Dr. Stephen Hayes, the founder of the groundbreaking therapy technique Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), says, “If you’re not willing to have it, then you will.” Have what, you might ask? Anything you are trying to get rid of, from anxiety and depression to fear and loss. So what if the key to overcoming your anxiety was to welcome your anxiety in with arms wide open? You might think to yourself, “I’m willing to do that if embracing anxiety will eventually help me get rid of it!” But if that is why you’re doing it, you will continue to be anxious. Tony shares his thoughts on one of the most important yet paradoxical parts of ACT, “Acceptance and Willingness,” from Dr. Hayes's book “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life,” https://amzn.to/421Qssr

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So I recently found myself on a run and I was, I was cold. I was freezing and my wife was under the weather. We typically ran together on Saturday mornings back in my active ultra running days. I would spend a few hours early, really early on a Saturday morning, trying to get all my miles in, but now a couple, two or three years post meniscus tear, I'm giddy to be able to just bust out, I don't know, 8, 10, 12 miles for my long run on a Saturday, and especially when I can go with my wife, but on this particular day, she was not feeling up to it. And to be honest, I kind of wasn't feeling it either. So it doesn't surprise me that I neglected to check the weather before I headed out. And it was cold and it was windy and I was a few miles away from home and I hadn't really thought out my route. So instead of finishing with a strong wind against my back, I had opted for that strong wind to carry me as far away from my house as possible, which at this point only meant about three or four miles. 

But that absolutely meant that the run home was not going to be easy. It's one of the things that I'm truly grateful for as a mental health provider is continually trying to learn about things that I think can help my clients. And I have now been practicing long enough to know that if I'm being honest, everything, I find myself embracing and putting into my practice. I embrace and put into my practice because it truly resonates with me. And I've accepted the fact that I think kind of long ago that, yeah, in fact, I did become a therapist many, many years ago, apparently to deal with my own issues. So I found myself thinking about a phrase that I often say that I don't think people find as powerful as maybe I do. And I also realize thank you, therapy. That is an observation that I make. When I say this phrase people don't leap off my couch and say, oh, my gosh. That's the one. That's it. You, you did it. You just changed my life with that one phrase. If that is not what I observe, then I quickly make a judgment I make at that very moment. To maybe ease my own anxiety or to make sense of that moment for me is that person on my couch just really couldn't give two rips about this life-changing phrase that I'm actually about to share with you. And that phrase is coming up next on the Virtual Couch

Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 365 of the Virtual Couch. I am your host, Tony Overbay, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, and it actually hit me today that if you truly wanted to lose your mind, you can now listen to an episode of the Virtual Couch each and every day for an entire year. And I will just let that sit there and I will actually let you observe and judge. Some of those judgements may include, is he serious? What an ego. Is he saying that people would really do that and I really am not, but I feel like I'm almost required, I don't know by the podcast gods, to say that I never honestly would have imagined in a million years when I started the podcast that I would have 365 episodes, not to mention that Waking Up to Narcissism, my other podcast is now on episode 60 something. And on that note actually just released a third podcast and that is Waking Up to Narcissism premium edition question and answer, that's over on the apple podcast app and episode one of that is now available. I have a Google document that has more questions about narcissism and emotional immaturity and what to do about it and how to live with it and why does it happen and who does it happen to and all of those questions. It's $4.99 a month and hopefully it will raise money that we'll be able to fund a nonprofit that has been set up to help people that are in these difficult relationships with truly narcissistic people or extremely emotionally immature people that are definitely opting for control over love. 

And while I'm talking about podcasts, I really do appreciate when somebody gets pretty real about the behind the scenes things, the numbers, or the reach of a particular podcast. And I just have to comment on the fact that while the Virtual Couch has 300 more episodes than Waking Up to Narcissism, and it is a given that I never anticipated that the Virtual Couch would have the reach that it does, Waking Up to Narcissism just this morning crossed over more average daily downloads than the Virtual Couch. So the Virtual Couch has a few million more downloads overall, but each now Waking Up to Narcissism episode is starting to approach and show more downloads per episode, which again, sharing numbers that I think is fun, it could be around 15 to 20,000 per episode, depending on the episode. So I just feel like that's mind blowing that that podcast really does resonate, but I think it's definitely a, if, you know, you know, so people that are in those relationships with emotionally immature individuals and it doesn't just have to be a spouse, we are interacting with emotionally immature or people with narcissistic traits and tendencies on a daily basis. So that could even be somebody in the workplace, a neighbor, it could even be an institution or an entity that you are working with, it can be an adult child, or it can be a sibling, an adult sibling. So there's just a lot of information there that I feel I can help people just stay more present, know that they're okay. 

Know that it is 100% and that's an all or nothing statement that I stand behind for you to have your own thoughts and feelings and emotions. And you are not crazy for having them. And if you are in a relationship where those are continually being challenged or you are made to feel less than, then I really would recommend that you check that podcast out. Just check out the show notes and click on there's a link tree link, and it will give you access to the newsletter, the latest podcast episodes, the trailer for Murder On the Couch, the upcoming true crime meets psychology with my daughter Sydney. And I think it will also link to the Virtual Couch accounts on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook and the Magnetic Marriage workshop, which is a 90 minute workshop. And the updated full marriage course is going to be released shortly and I'll make a lot of noise when that is ready. So, where were we? 

That phrase, the phrase that I was alluding to. Let me in almost like a true reality show TV format, where we ended the scene, let me come back to the show and I will set the stage. I'll read the last sentence or two from the transcript, and this is where we left off. When people do not leap off of my couch after I say this phrase, and when they do not say that's the, there it is, that's it. You did it. You just changed my life with that phrase. If that is not what I'm observing, then I make this judgment at that very moment again, to maybe ease my own anxiety or make sense of the moment for me, that the person on the couch can not give two rips about the life-changing phrase that I've just shared. And that phrase is, “acceptance does not mean apathy”. And I feel like if I had sound effects that might go, maybe not as exciting as you think. But let me break that down a little bit today because we're going to talk about acceptance and willingness in a way that I think is going to help. It's going to help in a lot of ways, it's going to help with anxiety. It's going to help with fear. It's going to help when trying to take on something new. So why don't we start with, what does apathy even mean? And then I'm going to spend some time in the book by Dr. Steven Hayes, the founder of acceptance and commitment therapy, his book called “Get out of your mind and into your life”, which being completely honest for some insane reason, queues me to sing in my head each and every time the Billy Ocean classic from 1988, “get out of my dreams and into my car”, which I shared with someone in a session last night and she is in her twenties and she said, that was literally, that was really a song title? And it was 1988. The year I graduated high school again, Billy Ocean “get out of my dreams and into my car” which must be some sort of cue or trigger because that is the year that I graduated high school. So on that note too, I just hit pause. I came back and I did Google top songs of 1988 to see why wasn't another song stuck in my head, more iconically than this Billy Ocean song that I was never a fan of. 

And ironically, that is also the year of Rick Astley's hit “never going to give you up”. So, I guess in essence, you were just verbally Rick rolled. So back to apathy. Apathy by definition is a lack of interest or concern especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal. It's a feeling of indifference, lack of emotion or feeling impassiveness, it's not having a, want a feeling it's an absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement. Insensibility indifference. So when I give you that phrase, that acceptance does not mean apathy, that what I'm saying is that if we accept things, if we accept the fact that I am feeling anxious, if I accept the fact that I am afraid or scared, then that does not mean game over. So in this scenario where I was out on the run, I had to do some, some true acceptance of the fact that I was at that three and a half, four miles away from home. I was under dressed. I didn't have my beanie on, I have a giant bald head. I didn't have gloves on and my hands were feeling very numb and cold. 

I think I had a short sleeve shirt on and I was about to run headfirst into the wind for the next little while. So acceptance doesn't mean then at that point that I might as well give up because in a situation like that there really wasn't an option to give up, not to sound very dramatic, but I was a little bit off the beaten path. And there wasn't a, I couldn't just flag down a taxi or even know if attack, think I need to use Uber all the time now. But I didn't, I don't even think I probably had cell phone service where I was and I just had to accept the fact that this was going to be rough or difficult. Because that acceptance again, doesn't mean that I'm just throwing in the towel, and I think we fear so often that acceptance does absolutely mean apathy and this impassiveness, this hopelessness, this absolute suppression of passion or emotion or excitement. And this indifference. And let me, let me step back and we're going to talk about how that would still work, even in the context of that run. 

But when I first started using the phrase, this acceptance doesn't mean apathy phrase. It really was showing up in the context of helping people post-divorce. And I promise it really does require you the listener or a client in my office to stay really present here for a minute, because it's going to sound at first, I worry like the complete opposite of what I am intending a true paradox, which is going to be ironic because when we get into the book by Dr. Hayes, we are going to start talking about a paradox of just great proportion. So acceptance, acceptance, not meaning apathy in the context of helping someone post divorce. I remember the person that I was first talking to about this, and the concept that we were exploring was if you accept the fact that she was afraid that she was going to be alone for the rest of her life and be single. And I was really trying to understand this acceptance and willingness from acceptance and commitment therapy, because it can be such a powerful tool. But I think it's one that is so paradoxical that it feels, it feels like we are giving up. And then it shows that sometimes the, or oftentimes the thing that is going to help us the most will sound like the craziest thing we can think of. And I think that is so often because our brain is just so used to this pattern of stick behavior and the path of least resistance. That we are handing somebody this new tool and they are going to just say, okay, that is unknown and scary. So I'm going to double or triple down on the thing that I know in hopes that at some point something's going to change. 

And if you're like me, you've probably already thought now that the definition of insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result now to give us, give ourselves a little bit of credit. We are doing the same thing over and over often, but then we are hoping that things like time or being in a different location will be just the catalyst, enough so that it will not continue to be the same thing over and over, but it typically does end up netting the same results. So again, in this context, acceptance doesn't mean apathy. When this person is so worried about, I may be alone for the rest of my life, acceptance needs to look like, okay. I need to accept the fact that I may be alone for the rest of my life. And that's the part where the record scratch hits. And I believe I made the joke in that very moment of saying that does not mean that we need to back up the chocolate fountain truck and you just put your head underneath it and just hit the go button and then just indulge and do nothing and lay flat on your back for the rest of your life. 

It's actually the opposite. So if you accept the fact that you may be alone and that does feel scary and we want to get rid of scary and we want to get rid of discomfort. So we want to just get rid of it, we want to push that away. But if we accept that fact, then what she and I started working on was now she isn't going to try to become the person that someone else wants her to be in hopes that she will then find someone that will love her or find someone that will, will be willing to be with her because she will not be true to herself. But if she accepts that fact acceptance, not meaning apathy. But with that acceptance that I may not find someone. And again, how scary does that sound to somebody that's post divorce. But then I am not trying to figure out what I need to do to find someone. I am starting to figure out what to do to be the very best version of me. And then as you start to then uncouple, this needs to find the right thing to do. You start to find the things you like to do, and as you start to do those things and you realize that, okay, if I was in a relationship before where I didn't feel like I could be myself, and I did feel controlled or I felt like I didn't have a voice or I wasn't seen. And so if I really wanted to explore things that were, I really enjoy, let's say creativity or art or painting or I don't know, knife skills in a cooking class. And if you are with a spouse who says, okay, well, what about me? What am I supposed to watch the kids while you go do that? Or, do you know how much money it's going to cost? If you want to just all of a sudden paint another room and not even explore what that would feel like to really go after the things that you want in life. 

Now, those are real concepts around kids and finances, but when those conversations are shut down immediately, then you start to feel less than, and you start to feel like you lose your sense of self and as a marriage therapist, which I am, I know that then those conversations are had so quickly to just shut down some sort of feeling typically with that person who's more, a little bit reactive or emotionally immature as a way for them to get rid of their own discomfort. And so if we were sitting in front of a good marriage therapist and they were saying, okay we're understanding that this is something you want to do. You want to learn how to paint or you want to paint these rooms and you find that that would really scratch that creative itch and really help you feel alive so that you're showing up better as a better mom, as a better spouse, as a better fill in the blank because it raises your emotional baseline, then that is something worth fighting for. And if the husband then recognizes, okay, I immediately reacted because I just, all I thought about were finances and I worry that I'm not being the provider I need to be. So that makes me feel bad. So I looked at that as a threat. 

So when we can calm both people's amygdalas down and then have a productive conversation, of course, using my four pillars of a connected conversation, then we can start to say, what would it look like if we may be tightened up something over here, or, but because I want my spouse to thrive, I want them to be able to be the very best version that they can be of themselves. Because that does not mean that once they learn how to paint all the rooms and they feel confident, they will leave me. As a matter of fact, it means they're going to show up better in the relationship. So again, acceptance does not mean apathy. If I accept the fact in that scenario, post divorce, that I may end up single for the rest of my life. Now I'm not even fighting, I'm not even saying, oh my gosh, that's so bad. And it's horrible. And what if it's like, okay, I'm gonna sit with that, that is uncomfortable and now I'm going to step into things I like to do. And now all of a sudden, if I am taking a culinary class and I'm thriving and I have so much curiosity, and now I'm really connecting with the other people in my class, again, and we'll get to this in the, in the book, but I can't be doing it so that I will then, well, maybe that's how I'll find someone, but the chances of you finding someone with the shared experience or and mutual passion or some of the, you can really just bounce ideas off and they won't necessarily feel attacked or criticized may come from this place where you are operating as your very best self. 

So acceptance does not mean apathy. Let's go to the book. And this is the book, “Get out of your mind and into your life” by Dr. Steven Hayes. And I'm jumping over into chapter four and it's called “letting go”. And this is one of the key chapters to, I think that will really, it really helps you start to understand the things that we are not doing correctly in the mental health field. So Dr. Hayes talks about in the first couple of chapters, he really talked about your suffering. And your efforts to cope with it, because if you really look at the fact that life, yeah, life can be a real challenge. It can be difficult. And I feel like at any given moment, we can all identify areas of our life, where we are suffering and then he talked about this trap or this pitfall that is inherent to human thought because of the way that we try to handle the suffering. And he talks about experiential avoidance. That we try to find anything else to do to alleviate the suffering. So we turned to these experiential avoidance activities, which means our phones or unhealthy coping mechanisms or just tuning out of life because we want to feel better. And we are chasing this concept of just pure, euphoric joy and happiness, because we don't want to feel uncomfortable. We don't want to acknowledge this suffering. 

But I think it's safe to say that that's one of our go-to responses to try to get rid of discomfort or suffering. Is to tune out, to use this experiential avoidance to just, just watch shows and play games and just not do and not be, not be present. So Dr. Hayes says we've hinted at an alternative to experiential avoidance. And he said it has been variously described as willingness. Acceptance or letting go. And I really want to clarify what acceptance and willingness looks like, because I think this will really help move you forward. And being more present in being more present will move you forward and figuring out what really matters to you. And Dr. Hayes says that acceptance is a skill that you may have heard about or experimented with in the past. And it's certainly something that you can learn to do, but he said, unfortunately, it's not something that your mind can do. Your mind is trying desperately not to accept uncomfortable situations or feelings. So he said, that's why learning more skills will be required before you can implement these concepts of acceptance and willingness in your daily life, because he says even after all your mind is aware of what you're reading right now. And in this area, your mind is not your ally. So welcome to the first paradox. If you're not willing to have it, you will, and he said that that is one of these rules that applies to the things that are going on internally or what they call in ACT, your private experiences. That if you aren't willing to have it, you will. And he said that we've implied that this rule is important for dealing with your suffering. 

Although he said he didn't really exactly express where that importance lies. So he said, let's take a look at what the mind does with such an idea. Again, that idea of, if you're not willing to have it, you will. So he said, suppose that the rule is true, that if you aren't willing to have it, you will. So given that you've already suffered a great deal, what can you logically do that would apply that rule to your suffering? So when I go back to my running example, I would rather not be cold. And I would rather not feel pain when running home of fatigue. I would rather not feel all of the difficulties of running into the wind when I'm tired and cold or in the situation of this person that was divorced, she does not want to suffer in feeling alone. So he says, if you're like most people, you begin thinking about how you might be willing to have these negative private experiences, if that meant that those negative experiences would begin to diminish or even disappear. He gives a really good example. So he says, for example, suppose that your anxiety, that anxiety is your main issue. And he says, you really hate how anxious you are and you just write a sentence that purports to be a rule to help you deal with your problem. And that sentence that we just read states that if you aren't willing to have it, you will. So, what would that mean for your anxiety? He said, what follows is the kind of speculation that the word machine that we call our mind does best. So your mind is going to say something like, hmm, okay. So if I'm not willing to be anxious, then I will be anxious. So, and I think we can, I think we can accept that. If I am worrying about my worry, that is going to worry me. But he said, I suppose that means if we’re more willing to be anxious, then I might not be so anxious. And I hate being anxious. So I guess I'll give it a try. I will try to be more willing to feel my anxiety. So that I won't be so anxious. You can see what we just did there with the mind dead. He said with that, the thought trap slams down around you. Because if you are willing to be anxious only in order to become less anxious, then you're not really willing to be anxious and you will become even more anxious. Now I know that there are a lot of different ages that listen to the podcast. I want to talk a little bit for a second about what this concept even looks like with regard to intimacy within a relationship, a marriage. 

I often have this conversation with couples where, and I'm just going to go some real gender stereotypes here, and I'm going to own that, so one of the common things I find is if a guy comes into my office with his wife and the guy wants to more intimacy, he says that will solve all the world's problems. So he says, well, I'm happy then I would love to, I would love to celebrate with us being intimate, or if I'm sad, there is no greater pick me up than being intimate. Or if there's a headache, I don't know why there hasn't been more research on a cure for headaches in intimacy. And so he says this as if this is just the, this is facts. And so he looks at me and then often says, okay, you know, you get it. I'm sure you're a sex therapist. Can you tell my wife? And then I look over and then I see her withdrawn. And then this is, this conversations happened so many times. Where then if I say, okay, what are you hearing? And she says, all right. I am hearing that I am in charge of his emotions. I'm in charge of managing his anxiety, his depression, his happiness and sadness. And so that makes her start to feel more like an object. So fast forward, we have a conversation about maybe changing the relationship with intimacy so that the wife will feel safe to be able to be more physically intimate without it necessarily leading to sexual intercourse. 

And often this is why I bring this story up because I get such a good example of this, where I will almost in this scenario, have a guy look over at me and say, oh, okay. So if I change my relationship with intimacy and I don't make it that I need her to manage my emotions, my anxiety. And he said, I get it almost like with a week of saying. And that'll lead to more intimacy. And it's the exact opposite. So if you change your relationship with intimacy and focus more on the connection or the relationship and know that not all roads have to lead to the intercourse, then you start to learn to be more accepting of the moments of being physically intimate without that quite frankly. And then if the guy says, oh, go okay. I got you. And now that you laid out that way. Yeah, I would love more of that, but then it will also lead to more, more intercourse to, is that what you're saying? No, this is that person's missing the point. So we go back to that again. So if I'm not willing to be anxious, I will be anxious. And I suppose that means if I were more willing to be anxious, I might not be so anxious and I don't like being anxious. So I guess I'll give it a try. I'll try to be more willing to feel my anxiety so that eventually I won't be as anxious. 

