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Welcome back to we can do hard things. We are diving deep.


We are in it.


We are in it.


Let's go.


We have come to. Someone has given us some smelling salts.




We have, I feel better realized that we are in a cult. And that cult is capitalism, which has told us from many, many pulpits for many, many years that the way to joy and happiness and peace and success and transcendence is productivity. We have tried that for low so many years, we don't believe it anymore. Now what? Yeah, that's what we're talking about today. If we have slowly died inside because we have followed the cult of productivity, we have ended up exhausted, angry, bitter, living from the outside in by lists. And we're ready to try a different way. How does one begin?


Before we get into that, I just want to say this one thing. I think about this all the time, because what is the retirement age in this country? 67.


I mean, it's nothing anymore, right?


It doesn't even exist.


The generations that are behind us, I mean, good luck, Charlie. Even the idea of retirement is a privilege that may not be afforded. That may be a vestige of the past. It's not like Europe where there is like a retirement age. There's a. It depends on when do you get.


Social Security in this country?


67 for like six more months.


Yeah, my point is 62.


You can get them as early as 62.


My point is, let's say we're lucky and we get mid seventies of a life. Let's say we're 80 and let's say you retire or you're planning on retiring from your job that you've worked for, you're working your whole life so that you can spend your time wherever you want, doing whatever you want in your retirement. That's like ten or 15 years that you are working, that you are producing your whole life to be able to have. I think that that is the greatest heist it is in human history.


Yeah, it for sure is.


It's like, what are we doing? Why are we doing this? Why are we on this rat wheel? Just going, going and going and going. And then you get ten years. Have fun.


And also, you don't know what's fun because you haven't done anything in your life. It's not like you develop these things that you love to do. A lot of people get exceedingly depressed when they do that thing where they work their asses off for 40 years and then retire because they're like, oh, wait, there is no me outside of doing like, if I'm having this crisis at 44. If I had this crisis at 74, and all of a sudden I thought some magic thing was going to happen and this life force was going to erupt in me when I stopped checking in at my job. No, a life force is something that you cultivate. You cultivate and that you figure out what you like. I still don't even know what I like. You think I if I kept doing this until I was 72, I would suddenly know what I like?




No. That's why people get very depressed.


So recovery from this has to be parallel with eating disorder recovery. If you're part of a cult, you're part of a dogma. You've lived inside of a religion. You don't just leave, and then it's over. You take it with you. It is in your body. You don't just leave the framework and then you're fine. No, it's just step one is waking up and leaving that place. Then it's a years long programming of yourself. Okay, so here's what I want to talk about today. Yes, we all know we're in the productivity cult, okay? But you have said many times that it doesn't matter what you do differently. You've said, yes, you're running this huge business. Yes, you're so busy because of extenuating circumstances, because we have a big situation. But you said if you were in charge of a small garden, if the world gave to you a ten by ten garden and was like, actually, we have taken away your empire, you are now only in charge of this ten by ten plot, that you, sister, would find a way to become obsessed, overly stressed, overly worked. You would still find a way to have 50 lists relating to this garden.


You'd be pissed that the gardeners weren't doing enough. You wouldn't understand why other people weren't paying attention to the garden. So my question is, it is in you now. Let's stop talking structural. We know it. Everybody listening to this podcast knows we don't have to prove to them that we're in a productivity cult.


Well, do they? We need to. First of all, I just want to make sure you have to listen to the last episode. But also, like, the first stage stage of recovery is admitting that this is not working for you, admitting that your life is unmanageable. And I do think it's worth 20 seconds there, because the problem is, it isn't like getting drunk and alienating your entire family and ruining your relationships. The more you lean into this, the more praise and stature and credibility you have in the world. So it is very, very difficult to identify that your life has become unmanageable when, by all accounts of the cult that you live in, you have reached the promised land.


Yes, there are confusing.


It's confusing to admit to yourself or identify to yourself that your life has become unmanageable. And so I do think that is a piece that, like, if there is, if you feel like everything is a flat, gray to do list, if you feel like whether it is picking up the dry cleaning or playing with your kids is the exact same thing on your to do list, if going out with your friends feels like just something else that you have to do, that is a calendar marker that you have to get done that week, just like your project for work. These are signs that you have lost your life force, that the things in your life that are meant to enrich you are not accessible to you because you don't have enough oxygen flowing around your life to be able to light those little fires.


