When we want others to think well of us, what is happening is we are buying into the cultural myth that WE are all good, all the time. And then our EGO steps in to defend this truth and make us look good all the time. But this comes at a cost, it disconnects us from others.
What if we can allow the not so good parts of ourselves to be seen and accepted?
What if people don’t HAVE TO to think the best of us?
Quieting our ego in our relationships, especially in our marriage.
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In this episode I discuss:
- Assumed judgement versus concrete judgement.
- Assuming what others think about us reflects what we think about ourselves
- Differing between the cultural term of EGO from how Freud uses the term EGO
- Wanting to believe we are all good, all the time
- How the EGO shows up when we feel we are being judged or feel inferior
- Should we be happy all of the time?
- The cultural message that we are all awesome, all the time!
- Acknowledging that we are not good all the time and how that can free us and improve our relationships
- The problem with teaching our kids there are ‘good guys and bad guys’
- The role of serotonin in feeling superior and special
- Differentiating between wanting our friends to think well of us or wanting to be socially superior
- Making change from a place of shame/inferiority
- What does it mean if we are NOT 100% good or 100% bad
- How it can improve our relationships
- Acknowledging our good without minimizing it and taking ourselves off the hook to perform
- Validating ourselves rather than looking for validation from others.
- Acknowledging what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in our partner and allowing it to bring ease rather than a fight
- The Hard and Awesome Game we play with our kids and how it de-stigmatizes ‘hard things’ and also celebrates ‘awesome things’.
- Letting go of the expectation that the whole day has to be good and awesome and allowing the hard parts of our day to not take over
Full transcript (unedited)
Hey friends, I’m Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend. Welcome to the simple on purpose podcast. This is the podcast where I remind you to stop, slow down,
breathe. Like really take a deep breath. Let’s just slow down. Because I want you to stop where you are. So you can pay attention. what’s working, what’s not?
What will bring you a sense of purpose today. So I’m Shanna, you know, me as your nerdy girlfriend. I have been coaching women since 2018. And I am a counselor in training working on my certification. I’m also a mom of three kids, my kids, how old are they now, my oldest just turned 11. My middle is nine and my youngest is seven. So I am just here going through the motions of motherhood and marriage and life alongside you guys, and just trying to share on the topics that come up for me. And this, this is a topic that has been in my drafts for a while. And then this morning, Connor was home. And he gave me a suggestion for how I could handle some of our banking that we’re working on, I do all of the finances. And man did my defenses go up over that. So I went to this notes file. And I just started self reflecting and adding more to this episode. So I want to open up with a story. And it was a few years back, my husband came home from work and he said, How was your day? And I was like, Oh, it’s good. And he was quiet. And he said, You haven’t said that it was good for a really long time. I’m not sure if I’ve shared this story before I might have. But when he said that I felt so embarrassed. I was really caught off guard about this. And I tried to think of like, well, what do I usually say I asked him what do I usually say? And he said, you usually say it’s tough. And instantly I retorted with it is tough. And then I caught myself because he really wasn’t accusing me of anything. But I was getting really defensive. I was getting defensive, because I felt like I shouldn’t think it’s tough, or maybe because I shouldn’t make him feel like I can’t handle it or because maybe I was feeling like he’s not really seeing how hard it can be, or how hard I work at bringing the level of the day from the point where it’s like mom’s going for a timeout, Netflix will parent you to. Alright, we’re having a tough day. Let’s see how we can manage like, that takes a lot of effort to get from there to there. But I know enough, when this happened, I know enough about my gut reactions to know that I need to sit with them. They’re telling me something, I don’t need to run away with that defensiveness, I know, when I buy into that defensiveness, it is messy. And what’s really happening is there some emotions that I need to address, you might notice this too, when you feel like your spouse is judging you or criticizing or not seeing the good in you when emotions come up. And I think it’s also really important here to make the difference between assumed judgment and concrete judgment, because most of the judgment we feel in most relationships is assumed we feel insecure about something. So we fill in the blanks. And we elaborate what other people might be thinking what they’re implying, we start looking for proof that we’re correct, we start acting from the story that we are being judged by them. But it was all based on our assumption. And I say it because that’s the human experience, like I have been there, especially in marriage. And I find myself there from time to time, when we feel like we’re being judged our defenses, they just shoot right up. So it’s really important to know, if you are being judged, the person needs to explicitly say, I’m judging you, I don’t think you’re good enough, or you’re failing at that. Or you need to explicitly ask, which can just clear up a lot of drama in a relationship. When you say to your partner, I feel like maybe you have some judgment of me or maybe you’re looking down on me for this. Am I Am I sensing that right? And so often they can just clarify like, no, that’s not what I think. And I will reflect this back to you because it was reflected back to me years ago in therapy. It’s probably what we think about ourselves, that’s probably more of the truth. But in the moment, we’re not aware of all this right? It’s just a threat to our reputation. And our ego start steering the bus, it just jumps into the driver’s seat. And so before I continue, I want to I want to use the term ego but I think I need to just differentiate what I mean when I say ego, because ego is where we have our sense of self identity. I am this I am not that I like this, I don’t like that. And I think Freud explained ego differently than how we understand it now as a culture. So it when you look up Freud and he talks about is super ego ego, that ego is more of a mediator making decisions between our instincts and our super ego, like, what our instincts are in want and what is culturally or morally acceptable to a person. But our more modern definition in my opinion of ego is another word for unhealthy pride or saving face or wanting to look good and an even wanting to be superior. The ego wants to believe that we are 100% Awesome all of the time. So when there is a possibility that someone doesn’t think that our ego will step in, often with defensiveness, what do you do when you’re defensive? How do you act? Maybe you underrate what others are doing. Or maybe you overrate yourself.
