Journalist Nancy Robinson asks Christian Life Consultant Justin Stumvoll why he does what he does:
At 32, Justin Stumvoll’s face is boyish and good looking. His biceps peek out of his plain T-shirts. He drives a Chevrolet muscle car with a stunning green finish. There are Transformer action figures on his office shelves because he loved the show as a kid and because they were heroes that wanted to set the world right.
Justin is a life consultant based in California who has a thriving business started solely by word of mouth.
As he sits across from me, legs propped up on the coffee table, arms folded behind his head, huge smile – I realize meeting with Justin isn’t like any other counselor I’ve ever met with.
He is experienced, enlightened, aware, and can carry on a conversation about pretty much anything I’ve brought to the table so far including the fashion industry, porn, masculinity, the difference between sexy and sensual.
As a twenty something who’s struggled with relationships and insecurity (and honestly, who hasn’t?), the fact that there’s a young male counselor speaking so candidly and openly about relevant issues is a breath of fresh air.
I sat down with Justin and talked about why he wants to be part of a generation that makes transformation cool.
How has your own personal journey helped you consult others?
I decided to go on a decade-long journey of dealing with my own personal fear, insecurity and self-hatred. I faced the monsters that were my childhood pains with my family, with relationships, with people.
Oftentimes, what I teach people and how I get them healing, is through in my own personal journey and a relationship with God. It is this personal journey of transformation, that is rooted in a connection with a higher power known as unconditional love, that brings them their healing.
I think a lot of people don’t get breakthrough because the god inside their head does not want relationship with them, or the relationship is conditional. The god they have in their head is perceived through the eyes of their childhood experience. So, if mom and dad are angry and their love is conditional, then that creator is conditional. That can be a very damaging relationship when the god in their head doesn’t come with a face of unconditional love.
What have you overcome in your own life?
Self-hatred, rejection, fear. I was terrified of confrontation. I was terrified of expressing how I really feel to people because sharing my feelings meant punishment. It meant mom getting angry or dad doing nothing, so I’d think, I’ll just be neglected if I share my feelings or I’ll be in trouble. So I’d be terrified of having a voice with people and expressing my needs, wants, dreams and desires.
Are a majority of your clients not standing up for themselves in the sense that they are not having a voice and not listening to their own voice?
That’s a fantastic question. Yeah, I’d say the majority of people coming to my office are not having a voice.
Humanity is very voiceless. Let me explain what I mean by a voice and what it is to have a voice because I think people need that defined. A lot of people think they are having a voice when they’re angry. They yell, they scream, they cry, they’re passive aggressive, whatever. Their view of a voice to me is not a voice at all because when someone is angry with you, you don’t know they’re really in pain. You don’t know they’re sad. You just know they’re unhappy with you.
We’ll always fight to have a voice. One way or another, we’ll have our voice. Whether it’s healthy or destructive is going to depend on whether or not we choose to actively have one or we put it on the backburner and it just comes out.
To me having a voice is being very clear about what you want and what you need. And oftentimes, I would say 98 percent of my clients – we’re talking big businessmen, even multi- millionaires – they don’t know how to have a voice with their spouses or their kids. Having a voice creates safety in relationships because it keeps others from wondering what we really think or feel. And in this they don’t have to worry that we are going to suddenly explode or withhold our love and connection.
What’s the most consistent thing you see in men and women as far as the issues they bring to the table?
For women, it’s body image. For men, it’s porn issues. But, I have a huge influx of women who have porn and masturbation issues and men who have body issues. And that’s not talked about in the mainstream.
What would you say is the answer to most people’s problems?
Breaking free from the relationship with self-judgment and shame and finding a relationship with unconditional love and self-acceptance. The majority of everything can be rooted back to that, from the relationships we’ve built to the boundaries we’ve held.
How do you interact with your clients and what tools do you use?
A lot of what I do is spur of the moment things. Oftentimes there’s an inspiration inside of me that I follow and I’ll go, Oh, this is what this person needs.
For instance, I take people in front of the mirror. I have a giant mirror in my room. And I have them stand in front of the mirror and I’ll stand next to them because it raises your anxiety to stand in front of a mirror for a lot of people because they don’t like what they see. I’ve found a good majority of clients, to get them past their self-hatred, I need to put them in front of the mirror. Across the board, the majority of people are unaware of how they treat themselves and they just live life where they’ve dehumanized their own person.
You seem like a really honest person. Are you honest with your clients?
I think if you want to create an atmosphere for people to be real and honest and authentically who they are, you have to come being authentically who you are. I want people to let down their guard so I have to let my guard down, and that’s another one of my gifts. I choose to be vulnerable so they can be vulnerable; I’m setting the tone.
I’m okay with hurting people’s feelings. That doesn’t mean being malicious or vicious. It means I’m going to be extremely honest. I would be doing a huge injustice if I didn’t hold people accountable.
What do you want to do with your success as a life consultant?
I want to create a generation of emotionally healthy people that can talk about their feelings and understand each other. The world needs self-aware people, people who know how to process their feelings. Everyone has feelings; let’s just figure out how to navigate them.
You’re bringing all this change into the world. What do you ultimately want to do with it?
This has been a gift that has been actively part of my life since I was a kid and there was this longing to have a worldwide reach to bring healing and love back to people. So for me, there’s a huge goal to multiply this from a public platform where I can share these concepts and principles with the masses.