting myself in that scenario and I'm just freaking out, don't go viral, don't go viral.

[00:25:17]what a great example of accept and build and really tapping into, , information you'd already prepared and then applying it to that specific question and, preparation is an interesting thing for a season of life, I would do stage improv.

[00:25:35]and people would always say, Oh man, how do you come up with so many things on the spot? how do you do that? And I would always tell them, preparation is the price you pay for that. Inspiration or, agility in the moment, you can't draw water from an empty well, as you prepare that helps you bring more to the [00:26:00] table and gives you more to build with in any situation, just like you shared.

[00:26:05]thank you for those stories. Yeah. And I did notice in the curriculum, as I read through that for Wolf pack, that grit is, it is one of the chapters and I think grit is something that we've all been working on this year.  during 2020, we've all had to.  develop if we didn't have it or expand our grit.

[00:26:27] I'm just curious if you have any additional thoughts surrounding grit and how that's important, for these times we're in. 

[00:26:35] Yeah, I think it all fits together. The positive affirmation with grit is a great team. It's like a marriage,  and I've just decided myself. I'm going to have a good life.

[00:26:46] I'm going to embrace whatever I go through and love it, and enjoy it. . have you ever read the hiding place? I haven't. And that's a wonderful book. It's probably one of my most [00:27:00] favorite and the most inspiring books by Corrie 10, boom. And she was in a concentration camp and just her sister said, we have to be grateful for everything.

[00:27:11] And she's like, I can not be grateful for the fleas. And the sister said, yes, you have to be grateful for everything. And after her sister died, they, went out and told the guards. They're like, you need. To come in and get this woman. Well, just a little hindsight first during it, they were smuggled to Bible and every night they would read from the Bible and the women would sit around to listen and it would give them strength.

[00:27:35] And so when this woman died, they go and they tell the guard, you have to come in and get this woman . She died. And the guard said, no way, am I going in that flea infested place? So then they knew. That they were grateful for the fleas, because the only reason they were able to read their Bible was because the guards wouldn't go in because of the fleas.


[00:27:58] I think that personally is the [00:28:00] key to grit I get one shot here on this earth and the heck with it. Whether, it's all doom and gloom. Well, I'm going to embrace it and just enjoy what is here. Enjoy the people around me. Enjoy every thing I do  every food.

[00:28:15] I taste every conversation I have, just try to embrace it. 

[00:28:20]Neal Hooper: And it's so much easier to do that when you are living in the moment and being present instead of forecasting, like you said, the doom and gloom and giving into that anxiety about the future or regret from the past. So that's a huge part of that as well, with grit is being, present and just keeping your head in the game and looking for the good in each moment as it comes.

[00:28:41]Robin Towle:  One thing that I do too for mindfulness is one of the.

[00:28:45] Topics in Wolf pack. And I taught to the kids and I tell them, if you're looking to the past, you can be depressed. You can think, Oh, I wish my friends still lived here. I wish my grandparents were still alive. I wish I hadn't done that. I wish I [00:29:00] had made better choices. If you're looking at the past, it can make you depressed.

[00:29:04] If you're looking at the future. Saying? Oh, I hope I get in. I hope I get a husband. I hope I get a boyfriend. if you're always looking to the future, what if I don't make enough money? You're going to have anxiety, but the way you can find peace is living in the present and then I share with them one way you can do that is by using your senses.

[00:29:27]to ground yourself in the present, you use your sight, see what you see around you really connect with your eyes, your smell. What do you smell? Like if you're having a hard time being grounded, bake something light, a candle use, aroma therapy or oils, touch hugs, and I found out that I was actually doing this, like in the mornings I would wake up.

[00:29:50] Anxious every morning. Cause I had so much to do and my little girls would always come and get in bed with me sometime between two and eight. In the [00:30:00] morning. So I'd wake up and have them next to me. And I'd look at their pretty faces  and hug them and hold them.

[00:30:06] And it would calm me. And so his actually, doing that technique, not knowing that I was doing it, but that using your senses can help ground you in the present. 

[00:30:17]Neal Hooper: that's worthy of the pro tip for the episode. That is so good. very practical application. speaking of children, 

[00:30:25]how does let go and play specifically help you be a better parent? Well, I'm not sure my kids would say I was very good at that growing up, hence the anxiety and the breakthrough I had, letting go and playing, I think.

[00:30:42] Robin Towle: I was more of the control and fear type mom. And that's where some of our downfalls came, that's what we needed to grow from. And, I think just letting go of troll and fear is huge and being able to play. 

[00:30:59]Neal Hooper: that is [00:31:00] so hard am speaking as a parent as well, because that's like your legacy, right?

[00:31:04] I think of it that way as a father, that your children it's like one of the most important things I will ever do is be the father. And you so badly want to control the outcome of that experience. But it does lead to problems because if that fear and control are in place, it can be, detrimental for the progress, growth and connection of your children.

