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The Importance of Self-Awareness & How It Impacts Your Relationships with Dr. Tanya Stephenson | 09.20.2023

In this episode, Kristen sits down with Dr. Tanya Stephenson, a mental health and peak performance coach and clinical hypnotherapist, to explore the profound importance of self-awareness in both personal and relational growth. The conversation delves into practical steps and strategies for cultivating self-awareness, offering valuable guidance for anyone seeking to enhance their self-understanding and relationship dynamics.

You'll Learn

  • The pivotal role of self-awareness in personal growth and relationship enhancement.
  • How self-awareness shapes your identity and the dynamics of your relationships.
  • Practical strategies and steps to cultivate self-awareness in your daily life.
  • Valuable guidance on improving self-understanding and relationship dynamics.
  • The connection between self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
    How to overcome common barriers to self-awareness.

www.drtanyastephenson.com.au

Resources

For counseling services near Indianapolis, IN, visit www.pathwaystohealingcounseling.com.

Subscribe and Get a free 5-day journal at www.kristendboice.com/freeresources to begin closing the chapter on what doesn’t serve you and open the door to the real you.

Subscribe to the Close the Chapter YouTube Channel

This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about ideas on stress management and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not psychotherapy/counseling in any form.

Kristen

Welcome to the Close the Chapter podcast. I am Kristen Boice a licenced Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice pathways to healing counselling. Through conversations, education, strategies and shared stories, we will be closing the chapter on all the thoughts, feelings, people and circumstances that don't serve you anymore. And open the door to possibilities and the real you. You won't want to miss an episode, so be sure to subscribe. Welcome to this week's close the chapter podcast I am thrilled to have my guest all the way from Australia. It's actually 2am her time, I'm just blown away that you're here and you're doing this episode when it's 2am Your time. So first of all, I just want to preface that for the listeners the honour of having Tanya here with us today. I'm going to call you Dr. Stephenson, just because I think you earned a lot when you earn your doctorate. And so I just wanted to honour that process of you getting your doctorate because kudos to you. Today, we're going to be talking about self awareness and identity and how it impacts relationships. It's one of the most important topics I think we can talk about. Because if we're not self aware, we're kind of blindly going through reactively in our relationships. So Daniel, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Tanya

Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here. I know it's two in the morning here. But I don't feel that at all, actually, because I've been so excited to come on. So thank you so much for having me.

Kristen

Thank you. It's a delight to talk with you today. What started you on this journey of becoming a therapist?

Dr. Tanya

That's a really good question. And I think it started very young. For me, I actually had a very complex relationships. I know, we all have those difficult relationships and complicated people and circumstances in our lives. But I think for me, it started off very young. And so my mom, she was quite impacted by that. So I think I feel like I became a bit of a therapist. And so I was about 12 years old, I started to really get quite sensitive to emotions, and learning to read the room very quickly. And knowing who needed me when. So I think that started for me very young. And I actually worked as a teacher for a couple of years when I first started my career, and then I was sort of fascinated by children and how quickly they formed their identity and the way they react to certain things. And you speak with parents, and you get to know so much about what's going on for them. So I was so interested, and it just sort of pulled me further and further into it. So I just think I always knew that I always wanted to work with people. And so yeah, I went on to do my doctorate. And then I focused on identity. And again, I wanted to look at that identity formation in very young children, and how that then impacts us all the way up to adulthood. And how sensitive Rihanna was amazed because of babies is so fresh, but so fresh. And then we hear these things that people say whether or not that's intentional, usually it's unintentional. They don't even know the impact their wife can have or the actions can have. And I thought that was just so fascinating. So I think I've been on a long journey into the field.

Kristen

Yes. Isn't that the truth? Like we look back that was counselling, my family system, way. So I love that you share that with the audience. Because sometimes we're we're the parent and aren't we're parenting our parents emotionally. And so that makes sense to me. Like, oh, this is how I've been doing it most of my life.

Dr. Tanya

Yeah. Sometimes it just happens. And you realise looking back how much you've learned and grown so early on, even in certain areas, especially with things like just knowing certain triggers that people can have. And I look back now, and I said, definitely don't look very young, when it comes to things like that.

