Insight Mind Body Talk

Unleashing Internalized Misogyny: Mindfulness for Women with guest, Mare Chapman

December 19, 2021 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 1 Episode 24
Insight Mind Body Talk
Unleashing Internalized Misogyny: Mindfulness for Women with guest, Mare Chapman
Show Notes Transcript

Mare Chapman, mindfulness-based psychotherapist, mindfulness teacher, consultant, and author building on 40 years of clinical experience and 30 years of studying and practicing mindfulness, joins Jess on Insight Mind Body Talk. They discuss women's mental health and how cultural conditioning trains women to disconnect from their authenticity, thereby by losing their voice and power.  Mare shares how mindfulness can be applied to unleash internalized misogyny so women can live fully empowered, vibrant, and healthy lives.

Continue Learning

Produced by Jessica Warpula Schultz
Music by Jason A. Schultz
Edited by Jessica Warpula Schultz

Insight Mind Body Talk. Also, check out our e-courses!

[00:00:00] Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. 

 Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk. My name is Jess and I'm glad you're here. [00:01:00] Today is an episode long in the making. The moment I knew I was moving forward with Insight Mind Body Talk I wanted to have this guest on our show. She's that amazing. I'm honored to introduce you to Mare Chapman.

Mare is a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, mindfulness teache,r consultant, and author building on 40 years of clinical experience and 30 years of studying and practicing mindfulness. She's devoted to understanding how cultural conditioning trains women to disconnect from their authenticity, thereby by losing their voice and power and how mindfulness can be applied to transform these habits so women can live fully empowered, vibrant, and healthy lives. Her recently published book, Unshakable Confidence: the Freedom to Be Our Authentic Selves, Mindfulness for Women a [00:02:00] book. I have recommended to several clients since attending a workshop of Mare's in 2019, is based on the class she's been teaching to women here in Madison, Wisconsin for over 20 years. 

Mare. I'm so grateful to have you on our show. Thank you for being here. Oh, Jess, thank you so much for having me here. It's just wonderful to have this talk about, this chat about this and, and, uh, so, so grateful that you wanted me to be on with you.

It's so lovely. Of course, of course. Um, well, you don't know this, but it's not a very well kept secret amongst my clients that I am a super fan of yours. When I attended your seminar about bringing mindfulness into the clinical setting, I just learned so much and I use your drop-in meditation and your brain's meditation with my clients on a regular basis.

Uh, in fact, I was so moved by that workshop. I [00:03:00] went home and I laminated everything. Every handout was laminated like that weekend and I actually still have the, of. I still have "the four noble truths" taped to my kitchen cabinet and I read them almost daily when I'm taking my vitamin. Ah, that is awesome.

Just, yeah. Right. I know such important principle is to remember right. To help us, you know, see our lives clearly. And, and I'm hope from these habits of our conditioning. Yeah. Yeah. That's true. Oh, good. Good. Well, I mean your book for me, I've read it on and off since 2019. And I go back to it because it's really become a source of reassurance for me.

And I have even brought in that book into my own therapy with my therapist and referred to it and, and discussed it. And, you know, whenever I start feeling that guilt of putting myself first or, um, I'm noticing [00:04:00] the cultural conditioning around me, I really looked to your book. As a ways, you know, like a reminder, it feels like, you know, there's in a way a promise that I'm not making this up and that there are other people who are experiencing it and that we can continue and should continue to challenge the patriarchy and internalized misogyny.

And I mean, at least I need that because it's exhausting. It's exhausting to do that work every day. And. I go back to that book and it really speaks to my heart, to what is true and right. For myself and for other women. So thank you for putting that out there for all of us. Okay. Oh, just, you know, it's just, it warms my heart to hear you say this because, um, you know, this, this work, this book really is my life's passion and, um, And so just to know that, you know, you are [00:05:00] using it, that it really helps you, that you're bringing it into your work with other people, even into your own therapy.

And, um, you know, what could be more satisfying for. An author, your, the book, correct? Well, I mean, it's wonderful read, so I recommend it to everyone and we'll go back and forth to, you know, a lot of, like you said that your life's work. So a lot of those same themes and topics we'll, we'll get to in the podcast today.

So I'm just so excited to put it out there for our community and for anyone with. So we learned in the introduction that you've been a therapist for over 40 years and 30 plus years of teaching and practicing mindfulness. I love hearing from different therapists that we've had on the podcast, how they discovered their areas of interests.

