649. Overcoming Blocks to Being Your Own Best Friend
Dr. Amber Baker
Amber saw the early signs of what she would like to do with her future through experience in a peer counseling leadership group in high school. But when she found herself writing a fan email to the author of her college neuroscience textbook, that was it! She knew she was in love with psychology.
Dr. Amber Baker is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the creator and host of the Go Friend Your Self podcast. She specializes in anxiety, perfectionism, trauma and relationship issues, and works with individuals, couples, first-responders and veterans. She created the Go Friend Your Self podcast to provide information and inspiration to help people overcome self-doubt, effectively handle stress, increase confidence, and own who they are so they can thrive. Her goal is to help people improve their relationship with themselves, investing energy in being their own best friend instead of worst critic.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
During an active, well-rounded high school and college career—which included studying two summers abroad at the Sorbonne, singing and cheerleading—Amber found a strong connection with Peer-Systems Leadership, a peer-to-peer counseling program. “I could see the early signs of what I would love to do, connecting one-on-one with people, helping them, and inspiring them. Eventually, I took my first abnormal psych class as an undergrad. That was it! I was in love with psychology. When I found myself sending a fan email to my neuroscience textbook author, I knew I had it bad. I was so excited to learn about this. I remember feeling like every day was Christmas. I could not wait to read these books about psychology.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I’ve had great mentors in my life. They shaped where I am today. My mom became an entrepreneur after her divorce, and I saw her pushing through barriers, creating her own business after working for others and realizing she could do things better. But a big part of it was our journey of moving over 20 times by the time I was 13. I had lived in England for a year, Long Beach and San Francisco, California for a couple of months, then moved to England for another year. I lived in Oregon, then back to Huntington Beach. I adapted to living all over the place.”
The Most Powerful Lesson Learned?
“Sometimes our anxiety and discomfort rise to a level where we feel, ‘This is dangerous, bad, unsafe, I can’t go there.’ But it might just be anxiety or fear tricking us. Either way, our body will react the same with stress hormones and physiological responses. Those can be powerful, intense and tell us, ‘Don’t go there.’ But sometimes it is just an anxiety response that can block us. So, it is important to look out for red flags and trust your gut. If it is something that would stretch you—even though it might be scary not to know what is next—that can be the foundation for pushing yourself.”
Steps to Success from Dr. Amber Baker
1. Take ownership of the expertise you already have. Ask yourself, “How did I get through this far? How have I gotten through other difficult situations like this?”
2. Take time to write down what you have learned after a difficult situation and review how you adapted and applied current knowledge and how you improvised new skills.
3. As you face a new trial or challenge, review what you wrote from your previous position of strength and newly acquired mastery. Use it as a source of strength to feel supported and encouraged.
On Her Bookshelf
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Meditation Is Not What You Think: Mindfulness and Why It Is So Important, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Connecting With Dr. Amber Baker
Podcast: Go Friend Your Self with Dr. Baker, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast distributors
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