Yeah, that's right.


That's really good.


And if you wake up and your day in your life are constantly outsourced to a schedule, to a piece of paper to it, if you don't even know how anymore to, like, check in with yourself to find out what you want and need and feel from the inside, if that sounds insane to you because you don't do that, you live outward in, that is a sign, a.


Last sign for folks, because this one was big for me, is that if you are a person who has always prided yourself on digging deep, if you're a person who's like, I see a challenge, I just square my shoulders and I dig deep and I get it done. It would be an important exercise to get intellectually honest about what happens when you dig deep. We don't believe in our world that doing something means neglecting something else. We don't believe that. We believe we can do all things, and there is no price to pay for any of it, except maybe our sadness, which we're willing to take on the chin because we deserve it anyway. But when you dig deep, that soil is coming from somewhere, and you are often taking that soil from a place where it rightfully belongs and putting it towards those things. And I realized that I did that with my family and my relationships. Yes, I was digging so deep to get things done that I was stealing that soil and they were getting the leftover worst parts of me. And so just look at all of those things and think, even if your life seems to be like, whoo, you are doing great.


Really? Be like, if you're doing great, but you're not doing great, that's a sign.


Yeah, if you're doing well, but you don't feel well. If you're. It's a tricky one, because you are the only one who will be able to decide this. The world will not tell you. I've been a lot of different things. One was a drunk. And look, the world told me over and over again that I was a fuck up because I was inconveniencing other people, because my behavior was inconveniencing other people. And so they would let me know. If you're addicted to productivity, you are not inconveniencing other people. You are conveniencing other people. You are getting shit done. You are serving the people. They are not going to tell you to stop.


And why? Why does work? And you can look at the transatlantic slave trade for this. You can look at all counts of history for this. The reason that work has virtue is because of ease. We need work to be seen as a virtue, and it is a virtue because it allows ease in others. So those things go together. The real virtue is the ease, which is why we need these people to be working their asses off so other people can have ease.


But the idea is the kernel of truth in that is that there is an idea where, like, you work some and then you get your ease. You work some, and then you get your ease. But the evil of capitalism is. No, no, no. Some people work always and never get ease so that people at the top can have all the ease and no work.


Yes. And that goes back to the scheme that Abby was talking about. Here's your breadcrumb at the end of your journey. Don't worry, you'll get seven years at the end of this to have a life, which won't be a life because you won't have cultivated any of your life force to know what you want to do with those seven years. But, like, yes, that is the idea is that we have so much overworking, because the truth is we value ease, but the truth is that very few get access to that ease.


That's right.


Can I give an example real quick, before we move on, of what you're talking about with digging deep? Because I think there's. You're digging deep. And then family stuff, suffering. I recently had an interesting conversation with a person who I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to write another book. And it makes perfect sense to everyone, including me, of course I would write another book. Of course it feels like a no brainer. And this person said to me, all right, here's the thing. You know the opportunity cost of not writing that book? There won't be a book in the world. What you don't know is the opportunity cost of writing that book. And I said, what? And she said, what I want you to do over the next few weeks, because writing the book is just another thing I have to discipline myself to do on top of all my other jobs. Right? So what I want you to do is not discipline yourself to go write that book, because there's nothing inside me that's waking up in the morning and is like, oh, God, I can't wait to get to the computer to write that book.


It's not coming from the inside out. It's coming as. That is a thing that is, in terms of the laws of productivity, is a no brainer. I want you to not discipline yourself to go show up at that computer, put your head down, and type out words for the 3 hours that you think you have to do that a day. And then I want you to write down evidence of what happens instead when I tell you the list of I have sat down at the computer and written letters to my children that I've never done before.


You told me you love me more than you ever have.


That is true. I have paintings, terrible paintings all over my house that are because I didn't do that. I made my first. I think I've mentioned this batch of chocolate chip cookies for my 22 year old son that never would have happened. There's the discipline of productivity. There's an opportunity cost. All kinds of human things that I can actually see flourishing in my life because I'm not writing that book, and the book would be beautiful. There's not a right or wrong answer here. It's just that the digging deep does come. The adulting comes at the expense of humaning quite often. So what does one do if one is suspecting? I know the parallel of this with anorexia, because that is an addiction and a dogma and a religion that no one told me that I was inconveniencing them. Like productivity, eating disorders can be a horrible, life sucking dogma that the entire world will congratulate you for. It's very confusing, right? Not only are you not inconveniencing anyone, but you are in one way the pinnacle. It is very hard to. It's the same thing as you. There's a very thin line between a woman nailing it and a woman failing.


