We recently spoke with Lisa Oz, host of The Lisa Oz Show, on family, personal growth, and supporting other women. Take a look at her thoughtful insights.
Your father was a surgeon and your mother was very spiritual. How did they influence you?
Yes. My dad is a cardiac surgeon, which is the same type of surgeon as my husband, so Freud would have a heyday with us. And my mom, Emily Jane, is a minister. She was trained in two separate churches. She first got her degree as an interfaith minister, and then she completed theological school in the Swedenborgian Church.
Who saw something in you when you were a kid that you didn’t see in yourself?
My parents were always very encouraging. And I had two best friends growing up, Jennifer and Sharon. We were sort of the Three Musketeers, and we definitely felt apart from the crowd, so we saw something different in each other.
What would you say are the best kept secrets that women need to know about their health that maybe we don’t admit to?
I think the biggest threat to our health, particularly as women, is our abdication of our responsibility for our health and wellbeing, and the way that we surrender authority to other entities, whether it’s the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, or our physicians. It makes the choices easier because we don’t have to think too much about them. But it is in our best interest to be proactive, dig deeper and not always take the first answer. The real secrets are empowerment and knowledge.
What have you tried to teach your daughters, and what to young girls need to know?
We have three daughters and one son. Daphne is the oldest, she’s 28. Arabella is the next, she’s 23. Zoe is 19, and Oliver is 14. I’ve certainly tried to instill in them a sense of confidence and a knowledge that it is incumbent upon them to make a contribution. There are two things that I think we all need to be happy. One is the sense that we are growing as individuals on a spiritual, personal, and emotional level so that we check out better than we came in. And the second is contribution. It’s important to improve yourself—not necessarily by bodybuilding or amassing huge amounts of wealth—but by becoming more conscious, aware, present, and evolved. Then you need to use that awareness in service to others.
What’s the best way of turning around a destructive habit?
So many bad habits are addictive. And I don’t mean hard addictions like alcoholism, but even surfing the Internet has the same addictive qualities as something like alcoholism or drug abuse in that you can’t stop when you want to, even when you know you should be doing something else. We get this kind of “fuzzy brain” that overrides our rational decision-making capability. For me, the only thing that really works is to pause and question. If you can stop yourself in the moment and ask, “Why am I doing this? What is it that I want?”–you’ll get off autopilot. So just snapping out of it, to interrupt the pattern of making bad choices, even a few seconds of pausing.
What can women do for other women?
Cut each other some slack. We’re so judgmental of other women, and it stems from our insecurities and how judgmental we are of ourselves…It’s important to realize that other people are doing the best they can and that we’ve made some poor decisions, too.