Amanda Doyle Stops Keeping Score And Stays In The Moment

It’s the start of a new series, For The Love of Wonderful You! Spring is arriving and as the winter slumber fades away, many of us are likely plunging into a frantic pace of commitments and To Do lists. But we want to take a minute (or approximately 45-mins to an hour) to create a moment where we can punch the brakes a little. Let’s tell that inner taskmaster to relax; and instead, reflect on finding value in who we are in this moment, and how worthy we are just as we are

Jen’s amazing conversation partner today is Amanda Doyle. Amanda is many amazing things but you may know her first and foremost as “Sister” on the We Can Do Hard Things Podcast with Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach. She’s also part of the leadership team at Together Rising, the amazing non-profit that has raised over $50 million dollars and given it away to people all over the world who need it most. Amanda has been a longtime social justice advocate and she uses that knowledge to break down deep truths and complex social issues in all her conversations. Today, she reminds us that spending the energy to stay vulnerable in our relationships will always pay out.

 In this episode Jen and Amanda talk about:

  • The struggle to be vulnerable and truly open up versus managing perceptions and staying in control in relationships
  • How Amanda chose sobriety and the surprising clarity that emerged in her marriage, especially during the pandemic
  • Jen’s journey to understanding herself and her avoidant tendencies in the aftermath of her divorce
  • The profound impact of the “love letter” exercise guided by Liz Gilbert, where “Love’s voice” urged Amanda to stop keeping score in life 

Ashton Applewhite Unravels Harmful Attitudes Toward Aging

As we continue our series on facing our fears, we introduce a fear that many of us may not talk about comfortably, but in reality, we are all facing; the fact that we are aging. In case this is something that moves you into a state of deep denial, or perhaps you are employing a world of efforts (including for profit products and practices) to stave off the inevitable progression, or even if you are just taking it all in stride, we all are subject to what the world at large has to say about it and—mostly–it’s not positive. A pervasive ageist attitude infiltrates the media we consume, our own friend groups, and even what we tell ourselves consciously and subconsciously about aging. We come by it naturally, though–with deeply ingrained stereotypes and discriminatory practices that extend everywhere from the workplace to the bedroom. Our guest this week shares how she went from being an apprehensive boomer to becoming a pro-aging radical as she dismantles myths and debunks the portrayal of older people as societal burdens; with years of research under her belt, she dreams of an aging-friendly world. Ashton Applewhite is the author of “This Chair Rocks–A Manifesto Against Ageism,” and she makes it her life’s work to expose ageist behavior, and educate us all as to how we can stop giving aging a bad rap. Jen and Ashton take an eye-opening look at ageism as a form of bias as unacceptable as any other, and give us actionable steps to ignite “age pride,” keeping in mind that aging is an integral part of our life journey, not a condition to be cured or concealed. If you’re fretfully staring down the next decade of life with fear and denial, consider the possibility that being stressed about aging actually can cause the very things we fear about aging. Ashton sums it up like this; “If you learn about aging, you will be less afraid. That knowledge and information is going to confer all kinds of protection about aging as well as you possibly can.”

 

Two Friends Compare Notes On Therapy: Jen and Kelly

We’re bringing a close to our series on therapy, and we couldn’t be happier to have Kelly Corrigan with us to have a candid conversation with Jen around their thoughts on therapy, including when it first entered their awareness, and now, in a more enlightened age, how the next generation has more access to therapeutic help. Even as recently as 20-30 years ago, therapy was not talked about a lot in public. For Jen and Kelly, they didn’t see it modeled from their parents, it wasn’t mentioned in their church circles, and only earth shattering situations seemed to require it. But as they look back, they realized there were people in their lives who were likely touched by a host of mental health issues–like panic attacks, depression, anxiety–and they usually suffered in silence while others wondered why they were so “moody” or “different.” Now that therapy is enjoying its day in the zeitgeist, we can all benefit from the openness around mental health that is evolving daily. Kelly’s a dear friend of Jen’s and has been on our show numerous times–winning the coveted title of most appearances on our pod! Besides offering wonderful conversation and amazing insight here, Kelly is the host of her own podcast, Kelly Corrigan Wonders, and is the author of several amazing books including Tell Me More, Glitter and Glue, and The Middle Place. She also hosts a show called “Tell Me More” for NPR, and she and Jen discuss the value of the statement “tell me more” when relating to others about our deepest thoughts and feelings.