Between a woman killing it and a woman dying, they look the same, right? So how do you replace the God of productivity if you're trying to replace the way you spend your days? How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Annie Dillard says, what are you going to replace it with? Like, what do you want instead? If you don't think that you're worth is actually in your productivity because the evidence is showing that you're not, it's not making you happy. What's the plan? Because, like, I had a recovery plan. Like, what's the recovery plan for productivity addiction?


Well, first I'll say that the not making me happy. I wouldn't even say that I think it was too quickly making me happy. I think it was an easy button to happiness. And I think that's important because I think a lot of us have worked our way to a situation where because there is a scorecard, because even if we're suffering, we know how to do it. We are opting out of things that are harder. It is easier to be at work and get shit done than it is to be at home in the fucking wild west of who knows what we're supposed to do there. Like, there is no to do list there. It's just a bunch of bumbling humans and no one knows how to deal with each other. That is when, like, well, gotta answer some emails, like, y'all are a mess. And I don't even know. We need a project management system around here with you people. And so I think in some ways be suspicious of yourself if it's real easy to default over here to the busyness, because you know how to do that when there's whole areas of your life you don't know how to do them.


And that's not because you should know how to do them. It's just getting comfortable with being in a place where you don't know how to do it and you don't know how to fix it. And that's where the life is. I mean, I think for me, I'm really at like, the very early stages of trying to figure this out. And I don't think it is a replacing, like Abby said, with like, a new way. I don't think, like, I have a set of rules for things. I think. I'll tell you what scared the shit out of me and then we can back into the things that made me think.


Thank you for being so open about this. This is really helping me in a lot of ways.


I'm Rachel Martin. After hosting morning Edition for years, I know that the news can wear you down. So we made a new podcast called Wild Card, where a special deck of cards and a whole bunch of fascinating guests help us sort out what makes life meaningful. It's part game show, part existential deep dive, and it is seriously fun. Join me on Wildcard wherever you get your podcasts, only from NPR.


I think I mentioned this before, but how I had a major emotional breakdown when the gentleman came to sell us a boiler for the house. And he came down and he was like, well, congratulations, this is the last boiler you'll ever need. And I just sat on my stairs and wept because I was so upset that he had said, the last boiler you ever need. Not because that meant I was gonna die before the boiler, but because the planning of the next thing was my excitement for life. That, like, without the next thing to plan, then what even is life if it's not the planning of the next phase? The realizing we weren't going to have to order another boiler made me realize that there is going to become a point where there is no more planning for the future. So was that the only time where I was ever going to be here?


Like your year, like your year in Hawaii? That was the only time you weren't planning for the future.




Which felt traumatic to you, but was the only truly purely joyful time of your life is when you couldn't plan for the future?


Well, it was the unburdened time of my life. It was the.


Yeah. Was it joyful?


It was joyful. Incidentally, that's when I felt, like, very madly in love, which I wonder if those are connected because it was that, like, enough air to breathe anyway.


No, that's interesting. Right? You were forced to human, and then things started to feel, well, sounds like.


You got out of your head and you got into your heart. Like you said, productivity is about doing and the heart in your mind, and the heart is about being.


Yeah. Yes. And so I think in that moment, I had to, like, be really honest with myself about that. Is the moment of existential dread when people talk about it, where I was like, oh, my God, I feel empty. I feel utterly empty at the idea that there will be nothing to plan. And then that means that I am building and building and building and building and building and building a life, but I am not living a life.




So that was very clarifying to me. And then I think I have just had to believe, even though it's hard for me that I deserve to have a human experience. I think when I was realizing that it would never be done anyway, really part of me believed that it could all get done. Part of me believed that it was just something that I was not doing well enough. And if I just kept trying harder, it would get done and then everything would come together. And then when you realize, like Oliver Berkman in 4000 weeks, which first of all, he asked like a thousand people how many weeks the average human life has. And they were all like 100,000 weeks. Yeah, I would have 200,000 weeks. The average human life is 4000 weeks. That's something I would have said, like, probably a million weeks. We all get a million weeks. But he talks about this a lot, about how, like, that's a lie. And it's very similar to diet culture to think, well, if I only had this one strategy, it would get done. Or this is my moral failing, that I'm failing to manage all of this.


