Preston Pugmire is the host of the Next Level Life podcast, an award-winning life coach, and co-creator of The Magnetic Marriage couples communication course. Preston joins Tony to discuss the importance of discovering and living by your values. Preston shares his story of spending many years and tens of thousands of dollars taking in information from various courses, attending seminars, reading books, and meeting with experts to create his M.V.P. or "Mission, Values, Purpose" masterclass. In the class, you will learn your unique MISSION. Your chosen VALUES. Your identified PURPOSE. Your articulated SUPERPOWERS and GIFTS. And you will create your CUSTOMIZED plan for how to make decisions and be confident in any situation. Preston's MVP Contract Masterclass is available now, but space is limited. To learn more, visit http://tonyoverbay.com/contract

If you are interested in being coached in Tony's upcoming "Magnetic Marriage Podcast," please email him for more information. You will receive free marriage coaching and remain anonymous when the episode airs. 

Go to http://tonyoverbay.com/workshop to sign up for Tony's "Magnetize Your Marriage" virtual workshop. The cost is only $19, and you'll learn the top 3 things you can do NOW to create a Magnetic Marriage. 

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 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=bSWcEQ


Tony: Preston Pugmire, welcome to the Virtual Couch. I think what's fun about this is we've recorded several episodes where we're talking about the magnetic marriage, and that is still the greatest marriage course known to man that you and I created. But today we are. Well, allow me to, well it's story time.

Preston, let me take my listeners on a train of thought. So, you and I talk often. We talk a lot and I love that. And we bounce ideas off each other. And, I've told Preston many times, I feel like, this is where you build this relationship with trust and Preston can say, Hey, wait, tell me more about what you're saying old man, and he doesn't always say old man. And I feel like I don't take offense. I trust Preston. I feel like he's very good at what he does. And so, I feel like, man, I want to understand or tell me more. Preston, I feel very safe and will explore these different things. Any virtual couch listener knows as I talk so often about the values.

And when I changed over from being this cognitive behavioral therapist, this acceptance and commitment therapy therapist, and hey, you're the only version of you and you're not broken, you're human. And now the next part of this is you're going to find your values and you're going to start taking action on things that matter and value-based goals.

And I get so passionate about that and then I tell people, Hey, email in and I've got the list of values you can work from, which is literally Preston, just a list of words. And so, then I feel like why can't people figure out what their values are? And so, Preston's telling me about this program he's been working on and he gets so excited about it and he's telling me about it, and I'm like, man, Preston, this is a great way to figure out your values.

And I think you were like, yeah, it is. And then suddenly it hits me, oh so, I just tell people, go find those values. It's so key, it's so important. Here's a list of words. And then I realized, oh my gosh, literally the guy that I talk to on a weekly basis that helped me create the world's greatest marriage course and literally has the keys to the values kingdom.

And so, that's what we're going to talk about today. So, I'm so excited.

Preston: Me too, man. The, the idea of like, oh, value-based goals, cool. What does that mean? And then, go find your values. How do I do that? It’s easy to get a Google search, but then okay, what do I do with this list? And what I've found is that you must have an intentional process to be able to figure out not only what your values are, but why those are your values. And, even more important, what order the values go in, because the hierarchy of how you approach those in your life will determine how you react to events, how you approach events, how you approach other people, what you're going to do, and we'll talk about that in just a minute, but it's not just go find your values, there's more. There's so much more to it because they align with your mission, your personal purpose, mission, values, and purpose. And then also what your gifts, talents, and abilities are that you bring to the table in your life. So, it just rolls together with who you are, what you want to do, why you want to do it, and how you're going to do it so that you can feel fulfilled.

Tony: And what I love about that is one of the stories that I run into people fusing to so often is the man, I still need to work on my values, or I haven't figured out my values yet, or I'm not sure where to start with my values. And it's funny because I would sit in my office and think, Okay, well, at least they're saying the word values.

So, I mean, they're on the right path, but then your own brain will get you stuck in that I still need to figure out my values story because then I don't have to take action on them because once I figure them out, I need to do something. And so, when we were talking about it, I like that it isn't just, I identify them, but then it is what do I do with them and not just what do I do? But I appreciate it when you are saying it really helps you understand who you are as a person, which puts you in a direction. So, I want to step back here. And I just want you to drive because I do trust you driving the car. You have the keys to my car. So, I would love for you to just take us on your train of thought and what this whole process looks like and maybe, how you came up with it and what do you do?

Preston: So, thanks so much, man. Working with you as you know, as a therapist and as a business partner, and just as a friend, all these different things, I've learned so much from you, and what I've done is I've taken what a lot of different people have taught me; you, Tony Robbins, James Wedmore, Garrett Whites, just like a lot of different teachers, just lively.

People that I've worked with personally, one on one, people that I've taken their courses, people that I've done their seminars, and books that I've read, and I've just searched, searched, searched, searched. And then I've created kind of like this Frankenstein's monster of what everything kind of builds towards, and I call it a personal MVP contract.

What I mean by that is MVP, mission, values, purpose, mission, values, purpose, and your contract. And it's like for me, it's my contract with my life, with my creator, with the world, with my relationships, with everything that I am. It's who I am. What I want, how I'm going to do it, why I'm going to do it, and my gifts and powers, my superpowers that I bring to the table and all of it together is this personal MVP contract.

And I was thinking about this. Honestly, it took me about three years to create because I was putting little pieces of it together, like my mission statement, my purpose of life, my values, the order of them. Another, like a primary question that I'm always asking myself. I call it a foundational filter.

We'll get into that. But I was thinking about it like all this stuff is out there. It's all out there. All you must do is go to six different seminars and hire four different personal coaches and do 10,000 hours of Google research and 40 hours of meditation. And you must fill up six journals and stuff like that.

It's all out there. You can just go do it

Tony: now that I have that info, yeah.

Preston: I mean, uh, it's all fair. But why do people hire personal trainers? Why do people buy like a workout program, right? Because every single fitness routine, every single workout program, every single nutrition plan or supplement plan or everything like that, it's on YouTube, it just is. Or at bodybuilding.com or something like that. It's just, it's all there. So why do people buy a program? I'll ask you why you think people buy a program?

Tony: Oh, okay. Well, it's funny because this is one of those things when we were putting our program together, and we would go over this, over and over cause I would just want to spout off this knowledge. And then, you would talk about, I mean, people buy a program because there's some accountability there. It's somebody that they trust. It's what the person is saying. Look, I've taken all this data and do you want these things? Because I can give you a very specific set of things and it's a kit. I want those things. And I like that a lot.

Preston: That's why I initially started working with you. You had basically a kit that you had all this experience and it was just really, cool. And that's why I work with other coaches and other people.

Tony: On that note, Preston, you're being too humble, and I feel like this is going to make your point even better. I had a kit. I was holding like a bunch of scraps of paper together and saying, Preston, here's the way. This is the key to marriage, right here. You know, and what Preston has a good ability to do is then put that into these tangible action steps. And I was pulling a very, very haughty therapist card and saying, oh no, they must find this journey on themselves. And here's these things that they could take along with them. And you were saying, no, we need to understand how to do it. And I fought on that for how long? I mean, it was a while, right?

It was just like a year. It was, right. And then, the best part though is now what do I talk about, the four pillars, the connected conversation scripts, the magnetic agreement plans, the tools, the steps, the acronyms, and they resonate, and they give you a framework to operate from.

Preston: That’s the cool part. It's a framework. And so, one of the things that I realized as I went through this whole process you're talking about. What I'm able to do. I had, man, I had a huge epiphany about one of the things that I'm honestly, that I'm really good at. And what it allowed me to do is it allowed me to really see how good other people are at specific things that are just, they're effortless to them, and so they just seem invisible. But I'm like, oh my gosh, you're so freaking good at that. An example of this is my brother. My brother is a wizard at Excel. Just the things he can whip up are just, it'll take me, you know, three days to figure all this out and how does this formula work on Excel? I can create this spreadsheet and my brother can just do it in five minutes. It's nothing to him. And. Another one of my friends, I talked to him about how I can structure this, like maybe this coaching program or this business. And I'm thinking about, okay, how should I do this? And I feel like I'm too close to it, right? But then he can just be like, oh, just do boom, boom, boom, boom. That right there. I can see that. And I was like, wow, how do you do that? And then I realized that one of the things that I'm really good at is I call it being a synthesizer.

I can connect the dots that other people can't connect. I can see things and combine things into a coherent hole. I'm a really agile decision maker and I can easily find solutions, strategy, scrutinize, assess, exam, and evaluate people, processes and plans and systems. I can do all that stuff effortlessly, and I used to not think that it was valuable because it came easily to me. And then I realized that my unique skills are valuable to other people who don't have them, and vice versa. There are people that I will pay a lot of money to help me out with something that will take them one hour to do. I'm like, dude I could never even figure that out. But it's just so easy for them.

And this is the thing that I help people discover, is once you know, like really who you are, your personal contract, your IM statement, your mission. Your purpose, your values, the hierarchy that they go in, and then your natural gift and superpowers, your talent, and abilities that you bring to the table, that are natural to you, and everybody has them. If you're listening to this right now and you think, oh man, I don't know if I'm good at anything, it's BS. The reason you don't see them is because they're invisible to you, and I can help people really understand how or why these things are invisible to them, what they're good at. And then the coolest part is you take it, and you say, okay, now what do I do with this? Then you take it, and you apply it to your goals and everything is just aligned. Rocket fuel. I started thinking like, what would it look like in my life if I knew what the purpose of my life was? Like I could just spout it off at any time if I really knew who I was as a human, as a soul, as a spirit. If I really knew that and I knew what was important to me, what was not important to me, why it was important to me, if I really understood what I was good at, so that I could lean into that, like double down on the things, like use leverage. Leverage the things that I'm really good at, and then take all of that and apply it to my specific goals.

Things become significantly easier when you have all those pieces, like literally written out in a document.

Tony: Yeah. And Preston, there's a couple things I think are so. You and I both had previous careers and we both love what we do now, and I feel like this is part of that when you start acting in alignment with your values and you take action on them and you find the things that you really feel passionate about, you're so right where you didn't know what you didn't know.

When I was in the computer industry, I didn't even realize how much I didn’t care about it or didn't like it until I found the thing that I actually like and enjoy. And then I wanted to read about it, watch shows about it, see YouTube videos about it, talk about it, talk to other people about it. And that raises your whole what? Energy and baseline. So, you just want more of that. So, I love what you're saying, and you said something smart there a minute ago where you said, I didn't value it because it came easy to me. And I'm telling you, and I was sitting in my office a couple years ago and somebody said, you know, well I don't want to do something that I really enjoy because then it will become a labor.

And I was like, yeah, that's right. And I sat there thinking, wait a minute, that's literally what I do every day for a living. And it just gets better and better. And I feel like those are stories that our brains try to hook us to. Well, if I just start doing the thing I like all the time, then all of a sudden, I probably won't like it.

Oh no let's kind of reel that back in. So, yeah, keep going.

Preston: Is that a story that people tell themselves?

Tony: I remember a guy that would say, I love fishing, you know, and I said, well, what would that look like if you, because he thought about it, I would love to maybe shoot a video or two about it or here's how I bait a hook, or whatever. But I don't want to start doing that, because then it won't be fun anymore. It'll be a job. That's the version that I get. Or if I'm doing this thing that I'm passionate about all the time, then it will become work and then it will no longer interest me and says the person who has never taken that leap or taken action on that thing.

Preston: I mean, that's a belief. That's just a belief. And I don't think that that belief serves you, but I don't care if you have it, honestly. Like if you don't want to do something, that's fine. But give it a go. I mean, you can always stop shooting videos about fishing. I did it all last month. I didn't make a single video about fishing. Like, seriously, it was so simple. No, I was just trying to make a joke. You can always stop doing that. I understand what you're saying, but one of the things that's important to understand about this is it's all kind of abstract. Cool. My mission, my values, my purpose, my gifts, all these things.

But how do you apply it? I'll tell you specifically how I apply it. I have a mission statement, a personal contract, and it's my “I am” statement. And I don't walk around with massive confidence 24 hours a day. Spoiler alert, I'm a human. But when I need to summon that, which is often, I do speaking engagements, I do coaching, I do performances, I will have sales calls, I'll have business meetings. I just, things that I need to be like, you know, I need to be in a good state right now. I used to just be like, okay, maybe I'll listen to some music, or I'll do this. It was just kind of a hodgepodge and now I have a very, very intentional, specific thing that I do.

I go to a room or a place where I'm by myself. I've done it in closets in the back of the performance halls. I've done it in a bathroom, I've done it in my office, I've done it in my car. I go somewhere where I'm by myself, take a couple breaths, center myself, and then I ask myself, who am I?

Because when I get into alignment with who I am and really tap into that, it gives me a sense of power and connection to my creator, to all the things around me, to the energy that is around me, to the energy in myself, like it gives me this confidence that really carries me into the situation. And so, here's mine. I say, who am I? I center myself. I say, I am a powerful, kind, joyful man of light. I body inspiration and creativity, and the purpose of my life is to be a magnetic light, to live an authentic, fulfilled life, and to inspire and guide others to do the same. And so, it is. So, I say that to myself and for me that resonates.

Because I took a long time to really come up with that. Specific words that meant a lot to me. Specific phrases, I'll say a phrase and it embodies a whole host of things that makes sense to me in my life with my kids, with my job, with my passions and stuff like that. I understand that, and it brings me back to, instead of saying, oh, can I do this? Should I do this? Is it okay if I try this? It's like, uh, no. Centered. This is who I am. Go and do it. And it completely changes the energy of how I approach things. And before I had this tool, I would just try to pump myself up. But it wasn't like something that was a protocol, right? And now it's so intentional.

Tony: And I know you'll get to this, but I think the depth of work that you've put in to get to that place, I don't think people understand that every word you're talking about, every phrase is intentional.

And so, the more that you say that, I can only imagine, I can watch you do it, if anybody's watching the video, but you feel you could almost watch you just start to fill your chest, right? And you can just feel that. Because I feel like maybe there's been many of us that have said, okay, I'm going to just tell myself, give some positive affirmations and go do this.

But, if it isn't who I am or doesn't resonate with me, or doesn't speak directly to my soul.

Preston: So, that’s the thing is I have a whole process that I take people. I've done this in big groups of people like with, a hundred people in the room, like a big coaching presentation. I've done it in small groups where it's just me and one person that's one on one. I've done it in business sessions and corporate, like I've gone into corporations and said, Okay, let's take your whole leadership team and we're going to say, let's get back to bare bones. We're going to talk about marketing later, but right now who are you? Why are you here? What's going on? Because each of you are individuals, and when you have this intentional way to approach the way that you live, it changes what you're doing. Because then instead of just drifting, you're following a specific path that you create. And that's the brilliant part about it.

Tony: What are some of the I don’t know, what are the biggest challenges, roadblocks, that sort of thing that you see when you're starting to help people dig into their values?

Preston: So yeah, we’ll move to values. One of the biggest roadblocks I see is people second guess themselves about what should I choose as a value.

Okay, here's a list of a hundred things, and I, again, I have a process that I take people through that makes it very, very simple. And the way that you approach it makes it obvious. And then it creates certainty around what you're doing and how you're doing it. So, the number one problem that I see that people have when they're trying to create their values is overwhelm around, should I put this one on my list?

What, if I want, you know, growth is my value, but I also want courage is my value and like, ah, should I just. And what they need as their number one value is to fricking relax. I have a whole process that includes comparing the different values to each other, creating a hierarchy of them, and then identifying and naming the value, instead of just saying, courage.

Okay, cool. What does courage mean? Courage means something different to you than it does to me, and so if you not only name it, but then I meant to say identify or define is a better word, define what that is. For me, courage means I am willing to face discomfort and lean into situations that stretch me.

Okay. That's what it means. So, when I come up against it, I want to make this sales call, but I'm feeling a little bit like anxiety or hesitation around it, I go back to who am I? Look at my list of values. Boom. Courage is number two on my list of values. I am willing to face discomfort, okay?

If I'm going to live in alignment. Or if I'm going to live on contract, I call it living on contract means I am going to face this discomfort. I'm not going to pretend that it's comfortable. I'm not going to say to myself, I can do hard things. No, it's not about that. I'm willing to face discomfort and I've defined that for me.

Another one of my values is allowance. Allowing, and for me, this is really important. I let go of control and other people might not have this as like a need, but for me, I let go of control and, this is going to sound really, prideful, but this is something I'm working on. I allow others to have their own ideas without controlling how they think and act for other people.

Tony: Oh yes, Preston. Yeah, go.

Preston: Yeah. They might be like, uh, why would you even need to put that on there? Because it's me. Okay, so maybe a value that you have on your list is something that I don't even have on my list, because it's my natural way of operating. It just is.

Tony: I would say what I like about that so much is when you were talking about, yeah, people need to relax, and I feel like people do this constantly, then I know I shouldn't care about this, or I should, should I have this value or am I supposed to do this one? And then that shows the tool that you're using gets the depth of something like giving up control. Because I feel like that's a whole other layer, you know, you must get to, to get to that realization of how much we do. We are trying to control others around us, bless our hearts, because it's scary sometimes when people have their own thoughts and opinions, because we immediately go to, oh my gosh, that means they think I'm bad or crazy. So that takes a lot, to get to that place of acceptance of having a value like that. Because that one can be scary.

Preston: And for me to define that and then put it on my list, I was like, oh shoot. If I put this on my list, I'm going to be held to it. And that's scary because it's something that I struggle with. Okay. That means that I need to put it on my list because it's going to guide me toward what I actually want to live, which is a fulfilled life. My wife does not need to put that on her values list. She's really good at just letting other people have their own ideas and not trying to control. She's so good at that. It's one of, it's one of her natural gifts and talents and superpowers that she brings to the table is this, genuine acceptance, and compassion for people.

And it's really inspiring to me, but I need to put it on my list because it's not something that comes innately to me. These are things that I'm being intentional about and that I want to use. So, when I find that people are like, oh what should I put? How should I put them? And then what order should I put them in? And the hesitation is based around, I don't know if I can do this. I don't know if I'm going to be held to this. What if I mess up? What if I, all this stuff. And again, like maybe you need to put forgiveness on your values list. Because you're going to mess up at it.

This is a map. This whole contract is a map and you're not always going be always on course. It's a way for you to redirect. It's kind of like a rumble strip when you're driving down the road and you hit the rumble strip. And then that doesn't mean that you're a bad driver, it just means, oh, I need to pull back onto the middle of the lane because this is where I'm headed. And so, people don't know exactly where they're going. I remember one time I was hiking down in the Grand Canyon at Havasupai. Have you ever been down there? No. No. Havasu Falls, I think. Beautiful. And when you hike back out, it's oh, like 10, 12-mile hike or something like that.

There's a specific part where you must turn and then you have to go up these switchbacks. And if you don't know where to turn, then you miss it and it's not marked because it's just in the Grand Canyon. And me and my wife and my stepbrother, we were walking together. We got separated from the group a little bit. We were just kind of walking. We didn't really know. Oh, we kind of want to go to the top of the rim. But we didn't have a specific plan. We didn't have a specific map. We were just walking and we're just one foot in front of the other. Cool, cool, cool.

Doing our thing. And then we looked up. And it started, it was starting to get dark. We looked up and we're like, none of this looks familiar. And we look up and, oh wait. Oh my gosh. The top is kind of behind us. I can see some lights up there in the parking lot, like, oh, where are we at? And we had just been walking and we passed the turnoff and we had gone three or four miles without even thinking. And then we had to end up turning around, walking all the way back to it, and we passed it a second time. Oh dang. Okay. Another mile down the road. So, we're walking an additional, six, eight miles than we should have been walking. Running out of water. We have no food. It's getting dark. We had passed another group of people a couple hours earlier who had seen a bobcat. It was not a good situation. Now I'm here today. We made it out. Made it, okay. Because my dad and the people that were with us on the crew, they hiked back down the whole freaking canyon down the switchbacks and they ended up finding us down below the turnoff.

But what I took away from that was if you're just walking and you're just walking, how many people just drift? Like, why are you doing the things that you're doing today? Are they just because they're the same things that you did yesterday? Are you living with intention? Are you being intentional? Are you being honest with who you are, what you are, what you're doing and why you're doing it? Do you have a personal, a roadmap? And if you don't, don't judge yourself. Just be intentional about doing that or else, five years down the road you're going to just realize, oh, I've just been walking.

Tony: I think what you're saying, is such an important part, I think, of becoming the best version of you that you can be is that I think a lot of people will even hear this and say, okay, no, great point. But right now, it's a busy time of life. Or I’m going to wait until the kids are older, or wait till the job is better, or wait till I, and it's that proverbial kicking that can down the road. And I think what you're saying is so true. This is a big old, you don't know what you don't know of what it feels like to know what those values are and to live with purpose and intention.

And then when people finally do it, and the joke I'm making in my office is where they may be a couple years into working with me, and all of a sudden, they say, why didn't you tell me this in the beginning? Now I did. I begged you to do this and which is why again, I'm so grateful that you have a program because I feel like it needs to be a part of if somebody's starting anything, therapy, or a new job, or a marriage or whatever, it would be ideal to go into it having an idea of who you are.

Preston: Dude, the time is never going to be ideal. It just never is. Like, when's the last time that you said, oh, I'll start that when and then something else comes up? Life. Here's the thing I know about life. Life is going to life at you. It's going to life all over you. It's just going to life. And you get to be either a reactor, or a creator. In your life, are you acting or are you being acted upon? Are you being intentional or are you being a victim? Here's the thing. The job, the kids, the crazy time. The stuff, all the things; It's happening. Do you really think that things are going to get easier or calm down six months from now?

Tony: Right. No, that's adorable.

Preston: I mean, in rare exceptions. Yeah, sure. But I'm not talking to you. Like maybe you're in the middle of your PhD, Dissertation. What's that called? Something like that? Maybe in the middle of that. Okay, cool. Yeah, things will slow down when you're done with that.

Not very many people are in the middle of that. So how about this? Would it be helpful for you to have a specific guide that you can look at as you're approaching your job, as you're approaching your kids, as you're growing up, as you're approaching your relationship, as you're approaching your new health and fitness goals, or a new move, a new relationship. As you're approaching these things, would it help you to have your own guide about who I am, what's important to me? What do I want? What am I good at? What do I want to avoid? What questions can I ask myself daily that will really serve me? So, I talked earlier about how I use my contract, my mission statement, before I go on stage or all those different things. But let's talk about how I use values.

Okay? Because say if like, this is why I'm talking about the energy of, or not the energy. This is the reason the hierarchy of values is really important because if somebody has adventure on their list, right? And then that same person has friendship on their list, and then that same person has health and safety on their list.

The order that they're going to get put in is going to determine how they're going to react to certain situations. Because what if adventure is at the top? One of the most important things to me. And what if friendship is at the bottom? Okay? And then, somebody says, hey, we're all going to go skydiving, and then everybody backs out and then they're going to go do something else. But you've already signed up for skydiving. If adventure is your number one goal and friendship is down here, where are you going to go? You're going to go skydiving, you're not going to go with your friends.

Now, that's not good or bad. It's neither, it's just, this is going to dictate what you do. Then take this, what if you have security and safety and health in your top, but then you also want to be adventurous. So, you put that down there seventh or something like that. Hey, we're all going skydiving. What are you going to do?

Tony: You are not going skydiving. Why not? Because that might not be safe Preston.

Preston: Because one of them is more important than another one. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you must figure out. Some of your values can be contradictory. Like I want to have love and connection with people, but I also want to have, that's not a very good example. Let's just take the adventure versus safety, those two things can be important. Those things are both important to me. I love those things. For me, adventure is a little bit higher on the list, and so it is going to beat safety. For my wife, she's also very adventurous. She also wants that security and safety, so for her it's going to beat the adventure. So, it's just going to determine how you react to things. And so, you must decide what are the things that I'm moving toward and what are the things that I'm moving away from. Because sometimes people will do anything to not experience, it's called an away value for me. Shame. Shame is one of my just away values. I will do almost anything to not experience shame or humiliation. And it will even beat out some of my toward values of courage. Because if I have this courage, like I'm willing to face discomfort, but then if I'm not being intentional about this, all of this is like things that we fall into when we're not intentional.

If I want to be courageous about something, but I also don't want to experience shame or humiliation, this courageous thing that I want to do has a pretty high potential of making me experience shame or humiliation. If I'm not being intentional and reading my contract and saying my mission statement and moving toward these things, then my away value is going to beat that out.

And then, I'm going to shrink. I'm going to shrink and I'm not going to do it. And so, we need to be aware of what our away values are, what our toward values are, and how they interact with our mission, how they interact with our purpose and how they interact with each other in the hierarchy.

And all of this can be overwhelming. That's why I created a process to take people through it. So that dude, it takes all the cloudiness of your life about why I am how I am, why I act this way, what's going on. And it just clears everything up and it just puts all the pieces into place, and it makes everything clear so that you can take the action that you want to take and understand the action that you have taken and be intentional instead of just drifting.

Tony: Preston every single, I mean, I dig this stuff so much and why? I just felt like, I can't believe, I didn't realize that the answers were literally with my friend Preston here. But also, and I know we've talked about this, what I think is amazing and I love that you're talking about being very intentional about this and I think we were talking as well, once you're aware of these, and let's say that you're just feeling disconnected or you're feeling down, and then it's like, what do I do? And, that can come into play here too. Okay. I'm going to take action on anything of value. So if I have that value of adventure, I'm going to go do something adventurous at that moment. You know, even if my brain's telling me I'd rather not. And I love that concept as well. Again, another reason why this is so important to just figure out, because it's not just when I get into this choice point of what to do and how to line them up, but if I don't even know what to do or I'm feeling down or I just don't want to get out of bed at times, this is where I say, okay, what are your values? And you do something of value. And it is going to be something that is going to be far more doable than when somebody's just saying, well, you just need to get up and just be happy or just take action or you got to know what to do in those scenarios.

Preston: And when you have a goal, like an intentional goal, all these things are easy to put together when you do have a goal, like some specific things that you're trying to accomplish and that leads me to the next point talking about natural superpowers, your gifts and talents and abilities. I'll call them your superpowers because it's fun to talk about it in that way. But the things that you uniquely bring to the table, your strengths, there's a way to approach this.

There's, some personality tests you can take. When I did this, I took these tests and I understood okay, this is how I can have somebody help me and walk through them like what they meant. And I put them into different hierarchies and how they related to stuff. It was really, really eye opening for me.

And then one of the cool things that I did is I sent a letter to, or an email or a text, whatever, to probably 25 people that are, clients. I think I probably sent one to you, family members, and friends, and people, and it was vulnerable. I asked them how they perceive me because we have this idea of how we are perceived and it's interesting to have that either confirmed or completely blown out of the water. And so, when I took these personality tests and then when I understood how these things worked together and then got feedback from people that I know and put them all together, I started to notice patterns. Patterns emerged and it was so clear. And again, I had coaches to help me work through this and kind of parse it so that I could understand and put it all together. But then I also recognized that I am a synthesizer. But for me, I found my top five. Number one, I'm an entertainer. I just am. I have always been since day one. I am a magnetic light. I bring joy to situations, and I'm a star, and I'm a leader. I love being in that role and it's so fun. It lights me up. I'm also an expander and a seeker. I'm relentless in my pursuit of growth and expansion.

I just, I love learning. I'm also an elite coach and I can explain complex concepts in concise and succinct ways, and that's again, one of my gifts and I didn't know that other people weren't able to do that, but then I take an hour to say something sometimes. So, maybe I'm not as good at that as I thought I was, but again, I'm a synthesizer.

I'm also a creator. I can activate things and when I line myself with all these things that I'm talking about, I can create things at will. It's nuts, like line everything up and just things happen and it's brilliant to understand this is what I bring to the table. And when I've helped other people create this. And then peers that I've gone through programs with, their lists are completely different. And you see it in them. I'm like, oh my gosh, you're so good at that. Can I pay you for that? Because you're so good at that. And I'm not good at that.

Tony: Well Preston, I had to tell you when that whole thing you just explained, when I first came out there and we hung out in your office for I think two, three days straight. And we mapped out the whole magnetic marriage course that was, I still look back on that as one of the most exhaustingly, wonderful moments of my life where I had no idea what we were doing and that dry erase board and the energy that you would bring and we'd go out and go on the electric skateboard for a minute, then we would get the amazing food and come back and it's like you're back on task and putting these pieces together and it was electric. And so, I know that you know what you can do and then you just do that, and you bring that energy. I was grinning when you were talking about who you are because it’s like, oh I have seen that.

Preston: And it's so fun. Here's a cool thing when people feel stuck. When you feel stuck, it is because you are not living in alignment with your mission, purpose, values, and your gifts. And it might just be because you don't know what they are because you haven't examined them. But that's what I call an MVP contract. Like your mission, values, purpose, your contract, your gifts, the things that you really just are and bring to the table and how you operate. Things can't just, seriously, things can become significantly easier when you have all this knowledge and then when you operate on it. And kind of the last little part of this that's so, so important is it's called a foundational filter. And what I mean by that is think about a filter. When you do a search, right? If you're doing a search for something inside of some data and then you say, exclude this word. Okay, I'm going to exclude this word.

That's a filter. And everything that has that word will not show up in the search, right? Everybody's had that experience. When you go through data, the foundation of how your mind operates moment to moment to moment. Tony Robbins calls it a primary question. It's the number one question that you're always asking.

And I call it a foundational filter because it filters your entire life through this. And for me it used to be because everybody has one and it's like a question. Mine used to be, how do I make this better? And I didn't even know that I was asking it because it was, I was asking it so often. In my mind subconsciously that it was the same thing as, what language are we speaking right now? Tony? English. Have you ever thought in the last 45 minutes about the fact that we're speaking English? I have not. No. Not once, because it's just what we're doing. So, what I realize is that I have this question that's always run into my mind. I walk into a room, look in the room, and the first thing that I don't even have to think about it, it just is. It's the water I'm swimming in. It's the language I'm speaking. How do I make this better? And that serves me a great deal when I walk into an event that I'm running. And then I can be like, oh, put the chairs here, put the speaker there, move that over here, do boom, boom. And then everything has a great experience.

How do I do it when I'm performing? How do I do it when I'm speaking? How do I do it when I'm putting together a business plan or a coaching program? Like how do I make this better? It's just, it makes everything amazing. When I get in, I get into my friend's car and he has a little graphic equalizer on his car, and I know a lot about sound and he has it set in a way that doesn't make the music sound very good.

And so, without thinking, without even asking him, I start messing with his graphic equalizer and changing the settings on it. So, this primary question, this foundational filter, it also gets me into trouble. Because we go back to one of my values is allowing. Okay, allowing people to have their own. I'm using the word allow. It seems, I understand that there's so much hubris involved in this. Like I have the ability to allow.

Tony: You’re stepping into a healthy ego.

Preston: What I mean is I need to chill out and just not try to control you, even though I think I can make it better. Okay, but what is “it”? So, I decided that I was going to not try to control things by trying to make them better, because it was always my idea of what was better, which is not necessarily their idea of what is better, which is so judgmental. And so, what I did is I went through this process that I take people through where they identify their old foundational filter and their old primary question.

And for some they'll walk into a room and they'll, without thinking, they'll be like, am I safe? What are the things that are not safe about this? They're always thinking that. Another one is to walk in and be like, how do I make other people happy? Another one is a walk in, say, what are people thinking about me?

So, it's a question that you're always asking that you get to the point. You don't even think about it. And if you can't ask that question, it really, really makes you uncomfortable.

Tony: Preston, can I tell you it makes so much sense too. When I think back, I remember when you talked about primary questions for me, and I really feel like I have such a value of curiosity and knowledge.

And so, I have this primary question constantly of what's this person about? Or what makes this person tick. And so, then when we would get in the room to then create a course and you're going to make this thing better, and I don't even know what it is. And so, I'm wanting to understand more about how this works?

And I remember we would have those conversations around, what we're selling and how we sell it and the way that we're going to connect and communicate. And I realized that I was kind of doing the, okay, I need to try to make sense of this, or I want to understand where you're coming from or how does this work? Or how do you tick and you're just making it better, man, you know.

Preston: But that question, if left unchecked will go and go and go and damage relationships. For me, I have one of my best friends. My best friend's primary question was, how do I make other people happy? Awesome. Lot of benefit to that question.

Also, when you take it to its natural conclusion, what happens? You lose yourself. Because you're always doing things for other people and you're selling out on what you want. And he experienced that. So, what I did is I created an intentionally new, foundational filter. My new primary question, and it is this, what else is going well for me right now?

Okay. That's what I ask when I'm intentional. So, what's the presupposition? So, what is the presupposition in the first question? How do I make this better?

Tony: That something's wrong.

Preston: That something is wrong, and we need to find out what's wrong with it. So, I'm always looking for problems. What's the presupposition in, “What else is going well for me?”

Tony: That something may not be going according to plan? No.

Preston: The presupposition that is, that something is already going well. What else is going well for me? I start by saying something's got to be going right.

Let's look for what else is going well for me. When I do that, here's the thing. I live, when I say my contract. I live in alignment with my mission, my values, and my purpose, my hierarchy. I'm intentionally acting on my natural gifts, talents, and superpowers. And then I'm asking my foundational filter question.

When I am conscious about these things, I'm on fricking fire. Because it's me. I'm in alignment and it's a completely different thing. Yours is different from mine. Your values are different. Mine, the hierarchy is different. The question is different. Your mission, your purpose, your contract, your gifts, all of them are completely different and they are unique.

And what I've done is I've put together a very specific process of helping people extract these things from their soul, from their experience, from their relationships, from their life, from their mind, from tests that you take. Just all these different things and it put them all together in your M V P contract, so you know your mission, your values, your purpose, and how you can go about creating a fulfilled life.

Tony: Man, Preston, and what we were saying earlier if your brain right now is like, that sounds amazing and I'll get to it later. I don't think you understand what it would feel like to live in alignment with your values now to deal with the things that are coming up later.

I feel, I feel it, man. I do. So where can people find you?

Preston: This is what we're going to do, okay? We're going to set up, so go to Tonyoverbay.com/contract. Okay? Cause this is your contract, Tonyoverbay.com/contract and it'll take you to a link. Because what I'm doing right now is I'm running a six week program.

We do it every single week. We're going to have coaching calls, there's going to be homework, it's a fun process. It's a fun process and you will be required to do some things. This is not going to be, it's very interactive and you're going to do some things in between the calls and take you like, you know, a couple hours a week.

But at the end of it, you come away with a specific document and right now I'm running a promotion. Like the price is going to, I'm going to, this is the only time it's ever, marketing, scarcity, whatever, whatever. Honestly, this is the only time it's ever going to be at this price because I'm running it right now and I'm going to limit it because I want to have a specific like small group of people.

Yeah, so only 20 spots in this, and it'll be double the price later on when I keep running this program. But right now, only 20 spots. And if you're feeling called to this, like, okay, I'll tell you right now. Right now, you're in one of three camps. You're like, dude, I'm a yes. I need this. I'm a yes.

Cool. In that case, go, just go to the thing. Go sign up. If you are a no, if you're like, you know what, this sounds great. Not for me. Trust yourself. That sounds freaking awesome to just know that this is not for you right now, cool. But maybe you're in the third camp, which is you're a yes, but. Like, yeah, I would love to have this.

I think it would be so valuable in my life, but I don't know if I have the time, but I don't know if I have the money, but I don't know all these different things. And I'll tell you this right now, how much longer are you going to use that excuse. Because if you're using that excuse here and you're like called to it, then you're using that excuse in other areas of your life as well.

I have put so many things off that I knew I needed to do. It’s ridiculous, and when I started proving to myself that I was willing to actually invest in myself, things changed. So if you're a “yes but”, then just allow yourself to get rid of that excuse and step into making a new decision and getting clear on who you are and what you're doing, because it changes how you approach everything.

Tony: Preston, I love it. I do. And again, what, this will be 340 something episodes of the Virtual Couch. I've only talked about values about 900,000 times, and this is the first time that it's saying, hey, and actually here's how you go figure that out. I'm grateful to you, my friend. I couldn't trust anybody else more with the keys to the car.

I mean, you, even if you're going to mess with the equalizer, I actually trust you there too. Cause I don't know enough about that.

Preston: Well, I don't do that anymore because I say, what else is going well for me, and I allow other people to have their own sound equalizing systems and I don’t need to, I don’t need to change things anymore for other people.

Tony: No, you're very kind. All right. So please go to Tonyoverbay.com/contract. And, then if you have questions, you can reach out through my website for Preston, or I'm sure you can go to Preston.

Preston: You can hit me up at Preston.Pugmire on Instagram. Or Preston Pugmire on Facebook. Like DM me. If you're listening to this episode, screenshot it and tag me and I'll send you a voice message. I send voice messages to everybody that tags me, that listens to these podcasts and tags me on those things.

And then if you have questions about it, yeah. Like if you have questions about it, send me a question, I'll talk to you about what's going on. You can email me.

Tony: Please talk to Preston if you want to feel good about yourself. Talk to Preston, please.

Preston: Tony's got too much going on. Don't email him.

Tony: That's right. Preston is my man. That's right. Okay. Preston Pugmire.

Preston: Thank you so much. Preston Pugmire. It's P U G M I R E.

Tony: Okay, Preston thank you for coming on. I want you to come back on and then talk about all the changes that the first 20 that run through this have had. And then, man, you're changing lives.

Preston: And we need to have you on my podcast. Next level life. Let's do this, a podcast called Next Level Life. And let's do an episode next week with you on it.

Tony: I would love it. Okay, Preston Pugmire, we'll talk to you later. Okay. Thanks for going on the Virtual Couch.

Preston: Bye.

Each of us is a unique mixture of life experiences, and we bring all of those experiences into our conversations with others. In today's episode, Tony explores the role of context in conversations. Tony shares an example of how one word can dramatically change the meaning of an entire paragraph from the book "On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You Are Not," by Dr. Robert Burton https://www.amazon.com/Being-Certain-Believing-Right-Youre/dp/031254152X/ and he shares cultural differences from the article "15 Fascinating Cultural Difference Around the World," from https://www.cheftariq.com/lifestyle/cultural-differences-around-the-world/

Tony also uses his 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation to show the importance of curiosity and context in conversations.


Go to http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic right now to sign up for Tony's free marriage workshop held Wednesday, November 3rd at 6 PM PT!

#conversation #context #communication #compassion #therapy #virtualcouch #wakinguptonarcissism #tonyoverbay #tonyoverbayquote #quote #podcast #podcasting #acceptancecommitmenttherapy #motivation #coach #addictionrecovery #narcissism #happiness #behappy #mentalhealth #wellness #anxiety #relax #mindfulness #happy #depression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #psychology #MadeWithDescript #DescriptPro

-------------------------------- TRANSCRIPT ------------------------------------

[00:00:01] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and ninety three of the virtual couch, I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified my blabber coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the path back in online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. Go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you want to learn more about that. There's some group calls that keep gaining steam and the program itself. We've got a nice group of people and people are just changing their lives. They're becoming the people that they always want to be. So that's pathbackrecovery.com and a huge thing. And I will go so big on this because I got this episode out on a Monday morning instead of the usual Tuesday morning. Because on Wednesday of this week, Wednesday, the I am stalling as I look at a calendar Wednesday, the third at six p.m. Pacific time. My my good friend Preston Pug Maya and I, Preston is the one who helped me create the magnetic marriage course. We are going to do a marriage magnetic marriage workshop again. That's at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time. So go to Tony over magnetic and you will find out more information on how you sign up to attend this free event. And it is a free marriage workshop and we are going to cover so many things about how to make your marriage more magnetic. And there's a little video on there on that that page that you'll get to that.

[00:01:24] I highly encourage you to just take a quick look at because the more that we talk about the magnetic marriage course, the more people that have gone through the course. I am telling you you don't have the tools by nature, and that is meant by no no disrespect. There's nothing wrong with you, but you really don't have the tools. We don't come from the factory with these tools of to be heard is to be healed and these four pillars of a connected conversation that we teach in the program. And there is just so much more. And so people typically have to get to a pretty bad spot before they go looking for tools on how to repair their marriage. And I am telling you, these are the tools that if you can embrace them now that I believe you can really help prevent a lot of the where people start to feel disconnected or they that wedge grows between them, go to Tony over magnetic and you can watch a little video and you can sign up to participate or to watch the marriage workshop, which is this Wednesday at six p.m. So I hope that I will see you there on the live stream that we're going to be doing, and I can't wait. So let's get to today's topic today. I'm talking about context, and I thought about so many different things I wanted to to share with regard to context.

[00:02:35] But I've been speaking a lot lately. I talked about this event in Utah that I spoke at. I came home from the event and then I did a couple of there called fire sides in my area. Then I did a lesson today for a couple of church congregations that got together, and all of these are on mental health. But there are so many common factors that are occurring of that lead people to not feel heard or to not feel seen or to not feel understood. And so these four pillars of a connected conversation that we teach in the marriage course, their gold, they really do. They can help in so many different situations. But I find that we just often don't understand the context of someone else's life or their experience, even if we share the same home with them. If we share the same bed with them, we still don't understand truly the context of where their brain is in any given moment and the situations that they have been through that lead them to express things the way that they express them. And so when we are not looking at a relationship out of curiosity, we are missing this incredible opportunity to really connect with our spouse. And I think a lot of times we don't understand the context that somebody is bringing in to any given moment. So I'll give you a really silly example. I'm doing this on video right now and I have a beard.

[00:03:47] It's the longest beard I think I've ever had. It is, I know, the longest period I've ever had in my entire life. And someone was asking me about why the beard and there are so many thoughts here that are going to sound silly but silly, because out of context, they just sound like some ridiculous reasons that somebody spouting off when in reality, I wanted to grow facial hair. But there are a lot of context clues that lead up to that. Let me take you through a few of them. Cue the violins, but I have never had a lot of hair. I went bald in 19 or 20. That's a rough go when you are 19 or 20 year old guy. I was trying to play baseball. I was in a fraternity, I was at Kansas State University and this was a long time ago. I'm almost fifty two and there wasn't a lot of information. I couldn't just go Google premature, balding or hair loss or that sort of thing. And of course, I would look at my family and there was not a lot of hair in my family on the men's side. So I should have had a little clue there. But I thought, you know, because I've been wearing too many baseball hats, is that the reason why? So fast forward, and in two thousand three, I finally shaved my head and that was a little earlier than people were shaving their head.

[00:04:50] So I got a lot of comments about that. A lot of people assumed that I was ill. I remember having a package going to a FedEx location around Christmas once and a lady looked at me and went, Oh. And she said you can go ahead, and I felt great. But I think that she thought, Oh, I must have lost my hair and chemotherapy or something like that, so fast forward, I moved through my life. I'm bald, and any time I even thought about having facial hair, I always thought, and this is just my take. But when someone is bald and they have facial hair, I always think, how do you, where do you know to cut off the line there by the sideburns? And here I never even tried that. So then three years ago, I finally succumbed to glasses. I can't hold things out long enough to see them my short. I need reading glasses. But then just being in the office and looking at my iPad and looking up at the client and then looking down at my iPad again, apparently I was doing some damage to my eye. So I have these office lenses, so we got some readers and then they help people that are a little bit further away become more clear. And so I finally have glasses and I think, Oh my gosh, that is the line of demarcation where you can grow your facial hair up too.

[00:05:53] So I start growing out the facial hair, then I realize I feel pretty good at the age of 50, when I turn 50 and my beard has some gray and white and red and brown and all kinds of all the colors like Skittles is what my beard is. And then I think, man, I never thought I would feel this good at 50. So there's a part of me that thinks I kind of enjoy looking a bit older. And so there's so many things in context. And yet I still will find myself in the presence of people who will say, Oh, I think someone that's not clean shaven, and then they fill in the blank about what their judgmental statement is. So context can mean so many different things. Not that someone needs to defend themselves of why they grow facial hair. That's a whole other conversation. But it's interesting just to one of the ways to really lead with curiosity is to want to know the context that somebody has grown up in or the context of why they're behaving the way that they are behaving. And in reading the book on being certain by Robert Burton, M.D., the subtitle of that is believing you were right, even when you're not. There's an exercise that he does in there that is talking about this, about the feeling of knowing, but it is an amazing exercise that has to do with context. And so I've shared this when I've spoken a couple of times.

[00:07:02] And so I wanted to fit this into a podcast. So quite frankly, this is a podcast built around this exercise. And then I have some really neat things that talk about fascinating cultural differences. And do you look at different cultural differences with curiosity or do you look at them with judgment? Do you say, Well, that's ridiculous. Those people shouldn't do that. They should do things the way that we do them or the way that I do them? Or do you look at that and say, Hey, I want to know more about that, because if you can do that with a different culture, why can't we do that with our spouse? Or why can't we do that with our kids? I went and played golf with my son yesterday. My wife is out of town. It was just my son and I, and we had some of the funnest conversations around some things that I won't even talk about on the podcast because it'll sound like I'm sure there would be people saying, Well, why would you even talk about that with them that might encourage him to do this or this? But it was. We talk nonstop through nine holes of golf and on the way up there and back because I just wanted to know more about his experience and in hearing him and not telling him, Wow, man, I can't believe you did that or can't believe you said that he's just so much more open to to talk.

[00:08:03] And then, quite frankly, this is where I feel like we have things backwards in so many different things that the more that he feels heard and the more that I can understand his experience, especially in the context of today's youth and friends and social media and high school and all of these different variables that, yeah, I had my experiences 30 something years ago. So now I want to know. I want to know what the context is that he's he's working with right now. There was some of you may have heard about this because we thought it was just a local event, but there was a message about a potential school violence last week, and it turned out to be more of a national, more of a national story. But it was really interesting just to hear him talk about what that's like these days growing up and how often you do hear in social media or people having videos or sending pictures or Snapchat or these sort of things of people that are threatening violence or that sort of thing. When I was in high school, we didn't hear about that at all. And so what is it like to grow up that becomes more of a regular thing? So just understanding the context of where someone's coming at and what their experience is can lead to so much curiosity and can just build a much better relationship.