So would you mind sharing a little bit of your story and how you came to this work? Sure. Um,

Well, I think what's always been true for me or [00:06:00] at least from a very young age, is that I got pretty clear that it is our mind that creates our heaven and our hell. Um, so, um, really from, I think earlier high school, I was wanting to learn about the mind and our thoughts and what are they? Um, It's been going into college and taking psychology classes, you know, even more interested, um, and, um, you know, on and on picking a career path, living my life.

Um, but it wasn't really, until I was pregnant with my first child, my son. Um, when I woke up to the cultural conditioning, um, that I think happens for, you know, every single woman, um, living in this country and in this world, basically, which is so patriarchal, oh, my mother sent me better for dance, um, book, um, a feminine mystique.

[00:07:00] I read it while I was pregnant and I thought, oh my gosh, I have, I have blocked the cultural conditioning, line and sinker. And I just knew from that moment on, you know, that I believe in women's equality and that I was a feminist and this was absolutely essential, um, to my, um, being. And I think along with that also knowing for a long time that just the issue of power, um, is so important to be clear of.

You know, has been so abused and misused. And when we're talking about the patriarchy, it's, you know, it's the male gender that has been in the dominant position for thousands and thousands of years and, um, domination requires subordination. And so there's just automatically, you know, um, On equal power base, which is oppressive.

Um, do everyone actually, this, this though, isn't the dominant [00:08:00] position, um, you know, get the rule with your views. So that was just, you know, really stood out for me clearly. Um, and then moving forward, um, It might one of my early jobs working in the public mental health system. I was the director of a program that's now called the Yahara House, um, unit of the mental health center of Dane County.

And I was in the middle management position and being the director of this particular program. And I just witnessed myself repeatedly giving my power away to my bosses, even though I disagreed with them, even though I had a clear vision of what we wanted to create, I observed myself doing. And would not stop myself.

And I would become angry at myself because I saw myself doing this. Um, but I seem to have no control over that habit. Um, so it showed up [00:09:00] in my life too, but I just began to observe that as I woke up to. The patterns of my mind, um, more clearly. And, um, so that sent me on a path really to try to find a method for working with our mind.

And I, I studied with two other very prominent spiritual perspectives, um, that had a meditation practice in it because somehow I thought somehow meditation must be something right. But it wasn't until I sat my first insight meditation retreat, that cultivates mindfulness, that I really found the method that I thought made the most sense to me.

Um, because the whole intention of mindfulness, as I understand it is to free your mind from the habits of our conditioning. So we can actually access our true nature and our wisdom and our open and loving heart, our authentic self. Um, so that was really [00:10:00] the beginning of following. Yeah. Wow. So some key pieces along the way, right?

Some important discoveries, you know, which brings us to talking today about freeing women from internalized oppression, allowing them, you know, to be their authentic selves. Before we move on, though. I, I would like to take a moment to recognize that we are speaking about this from a female perspective.

You know, Mare, you shared with me that your work orients towards people who identify as female and works to acknowledge the historical intergenerational experiences of oppression against people who were assigned female at birth. You know, we at Insight Mind Body Talk, I know you Mare, we. We'll work to be as inclusive as possible and the work we do in the world.

And so I would like to take this moment to acknowledge this humans. All of our minds have [00:11:00] been unavoidably conditioned, as you've said to me. Yep. And we hope all persons listening will be able to identify with what you're saying because gender conditioning and internalized oppression is so perfect.

It's so pervasive. Just, it is it's so deep often, you know, that we don't recognize that actually, um, you know, upbringing. Oh, go for it. I was just going to say a common comment that I get when I begin to teach my 10 session class. Um, on applying mindfulness to our, our internalized misogyny is that women will say, oh my gosh, what you're talking about, what my mind does all the time.

And no one has ever said this before. I thought it was just me. That was whacked out and messed up. But I'm seeing now that I was like, whoa, this is what we do. Yeah, I have clients who react the same way when I start and we'll get into othering women discussing the concept of othering or over [00:12:00] responsibility, time and time.

Again, people are so grateful for having an explanation for what's been going on inside of them. And also I think. It helps us non identify with it. Right. It helps us realize that this is outside of ourselves, that this isn't something that we're doing wrong. That what we have been maybe feeling is negative self-talk or self hate in some ways.