Kristen

Yes. So let's jump into identity because that word gets thrown around a lot. Tell me about how people become to develop their identity of who they are.

Dr. Tanya

Yeah. And I think that is so powerful. Just thinking about that, that concept of identity. I think, like you said, sometimes the word just gets thrown around so much that we don't really think about how deep that actually is, when we have a certain identity for ourselves. I think that unless we don't consciously create an identity for ourselves. It's sort of created for us. And I think what I learned as well, just the process of when I was doing my PhD was that children like I said, that is so young and so fresh, and also open to taking on and absorbing everything around them. And it was so fascinating because one of the things I was looking at was just girls and boys so that the gender aspect with STEM education, for example, because we know that you know, as girls particularly get older They seem to drop out much more often than boys when it comes to STEM shields and was so fascinating to see how when the girls are super younger, and as young as three years old, they start to make those decisions about whether or not a math person and science is not for me and those sorts of things. And it was so fascinating because what I saw was the little children, they were about three or four years old, and they're all equally interested in everything. And then you start to see how the educators would work with certain children. And completely unintentional because we all bring our own biases. And now Oren completely unconscious, I guess, biases really, and ways of being. And so the way that the educators will start to focus on certain children, you'd see the girls, you would see them shift over the weeks from I am so into this, and I'm going to be the pilot, for example. And all of a sudden, that tossing things on to the boys and great Hey, this is for you. So you can fly the rocket ship or whatever they were building, and they just take on that role. And you just see that happen more and more. Just see that progress as they grow, that I think with identity, we just subconsciously keep taking on all of the things that we're experiencing. And so I think identity is such a core part of who we are of our personality. And I think that we sometimes start out with a particular identity. And then say, I'm an athlete, for example, and you're just going to the gym, and you know, you're really, really fit. And then certain things might happen, you may fall off and not go for a couple of months. And then you try and then you're out of the habit now. And as people I think we then tried to protect ourselves from feeling like we're not good enough or failing at something. So we shift our identity then to say, Oh, well, I'm this now. Or I used to be that, but I'm not this anymore. And I feel like that identity sometimes changes just match where we are sometimes. Yes. How

Kristen

much rejection does plays into and shame plays into our identity. Like, oh, if I get rejected from something, let's I'm trying out for something and I younger and you get rejected, then you're like, Well, I'm to protect yourself. Like I don't want to feel that shame or sense of rejection. So now I'm never gonna go out for that again. Is that what you mean by that?

Dr. Tanya

Yeah, absolutely. I think that's such a lovely way to put that. Yeah, that's absolutely right. I think that I always use this example where we say things, just simple things like you start driving, and then you just having an off day and saying that I didn't drive that well, today is something because it's something that you do. But then as soon as you change that to I'm a bad driver, it just becomes part of your identity.

Kristen

Yes, because my daughter was an art class. I remember this elementary school. And the teacher was like you did this wrong, because it doesn't look like the example. And she's like, I'm terrible art. And from then on. It was like a belief. I am terrible at art, I am not good at art. How do you begin to shift that belief?

Dr. Tanya

Gosh, I relate to that so much. First of all, I relate to that so much. And it's so interesting, isn't it? Because once you formed that identity for yourself, it's true. If you believe you're terrible at art you are and if you believe you're amazing at all, who you are that sort of fascinating. And I think the work that I've done with just the people I work with, I use different approaches to shift that identity. But I think one of the main aspects that links into that, is that self awareness to start digging into certain things and our cable works. Why do you think so? And just starting to question the evidence for that, and where did those beliefs come from? So for example, if the teacher said that, okay, well, is that enough? Do you have any other evidence and just trying to question that evidence, I think is a really good place. And because I'm also a clinical hypnotherapist, I love having those hypnotherapy sessions with clients pretty early on, because I just feel like it fast track the process sometimes where you just in one session can go to that root cause and start to shift those beliefs in that one session. And then from then on, dig further into the insights that came up.

Kristen

Yes, it's similar to EMDR. So I like EMDR brain spotting, too. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about hypnotherapy? If they're not aware of what that is? Exactly?