So that thought trap slams down around you, because if you're willing to only be anxious in order to become less anxious or if you're willing to then deal with a less physical intimacy so that you will then eventually get more physical intimacy, then you're not really willing to be anxious or you're not really willing to be less physically intimate. And that will cause you to become even more anxious or frustrated. And Dr. Hayes says, this is absolutely not psychobabble. He said, read the sentence again. Yes, they are paradoxical. But the paradox seems to be true. Those census demonstrate the merry-go-round ride that can result from trying to force the mind to do something it can't do. If the only reason you're willing to allow yourself to feel anxiety today, is that the hope that feeling it today will free you from it. From the necessity of feeling it in the future, then that's not going to work. Because what your willingness here really means is you just don't want to feel any anxiety. And you'll try to jump through all kinds of mental hoops, not to feel it. And he says that's not the same as being willing to feel your anxiety. And quite frankly, that can cause more anxiety. So I said, this is why we've said that the approaches that might help with the causes of your pain are difficult to learn. Not in the sense that they are effortful, but because they are tricky. And he says for that reason, we're going to put the concept of willingness on the table here. But we will deal with quite a bit of other material before returning to this topic, then try to apply it to the core areas of the things that you struggle with in your life. 

So I think this next part is so key. It says, if I'm saying you may not be listening up until now, but now really listen. But this is key acceptance and willingness. So, accept, he says, comes from the Latin root cut Perry, or I don't know my Latin, but meaning to take. Acceptance is the act of receiving or taking what is offered. But sometimes in English, accept means to tolerate or resign yourself as in, okay. I guess I have to accept that. And that's where I go with the acceptance does not mean apathy. Or just, tolerate a resign yourself to and that is so key to understand that we're not saying, okay, accept and just tolerate and resign yourself to. Dr. Hayes says that is precisely not what is meant here by accept, we mean something more like taking completely in the moment without defense. So, if we are saying, accept your anxiety, then we're saying that, take it in and be in that moment. And try not to push it away. Just be in the moment. When I am taking in or accepting that I was three and a half, whatever miles away from my house and it was cold and I had to run, then I took that moment and completely, and I truly did without defense, it was happening there. I was now in the very present moment. And in that moment now I could feel, I could honestly feel the wind on my skin. I could feel the wind up against the cold of my shirt that had sweat. I could notice my feet pounding the ground. I could feel the contractions of the muscles in my legs. And if that sounds like mumbo jumbo or psychobabble, I understand because years ago, I would have thought there is no way I'm going to be recording a podcast and I'm going to be talking about notice, notice your labored breath. Ah, isn't that beautiful. Feel the air sucking into your lungs at a rapid rate as your heart rate increases. And, but that is exactly the thing that to do to be in that moment. And what am I not doing? I'm not being angry or beating myself up or. Or feeling this just hopelessness. I'm taking in that very moment, taking completely in the moment without defense. 

So then Dr. Hayes says we use the word willing then as a synonym for accepting. So staying true to that meaning of accept, willing, he said is one of the older words in the English language, and it comes from an ancient root meaning to choose. So thus acceptance is to take it in completely in the moment. And willingness can be understood as then, and then choosing what you do with that. So it can be understood as an answer to this question. Will you take me in as I am? And that is whatever that is. Will you take me in as I am? Will you take it well, will I allow this in anxiety and just like it is because there it is. Or will I allow this moment where I am far away from home and I am cold. Will I just take it in for what it is? It is what it is. I am there. What do I do now? So you said acceptance and willingness are the opposite. The opposite of effortful control. So Dr. Hayes shares a little bit more. He said, what follows is a description of what to take me in as I am really means. He said in our context, the words willingness and acceptance mean to respond actively to your feelings by feeling them literally. Much as you might reach out and literally feel the texture of a cashmere sweater. They mean to respond actively to your thoughts by thinking them. Much as you might read poetry, just to get the flow of the words. Or an actor might rehearse lines to get a feel for the playwright's intent. To be willing and accepting. It means to respond actively to memories by remembering them. Much as you might take a friend to see a movie you've already seen. 

They mean to respond actively to bodily sensations by syncing them. Much as you might take an all over stretch in the morning, just to feel your body all over. That willingness and acceptance mean adopting a gentle, loving posture toward yourself, toward your history, your past, your programming, so that it becomes more likely for you simply to be aware of your own experience much as you would hold a fragile object in your hand and contemplate it closely and dispassionately, he says the goal of willingness is not to feel better. Because if we are continually just chasing the feel good feeling. Then we are going to just be turning from one dopamine, hit to the next, and we're going to be missing out on so many of life's experiences. Because those experiences can come with a lot of emotion. They can come with some negativity, they can come with discomfort. So we need to be willing to embrace those moments and that discomfort. And what I truly wish people could get a glimpse of is that as you start to embrace these moments and sit with the discomfort, it really turns out to not be as scary as you think it would be things like anxiety are there for a reason, they're there to warn you, but we worry about 99% of the things that will never happen. And we even convince ourselves that we're just preparing or we're just making sure, or we're just a, what if, what if, and we're avoiding and we don't, but when we start to recognize that we're also in that same process, missing out on a lot of life and figuring out who we are and what we have to offer, and when we can really change that interior landscape of your mind or what it feels like to be you based on this slow residue of lived experience and those lived experiences are far greater teachers than that experiential avoidance. 

Mike Rucker was on my podcast. He has that book, “The fun habit”. And he was talking about a concept that I think about so often where I feel like when you are in the moment and having these experiences, even the ups, the downs, all of those experiences, and you allow yourself to feel them, those become really part of what it feels like to be you. And he talked about all of the other things that you do. All of the TV shows you watch and the games you play and the, the time spent ruminating and worrying and wondering, and getting that crystal ball out and just all those things, fortune telling. That those all just get lumped into just this kind of bucket of gray and our memories. Just, you know, what did you do over the weekend? Oh, you know, just a regular weekend. Just kind of got through it, here I am, versus the, oh man. I went on a run and I didn't dress as well as I should have. And it was freezing cold, but I made it and I got the, you know, interacted with a couple of people. I saw it. I saw these, I know this animal that I'd never seen before. That sounds crazy. What like an aardvark running around Lincoln. But you were having these experiences. So what it feels like to be you as somebody who does and somebody who is participating in life and in that participation, you are going to start to connect with new things and opportunities and feel feelings and sights and smells and sounds. And that is going to help you grow in that internal landscape of what it feels like to be you is going to be one that is feeling pretty, pretty content, or even dare I say overall happy with life because you're taking more charge or control of your life. 

So again, the goal of willingness he says is not to feel better. It's to open yourself up to the vitality of the moment to move more effectively toward what you value. Dr. Hayes said in another way, the goal willingness is to feel all the feelings that come up for you more completely even, or especially the bad feelings. So you can live your life more completely in essence, instead of trying to feel better. Willingness involves learning how to feel, to feel like, feel the feelings, feel better. And to be willing and accepting is to gently push your fingers into, if you've ever seen the Chinese finger trap, in order to make more room for yourself to live in, rather than mainly struggling against your experience by trying to pull your fingers out of the trap. So to be willing and accepting means to give yourself enough room to breathe. And by assuming this stance of willingness and acceptance, now you couldn't, all of a sudden, he says open up all the blinds of the windows in your house and allow life to flow through. You start to let fresh air and light enter into what was previously closed and dark at a fear and worry. So to be willing and accepting means to be able to walk through, he says, the swamps of your difficult history. When the swamps are directly on the path that goes in a direction that you really care about. To be willing and accepting means noticing that you are the sky, not the clouds, the ocean, not the waves. He said, it means noticing that you're large enough to contain all of your experiences just as a sky can contain any cloud in the ocean, any wave. He said we don't expect this foray into poetic metaphors to make any difference yet. But the sense conveyed may give you an idea of what we're aiming for in pursuing the acceptance, the acceptance, and the book that he's talking about, or the acceptance just in life in general. 

So I would really encourage you as you go forward after listening to this podcast to just really take a look again at that willingness and acceptance. That will you take me in, that acceptance to take me in. It's not, it does not mean to tolerate or resign yourself to, but accepting we are taking that moment in completely without defense. And then that willingness, accepting, willing. Meaning to choose. So acceptance and willingness can be understood as an answer to this question. Will you take me in as I am, anxiety? And acceptance and willingness then, are the opposite of effortful control. And when you can be willing and accepting to your feelings and your experiences and you experience all of them, you feel them, you are willing to take them in, then you can just experience every bit of that moment and that is going to drive you more toward this just sense of vitality and purpose. I would go on and on, but I think you get the point. If you have questions, let me know. Share this with somebody if you think that that would really help. And if you are listening to this for the first time, welcome aboard. And send me questions if you have them, I'd love to do a podcast about them, answer them. You can send them to contact@tonyoverbay.com and taking us out per usual, the wonderful, the talented, Aurora Florence with her song, “It's wonderful”. We'll see you next week on the Virtual Couch

"Regret is a common feeling that has both negative and positive effects," Sian Ferguson from the article "How to Move Past Regret." https://psychcentral.com/blog/a-powerful-exercise-for-moving-past-regret Tony talks about regret and rumination's roles in keeping people stuck in a trauma bond with a narcissist. 

And follow Tony on the Virtual Couch YouTube channel for a sneak preview of his upcoming podcast "Murder on the Couch," where True Crime meets therapy, co-hosted with his daughter Sydney. You can watch a pre-release clip here https://youtu.be/-RkRq8SrQy0

Subscribe to Tony's latest podcast, "Waking Up to Narcissism Q&A - Premium Podcast," on the Apple Podcast App. 


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

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.

Thanks for a slight error in uploading the correct file on Tony's "Waking Up to Narcissism" podcast; he shares the correct episode as a "crossover" on The Virtual Couch. Tony adds "The Mailbox Metaphor," a powerful Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) metaphor about how we decide to look at the "clutter" of our virtual, physical, or mental inboxes. Can communication be a form of violence? According to communication expert Marshall Rosenberg, it can if you consider "violence" to include attempts at cutting others down to size and/or coercing them into doing what we want. Tony discusses "Nonviolent Communication," and the importance of separating an observation from a judgment, something narcissists or highly emotionally immature people struggle to do to manage their own anxiety.

Tony references Pamela Hobart's review of Marshall Rosenberg's book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life https://fourminutebooks.com/nonviolent-communication-summary/

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=bSWcEQTranscript


Hey, everybody. Welcome to Waking Up to Narcissism. I am your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist and host of the Virtual Couch podcast, and also host of the very soon to be released Magnetic Marriage podcast, which is going to be a subscription based podcast. The cost per year is going to be far, far less than one session of therapy, but this is real couples, real coaching/therapy. And I have about 15 to 20 episodes in the can. 

And we are going to come out with one every week and you're going to hear me coach and do therapy with real life couples. And if you want to know more about that, just go to Tonyoverbay.com and sign up for the newsletter. And you will be the first to know when it is going to launch. It looks like it's probably going to be around the first week of December, and I am going to run a special or two between now and then. So go to Tonyoverbay.com and sign up for my newsletter and you'll be one of the first to know more about that. I'm very excited about it because I feel like, especially my Waking Up to Narcissism audiences, a lot of people have not been in a position to get their spouse, or their partner, to go to counseling. Or they've possibly had bad experiences in counseling. So this is really like being able to just watch what, I feel like, a productive couple session can look like, and we've been able to cover everything from emotional immaturity to navigating a faith journey or a faith deconstruction, to parenting, to just arguing, ineffective communication, blended families, and everything that you can imagine up to this point. So I can't wait, if you can tell by my voice, for people to find this podcast and hopefully it will help in their relationships. And speaking of relationships, you can also go to Tonyoverbay.com/workshop. And I am leaving the $19 workshop up there, which does a lot of what I just like to say, we don't know that we don't know about how to have a good relationship and how to communicate effectively. I lay out my four pillars in more detail, as well as a lot of the other challenges that I see as a couples therapist. So that's $19 money back guarantee. Tonyoverbay.com/workshop. But let's get to the topic today. And this one has been a bit of a therapeutic whirlwind for me. 

I had heard about a concept called “nonviolent communication” a few years ago from a listener. And I had Googled the concept a little bit. Not enough to really understand what the concept was about. And at one point I even had an audible book of the day or deal of the day come up that was about a review of a book about nonviolent communication. That was a little over an hour. 

And I listened and I really appreciated that. But for some reason it didn't really click until a couple of weeks ago when someone was talking about the concepts around nonviolent communication in my office. And it really got me thinking, and I did a little bit of a deep dive on the author or the person who came up with the concepts around nonviolent communication. Marshall Rosenberg. And now it's one of those things where I just feel like it's another puzzle piece that helps make sense of things that really don't make sense. So, let me take you on my train of thought here. First let's talk about what nonviolent communication is. And the best place to talk about this, I found, was a four minute book review on a site called fourminutebooks.com. And the person who wrote the article is Pamela Hobart. And it is, “nonviolent communication summary”. So Pamela gives a one sentence summary, “Nonviolent communication explains how focusing on people's underlying needs and making observations instead of judgments can revolutionize the way you interact with anybody.” 

She says, “even your worst enemies.” And I think one of the reasons I shied away from digging deeper in the past, into the topic in general non-violent communication, Pamela sums it up perfectly. She said, “Free speech advocates commonly argue that speech is the opposite of violence. Words can offend us, but they don't actually do harm.” So she said, “From this point of view, nonviolent communication is practically an oxymoron.” And I think that maybe in my subconscious, I felt the same. But communications expert Marshall Rosenberg begs to differ. Now, according to him, and I think you'll see where this really starts to fit into the things we talk about on waking up the narcissism, whether we're talking about full blown narcissistic personality disorder, or extreme emotional immaturity, Marshall Rosenberg says, “Most people's default manner of speaking to others is highly violent. That is if you consider violence to include attempts at cutting others down to size. And coercing them into doing what we want.” Now, I did an episode about this a couple of weeks ago, over on the Virtual Couch

And I really feel like it helps in the context of if you are someone who is self-aware. I think that we will often recognize after you hear what I'm going to talk about next, our role in certain things. And I think the difference in somebody that has narcissistic traits, tendencies, personality disorder, or extreme emotional immaturity is, they're not the one that is listening to this podcast most likely, or if they are, they may be listening with their elbow, meaning, okay, I'm poking my partner saying, yeah, you really need to listen to this. And I feel like most of the people that I think are tuning in are people that are wanting to figure out things, figure out, okay, what is off in my relationship? And again, is it me? And am I the narcissist, which I will maintain if you are listening to this and asking the question. No. Because you have enough self-awareness and curiosity and concern to ask that question and to go seeking help. 

Now, if you are handed this podcast and you're listening and at first you thought, how dare somebody send me this podcast? They think I'm a narcissist? But then slowly but surely over time, you've started to recognize, oh my goodness. I do a lot of these things. Maybe I'm just on that emotionally immature spectrum. Then you are waking up to perhaps your own narcissism or your own emotional immaturity, which is absolutely what I have done, which is why I titled the podcast “Waking Up to Narcissism”. Yet I digress. In this book review, Pamela says, “Whether or not most ordinary speakers are constantly committing literal acts of violence or not, most of us can see the potential benefit of learning to communicate more effectively.” And Marshall Rosenberg's book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life provides one provocative lens for seeing what's morally and pragmatically wrong with many of the things that we tend to say in our everyday lives. Nonviolent communication, then digs a little bit deeper into what we could say instead. Now, the reason that I read that paragraph is because that leads nicely into the first lesson that Pamela pulled out of the book, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. And this has been the game changer over the last couple of weeks. 

“Separating observation from judgment is the first step toward reducing needless conflict.” So if you are on your journey of self-improvement, separating observation from judgment can be a really powerful tool. Now, the example I gave on the Virtual Couch podcast is if you say to yourself about, let's just say your son, you have a son and your son's struggling in school. If you say well, he doesn't do his homework or he fails that test because he's lazy. So, what do we do? There's an observation that he doesn't do his homework, and then we immediately fill in the gap with a judgment. Now that judgment, I believe strongly, is there to ease or manage our own anxiety. Now, let me tell you where I'm going with this. 

So if he doesn't do his homework and we just throw that judgment in there, that it's because he's lazy. Oh, look what we get to not do. We don't have to take ownership or accountability of, well, what if it's because I did not spend much time, even when he has asked me for help with his homework. 

Because, I mean, if it's like me, I couldn't do my kids' math homework after they hit about fifth grade, I'm a therapist. I took one math class in college. That's not my strong suit. And so if I feel emotionally insecure, if I feel immature or insecure about my ability to help my kid, then am I saying, oh, accountability, my bad. I have no idea what that math problem is. Or instead if I just say, oh, I'm too busy. I don't have time to help you with your homework. 

So then down the road, if he is not doing well in math and I say, yeah, it's because he's lazy. He doesn't do his homework. What do I not have to deal with is, oh, I probably could have spent more time. Or that means that I might've had to get off of candy crush on my phone and actually learn sixth grade math, which would probably not have been as difficult as I would have thought it would have been. 

But if you're really talking about emotional immaturity or narcissism, and as I'm talking this through well, but I also don't want to feel uncomfortable. So I'm just going to say, yeah, I don't have time champ. And so now it results in if he's not doing his homework again, I just say, well, it's because he's lazy. So I don't have to deal with my own potential role in how I could have helped. I don't have to deal with the fact that I may have just passed on some good old genetic genes and DNA that the boy is not very good, maybe he has some nice stunted neuro-transmitters and a heavy dose of ADHD. Like his dad, and so therefore that isn't his strong suit. So I don't want to deal with that either. I would rather throw that judgment card in there and say well, it’s because he's lazy. Or, I deal so much with people that are struggling with faith, faith journeys, faith transitions, faith deconstructions, all of these formerly known as a faith crisis. And so let's just say, if you are in a religion, in a church and a faith community and someone leaves, it's much easier to say well yeah, they left because they wanted to sin. 

So, what am I doing there? The observation truly is that they left. My judgment comes in to say, well it's because they want to sin because, why? And this is where I feel like this is so applicable on this podcast. Waking up to narcissism. Let's take that one in particular. And even if you're not a religious person or in a faith community, I think that you'll see where I'm going here. 

So if I can just throw that judgment out, it will manage my anxiety. It's obvious they left because they want to go do bad. Because, when we're being incredibly emotionally immature or narcissistic in our thoughts, then we maintain this all or nothing attitude, this black or white thinking. So if they left and it's because, well, they didn't like going to my church. 

Then in our mind, we're subconsciously or just reactively what feels like to be me is, well, then what if I'm wrong? What if they're right? What if they can be happy? And they can be happy outside of my faith community. Well, it's not black or white. It's not all or nothing. So emotional maturity is me being able to say, well, they left because maybe it didn't work for them or better yet they left, period. Now I can ask them with curiosity. Hey, tell me about your journey. Tell me more about that. How are you doing now? 

