Change Your Story, Change Your Life

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate,” — Carl Jung. 

Most of our thoughts happen a few layers beneath the threshold of our awareness. There, they assemble themselves into stories. Stories about the world, our place in it, and what will help us create the outcomes we want — and avoid those we don’t. 

As an experienced therapist and life coach, I know the power of stories, and of taking an active role in rewriting yours. Here’s an example of a story at work: Your friend asks if they can borrow some money. As you decide whether or not to lend it to them, you don’t have to manually consider the kind of person you are and what that person would do, the nature of money and money lending, or what friendship means. You’ll probably just do what feels right, and that feeling will be based on your unconscious stories. 

Your story may sound like, “I’m a generous person, and this is what generous people do for their friends. Money is a renewable resource. I don’t need to worry about the possibility of losing a few hundred bucks when I can always cultivate more.” 

Or, it could sound like, “I’m a wise person, and wise people know that lending money is something to avoid. Money is a limited resource that I have to ration carefully, or I could end up bankrupt or out on the street.” 

You base your decision on the stories you’re telling yourself that you’re probably not even aware you believe. 

Thinking in stories is a handy cognitive shortcut that frees up a lot of your brain’s processing power for other things. But what if your stories are making you feel bad about yourself? Or limiting your potential? Or creating unnecessary stress over things that aren’t even true? 

To make radical, positive changes in your life, you have to become aware of your stories and begin interrogating them. On today’s podcast episode, we’re going to tell you how. My guest is Dr. John Delony, an author, educator, and host of The John Delony Show. In his latest book, “Own Your Past, Change Your Future,” he lays out a clear process for bringing your unconscious stories up to the light and challenging the ones that aren’t helping you. 

I hope you’ll tune in, on this page, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. 

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Change Your Story, Change Your Life with John Delony: Episode Highlights

We’re all carrying around stories, whether or not we know it. 

If your stories help you feel good about yourself, and worthy of love and respect from others, you’re going to have a greater well of inner resilience to draw upon, and it’s going to be easier for you to have meaningful relationships and make positive changes in your life. 

But if you’re carrying around stories that make you doubt yourself or expect the worst from others, you’ll have a harder time doing the things that make your life better, and you’ll have a hard time creating healthy relationships

So, how can you choose stories that help you build the life you want and rewrite those that aren’t so helpful to you? This episode of the podcast has some helpful insight. 

Stories of Your Life

We inherit many of our stories from our family of origin and culture. Some of these stories will be positive. You might have a story about how you’re capable of anything you’re willing to work for, for example, or that you’re the kind of person who deserves kindness and respect from others. 

But even stories that seem benign can have a powerful influence on the course of your life, especially if they’re left unexamined. I’ve spoken with clients who didn’t pursue the careers they wanted, as teachers, artists, or writers, instead taking jobs they don’t care about in fields they can’t stand, which are now unleashing all kinds of stress, depression, and burnout in their lives. 

When we drill down into the process that led them to this unhappy place, we eventually hit stories from their parents about money and what constitutes success. When they speak these stories out loud, it becomes clear to these clients that these stories aren’t theirs at all. They’ve built lives they don’t want, based on stories they don’t believe. 

These clients often come to see me amid a “quarter-life crisis,” a mini-meltdown that has woken them up (painfully) to the gap between what they have and what they want, or who they are and who they want to be. Believe it or not, these clients are lucky; some force deep inside them is rejecting their inherited stories, giving them an opportunity to start a new chapter that’s more in line with the life they truly want.   

How Vulnerability Helps You Change Your Story

One of the keys to recognizing your stories and changing them is having close, open friendships with people you trust

When there are friends in your life who you know have your best interest at heart, and who will give you their unvarnished feedback, you have a sounding board for your unconscious assumptions, the meaning you’re making from events, and the self-limiting beliefs that you’re not even aware you hold. 

It takes vulnerability to share your stories, remain open to hearing points of view that differ from your own, and to be open to changing your beliefs. You have to let someone see you, flaws and all, and be open to the idea that you might not have it all figured out. But friendships like this make life worthwhile — and help us take control of our stories rather than letting them control us. 

Change Your Story by Tuning Into Your Feelings

One sign that you may be buying into a story that isn’t true for you is having thoughts that don’t match up with your feelings. For example, you might “love your job,” but feel like you’re having a panic attack every Sunday afternoon as you prepare for the week ahead. Or you might be “happily married,” but long for more love and connection with your partner. 

When we disregard our feelings because they don’t match up with our story, we miss out on opportunities to make changes that could make our lives better. If you can approach your emotional states with curiosity, and tune into what they may be trying to tell you, you can use that data to guide your life in the direction you want.

Admittedly, this can be easier said than done. Many of us were raised to wallpaper over our feelings or view them as a sign of weakness (particularly true for men in our culture). If you’re used to shoving your feelings aside, tuning into what they’re trying to tell you may take some practice. But it’s well worth the effort: We need to remain connected to our feelings to be emotionally healthy, have good relationships, and live our best lives

Rewrite Your Story. Literally. 

Journaling is a powerful tool for rewriting your story. When you feel yourself spiraling into dark feelings over a situation, it can help to pause and write down the thoughts that led you there. 

You might be thinking, “My client hasn’t responded to my email, and that’s because they hate the work I delivered, I’m not cut out for this; I’m doomed to fail.” Most likely, you’re not consciously thinking all of this. It comes to you in a flash that feels like dread, anxiety, or shame. 

Your feelings seem out of proportion with the situation, so you dismiss them. But this is a missed opportunity. If you could drill down into the thoughts causing these feelings and question whether what they’re telling you is accurate, you could replace them with more accurate stories that don’t drain you of motivation and energy. 

Change Your Story, Change Your Life

It’s important to challenge stories that aren’t true. The emotional states that our thoughts produce can be self-reinforcing, coloring your thinking and leading you to see the possibilities in life, or to see nothing but insurmountable obstacles. Rewriting your stories helps you feel better emotionally and build habits of mind that move you forward

By changing your story, you can make peace with the past, feel better about the present, and begin designing a future that reflects your true self.  

Episode Show Notes:

[03:15] On John Delony’s Book

  • John narrates how he had all the academic and intellectual answers to his experiences, but he still couldn’t see the problem with himself.
  • He wrote this book because it’s not only about him, but it is also about his friends, family, and his community.