[00:09:13] So here's let me take you through this exercise, and I really think that this is going to be you'll enjoy this. I can't lie. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm going to read a. This is from the book on being certain, and I'm going to I'm going to read a little bit here that's going to lead up to the exercise. So, Dr. Burton says to begin our discussion on the feeling of knowing, he said, read the following excerpt at normal speed, don't skim or give up halfway through or skip to the explanation because this experience can't be duplicated once you know the explanation. So take a moment to ask yourself how you feel about this paragraph that I'm about to read. After reading the clarify, and then I will give you a clarifying word, and then I'm going to read the paragraph again. And as I do so, I want you to pay attention to the shifts in your mental state and your feeling about the paragraph. And I really feel like this is something that when. You hear this. I would love for you to share it with your kids or share it with your spouse, or because this can only be done one time, it can only be duplicated once. So let me read this paragraph and I'm going to read it straight through, and I just want you to just check in and see how you feel about this paragraph. Here goes newspaper is better than a magazine.

[00:10:16] A seashore is better than the street. At first, it's better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times, take some skill, but it's easy to learn. Even young children can enjoy it and want successful complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however, soaks in very fast, and too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. One needs a lot of room. If there are no complications, it can be very peaceful and Iraq will serve as an anchor. And if things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance. So when you heard that paragraph and I just did this when I spoke at an event this morning, do is it comprehensible or is it meaningless? And thankfully, whenever I spoke about this, no one has known where I was going with this, and so it feels pretty meaningless and incomprehensible. And so Dr. Burton says, feel your mind sort through potential explanations. Now here's the fun part. He says, now watch what happens with the presentation of a single word. Some talk about context. Let me give you one word and see how things change. And then I'll go a little bit more about that. But the single word is quite. Kite, kite, so now as I reread this paragraph, feel the prior discomfort of something amiss is going to shift to this pleasant sense of rightness. Everything fits, every sentence works and has meaning every one of them.

[00:11:38] And let me do that then. So let me start here. So remember, the context is a kite. A newspaper is better than a magazine. A seashore is better place than the street. At first, it's better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times. It takes some skill, but it's easy to learn even young children can enjoy it. One. Successful complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however, soaks in very fast. Too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. One needs a lot of room, and if there are no complications, it can be very peaceful. Iraq will serve as an anchor, and if things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance. So how did that discomfort shift once you had the context of what that paragraph was about? Dr. Burton says everything fits. Every sentence has meaning. When you heard that, he said, it is impossible to regain the sense of not understanding, he said in an instant without due conscious deliberation. The paragraph has been irreversibly infused with a feeling of knowing, and so I'm doing a little bit of a stretch here, but I feel like that same. We owe that same concept to the people in our lives, to the conversations in our lives. Do we understand the context in which they are providing? If I just start talking about things and if my wife hears them as nonsense, does she truly understand what the context is that I'm delivering information? And if not, then there comes curiosity, and curiosity is where a connection really occurs.

[00:13:02] And needless to say, this is where then I just move right in to my four pillars of a connected conversation. That first pillar truly being that to the assumption of good intentions that nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, here's how I'm going to hurt my spouse or my partner or my mom or my dad, or I'm not. And I certainly don't want to put myself out there, and my goal today is to feel dumb. That's not it either, or as president, I've been talking about. Even more so lately is if you have a hard time with that, assuming good intentions, then you can dig a little bit deeper and just really understand that there's a reason why somebody is expressing themselves the way they are. So picture and I know that this isn't going to happen exactly. But if someone is expressing to you what sounds somewhat meaningless information, then do you have the context? Do you have that keyword of tight? Are they talking about something? And they are talking about something because they grew up on the West Coast and they're talking about something to do with the beach, and you have never literally been to the beach. Are people talking about going to Disneyland? I didn't go to Disneyland until I was with my wife after we were married, and I never even realized a lot of the context of things that I was missing when people would make cultural jokes or references around Mickey Mouse or Disneyland or that sort of thing.

[00:14:11] It's a small world. After any of those things, I realized I didn't have the context. I didn't have that one key word kite that would make sense of a lot of the things that people were talking about. So where I want to go next to those four pillars of a connected conversation, if you really look at how that works, then when I'm talking about context is I want you to approach your relationships with this curiosity and it can be hard. I talked last week in an episode of my Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, which I think this concept is so deep when we are having conversations with people and we feel like we're being criticized. And the criticism can come in so many different ways. We may feel criticized when that person absolutely does not mean anything to be critical. So when somebody says, Hey, I don't think you should say that to our son, then it's hard for the person not to start to feel, get their feelings going and feel like, Oh man, I think that they're criticizing me instead of looking at that with curiosity. Looking at that in context, what's the context that my spouse is expressing of why they feel I shouldn't say something in particular to my son a real experience? And if you haven't heard that episode, I was talking about this quote.

[00:15:17] I had been talking with Gail and Condi on her talk show, and it had gone really well. I was talking about narcissistic traits or tendencies, and then I laid out that that quote that oftentimes people that have narcissistic traits or tendencies, which can be all of us. Because, man, I would love for you to go listen to that episode because I talk a lot about how moving from childhood, we all have these egotistical narcissistic traits or tendencies where we do feel like everything revolves around us, and we don't really have a lot of empathy for the plight of our caregivers because we're we're little kids and the world really does revolve around us. And so there's so much there to talk about. But when we move forward into adulthood, our hope is that we will grow from self-centered to self confident to go from that immature way to express ourselves and relate to other people to a more mature way. And that mature way is to listen with curiosity and empathy and to say, tell me more not to feel like we have to control every situation or put someone down or have our way be the only way that is an immature way to communicate. So these four pillars and thinking about the context of which someone else is expressing. Is it's just a way to connect and it's a way to connect, it is not our factory settings.

[00:16:29] We have to be intentional about staying in a conversation and being present and asking more questions and then not turning to this feeling of criticism so that then we shut down and then we do anything we can to defend our fragile ego. So pillar one, that assumption of good intentions, or there's a reason why somebody is saying or doing the things they're doing. I think that it just moves right in here. If somebody is again expressing themselves in a way that you don't think is meaningful, then go dig for that tight explanation. Go find the context which they're expressing themselves. Pillar two is you can't say you are wrong or I don't believe you, even if you think they may be wrong or you may not believe them because the goal is to keep the conversation going. The goal is to be heard, to be heard is to be healed. To be healed is to hear someone. So knowing the context of the way they're expressing themselves can be so key to understand what their experience was like growing up. One of the things I was speaking at recently was that it was to a large congregation of people that are very active in their faith. I didn't grow up with a lot of religion in my life, but would have adopted a lot of religious principles later in life. And so I oftentimes don't have that background of spiritual, scriptural knowledge, and I used to feel really bad about that.

[00:17:46] But now I understand that is just the context in which I grew up. That's my schema as a whole. Other psychological thing that's pretty fascinating or all of the things that I bring to that moment then make me the person that I am. Pillar three is the questions before comments, which I think is so important you can assume good intentions that someone's not trying to hurt you when they say a bunch of things that sound maybe meaningless. Even if you feel like they are wrong about what they're saying, you telling them they're wrong. We'll shut that conversation down. And Pillar three is then questions questions for comments. Instead of saying I get through both the first two pillars instead of violating Pillar three and saying, OK, I have no idea what you're talking about, let me just tell you what it sounds like you're talking about, but now go ahead and tell me what you're talking about, because that's going to shut the conversation down or pillar four is to not go into your bunker. It's to stay present and just stay in that conversation and say, I really do want to know. I'm maybe struggling to really understand the context, but I'm here and I care about you, and let's stay in this conversation until we both feel like we have some understanding or we both feel heard.

[00:18:47] So let me jump into some. There's some really fascinating found an article. It is. It's about different cultural differences. It's called fifteen fascinating cultural differences around the world, and this is from it's from Chef Tariq, who is a resource of Middle Eastern recipes. So I really do feel like I went digging around his website and there really are some phenomenal recipes. But I'm not much of a cook, but some of the things sound amazing. But he has 15 different cultural differences that I think really are, and I think you'll see where I'm going with this before I get to the 15. He has some general do's and don'ts, he said. Make sure you tip in the United States, but don't be insulting and do it in Japan. And before I became a therapist, I went to Japan for about a decade, three or four times a year, and that is absolutely true. At least in the time frame that I was going, you don't tip in Japan, and I used to feel I would say to my my friend Yoshida San, Well, yeah, but I'm an American, so why don't I tip? They'll think that's really cool, but not understanding the context that you do not tip that that is not something that is cool. They will not view that as, Oh my gosh, this guy is amazing. It's a man. You don't respect our culture, so not tipping. And here's another one that's very true. Slurp away while eating in Japan, but don't you dare in the United States without coming across as very rude.

[00:19:58] This is a very true story. The first time I ever went to Japan and I had this new suit I was wearing and we went to a ramen place, a noodle place. Again, the most true of all true stories, and I pick up my bowl of noodles to slurp them like I had been trained to do, and I literally dumped them right into my lap and they were so hot and it was this really cool new suit I had. And then I had to go to the bathroom and I had to take my pants off and I had to wash out the the pants. And then it was a I didn't even know at the time, but it was a family restroom. And so a woman walks in and I'm sitting there my underwear, trying to wash my pants out and so I can just speak from experience that that slurping away is encouraged. But make sure you hang onto your bowl. That would be what I would do. He also says Don't mix up Aussies and Kiwis in New Zealand. Do not blow your nose in public in Turkey or Japan. Another one in Japan. My my, my business partner Yoshida San, would cover his mouth when he would speak on the phone, cover his mouth when he would use a toothpick. And so when you think about that, it just looks like we are just these people that are just out there, bold and loud by just talking on our phone, picking their teeth and blowing our nose, apparently.

[00:21:01] He said, I wouldn't jump the queue or the line in the UK, and I know that one as well. Don't stand in a queue in the Middle East. Don't stare at people in Germany, he said. The best thing to do when traveling for international business or for fun is to read up on new countries that you're visiting and that is so true. So while we're here and we're talking about context, here's some just fun things that are, he says, cross-cultural understanding is paramount. If you want to get along with other people from other places, let people feed you in Ethiopia, he said. If you find yourself in Ethiopia dining with locals, you may be in for a surprise. If someone reaches for your mouth with some food, be sure to eat it. Otherwise, you might be seen as rude. This is because one way of showing affection in Ethiopia is to feed the people that you're eating with. So if they are reaching out with their hands, putting food into your mouth, feel honored. And how fun is that to know that there are these just such different things that are happening in other cultures? So if there isn't a need for context, I feel like this is so relevant. Make sure to get naked in Iceland, he said.

[00:21:59] Icelandic people are very relaxed about nudity, and in fact, women have the right to be topless in public if they want without fearing any kind of backlash. However, he said when it comes to swimming pools, Icelandic people are very uptight about hygiene and the naked body. So when going to the pool, you must take a clean bathing suit with you and not wear it under your clothes. Once in the changing room, you'll get completely naked and take a shower while being watched by the shower guard. And this is to be sure that you wash your intimate private areas along with other areas before being allowed to leave the shower area. Only then can you put your suit on and enter the pool to enjoy swimming, soaking and relaxing. So that's a lot of rules you would know, and this did remind me I used to go to the onsen the Japanese hot springs when I would travel. And I remember one time, Boy, you had to get right there and buck naked. And that wasn't something I was used to and just walking around. And I just remember at one point they had a hot the hot springs and a cold pool. And I did not know that going from open vascular place into a very cold pool that I all everything in my whole body, my capillaries, my arteries than just seized up. And so I remember sitting down into that pool and already being very aware of my nakedness and then feeling like I literally was having a heart attack and that I was going to die in this cold pool in Japan.

[00:23:14] But then it turns out that I was not supposed to go immediately from that hot to cold, and eventually then everything seemed to be OK when meeting people in Japan, he says. Tell them your age now. I did not run into this one, but he says it's very common and not considered rude to ask a person's age in Japan when you meet them for the first time. The Japanese language is rich and complex, and it's the language has different words depending on the age or status of the person you're talking to. And I do remember that you can say orgasm us is a good morning in Japan, and there's you throw a little more flavor into it if the person you're speaking to is older. Number four, he says, do all the talking with your mouth in Turkey. Hand gestures and signals are always better to use in your home country where you understand what they mean. And I realized that I speak with my hands a lot. I really do. But he said, for example, in Turkey, allowing your thumb to protrude between your first and second finger in a fist, which is I'm doing right now, is extremely rude. And he said, also don't make an OK gesture unless you mean to call someone, he says an A-hole and a very derogatory way.

[00:24:17] So giving someone the OK, not OK. In in Turkey number five, he says giving gifts in China can get you into trouble in certain. Gifts in China can cause great offense, such as giving cut flowers, which is only done at funerals, giving a clock as seen as bad luck since. The words giving a clock sound just like the words attending a funeral, a gift of shoes would be interpreted as giving a gift of evil again because the word for shoe and evil are very similar and nothing with the number four is that is associated with death. The word for sounds like the word death handkerchiefs are a symbol of saying goodbye forever, so those don't go over well, either. And he says, finally, don't give a sharp object as that insinuates you want to cut off the relationship. He says you should be safe with a gift of fruit or tea or even alcohol. Number six, don't touch anyone's head and Malaysia, especially babies, which is really hard to do because they're so cute and they smell good. But babies don't touch the head of an adult, either, you said, just better to hold back on that impulse. And also Malaysia, it's rude to to point where directions are normally given with an open hand. Cultural differences are not. It sounds like Chef Tariq is saying it's better not to make hand signals when in a foreign country. The number seven, he says, use both hands in South Korea using both hands when handing things to other people.

[00:25:26] Whether your business card or especially money number eight, keep your feet on the ground in the Middle East. Apparently, it's considered very rude to show people the soles of your feet or even point them in their direction and be very careful when you sit with your legs crossed. Just a few more here. Keep a knife and fork in your hands and chili. He said. It's very rude and chilly to eat anything with your hands. Even when eating french fries always have a knife and a fork at the ready. And 10 No. 10 don't make a toast with your wine in Georgia, not the state Georgia, but the country. Georgians make toast with wine, vodka or beer if they wish someone bad luck. Many cultural differences exist around the consumption of alcohol, so it's good to be well versed, and, he said. However, 10 to 15 toast a night in small glasses with other alcoholic beverages that must be downed is in one. It's completely normal. Number 11 This is fascinating because I'm a fan of showing up on time, if not a little bit early. But he says don't show up on time for dinner in Tanzania. So it is considered rude to turn up for dinner on time in Tanzania, where you are expected to be 15 minutes late at the very least. And when you do show up, do not give any hints that you smell the food as that is very rude.

[00:26:29] So imagine then just someone like myself showing up and on time a little bit early and then saying This stuff smells amazing, and all of a sudden you're drummed out of the country. Number 12 Never put a fork in your mouth. In Thailand, a fork in Thailand is used to shovel the food onto your spoon only and not for eating with. So that is the job of your spoon. This one's interesting. Pucker up your lips and Nicaragua number 13. Knowing about some cultural differences will keep you safer in Nicaragua. Pointing with fingers is not done. Instead, people use their lips for this job. They pucker their lips and gesture in a certain direction, usually to point out something happening nearby. Number 14 Go hang out in the cemetery in Denmark. When many people around the world want to hang out, relax and maybe have a picnic, they usually head for a park. But not so in Denmark, where they head to the cemetery for little rest and relaxation. The cemeteries there are very well manicured and host a lot of people, especially during nice weather, and this is a pun warning coming, chef Tarek says. A cultural difference or a custom that we can live with on account of the graveyard. And then 15, this one actually sounds kind of fun. Throw a tomato at someone in Spain. La Martina is a festival in Spain that is all about throwing tomatoes at each other.

[00:27:35] It all started in nineteen forty five when a parade careened out of control, overturning a fruit and vegetable stand, and people began throwing tomatoes at one another out of frustration. And after a couple of years, the authorities tried to ban the practice. But they said, if we can't ban this and so a festival was born. So throwing usually lasts an hour and there are some rules to adhere to. No tearing or throwing T-shirts. No hard objects or bottles squash the tomato a bit before throwing it so as not to hurt anyone and stop when you hear the signal. And once done, the fire department hoses down the main square, revealing a very clean ground due to the citric acid and the tomatoes. So something makes me wonder if that was a wise plan to actually clear or to clean an entire block or that sort of thing. So I hope you can see why I enjoy those. It's fun to learn different things about different cultures, but I've talked often about the idea. I mean, today we're talking about context and we're talking about, do you bring that same curiosity about that? You would, in a culture are saying, Oh, wow, I didn't know that into your own relationships or in your relationships. You say, Well, that's ridiculous. Or you might have even been saying these things are ridiculous here, as would some people in other countries think some of the traditions that we do are ridiculous as well.

[00:28:47] I'm literally recording this on Halloween. My family's out of town and handed out some candy, then ran over to record a quick podcast. And I remember talking with someone else in Japan who had talked about the Halloween holiday didn't make a lot of sense. And I've heard comedians joke about this often, and my wife and I have talked about this from time to time. But it is pretty fascinating that you tell people to your kids, don't go up to strangers, don't take candy from strangers. Except for this one day when they're dressed up in these really scary masks. So I can only imagine what that must be like to a country that doesn't have Halloween, where they must feel like it literally doesn't make sense. So we dress up. Some people are dressed up as Super Mario, but then others are these demonic things from. But then we're all getting along and we're all handing out candy and putting it in pillowcases. And then every now and again, you'll watch a horror movie like Halloween, where now someone with a mask is actually a bad guy. So it is really interesting when you take that in context and then really take a look at we have our own things that I'm sure are pretty crazy, that other countries would think that that's they don't understand why we do them. So the goal the challenge this week, I think, is to really start to just have that word curiosity in your mind.

[00:29:54] And with curiosity does come questions. It comes tell me more. And I feel like you are going to have to watch and see. Check in with yourself on. If you do feel certain things as criticism and oftentimes when we feel criticism, then our brain immediately goes to protection mode. We are so worried that when somebody is saying something that is not the way that we view or think about something that for some reason they're putting us down in our brain is this don't get killed device. Our brain is this I must protect myself device. And so oftentimes when somebody does ask a question about why you do something the way you do or they tell you that they don't necessarily agree with what you are, what you agree with, that our heart rate will start to elevate a little bit. We'll start to go into this fight flight or freeze mode. And so that's why it is so imperative and important to be able to recognize that you are two different individuals to have in a conversation, each with your own experiences, each with your own context around the things that you're talking about. Fascinating, fascinating data. If you look at even looking at twin studies where two twins can go throughout life, literally sharing DNA and going through life together, and they can watch something happen, so the same input. But then if you ask them to write what happened to completely different outputs, so if you're looking at that from a context of with twins, then how on earth are any of us having the exact same experience? We aren't.

[00:31:12] We may be in the same place, but at any given moment, our brain is just a amalgamation of just a potpourri of experiences that lead up to how we think, feel or behave in any given moment. And it's we're in this over half an hour. I'm going to wrap this thing up, but I just feel like any chance I can get to express to anyone that you are not broken. You are you, you are the only version of you. So I really want people to not think what's wrong with me, but reframe things when you think things instead of saying, What's wrong with me for thinking this, say, check out what I'm thinking because you're doing this whole game of life for the first time ever and every moment that you are in, the moment that I'm recording this, the moment that you're listening to this, it's the first time you've ever brought yourself to this situation right now. And so the things that I'm expressing, the things that you're thinking while you're hearing are not meant to be done with what's wrong with me or why am I doing this? It's more of a Hey, check out what I'm saying. Check out what I'm thinking. That's fascinating. And then look at that with yourself, with curiosity.

[00:32:16] Look at Wow, why am I thinking that when I was laying out some of these cultural differences, some of them, you may have laughed, others you might have thought, Oh, that's ridiculous. Others you might have said, Wow, that makes a lot of sense. So look at that with curiosity. Take that that. Take this episode and I'll have the show notes. I'll have the link to the article that I referred to, and not even just to listen to what those cultural differences is are. But then ask your spouse, your partner, your kids, you're whoever. What do you think? Do you think that's funny? Could you see yourself doing that? Look at things with curiosity, not with judgment, because we need to stop. We would change this whole narrative of feeling offended when someone expresses their opinion, and we need to feel safe enough that we can go to the people that we care about and express ourselves in a way that in any way, because that's we desire connection. We desire to know that somebody is there, that we matter, that somebody cares about us. And the way we do that is human interaction. But we are not going to keep putting ourselves in a position to interact with other human beings if we are constantly being met with a feeling of judgment or shame or that sort of thing. So take this next week. Be a little more curious. Think of the context.

[00:33:27] What is the word that one word kite? What are you missing from this person's experience that they're sharing? And find out and then just learn more. Tell me more about that and maybe hold back on wanting to let somebody know why you think what they're saying is wrong or that you disagree. And I promise you that you are going to start to feel more of a connection and you are going to feel your yourself feel a little bit. I think we've all had these experiences before where you have had a negative interaction with somebody, and that does not feel good to carry that around with you. It breaks my heart a lot of times, my son, I'm wrapping this up. I promise my son and I were driving by some an older guy that was in this truck and he just looked angry and we were about to miss an exit. So I did get in pretty quick and he was so angry and there was no part of me that woke up that day and thought, Man, I cannot wait till about one thirty in the afternoon. I'm going to drive down the freeway and I'm going to. I hope I can hit it right where I'm going to try to get wait to the very last minute and then cut over and get on this exit. And I promise you, it really was safe. But he was so mad and I told my son that breaks my heart to think of what that.

[00:34:30] Son must feel like and how often they must feel that way, walking around life feeling. Why do people do what they do? Why can't they just do it this way instead of looking at life with curiosity? So there's my goal. There is my hope. There's your assignment for the week and do not forget. Go to Tony over Bacon Magnetic and sign up to to find out more about this workshop, which is Wednesday, the 4th. Oh, now I just panicked. Is it Wednesday the 4th? It is Wednesday the third Wednesday, November 3rd 6:00 p.m. Pacific and find out more about that. Boy, if anyone's still listening, I completely botched doing the Betterhelp.com ad again this week. Betterhelp.com Virtual Couch If you are interested in the world of online therapy, sliding scales a very easy process to get on board and find a therapist that can help you with so many different things. So you deserve to to take a look at your mental health. Betterhelp.com All right. Have an amazing week. If you are, I think any of you who have been joining me over on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, the Apple had there were some list that I saw where the growth of it, it's up four thousand percent a week with the people subscribing and listening. And so I could not be more thankful for the people that are supporting that podcast as well. So I have an amazing week and I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

Tony describes in detail how his "4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation" works, including how to apply the 4 Pillars in any conversation where you feel stuck, unheard, unseen, or unloved. The 4 Pillars are: 1) Assuming good intentions, 2) Don't send the message of "you're wrong" or "I don't believe you," EVEN IF you think the other person is wrong, or you don't believe them, 3) Ask questions BEFORE making comments, and 4) Stay present, lean in, do all that you can to stay out of "victim mode." These 4 Pillars, along with the paradigm shift that the goal of a conversation is to be heard, not to resolve, will lead to more connected conversations.


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.

EP 287 To Be Heard Is To Be Healed - Connecting the 4 Pillars of Communication

#communication #magneticmarriage #4pillarsofcommunication #4pillarsofaconnectedconversation #compassion #therapy #virtualcouch #wakinguptonarcissism #tonyoverbay #tonyoverbayquote #quote #podcast #podcasting #acceptancecommitmenttherapy #motivation #coach #addictionrecovery #narcissism #happiness #behappy #mentalhealth #wellness #anxiety #relax #mindfulness #happy #depression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #psychology #MadeWithDescript #DescriptPro

----------------------------TRANSCRIPT --------------------------------------

[00:00:02] Hey, everybody, welcome to this episode of The Virtual Couch, and that is my very smooth way of saying I forgot what no episode this is, but I think we're somewhere between two eighty five and two ninety. But I am glad you're here. I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. A certified mine will have a coach and a writer and a speaker and a husband and a father of four, and all those things that I've gotten away from saying at the beginning of every episode because I just want to get to the content. I can't lie even to the point where this will seem like a setup, but I have completely spaced talking about my sponsor, BetterHelp for well over a month now. So if you are looking for help online therapy, then go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you'll get 10 percent off your first month's services. Betterhelp.com has an incredible assessment feature. You can be up and running with somebody within twenty four to forty eight hours and do it through email or online or all those wonderful things. So try Betterhelp.com virtual couch and there. I have meant to do that for so many times, but let's get to the material. I have so many things that I just think about when I'm just out and about. And over the weekend, I went on a quick road trip with my wife. We drove back to Utah just for a couple of days.

[00:01:07] We love doing a road trip together. We love listening to audiobooks and podcasts and solving all the world's problem. My wife would kill me if I ever told the content of this, but we have this running joke that one of these days I need to do a podcast and it is Tony and Wendy. Just show their ignorance about a variety of things. And if you just put the recorder on us while we're talking about a lot of things, so in politics, pop culture news, that sort of thing, we really realize at times that we are so compatible because we don't know as much as we think that we know. But I digress. So we're having this amazing time, but I had an opportunity to interact with quite a few people over the last forty eight hours. And when you're out and about and people know you're a therapist, you get asked a lot of questions, which I love. I absolutely love, which is why this is what I do for a living. When I was in the computer industry and somebody would ask me about hooking up their printer or something about a new computer, I would just feel I would just say, I don't know. Probably the people at Best Buy or something like that can help out. But when it comes to therapy, I'm really passionate about things, and so I work with a lot of couples. I have my magnetic marriage course, which has been delayed, but it's the next round is coming soon.

[00:02:14] So contact me if you want to find out more about that. But I work with so many couples that then it is difficult not to watch couples interact and not want to say, Hey, time out. Can I express what I think that he might be feeling? Or I think what she's trying to say is, which would be completely annoying. Nobody would ever want to have me at a party or just at any kind of an event. But I was I was having a conversation with somebody and they were talking about hearing the four pillars I do a lot of work with. I call them the four pillars of a connected conversation. And when people that I'm even working with will say, Hey, remind me of what the four pillars are, or where can I turn to the four pillars? I have a couple of podcasts where I talk about them briefly, but I realize that those even are often in the wedged in between other topics where then I'll say, Hey, this is a time where my four pillars of a connected conversation will really come into play because I feel like they are applicable not just in marriage, but it's the way that you communicate to your kids or to your employers or just anybody that you're trying to have a connected conversation with. And I really think that the way we communicate as human beings is not really that intuitive.

[00:03:20] We're playing this game constantly of just excuse me of trying to figure out, am I saying the right thing? Am I going to offend this person? Or am I going to leave myself looking? So we are just doing this dance constantly of what do you think? Should I say this? Or if somebody comes with a big, strong opinion, oftentimes we just find ourselves just, Oh yeah, yeah, that's a good point. And then we feel bad when we leave that conversation because we really didn't speak our minds or stand up for ourselves or that sort of thing. Because even as I say that phrase, we didn't stand up for ourselves. What does that bring to mind? I feel like that brings to mind this adversarial relationship that if we're going to speak, our mind has to be done with this just anger and I'm going to hold this boundary no matter what you say. But I feel like we just don't really know how to communicate effectively. And so we're constantly just trying to find this balance of wanting a connection with somebody and also then feeling like hurt or we've been misunderstood. Or then we also do this thing, I think subconsciously, where we may want to put down someone else's opinion or debunk their opinion. And we don't even realize sometimes that's what we do in order to make ourselves feel better about our own opinion.

[00:04:29] So there are so many variables at play that I really thought today I would just go through those four pillars of a connected conversation and go through them in a little bit more detail and hopefully give a couple of examples along the way as well so that you can see how these four pillars can work in any kind of a conversation that you want to have. And I mentioned on one podcast that I had an opportunity to train some amazing, wonderful ecclesiastical leaders a little over a month ago on these four pillars of a connected conversation because a lot of people in their congregations are going to. These faith journeys, they're starting to really question their faith or who they are or their connection with God or these kind of things. And so when they come in to speak to their ecclesiastical leaders, their ecclesiastical leaders trying their best often say things that then maybe offend the person coming in, or maybe cause that person to feel unseen or unheard or unloved. So I feel like the first thing that we need to recognize, whether we're an ecclesiastical leader, whether we're a spouse in a relationship or whether we are a parent of a of a child, a teenage child, a small child or an employer employee relationship is that we need to to shift our entire goal. And the goal is not to resolve anything in the moment. I think that's one of the first things that we do, and I'll just say wrong for the lack of a better word.

[00:05:46] But we need to shift that paradigm that the goal is to be heard. And I say this often and another experience I had over the weekend with someone saying that they hear the things I say, they get pumped. They might even listen to a podcast two or three times. But then as soon as they go back to their day to day life, it's as if they just feel the wind out of their sails there. And they just go. I know to be heard just to be healed, and there's these four pillars, but I just I don't know if I have the energy because we just get stuck in these patterns, these patterns of interactions with people or these patterns in our day to day lives. And it's so easy to just say, I'm going to work on whatever it is later, I'm going to work on it tomorrow or next week. So I understand that you're going to most likely hear this today and you're going to think, Man, this makes sense. I want to I want to implement this, and then you're going to try to put it into play or put it in action. And especially when you're the only one doing it, it can feel frustrating. And so often we go back to the what's the point? I'm just going to keep doing things the way I'm doing things because nobody is listening to me anyway.

[00:06:47] So I want you to keep in mind that I'm going to try to get you so excited about the four pillars right now. And when you then leave this podcast and you're thinking, I want to implement this and I'm not just doing this as a sales pitch, come take my magnetic marriage course where we dig deep into the four pillars which we do. But I want you to know that it's absolutely normal to hear something. Get excited. You literally get a little dopamine bump in your brain. But then as soon as you go back to the quote real world, then your body and brain are flooded with all kinds of triggers. And there's this amazing book the body keeps the score. That, in essence, is talking about that very thing. Your body keeps the score. Your body goes back to this place where when it feels you are pulling up into the driveway of home and it's the time, it's time for the kids to come home from school. Your body's already starting to prepare itself. Or, OK, here we go. Kids are going to. They're going to fight me on homework. They're going to not want to do their chores. I'm going to try to keep the house clean. All of those things, so your body loves patterns, whether they're good patterns or not. So good patterns. So they're already prepping you for whatever you're about to take on.

[00:07:47] So again, it's perfectly normal that if you read a book or you hear a podcast or you watch somebody on TV or any of those things and you get pumped and you're going to change your life, you're going to do something different. It is so normal to then go back to day to day life and then feel like, Oh, now I don't have the energy and I need to do this a different time and just know that's a step that's a step in the right direction. Just starting to have that awareness is a big part of the the process of moving forward. Because for how long did you maybe not even know that there was a different way to interact with people or that you didn't know there was another way to look at your thoughts or your feelings or your emotions? Maybe you didn't even know that that was normal or human. So that awareness is a huge step. I know it doesn't feel as satisfying as we want it to feel, but it's a really big step on starting to take action. Just know that your brain bless its little pink, squishy heart is going to say, OK, I'll give you that little dopamine bump. Yeah, that's exciting, but that's the unknown. That's scary, and I don't know what that's going to turn out like. So why don't we just go back to this same pattern that we've been doing for a while? And the irony of that is that the more you turn back to that same pattern, the more that becomes a deeply rooted pattern in your brain.

[00:08:57] So every time that you think I want to do this thing different or you think, Man, that sounds good and I want to implement this, whatever this is. Give yourself a little bit of credit because you're also going to start creating this new neural pathway of, OK, that sounds good to me. I want to do that. And then your brain is going to say, Oh, yeah, yeah, we like that. And that's part of the process of starting to take on some new challenge. So let's go back to these four pillars of a connected conversation. This can occur with anything. So I had someone bring an example to me and I thought it was really fascinating. They were talking about there in a fairly new relationship. Things have been going pretty well. And now this person and I believe I don't have all the data, but I believe because they feel a connection, let's just say the let's say the woman. So they feel the connection with the woman. This guy now says, Man, I got to get my act together. So he's going to start doing things different. He's going to try to clean up his life a little bit. But the process of cleaning up his life a little bit is going to feel to the woman who now feels this connection like, wait a minute, where's this guy going? What's he doing? We've had this nice connection, but the problem is we don't know how to communicate.

[00:10:01] Something like that effectively, so that leaves the woman feeling sad, feeling like, oh my gosh, is this guy going to going to disappear now? And I don't know what the story the guy's brain is telling him. But if he's thinking, OK, I just got to figure stuff out because this is getting real, this relationship's getting real. So both people, in essence, want the same thing. They want a connection. They want a connected conversation. They want to connect their relationship. But now they're both going to go about it. I'm going to say again the wrong way. They're going to go both to go about it as being two humans that don't know what they don't know. So enter these four pillars of a connected conversation. Let me take this from either side, and I don't know all the details, but I feel like this is the beauty of these four pillars of a connected conversation that if the goal is simply to be heard, then you'll see how this works. What we typically want to do is just resolve something. We want somebody to know in that moment, this is how I feel and this is what I want you to do about it. And that other person may feel attacked or they may feel like, Oh my gosh, you don't understand what I'm trying to do.

[00:11:00] And so then they may withdraw as well. And so we just get in this pattern. My four pillars are based off of emotionally focused therapy, this amazing therapeutic model by Dr. Sue Johnson, and she just talks about that. We get in these patterns of these demon dialogs where somebody goes into tit for tat. And if somebody says, well, you just don't care about me, the other person will say, Well, really, I mean, I feel like you don't care about me or somebody will then pursue why? Why don't you want to hang out with me more? Why don't you want to spend more time with me? And oftentimes that can feel almost overwhelming or smothering to somebody. So then they will withdraw. So we've got this pursue and withdraw, or we've got this freeze and flee, where sometimes the more anxiously attached person is saying, Don't you understand, don't you see what this is doing to me? And the more that they put that on their spouse or their partner than the more that person just freezes because they don't know what to do, they're worried. If they say something, it could actually make things worse, even though the person that is talking to them is saying, Just tell me anything. But if that person says, I feel like you're smothering me a little bit, that's not going to go well, people, then the person that it was saying, just tell me something is all of a sudden you say, Are you serious smothering you? I love you.

[00:12:08] I want to be with you. I want to spend more time with you. So we just get in these patterns, these unhealthy patterns that we come to because we're human beings and we're trying to connect desperately with another person, but we're bringing all of our own stuff into that relationship or into that situation. So let me go back to this and we'll talk about a connected conversation using these four pillars. So the first pillar and I'm going to take this from the, let's just say, the woman side right now, and then we'll do it from the guy side as well, from the woman's side. My first pillar and and I want to spend a little time with this. My first pillar is assuming good intentions. That's the overview. But if you dig a little deeper, what that means is I really believe that no one wakes up in the morning and thinks, how can I hurt my spouse or how can I hurt my mom and dad? Or how can I hurt my employer? That even if it feels like that's what someone is doing, that if we want to keep the conversation going, if we want to get to a place where we feel heard, then we need to assume those good intentions that even if the person is angry or even if the person is withdrawn, that we have to understand that is the way that they feel they need to act in order to be heard or to get someone's time or to be understood or to be seen.

[00:13:22] And that is stuff that we're bringing into our relationships. That's not necessarily about the person in front of you. That's the way that they have felt like they have to interact in order to be heard or to get someone to really pay attention to them, even when it's manipulative, even when it's controlling. And I want to put asterisks here right now. One of the hardest things when I do a podcast like this or I go speak about these things is if you follow any of the work that I've done. I also work with personality disorders. I work with things like narcissistic tendencies, narcissistic personality disorder. And so I have a new podcast called Waking Up the Narcissism that has blown me away with the feedback and the amount of downloads with only four episodes. So I do often say I want to put a little asterisks that if you are working with someone with a personality disorder, that, yes, it's still the same. Four pillars apply. But the goal might not necessarily be in achieving a connected conversation, but it might be in order to for you to find a healthy framework in order for you to recognize that I'm not going to be heard.

[00:14:22] And I often say that I feel like these four pillars they apply in one of two ways. Either one is that it's just people not knowing what they don't know. And so when they're handed this new tool and they practice this new tool now, all of a sudden they really do start to connect with each other, or they're handed this new tool and they can't even play in that same framework. And at that point, then I feel like sometimes some really difficult things need to happen in a relationship where the person that has felt like they aren't heard or aren't seen or aren't understood, and they've tried this framework and it still isn't going well, then that might be time to really take a serious look at your relationship, because that relationship might not be the most mature relationship, but head over to waking up. The narcissism, the podcast, if you want to learn more about what I'm talking about there. But so today we're going to talk about just if it's people that just don't know what they don't know. So back to this situation. So that is assumption of good intentions. So if all of a sudden this person's put together three months of really a connected relationship with this woman and now they have just for the last week or two, they've been a little more distant immediately. That woman may want to say, Oh my gosh, I see where this is going, and I can't do this again, and I in their right.

[00:15:28] I mean, bless their heart. They I can understand why people get frustrated and why they say, Wait, wait, I just text me. Just let me know. Come on, why don't? Don't I deserve this? We've had such a good relationship, but with that assumption of good intentions, what that will do is it will keep us in the conversation. So then that will lead to pillar number two, that you can't put out that message that someone's wrong or that you don't believe them. And here's the key. Even if you do feel like they are wrong, or even if you are really struggling to believe them because the goal is to be heard and stay with me because I think this is so important. So let's say in this situation, we assume the good intentions that that person is not trying to hurt me. If I'm that that woman, even when they've withdrawn and they haven't been as responsive as they have been before. But if I assume good intentions, they're not trying to hurt me. That leads me to be a little bit more curious and have a little bit more empathy for whatever they are going through. So then if they just say I just I kind of forgot I lost track of time, or I just I worry that I'm not going to be able to be the person that you need me to be.

[00:16:27] Even if we feel like that's ridiculous because I saw you, I also saw you active on Instagram or on Facebook, so I know that you were really doing something else. You know, all that says to me is that you really don't care about me. But even if we have that information, the goal is to keep this conversation going to be heard. So we have to then assume those good intentions. And then even if we don't believe that that person, we don't believe what they're saying or what, we can't put that message out or this will shut the conversation down. So, OK, then I can understand that I feel like if that person really feels like they didn't have time or they felt like they lost track of time, then I can understand then that why they didn't reach out to me. Pillar three is questions before comments, and I think it's so important that you can nail down any of these pillars and you can see where conversations devolve in your own relationship. So let's just say that you had your four pillars in front of you and you said, OK, I'm going to assume good intentions. I'm going to assume that they're not trying to hurt me. Even if they are. I'm not going to say that's a load of garbage, even if I feel like it is. And so then three is I'm going to ask more questions before making comments because you could do the first to correct.

[00:17:30] But then if the third one, if you just say, OK, I appreciate that, but let me just let you know that I just sat up all night and I was stressed and worried. And I know if you were lying in a ditch somewhere or I felt like all of a sudden I didn't mean anything to you, but but OK, but let me hear what you have to say, and you can see how then that's going to cause that person that is on the receiving end of that to just feel maybe like, you know what? No, I'm obviously not enough for or I'm not going to be able to have this relationship. So. So I don't know if this is going to work. So you can see how any of these moments that conversation is all of a sudden going to go from connected to, it's going to devolve. It's going to we're going to get into our bunkers. I'm going to start just hurling insults, which leads to pillar four, which is a difficult one to it's to stay present. It's to not go into your bunker. And I'm not a fan of the word victim because I know that there are real victims. People go through things and they are victims. But if when purely in this context of talking about having a connected conversation that if they all of a sudden hang in there with those first three pillars, they assume good intentions.

[00:18:29] They don't tell the person they're wrong, even if they're pretty sure that that person is not being honest or they feel like they are wrong and they do ask questions before making comments, they say, Tell me more about your night. What was that like? Tell me where you were or what was going on. We can do all three of those well, but then oftentimes that fourth pillar, we just go run and dove back into our bunker and we just say, OK, well, you know, I guess my opinion doesn't matter. I guess I just need to sit around all night, wait for you and whatever you want to do because you see what we're doing there is that when we go into that, more of that victim mode or that withdraw or run back to our bunker, what we want to do is we want our partner to come rescue us. We want them to say, No, no, no, no, you're right. You're right. I'm sorry. I just need to do more of what you're asking me to do. Which would it be ideal? Maybe it would. But but we really don't want to get our relationship in this situation where we're almost requiring this person to react in the way that we want them to react. We want to be able to be heard. We want to be able to express ourselves.

[00:19:25] But then and this can be really uncomfortable at first, but then we want to just hear each other because then when we walk away from a conversation instead of thinking, I can't believe that person said that or next time, this is what I'm going to tell them. We walk away and say, OK, that must be hard for them. If they feel, if they feel like they are struggling with keeping track of time or if they feel like they want to be this new version of themselves. But they're really struggling with that because that lead me to maybe have more questions and more empathy of, Hey, I was thinking more about what you said last night and tell me more about this change you're trying to make. What's the hardest part of that? What are the challenges because we all want to be heard again, to be heard is to be healed now. We go back to this four pillar conversation. So if the woman in the scenario just now, she has hurt him and he feels heard now, we've got a pretty significant thing that can happen. So she didn't shut him down even if she wanted to, even if she could. And she could have probably pretty easily said, but you said you were going to call it seven 30 and now it's nine 30 and you never did. And you know what, how that makes me feel and all those sort of things.

[00:20:24] But then if I just if he feels heard now I get to go into if I'm playing the role of the woman, I get to go into the I feel I worry, I wonder statements. So then if it's if it's OK, I appreciate that. And that would be hard. If you feel like you're trying to make these changes or you feel like you're losing track of time or I just I just I feel like we've had such a great connection. And I just worry that if we aren't being able to communicate effectively that we're missing out on opportunity to connect or I just I worry that when I don't hear back from you, when you said you were going to reach out to me at some point, it's hard for me because let me take you on my train of thought. I worry that that means that you aren't necessarily as interested or I worry that I maybe have said something offensive, and I'm not even aware of it. Because if you put it in those, I feel I worry statements after you just heard that person. Now we're more likely to have a connected conversation now. If the woman in the scenario starts saying, OK, that's ridiculous. You know, you told me you would text me and then you never did. What am I supposed to do with that? Now we're putting that person on. The defense and income is one of my favorite concepts.

[00:21:26] Love, hate relationship with it. But psychological reactants of that instant negative reaction we have of being told what to do. And here's what that can look like in a relationship. If somebody says, Yeah, you always tell me seven thirty and then you never text me back that person hearing that is not going to think, Oh my gosh, I think they're right. They're going to think, Oh yeah, well, I can think of nine times that I texted you back. So when we throw out these, you need to understand or you don't get it, or I don't even think you care, or even though that's where we're coming from because we hurt and we want to be heard, we want them to understand this is hard. Now, if we say those things in that way of psychological reactants, I call them reactants hooks. If we use the always or the never, so you never you don't care. Or then that person isn't leaning in and saying, Tell me more. They're thinking, I don't care, Oh, I did this for you or we did this or and we just start to go into these. We go into our bunkers pretty naturally. So back to this woman, if she is then heard him, even if she or she had to assume the good intentions and she had to say, Man, even if I feel like he's I don't necessarily believe him or that's hard for me to understand.

[00:22:29] She doesn't just straight up say that she has the questions, then she doesn't go into a bunker and say, Well, I guess my opinion doesn't matter. He's still he's still present. He's still leaning in. And now she gets to say that I worries and I feels now in a perfect world. They both are adhering to the four pillars that would be ideal, but oftentimes this is a way to just change the dynamic. And this is one of those funny things. I'll go on a tiny tangent, but I just have this goal. This hope that I can teach these four pillars to people in premarital counseling or in parenting or that sort of thing. But there's this odd concept, and let me take you on my train of thought here. We don't know what we don't act like. This is like a big revelation. People are saying, OK, is that the big, exciting thing? But what I mean by that is that when couples come into my office, they come into my office because they feel like they need to go to counseling therapy, that sort of thing. They feel like they need help communicating. Why do they need help communicating? Because oftentimes some big event has happened. There might be infidelity, there might be exposure of addiction, or they may just feel like I don't know how else to be heard. And I don't know if this marriage is viable.

[00:23:29] So they come in when they come in. Guess what I get to do? I get to teach them these four pillars. And when things are rocky or things start to feel desperate, then people cling on to these things like a life raft because they didn't even realize what they were doing, and they didn't realize that there was another way to communicate. So all of a sudden they're saying, Please tell me more. And those episodes of podcasts, or even allude to four pillars of a connected conversation. Those are downloaded thousands of times more than others, or the two rounds of the magnetic marriage course. That Preston and I have done sold out just immediately, and the results have been amazing with the couples that we've talked with there because you don't know what you don't know. And then even when you start to learn new tools, just like I was talking about earlier, that doesn't mean that they're easy to implement. So you have to you have to go through something to then want to learn something new. And then when you start to learn something new, you feel like this makes sense. I want to do this. But then if you're not being very intentional about it, your brain goes right back into these old rutted neuro pathways or the path of least resistance. You're human. That's the way this works, so you have to be more intentional. That's why I literally have four pillars that I in the course that we have.

[00:24:33] I've got a worksheet that I want people to literally hold out, and they think to themselves, I don't hold a worksheet. However, a year old person in a relationship, but how's it working out for you? That's, you know, it just pulled the paper out in front of you. Go through the four pillars. Tell your spouse that I am. I am trying to learn something new, and I would really appreciate you to go on board with me on this journey because we need to change the dynamic. And what I think is really fascinating about this is if you're the spouse that is feeling unheard and you feel. Your let's just say in the scenario, let's say the husband feels like everything's great, you know, what's the big deal? Then forward this to them? Tell them to fast forward to whatever this point is right now and let me hey person listening to this? No, no. I'm going to please assume good intentions on my part. But if your spouse is coming to you and they're saying that I'm struggling, I don't know if this is working, whether a relationship is working or I don't feel like we're as connected as we can be. Even if you feel like it is, then this is an opportunity to connect with your spouse because you can have love or you can have control in a relationship. You can't have both.

[00:25:34] And so in this scenario, if you feel like things are OK, but your spouse is struggling, if they seem withdrawn, if they seem cut off, if they aren't wanting to be as intimate as you would like them to be if they aren't laughing at your jokes, if they aren't telling you you're the hero or when they do, you feel like it's transactional or it's forced, then guess what? There is a way to communicate better. It just flat out is I would encourage you to then use four pillars that I've been talking about earlier in this go back and rewind. Then you can hear these, but do assume good intentions. Your spouse isn't trying to hurt you if they say, I don't know how to communicate with you anymore, I feel like you're withdrawing that they aren't trying to hurt you. They don't know how else to be heard. And then the second pillar is you can't tell him you're wrong, even if you think they're wrong. Excuse me, even if you think they're wrong, you can't say that's ridiculous. You're wrong, because what does that do? Shuts them down? And then I want you to ask questions before making comments, Hey, tell me why you feel that help me find my blind spots and it's going to get it's going to feel tense and I say so often we are so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether. And I promise you, there's a way to use that tension to then have this growth.