So when we separate observation and judgment, now we're going to give that person an opportunity to really communicate effectively. And it's not about easing or managing my anxiety. It's about the other person's experience. So if I'm again throwing these judgements in there, what else am I not having to deal with? 

The fact that, what if my particular faith community is judgemental? And so someone left because they didn't feel like they fit in, and they maybe are different from me. And so then again, I go back to this all or nothing, black or white thinking where I need to throw a judgment in there, because what if I am not truly aware of what it's like to be somebody else and what their experience is in the faith community? So again, I have to put this judgment in there. Well no, it's probably because they want to go sin. It's probably because they want to go do all of these crazy behaviors. It can't be because they have a different experience. 

And their different experience might be okay. Because that doesn't invalidate my experience in this example with my faith community. What if we both can have good experiences, one within the faith community and one outside of the faith community. That would be absolutely okay. Nonviolent communication, I think now we can start to see where that concept of violence comes in. Because if I am immediately throwing that judgment on there, now if I'm going to have that conversation with that person, I've already judged the fact that they left the faith community because they want to sin. 

So now if I'm saying, hey, how are things going? And if they're saying, oh, it's great. I'm doing well. Then I'm already looking through this lens of, sure you are. I've already made the judgment. I know why you left. You left because you want to go and shoot heroin between your toes. I mean, it's not because you wanted to have a different experience. So if you're telling me it's okay, sure it’s okay. 

And boy, talk about then a violent communication tactic. Because I'm already putting that person on the defensive and now it's up to them to prove to me that I am wrong when I'm already thinking I'm right. So there is a no win situation there. So that person is absolutely going to feel unheard. 

And they're going to feel like you know, you don't even really want to know about why I left the faith community. You've already got your judgment and we can see that on your face. Or I feel that energy. So one of the beautiful things I’ve noticed, the more I learn about this concept of nonviolent communication, is separating observation from judgment. That is going to lead us to curiosity. And curiosity is our best chance at actually having a true connection, a connected conversation where we can both have our own experiences and someone else's experience doesn't invalidate my experience. 

So one of the things that also had me looking more into nonviolent communication was something that someone shared with me from a book called The Yamas and the Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by a woman named Deborah Adele. Now, how does that fit in? Deborah Adele is not quoting Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication book, but listen to this page. And I think this fits so nicely into what we've already talked about so far. 

She says, “Thinking that we know what is better for others becomes a subtle way that we do violence. When we take it upon ourselves to ‘help the other’, we whittle away at their sense of autonomy. Non-violence assets to trust the other's ability to find the answer that they are seeking. It asks us to have faith in the other, not feel sorry for them. Non-violence asks us to trust the other's journey and love and support others to their highest image of themselves. Not our highest image of them. It asks that we stop managing ourselves, our experience, others and others' experiences of us. Leave the other person free of our needs, free to be themselves, and free to see us as they choose.” 

Now on the Virtual Couch, I just blasted right past that. I thought it fit in nicely with the episode. And I was talking more about the concepts around healthy ego and finding what really matters to you versus pathological defensive ego or narcissism. But why I think this is more applicable on Waking Up to Narcissism, and I want to do a little bit of a deep dive here, is I want you to listen. If you can, if right now you're thinking, okay, but I'm then doing violence to my children or but I'm the one, me, I am the problem. 

I want you to take a breath. Square up those shoulders, in through the nose, out through the mouth. And I'm encouraging you to put your pathologically kind shield down. And now lean into the concepts of what this is like in your relationship, because we could do an entirely different episode on yeah, we're probably by definition doing a little bit more of that violent communication with our children, because I'm going to maintain that our job as a parent starts as we are a coach when they are young. I heard this a long time ago. And so we are calling a lot of the plays. We're doing a lot of the guidance when they're young. And then as they get older, we move into more of a managerial role. If you're familiar with that sports analogy, we're no longer the coach on the field, but we're the general manager. So we can get some funding together. We can raise money from the boosters. We can maybe work a couple of trades. 

We can even have you maybe move to a different location and I can help with that. But ultimately you're the one that is playing, talking about my kid. So what I'm really talking about with that quote is what is happening to you. So if your partner is thinking that they know what is better for you, that is a subtle way that they do violence. When that person takes it upon themselves to help you, they whittle away at your sense of autonomy. And I can't even keep track of the amount of emails that come in now of people saying that they have lost their sense of self. That they've whittled it, this sense of autonomy is absolutely it's not been whittled away, it's been chopped away with an ax. 

So at that point, I feel like the concepts around violent communication become even more powerful or clear because if you are constantly having to defend yourself or try to figure out the other person, and meanwhile being told that most everything that you do is not the right thing to do, which leaves you feeling like you're not enough, then you are operating from such a deep hole that you can't get out of that you don't even have a moment to try to find your sense of self. And so absolutely your autonomy has just been destroyed. So that is because you have been communicated to violently. Because everything you've had to say, I know that's an all or nothing statement, most everything that you've had to say then has come from a place of defense. And then when you are trying to defend, and the other person has been making judgements to manage their anxiety. Let's go back to their own childhood abandonment and trauma wounds. And again, narcissism. If we really take a step back, one of the definitions I think is so good is from Eleanor Greenberg from her Psychology Today article, “The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. “Narcissistic personality disorder is the name for a series of coping strategies that began as an adaptation to a childhood family situation that left the person with unstable self-esteem, the inability to regulate their self-esteem without external validation, and low empathy.” So now go back to when you are communicating with your narcissistic partner or a narcissistic adult parent or narcissistic older child or narcissistic leader or boss or entity of any kind. And they are coming at every situation that they're looking at.  And they’re coming in there with unstable self-esteem and the inability to regulate that self-esteem without external validation and lower empathy, then they are throwing huge judgements on with their observation of you. They already know why you're doing the things that you're doing because that helps them try to make sense of their own life. 

And they lack that true sense of self or a sense of purpose. So then what that sense of self or purpose becomes is all about managing their anxiety through judgment statements. So everything that they see, they know they understand, this is why you're doing that. And that's why, at the core gaslighting is, then if you try to defend yourself because you have to defend yourself because they've already thrown you into this quagmire of judgment with whatever you're doing. Now as you try to defend yourself, you're actually giving them more fire, more juice, more power, because it can't be that way. This is that concept of confabulation. They're creating a narrative in real time so anything that you say, then that goes against the judgment statement that they've already crafted in their mind is invalidating their experience and causing them to have more stress and anxiety, and they need to manage that anxiety, not with curiosity, not with self confrontation, not with accountability, but with control. So now I have to think of you in this negative light, says the narcissist or the emotionally immature person, or else it's going to cause me a lot of anxiety and it's going to cause me to have to take a look inward and own my own crap. And I'm not willing to do that. 

So I have now judged what you are doing. And as a matter of fact, it has to be that way. So now if you try to argue against me, I get to even say, you don't even understand yourself. I do. Which is why arguing with someone that truly is on that highly emotionally immature scale or narcissistic personality disorder scale is going to actually leave you feeling worse. Which brings us into the next part of today's podcast on Marshall Rosenberg's site, it's the NVC, it's nonviolent communication. Okay on nonviolentcommunication.com, you can find a lot of resources and he has a lot of free resources and there is an email that is on there that I found when I was searching for some resources on nonviolent communication and narcissism. So I'm going to claim the, hey, it's on the internet. And so I'm going to read it. So giving full attribution, this is at nonviolentcommunication.com/email. And then it says “non-violent communication and narcissist”, and it's a PDF email. I don't know any other context. And I really tried to find it. But it's by a gentleman named Tim Buckley and it looks like it's an email that they received that Tim must have written or sent. And I'm going to go through this because I think that he does such a nice, amazing job at laying out what nonviolent communication would look like for the person, the pathologically kind person attempting to communicate with a narcissist. So Tim says, “Covid didn't create narcissism, but the isolation created by the pandemic may have increased the challenges we face trying to meet the needs of a shared reality and meaningful connection with others.” He said, “Recently, a friend asked whether there is an antidote to ‘dealing with a narcissist’. He said that providing empathy for that person had become emotionally taxing. And that more empathy seemed only to encourage the other person to go on and on. Inviting more empathy and thus creating compassion fatigue for me.” Boy, we could do a whole episode on that paragraph. “Compassion fatigue”. And this person who was saying, hey, I listened and I gave empathy and all that did was cause the person to want to go on and on and more and more until I felt this compassion fatigue. 

So Tim said, “Before I answered his email, I did a bit of research.” So this first one is just kind of fun. There's a couple of things here. He said, “Narcissist was a mythical Greek character developed as a morality lesson. The young man was classically beautiful and he fell deeply in love with his reflection in a pool. Obvious to us, and eventually to him, the relationship was not destined for satisfaction. Narcissist became sad, then despairing that his love could not be reciprocated.” Boy that resonates. “So he ultimately killed himself and after his death, the flower of great beauty was born bearing his name.” So there's the history or the mythology around narcissism. Then he says, “A foundational premise of nonviolent communication is that moral judgements proceed all acts of violence.” So what we've been talking about here, that a moral judgment on an observation is kind of hardwired, until we're aware and we try not to. So again, he says, “A foundational premise of nonviolent communication is that moral judgments precede all acts of violence. Narcissism, nonviolent communication founder Marshall Rosenberg would say, is a diagnosis.” So the thought, and again stick with me here because I, again, I know I'm dealing with the pathologically kind audience for the most part. And so I worry you'll hear this next sentence and then say, oh my gosh, I need to stop doing this. But, hang on.

So he says, “Marshall Rosenberg would say that narcissism is a diagnosis. So the thought he's a narcissist creates separation between me, the judge, and you, the object. As soon as those thoughts enter our minds, that he's a narcissist, so whether they are good and bad right and wrong,” now he says, “we're knocking at moral judgments front door.”

So instead of labeling the other person as a narcissist, Tim Buckley is saying that this is what he understands about nonviolent communication, that it is possible with practice to refrain from knocking on that door altogether. So that door of judgment, instead as nonviolent communication teaches us, he says, “Form an observation. So every time I spoke to my brother-in-law last weekend, he talked about his accomplishments and didn't ask me once about what I think, how I am, or what I've been doing.” So I really do like the premise where Tim is setting this up. So from a nonviolent communication standpoint, and that's why I tried to spend the first half of this email on, when you are being communicated at violently, you're already in a one, two or I won't say a three down position. And you are trying to defend yourself like crazy. And you're trying to defend something that if we really step back, I don't need to defend. That's the other person's judgment on their observation of me. 

And now we can realize that and that judgment is there to manage their anxiety. So if I'm dealing with a narcissist or someone that's extremely emotionally immature, they are not looking at me with curiosity. They're looking to validate their judgment of me because that will ease their anxiety and make them feel better about themselves. And that is the air that they breathe. 

So back Tim Buckley saying, “Instead of labeling the other person as a narcissist, then it's possible with practice to refrain from knocking on that door of judgment altogether. So form an observation. Again, every time I spoke to my brother-in-law last weekend, he talked about his accomplishment and didn't ask me once about what I think, how I am, or what I've been doing.” So that's the observation. And it can be really hard to separate that judgment for ourselves, especially if we have been in a pattern of narcissistic or emotional abuse, especially in conversation for a long period of time, because like we've talked about the body keeps the score. My visceral reaction is going to lead the way my emotions are going to travel faster than my logic. 

So that's why I want to set the table and say, this is great, what we're talking about, from an awareness standpoint. But I know that for the population that I'm talking to right now for most, your body is already heading toward fight or flight, even when you get around the person. So, what he says then is the observation is that my brother-in-law only talked about his accomplishments. Didn't ask me once about what I was thinking, how I'm doing or what I've been doing. And I feel like most people listening can probably resonate with that. That is the observation. Then he says self empathy, identifying the feelings I have about that. Well, I felt irritated. I felt hopeless. I felt unseen. I felt unheard. I felt unloved. 

So self empathy, identify the needs not met. Well, I would like a real conversation. I would like to be heard. I would like to be acknowledged. I would like to know that I matter. So then here's the part where I feel like, I don't know where I'm at yet, as far as nonviolent communication, when communicating with the narcissist, because in nonviolent communication, he says, then request at this point.

So the request, you now have a choice. You can interrupt your brother-in-law and lay out your observations, your feelings, and needs. So this is what I love. If you are in an emotionally healthy relationship, then separating your observation from your emotion will then allow you to give them space and have more curiosity to have a truly connected conversation. And then, at that point, then you can even start to express your needs. I would love a connection. I would love to be heard and understood. 

But, I feel like if you're, if you see where I'm going with this, if you're in a relationship with a narcissist, then that is adorable to think that I'm going to express that. And they're going to say, oh my gosh, am I doing that? I did not know that. Which boy, quick plug, please, if you don't go follow me on Instagram @ virtual couch. 

I have an amazing social media team that is now starting to put a lot of content out there. And I've been recording reels, and I feel like an old man, reels as the kids say, but, I just always wanted to do something with, in my mind when I have a narcissist, maybe in my office, I maybe will ask a question and then, you know, I've identified my ADHD on numerous occasions and my secondary emotion of humor, which leads the way. So my internal dialogue often is jokes. I can't help it. 

So oftentimes when I set the table for an emotionally immature narcissistic person, during a conversation to really show up with empathy or curiosity. And then oftentimes I think, oh, here's something that a narcissist will never say. Things like, oh, I hadn't thought of that or my bad, or, tell me more about how you feel. So go follow me on Instagram or Facebook at Tony Overbay, licensed marriage and family therapist, or on Instagram @ virtual couch. 

And we're starting to get more and more of that content, reels and trying to, you know, use some humor there as well about a situation that maybe isn't feeling as humorous. So if we identify those needs not met, I'd like a real conversation to be heard and acknowledged. Two, the request. You have a choice, you can interrupt your brother-in-law and lay out your observations, your feelings and your needs. 

Or you could decide to empathize with them so that you meet other important needs of yours, like kindness, consideration, respect, and empathy. But in this email, and I think this is where I think this is so applicable. Tim says, “But as in my friend's case, the unmet needs continue to come up and the choice to listen empathetically to his brother-in-law became emotionally burdensome. So then what? So Rosenberg teaches us to notice the moment we're no longer enjoying the choice we made.” I know that sounds simple, but I love the simplicity. So notice the moment that we're no longer enjoying the choice we made, the choice that I've made to continue to listen to the narcissistic person who never reciprocates in the conversation. 

So at some point I noticed I'm no longer enjoying this. And he said, “And then make another choice to better meet our own need. When we can no longer be present to the other in a state of empathy, it's important to say what has become more important. Not doing so can rapidly give rise to thoughts, like he's a narcissist or he's so self-centered.”  So, Tim said, “Here's how that might sound.” So he says, “Me. ‘Excuse me a minute, Rob, I'd like to check with you on something. I've been listening to you for a while and asking questions about what you've been saying. I wonder if you can say how my listening and my questions have landed for you. Has it been pleasurable for you to have me be present with what's going on for you.’ and Rob,” who I think in this scenario is the emotionally immature or narcissistic person, “says, ‘Yeah, thanks. I really have enjoyed talking with you and it's rare to have somebody express interest in what's going on for me.’” Now let's pause. This is why I feel like, if you are the pathologically kind person and you are continuing to talk to the narcissist and they continually tell them about all their amazing accomplishments over and over again, and they don't ask you anything about you. 

When you leave that conversation, they say, man, this was great. I mean, I feel like we have a real connection. Because you just listened and validated. So, this Rob in this scenario says, yeah, I enjoyed talking with you. It's rare to have somebody express interest in what's going on for me. Expressing interest to the narcissist can simply be saying, oh man, really. What was that like? Oh, okay. Instead of trying to combat or leave the conversation. Because again, that narcissist is a very emotionally insecure person at their core. So then in this scenario, the person speaking says, “‘Okay, I'm glad you're saying you long to be heard. And that doesn't happen as much as you would like. So when that happens, like with me just now, do you get the sense that you are appreciated and respected?’ To which then Rob says, ‘Yes, very much.’” So then the person says, “‘I understand, and I feel the same way. So this last year being isolated because of COVID has been hard for me and I long for the same things that you spoke about. So would you be willing to listen to me for a while so that I can be heard and appreciated for what's going on for me?’, Rob says, ‘sure.’” So then he says, “Before I get more than a couple of sentences into my list of things, however, Rob cuts in and begins to talk about himself. Often something we say stimulates a thought in the other and rather than hanging onto the thought. They interrupt with oh yeah, that happened to me too. And then they continue to dominate the conversation.” 

And in my imagination, probably also one-upping the conversation. So then he says, “Me internally, oh boy, here we go. Again, me internally, self empathy, I'm irritated because he said he would listen. And now it appears that he's not interested. I'd really like to keep my relationship with him solid. So I want to be understood for this point. I think I'm going to say something now.” 

So, you know where this is going, right. “Me. ‘Rob’, I say, interrupting him. ‘I noticed this, now that you jumped in, when I was talking about my life and just after you said you were willing to listen to me, like I listened to you.’ Rob says, ‘Oh yeah, but I was just, I was just saying, I was just saying how I'm having some of those same issues.’ 

And then me, I say, ‘Well, yeah, I get that. And I want to make sure that you're still okay with your agreement to listen to me. So it's important for me to finish what's on my mind, you know, it helps me get grounded in my need for respect to mattering.’” Okay. And I would imagine Rob, at this point, it looks like you just took his puppy and you just popped the tires of his bike. Okay. 

And he says, “Perhaps the speaker now is thinking Rob may be better able to stay focused on listening. If so, I would certainly end our conversation with a sincere thanks for his willingness to be present and attentive. And to say that his doing so met my need for mutual respect. 

However, perhaps he's unable or unwilling to abide with that agreement. So if Rob continues to interrupt and bring the subject back to himself, then I might end the conversation this way.” He says, “‘ Rob. I'm interrupting again, only to say that I'm tired and I want to talk to other people right now. I'm disappointed that my need to be heard, like I wanted, wasn't met. 

And I noticed I was getting fidgety and frustrated when you continued to talk about yourself, my relationship with you is important. And I'd like to talk to you about this some more at some point.’ Me, now internally formulating a request, I'm hesitant to ask him if he'd be willing to tell me what he heard me say fearing that he would be defensive and would eat up another five minutes about himself.” And that is absolutely the case. So that's why I, again, I love this concept of nonviolent communication, but more from just a standpoint of awareness, as you are waking up to the narcissism around you, I think it's important to recognize when someone is communicating at you violently, because they have put a judgment onto an observation about you to manage their anxiety or their experience. They can't make room that you also have an experience. So then you are being violently communicated with, and you have to defend yourself. Now in nonviolent communication, as the listener you're now encouraged to separate your judgment, he's a narcissist, from the actual observation, he will not stop talking about himself. He doesn't ask me about anything. And, he just will continue on and on and on. And the observation, he will also tell me I'm wrong. He will also cut me off. So those are all observations. So the judgment is that he's a narcissist. I appreciate where this is going, because then, what nonviolent communication says is once I recognize that now I have to acknowledge the fact that this is not helpful, it's not reciprocal. It's not something that I am interested in continuing with. 

