In a world where we’re connected more than ever, why do we feel more disconnected?
We are more hyper-connected than ever. Yet, many of us report feeling lonelier than we did before we had social media & all these different ways we had to connect with each other.
In this episode, you’ll learn the different aspects of belonging and connection – how they relate to trust, vulnerability, authenticity, and self.
If you want more connections in your relationships, you won’t want to miss this episode.
Emily Gough is a human connection & transformational coach, speaker, mental health advocate, and host of the top 200 Room to Grow™ podcasts. With years of coaching experience, connection & compassion as superpowers, and a tendency to bring a sense of humor to tough topics, Emily’s warm, genuine, down-to-earth, and direct approach encompasses the full mind/body and will give you the guidance, real-life tools, and perspective you need to help you like and trust yourself more to create the relationships and life you deserve. As seen in Forbes.
You are listening to the Done with Dieting Podcast Episode number 37.
Hi, I’m Elizabeth Sherman, former corporate high tech executive turn life and weight loss coach. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was searching for that perfect diet, the one that would finally be the golden ticket to lose the weight that I so desired.
Fast forward past tons of failed diet attempts, exercise fads and painful lessons learned, and although I still have not reached the state of Nirvana, body love, my relationship with food exercise in my body is infinitely better than it was not only when I started this journey, but even as recently as three years ago.
The journey that has allowed me to ditch my scale, stop logging my food and exercise, eat food that I didn’t prepare and easily maintain my weight – something that I never thought was possible for me.
I created the Done with Dieting podcast to give you simple, easy to do and sustainable strategies to help you do the same without all of the drama that I went through.
If you’re a woman who’s looking to create a better relationship with food and her body, get off the diet roller coaster and free up a bunch of headspace spent on calories, how you should look what you should eat and beating yourself up for not doing what you think you should be doing. You are in the right place.
Let’s get started.
Elizabeth: Hey everyone, welcome to the podcast. I am so glad that you’re here. Today, I am chatting with longtime friend and fellow coach, Emily Gough. Emily has such an amazing story of transformation. When we met, she was in a long-term relationship planning on getting married when her partner dropped a huge bombshell on her, which I will let her tell you all about.
Often, when we’re in the middle of something, we can’t see out the other side. With Emily watching her go through that experience and seeing her grow and now teaching others about connection and relationships is truly amazing and just so inspiring. I had so many powerful realizations when we recorded this episode.
Now, there are a few sound issues, so please forgive me. But I really think that you’re going to enjoy this interview. So, without any more introduction, here’s the interview.
All right everyone, welcome Emily to the show.
Emily: Hi, I’m so excited to be here, thank you for having me, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: I am super excited to have you because we’ve known each other for so long. You helped me through creating my podcast. And so, now I just want to share everyone with you or share you with everyone rather.
And so, first of all, introduce yourself, tell everyone what you do and yeah, let’s just start there.
Emily: I love it. Okay so, I’m cracking up because we were just talking about this before we jumped on that I have had quite the transition years that you’ve known me and you’re like, I’ve been through it all. And I said, are you confused yet? And he said, no, no, it’s actually made perfect sense and natural transitions.
So, I started in the corporate. I was in the corporate world for 11 years, but I knew the whole time that I did not want to stay there, that was more just a means to an end. So, on the side, while I was still in corporate, I was teaching bootcamps. I went back to school for a couple of years part-time to get certified as a holistic nutritionist. And that was how I launched my online business back in 2017 I guess, yeah, 2017 was with holistic nutrition.
And that was great, and I ended up quitting my job while I was still doing that at my full-time job to go full-time with the online thing. And I wasn’t quite feeling it. I was like, “okay, I’ve put all this work into it, I don’t understand what isn’t quite clicking, it just I was bored. I was bored and I couldn’t figure out why.
So, finally it started being pointed out to me that I was really passionate about podcasting because by then I had launched two different podcasts. People kept coming to me and going help you launched one, or have you launched two? I haven’t even launched one and I want to, and I was so lit up about it that I started teaching people how to launch podcasts.
So, I switched into kind of that role and teaching people how to connect really deeply through a podcast as well with listeners to gain clients that entire thing. It’s a really amazing listener experience because that’s what it’s all about, we have to really keep that at the forefront. And then, 2020 happened, the shit show that was 2020, and I think a lot of us re-evaluated a lot of priorities, and I went through a deep depression in 2020.
Partly because I’m Canadian, Canada has been locked down for almost the entire pandemic and it was just becoming too much for me. And it really forced me to look at my priorities and I realized that the thread that has tied everything together in everything that I’ve done is human connection.
So, I’m now doing human connection and relationship coaching and teaching people how to create more intimacy with each other, with their partners, and with themselves too. Because I went through some pretty significant changes in my personal life that we can get into that sort of triggered a lot of this and people again, it’s so funny how these things just progress the way they did because people kept coming to me for this type of advice.
Like relationship coaching type of things, and I loved it, but I just like, “am I really the person that you want?” Based on my personal story, but I seem to have picked up a few nuggets of wisdom along the way and it seems to resonate with people, and I just love it. It’s absolutely lights me up and I finally found the thing. So, it took a while to get here but yes, this is absolutely what I’m meant to be doing.
Elizabeth: Okay so, I love that and yeah, I’ve been watching you throughout this whole process. We met when you started your first podcast, that was the first podcast that I was ever on. And you made it such an amazing experience for me that I wanted to keep doing them. And gosh, I don’t know how many I’ve been on at this point, but yeah, that was fantastic. And so, when we met, you were doing nutrition work and had we’re on your second podcast at that point.
Elizabeth: And so, yeah, the podcast, are you still doing it?
