Tony welcomes his daughter McKinley (Mackie) back to The Virtual Couch. Mackie talks about what it took for her to shed the “shoulds” in her life, “you should go to college, you should be a teacher, you should, you should, you should!” and how she ultimately took action on following a path she knew she secretly wanted since middle school. Mackie shares how her depression clouded her dreams even when her parents said that they supported whatever she wanted to do in life and what, if anything, they could have done differently to help her through some of her darkest days. You can find her at Ivory Salon Suites here https://www.ivorysalonandsuites.com/ or follow her professional page on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/beautybymackie/


Visit http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic to learn more about Tony’s Magnetic Marriage program, or visit http://tonyoverbay.com to take Tony’s free parenting course, or to learn more about his best-selling book; or only recovery program “The Path Back.” And please subscribe to “Waking Up to Narcissism,” Tony’s brand new podcast, which is part of The Virtual Couch podcast network. 

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[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and eighty four. The virtual couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and author, speaker, husband. All those things. But I'm also the father of four amazing, wonderful children. And coming up on today's episode, I have interviewed my daughter McKinley, a.k.a. Mackey, a.k.a. Mack. She is twenty one, I believe, and I know that sounds like a joke. But holy cow, I have joked about the approximate ages of my kids and my wife are so long that I honestly question myself. But she was born in nineteen ninety nine, and so just to make sure that I got this right, I went and looked up her age on a birthday calendar on the internet because I was so in my head that I was going to get her age wrong. But that led me down a little bit of a rabbit trail. So Mackey has six hundred and eighty five million five hundred and eighty four thousand seconds old, or eleven million four hundred and twenty six thousand four hundred minutes, or one hundred and ninety thousand hours, almost 8000 days, eleven thousand weeks, two hundred and sixty months or twenty one years old. Eight months, twenty one days old, which makes me, by the way, I couldn't help myself. I am one point six billion seconds old or twenty seven million minutes. That is kind of mind blowing. That translates out to fifty one years, nine months in twenty one days old, which is insane.

[00:01:16] But I digress. So today's episode is so good. And yes, I am biased because I interview my daughter, but I have received plenty of amazing feedback from the episodes that Mackey has been on the past. She's come on openly, and she has talked about her struggles with anxiety and depression, and she was also on a panel of guests, which is one of my favorite episodes of all time where we were a few months into the pandemic, and she was there with my oldest daughter, Alex and Alex's husband, Mitch and my wife. Her lone appearance on the virtual couch and my nephew Connor, which was He's a hilarious individual. So today, though, I want you to know we go really, really deep. Mackie just graduated from cosmetology school, and she has taken a job at an absolutely incredible salon in South Jordan, Utah, that just opened up a new location. And it's called the Ivory Salon Suite, and I will have the link to the the location and how to book with my daughter in the show notes. And I would highly encourage you to go book with Mackie because she's honestly very, very good at what she does. You'll kind of get a feel for that in the interview today, but we often here's what I like that we talked about today is that, like so many of us often do, we take the job, we follow the career or we get the degree that we feel like we're expected to, because that is what our parents or our friends or our church or our community says that we should do.

[00:02:36] And I often say nobody likes to be should on. And when you're doing something because you think you're supposed to, that is called a socially compliant goal. It goes against who you are at your core because it just goes against your, your own sense of self or process of unfolding or all these other cool psychological terms. But when you are living your life by a socially compliant goal, then you are often just going to continue to kick the can down the road. You'll do things later, you will. You'll try to be happy or later. Right now, you just got to get the work, you got to plow through your job. There's this concept of where you, you go to work so that you can then come home and enjoy yourself or get to the weekend and have fun. And I don't talk about this often, but I'm kind of convinced that that might be just one of those stories that are own brain is telling us that we feel like we can't do what we really want to do at our core. Because what I often hear in my office is that people will say, Well, if I really did what I enjoy, then all of a sudden it would it would become a job and I wouldn't enjoy it anymore. And I would often say, I'm talking probably for years, or I would say, No, I hear you.

[00:03:39] That makes sense. And then one day it hits me that, Oh, I actually did 10 years in a career that I absolutely did not enjoy. And now I'm pushing 17 or 18 years in a career that I absolutely love and adore. And so when you love your job or when you're doing something you feel pretty passionate about, and that doesn't mean I love every minute of every day, but when this is something that really speaks to you, that you're passionate about. Then when you come home, you're still on fire. When you hit the weekend, you, you still you're just excited to do things. And I often find that people that are living these socially compliant lives, socially compliant goals and doing things because they just think they have to hit the end of the day, there's exhausted, you know, and they say, OK, you know, I'll do those things I always wanted to do later. I'll do them. When I get caught up on things, I'll do them. After I get a lot of sleep, I'll do them when I make a little bit more money or when I get married, or when the kids are older, or when the kids are out of the house, or when we get the new car or the nicer place. And that is just kicking the can down the road when there is so much life to be lived, right? This very second. So Mackey was just passionate about the the going to cosmetology school, but she was afraid to take action on it.

[00:04:49] We're going to talk a lot about that today, and I want you to know this is she. She would. She's going to talk openly about the fact that she knew that she had that support from her parents. But even when we support. Them early and often that they can literally still do and think and feel whatever they're going to do, think and feel because we're all our own unique individual people. So I could say all day long, Mac, I'm a therapist. Come on, do what you want to do. Find your dream and passion. And I love what she goes into today, where she talks a lot about saying, I mean, I heard you, but I still felt like I might disappoint you. So we need to understand that every one of our kids, our spouse that we are, all are own unique individuals going through this thing for the first time. This thing meaning life in the moment that you come upon today, you've never experienced that before based on all the situations that you bring to the table right now. So it becomes even more important that we are there for each other, that we hear each other, that we're not trying to control each other, that we're not trying to tell each other what they should do. Because how on earth do you really know what another person should do when you have never been that person? So we, you know, we talk about how teenagers, when they truly don't feel like their dreams or their goals or their hopes or their passions are even an option can often feel hopeless or stuck or helpless.

[00:06:01] So as parents, it is so important to know how to encourage your kids to find their path, but to know again that even when you do your best to be supportive that they all, they're going to have their own views of who, that they think that they're supposed to be. So I say so often that you can either have love or control in adult relationships, not both. And I feel like in today's episode, we really speak to the fact that you can even express love and somebody else can still push you away. And that isn't necessarily about you. Everybody is again, they're on their own path. They're trying to find themselves. But I guarantee you that the more time and energy you devote to showing your spouse or your kids or anybody that you care about, that really matters to you, that you love them, that you're there for them, and that when and if they do hit a breaking point or rock bottom or whatever that is, that they will know that they can come back to you because you hear them, because you see them, you love them and you are there for them in whatever capacity that they need. It does not mean OK. See, I knew you'd come crawling back to me looking for advice because I'm telling you if you put that energy into the people around you.

[00:07:08] Number one, they aren't going to come back looking for help. In fact, almost likely do the opposite. They'll probably try to do everything they can do to not come back. And here's where that here's where things get kind of interesting from a psychological perspective. We have that whole model backwards. We think that we have to push somebody out of the nest in order for them to fly. Now that might work with birds or in books, or maybe even written in stories by authors that are trying to process their own feelings of abandonment from their own parental figures. But we actually need to do the opposite the birds, so to speak under our care, need to know that they can be in the nest. Until that they believe that they are ready to fly. And they need to know that they can come back to the nest if they don't feel safe, or that if they're going to go through some rough patches in life that they know that they can come back to their secure base or their secure attachment and know that somebody has their back. And I often feel like when I start talking about things like this, a parent will say, Well, yeah, but if I just if I don't shove them out of the nest, they're going to sit here and stay at home and play video games forever. Well, here's here's the part that we're missing.

[00:08:09] The fact that they are afraid to go out and try to find themselves might be because you put so much pressure on them that they're going to do it wrong. You better not mess this up. You better, not let me down. You know, this is so important right now, what you do. And so no wonder if that person feels like I'm scared to death. I'm going to do it wrong. Then they're going to cope with things like video games, social media, pornography, alcohol, you name it, as an unhealthy coping mechanism because they feel like if I screw this up, my parents are going to abandon me forever. And so then eventually the parent does boot them out of the house, and then they have to go figure it out. And the parent says, See if I never would have booted you out of the house. This never would have worked. And that whole model is backwards. It's broken. If we've been nurturing a relationship with our kids where they know that they can come to us with anything, and I'm not talking about the hollow kind of, Hey Champ, you know, you can come to me with anything, but then they come to you and say, Wreck the car or I'm smoking pot, or I failed out of school. And then we say, Are you fucking kidding me? You know, is that the? So are we really? Can they really come to us with anything? So I feel like oftentimes when the kid is still in the basement playing video games, they're paralyzed because they're so afraid that they may go out and do it wrong, which then only frustrates the parent at that point.

[00:09:20] That's where I feel like the parent needs to say, Hey, I'm here, you know, I've got your back. What do you want to do? What can I help you figure out so that they know that they can go out there and try their best? And if they don't succeed, that's even a loaded word that they know they can come back and say, All right, well, that one didn't work. So what are we going to do next instead of us feeling like we have to just push them out of the nest? So remember, this isn't about you. It's about them. And if you feel like it's your job to throw your bird out of your nest or else all the other birds will think you're not a good bird parent, or if you feel like you have to throw the bird out of the nest because let's my parents threw me out of the nest, I seem to be OK. You're working from a flawed model, but I so digressed. But. I really felt good to get off my chest, so let's get to the today's episode with my daughter, Mackie, and please check out the links in the show notes and go by and say hi to her and get your herded as the kids say from my daughter, Maggie. All right, let's get to today's episode.

[00:10:28] Come on in and take a seat.

[00:10:35] So annunciate, hey, come from your diaphragm, I

[00:10:39] Don't know how to do that.

[00:10:40] Loud project your voice, Mackey. Ok, OK. Welcome back to the virtual couch. Thank you. You know that you now become the most interviewed guest in the history of the podcast. It's kind of fun for me. It is right. I was thinking about that. At first, I was going to say, You've tied my intern slash associate Nate Christianson and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, five world renowned sex therapist and relationship coach with three times. But then you were also part of the covert kids I was. And that was, yeah, it was an ensemble cast, but you were a part of it. So technically, yeah. So this is your fourth episode. You feel like a big deal. I know, right? I've been looking forward to recording this one for a while. Yeah. And we were talking about things leading up to this and we could go a lot of different directions. And I think things could get really deep. They could get heavy. And I think that's that's we're going to keep it real. As the kids say, kids don't really say that anymore, do they? Do they sometimes sometimes. Oh, no. Ok. In your previous appearances, we've talked a little bit about anxiety and depression. And and so I get a lot of emails. I forward some of them to you. Those are fun, right? When people say that they really identified with things that you've said or I think in particular, I get ones from moms who have said that they believe and listen to our episodes with their daughters. What's that like, by the way, when you get that kind of feedback?

[00:11:59] It's nice because I like it's scary to be vulnerable and to put things out there, which I have done a decent amount at this point. And so it's just nice to feel like at least a couple of people have taken something from

[00:12:14] It more than a couple of people.

[00:12:16] But it's just it's nice. Yeah, and it's just nice because it just is reassuring that everyone is going through things and there's you can just be nice and helpful and all those good things.

[00:12:26] People really are too going through a lot of things and sometimes and this is going to sound silly, but I forget, and I really do at times if I bring on a new client, how much I need to validate and say, Oh, I have dealt with that before. And and I find myself not wanting to say that at times because I don't want the person to feel like I'm dismissing their experience, right? But then I remember that they're coming in here, sometimes feeling like they've never told anybody about their experiences.