The part that I struggle with that I think there maybe needs to be a whole other branch of in this world of nonviolent communication with narcissists, is that just becomes more data for me. It's more research. It's more of what will eventually play into the rule outs of whether or not this is a healthy relationship. 

Because then if I express exactly the way that Tim wrote in this email that, hey, I have been listening and I would also like to be listened to. Then I feel like we're going to watch the narcissist, then take great offense because, go back to some of the stuff that I've talked about in earlier episodes. Narcissism comes from a place of severe childhood wounding, abandonment, neglect, emotional abuse, or lack of validation. So when you disagree with the narcissist, it can literally be just saying, hey, you had said you were going to do this a minute ago and you didn't.

When you do that, and I go back to the article by Eleanor Greenberg, she talks about “whole object relations, the capacity to see oneself and others in stable and integrated ways and acknowledge both a person's good and bad qualities and object constancy, the ability to maintain a positive, emotional connection to somebody that you like while you're angry, hurt, frustrated, or disappointed by her behavior.” So without these things, without whole object relations and without object constancy, people on the narcissistic spectrum can only see themselves and other people in one of two ways. And this is, we were alluding to this earlier, all or nothing, black or white. They see the people as special, unique, omnipotent, perfect, and entitled to what she calls “high status”. “Or they're defective, worthless, garbage, low status. This means that the person struggling with narcissistic issues cannot hold onto his or her good opinion and good feelings about someone once he or she notices the other person has a flaw.” The other person goes from being special and put on a pedestal, which is where I think in this example of the email Tim's reading is where the person is just listening to the narcissist. So at that point, now the narcissist feels like this is good. We've got a good thing happening here. We're vibing. We're having conversations. Not reciprocal conversations, not back and forth conversations, not empathetic conversations, but this person is listening to me and they are nodding their head and they are smiling and they're not leaving. They're not running away. 

This is good. We got a thing. But then if they notice that the other person has a flaw, the person goes from being special and put on a pedestal to being devalued as nothing special. Now, what can that flaw be? Eleanor says, “Narcissists often seesaw back and forth between these things, whole object relations and object constancy. So when they're feeling good about you or more accurately”, and here we go, “you are making them feel good about themselves, then they see you as special.” We're vibing. We got a good thing going on, I feel like we have a connection. Then you do something that they do not like, such as say no to a request. Or dare I make a request myself. I would love a mutually reciprocal conversation. Suddenly you are now all bad and worthless. 

Now later you might do something that makes them feel good again. And they're back to seeing you as special. But when you say no to a request or when you make your own request, here's where the narcissist, their core, their core is shame. Because shame happens in our childhood, shame is a default mechanism. Unfortunately. 

Unfortunately, this goes to our abandonment and our attachment issues. And I know this is a. silly example, but,  if I'm six years old and I want a pony for my birthday and we live in an apartment. I'm six years old, I don't even know what that means to live in an apartment. I just want to pony. 

And the whole world is all, I see things through my lens and I lack empathy. Again, I'm six. So I want a pony, so my parents don't have a pony in the kitchen on my birthday, they don't like me. It's not that we're in an apartment that we can't afford a pony. I don't know what that is, you know, but as if I'm six, I wanted a pony. You did not deliver the pony. 

It can't be because of anything else. Because I don't even know what that means. Anything else? It means that something must be wrong with me. You don't care about me. And so shame, guilt, guilt says you did something bad. Shame says you are bad. So shame is where we default to, especially when we had an unhealthy childhood. 

Or, we did not have a secure attachment in childhood, so then we were continually trying to seek this validation. We wanted external validation and if we didn't get it, it must be because something is wrong with us. We are damaged. We are bad. So when you go back into the scenario of saying no to the narcissist request or expressing your own, then they immediately default to criticism and shame. So therefore, if you are saying, hey, I would like something else in our relationship. Or if I disagree with you, then they immediately think I'm a bad husband and a bad father. Now I will lash out and defend my fragile ego, whole object relations. I will go whole object relations on you. 

And in that scenario, you are now all bad. I am taking my ball and I'm leaving. That's it. We're done, game over. Now five minutes later, Mr. And Mrs. pathologically kind person comes back and says, hey, I'm sorry. Are we cool? Well now they're saying yeah, actually. Yeah, we're good. 

And I call that the, do you want to go ride bikes? So the narcissist can have defended their fragile ego, through shutdown, through anger, through gaslighting, through, I mean, tirades, calling you the most horrific names, but then five minutes later, do you want to go ride bikes? Hey, what are we doing for dinner? 

And literally he just called me, you know, think of your worst name that you'd never want to hear. So that can be so difficult because that emotional seesaw back and forth to somebody that does have empathy and does have concern, it can break your heart and it can break your will and it can break your spirit. It can put you in this defensive place where again, I'm being attacked. It's violent communication. 

So, let me finish up with this email because I really, I hope you can see why I appreciate this email so much. Back to the dialogue. So the person, I believe it's Tim then says, “If he is internally formulating his request,” and he says, I'm hesitant to ask him if he'd be willing to tell me what he heard me say, fearing he'd be defensive and would eat up another five minutes about himself. But then here we go. Tim says, “Request. ‘So would you be willing to exchange emails now and then make an arrangement to talk by phone next week?’ And then Rob says, ‘Yeah, but I wish you weren't so sensitive about being heard. It's kind of needy, you know.’

Me. ‘Okay. I think I understand what you're saying and Rob and I hope we can discuss that more when we talk next week. Okay?’ Rob, ‘Uh, yeah, sure.’” And so then Tim goes on to say, before he makes the phone call, he would do a preparatory check-in with himself. “What's my motivation for connection, connecting with Rob? What would I like in the outcome? Empathy for Rob? What needs is he trying to meet in his behavior with me in dominating the conversation? But more importantly, empathy for myself. What needs am I hoping to meet in a relationship with Rob? Is that even realistic? Is it possible?” Because if Rob isn't interested or available, or I would then add in there or capable, and bless his heart, for that kind of a relationship, then I need to get those needs met elsewhere. I don't need to keep continuing to beat my head against the wall to say, can you love me now? Instead, because that will cause me to feel unloved or unlovable or broken or what's wrong with me. And I will go to my own shame cave. 

Because here's the deal. Nothing is wrong with you. It is absolutely human and normal and okay to want a mutually reciprocal relationship where we both feel heard and understood and seen. And so that's why I feel like this concept of nonviolent communication, I hope it starts to resonate and it starts to make sense. And it's just yet another piece of a puzzle. 

That ,yeah, you can take this tool and use it beautifully. Your son doesn't do his homework instead of me saying he's probably lazy. It's like, oh man, observation. And the judgment I'm going to put on there is going to now put him in a defensive stance. Hey champ, tell me more about what's going on with your homework. 

And I can listen and I can be there and I can start to change the way I communicate with others. If someone is communicating with you and they're letting you know what they know about you as if they know you better. Violence, how dare they? . It's ridiculous. And that isn't something that you need to try to figure out a way to get them to understand that it's ridiculous, because if you are two adult human beings that have been in a relationship for quite a while now, then that may be the air that they breathe and it's because of their own experiences that they've had. So that's where again, I'm saying, oh, it gives me great empathy for that person, because I want people to wake up to their own narcissism and their own narcissistic traits and tendencies and their emotional immaturity. 

Because let me just end by painting a picture that I understand doesn't even make sense for so many people, because I don't think many people, if any, had a really healthy relationship modeled in their childhood, just because our parents didn't know what they didn't know. So we're really slowly starting to change a dynamic, which is all the more important that we need to do what's best for ourselves, so we can show up better for our kids so we can continue to help change the dynamics or what it feels like to be in a relationship. 

That it doesn't mean I have to continually try to figure out how we can get this person to want to know me and to want to be with me. I need to just be and do and be the best version of myself and that's okay. And the more I do that, if I watch my partner beside me, make judgements about it. Oh, you think you are, or I liked you better when. Then that is them trying to manage their own insecurities, their own anxiety. And that is emotionally stunting and it's emotionally unhealthy and it's emotionally abusive. 

Because the things that we all don't know that we don't know, is that part of the maturation process of growing up and getting into relationships is an amazing opportunity to now recognize that even if we met and we were emotionally immature, that as we grow together and as we go through experiences together, and as we have kids together, and as we go through financial setbacks and losses, and celebrations, deaths, moves, and all of these changes, of course we're going to have different experiences. So instead of me trying to manage my partner's experience so that it will make me feel more in control, I need to start to learn how to sit with some discomfort. I need to learn how to live in a world that has some tension and not be so afraid it's going to grow to contention, because tension is where some real growth occurs. Now, if it's continually going to contention, you need to start making a plan to get out because that is going to cause you a tremendous amount of emotional abuse and damage.

And eventually your blood pressure is going to rise. You're gonna blow out your adrenal system. You're going to stop producing cortisol. You're going to get a flat affect. Your body is going to have a conversion disorder. Suddenly, you’re going to have back pain or you're going to have irritable bowel syndrome. Or you’re going to have Crohn's disease or, you know, all these things that your body's going to say, I don't know what else to do to get your attention, but every time you go back in there trying to make sense of this thing, that makes absolutely no sense, it makes you worse and your brain is saying, this is not the way to live. And I'm a brain, I want to live forever. So I would really rather you not do this. 

If you need help, you're on the right path and it is a path of awakening and growth. And unfortunately it has a slow moving ship. I know it is. You go from, I don't know what I don't know. To now, I'm learning about things I can do, but unfortunately it's still gonna be really hard to do them and know that that is normal. 

And that's a really tough place to be for a while, but know that you're in the right place. And then slowly. So you go from, I didn't know what I didn't know to now, I know, and I'm starting to understand more, but I'm still unable to do. To now, I know, I understand quite a bit more and I'm starting to do, and unfortunately, I'm going to get more pushback. 

Because I'm now starting to change the dynamic of the relationship, which is going to cause my emotionally mature partner to have more anxiety, more stress. And they want to manage that by controlling you and your narrative to make them feel better about themselves. So that's a difficult place to be as well, but eventually you start to learn, oh my gosh, I am okay. I am lovable. I am of worth, I have unique gifts and talents and abilities. And the more I step into those, then either that person that I'm in the relationship with can then say, oh my gosh, this is amazing and incredible, or I need to just know that this is amazing and incredible. And if they don't want to participate anymore in the relationship, then that's not on me because I am now becoming the best version of me, which is going to help change the world. And it's going to help change the dynamic of what the future of my kids' lives will be in the relationships that they see. 

And over time, what it feels like to be you is this incredible dynamic, interdependent differentiated person with a unique set of gifts and talents and skills. And all of a sudden, you radiate, you don't waste emotional calories trying to figure out how can I get this person to love me? You love yourself. And it is not from an arrogant standpoint. It is a healthy ego because you've done the work and that light will shine and it will lift others around you. 

And if there are others that feel insecure because of that light shining, I wanted to say screw them, but then that didn't really play into the whole motivational speech there that I was saying. But in essence, that's kind of where I'm going. No, bless their heart because that's no longer your burden. Thanks for joining me today. If you like what you hear, feel free to pass this along to somebody that you think might be in need. 

And if you're still listening, first of all, thank you. And if you do, I don't like making these pleas, I feel a little bit needy or that sort of thing, but the more that you do review the podcast wherever you listen to it, or the more that you rate it, it really does start to get into the algorithm, I guess, as the kids say, and with this one in particular, I love doing podcasts. I love when the Virtual Couch is growing and people share it. 

But this Waking Up to Narcissism one is one that people are just finding because they start to Google things. And so I feel like I recognize even more so I think that algorithm is important because there are going to be people that are going to be down. And the first thing they're going to do is start searching. 

And so they need to start finding tools and resources. So if you could rate and review and all those things, it will help get this podcast out into the algorithm and then we can help more people. Have a great week. And I will see you next time on Waking Up to Narcissism

People in relationships with narcissists often find themselves in a constant state of “reading the room” or “walking on eggshells” in hopes of navigating the large number of hidden, emotional landmines. But one wrong step and a landmine explodes, leaving a trail of destruction to the self-esteem of the narcissist’s victims. Today Tony sheds light on the reasons behind the black or white, all or nothing thinking, a concept called “object constancy.” Tony refers to the article “The truth about narcissistic personality disorder” by Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201708/the-truth-about-narcissistic-personality-disorder You can read more about the wonderful work that Elinor has done by visiting her website here www.elinorgreenberg.com

Please find out more about Tony's Magnetic Marriage program by contacting him throughhttp://tonyoverbay.com or by visiting http://tonyoverbay.com/magnetic.

With the continuing "sheltering" rules spreading across the country, PLEASE do not think 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 mental health a priority, http://betterhelp.com/virtualcouch offers affordable counseling, and they even have sliding scale options if your budget is tight.

You can learn more about Tony's pornography recovery program, The Path Back, by visitinghttp://pathbackrecovery.com And visithttp://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 herehttps://descript.com?lmref=v95myQ

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

[00:00:12] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode nine of Waking Up to narcissism, I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, host of the Virtual Couch podcast, and welcome to people that are watching on YouTube. You can go find the virtual couch channel on YouTube if you would like, and I realize I'm wearing a loud shirt when it comes to the camera, so hopefully the focus won't go in and out too much. But I want to continue to just thank you. I cannot thank you enough for the feedback and I'm reading them. I apologize that I can't get back to everybody at this point, but they're there because of the feedback, because of the numbers of downloads and the support of the show. There's there's some cool changes that are coming and that'll be. We'll talk more about that in the next two or three weeks, but you can go to Tony over the contact form there and please continue to send me examples. Those are going to be used in different ways in the future. And also your questions. There are I have guests lined up. I've got so much, but the feedback has just been again overwhelming to the point where I just want to get some of this content out and we'll settle in. We'll find our stride. There's some amazing guests to have on people that are in it, in the trenches, and I think that'll be pretty powerful too, because a lot of the feedback that I'm receiving is from people that just feel heard.

[00:01:26] They feel heard, they feel seen, they feel understood for sometimes the first time. But I want to get to the content today because if you we're going to, we're going to build a little bit on my episode a couple of weeks ago talking about the waking up, the narcissism in general, that you are possibly the person who is waking up to the narcissism of a spouse or somebody in your life, or you're maybe starting to wake up to your own narcissistic traits or tendencies. And I hope that that was pretty clear in an episode where I talked about narcissistic personality disorder versus narcissistic traits and tendencies. And what I love about the comments that I've been receiving are from people that are saying, OK, hold up, maybe this is me, maybe I have some of these challenges and and so a little bit of that and then a lot of people that are saying, I finally don't feel crazy. I don't feel like I am the only one that's going through what I'm going through in my relationships. But today we're going to go deep, we're going to go really deep. There's an article, there's two articles that I hope to get time to. I might. This might end up being a two part episode, but there's an article by Eleanor Greenberg, PhD, and it's from Psychology Today, and I'll have the links to the articles that I refer to today in the show notes.

[00:02:36] But it's the article is simply called The Truth About Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and the subheading is what therapists know about narcissism that you need to know. And it's it's significant, too, because this was posted four years ago in August of twenty seventeen. And the reason I say that is it feels like narcissism. The phrase the term is in the zeitgeist. It's what people are talking about. A lot and a lot of people have asked, Is this something that is on the rise or are we just talking about it more? And I think there's a little bit of both, but I just this makes so much sense because it was around this time frame where I felt like all of a sudden I have this confirmation bias, and I think my wife would joke that, well, do you think everybody is a narcissist? And I said, Well, it feels that way at times. But then we go on to learn more about these narcissistic traits and tendencies, but it just has been talked about so much. So if you're new to this show on my Virtual Couch podcast, which is pushing three hundred episodes now and five years, I like to think that I don't just want to throw out pop psychology or just my thoughts or ideas. I've done a little bit of that here on waking up the narcissism, and I'll always let you know if this is.

[00:03:45] This is my unscientific, anecdotal data from 15 20 years of being a therapist or if there's some research, or if I'm referring to another article. And then a lot of times, I think the kids these days call it reaction videos, or I will be reacting somewhat or reading an article that hopefully I want you to be able to go. Read this yourself. And there's the articles are based off of good old, evidence based data, and then I'll try to throw my own spin or my own flair on this as well. So I'm going to read a lot from this article, and I'll throw some comments in here. But Eleanor starts by saying every once in a while, a new diagnostic label emerges into the mass consciousness and people start to use it. And very good point. Misuse it as a synonym for bad behavior. And she said this year's label so again, go back to twenty seventeen. She said this year's label seems to be nursing narcissist, and so she goes into what I went into an episode or two ago of actual narcissistic personality disorder, but she doesn't lay it out just from the definition from the diagnostic and statistical manual of diagnoses that therapists use. She said narcissistic personality disorder is the name for a series of coping strategies that began as an adaptation to a childhood family situation that left the person with unstable self-esteem, the inability to regulate their self-esteem without external validation.

[00:04:59] Boy, we're going to talk about that. This need for external validation and low empathy. And, she said, is with all of the major categories of personality disorders, which are borderline narcissistic and schizoid people with. Narcissistic personality disorder also lack whole object relations and object constancy, and that might sound a little bit like psychobabble, but I first wanted on this episode, I have another article where I talk about object constancy because it's it's pretty fascinating when you learn what this term means and then how it relates to narcissistic tendencies, traits or personality disorder. So she talks about a whole object relations that she said this is the capacity to see oneself and others in a stable and integrated way that acknowledges both the person's good and bad qualities. So that's whole object relations and an object constancy, which we could do an entire episode on that itself. This is the ability to maintain a positive emotional connection with somebody that you like while you're angry or hurt or frustrated or disappointed by his or her behavior. So you can maybe see where we're going to go a little bit today. If you have a narcissist in your midst or if you sometimes feel yourself like this, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde pull that that's that's what object constancy is. Can you be frustrated or angry with someone and then still maintain this connection or love for them? And so I so, so often hear this yo yo effect, this boy.

[00:06:28] One minute he's telling me, literally using the most foul language, and then five minutes later, he says, Hey, so what do you want for dinner? And when I'm talking with people in my office, I often talk about, that's what it feels like. You're arguing with the 10 year old boy and or I might be given too much credit in those moments. And then ten minutes later, I call it the Hey, do you want to go ride bikes theory where you're feeling like, Wait, you just eviscerated me emotionally, verbally told me all these things. But now you want to go ride bikes you metaphorically or you you want to go get dinner or what you want to watch on TV where you're sitting there thinking, I'm kind of crushed and devastated that the person I care about just called me these horrific names. And that's that's that struggle with object constancy. Eleanor says without a whole object relations and object constancy, people with narcissistic personality disorder can only see themselves in other people. So that alone is significant. They can only see themselves in other people. One of two ways either they are a special, unique, omnipotent, perfect and entitled high status, or they are defective, worthless, and she says, garbage, which is low status. So this means that that person is struggling with these narcissistic tendencies or traits can't hold on to his or her good opinion and good feelings about somebody.

