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#36 Choosing Your Emotions with Avneet Singh, MD

In this episode, I'm joined by my client, Avneet Singh, who shares how coaching helped her make those tiny shifts that took her out of survival mode to learning that she could choose the emotions she wanted to feel by using the tools she learned through working with me as her coach.

Avneet learned the power of self-compassion, and how it's okay to not have everything figured out, and that she could allow the space to take the next step in her healing when she was ready.

Avneet Singh is a self-proclaimed 32-year-old work in progress, enjoying the transition to a new job, new relationship, and new perspective on taking control.

"The biggest one, I think, is the fact that I choose my emotions, like I can't even tell you what an earth-shattering moment that was for me." - Avneet

The doors are open for my group coaching program! Since you’re ready to become your favorite version of you, click here to learn more about becoming part of this transformative experience.

What You'll Learn:

  • How before coaching, Avneet went from survival mode to learning to embrace her emotions

  • Why trying to control emotions is different than choosing them

  • Avneet discusses how life coaching helped her develop more acceptance and self-love

  • By making tiny shifts, Avneet was able to build healthier relationships despite past mistakes

"There is no right time to do something for yourself like this, there is no wrong time to do something for yourself like this, and there is only good to be created." - Melissa

Listen in to hear how you can become the favorite version of yourself by learning the power of tiny shifts, and the impact they can have in your life. Click here to learn more about my group coaching program and how you can get on the waitlist when the doors open again!

Listen to the Full Episode:

Full Episode Transcript

Hey, this is Melissa Parsons, and you are listening to the Your Favorite You Podcast. I'm a certified life coach with an advanced certification in deep dive coaching. The purpose of this podcast is to help brilliant women like you with beautiful brains create the life you've been dreaming of with intention.

My goal is to help you find your favorite version of you by teaching you how to treat yourself as your own best friend. If this sounds incredible to you and you want practical tips on changing up how you treat yourself, then you're in the right place. Just so you know, I'm a huge fan of using all of the words available to me in the English language, so please proceed with caution if young ears are around.

Hello everybody. Welcome back to Your Favorite You. We are so lucky today to have one of my former clients as a guest on the podcast. I can't wait for you to all to get to know and love our guest. She has agreed to be on the podcast today, and I'm so grateful that she said yes. I'm not sure if she listened to the podcast yet today, but she is the same Avneet I mentioned in the episode about the power of tiny shifts.

So, if you don't mind, Avneet, could you please introduce yourself to our listeners by telling us all about your favorite version of you?

Avneet: So, I'm Avneet Singh and I'll start with saying I'm a physician and I just finished my fellowship and starting my new adult life with a house and a job and trying to really just cement or at least start working on creating the life that I've been hoping for. So that's what I've been up to.

Melissa: I love it. I love it. Okay. Tell us, Avneet, why did you sign up for coaching? What brought you to coaching in the first place?

Avneet: I didn't really know what to expect actually when I started coaching. I think I'd heard about it, but not consistently until I started crying in your husband's office multiple times during my fellowship and realizing that I just had a lack of.

The sensation of control or power over my own life and my own destiny. And it was recommended a couple of different times, but life coaching seemed like a really good opportunity to really embrace that power and start mastering things in my own life.

Melissa: Before we started working together, was there anything that got in the way of you working with me? And if so, how did you overcome that?

Avneet: The main thing I think was I wasn't sure what to expect and also what my goals would be for life coaching. And so, I think I needed to know what I wanted in part before I came to you because, otherwise I figured it would just be like the shrug emoji essentially, and I wanted it to be intentional.

Melissa: It's so funny because, of course we think that we have to have things figured out before we can sign up for things. But after working with me, I'm sure you can see that if you hadn't known what you wanted, that would've been the first thing that we worked on and we would've figured it out together.

Avneet: Yeah. I think what I've learned is there is no opportune time. If your brain is open for it, then you're ready. That's kind of it.

Melissa: How do you think you got to the point where you did feel like your brain was ready and open for it?

Avneet: A lot of that was coming out of fellowship, coming out of training. I've just felt really shut down and I think I wasn't ready to even think about like I was in survival mode, like I was just eating and sleeping and breathing, and that was it. And I wasn't ready to really think about these higher-level concepts that were important to me that I'd had to put on the back burner for years.