In many ways is the conditioning of our culture oppressing us to believe this about ourselves. Absolutely. Right. Yes. Yep. So we're here, let's name the issue. When we talked about, you know, why we wanted to have this episode and what would be most important? You brought up the idea of naming, you know, why all of this work exists is that women experience two to three times more anxiety and depression than men.

Yes, which breaks my heart. Even saying it out loud. It's so sad. So sad. [00:13:00] Yeah. Why do you think this is mayor? Like why do you think that those rates are so much higher? And you know, when we met before discussing the episode, you said throughout your career, that's never changed. You've never seen that. I check those statistics frequently, almost annually to see if they're changing at all and they have not changed at all.

Um, and I, I certainly, this is not because as a gender, we are, um, weaker or there's something the matter with us. I think it's totally due to the air conditioning, totally due to the fact that we internalize the misogynistic messages of the patriarchy and the. Teaches us to believe on some very deep, mostly unconscious level.

That there's something the matter with us, we're not enough in some way, we're flawed in some way. Um, and it trains us to [00:14:00] aim to try to be perfect to correct that, um, perfect in the eyes of others. Um, so I think what happens as we internalize these messages. They get into us quite insidiously for the most part, sometimes blatantly, but often it's quite insidiously is that our sense of ourselves becomes wounded.

Um, we develop a view of ourselves that we're not enough. Um, and so, um, we cannot validate our own experience then as being, um, um, normal as being appropriate. Instead we learned to put our. To the outside, into others in the hopes that they will affirm that we're extractable, that we're lovable, that we're worthwhile.

And so this teaches us to always be moving our attention away from ourselves to that other person, whoever it might be, you know, our boss, our teacher, our neighbor, or friend, [00:15:00] or parent or partner. Um, and in the hopes that if we are just. Pleasing enough to them. If we just do a good enough job of taking care of them and responding to them, um, that they'll validate us and then we'll be safe and secure and then we can relax with ourselves.

So it creates this habit of othering creates a kind of, um, constant, very uncomfortable. Self-consciousness kind of always wondering, am I doing okay with. Are you all right with me right now? Did I just say something that wasn't so good? Did I do something that wasn't right or, you know, we're always kind of assessing and wondering how we're doing with the other, and that creates this kind of constant state of anxiety.

And, um, along with those beliefs, that there's something the matter with me on damaged goods, I should be different. The whole lot of negative self-talk, um, comparisons judgements. That [00:16:00] add up to making us feel, not good about ourselves and we don't want to live safe. That's right. And you know, I'm a big fan of polyvagal theory.

If we don't feel safe, if our brains and bodies don't feel safe, we are continually in a sympathetic state, which can feel much like anxiety or we all are in dorsal vehicle, which can feel much like depression. And our resources are continually going towards, and those neural pathways are going towards what can I do to find that safety?

And when we don't know that we've been conditioned to look for that safety outside of ourselves, we don't even see it. We think that's the path. And, you know, as we're talking to me, even thinking a lot about how, just in regular psychotherapy, we go. Too often, our childhood I'm I'm, I'm a big proponent and the inner child.

So I'm not displacing that, but we're still othering in a way we're still going towards [00:17:00] what person changed me at some point that then I'm, you know, shaped who I was to be able to have that safety. So we're looking at othering going so far back into early developmental stages. Sure. I mean, we all are.

All genders learn that we have to as tiny little beings coming into the world, we are so vulnerable. And so dependent on our caregivers. It's only smart of us to learn, to pay attention to them and to figure out, you know, how do I need to be in order to get their love and support and approval and their kindness and their care.

So, um, we all learn this, but then research really shows that right around the age of. There begins to be quite a shift between the genders. Um, at that point, boys begin to develop their confidence and, um, begin to build up their esteem goes the other way. Unfortunately, for girls, um, this habit of othering becomes [00:18:00] even more solidly in place.

And our connection with our authentic experience goes even deeper, underground. Um, So I was, you know, I was watching a video online the other day, where someone was filming, you know, a group of teenagers. And she said, you know, the, the person with her camera was, you know, commenting on how she walked into a room with her children and their friends.

