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Episode 29 - You Are All Alone

Episode 29 Overview

Isn't this a nice, friendly-sounding podcast episode? Here you are, trying to feel connected and in love with your husband, and I go and get depressing on you. Don't worry. This week's episode will teach you a fantastic framework taken from Jewish wisdom that we can all use as a self-coaching exercise to clarify who YOU are in your relationship and your goals for yourself on the deepest level. When we learn to frame our marriages, and all of our relationships and life situations, in the context of personal development, it creates an entirely new context.


00:01 Episode 29. You are all alone.

00:16 Welcome to the First Year Married podcast, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm marriage coach Kayla Levin, and I take newly married and engaged women from anxious and insecure to confident and connected. Through practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self awareness along the way.

00:38 Okay, ladies. I'm rerecording this one. I didn't like how it turned out last time. We have moved out of our house and are now living with my in-laws for the next month. They're amazing. Very fortunate. I know. Because I know. And then we're on our way. Hopefully the end of July, to Israel. We are so, so excited. So it's been a little bit of a crazy time. I had a huge back supply of podcasts, and they had disappeared! So now I'm here making sure to get some done, and I really want to give you the best that I can, so I want to rerecord the one that I just did.

01:12 So we are talking about being alone, and I get that might not sound super friendly or lovely. And so I want to start with how we're not alone, because otherwise I think I might give the impression incorrectly that I only see it one way.

01:27 Obviously as a religious person I see connection between people, I see compassion, and love. And that we're all here, and we're all important and being a human being is a special status. And all of those things, okay, so I don't want to go into it too much because I'm weary of not trying to push my ideas on anybody. That's not true. I'm not trying to push my religious ideas on anybody. I'm definitely trying to push the ark on you. I have taught Jewish topics, you know, over the last 10 years to Jewish audiences. I love doing it. It's something that's very, very special and important to me, but I really want to keep the focus on this here. Although, of course, I bring who I am to the table. So it's definitely going to color who I am just the same way that being a mom changes the kind of coach that I am.

02:14 So here's the thing. So while on the one hand I do very much believe in our interconnectedness and our mutual spirituality, and all of those things, on the other hand, I find it profoundly valuable to see yourself in a way as essentially alone in the world. And let me explain what I mean. Because I don't want to cause any of you a deep and dark depression because you listened to this podcast.

02:40 What I mean is this: there's a Jewish teaching where it's sort of as an exercise. You basically imagine yourself inside a life size puppet show. I've heard this from several different teachers, so I'm not quoting anyone directly. Imagine yourself in a life size puppet show. And when you first walk into the puppet show, let's say one of the puppets kicks you. So you would never look at the puppet and say, "Don't do that." Right? You would look up, and you see that there's someone pulling the strings. And you might say, "Please stop the puppet from kicking me." But you wouldn't address the puppet directly. Right? Because you would realize that no puppet can kick.

03:18 What in the world does this mean in terms of our own life and our experience in this world? What that means is that we are all on our own, unique journey. And I guess this really is a Jewish teaching, but I think that it's generic enough that it can apply to anybody here, regardless of your religion. We're all on a unique journey, and that means that there is a goal for you spiritually. There is a goal in terms of your self development. Okay? When I say spiritually, that's ultimately what we're talking about. We're talking about becoming the best you that you can be. Right?

03:51 And that has more to do with your self as a person, and your character than anything else. And when things happen in your world, especially if specific things keep happening in different contexts. It's a sign that this is the next place for you to grow. Okay? And so when I see that I keep being surrounded, or I keep getting bosses that are overly critical, let's say. And let's say this is not true. Let's say I had an extremely critical mother, and then I have an extremely critical boss, and then I marry a critical guy. Okay? So I could look at the world, and say, "Oh my gosh, everyone's so critical." Or, I could say there's something about critical people that I need to learn. Okay? To learn about them and to learn about my reaction to them. There's room for my personal growth here.

04:41 Now, do you hear how this is so much more empowering than why is everyone so critical? Or, like, okay, what positive thought can I have about all these critical people? Right? So much more empowering to look at it and say, okay, what do I have to learn here? What is this here?

04:57 I had a situation a little while ago where I had someone that I felt I wasn't getting a lot of respect from. And I was really struggling. And once... I kept trying different things. No, the person really does respect me. They just show it differently. Or I don't need their respect, because I don't care about their opinion. All these different thoughts, right? And then finally I switched it to what is it about me and respect that I have to learn?

05:23 And what I realized I throughout my life, I've kind of always landed myself very conveniently in situations where I was respected. And if I wasn't doing a great job at something, I would find something else to do so that I could be respected in whatever I was doing. Now that doesn't mean that people have always respected me my whole life, it just means that where my time and energy and attention was going was in areas where I was successful. Okay? That's probably pretty human of me.

05:47 And this was not one I could escape. This wasn't one that I could stay away from, and so here for the first time I had to sort of really get comfortable with a situation in which I didn't feel the level of respect that I had sort of accustomed myself to. I don't know if that was truly going on. I don't know if truly the person didn't respect me. What I do know is that when I changed my thought from, oh, I don't care about their opinion, or I don't need respect, or whatever.

06:15 When I switched it to there's something for me to learn about what it means to be in a relationship with someone where you're not given the kind of respect that you expect. And all of a sudden I was empowered. I was transformed. I was able to relate to this person in a totally different way, and I was really able to move past it. When I think about it now, this wasn't that long ago, and I don't really feel like I'm struggling in this area as much as I was before. Because that thought was more compelling. Again, it doesn't really matter what thought's most true. It really matters what results you're getting, so this was definitely getting me better results.

06:50 Okay. So now I'm not saying ever, ever in this podcast that in you're in a situation where you're being truly disrespected, or you're in an abusive relationship, or you're in an unhealthy relationship, that any of these perspectives are meant to make you just deal with it or just take it. No. In fact, I think it is more empowering when you can look at it, and you can say, "Oh, this is interesting. I'm not looking at the puppet that's kicking me and trying to get it to stop." Right? "I'm looking in this in the context of me." Just be totally self absorbed. Like me! It'll be great. Right? I'm looking at this in the context of me, of my growth, my development. The kind of person I need to be.

07:36 And to more it's much easier than to draw a healthy boundary or to say no, or whatever it is because this isn't about you kick me, and I might kick you, and we're hurting each other, and all that. No! This is about me and my journey, and if I'm finding myself in another situation with a critical person, so what does that mean?

07:54 In my example I gave of the respect, it was about me learning to be in a relationship where I wasn't overtly respected. Okay? That doesn't mean that the only response could be acceptance. In my situation, acceptance was what I saw, I needed for my own ego, basically. For somebody else it would be different, right? For someone else it might be I need to stand up for myself. I need to draw boundaries. Right? All of those things. Those are all fine, but when they're coming from a place of where am I going? How am I growing as an individual, and then therefore how am I going to deal with this situation, now you're in a much clearer place to make a very conscious and a very empowered decision about what you're going to do.

08:33 I didn't not deal with my situation from a place of I don't know what to do. That's what I was doing before I came to this thought, right? Actually what happened was I actively accepted the situation. That's a totally different thing than just putting up with something. Okay? So in some situations you might decide that it's something that you want to accept. And in some situations, you're going to decide this is something we will not accept.

08:57 But what we want to know at the end of the day is that you switch into this other perspective, and I don't think we can live here 24/7. Right? This is just one you kind of go to as an exercise. But the puppet show perspective allows you to say, if it's happening in my life, it's for me to grow. Okay? Again. Doesn't mean I have to stay here. Sometimes the growth is the leaving. But if it's happening in my life, this is for me to grow. The puppet can't kick me. Okay? Only if it was intended to happen to me. We're not going to get into a whole conversation in this podcast about free will, but that's obviously a conversation that comes from this particular parable.

