Are you tired of striving to be enough? In this world, we talk a lot about the importance of being seen, having purpose, and feeling like we’re enough. It’s not easy living up to idealized versions of who we think we need to be, and that can lead to perfectionism and even shame. This episode is dedicated to anyone who has ever felt like they’re the only one. The only one feeling the intense pressure of perfectionism. The only one feeling the pain of guilt and shame. The only one who is not measuring up, who’s not enough. This episode promises you that you are not the only one, you are not alone, and there are ways to turn things around in a healthy, supportive, loving way.
Writer and motivational speaker, Candice Miller is our very relatable guest who is open and honest about her personal journey to peace. It’s a journey where serious mental health challenges played a part as did her involvement in a 12-Step program. She shows us how to integrate mental and spiritual health practices in order to heal and thrive. She shares how we can walk towards God and even run to God with all of our problems and our imperfections. We learn how important it is to finally lay down whatever past mistakes we have before God (no matter how big or how bad) so that we can finally love and accept the whole, complete self that we are now. In fact she uses Whole Complete Self is the name of her podcast and Instagram account.
Candice does an amazing job of reminding us we are worthy and enough! Listen in to an episode that will shine healing love, light, and hope in some of those dark areas that we all deal with.
Lanée Blaise [00:00:02]:
Thank you for joining us at Imagine Yourself. We're your hosts, Lanee and Sandy, and today seems like a great day to take on a big topic. In a world where we often wonder, am I enough? I want to invite you to imagine yourself finding a safe place deep within where love abounds, where Faith abounds where acceptance and forgiveness abound, a place where new and fresh starts are normal and welcome. So let's get right to it. We plan to talk about perfectionism and shame and how we can use faith as a calming force whenever we find ourselves struggling with those 2 dynamics. And we are so grateful to introduce writer and motivational speaker, Candice Miller, who uses her platform and her experiences to promote faith, spirituality, mental health, and healthy relationships. Welcome to Imagine Yourself, So, Candice, thank you for joining us.
Candice Miller [00:01:10]:
Yes. Thank you for having me.
Sandy Kovach [00:01:12]:
Thank you so much for being here to talk about this. Important, but definitely heavy topic, and I've read some of the Things that you've said about it and have been very inspired. Shame and perfectionism kinda seem like they're two sides of the same coin.
Candice Miller [00:01:25]:
Yeah. Definitely. So, you know, it's so interesting. I think, Sandy and Lanee, do you have moments in your life where you feel like you have to be perfect?
Candice Miller [00:01:40]:
And so, you know, the interesting part about that, So many times we have a standard. We have a standard for how things should be done. Sometimes someone sets that for us, and sometimes we set that for ourself. And if we deviate too much from that standard, that's when that shame kicks in. It's like, oh, no. No. No. You're supposed to be doing this Because this is the standard, and this is the standard that I've set for you.
Candice Miller [00:02:03]:
Shame and perfectionism comes from improper expectations because We are human, and god created us to be human. And we can only do so much, and that changes based on who we are. Each one of us has our own strengths. And I'll just share one quick example. I have a son that has a learning disability, and his best is to get c's and maybe a d in there. And that's all he can do. I have a child that's gifted, who gets a's and is in honors classes. Now if I were to expect That of my son with a learning disability, can you imagine the shame that he would feel because of that? So you gotta just think about the Standard and the deviation.
Candice Miller [00:02:42]:
And if we deviate ourselves, we feel that shame for not being what we think we should be or what others should be. So feel like that there is this difference between guilt and shame. That guilt is where I did something bad or wrong, and there is that opportunity for a 2nd or 3rd chance to get it right versus shame, which to me feels so much more detrimental because it it's It's almost like a feeling like I am wrong. I am bad. And that's something where We have to be very careful because we have to remember there's past and there's present and there's future, and something that we did wrong in the past should not carry over for the rest of our lives, especially if we, you know, have apologized or repented.