[00:26:37] And this is the part that is just fascinating to me is that couples are just in this type of enmeshment or codependency that they aren't even aware of because it's just the way that they keep doing things. And they just keep doing things the way they're doing things, hoping it'll get better later, it'll get better when the kids are out of the house, so it'll get better when we get the new job, they'll get better when we buy another house, it'll get better when we retire. But it it doesn't get better just without doing anything. It takes intentional work. And even as I just celebrate my 31st wedding anniversary and I'm a marriage therapist, I developed these four pillars of a connected conversation and I've got millions of downloads on a podcast where I talk about these very things. And every time that I'm having these conversations with my wife, I will recognize opportunities where we, we missed. We miss communicated or that. So we need to go to these four pillars ourselves. And when we do, then we learn more about each other and we feel more connected. And so when you have this tool or this framework, then you actually get excited to talk to your spouse about something. Or if you say something and you watch them shut down instead of you just easing back out of the scene. Now it's like, Hey, I noticed that you.

[00:27:42] I noticed that you withdrew. Take me on your train of thought and you're going to use these four pillars because you know that they're going to lead to more of a connection. And there's a couple of other things I wanted to share, and I'm looking over at my notes here. But these four pillars we I would love for you to even just start to look at your own conversations and which one of the pillars do you feel like are the biggest challenge for you or which ones? Again, is it hard for you to just assume good intentions if your spouse is just saying things, saying things that offend you, or saying things that cause you to withdraw? Because I promise you that he or she is not waking up in the morning and thinking about four or five o'clock today, I'm going to go in there. I'm going to say this thing, and that'll really take him for a loop that if they're saying that thing, that that is that they're they may just be blindly unaware of how that affects you. And that doesn't mean that then something's wrong with you. It means that we aren't connecting. We aren't. We don't have the tools to communicate that Pillar two is don't send the message of your wrong or I don't believe you, even if you feel like they're wrong or you don't believe them. Why? Because we want to be able to stay in the conversation so that you can get to the part where you say, Man, I appreciate that I can understand or it helps me understand where you're coming from.

[00:28:48] And so here's what here's how I feel about that. Here's what that looks like for me. The third one asked questions before making comments. Don't let me go back to two, and I say this often. One of the most fascinating things about Pillar two as well is I give the example often of if you have a kid that comes to you and they say, I can't do this math class, I'm not smart. And you say, Hey, champ, you can do anything, you can do hard things. I didn't like my math class when I was a kid, but we're telling them, even though it sounds like we're trying to pump them up, we're telling them, Hey, you're wrong. So it does lead to if we don't put out that vibe or message of your wrong or I don't believe you, it gets us to that pillar. Three have to say, Tell me more. Tell me why you feel like you're struggling with math. And I give. I have so many just examples, but one of those was someone that had there's a number of dyslexia, so the parents didn't even know because the kid had never expressed himself. So once, he said, because I literally don't know if I see the numbers correctly, well, then you can't just positive vibe your way through that one so that this connected conversation formula was able to get that kid heard.

[00:29:43] And then they were able to get resources. And that's that's what I always want to say. And now he is, but I don't know, math well enough to say some real smart person. And that was Albert Einstein. That's not true because this was just a few years ago. And then that fourth pillar stay present. Lean in. Don't go into victim mode that you can hang in there for all three of the first pillars and then all of a sudden to say, Well, I guess my opinion doesn't matter. You know, you can do whatever you want to do because when we withdraw that way, we're wanting our spouse to come in and rescue us and we want to stay present. We want to stay in that conversation. I would highly encourage you to go find a couple of the episodes I've done on differentiation because this conversation formula, this connected conversation formula, what that does is it keeps us in a conversation so that we can learn more about our spouse and so we can be heard. Because here's that thing that's fascinating what differentiation really means. It's where one person ends and the other begins. So by nature, we are enmeshed and codependent because that's the way we come from the factory. We're afraid that if we are abandoned, that we will die.

[00:30:42] So we are trying to figure out how do I show up in my relationship so that my spouse will like me so that my kids will like me, so that my employers will like me, so that my church will like me? And so over time, what we realize is we're not being true to ourselves when we're trying to just show up and be whoever someone else wants us to be. We're seeking our validation externally where we really need to be able to build ourselves from within and have that confidence from within. But then what's fascinating is as we try to do that in our relationships, and especially when the other partner doesn't know that you're on this journey of self-discovery or that you're trying to better yourself so that you won't feel like you're dying in your relationship, that as we start to find ourselves, maybe we start to wear different jewelry, we start to dress a little bit differently. We start to express our opinions a little bit more. Our spouses all of a sudden are going to feel threatened because they're, Whoa, who is this person that they're thinking, This is crazy? Whoa. In essence, think about that. What they're almost saying is, wait a minute, you've got different opinions, you know, how dare you? What does that do to me? But that's the scary part where we can feel like, Oh, this is going to go bad. This person is going to leave me this person's.

[00:31:42] If I talk to him about it, this is going to go bad. But it's actually the opposite that as we watch our spouse develop. And come into more of their own and they get more confident and we're doing the same, we have this formula in a way to connect that this differentiation that we're two different people that were two different people that now are showing up in a relationship. And when we have this way to connect and have these conversations, then that builds some curiosity in the middle of the relationship. When you first start to differentiate, you are going to deal with invalidation. You're going to get a lot of Whoa, I don't know you like that or really you think that's a that's a nice thing or that's cool. And that's what leads us to keep jumping back into our old patterns. But we have to break that because that's what leads us to feel like we aren't heard. That's what leads us to feel like we are unloved or what's wrong with us. And that causes us to just kick that can down the road that we'll deal with it later. But you can see now that the longer you put that off, the bigger that gap divides. But the sooner that we can learn these tools and start to communicate that, yeah, we're going to feel a little bit of that invalidation. But as we learn to communicate with that, that's why I feel like these four pillars are gold.

[00:32:45] They really are. The more you learn to communicate and have a framework to communicate where the goal is to be heard, the more you're going to start to realize, Oh, we do have different opinions, but that doesn't mean that they're going to leave me. That means that I want to know more about how they feel and then and can end up asking me more about how I feel. And now we're going to have this curiosity in the middle, which is going to lead to this cool feeling of polarity and connection. And all of a sudden, we're going to think I kind of dig that person, not the Oh, are they going to leave me? But it's whoa, that's my person. Tell me more. And that takes a little bit of a ride into this feeling of insecurity. It's hard. It really is. But this is where there's author Terence McKenna, who said one time it's like jumping out into the abyss and finding out that on the other end, there's a feather bed because we're so afraid again. We're afraid of contention. We avoid tension altogether, but then when we get good at tension. Lo and behold, we we start to learn more about our partner and they start to have our back more and we start to feel more connected and more confident. It is amazing, and that's part of going back to that.

[00:33:40] We don't know what we don't know, which I just realized. I started this tangent 20 minutes ago, saying, I wish I could do this four pillars and get everyone to learn this in middle school or high school or before they get married. But they often feel like they're OK. They don't have to be. They don't have to be all nerdy about some framework and four pillars. It's really not that big of a deal, but it is. If this if this flowed from someone, if they pillared everything, then they really could find themselves more connected with all of those around them, and they could find a quicker way to get differentiated and find out that they really are their own unique individual person. And that just feels just thrilling. And then they can actually find the things they love to do and their passions and their hobbies and their spouse may be doing the same thing, but now there's curiosity and it's not a threat. And so now we can ask questions about what each other likes and we can go along and do those things because we want to be a part of this shared experience with our with our partner. So I hope I was able to hit my goal today of going over those four pillars just a little bit more detail. And if you disconnect it with you, feel free to share it with your spouse or share it with your work or whoever your ecclesiastical leader.

[00:34:46] But just know that to be heard is to be healed when you implement this framework. Then what happens is instead of again, I mentioned this earlier instead of walking away thinking, I can't believe they said that, or next time I'll say this or I'm so hurt. Then you walk away from a conversation even with more curiosity, and I cannot even explain that when that becomes the norm, that then you look forward to these conversations, even if they're difficult, because that there's exponential growth there when you walk away from a conversation, feeling curious and not feeling shut down. And boy, I just want everybody to be a little taste of that. If you could just take a little pill and it would allow you to see what this looks like six months down the road of practicing this. I guarantee you you would just drink this thing up like water. This new way to communicate because we just don't know until it does sound like this is a big giant plug for my next magnetic marriage course. If that's the case, feel free to contact me. That is fine. But even if not, I just want you to start knowing there's a different thing out there. There's a better way to communicate and you can you can research it and find it and practice it and whatever that feels like for you. I just want you to know there's a better way.

[00:35:47] And so that is my hope that you will feel heard right now that you'll feel like, man, this connects and that even if you don't take action on it right now, that's OK. You're a human. You're people doing people things. But the more that you start to recognize and even start to look at conversations or people around you when people learn these four pillars of a connected conversation. One of the funniest things is they start to say, and then we start seeing it everywhere, start recognizing people, not communicating very effectively. And I say, I know, right? It's like being a dentist. And all sudden, you see, everybody has bad teeth, but it's not from a Oh my gosh, how dare they have bad teeth? I've talked to several dentists, my dentist, the great guy who it's like, Oh no, I wish I could fix all their teeth. That's how I feel with conversations. Kind of go back to the beginning of this episode where I talk about when I'm communicating with people. I just wish I could just call a timeout and infuse them with four pillar verbiage, and it's just flowing running through their veins so that they can have this more of a connected conversation. Because if we all did that, oh my goodness, it would just be an amazing have an amazing love for you to start thinking in terms of these pillars and then taking us away, per usual, the wonderful, the amazing, the talented Aurora Florence with her song. It's wonderful. All right, have a great day, everybody.

Tony breaks down Douglas Kenrick, PhD's article "7 Scientifically Supported Steps to Happiness," https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sex-murder-and-the-meaning-life/202109/7-scientifically-supported-steps-happiness based off of Sonja Lyubomirsky's book "The How of Happiness: A scientific approach to getting the life you want." Sign up today to be the first to know when the next round of The Magnetic Marriage Course will launch http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic

#happiness #science #therapy #virtualcouch #tonyoverbay #tonyoverbayquote #quote #podcast #podcasting #acceptancecommitmenttherapy #motivation #coach #addictionrecovery #narcissism #behappy #mentalhealth #wellness #recovery #selfcare #anxiety #relax #mindfulness #happy #depression #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthmatters #psychology #MadeWithDescript #DescriptPro

--------------------- TRASNCRIPT --------------------

[00:00:02] The. Come on in. Take a seat.

[00:00:21] Everybody, thanks for joining me on episode two hundred and eighty three. The virtual couch. Today we are going to talk about the science behind happiness, one of my favorite topics. But actually two things is happiness. In general, I love talking about happiness, the elusive goal of trying to find happiness in the most effective way. And I love evidence based models of psychology, so we're going to hit on all cylinders today and we're going to get right to it. It only took me two hundred and eighty two previous episodes to realize that I really do want to just get to the topic at hand, and I know I would use these excuses. I've got to pay the bills and that sort of thing. But hopefully, if you're finding me and you enjoy the content that I put out on the virtual couch that you'll dig a little bit deeper, go to Tony. I do have a magnetic marriage course that's about the start up and a recovery program and a book and all those wonderful things. But I want to get to the topic, although I just said that I think it's tomorrow, or maybe it's even today, and this will go out the day after. But my new podcast, Waking Up the Narcissism, which the trailer did get a tremendous amount of downloads and all those and all those wonderful things. So I'm grateful for that. But go find it, and it's part of the virtual couch network.

[00:01:26] And so we'll just leave that there. But today I'm going to talk about the science of happiness, and I'm doing what I. Here's the part where I feel very old, where I with the kids, I believe call a reaction video or reaction podcast. That sounds dramatic. But what I really am going to do is I'm going to talk about an article that someone wrote about a book. So I'm even two layers removed from the actual book itself. The book is a book called The How of Happiness, a scientific approach to Getting the Life You Want, and that is by a wonderful clinician named Sonia and its L y you, b o m, IRS, A, Y and I butchered this in a previous recording about 20 minutes ago to the point of where I started over. So Estonia live Barofsky her book. I just did it again, didn't I? I actually went and looked up YouTube videos of you speaking to see how people would pronounce her name. And I feel like people alluded to the fact that that they couldn't pronounce her name. And then they said, Hey, here's Sonya, and she has a great book. So I just did the same thing. But her book The Hell of Happiness, the article that I'm going to refer to, though, is by a professor of social psychology at Arizona State University named Douglas Kenrick, PhD. And he has a blog on Psychology Today called Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life, and it's a really good blog.

[00:02:55] The more that I looked at what Dr. Kendrick is doing, he he just comments on a lot of very interesting things as his own research. And so I'll have links to Dr. Kendrick's blog as well as this article seven scientifically supported steps to happiness. And that's what he wrote about Sonia's book The How of Happiness. So if you're thoroughly confused, that's OK, because the real point is we're going to talk about what Dr. Kendrick found is his top seven takeaways from that book The How of Happiness A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. And shockingly, if you follow all of the virtual couch for a little while, I am going to put the acceptance and commitment therapy spin on the how of happiness because I honestly, I look at these things where it says, here's how to be happy any article that is something to this effect. And I often then apply it as a therapist who has now been seeing clients for 15 plus years and who has done a dramatic shift in my own therapy model from cognitive behavioral therapy of Just Change Your thought and be happy to then realizing that that maybe doesn't work for a lot of people and a better way, in my opinion, is this acceptance and commitment therapy way or more like you're having thoughts and feelings and emotions because you're a human being? And so it's normal to have those thoughts and feelings and emotions.

[00:04:15] But now what do you do with them? And often one of the biggest challenges for happiness, in my opinion, is we're going after the wrong mark that too often we're doing these socially compliant versions of happiness where we say, I know I should be happy and therefore I should do these things that everyone else does that makes them happy. Or at least it looks like it makes them happy on social media, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, all those kind of wonderful things. And if they look happy, then I should be happy doing those things as well. But too often, again, a socially compliant goal is something that we do because we think that we're supposed to, or we think that if we don't do it, we're going to let somebody else. And I'm talking, let somebody down from a spouse to a parent to even even God. And so a socially compliant goal is a really deep concept to embrace. But it can be so liberating to say, Why am I doing these things? Why am I doing something that that I think will make me happy if I really feel at my core, it's not something that really matters to me. So let's go through these seven things, and I'm going to throw in acceptance and commitment therapy spin to them. And in the vein of a true reaction video or reaction podcast, I tried not to really do a lot of thought beforehand because I really just want to be in the moment as I read through these.

[00:05:27] So no one. Dr. Kendrick says from Sonia's book that his one of his biggest takeaways is do something nice for someone else. And he said when he asked, This is Dr. Kendrick. When he asked you to nominate her own favorite positive psychology findings with practical implications for other people's lives, she responded Do acts of kindness for others and, in other words, make someone else happier. She notes that there's plenty of research evidence that doing things for others makes you happier. And then, in Dr. Kendrick's blog, he has sent some links to some of that evidence based data. And I followed a couple of those studies and there are incredible studies. And so here's where I feel like the acceptance and commitment therapy piece comes into play if you feel stuck, if you feel like you're not even sure what to do. Now I often talk about and I did a podcast a couple of weeks ago of Let Values Be Your Guide. So if you have a value of curiosity or you have a value of knowledge or you have a value of connection with others and you're feeling down or you're feeling stuck or you're not feeling happy, one of the best things you can do is start to take action on one of those values, and I gave an example of being at a basketball game and feeling a little bit flat and then pulling out my phone and then looking up some to me fascinating data about the players on the court and finding out all kinds of things about them and then sharing that with the people around me.

[00:06:45] And so I literally was not trying to stop a thought. I was not trying to change a thought. I was not trying to say to myself, Why am I thinking these thoughts? Because I was just thinking them because I was in the situation that I was in. But then I turned and did something that mattered to me. I took action on that. So what I like about her number one, finding do something nice for someone else is it really does get you out of your mind. It gets you out of trying to think your way out of a thinking problem. So if you are feeling stuck or not happy and then you think. I can do something for someone else. I feel like that one is a pretty all encompassing goal in a positive way, meaning that I can implement my value into any type of helping someone else. So if I believe that helping something, someone else is to share a funny joke with them and I have a value of humor, and I'm not only tapping into one of my values, but I'm also making a connection with someone outside myself. If I have a value of service and then I run over and I just mow someone's lawn, so I'm doing something for them.

[00:07:49] Even if they didn't ask me to mow their lawn, then I'm doing something for someone else and I'm doing something of value for me. So I really like that first one. Do something nice for someone else, and I would encourage you to do something nice for someone else based on something that you find connection with. That sounds selfish, but it's not selfish. Selfish self care is not selfish, and I would put this one under the self care. I would put this one under the raising my emotional baseline of taking action and serving someone and doing it based on something that that really I connect with because and I'm going to think of an example on the fly here. If you don't really care much about someone's yard, you don't really like yard work. If you don't really, if you feel like you grew up in your parents made such a big deal about the yard being perfect that you have a negative association with yard work, but then you go serve someone else and then you do that by jumping in and doing yard work for them. There's a chance it's not going to be a bad thing, but there's also a pretty good chance that that would fall into one of those socially compliant goals. You're doing it because you think that you have to.

[00:08:52] And so that's going to rob a little bit of that moment or rob a little bit of you being present in that moment. So try to find something that matters, that is based on one of your values and then go out there and do something nice for someone else with that activity. Number two, Dr. Kendrick said one of his takeaways from her book The How of Happiness, is express gratitude on a regular basis. And he said this was this was another bit of well-supported advice that Sony gave in response to his query. And of course, he says that he's grateful for that advice. He said after the first time he read her book, his wife suggested that they institute a nightly ritual of a thankful list. And he said, we've been doing that for over a decade now before their son's bedtime reading. It's one of the highlights of the day, and in this book, she lists several ways that gratitude boosts happiness by helping you savor positive experiences. For example, as well as boosting your self-esteem, boosting social bonds and disrupting your negative emotions. Brilliant on all levels, this one is brilliant, and the science of gratitude is solid. I've done a couple of episodes on that, and I won't name the large corporation, but I get a chance now to do some trainings for large corporations, and there was one that they brought me on to do a video training. It was about the beginning and I'm close to the beginning of the pandemic and I did a video training with a lot of corporate executives for a very large corporation, and they wanted me to speak to the science of gratitude.

[00:10:18] And at that time, it wasn't that I didn't believe in the science of gratitude, but I hadn't really invested a lot of my own time in studying research, and it didn't take long to find that research that the Kendrick's talking about here. It really does show that there are so many positive effects to expressing gratitude and where I throw the acceptance and commitment therapy layer over this is to express gratitude for the things that you really feel a connection with or the things that you really appreciate. And I like how in this in the article where he talks about this thankful list and that it helps you boost your self-esteem, build social bonds and disrupt your negative emotions. And I really like that phrase disrupt your negative emotions. So it's not saying try to control your negative emotions or stop your negative emotions, but it's saying, Hey, I see you negative emotion today might have been a pretty crummy day, but give me one thing that you're grateful for. And if you were grateful for the opportunity to spend time with your spouse, then express that. And I'll give you an example. So yesterday was Labor Day here in the U.S., and I did come in and I did a little bit of I saw a couple of clients had some work to do, recorded a couple of things for some future projects and then went home and went on a bike ride with my wife and we.

[00:11:30] We covered twenty something miles. It was a hundred degrees. We vowed we'll never do that again because it was a little bit too hot. But man, we had an amazing shared experience of going through this challenge together and we were cracking jokes. We were up, we were down and it was just this amazing connected experience, even though the experience itself was really difficult. And so I love expressing gratitude to my wife for her adventurous nature, our willingness to have this shared experience. And so I was truly grateful for that and I was grateful for that. It was something that really mattered to me. I could say, Hey, I'm grateful for the way that wiped off the counters last night, which I am grateful for, but I feel like that's one of those things that we do just to make sure that we end the evening with a clean home and the emotional peace that comes with that. But I was really grateful for the shared experience that we had around this activity. And so it really does help you build this social bond or disrupt negative emotions. If I was feeling a little bit flat last night, which I was because back into the grind today and long hours and a lot of things coming up ahead, I was just grateful to be able to spend that time doing some meaningful activity based on a value even of fitness that I have with someone that I really cared about.

[00:12:44] Number three. Cultivate an optimistic outlook on life, and I really feel like the wording here is very key. Cultivating an optimistic outlook on life, I know we can talk about the people that are optimists, people that are pessimists. People look at the glass half full or glass half empty. But that's why I enjoy cultivate, because if it is something that doesn't come natural to you, if just exuding positivity or looking at the glass as half full isn't something that comes natural, then you can absolutely notice that note that don't beat yourself up about it and then start to cultivate an optimistic outlook. So if you already follow those first few things we've talked about, if you're doing something for somebody else that really matters to you and you're keeping a gratitude list or being a little more thankful about something each day, and I feel like that's part of the steps of cultivating an optimistic outlook on life. In his article, Dr. Kenrick says that Estonia has done research with a woman named Laura Queen, who herself conducted research in which people imagined their best possible future selves. So what would you be doing in 10 years if everything went perfectly in your life? It's worth trying for yourself if you are listening right now to do it yourself.

[00:13:51] If you just sit back for a second and this isn't going, I'm not going to try to trick you and say, Aha, well, then do all those things if that's what you really want, but just step back and do a little bit of a visualization of what would you be doing in 10 years if everything went perfectly in your life? And the research suggests that imagining an ideal future actually increases your inclination to persist toward those goals and then to cope a little better with step backs and back to my world of acceptance and commitment therapy. Oftentimes, I will have someone do exactly this. One of the ways when people say that they're not really quite sure what their values are when I love preaching, let values be your guide. Turn to a value based activity when you're feeling down. Don't try to think your way out of a thinking problem. All of those wonderful things, all those things I love saying. People will often say, Well, I'm not really sure what my values are, and I understand that. And even the the security of what your values are is a story that your brain is holding on to. Because if I can ruminate and wonder and worry about, I don't even know what my values are, then what I'm not doing is taking action on trying to figure out what my values are.

[00:14:58] One of the best things you can do if you're unsure of your values is just walk outside and start talking to people and you are going to start to find out what really matters to you, whether it's what you like talking about, what you don't like, talking about, what you like doing or what you don't like doing. But one of the things that can keep us stuck is sitting and trying to think about that where we feel like I have to figure this out before I go out and discover my values, when in reality, going out and doing or going out and trying to figure out values is actually the way to do so. You can bring all your negative thoughts along with you, if you'd like or not even your thoughts along with you. So imagining this ideal future self again actually increasing people's inclination to persist toward their goals and cope with setbacks is that sometimes I'll even say, Hey, tell me about somebody that you really care about somebody you really connect with somebody that you really look up to. And what is it about that person that you connect with or that you look up to? And that will often help you understand what those values are? Grandpa, that you really admire? What is it you admire about grandpa? Is it because grandpa really kindly speaks his mind? Does he say the things that you wish everybody would say at the family reunion? And if you say, well, he can get away with that because he's older? Well, then we're maybe using to this.

[00:16:14] You have to be older to be able to really express yourself or be authentic. So often, if you can visualize where you want to be in 10 years, it's a little bit of that same concept. If I can visualize that, I want to be retired on the beach with my wife, which I really do. Then when I'm feeling down or stuck or lonely or flat, then what are those things that I could do that would just even start to point me in the right direction? That might get me closer toward that goal of in 10 years walking on the beach with my wife? Ok, let's go to number four. Four is a very, very good one. Avoid invidious social comparisons. So Sonia's own research suggests that happy people are pretty oblivious to other people who seem to be doing better than them. That's hard to do. I recognize that it's very hard to do. Dr. Kendrick says on the other side of the coin, materialistic attempts to keep up with the Joneses or the said Gates's are actually a great way to make yourself feel even more depressed. And he has a list of research articles that speak to that, and I think that that is so true. I talk often when I get to speak about how did we get to the point where we can feel more depressed or more anxious? How do we get that way? And a lot of times in just a real quick version or a simple version or answer that is that our brains were designed initially not to be a feel good happy device, to be a killed device that we evolved from this mindset of.

[00:17:43] If we turn the corner and we aren't prepared that there could be a saber tooth tiger or a wooly mammoth or a band of marauders or thieves. So things like anxiety are there as a warning that they're there so that we will be on the lookout and always weary and ready of things that may happen even though now. Our modern minds have evolved to the point where we're worried about everything under the Sun, we're worried about losing our job or falling into poor health or getting a ticket or any of those things. And so we're so worried about things that we find ourselves often in this constant state of anxiety where our brains are right on the edge of fight or flight. And so even more so, we're designed to deal with with emotion and concert with another human being, one of my favorite quotes of all time. And in doing so, we're so afraid that we will get booted out of a relationship booted out of our family, booted out of our culture, our society, that we're constantly trying to read the room and see what other people are doing because we feel like if we can still fit in that we're not going to be rejected or kicked to the curb because in doing so, we still have this primitive brain that says I'm on my own.

[00:18:56] I'm going to be devoured by wolves. Maybe not literal wolves, but maybe figurative wolves. So we are just comparing ourselves constantly to all those around us, and we've made it really easy to do that through social media. I'm not trying to say get off the social media, that sort of thing. You might be watching this on YouTube right now, but I feel like the big takeaway there is do your best to notice that you are seeing other people, and I might be noticing that I'm doing the comparison thing, but when I recognize that, then just try to move back being present because the only thing I have control of is me is my life and the actions that I can take notice there even said the actions thoughts are just going to come. That's one of the most fascinating things about the human brain is we're going to think things constantly. Things are going to pop into our minds and we just give things. We give our thoughts so much. We give our thoughts so much attention or we assign such a meaning to our thoughts when in reality and thoughts just happen, our thoughts or our thoughts, are our thoughts.

[00:19:58] And so the more that we just recognize the thought. Don't beat ourselves up about a thought. Don't even try to stop a thought. Just notice it, but then take action on the things that matter to you. And we in one more note on that. Yeah, we're trying to compare ourselves with everybody around us because we feel like if I don't fit in, I've got this inherent fear that in the group or the tribe or the society will boot me out. And we not only do that, but we compare ourselves to this fictional version of ourselves that we may never even become. This is that I'll be happier if I'll be happier. If I make a million dollars, I'll be happier. If I have a really cool car, I'll be happier if I have six pack abs or a bushy head of hair or whatever that is, when in reality we may get to that point and then realize, Oh, that wasn't it. So we need to do our best to avoid these social comparisons or even comparing ourselves to this person, this idealized version of ourselves. And we need to really realize that the more we can just be OK and comfortable in the present moment and turn to things that matter. That's really what's going to boost our emotional baseline and happiness. I got a couple more here. Number five Dr. Kendrick says he really appreciated from Sonia's book The Concept of nurturing your relationships.

[00:21:08] So he says, make time to be with friends and family members, and if you can, without your electronic devices, pay attention to them, let them know what you like about them and when something good happens to them. Be sure to share in their positive outcomes, everybody. Again, we are social creatures at nature, even if we feel like it is difficult for us to be social, but we crave this social connection. And so look for shared experiences. Have you seen a movie that you can communicate about? Are you watching the same shows or what are your thoughts about different things and and share these things with curiosity? So he says, when something good happens again, be sure to share in their positive outcomes. Practice saying this is so good practice, saying, I see your point if you have minor disagreements about the news or who should wash the dishes, for example. And this is where my magnetic marriage course or in any of the things where I get to go, talk about really having a connected conversation, and I lay out my four pillars of a connected conversation. The first one is assuming good intentions that no one wakes up and thinks, How can I hurt my partner or my parent or? And again, even if you feel like that's the case, this is the formula to be able to have the conversation and the goal of the conversation is to be heard. So if I assume that no one's trying to hurt me and number two is I can't just flat out say you're wrong, even if I think they're wrong or I can't even put out that vibe of, I'm not buying this if I don't buy it, because the goal is to stay in the conversation and the pillar three is ask questions before making comments.

[00:22:37] Tell me more about that. Let me let me know. Help me find my blind spots and for staying present and not running back through my bunker and not going into victim mode. Not saying, OK, well, I guess my opinion doesn't matter which we so often do, and the reason I lay out those four pillars when it comes to this is when Dr. Kendrick saying practice, saying, I see your point. Oh, now we're sniffing around the concept of empathy. So tell me more. I'm going to assume that you aren't trying to hurt me. I'm going to assume that even if you have a different opinion than mine, that that comes from somewhere. And so that's going to lead me to say, Tell me more. I'm going to have more curiosity toward your experience. And it might even invalidate my own experience. But being able to stay present in what he says is saying, I see your point will help you stay present and learn more about somebody. And even you can feel there might be some tension. But again, I say often we're so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether.

[00:23:34] And one of the things that we can do when we're communicating with somebody else is be aware that we might start to feel a little bit invalid of invalidation because that's part of the human experience. So, Dr. Kendrick says a classic study of long lived Sardinian Okinawans and Seventh Day Adventists found those diverse groups had several things in common with putting family first and keeping socially engaged at the top of the list. Another study by WEEING and Jeffrey found that people who started a weight loss program who paired up with a friend lost substantially more weight and kept it off as compared to those who went it alone. And the author of the book How Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky had to quote learn to forgive as a separate point, but it's certainly a powerful tool for maintaining relationships because. Yeah, this is funny, you said, because unlike you and me, our friends and relatives all occasionally screw up. Hey, two more to go. Number six, enjoy your work, the actual. And he says this actually collapses two of Rusty's happiness activities, doing more activities that truly engage you, that he says that she says it put you in flow and committing to your goals. And he said, as he's noted in more details and one of his earlier posts, people who work hard actually enjoy their jobs and experience their work more like play. Trying to get by with the least effort is a formula to make work more and more work than play.

[00:24:57] This one's good. This one's really good. Let me tell you where my mind goes with this. So I did 10 years in the computer software industry didn't really enjoy it, and at the time, I didn't really realize that I wasn't enjoying it. I just thought, this is the way that life works. So over time, get my early thirties, go back to grad school, get my master's in counseling, started doing some part time counseling and then over the course of the next few years, realize, Oh wow, this is what it feels like to really enjoy your job and to really be passionate about your job and to feel like I can't wait to learn more about my job and I can't. I like talking with other people that that like their jobs, and I like helping people find jobs that they actually like. And there's a cliche that I would hear often in my office where people would say, Well, I'm not happy in my job, but I work to. I live and does that one go? I work to live. So I work. Then I can do things fun at night or on the weekends, which I understand. And if that is where someone is, I can understand that being the goal. I started to find that too often the people that really felt like they weren't connected in their day to day lives with their jobs were hitting the night or the weekend, and they felt a little bit more out of gas.

[00:26:07] So but then they would be able to say, Well, I'll do something better next week. So then they would have that experiential avoidance of kicking the can down the road. And it wasn't until I really, really realized and embraced how much I enjoy my job and started to realize that that when people really do find something that they care about, something that they're pretty passionate about, but then they really do enjoy going to work. And so that cliche that I would hear in my office that I don't if I started doing it for a living, whatever it is, if it was something that I enjoyed, then it would no longer be fun is I feel like it might be a story that our brain is trying to convince us or tell us or hook us to. Because if we buy into that story or we hook to that story or thought, then we don't really have to put ourselves out there and risk the potential that we may actually have been missing out on doing a career that we didn't necessarily care for. And I realize that might not have made as much sense as I wanted it to. But my point is that when people really start to say, you know, I'd really like to do, let's say, therapy, I'd really like to be a therapist.

[00:27:07] I really like to be a writer. I'd really like to be a teacher. But then they say, But man, if I did that and it would take all the fun out of it, well, that's where I feel like that might not be the case. And actually, I'm not. I'm saying that might not be. I'm living this example of doing something that I really feel passionate about. So I really enjoy it. So if I need to work and enjoying my work is actually not a bad thing. So that's exactly what he said. Again, I'm enjoying your work, so I feel like there's a lot there. And when he talks about doing more activities that truly engage you or put you in flow. This goes back to what I started talking about at the beginning of this episode of If you find yourself doing things that you think you are supposed to be doing, that is a socially compliant goal. And your motivation for that is going to be pretty weak and ineffective because it goes against your whole sense of self or this process of unfolding or becoming yourself. Even to the point of where, if you are doing exercise that you don't really care about, I've had many people say, I've heard you talk about running and I've tried running, and I don't really like running, but I guess I need to do that. Well, what kind of experience are they going to have with running? They're not going to like it at all.

[00:28:14] And so then they get to even beat themselves up more of saying, Man, I can't even do the activity. That would be good for me. I don't really like it. And I find I go back to yesterday, my wife and I doing twenty six or seven miles or whatever it was through the Northern California Woodhill foothills and a hundred degree weather and and we were doing it on these road bikes. And I went decades, probably where I just pooh poohed the idea of getting on a road bike because I love running. And the more that I was enjoying the shared experience with my wife and the more we got out on the bike, the more that I really have learned to really embrace and enjoy that. But I'll tell you before the last probably six months or a year that I really enjoyed writing this road bike with my wife. If I went out on a bike ride, I felt like I know I should like this, but I really don't. Then I would feel like what's wrong with me? Where in reality, we need to start with, what do you enjoy? And if it isn't cycling, if it isn't running, what is it? Do you like the high intensity interval training? Do you like the bootcamp kind of classes? Because that might be the thing. And to me, those are, I don't know, they're a little bit terrifying because I.

[00:29:19] I'm not going to do them right. But the more I accept the fact that I don't have to do them more, it might be a little bit more willing to try or engage. But if I'm feeling like I have to like running or I have like cycling or have to like the camp of classes in my own brain is going to say, number one, I don't have to do anything. And then number two, I might be looking for more of these reasons why I don't connect with that group or I don't connect with that activity. So enjoying your work, enjoying your play, enjoying your hobbies, find the things that really matter to you. And I like that's where in this book, they talk about putting you in flow or feeling like this is something I'm really flowing with or I'm vibing with or I'm enjoying. So the last one that he talks about is take care of your body. And he says Loomba has a few subcategories, including getting regular exercise. Just talk about that learning to meditate and simply acting like a happy person going out of your way to smile and laugh, for example. So he says, go ahead and try it. Run around the house for 10 minutes and sit in the Lotus position for 10 minutes, then hold your face with a smile while you do it. That might be trying to get the best of all of those worlds in a very quick, very quick action.

[00:30:29] But taking care of your body and it isn't an all or nothing thing. I think too often we feel like we have to go completely and eat clean and exercise every day and do mindfulness and yoga. But we're definitely talking progress and not perfection when it comes to this sort of thing. If I could, I feel like I've already gone into enough detail and find exercise or activities that work for you. That's a great place to start. And I know for a while I was really talking about my acceptance and commitment therapy model that I embrace. It has led me to do far more push ups every day than I've ever done in my entire life. And I feel like that is a really good place to start. Is this concept of I went forever of saying, OK, do the one hundred pushups a day do a hundred push ups a day challenge or get the app about 100 pushups a day? There's websites about a hundred push ups a day and download the training guide that says, here's how you're going to get to the point where you can do a set of one hundred pushups. And I failed. I didn't complete that four years. And then the more I was embracing acceptance and commitment therapy and I was taking a look at what goals look like and the acceptance and commitment therapy realm.

[00:31:35] And instead of having the goal of even doing 100 pushups a day, instead, it was having a value of fitness and then push ups for being more of the vehicle. And so I went from feeling like I have to do one hundred a day. So if I found myself at some point in the day and I was far from doing one hundred and I would just kick the can down the road, well, I'll start tomorrow and if I forgot to do them tomorrow, then I might say, well, this week's out because it's already Tuesday or Wednesday, so I'll start again next Monday. That one sounds familiar. If I started to say, OK, I have a value of fitness and I just want to do something every day. Then in reality, it could be it could literally be five push ups. And I could say to myself, I accomplished that goal of taking action on my fitness every day. Now our brain is going to say only five push ups. It doesn't really matter. And that's where I love in the acceptance and commitment therapy world. We don't even argue with our brain on that that point, we can easily say. Very good point, brain, but not a productive thought toward my value based goal of doing something with fitness every day. So what happened there was I start doing OK, one set of 20 and one set of twenty five. Then as a client would leave my office, I would gently close the door, do maybe another set and then another set.

[00:32:48] And then it took a little longer than I thought. It took a few months for this to really change the deeply rooted neural pathways of my brain. The point of now, my path of least resistance is as a client is walking out the door, even if I can see the next client in the waiting room, I give them a little hate, be there in a minute and gently close the door and then do push ups. So now, instead of going years to where I could never figure out how to get myself to make it to at least one hundred a day now on a regular basis, we're doing 200 or 300. And so taking care of your body, first of all, finding the things that really matter to you. And then I believe it's often it's often better to just set a goal of doing some of that activity daily. And you may even only end up doing one pushup and your brain will say, we only did one. And that's where we get to say we're not even arguing that the goal was to do something every day because that we think in terms of black and white or all or nothing thinking. But we really need to learn to embrace a little bit more of that ambiguity or that gray area. So my gray area can be I could do some days where I do honestly forget or I'm rushed for time, and so I might have a session that goes a tiny bit longer than I had anticipated.

[00:33:58] And somebody else is right there waiting, and I know that they have a lot to process. And so there are times where I can say I'm setting the boundary, closing the door and doing a set of push ups and other times where I say what people do and people things, we're all human. And so I might only get 50 push ups done one day or maybe even twenty five. But over time, it's going to become more of this. Deeply rutted, narrow pathway of taking action on the things that really matter and that becomes the norm. So take care of your body, figure out what that looks like for you, whether it's running or biking or eating or in, or if it's a little bit of all the above and you're just introducing a little bit more each day of things that really matter to you. And I'll end with this. I talk about the concept of meditation and mindfulness often. But I'll just give it my speech in closing, and hey, look at this, I totally forgot to. If you are struggling with your mental health and it's hard to get in to see a counselor right now, which is the truth which I love, I love the concept or the idea that mental health, the stigma around taking care of your mental health is slowly dissipating.

[00:35:01] But the problem is it's dissipating across the entire world, and there aren't exactly enough therapists and counselors to go around. But you can find therapist and counselor online, and so go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch. You'll get 10 percent off your first month's treatment, and you can easily or quickly get matched up with a therapist that you maybe, maybe don't work on OCD or anxiety or depression or that sort of thing. And you can pick in the assessment process the type of therapist you're looking for, the kind of things that they practice and the things that you're dealing with, and they can make a good match for you for any reason. That's not a good match. It's really easy online to say, Hey, that wasn't a fit and help me find a new pair. So Betterhelp.com virtual couch, I would highly encourage you to go take a look at that. But mindfulness, if I can just leave with one one deep concept here of the process of mindfulness is not trying to clear your mind of thought. And I run into that so often where people say, Hey, I know I'm supposed to do mindfulness or meditation, but I just can't clear my head. I can't stop thinking about things. And that's where I often just want to say, Yeah, most people can't. I don't know people that can. The concept of mindfulness and mindfulness practice, and I don't get paid for this one.

[00:36:12] There is no affiliate program or that sort of thing, but I use the Headspace app and I try to use it as often as I can, and that might be three times a week. One week it might be five times a week the other week. And every now and again, we're pulling all seven days in a week. But the concept is is brilliant when you have this guided meditation experience, and I have this wonderful British guy named Andy talking me through the in through the nose out through the mouth breaths. What's that doing? It's starting to lower my heart rate, so it's removing that cortisol from my brain, that fight or that fight or flight response. First, the lesson or lower? And I get myself really in touch with my breathing. And what am I thinking about when I'm thinking about breathing in and saying the words in and breathing out and saying the words out in my brain that I'm not thinking about the things that I was thinking about. That makes sense. So I haven't stopped thought, but I brought myself back to the present moment and I'm thinking about my breath going in through my nose and out, through my mouth, through my mouth. Or you may start doing the end through the nose out through the mouth breathing. And then there will be silence on your meditation app and your brain will just start to go.

[00:37:18] It will start to pick up. You'll start to think and think and ruminate and wonder and worry. And then in the Headspace app and might say, OK, now I can do a little body. Feel your back against your chair, your butt against your seat, your feet on the ground. And so what are you doing? You're thinking about those things, not things that you were worried about ruminating about. So it's not trying to get rid of or clear your mind of all thoughts, but it's training your brain. We're talking good old muscle memory, your training your brain that when I start to find myself ruminating or worrying or trying to think my way out of a thinking problem that I can literally just get to the point where I can sit up straight in my mind. I'm already finding myself doing the breathing, and my heart rate is starting to lower and my cortisol levels are starting to recede. And the more you do that, the more your brain is looking out for you. So it knows when your heart rate is starting to elevate and you're starting to ruminate or worry that your brain already knows what's going to happen. It already says, Oh, this guy is going to bring himself back to the present pretty soon, so let's go ahead and start preparing that. And so even just that concept alone and help bring you back to the present moment far quicker than you ever even knew was possible.

[00:38:23] But it can take time to get to that point of practicing meditation, where your visceral response or your brain is literally out there thinking ahead, your emotions are out there ahead of your logic or your rational, rational thinking. So I highly encourage you to learn to meditate. And so today, what do we learn? The seven things do something nice for somebody else. Express gratitude on a regular basis. Cultivate an optimistic outlook on life. Avoid invidious social comparisons. Nurture your relationships, enjoy your work and take care of your body. And that's the seven of the scientifically supported steps to happiness, according to Douglas Kendrick, professor of social social psychology at Arizona State. And he's talking about the book by Estonia. Liam Risky, professor at the University of California Riverside and author of How Happiness A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. So I highly encourage you to go find Douglas Kendrick's blog on Psychology Today. I'll have a link to that, as well as the book How Happiness The Scientific Approach to Getting the Life We Want. All right, I hope you have an amazing week, and next week I already go find the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, and next week I have an interview with my daughter McKinley, who's coming back on the podcast, and it hasn't really, really kind of exciting things to follow up on. So until then, have an amazing week and I'll see you next time.

Geoff Steurer, LMFT talks with Tony about how to rebuild trust in a relationship even after situations that couples believed they would a) never stand for in their marriage and b) believe healing was even possible, like infidelity and betrayal. Geoff is the host of the podcast "From Crisis to Connection" and co-author of the book, "Love You, Hate the Porn: Healing a Relationship Damaged by Virtual Infidelity."

You can find Geoff at https://www.geoffsteurer.com or on Instagram: @geoffsteurer or Facebook: @geoffsteurerMFT


Sign up for Geoff's Trust Building Bootcamp by following this link https://www.geoffsteurer.com/a/18461/ZB9Pb8qW and enter VIRTUALCOUCH15 for 15% off the course.


Tony appeared on two episodes of Geoff's podcast "Protecting your marriage in a faith crisis (part 1) - Tony Overbay - Episode 93" https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-crisis-to-connection-with-geoff-steurer/id1290359940?i=1000522608518 and "Protecting your marriage in a faith crisis (part 2) - Tony Overbay - Episode 94" https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-crisis-to-connection-with-geoff-steurer/id1290359940?i=1000523235363


Sign up today to be the first to know when the next round of The Magnetic Marriage Course will launch http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic

-------------------------- TRANSCRIPT ------------------------

[00:00:00] I have so many things I want to say, two stories to tell about about my guests today. People would ask me if I knew Jeff. I just feel like there was a nice instant connection. I was on just podcasts for not one, but two episodes because we were just vibing so well. So, Gestur, welcome to the virtual couch.

[00:00:18] Tony, my brother from another mother man just now.

[00:00:21] Right. I love this. I couldn't wait to do the joke, I think, on your podcast where I was saying when I was looking over your website, we are the same other than you are far more handsome, have a lot more hair. And then you've both written books about pornography, addiction and recovery. And we've got podcast, I guess. Oh, that's so crazy.

[00:00:39] Same thing. When I first started, it said people like, hey, Tony, I said, looking at your stuff. And I'm like, wait a second, we almost do the exact same thing. This is so dang cool. But some people might feel threatened by that.

[00:00:50] But that's what I was going to say. Fantast. Yeah, because I really think there's a cool thing there with the concept of scarcity mindset versus that growth or, you know, growth mindset, because we're both just we're both just trying to change the world.

[00:01:03] Right, Jeff? Absolutely. Absolutely. People are hurting, man.

[00:01:06] I was going to mention something that then someday this will seem dated. When I was waiting for us to begin. I was looking at my phone to see what the air quality is, to see if we're going to watch high school football tonight, because there are so many fires in the area that I met. And and I feel like anywhere I talk to someone, there's some sort of a natural disaster. How are things in Southern?

[00:01:24] Yeah, air quality stinks, as definitely have some. Yeah, we've got fires in California that are the smoke is wafting over here and yeah, it's tough. Yes, we have beautiful, clear blue skies here, but it's just hazy. So so we don't usually get that kind of weather over here except the fire season.

[00:01:38] But yeah. And it's it's unfortunate there's a fire season. Hey, help my listeners know a little bit more about you. Give me your background. Tell me tell me about you, Jeff.

[00:01:47] Totally. I bet I actually have celebrating 25 years of marriage on Monday. Oh, congratulations. My wife, Jody, thank you. Yeah. And so, yeah, we've got four kids, ages 22 to 12. And yeah, I went to BYU, studied to be a journalist, and then I ended up at Auburn University doing marriage and family therapy. And I've been in marriage.

[00:02:08] Ok, I got to stop you right there. Little did I know what I'm saying. We have all these things. So that was my initial major in college as well as journalism. So that is why did why did you change your major or why did you stop?

[00:02:19] I didn't change it. I, I graduated with a communications degree and the same same.

[00:02:24] I did not know this about you. Mine's mass communications.

[00:02:27] Yeah. Mass communications, communications studies from BYU. And and then my senior year, I my wife and I had been married just a few weeks. I just met Wally Goddard, maybe, who, you know, and he lived next door to them. And we ended up living with them for two years in their basement. And it was from that experience that I decided I wanted to be a marriage family therapist. We just talked about marriages and families and all kinds of parenting, about these fictitious kids we didn't have yet. Yeah, I figured I would start talking about parenting stuff. And it was just so dynamic and interesting. And I just thought I got to do this for a living. And this is nuts. People talk about this for a living. And so I ended up this was my senior year, so I ended up changing a few classes around and got what I needed. And I ended up getting accepted into Auburn and did my my master's degree in MFT over there, moved to Alabama. Oh, wow. So, yeah, so I've worked now as an empty since I've been doing therapy with people for twenty three, twenty two years.