And if I just keep gathering strategies and keep gathering resources or just put that extra hour in or put the whatever that I'm going to make sense of all of this and be successful. But when really he's like, negative ghost rider, nobody wins. That for me was like, wait, what the fuck? I am laying my life down on this field where no one's going to win anyway. Now I don't look smart. I look like a fool.


That's right. Yeah, I hear that.


So I think then it's like, okay, well, then, if that isn't the win. If the win isn't that way, then what is the win? What is the win? And like, just being part of these moments with wendy and seeing her life and seeing how much realness and closeness to humanity and closeness to stuff that felt real and made me feel like a human. It was like, is that the win? Oh, wait, is the win having a group of people in your life that you are so loyal to and they're so loyal to you and having friends is something that a quote unquote good life has. But no, actually, I am feeding you and you are feeding me, and that is what we're doing in life. And also, I can't take it anymore. Trying to read a room or read the world or read cues on an hourly, daily basis to find out if I'm okay. I am so fucking exhausted of that that I just want a way to determine myself if I'm okay. And that has to include being okay when things aren't done, which by extension means that people will be disappointed which by extension, means that people will not understand my choice.


So that means all of those things. Things I have to be okay with.




And also, here's the fucking kicker, is that I think the same way. Going off grade and being like, I'm gonna grade myself. Thank you so much. I'm not taking feedback is so radical and scary is that you have to say, like, it's unfinished and I'm okay. I think it all has to do with our fear that everything is finite. That, like, the life is finite. At the end of the day, everything is unfinished.


That's right.


And nothing is done. Like, you will do your whole life. And I'm talking about your to do list, but I'm talking about your kids and the universe and justice and whatever. Like, justice will not be done. Progress will not be done. Your children, God willing, will not be done, and you will leave anyway. You will be done anyway.


That's why we get the practice of going to sleep every night. That's why we practice this by going to sleep every night, because that is it. There will be a time when we lay down and go, and nothing will be done. And we get to practice that every single day.


It sounds like your healing from busyness, not yours, but our healing from busyness is ultimately the art of surrender to what is. And, you know, Sissy, you keep saying to know that you're okay. I also will add, I also think we have to make space for not being okay. And I think that that's really hard to accept. What is, what is present, what is happening in the now, and ultimately all of this. I think that my course of life is leading me down the path of surrender. And I don't know if that's religious by any terms, but it's like the letting go of all of the rules or the gods or the things that have held up the house of cards for us. And that is so fucking hard. It is so hard to say. None of this really matters. And also, it all matters.


It's like, yeah, it's the who was. Who was like, oh, is it tig Nataro? The good news with the bad news is that nothing matters. The good news is that nothing matters.




It feels to me, in a way. I mean, first of all, one of the reasons why this crisis comes when we get older is because when you're younger, you really believe old people. They tell you the old structures, the old religions, the old dogmas, the old ways. You really believe you're Dorothy in Oz. You really believe that there's an oz behind the curtain, and that you should believe them. And then the older you get, the more people you meet, you become one of them. You realize for sure no one knows. No one knows what they're doing. And a lot of people that have made the dogmas and the religions and the ways we live weren't doing it for our own good. They were doing it out of greed to create us as robots in factories to serve their needs. So this is just what happens, the progression of things, right? And then you decide you have to save yourself and hopefully save more people from this thing. But what is underneath all of it is our inability to know how to be.




Okay. Like, we end up using lists and other people to regulate ourselves. What you say over and over again is, am I okay? Am I okay? Am I okay? I believe that people who are very controlling with the people in the room, they have never learned how to self regulate. So they use other people, their children, their partners, their lists, to regulate themselves. It's so deeply unfair. It's so unfair. Like, children from very controlling homes, you wake up one day and you realize you've just been used to regulate someone else as someone else controls you. It's really good to make themselves feel okay, to make themselves feel better, right? So underneath all of this here is what I think is terrifying. I believe what we've talked about before, that all of these lists, all of these dogmas, all of these religions, all of this is. We are like that scene from the Titanic we've talked about, where everybody is just holding the boat, is sinking, and everybody's just scrambling to stay at the top. They're trying to stay in their minds. They're trying to stay in their dogmas because they don't want to sink. Because what's underneath, when you let go of these structures in your brain that you've used to keep yourself okay, what happened to me in recovery is that the terrifying thing that happens, which is you land in your body, where all of your memory is, where your true trauma is, where all of it, the healing really happens.