Dr. Tanya

Yes, sure. It's still with hypnotherapy. It, just I love it so much. And I'm so passionate about it. But I love that with hypnotherapy, we're able to talk to, let's say, the subconscious mind directly. And so we just put that logical conscious mind just get it to relax a little bit. So we can talk directly to the subconscious because that's where so much a majority of beliefs and beings are just stored there that we're not even aware of. And so yes, of course therapy, in terms of just talking and unpacking things is so important. But sometimes it can take time and it can be super complex sometimes. And what I really love is that when we just get that unconscious part of our mind to relax and allow ourselves to speak from the subconscious, we're able to so quickly go to what were those beliefs? What were those memories, for example, that cause some of these beliefs to come up in the first place and just become so strong within us and then start to analyse. What I do is I use a combination of different hypnotherapy methods. I use clinical hypnotherapy, I use rapid transformation therapy. So I combined a couple of things. And so we first get everyone really relaxed and access that subconscious, then we go through certain memories and episodes that come up in relation to whatever they're feeling or experiencing. And then once we do that, we actually start to then question that and reframe that. And once we've had that session, I recorded 20 An audio for them to listen to for about a month, just to help with that neuroplasticity and get them to really wire in some of those changes that have come up through the session. So I love doing that straight up, and then have those sessions with them to actually unpack a little bit more about what's happened.

Kristen

I love it, because it gets beneath the defences, like you said, the body goes into more relaxed state. So I like getting in it would you say because I've done it before, but for the audience that doesn't know exactly what it's like. It's almost like a guide, at least what I did is like a guided meditation, so to speak. So you're being guided into more of a relaxed state. So then you can access the subconscious. Would you say that captures? I know, I'm giving you a scenario. But is that a little bit about hypnosis? For those that don't know?

Dr. Tanya

Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's a really lovely way of putting it. And sometimes I use that as well, that it's like a guided meditation, it really is because you are really being guided on this journey. And it's so relaxing. I love using that word sometimes because I think will be the hypnosis and hypnotherapy. There's so much resistance sometimes and just this unknown, and some people can get really anxious about it as well, because you just saw some of the most common questions I get are things like just coming from the point of Well, I have no control. And what can you make me do for example, and you know, I always say that, well, if hypnotherapist could make you do anything, then some of them would be the richest people in the world. So it's really just reiterating to them that you're always in control. It's just like going on a meditative journey. And most of the time, you don't even know you're in hypnosis until it's time to come out. And you realise that you're in such a relaxed day?

Kristen

Yes, I found it very useful, and very helpful. Okay, let's talk about self awareness, because identity and self awareness go hand in hand. So let's talk about the importance of self awareness. And then why is that important in relationships?

Dr. Tanya

It's such a good question. And I love how you just mentioned, our identity is so connected to that self awareness. And isn't it interesting, because with identity, like we've said before, sometimes you don't even consciously know the identity that you have for yourself. So, for example, there's a lot of the times I've come across people who said, I'm just a mom, I always say, what does that mean, I'm just a mom, I mean, a mom is a chef, a friend, a mentor, a therapist, you've got so much going on, when you're a mom, you can never say you're just a bomb. So I always talk to them about expanding that identity and really digging in instead of having that identity for themselves. But I'm just amongst like, you know, you're all much more than that. So I love how that self awareness then plays a part in actually defining the identity that you have. And from that point, actually looking at the identity you want to have, so that you can start to transition into from where you are to where you want to be. And so I think self awareness is just so important. I can't stress that enough. I think, to me, it's about really digging in and being so conscious and aware of who are you what your needs are, why you have those needs, what are some of your values? What do you appreciate in yourself and other people? Why is that? Sometimes, especially working with just on the topic of relationships, sometimes we have all of these needs, or we think we have these needs and these expectations, and we don't even know why some of those things are important to us. And when you start to really dig into those aspects and understand what my needs are, what do I expect from someone? Why do I want them to be this way? It just brings so much more mindfulness into relationships?

Kristen

How does someone begin to be more self aware? Because I think I would say number one, in terms of getting into a relationship is knowing yourself, whether you're a parent, you're in a romantic relationship, you're in work, really, it doesn't matter, like that self awareness, how does somebody become more connected and self aware?