And it's amazing. Group of gender. And she said, you know, who's hungry. Who wants me to order pizza? And the, you know, people who identify as men, they just shoot their hand up immediately. They know if they're hungry or not. Right. Right. I know. I know if I'm hungry, I want pizza or no, I'm good. Then the young women in the group look around to each other and to the men to defer, to decide if yes, it's appropriate to be hungry right now.

Or should I not be hungry? You know, what a [00:19:00] turning away of our innate wisdom and, and trust in ourself. And it, and it happened in milliseconds milliseconds, and they didn't know they were doing it, you know it right. Yeah. Right, right. And you know what I think it's, you know, the way it works is, you know, our minds develop these neuro grooves he's conditioned patterns.

Right. Um, create these very deep pathways of response. And so one of the effects of always attending to the other person first, always thinking about them, always wondering about them, worrying about them, fantasizing about them, means that as you're doing that, you're not aware of your. Um, you know, wherever your own body or what's going on with you.

And so over time we just lose connection with what's happening in our bodies. Um, or if we do know and what our bodies need are inconvenient in the moment to the other, we tend to [00:20:00] override that. So, yeah. You know, in your book, you write when we're lost in others, we're not aware of our authentic experience.

Consequently, we become unknown to ourselves, often unclear about what we really want feel or think we get cut off from our intuition, innate wisdom and intelligence. We react according to sheds the mind's story of how we think we're supposed to be. We may say yes, when we don't want to pretend we're feeling things we aren't feeling or want things we don't really want.

And we lose our center, the anchor to ourself, and we become lost in the other. We may feel an ache or emptiness and missing ourselves. Our striving for perfection is an ever raising bar. We can never achieve it. This bondage to perfection, profoundly [00:21:00] limits our relationships and keeps us stuck in the cycle of suffering.

So why, why do you think women's struggle to remain as you say on their own side? No matter what, you know, let's talk a little bit more about internalized misogyny and the messages that we're getting in case our listeners. Haven't heard, you know, the title of this episode is unleashing internalized misogyny, mindfulness for women in case they don't know what that concept means.

Internalized misogyny. How would you explain it?

Well, um,

no misogyny. And I have to also say just into the side, it's such a relief to be able to be using this word out loud now in our world. Um, you know, really I think up until the me too movement and, and the horrible other things [00:22:00] that have happened since then, which I won't name, um, Um, that word was not, was hardly ever used in our vocabulary.

So, um, it's a relief to have it named, um, because really we can't change anything about how we are or about how our society is until we become aware of it. So the way I understand how internalized misogyny works is that, um, patriotic. Men are dominant. Um, men get the, uh, call the shots, um, men assume privilege basically.

Um, um,

and in turn the other gender, um, the female gender is viewed as, um, dependent as, um, weak as, um, erratic. Often, [00:23:00] um, as, um, you know, too emotional, um, we get these messages that, uh, from the dominant group that were not acceptable, that we are except as, um, an attractive object to, you know, have sexual relationships with.

Um, and except as a character. For the children that were there, but those are really our primary functions, our primary role in the culture and have been for thousands of years. Um, and so there's just so many ways that these messages that we don't measure up, but we're not as important, not as worthwhile, not as valuable, not as significant, not as intense.

Um, as men gets in us, gets in our minds. I remember reading at a certain point that, um, [00:24:00] women used to be the reason that women used to be viewed by the patriarchy as not as intelligent as men is because our heads are smaller. Therefore our brains must be smaller. Therefore, we must not be as smart. I mean, so there's a lot of really wild thinking.

Yeah. But what does happen is that just these ideas get in us in a very, um, unconscious way. I think just, and we just learn subtly to hold ourselves back. We learned subtly to, um, uh, you know, keep ourselves quiet. Um, we learned to defer, defer all the time to the other, and I think. Our sense of security, you know, it's and I don't think that, you know, misogyny.

I mean, it can be definitely it can be outright, but I think it also starts happening when there's this [00:25:00] idea that, you know, the byproducts of this societal view, the views you're talking about start causing shame and doubt within women. And we begin to undervalue ourselves and undervalue, you know, others of their, you know, of their gender.

And I think it's difficult to identify. As an independent, as we think we are. I think there's many people have preconceived notions about how a woman should exist, that stem from societal expectations and gender norms. And it's really important to be conscious of this and to be conscious of our own thoughts and ideas.

