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Modern Renegades with Ashley Kelsch | Crazy Stupid Love

Ep #74

Crazy Stupid Love

Renegades, today we are talking about your brain, emotions, and love. And I’m not just talking about any kind of love, I’m talking that kind of love that makes you feel crazy and out of sorts, and no longer recognize yourself. That love that makes you crazy just thinking about them, that every love song ever written was about you, where you can’t begin to imagine how you could possibly ever live without them.

There’s a collective belief that love is out of our control, that we can’t choose who we find ourselves attracted to and it’s happening to us. But it is possible to have a deeply passionate love without feeling powerless and crazy. You can learn to acknowledge what is happening and dial it down.

Join me this week as I’m exploring why we need to question our emotions and showing you how to become empowered by learning what’s going on in your brain. By knowing what’s going on chemically, you can manage the process even if just a little bit, and learn to lose yourself in the moments – not the man.

What You Will Discover:

  • Why we get obsessive and euphoric over love.
  • How to stop feeling consumed when dating.
  • Why your emotions are not hardwired.
  • How to be mindful of what’s going on in your brain when you feel crazy.
  • Why pain doesn’t have to be devastating.

Resources Mentioned:

  • If you’re enjoying the tools and concepts I’m sharing each week about your brain on dating, you won’t want to miss out on working with me one-on-one. I’ve just launched my program, Wake Up Before Another Breakup, where in just 8 weeks, you won’t question if you can trust yourself to date or why you can’t find the one. Click here to learn more about it and how you can work with me.
  • Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Enjoy the Show?

Hello Renegades

Today we are talking about love, your brain and emotions, but not just any kind of love. I want to talk about the love that makes you feel crazy and out of sorts. The love, that when you talk about it is followed by, I don’t even recognize myself. The kind that makes you want to lick arm pits. That makes you believe every love song ever written was about you and how you gonna live without them kind of love.

There is the collective belief that love is not in our control. That we can’t choose who we find ourselves attracted to. That love just happens.

I know this love all too well. I used to believe that if you weren’t experiencing emotions at fever pitch the relationship was missing that je ne sais quoi that qualified it as forever potential.

I dated this guy once and that mother fucker had this car with this engine.… I would hear it coming down the street and I would start trembling. It was as if he was already touching me- the primitive response was unreal. He would literally lick the backs of my knees and because my podcast is almost pg I will not tell you what happened but it’s exactly what you are thinking.

I felt like something had taken me over. Unfortunately, this passion fueled the other side of the spectrum. The way we loved was the way we fought. Looking back it was as if the one was informing the other.

Watching movies, listening to music or reading poetry has informed our culture that this is how relationships and finding love should be. The breaking up and making up. That it’s supposed to be him chasing and fighting for her. That it’s supposed to hurt.

That love hurts.

Did you know that love - real love- never hurts? People want to push back on this. If someone dies and you love them, it hurts. This is true but what you are experiencing is grief.
But I’m not talking about that kind of love. I’m talking about the romantic love that we continue to seek despite how much pain we claim it causes us.

I want to understand why people are so miserable dating yet keep on doing the same thing.

I want to understand how we can become so determined to find the one that we lose sight of ourselves and turn our backs on lives.

I listened to conversation recently where Lisa Feldman Barratt, a neuroscientist who I will be referring to again shortly was saying “If we can’t explain why, we can explain what.”

When I think about my work, your brain on dating I find myself mining for answers but more than not coming up short. No one has been able to solve for love since the beginning of time. How the fuck am I supposed to figure out the answers? So rather than trying to find out the why I’m going with the what is happening and seeing if I can add an ‘how to’ or an approach for you Renegades out there looking for love in all the wrong places.

Today I’m going to teach you how your brain is being hijacked. What is happening. And then I’m going to tell you how you can high jack your brain being high jacked. Who is doing the high jacking? Who fucking knows at this point.

But first, let’s go deep.

I picked up this book called Woman. An Intimate Geography and went straight to a chapter called “Labor of Love” and the question, Why do we love? Is addressed. Humans love because we are a reproductive species, we nurture our young, we thrive in numbers, we love to evolve.

Angier says “we love for posterity, protection to self and to set self aside. To fend off boredom mental calcification. We have reasons to love but what is the means, the biomedical of the art?” She goes on…

“To understand love we must think again about aggression. For the pathways of love and aggression are linked- neurologically, hormonally and experientially.”

You see Renegades, the human brain is an organ of aggression. It’s what gets that ass out of bed. It’s where that sheer will and drive to go and do the things you must to live the life you want comes from.

That’s the dopamine, I got to have that combined with norepinephrine being stimulated and triggering the bodies reactions.

Love and aggression share the same pathways in your brain.

They are linked, according to Angier “neurologically, hormonally and experientially.
It’s what makes you feel anxious and or crazy.

Scrolling their Instagram. Dropping all our work when he invites you to lunch. Texting her to make plans 4 dates in a row. Not making plans over the weekend in hopes they are going to ask you out and then losing your shit when they text hello. Can’t stop thinking about them.

I love this quote from Angier - “we want to fight, with the lover for holding back, with ourselves for craving more.”

The feeling of love stimulates our sympathetic nervous system. You know, the good old fight or flight response.

Oh, here’s a why answered for you. Want to know why we get obsessive and euphoric over love? Because the pleasure part of our brain is being stimulated the same way as when you consume cocaine and amphetamines.

It’s said that romantic love could be the first human addiction.