[00:12:50] The only one that's felt it, and it's like, No, everybody goes through.

[00:12:53] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I still feel like I would say that I have this thing on my shoulder called Holy crap o meter. And I and I tell people, it's not going to move trust me because they will say, I bet you've never heard this or this is going to sound so crazy. And sometimes I think, huh? I wonder if this will be something that I've never heard. But no, not really. Yeah, but not even to dismiss them. But you're right. Everybody wants to feel like they're not alone or crazy or that sort of thing. All right. Well, the reason I was so excited about this is there are so many things that have gone on since we last spoke because we last spoke. I think you weren't in college yet. Yeah. Other than the COVID kids episode, yeah. But so when we last left, it was probably finishing up your senior year and you were trying to figure out what to do next and what do you remember about that? What do you remember about wanting to do or thinking you wanted to do as you were wrapping up?

[00:13:48] Honestly, I didn't think about it a lot. I didn't. I I knew growing up. I feel like from the time I was like 13 or 14, I wanted to do here, OK? And that was always like in the back of my head. And so I'd always say it was like my backup option because I didn't want to admit that it was what I actually wanted to do because I was scared of the stigma. Ok. Which is dumb.

[00:14:09] I even think as you're saying this right now, I didn't realize it was that early on that you wanted to.

[00:14:13] Oh yeah, it was. As soon it was like the first as soon as I like started looking into makeup and like getting into that stuff, I was like, Oh, I like this guy. Yeah, I care about this and I want to do this. And so I knew, like, pretty early on. But then, yeah, I got scared of the dumb hair school girl stigma thing, which is so stupid, OK, but I cared too much about that and then went through a lot of crap and then didn't really care about my future in general and then didn't think about it too much after that.

[00:14:40] Yeah.

[00:14:40] So, yeah, I wasn't really thinking about it.

[00:14:42] The hair school stigma? Yes. When did you start feeling that?

[00:14:46] I feel like in high school, people would talk about it and make assumptions about people and say things like, Oh, well, there's some hair school or there's going to do that, or I bet she just goes to hair school. I like stuff like that. And it was always just tied with like. That means you're dumb and you can't do other things and whatever. And so I totally let that get to me. Yeah, I was like, Well, I'm not dumb. Like, I'm not going to like I. And I totally listen to that, which is stupid because you actually you can't be dumb if you're going to go through hair school, it's not as easy as you think.

[00:15:11] I agree with what you say that and first of all, do you feel like you went to you went. How long was it two years a year and a half?

[00:15:19] With COVID, it was like a year and a half.

[00:15:20] Yeah, with COVID. That was a whole other experience.

[00:15:22] I on for a little bit. So it's like a year and a half six hundred

[00:15:25] Hours and you. And hours and you had to do a lot in the classroom as well as actual styling, hair

[00:15:33] Cutting in clients, yeah. Four of the five

[00:15:36] Days, yeah, which I didn't know. That's how it works. Maybe even for anybody that's listening to this, right?

[00:15:41] You OK? I thought it was going to be in a classroom the whole time, but you're taking clients more than you're not.

[00:15:46] I mean, how and how soon were you starting to see clients? This is what kind of blew my mind. So it

[00:15:51] Was eight

[00:15:51] Weeks, eight weeks in. And then you're cutting people's hair and it's more than just cutting people's hair.

[00:15:55] Yeah, yeah.

[00:15:56] Yeah, you were coloring hair, all of it. All of that. Do you remember your first experience with somebody?

[00:16:02] I don't remember my my first experience is mom.

[00:16:05] Oh, OK. Yeah.

[00:16:07] So it was like different than I don't remember my very first client. Yeah, but I remember like those early stages and just like trying to fake the confidence, you know?

[00:16:17] Yeah. And I even think about this. We'll probably talk about some of this to you. And I have had a lot of conversations around even the similarities, it seems like from therapist and cosmetologist. Yeah.

[00:16:26] How funny is it? It was surprising to me, like I knew people tell their hairstylist everything, but I didn't. That means everything, and I love it. I love that part of it.

[00:16:32] Like when you're talking everything you're talking about, they're feeling like they aren't a good parent or marriage issues or things about addiction.

[00:16:39] They told anyone else like. Yeah, I hear it all. Yeah, which is fun. Yeah. Yeah. Like, it's just, yeah.

[00:16:46] Would you ever feel, though, like you needed to give advice? Or what was that like for you?

[00:16:51] I don't know how to give advice. It's like, I'm not good at it, but I feel like people like they ask for it. But I think more than anything, everyone just wants to be listened to and to be heard. So I feel like for the most part, it's just like listening and validating and that aspect just building a connection there. That's more important than,

[00:17:08] Yeah,

[00:17:09] The advice that I potentially can try

[00:17:11] To give. No, I love it. And I love when you were just saying there that you were saying, I have to pretend to have the confidence, and I've talked on my podcast before about when I first started seeing clients. I would have this moment where I think what would a real therapist say? And then,

[00:17:23] Yeah, I feel like I'd be like, Yeah, I would like someone who actually knew what they were doing, say right now and then

[00:17:28] Over time, I would think, Wait, I am a real therapist. Do you remember having a moment where then you thought, OK, wait, no, I do know what I'm doing. Or did this happen over time?

[00:17:36] Yeah, I feel like it wasn't like a light bulb moment or anything, but just, Oh, OK,

[00:17:40] Ok, I'm doing this. I'm getting so far ahead. So if we go back to. So you always thought that that was your Plan B, but you were worried about it for the stigma of cosmetology.

[00:17:48] So I always said I'd always say this whole go be a teacher, I'm going to go do that. I always had this other like legit college thing that I had in mind. And then I would say, and then maybe I'll get my cosmetology license, like, maybe I'll do that, or maybe I'll think about that. Like, I never was like, Yes,

[00:18:02] I'm doing this, but you're telling me when we were even talking about before we hit record that you deep inside said, I'm going to do that.

[00:18:09] Yeah. It was like, I will. This will happen regardless, and that will be my primary, like my main thing that I'm going to do primarily always. But then I'll have this other cover

[00:18:20] Almost to be the teacher who can also cut hair. Exactly. We also in a little pre-interview we talked about, OK, how deep do we want to get and why not get deep right now? This is the funny part where I said, we can also edit it. So now the next part of I'm saying, and then you lived happily ever after, then you'll know that maybe we had a big, big part, right? But so deep where we were going with that was I said, Man, man, can you remember mom and I driving out to college with you? And I remember we were I felt, honestly, I felt like leading up to the days before you left. I feel like we registered knowing that you might not go and we even paid for your apartment and stuff, knowing you might not go right around and come back. And I remember being like an hour outside of of Rexburg. Yeah, and I remember because the freeway went a different way, and I remember having the conversation with you where you were even saying, and you know what? And I might we might get there and turn right around, and we were saying, Yeah, we might. Oh, man. So what do you remember about that summer leading up to leaving? And were you going to leave or you're not going to leave? And what led into that?

[00:19:23] I just remember, like, I was not in a good place. I was miserable. I basically my whole my senior year of high school was mentally was rough, like I one of the worst years I think I've ever had type thing. And so I was like, I remember that was really hard. And then I graduated thinking that that would solve all my problems and I'd feel great. And then I didn't like a week after graduation. I'm still sad and miserable and don't know what I'm doing and just, yeah, really had no idea what was next. And did you

[00:19:53] Feel because you didn't know what was next, that something was wrong with you?

[00:19:56] Oh, yeah, OK. I was like, everyone. Like all my friends know they're going to go do this and they're going to do this and they want to study this and they have these plans. And I was just like, I don't know. I don't know. I don't know what I'm going to do. And. So I remember, like towards the end of my senior year, finally just being like, OK, I like logically, the next step is college. Yeah. And I was like, I don't want to just sit at home, stare at my ceiling all day, every day.

[00:20:19] So which this is the part that I thought got deep was because that honestly and we haven't talked about this, I think directly. But mom and I, that's what we were worried about was if you stay here, you're going to stay inside and just stare at your ceiling.

[00:20:31] But then that's where I was. Mentally, that's what my life was.

[00:20:34] But then every time that we would say, but we don't want to go, do this and don't you want to go away and don't you want to?

[00:20:39] I didn't want to do anything, and I was telling you earlier like that was that was stemming from the fact that I genuinely didn't feel like I had a future and I didn't feel like there was a next step for me. And because of those previous years, I felt I was shocked that I made it to 18 and then 19 and then 20. And so every year is like, Oh my gosh, like, I actually am doing this, and I actually have to think about what's next because I didn't think I would make it that far. Yeah.

[00:21:03] And I was just so sad because and what I appreciated, what we were talking about earlier was it wasn't like you had a look at me. Am I just trying to seek my own validation? But you, you had you had opportunities. But then we were talking about, but there's so much more that goes into it. If there's some, there's there's some history of depression in our family. So if there's some good old chemical things going on, that's just and then and then it really is. I always say that it's nature and nurture and birth order and DNA and abandonment and rejection, right? Because then if you get in some relationships that aren't good and those

[00:21:36] Aren't right and those

[00:21:38] Are things that you signed up for and nobody gets into a relationship thinking, I think this is going to be pretty crummy. Maybe they start good, right?

[00:21:44] It's pretty bad. Ok. So, yeah, so it's like all of it was just a lot of crappy things. Yeah. Going on with that rude of just yeah. History of depression. Like knowing there's some chemical imbalance. Yeah, trying to figure that stuff out already, which is hard enough, like just trying to deal with that, but then having the crappy life things happening on top of it. Yeah. So then, yeah, I remember like that, especially that that summer before I left it, the guy was registered for school and whatever, but I didn't want to be and I didn't want to go and I didn't want to do anything. And I just remember because I was telling you, like just I remember lots of nights where it was just like, I was not OK. Yeah. And I was not like doing smart things to cope and turning to very unhealthy things. And then I vividly remember, just like pleading with God to just let me go just that. I felt like every night I'd fall asleep, just come on. Just let me go. And I've done that breaks my heart. Yeah. It was hard, and I know people feel that if people experience that, and so that was every single night. And so then it got to a point before I left for school so I can just sit here and and plead and be miserable and stare at my ceiling, or I can try to cling to this last resort potential thing that could kickstart my future a little bit. So then I embraced this. Ok, I'm going to go be a teacher and I'm going to go do that. And I held on to that. It was literally all I had left because I to some extent, I felt like it was all I had left. And so I just ran with it. I was like, OK, I'm just going to go, I'm just going to go. And I wasn't even thinking past that.

[00:23:09] But I think it's important. And I think that's where if somebody is saying, but what if this doesn't work out or what if and

[00:23:14] I didn't have it in me to even think that it was just, Hey, I'm just going to get there. I'm just going to get there. Yeah. And then I didn't know what was going to happen next, but I'm just going to go and

[00:23:22] Do you think and I know it's so hard to I think we were even talking earlier about when I was saying, when people say, man, I wonder what would have happened if and I would say, Well, yeah, who knows. But then not a productive thought. And I'm about to say, but let's go there for a minute. Right. So for the sake of other people, I wonder if when you're having these thoughts of, you know, it'd be nice to not even wake up. I mean, I'm in this where I say often that when people come and tell me that they don't, they've never thought of suicide or something. I think I don't know if that's even normal. And as a therapist, we talk about, but have you ever had the plan and it's going to happen this way at this time and this that's when things get a little more real. But when people have the, you know, if I got hit by a meteorite tonight, that's OK. Or if I just don't wake up, I think that's more normal than people people realize. Yeah, but then when you hear you and I love that you're laying out the part where you always had this Plan B. I wonder if you had really felt like that would have been plan a if that would have helped earlier.