And so, when I was ready it had taken some time out of fellowship to be aware of the fact that I wanted more. All of a sudden, I hadn't even thought to want for more because I'd just been living.

Melissa: I think that's such a common story for any of us who have gone through medical training.

That you really are in survival mode. And when I think back to my period of doing residency and even as an early attending, there's so much that I don't remember. Not the medical stuff, right? Like you remember because you have to practice it and that type of thing.

But just the day-to-day what was I doing? How was I surviving? And I think really our brain protects us. When we're going through the trauma of training let's be honest, it is a traumatic event. That we don't know that we're signing up for that. We unwittingly, sign up to do, and if you want to get through it, you have to put your head down and just put one foot in front of the other.

And like you said, eat, breathe, sleep. And just I think for me, recognizing that and just having so much compassion. For myself during that time and so much like awareness of how amazing it is that any of us get through it.

Avneet: It's when something is like the next step. You don't realize, like someone asked me today, “oh, aren't you proud of the accomplishments that you've had?”

And I'm realizing now that we've been one step followed the next like medical school to residency, to fellowship, to attendingship. Like I would never think to stop and look at that from afar. I'm always focused on taking the next step and I just, I got tired of it because there are always more steps, there are always more things that people want from you.

But I just wanted to stop for a second and just, think about where I was. Even that cognizance of what I was doing and why I was doing it was lost for a while.

Melissa: I'm so happy that you signed up when you did. When you were in that pause and you recognized that, if I want to be intentional about this, I'm going to have to take some time and really figure out what it is that I do want for myself, for my life and that type of thing. You're finding coaching way sooner than a lot of us.

Avneet: It feels like I'm coming to the game late, but that's good to know.

Melissa: Listen, it's never too late. I promise. True. I promise.

All right. Tell me this, what surprised you about coaching? What unexpected results did you get from it or, what do you think was the biggest, “oh my God, I didn't think this was going to be part of it.”

Avneet: Honestly, the biggest surprise was when you called me out because, which you did several times, but I the argument that I had with Mark, the guy I'm seeing, in which I remember recounting to you that argument and telling you how I felt and how I'd taken ownership of my feelings and thinking, you are going to be like, “yeah, girl. You're right, he's wrong. Leave him, make him pay,” and you straight up to called me out.

And I just thought you're right. Like you were obviously a hundred percent right, looking back at the situation, but I think acknowledging the power and control that I have over my own life, but also the effects and the consequences that has for other people.

I don't know that I've seen that come together as smoothly as it did with you, and I appreciated it because it made my relationship stronger, both with, my family and my friends, but also with Mark and it also made me more aware of the fact that I don't have to as a former people-pleaser, like I don't have to subjugate my emotions to make other people feel okay, but I also can't use my emotions to hurt other people.

Like you can't go on to the swing to the other side of it. And I had never understood that as strongly as I did that day.

Melissa: And I want to say like I called you out with so much love for you.

Avneet: Oh, 100%. Yes. Yes.

Melissa: And so much love for Mark, who I only know what you've told me of him to make me love him.

Avneet: He's wonderful. And I think it's interesting because a lot of people will say why do I need a coach? Like I can just call my friends if I'm struggling in my life and that type of thing. And of course, your friends are going to be like, “yeah, girl, right? You did it right. Go dump him.” That's what I expected because that's what I was getting. Get into a, what is an echo chamber …

Melissa: And I think, I don't even remember exactly what I said. It was probably something like, what if none of this was a problem, or what if he was right or what if you could have handled it differently?

Avneet: I think he said, what if he was right and I just thought, but he is not, because I was still in that hyper emotional worked up part, and it took me a second to step back in.

I remember actually because he had called me passive aggressive and I just think there's, especially in the Midwest, there's no deeper insult to a woman than being called passive aggressive person.

And so, I was so taken aback and offended that he would say that. “How dare you say that to me?” And you said, “look you were being passive aggressive.” And I had that visible snap back where I just with love and with compassion and with all of the best of intentions became more aware of what I was doing and how I was doing it and how it was hurtful.

And I just, I don't think I've gotten therapy before. I don't think I would've gotten that before in therapy or from my friends. God, I love them, but there was just something unique to that situation and to how you were able to make me see the whole field, not just my own pathway.

