When you make a mistake, it’s important to accept yourself for what you did. Show up for yourself despite all your flaws. Everyone has faults; we are human. That’s why it’s best not to ‘should yourself’. Learn how to shift away from this with Whitney Lauritsen and her guest Tammie Bennett. Tammie is a creative entrepreneur, mindset coach, and host of the Show Up Society Podcast. She takes what she has learned to help people show up for themselves even in the tiniest way. Know what you want. Understand that it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Break away from that tribe mentality today.
Listen to the podcast here
Shed The Shoulds And Show Up For Yourself With Tammie Bennett
One thing that I am going to talk about with the wonderful guest Tammie Bennett, who is joining the show, is about shedding the shoulds. I love that phrase. It is something that has been touched upon by at least one guest in the past. It is an important thing to discuss, especially for women who tend to feel they should be living their lives in a certain way. I don’t know for sure that it is a gender issue, but as a woman, I feel like I have lived with so many shoulds.
Should has become a word that I try hard to steer away from, similar to busy. Tammie, I am not sure about you, but I am not a fan of the word busy. It has some similarities to the word should, so maybe we can start there. You are nodding your head. Does the word busy trigger, bother, or turn you off in the same way or similar ways as should does?
I’m nodding my head vigorously. It comes from this culture that we live in where we should be busy all the time. We should be doing things more and faster. Because we are supposed to be busy, we are telling ourselves we should be doing more and don’t ever let ourselves have a break.
I could not agree more. We should take breaks. Should can be used in positive ways. Similar to the word busy, it depends on the context and the intention behind it, but there are other words that we can use. I want to know more about why the word should, or even the idea around should. Is it the word you try not to use yourself, similar to me? Is the meaning behind it mostly that you focus on in your personal life and with your clients?
I have never even thought about it that way before. I might need to think this out a little bit, but it is the word. By saying should, there is a piece in there that means because what you are doing is not right or enough. It is that should. You should be doing it differently than you are. It is funny where we say, “We should take more breaks.” In that way, maybe it could be used as a good thing. It is both. It is the word, but it is also the intention behind it. Much of what I work with on my clients is being aware of the words that we use because when we can connect what words we are using and the attention we have behind them, we become so much more aware of that intention.
One other thing that I love along these lines is when we reflect on these should. Some of us feel like we have to make others feel happy, even at our own expense. We are encouraged to be happy all the time. What we often can find ourselves feeling is, “If I am not happy, I am not doing it right. If other people are unhappy, I must be doing something wrong.” You said that women tend to be the primary caretakers of everyone all around us, and we should be grateful for what we have. I imagine those things come up often and would love to learn more about them from you.
There is so much to say about this. There are so many little pieces, so we can take one at a time. If we start from the, “Should make sure the people around us are happy,” that starts from a young age. In preschool, we are told we should make sure that people are happy around us. You brought up that it happens more commonly in women. That is true. We are raised to be nurturers, caregivers, and mothers to soothe and make sure that people are not riled up.Saying 'should' feels like there's a piece in there that means what you're doing isn't right or enough. Click To Tweet
We make sure they are happy, comfortable, and entertained. I see it even in preschoolers where we are told, “Make sure you share with them and are doing this,” instead of ever questioning what we want. That one piece of it is this should that make all the people around us feel a certain way. I have a tangent here. Can we go on a little tangent?
I love tangents, so please tangent away.
We will come back to the other pieces. It is important. Something that goes hand in hand with this that I work with my clients a lot is we cannot control other people. We can’t go into their brain and change the way that they are thinking, feeling, or doing. When we are told that we should make sure that everybody around us is happy, that is impossible. What a terrible thing to put on someone’s shoulders this impossible task, yet we spend so much of our lives shooting ourselves to make everybody around us happy, which is an unwinnable game. We are like shit all the time because we are not doing what we should be doing and making everybody else happy.
I even love the phrase shoulding. This came up again in a past episode. It reminds me of the first time I heard another woman say that to me in response to a question I asked. Several years ago, I was interviewing a woman and asked, “Do you believe that we should blank?” She said, “I don’t believe that we should do anything. I was raised in a way that my parents would always say, ‘I am not going to should on you, so don’t should on me.’” I loved that phrasing.
That was the first time I had ever heard anything like that. Using shoulding throws you off because it is not an actual grammatically correct phrase, but it helps me step back and say, “That makes so much sense.” We spend so much of our lives shoulding ourselves to make others feel better or blank or virtually control others. The control piece is a key element of this. We are trying to control ourselves and others.
