My friends, I have some really exciting news. So, last year, we had over 25,000 women go through my popular Week Of challenge. We did a week of joie de vivre, and we did a week of gratitude. And we have a brand-new Week Of coming up really soon. And this time, it’s a Week of Love.
This is going to be a five-day challenge with simple practices to help you add love back into your everyday life. Because, when you love life, it starts to love you back. Love is always available to us. And yet, when we’re in a state of resistance and fear and scarcity, we really do block ourselves from feeling that ever-present energy of love. And not to mention that everything you want is found in that space of love.
So, if you want to join us for this fun challenge, and also, did I mention, I’m giving away a box of live filled with things that I can’t imagine my life without? Head over to frenchkisslife.com/love and I cannot wait to see you in the challenge.
Bonjour, and welcome to the French Kiss Life podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach, and the hostess of this party where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
What is happening, my friends? I missed you. I know it’s only been a week, but what a week it has been. So, I am still in the South. I’m actually sitting in my parents’ house and I have this very strange picture of me from when I was 17 over my bed.
It’s so interesting seeing that younger version of myself and wondering what was going on in her mind then and thinking about who I was at 17 versus where I am today. And I asked my mom, “Why don’t you replace that with a newer picture of me?” And she was like, “No.” She loves this picture. It’s me and my brother side by side.
But they’re everywhere. All of these different versions of me are everywhere, and so it’s actually been a lot of fun to go down memory lane and think about my life and just how it shifted and transformed and changed throughout the years, through the power of the work that I teach.
So that’s what’s up, and it’s really funny because I had planned to visit my mom and surprise her for her birthday, which is on Valentine’s Day. And many of you know, especially if you listened to last week’s podcast, that my dad was really sick and so I just got here immediately, like within 12 hours.
So I didn’t get to surprise my mom, but I get to spend even more time with him, which I’ve loved, and I know they’ve really appreciated as well. And when I leave here, I’m actually driving to Charleston. I’m going to be down there for a few days filming some really fun stuff for French Kiss Life.
And then after I’m away for a month, I get to go home and see my boys; Glen and the doggies, and I miss them so, so much. I really, really do. But we are always where we’re supposed to be. I think that is one belief that has helped me relax. I don’t know about you all, but I used to be the kind of person that no matter where I was, my brain was always trying to convince me that I was supposed to be somewhere else.
So for example, I would be sitting here with my parents but not really present with them because my mind would be telling me, you should be home with your dogs, or you should be with your daughter, or you should be working. And now I’ve just embraced the belief that I am always where I’m supposed to be.
And so if you struggle with that, thinking that you should be somewhere other than where you are, please borrow my belief and just try it on and see how it fits.
It is time for a Community Spotlight. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight someone in the community who has benefitted from the French Kiss Lifestyle. And today’s spotlight is on Nadine. She left me the most beautiful review and I’m so excited to share it with you. Here’s the title: Licking Windows and French Kissing Life.
“Dear Tonya, the French word for window shopping is léche-vitrine, which literally translates to “Licking the windows.” This one word sums up exactly why I love France, and probably why you do as well. The French openly express their passion for life and have a way of revealing the beauty and artistry inherent in the mundane. Tonya, you have that gift as well and you lovingly package it up with a luxurious satin ribbon and deliver it with genuine integrity and authenticity to those of us who choose to French Kiss Life. For that, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Though I am new to your work, it already has touched me deeply and inspired me to live as the best version of myself.
I am a certified chocolate sommelier, starting a new business and soaking in your powerful message at this pivotal time in my journey truly feels like unearthing a treasure box. It doesn’t matter that we have not yet met, like a trusted friend and mentor, and advisor, I know you wish me success. With compassion and generosity, you will continue to offer me brilliant encouragement and insight to live artfully and well as I pursue my own version of beautiful magic. Like you, I adore Paris and hope to join your retreat in the future. Just holding that image in my mind delights me. How fun it would be to join a community of open-hearted window-licking French Kissers of Life in the city of light and love, with you as the magnificent hostess of our party. With gratitude and love.”