[00:24:16] Yeah. Like it's that thing where no way to know. Yeah, because that wasn't the case, you know? But I feel like there's definitely a chance it would have just helped with motivation and hope and just knowing that I could potentially do something that I would like doing. I feel like that could have motivated me a little bit.

[00:24:34] Yeah. Well, and that's what I'm saying again, for the sake of those who are listening and who have teenagers or 20 somethings or whoever it is, that's where I feel like I just want to say, Yeah, it wouldn't necessarily if you're 16, 17 year old is really depressed and you just say, No, no, what do you really want to do? I know it's not that easy because I still feel like I know and I like what you're saying about you could even still say, Well, this is what I want to do, but you're still going to feel all that and validation from your peers, right?

[00:25:00] It doesn't just put everything else away. No, but I do definitely think that, yeah, it adds some hope. Into a life that feels like that's not anymore. Yes, I don't know. Yeah, it's definitely something to think about and that could be helpful, potentially.

[00:25:15] So for anyone listening, especially the parents, they just say No, really? Tell me more. Not what? I think you'd be happier, right?

[00:25:23] Ok. And then maybe just, yeah, anything you can do to head into that direction, I feel like couldn't hurt.

[00:25:27] Yeah, just even make it more.

[00:25:30] I feel like it seemed like it's achievable and it's realistic because in my head, it wasn't. Yeah, but that was my mind doing like I had made it this. We're not going to do that.

[00:25:38] Yeah, which is funny. So then because I don't know, do you remember when mom and I were? When do you when do you remember when we were really saying, no, really? If you want to go to cosmetology school, go.

[00:25:49] Yeah, no. So I remember. So I went to college. Yes, and I stuck it out for I ended up doing it being like a year and a half. Yeah, ish. But I I sucked at it. I didn't go to class. I was getting horrible grades, which isn't like, like in high school. I got good grades, like I was a good student and in college I was not like, I. I did the bare minimum. I hated every second of it. Like I remember,

[00:26:11] There were times where mom and I would think, Oh, OK, this sounds good because one of the times you took a class and was the elementary education and you really were going to be able to color and cut out things like construction paper. Yeah. And I thought, that's pretty cool.

[00:26:23] So I'd have moments where I was like, OK, like, I could get on board with this, like I can color. I can do those things. But I was just like, Yeah, I hated every second of it, wasn't doing a good job, and the whole time I feel like I was doing a little bit better. Mentally sure.

[00:26:37] Because you were staying out there.

[00:26:38] Yeah, I stuck it out. Like I, a few people like found a couple of people that I found, yeah, I found a couple of really good people that I didn't even know. People could be like that. Good of people didn't know the friends that existed like that. So it's like, I figured that out. Got those people. And so it's again, just that hope thing. I was OK. I wasn't perfect, but I was OK.

[00:26:57] And we still get calls sometimes.

[00:26:59] Yeah, yeah.

[00:27:01] I remember we went, Hey, Mac, and you're here waiting to hear if you're like, Hey, what's up? Like, Hey, hey, everything's great. Or if it was like a little pause, Mike Mackey, you're OK. It's like, Oh, no, we never said, Oh no, I'm there.

[00:27:14] You know, in your head would be a little bit,

[00:27:17] Oh, never, but.

[00:27:20] And so I was like, everything was OK. And then so then I was entertaining the idea of the cosmetology stuff more seriously to myself. Cool part

[00:27:29] Was that there was a really good school in your in

[00:27:32] Rexburg, and I know that I learned about it and I was like, OK.

[00:27:36] And then, you know, people that were already going there, or was it seriously just a whole other world? It was a

[00:27:41] Whole other thing. Yeah, but then I found out that it existed and I was like, Huh? Interesting. And then I remember I just been thinking, I just been thinking about it more seriously and from like I looked on their website and I looked into it and I was like reading into all this stuff, trying to figure out, like, Could I afford this? And could I like on my own? Could I just go? Ok, so do you want to say I didn't want to tell you guys I didn't want to make you like interesting?

[00:28:04] So even though we're saying we'll do whatever you want to do? You're thinking, I probably still need to do this

[00:28:08] On my own. I'm going, How can I make this work? Like looking into it, trying to figure it out because I had no hair. Probably I was like, he'd never supported me. No hair. No, no. So then I remember just I remember having just the worst day. I was like feeling ready, ready to give up again, like I was in that mindset. And I remember calling you guys and just kind of throwing it out there, entertaining the idea. I don't know if you remember this all, but I vividly remember.

[00:28:34] I think I know where we're going with this.

[00:28:36] I've been looking into this. I kind of, you know, I let you

[00:28:38] Finish this sentence before I was, Yes, please.

[00:28:40] No, you literally didn't. I was so surprised. Like, literally because I did the whole thing where I made it so dramatic and I was like, I've been thinking and I do like, what if I did all this stuff? And then I finally spit out, just like cosmetology school and you're like, Yep, let's do it. Like, literally, it's

[00:28:55] Probably like sitting there going,

[00:28:56] Yeah, and then and I'm like sobbing. Like, I end of the world to me,

[00:29:00] Like, Oh, I do remember this

[00:29:00] Man. And within the week, I think literally I was at this

[00:29:05] Like financial aid going

[00:29:07] Out, meeting with people, talking about

[00:29:09] It. Oh, I do remember mom and I were just pumped.

[00:29:12] Yeah. And but even then I signed up and I still felt there going to be so upset. They're going to be so disappointed because I'm not going to college. I'm not getting like,

[00:29:19] Ok, because, yeah, because you were still going to go to college. Oh, that's

[00:29:22] Right. Because then I stuck with the college, with the BYU-I stuff. I stuck with that for a few semesters. Waste of time, waste of money, again failing my classes.

[00:29:30] I do want to say that was funny because mom and I at that point were just saying, OK, we want to support her. But deep inside it was, you know, you quit right now. Mac, you know, money, college kids.

[00:29:39] I was like, No, I got this. I was like, I'm going to get my business degree.

[00:29:42] I'm like, You could be a more cosmopolitan.

[00:29:46] I don't know why I didn't want to do it. I don't know. I did. Sorry about that. Oh, it's OK. That's right. waste of money there,

[00:29:51] It was worth it, Maggie. Sure.

[00:29:53] Yeah. So I

[00:29:54] Mom and I love Top Ramen,

[00:29:56] So it was

[00:29:58] That

[00:30:00] Anyways. Yeah. And then finally. Eventually dropped all of the college stuff and then just stuck with the hair school and embraced that. Yeah, and ran with that.

[00:30:13] Do you remember ever did you ever feel like it was a mistake once you were there?

[00:30:17] Honestly, I didn't feel like it was a mistake, but I definitely had doubts and moments where I was. What if I can't do this? What if I suck at this? And what if I dropped out of college and I'm here and the money's already been paid and there's no going back? And what if I don't like it? What if it sucks? What if I just suck at it and was like, What if I can't, you know, like, I definitely

[00:30:35] Have moments that, yes, you set me up for my my acceptance and commitment therapy moment, where at that point I feel like you were pointed toward a pretty value based thing. It mattered to you. And even there, when we say, OK, I'm going for it, our brain will. One hundred percent say, What if I'm no good at it? What if I suck? What if I? And that's where

[00:30:52] You guys hate that I'm doing what you know, right?

[00:30:54] And then you probably get annoying when I drop in it, therapist Mode but I'm like, Oh yeah, Mac, maybe. But we're not even arguing that, but you just keep moving forward.

[00:31:01] And that was like, Oh, you know, that was always in the back of my head. And so I definitely panicked. I'd have a little bit of an off day or I'd slip back into a little depression type thing. And so suddenly I didn't want to be going to school. But that was because of,

[00:31:13] Like the other thing, your

[00:31:14] Baseline and other thing in life and things are just sucking. And so I'm like, Well, maybe it's maybe I did the wrong thing and it's like, No, you're in a crappy relationship and you don't know exactly what you're doing with your life. And things are just hard and

[00:31:25] Life is hard. See, that's what stuck is that you're right, because I always talk about these triggers hungry, angry, lonely, tired or whatever. But yeah, inter back in crappy relationship. In the middle of all, this

[00:31:34] Is the core of my being, which that's a whole other thing.

[00:31:37] But that would be episode five

[00:31:39] That covid, right into that. Yeah, but no, you're as I'm trying as Covid is going on, I'm trying to finish school crappy relationship that nobody knows is crappy. I'm keeping it to myself among anxiety and depression in life.

[00:31:50] So in general, it's so funny then. So at that point was work almost even an anchor? I mean, your school was at that

[00:31:56] Point and I and so then it's your

[00:31:58] Parents. Hey, they're

[00:32:00] Cool. Yeah. So then it's like just all these other factors, all these things, then. Yeah, trying to figure out, Okay, did I do the right thing here? Am I going to be OK? Am I going to be able to make this work? Just yeah, trying to figure all of that out.

[00:32:13] I remember you have you have a beauty by Mackie account, and then you would start posting pictures of things that you were actually doing. And I was blown away because that's where I started thinking, Holy cow, this is real. It's happening. I mean, you're doing it and then you're having. I don't know if you can even talk about these things, but you're starting to call and have these experiences where people had felt down because of their appearance or because of whatever. And you're and you're listening to them in your chair and then you're transforming them the way they look. And then they're saying, Oh my gosh, and they're crying and hugging you and not tipping you still.

[00:32:42] No, never

[00:32:44] Because that was here that will all come back to you will be blessed. Yeah, right? But what were those experiences like?

[00:32:49] Well, yeah, there's one like when you say that there's one specific one that, like, I feel like was honest to goodness, like life changing talk about me because I it happened in a perfect time to where I'm, you know, relationship is crappy. Life's crappy. I'm I'm like doubting myself, doubting everything. I'm like, you know, I'm not making a difference. I'm not doing anything, whatever feeling down. And then I'm just sitting there and one of my teachers is like, Hey, we have we have this 13 year old girl coming in and this student is going to be doing her hair. Can you help? Can you just jump on? And I'm like, Yeah, sure, like whatever. And then she gives me a little backstory and tells me that this 13 year old is like wanting to end her life. And she's miserable. And she never leaves the house and her mom is trying everything and just can't like. She's just so worried. So she's like going to just bring her in for a low like spa type day or whatever. And so I'm like, OK. So I remember in that moment like feeling like everything in my life was out of my control. I knew that in that moment, I could I could do something. Yeah. And so I am going by the end of this, this girl is going to be smiling.

[00:33:43] She's going to feel good about herself. And I made that my whole life that I needed that to happen for her, but also for me in my life because I'm going to make this happen. And so I remember she sits on the chair. She's looking down at the ground. She won't even say a word. She won't tell us her name. She won't talk nothing. And the girl I'm working with kind of tries for a little bit and then just gives up and it's like, OK, I'm just going to do her hair, and that means I have to do it. And so I jumped in and I started being. I felt so annoying, but I was just like, What's your name? What's your favorite color? I'm doing? I'm just asking questions. She's not really saying anything, so I'm just saying, Oh, my favorite color is just saying anything, just trying to do anything, and we're just flailing her hair. We're going through whatever. And eventually she starts saying a few words, nothing crazy. She's still looking down at the ground, but we just start talking and laughing a little bit like, I just throw in a few things. Whatever we end up full on talking. I get a kind of laugh.

[00:34:33] And we're talking, This was hours. This thing?

[00:34:35] Oh, yeah, this was. It ended up being six or seven hours,

[00:34:38] Which I never knew you did those kind of things. It's not uncommon.

