Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

As our self awareness increases, old emotional habits may no longer work, as we have outgrown them.  But when something triggers us, if we can't use our 'old ways' - what can we do? Rather - how can we BE different a new version of ourselves?

June 22, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker, and Melissa Albers. JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years. JJ, you had such a hard beginning of the week. And, you know, I know sometimes we like to talk about when we've had tough times, and it's really relevant because it makes the podcast easy for conversation. It just flows. And it's, it's all real and authentic for us. But I don't know if he'll be up for that for this week. But you had an exceptionally challenging start to your week. Yes. Both, both on the professional side and the personal side. And it really impacted you. And we Yeah, I've been trying to talk about it. Yeah, we've been talking about it a lot on and off. I think I sense.

JJ Parker  1:00  
Yeah, so what I did to deal with my stress was that I spent like, a couple of hours yesterday, huh. I'm researching and then purchasing a new backpack.

Melissa Albers  1:22  
Of course you did. That makes total sense.

JJ Parker  1:25  
I had a million things to do. And I've plenty of things to work on. I wasted a chunk of time. Looking for a backpack? I do have like a little bit of Yeah, like a backpack problem. Yes.

Melissa Albers  1:42  
So does my son so did you actually have to open up the uncle closet and take out five other backpacks to find room? Yeah, like one new one, which

JJ Parker  1:52  
was like trying to remember which backpack I which backpacks I own, so I didn't like buy, you know, like a duplicate?

Melissa Albers  2:03  
Because you like what you like?

JJ Parker  2:06  
Well, I'm pretty stoked about my new backpack. But it's really it's really to say like, when we get stressed out, yeah, like we sometimes do, like, bad habits like we yeah, we revert these things that are not helpful. Like, like, procrastination is my number one bad habit. Yes. And I augment that with costless phone, scrolling and online shopping.

Melissa Albers  2:36  
Oh my gosh, my number one bad habit would be, honestly, it sounds ridiculous, but it is eating candy. I love candy. It's ridiculous. I can try to tell myself, I'm not going to eat it. But then anytime that I have a little, I don't know, something doesn't feel good. I just start thinking about, Oh, wait a minute.

JJ Parker  3:01  
Go find a candy bar. I'm

Melissa Albers  3:02  
gonna go get some Mike and Ikes No, but you know, I think um, you know, we're having a little fun with the topic. But I think what's really interesting about this is that as you and I have been in the self awareness journey now for over a year, I think that we've learned so much, you know, individually, we've learned about ourselves and learned about each other a lot. And I feel like the more awareness that we gain, in our own selves, the more painful it is when we drop into these things about ourselves that drive us crazy. You know, like, you, you you use some pretty strong words to talk about, you know, judging words about taking a couple hours off, because you were really fried. You were really fried. And, um, but as you were describing it Just now you were like, you know, I just wasted two hours and but don't you think like the more you know, when you're uncomfortable now that the more uncomfortable the more painful? It actually is? Because you spend more time not like that.

JJ Parker  4:07  
Yeah, well, yeah, I did feel really guilty. I was like, Look at how much stuff I could have got done. And the reward for it. It wasn't even that great. I mean, my backpack will be awesome, but totally. Water come for like three days.

Melissa Albers  4:25  
Amazon so slow right now.

JJ Parker  4:30  
Well, yeah. Like you're right. Like, I think that, you know, we talked about how when you do something that's not serving you that that makes you feel bad after that, that second wave of judgment comes behind it. Yeah. And I agree with you the, the more you actually work on self awareness, the bigger that judgment wav can be to get

Melissa Albers  5:02  
can or can be it can be. Right. Yeah.

JJ Parker  5:06  
And but like you said, like, or like we talked about, like, at least I know that judgment waves there. And I kind of know these patterns, right? Yeah. So yeah, surfing through the waves a little easier?

