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I am so excited to share my sister, Natalie Clay, with you on the podcast today! Natalie is my younger sister and she is also a Certified Life Coach, primarily working with people who want to improve their marriages. Natalie and I are very close, and we’ve both been coaching for a long time, so we’ve got a lot of experience between the two of us and we love talking about this stuff.
Today, we are both so excited to talk to you about the three stages of changing your brain. As we grow up, our brains develop and these changes go mostly unnoticed. But we get to a point in our lives where there are intentional changes we want to make to create new habits or behaviors, and this is where coaching comes in.
Join us this week as Natalie and I breakdown the three stages of changing your brain and how this process is really all about harnessing a deeper level of awareness. We’re outlining how each stage plays out, some of our personal favorite tips and tricks that we use to navigate our own brains, and we’ll also be laying out a few examples to illustrate the nuances of this process.
For all the coaches out there, I have an amazing opportunity in the works. We all know that confident coaches are the best coaches, so I am creating a program that is designed to increase your coaching skills, and your confidence in your coaching ability. If you’re a certified coach, click here to get on the waitlist for more details.
What You’ll Learn on this Episode:
- The 3 stages of changing your brain intentionally.
- When and why you might want to intentionally change your brain.
- Why we both love the process of coaching.
- The power of digging into specific circumstances and looking at what you create for yourself.
- How stage two of this process often brings up a lot of self-judgment.
- Why 80% of the work to change your brain is a deep level of awareness.
- A shortcut I like to use to shift my thoughts as I notice them come up.
- Why you have to be willing to be the watcher of your brain.
Mentioned on the Show:
- Natalie Clay: Website | Facebook | Instagram
- Couples Coaching with Natalie Clay
- When you’re ready to take what you’re learning on the podcast to the 10X level, then come check out Be Bold.
- If you’re a coach who is already certified through The Life Coach School, I want to help you take your coaching to the next level. Interested? Get on the waitlist here.
- Follow me on Instagram!
I’m Jody Moore and this is Better Than Happy episode 262: 3 Stages of Changing your Brain.
Welcome to Better Than Happy. I’m your host, Jody Moore. I’m a mother to four children. I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan, and I’m a Master Certified Life Coach. I’m here to teach you how to manage your brain and manage your emotions so that you can create a life that’s even better than happy. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hey everybody, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us today. When I say us, I have my sister, Natalie Clay, in town, say hi.
Natalie Clay: Hello.
Jody Moore: So I am excited to share Natalie with you. She is my younger sister, two years younger, obviously. Natalie is a Certified Life Coach and she’s going to tell you just a little bit about what she does for those of you that don’t know her.
Natalie Clay: Yes, I coach couples, so I primarily work with people who want to improve their marriage relationship.
Jody Moore: And let’s tell everyone the truth. We just recorded a whole podcast.
Natalie Clay: 40 minutes long.
Jody Moore: I think it was 47 minutes.
Natalie Clay: 47 minutes long.
Jody Moore: Which is actually too long, that means that we droned on about some things that we should have cleaned up. Anyway, we got done recording and there was no audio, so we’re going to do it again and it’s going to be even better.
Natalie Clay: We’re all practiced up.
Jody Moore: And it’s hot in my office, so I might just shed a layer before we begin, give me a second.
Natalie Clay: I know, you are sweating. I’m just glowing.
Jody Moore: Anyway, Natalie and I are very close. We both have been coaching for a long time, so we’ve got a lot of experience between the two of us and we love talking about this stuff. We’ve been going on walks every day, solving all the world’s problems. And today we both felt excited about talking to you about this topic of the three stages of changing your brain. So I want to begin by acknowledging that our brains change in a lot of ways. And some of those ways are just things that we don’t pay any attention to.
So, for example, children’s brains are changing quite rapidly. Children are what they call more neuroplastic, meaning their brains change more easily as they grow up and evolve, yes?
Natalie Clay: Yes, which it’s always so fascinating to me that our brains aren’t even fully developed until we’re 26 years old.
Jody Moore: Which is kind of fascinating until we look at people who are 18 and you’re like, “Clearly brain not fully developed.”
