Supporting the success of others might be tough at times, but not because we don't care. In this Emotional Push-Up, Coa’s own Pallavi Yetur sits down to talk with Dr. Emily about scarcity mentality and how to replace it with solidarity, elevating others, and paying it forward - because it's more fun and fulfilling when everyone is at the top together!
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 Monday 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!
Follow Dr. Emily on Twitter, and don’t forget to follow, rate, review and share the show wherever you listen to podcasts! #EmotionallyFit
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 pushups, short, actionable exercises to help you strengthen your mental fitness. From improving your friendships to managing stress, let's flex those fields and do some reps together. Hey, there fit fans. I'm here with Pallavi Yetur, psychotherapist and Coa facilitator, extraordinaire. Pallavi, it is so great to see you.Pallavi Yetur (:
It's so good to see you too. Emily. Thank you for having me.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
Absolutely. I'm curious today, have you ever been in a situation where you've had a little bit of trouble being happy for someone, even though you really love and care about them?Pallavi Yetur (:
Have I ever? I would say almost daily.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
I love that honesty girl. Tell me a little bit about that.Pallavi Yetur (:
It is really hard sometimes to separate other people's successes from my own perception of my success. And so I think I find myself mostly feeling envious or even a sense of anxiety around other people's success.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
I really appreciate you saying that. I also feel that sometimes, and I actually think it's an extremely normal human thing that we're just not really encouraged to fess up to. Like it's such a terrible thing to feel envy or jealousy sometimes, but supporting the success of others is complicated. We all want to believe that we are people who foster collaboration instead of competition and who elevate others personally and professionally. But this can be easier said than done. Somewhere deep down, many of us fear that there just isn't enough success to go around, that success is like a pie and that every time someone gets a slice of that pie, there's less left for the rest of us. So we have to protect all of our resources and our wisdom and our experience so no one steals it for their own gain.
I know I've found this can be especially true for anyone who didn't have important needs met when they were growing up. I worked with someone, I'll call her Veronica, who had a sibling who was very ill when they were young. And so her parents understandably put a lot of their attention and energy toward the sibling. And in her adulthood, Veronica struggled a lot with envy and with feeling like attention and care are finite resources. And if she was going to get what she needed, she would really have to fight for it. Pallavi, as a clinician. I'm curious how you've seen this show up in your work.Pallavi Yetur (:
Yeah, I think that's spot on. And even if someone didn't have as traumatic a situation as it sounds like Veronica was growing up in, just the mere fact that a child grew up feeling like they didn't have as much attention or affection or understanding as they would've needed, can create a sense that there isn't enough and that they have to kind of grab for it. I see this in people who have kind of attention seeking behavior or who like to take a lot of space in social situations. And it comes from having a childhood of not feeling very seen. I certainly resonate with that. And I think that's probably why I'm a writer because I just want someone to read and hear my words because I'm not sure that I grew up knowing that my words mattered as much. It can be really nuanced and very universal, not necessarily a really huge traumatic event that creates that kind of deprivationDr Emily Anhalt (:
Completely understand. And I'm with you on that one. And this resonates with me around the concept of envy. Envy in its extreme form is the desire to destroy something you don't have to avoid the discomfort of not having it. Imagine the child who can't have a toy and they're so upset that they destroy it. So no one can have it, or imagine the adult who wanted a promotion and didn't get it and then they found out their friend is up for a promotion. They might secretly hope their friend doesn't get that promotion. And usually it's not really that they don't want their friend to succeed. It's more that their friend getting the promotion would be a reminder of what they didn't get.