None of it happens by replacing another structure in your brain, another religion, another God, another whatever. There's a moment where if you allow that to be replaced with nothingness, and you really stop using people around you to regulate yourself or your lists or whatever, and you do that impossible work of sitting on the couch where the puzzle has been taken away from you, and you sit there long enough, you start to have to heal personally. Your childhood stuff comes up. Your generational stuff comes up. You start to struggle with what you've been avoiding your whole life, and then you slowly become okay from the inside out, and then you stop having to use everyone around you to make you feel better. I fear that the reason why people don't want their puzzles taken away is because what's left is who they are and what they have to heal from personally. And it's easier just to keep fucking giving out puzzles and telling everybody else to just keep doing these puzzles. So what I want to warn people about is, because I have been through this process, is there does come a time where the shit starts to rise.


The hard stuff.


The hard stuff starts to rise. If you let go of that, holding on to staying in your mind and staying outside of yourself, the stuff does start to rise. And that, I think, is the point.




Because, look, here's the thing. If we're all so desperate to get outside of this matrix, we're so busy. We're so busy. We're so busy. Why does everybody's phone say 4 hours a day of screen time if we're so busy? And all we desperately want is freedom and to be able to do joyful things, why, the second we finish our work, we still log off of ourselves and we give all the rest of the precious time to our phone. Because what we're really avoiding is ourselves, is stillness. We don't know what to do with ourselves if that religion crumbles.


I have so many thoughts. It's interesting, Abby. You said it was about surrender, and I get that and understand that. And also, to me, it feels more volitional than surrender. It feels like a reclaiming. I feel like I was giving up my life force for this game that you promised I'd win. And now I'm reclaiming what I want to play and what I don't and how much I'm going to give to you and how much I'm not. That it isn't like just if I'm going to participate, it means passing over my life force to you. So I feel like there is, like, some power in it, too. It is both a surrender and a battle and empowerment at the same time.




Whereas I feel like we were surrendering anyway. We were just surrendering to the wrong thing. And, Glennon, when you're talking about how using people around you to regulate yourself as an abuse structure, honestly, like, where your people are doing that, I think almost all of us are using the people around us to self regulate, and it's not always in, like, an abusive way. And I guess that's what I mean by deciding I'm okay is that like, I'm not trying to control the people around me doing that, but I'm looking to them to determine if they're okay, I'm okay. If that's okay, that's okay. It can be a very kind of passive thing where, and I don't know if anyone relates to this, but like, how I could be going through a day, fine, and then I have a weird conversation with someone and suddenly I have this. Who I don't care about, by the way. Like, I don't care about you person. But inside of me I have this. Apparently I do care about you. Because now I have this shakiness where I'm looking for reassurance of what? That I'm good, that I'm worthy. That I'm fill in the blank.


What do you do with that? How do you self regulate besides doing more things? Because what I find is I do feel as if part of my recovery has been. I do use people less for self regulation. We are not all using each other for self regulation all the time. Like, I understand what you're saying, that there's a spectrum to it. And of course we need each other. And of course. But there are people who do that way more than other people.


Well, that's what I'm saying. I totally agree with you. I'm saying I'm trying to get to the place where I decide internally if I'm okay.




And I'm not letting these momentary interactions or big deal things or whatever determine for me in my body whether I feel sturdy or shaky.


Yes. I don't know how to not feel shaky. Yeah, I don't think I'll ever experience that. I do believe there are people that can do that, that like, are just so whatever that they really. I actually know a couple people like that, that they can have experiences and just stay regulated. Yesterday, I mean, I never recovered it all day yesterday.


That's not true.