[09:35] The Cracks in the House

  • John realized he was seeing something that was not true. He was getting paranoid, thinking that his house had problems.
  • He shares how he was crawling in the mud in the middle of the night, with heavy rain pouring down on him, because he was afraid his house would fall apart. This was the first moment he realized, “Maybe it’s me.”
  • John did not know what he was doing wrong.

[15:13] Are Your Stories True to the T?

  • Sometimes, what you see is not the truth and what you experience is not real. Norms and stereotypes are factors that push the unreal narrative in our brains.
  • Denying and rationalizing your experience is a way for your brain to cope.
  • It took a friend to make John realize that his house was fine and strong, and that it was he who was crumbling.

[22:10] Recognizing a Story from Trauma

  • John says that the best way he recognizes whether his stories are true is by writing them down.
  • Writing these stories allows you to externalize and shift them.
  • Verbalizing your internal conversations can also help you process these stories.

[29:49] How These Stories Develop

  • These stories develop from the moment that we are born.
  • The cultural and societal norms we are all born with push the narratives we tell ourselves.
  • Some people experience big T traumas, while others experience small t traumas that add up over time. We rarely realize that the weight and effect of these two different traumas can be similar.

[36:00] How to Rewrite Your Story

  • Dealing with grief is a big step toward rewriting your story.
  • Society has developed a culture of pathologizing any uncomfortable feeling, including grief.
  • Grief is a core experience everyone must process.

[46:47] Rewrite Your Story with Others

  • Surrounding yourself with people who have the same experiences as you can help you rewrite your story.
  • John notes these people should be outside of your immediate crew (spouse and children).
  • Rewriting your story means you are unearthing your trauma and changing the perceived narratives in your head.

Music in this episode is by Tess Parks with their song “Life is But a Dream.”

You can support them and their work by visiting their Bandcamp page here: Under the circumstance of use of music, each portion of used music within this current episode fits under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, i.e., Fair Use. Please refer to if further questions are prompted.

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Change Your Story, Change Your Life

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Free, Expert Advice — For You.

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Lisa Marie Bobby: We all have stories we tell ourselves — stories about who we are, who other people are, what we can expect from ourselves, what we can expect from others. These stories develop over a lifetime of experience, and they develop whether or not we want them to, or whether or not we’re conscious of it. And so we are all carrying around stories, whether or not we know it. If you have a set of stories that help you feel good about yourself or feel empowered and strong, you’re going to have inner strength and resilience, and it’s going to be easier for you to feel good and take positive action. 

If you have stories about yourself and others where you are worthy of love and respect, and you can expect good things from the people around you, your relationships are going to feel easier and happier. On the other side of all this, if you’re carrying around stories that make you feel bad or doubt yourself, or see the worst and other people, you’re going to struggle sometimes. And that’s okay. The good news is that we can all recognize and take ownership of our stories, and we can change them. My guest today is here to tell us how. I’m so pleased to be speaking with Dr. John Delony today. 

He is the author of a new book called Own Your Past, Change Your Future and he’s done all kinds of cool stuff. He is a best-selling author, he’s the host of the Dr. John Delony Show. And he has two PhDs, one in counseling education and counseling supervision, and the other in higher administration — oh, higher education administration. He’s now doing all kinds of fun stuff with Ramsey Solutions. He’s been a professor, a crisis responder — which is so interesting — and now he’s here today to talk with us and with you about how to see those stories and how to change them. Dr. John, thank you.

John Delony: You are so kind, good grief. You’re so kind. Thank you so much for inviting me to be on your show.

Lisa: Well, I’m excited to talk with you because this is good stuff. Okay, question number one: Am I pronouncing your name right?

John: Yes, it rhymes with lunchmeat. It was a rough childhood for sure.

Lisa: Oh my gosh, I didn’t even think about that and now I’m not going to be able to not think about that.

John: No it’s your — yeah, there’s a long line of Delony baloney chanter, so it’s all good.

Lisa: I was Lisa pizza. Although —

John: Pizza’s good, refined lunchmeat is —

Lisa: My father’s name, though, is Luke, and he was very intentional about giving both my sister and I names that would be difficult to rhyme with because of that.

John: Well done. Luke and puke, huh.

Lisa: Yes.

John: I see that.

Lisa: Delony, bologna. 

John: Delony, bologna. And John, it’s a toilet, right, so it is what it is.

Lisa: I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about childhood trauma. Nice segue into —

John: That’s the crux of the book is people made fun of me and I couldn’t handle it, right? 

Lisa: Oh, well. So this is really good stuff and really important stuff. I mean, I’ve been a therapist for a long time. And honestly, at the core of pretty much every issue on some level is the narrative that people have. The conversation they’re having with themselves about themselves, the things they’re telling themselves about their partner. I’m a couple’s counselor by trade and so that’s kind of a big deal. And so it’s so important to get your arms around this stuff. So I’m so grateful for your book, and I’m so curious to know how this book came about. Like you could have gone in a lot of different directions with your career. How’d you choose this one?

John: It’s 10 years in the making. I walked it and lived it. And the most disorienting part about it was I had all the academic answers. I had all the intellectual answers, and yet I couldn’t see it. I was right in the middle of it, and I couldn’t see it. And I couldn’t understand the effect it was having on my loved ones, on my wife, little kids, on my neighborhood. As I begin to slowly walk through, you got to walk through the ugliness to get to the other side, and started heading off into the darkness flanked by some really lovely people who helped along the way. 

I started realizing, “Man, this isn’t just my story. This is my friends’ stories and their marriages and their infidelity problems and their finance problems and they’re — like, “Oh, this is my community’s issue, this is our country.” So these narratives were much bigger than me. And I had a ringside seat to live it. And at the same time I was experiencing this, my job was in sitting with other people, when the wheels have fallen off, right? And so, in one case, you’re able to walk alongside people and help them. And another case, I didn’t even see it in my own mirror. So how do you help somebody get from point A to point B, when you don’t even — when you’re lost at sea as well, right? 

This is just a journey back to how do we get well, and it all came back to, “Why did I think this was the right path? Who told me I had to do this? Where did I get this thought that I’m too unattractive to be loved? Why did I think my wife was leaving her shoes out just to ruin my day? Why does my four-year-old son say, ‘No dad’, and I instantly go to, ‘Because I’m a terrible father’? Where did these stories come from?” And that narrative inquiry really set the stage for “Oh, man, we are all chasing stories.” And then the physiology, our bodies are responding to these stories day in and day out for our entire lives. And you can’t fix the body and mind unless you address those stories.