Lanée Blaise [00:02:58]:
is that opportunity for a 2nd or 3rd chance to get it right versus shame, which to me feels so much more detrimental because it it's It's almost like a feeling like I am wrong. I am bad. And that's something where We have to be very careful because we have to remember there's past and there's present and there's future, and something that we did wrong in the past should not carry over for the rest of our lives, especially if we, you know, have apologized or repented. And I wonder what is your take on that also as far as when you want to bring God into your mess, you know, but you are afraid because whatever it is that you've done or been, you've got this shame attached to it.
Candice Miller [00:03:46]:
That's a great question. For whatever reason, there is that temptation of I have to be perfect before I approach God. And I've heard that from many, many, many people. Guilt is actually a divine feeling. Okay? Shame is not. Shame is I am bad. And to say that I am bad, well, god created you, which is To say that god is bad. Right? I mean, we are meant to be flawed.
Candice Miller [00:04:10]:
That's just the way our DNA is. The way that our brains are structured is to make mistakes. Shame is more about feeling, like, that depressive, that like, oh, I just wanna go hide. It's that feeling of like, I'm not gonna go introduce myself to those people because I'm sure they won't even accept me. Just low self esteem, all of those things. They just feel like they're Too far from the norm that they can't be accepted by their peers, by God. Guilt is really, I've done something wrong, and Surprisingly, it's a motivating thing. So you still kind of feel similar emotions where you're like, oh, man.
Candice Miller [00:04:44]:
I've done something wrong. But you wanna fix it, so you wanna turn to God and have him help you fix it. So shame really keeps you from God because you're feeling like, I'm bad. I'm not good enough. God's not going to accept me. Where guilt is I've done something wrong, and I wanna correct this, and it's pulling me more towards God. The other thing I wanna say is There's nothing that you can do that he can't handle. So for example, so many people that I know that pray, They pray and they say their thank you and they say thanks for my blessings and they say all those things, but there's not that vulnerability of who they really are with God.
Candice Miller [00:05:22]:
And I encouraged a friend the other day. She was just feeling so angry about something that was happening in her life. And I said, well, just Go tell god how angry you are. Just tell him. You know? And she's like, I can't do that. I'll probably start yelling and crying, and I'm like, He can handle that. He's given you anger. He's given you that emotion.
Candice Miller [00:05:42]:
There's nothing that you can't bring in front of him. We can be totally vulnerable with him, and he wants to help us. And it's kinda scary, but that's how he can help us is that vulnerability of I wanna change. I need help. I I don't know why I'm feeling this way.
Sandy Kovach [00:06:00]:
And it's not like He doesn't know, but it's having that conversation helps open you up to it.
Candice Miller [00:06:05]:
Yeah. It's kind of like if your child were to do something wrong and you knew about it, and you're like, Okay. I know they've done that, but I'm gonna wait till they come to me. And I think there's some effort on our part That he's you know, he could rescue us in all sorts of situations, but there is some effort on our part that he requires It's my opinion. In in my life, when I've brought vulnerability to him, I've always seen the most powerful results.
Lanée Blaise [00:06:34]:
Candice, there is something to be said about all of that with shame and guilt and perfectionism, but there's another component that A lot of people don't seem to get you and I talked about this before the episode started about how God can be our true friend and someone that we want to go to and that we want to lean on. And I just wonder if you can speak on that because you have a beautiful way of showing us how to walk towards God even in our vulnerability.
Candice Miller [00:07:06]:
Yeah. Thank you. I had a mentor once that was really helped me During one of the hardest parts of my life, actually, and one of the things that she suggested to me is she said, are you praying? And I said, well, yeah. And she said, well, Are you really praying? Like, are you talking to God? Are you sharing with him everything that's happening? And and I said, well, I think so. And she said, well, what I want you to do is the next time that your family's gone now this took a little while because I had, like, 3 little kids at the time. Next time your family's gone, your husband's gone, I want you to sit in your living room, and I want you to pretend that God is sitting right next to you and that he's your best friend, And I just want you to talk. And, honestly, it was the most powerful experience I've ever had. I cried, And I could just feel that he was there.