Oh, last night I did. Yeah, you're right. But what I do know how to do now is get back to sturdy without hurting anybody, without making anybody else think it's their fault, without making it about something else and getting mad at everybody about something else. I understand when it's my responsibility to get myself back, whether it takes me a day or two days or three days or four minutes. I understand that. That is my responsibility. That is not my children's responsibility. It's not my team's responsibility, it's not my wife's responsibility. That's not the world's responsibility. I have become dysregulated, and I need, as a gift to myself, to give my self regulation back. Do you have strategies for that? Because I think that's something you learn when you're lucky enough for your addiction to have a fucking recovery plan.


Right. I think I'm at this stage now where I'm just noticing it, and I think that's a big stage. I think before I would either be, well, that person sucks, or I don't like that person, or tell somebody else about what happened so that I can be clear that that person did that thing, and now it's clear that. And everyone agrees that that person stinks. But I think I am now able to be like, that's interesting that that thing makes me feel this way.




And I still might not like that person. Like, fine, you planted a poor seed within me, and now we're done. But just that it has more information to tell me about me.




And even noticing that it's not like a bad thing happened. It's not like a. I had a shitty ten minutes just then. It's like, oh, wait, no, this is bigger. This is in me now. It's in me. The shakiness is here. Okay. And then I've started to kind of be, like, really interested in. Are the things that give me the most shakiness now? Are they the things I get the most mad about? Because I see people being in a way that I am working so hard to not be, and that feels triggering to me.




Can you give me an example?


I will just give you the most ridiculous, because this will show how ridiculous it is.




But we live in a very type a. Everyone thinks they're a fucking star area. I mean, just northern Virginia, it's like, oh, you can't not hit 14 lawyers, you know? And everybody thinks their kids are, like, the chosen one.


And we used to call them the gifted parents. The gift when I was teaching. Yeah, yeah.


Just fucking gunners, man. And I mean, not my immediate group, but in the ecosystem, so many gunners.


That's the religion.


And I coach some teams just like the parents on the sidelines and sit there, like, during the practices and the energy that is going towards the field. And their kids are like, you could go. You could just tell that they are just channeling with the things that they say, that they want their kid to do the best and be the most amazing. And it is so fucking triggering for me because I've realized that I am so susceptible to that, and I work so hard to not judge my kids by those things and not to try to measure my worth by their worth in what they're playing. And I've had to grapple with my own, like, wishes that early on that that would be different in as much as their energy is so wrapped up in that. It just shows how so much of my energy is so wrapped up in that, too, but trying to do the exact opposite. And so when I see them do it, I want to be like, fuck you.




Because it just feels like, such an affront to, like, what I am just trying to hold together. Like, I'm just trying to, like, in.


Your defense, pod squad, take this or leave this. I'm sure people have feelings about this. Abby Wambach, former Olympian, has a rule for our family that we do not watch practices. Practices are for practicing. We're talking about practice here, okay? This is the time where kids get to experiment without the gaze of their parents on them. Go to the games. Okay. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm telling you that Abby Wamba, keep your mouth shut.


Just cheer.


Or don't go to the practices. Yeah, don't go sit in your car like I do and scroll. Instagram. Bring a book. Leave the book there. Be on Instagram. Don't go to practice. Let your children have some freedom to experiment with their coaches.


And it just. It feels like. That felt like. So it just happened this weekend. So I, of course, like thinking about it, and it's like, you know, really wanting their kid to be on the best team and not on the lesser team, and, like, so are all the kids on the lesser team shit, like, including mine? So, like, it seems, like, so totally tangential about this sturdiness, but I think it's exactly correlated to the whole. Everything we've been talking about is we have a scorecard. That's how we know we're okay. My kid is going to make that team, so that's how I know they're okay and I'm okay. Because there is an outside structure that looks at that and vindicates that and justifies it. End of inquiry. They don't have to do any further analysis.




And that's why they're gunning so hard for that, because it's fucking easier because.


They'Re using their kid to regulate themselves. I feel uncomfortable. I feel like I'm not sure I'm good enough. I don't know if I'm doing adulting right. I don't know if I'm a good parent. I don't know. So I'm going to scream at you to run faster, run harder to prove that I'm okay. That is using your children to regulate yourself. One thing I know for sure about this year of my life, or two years, I don't know if it'll change. Every time I get dysregulated, I know it is my responsibility immediately. It is nobody else's responsibility. Even if somebody has just been extremely cruel and horrible to me because I can't be effective, I can't. Honestly, I can't even fucking win until I regulate myself back to peace, then I can come to the thing. But I think for so long we have believed that when we get dysregulated, somebody else did it to us. And so the solution is in continuing outward to fix that person. Or it is always the second we feel the shakiness, the second we're on the sidelines and we're worried that our kid is fucking up or that our kid is whatever the dysregulation is inside of ourselves, it is our responsibility, not our children's, to fix that.