Maybe you Stonewall them. We all do different things. When we’re feeling defensive. Or maybe it looks like we get fighting, we’re offensive. We are judging we are. We are having biases toward them. We are making assumptions toward them. The ego lies it manipulates it posts It criticizes the ego disconnects us. That’s what the ego does. It separates us from others, it wants us to be put above, there’s no partnership. There’s no we, there’s no common goal. But I’m not here to criticize the ego. I don’t think the ego is really the problem so much as the goal of the ego. The goal is to make us look good all the time, in all the ways. Just like we wrestle with this idea that we should be happy all the time, and happiness should be easy. I’ve got a link to an episode on that for you. If you’re interested, check out the show notes. There’s also that belief deep down inside about us too, that we should be awesome. Through and Through. I mean, social media tells us how awesome we are. We are powerful, we are beautiful, we are strong and wise. And this is true. But it’s part of the story. I’ve learned over the years to acknowledge that I am not good all the time. I know it’s a shock. But neither are my kids, or my parents or my partner or the leaders in our community or my friends. And neither you we aren’t all good all the time. We try to hide these parts of ourselves. So sometimes we are good. Sometimes we do things that are loving and kind and generous. Sometimes we do great important things. Sometimes we aren’t so quote unquote good. Sometimes we’re selfish, judgmental, petty, jealous, we don’t do enough of the things that matter. Sometimes it just all looks confusing, because sometimes we act good. So that others think we are good. And the side note here this is my big problem with teaching our kids that there are good guys and bad guys, which is like such a common theme and TV shows and books. And it creates the structure where you want the good guy to win and the bad guy to be punished to, to even maybe perish. But sometimes good guys do bad things. Sometimes the bad guys do good things. How do you know? How do you know who’s good and bad? I mean, on TV, it’s pretty clear the good guys they’re handsome. Maybe blonde, beautiful. jawlines. Right? They look really nice and how they dress. They’re probably all dressed in white. The bad guys oh, they’re easy to spot. They have like scars on their face. They wear leather black leather. It’s pretty easy to tell, isn’t it? But that’s not real life. You can’t tell by looking at someone go out into the real world who’s good, who’s bad? Who’s in the middle? It isn’t black and white? All right, sidenote over. So the problem isn’t the ego trying to protect us and make us look good. The problem is we want to hold to this belief that we are good all the time. We want to fight for it. We want others to see it. And it makes sense. It makes sense that we want this after all, we get serotonin from the times that we feel like we are superior or we are special. We’re proud of ourselves. I’ve referenced Loretta Bruning before she’s a PhD who has written on the different neurotransmitters in our bodies and their job and how we can use them. One of her books really opened my eyes it was called tame your anxiety. She has a new book out. It’s so great. It’s called Habits of the healthy brain. Yes, habits of happy brain. I’ll link those both in the show notes. But she explains that serotonin has helped us over the generations to gain advantage and to be accepted by our tribe. But now in this modern world, we’re looking around, we’re comparing ourselves and if we see we’re at a disadvantage, we perceive we’re at a disadvantage. It doesn’t have to be actual genuine disadvantage. Then we seek to put ourselves in this one up position, we seek out things that help us get serotonin. And I also think it’s worth noting that there’s a big difference in wanting to be superior in our social relationships, versus wanting to maintain positive relationships like we will reach out and make amends if our friend thinks we have hurt them. We are going to want our friends to think well of us. But we don’t need to be superior in that relationship if you can see the difference there. So all in all, I think the ego is not the problem it’s why the ego is triggered like someone sees something in me that’s not good. Oh, you’re I am buying into that culture that we have to be all good all the time. It’s like Don’t hate the player hate the game. Because the game says we have to be 100% Good. So no, we are not 100% Awesome. But flip that around. We are not 100% Bad. And
when we view ourselves as bad when we view ourselves as insufficient as inferior, we are in a state of shame. And unfortunately, shame can be an effective motivator at adjusting how we show up and what we do. But really, I believe that positive change in our lives comes from positive motivation. So whatever you’re doing out of shame, it probably does not feel positive, deep down in your heart. So if it could be true, that we are not 100%, good, or 100% bad. What can this mean? Do we have to fight to look well and be right and have our partner never even entertain the possibility that there’s a negative aspect to us? Now we can own it. We can be humble. We can say yeah, I do struggle with that. Or yeah, you’re right. I see it to our men. I never thought of it that way. We can start to own it. No, I am not always chill. I am not always happy. Things are not always easy. I do not always have this on lockdown. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I’m oversensitive. Sometimes I’m anxious that is me. But the other side of the coin again, that can be exciting. Because then we can also acknowledge what’s awesome. When we acknowledge what is good and awesome. It makes us less resistant of the heart, and then not so good, right? Because when we can acknowledge our good without being like, Oh, it was just like a lucky chance or like, Yeah, but I’m also really bad at these other things. Know, when we can step into that and fully own it, without minimizing it, then it really takes us off the hook. It takes us off the hook of performing for others to fill in all those blanks to tell us how awesome we are. We don’t need validation from others that we are good. We can start validating ourselves. Like, hey, I’m proud of me, I did 10 squats today. I’m proud of me for being patient, when my day was really hard. And we were all really struggling in the home. And I decided to just give us all a timeout and refresh. Like I’m proud of me for doing that. I’m proud of me that I volunteered to help out with this thing I showed up, I showed up with my whole heart. So when we allow the awesome that is there to be there, we can kind of reduce the pressure that we need to be on all the time. If we don’t expect 100% from ourselves, there’s less hustle, there’s more peace, we can just be sometimes I’m awesome. Sometimes I’m not. And if my partner thinks I’m awesome, and sometimes not, I want him to, I want to give him permission to feel that way to think that way rather than fight them on it. I don’t need to prove to him how awesome I am all the time, because I am not awesome all the time. And ideally, in a marriage, we’re going to focus on the good. We’re going to overlook one another’s faults to some extent in order to preserve our marriage. I’m not talking about ignoring red flags, my friends, not talking about that. But just you know, like the run of the mill flaws and faults that we have. And if I can sit back in the knowledge that I’m I’m, you know, good and bad. I’m hard and awesome. And so were they. And we can be honest about it, we can be humble about that there is an easing in the relationship, rather than a fight in the relationship. And like I said, if we can focus on that positive, if we can encourage one another, if we can speak into that, then there is support and love there, despite our flaws and our faults.
So I really started thinking about all of this idea from Jodi morpher. One, but mostly from the game, we play the table with the kids. It’s called hard and awesome. I’ve shared it on Instagram before, so hard and awesome. We usually do it at dinnertime, or maybe at bedtime. And we ask what was hard today, what was awesome. And we go around the table. And our kids share one thing that was hard in their day. And one thing that was awesome, and we have a discussion about it. And I think this is really important because on one hand, it reduces the stigma of hard things. So if they’re talking about it, if they’re sharing it, especially in front of their siblings, which can be very, very vulnerable for them. Then when we don’t have to kind of manage those heavy emotions and the resistance and the shame we feel about it, we can bring it out into the light, and often feel some sense of validation that we’ve shared it and someone sees the hardship that we’re going through. This also permits some of our day to not be awesome. Like how often do we go through our whole day thinking the whole day has to be good. And if it doesn’t go the whole thing’s derailed, like start over. But when we can start to approach our day as yes, some of this day is going to be hard. So it’s going to be awesome, we can really let go of that hustle. And we can allow some of the really awesome things back in. Because when we’re focusing on the hard, we minimize the awesome we’re not getting 100% of the awesome that is available to us. It also this conversation also helps us really make the note of the good things and celebrate them together and really savor them and like imprint them into our brains. Most importantly, it shows us that these two things exist together in the day in life in people in every single experience. An interesting thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes the same thing that is hard in their day is the same thing that is awesome. And man, when that happens, it just like blows my mind, because they are holding those two things at the same time. And they are like, yes, this was hard. And it was awesome. And I just think that those are sometimes the best things, the challenging things, places that you grow. So we don’t have to live on one end of the scale good or bad, harder, awesome. We don’t have to live in that land where things are hard. And there’s shame and invalidation. And the ego is just constantly defending us. We also don’t have to live in the awesome where we demand 100% Perfect, happy, hustling, avoiding of the negative, we get to be in the middle. We get to live in the middle, we get to be hard and awesome. And we get to allow others to be hard and awesome as well. That might be the next episode because that is hard to do as well. All right, friends, thanks so much for coming in this week. Stop by on Instagram. I’ve been asking questions in my stories, and sharing your responses. I’m just really excited about the conversation that is happening there. We’ve had some recent conversations about kids and cell phones. We had a really fun conversation the other day about how we defined womanhood when we were young. So that’s become a place where I just really like to connect with you and chat with you and hear what you have to say. My Instagram is at simple on purpose.ca Alright friends, have a great week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai