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Champagne Problem Pity Party with VP of Marketing at SparkToro, Amanda Natividad
Episode 49th June 2022 • Emotionally Fit • Coa x Dr. Emily Anhalt
00:00:00 00:14:01

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I invited Amanda Natividad of Spark Toro to a Champagne Problem Pity Party, and you’re invited too! Join us as we talk about our tendency to downplay our struggles and why there is room to empathize with others while still acknowledging our own pain. 

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!

Transcripts

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

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 fields and do some reps together.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Hey, Fit fans. I am here today with Amanda Natividad, who is the VP of Marketing at SparkToro, and she's going to be doing this push-up with us today. Hey, Amanda. It's so good to see you.

Amanda Natividad (:

Great to see you, Emily.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, I'm curious, Amanda. Have you ever started to complain about something and then feel guilty because you know that, overall, your life is pretty good, and there are people with worse problems?

Amanda Natividad (:

All the time.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Well, I can tell you, you are definitely not alone on that one. And there's a term that's been used to describe this feeling, survivor guilt. I think it's become more common in this crazy, pandemic time.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

But the term survivor guilt was originally used to describe what would happen when there was a natural disaster or a war or any big situation where some people died and others didn't. And what would happen was that the survivors would feel guilty because they didn't understand, why did they survive, when other people didn't? What was it about their lives? And was very complicated.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

And these days, the term has been expanded a bit to describe the guilt we all sometimes feel when we're surviving or thriving, in ways that other people are not.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, I tend to see this show up in three ways. I'll go over each of them. The first way is, people having guilt for having problems that feel minor in comparison to others.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

The second way I see it show up is, guilt about celebrating a win, if there are others in a worse position.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

And then, finally, the third way I see it show up is people not going after something they want because they worry it might be unfair or leave others behind.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, the problem with all of these types of guilt is that they undermine our own experience. There will always be someone out there who has it worse than us, just like there will always be someone who has it better, but that does not make our emotions or our life circumstances less valid.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

I was even thinking recently about how sadness and grief and disappointment are actually made of the same chemicals across all people. So, even if someone's sadness is larger or due to a bigger problem, you're ultimately feeling similar things inside of yourself. So, it's important to remember that our pain is valid, even when others have it worse. And also, the more we honor our own emotions, the better of a position we're going to be in to support other people.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, I'm curious, how does this all land with you? How does it feel, thinking about your own relationship to survivor guilt?

Amanda Natividad (:

Oh my gosh. You said so many things that I hadn't thought about and things that I hadn't thought about in a while. So, well, one, I think I actually have two answers for this, or two different stories, I guess.

Amanda Natividad (:

So, as I think about survivor guilt, something that immediately came to mind was when I was newly postpartum and had joined a postpartum support group. So, I was with maybe 20 or so other moms. We all brought our week-old, two-week-old babies with us, or very little babies. And the first thing we did in this support group was we all went around the circle and shared our labor and delivery stories. And this was something that was very healing and very cathartic for me, to be able to express. I mean, in a nutshell, my labor and delivery story was everything inconvenient that could happen to a pregnant person or a person in labor, happened to me.

Amanda Natividad (:

So, I say everything inconvenient because I think it all resulted in a bunch of micro-traumas, where I was fine. I was healthy. My baby was healthy. So, there was no feeling of, "Oh, someone's life is in jeopardy."

Amanda Natividad (:

So, one, I felt fortunate for that. And the series of inconveniences were things like I had to wait five hours for the epidural, and I was in active labor. And I was having back labor, so getting extra pressure on my spine.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

That sounds more than inconvenient. That sounds really tough.

Amanda Natividad (:

But maybe that's the survivor's guilt talking right now. We're, "Oh, it was just inconvenient. Oh ... "

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Yep.

Amanda Natividad (:

All in all, I was in labor for 33 hours. And when I was pushing, I was pushing for four-and-a-half hours and then needed a C-section. And it was just because the baby wasn't moving down anymore, and we just needed to get him out.