[00:34:40] We did her hair and then I did her makeup, and it was a whole thing, just hours and hours. And I think the breakthrough moment, I literally I was like, So you got like a crush on anyone. And she she starts blushing and he's all nervous and then spilled. It just told me everything about it. And then from that moment on, we were just vibing and we were just talking whatever. But anyways, so I ended up being fine. She was a whole new person. When she left, her mom had his take picture with her. Do whatever, and then she left, and she had sent me the pictures that she took, so she had my number. The mom did, yeah. And a couple of hours later I get a text from the mom and she's I just can't thank you guys enough. I don't even recognize my daughter in the best way possible, all this stuff. She just keeps saying that she feels beautiful, she feels beautiful, she feels beautiful, and she feels like she looks like her sisters and she loves it. And oh, just the nicest message I've ever seen. I was just sobbing as I read it and just saying that, like the 13 year old literally told her mom, That changed my life. Like that.

[00:35:36] Just so saying,

[00:35:38] Oh, so I'm I'm sobbing. Oh my gosh. All I did was talk to the girl. We just talked and we just connected as human beings. But for her, that was that was enough to make a difference, give her that little bit of hope that a little bit of motivation to be OK. Well, it doesn't all suck. It's going to be OK and Ivan, because I was talking to her. I remember when I was doing her makeup, I was asking her if she wanted to do anything and what she was thinking for her future. And she was like, I don't know, but like, I really like makeup, and she was talking about that and I was like, Do it. Here's who was awesome. Just go do it. This is so fun. You'd be so good at it and which kind of goes back to what we were talking

[00:36:08] About, where it totally does.

[00:36:09] How much of that can play into making a dream? A little bit more realistic.

[00:36:13] And I love that. Make it a dream. Yes.

[00:36:15] Yeah. And then feeling a little bit better about yourself raising that emotional baseline and all of that stuff. So that was a moment for me that I was like, OK, I can do something here.

[00:36:25] And that girl. Yeah, her name was Estee Lauder, and she now runs a giant cosmetic line, right? This was like a year ago. Oh, OK. It's kind to come on. Is that somebody still? Or was that just back in the eighties?

[00:36:39] There's still that's a company. Ok? Yeah, you're not.

[00:36:42] I was going to go and say in that girl like Ariana Grande. But then I thought, but when you went to makeup around, I thought that would be better. Oh yeah, my bad. So and I remember we would come out and especially for graduation, I had my first facial there. That was, Oh my gosh, that was incredible. It really was. It was. And then you graduate. And at that point. Well, first of all, talk about COVID. I mean, that not a real bummer. It was. It was a bummer for everybody. I'm not saying that. I'm not dismissing you, but I thought, Holy cow, you don't think about all the different ways.

[00:37:13] It was affected to some extent because at one

[00:37:14] Point then they stopped and said, OK, just read a bunch of things about hair and then and then the whole school down. You came home and you had all these creepy dolls around the house. What was the one thing, Cassie, Cassie? And then we would come downstairs and Cassie's there on the table, and she's looking at us. But you just had to keep practicing, not doing real.

[00:37:32] Yeah, because it ended up being like five months for me. Yeah, because I didn't want to do the online stuff because I felt like I was going to Egypt. So I just waited until it was back in person. But yeah,

[00:37:42] Did you have you had doubts during that time during the five months?

[00:37:45] Yeah, OK. Yeah. Oh, for sure. Because I was sitting, I was back sitting at home like I was right back

[00:37:49] Where I was playing with a lot of wii. Yeah, oh my gosh, we got good at the we. Lots of tennis. Lots of tennis. Lots of Mario Kart.

[00:37:55] Yeah. So that definitely scared me a little bit. Yeah. And then I was like, Do I want to go back? Do I can't I go finish?

[00:38:02] Honestly, that's what I love about this being able to talk to you about it now. I remember, I can't remember if mom and I talked about it, but I remember starting to feel like, Oh, what if? Yeah, she just feels, you know what?

[00:38:12] I'm just going to be right where it was. Yeah, senior year. So it was scary. But obviously I went back and I finished and it was hard. The last little bit was hard.

[00:38:21] Yeah, but well, especially they ended up being a thing where because of COVID and because of how long you had been home, I remember I think this is one of those examples of stuff just keeps happening in our lives, period. And then it's what do we do with her because you're, Oh my gosh, now I'm even thinking of when you took your test, remember? Oh yeah, OK, so let's talk a couple of stories, story time. So what I'm talking about here is you found out that there was a certain amount of time and weeks and something and hours. And because of COVID, there was this limit that we weren't aware of. And so I don't remember the details, but

[00:38:51] For some reason I needed to finish and I needed to finish.

[00:38:53] And you had to do, what, eight to eight weeks in a row of forty hours a week, 50 hours a week with no breaks. Now, remember, that was another part where I thought, Oh, what if Mackie just says it doesn't matter and you get that close? How do you how did you get through that?

[00:39:07] It was hard. It was so hard because I had never had to. I'd never had that long of days before. And then a lot of it was. I was alone for it because my friends would be there for the normal hours and I would have to come. I'd be there before and after them, so I'd get there in the morning and I'd be all by myself with the barbers so uncomfortable. And then I'd go through the whole day taking clients and then I'd have to stay extra hours after. And so just long, lonely days. And I was living by myself at the time, and most of my friends from Rexburg had moved at that point. So I was just very lonely, very scary. Just OK. But I knew I had to get it done. So I don't even know I. I remember it's like my only option, really. I mean,

[00:39:47] I tried to do it and because I remember we that we were waiting to hear more of those, oh, you know, Maggie's in trouble things. We kind of, yeah, you kind of never really did that. And I was

[00:39:56] Surprised to do it. I'm going to do it. And it sucked. It was not easy, but I did it and I kept telling myself. The thing in eight weeks, it's not going to matter. I'm going to be done and it's not going to matter, so I just kept telling myself that constantly. And then a year from now, I'm going to be I don't

[00:40:12] Even remember that. See, I

[00:40:13] Kept telling myself that and it's true. I don't even I remember. It sucks. I know.

[00:40:16] I can't remember either, because I feel like we're about to try to go into the memory bank. So. So there was you had to take two exams. Yeah, to get your license and the one was written and the other was the practical and the practical. So I get here really early. You were leaving to go early. Do you remember this?

[00:40:32] Yes, I remember this.

[00:40:33] So you. What was it? You had car trouble.

[00:40:36] So a story. Well, OK. So the day before my test, I was going to go for a drive, clear my head, get a good whatever. I get stuck in the snow. Oh, that's right. Remember that? Yes. And that's what caused the car troubles. Yes, because then my car got stuck in for low and whatever. Yeah, so get stuck in the snow and freaking out. Great. This is good. This is what I needed. I'd been studying all day for my test and I'm like, Cool. And then I called you guys. I'm literally digging my car out with my hands and you're saying, No, I don't know what to do.

[00:41:03] And we're

[00:41:04] Like, I don't know, like,

[00:41:06] Oh, we said, Try

[00:41:07] This, you know? Yeah. And eventually get my car out and it just feeling funny. But it's fine. I'll deal with it later. And so then I wake up. I have to leave at four in the morning or something for my test.

[00:41:16] It's super hour or two away and you have to be a certain place.

[00:41:19] Yeah, super early can't be late. Paid for it had to be there. It's this five hour test on your feet doing things. So I'm freaking out and I'm on my way there and my car's just being weird

[00:41:31] From the start I'm getting. I feel weird talking about it

[00:41:33] And then it gets to a point where they won't even accelerate. I can't go.

[00:41:36] That's when you called me.

[00:41:36] Yeah. Can't go more than fifty five sixty on this one.

[00:41:39] It was like 5:00 in the morning and you call and I remember you were saying what I do, what I do, and then I could just keep going.

[00:41:44] Yeah, just keep going. You told me, you're like, just get there. Like, just get there

[00:41:47] Because part of me and then pull over and see. But no go. Just go.

[00:41:50] Yeah, yeah, just go. And I don't know if I'm going to make it. I don't know what's going on. I don't know the car's shaking. And then I finally, I'm pulling up around the corner. I get off the exit. Luckily, the place is right off the casino.

[00:42:02] Yeah, casino hotel right off the exit.

[00:42:04] And and I've been praying the whole time. Just get me there. Literally, I get there off the exit. My car just stop. Just shuts down, start smoking and I glide into the parking lot,

[00:42:16] But still far away from parking so

[00:42:18] Far away. But I glide in their car smoking. I'm yelling at you. I'm losing my mind. And what do I do? Like five minutes to be inside

[00:42:24] Told you that they would lock the doors?

[00:42:25] Literally. They literally lock the door. So I'm losing my mind. And then

[00:42:29] You just leave the

[00:42:30] Car. I'm being so mean to you. Like, I'm

[00:42:32] Definitely not for it

[00:42:34] And I have this big tub I have to carry with me right the door. Super, far away. I'm freaking out. Then this lady comes up to me and she says, What's going on? I don't know. I'm like freaking out. And anyways, some miracle security guy comes, we'll deal with your car. I get in the security car. He drives me up. I run in the building. I'm carrying my box. I don't even know where I'm going. I pull up. I walk in the guy at the at the door. He's ten more seconds and I was going to lock the door literally. So I'm cool. Thanks. Like, that's the last thing. I don't want my phone. I don't have my keys. I don't know anything, and I have to take this test. It's like super is, so I'm filled with anxiety. My heart's racing. I'm sweaty, I'm gross. I just it's 6:00 in the morning, but like, it's so early. I'm like dying and then take my test. Go out there. I've no idea where my phone is. No idea where my keys are. Nothing.

[00:43:17] Yeah, so meanwhile, from my angle, so it was so funny. And I think there's a cool thing for parents to hear where, yeah, you're saying now you're yelling at me, all that stuff, but I get it because you were freaking out and it was such a big thing. But but then it was so funny to hear from my angle as soon as the lady came up and the security guards and stuff, you're like, Hi, oh yeah, if you could help, that'd be great because I'm sitting there like people are coming up. What do they do? What do you like, Mackey? They can help you. They can't. They don't know what's going on. They don't know what I mean. And I loved it because the concept I'm talking about, though, is I often tell parents that that's OK. I mean, it's actually a good thing if you felt safe enough that you could express that to me. And so parents listening to this, the last thing that a parent needs to do is say, Look, I'm trying to help you. You need to calm down, because that would.

[00:44:00] I don't know that would have ruined it like you handled it. So. And just being nice and just listening, even though I was being, that's OK. I was being a jerk. That's all right. And you were just saying so then.

[00:44:10] So then you get into the test. And it's funny because for most of the day, I'm checking find my phone or whatever. And yeah, it's the phone's not exactly where you were taking the test. And then then I'm calling friends in Rexburg. I'm calling a friend of mine who owns like a big company and. And so by the time you got out, then you had these texts when you did get your phone. And I think one of my friends

[00:44:32] Was, You tell me, Yeah, your friend is on his way to pick me up.

[00:44:34] Yeah, did. Yeah, but she didn't really want Ben.

[00:44:37] Well, I had no idea. Yeah, I was two hours away and so I was OK. And then you had someone coming to get

[00:44:43] Me at the car and a lot of

[00:44:45] Time. Yeah, it was

[00:44:47] And Mackey passed.

[00:44:48] I did pass. I just

[00:44:50] Look at that doing hard things, continuing to move forward and then just making the most of that situation and

[00:44:56] Just be present like I be prepared for things and then be present because I had studied enough and gone over it enough that it was almost muscle

[00:45:01] Memory. Yeah, exactly.

[00:45:03] But yeah, then just dialing in and being like. Those things are out of my control, I can't do anything about that, I need to just be here, do this right now, which is really hard.

[00:45:10] It is not easy to do that. No, and especially with that kind of circumstance. And then so now let's let's fast forward to you graduate. You come home for a little bit and then you were looking at all right, what do I do next? And you were looking at, do I go back to Idaho because I know people there? Do I go to Utah because you've got a cousin there and you guys are looking at maybe rooming together? Do you try to get something here in California?

