From Playground To Presents: How To Make Friends And Find Yourself | EU 223 min read

April 6, 2020

Do you ever feel lonely? Are you not sure how to make friends? Is this the life you want to live? In This Podcast Summary In this podcast episode, Veronica shares her story of a time when she felt alone and didn’t know how to make friends. Adapting to change My husband called me one […]

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I am a licensed marriage and family therapist, marriage coach, course creator, retreat host, mother of 3, married for 23 years and host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 


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Do you ever feel lonely? Are you not sure how to make friends? Is this the life you want to live?

In This Podcast


In this podcast episode, Veronica shares her story of a time when she felt alone and didn’t know how to make friends.

Adapting to change

My husband called me one day saying, “I’ve just received orders, we’re moving to New York.” Sure, we’re a military family but orders to New York? There had to be a mistake. So right away I told him to fix this! I’m not moving. My dad was ill and was up for a liver transplant. I couldn’t leave him, and we owned a home. Everything I know is here, I didn’t want to go. I was scared. I didn’t know how to start over or deal with change. But we were moving, it was a done deal.

Being the wife of a military man is hard. Most days you’re alone. In Cali, I have family, friends, and a support system. I was going to be alone in New York. Now looking back, it’s clear that I was just looking for something I could control. I was being forced out of my comfort zone and I was so afraid to try something new. When we moved to New York, I found myself isolating.

The skype calls I had with my friends were small moments of joy. I lied to them and told them New York was amazing and that I loved it. I just wanted to be happy. But when we got off the phone, I was alone again. Taking the kids to school I remember looking down, not talking to anybody. And to make matters worse, I’d gained weight. I lost myself because I was so afraid of change and didn’t know how to lean into vulnerability. It impacted our lives in a big way. I mean think about it:

If mom is not okay, no one is okay.

So I started to do things differently and ask myself questions. Is this the life I wanted to live? I knew that I couldn’t live this way anymore so I made an active decision to change it. I had to make an active choice.

Steven Covey states in order to create a new habit, you have to know what to do, how to do it, know why you are doing it and you have to want to do it.

Let’s start getting really honest with ourselves

Step 1 Ask yourself: What do I need to do right now to live the life I want to live? What habits do I need to change? Write them down.

Step 2 Ask yourself: Why do I need to change these habits? For example, are you lonely? If you continue living like this, how will things continue?

Step 3 Ask yourself: How am I going to change these habits? For me, it was instead of avoiding everyone, I told myself I’m going to start approaching other moms. Lean into the discomfort and connect. When I did that, I slowly started to find myself.

Step 4 You have to want to do it! For me, this meant I had to lean into my insecurities about meeting new people by challenging them. I did this by telling myself there is no way I am the only one who feels this way.

What is your intent for today?

Today I want you to compliment five women. Compliment their smile, eyes, or hair. Then pay attention to their reaction. I bet you will start a conversation. And then you’ll start to understand how to make friends.

Lean in and start a connection with someone with the intent to start a friendship.

Until next time, keep pushing forward.


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Meet Veronica Cisneros

Veronica Cisneros | Empowered And Unapologetic Podcast

I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.

So I started  Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free facebook communityjoin the VIP community or attend our annual retreat,  you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!


Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Empowered and Unapologetic Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[VERONICA]: Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice podcast network, a family of podcasts that change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
I get it. Being a mom is hard, especially when you are feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create the perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your family without the stress perfectionism brings. On this podcast, I teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play. If you are ready to be challenged, then girl, pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper because it’s about to go down.
Hey, I’m Veronica Cisneros, a licensed marriage and family therapist on a mission to create a community of badass women who want to learn how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl games.
We had just moved to New York. Aubrey was about three months old and Aliyah was five. We were getting ready to go out and see the city for the first time. For some reason, I don’t remember being excited about this at all. Here we were in New York city and I’m not excited. What the hell is wrong with me? How am I not excited to see the big city? I’ll tell you why I wanted to go back home, I wanted to be with my family, my dad wasn’t doing too well at the time and we had just received orders and so we were stuck. We were stuck in New York for three years and all I wanted to do was go home. We didn’t even sell our house. We ended up renting it out just because I wanted to make for darn sure that we were going to come back. I wanted to go ahead and have some proof that we were going to come back.
My friend ended up flying over with me and my two girls. My husband and her husband had driven all the way in from California to New York and meet us. So, they were there with us and I remember brushing my daughter’s hair and we were there. I was right in front of the mirror and I was brushing Aliyah’s hair and it was like so crazy, tingles. She has really, really curly hair. And so, I’m brushing it and everything she’s saying aw, aw, aw. And my daughter has a sensitive head, so I was being extra careful and for some reason that still was hurting her. And I remember just getting so annoyed, so annoyed, I just started yelling at her. And I didn’t realize back then that I was taking it all out on her.
Again guys, she was only five and I was just yelling and my friend walked into the room and she said, “Veronica, it’s okay. I got this.” And then I literally ran out of my room and I just started crying, like hard cry because I had felt so alone, so alone and I didn’t know what to do. We’re New York City and I have no idea what I’m going to do. Mind you, I’m a total Cali girl, born and raised and so this was a big transition for me. First off, we arrived in April and so true Cali status, shorts, tank tops, flip-flops. I mean that’s just what we were. However, in New York you are in big bomber jackets, so you are literally representing North face there because it is cold. Boots are happening, I mean just layering, layering, layering. I didn’t realize that until we got off our flights and we’re waiting to get our bags and me and my friend are the only ones in shorts and tank tops.
Everyone is fully suited up as if they were going to the snow and so I already felt completely out of my element. I remember my husband knocking on the door to come and talk to me and I didn’t want to talk to him. I was so mad at him. I was mad at him because how could he do this to our family? How could he do this? How could he do this to me? I had spent all of my life trying to go ahead and please and appease him and he couldn’t do this one thing for me. Yes, I know I sound completely irrational, especially since he’s not in charge of orders. And matter of fact, he even attempted to fight them and obviously he was unsuccessful, but that wasn’t because he didn’t try. It was just because orders are orders and if you’re a military family, you know what that’s like. The minute you hear PCS, you’re gone for three years. So, say goodbye to everything you knew.
So here we were, New York, I didn’t want to talk to my husband. I felt like the worst mother in the world because I had just yelled at my daughter. And so, this went on for a while. I stayed home, I didn’t go anywhere, I would go ahead and just play with the kids inside of the house and slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly the weight came on. Slowly, I started to just slip on those same yoga pants and my hair in a bun, no makeup, and that’s the way I did my day. That’s the way my day carried on. And don’t get me wrong, my house was clean, my kids were dressed, my kids were properly groomed, however, I wasn’t. I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for everyone. Dinner was on time when my husband arrived home. However, I was completely checked out. And so, I would drop off Aliyah to school every single day. I would avoid everyone, didn’t talk to anyone, drop her off, walk her to her class, give her kisses and hugs and goodbyes and then walk back to my car, all alone. Didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I was alone.
I was easily irritated and easily frustrated and I didn’t know why. I have no idea why. And so obviously this started impacting my relationship. I was short with my husband, I was short with the kids, reading them bedtime stories at night was a complete chore and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I didn’t want to do it anymore. However, if you would’ve asked me back then what was wrong, I would have told you everything was fine. Matter of fact, all of my friends thought I was happy. They thought I was super excited about being in New York, mind you I was in Long Island, 20 minutes from New York. However, it was different. And so, I totally sold them on how happy I was. So much so that even when we would do our phone calls via Skype, I was happy. I was my old self. I was laughing and I just didn’t want that moment to be taken from me.
