Having a positive mindset is sometimes tricky when we are overwhelmed with problems and challenging situations. Even when it feels hopeless, we can still learn how to push ourselves to embrace a positive mindset. My guest Melissa Monte is such a fantastic person. She survived the worst situations all because of a positive mindset, and she’ll teach us how to do that in the episode.
Although Melissa Monte had a great childhood, her life took a drastic turn when she experienced several traumas during her teens. Melissa Monte was raped twice, her close friend committed suicide, and her dad passed away.
Melissa Monte and her mom had different ways of coping. Her mom was part of a book club. So, even if Melissa Monte dealt with her traumas by partying a lot in college, she managed to borrow books from her mother occasionally. But it wasn’t enough to help her fix her issues or have a positive mindset.
“Because of ignoring some of those issues I was dealing with, it started to manifest in my life in other ways. I developed a dangerous eating disorder. And I was a bulimic for eight years,” said Melissa Monte.
She added, ” I was also attracting negative people. Plus, I found myself in jail for my ex-boyfriend’s crime, which led to a two-year legal battle. When I hit rock bottom, I knew I had to do something.”
Melissa Monte said she took baby steps by reading books, following advice from successful people, and applied it to her life. She says it was not an overnight change, but more like a decade of growth.
As time went one, Melissa Monte felt that it started to become essential for her to share the things she did. Because apparently, people started asking and noticing significant differences in her. Hence, Melissa Monte did some steps to realize her full purpose.
“Everything has been different in the last year. Because everything feels so much more meaningful to me. It’s easier to keep my goals now and keep making progress. That’s how Mind Love podcast came about. It’s sharing tips that changed my life,” Melissa Monte said.
Learning To Forgive
Melissa Monte says the first thing about having a positive mindset is learning how to forgive. In her case, Melissa Monte’s parents divorced young. Although she has a great stepdad, she felt resentful towards her real dad.
When Melissa Monte’s dad was diagnosed with cancer, that’s the time she made more effort to connect. One of the things that surprised her was a large number of homeless people came to her father’s funeral.
That’s the moment of clarity that added to Melissa Monte’s guilt of never understanding. Hence, she felt that the first step to a positive mindset and change was to forgive herself for that.
“Forgiveness is such a big part of any change. Because without forgiveness, you will only be repeating negative thought patterns in your head all the time. You’re going to be talking yourself down,” explains Melissa Monte.
Melissa Monte did the same thing with the suicide situation. She revealed that her friend said he was going to commit suicide years before. But Melissa Monte, who was then only 15 years old, didn’t take it seriously. She thought it was the typical teenagers’ way of getting attention. For the longest time, she blamed herself and learned to drink because of that tragedy.
“Everything is a process, and I realize how important it is to have compassion for yourself. Once I did, that opened the door for all the other changes that mean a lot to me,” said Melissa Monte. “Like finding the passion or understanding of how the brain works and working with that. All the little things add up.”
Melissa Monte says that one of the books that helped her was the Power of Habit, by award-winning New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg. Because at her lowest point, Melissa Monte was just taken over by so many harmful habits like bulimia.
“Bulimia is a series of activities that you do over and over again, and it is a habit that takes over your life. And it’s like a psychological disorder,” Melissa Monte said. “I also used to bite my nails until they bled. It was my biggest insecurity, and I couldn’t figure out how to stop.”
But when Melissa Monte started to read about changing and disrupting these circuits that you put your brain into, something just clicked. She began to experiment on what works for her.
“I think the biggest thing that started to influence my changes were developing positive routines positively. Try to do the replacement method and change one small thing that’s doable,” said Melissa Monte.
Changing Her Diet
One thing Melissa Monte gave up was coffee and switched it to Macha latte instead. The same thing happened with regards to changing her diet. She went vegan and started making small steps like changing breakfast.
“Eggs was the last thing I gave up. I make a lot of things in bulk because I don’t like buying processed foods,” said Melissa Monte. “Making food with a pressure cooker is good. I often make beans and quinoa, keep in the fridge while my husband often makes superfoods scramble with kale.”
The very first thing that Melissa Monte added to her routine that was helpful is her 5-minute gratitude journal. She recommends the journals from Best Self.
Melissa Monte writes to focus on the right things happening in her life. Because ultimately, she says our brain starts seeking things to be grateful for throughout the day, and then they shift your focus. It also makes you aware to have a positive mindset.
“Journaling allows you to write down lessons learned. It forces you to acknowledge where you could have done better and keep track of your wins and accomplishments. Journaling also sometimes helps you look back and see how far you’ve come,” Melissa Monte said.
Good Support System
To develop a positive mindset and build personal growth, it is advisable to get yourself surrounded by people who can make you be the best version of you. Melissa Monte found herself enjoying the company of the people participating in Toastmasters International.
Toastmasters International is an organization where people are encouraged to speak to an audience about a variety of topics. According to Melissa Monte, many of the participants have inspiring stories that can serve as tools for your growth.
“So many of us start to practice something and keep doing it over and over. People say practice makes perfect but not always. The right kind of practice makes perfect,” said Melissa Monte.
She adds, “I’m a strong believer in being selective on who you spend time with. Because people are either going to lift you up or drag you down. That’s probably one of the biggest things I noticed from my growth. It’s cool when you find your light and shining. And it’s infectious.”
Another great organization is We Quilt. They have chapters in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. We quilt an organization where women uplift each other.
Melissa Monte again stresses that results are not seen overnight. She says everything might feel fake at first. And that when you first make a change, it might feel phony building a new habit. But then she also says you have a limited amount of energy so use it wisely. Just don’t let energy vampires suck that out of you.
“Not everyone is meant to be around forever, and people have their purpose up to a certain time. It’s ok to let go of not only people but also new habits if it doesn’t make you grow,” said Melissa Monte.
Shark Bait Test
Melissa Monte shares that one of the biggest game changers for her was the Shark Bait Test where you write a letter to a bunch of people that you know. In Melissa Monte’s case, she wrote to eleven people from different walks of her life.
She asked them what they saw in her, and what her superpower was. Melissa Monte feels this was one of her most significant aha moments to finding her Mind Love podcast.
Six people wrote almost the same word that Melissa Monte was supposedly good at. So, Melissa Monte did the work to figure out what her perfect little path would be.
“I used to think that just because I was always learning, that it was automatically being applied to my life. You have to make time to apply it,” said Melissa Monte.
She adds, “Be thankful for the journey no matter what you’re going through. You might not realize the purpose of something until even ten years down the road. Just trust the process.”
To further connect with yourself, Melissa Monte suggests picking three things each day that you are thankful for. It forces you to be more strategic on those things that can move you towards your goal rather than just picking what’s more comfortable.
“Mindfulness is a big part of my life. I’ve been meditating for twenty minutes every day. This helps clear your head and define stillness,” Melissa Monte explains. “It’s been scientifically proven that people who meditate, basically have more control over their emotions.”
Mind Love Podcast
Melissa Monte’s Mind Love podcast aims to dive deep into your inner self really and how you should feel about yourself. Being mindful can also help us have a healthier sex life.
So many emotions go through our body. When we know how to be open and communicate with our partner, that positivity can radiate and strengthen our feminine power.
One book that Melissa Monte recommends reading is Pussy: A Reclamation. The book goes into the history of women and stresses that women have been powerful beings from the beginning of time.
“We carry the energy that creates life, and we create life with our body. There are so many powerful things. It’s important to share these stories and remind women of their power. Show them they’re not alone,” said Melissa Monte.
She adds, “It is important to share stories with people and help somebody else through it. If you have come out at the other end of that struggle, you must help people. Throw a lifeline to those people who are at the beginning of that tunnel. Pull them with you. It’s how we evolve as a species even faster.”
Melissa Monte is one of today’s influential and thought-provoking explorers of the mindset and positive energy.
Melissa’s has lived through what some call extreme life experience, suffering multiple traumas in a short period, which eventually manifested into a dangerous eating disorder and chronic intestinal damage.
Her countless hours of research and self-experimentation guided by her desire to heal her body and mind contribute to her vast knowledge of improving the human condition.
On her popular, heartfelt podcast “Mind Love,” she discusses mindset shifts, modern mindfulness and the universal truths of success through raw stories, personal experience, and inspiring interviews.
Get Connected With Melissa Monte!
Recommended Readings by Melissa Monte
The New Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Mantz