Melissa: Yeah. I think especially in relationships, it's so powerful to look at our conversations and our interactions through the other person's perspective and their lens and I think that of course in that moment, with you acting passive aggressive, you were doing that to protect yourself, you thought you needed to do that to stay safe in that situation, and I think we came to the fact that you probably were safe no matter what with this guy.

And if you were able to see it from his perspective, like how else might you have handled it? That would've gotten you a different result than the one that you've been getting over and over again in past relationships or past interactions.

Avneet: It's not easy, but I think we fall, especially women in my generation, fall into the trap, unfortunately, of labeling something as toxic and then our actions within that are justified, validated, and completely correct.

And I think, I came out of an abusive relationship during residency. It took me a long time to put pieces back together. I spent a lot of time in therapy and I think coming into a new relationship, being very afraid of making some of the same missteps over and over again.

I overcorrect instead of people-pleasing. I try to really make him feel the pain that I am feeling in a way, and it's unintentional. It is protective. But I think that was the moment at which life coaching became the correct choice and the correct avenue because I was out of that post-trauma kind of rebuild of my life and I was more in the phase of, how do I move forward and how do I address behaviors that I have to put out into the world more sustainable, safe environments for the people that I care about? And that was the shift.

Melissa: Yeah. How do I intentionally create my thoughts and feelings so that I can have a relationship that I actually want to be in? So that I can actually be the person that I want to be with, right? And so that I can attract the right person and people to me, right?

Avneet: And yeah, the intention, the choice that I've always dated under the assumption that he's either the right guy or he's not. He's either a good guy or he's not. And I have taken my own. I've not been accountable or responsible in those situations. It's never been like, “what am I doing in that relationship?”

And again, I think in overcorrection after that, that former relationship, but now I feel like I'm coming back to a good center and I definitely am in a position where I'm like, “I would date me. I like me.” I can say that.

Melissa: That's awesome. So good. And I think that one of the things I want to speak to that you said is that we get caught in this binary thinking. Either someone's good or they're bad. Either we're right or we're wrong. What if we are all both good and bad, all at the same time?

Avneet: I think I go in the more 70/30 place; it's acknowledging the complexities of humanity. It's just easier not to especially when you are just used to being the low battery mode or whatever, when your phone goes to low battery and you've got 20% left and that's all you have you just conserve and you can't give people the latitude and the laxity and the generosity that they deserve … that you deserve, that everyone deserves.

Melissa: Yea, and the thing about that is you can't give yourself the most generous interpretation of your behavior either. And then you're constantly making yourself wrong, so then of course, everybody else is wrong.

Avneet: Oh yeah. I've had to, there's been a couple of significant things in my friend's lives, and I think I've become a better friend through coaching, definitely in part because I think I'm able to listen more effectively, but also spot patterns that lead to more harm in my friends' lives, one of my friends is going through a breakup and says things about herself and I have to caution her, there are negative thoughts. There's a shame spiral coming. Remember that these are the things that are not real, that are not actually truth to you. And so, I think your life coaching has made it far and wide among my co-fellow and co-resident cohort. So, in some way or another.

Melissa: I love it. I love it. I love to think about the ripple effects of this work. And the effects that it's going to have on all of your future relationships.

On you as a parent, on you, as 10-year attending. Like all those things. All the people that you're going to influence. So beautiful.

Tell me, what are some new beliefs about yourself that you didn't have before coaching with me? Are there any that are top of mind?

Avneet: The biggest one I think is the fact that I choose my emotions. I can't even tell you what an earth-shattering moment that was for me, because I have a lot of emotions. I express my emotions very strongly in a family that did not have that. I think it's typical of my generation, unfortunately. And I was termed “emotionally volatile.”

I'm a frustrated crier. I'm a sad crier. I'm a mad crier. I just cry.

Melissa: Me too! And like nobody's a cute crier, and that's okay.

Avneet: I've been crying recently. I think that's why I'm a little puffy looking.

Melissa: The podcast is an audio media, not a visual one. But you look beautiful to me.

Avneet: Thank you. Thank you. I, but so I've always been in this place where I've tried to control my emotions, which is a different connotation than choosing your emotions, it feels punitive. And I have to somehow leash a part of myself that I like, love, and hate simultaneously, when in reality, like I have control over them.