But also we're talking about being conscious of it in regards to ourself, you know, personally for me, I think I find myself projecting massage. I find myself projecting internalized misogyny, much more onto myself than I do other women, you know, it's a lot easier. To raise other women up. And yet, then I find myself judging my own self [00:26:00] because maybe I'm being too assertive, which is considered aggressive.

Maybe I have too much ambition, maybe as their taker. I'm not supposed to put myself out there this much. I'm just supposed to quietly be in the background, sacrificing, sacrificing with low pay, with no benefits. With, and I'm not talking about my current situation. I'm talking about even how we treat women just overall in our fields and, you know, or I worry, I have, I talk too much or I have too many ideas and maybe that bothers people and, and, you know, even in like groups of other colleagues sometimes.

I do that double checking after I meet with everyone. Oh, did I talk too much? Did I seem to think, like I knew what I was talking about? Did I make space for enough people, which are good things to think about in regards to balance, but I've spent a lot of brain time in my, in my 40 some years thinking about how much I'm impacting other people.

And if [00:27:00] that's okay. Right. Oh, Jess, I think that is so, you know, so common in our conditioning that we're second guessing ourselves or imagining what the other person might be thinking about us. And much of the time, what we imagine isn't positive, you know, it's our own sort of worries our own sort of self criticisms, our own shoulds about how we think we're supposed to be.

You said, you said that we project out there. So yeah. And all of the time that we spend worrying and wondering about the other. How they're viewing us, um, you know, we're, we're caught up in those, those patterns and those habits, and then, you know, oh, go for it and just sit. Okay. But come back to your thought, but just, you know, one thing that neuroscience has really been teaching us, um, is that our brains are super flexible.

Our brains are really responsive to experience and, um, [00:28:00] Sort of the conclusion is what, wherever we practice grows stronger in the brain, this is how these neural grooves get created, the condition parents get created. Um, and I think what's important to realize is that we're practicing every moment that we're alive.

You know, it's not just in these moments where we're meditating, we're trying to practice in a way that will help our mind and brain for practicing all the time. Um, so. It's really important to wake up to these habits of our conditioning. Um, see them just as habits, not who we actually are. And, um, as much as we possibly can encourage ourselves to come back to our present moment experience, come back to our authentic experience and practice, um, respecting ourselves and accepting ourselves.

what does that look like? Let's move into that practice into mindfulness. You [00:29:00] know, how do we take back our power? How do we do that through cultivating mindfulness and self-compassion and, and things of that nature? Where do we begin? Well, first of all, I think it's really helpful to, to understand this view that you mentioned already, but I'll say it again, that all of our minds become conduct.

No one can grow up without our minds developing habitual ways of perceiving reality of biasing, our view of reality. So that's, if we can understand that that's really important. And it's also also important to understand that the Onder condition mind is our unconditioned mind. Sometimes this is called our true nature, our higher self, um, our Buddha nature.

Um, And our unconditioned mind is stable and [00:30:00] wise and spacious and kind and loving and generous. It's who we really are. And we can think of the habits of our condition. Sometimes are, are our unconditioned mind is like into the blue sky. If you think about the blue sky, you know, it's just vast, it's open.

It is always here. Stable. And we could think about our conditioned mind as being like the difficult weather that moves in the storm. Clouds that move in the heavy fog that moves in. And when we're caught, when we're experiencing difficult weather, our habit is to get absorbed into that difficult weather, that particular angry mood or that feeling of shame or anxiety or self doubt.

And when we're. In that particular difficulty, we forget that the blue sky is always there and beyond this storm. So in a way I think of mindfulness [00:31:00] as being a practice that allows us to become more aware without taking it personally of the storms that are moving in, learn how to relate to that difficult experience, that difficult weather.

And we're learning how to relate to that in the stable and wise way. We get access to our wisdom. We get more and more access to our blue sky nature to our unconditioned mind. Um, so it's all about practice and it's all about bringing our attention into the present moment, this very moment that we're alive in and establishing our attention in this moment.

And then we are learning to observe what we're actually experiencing in this moment. But we're thinking in our mind or a feeling in the body, what we're seeing and smelling and tasting hearing, and we're learning to pay attention to that experience [00:32:00] with tons of curiosity, was this, like, how am I experiencing this right now?

Not analytical curiosity, but what am I experiencing? How am I experiencing it really investigating it. We're also learning to accept that. Whatever it is rather than resisted, um, or judge it. Um, we're also learning to relate to it in a kind compassionate, friendly way. This is the self-compassion piece for practicing, not identifying with it, not taking it personally.