Emily: Yeah, so I’m the worst at introducing myself, I forget all the things. So, my podcast is called room to grow. We talk about basically all the uncomfortable topics that so many of us like to avoid. We really go into some hard topics to talk about everything from infidelity and betrayal, to learning how to trust people again, how to trust yourself more, how to create more intimacy in your relationships. All of those types of things, I have some really incredible guests come on, Elizabeth you’ve been one of them. Yeah, so it’s featured in the top 200 around the world in the relationship category which just continues to blow me away. So, yes, we have a great time over there, over at room to grow.
Elizabeth: That is so cool, good for you, good for you. Let’s talk about trust because trust is and specifically self-trust, but it’s something that a lot of women struggle with, especially when it comes to their bodies, when it comes to food, when it comes to showing up for themselves, and doing the thing that they say that they’re going to do. Lots of my clients come to me and they say, I can make commitments to other people, I just can’t keep commitments to myself. , and it’s something that I’ve been working on and helping my clients through but I’m curious, what are your techniques? Let’s just jump in there.
Emily: So, I think that part of my personal story is relevant when talking about trust. So, while I was in the corporate world as well, I was in a nine-year relationship and on Christmas Eve of 2018, I got a knock on the door, and it was his previous girlfriend. At least, I thought previous girlfriends to inform me that they had been having an affair off and on for our entire nine years together.
So, I ended the relationship, but there was a huge amount of lies and deceptions that were uncovered in the months that followed. Including the fact that he had a secret house, 170 meters from our driveway for several years, it just went on and on. So, I’m a good person to talk to you about trust because I was determined throughout that entire process of the breakup that I was going to protect the part of me, that was trusting.
I was not going to allow the falling apart of that relationship and being hit over the head with just these insane facts that have been going on behind my life and behind closed doors that I didn’t know about. I was not going to allow that to take away what I considered to be one of the best parts of me. But when you go through years of being lied to by the person, you’re closest to and gaslighting those types of things, that adds whole new layers to the issues of trust and particularly self-trust. Because our realities have been manipulated to such a degree that when we have a thought, we no longer believe it because we’ve been taught not to.
And I think a lot of us go through this, it’s just added layers when you have some relational trauma that can really play a huge role in disintegrating that trust. And we have to work a lot harder to build it back up too. So, something that I tell people is to ask themselves, what would it feel like to trust?
Because as much as yes, everything has to start with how much we trust ourselves, one of the mirrors that we can see that level of trust in is through relationships. Because relationships hold a mirror up to us in a way that nothing else does. If we find ourselves constantly distrustful of the people closest to us or the people that we are dating, the people that we’re getting into romantic relationships with in particular because those are the most vulnerable. That is really shining a light on a part of us that we need to take responsibility for and to work on and to heal. And that’s where the real work starts.
When we start to notice that the self-awareness is always the first step, we have to have that recognition in ourselves as opposed to projecting that onto everyone else. So, if we aren’t trusting of somebody, it’s very easy to point the finger at them and say, well, it’s because you’re doing something wrong, or you’re cheating on me, or you lied to me, or whatever. And I’m not saying that that’s not true, sometimes it could be, I hope not, but sometimes yes, that is the reality, it is true.
But do you trust yourself and do you trust your own decision-making? Are you constantly running to your girlfriends every time you have any type of relational drama rather than talking to your partner because you need their validation in order to try to wrap your head around what your reality is?
These are the types of things that we have to look at, and Elizabeth, I know I haven’t given you like any like direct techniques so far, but I think this is really important to unpack because we have to look at these layers and I know a lot of your audience is women. And women in particular can be very distrustful sometimes with excellent reason of men.
And we’re speaking very binary heterosexual terms here, but we could go into the entire historical patriarchal side of that too, obviously. But even if we’re just looking at it in terms of our own personal histories, if we have been betrayed, had our trust broken in relationships, we can’t hold other people hostage for the mistakes of others in our past.
And I think that’s really important. That’s something that I had to remind myself of recently I was having an emotional moment in a bit of a freak out because I was apart from somebody that I care about who is somebody who’s really close to my heart. And it was so funny because I said something similar about the holding hostage part on another podcast interview.
And the day I had a freak out, I signed on to Instagram after I had freaked out and somebody had reposted that podcast and specifically pulled that quote out and I was like, “okay universe, I own words used against me,” but it’s true. And this is the process is that we have to accept that this is part of the journey, we don’t snap our fingers, we don’t make one decision that solves this. We make one decision, and then we make another, and then we make another, and we keep showing up for ourselves. And we’re going to take some steps back sometimes and we’re going to fail sometimes. And then, we’re going to make another decision to choose what we want in our reality.
And if you expect your reality to be that everyone around you and closest to you will break your trust. That is exactly what you will end up getting or creating for yourself. Because think about it this way, if we’re always convinced that somebody close to us is actually, let’s use ourselves in the example, if someone else is convinced that you’re an asshole, they’re just convinced through that you’re a lying piece of garbage.
If you really have feelings for them and you really love them, you might try to spend some time trying to show them and convince them otherwise. But at some point, you’re going to walk away because you either will get so sick of hearing that or you will actually take the steps to be the piece of garbage because that’s what you’re being accused of any ways.
So, you might as well live up to those expectations. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And that’s just like one example, but I really want to stress this because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of becoming bitter and I don’t want that for anyone. And ultimately, what I teach people to do the most is to open as many hearts and minds as possible through the power of human connection. But connection starts with us, it has to start from within.
Elizabeth: Well, and one thing that you said that I really loved was that when we are going to other people to seek validation. And I think that that’s actually really true about many women is that we look for the answers outside of ourselves, we don’t trust ourselves. And so, we therefore don’t validate ourselves and our feelings either. And so, we go to other people and we’re like, “so this happened and I’m just checking,” like, “am I wrong here, or what’s happening?” right?