Nadine, my friend, thank you so much for that beautiful, beautiful review. And I just adore léche-vitrine, literally licking the windows. And I think about how that applies to our lives, right? Are we really at the window of our life and really looking into what is possible and falling in love with that possibility? Or are we just rushing down the streets? Are we just in the same old patterns? Are we not stopping and asking the questions of, “What would I love to do? What lights up my soul? What brings me joy?” And then focusing on doing more of that in our everyday lives.
So, again, Nadine, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And hey, listen, if French Kiss Life has touched your life, I would love to hear from you. You can hear a review on iTunes or Stitcher, or you can send me a message on Instagram. But I love, love, love hearing from this community. And hey, I may feature you in an upcoming Community Spotlight.
In this episode, I want to talk about what gets to end with you. And I was actually inspired to talk about this after reading a book that I think was recommended by Reese Witherspoon called It Ends with Us. And I’m not going to tell you what the story is, in case you decide to read it. But basically, it’s about ending familial patterns.
And since I’ve been home, I’ve been thinking about what I decided was going to end with me. Because the way life works, if we’re not aware and we’re not mindful, is that belief systems get passed down through the generations. And again, if we’re not aware and cognizant, we can continue to pass those belief systems onto our children, and then our children onto their children. And inevitably, we’re going to pass down belief systems.
But we need to be mindful of them. Is this a gift you want to hand to your child? Is this a gift you want to hand to a family member or is it just a mindless passing down of beliefs that don’t serve anyone?
And so, for this episode, I have to tell you all, I have absolutely no notes and I’m trusting that what is meant to flow through me will flow through me. But I want to talk about it in two different ways. The first one is breaking belief patterns. And then the second one is neutralizing the energy.
So, let’s talk about the first one. Every single one of us has belief systems that, most likely, were passed down from our families, and maybe through generations, right? So, maybe the belief systems are around money. Maybe the belief systems are around health. Maybe the belief systems are around career. Maybe the belief systems are around relationships.
But some of the belief systems that I’ve been uncovering and thinking about since I’ve been here is one of them being around lack. There is only so much money that you are able to create and to have in your lifetime.
And rightfully so, like my parents, if you think about where their parents came from, I mean, they lived through the great depression. Money was not an abundant resource for them. And so, what often happens – and we’ve talked about this in previous episodes, but we look around at what is, based on the past, and we keep repeating that over and over and over again.
But I know for me, early on when I was working as a nurse, I knew I wanted to see what was possible. I knew that I had this one life and I wanted to see how much life I could live. And part of that was around money. What am I capable of creating? How much value can I put into the world that will then be compensated back into my life? And that required that I break the pattern and the belief systems around money.
Now, in other ways, my family was so rich. We were so rich in love. We were so rich in community. We were so rich in many ways. But when it came to money, that was definitely one area where the belief system was around lack and scarcity. There was only so much that was available to us.
And I decided, that gets to end with me. I do not want to continue to perpetuate that belief system and pas that onto my daughter and then to her children and then to her children’s children. I wanted that to and with me.
Another belief system and pattern that I decided was going to end with me – and it’s one that I’m not proud of – but in just being honest, it was a part of my culture, growing up in the Deep South. And fortunately, it wasn’t in my immediate family, but outside of that, it was very prevalent. And that was racism.
I remember, I went to a school that was mostly African-American. Some of my closest friends were African-American, and so we would play together. They would braid my hair in school and I called them my friend. And yet, when I was around other people, they would say things that just did not make sense to me.
And as a child, you’re really confused. You’re like, “Wait, I’m going to this church that preaches love, but some of the people sitting in that church aren’t being so loving.” And I decided early on, that is going to end with me. That was not a belief system that I was going to pass down to my daughter. That was not a belief system that felt true for me because here’s the thing; anything that’s not love is not our truth. So yeah, I decided that one was going to stop with me. No more, no further.
Another belief system and then pattern that stopped with me was around health. I grew up in a family that we showed love through fried chicken and collard greens. Now, granted, I love me some fried chicken, and I love me some collard greens. However, when that becomes your everyday lifestyle, and factor in also you’re not exercising and really valuing your health, then what you begin to notice is sort of this incestuous belief system that your body’s just doing what it does and you have no control over it.