We're just seeing it as, oh, this is what's happening right now. We're observing. Um, with kindness, um, what we're experiencing right now and learning to relate to our experience that way we begin to get to know ourselves. We begin to see more clearly when we're pulled into this habit of othering. When we're pulled instructing ourselves, we're pulled into [00:33:00] comparing ourselves when we're shaming ourselves, and we learn how to on its own, there are shaming happening right now.

How my experience. What's the story in my mind. Oh, that thing I just said is the most ridiculous, stupid thing. Now, everyone thinking this about me. Oh, how could I have done that? Okay. There's a story, right? There's a story. What does it feel like in my body right now? Hmm. There's kind of a pit in my stomach.

What's that pit like? Oh, it's this certain size. It kind of goes in a few inches. Is it hot? It's kind of cool. It's not hot. We investigate that sensation. And we learned to open to that sensation, even though it's unpleasant giving it lots of space. And then if we can ask as we're relating to our experience that way, okay.

Given what's happening, what's a wise and kind way to respond to myself in this moment, or what do I really need in this moment from myself [00:34:00] that helps those connect to our wisdom, to our true nature. And over time as we practice relating to ourselves in this way, We get to learn. We get to know ourselves more.

We become a friend to ourselves. We begin to trust our experience to begin to know that it is always valid, even though it may be uncomfortable, it may be difficult, but our own present moment experience is always valid and worthy of our kind and wise attention, simply because this is what we're experiencing in this.

And that builds competence in ourselves. You know, that builds trust in ourselves that we can know ourselves, that we can learn to relate to ourselves. Even when our experience is very difficult and painful, to stay on our own side and not turn against ourselves and disconnect them ourselves. And that's so important to do this work.

It's, [00:35:00] it's so important to stay connected to who we are and what our authentic experience is. You know, when you spoke, I remember you when I went to your workshop, I remember you talking about how human beings, you know, let's just be real. You know, pleasurable experiences, neutral experiences and unpleasant experiences.

And boy, do we work really hard to avoid unpleasant and even the neutral neutral can even be difficult. We work really hard to have those pleasant experiences, and I hear you in a way, given. You know, the skill of, you know, that brains meditation recognizing and accepting, investigating with curiosity, bringing, you know, remembering that these emotions or experiences or thoughts are not a reflection of who we are.

Right. Right. And then digging a little more deeply about the beliefs that are happening [00:36:00] about the body sensations that are happening. And so many times I have referred. To who we are is the vast blue sky since that workshop. That's great. And the idea, or even Rumi, you know, the guest house, right? These emotions are just passing through.

That's great. And mindfulness is truly a tool. As you've said to poke holes in those clouds, to remember our unconditioned self, our pure self who is worthy, who is good enough and right. Who is capable of working with these difficult experiences, because I think that's the internalized misogyny in a way is that we don't so many women I work with don't believe they can withstand their own emotions.

So they do everything they can to avoid being present with their authentic experience because they don't trust that they're capable of managing it. And it [00:37:00] is scary and it is big, but they are capable and mindfulness is such a tool to give, to working with those emotions. And so that, that confidence does rise so that they do feel.

Like they're able to do this cause we are, we're totally able to do this. We totally are. We totally are. You know, and that whole view that I think makes us afraid of our emotions is endemic in our culture. And I think it's, it's part of patriarchy. You know, the view that emotions are unimportant, irrational, um, don't matter.

And women in general are way too emotional. So we're. Discounted for our emotionality, but also in some ways expected to hold all the emotions for everybody else. You know, so much of what we do, um, is emotional labor for other people. Um, I was going to say, right. Yeah. Right. You know, starting the hard conversations, making sure everyone feels seen and heard.

Great checking in with [00:38:00] everybody. Uh, and I think, you know, going earlier, I was going to say, and we said, come back to that note. And it's reminding me of that is that the habit of even over responsibility, something I think is what I, myself and a lot of my clients find themselves doing is being so responsible for everybody else's experience and everyone else's feelings and thoughts.

And. How can we work through that? So how would you, what's an example of working, using mindfulness to work with over responsibility. If you had someone come to you and said, you know, I'm just, it's, you know, it's the holidays, or it's an important moment in my child's life or I'm at work. And I'm really worried that, you know, all these things aren't getting done, but it's not my job to do those things.