[00:31:29]I met the earlier stages of Parenthood.  I have a four year old, two year old and a nine month old, but, I've already seen that. factor into my parenting. So I'm glad that you brought that up. 

[00:31:40] Robin Towle: It wasn't because I didn't love them. It was because I loved him so much. I thought I could control the outcome by everything I did by worrying. I thought worrying would control the outcome, And I got a book about the time I was really starting to become a little more  awake by [00:32:00] all of it.

[00:32:00] Someone gave me a baby book with one of my babies. I think it was my fourth child. And it said, I hope you turn out to be as beautiful as you were when God thought you up. our job is to give them. The security, the love, the happiness, the self-esteem to be able to reach what God has in store for them.

[00:32:26] And, I think when we are so worried about our kids, what we're saying to them is we don't believe in you and that does not build self esteem. Self-confidence when we're so worried. a saying to them,  we don't have confidence in you. Wow. And, I think just realizing that our job is to nurture them, not to decide what their outcome is going to be, but is to nurture them in the most healthy way possible that they can become what [00:33:00] God has intended them to be.

[00:33:02] Neal Hooper: Wow. That was so good. We could have a whole episode about just what you shared. And I know there are parents listening to this right now that are grateful. You shared that. I know I am. 

[00:33:14] Robin Towle: I had to learn the hard way, so my kids were practice kids. You can just. What is it, smart people learn from their mistakes, smarter people learn from others, right?

[00:33:27] So, no, that's, we're all like, and that world together and parents can relate to the struggle and the failure and, hopefully repairing that happens. But thank you for sharing that. What advice do you have for those who know someone that is struggling with self-worth mental health or who have even contemplated suicide?

[00:33:49] Well, like you said, connection is key. One of the biggest things that we've found that has been found with, suicide is that they don't feel connection. A lot of times [00:34:00] they have a hard time feeling connection, but it doesn't mean they don't need it. And, so connection is key, holding space for someone, letting them, giving them a place, they can talk and get out what their feelings are.

[00:34:16] That's hurting them. I think is key.  another thing that, 

[00:34:20]happened with my son is. I was scared to death to even think or say the word suicide. And what has been found is, a lot of people don't want to ask it. They don't want to put the thought there, but if you are worried enough that Don't want to put the thought there is probably already there.

[00:34:41] So it's important that we just, that you just come out. And so some of the classes that I've taken for training to be able to help people is, one is safe talk and the other, QPR question, persuade and refer.  I am trained as a [00:35:00] facilitator for QPR question persuade and refer. And in those you are encouraged to come right out and ask, are you contemplating suicide? have you been thinking of suicide? Because it's not something that they need to keep silent. And keep hidden is something that if they need to get it out, it's important, so you can, persuade them to get help and then refer them how to get help.

[00:35:33] So, it's just, I would say that things like to my son, you're not thinking about suicide. Are you well, what do you think his answer would be? If I say that. No, I'm not, I'm going to answer it the way you want me to answer it, but I think it's very important to have open dialogue and to be able to know where a person's at and if they are at that point, [00:36:00] you can ask them, have you been thinking of ways?

[00:36:02]And so like, if they are suicidal and they have a gun, you would want to say, Would you, let me keep your gun until you're feeling better. I'd like to  hold your gun for you , till you're feeling more like, like yourself and then refer them to get some help.

[00:36:19] So I think open dialogue, communication, connection, holding space, which means just listening and letting them tell you, instead of trying to fix it, but just listening is huge. 

[00:36:32] Neal Hooper: Wow. And so just to be really clear, probably the less helpful way is you're not thinking of suicide. Are you? And the more helpful way. what would that more helpful way be to ask the question? Just to be really clear, right. 

[00:36:45] Robin Towle: Well, the thing, when I took the class, you had to role play, and I couldn't even say it in the role-play to someone who wasn't struggling.

[00:36:53] It's a really hard thing to say. Are you suicidal? Have you thought about suicide? And [00:37:00] the second class I took, I think it was safe. Talk is the name of it. They gave a way to approach it. I thought was comfortable by saying sometimes when people go through divorce, they think about suicide. Do you ever think about that?

[00:37:17] Or sometimes when people feel like they have no friends, they feel suicidal. Do you ever feel that way? I thought that was a, an easier way to approach it then just to come out and say, are you thinking about suicide? it's sometimes when people go through what you're going through, I've listened to what you've had to say.

[00:37:40]It seemed to me to be a little bit easier way to approach it than to just sort of. Cue someone or make an accusation is to say, and sometimes other people, when they feel this way, I thought that was a really nice way to approach it.

[00:37:54] Neal Hooper: That's awesome because you can pretty much just insert whatever struggle [00:38:00] they're going through in a hypothetical almost. And that's maybe a  Less abrasive way, but still direct, of getting to the bottom of it.   And I think that can be helpful depending on the relationship you have with the individual too, if you're really close, maybe that more direct, out in the open approach of saying, are you suicidal or are you having suicidal?

[00:38:21] Thoughts is appropriate, but maybe somebody you don't have that strong of a relationship with, that approach you just mentioned is really effective. 