[00:07:43] Once he or she notices, the other person has a flaw that the other person goes from being special and put on a pedestal to being devalued as nothing special. So when they lack this object constancy, there's this constant battle, this back and forth. Eleanor calls it the seesaw back and forth between these two of is someone special, unique, omnipotent, or are they this low status meaning? Are they defective and worthless? And then they are trying to see themselves in relation to that other person. So she said, while they're feeling good about you or more accurately, you are making them feel good about themselves. They see you as special because they are special. Everyone around them is special. This is the best. This is the the best person I've ever met. We had the connection like I've never had. This is the best restaurant I've ever been to. This is the best show I have ever seen. And there's someone was telling me about they know they just started to grate on them when somebody said this was the best burrito I have ever had in my entire life. Until we find the next best burrito we've ever had in my entire life. But it's not about the burrito, it's about how special they felt in that moment or how they felt that you had. You made them feel special or they were they had this elevated status, this high status.

[00:08:55] So then therefore everything it's this all or nothing, this black or white, this Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, because there isn't this object constancy. So then you do something like, say, no, it's one of their requests. Suddenly, now you are all bad or worthless. And then later on, you might do something that makes them feel good again, and they're back to seeing you as special. So I feel like this is I hear this in my office often, and I've even experienced this when I've worked with couples where one of the partners was on the very high side of narcissistic tendencies, traits or full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. And I am all of a sudden the greatest therapist that has ever lived. No one has ever told them the things, and it's because they have felt heard or understood. They felt special. Kind of a unique example of this at one point. And this, I mean, I always want to be as authentic and open as I can be. I felt like I was well into my practice. This was just a few years ago. I can literally think of the person that that I had this aha moment with. But they were, we're talking narcissistic personality disorder. I was working with them as as a couple. They wanted an individual session and I bring them in and they are telling me all these things. Well, hey, only I can do this because she keeps doing this and this and this.

[00:10:07] And it's clearly I'm aware that this person will not take ownership. Accountability of anything, literally anything. And so I'm what I mean, if I say, well, yeah, but you need to understand this, then we're just in this psychological reactants battle again, psychological reactants the instant negative reaction of being told what to do. It is not like this person is going to say, Oh, wow, I hadn't thought of that. They're going to say, Oh no, I've done that or I've tried that, or you don't understand. So rather than do that, I'm empathizing with them. I'm validating them because I am hearing them and I'm understanding them. So if they are saying, Look, I've done all I can do, she she has changed and we know from earlier episodes that what that means is she is now having her own opinion. She is now standing up for herself and she is not acquiescing to my greatness. She is not telling me that I am right and giving in to everything that I need. So all of a sudden now she has become difficult and he doesn't know if he can do this anymore. So then I simply say, Well, that sounds. It sounds really hard. And if you feel like that's all you can do or you've done all you can, then yeah, I can understand why you are. You're pretty frustrated. So that person then goes on and relates to his spouse that Tony agrees with me.

[00:11:14] He he really thinks that we both think you're you're crazy. And we both think that there's nothing I can do. So they cannot sit in their own sense of self. They have to then say external validation. Even this therapist agrees. And this is where you can see the layers of narcissism and how difficult it can be. Because going back to the scenario I'm painting for you, I did not say any of that. But when the person actually feels validated, then they mistake validation for agreeing. So if someone because they're so used to people saying, Yeah, but or you don't understand or and then finally, people just giving in and just saying, OK, sure, yeah, whatever you think, which then elevates their status, they feel like they were right. That is why they feel right about so many things. And then if anybody finally does to say, Huh, OK, that's interesting, that would be hard. Then they say, and they agree with me as well. So it's such this difficult dance with the narcissism wanting to not try to change them. Give them this aha moment or epiphany, because we talked about in episode one. That's one of my five rules of interacting or trying to save your sanity with someone in a narcissistic relationship is you have to realize there is no aha moment or anything you can say that will cause them to have the epiphany. So when we finally drop the rope of the tug of war, of trying to say what you don't understand is or OK, but last time you said this or when you just realize this isn't helpful or productive, unfortunately, it then also causes them to feel like they are right.

[00:12:42] But the fascinating thing is they're going to feel right regardless, because gaslighting comes as this childhood defense mechanism, it's it's in the air they breathe. And so when they continually are going to flip things to make them right or flip things to make you feel less than then, does it truly matter whether or not you try to engage in battle and try to prove them wrong? Or if you just have acceptance and say, OK, I didn't realize that whatever they're saying and then knowing that they are going to then say, See you think I'm right again? My point being, if they are going to feel right regardless, now this becomes about you and your sanity of you getting out of unproductive conversations, getting your PhD and gaslighting, setting healthy boundaries. When you say this, I will leave the room. So Eleanor talks about normal versus pathological narcissism. So this goes also into a little bit of what we talked about a couple of weeks ago with the narcissistic traits, tendencies, and I really feel like she she has some concepts here that I haven't really covered before, so I like this, she says. Unfortunately, in the English language, the word narcissism has come to mean two entirely different things, depending on whether it's being used formally as a diagnosis, as a narcissistic personality disorder or informally as a synonym for positive self-regard.

[00:13:52] She says I'm often asked isn't a little bit of narcissism healthy and normal? And she said, I'd like to clarify that distinction before she goes on. And it is such a good question because I will often hear and this is again what I'm trying to convey in some of these recordings is that we we all have these narcissistic traits and tendencies. But even you can sense my hesitation and even saying that because I know the audience that I'm speaking to has such a strong, visceral, emotional negative reaction to even the word narcissism, which I absolutely understand and agree. And that's why I tried to lay out the narcissistic traits or tendencies. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about when we view things as criticism, then our own brain goes to this protective place where we feel like we are being criticized when someone is disagreeing or trying to point out what they think are our faults and again, how adorable that they feel like they know what is best for us. But our brain goes into protective mode because we are so afraid of going into this shame cycle. This shame spiral remembering that shame is very different from guilt. Guilt is I can feel bad about a situation, but then shame is I feel horrible and bad about who I am as a person.

[00:15:04] So guilt can say I feel bad that I forgot someone's birthday. Shame can say because I'm a horrible person. And. No one will ever love you. So we don't. Shame is good for nothing, absolutely nothing I often talk about with my recovery work. I've got an online pornography recovery program called The Path Back, and I say that in working with individuals, I think I'm over 16 hundred where shame is a component of recovery at all. The shame pieces is just not. There's nothing healthy about that guilt. Guilt can be a stop sign at times, man. I feel bad that I forgot somebody's birthday. I probably need to do a little better job of putting reminders in my phone or being a little more engaged and trying to follow up on people that I care about. That can come from guilt. But shame, that is that's that is not a positive thing at all. I think I get my point, but when we are trying to criticize, we do anything to defend our ego because of this fear of going into this shame cycle. So in defending our ego, then that's often where we use unhealthy or immature ways to defend that ego, such as withdrawal, such as anger, such as agreeance or in the case of some of the narcissistic traits and tendencies, the gaslighting of Oh no, no, no, that's not what I meant, or you don't even get it, or I can't believe you even said that.

[00:16:19] And so the as we grow into mature adults and we're trying to become differentiated, differentiated again as maintaining this autonomy and still having a relationship with somebody, meaning that we recognize that we literally are the only version of us that's ever walked the face of the Earth. So we have our thoughts, feelings and opinions because we're a human being. And then when you really start to stand in that confidence or understanding that this is who I am and as we grow and mature and we are aware that sometimes we are seeking this external validation. So we're handing the keys to our emotions over to another human being. And if that human being happens to be somebody that is is having this object permanence or if they are struggles with object permanence or object constancy and they don't feel good about themselves. And you just said, what do you think about me then? Now they want to take this one up position, so they will then take that opportunity to put you down. And so I've worked with a lot of clients that have talked about that feels literally like betrayal, where this is the person that I'm that I care about, that we're supposed to figure out problems together. We're supposed to grow old together. And when I hand them my emotions and say, What do you think about this? It's as if they take that those emotions and then crumple them up in their hands and throw them down on the ground and stomp on them.

[00:17:34] So how would one not feel less than? And then I started to get a little bit fired up because this is a how dare you someone that you are in a relationship, treat you that way and then leave you feeling like less than when. Now we know when we're talking about this object constancy that in that moment they just see this as a position to go one up to make themselves feel better, which then is coming from this place of low empathy or no empathy because of their own childhood wounding, of not seeing that model or having those things happen to them. And so I hope that made sense as I laid that out. So she said that she's the clarifying this distinction between normal and pathological narcissism. She says normal healthy narcissism, which again, sounds like an oxymoron. I know it does. But she said this is a realistic sense of positive self regard that is based on the person's actual accomplishments. It's a relatively stable thing because the person is assimilated into their self-image, the successes that came as a result of their actual hard work to overcome real life obstacles because it's based on real achievements. Normal healthy narcissism is relatively impervious to the minor slights and setbacks that we all experience as we go through life. Normal narcissism, she says, causes us to care about ourselves, do things that are in our self interest and associated with genuine self respect.

[00:18:49] But that does not mean that that is a so I must put someone else down. And I remember going to a training long ago, actually, I had a client talking about this yesterday, and it was I love this conversation, but we were talking about the concept of ego. And a lot of times we we are afraid of the sphere of pride or this fear of saying, no, I really do feel like I'm good at this, or I feel like this is maybe something that I have been put on the Earth to do. This is my passion. This is my mission. This is my calling because we fear this pride that other people are going to say, Well, you think you're pretty special, don't you? But there's a healthy version of Ego and this training I went to long ago, I remember I will never forget this, but the person talked about that if there are people throughout history that had they not had a healthy sense of self or ego that they would not have put themselves in positions to change the world. And they gave this list of Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Martin Luther King. I mean, there are so many people that had they not been confident and been able to embrace their sense of self, which then can come across to others as, Oh, you think that you are special or better than? But when it is based off of real, tangible things that that you feel are are part of who you are that you found your calling or your passion, then that is a healthy sense of self and.

[00:20:10] You are stepping into your ego to be able to benefit others, and this is where I just love any concept that has to do with letting your light so shine that you will lift others around you. As a matter of fact, I have thought about many times talking about my favorite poem in the world, which is the Marianne Williamson poem, and I am looking it up right now because I was not planning on saying this, but I absolutely love this poem and this is me stalling as I am. Here it is. But it's a it's our deepest fear. And if you haven't heard this poem, you've maybe heard it over and over. But listen to this because this is think about this from a term a standpoint of stepping into one's sense of self or owning one's sense of self or self confidence, but yet not to the desire to put others down. Marianne Williamson said Pop up on my computer. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fears that we are powerful beyond measure. She says it's our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented or fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God and you're playing small does not serve the world.

[00:21:17] There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that's within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our light shine, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. And as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. I love everything about that poem because if you break it down from a I want my children to feel I can find their sense of self and sense of purpose, and that when we are saying, Oh, don't don't say that or don't be, you need to be humble and you need to, I don't know, not not feel prideful that I understand where that comes from, when it is this false sense of self or false pride, or doing it to the detriment of someone of putting someone else down. But when we can help lift somebody up and really find their passion, then they literally do let their light so shine that it lifts others around them. And this phrase here's the healthy sense of ego, as there's nothing enlightened about us shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

[00:22:20] And when she says again, as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. When I am doing couples therapy, I want people so desperately to realize that the codependent and enmeshment that is what happens when we are all getting together with somebody else, just trying to put out our best self and not say anything that will ruffle the other person's feathers. And I understand that. But then we want the goal is to be with another human being and then edify each other. We are designed to deal with emotion in concert with another human being, but it is not from I can't believe you think that you shouldn't think that you don't get it. It's from a tell me more. What's that like for you? Because you're two independent people in the relationship. You are two people with your own experiences so that in a healthy way will breed curiosity. And when you recognize that you both have two different experiences and you can share those and not from a place of wanting to put the other person down, then that that is when you just let your light so shine that others around you are lifted up. And it isn't a situation where people are. They walk into the room and they have to read the room. Oh, it's bad man, or what's mom of two today? It's a man.

[00:23:25] I want to be around these people because they lift me up because of their positive energy, because they are finding out who they are and they are encouraging anyone around them to discover who they are as well. I'm on my soapbox. This is so that's that's what we're talking about normal, healthy narcissism that one can think of it as something that is inside of us pathological or defensive narcissism. She said this is a defense against feelings of inferiority and when we are young children, as I've laid out in previous episodes, I can understand when people feel less than because they are young children and they are egocentric and the world revolves around them, and they don't have an understanding of the plight of their caregiver. But that is this self-centered view of the child and then boy, bless their heart if they didn't have the modeling as a child to then go from self-centered to self-confident. See, this is where that self-confidence is. This is what that self-confidence looks like. It is not a self-confidence to put others down. It's a self-confidence to say, Oh my gosh, I'm finding my sense of self and my purpose in life. And if I can find another partner who is going to help me bring that out as I will help it bring them, bring it out with them, then we can we can change the world. And again, not in a change the world. Look at me how special I am, but as we are just stepping into our own sense of self, that it will lift the waters around us for everyone.

[00:24:40] Pathological defensive narcissism again, defense against feelings of inferiority. This person dons a mask of arrogant superiority and an attempt to convince the world that he or she is special. Inside the person feels very insecure about his or her actual self-worth, and the facade of superiority is so thin that it's like a helium balloon. One small pinprick will deflate it. So Eleanor said this makes the person hypersensitive to minor slights that someone with healthy narcissism would not even notice. It's kind of a fascinating trait, and I have found and this is where. You can start to see I still have such a fear of sounding like the narcissist that I have been or the ones that I work with that don't have the awareness, they aren't waking up to this narcissistic traits or tendencies. But when I hear that or when I read that phrase where it says minor slights that somebody with healthy narcissism would even notice as you become self-confident and as you become differentiated, meaning I'm going to maintain my autonomy. And then it really is a bless someone's heart who thinks that they can tell me how I'm supposed to think or feel or what I'm supposed to do. And it takes an intentional effort and work because when we laid our foot off the gas of this work that we're doing, our default is to go back to this wounded child who seeks validation from the world around them.

[00:25:52] So I find myself over the years when somebody is saying, I don't even know if I want to tell you this thing that I think about your podcast. And I understand that long ago, I probably would have felt like, Oh no, what are they going to say? They don't like it. Very true. Not a story. And I read one of these last week, actually, but at the beginning I would. I would say, Hey, here's who I am, and here's some stories from the week. And people would say there would be these reviews that would say, just skip the minute 12 and get to the point. Or he rambles too much or he goes on tangents, and I would still find this little this little pinprick of, oh, that's criticism. But then I would want to then respond with defense, saying, OK, well, when you have your podcast, you can skip right to the point. But this is my podcast. This is my my. This is the way I'm doing this, and that's OK. And so I still notice there's an IV. So oh my goodness, I appreciate the reviews. And if you have a second and you can go review wherever you listen to your podcasts rate and review because it is really fascinating. And it sounds like I'm see this list. It sounds like I'm begging for reviews, but it really is that people are saying it's a five or one because I feel like the ones are saying, Who does he think he is? He's the actual narcissist, blah blah blah.

[00:27:03] And the fives are saying, Man, I feel heard and understood, and you're relatable in those sort of things. But I got another one last week that said tangential rambles too much circles back on things. These are to get to the point. And then I thought, Oh, bless their heart, how do they know what my point was and how do they not know that I have been going off on tangents and circling back to things my entire life? That is who I am, and I feel confident that that is who I am. So that's OK. So that this pathological defense of narcissism, then major slights feel like criticism. And we've already talked about what criticism can do. Then we go to great lengths to defend our fragile egos. She also says the let's see narcissism instead. Someone with this type of defensive narcissism is easily wounded, frequently takes any form of disagreement as a serious criticism like we talked about and is likely to lash out and devalue anyone who they think is disagreeing with them. She says they are constantly on guard trying to protect their status. Pathological narcissism can be thought of as a protective armor that is on the outside of us. So Eleanor said, and I still agree with what I'm talking about narcissism in the article now.

[00:28:07] She says that she is thinking about pathological defensive, narcissistic strategies that people with narcissistic personality disorder developed to deal with the life that began as an adaptation to their childhood experience, not healthy internal self-regard. That's our goal healthy internal self-regard. So then, she says, why is why is defensive narcissism then unhealthy? She said having narcissistic personality disorder. So then I would add in there or traits or tendencies, or maybe high on this narcissistic spectrum. She said it is like going through life, always on the defensive. And man, I feel like you can probably sense that with the narcissist in your life. She said If you are narcissistic, your self-esteem is always on the line, and I hope you're seeing this abyss where we're going or how we're building this case here today, she said. You tend to feel insulted and criticized when no insult or criticism is intended. And in addition, you lack emotional empathy. Now please listen right here if you are the sensitive person, if you are the one that is listening to this because you finally feel heard and understood, but you keep circling back to wait a minute. Am I a narcissist? Because Tony just said that this is you feel insulted and criticized when no insult or criticism is intended. This is the thing where I say, if you just dropped you into a healthy relationship where you felt heard and understood and you were in this world of tell me more and oh my gosh, I want to know all about what your experience is, and there is no part of trying to put you down or tell you you're wrong consistently or there isn't this emotional dysregulation or weight.

[00:29:30] I thought you said this one minute and this another minute, then you would be a completely different person. Because when people have been in these cycles of emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, financial abuse, physical abuse, when they have been in these toxic, unhealthy narcissistic relationships, then yes, they may feel criticized. When then when their spouse says, I didn't mean to criticize you, you took it that way. I can't be in charge of how you feel. That sounds familiar. That that is not. I want you to. Not only tonight. I hope that as you hear things where I say that you feel insulted and criticized and no insult or criticism is intended that you recognize that now the more your understanding are waking up to the narcissism of the person in your life that now you're seeing no, there was an insult or a criticism because of their own lack of self regard of their own wounded childhood showing up here as an adult so they are criticizing or insulting because they don't have that object constancy. Because in this moment, because they feel bad, they need to put you down. You can even say how much you like doing something.

[00:30:33] And this is where that mimicking often comes in, where they're like, Oh yeah, I love doing that to me. I think I'm really good at it, because if you all of a sudden are this elevated status, then they don't have that consistency or that object constancy to be able to say, Oh man, you, you are so good at that you go and you do your thing because they now feel attacked. They feel on the defense, and you can quickly hear examples where people within all of a sudden will say, Man, well, I wish, I wish. I would have had that opportunity probably been really good at that, too. So now they just said, Oh no, I would have been better if I would have had more time or. Well, that's that's why I'm glad you can do that, and I hope you're grateful for the sacrifices that I have made so that you have been able to do that. And that is where instead of somebody just saying, Oh man, you are good at that, I love that you're doing that. Tell me about your journey of whatever that is. No, it can't be about that, because that is making it about the other person. That is the that would require the nurses to say, I'm curious and I want to know more about you. And they would have to check their ego at the door instead of defending their ego.