And many ties, I’ve heard people in my family say, “Yep, just getting older.” And I’m thinking, oh my goodness, you have so much impact on how you age. You can affect your health in a positive way. But we never question these belief systems.
We never ask ourselves, does this make sense? Does this serve me? Does this feel like love? And I feel like, for me, just going through the whole weight struggle that I went through was the way back to health. And it was a rocky ride to get there. But I had to experience the contrast of what I didn’t want to really understand what I did want, which was to value my health.
And I had to break that familial pattern that really doesn’t think about health. You just live your life, you eat, you be merry and just hope it works out for you. And so, I decided early on that that gets to end with me.
And so, when I look at how my daughter was raised, eating healthy organic foods, working out, like, she was playing tennis every day, and not doing it from a place of you need to look a certain way, but just you have this one body; love it, take care of it, use it, move it, and value it.
And so, when I look at my daughter, I think that’s the really interesting part is I can see how I was the stopping point for so many belief systems by looking at my daughter and how she thinks and how she lives versus had I not been the one that said, “Hey, this stops with me,” she would have continued my patterns without her own awareness, right?
And so, when I’m coaching women, so many of the things that I coach them around are these belief systems that were passed down to them. And so, when they come to work with me, they’re having to question everything that they thought was true for their entire lives.
And as someone who has done that, I know that it is hard. We have this cognitive dissonance where we’re holding two beliefs and our brain wants to go the one that is most familiar, even if it’s not serving us. But with work and with practice, you literally can recreate your entire belief system and these patterns that are not serving you and are not serving your families or your communities or the world, they get to end with you.
So, I want you to ask yourself, what belief system are you ready to let go of? What do you want to end with you? What do you not want to continue to perpetuate? What don’t you not want to pass down to your children or to your loved ones?
Maybe it’s a history of tolerating abuse, verbal, physical, emotional. Maybe it is anger. Maybe your dad was angry or your mom was angry and you just learned early on that to be angry I the world is the only way to be. Maybe it is thinking that you must prove your worth maybe your dad’s dad told him that when he was a young boy and so he ended up making decisions that were out of alignment with his soul.
Maybe he decided to go to law school when he really wanted to be an artist because he worked so hard to prove his worth, and then he passed that belief system onto you and you’ve been living it. Well, guess what, it gets to end with you.
Or maybe your mother was always forsaking herself for everyone around her because she was taught that is how you show love and that is how you get love, and so you saw your mom taking care of everybody else, and lo and behold, you’ve become your mother. Well, that gets to end with you too.
Or maybe your mom’s mom told her that she wasn’t good enough or beautiful enough, and so your mom grew up thinking that about herself. And without awareness and because she was confused, because she was out of alignment with her own soul, she passed that onto you and now you’re sitting there thinking that you’re not enough. That gets to end with you.
Another one that I decided was going to end with me was fear-based religion. My whole life I was taught that there was this big punishing God up in the Heavens that was always judging me and at any point he could send me straight to Hell. And it just didn’t feel right.
I was like, something is off here. On one hand. You all are telling me that he is my father and that he loves me. And then on the other hand, you’re telling me that he would punish me for being a human and making mistakes. And so I had to do the spiritual work so that that ended with me.
You will know what needs to end with you because you’ll know based on how your current belief systems make you feel. As my mentor Martha Beck says, “If it tastes like freedom, it’s your truth. And if it doesn’t, then it’s not.”
And so, for me, thinking about this God that was going to punish me at any moment didn’t feel like freedom. I was always afraid. I was always scared. I was always trying really hard not to make mistakes or to be a bad girl. There’s no freedom in that because part of life is being human and making mistakes, right?
So again, I decided that that is going to end with me. I am not passing along that fear-based version of God to my daughter. And now I look at her and she has such a different belief system than what I grew up with. And the reason why is that I decided it was going to end with me.
I was coaching a client recently and she was talking about her weight. And her story was, her mother struggled with her weight and her grandmother struggled with her weight. And her great-grandmother struggled with her weight. So, she had this story that this was just the way it is. It’s in my genetics. Everyone has struggled with their weight.