Dr. Tanya

It's tricky, isn't it sometimes, because we're so caught up in the external and things that are happening around us and people and demands on us and all of that. And we just pulled in all these directions that? I think for me personally, I think mindfulness has been one of the most significant practices where you're actually consciously bringing that focus back to yourself and just shifting from being focused on the external to really bringing it on to your internal self and just spend time with yourself. So I think mindfulness practices have been amazing. So I think just to give It started just binding 10 minutes in a day for people who are really, really busy and can't take out more than that. I think it can be so incredible to just spend 10 minutes with yourself to just breathe. And just ask yourself some really good questions, things like what makes me happy? What gets me really annoyed? What do I want from my boyfriend? Or my wife, for example, or from my parents from my kids starting to question, why do I want that? Or what really drives me? So I think even if we take one question a day, and just sit with ourselves for just 10 minutes and reflect, I think that's a really powerful place to start, or that's been my experience. I'm curious about what you think,

Kristen

yes, I think writing can be really helpful to like writing out what am I afraid of? What is my greatest fear some of these deep, subconscious things? Or what do I think of myself? Because that often blocks our ability to we're skewed, and how we see the world because we don't see ourselves in a way that's true. That shame says, My lovable, I'm unworthy. I'm not good enough. I'm defective. Somehow. Nobody really likes me. And I think that becomes a block to really knowing what's underneath that. How did I get to this place where I feel like I'm unlovable?

Dr. Tanya

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that. Absolutely. I think journaling is so powerful. And I think sometimes I find just combining the two, I know that I've come across a lot of people who personally love to write first thing in the morning, or the last day before going to bed, and just writing. And I think that's amazing. I also think sometimes just having that state of quiet and peace and having some time to maybe meditate, for example, and then starting to journal can be a really nice combination, as well. And you're absolutely right, questioning those, I always talk about those really powerful questions where it is things like yeah, like you said, What do I think about myself? And then starting to go into why do I think about myself that way? Because sometimes we just like we say, we need to have a cheerleader in our minds. And we unfortunately have the critic more often than not. And so really looking at where that credit came from.

Kristen

Yeah, I find with a lot of people right now, the comparison of will they look like they've got it all together? What's wrong with me, or they want Lizzie to go through a divorce. And then they think I will be worthy when someone else loves me again. And it's a battle. I mean, it's a mind battle, because they don't feel lovable until someone else finds them lovable. And we know offered the saying that if we don't love ourselves, it's hard to source or find the love you want. And people like well, I don't love myself. But the idea that it's going to come outside of us worth and value in our identity is so we look at what roles we've played. And it's such a deep dive. It really is.

Dr. Tanya

It really is an Yeah, and I think that's a really big one where it's about, well, I don't love myself, so I need someone to love me. So I can feel like I'm good enough, for example. And it's really sad. Because if we come from that place of that lack of self worth, we're just robbing ourselves of so many possibilities. And I always say this, if we give someone else the power to make us feel loved, then we're also giving them the power to take it away and make us feel unloved. And do we really want to put ourselves in that situation. And I find this very often when I speak to people who are struggling to find the right person, for example, I attract the right person now, and it's so fascinating, because what I find is that when we don't have that value for ourselves, and we're coming from that place of lack in self worth, or self love, then because we're looking for someone else to give us that value. It's like received to go after people or be attracted to people who play hard to get maybe or are just not interested. And you just feel like oh, well, they're so hard to get, they must have a lot of value and you attach all this value to them. They may just not be the right person for you. And they might be having someone around them who's actually very interested in them was lovely. I would actually be they'd be a great fit together. But it's like, oh, well, if you're right here then and you liked me then there must be something wrong with us or less value there. It's so fascinating how that worked out.

Kristen

It is I have many clients that feel like that. They're like, Well, I'm just not attracted to them. Like all the other boxes are checked in. So and you're spot on with it's not a challenge and they're not having to chase then they're like, Well, I don't even know these what the people that are hard to chase because they feel like a loot lane, like you said then that must be they have value. It's so fascinating. Where do you think that comes from? Like if we had to take a deeper dive into that. Where do you think that comes from?

