We are so often committed to trying to get people to be someone they aren’t, or to give us something they either don’t want to give us or can’t. This can manifest in our friendships, or at our jobs, and pretty much any aspect of human life that involves relationships. And this is where the concept of Copenhagen and Croissants comes in.
This phenomenon of going to Copenhagen to get croissants, even though there are better places to get them, is one that is part of our default setting as humans. In relationships, you might be looking to the other person to change your thoughts or feelings, or to give you approval and validation, but the truth is you’re simply looking in the wrong place.
Listen in today to discover how we get stuck in a cycle of anxiety and looking for relief from someone else, and how to end this cycle. You have to stop going to Copenhagen for croissants, and ultimately, the key is in identifying what is driving your behavior, and I’m sharing some questions for you to start this process.
Welcome to Unf*ck Your Brain, the only podcast that teaches you how to use psychology, feminism, and coaching, to rewire your brain and get what you want in life. And now here’s your host, Harvard Law School grad, feminist rockstar, and Master Coach, Kara Loewentheil.
Hello my chickens. Can you believe that it is fall already? I seriously do not understand what’s happening with time, but it does not seem linear to me, which I guess we already knew because of physics. But I enjoy the illusion of linearity that my human mind usually conveniently creates for me.
But that being said, I’m trying to embrace fall, the passage of time. I’m super excited about some of the stuff that we are going to be working on in the next few months. We just wrapped up the body image masterclass in The Clutch. That was amazing.
The end of the course, the students were sharing their reflections in the Facebook group, and one of them talked about how in working on her thoughts about her size and her appearance, she had also just kind of also, on the side, gotten rid of all the clothing that didn’t fit her and then felt confident and badass enough to land a new job with a raise from her previous position.
That was all just side fallout of learning to love how she looked. That is what I mean when I talk about how your body image impacts everything in your life. That all happened in the first four weeks of the course. When you start to accept yourself in one area, it spills out everywhere else.
So we just wrapped up that Body Image Master Class and then we also just filled the last few spots we had for Clutch College LIVE, which is our three day virtual, totally live coaching and teaching immersion extravaganza, where we’re going to be doing money mindset, family drama, anxiety hack, that’s going to be happening in January. I’m so excited for the Clutch members who snagged one of those.
Relevant to the theme of this episode, next week, I’m going to be launching just in a few days, another Clutch College online course, all about relationship anxiety. So that’s whether you’re dating and trying to find a relationship and stressing out about text messages or you’re in a relationship, but you never feel secure because you stress about conflict or your partner being unhappy.
Or any kind of anxiety around any relationships, not just romantic, anxiety around family relationships, social relationships, even a work relationship. I’m really excited about this because I know that relationship anxiety is such a problem issue for so many of my students. And, it used to be kind of the defining theme, thing and theme of my whole life, personally, it’s been such a huge shift for me.
So if you have a problem with anxiety in your relationships, you’re going to want to join the Clutch now, like today, because this comes out on Thursday and we are launching registration for this course next week. So Tuesday or Wednesday, but these fill up pretty much immediately. The Clutch College LIVE Online I just did sold out in like 12 hours. So if you want to get first dibs on being able to register for this class, it’s only open to Clutch members and you have to then register, it’s like an additional course within the Clutch, but it’s only open a Clutch members.
So if this is something you struggle with and you really want to do a deep dive on it, and you have been kind of wanting more interaction with me, like more in-depth coaching, more personal coaching, these online Clutch College courses are small groups so that everybody gets plenty of personal attention. I really like to keep them small because of that. So you can only join them if you’re in the Clutch. So if you want to be in there, if this is a problem for you, I want you to go join the Clutch today. I don’t want you to be mad that you missed it when you hear more about it.
I’m also working on another big exciting project for later this year and I will have more to share about that later. But here’s who it’s for. If you are already a certified coach through The Life Coach School, or you’re currently in certification and you’ll be certified by the end of the year and you want to specialize in this kind of social justice framed or feminist coaching that I teach, then this is going to be for you.
Because at this point, I’ve really created a whole body of work that is separate and distinct from the tools that I learned from my own teacher, and I know there are so many of you who want to learn this work in a systematic way and who want to be able to build a business based on these principles and coach using this lens.