[00:31:33] Wait, if you're better than me, then I'm less than. And so that constant black or white up or down Dr. Jekyll or I so hope this is making sense. This is that stuff sometimes where I feel like, Oh my gosh, that makes so much sense, and I just want to share this with the world, but I worry that it maybe isn't coming across that way. She said that in when you're talking about this defense of narcissism and the unhealthiness of it says you don't feel any pain when you hurt other people or if you do, it is so much less than the average person feels. As a result, your sensitivity is all one way. She said you may attack someone else for the slightest misstep or even use the or for somebody using the wrong word while you know in your heart that the person could be dying in front of you. And all you want is you feel annoyed at that inconvenience of them dying in front of you. I have so many email examples of this concept of people that are literally broken legs on their deathbed, having babies, whatever it is and the narcissist in their life is annoyed because it is inconveniencing them. They. Who is going to, who's going to praise them, who's going to get their dinner, or they're not going to able to have sex with somebody for a while, whatever it is. What a what an inconvenience that you are having this baby.

[00:32:39] Oh, what an inconvenience that you now want to go. Or that I was going to go do something. And now you, you are going to affect my plans that I have so many examples of that, of the emails that have come in. So she said, all of this makes it hard for narcissist to sustain serious intimate relationships after the early stages of the relationship. Significance there because after that honeymoon period, after that love bombing, because she said they are continually trying to prove that they are superior because they are constantly defending their fragile egos. They are constantly in this world of everything is a criticism, and if someone else is is better than them, then that makes them worse. They can't have that object constancy in their lives. It's black or white. It's Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. And funny story about that. People bring up the doctor just like he's Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. And I just have to tell you one of the funniest things, and I know I'm not going to do this right now because because I think this is how funny it is. I don't know if anyone really ever knows which one is the good one, which one's the bad one, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. And so I love when somebody brings it up in a session because it's usually a pretty, pretty powerful moment where they will say, no, it's this black or white or on or off or all or nothing.

[00:33:42] It's like they're Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde. And I almost count down on my head three to one, and then they say, which one is the bad one? And I would say, I don't know, and I feel like I've looked it up a dozen times. So I think that one's kind of funny. So they're continually trying to prove that they're superior. They tend to misperceive and overreact to other people's behaviors. They are extremely self-centered. They lack empathy for other people's feelings, and they are willing to devalue and humiliate other people. I still remember one of the first women I ever worked with would continually talk about her soon to be nurse. Sadistic acts and just how he he would constantly talk about how I owned that person, meaning that I put them down, I put them in their place and showing trying to present to her now. Aren't you impressed because I have this one up position on everybody I put them down or people that are going to pick apart anything about somebody else because that puts them as superior, she says. Red flags for a narcissistic personality disorder. She said although diagnosis is best left to the mental health professionals, there are common signs of defensive pathological narcissism that the average person can learn to recognize. She said I think of these as red flags for narcissistic personality. These are really good.

[00:34:46] She says status consciousness narcissists make statements that show that they are extremely aware of status markers and frequently call attention to their own or other people's status. They may make comments such as Do you know how rich he is or every important person in the city will be at this charity party or this person is such an important person? And they say that I have to be there. Everybody will think I didn't get an invite. So this making statements to show extremely aware of status markers, I being completely honest again, I love everything about my job. I love being a therapist. A lot of times I will say that early on, as I started working more with this population of trying to, I want to help people. I want to work with the people that feel when they are starting to wake up to narcissism in their spouse or someone in their life. And again, as I've said in many of the episodes, they will read something that says, Don't finish this paragraph and leave the relationship whatever it is, and I understand it is not that easy. So as I started to say, OK, I want to be able to work with this population, these people, and then help them figure out what they can do to raise their emotional baselines and put them in a position where they can thrive, where they probably spent so many years of doing the opposite of thriving, of just being desperate to survive.

[00:35:53] And so then in order to get the people here on my couch or in my chair, I realized that my opening of my virtual couch podcast was a licensed marriage and family therapist certified my employment coach, a writer, a speaker, a husband of father of four ultra marathon runner. And so I would talk about often my accomplishments, which again, I feel like was saying, Hey, look at all the things I am doing, please validate me. But I feel like it also helps bring in people that if they have this status consciousness, that they don't want to just go see some guy that's going to sit back and with the patches on his elbows. And I think in olden days, the therapist is smoking a pipe or something, and he just continually says, Tell me how you feel about that, because it's fascinating to see that the status consciousness that narcissist often do want to say, Wait, I'm working with the best. This guy has a podcast. He isn't just a therapist, he runs or does all these sort of things. So. So it is. It is interesting because sometimes you do want to meet the person where they're at just so that you can start to have the conversation. She talks about hierarchical thinking. She said they place every person, every place and every object that catches their attention on a hierarchy from lowest to highest, according to some status markers that they value with regard to people.

[00:37:00] They tend to be deferential and super nice to the people that they consider above them, those that they consider below them, they look down on, or they mistreat or ignore or graciously condescend to treat well, depending on their mood. The examples they hear often are people and the way that they relate to, let's say, a waiter or waitress at a restaurant that I thought, this line is so good where she said those they consider below them, they look down on mistreat, ignore or graciously condescend to treat well, depending on their mood that oftentimes I've had people talk about in the love bombing stage how the person is a generous tipper, that they say so many nice things to the the waiter or waitress. And then when they continue to go on dates with the person or the married with the person, that over time they start to feel like the person is quite rude to waitstaff or that sort of thing. And often it's because, OK, this doesn't. They don't. Being nice to them doesn't serve my purpose any longer. Now we're back to this hierarchical thinking, and I want them to know that I am this elevated human being and that makes me feel better. She said they tend to get into dominance fights with people who are on approximately their own level and have trouble with the idea that anyone may be their love. That's probably a little bit dramatic, but when the narcissist then does want to battle me and try to say, What about this or you don't know this, or you're only saying that because you want money or you're only saying this and it does, it takes a lot of, I guess, that healthy version of the self-confidence or ego to stay present when somebody is on the attack and trying to devalue you because but it helps so much when you recognize they're trying to break me down or they're trying to devalue me to lift them up and then, oh, bless their heart that they feel like that's the way that you interact with human beings that you feel like.

[00:38:33] If you OK, you win, you win the argument. You get nothing. There's no trophy. You get the you may feel this temporary bump of superiority, but you have left just a path of decimation in your midst of then as you have felt better about yourself, how do your how does your spouse feel now? How do your kids feel now? They don't look at you and say, Oh my gosh, dad's amazing because he just eviscerated us with his words and he won. It doesn't work that way. So she said that back to this hierarchical thinking with regard to people, they tend to be differential super nice to those they consider above them. Ok, those they consider below them, they look down on mistreat, ignore, again, condescend, treat well, depending on their mood.

[00:39:08] These dominance fights happen, she says. They're hierarchical thinking and their emphasis on their status. Leave them to continually make comparisons about everything in these comparisons. One thing will be marked off is better, which is higher in the hierarchy. Again, I talked about earlier Best Burrito, Best Vacation, Best Show. Then the other. And she said they're likely to pepper their conversation with references to where people are with regard to their place on some hierarchy, such as I belong to a much exclusive club than they do or yeah, I mean, I've scored higher on my sats in that person. Did you know I found out that I went to a better college than they did? Or, yeah, you know, they drive a much older car than I do, and everything becomes this hierarchical, which is the opposite. They drive this car or in reality, are we even giving? Do we care about the car that they drive? She said to a narcissist. Nothing has inherent value aside from its status. Therefore, the value of anything and everything can and will change when its current status in the narcissist reference group changes. So something can be important. Somebody can. Let's take the car example. I remember at one point someone talking about their husband was obsessed with Teslas wanting to get a Tesla. They were going to get a Tesla, couldn't wait to get a Tesla, and then they realized that they couldn't afford a Tesla.

[00:40:16] So rather than say, Oh man, I thought I could afford one there, much more help. I want to say, how easy is that? How simple is that to say it's in essence taking accountability or ownership or saying, Oh my bad, I thought they weren't so expensive. But then instead, she said that Oh no. Now anyone that drove a Tesla was most likely one of the most the dumbest human beings on the planet because they could be using that money for this or this or this, where this person had literally been obsessed with it and telling everybody about it for over a year. But as soon as it wasn't, it didn't have value for them that they couldn't hold that status. Then they had to then make it the worst thing in the world. No object constancy, right? One mindedness true narcissist can only see things from their own perspective. This is similar to how very small children view the world. They can't understand how two people might have different yet equally valid points of view. And if they offer their view and you offer them a different one, they assume you were telling them they are wrong. Fascinating. And if they if you were telling them wrong, that is criticism. So they feel like a little kid that you are, then not only you're telling them wrong, but you are going to put them down and you are going to abandon them. And if you remember a couple of weeks ago, a couple of times throughout this podcast, I talked about what abandonment an attachment looks like, that abandonment is in our program and our DNA that if we are abandoned, abandonment equals death.

[00:41:34] That is why we come from the womb expressing ourselves to get our needs met and people meet our needs as a baby. But then as we grow into childhood, adolescence, young adult adulthood, we have to realize that when people don't meet our needs, it's not because we are broken. It's not because something's wrong with us. It's because people doing people, things imperfect people, imperfect world. And but when the narcissist is still stuck in this childhood adolescent state of mind, then if someone isn't meeting their needs, then they fear this abandonment to the point of they will do anything to get those needs met, even putting someone down or elevating themselves up. And again, it just starts to make more sense, which doesn't mean that it doesn't still hurt, or you don't still feel the emotions in those moments. So she said back in this, if they are offended, yeah, and you offer them a different view, they assume you're telling they're wrong. They're likely to react as if you are attacking them. Rather than you simply giving your opinion. They will project the source of the problem onto you. You are likely to hear statements like Why do you always have to disagree with everything that I say instead of saying, Tell me more about that.

[00:42:35] Tell me more about that is one of the most powerful phrases that one can say hypersensitivity to slights, he says. They're they're hypersensitive to feeling slighted or mistreated in any way. They assume that if they feel hurt, the other person is doing it on purpose and in their mind, they are always the innocent victim. And if the other person then must be the hostile perpetrator, she said, their refrain is, how could you do that to me? And she said, Fill in the blank with anything from restaurant hostess is giving them a less preferred table. So you saying something in public that they decided showed them in less than perfect light? If you make the joke about them with around your friends and all of a sudden you're going to hear about it, I can't believe you did that. But then if you say, OK, you are constantly making jokes about my hair or my teeth, my clothes, then they say, OK, well, that's different. You shouldn't be so sensitive, but I can't believe you just put me down. So that hypersensitivity to slights and in their mindset, they are always the innocent victim and the other person is the perpetrator. It is not me. It is you. It is always you. Just a disproportionate anger, she says. They get extremely mad at things that seem quite minor to most people, like waiting an extra 10 minutes for a table in a restaurant because again, it's a slight.

[00:43:34] It means that there is this hierarchy. It means they are less than in their mind. So then they feel like you are attacking them that you think that they are a horrible human being. She said their degree of fury and hurt will seem very disproportionate to the actual situation. For example, she said, Your new boyfriend wants to wear, wants you to wear a particularly sexy dress to the party where you will meet his friends. You forgot to get the dress from the cleaners plan to wear something else instead. Gets furious with you and start screaming and threatening you, I am not taking you to meet your friend, my friends, if you wear that she talks about extreme language and this is the part I think can be so hard because I see this in my office and this is again, I feel like this is the part that goes into that object constancy, that they can't maintain a relationship with someone when they feel slighted, when they feel less than. But then they go to these extreme sensitivity and then we'll just want to burn the village down behind them to put them in this elevated status. So she said, everything and everybody is either perfect, special the best or else they are the absolute worst. There's nothing in between and anyone that they are mad at automatically becomes the worst possible human being in the world, which then if you if they are mad at you at that moment, they are mad at you and you need to know how mad they are because they have to take that one up position.

[00:44:39] Because if they don't do that, then they feel like they they are not the special one. And if they're not the special one, then they may not exist. They may be abandoned and abandonment at their core equals death. She gave an example. She said Cheryl described her boyfriend, her last boyfriend, to her new boyfriend this way. He changed. I thought he was a good, decent person when I met him, but I was wrong. He was a disgusting, abusive, violent person. I should have had him arrested. She said that would be quite believable if it were not for the fact that Cheryl described her last three boyfriends and exactly the same way. So either Cheryl is the worst judge of character in the world, or she lacks whole object relations and switches from seeing the person as all good to all bad when she sees any flaws. And we're going to be doing a lot on this podcast in the not too distant future on co-parenting with narcissists or even just parenting in general, I posed a question in my group, my online group, private group for women in relationships with narcissistic men or people in their lives. And boy, the feedback has been pretty phenomenal about the co-parenting piece, and it really does feel like you often start.

[00:45:38] And as the marriage therapist, the best thing you can do. The best thing in the world you can do is if there is a divorce that you can still wish the best for your spouse. That's the mother or father of your children. And so you why would you not want to have a good relationship with them? But this object constancy, this when this thing hits, then does the personnel of a sudden have to view their ex as the worst human being? And I need to let everybody know, including the kids they need to understand because I am hurting. And that's one of those things where I feel like it. Just it doesn't. It's not helpful. It's not productive. It doesn't lead to the person ever feeling better about themselves, and it doesn't put the kids in a position where they thrive, because now they have this relationship where they are constantly feeling this stress in the home of the narcissistic parent and then they feel the exact opposite and the other. So now talk about the little kid. This is why kids that have been through trauma a lot when they're young, when they're older, you often hear refer to them as old souls y because they've had to interpret or navigate these complex situations young instead of this acceptance that this is where a relationship is. And we the relationship isn't going to work. So can we then pour into our kids the fact that they are OK, you know that we love each other.

[00:46:52] We just maybe weren't right for each other. And we want the we want mom and dad both want the other person to be happy. But the bottom line is you guys are awesome and we're going to make sure that and putting the other spouse down is the there is no part where that fits into the we want you guys to be awesome because that's going to make them feel less than the kids. Low empathy, they say, and do things to hurt other people without seeming to care about causing pain. Sometimes they're oblivious to other people's reactions because they're so focused on themselves. And if you point out that they said something that hurt you, they're likely either make light of it and it meaning that way you're too sensitive or they turn it around and attack you. Only somebody like you would think that was an insult. Or will you do this to me all the time? Now we're getting back into that, that gaslighting a couple more here. Cruel descriptions of people. Many narcissistic people use language. Other people will find cruel and inappropriate. They say things out loud that other people might think, but they keep themselves for fear of hurting someone. And this one, I have so many examples of these that just pop into my head. The one that Eleanor says is I can't believe somebody as fat as her is wearing that dress, or she thinks it makes her look good or that's the stupidest waiter I've ever had.

[00:47:55] You hear those things and people just go, Oh man, I can't believe they just said that. And but in that moment, hopefully, as you are seeing throughout this episode, that it becomes this Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, it becomes this lack of object constancy. It becomes this they must put themselves up and put somebody else down or else they are not special. They are not special. Then they fear this internal abandonment and abandonment equals death. Ok? This is my A.D.D. that just kicked in. I have been telling myself, I promise I will remember to talk about Betterhelp.com. I apologize. This is one hundred percent an ad, but there are costs involved with the podcast I keep thinking about. I've had a note here on my computer, but super quick if you are looking for counseling. If you are starting to hear things that even throughout this podcast, you realize, I need to get my sense of self. I need to discover who I am. I need to learn what healthy boundaries are. And you do not know a therapist in your area and therapists are hard to find right now because thank goodness the mental health stigma has been eroding over the years, and the worldwide pandemic has led to a lot of people now turning to needing help and even what I'm doing now with a lot.

[00:48:55] People is online therapy. Never thought I'd be doing that back in the day, but now it works. It really does. So if you go to Betterhelp.com virtual couch, you will get 10 percent off your first month's services with a real licensed therapist in your area, not even in your area, but licensed so typically licensed in your state. And the process is pretty easy online. The cool thing about doing something like online therapy, admittedly, is that if you don't have a vibe with your therapist, then you're not going to get very far. I was talking about this with my wife and my nephew, who is in grad school and starting to see clients. Just a fun story. But he was we were talking about just building that rapport and that there's some cool data that I've talked about on my virtual couch podcast where if you don't feel a connection with your therapist, then it doesn't matter what modality they use, you're not buying what they're selling. So you really need to feel that connection. Betterhelp.com If you don't feel a connection, really easy to just press a little button in your portal and say, next, it doesn't really say that, but it's that vibe. So Betterhelp.com virtual couch get 10 percent off your first month counseling, and let's get back to the show. So a couple of things left here. Cruel descriptions of people, she said. So we talked about that.

[00:50:01] Oh, that's what we talked about with the language that people use, but the inability to apologize or admit mistakes. Oh my goodness. Nurses construct a defensive facade in order to protect their shaky self-esteem, she says. They don't actually have stable enough self esteem to admit mistakes and apologize without feeling more shame than they can tolerate. That is so well, said Eleanor, as she put it that way. That and then the second part. So that's where they feel shame that awareness that they are so afraid of shame. And unfortunately, this isn't a thing where you can say, Hey, I learned today that you probably don't apologize because you are protecting your your ego from feeling shame, because shame is incredibly destructive. So I get it so you can say you're sorry. Even the person then hears that as criticism, and then they are protecting themselves from shame because you were telling them they were a horrible individual. So it is such a interesting problem or pattern, and this is why it is so hard, because what would somebody be doing in that scenario if they're violating my number five of the five rules of work with someone with narcissistic traits or tendencies? If you're doing that, you're trying to give them the AHA moment or the epiphany so that they will change. And you mean, well, I know you mean well, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way, and the person needs to come to this awareness that they need help.

[00:51:13] And a lot of times by you setting your boundaries, raising your emotional baseline, getting your PhD and gaslighting, getting out of unproductive conversations and realizing there isn't that thing you'll do or say that will cause that aha moment or the epiphany, then that is truly what will then put that distance and that distance. You will then be met with the phrases that we already know. Why are you pulling away from me? Why are you being so distant? You take everything too sensitive, all those things, and it's because you're starting to break the cycle or break the pattern. And then as you do that, I feel like you realize this is not a healthy relationship, not a viable relationship. And that is perhaps a time where they may then seek help. But even then, they may be going to help going to seek help for somebody to tell them how awesome they are and how bad you are for leaving. It is so difficult, and we're going to tackle this on a future episode, too. I feel like a couple of the main topics I get in questions are, again, the nurses change. How long do I wait? How long ago it last? And we'll start talking about that more in the coming weeks. So that inability to apologize for mistakes. So then she says that they also believe on a deep, sometimes unconscious level that if they admit that they are not as perfect as they pretend to be, the other person is going to take the admission as an opportunity to degrade them, humiliate them and I will add leave them.

