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Ep #53

Your Brain on Dating

We all have that time in a relationship, marriage, or even the single life when our thoughts are completely consumed by that person. This makes you feel crazy because not only do you feel out of control, but you struggle to enjoy the things right in front of you.

Does this sound familiar, Renegades? When the pandemic brought an overwhelming quiet to our lives, the volume of our thoughts got turned up. And when your thoughts are always about that person, it can be maddening.

In today’s episode, I show you why the person you’re obsessed with thinking about isn’t the problem. The problem is your brain on dating; that you haven’t learned to become aware of your thoughts and then choose them consciously. I’m sharing how you can start doing this with compassion and curiosity, and therefore, take back control of the volume dial.

What You Will Discover:

  • How the pandemic made our thoughts get louder.
  • Why your brain is a very efficient asshole.
  • The first step to dulling the noise.
  • Why the dude not texting you back isn’t what’s causing you pain.
  • What will happen if you don’t learn to manage your thoughts.
  • My 6 steps to becoming aware of your thoughts.

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 wont question if you can trust yourself to date or why you cant find the one. Click here to learn more about it and how you can work with me. See you there.
  • The Tim Ferriss Show Ep #365: Michael Pollan – Exploring the Frontiers of Psychedelics

Enjoy the Show?

What a beautiful week it’s been here in Austin Tx. We are officially experiencing sweater weather, have had some drizzy drizz. I love it.

I went for a run the other day in the rain and there were zero people on the trail. For a moment I felt like I was the only person in existence. It was a little surreal. As you know, I spend a lot of time on Townlake and since the pandemic started it has had a massive increase in foot traffic - it’s honestly noticeable so to be out there, all alone, was a gift.

Imagine going into whole foods or Nordstrom’s and no one is there. At first you might think it’s eerie, but I’m telling you, it opens you up to a whole new experience. Zero distractions. And very quiet.

You know what happens when it gets quiet? The volume of your thoughts turns up. You can actually hear yourself think?

Ever notice that? Ever find yourself thinking these thoughts, what I’m thinking, I don’t want to hear it!

You know when else the volume of our thoughts gets turned up? When we are experiencing something that we don’t like.

When something is out of our control.

When we argue with reality.

Last week in my newsletter I asked my readers if they could survive the holidays with a man- or woman- on their mind. I think it’s fair to assume that we have all at one time in our lives experienced a period of time when dating, in a marriage or during a breakup where our thoughts are consumed by them. Which in turn makes you feel crazy because its compounded with the frustration over the fact that you aren’t able to enjoy what’s in front of you. Or if you’re living in a pandemic you think, really? This mother fucker is bringing you down AND it’s a pandemic? As if it’s not enough? Toppled with, seriously. It’s a pandemic and you’re letting this person bring you down? Like it’s life threatening?

Your mind is so preoccupied that the volume on the external environment in which you are standing in physically is muted, while the thoughts about this person are fever pitch.

All you can hear is what was said or not said and when will he be calling, or you are negotiating with yourself about how you’re not going to be talking to him and how long will you leave him on read. It’s all you can hear and focus on. It’s deafening.

It’s the thoughts that even in your sleep you can hear yourself thinking. Do you ever experience that?
Maddening, right?

I call this a glitch in the system. A thought error.

As you heard me say last week or may have read in my newsletter; I vowed to never fucking ever go there mentally again. I was determined to figure out how and why my outcome always resulted in me being distracted by a guy no matter where I was in life. That I would never let a relationship take me down again.

But just what are we being taken down by?

When I think about who I was telling my friends about what was going on during a said break up and when I listen to my clients talk about their relationships, you would think that we were individually under attack. That the threat was outside the door. It’s a motherfucking ambush!

But the threat Renegades? The voices? It’s coming from inside the house. And the house is your mind. It’s the story you are creating.

You know what this? Your weekly reminder that your brain is an asshole.

And you listen to it like some psychic you just gave all your dollars to read your tarot cards and reveal the secrets of your existence and future.