Emily: Yeah. Yeah, totally. First of all, everyone needs to vent to their friends sometimes; men, women like, yes, we all need to vent sometimes. But notice if it’s a habit that every time you are having some feelings of discomfort, or unease, or anxiety, are you running straight to your girlfriends? And let’s say that this is maybe specific to a relational issue. Are you then running straight to your girlfriends to bitch about your partner?
And if you are, are you having the hard conversations with your partner? Like, are you actually putting in the effort to really deepen your communication? Because otherwise you’re actually removing the intimacy that you crave in the relationship and taking it elsewhere. You’re pulling it out of the relationship, and that’s a problem, and that’s not the solution that you’re actually looking for.
You’re looking for the opposite, but you’re creating something different. And I think that has something really important to remember. And again, I’m using relationships as an example here, but this also comes from overall confidence and self-esteem, and self-worth, that applies to every single area of our lives. Like whether it’s our relationships to our bodies, relationships to food, however this plays out, these patterns repeat just in different circumstances in different areas of our lives.
Elizabeth: Yeah, and so, what I’m hearing is also that the amount of trust that we have to other people may be related to the amount or inversely related to the amount of self-doubt that we have within ourselves.
Elizabeth: If I don’t have a lot of trust that I can make good decisions, or that I can listen to my emotions, or listen to my intuition, and trust that it’s telling me the right thing, then that’s going to come across in my relationship with others. Yeah?
Emily: Yeah, absolutely. And it’s interesting too because a big part of lack of self-trust is when we have a lot of anxieties or worries come up in a relationship. When you’ve already lived through a so-called “worst case scenario,” which some people have called mine, trust me there’s far worse but you know just for argument’s sake, let’s just phrase it that way.
As much as I had to rebuild myself trust in a lot of ways, and we can get into more into some of the ways that I did that in and continue to do that. It also taught me very quickly, if I can live through this, like what else do you have? It’s fine, I’ll figure it out. I made it through a so-called, “worst case scenario.”
And again, there’s way worse in the world. Especially right now, so many worse things that could happen. But it could be considered our nightmare, one of our many nightmare scenarios and let me make it through that and you figure it out. It’s like, “okay, I managed, it wasn’t necessarily pretty.” But I came out the other side and I figured it out and I’m still standing here, and I’m still doing things, and I am still choosing to grow from the experience. And to use what I learned in that experience to apply to other areas of my life in the best possible way.
Elizabeth: Well, and it’s so interesting. One of the biggest areas or periods of growth in personally that I’ve had and then also professionally is after I learned the concept that if we are willing to feel any emotion. So, the reason that we do or don’t do anything is because of how we feel or how we think we’re going to feel when we do it.
So, for example, I am going to put myself out on a dating website, or I’m not because I’m afraid of judgment, or I’m afraid of failure. And if we can walk into any situation going forward saying, well, the worst thing that can happen to me is actually feeling some sort of negative emotion. And so therefore, I have really nothing to lose.
And really, the only negative emotion that we have is the negative self-talk that happens on the other side because we’re not afraid of the failure. We’re not afraid of the judgment, we’re afraid of the things that we say to ourselves on the other side of that experience that are like, “you shouldn’t have done that,” or ” you’re a terrible person,” or “blah-blah-blah,” which then makes us feel horrible.
Emily: Yeah. It’s funny you mentioned the negative self-talk too because there’s a story that kind of; I’ve heard floating around from a couple of different people lately. And it’s about this woman who went on a date, and she got stood up. And she tells her friend about it and her friend just says all these awful things to her about, “she’s ugly and she’s fat,” and maybe he walked in and saw her and then walked away and just all these terrible things.
And then, the punchline of the story is except she was the one, she was the front saying that to herself. There was no actual friend and we’ve all related to this before because we’ve all been there. I think the difference is again, when you make a choice to start training your brain to do something else. And that can be a long process, it doesn’t happen overnight.
But one of the things that I really focus on the most is teaching people, compassion, and teaching people how to show themselves compassion. And a mentor of mine, this was months ago, I was saying to her in conversation, something about; we all see this folding around Instagram, we’ve all said this before too but ” oh, how we’re our own worst enemies.” And she looked at me and she said, “I’m not,” and I had this light bulb moment, like, ” oh my God, it’s a different reality.” And we had a whole conversation about it, and she did used to be her own worst critic and she trained herself to not be.
And yeah, it took a few years, but it’s almost as though we need to observe some of these thoughts coming up without judgment. So, because otherwise it can just go down an entire negative thoughts spiral. We have the negative thought and then we have another negative thought, but thinking the negative thought, and it just continues on and on.
So, instead when we have the negative thought, we can notice it, observe it, and then, choose to do something different with it. There’s Byron Katie’s work as well, where she talks about challenging those types of thoughts where it’s like, “okay, is this 100% true? How do you know? And really pushing back on that and the ultimate truth is that we never know anything 100% for sure.
Whether it’s assumptions that we’re making but other people or whether it’s judgements we’re making but ourselves. We never know those things 100% for sure. So, there’s so much room to challenge that and when you start to do that over-and-over-and-over again, just like any habit, you’re going to start to retrain your brain to think a little bit differently and to start showing yourself more compassion.
That’s the biggest, if I could say one thing that people walk away after working with me saying that they all mentioned the compassion. They’re like, I really feel like I’m so much more compassionate now towards myself than I ever used to be before. And that can change our lives, showing ourselves that kind of compassion.
Elizabeth: Yeah. One of the reasons that I think we don’t have self-compassion is because we think that if we are too easy on ourselves, if we’re too soft on ourselves, then we won’t want to be better, or we won’t want to grow, or we won’t want to do the hard things. So, what do you say to people who have that mindset?
