Discovering Self-Love and Inner Happiness: 'The Girlfriend's Therapist Handbook' by Nettie Jones
Lisa Valadez | 9/12/2023, 9:51 a.m.
In a world where self-love often takes a backseat to the relentless pursuit of external validation, "The Girlfriend's Therapist Handbook: Owning Your Truth & Transforming Your Life", by Nettie Jones, emerges as a guiding beacon. It's a roadmap for women to unearth their true potential by prioritizing self-love above all else. Countless women traverse the winding roads of failed relationships, perpetually seeking love in all the wrong places. The elusive trio of true joy, inner peace, and genuine happiness remains tantalizingly out of reach. They yearn for affirmation, love, and connection from the world around them, while neglecting the most important source of love: themselves. Enter this unapologetic, no-nonsense guide, a manifestation of girlfriend-ism wisdom, designed to redirect their focus inward, peel away the layers of doubt, embrace vulnerability, and ignite a love affair with the most extraordinary person in their lives: themselves.
HSM: Tell us about your newest book, The Girlfriend’s Therapist Handbook: Owning Your Truth & Transforming Your Life.
Nettie Jones: This book is a labor of love. I started writing it five years ago. I wanted to put into words the importance of women having a strong and healthy relationship with themselves. One of the best investments you’ll make in your life is self-work. It is the gift that keeps giving. Owning your truth forces you to literally “get naked” with yourself. Own it, with all the flaws and victories. Transforming your life allows YOU to decide that you want a change. My motto is “Change your perspective, change your life.”
HSM: How and why did you decide to write a book now?
NJ: I have so many books in my head. Getting those words on paper was the challenge. However, the theme “knowing thyself” seems to always resonate. We read books about relationships all the time. I wanted to write about the most important relationship of all: the relationship you have with yourself. We spend so much time trying to understand others, we neglect to spend time getting to know and understand “HER” (ourselves). She is so important and worthy of understanding. I also wanted women to have access to knowing and understanding the importance of her relationship with self. Emotional and mental wellness is wellness. We spend money on gym memberships, elected reconstructive procedures (nothing wrong with that), retail therapy, hair (our crowns), nails and diets. Not everyone has the resources for psychotherapy, or they may not see the value in spending money to talk to a complete stranger. The book allows women to make a small investment in themselves that can create a big change in their lives forever.
HSM: What makes this book different from others on transforming your life?
NJ: This book completely focuses on self-exploration, self-acceptance, self-love and the knowledge of self. Creating transformational changes begins when we are intentional and are willing to do the work. That “self work” is what The Girlfriend’s Therapist Handbook: Owning Your Truth & Transforming Your Life is all about.
HSM: Why did you add exercises after each chapter?
NJ: In the book, there are Perspectives instead of Chapters. That was intentional. I want to offer the reader perspectives. My motto, "Change your perspective change your life” is a powerful tool. I tell my clients all the time that I am not an authority on your life, you are. I simply offer a perspective. So, after each Perspective, there is a “Pause for Perspective.” Changing your perspective is only possible when you pause to think, observe, converse, internalize, and integrate new insights and awareness. This book is a working book, not a workbook.
HSM: What do you hope women take away from the book?
NJ: The takeaway from the book is simple: women find the love they have always wanted. That love is the love for oneself. We seek love through external factors (i.e., people, places, and things). We believe these things make us feel loved, when in reality, true love starts with the self and with that, you can give love and be open to receiving love. Your psychotherapy practice primarily treats women. Was that intentional? Was it intentional to have a practice that primarily focuses on women’s emotional and psychological wellness? No and yes. I started out working with children and families. This work allowed me to see the impact that women have in the lives of their spouses/significant other, children, family and friends. I noticed that I gravitated to women and their various life challenges. That’s where I found my passion and desire to help women become the best version of themselves, one day at a time. I witnessed the benefits of emotional and psychological wellness firsthand.
HSM: After 20+ years as a psychotherapist, what do you know for sure?
NJ: What I know for sure is that we are all a work in progress.
HSM: What are you seeing in terms of changes in women’s mental health from 10 years
NJ: The change I have noticed in women from 10 years ago, is the openness of discussing the significance and importance of their emotional health. It has become a conversation among girlfriends, podcasts, magazines and publications. Women are looking for ways to feel better. They no longer want to walk around feeling “sick and tired of feeling tired.” Acknowledging that mental health is a real thing, and it matters if they’re in a good emotional and psychological headspace. Women are openly sharing that they talk to a professional without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Some women even feel empowered and have a sense of responsibility to share.
HSM: Do you feel we are doing better at breaking the stigma around mental health?
NJ: I think we have made some strides, but we have a long way to go. Continuing to have conversations is important.
HSM: What are you most grateful for?
NJ: I am most grateful for my life. Without life, nothing would exist for me. So, in most challenging times I try to remind myself that I have a life right now at this very moment, and for that, I am grateful.
HSM: Your three daughters are young women now, the youngest being 21. What do you
tell them about mental health and learning to love themselves FIRST?
NJ: I’m blessed to have these beauties in my life. What I tell them is no different from the women who sit across from me in a session. I remind them often:
“You are the most important person in your life.”
“You cannot expect people to do for you, what you are not willing to do for yourself.”
“Don’t expect people to treat you better than you treat yourself.”
“Self-love is real love.”
HSM: What is it like now that you have “birthed” this book?
NJ: The labor pains stretched me in ways that I would have never imagined. I am excited for the books to be in the hands of readers. I am so proud of this body of work.
HSM: What’s next for you?
NJ: Good question! I want to add more speaking engagements to my calendar. I love workshops, retreats, and any opportunity to speak on the importance of women’s emotional and psychological wellness.
Learn more about Nettie Jones here: https://www.nettiejones.com/