Uh, huh? No! He doesn’t desire me? I knew it. I wouldn’t desire me either. Just look at me. I’ve never been desirable. Wait, that card says you’ve arrived again? I’m here again? I knew it. I always end up here because things never work out. What’s the next card say? I’m making a mistake? That’s so weird because I was thinking that he was making the mistake, but you’re probably right. I never make good decisions. I knew I’d regret this. I can’t believe it! Everything you’re telling me is exactly what I was thinking; I suck. I’m not worth a happy loving relationship. I don’t deserve it. I’ll be alone forever.

This is your brain on dating and self-worth.

I was with my friend Josh the other day who you’ve heard me mention before and we were discussing the work by Byron Katie when he mentioned he heard that of the 10’s of thousands of thoughts we have each day, 6000 of them are tangible.

Tangible, meaning you are conscious or aware of them. But here’s what you need to hear. Right now. Renegades I need you to listen; of those 6000 only 1000 are new and original. Do you know what that means? That means the other 5000 thoughts that you think each day are repeated thoughts that you think each day.

Every day.

Your brain is not only an asshole, but a very efficient one at that.

Which explains why your results and outcomes rarely change, because your thinking hasn’t. The thinking feeling action cycle is on rinse repeat recreating similar outcomes with different people places and things.

Look. Don’t get mad at me! I’m just delivering the news. I didn’t design the processor or the programming. And if you ask me it’s kind of the best news ever. We have a thinking problem which can be solved at the minds level.

Want to change your results? Change your thinking.

But in order to dial down the repeat noise, we first need to hear it. We need to know what our beliefs and behavior patterns are.

You may have found that going into quarantine had this effect. When all your usual day to day distractions were dialed down you saw or heard parts of your mind that you hadn’t before. Felt feelings you didn’t know you had or at least hadn’t felt them on that level. You saw your habits and compulsions play out in front of you like little itches you couldn’t scratch. I think it became very apparent for everyone when we went into lock down and weren’t able to distract ourselves with the busyness of productivity and all the going’s on that dealing with our thoughts and emotions was not something we were used to.

It was a mindfuck for most of society when we realized that the most difficult person in our life was ourself.

Things like break ups and getting ghosted pre pandemic were one thing. You could simply go out and meet a dozen distractions over a few drinks, work all day and pretend you were great as you shouted on your stories that this really was your best life. The only time you were really alone was when you were sleeping or in the shower and you could deal.

But during? When the world could be ending, and this might be your only chance to pair up with someone familiar? Mental Death. Rejection never felt so real. Alone took on loneliness.
There was nowhere to go to escape your thinking and feelings. And the volume only got louder. Que Tiger King. Baking bread. More screen time was logged than any other time in history.

This was a unique time in history that I doubt we will ever experience again. But I bring it up as a reference because later I’m going to ask you some questions to reveal your thinking and patterns, but you might only need to reminisce on quarantine for the answers.

Becoming aware of your thinking isn’t always the most fun, either. When we see that our thinking is causing our pain, not the dude who hasn’t texted us back we can start to see why we are telling ourselves about it. And how often. It’s probably not the first time you’ve experienced this painful story. The circumstances may be different, but the feeling and belief repeated.

Finding the source and cause of these thoughts and beliefs is the mission. Not just turning down the volume to enjoy the holidays. I’m mean, yes. Huge perk. Honestly, it’s a pandemic. We don’t need any more reasons to feel bad or be hard on ourselves, but we want to find the cause of why you are in this dating cycle.

On an unrelated note to dating but relevant to our brains being assholes,

For example, just the other night I was dishing this story about my step mom and how one time she said some words to me and look, I wasn’t exactly painting her in the best light, and as soon as I repeated the words she had said to me as a child I became nauseatingly aware that I had said the exact same words to my son when he was experiencing a situation recently.

Time froze. I told my friend on the phone- I was like- Oh my gawd. I’m dying right now. I actually said that to my son. Words that I could never understand someone telling someone when they are sad.
Coincidentally my son was coming over for dinner that night and I was like soooo, we need to talk.
They were words I heard in a moment in time, I was like 7 and they stuck with me. Downloaded into my brain. I unknowingly adopted this phrase, and it became a belief. Seeing how this belief has caused me to show up in specific moments throughout my life was an eyeopener.

My loves, I know I mentioned 6000 tangible thoughts a day, but we have 45-80k a day subconsciously.

