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. How are you all? I am in it right now. I’m having the full human experience. Let me tell you, I am not always a fan. I think it’s easy for a lot of you to look at the life I’ve created and the work that I do, the level that I teach at, and assume that I have it all figured out.
But being a human is being a human. And because I always want to grow and evolve, I’m constantly kind of pitching myself head first into the most uncomfortable, anxiety-producing experiences that I can find, which really is to say neutral circumstances, neutral experiences that my brain creates a lot of drama around.
When I am in it, when my brain is chattering away at full volume and speed with a ton of thoughts that produce a lot of negative emotion, I know that my job is to observe and allow it and breathe. And today’s podcast is going to be really short and sweet because I just want to teach you a tool that I use when I’m feeling this way, that I am using right now.
And I don’t want to kind of belabor it because I just want you to try it and kind of accept it in its simplicity and let it sink in. Sometimes we just – I see this happen with my listeners and my students. Sometimes they just think they need more and more information, or they just need a podcast that applies the tools to their specific situation with that guy named Kevin in accounting.
And that’s not always what we need. We often do we expert – we need coaching and help to see our own blind spots. That’s not the same as more information. So I don’t want to do a 30-minute episode on this. I want to do a 10-minute episode on this and just teach it to you and let it sit with you. It may not even be 10 minutes. We’ll see.
So here it is. When I am having that full human experience that I’m not enjoying, when I’m feeling that, whatever those negative emotions are, my brain, of course, tells me that something has gone wrong. My brain is really sure that it’s not supposed to be like this.
This is actually something I coached one of you in depth on at Clutch College was this assumption that if you’re feeling negative emotion, something’s gone wrong. It’s not supposed to be there, which makes us so fixated on getting away from it and trying to control somebody else to make them change it.
It’s such a relief to accept it and to just allow that being a human is going to involve negative emotion. And so when I’m in that kind of headspace where I can see that I think that having negative emotion means something has gone wrong and something needs to change, and I think it’s not supposed to be like this or it should be different, that is when I practice one of my favorite phrases, which is, “This is the part where…”
That’s it. Like… this is the part where. I think I learned this from my teacher but I actually can’t remember where I got, but it’s one of my favorite thoughts to practice on purpose because when I’m feeling a lot of negative emotion, I know I’m resisting whatever’s happening around me.
I’m resisting reality. And then often on top of that, I’m resisting the thoughts and feelings themselves. I don’t want to have them. And I want to think my way out of them. One of the reasons that I kind of took to this form of self-coaching like a duck to water is that it had a very analytical element.
A way of deconstructing my thought process to shift it. And I still love that about this form of work. It’s what makes it so much more effective for me than kind of some other approaches that are only about observation, rather than intervention.
But at the same time, there are thoughts that I can’t always shift right away. My brain simply isn’t ready or I still believe them too much or I can’t believe an alternative yet, or I can’t even see an alternative, or I can’t even access what the belief is, or I’m just not there yet for whatever reason.
Sometimes I’m still resisting the emotion, which of course, makes it continue. And so when that happens, I know the human instinct is to want to get away, to resist, to avoid. And so that’s when I practice the thought, “This is the part where…”
And what’s so brilliant about this thought I think is that it helps us access a future perspective. We’re looking at it from a place where the story has already moved on and we can look back with more peace and compassion. So I’m going to give you an example.
If you were watching a movie of your childhood and you saw the moment where your little brother stole your ice cream when you were three and you had a tantrum, you would think, “Oh right, this is the part where I thought ice cream was the most important thing in life. This is the part where I had a screaming tantrum in the ice cream parlor.”
Most of us can see that about our childhood. This is the part where that was really hard. This is the part where I went through this thing. This is the part where I was homecoming queen. Good and bad. And most of us can even do that with our younger adult selves.
I can look back on a painful heartbreak from my 20s and think, “Oh right, that was the part where I was convinced that I was losing my soulmate, which I no longer believe is what happened.” Like, that was the part where I was suffering so much because of the thoughts I couldn’t see or the feelings I didn’t want to have or whatever it is.
And the good news is you don’t have to be a time traveler to use this shortcut. Because you can use it now. You can take whatever thoughts are causing your suffering now and think, “Oh right, this is the part where…”
This is the part where I lose my mind over finding my first client. This is the part where I lose my temper and yell at my kid. This is the part where I feel anxious about a new romance. This is the part where I feel grief about a family member passing.