Lisa: Yeah, definitely. So, it’s one thing, I totally hear you. Have all the academic knowledge, right? And to intellectually know — and I mean, this is what you get taught in counseling with like, cognitive behavioral therapy, it’s a known thing, right? And until we feel it, and live it, and we’re like, “Ooh, I’m — am I doing that? Yeah. Oh, I am.” Like, it gives you this different perspective to be able, I think, to teach it.

John: I’m trying to reframe the thought and my body is screaming, “Run! Run!” And so I can have all of the right cognitions in the world, I can look the book up and look it up in the DSM. But I’ve got to own what’s happening inside of me. And my body is saying, “Fight everyone, because everyone’s an enemy right now, especially those who are saying they love you. They’re the scariest, right? Why?” So it’s walking backward, reverse engineering this thing and say, “Why is my body responding?”

Lisa: Yeah, well, I’m feeling like our conversation can go in one of two directions right now. And in door number one, I could ask you about some of the things you have observed with clients who might be struggling with thoughts that are not helpful to them, stories that they want to ultimately reevaluate. Or door number two is that I could ask you to talk about how some of those stories and experiences showed up in your own life in a more detailed way. But I would not want to assume which one of those doors is right for you.

John: Oh, I love having a conversation with a therapist. You’re so hospitable. We can have the cheese or… My friends are like, “Hey, we’re having pizza, get over it.” I will reverse it and say, we can go — this is your home, so I’m happy to go into any door you’d like to go into.

Lisa: Alright, well, I just want to be sensitive, because you know what, I need to like, check my own boundaries sometimes. I do this with my friends, too. Because I’m a therapist. And so it’s like, as my guest on this show in our professional role I wouldn’t want to like push you into the pool. 

John: Oh, no, no, That’s what I signed up for to get shoved into the pool. And you just made my heart feel good. My wife — I’m just endlessly curious about folks. And when you are walking alongside people in any capacity, particularly in your work as a therapist, it’s natural. A natural next question is, “Well, tell me how often y’all are having sex? Tell me what that’s like for you?” And my wife has told me over the years, “That’s not a great dinnertime question with people we don’t know that well,” and I just — it’s the next right question. And, anyway, the fact that you just mentioned that makes my heart feel good. And so same team, I love it. No, let’s go to the deep end of the pool, we’ll go wherever you want to go. 

Lisa: Thank you. We get very weird [inaudible] to of counseling school and like asking weird questions, and people are like, “Why are you looking at me that way?” And then I think professional development, we kind of like figure it out. I think sometimes I err on the other side sometimes, like in personal relationships. I think, “Oh, that’s a therapist question. Don’t ask that.” When actually it probably would be just fine to ask.

John: My wife would love it if I had that filter. Well, I don’t have that filter. Good for you.

Lisa: Anyway. Okay. Well, thank you for being so open here. So with your permission, I mean, I’d love to hear about what was going on for you when you had that first spark of self-awareness and what was going on in your head when you’re like, “Maybe this isn’t —”

John: Yes. So I think it’s important to acknowledge if you’re just now listening to this on a podcast. I’m in every privileged cast there is. I’m 6’2”, 195 pounds, white, male, my parents are still married, and grew up in Texas, and my mother and dad had me in Sunday school every Sunday. So I’ve checked all the boxes. And then there was just a path that we were given, not we in my house, but we in my neighborhood, in my community, you go and you get these type of grades, and then you perform this way on this athletic field, and then you go to these set of schools, and then you — even going to grad school wasn’t a question. 

It wasn’t, like, “I wonder if I could,” it was an expectation. You just, “Now we’re going to go to grad school,” right? And part of going through those — part of this journey is you’re going to rack up six figures in student loan debt. You’re going to work all hours of the night, grinding it and killing it and dragging all those, whatever words. So really, I just did what was laid out in front of me. And I followed the track as best I could. And I tried to be hospitable and kind, and say I was sorry, and learn and listen.

I had some — my parents have two remarkable, adventurous lives as well. And so I was really given a ringside seat into some really important life lessons early on. But I showed up, and you blink your eyes, and I’m a senior leader at a really nice university. And my wife is a brilliant researcher and professor, and we have been trying to have kids for several years and we finally were fortunate enough to have a young child. We’re making a combined income that my granddad couldn’t wrap his head around. He worked at Houston Power and Light for 35 years and got the gold watch.

I had all the fancy credentials and the titles, and I just got accepted to a management program, a leadership program at Harvard. I was doing all this stuff, and I was running my full-time job and then I took a faculty role too. I was doing all the stuff and at some point, my body said, “Hey, we’re out. We’re done.” And it started with a little bit of a paranoia here, like, “Hey, do you notice that everybody’s seeing that, and they didn’t see it.” And now I know it was off-the-chart clinical anxiety and I lean towards obsessive-compulsive and I didn’t know what that was. I just knew that I was seeing things that nobody else was seeing. And when you’re in the eye of that hurricane, I would have a contractor come over to my house and say, “Hey, will you look at this, I think this thing’s caving in on me.”

They would look at it and measure it, and then come back and say, “Your house is fine.” And he would drive off. And my first thought is, “That guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s crazy.” And again, I’m — my job is going great. I’m clocking in and clocking out, I’m doing good work. I’m getting good performance reviews. And so, my story is not one of “And then I exploded ended up in rehab.” Mine was more typical of the millions and millions and millions of people who are living life with this low-level hum of dysthymia, this low-level hum of anxiety, and we’ve just come to believe this is the way life is. And that we all just have to gain weight and become less mobile and you stop having sex the longer you’re married because it’s — and Netflix is more important than intimacy and connection.

If you just — right, you just follow the path. And it was, during this time, part of my job was getting called in to make the phone call, right? So I would call and let a parent know, “Hey, your son or daughter has just passed away,” or “Hey, your son or daughter is in ICU and you need to quickly get on the plane and come,” or “I’m walking your child into a psychiatric hospital, you need to get her as quick as you can.” So that was part of my job or taking students who are highly intoxicated and making sure they got into EMS and then got to the hospital. So I was trafficking other people’s trauma and they called me in when the wheels have fallen off. 

I’ll never forget sitting in my backyard in the middle of the night and it was raining. And I was crawling around in the mud with a flashlight in my mouth looking for cracks in the foundation of my home because I was convinced that this was happening. That my house was falling apart and that rain was going to flood in there and split the foundation. Again, saying it out loud is absurd. It just doesn’t happen, it’s not a thing. But I was convinced it was and there was this moment of lucidity where I sat up and I realized, “Oh, this is when they would call me to come sit with this guy.” And it’s me and that was the first moment that I — the first little crack, the light got through the crack and I thought, “Maybe it’s me.” 