So if you ever catch yourself hoping someone will lose a game or hoping that they'll fail at something or do a bad job, take a second to think to yourself. Do I really want this person to fail or do I just want to distance myself for my own feelings and worries about failure? Something I've found to be deeply true though, is that as we elevate others, we tend to be carried up with them. Ironically, the more we pay it forward, the richer we tend to become. Not only because it genuinely feels good to help people, but also because the next time that person has a chance to help someone else succeed, they're probably going to turn to the person who had their back. Pallavi, I know you speak a lot about this idea of scarcity mentality and especially how it can show up in people who come from marginalized groups like women and people of color. Will you talk about that a little?Pallavi Yetur (:
Yeah, absolutely. Actually my dad, he is someone who came from the community that the US invited in high skilled workers in the sixties and seventies from Asia. And he had to carve his own way. So even though he was technically invited, I think it was an uphill battle to be accepted. I've seen it a lot in people who come from immigrant backgrounds, this mentality of coming to a country where you have to make your own space and people are not necessarily handing it to you. And similarly for people of color, I think that we, and I can speak as a person of color from my own experience, there is something around minority communities, immigrant communities, marginalized communities, having to prove their worth through achievement and through success rather than feeling like they are valuable in and of themselves.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
That makes a lot of sense. And when I talk about this idea of the importance of elevating others, how have you seen that show up in these marginalized communities?Pallavi Yetur (:
I certainly hear that language a lot around women and women in the workplace. I think there's been a lot of criticism around the ways that women historically have not felt like they can elevate each other because of how competitive it feels. We see that a lot in popular culture. The kind of mean girls mentality because women have had to feel like they need to stand out amongst the sea of powerful men. I think in terms of what we would call or what some circles call a model minority, which tends to apply to maybe AAPI communities that then draws this distinction between the people that we know are going to be good workers and aren't going to cause problems in society with perhaps other communities that are stereotyped in a different way AND I think that comes from people in power needing to pit others against each other so that they don't pose as much of a threat. But if we start to see each other as a community of people, I do think that solidarity and connectedness is kind of the antidote to scarcity.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
That's beautifully said. And I think we often forget that no one gets to the top alone. And the truth is being at the top alone is lonely as hell anyway, much better to be up there with a bunch of people who have your back.Pallavi Yetur (:
Absolutely.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
So today's pushup is all about elevating others. So step one of this pushup is right now, reach out via text or email and thank one person who has helped you get to where you are today. Maybe it's a professor who wrote you a letter of recommendation or a colleague who nominated you for a speaking engagement or a mentor who gave you their time for free. So feel free listeners to press pause while you send out that text or email or listen in to hear about who Pallavi decided to reach out to. So Pallavi, who did you decide to reach out to today?Pallavi Yetur (:
So this was a professor who I really connected with when I was getting my MFA for writing and writing communities is where I tend to see scarcity mentality a lot. A lot of us are doing the same grind of trying to be seen and trying to get our writing out there. And it can be difficult to celebrate other people who get published when you are feeling like, Ugh, I need to work harder. And it's so, so important that there are professors and mentors who are encouraging. And this one in particular has sent things out on my behalf has solicited me to send him things that he thinks that I might be a good fit for. So the fact that he's thinking of me is so above and beyond, and it really helps to have someone in that with you.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
Amazing. I love that. And I imagine it will really mean something to that person to hear from you. So step two of this push up is now to pay it forward. So we just thanked it back. But what does it look like to pay it forward? And what I want everyone to do is to find one person to support today. Maybe you offer 30 minutes to chat with that college grad who reached out to pick your brain. Maybe you connect two people who would really like each other, or maybe you tell your manager how well your colleague has been doing at their job. So Pallavi, any thoughts about what that might look like in your day today?Pallavi Yetur (:
Yeah, actually I recently reconnected with an old friend who has gone through a lot in her own life and has actually decided to study counseling and become a therapist. And she tends to be someone who is lonely and isolated, and I have really found it to be important to reach out and connect and even talk to her about this process.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
Amazing. Well, I can imagine that will be a huge help for her. So thank you for taking the time to do that. And thanks for flexing your feels and breaking an emotional sweat with me today. It was great to see you Pallavi.Pallavi Yetur (:
My pleasure. Thank you for having me, Emily.Dr Emily Anhalt (:
Thanks for listening to Emotionally Fit, hosted by me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. New pushups drop every Monday and Thursday. Did you do today's pushup alongside me and my guest? Tweet your experience with the hashtag emotionally fit and follow me at Dr. Emily Anhalt. 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 joinC-O-A.com to learn more and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @joinCoa. From studio pod media in San Francisco, our producer is Katie Sunku Wood. Music is by Milano. Special thanks to the entire Coa crew.