So the minute I heard, you know, that funny dial, that funny ringtone that Skype has, the minute I heard that I got super excited and nothing, nothing meant more than for me to answer that phone call. And I was on and we would have our little glasses of wine and chit chat with both of my friends and it just felt like home. It felt like home and I wanted so badly to jump through the screen and be there with them. And I felt so jealous that they were together and I was all by myself. But I didn’t want to tell them that. I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me. And so, I realized this is a problem. I realized I lost myself. I couldn’t even recognize my own reflection.
My identity was everything my kids and husband needed me to be. I remember asking myself, “How did I lose you?” And I remember looking at the mirror and just saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” So why was this a problem? Why was letting myself go a problem? Well, it was unhealthy. I wasn’t treating myself at all. I didn’t care for myself. I started to gain weight. I wasn’t getting dressed to go out as much. I was literally okay with bun yoga pants. And in addition to that, I wasn’t even, I was just going through my day without really feeling present. And I knew that wasn’t okay. The effects of this problem were significant. All my attention was focused on everybody else’s success.
I put expectations on everyone because, “Hello, I’m supporting you. I’m doing everything for you. Why aren’t you capable of doing it? Why aren’t you able to do it?” And I remember being pretty harsh about it with my kids. You know, “Why aren’t you getting this grade on your spelling test? We did everything. I was dancing, I was singing, I was doing everything to get you to memorize this word and how to spell it. And here you are, you got three out of five right. Like what’s wrong with you?” And I was there. I was there, expectations nonstop, all because I wanted them to go in and take all my advice, all my support and appreciate it. So, I secretly resented them. I resented them because they didn’t appreciate my sacrifice. Why would they?
Does this sound familiar at all to anyone where you sacrifice everything for everyone and then when you’re not feeling appreciated, you’re upset with them? Well, that’s where I was at because I noticed how triggered I was with everything. I realized this was not the life I wanted to live. I wasn’t connected, I was embarrassed to go out, my life was consumed with how many items I checked off my list. And my husband and I were constantly arguing because I realized I couldn’t live this way anymore and something had to change. Here’s when I started to be really honest with myself. So, grab a pen and paper because it’s about to get real.
I’m going to go out and walk you through the steps that I took in order to get me to where I needed to be, where I wanted to be. So here we go. You ready? I remember asking myself, “Is this the life I want to live?” So here you go. Write this question down. Is this the life you want to live? Don’t get me wrong. I know you have the kids, I know you have a husband, I know you have the house. I know you have the dog, the cat, you name it. I know you have all of those things. However, is this the life you want to live?
A second question I asked myself was, “Can I do this all over again next year? Can I hit the replay button next year?” My response was, “Hell no. Not another 15 pounds. I’m tired of feeling and looking this way. I’m so tired, so, so tired of feeling alone”. Mind you, I’m with my family and I still felt alone. So, I’m going to ask you that same question. This last year, can you do it again that same way or does something need to change? Yeah, girl, something needs to change. So, let’s go. I’m going to teach you how. Stephen Covey states, in order to create a new habit, you have to know what to do, how to do it, know why you’re doing it, and most importantly, you have to want to do it. I’ll explain in a minute. We have to get very crystal clear on what habits we need to change so that we can change them.
Step one, ask yourself, what do I need to do right now to live the life I want to live? What habits do I need to change? For me, I needed to go ahead and step outside of my comfort zone. And that was scary. That was like so terrifying because this is all I knew. I’m in a totally different world, I don’t know anyone and I’m always alone. Yes, I had my little porcupine, that’s Opry. Yes, I had my little porcupine and you know, I remember waking her up on purpose just so her and I could play, just so I didn’t feel by myself and that wasn’t fair to her. She needed her nap time, but that’s what I did. That’s what most of us moms do if we’re being honest, you know, especially when we have a newborn. However, I remember doing that and I remember things needed to change. I couldn’t be dependent on her to make me happy. I couldn’t be dependent on anyone to make me happy. So, I knew it was time for me to step outside of my comfort zone and it needed to happen, now. It needed to happen today.
Second step, why do I need to change them? Why do I need to change these habits? Well for the obvious reasons, me and my husband aren’t connecting, I’m resenting everyone, I’m setting high expectations for everyone and I don’t know who the hell I am. Isn’t that reason enough? For me it was, and in addition to that, I needed to change it because again, there was no way in hell I was repeating this all over again. I had to stop it.
Third step, how am I going to change these habits? Well, first off, instead of avoiding everyone, I’m going to start approaching other moms. Holy crap, that is scary as hell. Here’s why. What are they going to think? I don’t know how many circles you’ve been in, but I remember when I used to be with my own squad, I remember thinking, “Why is this girl coming up to us? What does she want?” Or I remember feeling the other way. I remember going up to groups whenever there was any social events for my daughter’s school, previous school events, I remember going up to people because we had to meet new people and we were doing whatever group assignment or we were doing whatever activity. And I remember feeling so insecure and sometimes girls are cliquey. I mean, let’s just put it out there.