Amanda Natividad (:

And, so, the C-section went mostly well. We got the baby. Baby was super healthy. Yeah, super grateful. And then, sitting in the postpartum circle, I told my story. Someone else told her story. She was having her second child, wanting to do a VBAC, or vaginal birth. But she had had a C-section prior. She went to her hospital. They were full. Got turned away, went to a next hospital. They were full. And then finally, she went to a third hospital. The doctor didn't know her, of course, encouraged her to do a C-section. She ended up having the kind of experience she didn't want. And then sometime after the birth, her stitches ruptured, so then had to go back to the OR, so very traumatic experience. That, to me, sounds awful. I was crying for her. We were all just feeling for each other.

Amanda Natividad (:

But as each person told their story, each person was like, "Oh, well, mine's not so bad." Or, "Oh, I don't want to talk about." "Oh, it's okay that I was in labor for 33 hours, just excruciating pain for five hours." "Yeah, it's okay. It's okay."

Amanda Natividad (:

At the end, we all said the same thing, which was, "But I have a healthy baby, and I'm just grateful for that." And I think it was, none of us were willing to say, "Hey, I had a really horrible experience with this, and I want to feel sorry for me right now." Nobody wanted to say that. It was just, "Oh, this happened, but it's okay. We're all healthy. We're all happy."

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

It's a great example. And I understand the context that if someone is going through their own trauma in a moment, that might not be the moment to try to get empathy for your own smaller trauma, but in a space where the point is to support each other, whatever your story, I can understand how complicated it is to want to be true about your story, but also to feel bad if it feels like it "doesn't compare" to someone's.

Amanda Natividad (:

Totally. Totally. And then, that was where I learned, truly, that there's room for everyone's experience. And that was what the therapists were very clear about in that session. They were like, "We hear all of you, but we need you all to know that there's room for everyone's pain, and there's room for everyone to feel it and discuss it."

Amanda Natividad (:

And that really stuck with me. And that's something that I've kind of tried to remember for ... not just for labor and delivery experiences, but just any time someone is feeling their own great pain, and they have that survivor's guilt, to remind them, "There's room for everyone to feel that way, and you feeling badly about something doesn't take away from someone else who might be going through a bigger problem."

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

I love that. "There's room for everyone's pain." That's a great mantra to remember. And then, was there something else you wanted to share as well?

Amanda Natividad (:

Yeah. And then, I guess a current one, and this is kind of a champagne problem. Over the past maybe year-and-a-half or so, I have more intentionally built my audience online, and went from something like 1000 to 60,000 Twitter followers in about a year, and have really been able to get my writing out there, some podcasts I've done. I mean, it's the reason I work at SparkToro now, and I got a great job. And with the increased following, comes a lot of inbound messages, a lot of notifications, and it can get overwhelming pretty easily.

Amanda Natividad (:

And there are many days where I just feel like I'm behind on everything. I feel like I'm behind on messages, on tasks, on projects that I need to get done. And it feels frustrating when I feel like I'm being reactive to so many things, when it feels like things are just happening at me.

Amanda Natividad (:

But at the same time, it's not something that I would be comfortable complaining about. Right? Because it's a little bit like, "Well, when I started publishing online, I kind of asked for this, didn't I?"

Amanda Natividad (:

I think part of it is, I don't share it because there's not a lot of sympathy to be had for somebody who is purposefully putting themselves out there.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Hmm.

Amanda Natividad (:

So, I don't know.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Well, that's a worry you have, I guess.

Amanda Natividad (:

Mm-hmm.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Yeah. Well, I love that you named this a champagne problem because that's a perfect lead in to today's push-up, which is that we're going to throw a party together, Amanda, and this isn't just any party. This is a champagne problem pity party. And at this champagne problem pity party, you have to bring one champagne problem, meaning, a problem that maybe isn't a huge problem, compared to problems many are dealing with, or maybe it's a problem that's actually a result of really good things happening. But it's a problem in your life, nonetheless.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, for those out there, maybe you're sad because you were invited to two weddings the same weekend, and you're going to have to miss one. Or maybe you're annoyed that you stained your beautiful new pants the first day you wore them. Or maybe, like Amanda said, you'd have so much work, so many opportunities, that you're overwhelmed, or you have to say no to things.