A few weeks later, we sold our house, we moved into a residence hall, and I got in my car and drove and sat with a buddy who’s a medical doctor, an MD, and I said “Hey, brother, I’m not okay.” And that was the first time I ever uttered those words out loud. And that started me on a long journey towards what if we — what is happening? That this is how I’m ending up.

Lisa: I got it. Thank you for telling me that story that like, I think William Burroughs called it “That Naked Lunch Moment” where all of a sudden we’re like, “What am I doing?” And how interesting. If there were a Freudian in the room with us right now, which there is not like, fascinatingly symbolic, like, “This house is falling apart.”

John: I mean, it couldn’t be more Freudian if I tried. Yeah, it was just silly. 

Lisa: No, not silly. I mean, I’m sure that’s what it felt like on many levels and so but what you’re also sharing something that I think is so instructive for everyone, and just I too had those moments of like, “Wait, just a second, a different flavor.” Through the filter of my life experiences and personality, but I think it’s that first flash of recognition when we’re like, “Wait a minute, maybe the story I’m telling myself right now, is not true with a capital T.” And that I think, is the hardest thing for all of us. Because, what we think, what we see out of our eyes, what we perceive happening in the world through our filter, what else is there? You know what I mean? Like, I’m looking at a cup, right now, you’re going to tell me like, no, but to have that sort of psychological distance around, “What I’m telling myself is perhaps not objective reality,” is so hard.

John: The part that they don’t tell you in the movies is when you have that realization, there is no music that swells. And there’s no great soundtrack and your supermodel spouse doesn’t come outside, your romantic partner, and say, “It’s all going to be okay”, and you hug and then the next day, the light, that’s not how it works. There was no music, I was covered in mud, and I was getting rained on, and I was laughing and crying at the same time. And I went back inside and went to bed, and I didn’t sleep. 

I woke up the next morning, spun up and knowing, “Okay, that might have been me, but maybe not.” And it’s a long slog through those stories, through childhood trauma, through big T, little T stuff, through physiological chemical imbalances, through all of it, and it takes a while. And that’s just not how Hollywood has drawn it up for us. And so I wish you could say that, “Man, if everyone could just have that moment of, ‘Tada,’ that’s —”

Lisa: “I understand now.”

John: Right? And it’s all better. That’s the moment it starts, right? And then the heavy lifting takes years, and you got to invite people with you along the way because we can’t all do it ourselves. That’s the part that nobody told me. Right? That, “Oh, that’s it. Maybe it’s just me. Alright, now we can begin.” And I thought that was the end of a journey. That was just that was the prologue.

Lisa: Well, and too, that the experience, I think, if I put myself in those shoes, and in my own life, it doesn’t actually feel good. 

John: No, it’s the worst!

Lisa: It’s sort of terrifying and it’s very easy, I think, to avoid or deny or rationalize things that we tell us. So it would have been, I mean, it’s a real credit to you, I think, and your, your strength and your health that in that moment, because it would have been easy to say, “Or there could actually be a crack in the foundation. I’m going to keep looking until I find it because —” but you didn’t do that.

John: Can I tell you this? I can take the strength of that moment. But let me tell you, I had called over contractors, I called over professionals, I called over work colleagues who had some experience in construction. It was when I call over a college roommate, who at that time had been my friend for 10 or 15 years, and someone who I trusted dearly, and I trust with my kids and my family. I called him and his father was an architect that he’d grown up on construction sites. And I said, “Hey, I haven’t got to meet your new son, you haven’t got to meet my son. Let’s get him together and take some photos. And by the way, when you’re down here —” 

He drove three hours, him and his family. And he walked me out, looked around the house, I was given him my rigamarole that I gave everybody and it sounded like A Beautiful Mind. I was like it was, it sounded like one of those YouTube conspiracy theory guys who takes this and then this and then this and draws a straight line is like, look, and you’re like, “What are you talking about?” That’s what I sounded like, right? But it all made sense. And he took me out and we were looking at it. And he’s a quiet West Texas, stoic, and he just said, he’s a banker by trade, if that gives you anything of his personality. And he said, “John, your house is fine. It’s strong and it’s firm.” Then he said this. “I don’t want to hear this anymore.”

What I didn’t know is that my wife had called him and said, “I’m scared. Not that John’s going to do anything or hurt anybody. But something’s not right and I don’t understand.” And then it was I could say that the light came on because I had this moment of strength and bravery. You know what I did? I reached out to somebody and said, “I’m not seeing this. I know I’m not seeing something”. And he was the first guy that I thought, okay, maybe I trust him. I trust him with my family. Maybe it’s not me. And even when he left I thought, “He didn’t see it.” But that was the seed that was planted, right? So I think most healing starts — almost all healing starts with human connection and a real relationship, right?

Lisa: Absolutely. You have to be vulnerable enough with somebody to allow them into your experience and be open to their feedback, their assessment, that trust, I totally get it. That makes a lot of sense to me. And was also very brave to do. And I also hear you saying that you had to do that. I’m thinking right now that there’s things, and I’m sure you know this, but like get diagnostic labels, but they’re just sort of like different iterations of the similar things sometimes, like hypochondriasis, right? It’s like going to doctor after doctor like, “No, something’s wrong. Look, again, I need another test.” And it’s like, but that same sort of, not the diagnosis itself, but just what anxiety can look like, in different ways. There’s different stories, and it’s very similar. That even though it’s like information doesn’t make us feel better.

John: In fact, it was a revolution to me to frame something like anxiety, as complex yet as simple as anxiety. What if anxiety’s not the problem? What if anxiety is just the alarm, letting me know, “Hey, you’re disconnected, you’re out of touch with your relationships,” or “You’re not safe? Or you’re in a situation where you don’t have any control?” What if anxiety was like the smoke alarm in our kitchen, that just letting us know, “Hey, something’s on fire,” and I can climb up on a ladder and pull the batteries out of that thing. Or I can duct tape a pillow around it in silence it. My house is still burning down.

What I stopped doing was going to war with my body. When I started counting corners, which is a tic I have when I start ruminating. I now am curious about what my body’s trying to protect me from. I don’t go to war with trying to stop the thing, because that’s like duct taping over my gas gauge on my car. Instead, I’m going to say, “Oh, man, I’m getting low on gas, I need to write fill in the blank.” What are the healthy behaviors that I know for me, I go back to over and over again, that let me know that I’m safe and connected, right?