Do you think it's helpful to voice when you feel dysregulated or when you feel like a part of you has kind of come to the top and has made you feel a little shaky? Because I have found that that's been really helpful for me in my recent therapy is like, when I get dysregulated, one of my things that I've been doing more is to actually say it out loud. I don't know if you've noticed.




But like, really helpful, really been good for me. And to not, there's no need for you to fix it. I just need to get it almost out of me, and that is really healing for me. And sometimes you'll come over and you'll give me a hug and there's this weird thing that happens that like, when I'm dysregulated and like a, the judging part of me, or usually is a really young part that was developed inside of me that like, when I'm able to voice it, you're able to hold it, we grow our intimacy, and then my shakiness goes away and I feel much more stable.


So for you, that's a regulation strategy.


Yeah, because at the end of the day, and this is kind of full circle, but regulating yourself in the micro is the same kind of responsibility for regulating your life in the macro.




I take responsibility for this. This life isn't just happening to me. I am going to reclaim my leading of this life and deciding where it's going, which is scary as shit, because it's assuming responsibility for where my life is going.


That's right.


But also it's reclaiming that volition in your life.


It's self sovereignty.


The same as when something happens to you in a moment, you're either claiming responsibility for what's happening there, or you are a passive victim of what happened there. And for me, it's like when you're talking about self regulating Glennon and Abby, when you're talking about voicing that, to me, it all goes back to attachment theory. Like when they talk about, there is a rupture, there is a conflict. Everything is about the repair. You need conflict to have repair. You need rupture in relationship. If you repair it to get close to each other, you don't get close to anyone else without rupture, because without rupture, you don't have repair. And repair is where you find out what the fuck is going on with the other person.




Where you actually make connections and heal your relationship. And when you're dysregulated in yourself and you don't project it out to somebody else, but you sit within your own conflict inside of you. You sit with your own internal rupture, like, whoa, baby, we just had a moment. I don't know. I don't even care about that guy. But, whoa, something happened here with us. That is the only way you get close to yourself and the only way that you have a relationship with yourself and heal yourself, because you repair the.


Rupture, and then you become a responsible human being. That is how you become self sovereign. That is how you become a safe person for other people to be around. I want you, pod squad, to imagine all the moms and dads on the sideline, you know, little Timmy fucking up again, not getting the ball fast enough to the whatever. Imagine instead of Timmy's mom screaming or Timmy's dad screaming at Timmy, Timmy's dad feels a little shaky and uncomfortable, turns to the dad next to him and says, hey, just want you to know I'm just feeling like the stuff's coming up. I'm feeling shaky. I think it has to do with some lessons about masculinity and success that this culture has taught me. And I feel a little uncomfortable that my kid is embodying everything that I fear right now. And I'm scared it's in your head too. And you're judging me because of how my kid's on the field. But instead of screaming at him and passing this shit onto him so that he's dealing with this when he's 40, I'm going to tell you right now that I'm just feeling kind of dysregulated. I think it has more to do with my childhood than it does with my child.


That's good.


And I don't think we know this. This is why this education is so important. I'm the same way I am sitting after games. I could sleep for 6 hours because of all, all of the emotional shit you're going through. It is real. If you sit there and you are a bundle of nerves and a bundle of anxiety and a bundle of. I don't really know why I feel this way, but I do. That doesn't make you weird. That makes you a person who has received all the messages that we've all received and like, you can feel those things and get curious about them and repair with yourself so that your kid doesn't have to repair later.


There comes a point where you start to see dysregulation as the ultimate gift, I do want to tell you.


You mean seeing it in other people or yourself?


No, in myself. Every time now I feel dysregulated. I sense it as an invitation to heal myself.


It's a breadcrumb toward healing.




Because without that, we're just people who have lived in these bodies our whole lives. We don't know. We have subsistence, suspicions about some shit, but we don't actually know where our healing needs to exist unless we have those moments and we look at them just like we don't know where our relationships need to heal unless we're willing to be vulnerable enough to have the conflict with each other.