Candice Miller [00:07:52]:
It's hard to humanize God to the point that we feel like he could be that for us, That we feel like we could just speak to him in a way that I'm talking to you or talking to Sandy. But as I was Talking about before that vulnerability, there's something about when you come to him and you really bring everything to his feet. It changed my life. I had answers to prayers that came in such a powerful way that I've never experienced before, and I'm so glad that I did that. The same mentor as she was describing to me, this intimacy that we're supposed to have with God, she said, I want you to Imagine yourself being totally emotionally naked with God. And I just thought that was so interesting, emotionally naked, just the visual of that. To be emotionally naked with God means we have to trust him. We have to believe that he's really safe, and that can be scary, especially for those of us who have maybe trauma in our past and in your childhood.
Candice Miller [00:08:52]:
I think trusting god can be very difficult in that way to where we Totally release everything to him.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:00]:
But as you said, it became life changing, and you really do have your own personal journey as far as why you care so much about mental health and how that intersects with faith in order to, you know, to uplift us and to get us back stronger and to concentrate like you have on your whole complete self. Are you willing to tell us a little bit about your personal journey navigating through all things mental health related.
Candice Miller [00:09:28]:
Yeah. So I actually have bipolar disorder, and I was diagnosed with that when I was 26. I was a young mom of 3 children at the time. Wow. It's been a really long journey. It's been tough. Bipolar disorder is not something that is easily diagnosed and treated. It's tricky because, You know, you usually don't go to the doctor until you're feeling depressed.
Candice Miller [00:09:50]:
With bipolar, it's a series of feeling depression and mania. So it probably took me 8 out of the next, What? 15 years to get properly medicated. In addition to that, I had a lot of past trauma in my relationships. And so My personal journey has been trying to overcome not only the emotional piece, but also the the mental piece as well. And so that's why I've had to have such intimate relationship with God is because there's been times where I just feel like it's too much Between the mental illness and the emotional piece of it, I just I can't do it alone. And I almost joke that God gave me so many burdens that he's like, You're gonna need me every day. I'm gonna make it to where you have
Sandy Kovach [00:10:32]:
to pray and you have to need me every day.
Candice Miller [00:10:34]:
You can't do it on your own. Yes. And I joke about that. Like, darn it.
Sandy Kovach [00:10:40]:
Candice Miller [00:10:41]:
Yeah. It's definitely a journey as far as that mental health goes. And, You know, going back to the emotional piece of it, one of the things that I did, and I was as I was talking to you about this Previous mentor. I did go to a 12 step program called Codependents Anonymous, and that was helping address that emotional piece that I was talking about. And that is a place where I really learned to become intimate with God, trust him, and let go of a lot of that shame. Codependents anonymous is a 12 step program, and it goes off the same steps that AA does. I studied it so much, and I'm a firm believer in the steps. So if you don't mind just me sharing a few things about it.
Candice Miller [00:11:24]:
Love that. Okay. My first meeting that I did go, there was this man sitting in a corner. This man, he was probably in his seventies, and he was really worn. You could tell that he had a life of abuse, and he wasn't very wealthy. Just trying to kind of paint a picture of what he looked like in, Codependents Anonymous as you're in a circle, everybody goes around and shares if they want to. So I was just sitting and observing for the 1st time, and it came to him to an open share. And he said, I'm just trying to get back to who God intended me to be.
Candice Miller [00:11:55]:
It was like a lightning bolt to my heart. The worst that he said and just looking to see that he looked like he had such a hard life. I was so curious that afterwards, I went up and I asked him a story. And he said that when he was younger and had a young family, he didn't tell me if he had been drinking or not, but He had been in recovery, I know, for a while, but he said he ran over his daughter.
Sandy Kovach [00:12:15]:
Candice Miller [00:12:16]:
His 2 year old daughter. And, she actually died. But this man, it had taken him probably 50 years of his life to finally overcome that and want to overcome his addiction and Get back to who God intended him to be. And when we talk about shame, you wanna talk about shame. Can you imagine The feelings of guilt and shame this man must have felt. No. No. And how long it took him to come around and and to believe, and I and I wanna say this In a way that the listeners really hear this, to believe that he was good enough for forgiveness even though he had done something So wrong.