Dr. Tanya

I think that if we develop unfortunately, that lack of self love and I noticed Self Love, for example, it's not a destination, we're never really on love myself. So completely, it's a journey. It's always a journey, there's ups and downs, I think it's really important to recognise that because I think a lot of people will suddenly have these negative thoughts, for example, and they think that they're failing, or they're going backwards. It's normal, and it's a journey. But I think when we come from that place of that lack of self worth, and we had that void, or that emptiness that we're trying to steal, and we're trying to find someone or something that's going to fill that, I think that's when we start chasing, and in my experience, it's quite challenging, because even if they get what they were chasing, or who they were chasing, suddenly, it's not satisfying at all. It's not at all what they expected it to be. And so either the attractions gone very quickly, or they fall into that sadness, or the depression even sometimes, because it's like, well, I thought that would give it to me, but it didn't. And now what do I do?

Kristen

So how does someone heal that? This is the million dollar question.

Dr. Tanya

It really is. And, honestly, in my experience, and personally, as well, what helped me the most was, again, taking that focus back to the inside. And starting with a place of self awareness before moving into self love, because I know loving ourselves can be very difficult sometimes and affirmations. For example, saying I love myself, I think sometimes that's just feels like a lie, because you've said the opposite for so long. So I think even if we just come from let's start with self awareness, let's start questioning ourselves and why we think certain things I think that is such a powerful place to start. And yeah, I think self awareness is probably the most important thing. And I also say this a lot that when we talk about self love, it's not just I am who I am, this is just who I am. And there's nothing in me that needs to change. I think that's not what it's about. Like, it's about knowing what your strengths are. It's about appreciating everything about yourself. And knowing that we're not perfect, there is no such thing as perfect. We're just supposed to be real, and be real with ourselves means being realistic, not pessimistic. And so I think that when we're looking at strengths, we're also looking at areas that we need to improve. And I think some that we can start to develop that self love and go, Hey, I do need to improve those things. What can I do to get better there and celebrating what we're amazing at. So I think that self awareness, I think, is just such a core part that affects not just relationships, I think when we have that self awareness, and we start to develop that sense of self worth, which will really disagree learning, because I think when we're born, we have that, and then we just lose it along the way. So I think just trying to get that back, just start with getting to know who you offer.

Kristen

Let's talk about self awareness as it relates to relationships, because I work with a lot of couples, and the one couple wants the other person in the relationship to be more self aware because they see something, and the partner doesn't see it. And if only they could see it and take ownership of it. If they were only more self aware, then they think they would fulfil their connection, and they would have more better communication. And how do you see self awareness playing out with couples, or in relationships

Dr. Tanya

are so important? I think it plays such a huge role in relationships. Oh, my goodness. So I think, first of all, all the way from even that attraction phase, when you first see someone and you're just admiring them, I think self awareness starts playing a very key role right then. And I think you go from that admiration to mutual attraction, which is very exciting, it's great. Then you have that chemistry, and then you commit, which is great. And then that compatibility phase comes, which I think a lot of us just forget. And then the chemistry sort of fades and you go, Hey, we're not really compatible. So I think if we are self aware, right from the beginning, it just helps us even attract the right people and make the right choices for ourselves. Because we know who we are, what we want, what our expectations. Our standards are, for example, what is acceptable to us what's not and why. And I think you start to see those things, you know what vision you have for the future? What are your values, and you start to see whether that actually aligns beyond the initial chemistry. And then I think even then, of course, Self Awareness continues to play such a big part, especially when it comes to communication. Sometimes we just want people to read our minds. And I have a really interesting experience with this myself, because my mom's reaction or her typical way of being rent she used to have an argument with my dad was just silent treatment. And that was very hard for me because I sometimes I think parents forget that the kids actually can pick up on energy very early on, that she would sometimes not speak to him for days. And it used to be very negative in the house but even slower that was learn behaviour for me. When I met my husband early early, early on, we had this argument once and someone came home and I I just gave him the silent treatment. I actually didn't know why I was doing that. I just think I learned that and I just did it. And so the whole evening, he was trying to talk to me. And I just ignored him. And I felt really bad during that. But I just thought, that's just what you do. And I remember so vividly that when everyone left, you just don't give me anything that was so painful. And I don't know why, like, if something happens, you need to tell me because if you do that, that was so painful that I'm going to protect myself and stop trying. And I realised as soon as he said that, that's not what I wanted at all. I wanted him to talk to me, and I wanted to sort it out. But I've just learned that just don't talk and just ignore that person, because that's punishment. And I think that particular conversation made me so much more self aware, because I know No, hang on, I don't want you to stop trying to talk to me, I actually want to sort it out. And so I could never ever did that, from that moment on. But I think had he not said that to me. And if he wasn't that self aware, at that point to tell me what his reaction would have been. I would probably we would have just gone downhill from there, I think because I always mess up the uphill and downhill. But what I mean is it would probably have gotten worse from there pictures, I will probably continue to do that. And he would have eventually stop trying. And that's when pain start to deteriorate. I think so being self aware about what are your triggers? What are your communication patterns? And why do we do that? I think we do need both people to be aware and understand we're not mind reader's, we need to be aware and talk to each other and say what it is that we need. So I think self awareness is so important, particularly with that communication. Oh, I

Kristen

think it's essential. It's like a muscle that you have to learn to connect and get curious with. Because what I noticed in this interaction, I love that you're like he told you but you received it, you may have felt defensive, but it sounds like you kind of work through that I want to defend myself. Whereas I find a lot of times with couples is someone will give feedback and say it in the best way they can. And the other person gets defensive and shuts it down. And then shift blames the other person. So how do we build this self awareness? Once we take radical ownership and to when the other person gets defensive? Like you took the feedback so well, and a lot of people don't?

Dr. Tanya

Yeah, and I think one of the reasons why I took that feedback, so Well, looking back, if I might compliment myself on that one, was because I didn't want to repeat what I had seen and experienced growing up. And I was very self aware when it came to that I was still learning, of course, but I knew what I did not want. My parents are still together and their relationship has improved so much, because my mom did a lot of work on herself and her reaction. So she has grown so much and they've grown together. So but I was very conscious of that. So I think that really helped me. But you're absolutely right. I think it's so much easier to be defensive and put the blame on someone else. I mean, who wants to accept that we might have something to work on? Yeah, I think that comes up so much. And I think that's rare, we do really need to be on the same page, at least in terms of what we're willing to do in the relationship, the work we're willing to put into the relationship. So I think even if we might have a conflict, I think that core value of i appreciate respect, value our relationship enough to be open and willing to work together. I think that just having that can be so powerful.

Kristen

So how does a person and I think this is really a key, we have mindfulness, we have journaling, we have kind of a curiosity mindset. I think self awareness is almost like an intention, like you almost set an intention to be radically self aware. And what that looks like is it's a keen curiosity about body responses, emotions, thoughts and beliefs in a willingness to get uncomfortable going down the path of like, Oh, I got really intense there. I felt it I got really angry. Okay, let me take a deep breath. And let me sit with that. Let me be with that and tolerate it. Do you feel like that's essential with self awareness?

Dr. Tanya

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think that there are so many myths, sometimes when it comes to relationships, like things like renew disordered are right now. And we're gonna stay up all night if we need to talk about it. And sometimes I'm like, well, that's gonna make things worse. We don't have to do that. Because we're gonna say things where we're tired, were intense, and we're agitated or really emotional. So I think sometimes it is, like you said, so important to just be mindful, which again, comes from self awareness and being intentional about that self awareness. And I think sometimes, I mean, we all have different triggers and responses. And I know there's so many people that who like to, when they get really angry, they'll just walk out. And I think when you do that, you're almost abandoning that person in that moment when they need you or they're really They don't want to be left alone. So I think that just being mindful of okay, this is what I'm feeling in my body right now, this is how I usually react. But that's the outcome that happens that I don't want. So what can I do? And I think even simple things like saying, Look, I feel like I'm getting a bit angry right now. And I don't want to say things that I don't mean. So I'm not leaving or anything, I just need a moment to just collect myself. So I don't say something. I don't mean. So I think just that dad, part of just being a bit mindful, even like you said, in so many couples, sometimes you just get a bit defensive, and you start to shift blame. So knowing when you're starting to do that, it's so important to go, Okay, I'm starting to shift. Now, that's not worked out in the past, or even in your own time, taking that time to reflect on why I've had that pattern of what am I afraid of? Is it being vulnerable about something? I think that's self awareness. That's so important. I think that helped me a lot as well. I just learned a lot during Shin my relationship. And I think one of the strengths that we have is that communication. So my style, after a period of time became, I need to sort it out right now, that did not work with my husband, because his dial was let me sleep on it, I just need to sleep on it, I'll be so much more rational in the morning. And that used to drive me crazy, until he explained that to me very trivially. And I realised, that's actually so much better. Because I myself, I'm so much more calm, and I'm not coming from that emotional place anymore. So I think we just have to be open, aware and willing to communicate with each other to express what we need and how we work. So we can figure out a pattern that is actually constructive. Or just to add that on the X ray is I think, sometimes we get so lost in the conflict and the arguments and the little things that we used to get why have we been attracted to each other in the first place? And that just is forgotten so quickly? What were things that we used to do for each other that we don't do any? Why did that go away? And just reminding ourselves that if we're together, we're on the same team. We're not against each other. We're on the same team. And I think just remembering that can be so helpful sometimes.

