Have you ever heard the idea that the things we dislike about others are the things we dislike about ourselves? Well, Dr. Emily says that while that’s true, it’s more complicated than it sounds. In this Emotional Push-up, she is joined by Mason Spector, co-founder of the mental health clothing company Madhappy, to work through an exercise that can help us better understand what is happening when we are feeling annoyed, frustrated or judgmental with others. Tune in now to learn what the three J’s are and how you can use these tools to work through an issue.
Thank you for listening! Staying emotionally fit takes work and repetition. That's why the Emotionally Fit podcast with psychologist Dr. Emily Anhalt delivers short, actionable Emotional Push-Ups every Tuesday and Thursday to help you build a better practice of mental health. Join us to kickstart your emotional fitness. Let's flex those feels and do some reps together!
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The Emotionally Fit podcast is produced by Coa, your gym for mental health. Katie Sunku Wood is the show’s producer from StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab, and featuring music by Milano. Special thanks to the entire Coa crew!
Ready to break an emotional sweat? Welcome to Emotionally Fit with me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. As a therapist, I know that staying mentally healthy takes work and repetition. That's why I'll share Emotional Push-Ups, short, actionable exercises to help you strengthen your mental fitness. From improving your friendships to managing stress, let's flex those feels and do some reps together!
Hey there, fit fans! I am so excited to be here today with Mason Spector, co-founder of the mental health clothing company, Madhappy. Mason, thank you so much for being with me today.Mason (:
Absolutely. Thanks for having me.Dr. Emily (:
So what I wanted to walk you through today, is an exercise that I try to do every time I'm feeling frustrated, judgmental, or annoyed with someone else. So Mason, have you heard the age old wisdom that the things that bother us about other people are really just things we don't like about ourself?Mason (:
I have. It's a good one.Dr. Emily (:
It's good, right? And there's definitely some truth to it, but in my experience, it's a little more complicated than that. When I dig into the things that bother me about other people, and when I help patients do the same, what I generally find is that the things that bother us about other people can definitely teach us something about ourselves, if we're willing to do the work to figure it out. So the pushup we're about to do is one that we do in our self-awareness class at Coa, and I want to give a huge shout-out to our head of emotional fitness, Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu, who helped to make this exercise what it is today. So the premise here is that any time we feel judgmental or annoyed or frustrated with another person, there might be one of three things happening. We call the three things, Join, Jealous and Jump.(:
Join means that the thing we don't like in this other person is something that we recognize, maybe something we don't like about ourself. Jealous means that perhaps we're annoyed, because we feel some envy that this other person has a resource or an ability that we wish we had, and that's what we're frustrated about. And Jump means that we associate this behavior we don't like with something difficult from our past. We associate it with the behavior from someone else, or we've combined it with some other behavior that was displayed by someone in our past, that's tough for us. So this is all a little easier to explain as we go. So if it's cool with you, Mason, let's just dive right into the pushup.Mason (:
Let's do it.Dr. Emily (:
All right. So step one of this pushup, Mason, is to think of something that bugs you about someone else in your life. This shouldn't be a huge egregious thing. This isn't toxic behavior kind of stuff. This is something that annoys you, or that you feel judgmental about, something that seems to bother you a little more than it seems to bother other people. So for example, if you have a colleague who is attention seeking and it rubs you the wrong way, or if you have a friend who is late every time you make plans and it bothers you. So for those listening in, press pause while you think of your example, or keep listening to hear what Mason shares. So Mason, for the purpose of this pushup, what is one thing that bothers you a bit about someone in your life? And of course, feel free to de-identify it, to protect privacy.Mason (:
Okay. So this is something that I think I find pretty common with most of my friends in life, and really most people in my life, honestly. I think it's a pretty common thing, is when people don't tell me things right away, or the honest version of them, because they don't want to hurt my feelings.Dr. Emily (:
Got it. Okay. So people are either sugarcoating, or they're keeping things from me all together, because they're trying to protect your feelings.Mason (:
Yeah. And then I think ultimately what's interesting about it is, eventually it ends up being worse than what they originally intended by thinking that it would be better. So it's a very backwards situation that I have to explain to people all the time, of just do the hard thing up front, or I promise it's actually going to be worse than you think you're making it better.Dr. Emily (:
Okay, that totally makes sense, and that's a great example to work through. So the next step of the pushup is for us to think together through three Js; Join, Jealous and Jump. And it might be that only one of these rings true for you, maybe two, maybe three, maybe none of them do, but let's see. So we're going to start with Join. So Join, Mason, is when the thing that bothers you about other people, is something that maybe you actually do too, or maybe it's something you've done in your past and you've worked really hard not to be that way, but you recognize this part of yourself. So when it comes to your example, does it resonate with you at all, that this thing that bugs you about your friends also might be true about you in some way? For example, did you have trouble telling people the honest truth at any point? Is that something that resonates with you?Mason (:
Yeah, it definitely does. I think mainly in a lot of my relationships kind of struggling to stay faithful and struggling with sex and love addiction, there's a lot of secrets and a lot of operating in the shadows and a lot of withholding information, or only giving bits and pieces that are relevant and a lot of gate keeping. So I definitely have struggled a lot with being honest and just withholding certain bits of information, because I didn't want to ruffle any feathers, or hurt people's feelings, or I wanted to keep the piece. And then what's kind of funny about it is that ultimately it always ends up being worse than if you just would've been honest and if things would've came from your mouth instead of somebody else's.Dr. Emily (:
Right. So this is a lesson you really learned, and it makes sense then that when someone does this to you, you're like, "I've been here and this doesn't end well. I'd much rather you tell me straight up what's going on."Mason (:
Totally, and that's why I'm so adamant about it. Or even when friends talk to me about other situations that they're in, or there's a hard conversation looming and this anxiety bubbles up for us. I always try and just get people to just bite the bullet and just go for it.Dr. Emily (:
I love it. Okay, so that's Join. So the second one is Jealous. And when I say jealous, I don't mean that you're jealous of the other people for doing that behavior. I mean, you're jealous of a resource or ability that those other people might have. So for example, if you are annoyed with a colleague who's really attention seeking, perhaps what you're jealous of is their ability to step into the spotlight, and maybe you have trouble stepping into the spotlight, so it feels annoying that there are attention seeking, when deep down maybe you wish you could have a little more attention yourself.(:
So I don't know if this one will resonate for you, Mason, but is there anything you might feel a little jealous about here? Perhaps you might feel a little jealous that your friends haven't been through these tough experiences and can kind of go through their life just giving half truths and it not be a problem, or I don't know. You tell me if this one lands.Mason (:
No, I thought that it didn't resonate at all, and I wasn't planning on sharing, but when you just said that it actually sparked something for me, and I think I can definitely relate to oftentimes I'd really pity myself, or you have such a hard life, or you're so misunderstood. Or since you've been in therapy since you were seven years old, once you open the mental health book, it's very hard to close. So I definitely have been jealous at times with some of my friends who haven't opened that book yet, just how much more on autopilot, or just they don't even know that these things are going on. And it's almost kind of ignorance is bliss. And I definitely think there's subconsciously some bits of envy when it comes to that. Yeah, that's interesting.Dr. Emily (:
Thanks for sharing that. That totally makes sense. I think envy is one of those feelings we don't let ourselves be close to, but is actually really universal and human and important for us to look at. So-Mason (:
Totally.Dr. Emily (:
... Appreciate that. All right. And so finally, Mason, we've got Jump, meaning there were people from our past, other parts of our life that perhaps behave this way. And so when we see this behavior in someone else, we're quicker to be upset about it, because it feels familiar. We're already really protected against it. So I'm curious, can you think of anyone in your past who perhaps only gave you half truths, or they weren't straightforward with you?Mason (:
Yeah, I think this jump one was definitely the one that rang the most true. When you went over the three options, initially thinking about my childhood, I found out that my dad, when my parents got a divorce in 2010, I was 16 years old and my dad came out of the closet to us, and it was something that he had known for a long time. And I actually found out that my mom married him kind of knowing that he was gay. And I think at first that was very confusing and kind of made me angry.(:
But I think once I really listened to them and empathize with them a little bit, I understood where they were coming from. But I think there was that whole element of feeling like we had been living a lie, or that none of this was real, or that all of this information was kind of fake. And it did really contextualize a lot of my dad's behavior and how their relationship looked and how that modeled.(:
So I think it made a lot of things made sense, but there was definitely that withholding of information and not full truth telling, that I think really sticks with me and is kind of one of the reasons why I'm so just kind of aggravated by that behavior, I guess.Dr. Emily (:
No, that makes so much sense. And I imagine it's probably true that while they were trying to protect you, maybe that it actually felt worse to find out that this had been true the whole time, instead of being told and just having to be part of your life from the get go.Mason (:
And I think it's hard, especially with something like that, because it was out of our control of me and my siblings, like we're all just kids. So it's hard to really go back in time and think about, well, if they would've told us here, what would've happened there? So I think I try and just remain super grateful for my upbringing and for all the memories and experiences and relationships that I do have, and then just try and think about how I can do better in the future, I guess.Dr. Emily (:
Yeah, and it totally makes sense that if you detect this from someone, you might be really quick to say, "Hey, I've seen this before. I'm on the lookout for it in a way that someone else might not be as much." So the beauty of the Jump, is realizing why we might be a little more hyper-attuned to something like this. So Mason, thank you so much for sharing all of that. The idea here is running yourself through this exercise, it might not totally change how you feel about the behavior. You still might be annoyed and frustrated every time.(:
And in fact, sometimes Join, Jealous and Jump might not feel like they resonate. But often when I do this exercise, I will realize that my judgment or my frustration with this other person is at least partially my own shit. And just realizing that can really lessen how intense I feel about it, and it might change how I deal with it. So I've started challenging myself to do this every time. So I'm curious, Mason, how did it feel to do this pushup today? Does it change this feeling at all? Can you imagine it might shift how you were to confront when someone does this to you in the future?Mason (:
For sure. Definitely impressed by the exercise. I definitely wasn't expecting it to hit me as hard as it did. So I really like it first off the bat. And then, I think what you said is absolutely right. I think it just reminds me that everything that we're feeling and the things that really get us boiled up are really about ourselves, and really have nothing to do with other people for the most part. So I think it's just kind of a refreshing reminder of that when I do get worked up, or when I'm taking something personally or too seriously, it's just another good example to really look in the mirror and ask myself, what does that mean about me? Or what does it say about me that I'm having this reaction to that, as opposed to focusing more on the other person, which obviously is entirely out of our control and nothing that we want to get too invested in, to be able to kind of change our emotions at such a high degree.Dr. Emily (:
Yeah, I totally agree that we only can control ourselves, but I think every dynamic between two people is co-created by both of those people. So-Mason (:
Totally.Dr. Emily (:
... We do tend to find ourselves in relationships that are familiar and that kind of spark all of this in us. And I think we have to take responsibility for ourselves. And I also think it's okay to go to our friends and say, "Hey, when you do this thing, it's really tough for me. Can we talk about how we can show up for each other better?" So Mason, I can't thank you enough for flexing your feels and breaking an emotional sweat with me today. And for those who want more of Mason, keep an eye out for our Taboo Tuesday episode next week, where we'll be talking about men's mental health. And Mason will be sharing more about the sex and love addiction that he mentioned today. Mason, thank you again so much.Mason (:
Absolutely. It's been a pleasure.Dr. Emily (:
Great to have you.Mason (:
Thanks.Dr. Emily (:
Thanks for listening to Emotionally Fit hosted by me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. New Push-Ups drop every Tuesday and Thursday. Did you do today's Push-Up alongside me and my guest? Tweet your experience with the hashtag #EmotionallyFit and follow me at @DrEmilyAnhalt. Please rate, review, follow and share the show wherever you listen to podcasts. This podcast is produced by Coa, your gym for mental health, where you can take live, therapist-led classes online. From group sessions to therapist matchmaking, Coa will help you build your emotional fitness routine. Head to joincoa.com, that's join-c-o-a.com, to learn more. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @joinCoa. From StudioPod Media in San Francisco, our producer is Katie Sunku Wood. Music is by Milano. Special thanks to the entire Coa crew!