Especially the controlling others part, because we think we should make them happy. We have to act a certain way or say certain things so that they will be happy, but we are trying to control what they are doing. In that process, we forget what we want and listen to ourselves. We are so focused outwards on trying to affect and change other people that we forget to own and have responsibility for how we are showing up to ourselves. We are forgetting what we want and like to do. We essentially forget about ourselves because we are only focused on other people and controlling them. It is sad.
That is fascinating because I almost wonder, “Is that comforting to us? Does it feel better to focus on other people in what we think they should do?” We spend a lot of time, especially on social media. I did not talk about this ahead of time, but I was curious what your feelings were because I was struggling after what happened around with Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars. I was trying to process a lot of my emotions, and I went on social media. The responses were so polarizing and intense. I don’t think I ended up feeling any better. I felt worse and woke up still feeling very confused.
If I had to summarize, the responses I saw were a ton of people saying what Will Smith and Chris Rock should have and should not have done. It was this should from people that were not even involved in this situation. A lot of times, we use social media, especially to react to other people, whether they are public figures or people that we know.
We spend so much time focused on what others should do. Is that a way that we use to dodge responsibility for ourselves and take the focus away from ourselves? To your point, it feels pointless because we can’t change it. We especially can’t change what somebody already did in the past. Why do we spend so much time talking about what they should have done when that is impossible to change?
I would argue that it is equally impossible to change what they do now and in the future. We might say something. They hear and interpret it a certain way, and it changes their behavior, but there is that piece in there where they step in and take accountability and responsibility for their actions. It is equally impossible to change what somebody did in the past as it is to change what they are going to do in the future. I also agree. It is a way to take responsibility for ourselves. We can blame our unhappiness on things outside of us instead of saying, “What can I do now for me that will make me happier, feel better, or be able to move on?”
It is so much easier to point the finger at he did this, she did that, and they said those things. You can acknowledge it as, “They said this, and here is how I am going to choose to feel and do something about it,” instead of saying, “They did that. They behaved this way. I don’t have to be in charge of what I do in return.” It is funny that you brought up the Oscars because I was like, “Are we going to talk about this?” I still feel uncomfortable about it and am still handling and processing it. I have to say that I don’t even know what I want to say about it. Especially these days, when we have the internet and social media, it is so easy to sit back in our chairs, point fingers, and say how everybody should be behaving. It is a scary environment.
It does feel scary, especially going on Twitter. I spend a lot of time on Twitter these days, and I find myself enjoying it. I am learning from people having conversations connecting, but when it comes to something polarizing, I feel deeply uncomfortable because it is like that public square. That is why social media has become what it is. At some point, our society is set up. We have a public square where we all gather together and share our opinions. We still, in many ways, put people up on trials. When we look back on history and the awful things that we would do to people publicly, like public executions, a lot of us feel horrified by that. If you look at a lot of the verbal violence that happens on social media, we are still doing that in a lot of ways.
We are canceling and shaming people. We are telling them what they should or should not do. People share death threats on social media that are incredibly violent. We are still enacting all of these things that feel almost as brutal in a lot of ways. It comes back around to my question of why the shoulds are even there. Why is it as human beings that we feel so self-righteous all the time? What do we get from that human drive to share not only how we feel but what we believe is right for others? I am curious if you spend time reflecting or even studying the historical reasons behind this behavior.
I have not thought about it too much, but there is a part of it where it is a survival instinct to stay a part of the tribe, “Don’t be too different. Don’t stand out too much. Don’t voice your opinion. Stay in the tribe because it is way safer than being ostracized and made fun of if you speak your different opinion.” If we are talking about self-shoulding, which is what I deal with a lot with my clients, our brain likes to point out our “flaws and imperfections.” If it does, it frames it as, “You should be more outspoken, quieter, or less argumentative,” whatever that should is.Our brains find our flaws. It ‘shoulds’ us not to do that so that we can be similar to everybody else instead of standing out. Click To Tweet
It finds our flaws. It shoulds us not do that so that we can stay safe in the tribe and similar to everybody else instead of standing out. That is the origination of the self-shoulding. Maybe it came down from our parents, who told us, “You should not or should do these things so you can stay safe and not be thrown out of the group.” That is my instant take on it.
There was a great book I read that I will share now with anyone who is interested in the history behind it. I want to go back and reread it, especially after this conversation and what happened. It is called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. It is well beyond politics and religion. The author uses politics and religion as a way of discussing self-righteousness.
I was deeply fascinated. It is a rich book. It is worth a second read for me because it got into a lot of the history and helped me understand it. Sometimes, I can even get into this place of self-righteous about the word should. In a way, I am saying we should not say should. I am still caught up in what we should or should not do.