Lisa: I love that analogy, like, take the batteries out of a smoke alarm or… But now also, though, I’m sure that there was a big piece between having that moment in your backyard and then getting to the place where you have all of these, you know, how to manage those stories really effectively, obviously. Actually, right before it before we met, I was in a meeting with another one of my colleagues who’s been on the show with me before — Anastasia. She’s another couples counselor on our team but she was like, “What are you up to today?” And I told her about my interview with you. And she was like, “Oh, this is going to be a good one. And I’m already thinking about clients. I’m going to send this one too.”

I was like, “Well, what, what questions would you have for Dr. John?” And the first thing that she said, because I think that this is a real hard one, is “How to recognize the difference between you telling yourself a story that is a construct of something that you’ve lived through historically?” And may not be the most helpful way of viewing a situation? How do you keep that awareness in your mind? Because I heard you say that there was that flash of recognition. But that’s in many ways when it just begun. So it’s like, beginning to unearth part of that story. How did you get your arms all the way around the whole of it? There was a process there.

John: If I were to distill down the last 10 or 15 years, I really don’t know a way. And you’re a seasoned therapist, right? I just play one on the radio, you do it for real. And you may have different tools that I can learn from. But the two things that I’ve distilled down is one: I have to write these stories down and get them out of my head so that I can look at them and this is very cognitive-behavioral. No, but I have to demand evidence for that. 

Here’s an example: I was walking out of the house recently, a few months ago, and I kissed my five-year-old daughter on the head. And she just — this like 5:45 in the morning before anybody’s thinking rational, by the way, she’s five, she doesn’t get a vote into my day or my life. We don’t let her buy guns or alcohol ‘cause she’s five. But I kissed her on the head and she shook that little beautiful blonde hair of hers and she said, “I wish you never existed.”

My wife came across the table like, “Mo ma’am, we treat each other with respect. We talk to each other with respect in this house. We don’t talk to each other like that way.” And my daughter went on to say, “All he ever says is you’re so beautiful and you’re so gritty and strong and brilliant. I can’t live like this, and I’m not going to take it anymore.” To which, she’s five, right? She is five. And I’m pathological about screens. I don’t even know where this comes from. This came from her soul, right? 

I smile and I looked at my wife and I was like, “I didn’t have this class in grad school, right?” And so we crack up and I walked out on the front porch. But here’s the thing, if I’m being honest, the first thing that went into my mind as I walked out on the front porch, in the dark, out in the car — I live out in the woods out here — was, “Of course, because you suck at being a dad, you’re never here.” And it was a season I’d been on the road, I travel a lot speaking all over the country. I’ve been on the road for weeks on end and that was the first story. And when I think of that story, there is a biochemical consequence. My body floods itself with adrenaline and cortisol to protect itself from that shame and that not-enoughness, right, and that failure. And, “Oh, yeah, remember you’re a dad.” 

All those stories come flooding back in and there’s a physiological consequence to it. My heart beats faster. And I had to stop and write that — I either write it down — in that moment, I’d been doing it so long — and catch myself and say, “No, it’s not true.” And I’m talking to myself as I’m heading down the porch to the gym, “But it’s not true. I’m a great dad, she’s five, and it’s 5:45 in the morning,” right? And I’m going, my brain is going to go, “Oh, he’s back in the driver’s seat. We’re good,” right? So the first one is, I’m going to write these things down and it’s annoying and I’ve been doing this forever. And I still carry a small little journal with me in my cool GORUCK backpack designed to carry heavy weights and do like cool, tough stuff. And I’m a Texas May — whatever.

I still have a little journal that I write stories down in when they get stuck on loop in my head, and I can look at them at arm’s length and demand evidence. The second one, the only other way I have learned to deal with these stories, is I think this is the chief enemy of our time is I have to have cultivated trust in intimate relationships with other people, especially other tough guy boys like me, and to be able to say, “Hey, am I seeing this, right?” And we have a deadly crisis of loneliness and disconnection in this in this culture. And I have to have people in my life that say, “Hey, I get really fu —” Like, I had this conversation with my wife, “Am I hearing this right?” And my buddies will be like, “No, you moron, don’t say that.” 

Because one of them’s a banker, and one of them runs an HVAC company. And you’re they’re not therapists, and they’re not gentle. But they tell me the truth and so it’s sometimes I have to go see a therapist, I have a coach, right? It depends, I got to have people in my life. And so those are the two ways that I’ve learned to get down into the stories, get through my biochemistry, and try to get to the truth — is this real? And if you may have other ways to do it, but those are the two that have been most effective for me.

Lisa: I would not add anything else — externalizing it, saying it out loud to another trusted person, that you have the kind of relationship with, to accept their feedback or perspective. And it could be a counselor, it could be a coach, it could be a very good friend that you’ve cultivated that relationship with. And then also certainly, writing — I do that to this day. I write down things, I journal, and it helps me shift. And I do think that with a lot of practice, I find myself even doing this. I’ll say something, maybe I haven’t, I’m having a day when I’ll feel discouraged. And I’ll say, something negative about something that’s happening to my husband and I will say out loud, “Stop that.” I will say a different thing. There was an, “I’m the worst mom in the world.” And then I’ll be like, “You know what, I’m not actually the worst mom in the world.” And I’ll do that like out loud with people. So there’s like a whole nother level of self embarrassment right there. But that’s another strategy.

John: My wife thinks it’s hilarious. I’ll be walking through the living room. And I’ll, that goes back to helping control my thoughts. But I’ll be walking through the living room and my wife will hear I’ll just be like, “No!” And because I’ve started having an imaginary conversation with my boss and of course, I always win with the last witty statement, right? And I showed them. I’m never going to have that conversation ever. That will never take place. And by the way, it’d be disrespectful if I did. That’s not even who I am as a character. But it just feels so good in our bodies. This is the thing I didn’t know; our bodies get addicted to the chemicals of winning, they get addicted to the chemicals of engagement and of stress. And so I literally have to stop. I will walk into the living room and I’ll go, “Nope.” And my wife will just roll her eyes because she knows I’m stopping that thing before it gets off the tracks, right? I’m not going to go down that road. I’m going to have a different conversation with a real person in the real room with me, right?

Lisa: I get it. Oh, that’s awesome. Well, and you bring up such a great point. And this is actually another question that I wanted to ask you about because you had written about this in your book, and you just brought up something that is so important, and I think is very helpful for people to understand is that we have physiological reactions to things that we think about. Your feeling mind cannot tell the difference between things you’re thinking about, and things that are actually happening. And so we have responses to whatever we’re telling ourselves. And you talk in your book about how a lot of those old stories or kind of automatic responses can be rooted in trauma — big T trauma, little T trauma, and also just life experiences. So I’m so curious to hear your perspective on how these stories develop, and just what you’ve seen with that.