Well, I mean, I, you know, just let me say, even before I answer that [00:39:00] question, I find that habit of older responsibility to be one of the most, one of the biggest hallmarks of our conditioning as women, um, just always feeling responsible, feeling like it's my job to fix it. If anyone's in trouble, I've got to jump in there and, and do it.

Um, and we don't realize that in our being overly responsible. One it's exhausting. Um, sooner or later, we're going to be completely exhausted by it and we'll have to dip into our favorite exit strategies, whatever they might be and whether it's, you know, othering, isn't one of them, but it's not a very helpful one at that point.

Um, but, um, I think on one level it's really important to just this. Well, let me finish my thought there. Sorry. Um, that we don't realize that when we're always. Making ourselves responsible and trying to get people to feel better. I think that's what it is. Many women [00:40:00] believe it's their job to make others happy.

Um, we're taught that it's my job to make sure everyone else is happy, which is really, we think about it. It's impossible because happiness is an inside job. You know, we can't be inside other people's minds, um, changing their thoughts and feelings. It just doesn't work that way. We don't work that way. But still we hold ourselves responsible, but, but, but when we have that view in that habit pattern, then we're actually interfering with others learning to be responsible for themselves.

Um, and, and so that can be a really important piece to recognize, um, that, um, it's not always the kindness and why those things to jump in and take care of things and do the. But someone else could be possible to do themselves. Um, I just did a session this morning where the woman I've been working with for awhile, who's [00:41:00] taken class with me.

And, um, and, um, she's just waking up to long standing, standing pipe, lifelong patterns of doing herself as the fixer. When in trouble she jumps in to fix it. In some ways it served you really well because she has an amazing job, um, in the community she's highly respected. She's super responsible, loved. Um, but internally, um, she has been putting up with all kinds of abuse from her, um, boss and, um, things look good for him.

Um, and, uh, sucking it up basically. And then in her own way, The marriage that she's been in for a long time has been not good for her for a long, long time. She's been putting up with that, um, and trying to make sure everyone's okay, even though she's not. And so just now she is really, you know, coming to [00:42:00] terms with this and is recognizing that, um, this habit of assuming she is the picture.

I mean, it's her job to make sure everyone else was okay. Has been coming at her own cost to the point her body is physically ill now because of this. So, um, it's very, very difficult. So I think we have to recognize this as a condition pattern, overly responsible as a condition pattern. It's not in everyone's best interest to continue in that habit and encourage ourselves to.

Um, refrain from jumping in and then noticing, okay, what's that like, I'm not, I'm not right now being the one to fix this. I wish that for me. And it might well be that the mind starts playing little stories about, well, you're being lazy or you're being selfish. And so guilt comes up, you know, I mean, this is what we're training and the [00:43:00] distress of not fixing.

Oh right. Can we be with the distress of not doing anything and letting that resolve itself? Right. Very often our sense of our self, our value is tied into that. Right. We learned to identify that as part of who we think we are. I'm the one who always does this. Um, even though it has a lot of consequences that aren't that terrific way.

It's an important, really important habit to the square ourselves up to, and to learn, to change our relationship to it. So we can have more freedom because in that there's no, we have a hard time setting boundaries. We can't say no. We're afraid to say no. Or if we just say, gosh, I hear, I hear you, that you need someone to do this.

Right now my plate is full. I don't have any energy for that to say something like that can be terrifying. I can be, this is our habit. I have [00:44:00] to say. Yes. You know. Well, pardon me, this takes a lot of courage to, um, refrain from being pulled into these habits that we know are not healthy for us, or you're the person in the long run.

It really does. It really does. And you know, I was going to say, as we close up, can you, do you recall talking about the difference? I'm sure you do have empathy versus compassion. I talk about this because I got to get people to buy in to the idea that they should read. Not othering, not being overly responsible because what you said is so true, it takes so much courage and vulnerability and.

Yet who, you know, we're already so pressured. We already have so many things going on. Like maybe that's not something someone's ready for yet. So then I like to bring in the [00:45:00] idea of compassion versus empathy and how it actually is much more beneficial to be compassionate, which does not involve being overly responsible versus sometimes empathy does.