Melissa Albers  5:21  
Well, what I was gonna say about that is I think that we start to know our own patterns more, you know, whether it be working with a coach, whether it be listening to the self awareness journey, whether it just be your your own development, you start to learn your own patterns more, and you become a lot more intimate with yourself. Like you can sense when you're starting to get out of alignment. Like, I'll stop saying you, I'll say me, I can sense what I'm starting to get out of alignment. And there's so much so much earlier on, I can get out ahead of that, because I recognize, oh, I'm starting to feel I can tell I don't feel in alignment, because I feel this need to start controlling more of the outcomes. That that would be one of my bad habits that I mentally go to. With work when I feel overwhelmed or something isn't going like I pictured that it should. And I can sense way earlier on now that I'm starting to get like that, like I can sense it. And I said, and a lot of the times now I'll be like, oh, oh, there it is. That's okay. Like, it's okay, I can tell that I feeling a little out of sorts. And my natural knee jerk reaction would be to like, take stronger control over it. Like that's what I always did. And I recognize that I want to do that right now. But lots of the times, I'll just go, Hey, it's okay. It's okay, I'm just going to change my thought I'm going to change what I'm doing. I'm going to change what project I'm working on. But every once in a while, I can't do that. Every once in a while I just go right to that rigidity. I can just inside of me, I just feel like this huge ball of pressure to just go back to what you used to do. Because it's such a good payoff. In the moment. It's not though. So what happens is if I if I I'm going to use the word succumb, if I succumb to that feeling of rigidity that and succumb to that feeling my old habit of trying to take control, then not only does it not work, like it never does. But then I think, See, there you did it again. You knew better you knew way better this time, and you didn't stop yourself. So it's like, it's like almost the feeling of not having that rigidity feels so good. And now that I know what that feels like. Boiling, boiling, boiling back into that bad habit is so much more painful.

JJ Parker  7:53  
Yeah, yeah. But what you just described, I think is good to stop a note is a lot of times, what do we think about bad habits? Yeah, might think of maybe, like actions that we do or things like that things? Like, you know, yeah. What are your nails? Been? Doing? Nails? Yeah. Eating, drinking, smoking, right? Social media, like these kinds of these kinds of journal habits. Yeah. Yep. And what you're saying? Like, we also all have in more like internal habits and mental emotional habits, right? Yeah, like, for me, a bad communication habit, or relationship habit that I have, that I have to work on? All the time is, and I was pretty conscious of it this week. What is that? If I get overwhelmed? Like I go really internal? Yeah, I don't share. I like, get real quiet. I know. Right. Yeah. And, and that's that that's harmful to like, my relationships with people? Well,

Melissa Albers  9:06  
that's a huge, that's, well, hang on. That's a huge judgment to say, Okay. I, I recognize that you put pressure on yourself to not be like that. But I would also say because that's what we as humans do, though, right? We say these are the things that I do for coping. This is my coping mechanism, because I'm feeling so sad or so upset. And this coping mechanism is a terrible thing to do to other people. Well, really, it's, you know, I didn't mean to interrupt you there. But I think I think it's way more important to recognize how, how it serves you or does not serve you, you know, like those like, again, like, yeah, the pattern of my being overly rigid in my mind. And for you the pattern of shutting down when you get overwhelmed, that served both of those patterns have served Just for a really long time, and they worked for a really, really long time. But I think as we develop and grow those, those older habits that we have, we outgrow them eventually, and they don't work anymore. And so then we have this really uncomfortable state of this is what I always did to make myself feel better. And now I don't feel better, even when I'm doing it. As a matter of fact, I actually can maybe feel a little worse. And that's the part I think that gets scary.

JJ Parker  10:30  
Yeah, I like I like the way you phrase that as like a coping mechanism. Right? Yeah. Like a lot of the bad habit, while probably all the bad habits or coping mechanisms were were trying to get to a place where, yeah, if where we once felt happy, safe, you know, satisfied, whatever it might be,

Melissa Albers  10:49  
or at least protected. Like we felt like we could protect ourselves by having certain internal processes.

JJ Parker  10:57  
Yeah. Yeah, that's pretty interesting. Yeah, row. So we, you know, as we, as we think about this, this idea that when we get overwhelmed, overly emotional, kind of like going on these coping mechanisms and, and habits emerge. The one thing I thought I think is really interesting about some of it is I, when we talk about habits we are when I think about habits, it's like something I do really often, right? But a lot of the things that happen when we're stressed out are things I don't do every day, so they don't feel very habitual. Yeah. Then they come up, and I'm just like, right back into that routine. Oh, yeah. Right. Like it goes. Because the definition of a habit is like something on autopilot, right? Yeah. But the habits we're talking about are like really, almost like, like deep. Oh, they're so ingrained in there. They're so etched in way deep in our brain, that when those trigger, those go on autopilot, and they're really hard to notice, because they're really old.

Melissa Albers  12:07  
From the beginning, probably from the time we were single digit ages.

JJ Parker  12:12  
Yeah, like, right from our childhood. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  12:15  
Those are I think I'll go ahead. Sorry. Oh,

JJ Parker  12:17  
no, I just like that part was is interesting. But then I wanted to shift and talk about recognizing when those those triggers and, and those reactions.