[00:52:27] So instead of saying my bad and it can be that when you own up to your stuff, then the world continues to move on and it's not as scary as it feels. The problem is that if you are hearing this and you're the nice person, I'm sure that you are, you have been in a pattern of saying maybe it was my fault or my bad and hoping that then that will show them. See, I did it. But instead, oftentimes when you say my bad, I'll admit to that one. Then instead, they say, OK, what else? What else can you admit to? Now do you see how right I am and not a healthy relationship? And then she says, punch line. While narcissist are unique individuals, they usually have a number of things in common which boy? This podcast, I think, is bringing that out with the feedback I'm receiving because they share similar problems how to stabilize their shaky self esteem, how to get the admiration and validation that they crave, and how to deal with their extreme sensitivity to minor slights and criticisms. Excuse me, most of them use very similar coping strategies. She said. If you keep the above list in mind and the difference between normal and pathological narcissism, she says, you can become quite adept at recognizing the more commonly encountered narcissistic patterns.

[00:53:35] Amen. Eleanor Greenberg She's a gestalt therapy trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis and treatment of borderline narcissistic and schizoid adaptations. And you can find her at Eleanor Greenberg, but I think we'll wrap it up there. We're pushing an hour, and I think I initially wanted these to not be quite that long. But I hope you can see we had a lot to cover today, and I hope that you had some light bulbs go on. Some awareness and all that wonderful stuff. I would love to hear your questions if you are a woman who is in need of some additional support. Should we note, and I can put you, we can have you take a look at this private group for women in those relationships again, its relationships with the nurses in their life. We have people on there that it's their parent, it's their coworker, it's their kid, adult child, it's their spouse, it's their former spouse. It's there. There's a lot there, but boy people are starting to really speak the same language. So thank you so much for taking the time to listen. If you got a lot out of this episode, please feel free to forward it to somebody. If you or if you're a member in an online group yourself that deals with narcissism and it's not like I'm being so cheesy here, but it would literally be.

[00:54:38] It would be an honor if you posted about the podcast in those groups, because I'm not saying that from a I seek the admiration and validation of the world, but just reading the emails that come in every literally every day, people that finally feel heard or understood. And so that's the goal. I think I said this in earlier episodes, but there is no scarcity mindset by any, I hope any therapist that's working in this space because if you're working in the space, you know that people need to do a lot of research, they need to do their own digging. And it is such a process to wake up to their narcissism. And when people ask me, Well, how long is it, boy, I feel like I'm being dismissive when I say it takes as long as it takes. And what you're doing right now is what you need to be doing. And there is no what's wrong with me. Why didn't I get out faster? Why didn't I know sooner? Those aren't helpful thoughts. Bless your bless your heart for, you know, when we beat ourselves up, we have this belief that internally that someone will come and rescue us. But when we're beating ourselves up internally, it's ourselves that need to then come rescue us. And so that's what you're doing right now by finding out more information. So have an amazing week. Keep those questions coming, and I will see you next time on the Waking Up to the Narcissism podcast.

How certain are you about the facts of your experiences? Better yet, does it truly matter to be certain? Would you rather be right, or would you rather connect? Today Tony takes a look at certainty through the lens of 50 popular myths that many of us have grown up believing. Tony references the article "50 Well-Known 'Facts' That Are Actually Just Common Myths" https://bestlifeonline.com/common-myths/ and he references Dr. Robert Burton's book: On Being Certain - Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not https://www.amazon.com/Being-Certain-Believing-Right-Youre/dp/031254152X/ And if you're interested in hearing Tony speak in Utah Saturday, October 16th from 1 to 5 PM head to https://leadingsaints.org/tonyinutah for more information. Seating is limited.


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

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

[00:00:15] Come on in, take a seat.

[00:00:22] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and

[00:00:25] Eighty nine of the virtual couch, and I'm your host, Tony Overbay. I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, certified, mindful coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultra marathon runner and creator of the Path Back, an online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from the harmful effects of turned to pornography as a coping mechanism and go to Pathbackrecovery.com if you want to find out more. That group continues to grow and grow and its strength based and hold the shame and become the person you always wanted to be. That kind of that kind of a vibe. And yes, magnetic marriage course coming up soon. Go to Tonyoverbay.com and send me an email if you want to know more. And waking up the narcissism podcast is awesome and all those wonderful things, but I'm going to do a fun podcast today because we need a little bit of laughter. We need a little bit of levity. And the honest truth is, I'm also preparing for a big speaking event in Utah, which if you heard the bonus episode last week, I'm going to be there for the Saturday, Saturday, October 16, and you can go to leading Saints dot org slash Tony in Utah, I believe, and you can get tickets in that sort of thing, and I'm excited.

[00:01:32] I'm going to cover everything, everything that I can cover in four hours and bring your questions, and we're going to have a great time. So that is this Saturday. So in anticipation for that. I did not have a lot of time to prep for a podcast episode, but consistency. I am putting out an episode every week. That was what I wanted to do four or five years ago. And so I have some that I've wanted. I've been sitting on for a little while that I just think will be fun. And one of the things I will say from time to time in podcast episodes, as I love busting pop psychology myths, talking about how long it takes to really build a habit or talking about what punching a punching bag really does for anger. And I've covered a lot of those type of things in various episodes in the past,

[00:02:16] You know, to go a little deeper. I have received a lot of feedback from an episode that I did a couple of weeks ago, titled Give Yourself a Little Grace Change takes time. And on that episode, I talked about a book called On Being Certain Believing You are right, even when you're not by Dr. Robert Burton. And in that book, he talks a lot about memory and how certain we may believe we are about certain situations in our life. And in my practice, this is it's pretty significant because I'll save the gaslighting or the manipulative nature that can occur in conversations for my waking up the Narcissism podcast, and please go check that one out again. I'm just blown away by the feedback and the response, the downloads, you name it, just five episodes in there are actually. I know there are a lot of people finding comfort or peace and knowing that they aren't crazy or alone in those types of relationships. But I digress. But debating the details of a conversation is not going to be productive. What I mean is where somebody was sitting on the couch in a conversation two weeks ago or two years ago. Quite frankly, it's pretty irrelevant. And if anything, arguing about the details is more of a way to try and assert power in a conversation or basically the I'm right, you're wrong when the actual meaning of the conversation is not addressed, and if two people get caught up in the tit for tat or the back and forth or the minutia of a conversation, then we're not going to ever get to the actual meaning.

[00:03:37] So here's a quick example kind of just pull one out at the top of my head. So let's just say that a couple is telling a story about an interaction that they had had with the husband's mother in law and husband says, You know, then my mother in law starts to tell her daughter that she knew the entire time that she would be happier if she was single, and then she just goes back to eating her food like nothing ever happened. So then the wife sitting across from me says, Oh no, no, no, we hadn't even started eating yet. And the husband said, No, yeah, we had. Because I remember she asked me if I'd use cayenne pepper in the rub on the chicken, and I thought, Here we go again. Nothing I ever do is enough. And then the wife says, No. I remember very clearly that when she said that she was standing in the kitchen because her glass was so full that that I was just staring at it, I was worrying that she was going to spill. And so then the couple starts arguing about whether or not that this conversation or this thing that her mother in law said happened in the kitchen or at the table.

[00:04:29] And then they go on and on and it turns into an argument and it turns into the, Oh well, you have to be right. You're always right anyway. Or, you know, here's these other times where you've admitted that your memory isn't as good. And so then the couple ends up feeling bad and they end up retreating into their bunkers and they just shut down. So you can see, I hope you can see how that's just not very productive. That wasn't the point. The point was that their mothers or the husband's mother in law's narcissistic tendency to take credit for anything good that happens while she blames my clients for everything negative that happens. So there's the point, but we just have this need in our core to be right, even in the small things. So where does that come from? And overly simplified answer is, is attachment. I mean, we still have these deep seated fears and. Down in our bones and our DNA that if we're wrong about things in our life that our partner is going to think, Oh man, I did not plan on marrying a dummy. So I'm out of here. And again, it's subconscious, but our need to be right is pretty deeply rooted.

[00:05:27] And I was not necessarily was going to go deep on this.

[00:05:30] I'll spend just a minute, but in my four pillars of a connected conversation, my second pillar is that you can't put out the message of, I don't believe you or you are wrong to whomever you're talking to, even if you don't believe them or you really do think that they're wrong. Why? Because the goal in that situation is to have the conversation. The goal is to be heard. If you disagree with the details. I mean, actually, maybe feel the difference in these two conversations. So in the one, the husband says. So she says that to about my about our daughter, and then she just picks up her fork and she goes right back to eating. And then her wife in that scenario says, Oh man, I thought she had said it when she was in the kitchen because I could have sworn that she was holding this drink her hand. She was about to spill it. But if you remember that she was at the kitchen, I'm sure that I could be mistaken and versus the version I shared earlier where it was. In essence, na she was in the kitchen, which leads to the debate of the minutia until somebody finally says, OK, fine, whatever, you're obviously right and I'm wrong because now the conversation has devolved into a You never hear me or you think that you're always right? Or I give in to what you say because I know that it's not open for debate.

[00:06:34] So in that first example, the couple both feel heard, even if they disagree on the details, and that conversation is going to have a greater likelihood of one of them saying, Oh no, no, no, you're right, you're right. She was standing in the kitchen. If you argue on the details, you're trying to prove the other person is wrong and that you are right, then that's where we get caught up in the psychological reactants. This instant negative reaction of being told what to do. And I talk often about this concept. I call reactants hooks as soon as somebody says in a conversation, Well, you, you never. You never compliment me. You know the person saying, you never compliment me. They they obviously feel like they are not complimented. And maybe their love language is words of affirmation. But so if they're saying you never compliment me instead of their spouse saying, Oh man, I'm so sorry if you feel like I never compliment you, they hear you never compliment me and they're thinking of, I complimented you about a week and a half ago when you wore the new dress. And so just that goal of just being right is not going to get us far in a conversation. And that's why I just continually go back to to be heard as to be healed and really trying to just understand or be heard. And that will not shut the conversation down. If if you acknowledge you may be wrong, even if you're pretty sure you're not, you stay in the conversation.

[00:07:50] You both feel heard and then you or your spouse are more likely to take accountability or ownership of something if they do remember it, that they had the facts of the situation incorrect. And it really is an amazing way to communicate because honestly, how certain are we? We might feel like we're right and that there are things that we know. But as you will see in this podcast today, which myths were you sure that you were right about or you were you sure that they were correct? And I'll be honest, out of the 50 or so in this article, and I think I probably cover thirty or thirty five of them, I would say that I was familiar with most, all of them, and there were definitely a lot that I still thought were correct. So back to the book on being certain Dr. Burton starts off the book with an incredible study which shows that even with the most intense what? I'm sure that we would all assume these memories that would be seared into our brains or these experiences. Even then, we can't trust certainty. I'm actually just going to read this from one of the reviews from Jonathan Keats of Forbes magazine on the book on being certain, he said the day after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, a psychology professor named Ulric Nicer had his students write precisely where they'd been when they'd heard about this explosion.

[00:08:59] Two and a half years later, he asked them for the same information, and while fewer than one in 10 got the details right. Almost all were certain that their memories were accurate and many couldn't be dissuaded, even after seeing their original notes. So for neurologist Robert Burton, the Challenger study is emblematic of an essential quality of the human mind and this evocative it's evocative of the psychology underlying everything from nationalism to fundamentalism. Forbes reviewer Jonathan Kiat says that in his brilliant new book, Burton systematically shows that certainty is more of a mental state. It's a feeling like anger or pride that can help guide us, but that doesn't dependably reflect objective truth. And so if you look at the fact that these people that literally wrote down what had happened to them the day after or what they remember the day after the Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded and then two and a half years later, they didn't. Even they disagreed with their own recollection of what they wrote the day after. It's a it's a fascinating study, so we believe that we are certain. We believe that we have these details down and those are things that I think are more of an attachment wound. And so we will often argue for about the details when in reality, we're missing this just beautiful opportunity to connect with another human being.

[00:10:12] And so today I just wanted to just. Track down, I found an article on Best Life online. This was from a year a little over a year ago, and it was just by the best life editors, and they had put together 50 well-known quote facts that are actually just common myths. And so I just wanted to comment on some of these. There are so many of them, and they were just a lot of fun. Now I could have gone very deep and controversial. There were also when I was searching a little bit of pop psychology myths and facts and things that we believe that maybe aren't as true. Ok, and ironically, I have done one, maybe even two podcasts in the last couple of months on the concept of truth or certainty. Based off this book by Robert Burton called on being certain believing you are right, even when you're not where that books mean mind blowing. I think I joked that it comes with a free existential crisis where we realize that just like I love talking about an acceptance and commitment therapy, that we're literally just these reactions of these three billion neurons that are in our brain that are reacting to any given situation based on everything that you have brought to that very situation. So I recognize that a couple of weeks ago, I'm saying, Hey, what is true? And now I'm saying, let me debunk these 50 things that we think are true.

[00:11:25] And one of the funny conversations is my wife and I get into often is just the if I say, Hey, new study says this. She's she will say, well, how long until there's a study that goes against that study. And that is a very fair point. So I'm going to share some things here and who knows how long they will last if they will be debunked, but they're fun for now. So no one in the fifty well known facts that are actually just common myths article and I don't think we'll have time to get through all 50. But here's here's the direction we're going today. Bulls get angry when they see the color red, and I don't know how many of us have heard that I sure have, and I've had a client or two that have either wanted to run with the bulls and Pamplona or who have. And according to the American Science Guide, bulls like other cattle are red green colorblind. So it doesn't really matter about red, but that the red has become more traditional or ceremonious. But what actually triggers the Bulls anger is movement of the Cape. So I don't even know how to end these. So there's a thing. How about that? And I feel like this is one of those things where if somebody is telling you their experience of running with the bulls in Pamplona, and it might not even be Pamplona now that I'm saying it out loud in Spain, if you say, Hey, do you know they don't actually see red, you might not be invited back to the party if we're being honest, but I think it's a fun fact.

[00:12:41] Here's one, though, that I do think is interesting. Goldfish The myth is that goldfish only have a three second memory. They have a reputation of having bad memories. And it turns out that that idea that they can only remember things for three seconds is a myth. And not only has this been debunked by several studies, and there's what I think is funny is that I can click on this link and look at several studies where people have spent a tremendous amount of time and research in trying to back up or debunk this myth that goldfish have longer than a three second memory. But some research even indicates that goldfish could have a memory span of up to five months long. So that's the thing, and I don't know if that's what's going to say after each one of these. That's a thing. I don't know if it's going to be a new catchphrase. Hey, there's the thing. I don't think so. But the number three, this one is one that comes up in therapy, a fair amount, and this is part of acceptance and commitment therapy. There was a piece that debunked this long ago there, but the myth is that we only use 10 percent of our brains and I've even had people in my office that have said the other 90 percent is what we're going to tap into in the great beyond or that type of thing.

[00:13:46] And there are people that can make a really good logical argument about that. But many people believe that humans only use 10 percent of their brains, and it's even the plotline for this 20 14 film Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson. However, that one's also been debunked on several occasions. There's nothing but a myth. Neurologist Barry Gordon told the Scientific American. He said that humans use virtually every part of the brain, and most of the brain is active almost all the time. And he says for more of these misconceptions, we can blame these movies, Hollywood, that sort of thing. And then there's a link to a whole article there. 17 health myths perpetuated by Hollywood that might need to be something that we tackle down the road. But I know in one of the acceptance and commitment therapy studies that I quoted in a previous episode, there was a lot of pretty neat information about when parts of a brain receive a traumatic brain injury and that you can shut down a part of the brain or a brain. Can part of the brain can be damaged? And then there's a tremendous amount of additional electrical activity in other parts of the brain, but that you can really take any part of the brain.

[00:14:47] And if you prod it with a nice little, poke it with a scientific poking device. There's got to be a name for those I'm sure electrode, something like that. But when you do that, that then it does react there. Isn't this 90 percent of the gray area, gray matter area of the brain that just is there doing nothing. So that one is a myth that we only use 10 percent of our brains. Now I have I've said on repeated occasions, and I'll probably talk about this when I'm speaking Saturday that there's there's some decent information data, although I probably need to. We'll look that up, too. Maybe I'll do that after Saturday, that talks about how we do want to conserve the electrical activity of the brain. I know that there's a professor, neurologist Reuben Gur, who talks about the brain at a resting state where you can view the electrical activity. So it's not that there are dead areas of the brain, but the brain had arresting state is conserving that electrical activity. A matter of fact, I talk. I do mention this when I speak to men and women together that this Ruben Gur talks about how a man's brain and a resting state. It can be observed as almost 90 percent dormant, where it's just relaxing. So if you look over at the guy and say, Hey, what are you thinking? And he just says nothing that that that's a scientific fact.

[00:15:54] But then he also says that if you look at a woman's brain and resting state, I know this sounds very gender stereotyped. But if you do in that scenario that they're still over 70 percent of electrical activity, that's moving. So when I go do a couple seminars, a lot of times I'll start with this. So then I'll say that if you do say to the guy, what are you thinking? And he's just sitting there watching TV or on his phone or whatever, and if he says nothing, that he's being very honest. And then if he has been trained well, I think is the second part of the joke. If I've seen him in a couples scenario and then he says, Oh, what are you thinking? And then if his spouse then says, Oh, I'm worried about the kids and homework and insurance and bills and Thanksgiving and trips and weather, and that's kind of more like it. Yeah. So we only use 10 percent of our brains is is a myth, and I'm not going to say so. That's the thing. So let's move on. Number four, this one's just interesting. Having finally seen Hamilton for the first time, I saw it a few weeks ago. I really did enjoy it a lot. I really enjoyed it, but I didn't realize that we were going to see people like George Washington playing a role there and actually having a very fascinating or stunning voice, which I don't remember reading about in the history books.

[00:17:01] And now I think I'm just kind of being silly making fun of that. But George Washington myth number four, George Washington had wooden teeth. And according to the article, it turns out the nation's first president was not rocking a pair of wooden chompers. That is what they said in the article. The historians at the Washington Library say that while George Washington did suffer from dental problems as dentures were composed of ivory, gold lead and other human teeth, but never would. And they believe that this common myth, because it was perpetuated in with other people, as well as the result of the ivory becoming stained over time, giving the fake teeth this appearance of wood. So I thought that was that was pretty fascinating. There's the next Smith has it talks about women that were accused of witchcraft and being burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials, and I thought this one was interesting, according to history. Most accused witches during the Salem witch trials of the late 17th century were hanged, while others died in jail awaiting for their trials. The myth that they were burned at the stake is most likely due to the fact that during the medieval witch trials in Europe, it was a common practice to execute the accused by savagely setting them on fire and to get rid of the more historical misconceptions.