My words are different. I don’t know if there is a way to fully get away from it because I am someone that prefers to stay in the gray area. I don’t like taking sides. That feels uncomfortable to me, but I am still taking the side if I am in the gray area. It is impossible not to take a side or a stance and not fall in some opinion. I am curious when you said you felt uncomfortable about what happened at the Oscars. We don’t have to get into the perspective. What happened at the Oscars is a pretty sensitive subject matter. that I am still trying to navigate.
Not only are we hearing a lot of should and shoulding, but a lot of us internalize it. That experience happened to me as a result. On Twitter, I responded to somebody sharing my feelings, not my opinion, but how I felt. All these people started coming at me and misinterpreting my words and feelings. I felt shame from that. I was like, “I said the wrong thing. I should not have said that.” If I had to summarize that experience, it ties into this conversation because there was so much should. Not only what the people on stage at the Oscars should or should not have done, but all the responses and what people should or should not have said in response to it.
You could filter it all out and boil it down to that word should in a lot of ways. That can be triggering, the shame that you feel about should or even the self-righteousness. If you feel like you should have done something and did it in the way that you feel like you should have done it, your ego can become very inflated. I did the right thing. If you feel like you should have done something different, you might internalize a lot of shame, guilt, or embarrassment around this. Both can carry with you.
This is a good time when this happens to us, and we get feedback or something to be aware of what is coming up for us. I work with my clients a lot on being scared to put themselves out there, scared to voice an opinion, and show their work. I work with a lot of artists. When we put ourselves out there and get some feedback, this is a good opportunity to say, “What were the words that were spoken to me?” This is a fact. We can find it on a transcript and look at it on Twitter. It is the factual words. Take notice. What am I making that mean in my head?
In this example, you made it mean, “I should not have said that.” That is a choice that we get to make. Let’s say we say a comment on Twitter, and somebody replies. We look at that reply for the factual basis that it is, “Someone said,” and you put quote marks. We get to go on our heads and go, “How am I making this? What am I making this mean?” If I am making this mean something that makes me feel shame, and when I feel shame, I hide, don’t voice my opinion, feel bad, or get quiet. If you don’t like that result, what can we do differently? What is in our control? What we can do differently is how we interpret what the person said.
We looked again, “This person said,” and we put it in quote marks. That is the fact. That is the circumstance. We get to see, “Is there another way to interpret it that feels real and good to me but that does not bring shame?” For instance, that is something like, “I am learning. I am a human who sometimes says it imperfectly. Sometimes I upset people without meaning to.” Those lead to a feeling, at least in me, of something more of acceptance instead of shame. When I am in the place of accepting myself for what I have said or done, I don’t hide away as much, quiet myself, or make myself feel bad.
I say, “I am a human. I thought I was doing the right thing by expressing my emotion. Other people did not like it. It is not a problem. It is not about me.” It is accepting yourself instead of shoulding yourself. At the end of the day, you feel a little bit better. You are not living in that shame. It lends us all a great opportunity to see what we are making other people’s words mean about us. If we don’t like how that feels, is there a different way to interpret other people’s words that does not make us feel so bad?
That is helpful because what you described and spoke through in response to my experience is something I would like to consider more often. I even find myself in those moments with some level of self-awareness, but it also triggers and causes a sense of panic. It comes back down to a lot of what we have discussed here about survival. To me, when somebody tells me that I did the wrong thing, in that specific instance, I feel misunderstood, but that is a core feeling. A wound for me is feeling misunderstood.
My brain goes, “I was misunderstood. That is bad. What do I do?” I am either going to go in the direction of hiding because feeling misunderstood feels scary for me or I will go in the direction of trying to explain myself to become misunderstood. That has started to feel so scary because I will find myself caught in the cycle of making it worse. Let’s go to the tweet that I wrote, which was in response to something somebody said about the situation at the Oscars.
I responded that I thought it was heartbreaking. My intention was that the situation felt heartbreaking for me. My meaning behind heartbreaking was that it is heartbreaking to watch it from all these different angles. That was a way I would summarize how I felt watching all this play out. It was an innocent statement and a neutral thing, but it turns out a number of people on Twitter that I don’t know and never interacted with started questioning what I meant by heartbreaking, but not in an inquisitive way. It is in this accusatory way.
