Lili Reinhart says she's had a 'spiritual awakening' over the last 2 years: 'I want to be happy'
Lili Reinhart is embarking upon a spiritual journey to find her happiest self after years of suffering with anxiety and depression.
The Riverdale actress opened up about her in conversation with Jay Shetty, on his podcast, where she shared that she was diagnosed with depression at 14 years old and recalls struggling with anxiety for as long as she can remember. Although she found solace in therapy from a young age, she's recently found herself on a "healing journey."
"I feel the last two years have been a very large spiritual awakening for me. I really became awakened to the spiritual side of life and really what wellness means. I thought I knew who I was before and was confident, but really so much of my identity was based off of pleasing other people and putting my identity in other people’s hands," she said on episode of the On Purpose podcast. "I read a lot of self-help books, did a deep discovery on all of those things and the biggest takeaway I was gathering was how vital it is to sit with your feelings and experience them."
Reinhart, 25, explained that she long was shameful about her anxiety and even felt misunderstood by peers and family members around her as they tried to decipher the root cause of her mental health issues. But even when she sought out help, she realized she was holding her emotions back.
"I think the therapy was a really beautiful [thing], for one hour a week I was talking to someone who just got it. She was an older woman, I instantly really loved her and connected with her. I still felt like it wasn’t ok for me to be feeling what I was feeling, like it wasn’t justified and maybe I’d be looked at as crazy, so I remember even in my therapy sessions [I] would be like, ‘Oh God my allergies are so bad,' as I had tears streaming down my face. I’m like, 'Girl, in a therapy office you’re allowed to cry,'" she recalled. "Even just from when I was a kid, I feel like you heard the term, ‘Don’t cry, you don’t need to cry.’ Crying is the most beautiful thing you can do, I encourage people to cry, I cry all the time. And I think it’s the most healthy expression of how you’re feeling and I sometimes wish I just could’ve been told, ‘You can cry. There’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in how you’re feeling, and also you don’t need to always be justifying it.’ Because I think I was constantly trying to come up with reasons why, rather than just being accepted for what it was."
Ultimately, when the world was faced with various lockdowns as a result of the coronavirus pandemic at the start of 2020, Reinhart decided she had the time to unlearn those limiting beliefs and allow herself to fully turn inward.
"The biggest thing I kept reading was, feel your feelings. Sit there and let the feeling be in your body. Let it flow through you, observe it, don’t judge it, let it happen as it needs to happen. Let it flow through you. So that’s what I did," she said. "My perspective has changed quite dramatically over even the last couple months and I sort of look at things this way, as someone who very much struggles with anxiety and depression. When I feel very overwhelmed by those things and sort of like I’m being burdened by these things, I like to think of it as if I started out as this celestial being, this just energy, and the universe or God or whomever said, ‘Hey, do you want to go to earth for an incredibly short amount of time, like a blip, and experience every emotion that you could possibly feel as a human, you get to have all of these experiences — love, heartache, anxiety, joy, euphoria, whatever, all of it. Do you wanna do that?’ Yeah, I do."
Although she's learned to be grateful for the range of emotions she's experienced, and the intensity to which she's felt them, she admitted that it still can be isolating. While in a period of self-discovery in her twenties, she's seen the coming and going of friends, explaining it as a "revolving door of people in my life." Her goal, however, is to be OK without them.
"I feel that I have been in fight or flight mode for most of my life. And what that has done to my brain and my body, my mental wellbeing, is if I continue at this rate, catastrophic. I will lose my brain power," she said. "I’m basically on this journey right now in my life of trying to calm that down and trying to just simply exist and sit in stillness without feeling like I need to fill a void."
As an actress and a self-proclaimed "workaholic," Reinhart revealed that wrapping herself up in various projects has served as a type of "coping mechanism" to avoid internal chaos. While she wasn't filming during the height of the pandemic, and isn't in front of the camera this summer, she's been forced to confront her emotions in ways she never has before.
She began to do this in 2020 by seeking out spiritual healers and experimenting with reiki, sound healing and other deep forms of meditation. She's even used TikTok to connect with likeminded people and ended up doing a mentorship with a psychic she discovered on the app who led her on a different route of healing.
"I believe we all have psychic abilities, it’s a matter of training your brain. Some people are just born being more in tune and tapped into that skill, but I do believe that we all have the ability to tap into them, so I really was just trying to learn how to do that because I thought that was so fascinating," Reinhart said. "[The psychic] did teach me how to talk to the deceased. Not that I can do it well. I will say I feel that I’ve only successfully done it twice or three times and even then, while you’re doing it you’re sort of like, 'Am I doing this?'"
While acknowledging that parts of her thinking and approach to healing might seem abnormal, Reinhart also shared that her journey has extended to very applicable changes in how she takes care of her body. Being intentional in how she treats her mind and body on a daily basis has even served to lessen her chronic fatigue.
"I’ve treated my body like a junkyard for a very long time with what I’ve been eating and it’s got to a point where earlier this year I knew I needed to make real changes, because I was so unhappy with how I looked, one, but also I felt that I was doing a great disservice to my body," she said. "I spent so much time trying to better my mental health and I don’t put any of that into my physical body and there’s all this new research of how depression is directly related to your gut and all these things. I’m like, ok we’re gonna take this seriously."
The actress has been open about her relationship with her body in the past, sharing with fans and followers when she's struggled with body image and how she tries to be a voice for body positivity. Whether mind, body or soul, she's now learning to accept that the journey of self-discovery and improvement is never really over and that that isn't a bad thing.
"My wish always has been I want to be happy. And my intention is to find true happiness and peace with myself. And that is my purpose right now to find that," she said. "The spiritual journey has been so encouraging to me because once you start you never stop. It’s not something that you one day are gonna go, 'I’m healed. I’m good. I’m done.' It’s truly for the rest of my life I will be seeking out growth and that is so, I’m so happy about that. There’s always more things to learn, there’s always something else to explore within myself and that is so exciting and wonderful."
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