John: I think we’re launched out of the gate. And so I think the first set of stories are the ones you’re born into, right? This is just how we do Christmas. We aren’t those kind of people that buy cars like that, whether nice cars or cheap cars. I would never take a job in an office like that. We are here — we’re a long line of fill in the blank, right? And so you are born into this is just the way we do life, like so I’m always running my mouth in my house about how stupid screens are. “I can’t believe people would give their children smartphones.” But well, now I have a 12-year-old and a six-year-old that are parroting me. Like they’ll see their friends and be like, “I can’t believe that.” I’m like, “Dude, you’re going to get beat up. Don’t say that. Right? Don’t be that kid.”

That’s just the world they know. And we have the same thing about you’ve grown up in a family where God’s not real, or you grew up in a family where God loves you, he’s your best friend, and he wants the best for you. Or we grew up in a family where God has just watching you and if you get a step once, he can’t wait to torture you for eternity, right? And then I hand that off to a seven-year-old and expect them to carry that cosmic weight. So we’re born into these stories, and they’re cultural and they are local, they are national. We’re born into these stories. 

Then there’s the stories that were told, either explicitly or implicitly. You’re never going to be able to fill in the blank. Or, “Hey, if you wear that shirt, you look makes you look pudgy, and the boys won’t think you’re pretty and you want them to like you, right? Yeah, yeah.” That those become stories that become a part of us. And, unfortunately, and fortunately, depending on the stories you grew up with, the stories you’re born into, and the stories you are told, become the stories you tell yourself. And all of them have a biochemical consequence, with our stress response, with our love response — all of those come at a cost. And often the story of a little girl saying, “Hey, Mom, look at this picture! Hey, Mom, look, look, look!” And mom’s just scrolling and scrolling on her Instagram or Pinterest or whatever. And the little girl say, “Hey, mom”, and mom’s just going, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, it looks great, honey.” 

That little girl doesn’t know, “Man, mom’s obsessed with the stupid phone, I’m your daughter.” That little girl’s body tells her, “Something about that little machine is more lovable and important than you, figure that out.” And that little girl will solve that problem forever and ever and ever. And then she’s going to become 34 and someone’s going to call her in the office and say, “Hey, we’ve identified you. We think you’re vice president-material.” And her first thought is, “I can’t do that. I can —” That’s a story that has continued to rattle around in her heart and mind. Literally, you know, you’ve heard the old saying, “Our childhood biography becomes our adult biology.”

This thing rattles through forever and it’s got real-life consequences. And until she can pause and say, “Why was my first response that I can’t be a vice president? I made the grades, I got the degrees, I’ve kicked butt in this job. Why is it was my first thought that I can’t do this?” That’s where true healing begins.

Lisa: Yeah. Well, and that’s so interesting to think about, too, because it’s I think that we can think about trauma and damaging life experiences as being big and dramatic and obvious. And sometimes, they can be. And I think that certain life paths are just inherently more difficult than others if you’re dealing with cultural oppression or discrimination. And there are also subtle kinds of trauma that are very easy to miss. They feel almost just like part of life, but they can still leave an impact.

John: The analogy I love to use is this. We’re all born with a backpack. And as I said earlier, I was born with very few rocks or bricks in my backpack. Friends of mine were born into abusive homes or homes that one of the parents has left, or into poverty, or they’re the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood. They were born with weight already in that backpack, and then you throw in abuse or the divorce or the car wreck or the heart attack. And that’s like a big cinderblock of trauma getting put in that backpack. Most of us won’t experience that. Most of us will experience what I didn’t know about trauma until recently, several years ago.

That said, it can be acute or can be cumulative, it can add up on you. And it’s the mom passing you off, it’s the little boy banging his head and dad saying that didn’t hurt, suck it up. And the little boy says, “It did hurt,” but he’s big, and he’s smart. And so I can’t trust my own body. I can’t trust my own feelings. And I won’t have trust in that forever, right? And so those little micro-traumas, they’re small, and they add up and they add up and they add up as little T traumas. And suddenly, over time, the weight in that backpack is the same. It’s a pebble a day, a pebble a day, a pebble a day of, “Oh, honey, yeah, let’s not wear that shirt. You’re not pretty in that shirt.” That adds up over time to where, when you’re 35, you’re 23, that weight in that backpack is the same. And we didn’t even know we were carrying it.

Lisa: Yeah. Well, and how hard to excavate these things and create that awareness. Because if it’s stories that you’ve always had, and the way that you’ve always felt, just how to, again, get that awareness that maybe those things aren’t true, maybe you do have ways of shifting those stories. And in your book, you mentioned that in your experience, it can be very helpful to grieve as part of that process. Can you tell me more about that?

John: We have a culture that’s just pathologized any uncomfortable feeling. And this is going to sound like a strange thing for a guy that’s an optimist and who believes in hope and laughs a lot. But I want to bring us back into connection with sadness, and frustration, and annoyance, and boredom. And these are core biological responses, they’re core feelings. And we have a culture that’s just wallpapered over them, either with pharmaceuticals, or with distraction, or with Netflix, or with — dude, now Amazon just tells me what I — it knows what I want to buy, before I even do. It just tells me, “Hey, you’re going to like this, right? Here’s your next book to buy, okay?” And Netflix, just, “You’re going to really like this show.” It’s automated our everything. 

Grief is a core experience that every culture throughout history has had and that we have overnight, dissolved it, we’ve done away with it. Your spouse dies, you get three days off, and then we’re going to have you back in the office. If an extended family, if a cousin or grandparent dies, “I’m so sorry, if you’ve got some vacation time, you can take it.” And if you’re an hourly employee, “You just have to see if you can afford the grief, right? And then we’re going to have you back at the office.” That’s the world we’re in now. We have pathologized discomfort. Why? Because it makes us uncomfortable when people around us are uncomfortable. We don’t have any skills, we don’t have any tools to lean into somebody else’s grief with them. 

All grief is — my definition of it is — it’s the gap between what you hoped for or what you thought would happen, and what actually happened, that’s it. And it can be as big as, “I thought my dad was going to be around forever and he died.” “I thought this relationship was it. I went all in on this and she cheated on me, she left me. I went all—” like there’s grief there, right, that is deep and it’s the black hole that therapists and coaches have dealt with forever.