Candice Miller [00:12:54]:
I mean, it was an accident, but he had done something wrong.
Lanée Blaise [00:12:57]:
That's the part where even though you're telling about his story, which has sadness, It sounds to me that there is hope because he did find a place to go. He did want to reach upward and work to god and using the resources that are available to help people who are struggling in their lives. There is the mental component along with the faith building spiritual component too. So I feel that that does offer hope. And this is something that anyone who is listening, I'm sure can take advantage and as they learn more about these 12 steps to really enhance their situation to some degree and still have, again, hope.
Sandy Kovach [00:13:36]:
And the reality is that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and the whole gospel is based on forgiveness. So, yeah, Candice, It's unimaginable what he was feeling about what he did, but to get to that place. And you said it took him 50 years to get there. You know, let's all hope that we can get there quicker with what we're feeling shame about.
Candice Miller [00:13:59]:
Yeah. And you can see this evolution for him. I mean, this mass amount of time of shame. But at some point, he decided there was an evolution turning that shame into guilt of, I wanna make this better. And so that's why I say, I know guilt isn't a popular word, but That's how I'd like to talk about it in a sense of he wanted to change. He wanted to go somewhere where he could make amends, where he could be forgiven. He wanted to look forward, and that's the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is a motivating action.
Candice Miller [00:14:31]:
It's an adjective, so to say. And And I wanna say for just 1 more second, remember, anyone that's going into these 12 step programs, whether it's AA codependents anonymous, they have Overeaters anonymous, Narcotics anonymous, Anyone that is dealing with these issues, it is so hard for them to step foot in that building. They feel so much shame in their lives. As I read this, I want you to think about these people who are coming from such shame trying to transform themselves. So I'm gonna jump to the step 2, and it said, came to believe that a power greater greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. And, again, that's them trying to believe that there's a god. A lot of them call it higher power. There's a lot of people in those rooms that have had Bad religious experiences.
Candice Miller [00:15:19]:
And so that second step is actually one of the hardest steps for people that walk through those doors. Believing in someone safe, believing there is something greater than themselves that can help them. And I've seen people for months sit in this step just to be able to trust because they just have had such a bad experience in the past And learning that there is a god or a higher power or whatever they choose to call it that they can restore them to sanity to help them.
Sandy Kovach [00:15:49]:
Yeah. I mean, in the trust issue, we base our trust experiences on well, you mentioned, you know, bad experience maybe with Religion or churches, but also with human beings, which is what churches or schools or households are full of. And I'm guessing that people that are are let into these addictions are trying to fill a hole in their life and Self medicate or do something because of some trauma or bad relationships. And so I can only imagine the walls that are built up. We all build walls, But it sounds like these walls are even greater and harder to climb.
Candice Miller [00:16:23]:
And even if you're trying to overcome perfectionism. Right? I mean, it doesn't have to be like an addiction. You can use these steps For behavioral things, trusting that there's somebody else that can restore you from that, that doesn't expect you to be perfect. It's really hard to Trust that someone can allow us to be our best self and allow that to be enough.
Sandy Kovach [00:16:43]:
Lanée Blaise [00:16:44]:
I was recently in on a Zoom call that was meant to help inspire women and remind us that we don't have to be perfect and remind us who we are in God, and that only God is perfect. And the main speaker said, hey. I just had to learn to accept. I can't be good at everything, but I will try to focus on the things that I am good at. And so it kinda redirects you from thinking about All the areas where you've fallen short, all the areas where you're doing poorly and not enough or not enough yet. I remember when my sister was in school, they had, we're still working on it as part of their report card, but, you know, the areas where you're still working on it. And she just explained how freeing that was to realize I am not expected to be good at everything. I know that I have a past.
Lanée Blaise [00:17:35]:
We all do. But to learn to focus on the good things and the purposes that you were put on earth for and the things that you can do well and the people that you can help or take time for or help to make their lives better. Sometimes when we focus on ways of service towards others, it is a beautiful way to lift us up or to even say to yourself, I will get the courage. And the courage might be, like you said, to step into a place, a resource, an area where you can get help that you need is all just really powerful. There is, again, hope. There's that word hope and love. Loving ourselves, Loving God, knowing that we are loved is so important.
