In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty welcomes his guest, Nicole Avant. Avant is a producer and political activist and served as the US Ambassador in the Bahamas.
In her new book, Think You'll Be Happy: Moving Through Grief with Grit, Grace and Gratitude, she explores the power of resilience, faith, and personal growth in the face of grief and tragedy. Avant shares her journey of navigating loss and finding light in the darkness. She emphasizes the importance of choosing courage, peace, and forgiveness as transformative tools for healing.
Nicole Avant shares with Jay Shetty her early childhood experiences and the valuable life lessons she learned that have shaped who she is today. Her mother instilled in her the belief in the power of energy, thoughts, and words to shape your reality. Avant received a book on creative visualization. It strengthened her understanding of the universe's workings and the importance of personal responses to situations.
One of the most significant lessons Avant learned as a child was sharing blessings and helping others with their soul evolution. She believes that everyone is on a unique soul path and has their mission, and no one can take that away from them.
Nicole Avant's parents had a significant impact on other people's lives. She quoted Maya Angelou, who once said that people may forget what you did or said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. So, small actions, such as notes, phone calls, and texts, can make a lasting impact, making others feel seen, loved, and significant. They can change everything and create a sense of connection and support.
Nicole Avant shares with Jay Shetty her personal loss journey and its profound impact on her perspective. We need to recognize that while we may not have control over the circumstances in our lives, we do have control over how we respond to them.
Avant's mother, who was a source of inspiration and wisdom, taught her the significance of courage. She believed courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to act despite fear. Avant recalls the moment when she received the devastating news of her mother's shooting and the subsequent journey of grief. Despite the immense pain and darkness she experienced, Avant consciously chose to focus on courage, peace, and helpfulness.
Jay Shetty acknowledges Avant's ability to find a tiny crack of light amid despair. He highlights the familiar feeling of questioning, "Why me?" that many people experience in the face of tragedy. Avant believes bad things happen to good people all the time and are part of the human experience. It is essential to accept this reality and not dwell on the unfairness of it all.
Faith and Spirituality
Avant's faith and spirituality played a significant role in her healing process. She found solace in believing that a power beyond her control guides the universe. Her mother had taught her to view herself as a radio tower emitting energy and vibrations into the world. She encouraged Avant to tune into positive thoughts and beliefs, understanding the role of energy in shaping one's reality.
Forgiveness does not mean condoning or making excuses for the behavior. Instead, to Avant, it is a way of casting off the burdens of anger, shame, doubt, and disappointment. By choosing forgiveness, she refused to allow these negative emotions to consume her and rob her of her peace and joy.
Avant's faith in a higher power and her belief in the everlasting nature of the soul provided her with solace and purpose during her grief journey. She shares with Jay Shetty how her mother's energy continues to exist in a different form and how she feels her presence even stronger now. Moreover, she recounts a dream of seeing her mother's presence while writing her book. The experience reinforced her belief in the continued connection with loved ones who passed away.
Jay Shetty acknowledges the challenge of maintaining faith and spirituality during grief and tragedy. It is natural for individuals to question or veer away from their faith in such circumstances. Avant's faith allows her to maintain a positive outlook on life and believe in people's goodness and the potential for things to improve.
Finding the Light
After her mother's passing, Avant describes to Jay Shetty how she would sit in her yard, observing the beauty of nature and finding comfort in the cycles of life. She would watch the flowers bloom, the birds fly, and the sunsets every day—these moments of connection with nature reminded her that life continues and that there is a cycle of growth and renewal. She found reassurance in knowing that just as the sun rose again after a night, she would rise again from her pain and grief.
Jay Shetty acknowledges the impact of nature on our well-being. However, many feel disconnected from the natural world in today's fast-paced and technology-driven society. Therefore, it is essential to recognize and appreciate life's natural transitions and seasons. For Avant, a comforting thought was knowing that even in the darkest moments, there is always the potential for light and hope to emerge.