Melissa Albers  12:28  
Yeah. Well, it's all how I mean your body to Okay, so like, just like, if you can reflect back, like we're using your example of earlier this week, sorry, to automatically put you on the pedestal over this, but

JJ Parker  12:41  
the self awareness Journey podcast, by the hair therapy, I really,

Melissa Albers  12:46  
like so so because I could tell that you're out of whack. And actually, I can tell when you're building to that. Because I know you so well. And I also know, too,

JJ Parker  13:00  
you should like we should get a like a hand signal for that. So you can let me know, before I know, maybe a

Melissa Albers  13:07  
pair of fun sunglasses or something to just put on. Oh, that's funny. Um, but yeah, no, I think that, that it starts to build in us, right. And I think that it's really, really hard, emotionally to recognize when we're in when we're, when we're in full cry. I think it's just really, really hard to do that. And even when people around us consents that we're starting to get like that. I think we just tell ourselves stories. Because, yeah,

JJ Parker  13:42  
yourself, well, we try to we try to, or we're trying to be more optimistic sometimes like, oh, no, it's good. Everything's gonna be okay. It's okay. Like, it's not as bad as I'm making it out to be or something like that. It's just

Melissa Albers  13:57  
like we talked about in the actor, self and the authentic self and the authentic self, we know who we are, right? Where we're comfortable. Everything we think, say and do is in alignment, but when we're interacting with anyone else in our lives, and especially people that are close to us. We don't always feel safe enough to do that. Because we're worrying about what other people will think do or say because of it. It's just like you were saying, it's like, you know, I am hurtful to people, when I am like that. Now, whether that's true or not is sort of immaterial in this conversation. Right? Because we're not talking about how it dynamically affects your other relationships because the only relationship that really matters is you with you. Like that's, that's it, me with me, my relationship with me and being able to be authentic with myself. Be willing to be willing to be honest with what is that's the hardest part. That's the hardest part. Because of all these other norms that we have created around us, that make us make it unpopular for us to behave differently or act in a new aware state or it's scary. It's scary to do that.

JJ Parker  15:20  
Yeah, I'm just reflecting on like, you know, like, we talked about the Coming Home stuff. Right on Yeah, for an attorney. And, like, I'm just thinking like, okay, we're reflecting on it. Right. Yeah. Were like refocusing, sort of, reflect refocus, remember? You're kind of helping me re refocus, like that feeling, right? Think about it a little differently. Now, I'm trying to think like, what am I what might I do next time? Yeah, next time when we get overwhelmed, because it's gonna happen again. Yeah, of course. I think we literally have this same podcast every two, three months. Well, that's good. That means in some way.

Melissa Albers  16:18  
Yeah, but this is this is being a human, everybody. Everybody has these things. It's just that yours are unique to you, just like everybody else has their unique things.

JJ Parker  16:30  
So things that I feel like I should have done this week. Well, as I was recognizing that I was as getting stressed out. Mike, again, one of my bad habits is jumping into just doing right and, and sort of ignoring, although

Melissa Albers  16:50  
doing something unrelated, though, unrelated, when sometimes

JJ Parker  16:53  
unrelated to the stress. Why the procrastination and the doing, even though they seem like opposite things, they're actually the same feed into themselves to each other until like a productivity death spiral.

Melissa Albers  17:12  
There's the judgment again, just in case Yeah,

JJ Parker  17:14  
sorry, I'm trying to knock that off. But I'm, like, thinking, thinking back to this week, what I what I really needed to do was just the sounds, that sounds kind of like simple, but like, I really needed to just sit quietly for a little while. Yeah, I need to actually not do anything for a little bit. Well, I think,

Melissa Albers  17:42  
you know, not to go back to our teaching, and what we talk about all the time, we

JJ Parker  17:48  
should that's the whole point of this. Oh, okay. Right.

Melissa Albers  17:51  
Let me just say, no. But, um, you know, when we talk about the feelings we talked about the very first state of the self awareness journey is, we get a feeling right, like something triggers us sorry that we get triggered. And in your case, it was a great amount of work. And there was some resistance to some of the work that you had to do, by the way,

JJ Parker  18:13  
you were a little different. That's a different episode right into,

Melissa Albers  18:16  
but there was a little tentative component there. And I think that was actually the root of the procrastination. So yeah, okay. So the point is, is that we get triggered by something. And then we have these feelings, like we get flooded with feelings. And in our practice, what we are hoping for us to do and for everyone else, listening is when something triggers you in your case, it was a great amount of work. And some of it you are not quite sure on yet, for personal reasons. And it caused you to have these feelings, the feelings were so uncomfortable for you that you put a stop on everything. So that was your reaction to it. But remember, what we talked about is to sit with it for a moment. And to just like exactly like you said, Be quiet with it and say, what's behind this feeling? What are what are the feelings I'm actually feeling? And it's so hard to do that when we're in that heightened state. Oh, wow. It's hard. It is