Emily: That’s a great point and that’s incredibly valid. I think that the biggest sort of counterpoint to that is can you come at it from a place of acceptance and start? Accepting that this is who you are, this is where you’re at right now. And also, still desiring and putting in the action steps towards more of whatever you want or something different compared to what you currently have. It doesn’t mean that, if you try to hate yourself through it, it’s not going to work very well.
I always think of like the friend example, I always think of what would you say to your friend? And sometimes the way we talk to ourselves, if we said those things to a child or to a friend, do we really think that would actually help them do better at the task? Sure, sometimes, we can use people’s disbelief in what it is that we’re working towards as fuel. I get that, I understand that side of things. But psychologically speaking, humans respond far better to positive reinforcement than negative, and we include ourselves in that.
So, just the acceptance of being like, “okay, I don’t really like X, Y, and Zed about my life right now.” But I accept that this is where I am. And that this is what I have and this is what I’m doing. And then, you can still come up with a plan of action steps to work towards something different. It just doesn’t mean that you have to take out your entire self-esteem at the same time while you’re working towards those things.
Elizabeth: Yeah. One of the analogies that I really like is most of us have had terrible managers, right? We’ve had a manager who’s been like, “where’s that work?” And you’re not good enough. And maybe not those words, but they’ve been like really micromanaging and so on and so forth.
And my question is like, do you want to perform well for that person? And of course, we don’t, but if you’ve ever had an amazing manager, who’s been encouraging and pointing out how good you’re doing and you just love, of course you’re going to want to perform for that person. And so, it’s the same thing for us, right?
Emily: Yeah. Yeah, I think so too. I think that that’s something that we can all be in a state of working on, on a regular basis is cultivating more self-acceptance and that’s really where self-esteem starts too, is the self-acceptance of this is who I am, this is where I’m at. And yes, you can still continue to grow. But you have to start with the acceptance of where you currently are in order to get to where you’re going. I think of a lot of nature metaphors and something like a tree, just because a tree wants to grow bigger, you don’t see trees sitting around like hating the fact that they’re still small and young and have a tiny little root system.
They just accept the fact that they’re going to get to where they’re going. And I’m speaking of trees is that they have logical minds. It’s not real, but I think you get the point that something in nature accepts that what is going to happen is going to happen and doesn’t attach so much expectations or judgment to what is going to take place. It’s part of the natural unfolding of things. And it doesn’t mean that the tree doesn’t need water, yeah, it does still need water and nutrients and all of those things in order to grow. But we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves while we’re moving through that process.
Elizabeth: Yeah. So, changing text a little bit, one of the reasons that I really wanted to have you on the podcast is because I am part of a number of different Facebook groups that include women in midlife. And there was this one thread that I saw where someone posted, “hey, does anyone feel like they don’t belong anywhere?” And it was a huge thread then of all of these women saying, “yeah, I don’t feel like I belong,” and just agreeing with the original poster.
And I know that this is some work that I have done myself, that there have been many situations where most of my life, I haven’t felt like I have belonged and I’ve only recently gone through it understood what the story was that started it all and then, have healed that.
So, belonging and connection go just hand in hand. How do we start to get a sense of belonging for ourselves and how do we bridge that gap if we don’t feel like we do belong, how do we get to a place where we can feel like we belong?
Emily: I think that when it comes to belonging, sometimes we haven’t found our people yet, and that can be really hard because especially when we’re adults, it can feel a lot harder to make new friends. And luckily, we live in the age of the internet, which is a beautiful thing, we’re also still living through a pandemic.
So, as much as we’re all incredibly grateful, the technology has gotten us through this and allowed us to still maintain connection because if this had happened 50 years ago, we would not be in the same position. But it still doesn’t replace the in-person connection. And connection to me is really belonging, a sense of belonging is really at the root of connection, because if that’s how we feel like we belong as humans is building these relationships with people platonic, romantic, and otherwise, that really nourish us.
And that’s a piece of advice that I give to people a lot is to think about what nourishes you and when you’re interacting with different people, pay attention to who nourishes you, who lights you up, who leaves you feeling energized after you’ve interacted with them? Who do you trust?
And then, the opposite of all those things, like who drains you, who do you feel a little bit uncomfortable with? Who do you maybe feel as though you wouldn’t tell your darkest secret to? Even if you don’t necessarily have reason, like a logic out reason as to why you maybe don’t trust them yet. It’s your intuition talking, it’s still something to pay attention to. Is it intuition or anxiety? That’s a different conversation, so that’s like another whole rabbit hole.
But I do think that there’s so much about belonging that is wired into connection, and we are wired for connection. And sometimes you maybe don’t even realize how much you may be felt as though you didn’t belong in a particular environment until you leave either and until you experienced something different.
The city that I grew up in, I never felt like I quite fit in there, but I don’t think that I realized how much I felt that way until I left and moved to Bali and felt so at home with the people that I found there, the community that I created there, I felt a sense of community that I never felt in my entire life in the city that I grew up in.
So, I always knew that even though I was a little bit uncomfortable there, I didn’t feel quite fully like I belonged. I didn’t understand the depth of that until I experienced something completely new. And it showed me what I was missing, and I think that we can all relate to this feeling of not feeling as though we belong in one way or another.
It’s funny, we’ll even, think about the cool kids in high school or something, right? Have ever high school hasn’t, there’s always the cool kids that we all put up on pedestals. And when you talk to some of those people years later, you can say them always it seemed like you had everything together, you had everything going for you, and they’ll give you an entire list of things that they were insecure about that they just never let anybody see.