[00:45:32] I had no idea.

[00:45:33] Yeah, yeah. Did that start to feel? I would say, did that start to feel overwhelming or

[00:45:37] Yeah, because it was scary, too, because that was the moment where I then had to start a career. I'm starting a full on career, and so I felt like I had to do the right thing. Yeah, but I didn't know what the right thing was, and I didn't know it was really scary.

[00:45:52] And I bet. And so this is where I want to keep throwing good old therapy principles in there because you heard about this opportunity, I forget who even told you about the opportunity with Meg in

[00:46:01] Utah, the hairstylist I went to in high school. Ah, I went with mom. Yeah, to her hair

[00:46:06] Appointment, she had her out Caitlyn, Yeah, yeah. Right? So then she yeah. So she tells you this opportunity, and I remember

[00:46:13] Asking for her advice like on, you know, what do I do? You went through her school. You have a good successful career now. What do I do? And she was telling me how she got started and that she she was like, I wish that I had done this. I wish I gone to assisted somebody, which I didn't even know. That was a thing, and I didn't know you could get paid to assist. Yeah, in hair. So I was, Oh, I'm intrigued because I was like, I want to be ready. I want to be. I want to jump in and I want to be able to succeed and know what I'm doing. And I was assisting would be perfect. And she happened to know somebody or know of somebody in Utah who had a really good assisting program. So, OK, so I like followed that

[00:46:48] Person, right? And I love I get it to the dad therapist, whatever. Because then there were still those. Ok, that would be amazing. But then here come the yeah. But yeah,

[00:46:57] But yeah, and that's all it was about

[00:46:59] First, like it was. Yeah, but I don't even know what I would say. I don't even know if that's what I want to do. I don't know. I don't know.

[00:47:04] I want to go to Utah. I don't know if I can. I don't even know if it would work, and then I could get my license. Like there was just all these other things. And it was easy to lean into those things and just be like, Well, maybe I'll just stay home. And you know, and

[00:47:14] And we were, Boy, I'm telling you, acceptance doesn't mean apathy. We were saying, Hey, Mac, yeah, if you want to, but what would what would that look like?

[00:47:21] You know, you know, yeah, you just stare at your ceiling all day again. Are we going to start that?

[00:47:25] Never said that, for the record. But.

[00:47:27] And so I finally just OK. No harm will come from just messaging this.

[00:47:30] I just want to say, say that again, because right, nothing will. Nothing negative will come from just continuing to move forward. Yeah, you can always say no, or they may say no.

[00:47:39] And that was I think it was just accepting the fact that there might be some rejection, but that that wouldn't be the end of the world didn't mean anything. It wasn't anything to take personally. So I had to mentally prepare myself there and get that in my head and then decide I'm just going to reach out. Worst things you can do is say, No, I'm not looking, and then I'll reassess and I'll try to figure something out. And then it was just one of those things where she got right back to me. You did face time interviews. Suddenly, I have a job, but

[00:48:06] I love what she did. Talking about I want this isn't why you're on here, but I want everyone in the world to go find your salon and come see you because I obviously you're my daughter and I want them to come get their hair done by you. But what I thought was really cool was, you were saying to me, Hey, have you heard of the what was like the Innegram and have you heard of this? Have you heard of that and maybe put you through the paces from a

[00:48:26] Love language test? Yeah. Like just because her she is this whole thing where she's you can't be your best self if you don't know yourself like that whole thing. And it's so true because if you don't know how you function, how are you supposed to do anything? Yeah. And then if you're if the people you're working with don't know how you function, how are you supposed to run something together? How are you supposed to be successful? So she knows everything about me personality wise, like she knows

[00:48:51] A lot about yourself, too, because you were coming home and saying, Yeah, have you heard of these things? And that's where I love the fact that you can. Sometimes it literally does take somebody else to bring these things up because as a parent, I mean, I was screaming inside of. Yeah, we've talked about these things, but you know, no, no,

[00:49:06] No, no. And yeah, so it forced me to then understand myself a little bit better. And then it just helps. I think every employer in the world should do it because then you just know how to communicate. And you know, Meg knows. How to talk to me about things and how to confront me about things or how to deal with things without shutting me down or breaking me. So it's just it's really good.

[00:49:27] So then and then there were other things that were, I mean, I remember and this is again, it's still funny now what you said earlier. It was really hard to try to find a place for a while. But now you're in a place and I and I don't. Yeah, but we kept moving forward and there were a lot of these times where it felt like it's not going to work. Can't find a place or license.

[00:49:42] You're going to get everything was just stressful. And then all of a sudden they have this job. And I had a couple of weeks really to figure it out and get myself to Utah. So it was intense and it was scary, but we just kept doing. It was one thing. It was going to be me to see that whole thing. Yes, OK, just do this and then we'll do this. And then, you know, and it's going to be fine.

[00:50:01] But what if eight steps down? This doesn't work? I know, right? But what's in front of us?

[00:50:06] So we kept doing that whole thing. And then again, just telling myself, OK, a couple of months from now, somehow I'm going to be in Utah and I'm going to be at my job and everything's going to be fine and it's not going to matter. That's I always that's that's why I like everything. I like it. So I just did that whole thing. And then it's OK. Suddenly, this apartment looks promising and then it works. And then we get it. And then I have a job and I have a day that I'm going there and my license finally comes through. Everything just fell into place. And here we are, and here we are. Been there for a couple of months. Yeah, working, taking clients and loving it. Loving it.

[00:50:38] And do you feel do you still feel confident you've learned some crazy advanced stuff around extensions and things like that, right? Are those things that you didn't know that you would already be learning?

[00:50:47] Yeah, yeah. My boss, I mean, she wants me to be successful, which is really nice. Yeah. So she just we just got right into to think I just it was, OK, you're here. You're going to work. We're going to learn. It's all going to be good. And yes,

[00:50:57] It's moved to a new brand new

[00:50:59] Building, brand new building

[00:51:00] Where you OK now for real? Because one of my top ten is one of my top 10 metro areas is the Salt Lake Valley Pro Bowl.

[00:51:07] That's right in South Jordan, right off Redwood Road. If anyone's in Utah, they know exactly

[00:51:11] What that is. Yeah. Name the place

[00:51:13] Is. It's called ivory salon and suites.

[00:51:15] Ok? And I'll have links in the show notes. But your Instagram here is beauty by Mac, beauty by MacKie and McKee.

[00:51:23] Yeah. Has all the links there. All the

[00:51:25] Things you can literally go sign up and you can do

[00:51:28] Their stuff. You can damn me you can whatever. Yeah, I'm there. I'm working.

[00:51:32] And then so before we wrap things up too, then that concept of we've joked a little bit back east. So I love this too. You surprised us. You came home for the weekend and I just I love those things and I should have known when I walked in Friday. Then mom was sitting there with her phone on me and. And then you jumped out and surprise me. I love that stuff. That's so fun, right? Yeah. But so Mackie came home, and that's why we're recording right now. But we also talked a little bit about it is still, is it still weird to think this is I'm an adult, I'm an adult teen.

[00:52:01] It's really scary and I feel like I don't know. You don't hear a whole lot about being an adult when you're not an adult, you know? Yeah. And then all of a sudden you're an adult and everything's expensive and hard and

[00:52:12] And you got to just keep doing.

[00:52:13] It kind of sucks, but it's kind of fun and it's like, Yeah, and that's we're talking about that. You have to keep doing it. And that's really scary. And you were telling me some good stuff there where I was telling you, I kind of start to freak out sometimes where I go, this is my life. Now I have to show up to work or I can't function. I can't live, I can't OK.

[00:52:31] I'm like, Yeah, no, we're not about to wrap this up because what we were talking about was it kind of goes along to

[00:52:36] Really daunting to think this is this is the rest of my life. Yeah, which I think everyone at some point or another has those thoughts. And it's like just the the way life works and the way you need money and you need to. I don't know. It just it's scary.

[00:52:49] It was I was telling Becky that it really does at times, and I can be probably a little bit therapist, annoying and reframing things. But it really does. We'll people will feel oftentimes like, Yeah, it's going to suck, but what are you going to do? And sometimes I reframe it to try to say there's a book called The Road Less Traveled, where the guy says life is difficult, and once we accept it, it's difficult. Then the fact that it's difficult no longer matters. And now we're not arguing. I can't believe it's so difficult. Or why is it difficult or it's more difficult for me than other people. And and those are the things that get us bogged down in the we could worry and think about those things all day. But once we accept it, yeah, it's going to be pretty difficult. But what are we going to do? And then you start turning toward things that really matter to you? And then and then the more you do that, the more you raise your emotional baseline, the more you feel a sense of purpose and the more of those up up days you're going to have. And on the down days, you still feel like that you have a direction or a sense of purpose. But I think it's pretty cool. But then I also think

[00:53:41] I'm figuring that

[00:53:42] Well, and that's what I'm still trying. I mean, I feel like that becomes what you end up having to do for the rest of your life, right? But that sounds daunting saying that. But what I was telling you about is that when we go back to your senior year and go back to what you felt was an Option B and going to school, and I was telling Mackey, Yeah, I went 10 years in a career that I did not really enjoy, but I didn't even know how much I didn't enjoy it until I found the thing that I did enjoy. So that's where I feel like you were

[00:54:08] Just plugging away.

[00:54:08] Yeah, yeah. But now and I like what you're saying, I mean, yeah, there's still days and clients and things like that that I maybe not is excited about. But overall, I love what I do, which then sure helps which. Do you kind of found

[00:54:20] That, yeah. Yeah, I think,

[00:54:22] Yeah, well, right, because this might be you may go however long on this and then the fact that you did that will will give you the confidence to then say, OK, now I want to pivot it slightly or whatever I want to do.

[00:54:34] Yeah, I like what I'm doing. I'm happy to be doing it. She's crazy. It's crazy to have that sense of purpose and this life changing. It is. And to feel like, OK, even though I don't know all the other things in life is still hard and all but have thing that I'm OK. I'm doing this and I like it, and it's going to be OK and I can be successful if I want to be successful.

[00:54:53] And we were even talking about Your boss is doing an amazing job with her studio and setting up things and promoting everybody. And but we were even talking about everybody's different there, too. I think we were saying, you may not be the person who wants to have their own place. You may want to be a person that has a there, rent their chair within the place. Or you might want. I mean, you can do kind

[00:55:11] Of kinds of options.

[00:55:12] Yeah, based on what you enjoy or what makes it tick.

[00:55:16] Literally, yeah. So I'll figure that out eventually.

[00:55:18] You need to know right now. No, not at all. For anybody that is watching, we'll probably throw up. It's not the best camera angle, but check out your hands. So what are the things you what are the things you didn't anticipate about this work that

[00:55:28] Always have hair dye on them? Yeah, they always look really gross. Yeah, they're there. It's pretty bad right now and it won't come off.

[00:55:36] It will. The other thing I think was funny was you. I remember the first time you told me that you get little cuts from here or something like that. Your hair slivers, which sounds like a great name for an alternative band. Like I would go see, I would see the hair slivers like they opened up. They would probably open up for a bigger band.

[00:55:50] Yeah, no, for sure, right?

[00:55:52] Yeah. So here's the update Do you still get them? Do they hurt?

[00:55:55] It's more. That's more like a short haircut type thing. Typically, more men, which I don't do. I don't really cut guy here anymore unless it's like my cousins.

[00:56:05] If a guy came to your salon, though, and said I would like a fancy haircut, would you say, yes?

[00:56:10] My boss is a genius and her place is right next to a barbershop. Ok, so I don't have

[00:56:17] To know that's a good. That's good. I don't have to do that. That's good. What do you like doing the most of so far?