So I'll let you take it away. Okay. So. I think we all, we all know empathy and we probably all know compassion too. And of course we're supposed to be both of those as women and compassionate. Um, but, um, there was an amazing study done. I hope it's okay if I mentioned this study, just done. I can't remember the year now.

Um, but a few years ago, um, by a researcher looking at the difference between empathy and compassion. And what she found in her work, um, with her colleagues as well, was that when people feel empathy, it lights out the pain centers in the brain. So, you know, so when someone's telling you something that's difficult for them, we kind of recruit a memory of our [00:46:00] own right.

To sort of match your experience. We kind of feel that too. Oh yeah. I know what you're talking about. Right. And so with empathy, there's a way to kind of join with that person. In their pain. Um, and if we continue to stay well, period, that will end that right there. Versus when we're experiencing compassion with someone which is feeling, um, sterile for their pain sympathy for their pain and with compassion, we're also understanding.

This is part of being alive, that we all experienced pain and suffering at times as part of the human condition. Um, and right now this is this particular person's moment of being caught in this difficult situation. So we're experiencing sorrow sympathy sadness for the fact that this is happening for them.

Um, so when people are experiencing compassion, what this researcher discovered is that, that [00:47:00] lights up the pleasure centers in our brain. I mean, they're just amazing, isn't it? Right. It gives us some sense of satisfaction in connecting with them in this way. So I know you're right. We're, we're trained as women to be compassionate and empathetic, and I received.

I've received throughout my life. So much praise for being an empathetic individual. I mean, I'm a therapist for Pete's sake, right, right, right. And when I was younger, I was really into theater and I studied theater. And so putting yourself in someone else's shoes was something I've been thinking about since 10 years old.

Sure. But the idea is that. Empathy is important. We do need to feel what other people are feeling so that at least for me, so that it propels us into that place of compassion so that we get a taste of it. And then we can utilize that compassion, because I believe at the seminar, you told a story I'm going to [00:48:00] paraphrase here, but I love telling it where if you're on hike with your.

And your friend falls and breaks their leg. Would you also break your legs so you can experience their pain just as they are. Or would you help them to the car and bring them to the hospital because empathy is breaking your leg too. Like, oh, if your legs broken, I've got to feel this to let and then, but in a way, what good are you, if you want to help and, and be there for that person.

But compassion is understanding their pain and witnessing their pain and seeing their pain, and then helping them do something about it. And from that place, we are much more viable to the people we love. We are much more useful if, if anything else, so kind of bringing it back to that initial point that we were talking about is, you know, using compassion as a way to be more [00:49:00] vulnerable, to be courageous.

To look at this internalized depression to challenge the patriarchy. Doesn't separate you from your loved ones. It actually connects you more to yourself, but also connects you more to those that you care about. That's right. And it connects you authentically to yourself, to others. Right. Then typically, you know, so, right.

Yeah, totally. And, um, it makes our relationships with our loved ones. Right. Really anyone, um, much more satisfying and real. Yeah, mayor. This is by far just such a wonderful exp the best experience by far that I've had, you know, recording this podcast. And I'm just so thankful that you were here in that you shared, and I know other people are gonna want to learn more about you.

So where can we find you? Do you have a website? Where's your [00:50:00] book? All that. Yeah, I have a website. It's, it's very simple. It's my name, It'll get right to me. And my website has my, um, my, basically my sort of philosophy about how I work, um, both in doing individual work and, uh, classes and it has a list of my past schedules.

Um, Good I'm offering. Um, I'll have my new schedule up probably in a week or so. Um, and, um, also my website, I have some CDs that you can download if you want to. Um, and then I have another website from my book called, um, which has information about my book as well as Dharma talks that I've done.

Um, Um, and my book is available on every mobile zone bookstore and, um, anywhere you can buy it online, um, around the world, you can, you can get it. Um, [00:51:00] so, um, yeah, so that's the, that's the promo on me, Jess. Um, so I want to just thank you so much. I couldn't talk, we could have, I could, of course talk with you about this for hours and hour.

My gosh. Thanks so much. Oh, no, thank you. Thank you. I could be here as well. And it, it's just, I'm so thankful to have this hour with you to sit down and have these really important conversations. And I'm so thankful that you're here in Madison, that, you know, we have you in our backyard and you're doing this work and I just really appreciate you.

So thank you. Thank you, Jess. 

Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we [00:52:00] continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care