So I’m going to be offering a very small intensive application only advanced certification in feminist coaching. It’s going to be open to anyone who has completed The Life Coach School certification process, or you’ve at least gotten certified. I know there’s steps after certification but if you’ve gotten certified, then you’re eligible to apply. Because you need to know those basic tools that I did learn from The Life Coach School and my teacher myself.
And then I can teach you all of the additional advanced feminist and social justice coaching work that I have developed. So I am super excited about that. You’re going to learn all of the kind of substance and the theories, but also how to coach effectively using those tools and get better in your coaching. It’s going to be super, super fun. I’m so excited.
But listen, don’t start emailing my team about this and offering them bribes or whatever it is that you do when you email them. Make sure you’re on my email list. We will send out an email when we are ready to start sharing more information about the certification.
I love how passionate and excited you guys are. I promise I will tell you when things are open. If you want information about the Clutch College online relationship anxiety, then you just need to be in The Clutch. If you want information about this advanced certification, you just need to be on my email list. I promise we will let you know everything you need to know and what the timeline is when we are ready.
If you’re not on my email list, all you need to do is go to unfuckyourbrain.com/podcast and there’s a popup form that will come up so that you can opt in. You’ll also get a free podcast workbook, which you should want anyway because that’s awesome.
So just go to unfuckyourbrain.com/podcast and you will be prompted to get that awesome workbook and also then you’ll be on my email list and then you’ll find out all the things. You’ll find out about the advanced certification, the masterclass, the Clutch College online on relationship anxiety. You have to be in The Clutch to find out about, not just on my email list.
Okay, so that is what I am working on. Super excited about it. And let’s talk about what you’re going to be working on. That’s my segue today. This is the strangest title I’ve ever put on a podcast, maybe because I’m really missing international travel or really the ability to travel anywhere.
I always miss croissants because gluten-free croissants are just terrible. But this is not actually a new idea for me really. My friend and coach – co-coach, my coaching friend, we coach each other – Rachel Hart and I came up with this a couple of years ago.
We were at a coaching mastermind and we were given the assignment to brainstorm two random words, like each of us had to come up with a word, and then figure out how to put them together into a coaching concept. I think that’s what happened. It was so long ago I don’t quite remember because 2020 has been 400 years long so far.
But this came to mind when I was getting ready to work on this week’s podcast because just this week, a Facebook memory came up for me. You know when Facebook shows you what you posted a few years ago. And it was a teaching that I’ve given someone a year or two ago. So I’m going to read you that quote and then I’m going to explain what it has to do with Copenhagen and croissants, and then I’m going to eat breakfast because this is making me hungry.
So a few years ago I was coaching someone on a relationship where the person they were dating was not interested in having the same kind of relationship that my client wanted to have. And so what I said to her was continuing to try to date this guy is like going to a store looking for a toaster and finding out that all they sell is oranges.
You don’t have to get mad and punch the salesman. You don’t have to sit around in the store, hoping that one day the oranges will turn into a toaster. You definitely should not take the oranges home and try to put bread in them and see if they’ll toast. You just can leave the store and go to a store that sells toasters.
And this brings me to Copenhagen and croissants because the coaching idea, the teaching concept that Rachel and I came up with was don’t go to Copenhagen for croissants. Croissants are a French delicacy. Copenhagen is in Denmark. If you want a French delicacy, don’t go to Denmark.
Now, cue all the emails from people telling me about how they have amazing croissants in Copenhagen, or everybody should not eat croissants and eat wienebrod instead. But you get what I’m saying. It’s obvious that an orange store doesn’t sell toasters. It’s obvious that if you want the best croissant, Denmark is not the place to go.
And yet, so many of us spend so much time trying to get an orange store to sell us a toaster or try to turn an orange into a toaster against its will, or trying out every croissant in Copenhagen and still being dissatisfied, but telling ourselves that we have no other option. We don’t know that we can cross the border and just go to France.
So why do we do this? Why are we so often committed to trying to get people to be something other than they are, or to give us something that they either don’t want to give us or just don’t have the ability to give us even if they wanted to?
Some of us do this in our relationships. We continually try to have romantic relationships with people who aren’t interested in the kind of relationship we want, or who aren’t available for the kind of connection or life that we want, or who just aren’t that interested in us or who are inconsistent with their attention or their investment.
And some of us do this in jobs. We always try to get approval and validation from our bosses or that certain client or coworker, even though that person never provides it. And some of us do this in our families of origin. We repeatedly try to get certain kinds of support or validation from family members who have never given it to us before and are not magically going to start, no matter how many times we try.