So, we all have these underlying feelings, I’m six feet tall, I’ve been six feet tall since I was 14 and I felt like a zoo creature as I was a teenager. There are all kinds of things like we all have. We all have things that make us feel like which one of these things is not like the other. And yet, the other part of that I think is embracing our differences and our uniqueness, as opposed to seeing it as a problem. And recognizing that when we not only accept but embrace our unique qualities that we maybe think awkward, or a little weird, or whatever, that can actually fill the gaps in other people that would love to have work experience more of those qualities.
And you don’t even know it because you’re so busy hiding it because you think it’s weird that no one else is ever going to get to see what a beautiful gift it is. You weren’t going to get to experience what a beautiful gift it is because you’re shutting it off.
So, that’s the other part of it is that I would really challenge people to take a look at those things that you think are really weird about yourself, like awkward, a little bit different, maybe you don’t know many people who act a certain way or have these weird irrational little things about themselves. I promise you, there are other people out there. But even if you haven’t found them yet, start to let them out to play a little bit. And that level of, I don’t like using the word authenticity because I think it’s been so watered down in the online space, but for lack of a better term, the true meaning of authenticity. That’s when you allow that level of authenticity to come out, people are going to feel that energetically from you.
They’re going to feel that level of genuine realness about you and they’re going to connect with that. Not everybody, but not everybody is for us. And we aren’t for everybody, like it’s two way street, not everyone is for us, and we aren’t for everyone either, and that’s fine. That’s a really quick vetting system to get rid of the people who maybe don’t fit in.
And then, there’s usually an awkward lonely phase where you’ve gotten rid of some people that don’t fit in your life and you haven’t gained the new ones yet. And it feels really hard, it’s like, “where are my people? I feel very alone over here.” And that is a natural part of that process and there’s some grief wrapped up in that too. It really falls under some of the stages of grief when we think about finding new ways to create belonging in our lives and create a sense of belonging.
But again, I’m going to bring it back to self, how much do you feel like you belong to yourself? Like, how much do you feel like you’re comfortable with you? If your super uncomfortable with yourself, if you don’t feel like you can spend time alone without distraction, if you feel like you always need to be surrounded by people, even if you’re an extrovert, I challenge that with people because I’m like, what are you running from? What are you hiding from? What are you trying to not let in?
And sometimes we have to create and cultivate that space, doesn’t necessarily have to mean meditation or anything that’s not a reason, but just a little bit of silence in your life where you’re not actively distracting yourself with anything. And that’s also really great way to build self-trust and intuition because you are allowing the energetic space for you to be able to really start to understand yourself on a deeper level, to hear what those little hits of intuition are trying to tell you.
I feel like a lot of people will also say, they have a troublemaking decisions. And I’m like, “how much space have you cultivated in your life? Because the answers will probably come to you much more easily as you start to build up self-trust, if you leave the space for the answers to even come in. If you have your earbuds in 24/7, or you’re talking to people all the time, or whatever, you always have the TV on, you always have music on in the background. There’s no space, there’s no space.
So, that really ties in with the belonging piece I think too, we have to be okay with “US,” and then, that’s going to really show through when we can show up with other people feeling more comfortable in our own skin, that’s going to lead to a deeper sense of belonging.
Elizabeth: Well, and I love what you just said about a sense of belonging with others comes from having a sense of acceptance of yourself, that’s brilliant!
Emily: Yeah, it’s true, it’s true, and it’s so funny because everything we’re talking about people are rolling. I’m sure, rolling their eyes because everything goes back to us, but it’s true. Like, we have to do all of this work on ourselves. And what does it even mean doing the work?
Well, it comes in small stages, there’s no set guide book no matter how many self-help books you read, there’s no set guidebook on this is how you do the work because it’s going to vary with each individual. It’s going to vary based on your personal history and what you are experiencing in life at the moment. Like, it’s going to have so many different variations, but these are pieces of the puzzle, and they don’t happen overnight. But when we work on them over and over again, you start to see some really big changes in yourself.
Elizabeth: Yeah. As you were talking, I was thinking we should probably should have started with the definitions of belonging, fitting in, and acceptance first so that we can figure out, like where do we want to be? Right? Because we talk about well, and when I think about fitting in, I don’t know about you, but when I think about fitting in, I think about high school.
Emily: Totally, yeah. When I think about fitting in as an adult now, not only do I think about high school, but I think about blending into the background. Which I don’t want to blend into the background, you know what I mean? And some people do it’s not because I don’t think that anyone truly wants to blend into the background.
I think that there are a lot of us, and I am one of them who’s was cool to fly under the radar sometimes, but I don’t want to blend in because everyone wants to feel seen, heard, and understood. And in order to do that, you can’t blend in, you can find ways to fit in if that’s your goal and there’s nothing wrong with that goal, that’s fine.
But I think that fitting in to me sometimes feels like blending in and no one wants to blend into the background. Not really, not on a deep level when you really pulled back the layers on that, nobody actually wants that.
Elizabeth: Yeah, and as you said that what I was thinking is it’s like being a supporting actor in your own story about yourself when you’re trying to fit in with other people, you’re not allowing who you are to come through. You’re trying to tamper that, so that I don’t know, is it risking rejection?
Emily: Totally, and judgment and everything else. I have a friend, Trevor Balaam, he’s been on the podcast, he’s just incredible men’s coach, he’s amazing, doing really-really cool things in the world. And he went through this entire thing, he calls “The Year to Live” project, I won’t go into all that here, but one of the things that he did was going into a dark room for 28 days. And by dark room, I mean pitch black, like for 28 straight days, there was no getting used to it, you couldn’t even see your hand in front of your face, none of the above.