[00:03:24] Wow. Ok, I have so many questions about that, but I do not know about either. First of all, I think I missed the opportunity for a joke of were you an amazing parent, the fictitious kids, much better than with the best.

[00:03:34] Oh, dang. My wife and I would have actual real arguments about fake children that didn't exist. Right. I think we would we would all of a sudden just start discovering kind of all the different things that we had opinions about that you don't know you have opinions about. Yeah. And it was just really funny, because some points we would stop each other and go like we don't even have children. Why are we even talking about this? Yeah, but it was the collision of our ideas, our values, our backgrounds. But yeah. So interesting those conversations.

[00:04:02] No, I love that, because it's funny. We have kids that are for kids, as well as 22 or 23 to 17 somewhere around there. I know I'm in the ballpark and things do get a lot different. And we were just commenting a few days ago about, boy, when we were young, we really did feel like this isn't so bad. We've got this whole parenting thing figured out. And I've had a couple of people in my office lately that have said, boy, I wish I could go back there and because it seems so much easier. And so, yeah,

[00:04:29] I have all the answers. Be so confident. I know.

[00:04:31] Yeah. And so go ahead. Oh, no, go ahead. No, I'm so sorry, Jeff. I've got ridiculous follow up questions. Another one that I have is I didn't realize you've been doing actively doing therapy for so long. And I'm always fascinated by people that come out and they are working as therapists in their early 20s without kids, without they're just now married. And what was that experience like for you? Did people respect you? Did they did they want somebody that had already been through the been through the ringer, so to.

[00:05:00] Well, I think the people that were brave enough to say something would say things to me like I'm old enough to be your mother or stuff like that, but I think overall, like I had really good training from Auburn, great supervisors, great professors. And then my first job out of grad school was at a rural mental health clinic in Arizona. And I worked there. I worked there for six years. And so that gave me you would just call like street smarts. Like I joke with so many different kinds of cases, cradle to grave, every issue under the sun, serious illness, marriages, parenting and child therapy, everything. And so my my skill set just it really accelerated during that time. It was I just I felt like at the time that everybody needs to come work in a place like this because it was good, exposed me to so many things. And it was there that I learned what I really wanted to do. But yeah, no, it was tough. Like I was trying to do therapy with teenagers, but I had a one year old or I was trying to work with these marriages that have been married 30 years and I've been married five years. And so, yes, now that I've been married 25 years, I'm forty seven years old. I've got all these over two decades of experience under my belt. My obviously, my confidence is a lot higher now in terms of my ability to not only my training and experience, but also just lived experience. I just am not rattled by as much. Yeah, I think a way to put a confidence that things are going to work out or there's there's figure ways to figure it out. We can get there from here. Right. Like there's just things we can do.

[00:06:28] I love that that confidence that things will work out. I love that, because that's going to play a lot into what we're talking about today with trust and boundaries. And let me stay on that being, too. How did you you talk about you started to find the population you wanted to work with. What was that experience like and how did you find the population?

[00:06:45] Yeah, so I was working. I was doing so much child therapy. I had to play therapy room, the puppets, the whole works. Wow. And I loved it. But then I noticed that I would go home and not want to play with my own kids because I was so played out, OK. And I thought, OK, this isn't good. My kids will eventually grow up. But I love this. Is it really my thing? And what I found myself doing was I was always wanting to meet with the parents. I wanted to get my hands on the marriage. I was like, let's go up to the headwaters man. Like these kids obviously may have their own issues and temperaments and challenges, but I knew that there was something systemically going on upstream that I wanted to get my hands on. And so I ended up doing a lot of marriage therapy and billing it under the child's name. Ok.

[00:07:30] Yeah. Yeah.

[00:07:31] Right. So it and so for that, just because I wanted those parents to get a better environment for themselves and their kids, and that's where I was like, OK, I need to do I need to work with marriages that I registered my business, moved to Utah and started my marriage therapy practice.

[00:07:47] If anybody was this is the first time they're they're hearing me the comment. I'm sure the quote would be, if they're following you over here to this podcast, they're going to say, all right, Tony, back off talking about yourself here. But I can't I had no idea about this part of your career. I started with kid therapy as well. Of course

[00:08:02] You did, Tony, because we have the same

[00:08:04] Is the same. And the whole reason I didn't I went away from it was surprisingly because I wanted to deal with the parents because I felt like I was just giving the kid coping skills.

[00:08:13] Exactly right.

[00:08:14] Oh, that's crazy, Jeff. That is. All right. So then you go to Utah and now you're doing more couples

[00:08:19] At that point. So when I moved to Utah in 2006, I was starting to I was starting to do some work in my agency in Arizona. I was starting to run into online pornography issues, sexuality issues. And this was in 2006. So the Internet had been high speed, Internet was in homes. Now, at this point in the early 2000s. And you were starting now to see like the tsunami of online sexual betrayals starting to come into our offices, at least in my office. And this was in a rural community where there's no dirty magazine stores or strip clubs or nothing. This was like rural conservative community. But people were just blown apart their marriages with all this stuff. And I was like, oh, wow, this is definitely a problem. And I need I don't know what to do. I had training in marriage therapy and some other stuff, but I just I didn't have I wasn't equipped. So I reached out and got some training from the LIFESTAR network, from Damrey Toddles and those guys. Yeah. And they ended up saying, hey, we'll give you the rights, if you will, or the territory for southern Utah. And I moved out there, moved out to St. George and opened up a sexual addiction treatment program that I ran for 15 years.

[00:09:25] Wow. And I recently sold it. And but I'm that I really cut my teeth working with this population here in St. George. And Mark Chamberlain brought me on as a coauthor for his book a few years later. Kevin Skinner, I just started really connecting with a lot of these great therapists and mentors here in Utah, these guys that were doing some really great cutting edge work at the time and are still still doing great work. And it just was I just fell into this community of professionals and friends that were working with these issues and helping a lot of couples. And they have just. Come in over the years, and we've just been able to help so many people with pornography issues, sexual betrayal and fidelity, and then really learned how to put these marriages back together. Especially as I worked and did my training and emotionally focused couples therapy back in 2009 with Sue Johnson and her team. And so I just I just have had the opportunity and have been so fortunate to get great training, great mentors, great thought leaders. And we've just been able to do a lot of good things with these couples that are just looking for help, you know?

[00:10:29] Yeah. And again, and I think I don't think I even stress this enough at the beginning of this show. I loved being on your podcast so much. And we talked about some people that are navigating a faith journey. And we and then we ended up landing a little bit around the F.T. principles or about my battler's of a conversation. But so I feel like that is so important to have that framework. But what I feel like I, I would love to hear your thoughts on, and I think you've got such good ideas here on. So, you know, let's say we've got this framework to communicate, but how do we how do we start rebuilding trust? And I feel like that is the biggest thing that you see, especially when those couples come in and they just feel like they are in such crisis. And I don't know. What's that like for you? Where do you go first? What do you do?

[00:11:14] Yeah, that's the biggest reason why I built my trust building course and spent so much of my I wanted to really focus in on this because so many couples would come in and they would have a church leader or a loved one or themselves. Just think we just need to work on our marriage. We need to go on more dates and they're bleeding out. There's been a major betrayal, there's been a discovery, there's been some major infidelity or something. And the couple just is trying to now put back the marriage. But it's like putting back together something that it's like the pieces don't even fit. It's so shattered. And so it's like you just the things don't line up. And the couples is in trauma, one or both of them. And it's just very overwhelming. So you can't just start by pushing the marriage in front and trying to work on the marriage. It's another sort of way I've talked about this, is that when there's been a secret or a discovery of a secret. It's there's a big crater blowing in the ground. And so the one betrayed partner drops to a different level than the person who's had the information, had the had the upper hand in a way.

[00:12:16] And it's really critical for marriage therapy to work for marriage enrichment and these things we like to talk about with strengthening marriages. There's an assumption that the couple is on level ground to one degree or another. Ok. And so there has to be you have to backfill that crater and you have to do things to get that love that that relationship, get that person down in the hole, back up to level ground, because there's been such a huge violation. There's been such a power imbalance, a huge shift in the dynamic, in the relationship. So that starts with telling the truth, knowing exactly what's going on, safety, making sure there's healthy boundaries, making sure that that there's deep accountability from the person who broke the trust that they're they're actively serving in a role of trying to help the relationship, help the wounded partner. It's trauma. This is not just, hey, I have a bunch of needs. You have needs. Let's work on our needs together. It's not like that early on when there's a very Fermat trail like this. So that's where I start caino.

[00:13:18] I love it. And I would love to we could break down each one of those. And I'd love to get your thoughts. The part about telling the truth and maybe I'd love to get your thoughts, too, on the whole concept of I always say No. One, when they're going to confess or right after they got caught, let's say either of those situations, they don't say, all right, let's just take a time out before we say anything, you know, dumb. And a lot of times, that's where and right now I'll just say, let's say that's the guy that is the betrayer. Just the we we both work with men or women that have done that. But then they just at times, yeah, they're going to just unload and then. And tell me if you also see at first where people come into your office and the guy has he really has wanted to now say, OK, here's what's happened. But he's still working from this place. And this is where my first pillar of assuming good intentions of that, I still don't want to devastate my wife. So I'm going to tell her some things. But I really would just assume conscious or subconscious, tell her just enough so that she will understand. But then I don't want to tell her more. You know what I mean by that?

[00:14:20] Oh, absolutely. And a lot in this case, a lot of guys will will believe that they're doing this for their wife. But the truth, I believe, is that they're doing it to manage their own shame, their own. Yeah. They're so overwhelmed because they can't handle the reality of their own story. And so basically, they're oftentimes going to give her the light version. They're going to spotlight just generally the behaviors that are either already been discovered or the ones that they think she can handle. Exactly. Yeah. But where that needs to go is that he needs to have some time with his own story first, because he's been lying to himself about it. And before he can ever really do a full inventory disclosure, whatever you want to call it, I call it a form of disclosure before he can do that. He's got to have some practice telling his story to a therapist, to if he's in a group, just 12 step group or church leader, he's got to have practice reducing his own shame and internal reactivity around that story before he can pass it over in full truth and humility to his wife.

[00:15:22] That's I love the way you put that. I mean, because. Yeah, that's a that's so good, because then when he's trying to share some things, there is that shame. And I feel like oftentimes then he will then he will pull back, which I feel like it causes the wife to just want to know more or and I'm sure you see this often, too. But OK, now wife is now been hit with this this trauma, this devastation, and now goes back and starts asking more questions. And so if he only gave a little bit of the information to begin with. Ok, now. Sure. All right. He'll tell a little bit more thinking, OK, she needs to know a little bit more. But now what? Are we training her brain? Is that OK? He obviously didn't tell me the truth. And the more I dig now, I'll get the truth. And then we're starting to create this unhealthy dynamic.

[00:16:06] Yeah. Oh, yeah. The flow of the information is going the wrong direction. It's coming it's being pulled out of him versus flowing out of him. And she needs to know that he'll bring her the truth. And so a lot of these guys, again, they're caught up in their own shame. And so that can come that can come out in different ways. They can withhold and say less information, which is what we're talking about. Right. They can even like fire hoser with all their shame and guilt and tell her way more stuff than she needs to know. There can be he he can sometimes collapse into a heap of shame and feel like such a victim and like an awful person in some ways, expect her to take care of him.

[00:16:47] Exactly. Yeah, a little bit of victim mode and want her to rest

[00:16:51] And be all kinds of different ways. This will show up. And so telling your story, you would think it would be just straightforward. Just tell the truth, man. It's not that simple because you're dealing with a lot of that reactivity and shame inside of them that they have to manage in a. Healthy way, otherwise, they're going to overwhelm their partner and it's going to delay the trust building.

[00:17:12] So, Jeff, it's funny. I always say that what I literally just said to you, that no one is going to say, let me hit pause, let me go meet with somebody before I even express or we try to do this. But people listen to my podcast. That may be on the verge of saying, all right, I need to deal with this. I do need to confess something to my spouse. So what do you say? Do you say go see the therapist first? You do give a do you go and confess and then say, but before we go any further, we really need to do this the right way? I don't know. I've never asked this question. You're an expert. I mean, what are your thoughts?

[00:17:45] Yeah. Yeah, that is so tricky because you know, what you're asking them to do essentially is schedule a trauma. Right? You're basically. I know.

[00:17:53] Ok, yeah.

[00:17:55] You're like, OK. So I guess a couple of scenarios. One scenarios where somebody comes into my office and by themself and they've never told their partner, they pulled me aside and say, hey, I'm basically sitting on this huge secret. I've never told my partner, will you work with us as a couple or what do I do that I can count on one hand the amount of times that has happened in my career? It's super rare. And it happened recently, happened probably a year ago. And I had a client come in and she had never told her husband anything about any of this. And so I, I did not I worked with her for about four or five weeks, and we worked on her story. I helped her prepare disclosure. And then I actually had her go do it with him out in the desert, like they took a drive. I had to do it out there because I sense that he would be safe the way she described. She felt comfortable doing it. And it went really well. He actually it worked out fine because I didn't want to double team with her and have him feel double team that these two people were going to basically just dump this reality on him. And I didn't have be with him at all. I didn't know him at all. Wow.

[00:19:00] Oh, that's a really unique, rare way to. Yeah. So if you're listening to this and you're sitting on a bunch of secrets and you've never told your partner, it's important to go meet with a therapist and figure out what your options are, because dumping it on your partner can can cause a ton of unintended trauma. Yeah, this guy there, healing has accelerated because she came in and when she disclosed to him, she was very prepared. I had her totally ready to talk about it from a place of humility. She had all the things worked out, which she'd written it all down. It was organized. There was no drama. It was just like heartfelt and humble. And it went better than it could have gone if she had just blown it up. Wow. So that's one example. But the most common one is where somebody comes into my office and there's already been I would say this is ninety nine percent of the time. Yeah. And I just made that number up. But that's basically what I see as the pattern is the couple comes in and there's already been some kind of a discovery. Either he's confessed or she's confessed something, or there's been a discovery, totally unintended. And what we're doing now is I'm having to make a case with them and say, look. Do you believe that this is everything again? Most of the time it's no, I don't trust them.

[00:20:15] I discovered this much. They've only told me this much. So what I'll do next is basically say then we're going to structure form disclosure. You just disappear the truth completely one time versus dragging this out. And you need to have practice city with your story and really learning how to get deep into your heart. I'll do this over the course of a couple of meetings, but the vision of it is basically, OK, we're going to have a redo on this and we're going to do it correctly. It's going to like that. You came in with your came in with your like your duct tape and baling wire version of trying to fix this thing up. We're going to take all that apart and we're going to put in some anchors and some bolts and we're going to really lock this thing down so that you don't ever have to go through this process again, because otherwise it just becomes like a limp in the marriage for the rest of their life. Do I really know everything? Were they fully honest? How do I know we want to get rid of that? And have there be a rock solid assurance that, OK, I know everything. Now we're working on current stuff, not past.

[00:21:15] That's brilliant. That is. So then if I go back to that concept of being truthful, of telling the truth. How scared do you see people of that? Or again, I feel like sometimes when people get this thing off their chest, they want to just go back to now. Can we just go back to the way we were?

[00:21:31] Yeah, it's awful. Yeah. Telling telling the truth is so scary, especially when you're up against. Losing that secure bond with the other person, right, innately we just are so we're just constantly on guard against losing that, and we just were defenseless. And so we'll do almost anything, including manipulate somebody with lies. Yeah, that's how strong our commitment to security is. A lot of people think, well, they're doing this because they they don't respect me or care about me or they hate me. And it's no it's because I don't want to lose you. But it's a terrible it's a terrible outcome. It's not OK. So, yeah, telling the truth is terrifying. But again, part of what good recovery looks like for a couple is learning how to tell the truth first about the big behaviors. And they get practice through that disclosure process, but then they learn how to tell the truth just about, let's say, how they're feeling or what they want. Absolutely. Or what they need. And those can feel like secrets. I don't dare tell them that I'm lonely. I don't dare tell them I want that I want to have more sexual intimacy. I don't dare tell them that that hurts my feelings. And so they start to learn and practice telling the truth so that if they can tell the truth about that stuff down the road, it's less likely they're going to end up having other secrets that are much more consequential.

[00:22:50] Absolutely. And I feel like and I say this so often, but I want this I want to hear more from you today. But we're so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether, but that tensions where the growth can happen and that and. But where are you now that we're so afraid of any tension? Because what if what if they leave? What if what if this is too much? And and I feel like all they're closer than they think to where that that really can be an amazing growth opportunity. We're different. We're different people. We are. And I feel like this is where we get this chance to now have a relationship where there's legitimate curiosity because we can be different instead of that fear of like, I don't know if I'm too different, you know, they might leave.

[00:23:27] Absolutely. Yeah. And I think it takes a while to get there. I know even just my own twenty five year marriage, like the kinds of questions I'm able to ask now and the kinds of security we have, I wouldn't have had that the first 5 or 10 years. There's no way. And so with couples that are coming out of a betrayal or coming, you know, trying to rebuild safety first, they have to they have to know that it's not going to keep happening and they have to know that their partner is in deep accountability and remorse. They've heard everything. And then and then that that intimacy, that curiosity that you're talking about, being able to tolerate differences and ask for what you need and really kind of embrace a lot of disowned feelings and wants and needs and desires all that. And that's just good material to work. It is the rest of your marriage. That's to me, that's the gold and that. Yeah. And the couples that that avoid that stuff or shove it down, ignore it or shame it or criticize it like that. Just to me, they're missing out on what marriage was designed for, because my individual growth as a man has skyrocketed because of feedback from my own wife about. Absolutely. That if it weren't working for her and I have to look at myself and what I'm bringing in, man, it's just like dynamic and rich.

[00:24:38] Yeah, OK. I want to get to some trust things. I want to throw a theory out as I'm saying this, I might end up have to edit it out because it might go against the very marriage course. I'm trying to pitch. But I've noticed that, you know, in my mind, it's the people that have had the most success in in even my marriage course are those that have they've been through some things. And I have this vision where I would love to teach every young couple to. We don't. How about we get to the point where we don't have to go through so much and we learn how to communicate and be vulnerable and deal with tension and we can be different and that sort of thing. But as I almost want to say is I beta tested some of these principles on on newlyweds. And you kind of oh, you know, you need to express this or the assumption of good intentions or or don't tell them they're wrong or or questions or comments. They're like not it's really not a big deal. And that's where I want to say, OK, but but it's things are eventually going to become a big deal. How about we go out and start talking about him now? And I'm finding that it's the old people don't know what they don't know. Right. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. We had to solve that one. We had to figure out.

[00:25:43] Yeah, I think I think I think it's experiential. And I and I think that we have to. I don't know. I just think that. The longer I live, the longer I do this with clients of my own marriage, stuff like that, I just don't want people to be afraid of embracing as much as I don't want people to, like, be betrayed sexually or some of them. Sure. We're talking about something's going to go wrong, right. Somebody is going to there's something's going to go sideways. There's going to be some hurt somewhere. And I just want people to know what to do with that when it shows up, whatever that is. And because it's experiential, like like the gut level, like nervous system instinct, response. I have the love, the connection I have with my wife that's been forged out of a lot of trial, a lot of heartache, disappointments, misunderstandings, even some betrayals that have been really damaging around in our own relationship, things that we had to work through early on that that were just so hard. And I would never be able to probably get that gut level instinct in those those kind of that rock solid commitment and some of these things that I feel today without that and I don't know that we need to like engineer those conditions for it. They're just you put two people together. Stuffs going to happen, man.

[00:26:59] It is. It is. And if they've got the framework and they they they're going to get the. So can you talk to me? And again, full authenticity and as you say, full disclosure. That's in my head. I kept I kept saying when we were trade messages about today, I like Jeff. You're the I want to know I want to hear you talk boundaries. But then as I would go deep, dove more into the material that you provide. You have this trust boot camp, this trust workshop. So and then when we jumped on before we hit record, I was saying, do we talk about trust? We talk about boundaries. And what are your thoughts on differences, similarities? Where do we go from here?

[00:27:31] Oh, man. Boundaries are are a lot of people think of boundaries. Just as for the person that has been betrayed, like, oh, I need boundaries to protect myself from from being lied to or being taken advantage over being abused or whatever. And absolutely like that's that to me is sort of like the obvious boundary stuff. But if you think about people that break trust, they have serious problems with boundaries. They they they are a lot of times they're self neglecting. They're not they're not even paying attention to their own needs and desires and stuff. And so there's there's they're crossing lines there. That could be like not getting enough sleep or not eating correctly. Just physical maintenance stuff. Yeah. Or it could even be flirting or other boundaries around other people or poor digital habits or the list of boundaries can go on. That could be like not saying no to stuff or taking on too much or having terrible work habits or people pleasing. So so boundaries to me are just the framework of how to live a really emotionally and physically and emotionally and spiritually healthy, balanced life. I don't I don't think you can separate out boundaries from almost any discussion, because that's what keeps us upright. That's what keeps us healthy and functioning. And that's how I believe boundaries are. What bring us joy.

[00:28:42] Yeah. No, I love that. I really do. I talk with the Preston Pug Maya, who helped me create this course. And we talk about the concept of presence and radiance and the flowing river and the riverbank or the the artwork and the picture frame or and so in that concept of a boundary, that we do need something to kind of keep things what's the right way to put it. So I don't know. So something can be more igby more structure to it. I don't know. So it doesn't just go everywhere. Right. I might add that I was get.

[00:29:15] Yeah, I'm not I'm not sure exactly like in terms of are you asking like I

[00:29:19] Like the idea of personal boundaries, because I feel like when I am just kind of all over the place and at times where I've said, oh, well, that's just my 8D, as I just did right there, or this is just the way I vibe. But when there's more of that structure in terms of personal boundaries, with regard, like you say, at a time of self care, saying no to things, basically all the last four or five things you just listed that then I do feel a lot more productive. I feel more connected. And so I really like that idea of starting with the personal boundaries. I really like that.

[00:29:51] Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I just know that a lot of a lot of the heartache and pain when I've put it on other people, like, well, that person's not give me what I need or this whatever. I have to look very clearly and see, like, have I even asked for it? Have I ever have I even set any clear expectations? Am I managing even my schedule or my time or my business? Am I am I am I showing up in a boundary, healthy, clear way? And when I do, I find that most people adapt and adjust and things go pretty dang well. But but when I'm not boundary, when I'm just chaotic and all over the place, then and I just invite so much trouble into my life.

[00:30:30] Hey, can I ask a specific question and tell me your thoughts on this? I appreciate when you were saying a lot of times we think about the betrayed is the one that then needs to set the boundaries, which I totally agree. Yeah, but I have had those times, or even when you put the betrayal trauma structure in place where the person who who the betrayer will kind of be there for the I'm going to be present. I'm going to be here for you and I'm going to left language, maybe the attachment injury, apologies, and I'm going to show you that I'm not going to go anywhere. But then when it continues to go at times and I've been trying to work with people to set that boundary to say, man, I, I, I'm here, but I feel like we're starting to get into some really unhealthy territory or unproductive conversations. And I don't know. Do you have any thoughts on that, what that boundary looks like for the betrayer without it feeling like they're just running away from a conversation?

[00:31:24] Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's a really sensitive one. I do talk about this and of course, I get into it specifically around even like what if the betrayed starts becoming abusive? Yeah. Yeah. What if what if they strike me verbally abusive or physically abusive in some cases, which I've had people get their nose broken or I've had or people just really get aggressive because they're so hurt. So does does the betrayer have any right to say, hey, that doesn't work for me? Or is that just part of them taking it because. Right, because they broke trust. So they should just take whatever is given to them. I think that obviously an extreme examples are Padilla's legal things, like physical violence or stuff like that. Of course, they need to be able to set boundaries and protect themselves. But when it comes to that, that line of do I have any rights to express my needs? The thing is, is that I believe everybody everybody's feelings are valid. Everybody's needs are totally legitimate. It's a triage thing. It's basically being able to say, if you're deep in your accountability, if you're deep in your your honesty around the impact you've had and you're listening to your partner talk about how hurtful that may feel, like you're being abused. But the truth is, they may just be sharing a lot of like, truthful, hurtful things about the impact you've had on them. And and for you to bail out of that and say like, well, I'm not going to hear that.

[00:32:41] I'm not going to be talked to that way, that would damage more trust. That's a problem. Yeah. And on the other hand, if the betrayed partner is saying things like UAF and this and that, and I hate your guts and I don't want to be like if there might be again, it's like climate versus weather, like if there's an occasional lightning bolt of that, you probably ought to just take it and have some compassion. But if it's the climate, if it's like it's like you've now moved into this, like really tumultuous, verbally attacking kind of aggressive climate that's just like that every single day in and out, every conversation that it's important to to basically describe this. Ok, this is a pattern. This is this is actually destructive for the betrayed to be there, obviously, in so much distress. I can't let this continue anymore. And I'm not going to do it from a place of self-protection as much as I'm doing it from place of I'm protecting the relationship I'm protecting. I like it or him. I protect like this is just unhealthy. So I think if it's coming from a place of self-preservation, in my experience, that's generally coming from avoidance. But if it's coming from a place of this is toxic, this is really damaging, we're not getting anywhere that's that's going to land a little differently. So that makes

[00:33:55] Soga. Oh, yeah, it makes so much sense. And so so that's you say that's Covered in your in your in your workshop and your course. Yeah, I love it. I know. I'm grateful. I'm grateful that that that is there, because I think that will give and I like it. But when I was even reading about your course, I think sometimes people just want to know that there is hope or there is a plan. Oftentimes, I feel like that's enough. To keep somebody engaged in the process, and so I liked it, if anybody is hearing this and they are the betrayer that just to know that, OK, yeah, it's normal for them to feel at times this is too much. And I and I love the climate versus weather. I really do. That's so good. So how do people start, in your opinion? Again, I want people to take your course because I want them because it's now sound like I'm doing the sales pitch for you. But it goes into so much detail. And I want people to be able that this is such a big topic that I think it needs more than 15, 20 minute discussion on a podcast. But in that vein of giving people hope, what do you what do you tell people as far as how to start rebuilding trust?

[00:34:53] Well, the the first place so are we talking to the person who broke the trust where they can start or the.

[00:35:00] I think the couple I would love to know, because I think. Well, I don't know. You tell me, where do you go with that?

[00:35:06] Well, there's there's kind of two we talk about. There's three that there's that there's two individual recoveries. Yeah. And then there's this couple recovery. Yeah. The couple recovery clearly depends on it depends on how well those individual recoveries are going. So if you have one person who is working really hard, so a lot of times you'll have the betrayed who's super motivated because they're hurting so badly. So they're they're motivated and they're they're coming. They're working and working. And then the person who's been unfaithful or betrayed, the relationship is being dragged in like that. Dynamics in terms of where to start. It's going to be hard to do any marriage stuff there, so we're we're going to start is we're probably I'm probably going to start working on help if both people are coming in. I'm probably going to split them a little bit and work a lot with just creating some safety and some containment with the betrayed so that they can just get their emotional bearings and get some safety and get some clarity about what's happened to them, what they need. A lot of the times they're in trauma, they're dealing with physical stuff.

[00:36:06] Sometimes if there's sexual betrayal, we have to make sure that they're safe, even go get an STD test. You think it can get really hard to try and help people feel safe and with the person who broke the trust. Early on, I'm just in a lot of ways, it's sort of like it's kind of like the old 12 step thing. It's like even just helping them wake up to the fact that they even have a problem. Yeah. And that's that a lot of the times they may come in just wanting to get this over with. And so what I'm wanting to do is help them settle in to the journey, help them settle into the benefits of rebuilding this thing from the ground up. And that's going to come from honesty, transparency, accountability, caring about and really recognizing that they are a source of comfort to their partner if they'll do this work. They're so in touch to the fact that they're a source of pain, but they don't realize that they're actually a huge source of comfort if they'll if they'll do the work.

[00:37:03] No, I love it. I do. And I feel like that helps people understand it again. There is a plan or there can be this structures, which means there is hope. So I almost like they're realizing the more I'm asking these questions, that they are a bit ambiguous. I feel like I'm almost asking what The Huffington Post seven things to rebuild trust and you'll never believe. Number four for kind of a thing. But I don't know if you have that kind of advice that you even give people or if if they're in this kind of a situation, it's so much more than just that. Really?

[00:37:29] Yeah. Yeah. I do have an acronym that I use in the course quite a bit, which is ACT, which is stands for accountability, compassion and time. And and those those principles for the person who broke the trust are critical that that it all comes back down to if they want to be a safe person, if they want to be a trustworthy person, they have to learn to live in accountability, not be afraid of that. Ok, and that's and that's that's going to show up in lots of forms. And I tell people all the time, look, there's no expiration date on your accountability. It's not like you can be accountable for the first six months. And then after that, you can't say to your partner, hey, you can't bring this up anymore because of that. Right? It's now you're accountable. If I betrayed my what I remembered, I first was married to my wife, like we were married like two weeks. And I totally hurt her feelings. It involved like my ex girlfriend. I ran into her on campus, didn't introduce my wife. My wife was sitting right there feeling stupid. It just the whole thing was such a mess. And I was so immature. And to this day, sometimes it will come up as even as a joke and laugh about it with other people or tell stories.

[00:38:31] And I'll seriously get back in the car and say to my wife, like, I know we're joking about that, but like, seriously, I'm just so sorry that that happened. That's just like, no, no brand new wife should have to, like, feel so stupid and humiliated. I'm so sorry. I still feel really badly about that. And that accountability. Twenty five years later is so important. And then and then the compassion, of course, is just caring deeply about the impact you've had in your partner, and that that compassion shows up everywhere. It's like I care about your pain and I will make sure that I am the kind of person that will sooth that, tend to it. That's proximity, closeness, softness, kindness. Like I'm just going to be a source of comfort for you. And then the time thing is it's not only it's going to take a long time, but it's just multiple times that there's going to be repeated over and over and over again. It's it's going to be like, yes, we've had this conversation before and we'll we'll have it again. And this might feel like a broken record, but the repetition is going to help you start to experience me as a consistent, safe person.

[00:39:37] So that is so good. Yeah. No, I mean, it came up at that part I love because I feel like and I'm sure you hear this often, too, where or how many times are we gonna have to go through this? And it's as many as you need to. And I love what you said so that I can show them that that I can be there for them. I can be consistent. And I love when you see in the scenario, let's say it's the guy again where they look at it like, oh, no, I know what to do with this. I'm grateful that she's expressing this trigger or this hurt, because I know what to do with this and knowing that the wrong thing is the look, we've already talked about it. When are you getting it over? It's absolutely the wrong thing. And I think there is that fear of, well, what if this goes on forever? And that's where I want to say, OK, what if but if we're doing the work each time, then we're not going to we're maybe not going to need to worry about that. Right. Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I love it. So the the acronym is wonderful. So that helps a lot, too. So any other thoughts there? I feel like I feel like I had an aha moment about five minutes ago where it really isn't just these cliches. It's it's being willing to get in there and do the work and admit the things that you don't know, because no one's been through this process until they've been through the process. And so going in there with humility and not going in there with trying to tell their their spouse how they're supposed to experience this trauma, pain.

[00:40:55] Yeah, and I, I tend to not be very good at like acronyms and breaking things down into steps in general, it's just not one of my strengths. So I don't I don't I don't think like that, but. I also don't I also think that this trust building process doesn't play well to that, like you were saying, I think that what I want them to do is to tune in and settle in, to settle into a journey of of being curious and understanding the way that they've impacted their partner. Because if you start get into steps of like, well, do you do this and this and this and that happens, it almost it almost kind of creates this environment where the person who like you're almost kind of creating like a finish line. And I want to say like this is not the goal, isn't to like get through it. The goal is to integrate this into your story and have this become something that draws you both closer together so that you feel like you've overcome something together. Yeah. And instead of just like we got past that, never talk about it again, I think you're missing a huge opportunity for deep intimacy. Long term, it takes years, though, for people to really get there. And I want them to settle in for the long journey.

[00:42:02] And I love the concept of settling in. I love that where when people say, well, OK, but if we're still doing this in a year and I often want to just stop them and say we're that's the wrong that's the entire wrong parallel work from. Right. It's like I hope that they still feel like they can come to me and bring something up in a year, because I want them to know that we can have these conversations, because that's going to mean we can have all kinds of conversations. And I feel like that's that part where people don't even understand what that relationship can look like because they didn't see it modeled maybe growing up. And they certainly haven't had to be this honest and accountable until this happen, which is going back to what I think you and I were talking about. I want to create something that is going to make this happen. But, boy, when we when we got this opportunity, it's kind of let's do this. I wanted to throw I want to random train of thought, but I do a lot of my podcast talking about marriage.

[00:42:52] And I've been talking so much lately about interdependent versus codependent then. And so we're interdependent. And we're and then when you're differentiated, where one person ends, the other begins. And and when we're breaking free from this enmeshment or this codependence, and as we become differentiated, it will come with some invalidation. And I think that's where that uncomfortable place is. And that's where I feel like and here's where I'm going with this, is I feel like what we're talking about is I will have people sometimes say, oh, wait a minute, if I might. If we're interdependent and we're differentiated, then that sure doesn't sound like a marriage. And that's what I'm saying. We don't even know what that looks like is that is safety and that's curiosity. And now we're going through the life one through our life, being able to say, hey, what do you think about that? And we're processing emotion as as a couple. And and that is just something that is beautiful. But people don't know what that even looks like until they're there. Do you know anything about that?

[00:43:43] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. It reminds me that quote and I'll paraphrase it from Anthony DeMello, who basically said something like, We don't really love people. We love the idea of people. Right. We love the idea of what we think they should be. And that's that's that lack of differentiation. That's yeah. Basically, in my own marriage, like I like I can honestly say I did not love my wife. In a mature love when I first married her at age 22. Yeah. I love the idea of her. I love the idea of a wife and who I thought she was. But as I've gotten to know her, I've had to confront a lot of things that are very different than how I do things. And and and that challenge, if she were just to kind of like mold into the version of what I thought she should be, I'd be a very unhappy person. And I think she would, too. And so, yeah, the richness is in. To me, it's like endless curiosity, if you ever wonder, like a lot of couples, like we have nothing to talk about them all. Oh, but if you're both like really healthy individuals and you have things going on and opinions and thoughts and things that you're interested in exploring and preferences. Oh, that's given me all the material I need to talk about with my wife.

[00:44:52] More getta so good. And I feel like I love what you're saying because I feel like I thought we will hit thirty one years of marriage here in just a month or so. Awesome. And I and I but it's the last even few that the more of that there is that differentiation. My wife wife's dress a little bit more stylish. You might wear a little more jewelry or things that I know that in a less mature version of that I talk to guys all the time are like, well, geez, well, why are you wearing that? Versus, Oh, man, I love this. Tell me more like tell me, tell me. That's right. Oh, and and it breaks my heart to think if there was a part of her that felt like she can't be herself because of the fear of well, I don't know if Tony's going to like it or not. And that's that part where I feel like people don't even know what that looks like to say, oh, this is different, but tell me more or not. Well, this is different. What what's this all about? And it's a whole different energy

[00:45:38] Partner as an individual that exists. And I think we get married. I know I did. A lot of couples get married because of how that person makes you feel. Yeah, we we talk about it like oh, they're amazing because they make they make me feel so loved or me, me, me, me, me egocentric. But yeah, I think I think mature love is really about it's like we do with our kids. Like we don't want them to just be like carbon copies of us. We want to really get to know them and figure out what their journey is. And I just feel honored that my wife wants to take her journey with me.

[00:46:09] Oh, that's so good. That's so good.

[00:46:11] Yeah, chose me to have it with.

[00:46:13] No, thank you for the laugh. Now, like I know what our next topic will be. I'd love to go deep into the differences in marriage or differentiation next time with spouses or mature relationships. I could talk to you about that all day, too. I love that. I really do. I do. Ok, this is better than I even imagined. Jeff, so thank you so much. And then so awesome. It is. I want people to go take your course. So tell them where to go. That always sounds funny to me. Tell where to go, Jeff. Tell them tell me where to get your course. And then that you've been very kind to give them my my people, my people a code. So, yeah. Where do they go?

[00:46:45] Yeah, I might. I definitely want your your listeners to to access the course. And there's a 15 percent off coupon. Virtualcouch15. Thank you, Virtual Couch. Just put that in at check in and save you 15 percent on the course. But yeah, it's it's it's a it's a 12 week course. One lesson or one module per week. And there's like four or five, three or four lessons inside each module with videos and worksheets. And and then as part of the course, I offer a one year question answer live monthly webinar with me where you can get on it. That's good. And connect with me and and get additional support, because I know it takes longer than 12 weeks. I just do the lessons over 12 weeks. And then you can have a year to kind of work things out and get get support. But yeah, you can just go on my website, just your dot com if you don't know how to spell my name, which is really hard to spell. You can just go to from crisis to connection. That's another website and you'll see it on there under courses.

[00:47:38] What I'll have I'll have links to everything, too. And I really do mean it. The the I don't I don't know if you've gotten a lot of feedback, but I now point people who are struggling with faith. I mean, even talk about that. But that's what I loved talking with you about, that. We we covered stages of faith. We covered faith journeys. We covered as I've been pointing people that are coming to me for that to your podcast, because I just I appreciated your you've been answering all the questions. Amazing here. But you're you're an amazing interviewer as well. And you've been getting a lot of pretty darn amazing guests on your podcast as well. So I highly recommend that, too.

[00:48:10] Yeah. No, it's it's fun. I love podcasting.

[00:48:13] Yeah. So we will do it again soon.

[00:48:16] I look forward to it, man.

[00:48:17] And I cannot believe you did. Therapy. Communication brings the whole thing. Just I don't know what we'll find out next, but I can't wait. So. All right, Jeff, thank you so much for coming on.

[00:48:26] Hey, thanks, Tony.

Tony welcomes Magnetic Marriage co-creator Preston Pugmire, host of the Next Level Life Podcast, and award-winning life coach, onto the show to talk about the steps of accountability, and how moving from an unconscious reactor to a conscious creator will have immediate and long-lasting positive effects on everything in your life, from your marriage and parenting to business and personal development. You can work with Preston individually by contacting him on Instagram @preston.pugmire, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/prestonpugmire1 or through his website http://prestonpugmire.com

Sign up today to be the first to know when the next round of The Magnetic Marriage Course will launch http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic

-------------------- TRANSCRIPT --------------------

[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode 280 of the Virtual Couch, I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist certified by Vilaboa, coach, author, speaker, father for all of those things and creator of the Path Back. And I cannot stress enough the momentum that is happening over at Pathbackrecovery.com. We have a powerful, strength based group that is growing and growing. It's helping people get past the shame and help people stop turning to pornography as a coping mechanism while addressing the areas of their life that may not quite be in alignment with their values, their goals, their entire sense of purpose, areas that I like to call the voids, meaning that when people don't feel connected in their marriage or their parenting or their careers or their health or their faith, that is when they often turn to the siren song of an unhealthy coping mechanism. So the Path Back is a program like none other, and it is changing lives. It has changed hundreds and hundreds of people's lives. So if you are anybody that, you know, is struggling to put pornography behind them once and for all, become the person that they always wanted to be the world's greatest husband or father or employer or employee or contributor to society, then go to Pathbackrecovery.com and download a short ebook that describes five common myths that people fall prey to when trying to move past pornography once and for all.

[00:01:09] Again, that's pathbackrecovery.com. And go follow me on Instagram, a virtual couch as well as on Facebook. Tony Overbay, licensed marriage, a family therapist, or just head over to TonyOverbay.com and sign up to get my newsletter and go there. Now, also sign up to to find out more about the magnetic marriage course. The next round is coming soon. So that is it. You're going to love today's episode. My guest is one of the few people that I feel matches maybe even exceeds my own level of energy. And we are we're going deep today. And you're going to hear me talk about something that I have never, ever talked about because before it used to bother me so bad. But with the help of my guest, it is now but a mere story along my personal journey. And I am so, so grateful for that. So let's get to today's episode of The Virtual Couch.

[00:02:08] Come on, take a seat.

[00:02:12] So I'm going to start with a story, I am a very old man. I'm fifty one. I think I'm pushing fifty two and I'm talking when I was in my 20s. So this is 30 years ago, older probably than my guess that I will announce very soon. And if you've already seen in the notes, it's my buddy Preston Pug, my Preston. Are you under the age of 30.

[00:02:32] Just 30. I am not under the age of 30 my friend.

[00:02:35] Ok, but so I go back probably twenty five, twenty six years ago. I'm with a group of friends. My wife's there with me and we go to this magician. It was in the Salt Lake area. I remember his name was Vander Mead and he brought people up on stage and he said a bunch of things and they did the classic cluck like a chicken or or bark like a dog or that sort of thing. But one of my friends were close to me, goes up on stage and they have her like her hands together and she can pull your hands apart. And I know that she was hesitant to even go up there. And finally he just taps her on her head and she comes back down. And I said, what has happened? And I've never seen this look in my whole life. She said, I have no idea what has happened. And I can still whenever I see her today, I can say he would say this thing hands Lukken tighter and tighter. So if I say that to her, then all of a sudden she gets this weird look on her face to this day. And I always thought, man, that's fascinating. Fast forward last year, about a year and a half ago, Preston and I are preparing the materials for our magnetic marriage course. And there's a particular module that's really about taking ownership, taking control of your life. And Preston had said to me, don't tell me anything about a particular issue that maybe you have a challenge with and bring it in. And we're going to film it live. And I'm going to work this module with you.

[00:03:48] And I thought, oh, that's that'll be cute. This will be fun. And so I bring in this thing, though, that was Eat Me Alive. It really was. And I am telling you, by the time we were done with this module, all of a sudden I'm now like my friend coming off the stage from me and I'm just sitting there thinking, I have no idea what just happened, but I really don't care about this thing that was driving me crazy. And here we are. What's it been now over a year since we probably did that person. And to this day, even in preparation for our podcast today, I tried to think about this thing in and give it some energy and it just isn't there. And I don't and I've said to president, I don't know what voodoo you did on me, but it was amazing. And it's part of our course. And yes, this isn't the sales pitch of of course, we are about to launch another round, so we would love for you to go and sign up for it. Tony Overbay, dot com slash magnetic. It's coming on September 13th. Thirteenth. Yeah, starting on thirteen. So we would love for you to do that. But I have been telling Preston I want to get him on the podcast for so long to talk about this module. And so I really want you to drive. I want you to talk about what is the voodoo or magic that you did. Could you snap your fingers right now and all of a sudden I'm Barkett saying something weird.

[00:04:54] Ok, so I love that you're talking about this. So I'm not a hypnotist.

[00:04:59] Ok, fair point. OK, yeah.

[00:05:02] But what I am is a life coach for business owners and entrepreneurs and just people who are interested in designing their life, people who are interested, they're drifting, they're a little bit stuck. And if they're crushin and some areas and then they have some things that just like a little bit of blocks. And so I help them remove those blocks. But one of the things that I did with you, let's take it back to Vandeman. I mean, like he said, he had her put her fingers together and clasp them. Then she couldn't unlock them. Yeah, but what I'm going to do and what we're going to do during this podcast is we're going to pull back the curtain. We're going to reveal like what that looks like and what it means, not from the hands clasped together perspective, but from what it means to allow yourself to remove the blocks in your life, the things that you keep running over and over and over in your head, the the parts of your life where you're stuck either in your business or in your relationship or in your personal life, just like your relationship with your creator or in your health and fitness.

[00:06:03] These are the areas of life where you can get stuck. And the thing that's fascinating to me is that when people have the courage to be able to understand how to take control, then it becomes simple analogy that I use is if you're driving along, you've got this amazing Lamborghini, you just bought it and it's just phenomenal. And you're so excited to drive it. And you get in there and you go, you push the gas down and it won't go like, why isn't this what is is going like? It's just like it feels like you're driving it through water and what's happening. So you get on like maybe it needs different fuel. So you change the octane level on the fuel, then maybe it needs oil change because it's still feeling sluggish. Or maybe I need a new seat covers. So I get new seat covers is a metaphor by the way, and covers and you try that and it's not working like, oh, what should I do that needs a different color. So you paint the thing and it just won't go. Won't go. Don't go, and it turns out you had the outbreak engaged the whole time

[00:07:12] And maybe done that before, and so

[00:07:15] The emergency brake doesn't prevent the car from moving at all. It just if you drive it with the brake engaged, it just makes the car smell funny. And and it just like feels like you're just there's something you can't break through it. That's what I hope people do, is release the emergency break in their life so that they can use the same amount of effort. If you ever release the emergency brake on the Lamborghini, all of a sudden you push the gas, same amount of effort as before. Everything just works. And so if people are feeling stuck in their life of feeling, drifting in their life, not really sure exactly what they're doing, what their purposes or something like that, dude. Understanding how to take control, releasing that emergency brake and then being able to be intentional about what you're doing, what your values are, where you're needed to take accountability and then just moving forward is that's the key to be able to break through to that next level. And that's what we need to do.

[00:08:15] We did. And you said the word, I very much enjoy accountability. And I feel like that was the part when we dropped this module in the magnetic marriage course, I didn't realize how significant it would be. And anybody that's hopefully that's listening. They've heard the episodes that we've done about the four pillars of a connected conversation and. Yeah. And all of those things. But you can set up that framework to have a productive conversation. But oftentimes when people are no longer in tit-for-tat mode or pursue withdrawal and they are having the conversation all sudden, there's some stuff that's getting aired. In one of the biggest pieces I didn't realize till we put that module in there is now somebody has to take ownership of it now. Somebody has to take accountability of what they're now what we're putting out there. And that's why I felt like this module was it was a lot more it was more powerful than I anticipated.