Yeah, and yourself. I think that one of the things that you're saying, sissy is like the observation, because a lot of people live in the observation world without doing the work of repairing. But I do think it's really important to get in touch with the parts of yourself that do dysregulate you. Because the more you can observe it, the more then you'll get in relationship with those parts so that you can actually figure out how to heal them. Because then you're like, oh, judgment. Cute. You're such an old friend. You know what you can do? You can take a little back seat right now. You don't have to do that. You don't have to be here. I'm good. And so like, you actually do get to work through this stuff. But if you don't even know or have the awareness. I think the awareness is so crucial. So many of us are just like kind of walking through our lives because of business or whatever, that we don't even understand that we're dysregulated to begin with.




And we all know people. We all know people who go through their whole lives being annoyed at everyone, finding fault with everyone, deciding that whole swaths of people are not good or safe. And why is that? It's because all of those interactions are dysregulating them. And they have to decide that the easier answer is to say all those people are bad.


Yeah, right.


Rather than to look at themselves and say, what is it about these interactions or those people that I find so threatening, that I find so scary, that I find so upsetting? What about me needs to be healed that these things are upsetting? Because guess what? A bunch of people go through the world and are totally fine, and they're.


With the same people, right? So these things are tied, right? Because we just use all of these things to tell ourselves that we're okay.




We use these religions, we use these lists. We use busyness, we use success, we use productivity, we use other people. All of these things, bless our sweet little hearts, we're just trying to be okay.


They are proxies for worthiness.


None of those things will ever make us okay.


That's right.


There is a way. It has to do with complete embodiment, tragically, because there's a way of sensing dysregulation. And then if we don't pass that on and we get really curious about that dysregulation, we teach our own selves how to be so these things are connected. But in order to get to that next place, it requires a long desert time of sitting on the couch with no puzzle. There is a desert time that feels excruciating, of nothingness. And then this thing starts, which is a journey of figuring out how to regulate yourself so you don't have to use people or things. And then you become a responsible, safe, whole person.


That's right.


And then you can actually be in.


Relationship with other, other people and not yourself all the time.


Yes. Because when other people, including your kids and your partner, are only experienced by you in terms of being a reflection of you, and a referendum on whether you are okay or not, and a referendum on whether you've done a good job or not, then you actually can't know them. No, you can only know them as mirrors of yourself, because you are looking at everything from a self centered approach. You're not a full human that can experience another full human without all of their struggles and pain and imperfections being a reflection of you.


That's right.


Yeah. You cannot be in relationship with someone who is not okay. They will always use you like a cat toy to make themselves okay. I'll never forget my kid looking at me and saying, I just wish that you did not have to control your environment. So much for you to be okay. This was years ago. We were playing in one of those damn games that was supposed to make us closer, and all this shit comes out like a card game where you ask questions, you know? And sweetheart, what he meant was, I just need you to figure out how to be okay so that we don't, as a family, don't have to keep going through the world deciding if every little person or everything is going to dysregulate you.


Cause they're experiencing the world through your dysregulation, right.


So then they're like, is this gonna. Anyway, we know how that goes when you have an eggshell person in your family. I think figuring out how to regulate yourself, which will look different for everybody, and if anybody tries to sell you a freak, it's just. It's different for everybody and different for different years and different weeks and different situations, is the biggest gift you can give your people. We're gonna stop there. Pod squad. We love you. We can do hard things you next time. If this podcast means something to you, it would mean so much to us if you'd be willing to take 30 seconds to do these three things. First, can you please follow or subscribe to we can do hard things. Following the pod helps you because you'll never miss an episode, and it helps us because you'll never miss an episode. To do this, just go to the we can do hard things show page on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Odyssey, or wherever you listen to podcasts, and then just tap the plus sign in the upper right hand corner or click on follow. This is the most important thing for the pod.


While you're there, if you'd be willing to give us a five star rating and review and share an episode you loved with a friend, we would be so grateful. We appreciate you very much. We can do hard things is created and hosted by Glennon Doyle, Abby Wambach, and Amanda Doyle in partnership with Odyssey. Our executive producer is Jenna Wise Berman, and the show is produced by Lauren Lagrasso, Alison Schott, Deena Kleiner, and Bill Schultz.