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Building Audacious Resilience with Dr. Neeta Bhushan

February 11, 2023

In this episode of Waking Up With Melissa Ruiz, I sit down with world-renowned emotional health educator and performance coach Dr. Neeta Bhushan. She helps clients build their mental fitness through expanding their emotional grit skills with a blend of psychology, neuroscience, and ancient philosophies. She is the host of the top-rated podcast, The Brave Table, and the author of the award-winning book That Sucked. Now What?.


[03:55] Getting through your magical brave moments
[14:06] Four pillars to build audacious resilience
[22:58] Creating an emotional release practice
[25:35] About Dr. Bhushan’s book, That Sucked. Now What?
[28:24] Building a movement with #thatsuckednowwhat

What makes us brave?

Dr. Bhushan: Our ability to lean into the hard stuff. We can do that with grace and ease. “Ease” doesn’t mean “easy”. It will be hard, but we’ll actually dive into the mess and carve out the magic in that mess. We’ll embrace the joy and chaos. We’ll embrace the sucky times, the uncertainty, the surrender. It takes bravery to say, “Oof, wow, that hurts,” or, “I don’t know what’s going to happen.” And once we embrace all of that, we keep moving through it, towards the next evolution of my becoming.

What were the big moments in your life where you needed to call upon bravery to push through them?

Dr. Bhushan: I’ve had several “brave” challenging moments—moments of suck. I was at the top of my game in cosmetic dentistry around the age of 29. I’d made my first million and had ten people working under me. I was also hiding a very painful lie: my abusive marriage. A decade before that, I’d lost both my parents and my brother within a span of four years—before I was 19. All of that really set me up for being brave in my 20s; to say, “Fuck that. I’m not going to be a statistic. I’m going to overwork, overachieve, and over-prove myself that I can actually sit at the table.” So much so that, yeah, I did all of those things, but I hadn’t dealt with the grief and the loss of all I had gone through and was still going through. I lowered my self-worth so much because I was trying to recreate a family that I had lost. The only way I knew how was to hang onto emotionally unsupportive people to teach me about self-love and that the only way through was to “feel to heal”. We need to know our emotional capacity to heal, and to identify what we’re suppressing because we’re so afraid of feeling and diving into the mess. I had to take the brave step of moving forward and taking ownership. When I left that toxic relationship and, four years later, sold my big, lucrative practice to move across the country, things were dark. But they needed to be before the light came. It starts with a breakdown. The messy work is having compassion for the season we’re in, and to dig deep to discover what we really need as we move forward.

What are the four pillars of audacious resilience?

Dr. Bhushan: First, you cannot be afraid of your emotions. Our tendency is to bury the negativity because that’s what our family told us to do. Especially as women, we’re often judged for expressing ourselves too strongly. I say express your feelings in a healthy way. Find a safe space where it is okay to scream, to cry, to moan. You need to be able to stretch into those emotions that make you feel uncomfortable. Second, cultivate a sense of your Radical Self-Awareness, or RSA. RSA is attuning to where you are. Trust your instinct. If something feels off, pay attention to it instead of turning it off. Cultivate the strength to let go of relationships, a career, or a business that are no longer contributing to your happiness and growth, nor in alignment with your purpose. Three, make peace with your upbringing. From your parents and other caretakers to your teachers and other authority figures you grew up around, you need to be able to shed the victim mindset of placing the blame for your misfortunes onto everyone around you. At the same time, you need to have gratitude for the good that they did contribute to your upbringing. It’s so easy to hold resentment. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Four, expose yourself to good stress by saying “yes” to the things that scare you. Nobody wants to get into that cold plunge, but we know it has a thousand benefits. So does eating healthier. So does yoga and meditation. Invoke good stress, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Saying “yes” to those things rewires your brain.

Connect with Dr. Neeta Bhushan

Visit her website:

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Get the book:

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An entrepreneur by heart, Melissa helps other women start and scale their business, while keeping their spirits aligned and embracing new challenges.

Melissa Ruiz

Hi humans I'm Melissa