09:42 Okay. So how does this apply to our marriage? If we haven't already, you haven't already gone there in your mind. So how this can apply to your marriage is when you are feeling very stuck with a specific situation. So for some of you, a lot of you are dealing with husbands who either have health issues or are depressed. Or in some ways sort of not functioning in a way that you feel like you need them to be. Or could be he's not applying for a job. I've heard that one from several of you. It could be you're just not getting the kind of emotional support that you feel like you need. Okay? So instead of looking at this as how can I get it from him? How can I get him to do this? Right. How can I get what I need?

10:25 I want you to step back, and I want you to put on your puppet show glasses. Okay? And just as an exercise, ask yourself. If I'm in a puppet show. And everything that's happening to me is exclusively for my own spiritual benefit, for my growth as an individual. If that's what's true, this is being sent to me, then what do I do about it?

10:52 And I think you're going to find a lot of internal clarity when you view it in that way. When we give other people the responsibility for our feelings, that is an extremely disempowered place to be. So this sort of exercise, the puppet show glasses, this is something that you can come to. Obviously it's very compatible in some ways with using the model, and in some ways it will get you a similar result. But I want you to use this.

11:20 Sometimes different exercises can be helpful in sort of getting new ideas. Right? A lot of times when I'm speaking to you, and there's a scenario that's very ingrained. There's a certain situation you've been dealing with over and over and over again. So I can sometimes suggest other thoughts. I can suggest other ways of looking at it. So I want to give you this tool because I think that your brain will also be able to suggest to you other ways of looking at it. And sometimes you need a different approach to get there

11:48 So try and choose something. You can start small with something that's not as important. But if you have a certain situation that just keeps coming up for you. A certain type of person, or a certain struggle with yourself. Or a certain argument that you and your spouse keep getting into over and over. I want you to imagine yourself as the only living person inside this puppet show. And then look at it and say, looks what keeps popping into my puppet show! Right? What do I want to do about that?

12:17 Okay. So from that place, of course we're using this an exercise. We return to a world where we are all human beings. You don't want to be, and obviously it doesn't go both ways. So if I'm looking for my own personal growth, and my own sort of self development. I'm not going to start kicking the puppet back. Right? Because that doesn't improve me as an individual.

12:41 So while it does seem sort of inhumane to sort of go to this perspective. In a way we can often show up even better when we're looking for our own development. How we want to show up in the world. But then of course we take off our puppet show glasses, we put on our world glasses. You can't stay there all the time. And go back to the lovely, wonderful people in our lives.

13:05 Okay. This has been a short but sweet. I hope it's given you a little boost, a new tool to use as you move forward in your world. And also, for all of you who had been sharing this podcast. Because I know you have, because we're not doing anything on our side. You're amazing! You are amazing. The number of people who have downloaded, who have been listening. Last week blew past all the others. All I know is you're making my husband very happy. I just sort of don't really understand numbers. Well, that's not true. I understand numbers. But this is his world and his job, so he understands it on a whole another level. We are beyond thrilled.

13:41 I really, really just want to get this material out to anybody that could possibly help, especially last week, if you know anyone, which is literally every female I've ever met in my life who is struggling with self image. I know last week's episode was a little bit advanced, but please encourage your friends. Go and listen. We can make massive changes. I really think that this new perspective is going to make a massive change in how women view themselves physically. I really think that when we all get together, and we start sharing this, and we start talking about it in this new way, we can really, really, totally change the context of this conversation.

14:22 So thank you to those of you who have shared it already. Please keep sharing it. And share the podcast. It's as I said before, but some of you like to hear it again. This is obviously I direct my coaching specifically to the challenges of women in their first year of marriage. But there are lots of you who are listening who are not married yet. Who aren't even seriously dating anyone yet. And I'm so glad you're here. Because this thought work is helpful at any stage in your life.

14:50 And there are some of you who've been married for over 20 years. If you can beat 20, please send me a message so I know exactly how high. But I know we for sure got past 20 years. That is beyond thrilling for me. So I just want to say this podcast is very much open to women of all ages and stag I'm so thrilled to have you here, and I will see you back here on the podcast next week. Buh bye.

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