And some of us do this in our friendships, desperately trying to cultivate friendships with people who aren’t really that interested in having a friendship with us or maintaining friendships that we aren’t really even enjoying because we are trying to get that person’s approval or attention.
Pretty much any part of human life that involves human relationships can be a setting for this phenomenon, for constantly over and over again going to Copenhagen and trying to get croissants, even though we’ve seen over and over that’s not the place to get them.
So I know that you will be shocked to hear that this generally does not have anything to do with the other person that’s involved. It has to do with your thoughts. Usually your thoughts about yourself. So the first layer of it, which I have talked about before is that humans are socially wired to fear and avoid rejection.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to change this, but this is your default setting. It’s like your remote comes with a default setting unless you reprogram it. Hunter gatherers lived in small tribes originally and you needed to be accepted in the tribe to literally survive.
There’s this great anthropology quote, I forget who it’s from, but it’s about how the first indication of civilization isn’t artifacts. It’s not ruins or a tool or whatever. It’s a skeleton with a healed broken leg. Because if you broke your leg and were left on your own, you’d die.
An animal in the wild that breaks its leg, if it’s a prey animal, that’s it. But a healed broken leg shows that the person had a group of people who took care of them when they were immobilized. That does not happen in the animal world.
So your survival was literally dependent on the acceptance and help of your tribe. And so we’re predisposed to fear rejection and try to avoid it. Our primitive brains literally think our survival is at stake. And if we ever do get rejected, we are predisposed to want to repair it and fix it and just finally get that person to accept us.
Now though, your physical survival does not depend on fixing every possible instance of rejection that happens to you. But your primitive brain doesn’t know that. And then on top of what we all as humans have in our kind of default wiring, when you’re socialized as a woman and you’re constantly taught that pleasing everyone is what matters most, and you’re taught that you’re only as valuable as other people think you are, and that other people are in charge of determining and evaluating your worth, now you have a perfect storm in your brain.
You’re already primed to fear rejection in your more primitive mind, and now your prefrontal cortex, the more evolved part of your brain has been taught to look for validation and rejection everywhere and take everything personally because you’re so constantly hustling for your worth through other people’s approval.
So what happens when you experience something you perceive as rejection? You make it personal. You make it mean something about you. And then you’re desperately motivated to try to fix it by repeating the experiment over and over until you get a different result.
So this is what happens with an unmanaged mind. You just keep doing it over and over, hoping to get a different outcome. You keep going to the orange store to be like, did the toaster come in today? Do you happen to have a toaster? Are there some new oranges that I could try to fashion into a toaster?
And you get habituated to the anxiety and the hope of relief coming from that person having a different reaction. That is what is so fucked up about the way that your brain operates. You are anxious because of your thoughts about this person, but then your brain also tells you that the solution to the anxiety, the only thing you can do to feel better lies in this person finally having the reaction you want, having a different reaction than they ever had before.
So no matter how many times it doesn’t work, you just keep doing it because your unmanaged mind can’t imagine any other way to get relief from the thoughts and feelings it has about rejection. So if you’ve ever asked yourself like, I don’t know why I can’t stop trying to get this person to approve of me or trying to get love from this person that they don’t want to give me, or trying to get acceptance from these people, I can see it’s not working rationally, why can’t I stop?
It’s because in your brain, the way you’ve set it up, you believe that the only possible relief is from these people. You believe that they are causing your suffering, and that the only relief that exists will come from them. And so no matter how many times it hasn’t worked, you’re compelled to try again.
Remember that a lot of this may be subconscious. You may not even know what’s going on. But if you felt fixated on trying to get some kind of love or acceptance or validation out of someone where it wasn’t happening, this is why.
So that’s the bad news that your brain is predisposed to do this. Here’s the good news. You can break this cycle. You can stop going to Copenhagen for croissants. You can stop going to that orange store when you need a toaster. The key is understanding why you’re doing it and then what thoughts you need to change to stop doing it.
Fundamentally, what you have to learn is how to see that the other person is not creating the anxiety and pain in the first place. What your brain thinks is this person’s creating the rejection and pain, so this person can solve it. But in fact, you’re creating it with your thoughts and so you are the only one who can solve it.