[00:09:00] Yeah. And so with this thing that's really, really important is to recognize that it's not about blame. When we talk like that, what we're going to talk about today and just in your life and stuff. And when I work with my clients, we remove the word blame and fault from the conversation because it's you get screwed either way because you're saying, oh, when I'm blaming somebody else. I'm giving them power over my emotions, my reaction, my stubbornness, my situation, like I'm giving them that power. But the flip side of that picture, a pendulum. And over here, the pendulum and you put it right here and this is unhealthy blaming of other people. And if you let it go and you're not being you're not controlling it and create being intentional about creating what you're doing, then it'll swing all the way over to the other end. And then you're going to say, oh, well, I'm going to just take accountability and then blame myself. Yeah. And you get to judge yourself super harsh. And so think about this, Tony, if you ever blame somebody else for something. Yes. Yes. How does that work out for you?

[00:10:12] But it doesn't. And I feel like it is sometimes that's just is impulsive thing that we do because we just we want somebody to blame because it couldn't be anybody but himself.

[00:10:20] But here's the thing. Have you ever blamed yourself for something?

[00:10:22] Yes, that is.

[00:10:23] How does that work

[00:10:25] Out for you? It doesn't get anywhere either.

[00:10:27] Exactly. So this is my philosophy. You don't blame others. Don't blame yourself. This is the shift that gets to happen because what successful people and by successful I'm talking about like happy people who are emotionally mature and able to move through life as a conscious creator, those type of people are they are not people who are stuck in the blaming aspect of it. And it because here's the thing. It's not about blame or fault. What it is, is about understanding your role in the situation, even if you didn't like, even if you weren't like at fault, and when you understand your role in the situation, remove the fault and the blame from it, then you can actually create something that works moving forward, because people that are stuck, people that are unconscious, people that are reacting, people that are drifting, people that are holding grudges and not being able to live the life that they want to live. Those people are stuck in the blame cycle, whether it's with other people or with themselves. And it is a real paradigm shift to get out of the blame energy and get into the 100 percent accountability. And here's a here's a good example of this. And we talk about this is with a red light. If you are at a red light and you have driven there with your hands are at 10 and two and you're driving the speed limit, you're not talking on your cell phone. You're not texting. You're just you're being a good driver, conscious driver. Then you stop at a stoplight and then, boom, you get rear ended. It's so easy, our brain wants to I guarantee the people that are listening to this, their brain is going to fight against what I'm about to say.

[00:12:31] I knew that I was thinking about this one earlier. This is. Yeah.

[00:12:34] And what if I told you that if you removed the word fault, and I'm not talking from an insurance perspective, yeah, OK, let the insurance people at the place look OK. You were parked. You were at a red light. It's not your fault. It is their fault. But if you take that out of the equation, what it allows you to do is move forward, because if you say no, it's their fault. I was doing everything right there to blame then. OK, you've given all your power to them in that situation, and I am and I'm not I'm not talking about insurance. So the question to ask yourself is instead of, well, what's my fault in this? You just say, what's my role in this? And so if I ask you that, what's your role in getting rear ended,

[00:13:28] It's so funny because even though I know where we're going with this, I still find myself wanting to say, OK, but it's really not my brother that I mean, it's not the word fault. The role was I was in a car sitting at a red light and a car ran into me. That was my role. I was there. I drove over there.

[00:13:45] I drove there. Yeah, you there. And I've been hit like I've been hit in a car where it wasn't my fault from the insurance perspective. But here's the deal, man. Like. You were there, and sometimes that's all it takes, because if you really think about it. If you weren't there, you wouldn't have gone. And so

[00:14:07] No judgment, judgment, no

[00:14:08] Judgment. And that's the thing is it was like, well, me being there didn't warrant like, that's a pretty aggressive punishment for the crime of being at that red light greed, man. Absolutely. Greed, again, not what we're talking about, because when you do that, you go down the path of. Well, yeah, but yeah, but and it turns into so this will get into what you were dealing with when we did this module in my office. But like when you have a situation that occupies your mental state and you can easily rehearse it and you can tell the story to yourself or to other people, and it gives you any sort of negative energetics when you talk about emotional energy and it gives you any of that. Then chances are you are you are holding on to it and you're giving it power. Yeah. And so when you say if you're at the red light, you be like, oh, I was there. I got hit. What what am I going to do about it now? What am I committed to as I move forward? What is it? Because there's a lot of questions you can ask yourself and we'll get into those. But I just wanted to set that up in the context of, like, accountability and what your role is and things so that we could have this conversation. So go for them when you came in and tell me where you're at and then what you experienced as we had the accountability and the taking control

[00:15:40] Situation, I have the full confession. Your person I went and found our module and then I watched this part again because I just wanted to feel that you could feel my energy as I was describing this event that happened for the first time. And I can't even get back to that place from a negative energy standpoint. But so I shared with Preston something that I still have only shared it in our course. But it was this experience where for six years I ran around a track in my local city and I did that to raise money for kids and schools. Sounds very noble. And it was an entire community event. One year I ran 111 miles. The peak year was one hundred twenty five miles. I would come out in a limousine, somebody donated and the kids are all around the track and the middle school band learned to play Rocky or eye of the tiger in the news, was there every year, and I would run with the kids all day during their PE classes and they would all come out and there was photo ops and everything. And then at night we would have this community event.

[00:16:35] There will be food trucks and there would be a deejay and people would stay all night and run with me around this track and there would be lights and people are playing kickball and soccer on the infield of the track and there's tents set up. And then when I finally finish and cross the finish line at eight a.m. the next morning, then there's a community five K that was held. And so it was an amazing event and it raised thousands of dollars every year. It was back when there were budget cuts happening and there were threats of removing school sports and music and all kinds of art. And so we were doing this to raise money and to build this sense of community. And it was one of the greatest things that I've been a part of. And it was scary when I volunteered to do it and my kids all went through that middle school. And so they got to be the person that their dad is doing this thing and running the track. And it was amazing. Preston So that sounds cool.

[00:17:24] I can feel it. I can tell you're leading up to about to break my heart, man.

[00:17:30] Yes, I am. So year seven, I'm still I'm excited. I really am. And it's in the November time frame. I remember very well. And I'm at a wedding reception, as a matter of fact. And the event was always in April or May. So we're months before the event. And someone came up to me and they just said, hey, I don't know, I just want to I just want to let you know, give you a little heads up that there's a new there's new people in the parent teacher organization and the new parents there and there's new administrator at the school. And I just want to let you know they're going to let you know they don't want to do your event anymore. And I just I was devastated because all the things I just shared with you, I've received dozens and dozens, if not hundreds of of emails about people that were saying they finally were able to go out, exercise or connect with their kids. I spoke at all the schools. I would get recognized everywhere I went from people saying that's the guy that runs or that sort of thing. And so right here over a punch bowl at a wedding of somebody I barely knew, I'm being told, yeah, we don't really want you to do that anymore.

[00:18:30] Thanks. And what did it feel like then?

[00:18:32] It felt horrible. And I just felt like I didn't even know what to say. And I remember feeling just so invalidated and unappreciated. I wanted to just defend myself. I went to my wife and I said that they're taking the run away there. And she's like, What are you talking about? And I could even get all the words out because I just thought, but this is what we do. This is our community thing. This is what this is. So this is a great thing. And just I just got told. Yeah. New people and they said it's too much work. And then I started feeling all of these emotions around. They think it's too much work. But the guy running the hundred and twenty five miles that also goes and takes time off of work, the two or three weeks leading up to it and goes and speaks at all the schools and tries to get kids motivated and then tries to get people to and goes and talks to the corporations and tries to get donations and but they don't want to take the Friday off and go out there. Right. Anyway.

[00:19:23] And there we go. I mean, we've seen what's happening right now. I can tell you there's elevation. It's not like you're emotionally elevated, but there's a different energy behind it now than there was before. Yeah, because now it's remembrance rather than current. Yeah, because you can just get yourself out of it now. Absolutely. Oh, so. Well, one of the things, of course, with people that I work with, they have there's so many, so many opportunities to have this type of a thing, whether it's with your spouse, whether it's with your job. It's with your boss, whether it's with your kids, so many opportunities to get elevated. A lot of people say triggered, right? Yeah, you get triggered by things and. I am again, I'm not talking about your fault, but when you realize and recognize your role in this situation, it allows you to take the power back emotionally that you had given to them that they didn't even know that you had given them. They have no idea how you're feeling this way, that it's affecting you as much. I've had so many things in my life with just acquaintances, with friends, with family members and things where they didn't know that I was giving them this power and I was allowing them to direct and dictate the direction of my life. And so that's what happens with drifting men. We use that word a lot, but so often we just either are stuck or we're drifting.

[00:20:56] And it's because we're waiting for something external to to create an emotional situation for us. And so the language that I use is it's unconscious reactor vs. conscious creator. So when I say unconscious, what I mean is you're just simply not aware because. When we have limiting beliefs, we don't recognize them as limiting beliefs, we recognize them as observed facts, and somebody who is reacting to things in their life is thinking that they are just being acted upon by all these external sources and they're just simply reacting to everything. But really what's happening is that they are allowing. These external sources to be the origin of their emotional state. OK, and so when you show up that way, then you're never going to be able to get out of that loop. It's a really self reinforcing loop. And that's why I said it takes courage to do this, because, like, when I work with clients in the next level of life, what it looks like is when they are committed at a level 10, they are they have the courage to be able to say, I am going to. Take a look at myself and my circumstances from a completely different perspective. And that perspective is going to be the thing that's going to set me free and it's going to break me out of the self referencing loop that I'm in in my life.

[00:22:33] And that's what I'm talking about, being stuck or being drifting. You're just going in circles in some area of your life because you're not being intentional about it. And when I talk about designing your life, going from drift to design, a lot of times people it's the first time they've heard that because they just you grow up and you do this and you do this and then this happens and this happens and you do what you're supposed to do. And there seems to be some sort of set path for you. And you're just following the path that is somebody who is unconsciously reacting to their circumstances. And then the flip side of that is you're consciously meaning intentionally creating your circumstances and you cannot create from a victimhood state. OK, everything is acting from the right. If everything is acting to you and at you, if you're being acted upon in every aspect of your life, then you are in a victimhood state and you cannot take accountability from that state and then you cannot create from that state. I know that a lot of things rhyme there that's on it. But yeah. So talk about what it felt like to move from unconscious reactor with this situation, with the run to conscious creator where you're taking control of your emotions.

[00:23:57] Yeah. And let me OK, I'm going to riff here for a second because I do it really I really like what you're saying. And I don't remember thinking this at the time that we did the module. But if I go into good old my therapist lingo of abandonment, attachment, that sort of thing, and I really do remember feeling like it didn't feel like me, even though I did feel like I was this unconscious reactor and that I was down on myself. I was sad, I was bitter, I was jaded, I felt stuck. I felt like I was this kind of giving myself a pity party. Those aren't things that I do by nature. And so I remember feeling like that just was it just wasn't me. And so the reason I go into that abandonment attachment stuff is I really did. And I know I've talked to you about this. It's in our course. I've done a bunch of podcasts about it when we get our attention young a certain way. So if we are typically used to getting attention by being more of a reactor, where then people are saying, oh, hey, buddy, it's OK. Well, let me help you with that or let me you know, I know a lot of people bring that energy to the table. And then but as I said earlier, it's not a mature way to deal with a situation or a subject. And so I really did find myself in conflict with not wanting to be a victim, but also almost recognizing this is some deep, I don't know, childhood abandonment wound or attachment wound where I'm wanting people to reach out and tell me it's going to be OK because I'm down. I'm having this pity party

[00:25:23] That's a trip to exactly so emotional maturity. This is the thing so fascinating is like physical maturity happens to us. It really does. No, you didn't do anything to go through puberty. It just happened at you. The same thing. All the people listening and we become adults physically without any effort. It's just a circle of life. That's right. Emotional maturity does not happen automatically. It is something that it takes so much work and so much like I use this word so often. But you get to create it intentionally. You if you're not doing it on purpose, it does not happen. Yeah. And so emotional maturity is the ability to ask yourself the right questions and. Seek self validation instead of external validation. Yeah, and and when you're saying, like feeling good, when you have a pity party and somebody is like validating your victimhood, it does feel good. I remember very clearly I was with a friend who had just broken up with a girl and I was talking to him and I call it like, I'm not going to buy your B.S. like you're selling it. I'm not buying it. And so he was telling me this stuff, this whole pity party, and its heart was broken, but.

[00:26:48] There was a lot of accountability that went into this, and it really he was in the tunnel, we've all been in the tunnel where you get broken up with and you're like just you can't see anything. You can't see the forest for the trees, I think. But I was in I was really being a person that was not being harsh with him. But I was like, hey, man, like, I know you're feeling this way right now, but. Let's look at this from a different perspective, and I'm trying to help him see it from a different perspective and that different perspective that I was trying to show him was uncomfortable and I was asking him questions that he did not want to answer right now because it would force him to not be in victimhood mode. And this is this is actually when I was in college and I was talking to him doing this, and he left the room and and he went and went somewhere and I went somewhere else to like in the course of the night, we end up and like less than an hour later, I was with another group of people and he called somebody that was with me.

[00:27:55] It was in our group of friends. He called them to complain about this situation because he knew that they would go all into, oh, man, dude, you totally got screwed over, like just buying the story, buying the B.S. And when you are surrounding yourself with people and I'm talking about like first and foremost your own self, when you surround yourself with people who are. Not going to lovingly and compassionately hold you to a higher standard of excellence so that you can reach the next level, which, oh my gosh, it is uncomfortable when somebody holds you to that standard. But when somebody lovingly and compassionately does that, it can be the biggest breakthrough that you've had because it gets you out of that, gets you out of that drifting, and you get to hold yourself to a conscious creator standard that is completely different and unconscious reactor standard. And you're no longer in victimhood, you're in accountability and you're in creation mode. And it doesn't mean you have to go create a business. It doesn't mean you have to do all these different things. So what did it do for you? I mean, talk about what I just discussed there.

[00:29:06] Yeah, yeah. No, it's so good because I really what you're saying in the it doesn't feel comfortable. I think we talk about this in the course. This is one of those things that when you brought the polarity module and accountability module to the course where we really learn we're so afraid of contention that we avoid tension altogether in that tension, when somebody is able to really say, hey, tell me what you did there, what was your role? And that can be really uncomfortable. But that tension is where I really felt like the growth came and that's where I felt like this. Aha moment when you were really saying what role did you play? Not the fault, but what role did you play? So I really didn't feel like and it wasn't as difficult as I thought either. And and I realized that when you're getting this validation through self or validation through your accomplishments or achievements, I feel like that is a whole other level or version of accomplishment or versus the when I'm getting my value or needs met through this kind of pity. But again, I feel like if people if that was the way that they grew up is that if that was the way they got their needs met, if they weren't modeled, parents bless their hearts who weren't taking ownership or accountability.

[00:30:10] I give this example often where there was a girl that I was working with and she's waiting outside of this high school gym. Her mom shows up an hour or so late to pick her up. She's the last one out there. And then she the kid gets in the car, the kid's angry and the mom says, hey, don't you raise your voice with me. Do you realize what I've been through today? And this isn't all about you? And I even thought, man, even that is modeling, not taking ownership or accountability instead of a mom even saying, I am so sorry I lost track of time or I'm sorry I'm late or I get why you're frustrated. And so a lot of times, even as adults, we don't know. We haven't had this modeled and it's scary. And so we worry that if I take ownership or accountability, then I don't know what's going to happen. Everybody's going to take away my my my driver's license or my

[00:30:55] My, my,

[00:30:56] My birthday. Yes. And they're gonna raid my bank accounts and whatever else. But instead, it's like I just say my bad and what that can feel like.

[00:31:04] Yeah. But it can feel like the end of the world to tell. Yeah. To take to take a look. So you're talking about looking at something from somebody else's perspective. I so I'd say never judge another person until you've walked a mile in their shoes because then you have their shoes and you're a mile away by the way then yeah you can judge them and there's no repercussions at that point. But when you. It what you're talking about is it's asking the right questions. Want to change your life, change the questions that you're asking. I'll give you an example. Say you're in a boat and you're out in the ocean and you've got 10 people on the boat and it starts to get sinked, I think is the correct word starts to go down. Frigging people are running around screaming, there's wind and water and everything like that. And you see a life raft and the life raft holds a maximum of nine people who. How do you decide? Which person doesn't get on the boat? So what's happening in your brain?

[00:32:18] Ok, honestly, I am the world's worst swimmer and I have a pool and my wife can swim like a champ. And so I'm very insecure about my swimming abilities. So I know I've got to do whatever I can to get on that boat. And it stinks as if I'm on land. If somebody says, hey, there's help a hundred miles away, OK, I'll go like I'll run. But on the water, please. I would like to get on the boat first.

[00:32:38] Yeah. So you went there, you went, oh, I can't swim. So again, this is a hypothetical. It's a metaphor, but. Bottom line is, think about all the listeners that are listening right now, what did you think of where did your brain go? Oh, how do we decide who gets on the boat? OK, now. How do we decide who doesn't get on the boat rather really, but nothing about this, you're going down. You're out in the middle of the ocean, people screaming water and wind everywhere, and you're going down see a life raft and it says maximum occupancy, nine people. How do you figure out a way to get all 10 people on that nine person raft?

[00:33:22] I don't know, I'm still worried about here's the thing,

[00:33:24] I'm not against this metaphor, but where does your brain go? It goes it opens a different door. Yeah. And it walks down a different path. And you're going to get to a different answer to change your life, change the questions that you're asking. If you say to yourself, how do we figure out who doesn't get on the boat? You're going to answer the question.

[00:33:46] Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha. This is good.

[00:33:48] But if you say to yourself, how do we figure out

[00:33:50] How do we get all 10?

[00:33:51] How do we get ten people on the nine person boat? You're asking different questions. You're going to get a different answer. You're going to arrive at a different solution. And because you're thinking you're thinking at the level of the solution, not at the level of the problem.

[00:34:05] I like what you said there is that I was so honestly, I'm going to sound dramatic here, but I was so focused on just the swimming part that I didn't even hear you change the question. And so I feel and I feel like that's what people will often they're so in fight or flight mode or they're already like down that path, who knows how long. And so they're not even present or hearing the question.

[00:34:26] That's the value of a coach or a therapist because they come in and you can they can ask you a question that is something you've never thought of before or something that's got you a little bit like. I work with people who are willing to and ready to make a decision to make a change. They're not interested in the illusion of change. They're interested in actual change and. When you change the question, for example, when what how about this, what questions were you asking yourself after the people closed down your brother?

[00:35:00] It was all kinds of things like we don't understand the value of the run or why didn't they can ask me first or why didn't they go to me to find out how much work it was or those kind of.

[00:35:10] Yeah, valid, valid, valuable questions. So for the listener, like, if you're listening and you're thinking, OK, there's this situation or there's a circumstance with my life, with my money, with my relationship, something. And your brain will be like, yeah, but yeah, but yeah, but they did say that, yeah but he did do that. Yeah. But that they did screw me over in that way. And it cost more than they said there was something like that. I'm not talking about pretending that the situation isn't there. I'm just talking about asking a different question in the situation with the lifeboat. We're not talking about how do we pretend that the lifeboat or how do we pretend the boat isn't going down, but it's freaking going down. You know, what we're doing is we're asking a different question so we can get a different result. We're focused on the solution. So if you if you ask yourself. Why do I always mess this up? Or if you ask yourself what's wrong with me or if you ask yourself, how can I make this better on the surface, that sounds like a good question. But what you're doing is you're looking for all the problems, right? Or if you say what's how come nobody how come things don't work out for me or how come I can't seem to break through this? OK, that is the that is asking the question.

[00:36:27] It's the equivalent of in the metaphor it's asking is how do we figure out who doesn't get on the life boat. Yeah. So you change the question and it can be a small tweak. But here so here's some of the questions that I asked people in the context of the how to take control exercised. Right. The accountability exercise. There's four steps of accountability. First one, you guys just recognize that it's not about like your emotional state is not about them. This is not with you in the running situation, your emotional reaction to that was not about what, it wasn't about them, it was about your reaction to it. And that's really it's a hard thing to get through. But the second one, here's here's some of the questions. Second step is to ask different questions, which is how did I contribute to this show? So if you say, why do why did they screw me over or why didn't they come ask me or why don't they know how much how good this is for the community? I also like that. Yeah, you're going to get a different question, a different answer. But if you ask yourself. How did I contribute to this? What energy did I bring to the table? And then my favorite question asked. Yeah, what was I pretending not to know then?

[00:37:41] That one right there. And that's the part that I know we talk about that in the course. We've done that in the group coaching. That's been the most powerful part, I think, of some of the group coaching calls we've done. And that's the thing I brought into my office that has been so powerful, that part right there. I've got a couple in my office and asking one of them. Yeah, what what was I pretending not to know? And I think about that one a lot. And if you go through these questions that you're asking right now to what energy they bring to the table, if I'm being honest with myself, I really had let the control of the entire event over the years be in the hands of someone else when the entire time if I was being honest, I knew I probably could have. And most likely I always say I don't want to shoot on myself, but I probably should have still taken control of it. But I wanted other people to do it so I could be this. I come on the track to Rocky Run and the Hero or Save the day, and I wasn't willing to admit that at the time.

[00:38:36] So when I look back on that and what energy I bring to the table, how did I contribute to the situation is I didn't have control of that run to begin with. I had handed that out to other people. And that was something that I wasn't willing to confront at the time that I remember so powerfully when you were taking me through this exercise that and I never even expressed that before. And then so then that what was I pretending not to know? I still remember I was pretending not to know that someday the run might end or I was pretending not to know that other people may have a different view of what would raise money for the school or other people may now have a completely different energy around the concept of doing some run for twenty four hours. Or I was pretending not to know that there were a lot of other people involved behind the scenes and that there and I didn't know what their experience was and so much.

[00:39:21] They're perfect, man. You were ready to go for it. You were willing to do it. And so from there you get to the third step, which is what's your lesson? So what? So once you understood, like how you contributed to it, how you created it, allowed it to happen, what was your lesson to take away from that? And I'm not even talking about like with the run necessarily. I'm just talking about your what is the lesson to be gleaned from that for you?

[00:39:48] Yeah, for me, it really was. If I wanted to make that, if I was giving it the importance that I thought that I was giving it, that I needed to take ownership of it more, basically, I needed to take accountability or ownership for this run itself, that I was pretending not to know that I could have played a much bigger role in the organization of the the downtime during the off season. All of that. There was so much there that I needed to learn. And since that time I have and I love that you said that, I didn't even really put that together. But in any project that I'm working on since that since we even went through that, I tried to say, OK, I need to make sure that I am if this is a project that I feel passionate about, then I need to be involved in this project, because if not, then I need to be willing to accept the fact that it may go a different direction.

[00:40:36] Yeah, perfect. And so how and then this goes into the step four, which is what are you committed to as you as you take that lesson and implement it? What is it that you're committed to as you move forward?

[00:40:52] Yeah, for me then it's if I am going to be involved in a project and I really feel like it's something that I want to invest my time and energy into, then I need to take ownership and accountability of the project and my role in it and not just sit back and just let it happen and then get the butt hurt, as the kids say, when when all of a sudden it isn't going the way I want it to. That's how I can't.

[00:41:14] So how has that shifted so from last year to now, how has that shifted the way that you interact with people in your business and in your family and in your life

[00:41:25] Ownership, taking ownership and accountability? I felt like that was something that I was pretty good at, but I feel like I wasn't even aware of the level of things that I maybe would just pass along is something that I wasn't taking accountability or ownership. And so now it's it goes from everything. If I didn't get back to somebody instead of, oh, man, I meant to get back to you, it's hey, I completely spaced responding back to your text or I didn't write that down or my my bad is become something that has been so powerful. And every day I have to tell you, there was a an ecclesiastical leader that I was working with that I was there paying for someone's services and they owed me a little bit of money. And so I was sending this invoice out and I'm getting nothing back, nothing back. And I start to get really frustrated and I don't know how to be frustrated. I'm a very kind person in general, so I'm trying to muster up this. OK, this is very frustrating. And at one point he responded back and you said, hey, no excuses. I blew it. I just didn't respond to you. And I I literally wrote him back and said, that's awesome. Thank you. Yeah. I have nothing to say to that. And I really felt. Thank you, everyone. One of my kids. Says when they come in and then they say, man, I blew it, sorry I did this or whatever, it's I'm leaning. Hey, no, I appreciate it. We're human. Thanks for thanks for taking ownership of that.

[00:42:41] So it is a game changer. And so what I do is this is just one piece of living a next level life and being a conscious creator so that you can really be on fire in your relationship and in your business and in your personal life, your connection with your creator and your health and fitness like the four main areas of life. When you are being intentional, you have a set of values, you have a personal mission statement, you're taking accountability for things. You're being a conscious creator. You're moving through life intentionally rather than drifting, and you're designing things. That is that is the secret to leveling up. And so. It's been it's been so fun, man, I began this coaching business like three and a half years ago, and to be able to work with, like at a high level is you see people you change people's lives all the time. You change, you change mine man. Like, I think that working with a therapist is really, really important. I work with a therapist. His name is Tony Overbay. And and then also working with a coach like a therapist is going to be able to assist you with what has gotten you to this point, like understanding the a lot of the origins of things. And then a coach helps you say, OK, now what do we do moving forward? Like a very specific set of actions and like a framework and a path to be able to have that structure. But bum, bum, bum, bum, now I know where I'm going, what I'm doing, and there's an energy and a purpose to how I'm approaching life in general. And that's just that's the one two punch man

[00:44:20] Is I'm smiling, laughing because it's like you do this. You literally coached me through this and it's game changer. And then the module's you did unipolarity, game changer. And I'm smiling because I get silver sometimes when we were talking about other things to do to say, right. So what I do next year and I'm like, yeah, I know, right. Yeah. What do you do. You're like, no, like literally what do I do next. I'm like, I don't know man. So but here's here's some more real cool things I can say. Like that motivates you. Right.

[00:44:46] You're talking about when we're going together. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was like I want you to tell me. OK, cool, cool story. I like that you you just blew my mind with what you said and I don't know what to do with it. It's like you handed me this amazing shiny new tool and then I'm like, but I don't know how to build anything with it. Yeah. I don't know what to do with it. And so that's where I come in with with other aspects of life. I'm not an expert in the things that you are an expert and it's so cool. That's what I do. Other things.

[00:45:17] Absolutely. So that's why I really I couldn't wait to get you on and to the timing's good because we're going to we're going to open back up the the magnetic marriage course. And and we've done two rounds. And honestly, it's been phenomenal. It's everything I had hoped that would be. And in more it's cliche, but it really is. But this accountability piece did more for me personally than I ever anticipated. And I might have said this at the beginning. I don't think I gave it the energy that I wanted to. But yeah, I kind of joked about it. But when you were saying, OK, I think this would be really important to have and I really thought, oh, it'll be nice. Presence helped me so much. Put the four pillars together and they connected conversation scripts and so this accountability thing in there. But boy, it is just when you can implement this accountability piece into your life. Yeah, I feel like you. It is one of those things, as we call it, a paradoxical intervention. It's the thing that is you think will be the hardest thing to do actually is easier than you think. And then it becomes this thing that just infects every part of your life. And so it's just amazing

[00:46:15] Because when you operate at the level of conscious creator, when you operate at the level of emotional maturity and taking control, then you're then you are you're in control and you're designing and you're deciding where to go. And if people don't know exactly you think they know that they want to know where to go, I help people figure out where they want to go. Yeah. And I trying that out of them and that's getting them out of the loop.

[00:46:39] So I would I hope it is OK. I would love to put your info in show notes and that sort of thing and people can reach a hundred percent.

[00:46:46] Let's do that. I actually just opened up a couple of spots for one on one because like in a group situation with like within magnetic marriages, everybody should take the magnetic marriage cause it's so good. But in the sometimes you deserve a little bit more custom coaching. So if you're ready for that, if that's something that you feel like you're ready for, then definitely just. Yeah, like I said, I've opened up a couple more spots. And so I want to be able to assist. If somebody is of an audience member of Tony Overbay, then they're my people, man.

[00:47:14] They are. No, I agree.

[00:47:16] I listen to your show. I love your show. That's how I got to meet up with you in the first place. So, yeah, if you're thinking about that and here's the cool thing. If you're thinking about it, you know, right now, you know, if you're drawn to this, if it's for you or not, because it's not for everybody is it's not. But if you're ready to really step it up and get into that level of commitment and really figure out where you're going and what you're doing with a set of tools that's going to help you get there, then work with work with me to the next level of life coaching. I mean, so this is what you do go to Preston Buckmeier.com or this is the best way to the best way to message me is on Facebook or Instagram. So it's Preston.PugMeyer or just Preston Buckmeier on on Facebook or Instagram. Just DM me and I respond, although

[00:48:04] I cannot wait to hear of then down the road somebody's coming on and they're going to talk about their conscious creators story and

[00:48:11] Beautiful man.

[00:48:12] Yeah, it'll be nice. It will. A you know, it is always a pleasure. We talk every week and I can't get enough of it, so I had to bring him in.

[00:48:18] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

[00:48:19] So and so. People to come take the magnetic marriage course and you're going to get the person I do in some group coaching and it really will it will improve your marriage. That's that's not good enough. It will take your marriage to the next level and it will really teach you a framework, a way to communicate, and it just puts that to that passion back in the marriage. And now we've got a nice track record of showing how effective that can be. So we would love to have you on board with that as well. So, Preston, if I could be so bold, I really do feel, even though you were just taking me through this when we were creating the course, I want to give my own stamp of approval of somebody working with you one on one, because whether you know it or not is we've created this course. You have coached me and you have worked with me one on one. And it really has brought a tremendous amount of new skills that I brought into my therapy office, which has been phenomenal, but even more so in my life, the accountability piece that I pass along to my kids as well, and also just me being able to take ownership of a lot of it, even just the simplest things that I realized that I would just blow off as well. This isn't as important to to necessarily own. And so I really appreciate the work that you've done in helping me with that. If anybody is even remotely thinking about this or any of this resonated, then please reach out to Preston, because I cannot recommend him enough to help you really take ownership and accountability of your life. It's going to take your life to a whole different place. And I'm telling you, you only have one life to live, so just get going on it, find that purpose and and then just start taking action on it. And this is a huge piece of commitment press to do right now.

[00:49:49] Under to. Thank you. Thank you. Thanks so much, Mark. Thanks for asking. I really appreciate it. Thank you. Later.

Tony talks about the mental health and life lessons learned on a recent trip to Disneyland, including the brain’s fascination with anticipation vs. reward, the psychological importance of nostalgia, the “Coolidge Effect,”; how to “let go and play” (http://playtheory.org). Plus, Tony shares the application of his “4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation” with his wife during a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. Tony also discusses mindfulness tips, how “kindness wins,” and the link between ADHD and “hangry.”

Head to tonyoverbay.com/magnetic to be the first to know the start date of Tony's next round of his "Magnetic Marriage" course.

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 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 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

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------------ TRASNSCRIPT ------------

[00:00:00] Today, we are going to talk about Disneyland, so even if you're not a Disneyland fan, I hope that you will sit back and enjoy a therapist take on the Magic Kingdom.

[00:00:26] Come on, take a seat.

[00:00:32] So a few weeks ago with my wife, my daughter MacKinley, my niece Taylor, we headed to Disneyland down in Southern California and a true confession. I did not go to Disneyland as a kid. And I don't want you to get out the violins or the sad music. But my first trip was with Wendy a couple of years after we were married, and she would go often as a kid. So she was so excited to share the magic of Disneyland with me. And it was wonderful. And we were married in the year nineteen ninety so long ago. So I have to believe that we went somewhere in that early to mid 90s. And so for anybody keeping score, California Adventure, the other theme park that is across the the, the little pathway there to Disneyland was first opened in 2001. So our first trip was classic Disneyland. I did a quick Google search and the rides consisted of the classics. There was, of course, a small world which literally did break down on us halfway through. And that song to this day still brings back memories as a nice way to put it. Of that first trip, there was Pirates of the Caribbean that was pre the addition of Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow talking to you right before you made that ascent back to sea level, as well as so many other rides that were based off of the classic movies like Peter Pan and Cinderella and Dumbo and you name it.

[00:01:43] But this time around, we were pros. We had been dozens and dozens of times with our kids. And despite living in Northern California for a few years, we held season passes and we had made the drive down south whenever we had a free weekend and loaded up the kids and we were going to create good memories. Doggone on it. But this was one of the first times where I felt like there was absolutely zero kid related responsibilities here. McKinley as my kid. But she was I don't know, she's twenty twenty one, twenty two somewhere in that range and we could just go and be present. And in doing so, honestly, my therapist brain was on high alert of all the various correlations to the entire mental health world, the mental health process. So today, welcome to episode two hundred and seventy six. We're going to talk about those those things that the therapist picks up on while in Disneyland. So. Two hundred and seventy six episodes. Welcome to this episode of The Virtual Couch. I am your host. Tony Over became a licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified mind will have a coach and writer and a speaker and a husband father for all those wonderful things. And I still would encourage you to go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you if you want to learn any any everything you want to know about putting pornography as a coping mechanism in the rearview mirror.

[00:02:54] And it can be done in a very strength based hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of way. But man episode two hundred and seventy six. I have to do a quick side note. I was at an event this weekend and I ran into someone, a woman named Robin Kopa. Robin had been a guest on my podcast, I think on Episode nineteen and it was so just fun to see her there. And we reminisced a little bit. Of course, I had my blockade of people. I had my handlers, my bodyguards. Now now that I have two hundred and seventy six episodes and as I had one of my assistants communicate with her, I wouldn't ever communicate directly with me. Man, OK, I'm trying to be funny right now, but I think what if somebody really does? Believe me, I had this whole bit in my head about, you know, that I was there with my with my hair plugs and my gold teeth and my all those things. I really wasn't that way. Was so good to see Robin. But she may just ask some questions about how the podcast is grown. And I do remember sitting with her literally on my couch on Episode nineteen to talk about parenting and recognizing in that moment, I wasn't really sure how to do an interview with two people in the same room and see if you could hear us.

[00:03:57] And I think if you go back on and listen to that episode, you don't really hear us very well. So it was so neat to just kind of reminisce with Robin about those early days of the podcast. And I'm so grateful for people who do listen to the episodes. And before we get to the topic today, of course, magnetic marriage course, I know I talk about it often, but it's because it's a phenomenal opportunity to teach you and a spouse new communication skills and ways to be more connected. And we'll give some examples even today of using the four pillars of a connected conversation, even when I was with my wife at Disneyland. But the next round of the magnetic marriage course is coming up. And you can go to Tony Overbay.com magnetic to find out more or just drop me an email through the website, through Tony Overbay.com and let me know if you're interested and I'll make sure that you are one of the first to know when the next round starts. And this is kind of fun. I'm heading to Utah later this week to film an episode of Family Rules with Brooke Walker. And I'll be talking about parenting. So if you don't follow me on Instagram, please do a virtual couch. And I'm going to try to film a lot of the behind the scenes stuff and I will keep you posted when that episode will air.

[00:05:02] I know it's for their season three and I'm not sure when season three debuts. So that's going to be fun. But let's get to the things that I learned at Disneyland. So I first want to start with this concept of anticipation and anticipation and the way that the the neuro neurotransmitter, the way that dopamine works in our brain. So do you have things in your life that you antispam? And I'm talking even if it's on a daily basis or if you anticipate date nights with a spouse or do you have small vacations and a weekend getaways, or do you have one big vacation that you're looking forward to that might even be months out? Or I remember when I used to do a lot of racing, ultra running, I, I typically had a race once a month. I would do 12 to 15 events a year. And I realized later that that was a way for me to always have something on the calendar, something to train toward, something to really look forward to. And a lot of that is we now have some pretty cool science around anticipation and dopamine in the way dopamine works with the reward center. So the person who put this best is James Clear. And in his fantastic book, Atomic Cabot's, he's talking about cravings. But the science is, I think, similar spot on. And I will relate this to Disneyland. He said. The cravings are the most underrated component of the habit loop because they have only recently been better understood.

[00:06:21] The strength and influence of cravings can best be demonstrated with a quick explanation of neurobiology. So he says that dopamine and I think we hear so much about the dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter in our reward experiencing pathway, and it was designed to evolutionarily encourage positive behaviors that help in survival. So that was the initial. That's why we have dopamine to encourage positive things to encourage. So dopamine plays into that reward center and we want to reward ourselves when we do good things. So that kind of makes sense. But he said only recently was it discovered that the largest dopamine spike in the brain occurs in anticipation of the reward, not actually while experiencing the reward. So put that in the context of when you are anticipating the reward, anticipating date night, anticipating going on vacation, anticipating the next race, anticipating whatever that you are anticipating, but that will actually spike or flood dopamine and dopamine is this chemical that not only is this feel good chemical, but it's also somebody like me with ADHD. When you take a medication, a stimulant, it is helping flood your brain with the dopamine that it's missing so that dopamine also helps you stay hyper focused and fixated on something. So it had been a while since we had been to Disneyland. So the anticipation factor really was on full alert. And we got there and we immediately made this beeline to California adventure.

[00:07:43] That was the tickets that we happen to have these parkop or tickets. We had to start in one park and then at one o'clock the floodgates would open and we could go back and forth these Park Hopper tickets. So we went to California Adventure. And my favorite ride is the one formerly known as Tower of Terror. But now it was Guardians of the Galaxy. So that was something that I had not experienced. And I again, I love everything about the ride that was Tower of Terror. So now I had this Guardians of the Galaxy experience to look forward to in a ride that I already knew the basics of. I was going to be going up in a tower and I was going to be drop in and lift it up and dropped repeatedly. And I love that. I love that feeling in my stomach. And so and I really enjoyed the movie Guardians of the Galaxy. So the anticipation was on high alert. So just waiting in line. My dopamine was flowing. I was like a little kid. I was so excited. I was locked in. And that ride did not disappoint for even a single second. It really didn't. And the lines were really short. We timed it just right as the world was kind of reopening post pandemic and we immediately went back and did it again. And that was the first time where I realized that the dopamine was definitely higher flowing and that anticipation of the unknown.

[00:08:58] And then we we experienced the ride, which was amazing and fantastic. But I could notice that even when we were in line again for that second ride, that it wasn't that now we were bored out of our gourds and we didn't want to do it anymore. But it definitely wasn't that same excitement. But here was what I thought was so amazing. And I was so aware of this for the rest of the trip that the dish every time we went in this, I feel like this further back, the clear's research. You have these opportunities in Disneyland to get your picture taken, which when I was a dad of younger kids, I found pretty annoying because then the kids always wanted the pictures and the pictures were very expensive. And then I would feel like a bad dad because I couldn't afford all the pictures, which, by the way, now I feel like my ATV is flown. But it was so fascinating to look at all these other angles of Disneyland. They had a then opportunity where you could buy all the pictures and one day for I think it was twenty dollars. And so I bought my wife, my daughter and my niece to tears and talking about what I've learned about the role of an actuary, because I've had clients now that have become actuaries for insurance companies or one that did for a large I think it was an online gambling establishment.

[00:10:09] But what an actuary does is they figure out the math, something I'm not very good at, but they figure out that math of what makes more sense to charge individually for the pictures or if you will, you get more money if you to say, OK, we can do fourteen ninety five a picture or we can say. Nineteen ninety nine, and then you get all the pictures you want in the day, so they had this photo pass nineteen ninety nine. So obviously the people at Disneyland are they're smart. They want to make a profit. So that must have been the financially better decision. And I was in so then we were going to get pictures taken all over the park and, and every ride so in every single ride. So yes we would then start to feel again. It wasn't that we were bored or were flat as we were waiting to go on the ride again. But I found myself and I'll give you a splash mountain as an example. The first time down that death defying drop when we're almost fallen out of the log, the pretend log to get the best picture we can as we're were plummeting to our death. That was exciting. So then the next time we go in, as we're waiting in line and even as we're just meandering on this water ride, this log flume, it did feel a little bit like I could almost fall asleep.

[00:11:19] But then when it was almost picture time, I remember at one point I was literally OK, guys, is go time because we will go over what picture are we going to do? I think we had a really funny one where, I don't know, my daughter Maggie holds her phone and it looks like we're taking a selfie. We're on this just steep decline and we're all kind of piling out to the left or the right posing for this photo. So that was a really fascinating experience to just see that, OK, that initial ride was amazing. But then we took an OK picture and then we proceeded to ride it several more times. This ride Splash Mountain over the next seventy two hours, always with the goal of taking a better, funnier picture so that dopamine would be obey until you got right up to the drop. And then it was go time and it was picture time and the excitement was solid. And so I found that same experience the first time we went on the ride of Indiana Jones. It was amazing. And we held on for Dear Life and we had fun. And then we went again with wondering what it would feel like if we just didn't ever hold on to anything with our hands at all. And that was thrilling and it was exciting every moment that dopamine was just flowing and we were thrown around like rag dolls, which was new and it was novel and it was exciting because our brains, they do want more and more and more.

[00:12:29] And not that I would anticipate that you were guessing that I would probably talk about anything to do with pornography and to talk about Disneyland, which there's I'm not putting a correlation there together. But I did think this was a fascinating time to talk about this concept called the Coolidge Effect. And so I did an episode on this a long time ago. But it's, again, talking about dopamine and tolerance. So our brain again, I just made the comment that our brain wants more and more. It wants new, it wants novel, and it wants exciting. And there was an article a few years ago by a Harvard scientist, Kevin Magennis, and he talked about the role of dopamine. And I thought he said that this is really fascinating to me. He shared that scientists have discovered and hang with me here. But if you place a male rat in a cage with a receptive female, they will mate. But once done, the male rat will not mate more times. Even if the female is still receptive, he loses all sexual interest. But if right after he finishes with the first female, you put a second receptor female in, he'll immediately begin and then a third and so on until he nearly dies.

[00:13:30] And that same effect has been found in every animal studied. And this is called the Coolidge effect. And there's a funny story of why it's called the Coolidge effect. And I'll let you go find the podcast I did on the Coolidge effect to hear more about that story. But so Kevin Margera said this explains why men use pornography, pornography as power comes from the way it tricks the man's lower brain. One of the drawbacks of this region is that it can't tell the difference between an image and reality. So pornography will often offer a man an unlimited number of seemingly willing females. And every time he sees the new partner with every click, it gives off a sex drive against. That means the lower brain, the Neanderthal part of the brain actually will eventually come to prefer pornography to the real partner. And so he says, think of the difference between playing chess and playing the latest video game. Even though chess isn't physical, it can't compete with the intensity of the video game in the brain over time. Prefers the video game and the reason it does is because of this chemical dopamine. So then what he talks about is that dopamine is also we talk about this. It's hyperfocus drug. It's also this drug of desire. And so when you see something desirable ah, as as James Claire talks about an atomic habits are when you find something desirable, when you anticipate something desirable, then the brain pours out dopamine.

[00:14:42] And so it says dopamine fixes our attention on that desirable object so gives you this power of concentration. So he says that when somebody clicks and sees this new pornographic image, the lower brain thinks that it's the real thing. So now all of a sudden, his brain says we must win over that willing female. So the first exposure to a new female who wasn't a potential mate wasn't something that happened to a lot of our ancestors, maybe only once in their lives that know it's this their brain was designed to find there are potential mate and pour out this dopamine winner over to a nice little dance, ruffle some feathers, whatever they do in the animal kingdom. And then we we get our mate and then we are good. So we're continually just gaming this. Permit system. And so when you look at it in terms of something like roller coasters or that sort of thing, it's pretty harmless. That can be really fun. But when it comes to someone that is searching out pornography as a coping mechanism, he said that if a person keeps up the dopamine screen by overstimulating himself with porn, then his brain will start to turn the volume way down. And the brain synapses don't like being overstimulated with dopamine. So they respond by down regulating some of the dopamine receptors, which means that those dopamine receptors, they withdraw. And and so then they they destroy that receptor within the neuron.

[00:15:58] So down regulation is how the brain then turns down that dopamine volume. And then once the dopamine binge is gone, it's left feeling this vacuum of silence so it feels depleted. So he says that's why pornography can cause this vicious cycle, that when someone who is prone to addiction, abuse, pornography, then they get overstimulated by dopamine. Their brain will destroy some of those dopamine receptors and that makes them feel depleted. So they go back to pornography. But now having fewer dopamine receptors, they will need to game the dopamine system. They start to find that they have to use pornography for longer or longer periods of time to have the same effect. And they may even have to start looking at more crazy, wilder things to try to get that same dopamine stimulation. So I've got a whole episode on that. And the good news is you can reveal those dopamine neural receptors by becoming able to turn away from pornography as a coping mechanism. But anyway, I digress. And I really didn't plan on going into that much detail. But I think that's such fascinating science, especially as we learn more about the role of dopamine. So dopamine in the anticipation of a roller coaster is fascinating. So I was the next thing that I learned in Disneyland, and this was so exciting. And I want to give a huge shout out to a podcast called The Happiness Playbook.

[00:17:18] My buddy Neal Hooper hosted and one of my good friends, Larry Florence, is the one who started it. And she runs an incredible nonprofit theater group in my area called Takeno Troupe. And they, Larry, came up a long time ago with something called Play Theory. And you can go to play theory big. And I would highly, highly recommend you go check out Play the and the Happiness Playbook podcast. But they have these four principles of play theory. And the second one is called Let Go and Play. And I had a daughter, my daughter, daughter and my daughter Sydney was in the Takeno Troop Theater Group years ago and was in a few plays. And I remember being introduced to this concept of play theory and I fell in love right away. And the second principle of play theory, and I don't think I've ever shared this, Larry, but I remember that so well that let go and play. And so I thought about that often while we were at Disneyland. I think about it often in a lot of things I do, especially when I'm out in public or I'm with my family or kids or somewhere we're just trying to be in the moment. But so let go and play on play theory dog. They say leave the ego at the door, have fun, leave your comfort zone. And with the phrase the kids, I'll send it, go all in.

[00:18:28] And nowhere do I do this more than on rides and being at Disneyland now, again, trying to be as present as possible, having just gone through this, what, year, year and a half of quarantine and committing man, I thought I did mindfulness before, but just having daily mindfulness practice over and over, it's now been years and years. But I had to double and triple down on my mindfulness practice over the last year and a half just to be able to stay present and stay afloat at times, emotionally, mentally. And so what what that looks like is let's scream, let's have an amazing time. And there were so many times where on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or on the water right in California Adventure or on Space Mountain, where and my wife is just all in with me that when we are on that ride, I let it go. I scream like a little kid. I throw my arms up in the air. I have the most fun and I want that to be infectious. I remember getting on the water right again. It's this eight people in this rounded tube and you're going to get soap. This is a California adventure and and just prepare to be soaked. And that's part of the fun. But we had four of us and four strangers that walked in, two groups of two and immediately and maybe some of you aren't going to like being on a ride with me, but I'm asking them, is this your first time on the ride? Are you excited? Are you worried about getting wet? And already these people that are kind of feeling like they were just going to kind of keep to themselves or starting to share with us a little bit more and then the anticipation, the dopamine starts flowing.