[00:56:22] I just anything color related. I've always liked that, but I really like extensions, which I'm surprised I didn't. Yeah, because it's tedious and it's a lot of work, but it's really

[00:56:32] These are game changers for people, right? Oh yeah, yeah. Oh, that's so cool.

[00:56:36] So that's been really fun.

[00:56:37] Yeah. So people can go find you and go say hi and literally book with you and any parting words of advice. Now for the here comes deep therapeutics therapeutics. That's not a word therapeutic person. So talking to that 16 17 year old Mackey, what do you what do you tell her so many things?

[00:56:58] No, but I feel like based off of the career stuff. Yeah. Do what you want to do. Yeah. I just so I know that it comes to a point where you need to be providing for yourself or your family, whatever it is, but you can't do those things if you're not somewhat happy and if you're not OK, so you need to do the things that you want to do and figure it out that way. And don't don't be scared of what other people are going to

[00:57:23] Think that's

[00:57:24] So big is that I let that get to me so bad and just it doesn't matter. It's you, and your life.

[00:57:29] It's so hard. I mean, that's the part where I feel like I still deal with that at times, you know? I mean, that's

[00:57:34] It's you and it's what you're going to be spending all your time doing. So you need to pick what you can be passionate about and what makes you feel that purpose and all of those things, which that's a whole other matter that could go

[00:57:45] Hours on that. And I have, yeah. Yeah.

[00:57:48] But then to a little 16 year old Mackie, I feel like it is just that. It's a combination of the A to B, B to C type thing or focus on the things that you can deal with right then and there in that moment, because you don't have control over all the other things and then understand the part where. Now, always using words, OK, a year from now, a year from now, is this thing really going to matter or is it going to be this this big of a deal? Whatever I do that all the time, it's calm down, it's OK. It's fine, everything's going to be fine. It's not that big of a deal. Feel the feelings, but it's OK. It's not that big of a deal. It's going to be fine. I don't know. Just know that there is hope. Even one doesn't feel like it. Yeah, it's all like it is there and it does. It comes and goes feelings wise, but it is there which I feel like I didn't know that. Yeah. And then I think the biggest thing is just. Help is there. Accept it, accept it, because I think that was I didn't want to. And it's good. I didn't want to lean into that and I didn't want to admit that I had anything wrong. Like mentally, I didn't want to admit that I was sad. I didn't want to, like, make it real. So I pushed away all the help, and I was just like, No.

[00:58:53] As a therapist, we suggested therapy. What were your thoughts?

[00:58:58] He it.

[00:58:58] Absolutely. The moment I want it.

[00:59:00] But then I wanted it so bad. I just it was just the I didn't find the right person for me. Like, I didn't find somebody that I could really click with. Yeah, and then I gave up.

[00:59:09] I know, right? And that's why I felt bad, because that we would say, OK, well, we can find somebody else. But at that point, was it.

[00:59:14] I just felt defeated, and I again, I felt like there was no hope. There was no motivation. I didn't feel purpose. I was just like, Why? I'm not going to go? Why does it matter? I don't want to deal with it. And so I pushed that away. But no, just do the things, do the little things. I went on medication like I did things and

[00:59:32] Do all the

[00:59:33] Things, do all the things because the things help. They really do.

[00:59:36] Maybe there's the title, do all the things because

[00:59:38] They will help all the things and things help.

[00:59:40] Mackie, thank you so much. This was really cool. I wanted to talk about this one all the time and go find Mackie and go get your hair cut by her because she's really good. Thank you. Yeah. Take us out with a whistle. You know, Wendy, Wendy Wendy is my wife and say for those listening, he struggle whistling. That's not bad.

[01:00:03] Then he goes, Yeah, that's so embarrassing.

[01:00:05] All right. Mckinley Overbay, thank you so much. We will see you the next time I see you. Well, I'll see you as soon as I hit. But then it would be the fifth time. That's crazy. I think you get a jacket.

[01:00:14] Oh, you're already getting that jacket? I'll tell you another one. Ok, we'll do that. Ok, love you, man. By everybody.

[01:00:21] Compressed emotions flying past our heads and out the other end, the pressures of the daily grind. It's wonderful. And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that matter most wonderful. May 12. News of discount price. A million opportunity, the chance is yours to

[01:01:28] Take or lose, it's one.

[01:01:33] Funds are always on the back burner until the opportune time always pushed

[01:01:40] To go further, shut up. It goes. And some of. And. To be.

[01:02:21] I've developed this does don't explode a lot of understanding through to heal the legs and hearts, you broke the pain. Oh, the ship girls just

[01:02:34] Might implode my mental strength and cause I'm trying hard to shut

[01:02:41] Them out.

[01:02:45] The Manchester bomb is dropped due to a. You. To take. Screen. Fancie's. It drowns dreams.

With the New Year soon approaching, it’s time to talk habits! Inevitably millions of people will start to look at creating new habits, and breaking old ones and guest Abby Green has done all the research on habit formation so you don’t have to! Abby is a certified Tiny Habit’s instructor, successful life coach, wife, and mother of four vibrant children so she understands that sometimes you only have a short amount of time to work with when it comes to self-care, and especially the formation of new habits. Abby and Tony discuss in detail BJ Fogg’s breakthrough book “Tiny Habit’s” and Abby talks about the formula that BJ has developed over years of research that bring results. Abby mentions her “Health Holiday Habits Challenge” during the episode and she’s offering a discount on her program of habit change which begins on December 7th. Go to http://simplythrivenow.com for more information.-Sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!-This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.
Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ
Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.comto learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!
Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to https://www.tonyoverbay.com/courses-2/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.
Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo
Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.
You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts.-
Tony also mentioned his appearances this week on two podcasts, The Betrayed, The Addicted and The Expert with hosts Ashlyn and Coby, and Virtual Couch former guest Brannon Patrick where we discuss narcissism in detail and the challenges people face in relationships with narcissistic individuals https://www.betrayedaddictedexpert.com/podcast/episode/25d19bf1/is-narcissism-nature-or-nurture and The Millennial Member Podcast hosted by Emily Ensign where we discuss the topic of pornography, what helps with recovery, and what doesn’t https://www.buzzsprout.com/1072564/6209683-tony-overbay-pornography-and-recovery

You can watch this interview on the Virtual Couch YouTube Channel! https://youtu.be/kso620-siUE

What if your thoughts, even ones that you previously considered to be negative, harmful, unproductive, or even toxic, when put into context weren’t the monsters that you have made them out to be? Welcome to the world of Functional Contextualism.” This key principle of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) will help you understand that often even our most unproductive thoughts when put into the right context, can simply be stories that our brain is trying to get us to buy into in order to protect us. Too often we hear that we simply need to change the thought, and your behavior will naturally follow. But this isn’t as easy as we make it out to be. Have you ever thought about running away from a situation and then stayed? Or have you ever gotten so mad at someone that you thought about yelling at them to get even...and then not yelled at them? Then clearly your thoughts don’t always control your behaviors. The key is learning how to put the thoughts in the proper context. In today’s episode, we’re going to geek out on an ACT term called “Functional Contextualism.” Functional Contextualism will help you immediately make a small shift in your thought process to recognize thoughts for what they truly are, just pictures and words inside of our head...yet we often give them too much meaning...when taken into context, our thoughts can be clues to what we’re truly afraid of, and, better yet, what we truly want.


In this episode, Tony references Russ Harris’ values worksheet, as well as a sample chapter from his book, ACT Made Simple. You can find this information here https://res.cloudinary.com/psychwire/image/upload/v1519263962/pw.com/resources/harris/Values_Checklist_-_Russ_Harris.pdf and here https://psychwire.com/harris/resources


Tony mentioned a product that he used to take out all of the "uh's" and "um's" that, in his words, "must be created by wizards and magic!" because it's that good! To learn more about Descript click here https://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ


Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and sign up at http://tonyoverbay.com to learn more about Tony’s upcoming “Magnetic Marriage” program!


Tony's FREE parenting course, “Tips For Parenting Positively Even In the Not So Positive Times” is available NOW. Just go to http://tonyoverbay.com/courses/ and sign up today. This course will help you understand why it can be so difficult to communicate with and understand your children. You’ll learn how to keep your buttons hidden, how to genuinely give praise that will truly build inner wealth in your child, teen, or even in your adult children, and you’ll learn how to move from being “the punisher” to being someone your children will want to go to when they need help.


This episode of The Virtual Couch is sponsored by http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch With the continuing “sheltering” rules that are spreading across the country PLEASE do not think that you can’t continue or begin therapy now. http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch can put you quickly in touch with licensed mental health professionals who can meet through text, email, or videoconference often as soon as 24-48 hours. And if you use the link http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch you will receive 10% off your first month of services. Please make your own mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.


Tony's new best-selling book "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" is now available on Kindle. https://amzn.to/38mauBo


Tony Overbay, is the co-author of "He's a Porn Addict...Now What? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions" now available on Amazon https://amzn.to/33fk0U4. The book debuted in the number 1 spot in the Sexual Health Recovery category and remains there as the time of this record. The book has received numerous positive reviews from professionals in the mental health and recovery fields.


You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program The Path Back by visiting http://pathbackrecovery.com And visit http://tonyoverbay.com and sign up to receive updates on upcoming programs, and podcasts

[00:00:00] Ok, so have you ever felt like your, I don't know, broken something's wrong with you? Why do I keep thinking the things that I'm thinking? Well, by the end of today's episode, I really want to convince you that nothing's wrong with you. And we're going to go super deep, geeky psychology today. You're going to learn all about functional contextual ism. That and so much more coming up on this episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:00:36] Hey, everybody, thank you for tuning in to Episode 230 of The Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony, over me. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified mindful. I have a co-writer, speaker, husband, father of four, ultramarathon runner and creator of the Path Back. And it is the all new brand new reboot Path Back 2.0. If you have not been there for a while, if you have been thinking about putting pornography behind you once and for all and is still being done in a straight face, told the shame, become the person you always wanted to be. We just head over to pathbackrecovery.com. There is an all new e-book, five myths that people make when trying to overcome pornography. That doesn't make sense, does it? There are five myths, five myths to be overcome, five myths that are misunderstood. As a matter of fact, that is all the more reason I would highly recommend you go to pathbackrecovery.com and see see what the title of that e-book actually is. But I have already been doing some pretty exciting things with the new Path Back recovery program, including including a weekly question and answer call. So if you are interested in learning more about that, you can drop me a note at Contact that path back recovery dotcom.

[00:01:43] And just right now, go over to TonyOverbay.com, sign up to find out more information about upcoming programs because the magnetic marriage course is coming soon. And it is wonderful. I am so proud and excited of the magnetic marriage course. There are some concepts, some things there that are going to help you communicate more effectively with your spouse. And that is again coming soon. Dates will be announced soon, but be the first to know about the magnetic marriage course and go to TonyOverbay.com and sign up to find out more and just step over it. Instagram, if you don't mind, at Virtual Couch. I have a couple of people that are just doing some amazing things behind the scenes and putting out some just really good content, taking quotes from my episodes or episodes where there were other guests, and then putting those up on the Instagram page. Or also I believe that Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist and just encouraging a little bit of feedback and to get some of your thoughts on some of the content that I've been sharing. Now, speaking of content that I have been sharing, this is one of those episodes that I'm just going to go off the cuff. I'm going to read a little bit, but I want to just talk because this is about acceptance and commitment therapy. If you listen to the virtual couch for a while, you will know that is my therapy modality of choice, acceptance and commitment.