 

Freedom From Codependency with Melody Beattie

We’re back with some more therapeutic goodness as we approach the tail end of our therapy series with another fire episode! Awareness around mental health, trauma, dysfunctional family systems and more has been coming into the national awareness on a bigger level over the last 10 years. But back in 1986, the concept of codependency was really new. And unless you were deep into studying sociology or psychology or seeing a therapist yourself back then (also something that wasn’t as widely accepted), Melody Beattie’s book, Codependent No More, gave words to the masses who never had a way to describe these types of relationships in their lives. Codependency can worm its way into our lives—the definition being; those imbalanced relationships in our lives where one person enables another person’s self-destructive behavior (like addiction, immaturity, or even irresponsibility). It’s a bit insidious for those who don’t know what it looks like, and for so many, Melody’s book was a resource to help free themselves from something they may not have even recognized in their own lives. 35 years later, it’s still shining a light on those situations. Melody comes in with a scalpel to cut away to this very precise way of behaving and relating to another that is cloaked in good intentions and self-righteousness but is actually ruining our relationships. And fun fact, we were the very first podcast Melody has ever been on! Last year, she celebrated a new edition of her book honoring 35 years of its impact. Melody and Jen walk through how to recognize what codependency is and how it might be a part of your life and your relationships—which are the first important steps toward making an enormous change for the better. 

Are You Happy? Dr. Sara Kuburic Wants Us To Stop Lying To Ourselves and Take Ownership of Our Choices

It’s time for this week’s podcast therapy session and we’ve got another great therapist in our “office” as part of our For the Love of Therapy series. Dr. Sara Kuburic is an existential psychotherapist, author and the force behind The @Millennial.Therapist account on Instagram. Dr. Kuburic believes that each of us is a free and responsible agent who determines our own development through acts of our will. Though this isn’t always a popular view to take, as we often look to outside forces to blame for our unhappiness, Dr. Kuburic wants us to understand that we have this amazing opportunity to engage in life and we can take ownership and responsibility over our choices. In that vein, she asks a very important question: how much of what we deal with in life happens to us, and how much of it did we inflict on ourselves? (that’s a fun thing to spend a few hours pondering). But as a therapist, she helps people find tools to address whatever stage of life they’re–maybe it is a bad situation and you just can’t change it–but as she likes to ask: “what can you change or how can you change your attitude so the situation is less painful for you?” In addition to thinking about our lives existentially, Jen and Dr. Kuburic also discuss the concept of self-loss and how we can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re living the life we want, when our bodies are telling us otherwise by devolving into depression, anxiety and panic. 

Jen and Dr. Kuburic get honest about: 

  • What it’s like when you love the “idea” of who you are more than who you actually are–and how to stop lying to yourself
  • What happens when not making a change in your life actually becomes more painful than changing
  • Realizing that our bodies do have limits–no matter how strong you think you are or how strong you’ve been—your body is sending up red flags with feelings of anxiousness, fear or panic for seemingly no reason
  • How sometimes our dedication to make something work can be so all consuming–even if that thing isn’t the right thing for our lives and hat commitment, which is normally a good quality, can lead us to our weakest moments if we don’t face up to the truth

Jada Pinkett-Smith on Trauma, Grief, and the Power of Embracing Your Journey

We’re in the thick of our “For the Love of Therapy” series, and this week we’re getting a full helping of candor and insight from the multifaceted actress and author, Jada Pinkett Smith. Jada candidly reveals another side to her journey that many might not know from her highly public persona, a story where she takes charge of her narrative in the face of what people have decided for themselves who they think she is. Jada recounts the formative and often traumatic events of her past, and talks in stark terms about her present day pain points. Without sparing the hard parts, Jada leans into what it’s like for her, as it is for so many of us to be a woman today, what it’s like to reckon with our trauma, and marriage is really like behind the curtain, in hopes that what she’s learned will resonate with other women, no matter what their story is. 

Jen and Jada compare notes from their own lives about:

  • Jada’s encounters with complex trauma, PTSD, panic attacks, and suicidal ideation
  • How mental health issues can visit anyone at any time, regardless of privilege or upbringing
  • The slow acceptance to admitting they’ve faced trauma, thinking “others have had it worse” – and the continued work toward reckoning with that truth
  • The reality that all of us, especially those in the public sector, will be judged by others, and a new understanding that judgment is most often about people’s own pain and how they’ve been hurt by others’ judgment, rather than it is about the person being judged

Through sharing her life journey, which she covers in much greater detail in her newly released book “Worthy,” it’s Jada’s hope to encourage others navigating similar struggles towards wellness and understanding.

 

Redefining Community & Friendships When Faced With The Unexpected ft. Emma Nadler

As we close in on the end of our Community and Friendships series, we’re reflecting on the great conversations we’ve had toward building relationships in our lives. And this week’s convo puts the cherry on top as we discuss our friends as “chosen family” and the shape that our friendship and communities take when we are in a place where we need extra support. Our guest this week, Emma Nadler, is a therapist, author and speaker who is doing valuable work in helping people build deeper relationships. Emma knows firsthand what it means to rely on her circle in ways she never thought she would, when her daughter was diagnosed with a DNA disorder, shifting the life she knew, and navigating the special care, multiple hospital stays, and more than full-time parenting her daughter needs. By leaning on her community and being brave enough to ask for help (when sometimes the tendency is to act like we’ve got it all under control). Emma’s goal is to show us how we can look beyond preconceived notions about what it means to be valued and to belong, and leads us toward building a world where thriving in community is possible for every single person. 