Natalie Clay: I’m not saying I can’t understand it, what I am saying is, why are people allowed to get married before that?
Jody Moore: And we were that way as well, so we’re not judging you if you’re younger, we love you. But your brain’s going to settle in and it’s going to serve you well in a lot of ways. Also though as adults we go through experiences in life that sometimes cause our brains to change in sometimes very useful ways and sometimes ways that cause problems for us, right?
Natalie Clay: It’s true. We’ve all heard the term, “Set in your ways,” from my mom.
Jody Moore: It’s just the opposite of neuroplasticity. And by the way, I don’t think our mom ever said that.
Natalie Clay: You didn’t mom, it was dad, it was dad.
Jody Moore: Okay, so sometimes we experience trauma which can definitely change your brain. Sometimes not even trauma though, just life events just, you know, even positive things like having children, getting married. Experiencing things good or bad tend to change our brains because our brains memorize experiences, especially if they’re emotionally charged experiences and say, “Take note, we should seek that more or we should avoid that and this will help us survive best.”
So those types of brain changes aren’t the types of changes we’re going to talk about today, because we’re not experts in that area, that would fall in the area of therapy psychology typically.
Natalie Clay: Psychiatry.
Jody Moore: Psychiatry, thank you. So what we’re going to focus on today is changing your brain intentionally, like choosing to notice your brain and then make a change. And Natalie, maybe you could share some examples of when and why someone might want to do that.
Natalie Clay: Yeah. So a lot of times people can start to recognize that maybe for example, I’m really judging my spouse. And, you know, we’ve all been taught that it’s not kind to judge and we can see why it can be detrimental, not just for them, but for us. But we’re kind of left with how do I not judge them, this thing bothers me?
Jody Moore: Especially when they do it all wrong, how am I supposed to not judge them?
Natalie Clay: Right, they clearly should not be doing it because it’s so irritating to me, how can I change them or this?
Jody Moore: But truly our clients that come to us know that they don’t want to be judging us, not who they want to be, but it’s challenging to do. So another example that comes to my mind is sometimes we have habits or behaviors of our own that we just want to change, for example, maybe you have a tendency to spend too much time on your phone. Maybe you’re a little bit addicted to that phone or maybe we don’t even have to call it addiction, but maybe it’s just like him, I notice that I scroll my phone a lot when I kind of want to be more present with my kids or my spouse.
Jake and I have this habit of getting in bed and we get on our devices and we both start scrolling and sometimes he’s reading a book, which seems more acceptable to me than me just scrolling Instagram. But I notice like it kind of is disconnecting and not a great use of my time. So that might be a habit that we might want to change, which is going to require changing our brain, right?
Natalie Clay: That’s right.
Jody Moore: Now, I want to say before we go through these three stages and break them down for you, that this is one of the things that makes coaching, I think, awesome. We did talk about this in the part one before we recorded this. But I think this is what I love about coaching is that typically people don’t talk about changing your brain; they just talk about changing your actions. Like just don’t judge your spouse, just be kind. Or just get off your phone; don’t spend so much time on your phone.
Natalie Clay: That’s right.
Jody Moore: Now, of course, obviously those are the actions that our clients want and that we’re trying to help people. But we don’t want to skip over the part where we change your brain. Why do you think that is?
Natalie Clay: Well, because I think it doesn’t work, because when we think, why am I doing this, it’s the same idea of saying, “Get confident, stupid.”
Jody Moore: Just one of our favorite lines from The Simpsons.
Natalie Clay: From the Simpsons, yeah. But it just doesn’t work. So when people say, “I really don’t want to judge my spouse.” Then what they’re saying is, “I think there’s something wrong with them and I think there’s something wrong with me for thinking there is something wrong with them.” So, okay, maybe there is, but where does that leave us? Not a lot of options because there’s a lot of changing that we have to do in order to get there.
Where coaching is a totally different perspective because it’s not about changing people, it’s not even about changing ourselves. It’s about changing our thought processes.
Jody Moore: Yeah, because what I love in that example that I always point out to people is, “Now we have more judgment, now you’re judging yourself for judging your spouse.”