Then there’s the little stuff, the teeny tiny stuff that goes like this, “Hey, honey, you wanna go grab dinner tonight?” “Yeah, that’d be awesome.” And I’m all excited because it’s Taco Tuesday. And can’t wait because I love eating too many tacos and they’re only $1 so I don’t feel bad about it. And my wife hops in the car, and she’s like, “Let’s do this. And by the way, we’re not going to that nasty Mexican food restaurant, we’re getting burgers.” I can stop right there. And instantly my body goes on defense. 

I’m going to do one of two things. I’m going to not address it. I’m going to turn the radio up a little bit louder because I’m kind of ticked off. I’m going to sit about an inch, a little bit more leaning the other way, and I’m going to be really violent with my silence — fine. My wife’s going to say, “What’s wrong with you?” And I’m going to act indignant, “What do you mean what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? Why?” I can go down that road. I’m going to drive a little bit too fast.

Or I can do this really quickly, I can think in my head, “I wanted to have Mexican food.” This is small G grief. I’ve never said it like that. But this is saying, “I really wanted Mexican food, but I’m going to honor my wife and burgers are good too.” And now I’m onto the next, now I can re-engage in this relationship. She didn’t even know she had unplugged from it and so I get to own my response to these things. And it goes back to the stories I choose to tell myself and you have to sit in grief, whether it’s tiny, or whether it’s big, and if you avoid it, your body will solve for it year after year after year.

Lisa: Yeah, this is great. And I’m so glad that we’re talking about it. Because what you’re saying is really acknowledging grief and sitting with grief and making space for all of those dark feelings that are —

John: A common question I’m getting is “Alright what — let’s — how do we get back to normal?” And I want us to stop and say, “Hey, however you believe in it, a million people just passed away. A million. And we’re livestreaming a war that’s never happened in human history, like that’s happening right this second. And by the way, right? Our kids have missed this, and you missed weddings, and our loved ones had to go to funerals with no people in attendance, or our grandparents had to die. We need to stop for a second.”

Yes, we have to keep going to work. Yes, we have to keep eating and paying our bills. But we need a collective season of grief for a minute, we went through a hard, hard thing. And what happens next is going to be hard, too, and we need to do with intentionality, not just sprinting off to the next flashy, exciting thing and the loudest music, right? It’s how our bodies are designed to operate. And the more we go against nature, the more we run from our bodies, and the more — we’ll pay that toll at some point.

Lisa: Yeah. Again, I’m so glad you’re talking about this, because the goal of wellness is not necessarily feeling good, although that can be a happy byproduct. But it’s really, that core piece of emotional intelligence is being very comfortable with all of your feelings and being able to not, you know, push them away, but rather even use them to say, “Oh, I’m telling myself a story right now.” And that you have to have this information, and you have to have time and space for the harder parts. And part of the reason I think I’m feeling so glad that you, specifically, are talking about this right now is because — and I do not want to gender stereotype —

John: Oh, come on with it. I love it. 

Lisa: No, really, I think that particularly to have male role models, talking about this kind of vulnerability and how to make space and recognize and sit with these kinds of dark emotions. I mean, men in particular, I think, are socialized to believe that it’s not okay to not be okay. And here you are saying this is actually the path forward and talking about how to do that. I’m so glad you are because I wish there were more of that in our culture. It’s usually, the counseling field is dominated by women and —

John: Well, I’m grateful for that. I had a ringside seat. My dad is a wonderful man. He’s a college professor now, but for my childhood, was a homicide detective in Houston, a major city. And he was a SWAT hostage negotiator. So when someone was going to blow something up, or someone was going to kill somebody or themselves, they called my dad in, and he would walk in and sit with people in the biggest messes and reconnect humanity to them.

I had a ringside seat to what happens when there is no ecosystem of how to be well. And that didn’t exist in the 70s and 80s, for cops. It didn’t exist in the 70s, or 80s, or 60s, or 40s for our veterans, for guys who are just getting out of the mines and then go to bed and then clean off and get back in the mine in the morning. 

We’ve created this myth almost overnight, just a few 100 years old, that just simply isn’t isn’t accurate — it’s not right. I do have a responsibility, I think, to give people a picture, here’s what I believe and here’s what I know. Most men that I interact with, and I worked with a lot of tough guys, I spent years as an MMA guy, all that stuff is great. I spent a lot of years with a lot of tough guys, still do. Most of them are desperate for that level of connection. There’s just not a picture of what it looks like. Because their dad didn’t know that, didn’t have those tools in their kit. Their granddad sure didn’t have those tools in their kit and their granddad was off in World War Two and they didn’t — right? 

I feel a keen responsibility to say, “Hey, I look like you. And I like the same things you like. And I promise I’m a better hunter than you are. And I drive a Prius because — I wrecked it the other day, so that’s fine too. And here’s what hugging your son looks like. Here’s what looking in your 11-year-old son in the eye and kissing them on the face and telling them, ‘I love you and I’m proud of you,’ looks like. And here’s what accountability looks at. Here’s what connecting with your wife and your daughter. Here’s what listening and not trying to solve everybody looks like.” So, yeah, I feel that responsibility because we can look around at our world that was mostly created by men. And it’s not going well, and so we’ve got to do something different and to do the old thing just faster, and louder, and harder is not the way forward, right? So we got to do some things differently.

Lisa: That’s a good perspective, and you’ve offered so much actionable advice and guidance here in our conversation today. I know that your book has even more, but what I heard you say is, I think, to almost adopt a curiosity about what you’re thinking, why you’re telling yourself this story, and being open to considering other possibilities. And also kind of running your ideas past others. We talked about, certainly, therapy or counseling as being an avenue for that.

But you’ve also talked a lot about having the kind of relationships that you can be that vulnerable in because, I mean, it’s very easy to have a lot of social friends where we talk about stuff, and nobody ever talks about, “Am I crazy?” Or do you like — that’s a pejorative word, but like, “Here’s what happened, am I thinking about this right?” Maybe as a final note, in addition to people reading your book, what advice would you have for our listeners who really are struggling with that? Or maybe even they have a therapist but I can’t be the only person in their lives, right? But is it to develop that kind of community, that kind of emotional intimacy in relationships.

John: I think it’s important to step back and recognize that we are in a very strange, weird moment in history. We have found ourselves profoundly lonely and it’s happened. Anyone who says it’s because of this, they’re just selling you snake oil. There’s a hundred reasons why, there’s a thousand reasons why. Some of it is architectural. We didn’t have air conditioners until a few years ago, and so we had to have front porches and screening porches, and we had to wave to our neighbors because they walked by. And we lived in tribes before that and so we had small communities that we just did life with. And some of it is the technology. 