It works for anything because anything can be the part where. For me, it’s such an important and helpful reset out of wanting something to be different and into remembering that whatever I’m experiencing is part of my story. It’s all unfolding the way that it should.
Not because there’s a divine plan in my belief, but simply because it is. It is what is happening. This is the part where I feel this way. Whatever I am feeling, whatever I am thinking, whatever is happening, this is the part where that happened. This is the part where I had those thoughts. This is the part where it feels this way.
It’s not an aberration, it’s not a mistake. It doesn’t mean the plot has taken a wrong turn. It’s just that part of the story. I enjoyed the part of the story where I felt amazing, that part was great, and now this is the part of the story where I don’t feel amazing and that’s okay too because the story always changes.
Because really, what is a story? A story always has a dramatic arc. There have to be challenges. If there isn’t a challenge, if there isn’t a journey, if there isn’t a struggle or an obstacle, then a story is just one sentence. A person felt fine forever. The end.
That would be a super boring story and none of us would read it or watch it. There’s always a part where there’s a struggle or a hardship or a challenge. And sometimes that’s external and sometimes it’s internal. But there has to be a part where… A part where this thing happens, a part where there’s a struggle, a part where there’s suffering, or there isn’t a story.
So whatever is happening in your life, in your story, whatever thoughts you’re thinking and feelings you’re having, it’s all okay. When we watch a movie or read a book, we don’t assume that the protagonist just will feel the same forever and nothing will ever change, then the die.
We know that wouldn’t be a story. We know there will be a part where this is happening, and then there will be a part where that other thing is happening, and they will be transformed and the journey will continue. And the same is true for you.
This is the part where. It’s all just the part where. This is the part where you loved and lost. This is the part where you risked and failed. This is the part where you were about to succeed but you just didn’t know it yet. This is the part where you fell apart and this is the part where you put yourself back together.
It’s all part of your story and the story isn’t over until you are. So when you’re struggling this week, when you’re resisting your reality, you’re resisting your own thoughts and feelings, when you want something or everything to be different, I want you to take a deep breath and remind yourself this is the part where it is this way and that’s okay.
And this isn’t a tool that means then you won’t feel bad anymore. This is a tool to help you release your resistance to being in the part where it feels this way. So if you think this thought and you feel a lightning but you still have the negative emotion underneath, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
I mean, sometimes maybe it all releases, but this isn’t about shifting that underlying negative emotion. This is about acknowledging and accepting it, being willing to allow it. Not believing it means something has gone wrong but understanding this is just the part where it feels this way and that’s okay.
One very important announcement. I had such a good response to the Get Fucking Organized webinar that I did a few weeks ago, and so many of you loved it, and said it was so incredibly helpful, and it’s totally changed your organized work life, that I wanted to offer it again, so I’m doing it again on Wednesday, December 4th, at 4:30 PM Eastern, and if you want to register, you can register just by texting us. You can text your email to 347-997-1784 and you’ll get a prompt that asks you for the code word and you just text back the word “organize.”
So text your email if you’re already on my email list, use the email that you already used for my list. 347-997-1784 and then the code word when you get prompted is “organize.” If you don’t want to text or you can’t just go to unfuckyourbrain.com/webinar. Unfuckyourbrain.com/webinar or just unfuckyourbrain.com/109 for the show notes for this episode and there will be a way to register online.
So again, that’s December 4th, 4:30 Eastern. We are going to do a redo of the Get Organized webinar so that I can teach a whole new bunch of you how to get yourself really organized. I’ve really taken it to the next level, and streamlined it, and made it even, I think, clearer, and more amazing. And to answer the question I always get that you don’t have to message me about it; there will be a replay, but it’ll be a limited time.
So it’s a free webinar. I will send out a replay for you to watch, but the replay will only be up for a few days because I know otherwise you can stash it in an email folder, tell yourself you’ll get to it someday, never get to it, and never get organized, and then that’s a waste for you and for me. So sign up and I will see you there.
Have a beautiful week, my chickens. I will talk to you next week.
If you’re loving what you’re learning in the podcast, you have got to come check out The Clutch. The Clutch is the podcast community for all things Unf*ck Your Brain. It’s where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life.
It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more, and it’s where you can hang out and connect over all things thought work with other podcast chickens just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at www.unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. It’s unfuckyourbrain.com/theclutch. I can’t wait to see you there.