[00:19:56] And we are just in that moment and we are having an amazing time. And if somebody gets wet, we're screaming and oh, my gosh, and no, no. And try to move away from the water. And we just had the best time we let go and play. And how often can you check your ego at the door and let go and play? It's one of the most powerful things to show your kids. It's one of the most things that will cause you to feel the most alive if you're out there in public and you're so worried about what other people think about you, which let me tell you is. Normal, I feel like that is most people's default setting, and I know that it didn't help growing up a lot when I would tell my kids when they say, dad, that's embarrassing. And I would say, OK, well, if I see all these people tomorrow, then I'll apologize then. And I used to think I was pretty witty about that. But really, all you can do is be present for yourself, even in the with the fear of invalidation, that if somebody else saying, oh, jeez, you're embarrassing me, man, I am so sorry that that you are embarrassed, but I am going to go all in so that let go and play at Disneyland was one of the most amazing things that you could possibly do, because, you know, you only have one chance to make the most of every single moment of your life.

[00:21:01] So live it. And what I love about the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy is even then our brain will say, well, man, I haven't made the most of my life or maybe I haven't been as present or I haven't been able to let go and play. And that's OK. We'll note that, you know, your brain is constantly trying to orient itself by ruminating about the past. I wish I would have done more of this. I wish I would have known this earlier. I wish I would have been able to do these different things. And it's perfectly normal and human. And when you notice that you're having those thoughts or ruminations or looking back at the past, then just just note it just like me. Yeah, I wish I wish I did. I wish I would have had my ADHD diagnosis 15 years earlier. I would have been a whole lot more productive. OK, I'll note that. Or we then go when we fortuneteller, we get our crystal ball out. We say, and what if I'm what if I'm not present? What if I'm not able to accomplish the things that I really want to, then we'll just kind of acknowledge that then that would be hard.

[00:21:54] And I hope that's not the case. But I'm going to drop the rope of the tug of war on the past and the future and just worry about right now and not even worry. I'm going to be present. That is one of the best things that you can do. And I was going to save the best for last of the things that I learned at Disneyland. But I know how podcasts are consumed. I know that sometimes we do have the best of intentions and we get distracted and we don't come back to a podcast. So I'm going to be vulnerable and to be human, I'm going to be raw, to be authentic. And all the therapist words. And I want to talk about exchange that I had with my wife. And I got her clearance to share everything about this exchange, because if you are if you are in a relationship, if you're a couple, you are interacting with your with older parents or siblings or your kids or people in the workplace think you get the point if you are a human being. And I think there's some gold to be mined in this conversation. So I jotted down some notes. So forgive me if you're watching this on the YouTube channel and be reading a little bit here.

[00:22:54] So I really do enjoy a good nap. I feel like I don't I try to get the most out of every minute of every day. So when it is time downtime, my brain tends to say we're just going to shut off right now. So and there's something oddly satisfying to me about almost this repetition, repetitive tasks in order for me to provide an even better napping experience. It's almost as if my brain knows what's coming so I can actually relax some kind of setting the stage here that there are places that I nap Disneyland that are amazing, I can nap through now. It's a small world and it's just such a pleasant, pleasant nap with the repetitive nature of the song going on. Or I can nap like a champ in Pirates of the Caribbean. And the quick side note, when I was going to school, I started my college experience in Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. I was trying to play baseball there and we would leave. I was in this fraternity and we would walk the campus. And in the winter it was brutally cold. And at that time I also had a horrific comb over. I was losing my hair like nobody's business. I hadn't dealt with that yet, so man. And it would just cold and windy. And so I would if I could get into a building and then try to go take care of my flap of hair on the top of my head and be somewhat presentable.

[00:24:05] I wasn't going to go back out again. So even when I had gaps in the day hours, at times between classes, I would stay in a particular building. And there was one where I found this giant lecture hall and there was this two hour lecture, three days a week. I have no idea what the subject matter was, but I would just go in there and I would just settle down and I would take the greatest nap in the history of all naps three days a week, almost my entire freshman year. And it was this amazing experience because of just the repetitive nature of the droning of the professor. And it was just amazing. But anyway, Pirates', it can be my naptime. So we're on the right and here's where this is not going to be my best self, but again, I got to own this. So Wendy and I are in a row of seats by ourselves. I think we're in the second row. I believe my daughter, my daughter MacKinley and my niece Taylor in the front row and my wife just happens to be on her phone. We're starting to just float at the beginning. If you're familiar with the Pirates of the Caribbean, ride the restaurant, the Blue Bayou is to our right. And so we're not yet kind of engaging in the ride.

[00:25:02] And I don't I don't know what my wife is looking at. She's she's on her phone. And I just impulsively make this comment and I just say, hey, are you present? Make sure you present. And the second it came out of my mouth, I wish I could have taken it back. And I immediately apologized. And I I knew it wasn't necessarily the time, but I did not want to ruin that ride for her by what I had said. And so we worked through the four pillars of a connected conversation right there before we started getting into the the real meat of the ride. And so stay with me here, because there's some concepts of the magnetic marriage course I'm going to bring into here these four pillars of a connected conversation. And it was amazing. So either one of us could really jump into the framework if both of us were aware or both of us were committed to using these four pillars of a connected conversation. But even if one of us wasn't aware of the four pillars, you can you can still get to this framework. And let me explain. So I see her on her phone. So at that point, when I finally notice that I am being a complete weenie turd, you fill in the blank and that that was something that I wish I had not said then I can pillar no one, assume good intentions. So by that I mean that if I'm seeing her on her phone and it bothers me for some reason, we'll get to that, that then I can assume that she's not trying to do that to hurt me.

[00:26:22] And I know that can sound odd or maybe out of context, but stick with me here. So pillar number one, which is a game changer. I heard it two or three times yesterday in sessions of people talking about that. One is so it helps people stay more present. So assuming good intentions, she wasn't on her phone to try to hurt me. She didn't wake up in the morning and say, wait a second, the lights go down. I'm on Blue Bayou. I'm getting on that phone. I'm going to annoy the heck out of Tony. That's what I'm going to do. I mean, there's no chance that wasn't what was happening to number two. I can't say she's wrong or project the message that I don't believe her or that I think that she's wrong. And what that would mean in this context is that I can't then put off the vibe that that what she is doing is wrong, even if even if honestly, I feel like it is the third pillar is ask questions before making comments. And so, you know, I feel like you can you can assume the good intentions and you can not put off a message if I don't believe someone. But then if you just say, all right, but let me just kind of tell you my thoughts and then and then I want to hear what you have to say.

[00:27:15] So if I would have gone in there and just blasted her, so to speak, and told her all the reasons why, I think that that was not the right way to be enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean. But now I want to hear what her experience was, and that is the wrong way to do it. And I know I can go worst case scenario here, but I talk about it often. But I've literally had experiences before where someone like in that situation, me, for example, if I would just say, you know, I really think you should be more present. And I feel like what you're doing is going to the glare of your phone is going to bother people or whatever. And then if she were to say, hey, you know, my mom just texted me and one of my one of my siblings is sick, then I'm going to feel like, oh, my gosh, I'm so sorry. Do whatever you need to do. We need to have that attitude of you, do whatever you need to do because you're you you're a human. I think it was last week's episode I talked about the concept of control in a in an adult relationship, you can have control or you can have love, but I don't believe they can. Hopefully they're both evidently they both go together.

[00:28:08] So that questions before comments, you know, that's that I can say, hey, tell me more about what you're doing. And then my fourth pillar is to stay present. Don't go run into the bunker. You know, if I would have just even if I would have hung in the first three pillars, assume good intentions, not put off this vibe that she's wrong. And I would have asked questions, tell me more before making my own comments if they were even valid or necessary. But then the fourth pillar, if I would have said whatever doesn't matter, my opinion doesn't matter anyway. You're going to do whatever you're going to do. Then all of a sudden I've gone into victim mode and now I want her to come rescue me. I want her to say, no, no, no, I you're right. I shouldn't be doing that or that sort of thing. So you can see how unhealthy a conversation can be or how unproductive a conversation can be and all the various ways that it can venture off into this unproductive path or down this unproductive path. So in this scenario, I basically work through those pillars for her, so and then when when in that scenario, once I kind of felt like I had expressed myself or I felt heard and she didn't say, OK, you're being ridiculous or that sort of thing, then it was my turn to take accountability for what I had said.

[00:29:15] And that is where I realized it was more about me. And let me quickly circle back there is that she even said, OK, hey, all right, she's going to assume good intentions of me even saying that even though I was being a jerk, that assume good intentions. I wasn't trying to hurt her by saying, hey, pal, be more present. And then second pillar, she was so gracious and kind and didn't didn't say to me, you're ridiculous. Even though she probably felt like I was in pillar three. And she's asking me, hey, tell me tell me why that bothers you. Tell me more about that. And then her pillar for she stayed present. She didn't say, OK, I guess I won't do anything that I want to do because you don't want me to be on my phone. So we both felt heard. And when when we both felt hurt, when especially when I felt heard, man, it was my turn to take accountability and ownership for what I had said, because that was more about me. And here's the fascinating piece of this. This exchange is that had we been arguing or had she all of a sudden shut down or if I was going to force my I wanted her to understand that she needs to not be on the phone because of how I feel. Then all of a sudden, we're locked into what Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy, calls these demon dialogs.

[00:30:26] And then we get into the tit for tat or people do the freeze and flee or the the pursuit and withdrawal. There's these these dances that we get into. And what's so unproductive about those dances is she could have easily said, OK, well, you do this. And I said, OK, well, but you do this. And that's the tit for tat. And what are we not talking about when we're into these demon dialogs? We're not talking about the core issue or the core emotions or feelings that are underneath why we express ourselves the way we do. So she stayed present and and she heard me. So again, I felt hurt and I had to take ownership and accountability. Please do not skip this step of taking ownership of what what meaning you put to something. So I realize this is more about me. I realized it was about the times where I feel like she may spend more time looking at her phone. Then what, like looking at me and adoring me? I mean, it's not exactly that, but maybe not being as present with me, maybe when when we are together. And so this is such a common thing that couples are dealing with. So I was able to share that with her, that it was my anxious attachment style, it was my neede attachment style that was underneath my comment to her. It was my way of wanting to say, hey, don't you care about me? But boy, did I do it in the wrong way.

[00:31:39] So she stayed present. She heard me, she validated me. And then she dropped trou knowledge on me and saying that she appreciated me taking ownership of my comment and my feelings because her immediate thought when I had just blurted that out and boy, you could see how we could have got into a tit for tat really easily. And then I probably I maybe maybe I wouldn't have taken ownership of my role in that conversation. But she said that my proclamation going into the pirates of wanting to nap through the ride, I didn't really sound like I wanted to be very present. Right. But I didn't see that. So then once I felt heard, once I took ownership, that that, hey, you can be on your phone, you can do whatever you want to do. You are a differentiated, interdependent individual. And and I care about you regardless. I care about you. You don't have to be a certain way for me to love you, that you I want you to be you and I want us to be able to have these conversations out of curiosity and from a tell me more about that standpoint, because that's when we get to the good stuff. And this is that's why I wanted to go in so much detail about this little exchange. I just talk more about it than we did on the ride.

[00:32:43] But you can see how being able to have a framework to have the conversation that we left that conversation and we both felt heard we both felt like we took ownership or accountability of our part and we felt like we could we could we could understand the good intentions behind why I said this really silly thing and why she why she does the things that she does. She does them because that's who she is and she's human. She has her own experiences, as do as do I. And so we can have more productive conversations. We have this framework that isn't about tit for tat or back and forth or anyone trying to control the other ones, saying here's what you need to do on this ride, that kind of thing. So speaking of pirates, that also brought up a really fascinating thing to me, and that's this concept of nostalgia. So when I talked earlier in the episode, I mentioned that I did not go to Disneyland growing up. And so and I again, I'll own this, I think this is anything that can keep the gasp, the loud gasp sound effect. But I did grow up going to a couple of theme parks, Dollywood in Tennessee and I think a Six Flags in Texas when I visited my cousins one time. And so I knew roller coasters and those are exciting to me. So when I went to Disneyland for the first time as an adult, I was a little bit disappointed and I didn't think I thought it was full of all these amazing rides.

[00:34:07] I didn't realize it was more about nostalgia. So then I did a little bit of digging for this episode, and I found an excellent podcast called Speaking of Psychology. And there's a Dr. Christine, I think it's Vojtko talked about the role of nostalgia in psychology. It's in their episode ninety three. And does nostalgia have a psychological purpose? And she was asked by the interviewer, and if that's so good, the interviewer, the interviewer said your research has shown that nostalgia can be a stabilizing force and it can comfort us during times of change and transition. Can you explain that a bit more? And so Dr. Bochco said, yeah, change whether it's good change or negative change, we know it's stressful and change can be very difficult to grasp because in some sense, at a very deep level, change threatens us. And so it can be a little frightening because we're not one hundred percent sure that we can control our environment. So change can feel scary. So one of the most important aspects, she said, of being a healthy human is being able to have a sense that you're in control of things and our brain wants control. And that's why I talked about last week, that we can have control or love in adult relationships. I wasn't saying that control was why it's crazy.

[00:35:12] Somebody wants control and that's how we're wired, because we feel like if we don't have control that then we are going to die. I mean, to oversimplify it. So Dr. Bychkov said when things start to change either very substantially, such as major events in a person's life, getting married, getting a divorce, a new career, going back to school, graduating from school, it can often be comforting to have a nostalgic feeling for the past. That reminds us that although we don't know what the future is going to bring, we do know who we have been and who we really are at our core, and that is part of what nostalgia can do, she said. Nostalgia can be a very comforting emotion. It also brings back it stimulates memories of the times when we were accepted or loved unconditionally. You start to see the psychological component of nostalgia that oftentimes if someone goes back to this place in Disneyland and they wear their their favorite shirt and they put on their Disney ears and you see a lot of people with that and they're just all Disney, because Disney oftentimes represents a time where they felt like they had more control or they had more safety or there was more love. And so I can understand where that nostalgia comes because that is such a powerfully confronting phenomenon if we scratch that one. Right. I'm trying to read Dr. Bosco's quote and watch that one all together.

[00:36:24] But Dr. Bochco says that is such a powerfully comforting phenomenon, knowing that there was a time in life when we didn't have to earn our love or we did not or we didn't deserve it because we earned a certain amount of money or we were successful to a certain point, or that's what gave us our our value, she said. Our parents, for example, or siblings or friends, simply love this unconditionally. And that is a wonderfully comforting feeling when we're undergoing any kind of turmoil in our personal lives. So when you are going through these difficult experiences or going through change events in life, oftentimes our brain wants to go back to nostalgia. And so if you are a heavily nostalgic person, then I would imagine you've got some very, very comforting memories of your past. And then I talked a little bit last week about this concept called relational frame theory, where we will then take an emotion or a feeling and then we'll combine that with that in the same frame as a place maybe like Disneyland or a smell like homemade cookies or a sound where if we go in here, water the ocean, for example, to me, what a relational frame of comfort to go to the ocean and hear those waves on the beach to the point of where it's a happy place. And thankfully, my wife's as well. And so when we will often say that I would love to retire at the beach and then I have someone else say to me, oh, you don't want that because of the sand and the wind and the this and the that, that's where I love to bless their heart.

[00:37:47] That's not their experience, you know. But but that is one that I can put in this relational frame of goodness, so to speak, of that it does bring comfort and it helps me feel maybe more in control with my surroundings. Mindfulness, I put in my notes here, mindfulness coming out the wazoo, and it didn't auto correct Watsu, so I think I probably spelled that right, that would be a zero. So we drove through the night to get the Disneyland. We arrived at our hotel around 3:00 a.m. We pulled up. I was driving and I went to the front desk and you can literally see the lights on the front desk. It's open. It's all windows. But nobody was there. So the doors locked. This has ring a bell. I ring that bell and Man did I ring that bell about 15 minutes solid. I ring that bell. And it was one of those where you could see a room connected to the front desk. So I rang and rang. I found myself getting frustrated and I can only imagine that person was asleep in their room. But as much as I would start to notice my stress level or noticed myself getting frustrated, I didn't give in to it.

[00:38:49] I didn't react to it. I mean, I would notice it, acknowledge it. And then I would turn back to literally being very present and pushing the button, ringing the bell, smiling at my family as they looked out of the car, kind of like, what's up? And so I just noticed it. I didn't react to it. Mindfulness, remember, mindfulness is not trying to stop a thought. I want to say this every chance I get. People often say, I've tried mindfulness, but I can't I can't clear my mind. Well, nobody can. I mean, not that I'm aware of. So the mindfulness practice. Let me be let me just go over this. There any chance I get I use the app called Headspace. I don't get anything for that. In the app Headspace. The practice goes as follows. Typically, it's a guided meditation. There's a wonderful British guy named Andy who then says, all right, welcome back, sit in your chair and then start to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Man, I feel calm just even saying that. And I just sat up in my chair, but breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, and that is starting to lower your heart rate because remember, the higher your heart rate is elevated, the more of the stress hormone cortisol starts to get secreted, created. And when your brain gets cortisol, it thinks something's about to go down.

[00:39:59] So it starts to shut down the the the prefrontal cortex or the limbic system. It starts to shut down the part of your brain where you you have you have rational thought and it starts to fire up that Neanderthal brain, that amygdala. So as you get more elevated, as your heart rate raises, then you are actually going into more of this fight flight or free state. So one of the first things you're training your brain to do is to come back to calm and lower the heart rate, lower the cortisol so you can tap into that part of your brain that can think logically, which will allow you to be more present. And then you're in the Headspace app than Andy will often just go quiet. And that's the time where my brain starts to think and think and think often even thinking I don't have time to even do this mindfulness exercise. And then at some point he will say, OK, hey, gently acknowledge you're thinking and then come back to the breath. Think about breathing and just in through the nose, out through the mouth, or think about your do a body scan, feel your back against the chair, your your butt on the seat, your legs on the floor, your feet on the floor. And because what you're not doing when you're thinking or focusing on your breath or focusing on a body scan or listening to the sounds around you or the smells or whatever you can focus on.

[00:41:14] So again, your brain isn't clear, but you're not thinking about the thought. You're not ruminating about the negative thought. You're not worrying about the future that can cause anxiety. You're not giving in to the compulsion that follows the obsession with obsessive compulsive disorder. You are bringing yourself back to present over and over again. And yes, oftentimes you as soon as you come, you are not being present. Your brain immediately can go back to where it was, what it was thinking, what it was doing, and oftentimes will say, see, it didn't work, but that's the way our brain works. Your training the brain to be able to bring it back to the present moment. So I, I really feel like there were so many opportunities to be mindful. Mindfulness in long lines. I remember being at this place called the Pizza Press one night and I don't know if I've seen a line that long, but we were we were hungry. We were hangry and and we had already exhausted other options on where to eat, how quickly we could get back to a hotel and get food, lines everywhere. So that was one of the most mindfulness challenges I think I've taken on. And it worked. We made it through. We got the pizza, we ate. And it was it was amazing. adrenalin. When I'm at this when I'm waiting for this, reading this buzzer for 15 minutes, finally I hear somebody say out of nowhere, can I help you? And I jumped and there it was.

[00:42:37] And this one is a really funny thing that I've learned just from my office experience here is that after every session, I typically have to go to the bathroom and stay hydrated. There's probably too much information there. But then when I come back, I often say if my door open to my clients to come on in, I've got a little fridge that can grab a drink, that sort of thing. And so I will often not have heard them and feel like I'm only in the bathroom for a little short amount of time. So I come back in and I've got a client sitting on the couch, even though that's what I want them to do, that oftentimes I jump and it's one of the funniest things because now it's like, OK, I almost can wait for it. Give it about 20, 30 seconds and here comes the adrenaline and you can literally feel it through your you feel through your veins. And it's fascinating. Really quick side note. If you've ever done cryotherapy, which is that get into negative ninety in the negative two hundred degree temperatures, it's something that a lot of athletes do for recovery. I usually save the cryotherapy for any race over 50 miles, but when I do cryotherapy, it's it's a similar thing. So you will go in this negative 90 degree room and walk around a little bit and then from there enter a negative, sometimes one hundred eighty or two hundred degree room.

[00:43:44] And boy, you have to keep walking around and then you come out of that room, your core body temperature is just cold and all of your blood has gone to to save your your your life. It sits around your heart and it's really working to keep you alive. And then the experiences that I've been on, then they put you on an exercise bike and just have you barely start pedaling and then you feel it's so wild you feel the blood go from your heart, out through your body to your extremities. And part of that, the belief is that that will help clear out some of the lactic acid or some of the things that will make you sore as the days progressed. And I have found that I feel like I'm sore not as long. But my only point is that that is the feeling that you get if you really can if you get a good scare by your kids or anything like that. And if you can tap into that just being present in that moment, you can literally feel the adrenaline rush through your body. So one of the most fascinating things, I love it. So adrenaline, just a couple more things and then we'll wrap this one up. I also put a note that kindness wins, even though I was frustrated, especially in this experience with this person that wasn't there at 4:00 in the morning, even though I was frustrated, he apparently had walked down the street to get coffee, didn't leave a sign that said he would be right back.

[00:44:55] You know, none of those things. And I could have let him know all of those things. But I have a personal value of kindness or compassion or non confrontation. So that's what I turned toward. So now, if somebody has a core value of justice or order, meaning that they are an absolute rule follower, then perhaps it would have been more in line with their core values to let that person know that it would have been more helpful for future people. That might be showing up at 4:00 a.m. while he's getting coffee to know that. You'll be right back. So please leave a sign. But this is what's kind of fascinating. So check this out. If I was telling somebody that has this value of order or justice, if I were telling them, oh, you shouldn't have done that, you shouldn't have told them those things, then they're going to think, OK, cool story. But that's that that's who I am. Just like if I have this value of kindness or compassion and somebody is telling me and I'm just giving this example, but I think you can maybe see where I'm going. Think of all the times or somebody like you don't need to do you tell that person that they need to do whatever and it's something that you would never say or never do, then guess what? You don't have to do it.

[00:45:55] I mean, that is that's where I talk again about control. I remember having this experience well before my therapy days. I remember being on a business trip with someone and they were the ones saying, hey, you need to call that waiter over and you need to tell him that he needs to do this. And I remember having this moment where I thought, no, you can I mean, if that's what your experience would be. And this person that I used to travel with on occasion, they started to get frustrated with me because they now knew that I was going to say, oh, yeah, I don't care about that. Or but if you would like to, then that would be fine. So I think that taps into that. If you are trying if you were trying to do something that is not in line with your core values, it's kind of falls into the ranks of what we call an act socially compliant goal. And you're doing it because you think you should or you're supposed to or you have to, and your motivation is going to be weak and ineffective because it goes against your sense of self or who you are as a person. So but if I'm tapping into my Value-Based Goal, is it the right thing to do? Well, is there a right thing to do? And that's why I bring up this example of I kindness.

[00:46:54] For me, that's a value, compassion, connection, humor, those things. So if I'm tapping into those, then, man, he scared me. That was funny. I'm going to tell him that he's saying, I'm sorry that I was I wasn't here. And I'm saying, hey, no problem. Now, now we're here. Now we're now we're having an experience. Now we're having a connection. How's your night been? You know, what time do you start? How often do you take a walk? And are there people often in my scenario or is this completely unexpected? So kindness. So in that scenario, I felt so. Much better walking away from that situation, even though it was frustrating, waiting for 15 minutes, I threw just a few random sampler notes here that I'll maybe just blast through. And these if you have questions or thoughts or think that they would make a better podcast or another podcast, shoot me an email. But I saw somewhere I put on here turow's and being angry, ADHD and angry. And I just saw in in a brief mention on a video that angry or being angry and hungry was a very strong symptom of ADHD. And I thought that was kind of fascinating because my family will make fun of me constantly that I am the nicest guy in the world until we placed our order for food.

[00:48:06] And then I just I get hangry. And now that I'm aware of it, I notice I am angry. I comment on the fact I'm hungry. I jokingly say I am going to not keep talking about being hungry while I try to stay present. So I thought that was interesting that sure enough, when when man what. I would get angry. Hungry that it was it was hard to not start to become a little bit angry. Sunk cost. If you're familiar with that concept. That's the old I've invested two million bucks in this project that is losing money repeatedly. But I'm going to put another million in because while I've already put two million in, you know, it's a sunk cost. That's a big dramatic example from the business world that I had a client that I worked with at one point, that that was what we were processing in a session. But I also talked with a good friend of mine that I used to travel to Japan with. He was a financial guy, Scott, and he would often talk about the concept of sunk cost and how we can even apply that to you. Pay for a meal. But now you're full and we often think we don't want to waste. But you've already paid for the meal. So at that point, it doesn't necessarily do one any good to continue to pile that food away because it's already been purchased.

[00:49:16] Or I think about that. If you are about to go on a trip to Disneyland, this might be the or any theme park or any vacation. And if you have not already laid out a budget and if you don't already have a value of boundaries or order or rules or those sort of things, then I feel like there needs to be some acceptance that, look, when you pay money for admission to a park, then, boy, try your it can still feel very frustrated. Can't believe I paid a hundred and something dollars to get in here, you know, and now we have a line and now we have this normal thoughts or human. But boy, those are incredible opportunities to come back to the present moment and just be present. The money has been spent, the present the food has been purchased to be present. If the planning wasn't done in advance to have cheaper food or snacks or that sort of thing, then the complaining of it is in a productive, workable thought be present. So I thought that was kind of fascinating. Real quick smile at the parent who you notice that seems overwhelmed. And I remember being that parent and my wife and I were handing out smiles for free on this trip. And you start to really recognize that. I mean, I remember being there with the kids in the stroller and somebody drops an ice cream and that sort of thing.

[00:50:25] And so sometimes a smile is all that they need. I just put a note on here. You'll dry off eventually. You know, again, talk about being present. I feel like it was that acceptance doesn't mean apathy, principal, that once I accepted the fact that I was going to get soaked on the ride, then once I accepted it, then I wasn't trying to contort my body and pulling things in my back to the point of where and then being angry. If I got wet, it was like be present, accept the fact that on the water ride I most likely will get wet and then enjoy the heck out of it. I'm not going to Swan dove into the water, but when I got wet, I got wet. Because you're going to dry. You really are. You'll dry eventually. And I talked to I wrote a note here about an experience in a line where I turned toward my value of knowledge. I noticed that we were getting a little bit worn out and there was a little bit of silence between the four of us in line. And the other three people in line were probably fine with it. But my anxious attachment style, which I want to take ownership of, was constantly saying if everybody isn't talking, they must be mad at me. How fascinating is that? Right. I'm a therapist. I'm a pro.

[00:51:27] Fifty one years old and very secure in my and myself. But the brain is going to do whatever the heck it wants at times and that good old, deeply rooted and anxious attachment style from childhood is saying their silence. Are they thinking I should be carrying the conversation? So in those moments I turned, I noticed that my anxious attachment style was fired up. And so then I just noticed it, acknowledged it, didn't try to push it away, didn't try to change that thought, didn't try to say don't think those things noticed it, and then just dropped the rope of the tug of war with the anxious attachment and then just pivoted toward a value of knowledge. And so I found myself continually Googling a ride and then just talking about fun facts about the ride. And a lot of times that we would be engaged in a pretty fun conversation. So turn toward your values when you are noticing the anxiety, the depression, the overthinking. And and I already covered this one. But, man, just give yourself permission to scream. Go big. Be present, have an amazing time, and on that note, have an amazing week. I appreciate you sticking with me this long. Those are the things that this therapist learned from his trip to Disneyland. And I would love if you have additional thoughts or questions or your experiences, comment wherever you're seeing this on a podcast app or on YouTube channel or shoot me a tweet. Email contact@tonyoverbay.com. I'd love to hear your experiences and I'd love to talk about those at some point as well. All right, everybody, thanks for joining me.

[00:52:58] Compressed emotions flying past our heads and out the other and the pressures of the daily grind

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[00:54:58] Develop these tools don't explode.

In adult relationships, you can have control or love, but not both. In today’s episode, Tony takes a look at the concept of control. While control may be biologically hardwired for survival, it doesn’t mean that it is best when dealing with human emotion.

In Tony’s example of how a conductor controls an orchestra, he refers to the article “What does a maestro do,” from https://www.jacksonsymphony.org/what-does-a-maestro-do/ and he briefly mentions the article “Born for Control” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944661/ as well as “Why Controlling Others Creates Conflict” https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_losing_control_make_you_happier

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 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 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

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[00:00:00] So do you know the difference between a maestro and a conductor, according to the website Jackson Symphony.org, they are one in the same. Ultimately, each language has a different term. So in Italian, you may have a maestro and in English you are more likely to find a conductor. So a conductor leading an orchestra. So what does a conductor or a maestro do? Well, it's a good question. Dr. Matthew Albin, who is the music director for the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, shares the following. Approximately one year before the orchestra performs a concert. I select the music and often I use a theme to help provide unity to soloist perform with the orchestra. And two months before the concert, I begin to study. I sing the music I played on the piano, and sometimes I listen to recordings. I try to develop an interpretation. The composer notates many things in the score, but there are so many other choices that he needs to make. So, for example, if both the trumpet and the violins have the melody, he may ask the violins to listen back to the trumpet because he wants that sound to be the dominant voice. And sometimes he says he makes additional markings in the music ahead of time so that we can say valuable rehearsal time. And then many people are astonished to learn that the orchestra only rehearses during the three nights before the concert for approximately two and a half hours.

[00:01:14] But during the rehearsal and the performance, he says that he is trying to use his gestures and his facial expressions so that the music sounds like the interpretation that he has developed in advance. Sometimes, he says, he stops and he makes verbal suggestions and it's essential to note where the conductor stands. He says he stands out in front of the orchestra in the center because it's the best place to listen. And as he is listening, he may look at one section or person so that the rest of the orchestra knows that they are important. Almost, he says, like a spotlight. And then as he listens, he might need to anticipate spontaneous corrections. So no doubt he is sure to make those corrections in order to maintain control of his orchestra. And there is the word of the day control. So in a situation like an orchestra control and the need and the ability to get a group or even an individual to do what the conductor desires can absolutely lead to beautiful music, a symphony that originally began inside of that conductor's head. Maybe that has been music that's been brewing within him for years, if not decades before, is now being played out for dozens or hundreds or thousands or depending on the audience over over the interweb, even millions of fans to hear.

[00:02:24] So in this scenario, control is absolutely necessary in order to get the most out of this orchestra. But what about in our relationships? What role does control play? Is it a good thing or is it a bad thing? Is there a time for control or are we even aware of our desire for control? And what does that desire for control speak to? Is it coming from a good place, from our own insecurities or or what do we do when we feel this desire or this pull to control? Sometimes we might even realize it in the very moment that we're having a conversation. But is it too late to pull back and give up control? Well, today on the virtual couch, we are going to talk about control. We're going to explore the concepts of control and relationships and how giving up control might actually be the thing that can save relationships on the brink of despair or save our own mental health. That's that's for sure. So we're going to talk about that and so much more coming up on today's episode, The Virtual Couch.

[00:03:34] Come on in, take a seat on.

[00:03:41] Hey, everybody, before we get to today's topic, let me quickly throw in a plug for the good folks at Betterhelp.com. If you or anybody that you love, know is ready to do something about their mental health. If you've been listening to my podcast or other mental health related podcast, reading, self-help books, whatever it takes to get you to decide once and for all, it is time to do something about your mental health, but you're not exactly sure where to go or where to find a licensed therapist or a counselor who can help you. Why not give Betterhelp.com a chance? First, just go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and you will get 10 percent off your first month services and take charge of your mental health, whether you're struggling with anything anxiety, depression, OCD, grief and loss, maybe just a phase of life issue, or if you just want something to somebody to talk to as you kind of process difficult things from your past or something you're even dealing with right now or fears about the future, head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and get 10 percent off the services that now over a million people have turned to to kick start their journey to well-being. Again, that is Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month, services will be put in touch with a licensed mental health professional in your state who can communicate via email or text or telehealth, you name it.

[00:04:50] And if you don't like the fit of your counselor, your therapist breaking up, not so hard to do because you can simply do so through your online portal and you can try a different counselor because the fit between you and your therapist or counselor is absolutely necessary in order for you to get the best help that you can. So go check it out today. Betterhelp.com virtual couch for 10 percent off your first month of services. Do it. Go check it out right now. Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode two hundred and seventy four, The Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist. Certified Mindful habit coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner, creator of the Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is just picking up momentum via doing all kinds of good things. Go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you want to learn anything more about the Pathbackrecovery.com program. And one of the greatest things about that is these weekly group calls that we're doing that are just just building a nice community of strength based, hold the shame, become the person you always wanted to be kind of person. So a pathbackrecovery.com and a couple of very, very quick things. And I'm very excited to get to today's topic of control, but we just wrapped up, Preston Pugmire and I just wrapped up the second round of the magnetic marriage course. So round three is going to be starting up in mid-August.

[00:06:03] So if you are interested, go to Tony Overbay.com magnetic and sign up right now to find out more about how you can be a part of round three. Or you can send me an email through the contact form at Tony Overbay.com. And I'll make sure that you're on that list, because I have to tell you, I really wasn't trying to plug this. I'm going to actually be interviewing a lot of the couples that were from round two of the course and have a bonus episode where we're going to talk about what the course was actually like and hear from real people, not just Preston and I trying to plug the course, even though we would we could plug it all day. We are very passionate about it because it's literally changing lives, helping couples communicate. And in each round, I feel like we've been able to really help marriages stay together, get back together, get even better. Go check that out, TonyOverbay.com slash magnetic. And I have actually had some phenomenal feedback from an episode a couple of episodes ago with my new associate, Nate Christiansen. We talked about attachment styles. We talked about addiction. And Man, Nate knows his stuff and he's open for business. You see clients you can reach out through my contact form again if you want to get in touch with Nate. But we mentioned on there that he has a podcast coming up and he's recorded his first episode.

[00:07:12] We're waiting for some behind the scenes stuff to take place. And he will be the first new show on the Virtual Couch podcast network. His his podcast that he's doing with his wife, Marla is called Working Change. And so just follow me on Instagram, @virtual couch or Facebook, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist. And you will get word of when that first episode of Working Change drops. And it's really, really good. And Nate's going to he's going to just be quite a addition to the mental health podcast space. And I'm excited to talk more about that as he gets more episodes out there. And then stay tuned. I will be able to talk about this more later. But I got the go ahead. I'll be filming an episode of on Season three of the TV show Family Rules with Brook Walter. And we're going to be talking about blended families and how to parent in a blended family. And I'm really excited. Surprise. I'm excited to be on that show and to talk more about that. And that'll be coming up. More a film. And later this month, I'm not sure when the episode will actually drop. OK, today's topic control, I have been mulling this one over for many, many moons, and I just kind of want to go off script here a little bit and just talk about why this has been so important.

[00:08:23] So when I am sitting there in a couples therapist scenario and I watch couples try so beautifully, so desperately, so awkwardly to communicate so often, I find that the issue of control is one of the things that is just screaming at me and control, meaning that we want to be able to go to our partner with anything we are designed as Sue Johnson says. As I quote, So often we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being, but too often because of the our own things, our own baggage that we bring into our relationship or into a marriage, we get uncomfortable when there is any kind of tension in our conversation or there's if somebody brings up a topic and we find ourselves maybe even subconsciously making it about us. And so when our spouse maybe mentioned something about they really feel like they would love to hear more from, let's just say it's a wife saying, I would love to hear more from my husband throughout the day. And so the husband immediately takes that as a criticism or he feels invalidated or he feels like she must not care about any of the things I do, which is absolutely not the case. We just want to be able to have a conversation. So if she says, man, I just I would love I would love to hear from you more throughout the day. I would love just a little bit of more of that connection.

[00:09:39] If he immediately feels that as an attack or as criticism, too often I'll watch scenarios where then that husband will then say, OK, I'm not even going to have this conversation until you acknowledge the wonderful things that I do. And so you can see that both people are coming from this place of just wanting to be heard and wanted to be validated. But to me now and again, I know I say this no often, but it's well over a thousand couples that I've worked with now that I already know that that is part of the problem, that trying to control how the conversation occurs or trying to control how the other person presents data so that I won't feel uncomfortable is it's really difficult. I want to say it's unfair because both people then are starting to put all of these conditions around how we're even going to have a conversation. And when we're doing that, we're not going to be able to keep all of those rules straight, because no doubt there's a lot of ambiguity there. There might be one time where a spouse is feeling really generous or feeling really happy. And it doesn't matter what his wife says to him, he's no thank you. I appreciate you saying that. But there might be other times where he may have had a rough day. Any of these trigger things? There's an acronym, Hault Hungry.

[00:10:44] You may be hungry, angry, lonely, tired. And then if she presents some data to him, all of a sudden he's like, I can't believe you're saying that, but it sounds like you don't even care about me. So it's no doubt that when I get people in my office that they often feel like they can't really express themselves because they're not really sure which version of their spouse they're going to get. And there's a couple of versions of this. One of those as many of you listen to the virtual couch. No, I deal a lot with personality disorders. There's one scenario where somebody is putting something out there and it's going to be turned around on them and they're going to be they're going to be Gaslit. They're going to be made to feel like they're crazy if they say something. That's a completely different scenario. What we're talking about today is when somebody is trying to be vulnerable, trying to be open, and when that is met, sometimes with a warm response, sometimes with a I can't believe you just said that, that it's no wonder that when it feels like there are these controls set on communication where we get to the point where we don't even want to communicate at all. And so now we only communicate about surface things at best. And now we see that there's this wedge in a relationship. And too often when there's that wedge in a relationship, we want to be heard.

[00:11:47] We want to be validated. We want to have a connection. So too often people now find that connection, whether it's at the gym or they find that connection at work or they find that connection online or somewhere because we want a connection. And so the person we want that connection with is the person that we stood across the altar from or said, I do or but too often we just don't have the tools to be able to communicate. I find that to be often an issue of control, but people don't even recognize that this is a control issue. So I want to talk about that today. I did a little bit of digging. First, I wanted to find the data of why why do we desire control so much? And in an article I found that was a National Mental Health Institute. I believe they started it with a Dr. Seuss quote, which I thought was cute, says, you have brains in your head shoes. And let's try that again. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. And that was the setup to this abstract from this article about control. It says, Belief in one's ability to exert control over the environment and to produce desired results is essential for an individual's well-being. So first, let's start there. We're programed for control or wanting to exert control, because at the end of the day, we ultimately are only in charge of our own feelings.

[00:13:01] Our own thoughts are on emotions. So, of course, when we're coming from abandonment, when we're coming from attachment wounds, as a kid, we the older we get, we really think if we can just control environment then will be safe, then we'll be happy, but it's that control that is what puts these walls up or causes us to go into the world in a defensive in a defensive pose. Again, belief in one's ability to exert control over the environment to produce desired results is essential for an individual's well-being. It has been repeatedly argued that the perception of control is not only desirable, but it's likely to be a psychological and biological necessity. And in this article, they review the literature supporting the claim and present evidence on a biological basis for the need of control, but also for choice. That is the means by which we exercise control over the environment. So what I want to talk about in depth today, though, is that while we may have this biological or psychological need or desire for control, that that is what actually gets in the way of our especially our adult relationships. I want you to ask yourself this question. What does it feel like to be under someone else's control? And especially when it comes to marriage being overly controlled leads us often to feel like we are less than are we feel like we are.

[00:14:16] And we don't have a say in our own in our own lives or in the things that we want to do. And people often get worn down to the point where they feel like it doesn't really even matter if I do bring something up and you can see how that can create an unhealthy dynamic in a relationship if somebody feels overly control, that the things that they're going to say are going to be overly questioned or shot down, then often they're just already bypassing the desire to even express themselves. And so that only further validates the person who is holding all of the control. They often feel like, well, if you would if you would have wanted to do something, you would have said something about it. But when that spouse who tries to communicate their needs or their desires, their wishes, if they are now told, OK, wait, you need to tell me that when you're more calm or you need to not tell me that right when I walk in the door or you need to tell me that with a much lower tone or a softer tone, it just starts to be a little bit maddening when you see the amount of control that someone is trying to put on someone else's experience or someone else's way they communicate. And I'm just going to be bold. That's not that is so not healthy in a relationship.

[00:15:21] We need to be able to go to our spouse and be able to communicate whatever is on our mind to share our train of thought. And there's a framework to do so. And this is my magnetic marriage course that is emotionally focused therapy. And I feel like that's the problem. So many people don't know that there is a framework or they don't hold to the framework in order to be heard. And I did an episode a couple of weeks ago on differentiation and that one's kind of blown up. I'm not going to lie and I'm grateful for it because differentiation is is the key one of these keys in the universe. It's where one person ends and the other begins. And so as you begin to differentiate, as you begin to become independent and in your relationships, you begin to be interdependent, we want that to be a positive thing. When we come into relationships, we're going to naturally default to a little bit of codependency because that's our attachment wounds from from childhood or abandonment wounds. So when we first start to couple or when we start to date or we get married, we're still afraid to really let that person know who we are at our core. We're afraid that if we really get that vulnerable, that that person is going to run away. If we feel like a man, if they find out that this is how I really feel about something, they are they're going to run screaming and then I'll be abandoned.

[00:16:31] And abandonment from childhood wounding equals death. So oftentimes when we even just put a toe in the water, a vulnerability or share how we really feel about something, something political, something religious, something different parenting style that we would like, or if we even start to express ourselves in certain situations, and if our spouse all of a sudden says, whoa, I didn't know that or wait. But do you know how that affects? How often do we jump back into this enmeshment? How often do we just go, oh, no, no, no? Yeah, I don't know. You're right. I don't really think that and that is the opposite of differentiation. That is this kind of codependent or enmeshment. So you can see that when we are trying to become differentiated, it's going to come with a nice dose of invalidation. And that's the part where oftentimes control rears its ugly head, where when somebody says something that they finally get up the courage to say, hey, here's how I feel about something, that if their spouse now says, I don't want to hear that I did a lot with people like with things like faith crisis or people just really wanting to express themselves. They've been on some mental journey for quite a while and they finally open up and share something with their spouse. If their spouse says, I don't want to hear that or you need to go figure that out on your own before you come and talk about this, then we are the games kind of rigt, because at that point, we aren't really even sure how to express ourselves.

[00:17:48] So again, how does it feel if you're under the control of somebody else? Imagine being married to somebody that is overly controlling or worse yet and pulling from a little bit here and there. One of the articles I found is from a website called Greater Good. It's from the University of California, Berkeley, and it's talking about why losing control can actually make you happier. So I took a few excerpts from there. But in this article, it says, again, I'm an. Being married to somebody overly controlling or worse yet, imagine being someone else's slave, being controlled is no fun, and that is why we tend to rebel when we are feeling controlled. And I talk about this often. Psychologists call this quality reactance, which is the desire to do the opposite of the things that are prescribed to us by others. Again, nobody likes to be should on when you are told you should do this. It's our psychological reactance that pushes back and says, I will do the opposite even when we know it's what's what's good for us. Even if we're told, hey, you should brush your teeth every day or every morning or night, our brain is wired to say, I have to brush my teeth.

[00:18:42] I like furry teeth. And so that's part of the challenge that we have is when someone is being controlling, especially in a relationship and they are trying to tell you what you should do or what you're supposed to do. We already are built in with this reactance sorority pushing back. But then I talk about this often. You are the only version of you, so you are the one who knows exactly how you feel, think all the things that you've been through up to that point in your life. So even when someone in a relationship is saying you don't, you need to do or do you know what you don't understand, then I feel like already the conversation is heading down a path of unproductivity because we need to approach conversations with curiosity. We need to say, hey, tell me your thoughts about this or how do you feel about something that is more likely to get someone to really be able to open up and express themselves versus this feeling of control when somebody says, I'll tell you what you need to do or I'll tell you what you don't understand. So that is coming from this place of control. Go back to reactance, for example, when you are attempting to control your spouse's diet, what happens might be met with actually an increased consumption of unhealthy food just to spite you. And this is why and this is the key.

[00:19:47] If there's anything that I hope that you get from today's episode is this quote, This is why in adult relationships, in adult healthy relationships, you can either have control over someone else or you can have their love. You can't have both. And that is really the key. You can have control or you can have love, but not both. And because love is this fundamental thing, this fundamental need for us being overly controlling is not the key to happiness. It's not going to get you that connection that you so desire. You may feel as if you have a connection. And this is the part that I see in my office, that people don't even know what that connection looks like to truly be able to express themselves and feel heard and feel OK. Let me go back to an example that I give often. This example is one where someone comes into my office. And in the scenario, let's say that the wife has a large amount of anxiety. And so there are times where she may be overwhelmed or overcome with these anxious thoughts and feelings and she may not even be aware of it. So I'll get that couple that will come into my office and the husband will say, I don't know what to do with that when she's spinning or she's out of control or she's feeling this anxious. I'm not sure what to do. And so I told her she needs to figure that out before we can have a conversation.

[00:21:00] And that is and again, I can even say this from a bless his heart, because I can understand it's hard when you don't know what to do. But what I see in that scenario is somebody that's saying, hey, I need to be able to control how my wife is going to approach me for a conversation, even if it's something that she needs help with. And so when you are telling someone who has a tremendous amount of anxiety to get your anxiety in control before you come and communicate with me, that's actually going to cause more anxiety. It's just going to cause more of that anxiety. So back to the Sue Johnson quote, We're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being. So what does that look like? If I have a couple come into my office and she says, I just start to feel anxious or let's even go this route, if he's saying that's one of the challenges I have is is I worry that when she gets in one of these anxious moods that I'm not sure how to communicate with her. And so now I can drop this right into my four pillars of a connected conversation. Pillar one, if I'm talking to the wife in the scenario, assuming good intentions. So he did not wake up and think, I will get to that therapist's office and I will talk about her anxiety and I will show her and I will hurt her.