[00:02:57] Therapy has been an absolute game changer in the way that I act and practice as a therapist. And it is not that I am putting down any other modality or type of therapy. I was schooled at a grad school as a cognitive behavioral therapist. And just really quickly, I'll give you my passionate speech. Cognitive behavioral therapy is wonderful. A lot of motivational speakers work off of that. A lot of amazing life coaches work from a cognitive behavioral therapy lens and a lot of therapists. It's the major modality that's taught in therapy school and grad school because it's been around for a long time. And cognitive behavioral therapy will say that your thoughts lead to your emotions and your emotions lead your behaviors. Now, that is very simply put. And so the theory behind that and we'll talk more about this in a minute, is that if you change your thought and it works from this paradigm of considering your thoughts as automatic negative thoughts, it's a cute acronym of ants and you're going to stomp out the ants or it's your stinking thinking. And any of those acronyms or that concept is saying that you have these automatic negative thoughts that just come up and then you that leads to an emotion and then that emotion leads to a behavior. And again, I was a practicing cognitive behavioral therapist for many, many moons, many years.

[00:04:12] And then after attending a training on acceptance and commitment therapy, it just changed everything, changed everything in my life and also my practice. So acceptance and commitment therapy says, instead of looking at that is, hey, what's wrong with me? My thoughts are wrong. My thoughts are automatically negative or that I'm broken of some sort. It's saying that, no, you actually have the thoughts, feelings, emotions that you have because you're a human being and you have been through all of the life experience that you've been through up to this point that causes you to feel, think or behave the way you do. And again, it's because of your nature, your nurture, your birth order, your DNA, your abandonment, your rejection, your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your losses, that all of those are unique to you as an individual. And that is why you think, feel or behave the way you do. If you didn't have the thoughts, feelings and emotions that you had, then I often interject and there that you may be a robot or perhaps a psychopath, which I don't believe that you are. So you are human and that is why you have the thoughts, feelings and emotions you do. Hey, I know that the significance of what I'm doing right now might not even seem like a big deal because you're just listening to the podcast.

[00:05:21] But after I edited the podcast, I just had this this aha moment, this epiphany. So I came in here and split the file. And I'm recording this on Tuesday morning, really early before I released the podcast. But first of all, and I really didn't mean this to be an add. But I was editing with the software called Descript that I mentioned in the past that is made or created by wizards and magicians, and I'll have a link in the show notes. But basically I upload this audio file that was already done and put it into descript. And then I say remove filler words and it shows all the uhs and ahs. And it is it is amazing. I mean, it makes me realize how often I say and ah, but I'll put a code or not even a code, a link in the show notes. So if you want to go check out the script, give it a shot because it's just, it's, it's next level, it's future. Again, magicians and wizards have created it, but I'm about to just go big on this whole concept and acceptance and commitment therapy called functional contextual textualism. And I got on a roll. I mean this is stuff that I could talk about all day. So prepare for the passion.

[00:06:21] But before I even go there, the epiphany that I had is we're about to talk an awful lot about thoughts. And so I was looking back through the book The Confidence Gap last night, as I was I was I was falling asleep, which led to some pretty crazy dreams. I'm not going to lie, but I just had I was reading the chapter on thoughts again, and I wanted to just throw a couple of things out there before I get into the meat of this episode. What our thoughts. So Dr. Ross Harris in the book The Confidence Gap says thoughts are words and pictures inside of our head. And it can be that simplistic. There are a ton of different categories of thoughts, including memories and images and fantasies and beliefs and ideas and attitudes and assumptions and values, goals, plans, visions, dreams. So there are all kinds of thoughts, but in a nutshell, they are words and pictures inside of our head. But often we just give them so much value. And he also talked about that. If you kind of step back and look at your thoughts, our thoughts have a tendency to be negative. And earlier in the book The Confidence Gap, he talks a little bit about how our brain has evolved to go to this kind of naturally negative vibe.

[00:07:24] But he says, again, that's perfectly natural and normal because the human mind is very quick to judge and criticize and compare and point out what's not good enough. And that, in essence, is telling us what we need to improve upon, even if it's not necessarily something that we care about. And so, although our culture bombards us with the messages about the importance of positive thinking, I think it's important to note before I go big in this episode that the simple fact is the human mind has evolved to think negatively. And so then he goes on and just talks about some really great reasons why we've evolved to be a bit of negative thinkers. But one of the things that I wanted to bring up before I just jump in here big is this concept that we often hear that your thoughts control your emotions and your emotions control your behaviors. And so I just wanted to read out of the confidence gap. Russ Harris says another common idea is that negative thoughts are problematic because, quote, our thoughts control our actions. And I just feel like he laid this out much better than I do in this episode later. So he said if this were true, the human race would be in big trouble.

[00:08:29] After all, how often have you gotten so mad at somebody that you care about, that you thought about hurting them in some way or yelling at them or shaking them, relieving them or getting back at them. And I love how he kind of has an aside there where he says, be honest with yourself. We've all had these thoughts at times. So now just imagine if those thoughts had actually controlled you. If you had actually gone and done all those hurtful things, what would have happened to your closest relationships? Would you still even have any friends left? And he said, have you ever thought about quitting something? But you persisted. Have you ever thought about running away from a situation but stayed and stuck it out? So clearly our thoughts don't it's not just this A to B thing or thoughts don't naturally control our actions. They certainly influence what we do, but they don't control what we do. And so what we're going to talk about today is how you really can reduce the influence of those negative thoughts without trying to get rid of them. So with that said, let me get back to this episode on functional textualism and what to do with those problematic thoughts.

[00:09:27] So a quick example that I like to give, and I give this one often because it was during the time that I went to an acceptance and commitment therapy training. I was working with a client. They had been heavy as a child and I was working with them for some social anxiety issues. They wanted to meet people they wanted to date. So they were attending these single functions, these functions specifically designed for single adults to meet and hopefully find each other wonderful end date and live happily ever after. So when this person would walk into a room, everyone would turn and look at the person and the person would immediately think, oh, my gosh, they're staring at me. They're making fun of me. They're all making fun of me. So with a cognitive behavioral lens, you would say, hey, there, your thoughts are automatically negative. You're automatically thinking these negative thoughts that they're all looking at you and thinking these negative things. And so that would lead to an emotion of sadness in this situation and a behavior of turning around and leaving the room. So in a cognitive behavioral therapy model, you would then say, what else could they be thinking? Could they be thinking that you look awesome? OK, well, if they did think you look awesome, what would that how would you feel about that? Well, maybe I would feel a little bit of happy happiness or excitement, and then what would that behavior be? I would run into that room, jump up on the table and start singing in Oklahoma at the top of my lungs.

[00:10:44] So that's that would be the homework. So then person goes to another activity, opens the door. Everybody looks and this person says, I don't think that they think I look great and I'm not singing Oklahoma at the top of my lungs. So then they would return to therapy and say, what is wrong with me? And so as once I was learning acceptance and commitment therapy with this particular client, it was an immediate shift. The shift was you know what actually tell me more about your past.

[00:11:09] Tell me about growing up. And they talked about being very overweight and they talked about people looking at them wherever they went. And they were so aware of the stares and glares of everybody around them, the jokes, the things that were said as they walked by to their face and even behind their back as they walked by.

[00:11:26] So as they then lost a tremendous amount of weight. Now, when they entered the room and everybody just turned and looked, then they had those thoughts of people are making fun of them or looking at him or thinking he looks bad because that's all of his experience growing up, that people had been looking at him and had been making fun of him. So the first part was, man, if he didn't think, that would be crazy. So he's human. He's had all the experiences that he's had. And now if we even add into there, if somebody says, well, just don't think that, is that going to work? No.

[00:11:59] So that's where our good old friend psychological reactance or the instant negative reaction of being told what to do kicks in when someone is told, don't think that our brain actually says, I'll think whatever I want. And in fact, they'll think what you're just telling me not to think. But I'm getting off the path here. But so in acceptance and commitment therapy, there's that acceptance. You're not broken. You think the way you think because you are the only one who has been through the situations that you've been through. And I absolutely love that concept. So here's the geeky application of that today. And I have brought this up in therapy in sessions often, but I've felt like it's a little bit too dry to bring up on a podcast. So bear with me now. I am a huge fan of Dr. Ross Harris. He is the author of The Confidence Gap The Happiness Trap. Those books that I love, those books that I referred to so often and they are easy reads and they really do lay out the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy.

[00:12:54] Russ Harris also has a book called Act Made Simple, and he has a chapter called The House of Act. And in this House of Act, there is this concept called functional contextualism. So it's probably something that one might glance over and not give it much more thought. But the concept is so good. So I'm going to read from this Chapter three, The House of Act by Russ Harris in the Book Act made simple. So Dr. Harris says functional cantextualism. He said, let's start with the ground up with functional textualism. He said it's the philosophy that underlies a lot of the concepts that go beneath acceptance and commitment therapy. OK, so he says, imagine, if you will, a chair that has four legs. So now imagine that something has happened to this chair so that the moment anybody sits on it, one of the legs drops off. So would you describe this chair as broken or faulty or damaged? Would you call it a dysfunctional chair or even a maladaptive chair? And I want you to think for a second, would you consider this three legged chair is broken or faulty, damaged or even maladaptive? And I love when I do this exercise in my office because I feel like people for the most part, are going to be pretty honest and say, yeah, I would call it that. I feel like this is one of those where if I was teaching a Sunday school class and telling this, given this example to a bunch of 12 year old boys, they would say, no, I wouldn't say that. I think it's perfectly fine. So just because they wanted to be difficult. But if you're I feel like if you're being honest, you. Yeah, a three legged chair, one would consider broken, faulty, damaged, maladaptive, maybe even dysfunctional.

[00:14:31] And Ross Harris says, I've asked this question to many hundreds of therapists than they always answer yes to at least one of the above. The problem is this instinctive answer. Yes, there is something wrong or faulty or flawed, and the chair forgets to take into account the all important role of context. So sit with that for a moment. The context, do we give enough context to a situation or do we give enough context to what we bring into a situation or what someone else brings into a situation? He says, yes, there is something wrong, faulty or flawed. But again, when we put context into play, he says, I want to invite you now to think laterally. Think of at least three or four contexts in which we would say this chair functions very effectively to serve our purposes. So again, what are some contexts that a three legged chair would serve its purpose? And I love doing this exercise in my office. Sometimes people come up with some amazing things. Sometimes people draw a blank and that's OK. So he said, Did you come up with some? Here are a few. Playing a practical joke, creating an art exhibit of broken furniture, finding props for a clown's actor comedy show, and I love at this point when I'm reading these, a lot of times people go, OK, I get it, I see where you're going. Maybe demonstrating design flaws and furniture making class improving balance or coordination or muscle strength. And he says you try sitting without making the leg fall off of sitting down, without making the leg fall off, or hoping to injure yourself at work to get a compensation claim.

[00:15:58] So in all of those contexts, the chair functions very effectively to serve our purposes. So he goes on to say that this example illustrates how functional contextualism gets its name. It looks at how things function in specific contexts. So from the viewpoint of this functional contextualism, no thought or feeling or memory is inherently problematic or dysfunctional or pathological. Rather, it depends on the context. So in a context, that includes what's referred to as cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance, then he says our thoughts and feelings and memories often function in a manner that's toxic or harmful or life distorting. So let me go back and put that one in perspective. So in a context that includes cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance. So if you cannot get yourself to complete a project, a research paper, for example, if you then think, man, what is wrong with me? And now I'm fused to this thought cognitive fusion of useless thought that I will never get this paper done, that I'm horrible at writing papers, then that leads to it's called experiential avoidance, which is in essence, I'm going to avoid this. I'm going to do something else. I'm going to turn to something else right now because I just fuse to this thought that I will never finish this paper, that I don't know what I'm talking about.