And one of the things that he emerged, he explains it so much more beautifully and eloquently on the interview that I did with him. But one of the things that emerged the most with him when he physically emerged from the room was that he didn’t give a shit anymore about the judgements of other people and that we have a limited amount of time here. And yet we spend so much of our energy being so concerned, whether subconsciously or consciously about what everyone else is going to think about us. And how much wasted time and effort and energy that is that we could be pouring into so many other areas of our life, including showing up as who we really are.
And again, that’s a quick discernment tool, but it’s scary. When we actually show who we really are, you’re going to lose some people. And that I think is one of the parts that we struggle with the most, because we’re not ready to let go of the relationships and the connections that aren’t coming with us when we fully bloom into who we are here to be.
Elizabeth: What’s fascinating about that is that as I’ve gotten older, so I’m 52 right now, I think. And every like X number of years, I feel like I really have gotten more and more confident in my own skin. And I think that it’s just one of those things that happens as we age there’s part of us that says, “oh, well, as you get older, as you move into midlife, you become invisible.”
But I think that invisibility or that lack of pressure on appearing a certain way, and when I say appearing that could be physically or it could also be generally in life that when we take the pressure off of who we need to be, that we have as younger women, that it really opens up for a lot of women my age and older, that it’s like, “who cares? I’m too old for this chis.”
Emily: Yeah, and how freeing, right? How freeing to be able to embrace that. I’ve talked to a lot of people lately who are 50 plus, and they have all said that, that as they have continued to age, that they’ve also experienced that and the level of freedom that you can have. And then, it’s so funny because I would imagine that you get to that and then you look back going, “why didn’t I just show up this way before?” Like, “what was I so worried about, right?”
Elizabeth: Yeah. Yeah, 100%. And it’s almost like when you look at past pictures of yourself and it’s interesting that we were talking about compassion because you know how you can look at past pictures of yourself and I’m going to tie this back to my body in just a second. And we see pictures of our younger selves and we’re like, why was I so hard on myself? My body was beautiful or whatever it was that I was struggling with. It actually turned out okay and not only did it turn out okay, but I’m really happy with where I am today.
And what’s really interesting is since I’ve moved to Mexico, I have not had a scale. I threw my weight scale away and I was talking to a client just the other day. And she was like, you still take pictures of yourself? And yes, I do. I still take pictures of myself every month just to make sure that when you look in the mirror that my body isn’t changing and I’m not lying to myself.
But anyway, my point in telling you about this is as I look back at older pictures of myself from when I first moved here, I still have that; if I could go back in four years and tell her that everything was going to be okay, I would, and I have that compassion for the younger version of myself. And what’s really fascinating about that is I can now actually even move that dial closer to where I am today, because I can look at pictures of me from last month and have that same type of compassion, I haven’t gotten to present day yet, but it’s getting a lot closer.
Emily: I love that and that’s huge, that’s massive growth right there. Yeah, I actually did, and I should probably repost it because it’s been months. But months ago, I did a side-by-side of a photo from three years ago compared to a photo of me last fall.
Elizabeth: I remember, I saw that.
Emily: Oh, did you see that one? Okay yeah, and it wasn’t your normal before and after I was not comparing my body at all, it was just in my face, and I was wearing hardly any makeup and both photos. There was no editing, none of the above, and I stayed at that, and my hair even looked different, but I was like, I haven’t colored it, this is just from the sun, all of these things.
And ultimately what I was saying in the caption was that transformation comes within, from within, because when I look at that version of myself and the photo was taken before I found out about the about six months before I found out about the nine-year affair, it was actually the day that I quit my corporate job as well and everything is set in my eyes. And it’s so funny because I feel like I’ve lived five lifetimes in those three years.
I don’t even know how else to describe it, actually Elizabeth, that picture that you saw, I think that the other thing that was really obvious in that photo, in the photo comparison was that I was practically glowing in the more recent one compared to the other one, I just looked dull and little bit scared.
Elizabeth: So, you had mentioned at one point talking about having a relationship and not really being sure about, does that person like me or not? And what that reminded me of, and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes is I was watching a video of Tom Bilyeu who is for “Impact Theory”, and he was interviewing this woman named Vanessa Van Edwards, who runs organization called the science of people.
And she was talking about what she called ambivalent relationships, which was fascinating. So, these are the people, she distinguished between, we know toxic relationships and we know that when we’re in a relationship with someone that we don’t like, that we steer clear from them. If they ask us to lunch, we’re like no hard pass.
But that there are these other people who were like on the fence with, and we’re not sure like, are they on my side or are they not on my side? They’ll say something and it’ll be, like, wait a minute, did they just slight me? And what’s really interesting about that was the question that she asked, because Tom asked the question of how do we know who these relationships are? And she said, do those people have your back?
Emily: Oh, I think that’s a great question because that’s rooted in evolution because we had to be able to trust the people closest to us or we would literally die and we still have that same reaction in our brains when we’ve all had the experience of somebody backstabbing us, or talking about us behind our back, or something like that.
And the other thing is that when we hear, I don’t know about you Elizabeth, but when I hear somebody say to me, when they’re talking shit about somebody that they know, or maybe it’s a mutual friend or whatever. It is a mutual friend, I will have even a different reaction because then I will actually like, we defend whoever we’re talking about.
But my immediate thought is, if you’re saying this to me about them, you’re definitely talking about me to other people too. So now, I’m very conscious of it. I think that years ago when I was like younger, I did this maybe a little bit more subconsciously that I just wouldn’t tell them quite as much because I can’t trust them. And I think we’ve all experienced this when somebody is showing us a certain side of themselves that we maybe don’t love, even if it’s not actually directly harmful or hurtful to us, it gives us an indication about who they are as a human.