Let’s just be honest, some girls are cliquey and so it’s like, “Ah, is this what I’m walking into? Am I walking into these girls who are going to be cliquey, who are going to judge me or totally going to look at me up and down and say, “Girl, didn’t you wear those yoga pants yesterday?” Like is that what’s going to happen to me? Because if it is, I’m not ready for it. And I’m feeling so insecure right now that I don’t think my ego can take another hit. However, again, I knew I didn’t want to live this life this exact same way. So, when I looked at that, why am I doing it, I realized I’m going to go ahead and lean in. And so that’s exactly what I did. I remember walking up to one of my friends now, who is still one of my really good friends and I remember just going up to her and having a conversation asking her which kid is hers?
Because you know I got there early enough for Aliyah to play at the playground and it’s so funny because I got her there, I made sure that she arrived early so she could make friends. Like how does this happen? Like I had that in place for her and not for myself. Like that’s crazy. However, what. I mean why do we do other things. Come on. And so, while my daughter was playing, I decided to go ahead and walk up to Stephanie, that’s her name and I just started having a conversation with her and it just went so well. There was no judgment, no criticism, and we just really meshed. And like I said, we’re still friends today. Anyway, I remember feeling so much better about myself because I had a friend and in addition to that we had planned on scheduling a play date for the girls. And so, I was super excited because that play date, I think meant more to me than Aliyah. We’ll get into that in other episodes.
Step four, I have to want to do it. That’s the most important part, which means I have to lean into my insecurities about meeting new people by challenging them. And I did this by telling myself again there’s no way I’m going to repeat the same year. And meeting Stephanie was a complete blessing because it had come, I had met her just in time for me to really truly take all of these steps into action. And that was important to me. I needed that so much and so as I started to develop these new habits, you know, I started asking myself, “What do I need to do? How do I need to do it?” Why are you doing it and do you really want to do it? And that question I repeat was the hardest one because I had to want it so badly that the insecurity and the fear was worth it, which meant I had to lean in, I had to challenge myself, and it was totally worth it.
Stephanie and I became really good friends, such good friends that we were at each other’s houses all the time. And then in addition to that, our husbands met, our husbands kicked it off and our kids became best friends. We ended up going on vacations with her family, we ended up having family dinners. I got to meet her mother and father, I got to meet her sisters and we just really meshed well and I got to meet other women. Christine was another one. She was amazing. She had a little boy. She still has them, she has two boys actually. Three boys. Holy Molly. That’s right, because she had her youngest when, her and I were both pregnant around the same time and we both had our youngest and this is when we had already moved back to California.
But anyway, I digress. So, Christine, I ended up meeting Christina as well and I ended up meeting other women and it was just so awesome to have different relationships. Well, let me tell you about my relationship with Stephanie. We ended up moving after our three years, after our time served three years, and I’m going to tell you right now, that was the hardest thing I ever had to do because I had absolutely fell in love with New York. Yes, me a total Cali girl fell in love with New York. It’s crazy. And in addition to that, Stephanie threw me my going away party. Isn’t that crazy?
I took a leap, I decided to ahead and make a choice to take a leap. And we are still friends to this day. After we moved, we ended up exchanging Christmas gifts, I would go ahead and mail her kids their Christmas gifts and she would do the same. So, it was literary from playground to presents because we were just birthdays, you name it and we would go ahead and send our kids gifts. And it was just, it’s been amazing watching her kids grow and Aliyah and you know, just Aliyah and Laelani are best friends to this day. Matter of fact, Aliyah was recently, mind you, she was five at the time that all of this happened. Aliyah recently was accepted to FIDM and that’s a college she’s always wanted to go to. And so, one of the first people she called was Laelani and they were both screaming.
And then Stephanie got on the phone and it was just like, Holy moly how time flies, because it really does. And I want you to listen to that statement. Time flies. So, ladies, mommies out there, you beautiful, wonderful mommies out there, time flies, you get to decide. You get to go ahead and make these decisions right now. You get to make this active choice right now to live the life you want to live. However, you have to make an active choice to do it. And yes, I know it’s not easy and yes, I know it’s scary and it’s uncomfortable. However, ask yourself this one question. Can you continue living your life the way it is right now? Because I know you feel stressed. I know you feel disconnected. Can you repeat that? If the answer is no, I’m going to be on this journey with you and I promise you, I’m going to teach you how and I’m going to walk alongside with you.
I’m going to tell you right now, making these little tiny steps and choosing to lean into fear has been so beneficial in so many different ways and because of that, I feel blessed and grateful and humble. Looking forward to being a part of your journey ladies. Bye.
What’s up, ladies? Just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated. If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you, guys.
Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course on Unapologetic Me over at empoweredandunapologetic.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regards to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

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I’m Veronica, your new Boss MOM Mentor with no filter and no BS. 

I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, women’s coach, course creator, and retreat host. Married for OVER 20 years, raising three girls, and the host of the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. 

Enough about me… 

My jam? Helping high-achieving women thrive both at home and in the hustle of work.

I've been there.

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