Honoring Loved Ones
Avant explained to Jay Shetty that every generation is responsible for honoring the generation before them, regardless of race or religion. In her view, the best way to express gratitude to those who have sacrificed before us is to live a significant life. Avant's father instilled in her the importance of carrying on the baton that previous generations have passed down.
However, not everyone has had positive experiences with their parents. Still, Avant encourages the listeners to choose to be different and show up as entirely different human beings. She has witnessed people who have overcome horrific experiences and decided to be different from what they received from their parents.
Honoring loved ones is about remembering them and living a life that reflects the values and lessons they imparted. Avant shares with Jay Shetty that even if one's memories are terrible, it is possible to create new memories and forge a different path.
Acts of Kindness
Small gestures, such as a note, a phone call, a text, or an email, make a huge difference in making someone feel seen, loved, and significant. Nicole Avant realizes it is not just about her feelings and experiences but also about being there for others on their journey. Sometimes, these small acts mean everything, creating a sense of connection and support.
Jay Shetty explains that everyone desires to feel important and loved. He shares his experiences growing up in a home where he learned how not to be through by observing negative examples. He notes that people's actions can either show us how to live or how not to live.
Avant's parents instilled in her the importance of being good and doing good. She once reacted rudely to a hostess at a restaurant. Still, she immediately felt her mother's presence and guidance, reminding her not to respond with negativity. Avant took ownership of her actions, apologized to the hostess, and acknowledged her mistake to the restaurant owner. She recognized that an eye for an eye does not work. Responding with kindness and understanding is more effective in creating positive karma.
It is crucial to allow yourself to feel and process the emotions that come with grief. Avant acknowledges to Jay Shetty that grief can be overwhelming and that there may be days when the darkness feels all-consuming. However, it is equally important to pursue moments of light and hope.
Throughout her journey, Avant learned the importance of not putting pressure on herself to "get through" the grief. Instead, she focused on walking through the season of grief with as much grace as possible. She recognized that healing is not a linear process and that there may be days when the light is not immediately visible. Yet she remained committed to actively seeking moments of light and hope, even on the darkest days.
Therefore, Avant tells Jay Shetty that she encourages listeners to be patient with themselves and to allow the healing process to unfold naturally. She emphasizes the importance of self-care, self-compassion, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals when needed.
Showing Up for Others
Avant admitted to Jay Shetty her belief in the energy of her parents. Although they passedaway, that energy is present in a different form. She feels their presence and their energy guiding her. Even in the face of personal pain and grief, extending love and kindness to others can bring healing and create positivity.
Therefore, being mindful of our actions and their impact on those around us is vital. It helps to be present in the lives of others and to show up with love and kindness whenever there is a need for it. Extending small acts of love and support can make a meaningful difference in someone's life and contribute to a more compassionate and connected world.
Avant told Jay Shetty that healing is not linear and there may be days when the light is not immediately visible. However, she encourages the listeners to be patient with themselves and to allow the healing process to unfold naturally. Avant believes personal growth involves seeking out moments of light and hope, even during darkness.
The Power of Storytelling
Avant's book provides impactful insights and steps for honoring loved ones and learning from their legacies. Her storytelling abilities bring readers on her journey and offer guidance on navigating grief and finding meaning.
In Avant's eyes, personal growth and self-reflection are essential in moving forward after experiencing grief and tragedy. By actively seeking moments of light and hope, you can find strength, inspiration, and a sense of renewal in your healing journey.
Avant's book serves as a platform for her to share her journey of grief and healing, offering comfort and guidance to those who may be going through similar experiences. She shares with Jay Shetty that storytelling allows individuals to connect deeper and find solace in knowing they are not alone in their struggles. To her, it is essential to share vulnerabilities and triumphs to create a sense of community and support.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Nicole Avant ON Why You Should Let Yourself Cry & Ways to Channel Deep Grief Into Grit and Gratitude” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
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