Amanda Natividad (:

Yeah. That's exactly it.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

All right. Well, for those out there, feel free to pause and think of what your champagne problem is to bring to our pity party, or keep listening to hear what Amanda does next.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, the next step for this push-up, Amanda, is to really let yourself feel your feelings about this problem. Maybe it'll only take you five minutes. Maybe you need to set aside an evening. Maybe you need to put a little time on your calendar each week to lean into it. Only you can decide how long you need.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

But the goal during this time, is to lean into your sadness or anger or disappointment, without judging yourself for feeling that way, without dismissing your problem as unimportant. You need to have a big cry about it? I say, hell, yeah. The shower is a great place for that. And the goal is just to really let yourself feel what you feel.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, Amanda, I'm curious. What do you imagine you might do, to lean into this perfectly valid problem that you're facing?

Amanda Natividad (:

Oh my gosh. Not judge myself while I do this?

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Is that concept just so foreign, that you're having trouble wrapping your mind around it?

Amanda Natividad (:

Yes. Like, "Wait. I can do that?"

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Yes. Okay. Well, this is why I love the concept of the push-up, because I think we have these ideas that these are just set traits about ourselves, like, "Oh, I judge myself." But actually, this is a muscle we can flex, we can practice. As we feel it coming up, we can say, "No. I'm not going to do that this time. This is my pity party time. No judgment allowed here." And over time, we get better at it, and it stops being such a given.

Amanda Natividad (:

Yeah. All right. I think the way I will go about this is, I'm going to set aside some time in my day, and it'll be when I'm in my office, and I know that I have the dedicated time, the focus time, to be able to do it, versus, feeling this way while I'm cooking dinner. That's two different things. Maybe I'll set a timer or something for five minutes.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Hmm. I like that. Keeps it contained.

Amanda Natividad (:

Yeah. And then just kind of be upset about it.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Yes.

Amanda Natividad (:

And kind of list out in my head all the things that are annoying me or whatever, however I feel.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Oh, I love that. That's really thoughtful. And what I like about this, too, is, my experience is that when we don't let ourself feel our feelings, we carry them around with us all the time. And I think there's something powerful about typing them out, seeing them in front of you, that allows you to have a little bit of space between you and them, to decide whether you want to keep bringing them along with you in your day.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

And then maybe a little bonus push-up here would be to reach out to someone who you feel like would understand and is in a position to give you some empathy. So, Amanda, I know you and I check in with each other about the trials and tribulations of being an entrepreneur and juggling many things. And I know that if you ever reached out to me and was like, "Can you just feel bad for me for two seconds that I have so many opportunities that I don't know what to do with myself?" I'd be very happy to be like, "Oh, I get it. I am so there with you. Yes, you have my empathy.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

So, we can call on the right people in our life to support us with these things too.

Amanda Natividad (:

Yeah. Thank you.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Oh, thank you. Such a pleasure. Thanks for doing this push-up and breaking a little emotional sweat with us, and I hope you have a beautiful day.

Amanda Natividad (:

Thank you. You too.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Thanks for listening to Emotionally Fit, posted by me, Dr. Emily Anhalt. New push-ups drop every Monday and Thursday. Did you do today's push-up, alongside me and my guest? Tweet your experience with the hashtag Emotionally Fit and follow me @dremilyanhalt.

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.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

Head to joincoa.com. That's join C-O-A.com, to learn more, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @joincoa.

Dr. Emily Anhalt (:

From StudioPod Media in San Francisco, our producer is Katie Sunku Wood. Music is by Melano. Special thanks to the entire Coa crew.

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