JJ Parker  19:13  
so hard. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  19:16  
But that's the key. Because exactly right. Like if we give ourselves a minute to just sit there and reflect and that's like, that's where I am to in this practice. Like, when I get triggered by something, and want to have total control. And I feel this rigidity creeping in like, well just go do this or call this person or force this action faster. Like, I want to go into that, you know, shove a square peg into a round hole. Sometimes now I have success going. Oh, that feels familiar. Oh, is this the source of it again? Because I'm feeling uneasy, or I feel like I don't have any control over this. And that scares me. Ah, that's what the real thing is. I feel scared about something? Yeah, there's some fear for me somewhere. And if I just take a moment, it's real easy to figure that out. It's really easy to figure it out. But we don't usually like to do that, because it feels like it's gonna be too exposing for ourselves. Like, oh, I don't want to see what's gonna be there. I don't really want to know, cuz I'm sure it's gonna be worse than this horrible feeling.

JJ Parker  20:25  
Well, it's, it's the end of the week right now. Mm hmm. And I did figure it out. We figured it out, like 20 minutes ago talking earlier. The root of my anxiety?

Melissa Albers  20:43  

JJ Parker  20:44  
I think for the for this week, at least.

Melissa Albers  20:46  
Yeah, but it's that cool, though. Like, I mean, you know, we make jokes about it. And I mean, some of these topics are harder to talk about. But I think that they're really meaningful for people and, and they're meaningful for me, like, I just feel like it's really helpful to talk through these patterns, especially when there are patterns that are really obvious that we know, we see a lot repetitive patterns that we see a lot, either in ourselves, or those that were around a lot of those that we care about, I think it's really easy to see those patterns. And another really interesting thing about this, I think, is when we get on this journey, and then we start having these little epiphanies, you know, it's super easy to do. Start telling everybody else what their problems are, like, what they're doing wrong.

JJ Parker  21:38  
I was just gonna ask you about that as the like, kind of one last thing. Yeah, I'm here was that this week, you know, you and I, you know, I like work pretty much every day on on on this stuff. Earlier this week, you very gently suggested that we take the rest of the week off.

Melissa Albers  22:00  
Yes, I did. Yeah. Yeah.

JJ Parker  22:03  
So because you kind of knew that I was getting sideways. Yeah. And you knew that more work for me was not going to be helpful, like the healthiest path? Yeah, right. Yeah. And I agreed, although I remember sort of like in now it's, it's fine. I'll be I

Melissa Albers  22:22  
did use it actually said that. I'll be fine.

JJ Parker  22:26  
So you, like we said like it like you mentioned earlier? Like, you noticed it in me that you noticed that I was getting stressed out before I noticed. And then you did a very kind and gentle. Yeah. thing. Now. How do we help others when we see them in that situation? I mean, yeah, we fix by how you just? Yeah, me. But I don't imagine going to someone and saying, Whoa, you are so stressed out, you need to do this or that. Right. That's how that's a terrible reason for others when we see them. Yeah, get in sideways. Because we do want to help our friends and our family and the people we care about when they're getting in these sideways states.

Melissa Albers  23:10  
Yeah, I think the number one thing is to not diagnose, even if you can see it, like, because when you're like, just in using this example, I would never say to you, oh, here you go, you're going into your pattern. I would never ever call that out. Because it's not my place to do that. It's not my place to call out anybody else's patterns. However, when we know someone really well, and we recognize what those patterns are, I think what we can do is provide space and empathy. You know, we can just, we can recognize the feeling of how that feels, because we're like that we have our own whether it's the same topic or not. I was saying to a client of mine yesterday, regarding their spouse, because they were going you know, their spouse is doing this and doing that and doing this and doing that. And, and, and at the end of the conversation, it became obvious that they were both doing the same thing. But it was way easier to see it in that spouse.

JJ Parker  24:16  
Yeah, well, we always say it's easier to recognize Yeah, things and others and yourself

Melissa Albers  24:21  
and, and my responses. We're all going to school, we're all going to school, we're just in different places of the lesson. We're just in different places. We're in different classrooms. And And let's let people be in their own processes and at least be empathetic and caring for them and show them grace. I think that's what we can do. I don't think we have any right? Power Authority. Education, that is that makes it okay to do anything beyond that.

JJ Parker  24:55  
That's good advice. Well, thank you for telling Been through this week.

Melissa Albers  25:01  
I can't wait to see your new backpack.

JJ Parker  25:04  
It's gonna be great. So

Melissa Albers  25:05  
awesome. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. We'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast safe. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability
to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of
building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have
is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and
has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker),
Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to
name a few.

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