I don’t think we can even comprehend the amount of stories we are telling ourselves, where they came from and why.

Which is why it is so important to learn how to dial down where we can. We will never be able to shut it off, but we can find ways to override and feel better. Believe a new better feeling story. I’m not saying live a happier life and never feel sad rejected etc. but if you don’t manage your thinking and you just believe what your brain is telling you

Renegades I believe and teach my clients that life is 50% good and 50% bad. There’s no way around it. But if you don’t become conscious to your thinking and direct it, your life will seem more bad than good. It’s how it works. Due to the design of your brain to stay alive it is constantly looking for the bad and judging. Which means you are looking less for all the good.

I’ll never forget listening to Michael Pollen discuss trauma with Tim Ferris at SX a couple of years ago; he said when you experience trauma your brain takes a sharp 90-degree angle turn. It re-shapes your thinking, but what we fail to remember is that the extreme opposite of that - experiences that are life altering, but in a positive way; the birth of a child, falling in love these events have the same effect on our brains. They also create new neuropathways for us to feel and act from.

We have equal parts good in this life as we do bad, but if you don’t train your brain not only will you not see it, you will continue to perpetuate the negative. We as humans are more inclined to remember the negative things that happened to us than the good.

When is the last time you went foraging for good memories about your dating life? Your marriage? Your divorce? The people involved?

Renegades, I want to teach you a new way to go through the holidays. Hell, a pandemic. Let’s move into 2021 with a plan to manage our brain on dating.

1. Each morning when you wake up, ask yourself; What am I thinking? It could be in general or it could be about your relationship/ dating life/ partner? What is something that I haven’t been able to let go of. Dump it all out. Do this every day for 7 days and then go back. Re read and look for a common theme.
Ask yourself; is this an ongoing pattern or thought for me? What does it do for me? Where else in life is this coming up? Based on that, what am I choosing to tell myself? When did I start thinking this way? Did someone teach me this or did I choose it for myself?
Does it serve me?

Identify how this belief or acting this way makes you feel?
Needy? Rejected? Lonely? Confused? Negative?

If you weren’t feeling this way, what would you be feeling?
The first way to overcome your thinking is to see it. Get to know what is going on in your brain Renegades.

2. Take control and Direct Your brain. It’s going to want to text, check phone, get on gram, think all the thoughts. Watch your brain offer the thoughts, but do not subscribe. Decide on purpose -even if you take it one moment at a time- what you will think and do. Maybe it’s focus on working. Maybe it’s washing the dishes. Doesn’t matter. Ground down where you are and focus.

3. Imagine your future self feeling the way you want to. Who is she? How is she different than you now? If she could give you one piece of advice to follow, what would it be? Renegades, I can’t stress enough the importance of future focus. Your past self can’t get you where you want to be. But your future self? The you who has done it? She’s your mentor and has all your answers. Get. To. Know. Her.

4. My favorite one…. Lie to yourself. Why the fuck not? I do it every day. It’s the only form of gaslighting that I condone. Listen. Your story is an illusion that is delusional. You may as well pick one that feels good! This is actually called thought creation. You create thoughts to think on purpose that generate the feelings you want to feel or actions you want to take.

5. Practice tuning out the noise. After living downtown I’ve learned to accept the noises as part of the fabric of my environment. I don’t hear the train or if I do, it doesn’t faze me. Cars racing by. Horns honking. In my mind, it’s all supposed to be here, and it doesn’t affect me. During the day I like to have the fan on, and my sliding door open which causes my fan to squeak. Just last week 4 people brought it to my attention. Clients on zoom and my kids. It was bothersome to them. I know because I asked them after they asked me; doesn’t that bother you? Nope. It’s just part of the what’s going on. Seems like no big deal, but here’s the inside scoop; I’m not allowing myself to experience the negative feeling of being bothered or annoyed by the squeaking noise. I’m training my brain to hear all these noises and not react. I want to minimize producing negative feelings when and where I can because our bodies have to experience those emotions conscious or not.

This is a good exercise. When people are talking, and it annoys you try to turn down the volume? How many of you turned up the volume while I was talking today because you like the sound?
6. Lastly, Breathe Renegades. Baby seal it; 4 in and 4 out.

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