[00:18:05] They have a link to another article that says Twenty three basic American history questions that most Americans get wrong. So it was more that in the medieval witch trials that there was more burning at the stake. And according to the source that most during the Salem witch trials were hanged or others died in jail waiting for their trials. But I did follow the link to the twenty three basic American history questions that most Americans get wrong, and my wife and I were on this long bike ride on Saturday just having an amazing time being present, just enjoying each other's company. And we were talking about the fact that I have a client that not too long ago took the test to become an American citizen and that when he was even share with me a few of those questions from the test that I felt was so silly that I was not, I wasn't able to get them right. And and then that even led to some research or found some data that talked about the percentage of current American citizens who would most likely not be able to pass the American citizenship test. And I remember at that moment, and I'm literally just remembering this right now, I vowed to get the test study and make sure that I knew the answers to those things and had not thought of that until right now. But we were talking about just looking at some other things online and someone who had talked about wanting to be a I think it was a para educator that there was some job listings or openings for that in the area because the schools are looking for people, jobs, that sort of thing.

[00:19:28] And just taking a look at what the parent educator test was and how. Here I am sitting here at the age of almost pushing 52, loving everything about my job have an advanced degree, that sort of thing. And I don't think I could do high school math to literally save my life. So if I had to take one of these peer educator exams so that I could be an aide in the classroom, in middle school, I think I would fail. So just just interesting. This is one that I boy, this one's in my head a lot lately. It's the sixth myth that they talk about. They need to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. So it says if you're struggling to get your eighth glass of water every day, don't feel bad. The quota isn't really a hard and fast rule for healthy living. According to the Mayo Clinic, the amount of water you need daily depends on a lot of different factors, like your overall health, your activity level. Where you live, and no single number applies to humans across the board. Some might be perfectly hydrated with fewer than eight glasses and others might actually need more.

[00:20:21] And I know that this is one that I tend to err on the side of over hydration to the fact of where between every single client session in the day, it is a quick trip to the bathroom. Too much information. But the myth there, the reason I am so curious about this and I better knock knock on wood right there was long ago, early 20s. This was before I think I had even run my first first marathon. That and I say that there's a lot of new listeners and and so that sounds so before I ran my first marathon. But then I went on to run 40 50 more marathons, another hundred hundred and fifty ultra marathons. So I just say that meaning that I remember this so well, but I remember being at a computer trade show talking with this guy. I remember he was in his 40s at the time. He was from Texas. I don't remember his exact name, but he talked about getting kidney stones, and he talked about being a runner and not hydrating enough and then getting kidney stones and I didn't go pull up. This was when the internet was pretty new and shiny. I probably still had my Encyclopedia Britannica on the shelf at home, but I didn't. I go, Look this up. I just took this as fact, and from that day forward, I feel like I have hydrated, hydrated, hydrated in hopes of never getting a kidney stone.

[00:21:27] And I feel like I need to erase this from the podcast right now so that I don't jinx myself because there have been a couple of people really close to me right now that have had some, some ginormous kidney stones. It depends. So the answer to that you need to drink eight glasses of water a day. It really does depend. This is one that I grew up just terrified by. I am not a strong swimmer, and there is a very true story that I paid for eight swimming lessons at the city pool in my area and had someone there that was just convinced they could teach anyone to swim. And after three lessons, they just said, Yeah, maybe not. Maybe some people just don't swim. And my wife is this she swam from Alcatraz to the shore seven or eight times, and these amazing contests, and she and I have done these decathlon where I will run the streets of San Francisco. And then she swims from the shore from Alcatraz. And and she is such a good swimmer. My kids are all good swimmers and I cannot swim well at all. And in that story, I have to tell you more about that. This was one of these summers where I was training for a particular ultra marathon 100 miler. I had several under my belt at that point and I was I wanted to do a triathlon.

[00:22:33] I wanted to do an Ironman. My wife had done a full Ironman and I thought, I want to do one of those. So I pay for these lessons and then I go to this pool. And they had scheduled me for the 30 minutes before all the kids swim lessons begin. And so by the time everybody's showing up and they're getting their towels off and they're just starting to put sunscreen on and getting ready to swim there, I am just kicking and screaming with a little floaty or one of those kick boards and not making it across the whole pool in. At this time, I think I was writing a humor column in the newspaper and my local newspaper, and they had featured a couple of the 100 mile races I've done, and I just remember feeling I could hear people say, Hey, isn't that the guy that does the 100 mile things or runs around the track for twenty four hours? And I can't, I just can't swim at all. And so I never had my refund for those five extra swim sessions. I think that was kind of the cost of my pride was the way I always looked at it. So the myth, though, is that you'll get cramps if you go swimming right after you eat. And though it is a commonly held belief that your muscles will cramp should you swim right after eating, it just simply isn't true.

[00:23:32] No matter how many times your parents told you it was. But the body does require a little bit of extra blood in order to digest, but not nearly enough to prevent the muscles in your arms and legs from working as they should. I thought that one was interesting. The eighth one is about Christopher Columbus. Everybody thinking that the world was flat in his day, allegedly around 500 B.C., the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras was the first person to propose the theory that the Earth was flat, but not long after that in the middle of the third century and we're talking B.C., Aristotle then declared with a certainty that the Earth was in fact spherical, and though it might have taken a bit for everybody to come around to the reality that our planet is round, although you could insert flat earth theory there, Christopher Columbus wasn't one of the naysayers, so when he sailed the ocean blue in fourteen ninety two, he knew that the Earth was a sphere. According to historian Jeffrey Bertrand Russell, with extraordinarily few exceptions, no educated person in the history of that western civilized world from the third century onward believe that the Earth was flat so that that one was fascinating. The ninth myth is that dogs only see in black and white, and this one I don't. Isn't this funny? I feel like I could do a whole episode on the fact that I don't know if I believe the I don't know if I believe what they say here, even though I have nothing to back it up.

[00:24:46] So do dogs only see in black and white? No, your pup isn't seeing the world in black and white, veterinarians Barbara Royle explained to The Huffington Post that dogs don't see all the colors that we see, but they can actually distinguish between colors. And there's a whole pretty fascinating article of air that is worth looking up. And I'll have the link to this article in my in my notes. And I really think that while I just want to have fun and share some of these things and I want you to go and connect with. Your spouse and communicate about these fun facts, or did you know this or that sort of thing? It is interesting because I think you could do a pretty deep psychological dove on my experience with number nine that even as I'm reading that and I went and I followed the article to The Huffington Post that talked about the research behind that. It's funny that in my mind, I still think, Yeah, I don't know if I buy that one. So we could do a whole episode on that. Adding salt to water makes it boil faster. It's one that I actually never heard, so that one apparently is false that the difference between boiling water with salt and boiling water without salt is negligible. Middlebury College chemistry professor Lesley-Ann Giddings explained to Live Science that the temperature of salt water will get hotter, faster than that of pure water.

[00:25:52] But it still has a higher boiling point and the mass is still greater when you add the salt to the same volume of water. So this does not mean that salt water will boil faster. All right, this next one is a shout out to my son in law, Mitch, because when he I love everything about this guy. But if you give him a gum to chew, all of a sudden he's not chewing it anymore. Didn't throw it out the window. Didn't wrap it in a paper towel. It just eats it. And it takes seven years for your body to digest gum. Now, if you think about that, that's the myth. If you think about that, it doesn't make a lot of sense because of the stomach acids that you have and that sort of thing. So this says you no longer have to fret over that piece of gum you accidentally swallowed a couple of years ago. While it's often been said that your body takes several years, seven's the number that you've likely heard the most to digest gum. That's just a common myth, according to the Mayo Clinic. Your body actually can't digest gum at all, even in seven years, but gum doesn't even stay in your stomach. It moves quickly through your digestive system and exits through your stool.

[00:26:46] So there you go. I always wanted to skip number 12 that you swallow eight spiders a year while sleeping because I sleep with my mouth agape. So if eight is the average, I'm worried that what my my number of spiders consumed a year would be. But this article says you don't need to be in arachnophobia to be creeped out by the idea that you unknowingly swallow eight spiders in your sleep a year on average. But fear no more because there is no truth to that notion, according to Scientific American. Those eight legged webs spinners don't intentionally try to come into contact with humans. The vibrations from a sleeping person would probably frighten the spider. So while it is plausible that you could swallow a spider in your sleep, it's not likely. Nor is there any factual evidence that you gulp down a year. I'm going to skip through a few here because I think that this we're going to probably just wrap this up pretty soon. A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building could kill someone in the article says, We've all heard this one before. I have to admit, when I used to teach this about very early morning volunteer Sunday school class, I brought this up at one point and I felt like this was one of those where same concept is when I would say, let me get up on my soapbox. And finally, after two or three years of saying that, I would ask people, You know what I mean by that? And their most had no idea.

[00:27:56] So I don't know if this one is just there's an age-ist angle here. But most of the people that I talked to when I was teaching this early morning class did not had never heard this one. So that's a big, long way for me to say the first line that says we've all heard this one before, but it's just another myth to add to your list of fake facts. According to Scientific American, a penny is too small and flat for it to gain enough natural momentum to make any kind of fatal impact. At most, if you were hit, it might feel like being flicked in the forehead, but not even very hard. Lewis Bloomfield, a physicist at the University of Virginia, explained that in an article called Life's Little Mysteries, which was also in the Huffington Post number 17, Albert Einstein failed a math class. I have hung on to this one a little bit. It's it's only for the irony of it all, but it's fun to imagine that Albert Einstein was not a good student so much that he failed his grade school math class. But apparently that's not true either. According to an article in Time magazine, this rumor spread so wildly that it was the topic of a nineteen thirty five Ripley's Believe It or Not column.

[00:28:53] Einstein himself disputed the article, claiming that he was at the top of his class in primary school. He said Before I was 15, I had mastered differential and integral calculus, he added. So no truth there that even Albert Einstein failed a math class. So one of the things I I just absolutely love about my job is the fact that I get to talk with people that do all kinds of jobs, whether it's running businesses, stay at home moms, professors, doctors, lawyers, firemen, you name it. And I've also had several clients that are chiropractors. And I have to tell you, the irony is I literally just popped my thumb knuckles when I was when I was about to read this next part. And so this one says cracking your knuckles too much will cause a cause arthritis. So I will ask any, especially my chiropractor clients, if this is a true or false statement. Now, according to this article from Best Life, knuckle crackers of the world can rest easy, at least on the arthritis front. Because, according to Harvard Medical School, cracking your knuckles does not increase your risk of developing the painful joint condition of arthritis. That cracking noise actually comes from collapsing gas bubbles. However, cracking them too often may weaken the strength of your grip. Not to mention aggravate the nerves of the people around you. Which boy, what a story. That probably will go nowhere. But when I used to facilitate a 12 step group for.

[00:30:12] Pornography, addiction, pornography, pornography, passage, well, pornography, addiction support group that there was one night where I just became hyper fixated on how many people were cracking and popping things in the group, and I felt like at any given moment someone was popping or cracking something, and then I finally brought it up, brought some awareness to it. And everybody just let out this little bit of a sigh of laughter because I felt like it was this subconscious cracking competition and I couldn't. All you do is crack my thumbs and I gave it a good shot, but nobody could hear what I was doing. But again, so cracking your knuckles is not something that will lead to arthritis. According to this article, if you are a medical professional and know otherwise, feel free to shoot me a note, and it might be fun to do a follow up Someday. it's going to a little bit of a speed round number. Twenty five Georgia produces the most peaches of any state in the U.S.. Apparently, that is incorrect. That would be California, boy This one is one that we could talk about. Probably I need to do an episode on something like this and go back and do some more in the world of ADHD. But twenty six sugar causes hyperactivity in children. Many parents blame their children's rowdy behavior on an overabundance of sugar, but there's no actual evidence, and I have read this one on numerous occasions.

[00:31:21] A definitive 1995 meta analysis published in the Journal of the American Journal of the American Medical Association found that sugar in children's diets does not affect their behavior. It might, and I remember one of the follow up articles many, many years after that. It talked about that if people were consuming a lot of sugar than were they eating a fairly unhealthy diet to begin with, I know I am and I eat a lot of sugar. And so as I try to switch to more healthier options, there tends to be less sugar in there. And so that one is interesting. Twenty seven, again, we're doing speed round. Bats are blind, blind as a bat. Contrary to popular belief, Rob Miles, former executive director for the Organization for Bat Conservation, told National Geographic. Bats can see three times better than humans and OK, I was going to speed round. We were in Utah a few weeks ago visiting my relatives, my kids and some friends, and we're in this liquid nitrogen ice cream store and I should post this picture somewhere. But a bat just buzzes right by my head. I thought it was a cute little bird that they had because there was a lot of open air inside of this building. But then it does. Another dove bomb lands on the ground and a woman puts a cake dish top over the top of it and then is able to slide some cardboard under it and then releases the bat outside.

[00:32:32] But boy, it sure didn't seem like it could see twenty eight speed round again. Lightning never strikes twice. Nasa debunked the myth in 2003, reporting that lightning definitely strikes more than one place. In fact, it does so almost a third of the time. Twenty nine humans have only five senses this one's interested. Many of us were taught. Humans have five senses touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. But those are the basic five senses. While the concept of five senses originated with Aristotle. Many scientists argue that humans actually have between 14 and 20 senses, so I think that will be a fun one. I should take that one on at some point. A speed round number 30 shaving hair makes it grow back thicker. I hear this one often from when I used to do a lot of work with teenagers. Shaving hair does not make it change in color rate of growth or thickness, says the Mayo Clinic. All that it does is give the hair a blunt tip, which might feel more coarse as it grows out, which I think made so much sense. There's one about chameleons. There's also something about bananas growing on trees, dogs sweating through their tongues, or a safety food that's been on the floor for five seconds or less. I watched a Mythbusters that that said that that was not the case, and this also agrees don't adhere to the five second rule or take your chances with food that's fallen on the floor.

[00:33:37] Researchers at Clemson University left baloney and bread on a surface contaminated with salmonella in twenty seventeen, and they found that a substantial amount of the bacteria transferred to the food and well under five seconds the odd win at number thirty six that all desserts are hot. There are some desserts that also experience brutal cold one found in Iran and then another found in northern. There's a myth about the sun being yellow. A misconception that the sun is yellow or orange or even red. But in reality, the sun is essentially all colors mixed together, which appears to our eyes as white if you are actually looking up there. But the reason we see the sun is yellow or orange is because those colored wavelengths, which are longer are the only ones that make it to our eyes. The other short wavelength color is green. Blue and violet becomes scattered by the atmosphere, which is what makes the sky look blue during the day. Just a couple more this one I actually had someone experienced this in their family not long ago. You should urinate on someone if they get stung by a jellyfish, and I think there's a lot of jokes that could be had here. And for the sake of time, we're not going to do them. But here's one fact you're probably relieved to hear is fiction.

[00:34:37] According to the Cleveland Clinic, the proper way to treat a jellyfish sting is with hot water. Not only is urine not an effective treatment method, but it can even worsen the sting, but it can also cause for a lot of giggles. I'm sure brown eggs are more nutritious than white eggs. Brown eggs are no healthier than the white eggs. The color of an egg shell is simply determined by the type of chicken laying them. And here's a fun fact chickens with white earlobes typically way way lay white eggs. Going outside with wet hair makes you sick. I feel like there's a bald joke here somewhere, but it might make you chilly. Might cause your hair to literally freeze, but you won't get sick. Colds are caused by a virus. They don't care whether your hair is wet or peanuts. A type of nut. Despite the misleading name, peanuts are actually a type of legume, though they're commonly served with nuts like walnuts and almonds are more more closely related to clovers and chickpeas. Fun fact the busting the myth of Twinkies having no expiration date. I have grown up hearing this one. But Twinkies are not going to fend off hunger during a zombie apocalypse, as Teresa Cogswell, former vice president for research and development at Interstate Bakeries Corporation and a self-proclaimed Twinkie fanatic, told The Washington Post that the sweet snack only has a shelf life of twenty five days.

[00:35:43] While still a long time. As far as pastries are concerned, it's unlikely that your Twinkie stash will make it through a nuclear winter. We're going to jump into other sugar causes headaches. It's not that the sugar itself is causing a headache, it's the rapid drop in your blood sugar levels that wreaks havoc on your head. For some people, eating a carb heavy meal can cause excess production of the sugar regulating hormone insulin, which in turn makes glucose levels drop and results in throbbing headaches. You may experience that after consuming one too many Twinkies, and we'll skip forty eight. Forty nine. The odds are always 50 50 in a coin toss. This one's kind of funny. A group of Stanford University researchers proved this common misconception wrong in 2007, when they flipped a lot of quarters and found that a coin was more likely to land on the face that it started on. The researchers, the researchers, put your actual odds at closer to fifty one point forty nine, so pay attention to which side of the coin faces the sky. When you make your call again, the coin is more likely to land on the face that it started on, and the 50th one is really interesting. The myth of every living thing dies. While yes, most living things do eventually die. There's one species of jellyfish that doesn't technically perish, known as the Treetops Dorney. This essentially immortal sea creature reverts back into a juvenile state after adulthood so it can live out yet another life alongside of its offspring.

[00:37:00] Whoa. I feel like that one's deep, and it's probably the reason why I am trying to eat less sugar and become more hydrated and do all the things that we just debunking these myths so that I can live a lot longer and be able to hang out with my offspring. So we'll leave you right there. I appreciate you taking the time to listen to this one. This might not have been as psychologically deep, but I hope that if anything, it just brings up the fact that a lot of the things that we hear that we do see as facts are often not the case. So I feel like that does lead to a little more curiosity. So maybe that could be the goal in the coming week. So if you are in Utah, you're not busy this Saturday, October 16th. I'd love for you to stop by and say, Hi, come, come see me speak. It's a Provo Canyon at a really cool place called Wahlberg, and but you do have to go. There's some tickets. I don't think if there's a cost, it's really, really cheap. It's for this nonprofit, but you can go to Leading St. Sawgrass Tony in Utah or Tony is coming to go to Leading Saint Story. I'm hoping they'll have a page there that would point you to it, but I hope to see you there. I hope you have an amazing week.

[00:38:03] I will see you next, a congressional resolution flying past or heading out the other end. The pressures of the daily grind is wonderful. And plastic waste and rubber ghost are floating past the midnight hour. They push aside the things that

[00:38:24] Matter most world. She's. Three.

[00:39:05] News a discount price. A million opportunity, the chance is yours to take or lose, it's one. Funds are always on the back burner until the opportune time is pushed

[00:39:23] To go further, shut up. Some. That seems to be.

[00:40:04] Developed this to stop, explode, allow the gun.

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

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


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

#communication #beyourself #values #compassion #therapy #virtualcouch #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 -------------------

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:14:40] Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:15:51] Was eight

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

[00:15:55] Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:17:08] Yeah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:26:59] Yeah, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:29:05] Like financial aid going

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:29:53] Yeah. So I

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

[00:29:56] So it was

[00:29:58] That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:32:42] No, never

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:35:36] Just so saying,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:41:03] And we're

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:42:29] You just leave the

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

[00:42:32] Definitely not for it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:44:47] And Mackey passed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:54:08] Just plugging away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:57:23] Think that's

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

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

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

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

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

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

[00:58:58] He it.

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

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

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

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

[00:59:32] Do all the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[01:02:41] Them out.

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

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.

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.

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