And those are the kinds of things that we need to pay attention to. Not that people can’t change either. So, I do very much believe in the good in people and that people can change. So, I don’t write people off forever if they make some mistakes or do some things that I don’t like or agree with or something like that. But I do think that it’s something to bear in mind. It gives necessary information that we need to know.
Elizabeth: Yeah, and what you’re talking about really is vulnerability. And you danced around it earlier when we were talking about connection and authenticity but really, we’re talking about allowing people into that circle, allowing our vulnerability to show. And when we have that vulnerability, it means that we trust and we know that person, not that people can really hurt us. We know that it’s all our own thoughts that create the hurt, but maybe make us feel betrayed or whatever it is.
Emily: Yeah, and vulnerability is just so important. And yes, there are always going to be arguments to be made about we need to be discerning about who we are vulnerable with. And I’m not arguing that point because I do think that’s again incredibly valid from an evolutionary perspective. We don’t want to be sharing our dark secrets with every stranger on the internet, that’s just not a wise move for anybody.
But I think that once you have establish enough of a connection with someone, let’s say a romantic partner, maybe even if it’s maybe not a relatively, you maybe haven’t been together for a super long time, but you’re hoping to deepen the connection. There are so many moments in every relationship, platonic, or romantic that our instinct will be to close. And you can feel it once you start to look for it, you can actually feel it in your body.
If somebody says something to you that maybe just slights you, but it’s not intentional at all, it’s not even meant in a hurtful way. It’s something that just maybe it triggers you, maybe you have something in your past that they said something completely innocent. But it triggers something for you.
That is your responsibility and ultimately our reactions are always our responsibility. But when those moments come up and we feel ourselves close, one of the things that I teach people is to open instead. Because that is where the juiciness is, that’s where love is, that’s where connection is in those moments when we open, when we want to close.
And I would almost argue that in a lot of those moments, that it’s the moments when you want to close, that you need to open the most. And I’m not saying that it’s always going to turn out with sunshine and rainbows. Like maybe you do open to someone close to you, you show them a piece of your heart and they reject it or judge you for it.
That’s still giving you information then, about that relationship. So, I would not hold regret over that because it’s still giving you information that you were probably going to figure out at one point or another. It may be just got you there a little sooner. But the other thing that can happen when you open is, that is the magic that happens as a result.
And you ended up having a deep vulnerable conversation with somebody. You allow them to get to know you better, you probably will get to know them better at the same time. And you end up feeling so much closer and it can be a life-changing experience. And those are the moments that I want people to experience more of is when you feel like closing to open instead, and to be a little bit vulnerable, to not make assumptions to not hold judgment against the other person, and to not assume that they’re trying to hurt you.
Because again, there are people who argue with me about this. I personally don’t believe that most humans are out to get us. I’m very much of the belief that humans ultimately are good, that most humans are good at their core, and everyone wants connection.
And it doesn’t mean that everyone you come across again is going to be the right fit for you. And yes, there has to be a bit of a weeding out system and that can be painful because that involves rejection and maybe feeling abandonment and all of those things, some things that can be triggered from childhood or past relationships. But when we open instead of close, everything changes.
Elizabeth: What I hear you saying is, I don’t know that you’ve said the word, but I keep thinking about safety. , when we think about safety, are we talking about, again, safety in our own self or is it safety in a relationship?
Emily: It’s both because we can’t always be looking to our partner to create our entire sense of safety. So, yes, we still need to cultivate safety and security for ourselves emotionally and otherwise, emotionally, physically, all the things. But a healthy relationship still has to have a sense of underlying security, and stability, and safety for it to thrive and for it to grow, and both parties need that.
So, it’s something that is cultivated over time, connection deepens, and love deepens with time. And as you get to know somebody more and all of those things, but none of that will happen without those moments of opening, instead of closing to create that safety. But we absolutely need safety in the context of our relationships, but sometimes we have to ask ourselves some hard questions, because if we’re looking to our partner to create the entire sense of safety for us, both in the relationship and as an individual, that’s a problem because that’s way too much pressure on the other person, that’s way too much pressure in the relationship.
We have to take responsibility for ourselves and then work in partnership with the other person to create that sense of safety for both parties, for the relationship to thrive.
Elizabeth: Yeah. When we’re talking about connection, are there different levels of connection? Let’s talk about that a little bit more in depth. What do you define as connection?
Emily: Well, that’s a good question. I feel as though, connection is a mutually beneficial relationship. I’m trying to think of this from different angles, because you can also have connection with, for example, somebody who is a podcast host, they’re all kinds of people that will reach out to me and I’ve never spoken to them before. They feel deeply connected to me because they have me in their ears and I’m talking about some things that they really relate to on a deep level. So, they feel deeply connected to me.
So, I’m trying to think of a definition of connection that would encompass that type of connection as well as all the way to the other end of the spectrum, like romantic partner connection. But there is still a mutual benefit even in the podcast host example because I’m putting the podcast out there hoping that it reaches someone.
So, I am so connected to them, I just might not have as much of a conscious awareness of the individual who is listening, unless they reach out to, to tell me.
Elizabeth: As you’re talking, what I’m sensing is actually going back to safety. As a podcast host and as a listener, but listener feels safe with the content of the podcast hosts. And as the podcast host, I feel safe that my content is being received and that I’m not going to get hate mail for it or that some people are going to find it valuable. So, yeah, I think that there’s some sort of safety and value in that relationship.
Emily: It could be. Yeah, value. I would maybe even use more a little bit, if we’re speaking in more general terms. I feel like I would have a little bit of a different definition depending on if it was like a close romantic relationship. But we can have a connection with somebody that is maybe a strictly business relationship, where we might not actually like each other very much, but we can respect each other and gain value from the relationship. So, there might not be a ton of safety in that relationship, but there is value in it. So, yeah, it’s a tough question to answer because I feel like the overall definition would vary depending on the context of the relationship.