[00:38:30]Robin Towle: and also, Makes them not feel alone or like something's wrong with them, lots of other people, when they go through what you're going through, fill this way, not, it makes them feel understood and not, isolated, like something's wrong with them.

[00:38:47]Neal Hooper: That is so, so huge. And I'm so grateful that you are addressing that because I think the stigma around suicide for so long has been don't go there. don't nourish that [00:39:00] thought, because it's going to get worse when in reality, it's already there.

[00:39:04]if you're concerned about it, most likely. And so that point, the connection is you said is important and it's hard to address it unless that, is just 

[00:39:13] kind of taken head on. And so I love that you're addressing that so what advice do you have for the individuals themselves now who are struggling with these dark thoughts  who may have contemplated suicide themselves?

[00:39:28]Robin Towle: Look for your toolbox they're tools that are there to help. And there are things that you can do to turn your life around.  a lot of those are mentioned in Wolf pack, but like the mindfulness being present, connecting, No one what your core values are, is also part of it.

[00:39:48] I think core values are huge because if you know your core values, then, that can help, where you want to go in your life. And for someone who's dealing with anxiety that could, help make better [00:40:00] choices. Cause a lot of times when we are depressed, it's because we're not aligned with.

[00:40:06]Where we want to be going or what we know is right . So it can cause depression and lead you. So knowing what your core values are, narrowing those down to like five and then making sure that you're making your choices along your core values.  you know, I think we have to be careful that we don't lose sight of who we are.

[00:40:29] And what is ingrained in us. So a lot of times I think as people are becoming healthy, I'm just going to give a scenario. So say, I told you I went to church and I didn't feel valued and I didn't feel happy there. And I felt judged and I felt like I didn't measure up. And when I was going through my growth process, my healing process, my emotional journey of emotional growth, I was very careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

[00:41:00] [00:41:00] And what I mean by that is I could have blamed all my problems on my church. I could have said it's an unhealthy place. They're unhealthy people. I don't feel the spirit when I'm there. I don't feel good. But what I knew was is my problem were causing me. To not be able to deal with the other circumstances around me that were unhealthy.

[00:41:28] So if I could get healthy, I could be okay there. Right. Because other people's unhealthiness or things that I had misconstrued, like having to fit in someone's box or not being valued were my issues. They weren't because of. My religion. And I think, it's super important as we're getting healthy to know what our core values are.

[00:41:54] And for me, my faith, my relationship with God, my spirituality [00:42:00] was one of my core values that I did not want to lose as I was getting emotionally healthy and dealing with the things that I had to deal with my own weaknesses, my own shortcomings, my own, Need for growth. I think a lot of times people will find like maybe a parent or a religion or something that, Triggers them.

[00:42:23] Right. And they're just going to throw it out. But those things, your parent , your religion, those are grained in you. And if you really, when you throw those out, you can always feel like part of you is missing. So I think it's just really important to know what your core values are and to realize that maybe I need to get healthier, to have a healthy relationship with this parent.

[00:42:49] Maybe I need to have boundaries. I need to have communication, but, to really just shove it out of your life, I think a lot of times is more harmful than helpful. 

[00:42:59]Neal Hooper: That [00:43:00] is a very important concept that doesn't get a lot of attention. And in our. Quest to improve. Sometimes we do sacrifice our communities, relationships and, things that are helpful and key might, as you said, be core values.

[00:43:18] And so I love that you brought that up because when we are in a. Dark place. We are seeing life through cheap sunglasses and it's tainting our perspective, but as we perceive more accurately and we get healthier that often is what the issue was.

[00:43:36] And so I love that you brought that up well, and when you're dealing, when you learn how to deal with unhealthy situations, like there may be unhealthy situations right. In relationships, but when you're healthy and you learn how to deal with that, you can still have that relationship. You can just not participate in the unhealthy part of it.

[00:43:57]Build upon the good and [00:44:00] let go of the not helpful parts of it. Thank you for bringing that up. Robin, this has been jam packed with so much. Goodness. And I can't tell you how grateful we are that you came on to share these amazing concepts and principles with us and to share your light, we need as much light as we can get.

[00:44:23] And, we can just feel that through what you're sharing through your message. Everything that you shared today is helping shine a light in our lives. And I cannot thank you enough for that. And, we have just one last question that we ask all of our guests on the happiness playbook, and that is what is your pro tip for applying any of the principles we discussed today for our list?

[00:44:52]It's all about love. If you come from a place of love and whatever you're doing, no matter where you're at no [00:45:00] matter, where you are in your journey, if you're just starting to work on your emotional health or you feel like you've learned a lot of tools wherever you are, if you can come from a place of love, you cannot go wrong.

[00:45:15]That is so good. We had several pro tips from you throughout the episode of very practical ways to be happy and to connect. And so we are so grateful for that Robin. You are amazing. [00:45:30] Robin Towle: Thank you for having me. I have learned a lot from your partner read.

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