We used to go to the movies, and go to concerts, and go to church, and go to wherever, and go bowling. And why in the world would I do that when I can have the movie pumped into my living room on my 80-inch flat screen that I bought for $200? That’s how much it goes to the movies, the cost to go to the movies? And so why would I do that? And by the way, Netflix knows me better than AMC does. They have a million movies, and AMC has got 14, why would I do that? Why would I go stand up for three hours at a concert when I can have it pumped right into my living room in 4G? And why would I go bowling when I can play Fortnite with Oculus Rift on and like, you know what I mean? 

Like, why would — we’ve just overnight — why would I go have an uncomfortable conversation in person to person, when I can just thumbs down you on the internet and feel good about myself for a second. And so we’ve outsourced our friendships to the digital world, which is great, we are super, super informed. I know that my friends love me and they all wish me happy birthday, but I am highly disconnected from them. And so all of this plays a part where we find ourselves profoundly lonely. And so here’s as bold a statement as I can make. In 2019, right before COVID, all the mess, I think it was in November, JAMA, the Journal of American Medical Association, came out with a study that I thought was going to send shockwaves through the country, particularly through mental health and medical practitioners. It was the third year in a row that the average lifespan of US citizen had gone down. We were dying younger. 

The first thought, it was a highly political season. First thoughts, murder and crime — it’s not. It was what they called diseases of despair. It was suicide, addiction, and organ disease failure like heart disease, liver disease, and things like that. We were lonely-ing ourselves to death. The study got buried because COVID kicked off, and then we had more acute things to deal with. But really quickly, the data is showing us if you are doing life alone, you’re going to die sooner, you’re going to die more miserable, and the people around you will pay a price too.

You are worth more and the people you love are worth more. So what does that mean that we find ourselves in this weird no man’s land? Because none of us know how, we don’t have tools, we don’t have — we don’t know how to make friends. When we were kids, they just dropped us on the same classroom or put us on the same kickball team together and said, “Go get them.”

What do we have to do? We have to find new tools. We got to figure things out. We have to risk, we have to go first, we have to be hospitable, even to people we think who vote differently than we do, and think differently than we do, and worship differently. We got to just go be brave, we got to be a little bit courageous. And we have to know, “I have to have other people in my life.” And for most of us, that means go first. And you’re going to get hurt, people are going to burn you, people are going to say no, and that’s on them, not on us. And we’ve got to continue to move forward and make close intimate relationships. 

The one caveat I have is that, usually, it’s not your spouse, and God help us, it’s especially not our kids. I know you’ve experienced this, the number of people who are like, “No, no, my 14-year-old is my best friend.” And I just stop and say, “Your 14-year-old cannot carry the weight of your adult needs. They can’t — don’t drown your kid that way.” And our spouses become trash bins, right? We just put all the bad stuff onto it, don’t do it. You’ve got to go get a group of people.

Often, I’ve worked with high performers behind closed — that sounds so cheesy and dumb. I’ve worked with people who are successful behind closed doors and single moms too. But I tell often tell the high performers, you’re going to have a group, it’s either going to be a court-ordered group, or it’s going to be a group of people that you choose. You get to pick, but you’re going to have a group at some point. 

It’s something that we just have to get over. It’s not for debate, it’s not for discussion. The question now is, “Alright, great. I don’t know how to do this. I have social anxiety. I get worried. I was traumatized by relationships, so every time I get close, my body sounds the alarms.” Whatever is your particular story, know that the end goal has to be, “I’m loved and known in the same breath that I am knowing and loving others.” And that is the cornerstone, whether you’re a Navy Seal, or a single mom with four kids. That’s the cornerstone of a well.

Lisa: Well, and that’s, that’s sometimes the hardest and first story to shift, isn’t it? Because I know it’s very easy to do this: “I could call a friend — I’m busy, oh no.” I’m not going to send the text. That’s dumb, right? But the first story is, this is actually fundamentally important for me to be investing in relationships and in friendships, specifically, that’s the kind of relationship that you’re talking about. It’s very easy for us to tell ourselves a story that’s not important.

John: So here’s the brass text, sign your kids up for fewer things, so that you have time to hang out with your friends. And if you can’t bring yourself to not play this baseball, and that soccer league, and his horse riding lessons, and the math club, then skip a game once a week. I promise, in the long run, your relationship with your children and with your spouse is going to be deeper, and more healthy, and more whole if you will take time to be with other people who are just like you, who are doing life together, that you’re doing life with, separate and apart from your immediate crew, right? It will pay dividends; you’re worth that time.

Lisa: That’s wonderful advice. Well, this has been such a great conversation. Any last words of advice for our listeners? Or where should they find you if they would like to learn more about you and your work?

John: The one thing that I will say about this book that I feel good about is this. It’s fun to have. I’ve got some, academician friends and we love to spiral over ideas and this and that. One thing I feel really great about this book is this — there is a lot and you’ve read up, there’s a lot of extraordinary books, thousands of them, about marriages, and mental health, and relationships, and partnerships, and all those things. Most of those books are informative, they talk to me, they talk at me. And one of the things I’ve really tried to do with this book is to walk with people. And so some of the most exciting feedback I’ve received so far is, “I felt like you’re sitting with me having this conversation,” and that’s the goal

If you’re tired of getting preached at if you’re tired of people just trying to jab more info into your head, hopefully with this book, I’ve done it differently. This is me with you, I’ve got two little kids. I’m trying to figure this out, too. As we go and rock — I’m trying to change the oil in this car while I’m driving down the highway. So this is a story of somebody who’s been there and walk alongside a lot of people. But he’s also figured it out himself. So thank you so, so much for your hospitality. And you can find me on the internet at John Delony, or at and that’s where you can go order the book.

Lisa: Okay, wonderful. Well, that’s great to know and I also, I love that perspective. And from what I understand your book is very experiential, and there’s like activities and journaling prompts and things. And I think that’s so valuable because you’re giving people opportunities to kind of go deeper into their own experience, as opposed to like, learning yet another thing.

John: Thank you so, so much. I’m grateful for you.

Lisa: All right, so and thank you again so much for your time. This has been a wonderful conversation. And yeah, keep me posted if you have more stuff coming out in the near future that we should talk about. This is great.
John: You are the best and I will join you anytime. You are so kind and hospitable. I’m just grateful for you.

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