[00:22:04] No pillar one, assuming good intentions. Pillar two, I'm going to help her, not tell him he's wrong, even if she's not even aware of the anxiety. Then if you just say that's a bunch of garbage, that already shuts the conversation down. But if I can get him to stay or if I can get her to say, OK, assume good intentions, I'm not going to tell him he's wrong, even if I even if I'm not sure if I believe him, even if I'm not sure if this is something that I do that leads to pillar three questions before comments. So then it's OK. Tell me more about that. Help me see my blindspots. Help me understand how I present that. Looks like anxiety to you. And then pillar four, I wanted to be able to stay present, lean in. You can only do that if you feel safe, if you don't feel controlled. So in that pillar four lean in and not say OK, well I guess I'll just never, never express myself to you or I'll never be around you again. Because when you run back to your bunker, you're asking for your spouse to come and rescue you. In that scenario, she would be saying, OK, well, I guess it doesn't matter what's going on with me. That's where she's subconsciously or coming from a from an attachment wound where she's saying, OK, no, I want you to I want you to come rescue me.

[00:23:08] And I want him to say no, no, no. You know what? Don't even worry about it, it's all me, because this is how we get into those patterns where we just don't end up not we end up not communicating about anything very effectively. So in that scenario, if she hangs in there, assumes good intentions, doesn't tell him he's wrong, ask questions before comments and stays present. Now he's going to feel heard. She's going to have a little more data. And so in the scenario, this is where I get to say, OK, we're designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human. So when you see her being anxious or feeling anxious, this is a safe time to say, hey, I'm wondering if you if you're feeling a little anxious, this might be one of those times where I was talking about in therapy. And so in that moment, if she can assume those good intentions, not say she's wrong, ask questions of comments and stay present. This is an area where, OK, maybe she wasn't even aware of that. Or if she's saying, OK, I get anxious and I especially get anxious when you tell me to work on my anxiety, same framework, have him assuming good intentions. She's not trying to hurt him. I'm trying to make him look bad in front of the therapist.

[00:24:05] The second pillar is I can't have him say that's ridiculous. You're wrong. Third one is ask questions again for him, ask questions before making comments. Hey, tell me what that looks like to you. Talking about to the wife. How do I how do I present if you are feeling anxious, what does that look like if she says I feel like you withdraw or feel like you aren't there for me and now we can have a connected conversation and it might feel a little bit like tension, but tension is where the growth is. So in that scenario, now, this couple is going to walk out of there and they're going to feel a connection. They're going to feel like they can turn to each other with anything. They don't have to feel like there's controls placed over how they communicate or when they communicate. And I know I've been doing this for a long time. I know that this is sometimes people say, well, that's not my job to tell her when I think she's being anxious. I don't want to be a mind reader. I don't want to be I'm sorry, but I don't buy into that. If you want to stay stuck in the way that you communicate now, you can go into it with that that kind of framework of that kind of an attitude. But if you want to have a connection, if you want to learn how to be vulnerable and be there for another person, you have to find this framework emotionally focused therapy, these four pillars of a connected conversation.

[00:25:10] And you have to trust the process and you have to hang in there. You can't put data out there sometimes, not really want to be there for you, just not when I don't feel like being so back to this concept of control again. How does it feel to be under somebody else's control? Back to this quote, we can have a in adult relationships. We can have either control over others or we can have their love. There are scenarios, sure, where control might be a good thing. The one that I laid out at the beginning of the podcast, an orchestra, a maestro, a conductor leading the orchestra. Or suppose you're a passenger in an airplane. In that case, it might feel good knowing that you can relax and sit back and enjoy the ride because the pilot of the aircraft, thanks to specialized training, adherence to a set of well-established rules, regulation will take you wherever you need to go. But relationships, again, are different. They are so much more complex. There are so many more variables that come into play. So each one of you in your relationship is coming to the table with your very own unique set of situations that have brought you to that very moment in life trying to deal with whatever the issue is. Both of you have your completely different experiences.

[00:26:13] You have your different perspectives. You have a different Enneagram, you're different love languages. You have your different everything is different that you're bringing to the table. So what a wonderful ability or opportunity or gift to be able to approach that with a sense of curiosity, not a sense of control. Instead of saying, I can't believe you said that to be able to say, hey, tell me more about that. What does that mean to you? We have different meanings to words. There are individual words that people have that that mean completely different things to two people. So we might be arguing about completely different sets of circumstances or situation. What's the word there was the real here. There was a session not too long ago and they were talking about, oh, the concept of a threat. So if somebody is saying, all right, I'm I'm threatening divorce. If somebody says, oh, you're threatening a threat, sounds like such a harsh, dramatic word to one person. The threat of divorce means I am divorcing you. And then the other person, when we really talked about what is the word threat mean to them, threat means that there is a storm threatening. So this is looming. This is there's a fear of this thing that might be coming versus somebody else. When they hear threat, they feel like there is an immediate threat. So those can be two completely different meanings of one word that can cause completely different experiences for a couple.

[00:27:33] And that's from a pretty high charge word. You can see that we can have different meanings to just very low charge words as well. So, again, this need to control will get in the way, especially in situations where we are trying to even communicate about what a word means. We need to approach that with curiosity to each other. And we need to understand that we all have our different experiences that we bring to that moment in our relationship. So even when you have a shared experience, you're still viewing it from your lens. You're each going to have two completely different views of going to the beach. A little sneak preview, but I'm putting together an episode that my wife is helping with behind the scenes of we just got back from Disneyland and it was fascinating. So I looked at it truly from a therapist lens this time, I don't know if it was because now we don't have little kids. So we were had more time to think about things instead of trying to figure out who was going to get pushed in a stroller or how many churros I needed to get all of that. I had very much down, get all the Churros. But in that scenario, I felt we were even looking at the fact that I didn't go to Disneyland growing up and my wife did all the time. So she had a sense of nostalgia.

[00:28:34] I didn't. So when we would go on certain rides, there was a part of me that felt like, OK, this rides kind of silly, but to her it was magic. So we have such different experiences and perspectives going into these situations in our life. And I want you to know then it can feel so invalidating then when somebody is telling you what you were thinking or what you were feeling, because what they are saying is that they know you better than you know yourself, which simply isn't true. And this is why when you hear those phrases, what you don't understand is or, you know, what I think you're doing is and those things are going to cause that reactance we want to go into those things is tell me what you're feeling or tell me what this is like for you. And then we have to be able to sit and understand and hear their experience turn off your fixing in judgment brain and listen and be curious and move as far away from that need or desire for control as you possibly can. So when somebody is telling you about your experience, I believe that is a form of control. So think of how differently it feels when you are asked about your experience. How are you feeling right now? What is that like for you? How long have you felt this way? Take me on your train of thought, period.

[00:29:40] The end. No follow up to say that's ridiculous or seriously, that's what you think. Or I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with that information. Or how do you think that makes me feel? Because again, we all desire connection. We all want to be heard. We want validation. We're all trying to figure out how to navigate life based on our own experiences. So seeking advice, for example, that is wonderful. It's terrific. But it simply is that it's advice. Ultimately, you are the one that is control of your own destiny. So if you're surrounded by people in your life who are continually trying to tell you how you feel, tell you what to feel or control the way that you express yourself, I feel like it's time for a little bit of weighty introspection. Are these people or these groups or these organizations, are they edifying you? Are they making you feel better or are they making you into the best version of you? Or do you feel worse after an interaction? And if you're one of those right now, that saying, well, sometimes they need to hear the hard truth, they need to hear your hard truth, or would it be better to say, tell me about your experience? What would that be like? I wonder if this might be something that you would like to consider instead of what you just need to understand, because life is so so it's far too short to burn the emotional energy and emotional calories, trying to live up to others expectations based on their experiences.

[00:30:53] Ultimately, we need to find out your purpose, who you are, your divine path, what are your unique gifts and talents and abilities, what are your values unique to you? Because doing and finding out those things will put you on your path and doing so will put you in a better position to succeed as a parent or as a spouse or as a human being. And I feel like that's the part where when people don't know what, they don't know when people don't know what it truly feels like to be there with your spouse. I don't care where it is, even in Disneyland. And they're going to have their experience. And I'm having my experience. And instead of feeling like, well, what you just said makes me feel bad, instead, I'm going into that with curiosity. Hey, tell me what you're experiencing here. Tell me your thoughts. I want to hear more. I want to hear tell me take me on your train of thought and when you can do that and feel safe and feel secure and know that that's going to come with some invalidation. Sure. When somebody says, man, here's what I've always dreamed of or here's what I like. And if that's something that isn't what you've felt like yourself or if that's a slightly different message and they shared before, instead of saying seriously, like now you're telling me that, no, it needs to be.

[00:31:57] Man, I wonder why they didn't feel like they could tell me that earlier. So tell me more. I so often get people in my office that have been married, I don't know, ten, fifteen, twenty years. And they say this isn't the person that I married. And I so often want to say, OK, we are, we grow, we learn more about ourselves. We learn more about life from the experiences that we've been through. And so oftentimes when somebody all of a sudden feels, wait a minute, my spouse just came out of nowhere and now they're completely different, often that's because that's been bubbling up or simmering inside of them for so long where they felt like they couldn't express themselves so they couldn't grow or they couldn't take on new challenges. So they couldn't learn that. Now they really do are finding themselves and finding that they really care about something other than what they were told they were supposed to care about. And that is an amazing place to be and to be in a relationship where the two of you can grow that way. Yeah, it can be a little bit scary because of those old abandonment wounds. Oh, my gosh. If they are having their own experience, you know, what childhood abandonment looks like. Is me all of a sudden feeling like, oh, that must mean they must not like me.

[00:32:56] I must be unlovable? No, it means that they are developing and growing as a human being, which means that you can do the same and you can both do that in the context of a of a relationship. You can move from codependent enmeshment to interdependent and then learning to edify each other and again, I feel like if people don't know what that looks like and they feel like that isn't possible in their marriage, get help for real, get get help. You deserve to be happy. And I feel like it's when I talk about that, control is actually the opposite of what we need to thrive and grow in our relationships. This is what I'm talking about. It often feels so scary to, quote, let go of the control of maybe a spouse to be able to say, hey, I want you to find yourself. I want you to raise your emotional baseline so high that you feel like you are just on top of the world because I want to join you there, because in doing so and liberating someone else from there and helping them find out who they truly are, I want you to do the same thing. And when the two of you are doing that together, that is magical. That is the exact opposite. And then some of people that are continually trying to consciously or subconsciously put the other person down, they feel crummy if they feel pretty bad about themselves or they don't like their job or they feel like they're invalidated or they feel like nobody cares about them, then they feel like, well, so I don't want to see that my my spouse go out there and find themselves.

[00:34:13] And this is this oftentimes becomes about personal accountability. And are you doing the things that you need to and holding yourself accountable? Are you dealing with the uncomfortable things, whether it's at work or in your career, or do you feel like you maybe don't really know how to be the best parent you can be? Are you struggling with some sort of compulsive behavior, gaming, pornography, TV, food? Are you feeling so bad there that now you take that out, so to speak, on the person closest to you, the person that you you say you love your spouse? Is that fair? It's not. We need to deal with their own stuff. And one of the ways we do that is dealing with our own stuff in concert with another human, i.e. our spouse being able to share openly and vulnerably and then feel like we have a framework to have these difficult conversations. So I want to quote a little bit more of Sue Johnson and then we'll wrap things up here. This is from an episode I did a long time ago on emotionally focused couples therapy, which, again, is the foundational principles behind my entire magnetic marriage course. I'm just going to go, quote, mode here and we're going to do a little commentary on it, because Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy and author of Hold Me Tight, she wrote a follow up book called Love Sense, which is I think it's the science of Love or something like that's the subtitle where she quoted another psychologist.

[00:35:24] And here's what she said. Page sixty three. For those following along, the message touted by popular media and therapist has been that we are supposed to be in total control. So that word, of our emotions before we turn to others, love yourself first and then another will love you. But she says our new knowledge stands that message on its head for humans, says psychologist Ed Tronic of the University of Massachusetts. The maintenance of emotional balance is a dyadic collaborative process. What does that mean? In other words, we are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another person, not by ourselves. It's important, she says, to emphasize that attunement is not a sign of a lack of love or a lack of commitment. It is inevitable and it's normal, and in fact, it is startlingly common. Back to Ed Tronic of Harvard Medical School, who has spent years absorbed in monitoring the interactions between mothers and children, finds that even happily bonded mothers and infants miss each other signals 70 percent of the time adults miss their partners cues. Most of the time, too, we all send unclear signals and misread cues.

[00:36:24] We become distracted. We suddenly shift our level of emotional intensity and oftentimes we leave our partner behind or we simply overload each other with too many signals and messages. But how true is that? Too many mixed signals and too many mixed messages, he says. Only in the movies. This one poignantly gaze predictably and follow another gaze. And then it leads to one small touch, and it always elicits an exquisitely timed gesture. In return says we're sorely mistaken if we believe that love is always about being in tune. So it's actually the opposite. It's about being out of out of alignment, but then having the tools to come back in tune. And each time we do that, we grow closer together. Each time we process a difficult conversation or we able to express ourselves and share difficult or wonderful emotion. But when we do that with another human being, that's actually an opportunity to grow. So I often say, especially in this magnetic marriage course or people that are in my office, is that when we don't even when we don't have the tools innate built in within us and we don't to communicate effectively and that we just don't. And I want that want people to accept that. Just yesterday, twice yesterday, I heard, why don't we teach this in school? These are these four pillars of a connected conversation or this emotionally focused therapy. Why doesn't this come natural or why isn't this easier for me? And the answer is because we're human beings and because, again, we're coming forth from childhood, from the womb of our mom.

[00:37:45] With this built in programing of abandonment equals death, pure and simple. And then we navigate our childhood, our teenage years, and then some of trying to show up in a way that will get our needs met so that people will like us, so that we won't be booted out of our tribe because they were booted out of our tribe or a group or our relationships are innate fear is that abandonment is going to eventually lead to death and isolation. So we say we show up, we do the things and hopes that will be accepted or loved by others. But in reality, in doing so, we're going against the very core of who we are. Each one of us is a very unique individual. So we need to learn to be differentiated. We need to learn to show up as the person we are, and we need to find out who that is. And the easiest way or the best way to do that, maybe not the easiest way is in concert with another human being to be able to explore. But when that is not safe, of course, we're going to revert back to those attachment wounds. We're going to try to say things so that maybe we won't take our spouse off, or if our spouse says something and invalidates us, we might retreat and pout and hopes that they'll see that they have hurt us and they will come rescue us.

[00:38:52] And all of this is the opposite of learning how to find oneself, learning how to have curiosity as our spouse finds themself. Sit with maybe a little bit of that tension and fear that it's going to turn to contention it doesn't have to. And then from that tension is where we grow in. The more comfortable you become with being able to express myself in a framework like these four pillars or F.T. and know that my spouse now has the tools to hear, to ask questions, to say tell me more, and then at that point to then be able to validate me to and then I will feel heard. Then I will actually lean in more. I want to know more about them. And where I'm going with this is that we are so often stuck in this just unproductive dialog and unproductive conversations, the tit for tat or the pursue withdrawal or the freeze and flee or any of these types of unhealthy dialog patterns that when we go to these places, the thing we're not doing is communicating effectively. And so I find that couples have honestly gone 10, 20, 30 years or more where they. Don't even really know who each other is because they can never fully express themselves, because they have these human.

[00:39:59] I was going to say unhealthy, but more human factory setting communication styles or communication patterns. You have to learn how to communicate effectively and as an adult and drop that rope with a tug of war for control so that you can find give it a couple more quotes and really want to wrap this up. Again, we are sorely mistaken if we believe that love is always about being in tune, but we need to have the tools to be able to get back in alignment with our spouse. And the more we're able to do that, then the more comfortable we will be turning to our partner and saying, are you there for me? Do you what? Do you love me? Can I count on you from Sue Johnson's book, Hold Me Tight. She says the drive to emotionally attached to find somebody who we can turn to and say hold me tight is wired into our genes and into our bodies. It is as basic to life, health and happiness as the drives of food, shelter or sex that we need emotional attachments with you, irreplaceable others to be physically and mentally healthy or to survive. And here's where you're not trained to sound controversial. But I know so often I have people say I know I have to get myself together first so that I can show up in a relationship. And I say, I will say this all the time. If that's where you're at in your relationship, then I understand.

[00:41:09] And yes, I work with people that they need to get their emotional baseline high so that they can show up and either learn how to effectively communicate or learn how to set healthy boundaries. So I understand. But if you are not at that point right now and you just feel like you and your spouse just see the tools and then you will be able to communicate more effectively, the tools are out there. This isn't a plug for my Magnetic marriage course, although I realize I'm doing that right the second. But there are tools out there. There are couples therapist out there find somebody that specializes in emotionally focused therapy, E.F.T. Google my name and E.F.T. or magnetic marriage or four pillars and find those tools and practice them. They take practice. And once you are committed to communicating in this new framework, trust the process and you will be surprised that you are typically closer than you think to being able to communicate more effectively. But you probably need a little bit of guidance or you need a lot of patience or both. The overall conclusion, she says, is that a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is key and positive loving relationships, and it's a huge source of strength for the individuals in those relationships. And she said among the more significant findings is that when we feel generally secure, that is we are comfortable with closeness and confident about depending on loved ones.

[00:42:18] We are better at seeking support and we're better at giving it. And boy, I haven't even touched on and maybe this is a topic for another day of how important that is to model to your kids. Are you modeling a healthy relationship or are you modeling the look? We stuck it out until you guys are out of the house. That that fascinating to me. The kids, can they see, especially as they grow into teenagers and into adulthood, they see that OK is the message I'm being taught to just hang in there, not communicate, and then at least we say we did it. Or is it about being emotionally vulnerable and open and seeking help? And boy, look at some of the other podcasts I've been recently. Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? Are you willing to show your weakness and your vulnerability to your spouse or even to your kids to show that you're human? Or are you trying to set this bar high of saying that everything comes easy to me and I'm and I'm a natural at it, all of these things, because that's not the human experience. And and if that is happening in your relationship or your marriage and you just feel like you don't know how to communicate or express yourself effectively, or better yet, if you are one of the people that find yourself possibly controlling others and you weren't even aware of it or you're aware of it and you know it doesn't feel right, but then all of a sudden the conversation's done and then it seems to be OK a couple of days later.

[00:43:38] That doesn't mean that it's OK. It means that you are learning how to not deal with things somewhat effectively and over time that builds this wedge. And so when I get those couples in my office, thankfully, they come into my office. So I know they're out there everywhere. But when they do come into my office, then they really feel like I don't even really know who this person is. And this is the person that I was supposed to spend the rest of my golden years with, even the eternities with. And I don't even know who this person is. Don't don't put that off. You cannot kick that can down the road and then say we'll figure it out after the kids are out of the house. You're missing some incredible opportunities to learn how to communicate effectively, even with difficult situations, especially with parenting or especially with finances or the bumps and along the road of just marriage in general. And I feel like the people that don't know what these tools or skills are that are still operating from this place, if I need to control every interaction or every situation so that I won't feel uncomfortable or so I won't feel invalidated, or what if they have their own opinion? What if I what if they get this freedom and all of a sudden they they want do you want that relationship based off of control or do you want to be emotionally vulnerable? Learn who you are, learn how to differentiate yourself, deal with that invalidation, but then see that there's some real magic to be had where the tension comes, because that's what I get to see every day.

[00:44:52] It's the reason why I love the job. That I'm doing all right, I will wrap that up right now, taking us away, as per usual, is a wonderful, talented or Florence with her song. It's wonderful. And if you have questions or a document with a lot of questions about marriage, and I think it's time to do a marriage Q&A, so please send me some of your questions, send them to Contact@tonyoverbay.com and I will put those on a future episode and we'll do a little bit of marriage Q&A. But I really appreciate you being here. Spread the word. If there was something that you liked about today's episode, if you are still listening and you you are a YouTube person, go subscribe. I think I'm a few. Just a few short of a thousand or something. And I think you get a t shirt or something, get some new settings. I'd love to love to see you do that as well. Spread the word. And I appreciate your support

[00:45:34] And I will see you next time.

You've been patient, you've praised, but at what point can you finally let someone know how you really feel? Tony talks about Gottman's "The Magic Relationship Ratio According to Science" of positive to negative interactions during conflict https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-magic-relationship-ratio-according-science/ as well as Gottman's 4 Horseman principal (Criticism, Content, Defensiveness and Stonewalling) https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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------ TRANSCRIPT ------

[00:00:00] Ok, so let me take you back just a few nights ago, my wife and I are heading out to our car. We're going to go home for my son's high school basketball game. And we're about 30 minutes away and one of my daughter's calls and you can tell there is panic in her voice. Dad, Mom, something really bad happen. And if you ever experience this as a parent, you will know that your mind immediately goes to worst case scenario. Somebody is hurt, they're hurt bad or a million other things pop instantly in your head. And so we say, Meki, anybody hurt somebody, OK? And she says, no, no, no. And we have just a tiny bit. So we press on what is it? And my wife and I are still just staring at the phone. On another note, one of the kids these days moments apparently for many a phone call is a video call. How are you supposed to just talk if you can't see the person? But that is for another podcast on another day. But she finally says there's a snake in the pool and I'm freaked out. So I relax a little bit, sit back in my seat and I start driving home. And I know that my wife will now be the manager of emotions for the next 30 minutes. My daughter had a cousin over and we both families just got these new puppies. They were playing in the backyard when they spotted this slithering snake just swimming in the pool. And so for the next 30 minutes, we went through the rounds of empathy, how hard that must be and positive comments.

[00:01:11] I'm really proud of the way that you're handling this and trying to provide a little bit of a riverbank to her rushing waters of emotions. You know, you're fine. The snake won't jump out of the pool. Just hang tight to which she Googled. Snakes can jump out of pools. And apparently we were right. They can't or in theory, they can't. And in a simple exchange, I really did start thinking of the power of using positive language, of compliments of strength building statements. But how at some point you almost feel like you have done your time in this land of positivity, in this land of empathy and you're fighting back. You just need to calm down. Everything will be fine, too, which for the record and I think you know where I'm going with this, nobody stops instantly and says, well, whoa, wait a minute, what's this idea you're suggesting? It had not even dawned on me to what was it again, calm down. You know, I mean, I like emotionally regulating and feeling like I'm making a mountain out of a molehill. But this whole calm down thing, I think you might be on to something. I don't have to try that out. No, they don't say that. And really what happens is people are in their amygdala, their fight or flight response, especially when you see this creepy snake swimming in the pool. So that logical brain is gone. And so they are not going to wade into the pool, grab the snake by the bare hands and put it back in the field where he belongs.

[00:02:26] But, yeah, that didn't happen. And as most of us know, telling someone to calm down doesn't calm them down or telling somebody to relax or don't worry about it, rarely elicit some sort of Zen like immediate meditative state from the person that was just told to relax. But we did get home and I grabbed a pool net and far more easily than I anticipated. I was able to scoop the snake up, put them in a box and carry them to a nearby field where he slithered back to his family and no doubt hearing something akin to what were you thinking, going to swim in those people's pool from his house. But where is that line between empathy, empathy, empathy, and then more of a firm response? You know, how does one stand their ground or speak their truth without the conversation immediately going south? Well, today, we're going to talk about some research out of the Gottman Institute, one of the world's most renowned sources of marriage research, headed by the legendary therapist and researchers, doctors John and Julie Gottman. And we're going to discuss the often quoted statistic that every couple needs at least five positive comments for every one negative comment. So is that is that actually true or is this a pop psychology myth that is misquoted? So we're going to cover that and so much more coming up on today's episode, The Virtual Couch.

[00:03:52] Come on in, take a seat.

[00:03:58] Hey, everybody, welcome to Episode two hundred and sixty four, The Virtual Couch. And, you know, I'm going to be experimenting a bit with the openings over the coming weeks. I think it's time to freshen things up. Time for a change. And I'll share more about that in the next week or two. But I do have a couple of new podcasts coming out. And one has to do with the work that I've done around women in relationships with men, with narcissistic tendencies or behaviors or patterns or even full blown narcissistic personality disorder. And that one is called waking up the narcissism, and it is coming soon. So look for that. If you follow my virtual couch Instagram account or follow me on Facebook, Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist or virtual couch there, then you'll you'll hear more about that as it is ready to launch and then I'll share more about the second one in the coming weeks. But so while I am still your host, Tony Overbay, and I'm indeed a licensed marriage and family therapist and all those things, if you want to know more about the work that I do with recovery or parenting or couples or faith journeys, then just head over to Tony Overbay dot com or find again that virtual couch count on Instagram or the accounts on Facebook. So let's get to today's topic. I am going to be referring to an article directly off of the Gottman Institute website called The Magic Relationship Ratio, According to Science by Kyle Benson.

[00:05:08] So where Kyle starts is he says, whether it's about not having enough sex or the dirty laundry or spending too much money, the idea of conflict is inevitable in every marriage. And I will be, of course, interjecting my own opinions throughout this podcast. And so one of the things that I've been pretty fascinated by over the last few months in preparing my magnetic marriage course, along with my buddy Preston Buckmeier, is this concept of that conflict. And so as Kyle talks about, yeah, conflict is inevitable, but I do feel that we are so afraid of contention that we avoid this concept of tension altogether. And so too often when we are afraid of tension because we are worried it will turn to contention or we're afraid of tension because we don't necessarily have the framework or the tools to discuss difficult concepts, then this is where we just proverbially kick the can down the road. We're going to deal with situations that maybe don't go as well as we want them to. Well, we'll do it later. We'll deal with that next week or next time. Or you don't want to rock the boat when the waters are calm, which I understand. But unfortunately, that just keeps people in this proverbial pattern of unproductive conversations. So back to the article. To understand the difference between happy and unhappy couples, Dr. Gottman and Robert Levinson began doing longitudinal studies of couples back in the nineteen seventies, and they asked couples to solve a conflict in their relationship in 15 minutes.

[00:06:30] And then they sat back and they watched. And so after reviewing tapes and following up with these couples some nine years later, they were able to predict which couples would stay together and which would divorce with over 90 percent accuracy. And they brought that into their their couples were moving forward. And their discovery was actually pretty simple. The difference between happy and unhappy couples is the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. And that sentence right there kind of gives the keys to the flux, the mysteries here, the difference with the balance between positive and negative interactions during conflict. And there's a specific ratio that makes love less. They said that according to their research, the magic ratio is five to one, meaning that for every negative interaction notice I didn't say comment, but for every negative interaction during conflict, a stable and happy marriage has five or more positive interactions. So when the masters of marriage are talking about something important, Dr. Gottman said, they may be arguing, but they are also laughing, teasing and there are signs of affection because they have made emotional connections. But on the other hand, he said that "unhappy couples tend to engage in fewer positive interactions to compensate for their escalating negativity". So if the positive to negative ratio during conflict again is positive to negative ratio during conflict is one to one or less, then that is unhealthy and indicates a couple that may be teetering on the edge of divorce.

[00:07:57] So positive and negative interactions, not comments, but we're talking about interactions. And I remember going to a training. This is early in my therapy career when I still didn't even think I would be doing much couples work. And the trainer, in essence, said that she had seen couples almost hold up a hand when arguing and say, OK, OK, OK. So she's nice to animals. She's pretty. She has nice hair. Brush your teeth at least two minutes each time. How many is that for? OK, she doesn't hold her fork like a caveman when she eats. So that five. OK, good. But when she comes under her breath all day it drives me insane. So that's somebody that is obviously taking things very literal. Think of the Hotels.com commercials and Captain Obvious, but maybe change that last part to Captain Literal. And that is truly not what is meant by this five to one ratio. So are you a Captain Literal and your relationships? Well, you asked me what I thought, so I told you. Are you that guy or girl or do things like tact and compassion? Come into the picture. So in the scenario I mentioned, where the husband is counting off the positive, I guess, ish things or words. Is he truly wanting to build a bridge of empathy so that his wife is leaning in, ready to hear his concerns? Or is she already preparing for criticism because she knows it's coming, even if he's counting off these five positive comments? So first, let's let's dig a little deeper into what Gottman says is a negative interaction, because remember, we're talking about a five to one ratio of positive to negative interactions during conflict, which is a lot different than just coming up with five nice things to say before you unload something negative.

[00:09:37] So back to the article. Bensen says that examples of negative interactions include another predictor of divorce and first up, or what he calls these four horsemen. And I've done a episode on this long ago, but this is a fascinating concept by Gottman. And before I learned the skills of emotionally focused therapy of F.T., which went on to help me create this magnetic marriage course. I learned so much about Gottman. And that was that was really helpful in my own relationship and also when I would get couples in my office early on in my career. So Gottmans four Horsman, are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. And before I even dig a little bit more into those, I really do believe with everything in my bones that that my four pillars of a connected conversation are absolutely necessary to provide a framework for healthy, connected conversations. And by a super, super quick review, the four pillars. It's the foundation, in my opinion, and they are they are a difficult thing to master because they aren't natural.

[00:10:36] They don't flow from us because we have tried to have conversations and they have not gone well in our relationships. So we get defensive and we are starting sometimes from within our bunker. And so the first pillar is assuming good intentions. This is the one wakes up and thinks, how can I hurt my spouse or my partner? So if somebody is withdrawn instead of their spouse, let's just use the scenario right now where let's say that the wife is withdrawn, that if the husband says, OK, what am I supposed to do with that? That is that is violating pillar one of assuming good intentions. If she's withdrawn, I want him to say and she doesn't wake up and say, I don't want to withdraw, that will get him. No, if she's withdrawn, then I want that to help him start to literally lean in with empathy. So pillar one, assuming good intentions. No. Two, you can't send that message if you're wrong or I don't believe you, even if you don't believe them or you think that they are wrong. Because if the goal is to have a connected conversation and that's what I'm proposing, that the goal is to be heard, not to resolve, then we want to keep the conversation going so that you can feel heard and you can get to your thoughts. So examples of sending the message of your wrong, there's some easy ones by literally telling someone, I don't believe you or you're wrong, but this is where it becomes pretty fascinating of even if you are doing the eye roll or the deep sigh or you start checking your phone or those sort of things, or in a conversation that can even put out this vibe of I don't believe you are, I don't think you're wrong with this whole thing.

[00:12:06] So I'm going to show you by disengaging in the conversation. And there's also the kind of a fascinating one where when somebody says, I don't know if I can give this talk on Sunday and we say, no, you can do hard things. I know you can. That one sounds awesome. And we may even mean that. But it still skips a really important part of empathy where we're telling the person, no, no, that's ridiculous. You're wrong. You can do it. I know you can without saying, hey, tell me why you're feeling that way. Which leads to pillar three, asking questions before making comments. Even if you feel like after you hear your spouse say something that you you have some struggles with or it stings a little bit, or there is that tension when they express themselves instead of saying, OK, well, let me just tell you my side really quick and then you're welcome to open up. No, start by asking questions before making comments. And then pillar four is stay present, lean in, don't go into victim mode. You know, you can have you can do all three of the first pillars extremely well if your wife says, hey, I feel like you have been a little bit more disengaged in the relationship.

[00:13:08] No one assuming good intentions. She's not saying that to hurt me. She's saying it because she wants to be heard. And we're too I can't say that's ridiculous, even if I have been practicing on a daily basis to get home sooner or to be more engaged, because obviously, if she is saying, I feel like you have not been home on time or you feel more disengaged, then I want to know why. Why does she feel that way? So then that leads to pillar three. I'm going to ask hey, tell me more about that. Helped me see my blind spots. I wasn't aware that you felt that way. That would be difficult. That would be hard. And then for is then staying present, not going into the bunker, not going into victim mode. The guy in that point can't say, OK, well, I guess it really doesn't matter what I'm doing. Apparently, I don't want to hear because you can do those first three correctly. And then if you violate pillar four now you're basically saying, hey, I'm going to go into my bunker and I would like for you to come rescue me, please. So I. Feel like those are still so important, even as we get to this concept of Gottman's four pillars are four pillars, my four pillars, Gutman's Four Horsemen.

[00:14:05] So let's let's kind of talk more about those. So the first horseman that Gottmann says that is part of these negative interactions is criticism. So criticizing your partner is absolutely different than offering a critique or, or even voicing a complaint. Those latter two are about specific issues where Gottman says the former is an ad hominem attack. So it's an attack on your partner at the core of their character. And in fact, you're dismantling their whole being when you criticize. And I know that sounds heavy, but I really appreciate the way he says that because I often feel like what is the goal in a conversation? I will watch those when people don't adhere to these my four pillars, I feel like, what is your goal? Is it to and I will often say break down the other person's world or reality? But of course, Gottman says it's so much better. Are you trying to dismantle their whole being when you criticize? And so Gottman says the important thing is to learn the difference between expressing a complaint and criticizing a complaint might be an example. I was scared when you were running late and you didn't call me. I thought we'd agreed that we would do that for each other versus a criticism is you never think about how your behavior is affecting other people. I don't believe that you are forgetful. I think you're selfish. You don't think of others. You never think of me. And if you find that you and your partner are critical of each other, don't assume that the relationship is doomed to fail.

[00:15:24] Gottman says the problem with criticism is that when it becomes pervasive, it paves the way for other far deadlier horsemen to follow. And that's why, again, I feel like if we don't have the structure or the framework to be able to even communicate, then things these these horsemen do kind of line up, which leads to a second horseman of contempt. So when we communicate in this state, we are truly mean. Gottman says that we treat others with disrespect when contempt comes into play. This is where people mock with sarcasm or ridicule. Call them names, mimic, use body language such as eye rolling or scoffing. And I will tell you right now, there is there's truly no place in a relationship for any of these things because the target of contempt is is made to feel despised or worthless, like their opinion doesn't even matter. And contempt can go far, far beyond criticism. Gottman said that while criticism attacks your partner's character, contempt assumes a position of moral superiority over him. And he gives an example in this article of saying, You're tired. Cry me a river. I've been with the kids all day running around like mad to keep this house going. And all you do when you come home from work is flopped down on the sofa like a child and play those video games. I don't have time to deal with another kid.

[00:16:33] Could you be any more pathetic? You know, you can you can feel where that can cut. And research even shows that couples that are contemptuous. This is so fascinating. If they're contemptuous of each other, they're more likely to suffer from infectious illness, colds, the flu, etc. than others because it weakens your immune system. Contempt is fueled by long simmering negative thoughts about a partner which come to a head when the perpetrator attacks the accused from a position of relative superiority. And most importantly, Gottman says his contempt is the single greatest predictor of divorce. It absolutely, absolutely must be eliminated. And here's where I'll throw in a couple of my favorite psychological principles. The expectation effect in confirmation bias with the expectation effect. That really is what are what are you looking for in your spouse? The expectation effect is this phenomenon where perception and behavior changes as a result of personal expectations or the expectations of others. So the expectation effect demonstrates that our expectations on items, things people can greatly influence our perceptions and even influence our behavior. For example, if you tell a bunch of people that some new product is going to change their lives, then a significant number of people will find their lives changed. The belief is simply the device that can help create change. I remember hearing early on in my therapy career that there was a statistic that said that even just setting up a couple's therapy appointment had an effect.

[00:17:56] That was it was significant. I want to say that twenty or thirty year might have even been higher. Percentage of couples felt a dose of hope just from setting up the appointment. And that, I feel like, is that expectation effect. So once a person believes that something's going to happen, that belief alone creates possibility. Now, unfortunately, this can have a negative effect on the ability to accurately measure something success because we typically get this bump of happiness or euphoria or with the expectation. And then if once you have this expectation, then you aren't nurturing that expectation or doing work behind that expectation, then there's also some data that can show that you return back to baseline. I found a pretty interesting graph that says the expectation of I can absolutely influence perception of behavior, but the changes can be temporary, I believe, if you don't work with that expectation. So if you have an expectation that your spouse is is kind, is nice, is trying their best, then you are going to look for those areas that prove that fact to you. And you're going to act if. Based on that expectation, but if you don't continue to nurture that expectation or start to find a way or a framework to be able to have conversations and use this this time where you have this hire or this better, more positive expectation of your spouse or yourself or your kid, then over time that you'll go back to baseline because our brains want to go back the path of least resistance.

[00:19:22] So you have to nurture even the expectation effect. And I talk about this often, but the very quick example on a podcast I did on expectation effect was done with laboratory mice where there was a group of people. They were divided into two and there was a group of mice. They were divided into two. Half the group were given a group of mice, the one one group of mice. And they were told by the people running the test that these mice were maze bright mice, that they were they were born and bred, genetically altered to be able to get through mazes quickly. And the other group were given just the other group of mice and they were set, they said, and these are just mice, good luck. And so both of the groups of people then spent a few days training the mice to get through a maze. And not surprisingly, the expectation of the group that were given the maze bright rats, those rats or mice actually made it through the maze over twice as fast as the what they deemed maze dull rats. Now, that's when they said, surprise, these rats are all the same. But it shows you how significant the expectation effect is that the researchers are the trainers, the people that had the maze, bright rest. All they were told was that these rats are gifted. They can get through mazes faster than the people training

[00:20:37] The rats had the expectation that these were made by rats and therefore I don't know what they did. They tried harder. They they they spoke more positively. But that is so fascinating. And so I often say, are you treating your spouse as a maze, right? Spouse or a maze dull spouse, or are you treating your kid as maze bright kid or a maze dull kid? Are you looking at yourself as a bright person or maze dull person? And that that is the expectation effect. And then the other part that I love talking about is confirmation bias. And that is what are you looking for? And I remember I was sharing a one of these magnetic marriage coaching calls that the first I bought a Mini Cooper long ago. And, you know, when you when you drive it off the lot, you are then all of a sudden just blown away by the number of Mini Coopers on the road where all these things come from. But that is confirmation bias that we really do look for what we look for. So if we have this expectation effect of our spouse being positive of their amazing, great spouse and then we have a confirmation bias of looking for the good, then that is going to drive us to have better behavior. And that will be the opposite of this contempt. Or Gutman's second horseman, the third horseman that he talks about is defensiveness.

[00:21:47] And this is typically a response to criticism. And I feel like we can all safely say that we've been on the defensive. And Gottman says this horseman is nearly omnipresent when our relationships are on the rocks, when we feel unjustly accused, we often fish for excuses or we play the innocent victim so that her partner will back off. And this truly is a childhood coping mechanism. It makes sense. When we were kids, we didn't we wouldn't own up to anything because we're little kids. We're still coming from this place of abandonment equals death. If I admit to something and I get in trouble, these guys might boot me out of the clan. We know now that that's not the case, but that's where we're coming from when we're often in that position as a child and we bring that off into our adulthood as often just not taking ownership of things, not taking accountability. Now is Gottman says. Unfortunately, the strategy is almost never successful. The strategy of defensiveness are excuses. Just tell our partner that we won't take their concerns seriously and that we won't take responsibility for our mistakes. So we gave the example a question. Hey, did you call Betty and Ralph a little know that we're not coming tonight like you had mentioned you would do this morning and the defensive responses? I was too busy. So, matter of fact, you know just how busy my schedule was. Why don't you just do it? So this partner not only responds defensively, but then they reverse blame in an attempt to make the other partner the other partner's fault.

[00:23:01] So instead of non defensive response, can express acceptance of responsibility, admission of fault or understanding that your partner's perspective. And I did an episode at one point on the just accountability. And one of my friends sent me a text and they showed me a little board they have at their home and said, try this instead. My bad. I think that's what I said. But so and that's all we're asking at times. Sometimes it feels so scary to say, oh, man, I totally forgot. But that is that is the easiest way to diffuse something, is to take ownership of it, to literally say, yeah, my bad. So although it is perfectly understandable to defend yourself, especially if you're stressed out or you feel attacked, this approach does not have the desired effect of connection. Defensiveness only escalates the conflict, especially the critical spouse doesn't back down or they apologize. This is because defensiveness is really as common says it's a way of blaming your partner and it won't allow for healthy conflict management and the fourth horseman that he talks about. Stonewalling, which is usually in response to contempt stonewalling, occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction, you know, they shut down, they simply stop responding to their partner and then rather confront it rather than confronting the issues with their partner. People who stonewall can make these evasive maneuvers, such as tuning out, turning away, acting busy, engaging in obsessive or distracting behaviors, a.k.a.

[00:24:17] turning to their phone. The phone has become one of the great facilitators of stonewalling. And trust me, I use my phone every day. I use it often. As a matter of fact, I'm paying attention to the screen time app and trying to really, on a weekly basis, make a conscious effort to get my own screen time down. But man, the phone can just all of a sudden be one of the greatest objects used for stonewalling. So if you feel like you are stonewalling during a conflict, stop the discussion and ask your partner to take a break. You can say it's perfectly fine to say, right. I'm feeling a little bit too emotional or flooded to keep talking about this. Can we take a little break? And but one of the keys is promising that we'll come back to this because it's easier to work through when people have gotten out of that amygdala, that fight or flight response. And the four horsemen. So as well as feelings of loneliness or isolation, those are additional negative interactions. So Kyle Benson says that while anger is certainly a negative interaction and a natural reaction during conflict, that anger isn't necessarily damaging to a marriage. Dr. Gottman explains that anger only has negative effects in marriage if it's expressed along with criticism or contempt or if it's defensive, you know, it is OK for you to say, man, I'm really frustrated or but especially staying that I feel statements.

[00:25:36] It's not that you make me mad because but hey, I'm really frustrated because I felt like we had an agreement or I'm really sad or I'm really hurt or I worry that or this, you know, I feel like. And so negative interactions during the conflict include also being emotionally dismissive or critical or becoming defensive in body language such as eye rolling can be a very, very powerful negative interaction. Or we've probably seen if our partner has given a sigh or they've turned away from us. And it is so important to remember that negativity holds a great deal of emotional power, which is why he goes on to say it takes five positive interactions to overcome any one negative interaction. So five positive interactions to compensate for an eye roll or a sigh or any of those four horsemen and these negative interactions do happy. I mean, they happen in healthy marriages, too, but they're quickly repaired and replaced with validation and empathy. And I will add ownership and accountability. So the five positive interactions, Gottman says that couples who flourish engage in conflict differently than those who eventually break up. He said not only do masters of marriage start conflicts more gently, and I love referring to that as a softer, you know, soft entry point. But they also make repairs in both minor and major ways that highlight the positivity in their relationship.

[00:26:57] And so he lists these interactions that he says stable couples use regularly to maintain positivity and closeness. Be interested when your partner complains about something. Do you listen? Are you curious about why he or she is so mad? So displaying interest includes asking open ended questions, as well as more subtle signals such as nods, making on eye contact, timely. Has that show that you are listening? I still remember when I used to travel to Japan on business, when I was in the computer software industry and just watching the interactions with my my business partner and some of the people we would meet with. And there was this constant back and forth of just hi. Hi. You know, and I remember asking Yoshida Sun, Hey, why do you keep telling the person hi? And I think I was being a little bit jokey with that. But he said it's just a way of acknowledging and it's almost the. Uh huh. I hear you tell me more, you know, the height, height, and it shows how closely that you're listening, expressing affection. Do you hold hands with your partner? Do offer a romantic kiss. You embrace your partner when you see them or at the end of the day. So expressions of affection often happen in small ways, both within and outside of conflict. Within conflict, displays of physical and verbal affection will reduce stress. Now, I am not saying that if you are somebody that has been emotionally or physically abused, that this means now apparently I have to hold hands, lean in, give them a hug or kiss.

[00:28:11] But if you're having a difficult conversation and your partner takes your hand and says, man, this is hard to talk about, but I really love you and I know that we're going be able to figure this out together, you are likely going to feel better because their display of affection is bound to reduce tension and bring you closer together. I did an entire episode long ago on oxytocin. It's also called the cuddle hormone. And when there is that connection, even just that, putting one's hand on one's arm or shoulder or knee, that you really do reduce tension or stress. And again, I will I will put an asterisks there unless there has been long standing period of emotional or physical abuse or conflict. But that oxytocin really does reduce or lower the cortisol or the fight or flight risk. And it's pretty fascinating, Sue Johnson has some studies that are, I think, in her book Love Sense as well, and hold me tight and I'm going to butcher this, but it was something to the effect of a woman going in to get, I want to say, a shot or something like that for something. And if she's just by herself, they can measure cortisol level is high. If her husband is in the other room, then the cortisol levels lower. And if her husband is in or maybe it's in the room with her.

[00:29:21] But then if the husband's in the room and they're holding hands, then her cortisol levels are significantly lower. So that is that oxytocin. So another one is to demonstrate that they matter. You know, our motto, Cottman says from making marriage last is that small is small things often that the small acts that demonstrate you care are powerful and ways to enhance the positivity in your marriage. So bringing up something that is important to your partner, even when you disagree, demonstrates that you're putting their interests on par with yours and it shows your partner that you care about them. Culbertson goes on to say, how you treat each other outside of conflict influences how well you're able to handle the inevitable disagreements. For example, if your partner is having a bad day and you stop, you pick up dinner on the way home, you're showing them that you're thinking about them. And those small gestures accumulate over time and will provide a buffer of positivity in your marriage so that when you do enter conflict, it will be easier to engage in a positive interaction and ones that typically outweigh the negative. And I see this often. I mean, I know as myself as an anxious attachment or words of affirmation guy or that I really do love when I get a text from my wife that just says, Hey, I'm thinking about you and I love sending those those texts throughout the day to my kids, to my wife, maybe to somebody that I'm thinking about.

[00:30:35] And so, you know, we want to know that we're seen. My friend Julie Lee, her book I see you. I think about that often as that we want to know that I see you, that you matter to me. And so I feel like it goes a long way to be able to let somebody know that you are thinking about them. I had a beautiful and I'm going to save some additional details of this for a future podcast that a beautiful interaction with a couple in my office very, very recently where there had been some trauma. And but this couple is working really, really hard on their magnetic marriage four pillars of a connected conversation in session, their E.F.T. skills. And and I always say that the way to make sure that, you know, this, whatever this was, won't happen again in the future is to be able to bring up things even when waters are calm, even things that seem small. And this was again, I love this example. The example was the wife said that she was used to after they had been through some pretty rough patches, the husband sitting by her and that she had noticed that it's been a year or so into their their recovery, their work. They're they're really working hard. They're doing amazing. And but the wife mentioned that, hey, I don't even feel like I want to bring this up because I feel like it's petty or small.