Suddenly, I find all these strangers getting so worked up about my use of the word heartbreaking in this scenario. I felt shame, and I was like, “What do I do now?” I decided to delete my tweet because I did not want to be bombarded with all these people’s misinterpretations of me because that feels painful. I felt a little bit of guilt, like, “Should I not have deleted what I posted? Was that the bad choice?” I am not trying to hide from my words, but I was trying to protect myself from these daggers of other people coming at me. What they were saying was bringing up shame within me, and I did not want to deal with the pain of being misunderstood by strangers on the internet.There is value in people giving their perspectives. It just needs to be more of a discussion rather than an argument. Click To Tweet
I decided to bail out. I am sure some of the things people said were pretty neutral, but they did not feel neutral to me. I could go back to it and re-examine some of those words. It is so interesting. I wish I could switch my brain entirely over to see it as more neutral. I am curious, how do you guide people through? This is a relatively small situation. There is still a lot to learn from this. How do you guide someone in shifting their reactions instead of immediately feeling triggered? How do you learn to observe it more neutrally?
I am glad you asked this. It is important to note that the example I gave is a simplified version where our thoughts come before our feelings and actions. There is a trigger response that can happen in our body, where we feel the feeling before we even know what we are interpreting it to mean before that thought happens. I am still learning a lot about this. There is a lot more information coming out about this that I am working on. The example that I gave works in situations where there hasn’t been trauma in the past, which instantly brings up that it triggered an emotional response. I am glad that you brought that up. I tend to start with a simplified version that works in a lot of circumstances, but not all.
It was interesting when you are describing the story of what happened. You thought it was innocent what you posted, but your thought about that changed according to what other people interpreted it as. Here is where we lose a little bit of empowering empowerment of what we say. It is when we let other people’s thoughts about our words change what we think about them. You had an innocent intent and were not trying to hurt anybody. You were expressing your emotion. It is interesting to see how somebody did not like what you said. Now you are like, “It was not innocent. I should not have said it.” You put all this blame on yourself, and that is all optional. I say that with love.
That is what we humans are conditioned to do because we are supposed to make everybody happy. We don’t want to ruffle feathers, rock the boat and make anybody upset. If we think about it this way, it is impossible to say something like an opinion without upsetting someone in the world. There are billions of people. There are going to be people that are upset about what you say. The question is, “What do we want to do about that?” Do you want to shame yourself and tell yourself you did it wrong? Do you want to say, “I did that with the best of intentions, I did not mean to hurt anybody, and I am sticking to it? I have said it. It was my opinion. I stand by it?”
There are a lot of other interpretations in between. It is interesting to note that our initial reaction when somebody is bothered by what we say is to make it be that we did something wrong rather than, “Maybe they don’t understand my point of view.” Another thing that you brought up is whether or not to delete, and that is 100% your choice. Sometimes in order to comfort that emotionally triggered response that we have where we were feeling the shame, we can remove ourselves from the situation or stay there and work through it and find that other thought that would not bring you that emotionally triggered response.
That is 100% your option to say, “This is not working for me. This feels dangerous and scary. I am going to remove myself.” When we find ourselves having that emotionally triggered response, one thing you can do is put your hand on your chest, skin to skin, ground yourself, and say, “I am feeling shame because this person on Twitter was upset with what I said. This is a natural, normal human feeling, and it is okay.”
Remind yourself and your brain that this is not a problem. This is one of those parts of life. It is one of those emotions that we are going to feel sometimes as humans, and that it is safe. To ground yourself is a helpful way to acknowledge that yucky feeling, allow it to be there, and remind yourself that you are safe to feel it.
When I am working with my clients, what we do here is we will write down what the person said in quotes so that there is no interpretation and emotion attached to it. Those are words that were spoken. They are vowels and syllables that come out into the air, and our ears hear them. We work through it, “What did you think when you read that? How did that feel in your body? What did you do when you felt that in your body? Do you like the results?” We go through it step by step to bring that awareness.
We can’t go back in time or to the moment when you read that Twitter response, but we can learn how to start becoming aware of those feelings and thoughts that come up when you read other people’s comments. In the future, you are like, “I see that I am getting triggered here. Why is that? What am I thinking about this that is making me feel triggered? Do I want to create safety for myself now?” It becomes this tool that, in the future, you can use to take that pause of awareness and safety for yourself.
This is all so helpful. Thank you for taking the time to help me reflect on that specific situation. It is certainly an example of my response to a lot of similar situations. It has a bit of a universal application. There are a couple of things you said that were especially helpful in the framing of this. Even using the word dangerous is a lot of the emotion that I feel in those situations. They do feel unsafe to me, and they are scary.
When I try to break down why I feel that way, it ties into something else you said, which is that it feels unsafe when I do something that seems to make someone feel unhappy. It is like, “I need to protect myself and that other person. I feel shame for being misunderstood, bringing out a negative emotion from somebody else, or making someone angry.” There is that burden of, “What do I do? Am I trying to feel understood to make them feel better or to make me feel better?”