Kristen

Yeah, it's almost like putting a sticky note of who should say, Yeah, on the same team, because it almost go back into our inner child almost. And we want to self protect, because we feel hurt. We feel unheard. And noticing what are your biggest triggers, like for mine, my biggest triggers not feeling heard. And so that's my like, one that really I can feel it in my body. And I know where it comes from that comes from childhood and not feeling heard. And I've been working on ways of throughout my lifetime, because this is how it works. Like we don't have symptoms, they go away issues go away, because you've worked on him and you've healed it. And then there's some that'll just be kind of reoccurring themes, I feel like and then knowing how to handle it. So kind of putting my hand on my heart centre, taking a deep breath in, trying to calm myself down, because I want the other person to see it and get it. And yeah, I can feel that. And I'm like, okay, they're not able to right now they're not able to, and then shifting into what if they would just and I see this with couples, if they would just work on listing more in around the glass, if they would just which could be true, right? They could be better at that. But we spend so much time trying to get them to see it. And when they don't, it's like we can't get off the wheel. So firstly, help people stay with self soothing, and not shift into what the other person because this keeps going. I mean, I see this as such a theme and to what they

Dr. Tanya

work on. Yes, absolutely. And I think that a lot of that comes from that control as well than anything that is a big one not feeling heard or not feeling seen. And I think that because like we Jackie said, we go into that inner child, and we want to protect ourselves, which involves trying to get control over the situation. So we want to control them as well and say, you know, look, listen to me. And we can't really do that we can't really control what the other person sees, doesn't see what's going on in their head what they're dealing with. So I think that trying to bring, like you said the control back to us because that's the only thing we can really control. So going back to well, what can I do right now? And like you said, self serve, take a moment to take a breath and then go from that point because absolutely I think when we get triggered by that the reaction is really well why don't you just see it? Or how many times do I need to tell you I'm it just escalates from there because then the other person is getting defensive as well. So I think it is in that moment, at least bringing it back to what we can control, which is just really ourselves, our emotions and how the actions that we take from them.

Kristen

This is so good. Okay, what would you say are the top three helpful skills resources to become more self aware if someone's like, maybe their books, maybe their podcasts, maybe their tools that you offer people what would be the top three

Dr. Tanya

Oh, that's a really good question. Honestly, I think the easiest more simple tool would be to just go by a plain simple journal and start writing. I think that's probably the first tool that comes to mind. I think the second one would probably be what I always recommend hypnotherapy because if someone says, Well, I realised that I feel this way about myself, which is that just just that one step forward. I think that hypnotherapy can be amazing, because you just find the reason why so quickly. And often that's so impactful in the next step. So I think that's a really good tool to use as well. I think just conversation, I know I'm keeping it very basic right now. But I think I just want to think about things that we actually have access to all the time that we just don't utilise enough. And I think sometimes we just want to talk to friends, even our family and just go, Hey, what do you think about me? And why or even just sharing a couple of things with people you're really close to, and can be really open with to go, Hey, I thought about this yesterday, or this is what I'm thinking about myself? Or these are some things I'm grappling with? Do you agree with that? Or do you think so I think having those trusted people, just having conversations, I think can be such a good place to start. And most are, generally speaking, we can find at least one person that we can have that conversation with,

Kristen

yes, and I think we're all crave to be seen, heard and known. And yet, we're scared to be vulnerable and authentic, we're afraid of rejection and judgement, and not being liked, or not being loved, or what people are gonna think of us. So we get scared to like, put ourselves out there, but yet we're lonely as a result.