[00:31:48] But I notice that it isn't is intentional about sitting by me at around the kids or just whenever we're together. And so she said, but again, I don't I feel like this isn't a big deal. And I said, man, this is the beautiful part where this is a big deal because we want to talk about these small interactions. We don't have to just have these high you know, these these we don't have to put the four pillars in place only on high charged topics like sex and politics and religion and finances and parenting like that. We don't have to do them on just those. Let's do it right here. So we had an amazing session where she was able to say, hey, I'm noticing that you haven't been as intentional of sitting by me. And so dropping those into the four pillars saying to the guy, all right, assuming good intentions, she's not saying that to hurt you and you can't say that's ridiculous or she's wrong, even if you felt like you. That is. But but he didn't. And then he was right there in Pillar three to ask questions before making comments. He said, oh, man, you know, like, when have you seen this? Or tell me when you've noticed this? And she she said, oh, it's been this this often or I've noticed in these times. And then he didn't go into you know, he didn't break pillar four and then not lean in.

[00:32:58] He didn't go run to his bunker and say, OK, fine, let me go get some needle and thread. I'll sew myself to your side and we'll never be apart. You know, he didn't go into victim mode. He just said, I really appreciate you sharing that with me. And I think I have kind of noticed that a little bit. And and he sat there with a little bit of that tension, you know, and because it can be uncomfortable if his answer might be I yeah, I did. I maybe I noticed that or I can understand how hard that would be. And I didn't mean it. And I can do better about that. And that's a perfectly wonderful, fair, beautiful interaction of where both partners felt heard. And so now I guarantee you he's going to be more intentional about it and she's going to feel like he really listen to me or he cares. Intentional appreciation, Gottman says how you think about your partner again influences how you treat them. I think this goes back to that expectancy effect that I talked about by focusing on the positives of your marriage, such as the good moments from your past and your partners, admirable traits, you put positive energy into your relationship, now negativity is bound into your thoughts, especially during conflict, but intentionally focusing on the positive will counterbalance any of the moments when you struggle to find something good about your partner.

[00:34:12] And he says, now turn your thoughts in action. Every time you express a positive thinking, give your partner a verbal compliment, no matter how small, and you're strengthening your marriage. And I would go on to say I almost did an episode on gratitude today because I wanted to go back and revisit the science of gratitude. But I feel like it is absolutely imperative, necessary, and it will help your marriage if you keep a gratitude journal of your spouse, even if it's one thing a day of something unique or different that you value or view or appreciate or are grateful for about your spouse, what does that do? You're looking for those things you can put in this gratitude journal. And even in times where you feel like things maybe aren't as strong, you can go back and say, OK, here's these things I so admire about my spouse. So that is something I am going to absolutely do. And I would I would love it if people did that same thing. And then empathize and apologize, Culbertson says empathy is one of the deepest forms of human connection when you empathize with your spouse. You show that you understand and you feel what you do your best to fill your partner's feelings. Even if you expressed sympathy nonverbally through the facial expressions or physical gestures, saying things like, it makes sense to me that you feel that way. We'll help your partner see that you are on their team.

[00:35:22] Empathy is a profound connecting skill that all romantic partners can and should improve. And there's no limit to the amount of empathy that you can express. And I would add, and I talked about this in a and a magnetic marriage group called last night, it is OK for a partner to express that they struggle with empathy. That is, again, one of the most touching, beautiful moments I see in my office is when somebody says, OK, I've got to be honest, I struggle with this. It's hard for me not to go right to my needs. You know, I struggle keeping pillar three of questions before comments. And so being that emotionally vulnerable is what can help build connection. And if your partner is upset with something you did or said, maybe start with an apology. If you can find a momentary conflict to say, man, I am so sorry I hurt your feelings, that really does. It makes me feel sad that you can provide a positive and empathetic interaction that can reinforce that bond. And then one of the key things that Gottman talks about is accept your partner's perspective and approach that drastically improves conflict is understanding that each of your perspectives are valid even when they are opposed to each other. I won't even go down my acceptance and commitment therapy path here, but each one of you is the very only version of you, period, end of story. And we're going to have different thoughts and feelings and emotions because we're different human beings.

[00:36:30] So while you may not agree with your partner's perspective, letting them know that their perspective, that you can understand where they're coming from and that would make more sense when you hear them out, will show them that you respect them. And one of the best ways to do this is to summarize your spouse's experience. Even if you disagree, it's like, tell me more about that. What's that like for you? How long have you felt that way? How have I shown up in that situation? Because remember that this is so key and I run into this all the time. Validation doesn't mean agreement, but it does signal respect. Because just because you say, man, I can understand that would be difficult doesn't mean you're saying you're right. I'm a horrible piece of garbage, but it does show respect. And I love that Gottman puts in here make jokes, playful, teasing, silliness and finding moments to laugh together can ease tension in a heated conflict. Now, it doesn't always go well, but I feel like it is definitely one of the greatest diffusion techniques is to to even self-deprecating humor or making humor. Most couples have inside jokes they only share with each other. And this highlights the exclusivity that a couple has. But but again Benson adds, however, a word of caution. Remember to to find a way to joke around that maintains respect and appreciation for your spouse and that serves to bring you both closer together.

[00:37:39] And I think in this offensive where I've had a couple of times where someone's left my room, they've been really, really upset. And one of the times when I was a brand new therapist, a guy got up, stormed out of the room, and as he tried to slam the door, he hit the back of his own foot. You know, and I remember it was such a tense moment. And then I just looked over at the wife and I felt like, I don't know what to say here, but I managed I default to humor all the time. And I just looked at and I said, I don't think that went the way he thought it would. I don't think that went as well as he thought it would go. And she kind of chuckled. And it really did ease the mood a little bit. And when he finally did come back into counseling, we were able to joke about that and still do at times to this day. So Gottman says or Kyle Vincent, who works for Gartmann, says, test your ratio. Is your relationship unbalanced? Observe how you and your partner interact for every negative interaction that happens. Are there more positive interactions, not just comments, but interactions, if not take it upon yourself to create more positive interactions, your relationship, and also try and notice the small moments of positivity, positivity that currently exists there and the the things that maybe you've been missing.

[00:38:39] And then I love I was going on my roll about journals and he even says keep a journal for a week that notes positive interactions, however small your marriage is. Dr. Gutman's research has revealed the more positive actions and feelings you can create in your marriage, the happier and more stable your marriage will be. So I hope that you can now take a look and and as as my my friend, my cohort in the magnetic marriage course, Preston Buckmeier often says, I hope that you aren't necessarily listening to this episode with your elbow. Like, man, I really hope my spouse will hear this. But what are how are you showing up? Are you creating those positive interactions or are you engaged in any of those four horsemen that Gottman describes? And if so, hey, welcome to the World of Awareness. It's it's empowering. It doesn't mean that you'll be all better and doing things completely different by tomorrow, but it definitely means that you're on your way. So I appreciate you joining me. I'd love for you to take a look at your own relationship and feel free to send me any comments that you have. Questions at Contact@tonyoverbay.com and questions I want to get back to. Doing a couple of episodes every every once in a while on answering some questions. They get so many and they're wonderful questions. So have an amazing week and I will see you next time on the.

In this special BONUS episode of Tony's top-10 most downloaded episodes of all time on the Virtual Couch, Sexuality and Relationship Counselor Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife makes discusses what to do if you no longer find your partner physically attractive, as well as how to communicate in a relationship where one partner has a high desire for intimacy and one has a low desire? Also, find out what men do that Dr. Finlayson-Fife says will result in them being "toast!" You can find out more about Dr. Finlayson-Fife's work, as well as her online programs for individuals and couples around their sexuality at finlayson-fife.com. And please sign up now at http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic for Tony and Preston Pugmire's FREE webinar on how to create a more Magnetic Marriage on Monday, April 26th, 2021 at 5 PM PST. Space is limited so go reserve your spot today!Please subscribe to The Virtual Couch YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/TheVirtualCouchPodcast/ and follow The Virtual Couch on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/virtualcouch/

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 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 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

----- TRANSCRIPT -----

[00:00:00] A couple of days ago, I flew home with my family, we had been on a weekend trip to Southern California there for a basketball tournament my son was playing and we weren't able to get a flight home on Sunday night. So we headed back early, very early Monday morning. And the plan was for my family to drop me off directly at work and I would immediately jump in to therapy with clients. And as often can be the case, the flight was delayed and leaving Southern California. And by the time we landed in the Sacramento International Airport, I was running a little bit behind and I let my clients know and they were wonderful in understanding. And we immediately headed to my office and I was already in my head a little bit, just kind of thinking about the day ahead, client issues, ready to get myself all ready for therapy. And I missed a very necessary exit to head to my office when that was going to add several minutes onto my trip. And it's hard to describe, but there was a way to still kind of make the on ramp. But it would take a little bit of, let's just say, a tiny bit of off roading. And I was driving the opposite of an off road vehicle. But I said, man, I missed my exit. And we all shared a couple of ideas and I calmly made a power move. I made it to my exit and we were on our way, did a little bit of that off roading.

[00:01:08] And I commented to my wife that I felt like situations like those are where the mindfulness training pays off. I remain calm. I noticed I had missed my turn. I didn't beat myself, beat myself up about it, or unload a profanity laced tirade or anything like that. And I was pretty accepting that I had had this off roading option and that I needed to embrace it and I would get to work eventually when I got to work. So fast forward to yesterday morning. I had a podcast that I was so excited to record. I've been writing some notes down for a couple of weeks, but I needed to be at my office by 4:00 in the morning to get it done before starting with clients at 6:00. So I get to my office and I back into my parking spot, as I often do, and I reach for my keys where I think my keys are going to be. And I do a lot of typical aid like behavior, but I feel like I'm pretty decent and not losing my keys because I kind of put them in the same place every time. So I take everything out of my bag. I'm searching through my car and nothing. So I had to do what I have literally never had to do before. I had to drive back home. And then I spent an hour tearing through the house while everybody slept using the the flashlight on my phone, just looking for my keys and no luck.

[00:02:15] And I remain calm. I was fascinated by this and I ended up heading back to my car, took everything out of my computer bag very methodically, and eventually I found them in a little pocket that I truly never use until apparently yesterday morning. And I vaguely remember thinking that was a great place to put them when we were heading to the airport to head back from Southern California to Northern California. Now, why do I tell the story? Well, because of mindfulness. Because I'm telling you, you're practicing the ability to notice thought because you have tons of them and not necessarily have to act upon the thoughts, meaning I had all the old favorites, that I'm an idiot, that I can't believe. I can't find my keys, that if I have to cancel my sessions at six and seven and possibly eight waiting for other people to get to the building, that I'm going to look unprofessional. And all of those thoughts were there. But I noticed them and there were plenty of other thoughts that were coming even in the midst of me trying to find these keys about things, about my bag, about things, about taking out of my bag, about the fact that having to drive back home and some of the things I noticed, some of the things I noticed heading back to work at the time, I did a little more traffic.

[00:03:14] And so I think my brain, for whatever the goal was of throwing some of those thoughts out there, some of the productive ones, the unproductive ones. And I really got myself back to present and I kept looking for the keys. So if you aren't already practicing a daily mindfulness routine, I highly, highly encourage you to do so. Their apps and books and YouTube channels. But just start. You don't need to be perfect at it. The second reason I tell those stories is that I then maybe it's no big guess, but I had no time to record this episode that I wanted to. But the good news is that I've been working on letting out another bonus episode. And what I'm viewing is a bit of a series of the top ten episodes that I've ever had on the virtual couch in the previous four years of episodes. And so I been working on another bonus episode with virtual couch favorite Dr. Jennifer Finless and wife. And this is truly one of my top episodes from a downlow perspective of all time. And in this episode, we talk about the concept of having a high desire and low desire partner in a relationship. And I'm going to leave it right there because I really want to get to this episode, but know that the audio isn't necessarily the best. But that was because Jennifer was in Europe at the time.

[00:04:18] This was a few years ago. And she was calling from, I believe, her phone and talk about perfect segue. This is actually the episode I had kind of forgotten about this, where she mistakes me at one point for press. Buckmeier, who she mentions that in this interview and at that time I didn't know who Preston was. So that was what actually led me to Google him. And as he has shared on a couple of my podcast episodes, especially about our magnetic marriage course, that he then reached out to me later looking for some help. And at that point, the stars that aligned the universe had spoken. I knew who he was, thanks to Jennifer Finless and Phife in this episode. And despite being a little bit overbooked at that time, I made room for him. And the rest, as they say, is history, magnetic marriage history, no doubt. So back to the Segway next Monday. April 26th at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, Preston and I are putting on a free couples or relationship webinar on creating a magnetic marriage that is absolutely free. So now you can go to Tony Overbay, dot com magnetic and sign up to reserve your spot on the webinar, because thanks to technology, there's there's a lot of spots available. But there's there's limited as well about the number of people who will be able to participate or view that webinar live. So go right now to Tony everyday dotcom magnetic. And while I have you, don't forget that if you are looking for therapy, if you're looking to try out the world of online counseling or online therapy, if it's hard to find someone near you or if you just really want to continue to embrace the online experience, head over to Betterhelp.com virtual couch and there you'll get 10 percent off your first month of online counseling.

[00:05:49] They offer a sliding scale and they also can put you in touch with a counselor in up to 24 to 48 hours. And you can do this through through text, through email, through video, whatever works best for you. You owe it to yourself to really start digging in deep and looking at some of the things that maybe you've been dealing with over the last year or two years or your life. So head over to Betterhelp.com, slash virtual couch and get it going with couples therapy or individual therapy, whatever type of therapy, whatever kind of help you need, it can start right there. Betterhelp.com virtual couch. So let's get to this episode, this bonus episode. And with Jennifer Finless in five, I'm going to try to push out my regular episode a little bit later this week. So stay tuned for that. But hopefully you'll go over to Tony over Gay.com magnetic. And I will see you at this webinar coming up next Monday at five p.m. on April 26th. All right. Let's get The Today Show, my interview with Dr. Jennifer.

[00:06:58] For the return of

[00:06:59] This guest, you probably read it in the title already, it is Dr. Jennifer Finless and Faith. If you haven't already done so, please make sure you check out Episode 45. That was the first time that I had Jennifer on my podcast. And that episode is Neck and Neck with Episode 12 on Raising Your Emotional Baseline for the most downloaded episodes of The Virtual Couch. And I think when I checked last, that Dr. Phenix episode is in the lead. So what does that tell us? It tells us that talking about intimacy is something that we need to do. And it's hard it's difficult for a lot of couples to do that. And so I think that they are willing to look for anyone who can help, who can give advice, who can talk about what a healthy, intimate relationship looks like. And Dr. Fife is one of the best that doing so and so. I am so grateful that she is willing to make a return to the virtual counselors. Kind of a funny story about how this came about. And we talk about that on the podcast. So if you are not familiar with Dr. Fife for her work, Dr. Jennifer Finlayson, if you can find her at Finlayson Dash five dot com, and she is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in relationship and sexuality counseling. In addition to her dissertation research on LDS women's sexuality and relationship to desire, she is also taught college level human sexuality courses, as well as community and Internet based relationship and sexuality workshops. And if you go to her website, she has some online programs that are incredibly popular. And I have had many, many clients take those online courses, a couples relationship course, a couple's sexuality course of women's sexuality and desire, of course, and how to talk to your kids about sex course. So I highly recommend those. And she has workshops and events all over the country so you can sign up to find out more on her website. Finlayson five Dotcom. So without any further ado, let me get to the interview

[00:08:40] With Dr. Jennifer.

[00:08:50] And that's well, the big question is, where are you today?

[00:08:53] I'm in Lisbon, Portugal.

[00:08:55] Wow. And you've been gone for a while. How many days?

[00:08:58] September. We left beginning of September. And so we're like, what would that be like six, seven months into this? I didn't realize it was that long. Yeah, it's been phenomenal. So we've been all over again. We were in the U.K. and then we were in New Zealand and Australia and then Asia, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and and then now Europe. So we're kind of starting we were just in Africa last weekend. Wow. And now we're heading up into Europe. So we've done Spain, France. So it's been amazing

[00:09:35] When you get back to the US,

[00:09:37] The middle of June. Wow.

[00:09:39] I did not realize that. Yeah, yeah. But what do you what do you miss what do you miss from home.

[00:09:45] Oh nothing.

[00:09:48] No food. No pizza. You're from Chicago, right. Nothing like that.

[00:09:52] Honestly, I don't feel any sense of missing it right now, I'm sure if I were doing this for a very long time. Yeah, I was just remembering a time for some as I was speaking, I had said all this to you, but it was actually another person that interviewed me because we as a family decided to take our kids out of school and just travel for nine, 10. I'm talking to us. If you knew that

[00:10:12] Well and I was funny, I was thinking I should probably know that.

[00:10:15] Ok, yeah. I really like you do know that. I'm like, wait a minute. That was that other person, Quagmire. But anyway. But yes, we took the kids out of school and happened to work fine for everybody. My son is going to college in the fall and he was only had a couple of classes left to do, which he's done online and things like that. So and my husband and I both can work online. So we just took the show on the road and it's been really phenomenal experience.

[00:10:43] So you've been doing a lot of the retreats and workshops and that sort of thing I've done.

[00:10:47] I did, yeah. I've done a lot to I've done two things. So I did one thing before I left. My family went ahead of me to England and I did it with them. And then I flew back for a couple of phratry. Then we did a couples retreat in Italy. So I was just there and now I'm flying back to Oregon to do another women's retreat. But that's tell me about

[00:11:09] That, too. I mean, because this is going to air pretty quickly. I'm gonna maybe try to get it out tomorrow, Friday. So.

[00:11:14] Yeah, yeah. Great. Yeah. So May let's see. May 1st through the 4th. We are doing another women's retreat in outside of Portland, Oregon, and we did this last year and it was a huge success. It was it's the heart of desire class that I teach for women, LDS women, about their relationship to themselves, to their bodies, and to desire both in general in their lives and sexually. And so I've taught that course in the two day forum, but I expanded to three days to just have more time with the content, more video clips, more discussion. I teach in the evenings as well. There's exercise, there's good food. And it's really it's you know, it's more than two times better than the two day trip because because women have more time to connect with one another and to really immerse themselves in the content. And so you really do see a transformation happen from the beginning of day one to the end of the day three.

[00:12:13] I have to tell the story of how this came about. So I was sitting in a session. I've got my iPad in front of me. I'm taking notes. I'm probably asking somebody how they feel right in that moment. And I'm very present with my client. But a text does come through from my nephew and he says in all caps, they're talking about you and my psychology class and he goes to BYU. And so it was funny. The imposter syndrome kicks in, I think. Is he saying I'm a fraud or what's the competition? Then when he gets back to me, he lets me know that the professor was talking about our interview that we did about a year ago on my podcast, just talking about couples of intimacy and challenges and ways to communicate. And I was really grateful. That was neat to hear that we were we were part of the subject matter. But I have this I don't think I shared this part with you. He didn't told me later that he had presented the professor presented it is that you were an expert. And I was I think he said something to do with I had something to do with pornography. So then one of the one of the women in the class said, oh, that's horrible that he makes his living over that. And there was like, no, I'm not a porn star. You know, I helped men overcome pornography addiction. And so I thought that was funny. So hopefully people heard the second part and people aren't Googling me and thinking me. So I'm grateful for taking the time, especially with you on the road. And and I just I initially said, hey, I'd love to talk about one thing, but then, man, the more I think about the second part of the topic I had asked you about, I wouldn't mind if we maybe started there. And that's the the concept of do you run into this a lot? The I have I work with women who will just say, what do I do if I no longer find my spouse attractive or physically attractive? Do you run into that?

[00:13:50] Yeah, definitely. And so what do people do about it? I mean, I think the question for me around that is, why do they not find their spouse attractive and what's happening in the marriage? You know, is it and basically, would you be OK with your spouse applying the same standard you're applying to you? Like, are you in a double standard or would you understand if your spouse felt the same way, given the same behaviors or whatever? But I think the question of why don't they? And, you know, sometimes people don't feel desire. I would say oftentimes because their spouse is disappointed them, because there isn't a lot of investment in creating a vibrant, lively sexual relationship that they've kind of just wanted the central part of the relationship to take care of its. And rather than taking care of it as a couple and so are you not attracted because you are creating that kind of energy in your marriage, you're not attracted because your spouse is doing things that are unattractive and out of good judgment. And we could talk more about that if you want. OK, or is it that you haven't really chosen your spouse and you haven't really invested and you haven't really made a decision that this is where you're going to bring your whole self and your best self? And so the lack of desire is more it's a way to get out of the pressure that a marriage places on all of us, at least a choice based marriage. And so a lot of people will kind of use the idea of their lack of attraction and almost cultivated in their own minds as a way of not having to deal more straight away with the marriage with themselves and their role in it.

[00:15:51] And I appreciate that. And maybe if I even start from I think when I see it a lot, it's coming from if I'm working with someone who is working through betrayal, trauma, if they're their partners, had a physical affair, an emotional thing, or if they just found out that their husband has been addicted to porn for years. And so they've just got shaken the foundation of their marriage. And so so I think what you're seeing there, if you like, at times, is that more of the the emotional piece?

[00:16:18] Oh, yeah, definitely it can be. And, you know, for me, what I want to think about with that is this person's lack of desire or a function of good judgment or poor judgment something is their spouse behaving in a way that is truly untrustworthy and that this is not a person that anyone in good judgment is going to want to open her heart and body up to. OK, and so I don't see the lack of desire as a problem as I'm seeing it as an expression of her self-respect. Yeah, OK. If she's been with someone who's been lying to her for years or who has been unfaithful, that's a function of self-respect. And I'm not saying that it needs to end there. The conversation needs to end there. I certainly can understand where it's coming from. On the other hand, I do see a lot of people that kind of claim and foster a victim. Position in their marriage that often has some basis, right? Yeah, but that it takes on its own life because it becomes a solution to their own anxieties about sex, intimacy, choosing a partner. And basically what they're doing is saying, you know, because you haven't so filled some unrealistic fantasy of what a marriage should be. Right. That you revolve around me. You make me feel good all the time. Your sexuality is only reinforcement of me and my sense of self when I want it.

[00:17:54] If you won't do that, then I'm going to punish you for being a disappointment and a failure. And I can go find a whole group of women who will agree with me on this and my betrayal trauma. And I don't have to deal with myself in the marriage. And and so sometimes people will kind of lock down on their victim position and their lack of attraction as a way to get themselves out. Growing up in the marriage, really knowing their partner, really dealing more strictly with the marriage. I mean, I think and I'm certainly not you know, people are always responsible for their actions because they're the ones making them. But there's often a context in which people make their decisions. And oftentimes couples collude in a dishonest marriage. They. They make it difficult to have an honest conversation with them, and so they they certainly make it easy for there to be a kind of undercurrent of deception or non truthfulness. And then when that becomes explicit, you can kind of go blind to their own participation in a low intimacy marriage because of two people who really struggle or don't have it yet, developed enough of a sense of self to show up and tolerate the exposure that's inherent to an intimate marriage,

[00:19:21] Like what you're saying about if it is an out of use the word reprehensible. But is it something in the letter to say that the husband is doing that is just if he's not being there for the partner? Because I feel like when I do the couples work, if the husband is trying to do the repair, he's trying to do nice, emotionally focused therapy and attachment apologies. And and then he's being there or he's doing this, that he was trying to be there, trying to have those conversations, I feel like is that and I like where you're going with that and the acceptance and commitment therapy world, is she hooking, refusing to that? I don't find him physically attractive. So if she can believe or fuse to that story, then she doesn't have to lean in or do the work or go through that uncomfortable part.

[00:20:01] Exactly. Because I've worked with a lot of people who, you know, there's a basis for their lack of desire, there's a basis for their lack of attraction, and then their spouse really does get it together. Self confronts, really becomes a better person. They know their spouse is more trustworthy. Yeah, I know. And we'll even acknowledge he's really made changes and I respect it. But then they still want to kind of hold on to. Well, but, you know, I don't know if I can forgive him. I don't know if I can really open my heart up. I don't know. I mean, that's legitimate. Everybody has to make their decision about what they're going to do. But I see it often they're putting it in this issue of I don't know if I can forgive them because maybe it's too little, too late, but not really focusing on their own anxiety about intimacy. I don't mean just sex and really letting yourself be knowable. Yeah, really showing up and knowing this other person as a flawed human being and yourself showing up as a flawed human being, a lot of people don't want to do that. So they'd rather find a reason why they would do it if only their spouse would get it together.

[00:21:06] I like that because I do often say that if I get the woman, then one on one, if he is meeting those emotional bids and he's there for her and she knows if she goes to him with the trigger that he's going to respond appropriately, then lovingly and gently. Is that then where she can say, all right, maybe I do need to look at him, I am fusing to this thought or now I because I feel like a lot of times in the material world, they don't want to say that they necessarily have to do anything. And I'm not saying that's a generalization, but it's look, he's the one that did the betrayal. And, you know, I don't need to do any.

[00:21:38] Yeah, exactly. And I think that's at least not a view you're going to find a lot of sympathy for from me in my office. Because, I mean, listen, I mean, if someone goes and has an affair and is lied to for five years about it, I'm not talking about that. The woman has somehow is responsible for this guy's choice, obviously. Exactly. But but on the other hand, people do need to look at what their part is in a marriage and which may be putting up with garbage from the other person. But I really understand as how is this couple linked and how they put themselves together as a couple and how has that sort of created an equilibrium in each of them so they don't have to grow because that's what as human beings we tend to do. And I think a lot of people get stuck around this betrayal, trauma, infidelity thing. They kind of go and find their intimacy with their respective groups, meaning betrayal trauma group and the porn addicts group, for example. Yeah. Rather than really growing into a more honest, intimate, choice based marriage. on I. Yes, to that. I think that when we as women have been kind of constructed as dependent upon men for our happiness, for our well-being and we're the nicer ones.

[00:23:12] That we're the weaker ones. I mean, not very many of us want to admit to that kind of cultural idea, but a lot of us have inherited that idea. So I'll love you as long as you husband loves me first. That's the one a lot of us want to pull off internally, OK, because you're the man, because you should make the world safe for me. Then I'll love you with a response. And if you don't do that, I don't. I'm off the hook. And I think that's a convenient idea. But I think. Constructing ourselves is much weaker than we are as women and that we also have promised God to love our spouse as much as they promise not to love us. And so what does it mean to love this man? Flaws and all? What does it mean to choose him? Was it mean to know him? I don't mean putting up with shenanigans and betrayal like that. But, you know, is there a way to not just vilify and understand who this person is and how they've come to make the choices they have and how I wanted to see them more as a solution in my life rather than some someone to love and to choose.

[00:24:21] And I. Yeah, and I love that. And you feel like and I almost feel like we're both agreeing that. And that's with the caveat that the husband is willing to do work or try to repair the relationship or own his own his own stuff that like you say, there are plenty of people that don't end up having the affair, but even though there's dysfunction or or that sort of thing.

[00:24:41] Yeah, yeah. And that's exactly that's assuming there is a partner who is wanting to deal with himself and is trying to grow and become better, that the spouse is also looking at herself in the marriage.

[00:24:56] Can I take a slightly different path? I'm curious your thoughts. So and I feel like this is the basically the most part of what I work with every now and again. I do get someone that is saying my husband literally is put on two hundred pounds, but I don't find him attractive and then they typically want to go in and just be brutally honest. And what are your thoughts on that?

[00:25:17] Well, again, I would be looking at the reason of the why. Why has the partner put on two hundred pounds and what is the meaning of it in the marriage? Is it that the person has a metabolic issue and there really is some issue that can't be changed? Yeah. And then I say, you know, is there still some way for you to love and choose this person? What would you want for yourself if you were in your spouse's shoes? Like what would you hope for? What kind of acceptance would you want to have? And are you able to offer what you would expect or what you would see as a decent and fair? If if it's I think it's harder if it's that you're married to somebody who is indulgent in the marriage. Right. That they're not really taking responsibility for themselves, that they're kind of in a some kind of indulgent behavior in this particular case, maybe with food or if you have somebody who's indulgent in their, you know, with alcohol or pornography or something like that, then I think it's. It's much harder to sort of look past it because you understand there's a volitional behavior that is undesirable and that someone is choosing a path that isn't desirable because it's an expression of weakness. And I don't mean that we can't choose our spouses knowing that we each have weaknesses and knowing that we're fallible human beings. I think it's a lot harder to desire somebody when you think they run their life by their weakness.

[00:26:56] Yeah, when I when I work with addiction, it's I talk about there's a void there somewhere. So you are not connected in their job or as a parent or with their health or their faith. So I'm coming at it with more empathy of trying to see.

[00:27:08] Ok, yeah, well, I would say that maybe with empathy, but also I do think that marriage, if you're going to keep passion and desire alive, it has to be a growing marriage on some level. And you have to be willing to look at yourself and have conversations about things that are difficult. And if you really want a good sexual relationship and your spouse is struggling honestly to be attracted because, you know, you're not trying, you're not putting in effort. I mean, I think if you if maybe a hard conversation to have. But I think if you are really trying to create something better, it's probably a conversation to have. Yeah. And it's not about trying to push the other person down or make them feel small. It's about trying to create something better. Yeah, well that's really what's driving it. And I like

[00:28:03] I was saying, is empowering them as therapists and instead of going in and saying, hey, you put on a ton of weight, you know, coming at it more with the more of the. Tell me more about that. Tell me what's going on in your life, not only in this indictment, I guess.

[00:28:18] Yeah, yes, exactly. But exactly. And the focus of it is not about, you know, I'm going to trample you because then I have an excuse for not desiring you. But I really do want to have a good sexual relationship. And so what kind of going back to what I was talking about initially, like is the lack of desire a function of good judgment or poor judgment? Let's say that is a function of good judgment. You feel like your spouse is living indulgently or they're not respectful of you or they don't care about you except for when you climb into bed at night. And this is the only time they seem to care that you're there. Your lack of desire may be a function of good judgment. You're saying this is not the kind of sex that I want. One thing I talk about in my women's course is that women have as much, if not more sexual capacity than men do, but they're much pickier about where they show up and open up. And so that's that's how we're wired. That's fine. But then it means sort of advocating for what you really want. And so if someone is saying, look, I'm not as attractive as I want to be because I want to have a good sexual relationship with you, I want this to be a good part of our lives.

[00:29:30] And the fact that you do X, Y or Z or if you would do more of A, B and C, I would find it much more desirable. I would find it much easier to choose and be here. And it's not to tear the other person down, it's to actually create something better. So it's not about, hey, I just don't desire you, it's OK. I am having trouble. I need to think about it. This is about selfishness on my part or limitations on my part, or if this is something I need to address and if I need to address it, that I really do take it up in the frame of I want something good. Yeah. Like that. And this is this is interfering. And I say it too, because I love you. I say it too, because I want good things for us. And if you mean that and your spouse can track that, you mean it might be a hard conversation but it's going to be a productive one. Yeah.

[00:30:23] So really. And how you frame it like that a lot on those lines. I'm dying to know your theory on this too. I think before I did the whole became a therapist that I call it the Beauty and the Beast theory where, you know, love will will rule regardless. It doesn't matter if I find the person even in the slightest bit attractive. It doesn't really matter. What do you see with that? Do you think that?

[00:30:46] Well, I mean, I do think there's something to kind of a visceral attraction, which is not the same thing, that it will make you happily married. Yeah, but there is some research. I think Lattman talks about some of this research where there's certain people that other certain people will find attractive, kind of over and over a certain characteristics, certain. You know, I always was kind of drawn to sort of lanky guys like not buff, but like kind of slender. That's exactly the person I'm married to. And and I think there's a lot of people that just sort of feel an immediate kind of attraction. I definitely felt that when I first met my husband. And I think that's important. And when we when we are dismissive of that, I don't think we do ourselves a favor. What we should be dismissive of that is of the idea that that's enough for a good marriage, because it's not a lot of people are very attracted to each other, but that are mean, selfish people incapable of creating something good. Right. And so it's not everything, but it is something that said, I think that a lot of people felt very attractive in the beginning will undermine their feelings of attraction. Things will happen in the marriage, as we're talking about, that will undermine attraction.

[00:32:06] And you may feel no attraction to the person that you once felt a feelings of attraction when you first met them. And that's not about something fundamental to who the person is. It's about what you've been creating as a couple in the marriage that's undermining desire. If you are one of these people who married somebody in part because they weren't that attractive to you. And I know a lot of people who've done this because they found it safe before they found it easier if they could just say you're going to be the father or the mother of my children. And I can sort of desexualized you because as I like sex and I like those feelings, but I'm afraid of them in a marriage. Well, I think it's harder. But just to be completely honest, I think it's a really indecent thing to do in a marriage. I think it's a really unfair thing to marry someone thing, the secret that you're not that attracted to them because you've now entrapped somebody who feels your lack of desire and you're just kind of putting up with that sexually every single time they're with you. And I think that's a very humiliating thing to do to somebody that created

[00:33:21] An unhealthy relationship with intimacy in general, right?

[00:33:25] Absolutely. And it's going to undermine the whole marriage because I think the sexual choosing part of the relationship is really fundamental to the foundation of a marriage in a choice based marriage. I mean, if we were in arranged marriages, that's that's a different framing and a different understanding, but and a choice based marriage. Part of the understanding is that I choose you, I desire you and you desire me. And of all the choices, we have made one another special. And that part of the specialness is that we share our sexuality with one another and we choose each other. And I think when that doesn't play out in a marriage or you don't hold that as an important part of the marriage and something you have a responsibility to an understanding, you have a responsibility to, it wreaks havoc on the marriage.

[00:34:19] I did a podcast on a concept that Dr. Skinner, Kevin Skinner talks about, and it's these levels of intimacy and where it's natural to go in this physical attraction, but then underneath that physical or these layers of verbal intimacy and emotional intimacy and cognitive intellectual intimacy, spiritual intimacy, and that if we just go in at that physical, then if we're trying to have that verbal intimacy and we can't even talk to our partner for a while, we can say at least there or at least we have sex and then we jump back down to emotional intimacy and they don't meet our emotional bids and OK, but at least there's the physical and that that kind of sets things off in a pretty negative pattern. But if you nurture those levels from the ground up, this verbal and emotional, then physical intimacy is the byproduct of what a different experience that is other than the it's just we're going to have we're going to have sex instead of the we feel like it's the the the next thing that we need to do because we feel so connected.

[00:35:12] Yeah. I mean, I think that, yes. You can't build a marriage on just sexual attraction. I mean, I think that's clearly going to fall apart pretty quickly. That's the only thing you share because a marriage is so much more than just having sex. Yeah, but on the other hand, I don't think we should make sex the thing that you arrive at after all the other pieces are in place. Sure. I'm not sure if that's how Skinner talks about.

[00:35:41] No, no. And in fact, he talks about it. When those things are intact, then it is even easier to. Then he referenced there was a sex therapist when he introduced this name, Pat Love, who said she she has a small libido, her husband has a large libido. And when those things are intact, she now feels like when she knows that he needs the base, that he needs sex and he stressed whatever that she knows. I think she said the phrase, I can just pull him over and give him a quickie in the closet, which everybody laughed about. But it was like, yeah, so it wasn't saying we have it always has to build these layers up, but that sure helps secure the connection.

[00:36:14] Yeah, I think it's part of the foundation, the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are just fundamental to a good marriage. And if it's only one or only the other, I think the. Struggle's. Yeah, so, yeah, I think we we owe it to ourselves to understand not the importance of having sex is not really what I'm saying so much as the importance of desire in marriage. Yeah. Which is not the same thing as having intercourse with a lot of people have intercourse without desire.

[00:36:49] Yeah, well,

[00:36:50] I mean that you choose this person that you want them in your life

[00:36:55] When that's perfect Segway to just a couple of more minutes so that you and I were both on a low. I love marriage therioke. I think we were both on the right. That was fun. Your episode was fantastic in the you talk there about low desire and high desire. And I and I run into this all the time of the high desire person just saying if we only had more sex, the low desire person feeling like when he pouts and goes about it in a certain way, I feel like eventually I just have to give in and then it just creates this like unhealthy dynamic. Can you talk about low desire, high desire?

[00:37:24] Yeah, sure. It's kind of a broad and I think where to step in. OK, yes. It's a very well

[00:37:31] How how about when I get I get the guys, they look at me and they I think and I don't even know if it's because as a male therapist, they assume that I'm going to have their back, so to speak, when they just say, look, when I when I have more sex, I'm a happier and better husband, better father, better at work. And they look over at me and then I typically look at the wife. And just having done this for a while now, we're knowing that she'll say, OK, I basically feel like I'm responsible for his happiness, his world. And here we have that. So she's the desired partner in that situation. He's the High desire and they created this kind of negative relationship with sex and intimacy in general.

[00:38:03] Yeah, because I first of all, I think if a husband starts out in that framing, he's toast.

[00:38:11] It's not that there's a quote. There's the quote for the book. Yes. Right there.

[00:38:15] Yeah, I get it. My husband serves on everything. He's screwed. Yes. Not screwed.

[00:38:22] Yeah. I like toast. Toast.

[00:38:24] Yeah. Toast is better. OK, but you know, he's in the sense that he's happy because it's setting it up that you need to take care of my emotional world through putting out. Yeah. Now if the two of them buy into that idea she may put out, but she won't desire him. She is not going to choose him because she's got a job to do, which is propping up his sense of self. And so if she feels like she's got to handle his feelings so she doesn't pout and punish. Exactly. And so on, it's just like having another kid that you've got to take care of. And then he's like, why don't you want me? What's your problem? Maybe you need to go to the Finlayson-fife workshop again.

[00:39:11] I have had those conversations in here.

[00:39:15] You don't desire me. And he's not seeing that. He's setting up a framing of sexuality things is going to get in more like get more sex, but it's not going to get him wanted. And and if a woman sees sex as something she gives to a man and a man needs, quote unquote, it's it's going to go that way. Yeah. Because I don't see it that way. I mean, I see it as men and women, don't need sex. I mean, they both can survive without it. It's not it is not a need capital and need. It's not a survival reality. It is part of thriving. It's part of living. A good life and desiring and being desired is really part of a good marriage. But then the question is not how do I just get this guy off my back? Right. How do we create a marriage where sex is a good part of it, that sex would be desirable for me? And how would my higher desire spouse need to handle him or herself differently to make themselves more choosable? Right. Or to get it out of this framing that I have to do this to manage your sense of yourself. So it's this need idea is the one that a lot of people buy into, but actually then infects the marriage, especially the idea that men need it.

[00:40:47] Yeah, no, I like that because I do feel like it when I am. I love everything you said there. When I turn to the guy and say, all right, she now feels like she's in charge of that. And so you've created this unhealthy dynamic. Basically what I'm trying to start the process of is letting the guy and he will say, OK, so if I do this for a little while, I don't make her feel like she always has to have sex with me. Then will we eventually have more sex? I do feel like that's basically he's looking at me and it's no, but I feel like the guy is telling me that, no, I don't get it. But it's really you work with people long enough to see that they do feel that they can have a connection without it having to be with sex or the wife can lay in their lap. And if he gets aroused, it doesn't mean we have to have sex or the hug. And if the if she if it's open mouth kiss, it doesn't mean, OK, I'm having sex tonight. And that's where. How far some of the I feel like some of the spouses pull away because they don't even want to give any indication of that. Absolutely right.

[00:41:37] Yeah, well, there's a lot of that where women feel like if he gets aroused, then I don't have any choice. Exactly. Which I think is crazy. Yeah, I mean, that's crazy. I mean, I don't mean I'm not trying to say women are great, but I'm just trying to say that that's that's a framing also in a marriage that will undermine intimacy, because I think a good marriage is you're going to feel arousal oftentimes where no sex happens. It's just part of being in a marriage where you desire and feel desire. Yeah, and that's even a good part of the foreplay, even if it's a few days before sex, that there's this kind of ability to touch and be with one another and feel arousal and not have to have it mean that now you have you're going to get well, it gets good. You know, that that idea makes people just try to stay away from the high desire person. And and so I think, you know, when the guy is asking you, well, if I stop pressuring or pouting, does that mean I'm going to have more? I'm trying to think how to that. I mean, I think on the one hand, I would say this is not a tactic. Exactly. No, this it's not about how to manipulate. OK, this is this is about the fact that you are making your spouse responsible for something that is not her responsibility. She's not responsible for your sense of desirability. responsible for your sense of self. Yeah. And are responsible for having respect for yourself and seeing yourself as a desirable human being. If she gets to decide if she's going to choose you, she gets to decide if she has sex with you. She's going to decide if she's going to confront her own anxieties, limitations, but that's her responsibility. And when you're trying to make sex about something, she has to do so you can handle yourself. Yeah, but you have made yourself a very undesirable partner.

[00:43:34] Absolutely. And then this is a part where I feel like you guys listening. Well, I'm sorry, but they will resonate with this part. So if it didn't happen that night, if they were if they. OK, fine, we'll cuddle. But I had it. I was aroused and nothing happened. And and then they go to bed angry and they still try to poke a little bit at her. She wakes up, then they wake up the next morning and they and now they're ruminating about it and they're in the shower. It's like, what's wrong with this? I'm not get. And then they go to work and they're just thinking. But then you're teaching someone instead of like exactly what you just said of love. When a guy gets to the point where and I will teach mindfulness and they're going to go to bed and they're going to have this thought and it's not really productive because they're going to breathe through it. They're going to be present. They're going to be grateful that they are coming closer together. And then they wake up the next morning and now they don't ruminate in the shower. They don't they're thinking of other thoughts and productive things. They go to work and they're happy and they're not doing what's wrong with this marriage. If she just had more sex, we'd be happy. And it's a look at all that unproductive time and mental energy that now is gone. And then over time, I feel like you're right. Then the guy realizes, oh, wow, I don't have to have sex three point six times a week to be happy or whatever it is that he's come up with.

[00:44:37] Yeah, right. Well, and exactly. And I need to handle myself. I mean, this is all we have control over in marriage is ourselves. Yeah. And the more confused we get about that, the more unhappy the marriage. Yeah, exactly. So so I think, you know, I can't make anyone desire me. I can't make anyone choose me. That's what makes it so beautiful, is that if it really is freely offered and you know, there's no coercion and someone chooses you or brings their best to you, you know what a gift it is when you're always coercing, even if they comply, you never get you never have the sense of feeling really chosen. And I think for those of us who struggle with our sense of self, we're many of us are going to feel tempted to coerce because we don't want to know the answer of whether or not this person chooses us. Well, that's good. And so I see it not just as managing your thoughts, but a very important process and growing into adulthood is being able to handle your own sense of self in the face of invalidation. Yeah, in the face of not being wanted or reinforced in the way that we would most like. Not having this throw us into that kind of disorganized emotional state, that's important work and it's not work you're doing because you're defective partner, right? Yes, it's a work you're doing that's a part of becoming an adult. Yeah. This is like what they think Christ was quintessentially was a nonreactive, purposeful being who could tolerate invalidation, could tolerate the disagreement, or that people would see him as someone other than who he really was because he had enough sense of self to sustain it, to not get vindictive or cruel, and to stay invested in creating goodness in the face of that invalidation.

[00:46:42] Wow. That's that's really a hallmark of goodness. Yeah. And it's a hallmark of strength. And if you don't learn how to do that in a marriage, you're going to have a hard time creating a good marriage because it's so fundamental to creating something better. You know, just the other day I was having a conversation with my husband, I was telling him something invalidating of himself, it was giving him some thoughts that were a criticism, I suppose, saying I wasn't being mean. I was just saying honestly something that was hard for me. And he just honestly absorbed the conversation and responded to it and was thoughtful about it. And, you know, what's interesting is even that was not a really easy conversation. I was just afterwards, I just felt so much traction to him because I just said to him, I'm so grateful. You're the kind of person that can handle that kind of conversation without being punitive or mean or saying things back to me. And I just really respect it. And that's the, That's sort of the ability to kind of deal with hard things and walk towards them and look at your role in them. It's a really fundamental to creating, to being a good parent, to being a good partner, to being a good human being. And so that's fundamental to learning how to be a desirable person. So I think a lot of us get a lot more fixated on whether or not our spouse desires us than whether or not we genuinely see ourselves as choosable, as worthy. And that's the part we have control over.

[00:48:33] It does. And it does take work. I mean, do you feel like your husband is a natural at that or is that been something that is evolved over time?

[00:48:41] I think it's evolved over time, but he's probably more natural at it than I have been. You know, the first year of marriage, I'm like that. Now, why is that? That's what I'm

[00:48:53] Just thinking through a couple of difficult couple of sessions yesterday where I feel like we're making some point that is that we want. But don't you want your partner to be able to come to you and share their feelings and emotions? And somebody will say, yeah. And then they'll say, then there's that. You wait for this, but they need to be, but they need to be nice about it or but they can't be it. It's all OK. You can't put the rules around it, though, because you're then telling your partner, no, I want you to do that as long as you do it the way I would like for you to, because that's what makes me comfortable.

[00:49:21] Yeah. Yeah. And I think you can be honest about things and still respect. Absolutely. Yeah. You can't. But I also agree that basically are you going to deal with what's true about you, whether or not it gets said nicely. Yeah, I mean that's really the measure in the question. Yeah.

[00:49:40] That's beautiful. That is. I love that we went there. I do. I am so grateful for your time, Jennifer. And again, I realize you've been traveling for months and months and so you were so kind when I reached out and just made yourself available. I really appreciate that. Hey, I would love to I would love to do another episode again. I almost felt guilty. I was grateful that my nephew did that. You're being talked about. There's my in. But I appreciate your generosity with your time and your again, your podcast is my most downloaded by far. And the video on YouTube of our first interview is the most viewed video. So you're doing so much good and I really appreciate that and appreciate the taking the time. So. OK, I got to ask you one more quick question. The chart when we were on before, one of the things that people tell me and they laugh about is I think we both joked about there was some Wi-Fi issues at your home because your son may be playing for a fortnight. And I say, so how is the fortnight overseas? I mean, is he giving it up?

[00:50:38] Hey, yeah. That yeah. Yeah, that's not happening.

[00:50:41] So that's that's the key. As long as all you do is move your family, become a pack of nomads for about nine months and the four year addiction

[00:50:48] Will be exactly I mean that is actually part of what our thinking was taking this trip is just actually having a little less time online, a little bit more time actually out in the real world. And he is actually currently studying in China for a couple of months doing language immersion program. So the Wi-Fi is so bad there is no there's no foreplay.

[00:51:10] So there's the breaking news. The real reason that the doctor five left was the fortnite. You're in a fortnight. There's no way. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you have a great rest of your trip. And then and I can't wait to talk to you again in the future.

[00:51:24] Great.

[00:51:24] Thanks so much. All right. Bye bye.

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