I want to point out that a lot of this is social conditioning. It is our job to make sure that nobody is upset around us. I am calling bullshit on it. First of all, it is impossible to go into someone’s brain and make them feel a certain way. We can’t wire the connections and make the neurons fire to make them feel a certain vibration in their body, which is impossible. We don’t even have the ability to control how they feel. It is not our job. I have a couple of things to say here about its social conditioning of it. We are taught that we have to make sure that everybody around us is safe, happy, and soothed. Part of that is the social conditioning that we are supposed to be happy all the time.
When someone in our orbit or interactions is unhappy, it is not okay that something has gone wrong, and I am calling bullshit on that too. Our life is meant to be lived in happiness, joy, and all the things on the “happier side of the spectrum,” or more positive side of the spectrum. Life is also all about fear, sadness, anxiety, and desperation. Life is all those things. It is a half-life if we are only trying to be positive all the time. I get so upset when I see all those signs in the stores like, “Good vibes only. No bad days.” We do have bad days, heartbreak, severe sadness, and loss, in addition to severe gratitude and excitement.
Because we are taught that it is not okay to be unhappy, that goes hand-in-hand with that. It is our job to make sure that they are not unhappy. Something is wrong in the neighborhood if somebody is upset. I always like to come back to Dita Von Teese’s quote. I am going to butcher it a little bit. It is something about, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will still be people that don’t like peaches.” That is what I was saying.It's literally impossible to say an opinion without upsetting someone in the world. Click To Tweet
If you are coming out as a human and giving some opinion or statement, there will be people who don’t like it. It is your choice if you want to quiet yourself or say, “This is how I stand. I have my own back. This is how I feel. If you don’t like it, that is too bad.” It does not mean we can go out, be jerks, and call everybody names. I am not saying that. I am saying we have a choice on how we want to show up and allow other people to be adult enough to have their own opinions and feelings about what we say without trying to make sure that they are happy about what we say.
It still feels tough to navigate for me. What I am taking away from a lot of what you are saying is it feels tough because of all this social conditioning where I get lost personally and professionally. I am one of those people who feel the pressure to make people happy. I feel pleasure when I make people happy. I feel deep pain when I feel responsible for someone being unhappy. What I am taking away as part of this social conditioning is so frustrating because then life is not about my happiness first.
Several times in this episode, there is that gender issue of women being taught that it is selfish to put ourselves first. There is another layer of guilt of, “I am unhappy, but maybe it is not about me. I should not worry about being unhappy. I should be focused on making other people feel happy. That will make me feel more fulfilled.” If it is impossible to control other people’s happiness, it almost feels impossible to be happy ourselves.
When you are saying, “I am going to put my feelings aside so that I can help them be happy,” you are dishonoring your own system. You are not trusting that your desires and wishes are valid because you are so worried about them being happy, even if it comes at your expense. You tell yourself your feelings, wants, and desires are not valid because we are not going to listen to them because we are going to spend our time trying to make those people happy.
It is impossible, never-ending, and we never stop that cycle of trying to make them happy. Our selves, inner wisdom, guidance, or desires get ignored and lost. The more we ignore our own wants, wishes, and desires, the quieter they get and the more they receive because they feel like they are not valuable. Once it gets to this point where you have had decades of honoring other’s wishes at the expense of your own, it is a little harder to break out of because your inner voice has gotten so quiet that you might not even be in touch sometimes with what it is that you want in this situation. Do you want to say no to going to that event even though it might hurt their feelings?
In my life now, what comes up a lot is I find myself not even sure who I am or what I want. That is so sad, not just for me, but I know I am not alone in that. That is sad that so many people go about life feeling this way, and no wonder there is so much burnout, anxiety, and depression. We are told all these conflicting messages because we also have this motto of, “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.” We hear that all the time. At the same time, we also hear, “Take care of others. Don’t be selfish.” You mentioned you work with a lot of artists. It has also been tricky for me.
I am curious to know about the artistic side of this. I would not say my work quite falls into the artist category. Although my work is rooted in the entertainment world, as a podcaster, you are technically entertaining and educating. There is that fine line there. I find myself questioning very often, not sure what to do. I am like, “I said something on this episode. Somebody wrote me a message and said that it bothered them. What do I do? Do I apologize?”
We could go back to the Oscar speech that Will Smith gave after the event. I imagine most people know about this. To be clear, the framing of this is that the incident happened with Will Smith and Chris Rock very close to the time that Will Smith won the award for Best Actor. It was fascinating because, as an audience member, you are still trying to process what happened. This man wins an award, and there is a lot of intensity around that. It seemed like everybody was holding their breath, waiting to hear how Will Smith was going to respond.