So on one level, the fundamental why is the same for everyone. Your brain is doing a three-step process. Number one, you’re taking this person’s behavior personally. You’re making it mean something negative about you consciously or subconsciously. Number two, your brain then calculates that the way to feel better is to change this person’s behavior.
In your brain’s logic, this person knows something true about you that’s a problem and that’s causing your feelings. So step three therefore, you need to get a different reaction from this person in order to feel better. That’s what we’re all dealing with. But on an individual level, you have to look at any relationship where this is going on and you have to break it down so that you can find out precisely what it is you’re trying to get out of this person and why.
You have to figure out what do you want them to do or say differently and why. What is your thought about their behavior? What are you making their behavior mean about you? If they acted differently, what would you get to think and feel that would be better? That’s an individual process. That is why you have to learn how to coach yourself. You have to uncover what you’re thinking that you’re not aware of that is driving all of your behavior.
So we all start on this kind of baseline of primitive brain, and then if we’re socialized as women, we get this baseline on top of that. Second baseline of internalized social messaging. And so yeah, the first part of the solution, which I can teach on the podcast is this is what’s going on, let’s break it down so you see what’s happening.
The second part, what you need to solve for yourself requires you to learn how to manage your mind. That’s why you need to learn thought work. That’s why when you join The Clutch, the first thing you learn is a self-coaching framework, a set of steps you go through to figure this shit out.
What’s happening in your individual brain with this individual person that is causing this? What are you thinking about them and yourself and what do we need to change that thought to? That’s the part that is going to be individual to every person and that really requires you to understand how to coach yourself to resolve it.
Your brain thinks that in order to unlock a certain belief about yourself in your own brain, you have to get the key from the person out there, outside of you. So your brain becomes obsessed with trying to get the key from them so it can unlock the thought and feeling that you want to have, whatever that is.
I’m good enough, I’m pretty enough, I’m smart enough, I’m worthwhile, I’m worth loving, whatever that thought is that you’re trying to get. That feeling you want to have. Your job in managing your mind is to figure out what is that thought and feeling you want to have, and then figure out how to give it to yourself.
Because the key is an illusion. The relief you want will never come from someone else. Even if you get a miraculous result on the 1001st time you try the experiment, you get a temporary validation high, how long until you start the cycle all over again?
In fact, the worst most prolonged cycles are the ones in which you occasionally get what you want, but it never solves your problem permanently. The guy occasionally texts you back or hangs out with you, you will stay involved in the drama so much longer than if they’re just completed uninterested and never give you any response.
Same with a boss, a friend, a parent, whatever it is. If you get some – a little bit of inconsistent validation or a little bit of inconsistent love or whatever it is you want from them, you actually will stay involved in this process so much longer. The only thing that will end the cycle is when you finally stop it in your own mind. You stop going to Copenhagen for croissants. Ultimately, you have to change your thought process.
If you give anyone the power of your self-esteem, you will feel crazy whether they’re validating you or not. So the next time you find yourself trying to get croissants in Copenhagen, or a toaster at the orange store, take a step back. Identify the thought that is driving that behavior. What are you believing about yourself that you’re hoping someone else can change for you? And lean into changing that thought for yourself.
And if you do this, this thing that I’m describing, if you are constantly going to Copenhagen for croissants or you’re going to the orange store for a toaster, then you need to come join The Clutch so that I can teach you how to do this process on an individual level. I can teach you how to change those thoughts in your own brain in the specific context of your life, your circumstances, the people in your life, and how your specific brain has developed.
That’s the only way that you will ever feel free is when you learn how to change those thoughts for yourself. Alright my chickens, get the fuck out of Copenhagen. Go home. Make your own croissants. I’ll talk to you next week.
If this episode spoke to you, then you need to check out The Clutch because it comes with a five-week self-coaching course that will walk you through exactly how to apply this life-changing work to anything you experience. Literally anything. If you’ve ever thought, “Well, I don’t know how to get started with thought work or I don’t know exactly how to do thought work or if I’m doing it right, or what order I should do it in or how I should do it,” the self-coaching course teaches you all of that.
And even if you’re familiar with thought work concepts, The Clutch will help you take the work deeper, and it comes with access to expert coaches who can answer any thought work question you have. Plus, me, of course, to coach you live. No question is off limits. You can change your life by going to unfuckyourbrainn.com/theclutch, or you can actually just text your email address to 347-934-8861 and we will send a link to all the information you need straight to your cellphone. I’ll see you there.