Emma and Jen touch on: 

  • What it looks like when our “family” looks different than expected in the context of friendships and our communities
  • How to understand and learn to tolerate our emotions when it comes to interacting with friends and community and how to find meaning in everything—good and bad
  • Practical steps on fostering really authentic connections, asking for help, and creating inclusive spaces
  • The power of being direct when reaching out to connect with new people, or friends you’ve drifted from, to foster a deeper relationship 

There’s so much value in learning how to meaningfully connect with others and create communities and friendships that celebrate our joyful times and anchor us at difficult times.

 

The Hardest Part of Friendship; When It’s Time To Say Goodbye ft. Erin Falconer

We’re back with our “For the Love of Community and Friendship Series, and this week, we delve into an area of friendship that all of us may face, but inevitably dread. It’s that moment when you know a friendship has run its course, or perhaps has become toxic, or you’ve just drifted apart–and you don’t know how to go forward. When life changes, when we change, and a friendship no longer serves us, how do we gracefully (and honestly) communicate about it? Our guest this week, who is here to walk us through this touchy topic, is writer, former standup comedian and political consultant Erin Falconer. Erin’s written a book called How to Break Up With Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection and Boundaries in Modern Friendships. Lest you think this is just a conversation on how to wipe your friend slate clean, stick around–you’ll hear Jen and Erin talk about how to create and maintain the healthiest friendships through all the seasons of our lives in order to avoid the painful friend breakup. 

They also discuss:

  • Erin’s “Six Pillars of Friendship” that help us take stock of who is in our life and how we’re serving each other
  • What to do when we see a friendship has run its course or needs to shift or change in some way
  • How to keep the source of joy going in our adult friendships, and minimize the pain

It’s tough to grapple with the complexities of friendship breakups, but it all starts with building healthy relationships from the start. 

 

The Friendships That Save Us: Maggie Smith

Genuine heart friendships have an incredible impact on our lives, including our health. Many recent studies tout the connection between health and the quality of your relationships, and that loneliness (not to be confused with being alone) can have a negative effect on our health–possibly even bigger than smoking or drinking or poor eating. So is it possible that our friends can actually help save us? Our guest today thinks so; writer and poet extraordinaire Maggie Smith recently went through a divorce and she credits her close knit friend group for being “her parachute” in that process (much like Jen’s friends have been for her as well). 

Jen and Maggie discuss these topics around friendship: 

  • The way friends can invest in you in a way that family isn’t able to when you’re going through disruptive life moments
  • The friends that intuitively know what you need during a rough patch and show up proactively with solutions so you don’t feel so lost
  • How we can nurture those “life saving” friendships by being a good friend ourselves

Thank God for the friends who remind us of who we are–of our core goodness and worth– when a disruptive time shakes up our identity. They help bring us back to ourselves.

Reimagining Our Relationships Toward Rebalancing The Domestic Workload with Eve Rodsky

We’re back with another installment of our Being Seen and Heard series, and we think this one is going to strike a nerve with many of you out there who are looking for a better, stronger, fairer, narrative when it comes to the balance of work in your home and toward raising children. Are you the one in your relationship who is handling the lion’s share of the care and feeding of your littles PLUS taking care of their pickups and dropoffs to school, daycare, sports, bathtimes, bedtimes, wiping noses, butts PLUS managing the domestic front of grocery shopping, cleaning, organizing, handling the social calendar, vacations, PLUS working a 40 hour a week job either inside or outside the home? We see you and are asking a question that maybe you ask every day; why are women still, in a day and age where we make up 55.9 percent of the workforce and where 40 percent are the main breadwinner in the home, still responsible for so much when it comes to child rearing and domestic workload? Our guest this week has created a national conversation about greater equality on the home front with a system she created through intense research that helps couples create balance, by understanding that women are doing what she calls almost all of the “invisible labor” in the home, with at least two thirds of them having a job outside the home as well. Eve Rodsky is a Harvard Law School grad with years of training in organizational management When she had her first child (and began to see her identity at her job being stripped away because of it) and then began the dance of balancing her job with all of her duties as a mother (for which she bore the lion’s share of the domestic and child rearing responsibilities, as so many women do) she started to wonder: what would it be like if couples could reimagine their relationships as to how it relates to rebalancing the work it takes to run a home? So began her “Fair Play” system, where she sets couples up for success in relationship and parenting by helping them change the way they think and talk about their home life.

Jen and Eve discuss:

  • The patriarchal history that has been around for centuries that informs why the imbalance of domestic workload still exists when so many other categories for women have been elevated
  • How important it is to invite men into their full power into the home, removing barriers and stereotypes as to what men’s and women’s strengths are there
  • Changing the notion that women’s time is somehow less important than men’s–and that the “invisible work” women do is toward guarding the time of men
  • How the overwhelming pace of work, child rearing and home management eventually ends up making us sick and damaging our relationships, and what we can do about it

BONUS: Eve puts Jen to the test with a question from her Fair Play card deck where we dive deep into Jen’s family values–a question that is illuminating to all of us in understanding each other in relationship.