If he would even respond to it in his speech, which he did, he did not apologize to Chris Rock. A lot of people seem to be a bit surprised or disappointed that he did not apologize for it. He did apologize to the Academy and said some other things to explain it. It was a conflicting thing. In my head, I am thinking, “Did he feel like he should not apologize for what he did?” There is a lot of pressure to apologize for something like that.
Maybe sometimes we go overboard in our apologies. What if he felt like he did the right thing? Let’s take the domestic violence side out of this. That is incredibly triggering. I don’t know if we can take it out. I would like to know your thoughts on this. Let’s say we could take out the physical violence that happened and make it about a man who did something that a lot of people interpreted as something he should regret and apologize for. What if he did not believe that he did something wrong? Should he still apologize?
Here I am using the word should. Does it make sense for him to apologize in order to make other people feel better? What if he did not apologize because he wanted to stand up for himself instead of trying to make other people feel better for his actions? I don’t know if this question makes sense, but I am curious about your thoughts on that.
It is interesting because I help my clients have their own back. They make a decision, do something, and are they going to be their own biggest fan, their number one support system? I am going to go real deep here. Our purpose is to be able to find absolute ruthless love for ourselves, including all our imperfections, flaws, and fuck ups. Can we, at the end of the day, say, “Self, you messed up a little bit. You said something a little bit wrong. You did something that maybe you are not proud of, but can you love yourself anyway?” One of the biggest tests that we have on this Earth or planet is against all odds and things going against us, which mostly is our own minds.
We are the worst critics of ourselves. Can we, in spite of all that, find absolute love and acceptance for ourselves? Here is why it is important. When we can fully 100% love and accept ourselves, we can do that for those around us. We can love the people in our orbit as they are without trying to change them, get them to do, or say things differently. We can love them for who they are. Exactly how they show up, we can love them. It doesn’t mean we have to approve or condone their actions, but we can love them for the imperfect, flawed human they are.
All my personal thoughts about Will Smith’s situation aside, if he felt like he was proud of his actions, and I would say 100%, don’t even dare think about apologizing. Have your own back. If you did it, are proud of it, and like what you did, stand up for yourself and say, “That felt right to me. I am happy I did it. If you are upset about it, that is on you.” Remember, we can’t change other people’s feelings. His actions did not cause everybody in the audience to be upset. It was their interpretations of the action.Life is meant to be full of joy, but also fear and sadness. You're only living half a life if you're trying to be positive all the time. Click To Tweet
It is impossible for you to go into their brain and make them have these vibrations. Is that how you wanted to show up? If it is, have your own back. With the measurement of being proud of how you showed up, I don’t want that to be measured by external people. That is not the measurement because we can’t control them. The measurement is, “If I look at my words and my actions, am I proud of how I showed up? If I am, you better believe that I am going to stick up for myself and have my own back.”
If I am not proud of how I showed up and on the measurement of that, if I look at what I did, do I like what I said and acted? If the answer is no, how do I want to show up now? Do I want to apologize? Do I want to explain myself? Do I want to bring awareness? It has already been done, but what do I want to do now?
It is important to note that the measure of how we showed up and proud we are does not come from external people. If we let other people’s reactions determine how we feel about what we did, we will never, ever win. There are always going to be people in the world who don’t like what you said or did, always. We will never win and feel happy about ourselves in what we did if we base it on somebody being upset.
It is simultaneously so simple and yet complex. It comes down to that societal conditioning. It is like, “Next time I do something, I have to be rooted and how I feel in that moment.” There is so much pressure to conform to other people. That is why this Oscar moment had such a ripple effect on people. I don’t know if there is any consensus that we can come to. Each of us as individuals interprets the situation based on our own viewpoint of the world. It almost feels useless to discuss it. I am curious about that too. Does discussing things with other people help us or hurt us?
For someone like me, I have had a history of looking to other people for answers instead of looking to myself or I will know how I feel but I still want to hear other people’s opinions. If they are different than mine, I will find myself altering my mind. That is my pattern. I have come to a point in my life where that does not seem to make any sense based on what you said. It is not serving me. I am constantly in this state of feeling insecure about things.
I am like, “This is how I feel, but I am not sure if how I feel is right.” From what you said, is not how we feel the ultimate version of right because it is right for us? It is our truth because we feel it. Where it starts to feel complex is all of these times in our lives that impact others. Not to make this all about the Will Smith thing, but because it is such a fresh example.
He might have felt proud and justified in what he did, but he physically hurt somebody else with his actions. It impacted somebody else. The next question is, maybe you have a truth, but if that truth hurts another person, that is where it becomes complicated. It is not a feeling or an opinion you have if it is hurtful to somebody else in such a clearcut way.
Physical violence is a different situation than that emotional pain. To get to your question about, “Is it useless to have a discussion?” This is the key thing. What do you want to get out of the discussion? Do you want to be heard for your true feelings or do you want to change other people’s opinions? If your intent behind having the discussion is to get them to agree with you, you are going about it all wrong. Remember, we can’t change what people think.
A discussion is useful if you are going into it like, “I know I am not going to change anybody’s opinion.” They might change their mind, but it is because of what their brain is saying, “Maybe my first opinion was wrong. I am going to change it.” Your words themselves don’t change their opinions. If you are going into a discussion saying, “I am not expecting that I will change anybody else’s viewpoint. I want to be heard as a human with valuable opinions,” then discussions are incredibly useful.
If you go into it going, “I am going to be pissed as hell if I don’t get these people to see it my way,” it is fruitless. All it does is it creates angst in you because you are upset that they are not changing their mind. It is interesting from what I am saying to you, and you are taking that to mean that you are doing it wrong where you are trying to appease the people. It is important to look at, “Are you happy with the results in your life that you are getting?” If you are, you don’t need to change anything.
If you are happy with how you show up in your relationships and interactions with people, you don’t need to change anything. You are not doing it wrong at all. The question becomes, “Am I happy at the end of the day with how I showed up in that interaction or conversation?” If you are not, that is where it might be worth it to take time to introspect and figure out what’s going on there that is making you not show up the way you want to show up.
It is important to look at the results that you are getting. If you like them, who cares if you are doing it right or wrong? You are doing it your way and like the results, so that is it. One other thing I wanted to say is a lot of people take it the wrong way when I say to go out and show up in the world without regard to other people’s opinions or how it is going to affect them. That is not what I am saying.
I am saying to know that you don’t have responsibility for how they are going to feel. That is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is to look at yourself and say, “How do I want to show up like a human on this Earth? Do I want to be physically violent? Do I want to be emotionally immature? Do I want to call people names? Do I want to raise my voice? Do I want to curse? Do I want to be loving to people without regard for how they are going to act about it?”
Even things like, “I want to do something nice for someone,” are you doing it because you want them to be happy and like you? Are you doing it because you love them and want to do it for them, even if they don’t say thank you or act as they appreciate it? It is important to look at what outcome you want from it. A lot of times, we will do things nice for people, but we feel resentful because if you break it down, you are like, “I did all these things for her. She can’t even text me a thank you.”You will never feel happy about yourself if you are basing it on somebody being upset. Click To Tweet
We are getting upset and resentful, but it is because we did this nice thing, expecting a certain result from them instead of saying, “I am going to focus on what I can control and how I want to show up. I want to show up with love to do these things for this person regardless of what they do afterward. It is not about what they do for me. It is about how I want to show up for them.” It works on both sides of the coin, the positive and the negative. We can only control how we show up and don’t get to control how they show up in return. Are we going to be proud at the end of the day of how we showed up to the other person?
I could listen to you talk about all of this on and on. It is helpful and simultaneously fascinating. I am sitting here thinking, “There is so much to learn and unlearn here too.” That is where I find myself constantly. I am like, “I have been doing a lot of things that have not served me because of the way that I learned them. I will try to let go and unlearn all of that, take some new information in, experiment with it, and see how it makes me feel.” It also comes down to that simplified goal of happiness.
At the core, that seems to me that the root of all of this is finding our own personal happiness. I loved the title of your podcast. Speaking of which, if you, the reader, are sitting here thinking, “I could hear Tammie talk on and on,” thank goodness she has her own podcast. It is called the SHOW UP society, which is the perfect name because it is about showing up for yourself.
Tammie, I am so grateful for how you have articulated this, taught me, and shared your perspectives and the way that you help people navigate this. It is deeply valuable because what I have taken away personally is how much I need to show up for myself and find what it is that makes me happy without making it constantly tied to other people.
Some of the things you have said have helped me understand that on a level that I had not quite understood before. It shows the power in which you have learned through all your work. How long have you been doing your work? I am curious. What led you, not to your podcast but all the work that you do with clients? How did you get to this place in your life? Why do you feel so passionate about helping others with this?
It is because I teach people to show up for themselves. I want to say one thing before I get to my story of how I did it. It is the most freeing and loving thing that you can do when you learn how to show up to conversations and relationships as your full self. If you can accept and love your full self with your own thoughts, ideas and opinions, you can allow people to be themselves.
There is this fantastic connection between two humans who may not see the same way on all the things, but they are accepting and loving with each other. I work with so many clients. I have done the work with myself for so many relationships where I decide I am going to show up as who I am, vulnerably imperfectly flawed, all the things. It ends with a deep, rich, loving relationship with the people because we are not hiding and forming ourselves to fit the shape that we think the other person wants us to fit.
We are not so worried about trying to make their happiness. It sounds selfish, but it truly is one of the best gifts you can give to the people in your life by showing up as authentically you because it allows them to do the same. There is this whole world of freedom that opens up. I wanted to make sure that it is not all about selfishness. The ultimate result is that we have better, more loving, and honest relationships with everybody around us.
I came to this as I was a running coach for thirteen years. I also had my own stationery business. During COVID, when everything was shut down, I was not able to coach my people. We did not get to meet in person, and I missed that human-to-human connection desperately. It is funny because I was down in the dumps about my stationery business. I sold wholesale to a lot of mom-and-pop and independent stores across the country.
When quarantine hit, we all were shut down. I had a down in the dumps week or two when I was like, “This is it. My business is over. I am not going to sell anything.” I was working with a life coach. She questioned the reality of that and was like, “Are people not going to buy cards anymore? Maybe cards are more important now that we don’t get to see each other. This is a new way of communication.”
I had that new thought about my business. I tripled my income in 2020 even though it was all mom-and-pop shops. A lot of them were shut down, some of them permanently. All of that was because of the way that I thought about it differently. Thinking about it differently and seeing the results that I had combined with me missing the human-to-human interaction helped me shift to doing mindset coaching. I coach a lot of runners because I was a runner and a running coach for so long. I also coach a lot of creative entrepreneurs because that is what I am used to. I had my own business for so many years. I skipped a little step in there.
Back in November 2019, before COVID happened, I have and had a great life. I have a husband, three kids, two dogs, a home, cars, and our kids go to great schools. We all have the pleasure of privilege of being educated. I had all these amazing things, yet I was going to bed at night, treating myself like shit and feeling horrible, spending an hour in bed each night, “You should have done this and that. You did not do enough of this. You are too loud and too much of this.” I felt horrible about myself. It was this internal suffering.
On top of that, I felt like an asshole for being miserable when I had such a great life, “You should be grateful. Why can’t you be happy with what you have?” It was this double layer of I felt like shit that made myself feel shittier because I felt like shit and should not have. It was this internal suffering that I knew had to stop. That is when I first reached out to have a life coach of my own, who is the one that helped me during the times of quarantine to build my business.
All the pieces came together, and now I feel like I have the best job on Earth because I get to see people make these huge transformations and show up for themselves. The trickledown effect is insane. The clients that I have with kids, people who buy their products, or anybody in their orbit, it is insane the ripple effects that it has on their happiness too. I am the luckiest person in the world to get to do what I do.It's equally as hard to change what someone did in the past as it is for them to change what they do in the future. Click To Tweet
I love your website, ShowUpSociety.com. I love the name Show Up Society. To me, if we can have a whole society that shows up for themselves, that would be so powerful. I am going to be contemplating so much of what you said here because it makes me wonder how many people are not showing up for themselves, the ripple effects that have had, and the pressure we put on ourselves and put on others.
It is this domino effect when we are focused on shoulding. Maybe it is all a reaction to the pressure that we have. We feel like we should do things and want other people to do things. With the control that we have, there is so much pressure. I am fascinated with how much burnout and anxiety we have. I wonder how much we could lessen that if we started showing up for ourselves and released the shoulds. I am deeply grateful for the work that you do, Tammie. I want to say thank you. I love the way that you articulate it and the power of your words. There was so much to take away from this episode.
I am always so grateful that there are transcripts of each episode because anyone can go back and find the words. I am a visual person. Being able to read Tammie’s words is something that I am very grateful for. Please visit ShowUpSociety.com and check out Tammie’s amazing podcast and learn about the coaching that she offers there.
I will love to know from you, the reader, if you have any further thoughts that you would like to share. Hopefully, we can have a nice discussion about this. There is certainly a lot to discuss here. Don’t shy away from that, and reach out to me and/or Tammie. Tammie, thanks again for spending the time to share all these words of wisdom.
Thank you so much for all the great questions and discussions we got to have. Thank you so much for having me.
- Tammie Bennett
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
- the SHOW UP society
About Tammie Bennett
Tammie Bennett is a creative entrepreneur and mindset coach. She takes what she has learned from owning her stationery business and working with her clients to help people show up for themselves even in the tiniest way. She helps people remove the blocks that are keeping them stuck so they can achieve their goals with confidence. Tammie has kept at least one tiny, daily habit for over 10 years. She helps people get rid of overwhelm, procrastination, fear of failure, and helps them make decisions quickly so they can get back to doing what they love.