Candice Miller [00:18:19]:
For sure. So I wanna just move through these other 2 steps and then kinda get practical. . The shame, you know, all of these things, how does that help me in my life? How do I overcome it? And I kinda wanna just condense it down a little bit. The 3rd step is made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him. So first, they're building that trust, And then they're allowing themselves to be vulnerable enough to give it to him. And then the next step is made a searching and fearless moral inventory story of ourselves. So I'm gonna read that one more time. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Candice Miller [00:18:58]:
And quite frankly, I think this is one of the most powerful steps out of them all because it's the transparency piece. And I really feel like there's very few people that take a moral inventory of themselves, and I feel like that's key to success in a lot of ways. When we Speak of transparency. When we talk about shame, when we talk about being vulnerable with God, we can't be vulnerable with God if we're not honest with ourselves. Yeah.
Sandy Kovach [00:19:26]:
Candice Miller [00:19:26]:
And so a moral inventory of ourselves, what that means is you're searching yourself always. It's not just a one time thing as to What do I need to improve? What am I doing in my relationships that causing problems? You really have to get out of this victim mindset And figure out what is the best way for you to succeed and what is holding you back. The next part about that comes with that. Again, just being transparent with ourselves, that's, like I said, difficult, but that's what leads us to change. And, again, when we talk about that guilt, that transparency with ourselves, that moral inventory, and when we're incorporating God in that process, We can really let go of that shame and be open to change. Change at a rate that we normally wouldn't be able to If we weren't practicing these things, if we were stuck in our perfection, if we were stuck kind of in our head and not trying to realize our fault, I do feel like perfection, when When we get wrapped in that, our ego is very fragile. And so when we are in a perfectionist state, we're not gonna then go dig up other things that we're doing wrong. We're trying to prove to ourselves that we're doing everything right.
Candice Miller [00:20:39]:
And the way that we move forward and the way that we connect and let go of our shame is by saying, okay. Here's the things about me that are not working. Now let's move forward.
Sandy Kovach [00:20:49]:
Yeah. And just accepting that. I think you're right. If we're not hung up on Either the shame or the perfectionism piece, and we don't have to keep proving it to ourselves. Well, at least I'm not as bad as so and so, or at least I do this right And do the comparison thing and all that and feel like we have to justify ourselves. If we're just completely honest, that is a huge point, Candace.
Candice Miller [00:21:10]:
Yeah. And I do feel like when you get to that place of enlightenment, it does separate you from some people because I feel like a lot of people live in that place of perfectionism and shame. I'm not trying to say that from a discouraging sense. I'm saying there's not a lot of people that want to look inside in Sullivan say, what am I doing wrong?
Sandy Kovach [00:21:29]:
And society is always pointing out that you should be trying to be better than people and compare yourself and not be good enough because we wanna sell you this product, so you're not really getting much help from, the Internet.
Candice Miller [00:21:42]:
But really, I feel like if you look at the greatest leaders out there, they are the ones that are they see it all. They see everything in themselves. There's no barriers that they haven't removed. That is the way they succeed. And so, really, It's the greatest way to succeed in business, in life, in relationships. I have to tell you, my husband and I were married young. We were married in our twenties. And, we had to go to marriage counseling for a while because we were just having a hard time.
Candice Miller [00:22:07]:
We had a lot of little kids, and we weren't communicating right. And, you know, I had my mental illness that was Leading to that. And one of the biggest things that brought us together, and we've been married 20 years now, is learning how to communicate and be completely transparent. Just laying it out there. And I've attributed that to the success of our relationship. You know, me owning my part, him owning his part, and then being able to communicate that.
Sandy Kovach [00:22:32]:
Candice Miller [00:22:32]:
That's one example of how that can succeed in a relationship.
Lanée Blaise [00:22:36]:
That is the goal in our relationships to find a partner or a friend, a loved one who accepts us, who is able to handle when we're honest. And there is kind of a give and take too because many times you can feel when the other person probably can't handle It's about timings, what I'm getting at. Sometimes that other person is so vulnerable themselves that they might not be able to take on additional confrontation or criticism. But in the times when, you know, when they're strong and doing well, and you all are able to fully open yourselves up to one another. That is the goal. And that's that same reflection that we're trying to do with God as well to take our time with it, but fully open ourselves up to God as well. And I do believe in the power of following and being around and immersing yourself in Good, positive, uplifting people and things and books and resources and podcasts and even Instagram because that is how we connected with you at whole.complete.self. Candice, you always have wonderful You'll either have quotes from someone like Brene Brown or stuff like that, or you'll have your own take that we can take away as a quote that you've said to just help strengthen us from the inside out.
Lanée Blaise [00:24:04]:
And we really appreciate having people like you in this world. And I think that was one of your motivations for starting all of this because if you don't see enough positive things, be
Candice Miller [00:24:15]:
the change that you wish to see. Right? Definitely.
Lanée Blaise [00:24:18]:
So now for takeaway time, we always have a little moment where there's something we wanna just drop down for everybody to remember. In this case, I was just thinking it might be appropriate to have a little scripture verse that I don't think many people are familiar with, but it is something that Just brought me comfort. It's from Psalm 34. It says, I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. And it just really resonated with me because for all those who are looking to hold on to something strong and something real, The fact that you have a situation where you can hold on to a god and your faces shall never be ashamed just really hit me strongly. So there's that, but the biggest takeaway we always like to have is where we ask our guest, what is it that you wanna make sure that everyone listening just carries with them if nothing else.
Candice Miller [00:25:22]:
Yeah. Well, I'll just play off a little bit of what you said that That their faces were not ashamed, and I really just think it's because they know him. Anyone who really knows god understands that They don't need to feel shame, and the way that we know him is by turning to him in prayer. And I just invite you to do that, and I invite you to do it In a way that you've never thought of before. It doesn't have to be in your bedroom, on your knees. It doesn't have to be the same things you say all the time. It can be In your car, you can be crying. You can pretend like you're talking to somebody on the phone and yelling in the car.
Candice Miller [00:25:59]:
I mean, Just talk to him. Include him in your life, and your face will shine. You will know that that shame does not need to be there because you will know him, And he'll help you. He'll answer you. He'll help you work through those things that you are feeling ashamed of. He'll help you work on those things that Do need to be worked on in your life because we're all not perfect, and that's okay. I want you to know that being imperfect is Hey. Even if social media says it's not okay, it is okay.
Candice Miller [00:26:34]:
Welcome it here. It it's okay.
Lanée Blaise [00:26:37]:
Thank you so much for being our guest, for you being so vulnerable with us, and so honest and open to make sure that we learn to follow your footsteps and be open and honest with ourselves, with our partners, with our family members, with our god. Thank you so much, Candice, for kind of giving us a little peace in our lives.
Candice Miller [00:26:58]:
Yes. Thanks for having me.
Lanée Blaise [00:27:00]:
So as we go along on our day, Let's just think of this together. Imagine yourself consciously creating that safe space for yourself, That deep within that you can go whenever those feelings of shame or imperfections start to rise up, that place where it's all washed away and forgiven, where hope and faith and love reside. We just say blessings to you as you sit in that lovely place with your lovely self. Thank you for listening.
Sandy Kovach [00:27:31]:
As always, we truly hope this episode was a help to you. And if you haven't already, we hope you'll follow us on Apple, Google, Spotify, wherever you normally listen to podcasts. If you're on Apple, you can just click the little plus sign and automatically get our episodes. That's the new way they're doing it. You can also Listen right from our website at imagineyourselfpodcast.com. That's where you find our blogs too, and all of our contact information where Or you can connect with us in social media and email us, and we will put Candace's information on there as well. You can always find our guest info at imagine yourself podcast.com as well as in the show notes. So please do connect with us.
Sandy Kovach [00:28:14]:
We'd love to continue the conversation with you and hear what you have to say.