July 26, 2019
Emotional Literacy & How to Handle Rejection
Karen B.K. Chan, joins Jess and Brandon on the podcast to discuss rejection. How can we manage rejection? And when we feel rejected, how can we embrace it? How do we develop resilience and emotional literacy and to navigate uncomfortable social situations. Listen now and learn more!
The following is a rough transcript of the introduction to this podcast:
When was the last time you felt rejected — in work, socially, or otherwise?
I feel rejected often because I talk to strangers so often. The other day I was walking down the street and I said good afternoon to a woman and she didn’t reply. The way I read the situation was that she looked up at me, mouth agape and then averted her gaze. I felt as though she was irritated with me and though that may have not been the case – she may have been shy or felt threatened or simply didn’t know what to say, but I remember feeling irritated. But I was only irritated because I felt rejected.
I also feel rejected when I try to make conversation with people and they seem uninterested. When I play Ultimate, I often play with new players or new teams or new subs and some people really like to chat on the sidelines and others clearly aren’t interested. I always try to make conversation because I’m chatty and sometimes I get one word answers and I take it personally.
But of course, it’s not their responsibility to make sure I manage my own feelings of rejection. They may not want to talk because they’re into the game. They may not be in the mood. They may just not really like me. And I’m sensitive about this. Sometimes when I’m in certain spaces, I feel like I’m being rejected because of my race, because of my occupation, because of my appearance if I don’t fit in. But this is on me.
I grew up thinking people in Toronto were snobby and at some points in my life, I had a chip on my shoulder because of this. And I think it’s because I wasn’t being honest about how I felt. I wasn’t owning the feelings of rejection.
And feelings of rejection are tough. They’re psychological and physiological. Evolutionary theorists suggest that because we come from hunter-gatherers, we needed the community to survive. When we felt rejected by the group, we feared for our lives because we simply couldn’t survive on our own. It stems from a life or death situation and it’s a warning system for our own protection. Of course, we no longer live in the wild, so we no longer need to allow rejection to scare us. In fact, we’ll be better off if we embrace rejection.
MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection as when we experience physical pain and pain medications like Acetaminophen can reduce emotional pain.
But emotional pain can feel more intense than physical pain because we can recall it, and because when we face emotional pain like the pain of rejection, we tend to self-sabotage and be harder on ourselves. If you get a bruise, you don’t ruminate about it, but we tend to be self-critical when faced with emotional rejection.
I want to talk about rejection because I think we’re getting it all wrong. I think we fear it too intensely and it’s time to embrace it. We often talk about the power of vulnerability and how much it can improve self-esteem, relationships and fulfillment. And rejection is a part of this vulnerability. Rather than avoiding or dismissing rejection, I want us to embrace it and learn from it.
Joining us to discuss how to handle rejection is BK Chan. BK is sex and emotional literacy educator.
BK has an Emotional Intelligence online course you can access here.
The following is a rough transcript of the podcast conclusion:
Rejection is a life skill. There are so many pearls of wisdom to pull from BK’s insights and even though I’ve only met BK a few times, she is one of my favourite people I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to and spending time with. If I have to pull one action item out of BK’s many insights, it’s the feelings on the fridge suggestion. If you find yourself stuck on specific emotions — anger, frustration or resentment, for example – can you look at a list of wider emotions to try to identify the true emotional source. If you’re feeling angry, are you really angry or are you really feeling powerless? If you’re feeling or expressing frustration, are you really frustrated or are you feeling lonely or neglected? If you find yourself harbouring resentment, are there other important emotions worth addressing like sadness, guilt or shame? Sometimes just seeing these emotions in writing — on your fridge or on your phone — can help you to get to the source of the problem. The more authentic – often scarier and more vulnerable emotions that underly the more aggressive ones. LiveBoldAndBloom.com has a long list of emotions, but you can also just Google list of emotions and you’ll find several good options.
And I want to add one more thing. As we spoke, BK was so present and thoughtful throughout the entire interview. So in addition to learning from her insights, I also want to learn from her modeled behaviour and be a bit more curious. Oftentimes, folks turn to me for the answers – especially when I’m being interviewed. And TV has trained me to give as much soundbite friendly information as possible in the shortest amount of time, which may work for a live television segment, but I think I’ve allowed this to seep into other non-TV parts of my life, so I’ll be working on this with a reminder to start today.
If you’ve got questions or topic suggestions for the podcast, submit them here. As well, you can now record your messages for us! Please record your message/question in a quiet room and use your phone’s headphones with a built-in mic if possible.
This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Emotional Literacy & How to Handle Rejection
00:00:05 – 00:05:07
You’re listening to the SAX with Dr Jess podcast sacks and relationship advice. You can use tonight <music>. Welcome to the sex with Dr Just podcast. I’m your co host brandon wear and just so riley here. You’re friendly neighborhood sexologist welcome back. Thank you long few days of travel that you had oaten San Diego that’s right and San Diego such a nice city. Those sunsets in your picks were Pretty Stellar and the surfing and the beautiful ocean and yesterday I park my car in the morning. I was meeting my cousin on the way to the airport and I could just smell nothing but salty air. That’s nice yeah. We’re back in Toronto where the smells are a little different than that smell something. It’s insulting something out there. Well I WANNA talk about rejection and I’m wondering when was the last time you felt rejected either socially or with an intimate intimate partner while that would be me that would be you or at work professionally. I feel rejection at work on a professional level probably weekly micro little micro bursts of rejection because I am in in real estate and you’re constantly putting yourself out there trying to have a conversation with people and whether they intended or not. They’re telling you that you know they’re not interested or that. They’re working with somebody else in my approach isn’t very <hes> <music>. I’m certainly not forcing my services on anyone but when somebody needs to politely tell you that they’re not interested. I think that it it gets to you on a subconscious level without realizing it so I tend to your question weekly Louis and you really put yourself out there because every Tuesday morning you get up super early and you’ve been doing this for years and you head over to the King West neighborhood in Toronto and you have this beautiful wooden an custom-designed coffee cart and you give out free coffee in the neighborhood and you’re not trying to sell real estate and you’re not trying to you know scoop people’s listings ultimately. You’re just trying to make connections and it’s part of giving back in. It’s also partly marketing circuiting but in a city like Toronto where I contact is rare. Even a good morning makes people uncomfortable you must you must face rejection and you do this now used to do it all by yourself before you had a company standard there on your own and now you do it with a team of I guess there are ten or twelve of you some warnings yeah and it’s <hes> we’ve been doing it for six years and you’re right. There’s almost a dozen of us at time standing there and you are you’re putting yourself out there and and I love Toronto but Torontonians like you said are nice people. I wouldn’t say that we are a friendly group of people making eye. Contact people think that were weird. I’m not trying to sell anyone anything. I’m just asking if I’m saying good morning and I’m offering a cup of local coffee and you’re not saying hey if if you have any real estate needs call me it’s literally just coffee. No literally it’s coffee and we have dog treats and I WANNA WANNA play with people’s dogs if they’re walking their dogs but you’d be surprised how many people avoid on I contact avoid the side of the street that were standing on that that probably genuinely feel bad telling me they’re not interested when I’m not upset about it but I will see good morning to people and they will not make eye contact pretend to not hear me and walk right by which is fine which also they’re entitled to do. It’s your job to manage your own rejection and you know I feel rejected ejected often because I talk to strangers so often so the other day I was walking down the street and I said good afternoon to a woman and she didn’t reply and the way I read the situation was that she kind of looked up at me. Her mouth was agape and kind of averted her gaze as though she was rolling her eyes and I felt as though she was irritated with me and this may not have been the case this is on me right. She might have just been shy. She could have felt threatened. Maybe you know she was like what do you want from me or maybe she didn’t know what to say but I remember fuelling irritated and the only reason I felt irritated was because I felt rejected and I that’s a hard feeling to name and I also I feel rejected often. When I try and make conversation with people so for example sample I play sports I play ultimate Frisbee and it can be a little bit clicky? I’m lucky I played with some great people but if I play on a new team or if I’m subbing for another team some people like to chat on the sidelines and other people aren’t interested and I’m always the one trying to make conversations chatty person and I sometimes get one word answers and I take it personally but that’s not on them.
00:05:08 – 00:10:01
That’s on me. No one’s required to talk to me mill. It’s the same when somebody walks by me in the morning. I’ve simply said good morning but they don’t want to. It’s not their job to make me feel better right and it’s not when I’m playing Frisbee and nobody I don’t WanNa say nobody wants to talk to because I I play with a nice group. <hes> not a nice group at a friendly group. They’re all nice just because they don’t want to talk to me doesn’t make them not nice but it’s not their responsibility to make sure I manage my own feelings. They may not WANNA talk because they’re into the game. They may not be in the mood. They may just not really like me and I’m really sensitive about this. Sometimes when I’m in certain spaces I’ll tell you I feel like I’m being rejected because of my race or because of my occupation I think people judge me for what I do for a living I’ve run into in the Hetero community which tends to be more monogamous not not monogamous more toxically monogamous and and a little bit possessive. I’ve run into the women that I’m talking to their partners. L let me tell you my interest in anybody. Else’s partner is so low and my interest in men generally. I’m not trying to take your partner and <hes> you know again. I have to deal with the way I’m in its rejection because I know there’s nothing I can do about anyone else’s behavior and when I find myself judging their behavior it’s usually because I’m dealing with a vulnerable emotion like rejection and rather than focusing on myself and what I can do. I might be focused on on their behavior and Inner Lina City like Toronto. I grew up here and coming from a you know a culture that is very different. You know my mother being from Jamaica. <hes> you talk to everybody in fact it’s rude to walk down the street without saying good morning running good afternoon good evening. I grew up thinking everyone was snotty here and in some points of my life I think I had a chip on my shoulder. Because of this and I again I think it goes back to an inability to recognize my own feelings and not i. I was not owning my own feelings of rejection so as putting it on the culture I was blaming other people and that’s because feelings of rejection are tough there psychologically and physiologically challenging and evolutionary theorists will explain that because we come from hunter-gatherers we need it the community to survive when we felt rejected by the group there was an automatic reaction of fearing for your life because because you can’t survive on your own so it stems from a life or death situation and what rejection is in part is a warning system for our own protection right. I’m being rejected rejected. I am at risk. I need to do something about it. So you know we know we no longer live in the wild so we no longer need to allow rejection to scare us in this same life or death way and in fact we’d all be better off if we were to you embrace rejection yeah that’s easier said than done I mean I think you have to be willing to accept the risks associated with putting yourself out there. Where if I say good morning to somebody and they don’t reciprocate? I have to be okay with that but then on the flip side when somebody does smile or has a conversation with me or just takes for instance. I’m talking about my Tuesday morning marketing efforts. It feels really good like it’s nice when somebody engages with you so it’s it’s kind of balancing the okay. This is the risk I could be rejected the reward though is a meaningful conversation or acknowledgement or sometimes just a smile <hes> like like you said no one’s is required to give me anything but I’m willing to put it out there knowing that the return <hes> to me is worth it. <hes> yeah and I’m sure as you work with your team. There are people who are afraid to kind of put themselves out. They’re afraid to say hello and and what we don’t acknowledge because we don’t talk about it. Enough is it’s a simple fear of rejection and rejection hurts. I was reading that emory studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experienced rejection as when we experience experience physical pain and it’s it’s interesting that pain medications like Acetaminophen can actually reduce this emotional pain but emotional pain like rejection can feel more intense than physical pain because you can recall it it and because when you face emotional pain like the pain of rejection you also tend to self sabotage and be harder on yourself so if you get a bruise you don’t ruminate about it and blame yourself but we tend to be self critical a coal when faced with emotional rejection right we get down on ourselves and I wanNA talk about rejection a little bit more with someone who I think is definitely more of an expert in the in the area because I think we’re getting rejection all wrong.
00:10:01 – 00:15:02
I think we fear it to intensely and it is time to embrace it. You know you and I often talk about the power of vulnerability and how much it can improve self esteem and enhanced relationships and just make life more fulfilling and rejection is part of this vulnerability so rather than avoiding or dismissing rejection. I want us to embrace it and learn from it joining us today to discuss how to handle rejection as well as the topic of emotional literacy more generally is vk Chan vk Chan is a sex and emotional literacy educator. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What are you up to these days? <hes> this is. I’m trying into apply what I keep telling people about to a new family so I’ve got an eleven week old newborn <hes> who is <hes> really showing me where my edges are so to speak aside from that but I’m still doing lots of speaking and training about my primary <hes> love in in the work that I do and how do you even begin from eleven weeks old to impart these values around bound emotional literacy and teach emot- emotional literacy is to begin with good question. I have no idea of one of the things you know I’m trying to keep in mind is how not to be be so invested in my son being happy for example I his happiness means a lot to me and as <hes> you know somebody who’s losing sleep and trying to take care of a little being I I’m. I’m working really hard for that smile. Oh you know the the smile and the little chuckle that comes <hes> sometimes doesn’t feel like it comes like quickly enough <hes> but we got a book a gift from from somebody I was. I don’t remember the title of the one of the pages at the end was like <hes> I’m happy when you’re happy and I actually had to close that book and and put it aside because that feels like one of those pressures that kids get <hes> when they know that their happiness not only is is there but it affects everyone around them so that’s sort of one of the the ways that <hes> I’m trying to be mindful but I’m also trying to be mindful not to make my son my like work project right although he so readily available shapes Brennan’s looking at me because your happiness being contingent upon my happiness is something that I think we struggle with in this in this in our relationship job why look at you turn over to being when Biki mentions that my happiness is like predicated on your happiness and I think I if I had to be open and honest. I have carried that into this relationship where I’ll be. I’ll think to myself. I want you to be happy that ultimate Woodham saying is I want you to be happy which will make me happy which you know in its this whole spiraling snowballing effect where the pressure is on one person to be happy so that everyone is happy and that’s a really hard thing to put on someone. It’s a hard thing for me to try and snap out of Oh is can totally relate so I don’t even vigneault sometimes how start reframing my thought process so that the pressure isn’t on hey. Are you happy because if you’re not what can I do to make you happy and then it just is not fun for anyone not fun. I know I’m often in the same boat actually my life. Even the professional is is challenging all the time yeah. I often say I do this work. When I talk about sex and feelings those are two ooh my jams now because I’m good at them and in fact it’s because I have to be continued and conscious student of both those things feelings and dealing with people is a real <hes>? It’s as a school I continue to go to so so. Where do we begin because so many of us I think oftentimes it’s highly gendered this expectation to be happy to not be frustrated to not the angry in in our relationship? Maybe the gender roles are a little bit reverse because it would be definitely. I think pressure on me to be okay and if I’m not okay brandon is not okay and sometimes I’m just not okay <hes> but I may be don’t want to admit it because then I know it’s GonNa throw throw brandon off and he’s going to be scurrying to make me happy when in fact some days you just can’t make me happy I mean somebody’s I can’t even make myself happy so we. How do we begin to write this cycle? I think I think that’s already a part of it.
00:15:02 – 00:20:18
The recognition you know what is possible you know in some circles they would call it. What’s within my circle of influence you know I can? I actually make somebody happy be or could I just work myself into a frenzy trying <hes> and for me when I do that <hes> what encourages me to stop doing that is actually to remember the I become not present <hes> and so i. <hes> deprived my partner for example of me when I’m in a frenzy trying to make her happy so that’s two things that helped me. One is the recognition in to is to recognize the impact of this thing that I’m doing and and it’s really hard to recognize the impact as I learned how to do that as a way of loving as a way of caring <hes> and <hes> to reframe it as when I do that in the name of caring but then our deprive everyone around around me who loves me and who I love of me and my feelings on how I’m doing my presence. That’s that’s actually not the goal. I’m not doing the thing that I think I’m doing. The outcome is the the exact opposite and so those two things help <hes> another thing that helps us to try for me at least <hes> to check in with me <hes> in my experience when I’m in a panic about how somebody else not happy <hes>. I’m usually actually tapped into a place in myself that says I’m not okay and I’m in trouble. That’s sort of my script. I’m in trouble in that from earlier earlier life and for others. It’s I’m a bad person for others. As I’m a bad partner or <hes>. You’re going to leave me a different scripts. Come doesn’t even matter actually what the scripts are but to actually we recognize. That’s what’s happening and that’s not in this moment. Those few things helped me a little. It sounds like you’re going to what but in cognitive behavioral therapy we’d call the hot thought right right this underlying thought what that is sabotaging the way we think so we’re not as rationalists we couldn’t be. I think other scripture I’m not worthy right. I’m not good enough for you yeah. I need to fulfill your every need or you’re going to leave. The S. and I know that something we’ve struggled with over the years. Yeah I completely agree. I mean I I’m listening to you. Talk and I’m listening to you. Describe everything that you should be doing when your partner or whoever it is your with is saying they’re not happy in that impacts impacts you and in the in the heat of the moment it’s hard for me speaking about my experience to catch myself like okay this is this is what I’m thinking. This is what I need to do. I need to be present. Yeah I need to be and sometimes there is something that you can do for your partner to make them feel better. So so you’re kind of like do I not I don’t WanNa make blanket statements. I’m not going to do anything because this isn’t going to but you’re kind of thinking okay processing and doing all of that and breaking the pattern of mine normal behavior seems overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. I think that’s just a knee-jerk response to not doing anything right so yeah. I’m I’m thinking so many different things but ultimately what really just resonated for me was the idea that this is a reflection may be of personal insecurity but how you feel because I do that with work. I’ve done that with my friends and family. Were you’re not happy okay. What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this? What do I go to immediately to fix the problem rather than taking a second breathing and then trying trying to move forward? Perhaps more effectively so there’s a lot. I just feel like there’s a lot I have to think about once so again. Just reframing I think is the bigger challenge. I don’t know that I really answered question no but it makes sense to me. I mean we were even talking about this last night. How it manifests in sometimes an inability to even say what you want because in a relationship I think you can get lost and not even know what you want because you’re trying to predict what your partner wants and that becomes a pattern that repeats itself in it? It’s this comes down to people pleasing behavior and we’d definitely both struggle with people pleasing in work socially and in the relationship for me. The hardest part is socially saying yes two things and then I find myself lying about why can’t make something or why I can’t can’t attend and so this brings us to the topic of rejection and we are raised in conditioned in socialized not to be honest when we reject people but to let them down easily <hes> and I remember and when I was younger thinking about when someone asks you out.
00:20:18 – 00:25:11
You’ll always have a boyfriend I was headed boyfriend ended. The truth is I always did have a partner and I remember when I broke up with my an early boyfriend being single for a little bit in someone asked me out at my automatic response was a boyfriend and should we have to say oh. I have a partner or can we say you know I’m not interested and how do you balance wanting to consider other people’s feelings but also wanting to own in your own yeah yeah <hes> you’ve hit the something on the something there <hes> those are all the hot issues for me <hes> learning early on to say I can’t versus. I don’t want to right so it’s not me who’s preventing me from saying Yes to you. It’s something else that way. I don’t own is not on me. I’m not rejecting you circumstance. My boyfriend would be really mad and I think sometimes that’s very gendered and other times. It’s also very cultural writers to not say certain things outright. I’m and certainly we don’t <hes> like socially as say no to things. <hes> let let alone sexually. It’s not <hes> he’s not the most common thing to say no. I don’t WanNa come to your party. ’cause I don’t really like your friends but let’s hang out one on one you know it’s it’s considered impolite to say that so when when it comes to romantic and and the sexual <hes> Brown’s it makes sense that it transfers over <hes> one of the things that really helps me is to remember that the other person has resilience. I think this is something I didn’t learn early Liane. <hes> I learned early on that. I’m responsible for how other people feel and the end that I have huge power over how somebody else feels which is connected to why I think if somebody’s not happy I could even possibly change their world <hes> and so I have I’m entirely responsible and I am so powerful that if you know I reject somebody I have a possibly have like shattered their world and it becomes really hard to reject someone and the question I often asked people I’m working with as you know <hes>. Would you rather go up to someone and say no thanks or would you rather punch them in the face and punching somebody in the face is a much harder <hes> hurdle shall we say to get over over socially and so if I think every time I reject you. I’m punching you in the face. I’m not going to do it but if I think I’m going to just say no thank you if I think that is what’s involved in a task. If I think that is the impact of the task much more likely to I do that task. I’m and so for me. It’s about recalibrating what I think. The impact is on the people that rejecting and rejecting you know <hes> romantic sexually and or you know coming to your party with all of your friends or going to you join your committee anything really and so. Do you think we need more practice with rejection on both sides of the coin saying no but also being rejected I think about in a sexual or romantic intimate context many straight women have no clue how to handle rejection because they’ve never been tasked with being an initiator yes and we you see this in Hetero relationships all the time of course it’s an all types of relationships at the onus of initiation calls on one person but even at a bar or at a party who is expected to do the approaching <hes> <hes> it’s gendered it’s probably related to power an age and other elements of identity so if we need practice managing rejection gracefully <hes> how do we begin because I think most of us have been conditioned to avoid any opportunity that could possibly lead to rejection. Yes <hes> a few things. I think one of them is to have the mindset of I I need to practice. This is a life skill. <hes> you know and I I do a lot of consent work and the formula in my head goes. If every time I asked for consent <hes> No is a possibility and I quote unquote cannot handle rejection. How will I even ask for consent right so it’s not possible <hes> therefore it’s a skill to be resilient in the face of rejection in order to even have the other skills of like asking for consent and listening to somebody’s reaction action <hes> so one thing is to start using words that actually say what it is that we’re experiencing like I feel rejected? I feel insecure.
00:25:11 – 00:30:07
I feel small. I feel sad. I really disappointed. I’m I’m hurt by this. <hes> I really wish was different. I didn’t expect that and so forth as opposed to while you know shouldn’t deserve it. I you know I deserve much better. Those offer the better that school was stupid anyway <hes> the classic <hes> attack back right once one. Somebody’s rejected is yeah while you’re ugly or like I was just joking anyway. So what happens in that moment China’s were changing the story. I did not get rejected in fact you did me a favor because you suck and on great and you know no one actually believes that but we tell each other and tell ourselves and taller best friends friends right. This is also one of the ways that we’re supposed to be kind to somebody and say no. No you know the the divorce is not hard think of the life you’ll have after this <hes>. This is become how we handle quote unquote rejection action is by avoiding it and <hes> so I think by saying the words can help to say what is exactly. We’re experiencing. Say the hard words and say that to our friends to write when we’re supporting somebody going through a hard time because has they have been rejected in one way or another just to say I love you. I’m so sorry you’ve been rejected. I accept you in these ways. You know <hes> versus. It’s not your fault or no not about you. It’s not personal right. Rejection doesn’t exist yeah and it’s so personal actually in requires being vulnerable yeah which is a real challenge and this is why we need to eradicate gender because especially in the context of men approaching women and not only are they tasked with that entire onus of responsibility of doing the asking but they are disallowed from being vulnerable so we need more spaces where where men can say that really that sex that doesn’t feel good. It makes me feel. Maybe I don’t feel attractive. Maybe I don’t feel good enough but again rather than being vulnerable we go on the attack so shutting that down is a it doesn’t it doesn’t happen on the individual level. No it really is cultural socio-cultural that we need to have people of all genders of all sexual orientations being allowed to be week being allowed to be insecure via and beyond gender identity in sexual orientation people in all different positions because I think sometimes we think if you’re powerful in one area you must be all powerful so I think about the pressure on someone who’s a C._E._o.. The over company being even more being even heavier so this is you talk about emotional intelligence or emotional literacy and that’s what this is this is <hes> and maybe from the onset I should’ve asked how do you define emotional literacy great question. I’ll get back to you I think <hes> as a reflection of my own journey and experience with it <hes> you know I think there are certain people who are amazing and intuitive with their emotions and they flow with it you know kind of like playing in the waves or something and I’m always the person who is quite tense. Won The waves come and go and I’m just trying to be in control and of course you cannot be in control in the the ocean. You have to <hes> let the ocean decide. What’s happening so for me? We literally just says I can develop whatever skills I don’t have and the skills I do have were actually developed so this is <hes> this is a growth mindset that we have <hes> when we use the word literacy <hes> and that there is something to understand just like you know people who are learning how to feel their bodies athletes how to use their bodies how to train their muscles how to become more flexible and so forth. I think all those things are possible emotionally we <hes> and it’s not only for the talented and the geniuses of emotions. It’s for the rest of us as well so to me. It’s a building blocks of of skills and knowledge is and practices. I appreciate appreciate the differentiation between literacy and intelligence because one sounds and eight and the other as you said is something you develop. Where can we begin because some of us were raised with parents who encouraged us to express of all of our range of emotions and they did the same thing and others? It was a little bit more black and white.
00:30:07 – 00:35:06
You’re either fine or you were angry and being angry was not allowed the you’re ashamed of your anger. I see that in sometimes in your interactions with some people in your family they’ll accuse you of being angry. You will now. You’re angry William. I’m angry. I might not allowed to be angry and we see this in relationships with your just jealous. Yes yeah I’m jealous. ’cause I’m human being I’m jealous and people will say to me all the time. Oh you guys seem so secure with each other or people will say oh but you’re not insecure. Of course I’m insecure. I may not seem insecure in this moment. But of course I experienced variance feelings of insecurity and jealousy and or they’ll say you’re out. You’re always so happy you know I only go on Insta- stories when I’m happy right. I’m not into storing when I’m Li- going to want to get dressed today in my eyebrows don’t match and I just want to sit on my blue couch. So where do we begin if we’re not used to expressing this to ourselves to our partners and then perhaps publicly <hes> <hes> a few places I think <hes>. <hes> theoretically I <hes> benefit a lot from changing my language so for example not to name my feelings positive and negative you know their feelings that I really like and feelings. I don’t like feelings. I’m good at feelings. I’m not good at and it’s not actually the same for everyone. You know like I’m actually quite good being sad. <hes> for a lot of people sadness is really hard and it makes them panic <hes> and then they might actually I have to add an extra boost of like no I am happy to their day. <hes> and for others you know anger is really <hes> powerful one either your <hes> you know have a hard time being angry angry because it’s been told to you as useless emotion or it’s barbaric savage like out of control or it becomes the only one that’s allowed <hes> so when you’re sad <hes> as opposed to feeling weekly sad sad sad <hes> in weakness <hes> that anger becomes more powerful way of being sad so renaming <hes> my emotions not positive or negative and then trying to actually put words is to it so as a very cerebral person. That’s really works for me. You know getting those long less of feelings. One hundred twenty words put out on my fridge and so the next time I’m quote unquote upset. I actually can say Ashley. I’m feeling feeling lonely and feeling <hes> board and what I’m needing is <hes> to feel like a part of a community versus sitting around and say I’m upset. Don’t get close when actually in fact act. I’m really needing you to get close so that happens for me a lot <hes> so putting words and then the other thing I find super helpful is just the Ashley go to therapy and <hes> I know that there’d be has either a a <hes> great reputation or a terrible reputation depending on the circles you traveling but I find that you know when there’s a person who’s dedicated to witnessing and accompanying me in a hard thing like feeling things. I don’t I’d like to feel it actually gives me the practice. It’s really hard for me to just go out there on to the into the world and and try this emotional stuff that I’m not <hes> good every thing around around every corner sends me back into the same pattern so to break the pattern I find therapeutic settings. <hes> individually or group settings really help. I’m just laughing to myself as you talk because I feel like you’ve hit the nail the <hes> the the nail on the head on so many different levels at the same time. It’s really difficult to to think to yourself. I’M GONNA wake up today. It’s a new day. I’M GONNA I’m I want to be more emotionally intelligent and then you go out into the world and you try to practice that and then somebody that you’re engaging with doesn’t reciprocate and then that vulnerability really stabs at you and then you kind of go back into your Shell Al and don’t know where to turn so and I’m also I really value the vulnerability component I find us it even work and when you express just to a bit of that human element whereas I I’m not always perfect. Sometimes I screw up most people reciprocate with I get it. It’s okay but it’s that willingness to kind of threw it out there and say I’m human and I’m not saying I’m going in a breakdown right here right now and lay all my cards on the table but it didn’t work out.
00:35:06 – 00:40:07
I’m sorry yeah and that’s a hard thing to do so knowing where to start. I love the idea of seeing a therapist because anybody can go and do that today. I mean resources in Penn resources ending yes but that is a step that I feel if you have the the means you can do and then trying to find that circle must be a really big help as well because I’m just going through the ticker tape in my mind right now thinking who is my circle of people that I talked to on a level like that. I only have a few people that I do yeah and one of the challenges oranges I think you being a man who’s in relationship with me. Woman is that the onus often falls on women when you have these male female relationships where the emotional labor and the emotional disclosure falls on one person yeah and I mean I’m pretty good at because I work in this field not being your therapist and in the family you know sometimes people will talk to me or even with friends and I’m really clear that I can’t help you in that way right. I wouldn’t as a professional because we have this dual relationship and secondly. I just don’t have the bandwidth to do and it. It’s interesting Brennan part of what I think to bring it into the business context makes you such a good leader and a natural leader and I think you’ve fallen into being a leader sort of by accident. Is that you you are quite open about a range of emotions through something great about being real where you’re not putting on a show all the time and that’s something that I’ve only learned or I’m still learning to do even right now but just saying and just being myself on different platforms really changes things where I’m not putting on a show all the time. You’ll you’ll notice that I haven’t been on Instagram for a while. I’m not posting very much to your point. I’m sad like if I have as I see those words. This flood of anxiety is coming over me right now and it’s because I’m I’m not able to express that emotion on a daily basis within the group of people that I’m with generally so but being able to say it really <hes> is can be very liberating for a lot of people but just again going back to being real and sometimes being real this means now going to post or share with people for Awhile because I don’t need to put on this facade that everything is great twenty twenty four seven and to give context. You’re sad because I’m sad because we lost our tug and I know even Saris saying that I feel difficult. It was a few months ago but like I mean I’m in tears right now. Just thinking of it’s still really hard yeah I mean this stop for second so we had to take a break there for a second because I got totally teary eyed thinking about sadness and life but then also knowing that I need to move forward and also recognizing that I just honestly I don’t have the outlets outside of this relationship for the most part to really express how I feel so then when I feel those feelings and think those thoughts sometimes it’s really difficult to get really floods in so I can imagine how that is when you may not even have a partner or somebody else to express that to all of a sudden you’re on the subway and you break down right so the value in having those outlets probably incredible. I think sometimes <hes> this is why people also express themselves through art music and writing <hes> that those things also help it’s it is like you said what allows you to be authentic right and that <hes> <hes> allows you to function at a level that is not a super high frequency where your effort full at every moment and you’re performing something if you can be at least one outlet where you can be authentic with yourself then it. It’s almost like a break <hes> and we need those breaks. Yeah people think about going to a spot. Take a break and Brennan mention that the other day that we just need a few days at a SPA have no interest in I don’t I like a massage but I don’t want anything else than that. I just WANNA be alone. I just don’t WanNa talk because I talk for a living near and sometimes I talk all day long and I’m in the public and you know I like to joke around.
00:40:07 – 00:45:24
I’d like to think hilarious and I like to be on stage and at the end of it all I want to talk walked. Anybody and that’s something that I have to communicate in the relationship and when I come home that I I don’t WanNa talk in Brennan gets it but we have my father living in this house and is a lot harder for him to understand and again again right. He takes a personally. We doesn’t even seem you WanNa talk to me and I said last week. No I don’t I don’t end he that upset him but I gave him some context and at the same time because I’m a young woman and I feel I need to make sure that he feels okay. So is it really necessary for me to give context or can I not just have my own feelings in knees. which is that you know I? I don’t WanNa talk today. I just want to be alone today. Do I have have to explain to you what my weekend entailed in order for me to have that space. Obviously that’s that’s rhetoric. I know that I should not have to but I still feel pressure because I was raised to prioritize other people’s feelings above my own. I was raised raised in fact to in some cases prioritize other people’s comfort above my own safety and I’m not talking specifically about how my parents raised me. I’m talking about the cultural influences around me and so letting go I think is a big part of it letting go of some of those pressures that other people put on you but you continue to put on yourself and then the second piece and it sounds like you’re saying is to give yourself permission <hes> permission to feel sad permission to feel lonely. You not feeling like failure because because of positivity culture us right I should always be happy I should never be lonely and I think in relationships people feel like they’re failing ailing if they’re lonely but I think we do feel lonely at times. I certainly do at times now. Yeah I mean more so now I mean just travels a significant amount and I do find myself on my own. We used to have a dog and I enjoyed even just a quiet comfort of her presence and now I don’t have that so <hes> learning to be okay with that and learning to be on my own and just kind of mellow out I would in my thoughts is a new a new place to be and also recognizing the feelings that come with that right. It’s just it’s new and I and all of these things I mean goes back. I think about rejection and I think about you know have a thick skin and you’re right people. Do you immediately go to that. Oh it you’re better than them or they’re a jerk or they’re. They’re ugly like you said and we dig in the other person as opposed to just saying circumstance stance may not be that it was a fit or <hes> you could be a myriad of other reasons but you WANNA dig in in find a reason for the rejection. It’s just it’s hard because I don’t have a do you like a practice practice getting rejected turned to do that. How do you practice being rejection rejected and managing that rejection gracefully <hes> I think it can it can be useful to put yourself out there and all kinds of ways you know I used to feel quite <hes> nervous even ask for extra sauce or something Eh at a restaurant and because I would imagine that it would put somebody out and they’re already working so hard who am is to be like? Can you walk back and forth one more time for me to have some extra sauce like I’m such a princess and so two actually again to believe this person is resilient and I this is something I can ask for and to do it right so doing the thing is uncomfortable comfortable. I think that’s the thing that sometimes we forget that giving ourselves permission to feel lonely or asking for extra sauce are all uncomfortable things and so as I’m doing if I feel uncomfortable if I feel kind of itchy she and uncomfortable in my skin if I feel like oh I just don’t want to do this anymore great than that actually shows me. I’m on the right path versus. This is supposed to feel like a spa day so practicing putting myself out there everything from asking for extra sauce to telling somebody who I don’t want to be intimate with but who I appreciate. I think you’re amazing. I think you’re fantastic in these ways <hes> so so saying that positive things that are not connected to an outcome that I’m invested in can already be sort of like a level one <hes> <hes> practice because you still don’t know what somebody’s reaction will be but that one’s probably going to be a good one and then start asking for things that are small and are likely to <hes> be rejected like.
00:45:24 – 00:50:00
Would you like to give me fifty bucks <hes> No. I’m I can’t right now so that’s fine asking for little things that <hes> you just normalizing the experience of that initial embarrassment that initial hot in the face feeling that initial like Oh i WanNa find a hole all in crawl into it and eventually actually going up to somebody and say I just want you to know you were the the best <hes> stall in this flea market. You know so appreciate your curation. They will not bring a hot flash to the face. Eventually you know I would love to be sexual with you if when you’re ready if and when you’re interested you know talking more about sex that will not bring that heat to the face that feeling of embarrassment embarrassment so I I do think that normalization happens yeah. It sounds a little bit. If we go back to cognitive behavioral therapy like an exposure higher Kia right so if you have an anxiety for example will create a hierarchy of Stimuli Eli that might create anxiety and you slowly expose yourself little by little two different things so if you’re afraid of snakes I you’re just thinking of a snake than you’re looking at a sneak in a book then you’re looking at a dead snake behind glass at a museum and then maybe you look at the live snake at a zoo still behind glass in working your way up until you can. Perhaps hold a snake if that’s your goal so it sounds like you’re putting yourself in these scenarios where things could happen. They could go awry but it’s not going to. Be as catastrophic. Yes as you think it will you. You will move on those are small rejections and then in life of course we face the really big rejections like a partner leaving you or losing your job or or a family member no longer wanting to speak with you. How do we navigate the bigger ones? <hes> I think with support you know sometimes <hes> like you were saying earlier <hes> certain feelings get <hes> pushed aside like Oh. You’re just jealous. You know when I work in high schools often. The thing that is the swipe away is oh. He’s just insecure. It’s so interesting that when somebody’s insecure they’re just insecure and then that’s the end of the story but insecurity and and being emotional pain for example really signals that we need some care some tension <hes> <hes> not out to you know to be set aside and so <hes> to be supported through those things there. There’s no easy way to go through them. They they hurt and they change our lives and they up and everything you know a loss awesome of beloved family member like it’s opposed to upend your life <hes> if you’re present in your life so getting support being able to tell stories about it <hes> and so forth are Howie integrate this this horrible amount of pain Ryan and go through it <hes> which leads to another huge emotional literacy literacy skill that I’m also working on it which is to receive you know there’s often support lend to us or offer to us and I find it so hard to say. Yes do come over sit with me because then I just feel like a doofus you know I don’t need other people need it more. I’m the one who supports so these are all part of the same scripts you know people. Please partly so that I’m needed <hes> and I’m not an e d <hes> so when the support comes to actually say yes <hes> so I guess my practice practices very much based on doing the thing that is slightly uncomfortable but not so uncomfortable that I’m panicked but just slightly uncomfortable and saying yes when the support comes or when it’s not coming to say hey I hi Ashley really need to and hang out until you stories about X. Y.. Then the word needy is really interesting to me because I think we need to D- stigmatize these universal emotions. I hear people say oh they’re really needy or they. Just want attention. Everybody needs and wants attention. Some people may be more open about it but being needy makes you a good friend into the S.
00:50:02 – 00:55:06
and hopefully you have the flip side to which is when you know somebody else needs something. You’re there for them as well. Now you’ve written a book called Monster. I haven’t here in front of me. It’s so beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about it. You have a number of of products to support people through emotional literacy. <hes> this is just a fun little book. <hes> it’s a rhyming <hes> book and I wrote it <hes> as away of trying to describe rejection actually what it feels like <hes> and the story basically is that this monsters trying to get into my house and I refuse to let it into my house <hes> and it gets bigger and louder and bigger louder and it’s Ashley Way bigger than it actually is and it concludes <hes> with me changing how I behave towards the monster. It’s it’s about relating to the monster and so when I wrote it I was thinking thinking about it as the monster being rejection <hes> but <hes> since it’s been in the world people have been saying oh this really relates to this part of my life that I couldn’t look cat are couldn’t admit to or could relate to and changing relationship to that piece actually allowed me to live in my house <hes> in peace or allowed me to go outside again <hes> all metaphorically or literally so that’s that’s a fun little book has <hes> illustrations that are all <hes> open domain from artists all over that have put their art up for everyone to us. It’s really gorgeous and you. You also have an online course uh-huh unemotional literacy that I’m absolutely going to be signing up for where can people find your book in your course <hes> they can go to my website which is Fluid Exchange Dot Org O._R._G.. And <hes> there’s a little full sample of course there tell stories in it <hes> and we worked through skill actor skill and it’s meant to be about ten minutes a day for over six weeks and <hes> you can do it at your pace and there are a little practices and when folks ticket together can also actually be part of a community whether it can swap stories and skills and tips and things like that so it’s all through the website excellent if there’s something that listeners can do today way to work on their emotional literacy what you recommend I recommend <hes> thinking of slightly uncomfortable things that are emotionally interesting you know <hes> <hes> and doing doing it slightly uncomfortable so it might be <hes> putting a hand on the shoulder. Somebody who’s having a hard time you know a teenager in your life. Maybe teens don’t WanNa be touched on the shoulders often. Don’t WanNA touch but slightly uncomfortable just to say I’m sorry <hes> that I was so mean to you last week or hey man I really appreciate you and continue with your tennis China escape. Whatever might be slightly uncomfortable just to see what it’s like and just to also see that doesn’t kill you and it’s not a punch in the face is not much in the face that that’s really interesting to me to me? I I WANNA commit to sing being notice some things and saying no to people because I don’t I travel so much that I can pretty much say no to everything because I’m never in town right but then when I land here and someone asks me to do something or go someplace. I’m like I’m away. It was sort of like being used to saying I had a partner yeah right. That was my out instead of saying no thanks yeah not a good time or not interested or not my jam and so that’s what I’m going to commit to doing one thing this week they have anything I just loved the idea of baby steps in these small uncomfortable situations because it’s easy to go. How am I gonNa Start but then you can go to a coffee shop and ask for something small aw and really just as laughing because it feel like that’s something she would never do like if I were to put you out and we’ll be the end of the world stake in you? Bring me soup. I just get it misery but I also using using that tactic but also thinking about what would just. You’ve said we discuss all the time. which is if it doesn’t work out for you? Is this affecting your life like is this affecting the things that are most important to you for me. It’s my health right. It’s it’s where I lived. I have a roof over my head because if somebody ultimately rejects me and they don’t want to get me that extra shot of Espresso in that I bought is it going to affect my health. Generally we know is you’re going to affect my my living no so overall from my perspective.
00:55:06 – 01:00:12
My life is still okay. I try and think of those three things my security meaning a house over my head and very lucky that that’s not something I have to worry about my health and then the people I love <hes> so when something is upsetting when the bus drivers rude to you <hes> when you order a half calf in the role your eyes they roll their eyes it you you experience rejection. That’s social rejection and you can feel it in your body and so you have to remind yourself does this affect what matters to me and for me. That’s the people the social circle and loving circle. I have the security of not being out on the street because I’m very lucky in that respect and then health and no it doesn’t the unless I let it so really really appreciate this conversation so many thoughtful insights and I have so many more questions but I’m going to begin with your course at fluid exchange dot Org so thank you so much for being here. Thanks so much for talking with me. This has been so enjoyable thank you rejection is a a life skill. There are so many pearls of wisdom to pull from becase insights and even though I’ve only we met Vk a couple of times well. Maybe a handful of times. She’s really one of my favorite people I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to and spending time with and if I have to pull one action item out of bouquets many insights. It’s the feelings on the fridge suggestion. If you find yourself stuck on specific emotions oftentimes those emotions are anger frustration rations and resentment for example. Can you find a list of wider emotions to try and identify the true emotional source so just a reminder this you you can go online and print out a page of you know hundred different feeling words or you can do this online or on an APP so if you’re feeling angry. Are you really angry or you feeling powerless so you can have those words to help identify like yeah. You know what I feel mad but what I’m really feeling is like I have no control if you’re feeling or expressing frustration. Are you really frustrated or maybe you’re feeling something different. Maybe you’re feeling neglected or lonely and again sometimes sometimes just having these words these emotion feeling words in front of you can remind you to dig a little deeper. If you find yourself kind of harboring resentment are there other important emotions worth addressing like sadness <music> or guilt or shame because a lot of us will say you know I’m really pissed but we don’t often say I’m feeling really sad or feeling really depleted when feeling some shame and sometimes <music> seeing these emotions in writing on your fridge or on your phone can help you to get to the source of the problem the more authentic often scarier and more vulnerable emotions that underlie the more aggressive ones and you know I I took a quick look online. There’s a site live bold and bloom dot com that has a long list of emotions but honestly you can just google a list and you’ll find many good options because case interview with us in this podcast was intense for me. <hes> I really enjoyed it and I say intense in a good way because it really forced me to think about how I felt and when I took that moment to really think about it in talking about being who you really are in authentic I know that words thrown around a lot but when you allow yourself to feel that way it’s very powerful and kind of overwhelming at times and reminded me that having the outlets to be able to share how you feel can really help improve improve how you feel right like if you don’t have an outlet ought to be able to have that conversation to express which are going through. It’s going to be really really difficult to get over and that could be therapy or could be a friend could be whoever you have but it’s important to have it in a begins with you I will you have to be that one to to make that move right and and to be willing to acknowledge these really uncomfortable feelings and talking about rejection. I think people probably assume it’s just sexual rejection but if we don’t talk about it in the greater context in the broader water ways in which it’s experienced than sexual rejection because sex is such a high intensity experience for most people can be even more painful we have even more difficulty navigating it and as we spoke B. K.. There’s something of a bouquet where he became so present and thoughtful and curious so in addition to learning from her insights around rejection and emotional literacy.
01:00:12 – 01:02:45
I also WANNA learn from her modeled behavior here because there’s a curiosity that I also want to embrace. She approaches every question every conversation every interaction with such curiosity and yeah I’d like to more curious because in my role folks turn to me for the answers you know especially when I’m being interviewed and so T._v.. Trains you to give as much sound bite friendly information as possible in the shortest Hortus amount of time which can work for a five minute television segment but I think I have allowed this approach to seep into other non television parts of my life so I think I need that reminder slowdown and just be a little bit more curious and India. I thought that became has this balance of really having engaging an expert insights but also making you feel like she’s here learning with you and the I’d love to be more like that. I thought that they were they paused. You could tell that there was a moment of reflection before B._K.. Responded so I knew that her answer had been thought through through whereas my default is just blurt out whatever comes I need to and I found that really <hes> I I noticed it and I appreciate it because when I said something I knew that it had been thought thought through even for a split second to make sure that whatever she she was conveying was was carefully crafted and authentic yes yeah the authenticity really shines through so here’s to to about using some C._K.’s insights but in my case perhaps being a little bit more like B.. K. and I’m looking forward to taking becase course right online. Course I think that would be really helpful. Yeah I absolutely agree on emotional literacy. Well thank you babe for Chattan thank you. That was fantastic. Thank you for listening. We are back every Friday morning with a new episode. We’re going on holiday next week right but we’re still going to bring you. Some sort of a podcast be here it might just is being me sitting over pasta and wine in Florence talking nonsense there. Let’s interview somebody at a Cafe Right Yup done. Thank you so much. Thank you to desire resorts for your ongoing support of this podcast wherever.