Like I, in a good way, like I choose them. I get to be mad, like I get to be pissed. I get to be excited. And if I need to be excited about something, I want to be excited, but I need to put that aside for a minute, or I need to be mad about something. But I can put that aside for a minute.

That was, I think, a life-changing moment for me because it was like mindfulness, like where you close your mind and acknowledge the fact that your mind is wandering, pick it up, put it down, and then move back to your mindfulness pathway. It's the same concept for emotions for me, and I had never thought about it that way.

Melissa: Yeah. No emotion is an emergency.

Avneet: Yeah, Emotions do not make you feel otherwise, let's put it that way. They have an urgency to them, but that's not the truth.

Melissa: Yeah. And in your line of work, working in the intensive care unit, sometimes there is an emergency and you do need to deal with it and that type of thing.

And knowing that, you have the power to harness these things, knowing that you have the power to say, I'm going to come back and deal with you. Anger or excitement or sadness or grief, or whatever it is. And then keeping that promise that you make to yourself and actually going back and doing something to deal with that emotion.

Melissa: So frigging powerful.

Avneet: Yeah. Sometimes they don't wait for me to go back, but yeah, sometimes it just. That's when it comes up. And I don't know, emotions I just always thought is a liability and I'm starting to see them as my strengths.

Melissa: So amazing. Superpower.

Avneet: Yeah, it's been very good. It's been a very good belief shift.

Melissa: love it. I love it. I love it. All right ,sweet Avneet, what do you think was your favorite thing about coaching with me? Why am I the best?

Avneet: I have a lot of reasons. You're the better Parsons. I'd like to say that.

Melissa: We have it on record people!

Avneet: Exactly. No, I guess what I enjoyed the most about it was that I could see a lot of growth in myself. I could see a lot of good change, positive change. But the bigger thing is, we're all seeking happiness in some way in this abstract concept. And like there are still crappy days, like the last couple days have been really tough, but I can just tell that things are in a better place because I've seen you model all of that and more like it's because when I remember hearing your voice, the calm, comforting, but also stern. I want you to think about it this way and you have a really gentle balance of those that make it effective in pushing me forward.

We did some trauma work together, which I'm so grateful for when I was dealing with some stuff related to Covid. But I don't know. I feel like I'm not answering the question the best, because I'm just trying to think of all of the best moments and I'm struggling to pick the ones, like I'm struggling to pick like the best qualities, I think.

You have inspired me and helped me and given me frameworks and in the most compassionate way I think I could have asked for.

Melissa: I love it. You have inspired me too and you've made me a better coach for sure.

Avneet: Wow, thank you.

Melissa: So, I want to thank you for that, and the compliment that I'm the better persons when we all know what an amazing person, my hubby is, and I know how much he loves you and how much he loved taking care of you during your fellowship and being there for you. So, I receive that compliment with the love that I'm sure that you're giving it.

Avneet: Sorry, I think it's just a testament to the strength of you. I admire your relationship too.

The way you talk about Jon and the way that he talks about you, you're honest about the work that you've been through and that you've done with each other and by yourselves, and that honesty is rare.

Melissa: Yeah, and we're both works in progress, obviously. I love the idea that none of us is ever fully done, and we get to keep working. and. not because we're not good enough, but because we are.

Avneet: Yeah. It's like the soup gets better the longer it sits in the fridge thing, so it's still good to clarify. Like you can still eat it the first day. So yeah, I'm three-day old soup.

Melissa: I love it.

Avneet: That's the best man. The flavors.

Melissa: I feel you. I feel that's amazing. All right, lady, tell me what you're most looking forward to now that we're finished working together?

Avneet: It’s the garden thing, like I feel like I've got some little sprouts and we've created that together and now I have to make sure that I invest time and intention and thought into those. And so, I doubt this is the last time you coach me truthfully. But I love that. So, I think I look forward to coming back, but I think the other, I just want to watch the garden grow, but also know that I'm going to have to put more time and effort and thought into it.

And that thought used to be so overwhelming, like the idea of a work in progress used to be so frustrating. I'd like to be cooked, like in medical training, especially, like I'd to be freaking done, but now it is. I'm seeing change. I'm understanding where things are going. I know that like I always want to keep moving.