And I told her, I’m like, yeah, and it gets to end with you. And I just have to say this; I think about my daughter, and as I was just saying, she has a very different belief system than what I had growing up. And still, as much as I’ve tried, there will most likely, and hopefully, be things that she says, “This ends with me.” Because I want her to even question what I have taught her. I want her to learn to think for herself and to decide what feels like her truth. And I really believe, with our parents and our families, that they’re always doing the best they can with what they know and from their experiences.
And so, this is not about blaming anyone. This is not about saying, “Hey, it’s your fault that I’m this way.” No, that doesn’t serve you at all. This is about accountability. This is about you deciding for yourself what you will continue and what gets to end with you.
So, we’ve been talking about generational patterns, so things that have been passed down through the generations and that you get to decide ends with you. But there’s also the daily things that get to end with you.
So, a great example is I often get very unkind comments on the interwebs. I shouldn’t say often. It’s not that often. But yeah, sometimes people will come along and it’s not even constructive feedback because I welcome that. It’s just hateful.
And in that moment, I can perpetuate the energy. I can start arguing with people. I can start blocking, deleting, which I do sometimes. If it’s really nasty, I’m like, “Okay, you’ve got to go.” However, I can do that with love and I can neutralize the energy.
And so, one of the things I love to do is, every time I have one of those comments come at me, I will immediately go and leave a positive comment for someone else. Maybe I leave a positive review. Maybe I just text a friend and tell them how much I love them. That energy gets to stop with me.
I don’t have to become bitter. I don’t have to become hateful. I don’t have to become scared. I don’t have to become worried. It gets to end with me. And so, even in our everyday interactions, when you may have negative energy coming at you, you get to decide, “Hey, this gets to end with me. I’m going to replace fear with love. I’m going to replace lack and scarcity with abundance. I’m going to replace sadness with joy.”
It literally gets to end with you. Newton’s third law of motion says that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So, if someone comes at you with hate and then you push back with hate, you’re caught in this force that no one wins, right? However, there is another option. And they teach this in Aikido, where you don’t fight, you don’t use resistance. You let the other person use their own resistance to hurt themselves, meaning you know how to contort and move yourself to get out of the way and you don’t offer resistance to whatever is coming at you.
And we get to do that in our everyday lives. It gets to stop with us by us not resisting it, but by us choosing to replace it with something that’s much re useful to ourselves.
And so, the next time you have an interaction with someone who, you know they say, “Hurt people hurt people,” so you have an interaction with someone who is hurting, you have a choice. You get to engage in the hurt by hurting yourself with your own words and your own mind based on what they did. You get to try to hurt them back by retaliating and saying things that you’ll maybe regret later, or it gets to end with you, my friend.
And the way you do that, and I talk about this in one of the previous podcasts where I talk about how five seconds can change your life, you have that brief moment where you can decide how you want to respond. You have that moment where you get to decide if you’re going to perpetuate this energy or if it’s going to stop with you. And that is how you neutralize the energy.
There’s no longer something to fight against. There’s no longer something to beat yourself up with. It really gets to end with you. And so, again, I want you to ask yourself, what is going to end with you? What are you no longer going to pass down and perpetuate and carry the burden of Because it literally comes down to a choice and then a daily practice of that choice.
It is time for J’adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And since I’m at my mom’s house, I was reminded of one of my favorite J’adores. I can’t believe I haven’t shared it with you yet because my mom literally buys me one of these about every other season because I love them so much and because she has one in her living room and I’ve been cuddling up in it, I was like, “Ooh, I have to share this with you.”
But it literally is the most cozy blanket I’ve ever, ever had. And again, I love them so much, that my mom knows, every other Christmas, I want one of these blankets because I wear them out. Although they do last a long time. And I’ve even been known to pack them for travel because if you want to upgrade your travel experience, having a really nice blanket versus those – I don’t even know what they’re made of – that they hand you in the airplane, you want to have one of these.
I have one in an antique rose. I have one in beige. I have one in grey. And I even have one in black. And so, it is called the CozyChic Throw. You have to go check it out. Head over to frenchkisslife.com/blanket to see what I’m talking about. Have a great week, everyone. I can’t wait to see you in the next episode. Cheers.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The 3 Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs by visiting www.FrenchKissLife.com/mindset – because after all, mindset is the new black.