But I actually want to think about that more because I do want to come up with a definition that I feel like with encompass all of the things.
Elizabeth: Yeah, and I think that maybe even different people like connection isn’t like many things, it isn’t a destination, right? It’s a practice, it’s a process, it’s an ongoing discipline potentially even.
Emily: Yeah, because there is a lot of work that has to be poured into any relationship if you want to thrive. Yes, we all have people who are like outliers in our worlds maybe that we don’t talk to regularly, but we could reach out and like, “Elizabeth, you and I haven’t talked like on a call like this for at least I think a year or close to it.”
Yeah, so that’s something that we can always think about, but relationships do take work. They don’t just happen overnight and there has to be effort put in on both sides. There needs to be some level of consistency, if we want a relationship that’s going to actually thrive with a closer relationship. And it is ultimately about knowing that the other person has your back communicating your needs.
I talked a little bit about emotional translating or emotional alchemy as well. And two people, two individuals, no matter the context of the relationship are never going to speak exactly the same language. Even if you both speak English, we’re always still speaking different languages because we’re approaching every relationship, every conversation, every aspect of her life with our own unique biography, and experiences, and childhoods, and all of these different things mixed with the unique human that we are, and all those things fuel how we communicate.
So, when we’re communicating with somebody else, we can have the words come out of our mouth, that we would understand. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to be received exactly the same way on the other end and vice versa.
So, we have to learn to become a bit of an emotional translator to get to know people enough that we can understand how to communicate with them in a way that they best understand and how to communicate with others, how we best understand in order to create something really healthy that both parties feel seen and heard.
Elizabeth: Yeah. You made me think about, there are different people in your life, if you don’t talk to them for a period of time, and then, you connect again after a year, six months, whatever, everything is great. But then you have other people who you feel tension if you haven’t talked to them in whatever your prescribed period of time is.
Emily: Totally. I’ve had this conversation with several people lately about how you can go months or even years is that not speaking to somebody. And then, you pick up right where you left off. And those are the really strong, foundational friendships that are to be treasured. Like, I love when we get to have those kinds of relationships with people and sometimes people will grow, change, evolve in two different directions and you’re no longer a good fit and that’s okay.
I think that it’s more about being accepting of letting them go as opposed to hanging on to who you think they should be for you. That’s part of the problem and that’s where the pain is, it’s the resistance to change is where we feel the pain.
Elizabeth: Oh, beautiful. So yeah, what you’re saying is when we’re putting rules or expectations on who that person is, because that’s how they were in third grade, right? And they always have to be that way and you’re not allowing them to evolve and grow and yeah, “oh, that’s so beautiful, I love it.”
Emily: Yeah. So, relationships fall apart, and it is why we experienced the most pain is that somebody disappoints us because they’re not living up to who we wanted them to be or who we needed them to be. And they turn out to be somebody else and they’re like, “this is not what I signed up for! This is the person that I thought you were supposed to be, for me!”
Elizabeth: Yes. Oh, wow! Yeah, that all like ties together because that person may not be showing up as their authentic self because they feel that judgment or those expectations put on them and they’re like, I can’t disappoint this person, so therefore, I’m just going to hide this part of myself from them. Therefore, blocking connection, it all ties together.
Emily: It does, and in my nine year relationship, that was a big part. That was one of several parts where I needed to take a lot of responsibility for that aspect in order to move forward. Because I was always like a big personality, but I chose to water myself down a little bit to maintain the integrity of the relationship. I use “integrity,” given the situation fairly loosely, but integrity on my side or at least so I thought but that I wasn’t being true to myself because I was deciding I was making active choices to put the relationship first. And that’s a problem because that is where connection goes to die.
So, we have to show up as who we are and let the chips fall. But the other side of the coin is that we have to allow the same for others. We don’t get to do that and then not allow anybody else to do it. Like I get to be who I want to be, but you need to be who I want you to be. That’s not how it works.
Elizabeth: Perfect! Well, Emily, if someone likes what you’ve been saying, and they want to work with you, how can they do that?
Emily: For sure, yeah. So, mostly I’m only working one-on-one with people right now. So, you can absolutely reach out, you can check out the room to grow podcasts, get a better feel for some of the things that I talk about as well. And you can always reach out on Instagram, I went for it, Emily Gough Coach, Gough is like cough with the G. Yeah, emilygoughcoaching.com, all of the places and we can have a chat.
Elizabeth: Awesome. Well, thank you for being on the show and thank you for sharing everything with all of the people. It’s just, you’re amazing.
Emily: Oh my gosh, thank you so much for having me, it was a pleasure.
Elizabeth: So, there you have it. I wanted to have Emily on the podcast today because in a world where we are so hyper-connected through our phones and the internet. We seem to be more disconnected from those people that we loved more than ever. And I think that the biggest standout in this entire episode is when Emily said that if we want connection with others, we need to connect with ourselves.
Well, that was just huge. And if we want belonging, that’s an inside job, we need to feel like we belong. If connecting with yourself so that you can connect with others is something that you want. I highly recommend that you either reach out to Emily through her website or on Instagram, both are in the show notes or that you check out the Feel Good Sisterhood.
It’s my six month group coaching program that will start next month. And you can get on the waitlist at elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching, that’s all one word, because often when we’re looking for something to fill us up, we go to food to fill it. So, whatever you decide, just do something.
That’s all I have for you today. Have an amazing week everyone and I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out the Feel Good Sisterhood. It’s my small group coaching program where we take all this material, and we apply it. We figure out what works for us, and we don’t ever look at another diet ever again.
Join me over at elizabethsherman.com/groupcoaching. I’d love to have you join me in the Feel Good Sisterhood. See you there.