[00:17:14] I'm horrible at papers. And look at all those ways that your brain is trying to fuse you, hook you to this story of I don't even know what I'm writing about. I'm not even good at this subject, because if it confuse you to that thought, then you will avoid writing the paper. So there is that experiential avoidance. So he said, again, if the context includes cognitive fusion and experiential avoidance, then our thoughts or feelings or memories often do function in a manner that's toxic or it's harmful or is life distorting because you're not going to write the paper and you're going get the bad grade, you're going to feel like what's wrong with me? And all of a sudden I'm failing out of school and I'll never have a career. And so in that situation, those thoughts are toxic, harmful, life distorting, he said. However, in a context that includes diffusion and acceptance, i.e. mindfulness, then those very same thoughts, feelings, memories function very differently. They have a much less impact and influence over us. They still may be painful, but they're no longer toxic or harmful or life distorting. And more importantly, they don't hold us back from value living.

[00:18:18] So this was a legitimate session that I was talking with someone recently. So they did need to finish a paper. And so if they have a value based goal of education or completion or follow through, then the fact that they aren't even sure if they know the subject or if they their brain is trying to hook them to one of these stories, it's trying to get them to fuse to the story of what if my paper's bad? What if I don't what if I haven't prepared enough? What if I don't get it finished? So in any of those situations, if you've used to that thought, then you don't have to write the paper but diffusion. So in context, those thoughts in context, if you diffuse from those, if you just think your brain for watching out for you.

[00:18:58] Ok, thank you Brain. I may not know everything I need to know about the subject or. All right, that's a fair point. I might not get a good grade on it. Or even better yet, you're right. I might not finish in time. Thank you for filling me in on that. Thank you for making me aware of that. I know you're looking out for me. Then in that context, you defuse and then accept that it's OK. I could have studied more acceptance or all right, I might not get the best grade. There's some acceptance, so acceptance and then diffusion and all of a sudden those thoughts in context, they just aren't really a big deal.

[00:19:33] They don't hold you back from value living. You continue to turn back to that paper and continue to write the paper. Your brain will still try. Hey, you're not making very much progress. OK, thank you, Brian. I appreciate the warning. I appreciate the heads up. I'm not even arguing if that's a true or false statement. That's not a very productive one for me, trying to get this paper done. So models. And here's what gets really cool. This is why I like the whole concept of functional contextual ism. Most models of psychology are based on a philosophy called mechanism. So mechanistic models treat the mind as if it were a machine made up of lots of separate parts. That if you still hung in with me this far, I think this is what becomes pretty fascinating about a lot of motivational speaker is a lot of people that are using things like cognitive behavioral therapy in life coaching and that sort of thing, that it's based off of this mechanistic thinking, this mechanistic model, again, that treats the mind as if it were a machine made up of separate parts. So in this mechanistic model, problematic thoughts and feelings are just simply seen as faulty parts of the machine or errors in the structure of the machine, so the aim in such models of this mechanistic thinking is to repair or replace or remove the faulty parts so that the machine can function normally.

[00:20:49] So mechanistic models of psychology, they assume that there are things such inherently dysfunctional or maladaptive or pathological as thoughts and feelings and memories. So in other words, in this mechanistic model, then there are memories, thoughts, feelings, emotions, urges, schemas narratives, ego states, core beliefs and so on, which are fundamentally problematic or fundamentally dysfunctional or pathological. And so much like that faulty chair, they either need to be fixed or removed entirely. So mechanism has been the most successful philosophy of science and most scientific fields. So it's not surprising that most models in psychology are based on some sort of this mechanistic philosophy and that there's nothing wrong or bad or inferior or basic about the concept of mechanism. But Russ Hirose merely emphasizes that functional contextual ism is a radically different philosophical approach to the mainstream. And so it naturally leads to a different way of doing therapy. It leads to a way of saying that those are just thoughts and feelings and emotions and urges and ego states and all of those things. And so taken out of context that they can seem very scary and heavy.

[00:22:07] Taken in context. It's just your brain trying to protect you, your brain trying to warn you, your brain trying to stay in this path of least resistance. So it's so important to just learn the concept of context in that model where I'm panicked about finishing a research paper, my brain is actually looking out for me because it's afraid that if I don't finish that, I'm going to be angry with myself pushing myself, or it's afraid that if I don't put in my best work that I'm going get a bad grade, I'm going to feel worse. So even the concepts of things like anxiety, it's there to protect this. It's there to keep our brains in this fight or flight state, in theory, to keep us safe, to keep us nimble and ready to run and ready to flee, because it's we're afraid of the unknown. And I love talking about this concept. While I have this soapbox. Let me continue. Our brains are designed as a don't get killed device. That is what they do. And they have this idea. And this is so funny when we're talking about our own brain, because I'm thinking of mine right now as I'm thinking about it, which I think is meta is the kids say, but our own brains believe that they just have this finite amount of electrical current or electrical activity.

[00:23:20] So the brain's goal is to chill and relax. So the more we think of patterns of thought, the more we do patterns of behavior, the more our brain says, I think this guy is going to keep doing this, or I think this guy is going to keep thinking this. And when you are thinking new thoughts and acting upon new stimuli, your brain is going to work off of a little bit more electrical activity. And it's fine. Again, it does not have a finite amount. Somebody needs to wake the brain up and tell it that. But so our own brain, though, thinks that it does. So every time that we do something, every time that we develop these patterns of behavior, we're paying a little more attention. And at some point when our brain finally says this is what this guy does, this is how he ties his shoe, this is how he backs out of the driveway, this is what he thinks about whenever he goes to work or this is what he thinks about whenever he gets down or depressed, then those thought patterns become habitual and they're moved into this habit center of the brain called the basal ganglia. It's a little walnut sized part of the brain. That is where these habits are stored. And the key part being that your brain does not require a lot of electrical activity when it pulls things from the basal ganglia, from this habit center. So it wants to put things into order. It wants to to identify patterns so that it can put these things in your basal ganglia so that you can use as little electrical activity as you can, so that you can just chill and relax and your brain will live forever. But are you living your best life in that situation?

[00:24:54] The answer is no. You're living a life that is more fearful. It's more avoidant. So learning these tools, this functional, can textualism that learning in context that first of all, you have all these thoughts and feelings and emotions that you have because you are a human being who's been through all the experiences that you've been through. And now when we can identify what really matters to you, what are the values that are core to you, not the ones that your parents have told you would be important.

[00:25:20] You are society's told you it would be important, even your church, your work, the society, just when you're told here's what you should do. Here's what you should think. Here's how you should believe then nobody likes to be should on. So the more that we. Figure out what our particular unique gifts in life are, and we all have these unique individual gifts and perspective and talents and takes and it's a matter of when we find them, then we start to move toward them. Those become our value based goals. But then here's that part I just laid out for you. It's scary. Your brain thinks I don't know what's going to happen if this guy follows his dream or follows is this new path. So I'm going to throw up a lot of what ifs. And if I can get him to hook or fuse to one of those what ifs, then he's not going to go off and do something scary. He's not going to go off and try to learn some new skill or put himself in a new relationship that might hurt him. He's not going to put himself out there and be more vulnerable because that maybe hasn't worked in the past. And I'm worried about if it's going to work in the future and bless your brains little peak squishy heart that it's still just trying to do you a favor. A solid our brain looks to the past and says, hey, this happened.

[00:26:30] And the most productive, powerful thing that we can do is say, thank you, brain. That didn't happen and I appreciate the information. And then it'll say, what if this thing happens in the future? And then the same concept, you know what, brain? That is a very good point. And I will be very aware that could happen in the future. But all I can deal with is what I have in front of me, what is right now. And even then, here comes anxiety saying, OK, what if, though I'm a little bit scared, there's a lot of stuff going on here. And even then we learn to turn to our breathing, a little bit of mindfulness, try to lower that heart rate, get that cortisol level down, and we can be as present as we can. And we start to turn toward those value-based goals. And then that is when we can start to move toward a more productive, more just rich, fulfilling life, because that is life is to be lived. Life is to be explored and lived. And every day that you are fusing to these, I don't think I can do it or I don't think you understand those stories. And I know that part can be incredibly hard. But every day that you're fusing to that and every day that you're saying maybe I'll try tomorrow, maybe I'll try next month, maybe I'll try next year. That is experiential avoidance, my friends. And that is not the key to living a powerful, productive life, but being able to recognize this concept, this functional can textualism that our brain is not this mechanistic model. And the thoughts and feelings and emotions we have are not faulty parts there because of our human experience.

[00:27:55] And then learn that what to do with those in context. Thank your brain for bringing those to your awareness and learn how to diffuse and just turn toward the present, toward a value based goal that means something to you. I could go on and on and on, but I hope that you get an appreciate and understand the concept of functional contextual ism. While I'm talking about acceptance and commitment therapy, I did have an opportunity to train a few hundred therapists last week, Via Zoom, and it was incredible, honest to goodness. It was one of the most powerful moments that I've had in my long career as a therapist. I was able to train them on stages of faith, stages of life, faith, crisis, faith journeys, acceptance and commitment therapy being true to your values, your beliefs, all of these things. This is part of why I was so fired up to just talk about this today, because it's been so on my mind after the preparation for this training. And I will end with this concept. But in this training, I was talking about acceptance and commitment therapy, and I was talking about a concept that is, again, another game changer, which is socially compliant goals. So there's a section in the book, A Liberated Mind, and that is by Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of ACT. And it's in this section where he's talking about values and he talks about he says in the section about values, values. It requires pivoting from socially compliant goals to chosen values, which then redirects the yearning for self direction and purpose.

[00:29:17] And doctor Hayes, he says people often attempt to achieve goals because they feel that they have to. Otherwise, people we care about or whose views we care about would be displeased or they will be disappointed in themselves. But research shows that such, quote, socially compliant goals give rise to motivation that is weak and ineffective. We may try to drive our own behavior with such external goals, but we also secretly resent them because they undermine our own process of unfolding this, he says. This yearning for self direction and purpose cannot be fully met by goal achievement, since it's always either in the future. I mean, I haven't even met my goal yet or in the past. I already met my goal so that he talked about values and why values are so important, because values are chosen qualities of being and doing, such as being a caring parent, being a dependable friend, being socially aware, being loyal, being honest, being courageous. My very favorite value is being authentic and saying what I feel in my heart. So living in accordance with our values. Now that is never finished. It's a lifelong journey. It's not a goal driven journey, and it provides a way to create enduring sources of motivation based on meaning, because ultimately what your values are is up to you. Your values are simply a matter between you. And the person in the mirror. So if you don't already have an idea of what your core values are, I want you to pick up a book or Google acceptance and commitment, or look at a liberated mind or the happiness trap or look in the show notes of today's episode.

[00:30:50] And I'll link to a wonderful worksheet by Ross Harris, where he lays out a lot of values, 40 to 60 values with definitions. And you owe it to yourself. You really do. To go through and find out what values are important to you and why. And this is an exercise that you can do on your own and then turn toward those values, find things that you can do that are part of these value based goals, because if you are not acting upon a value based goal, then you are doing a socially compliant goal. And again, remember, your motivation is weak and ineffective because it goes against your process of unfolding. All right. I could go on and on and on, but I am so grateful that you took the time to spend with me here on the virtual couch. I welcome any feedback. Contact that TonyOverbay.com will find out more about the magnetic marriage course. That's coming up. And if you have stuck with me this long, I am about to unveil a launch, invite people into an online group. It's ready to go for any women that are are breaking free from some relationships with perhaps a narcissistic spouse or someone is in a relationship with somebody that's struggling with narcissistic personality disorder. So if that's you and you're interested in learning more about this group, please text text me, please email me a contact at TonyOverbay.com. OK, taking us out today, as per usual, the wonderful the talented Aurora Florence with its wonderful.

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