My guest today is Erik Andersson from Los Angeles, CA . Erik breaks every mold. He doesn't fit any stereotype you think he should. He's a muscular, athletic guy who has the most sensitive, empathetic heart you can imagine. He identifies as Hispanic but has white skin and strawberry blond hair. As you'll learn from our conversation, his racial ambiguity led to a lot of his insecurities. He speaks highly of his loving parents and his wonderful, supportive family, yet those close bonds weren't enough to keep him out of prison. He was the kid that was relentlessly bullied who grew up to be a violent, angry person. He's the perfect example of when you meet people, you really have no idea who they are and what they've been through until you listen to their story. I've heard it said that when we judge others, we're wrong 90% of the time. That seems about right to me. Erik is thankful for the journey his life has taken and although painful, knows that this was the exact path he needed to become the whole person he is today. He is genuinely free...physically, emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically. He let all of it go and now lives a full, free life that is all about helping and encouraging others.

Show Notes

Erik was not shy in naming his problem and the root of his choices...he cared deeply about what others thought of him. Haven't we all been in those same shoes? Yet ,at the time, he didn't have the tools to handle that fear and insecurity with mental clarity. How many of us would be so forthcoming in telling others where we lacked character and understanding in our youth...most of the time we prefer to chalk it up to stupidity instead of our own  ignorance. I'm deeply impressed by the level of character Erik shows now that he understands his mindset and the vastness of all it affects.

Erik certainly inspired me to look to the people in my life who have made me a better person and honor them the way he did. I love how he said, "I always thank my friends for giving me parts of them that I can instill into my character." Most of us want to take the credit for the good in us and blame others for the bad in us. Not Erik. His honesty and humility impress me. He's the real deal!

The Swiss  psychiatrist, Carl Jung, aptly advises that, "We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses." Erik took this advice to heart by calling out his past behavior without any excuses or justification. He sees clearly how he used to be a thief, a liar, a master manipulator. But no more. All of us need to do the uncomfortable work of recognizing our shadow selves because the sooner we acknowledge this part of ourselves we despise, the less power it holds over us. May we all learn to accept the good and bad in both ourselves and Erik has.

Erik's Favorite Quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world." Gandhi

Social Media:
Instagram: @Erik928Andersson   
Facebook:  @Erik928Andersson

California Justice Leaders - Impact Justice Americorp - The Organization Erik works with

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What is Gramercy?

Stories from those who live and work on the margins of society.