For those of you who love this feeling - who are a little bit addicted to it, let me assure you that the high won’t be any less. This awareness and observation is just like when you drink alcohol or take drugs. Just because you are logically aware of the effects they will have on you doesn’t mean you feel them any less. If anything, having the pause and consciousness to what is happening will open you up to experience and allow for you to full embody what you are feeling.

It’s important to remember that it’s no mistake we are made this way. We need the aggression and dopamine so we will be motivated to go after our person of interest. It’s the evolutionary makeup.

Renegades, having this information I believe, is useful AND empowering.
To know that this 3lb organ named brain, if not tamed is going to take you on some rides when you come to your love life. I believe by knowing what is happening chemically, you can access your rational thinking brain, your prefrontal cortex and manage the process even if only just a teeny tiny bit.

It’s important to know, that just because it’s wired to be this way, doesn’t mean we can’t overcome it.

As much as we love to tell the stories of the crazy shit we did and the passionate highs we rode, this type of love makes us feel anxious and humans long to feel soothed and comforted.
We find meaning in our relationships that are deeply connected and last. Our bonds with our children, family members and friends.

Lisa Feldman Barratt is a neuroscientist who has been studying the brain for over 20 years and found that not a single brain on the planet has emotional circuitry or hardwiring. She says: it may feel that your emotions are hardwired or they just trigger and happen to you but they don’t. You might believe that your brain is prewired with emotion circuits, that you’re born with them but in fact, you’re not. No brain on this planet contains emotion circuits.

She goes on to ask; So what are emotions, really? Guesses that your brain constructs in the moment. Where billions of brain cells are working together. You have more control over those guesses than you can imagine. Emotions. They are just built.”

That’s wild to think; your brain doesn’t have an emotions. So what are emotions? They are guesses that your brain makes and builds into your brain as a way to react and respond to situations. Guesses. Our brain is looking at the faces people make, the way they sound, how they respond and guessing what it means and how that feels.

This why a breakup or meeting someone new from one person to another varies. Emotions aren’t facts or a structured process that every human experiences the same way.

You have built your response system, even if unknowingly.

For me, pain has always been devastating. Something that might be sad for someone or upsetting to someone else has always been a devastating experience for me.

But I’ve learned pain doesn’t have to be devastating. By knowing how we are designed and understanding the neurological wiring plus hormones plus having awareness around how I react to things emotionally I’ve been able to gain authority over my experience.

I believe that our emotions are useful informers of what is going on, but I think we want to question the fuck out of them. Some of the emotions you are operating from are guesses that you’ve been making on repeat for a lifetime. You don’t even think there are other options.

I challenge myself to feel the facts of the situation.

Dating parenting friends- doesn’t fucking matter. I look at the story, delete the thoughts and just feel into the facts. I can’t always stay there and my brain wants to go back to the thoughts and the feelings that come with the story or way I’m used to thinking.

But having the awareness is groundbreaking to the process. And then deciding how I want to think and feel is evolutionary. This is what separates the humans from the other species. We can move past our primitive animal ways of thinking into our prefrontal cortex and decide with purpose how we want to think and feel. Just because you react emotionally one way doesn’t mean it’s concrete. Examine your emotional reactions and choose the ones you want. Ask yourself, what would I need to think to feel this way. Repeat it every day until you do.

Personally, I aim to find and guide myself and my clients to a space and place where we can dial down the emotions - we want to minimize the wear and tear on our bodies and minds.

Renegades. Life is hard enough without letting our dating lives take us out.

When I watch myself meet someone new or experience the beginning stages of dating all the chemicals are bursting in my brain.
The only difference now is that I’m not under the illusion that this this person is making me feel them or that this situation is more unique than the last. It’s what happens to the brain.
I watch it. Bathe in it. I see how I want to react and try and wait to choose my responses when I’m not under the influence.

When you are up all night stalking this guy on Instagram, deep in the streets and spinning stories, wondering if you are ever going to hear from him, you might want to stop and have a moment of awareness around what you are doing and why.

Recognize this is my brain being flooded by these hormones and stress because my primitive brain which is a 3lb chunk of aggression believes this is important. It’s functioning exactly how it’s supposed to by releasing dopamine which has me chasing him like goals and it’s triggering my adrenal glands releasing cortisol and adrenaline. Totally normal.

Can you drop an anchor where you are and breathe?

Watch your thoughts. Identify how they make you feel.

Breathe some more. Witness the desire to want to have.

Be there.

It’s possible to have a deep passionate love and not feel this powerlessness and crazy.

We can acknowledge what is happening and then dial it down.

Ask yourself; why am I in a hurry to lock this down? What do I think I’m going to find scrolling on my phone that I can’t discover in person?

Unfortunately a major bi product of being consumed and feeling crazy in love is that you are missing out on your life. You. Your kids. Your business.

All that shit gets put on the back burner and I want to offer you a friendly reminder; that’s the unconditional deep meaningful shit that loves you back no matter what. I can’t say that about all the people you will date.

I understand the obstacles that you have to overcome to reach this place. It feels like you are going again the grain as a woman to not put finding a man first.

What I want to recommend is that if you are dating, you get really fucking good with your life on your own. Self-partnered. I want to offer that you learn to love yourself so hard and the people around you. That you stop banging your head against your screens, distracted. I want to tell you that you will not only end up meeting the person you want to spend your life with eventually, but you will likely meet several wonderful lovers along the way that you enjoy and evolve with. Let’s learn to lose ourselves to these moments. Not the human.

Not sure how to do it? Message me. I’ll show you the way.

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