And be stronger in my relationship with Mark or my parents and I are in a downswing right now, but I want to be stronger in my relationship with my parents or my siblings or my friends. And I feel like I have the tools to start investing in that. I'm definitely going to need some more in a little bit.

So, I think yeah, I think that's probably what I'm looking forward to most.

Melissa: I love it. Is there anything else that you wanted to cover before I let you go that you think that the millions of listeners of the podcast need to listen or need to hear from us?

Avneet: I think I'm not sure actually. I think the biggest thing is that I'm really grateful that I came to you through different avenues, though, in the time that it took, I should have, I could have come earlier, I potentially would've come earlier, but there is no right time to do something for yourself like this.

There is no wrong time to do something for yourself like this, and there is only good to be created and whatever that looks like, for people who are listening for us, for me, for you. I don't know. I feel very positive about the future, and I don't know, one of the first times I think I can really say that just because I've been in a negative space for a long time.

Melissa: Yeah. The quote that I shared on the podcast that aired today was you saying during our last session, I just was washing my face and I realized I think I'm happy.

Avneet: Yeah. Even with the shitty stuff, I still 99% of the time am if not exuberant, happy, but I'm good. I feel settled and good. Even with the shakeup, even with the change in job, even with all this other crap, even with my parents leaving the state even, I feel like I've been able to weather it just being good. So that's a testament to your coaching.

Melissa: I want to say it's a testament to the work that you put in as the person who was being coached. Thank you. Because a lot of people might not have taken the coaching and run with it as much as you did. They might have shut down when I said you were being passive.

Avneet: I came really close and then I thought, “Nope, you did this. You got your love into this. Go listen to her.”

Melissa: Just to go back to that, like for you, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, that proved to you that you could make a mistake in your relationship with Mark. And it was still going to be okay.

Avneet: There's not as much fight or flight in that relationship. It's like we've been able to, stuff happened with my parents this weekend and I called Mark, which is not something I think I would've done in a previous relationship. It's actually not something I've done in a previous relationship since that the one in residency.

So, yeah, what is it? Repair. Rupture and repair. That was a big one. It was so beautiful.

Melissa: Yeah. When you believe that having those ruptures can actually move you forward in the relationship instead of being like, “oh, you’re bad. I don't deserve you, you can go find somebody else.”

It has made my love for him more, I don't know, brighter-colored and more expansive.

Melissa: Although, you haven't said this, but I'm going to bring it on back. All through you fleshing out your love for yourself, making it brighter, making it more expansive, like it's safe to do that.

Avneet: It’s been really productive and really good and very affirming and it just seems sometimes when you say it's like you choose your emotions, but at the same time it's not.

Melissa: It seems like stuff that we should know. But it has been socialized out of us and right, most little kids do know it. They get to pick their emotion, like they get to pick their shoes, and we socialize it out of them.

Thank you so much, Avneet. You're going to help so many people by sharing your story on the podcast. I appreciate you.

Avneet: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it. And again, all that you've done, that we've done together, so it's meant a lot to me.

Melissa: Same. And the beauty of this podcast is, you're going to get to listen to it over and over again and remind yourself of everything that you've created through coaching.

Avneet: I might need a reminder soon, so that'll be good.

Melissa: Yeah. All right. I'll send you an invoice. We can get started.

Avneet: That's good.

Melissa: All right. Thanks again, Avneet.

Avneet: Absolutely. Thank you. Have a good one.

Melissa: I appreciate you too.

Thank you for listening to the podcast and loving on me all the time. Although the doors are closed for the inaugural group of women wanting to become their favorite versions of themselves. No worries. You still have the opportunity to work with me in a group setting. This group is for you since you are listening to my podcast, you will get amazing coaching plus the beauty of a community of other women who are interested in thriving as much as they can, and you also will want you to succeed at becoming your favorite you.

There is benefit that is undeniable from watching another woman being coached on an issue you've had in the past, or one that you're currently having. Our brains just see so much more possibility when we are not the ones in the hot seat. You'll also have the ability to come every week and share your vulnerability and watch others share their vulnerability.

We know that shame only grows in silence. There is power in being held by other incredible humans who are often caught in some of the same traps that you are with your thinking.

Please go right now to and schedule a consult with me so that I can hear how I can help you, and we can decide together if you are a great fit to join the group.

You'll need to join the waitlist. We start in August. Please join us. You will not regret it.

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