Dr. Tanya

Absolutely. I think that's so well worth. And it's so interesting, because when you do that work on self awareness, and you start to develop your self worth, and a much more realistic image of yourself, I'm not even saying positive, I'm saying a realistic image where you're not just looking at the lack and what's bad, and how much you don't like certain things about yourself just being realistic. I think that then influences so much of what we think other people think of bots, and the fear that comes from that. Because really, most of the time, it's that fear that they're gonna agree with our own thinking about ourselves. And if I feel this way about myself, don't be agree, then that confirms it. So I think if you just have that stronger self image, and that worse, and you're aware of yourself, you're not that afraid anymore of what someone might say or think about you, because you're so self assured in so much about yourself.

Kristen

I think that's true. And you're so self aware of where your triggers are, you're self aware of how you may respond or get activated, and move not getting defensive, you're actually taking radical ownership and saying, I can see that thank you for sharing that with me. And our kids are going to tell us the truth, too. I mean, and it's tough. Like, they're gonna say, Hey, you're getting really intense, or I feel sad when you raise your voice. Or when you look at me like that. If you go, why didn't look at you anyway, you're creating a disconnection in that moment with her son with your kid or your partner and to go, now if it's not true, we're not going to own it. If it's true, or something we need to take a look at. We're going to thank the person for the feedback that they're being mean to us. They're sharing feelings with us, I think the potential to feel better about yourself is actually exponential. And I know it seems counterintuitive. Absolutely, absolutely. You're not hung up on because you're rumbling through it. Is that true? Is there an invitation here for me to do some growing to do some evolving, and then we're able to take compliments and let them land. That's the other path when the shame comes up. But we feel horrible, we feel like a piece of crap, and we don't feel lovable, and we cannot let anything land them positive. I mean, someone could say, Oh, I love that you're so caring. And you're like, Oh, you're just saying that? You're deciding that? I've just dismissed it? Because I don't really believe you.

Dr. Tanya

Absolutely. And I think that really comes down to again, that realistic self image. Because and I say this all the time. If we really care about what other people think about us, then we would take the consonants as well. And we would give the compliments the same weight that we give the criticism. So it's not really what about what other people think of us, it's about what we think of us. Because if we think that we're not good enough, and we're not whatever positive words you'd like to put there, then we reject that very quickly when someone gives us that compliment. But as soon as someone criticises ours, then we take that on board very quickly. So I don't think it really is about what other people think of us. I think it comes down to what we think of us. And so again, if we work on that self awareness and develop a realistic image of us, then it really shifts that aspect. And we're not robbing people of the opportunity to say something nice to us. We were just rejecting those really lovely gifts. And I love what you just said as well about when we invalidate someone else's feelings because we say Oh, but I didn't do that. And I think when We have that self awareness because we also empathise with ourselves, and we're in tune with our feelings. What's our trigger? I think we're able to extend that empathy to other people so much more easily. So, yes, we might be defensive of the fact that Well, I didn't actually do that. But in that moment, you can recognise but something made them feel that way. And so you're actually addressing they're stealing at that point and not defending your action?

Kristen

Yeah, I think that's so important. I love that. Okay, this has been a great conversation. I've loved it. Where can people find you if they want to know more?

Dr. Tanya

Well, the easiest place is probably my website. So it's just Dr. Tanya Stevenson. So Dr. Kenneth stephenson.com, or I'm just on Instagram or Facebook. We're just at Dr. Tanya Stevenson. So that's probably the quickest, easiest way to buy me.

Kristen

And your thank you so much. I have loved our conversation, your energy, your heart, and I appreciate you so much.

Dr. Tanya

Thank you so much for having me. I've just enjoyed this so much. Thank you so much again,

Kristen

thank you. Thank you so much for listening to the close the chapter podcast. My hope is that you took home some actionable steps, along with motivation, inspiration and hope for making sustainable change in your life. If you enjoyed this episode, click the subscribe button to be sure to get the updated episodes every week, and share with a friend or a family member. For more information about how to get connected visit kristendboice.com. Thanks and have a great day.