Natalie Clay: That’s right.
Jody Moore: Which is not going to be the way, so I think that this is why we call our form of coaching, causal coaching, because we go right to the cause, which is the thinking. And that’s where we create long term real change rather than just temporary, like let’s use willpower to not do this thing that we don’t want to do anymore.
Natalie Clay: And can we just talk about how freeing that is to realize? I mean that is huge because I think a lot of people, at least that I work with, tend to think, well, I’m in this marriage, and it’s not great for these reasons. But I want to try to figure out how can I just think a little bit more positively about this sort of stinker of a marriage that I ended up in? Or my spouse just isn’t great in this way, but how can I just think positively about them? And that really, really doesn’t work.
And so this is so freeing when you can recognize, it’s not the person, it’s not your marriage that’s causing all of your grief. It’s all of your thoughts. And when that’s the case and we start understanding what thoughts are causing us to feel terrible, there’s so much that we can do with that.
Jody Moore: Yeah, okay. So in stage one, and this is where we spend a lot of time in the actual coaching session is in stage one, wouldn’t you say?
Natalie Clay: Yes, because this is about 80% of what gets you to relief.
Jody Moore: Yeah. So stage one we’re calling taking a look at what has happened after the fact, okay. So we always ask our clients to give us specific examples because that’s not just for us, it does help us; it makes it easier for us to coach. But it more than anything helps our clients have more awareness and make more progress to not just talk in broad generalizations like, “I always judge my husband.” We ask them to give us a really specific example of a time when they judged him, right?
Natalie Clay: That’s right.
Jody Moore: And we assess, okay, so maybe he said something or did something or whatever, that you didn’t like and then what were you thinking and how did that make you feel? And then what did you do? And we’re just looking at it after the fact, even though we can’t go back in time and change it, it already happened, it’s water under the bridge. But it’s still super useful and super important that we spend a lot of time here looking at what you created for you after the fact. Why is that so powerful, Natalie, do you think?
Natalie Clay: Because I think otherwise we tend to give all the power over to the circumstance. The example that’s coming to mind for me, when I’ve asked for a specific circumstance of judging is how sometimes a husband will care for the kids.
So I was working with a woman who said, “I just really needed a break and my husband’s so nice.” They always start it that way, “He’s so nice but here’s the part where he did it all wrong, is he said, ‘Yeah, go out, take a break or whatever.’ And when I got back home it was super nice that he watched the kids, but the house is a mess and they were still up.’ And to me I’m like, ‘Isn’t it just obvious that you could have gotten the kids to bed.’ Like, he knows how I like things done and he didn’t do all of that.”
But then there’s this, a little bit of contradiction going on in her head because she’s thinking, well, it’s really nice that he did that, at the same time he could have done it better. And really she can see that, but it’s her judgment of him that really is causing her to feel terrible.
But when we can look at it after the fact and take a look at the fact that it really wasn’t anything her husband did or didn’t do that was causing her to feel bad. It was all in her thoughts. It was the expectation she had of him or what she thought she was coming home to, that that’s causing all of her pain. Then we start to have some leverage over it.
Jody Moore: Yeah. And I can always tell where my client’s head is at, if they’ve been able to kind of assess themselves in stage one before they come to me or not. And it’s okay if not, that’s what we’re here for. But here’s the difference. When they’re still at the very beginning of stage one, they’re talking all about husband or they’re talking about whatever the circumstances, whatever happened outside. They’re like, “He said this, he did this, the kids were like this. The house was like this.” It’s all an explanation of everything external.
And what we want to help them do is be able to explain that clearly, what was happening internally. It’s like I was thinking this and then I was feeling this, and then I showed up this way or I changed in this way, or my tone was like this. That’s what we’re trying to create in stage one is for your focus first of all, to be on your own experience and what you create for you, but to be able to describe it as detailed and as well as we can describe all the things that happen outside of us.
So let’s talk about the cell phone example for a minute, which is, again, if I’m on my phone all the time then I don’t want to just describe my actions. I want to be able to describe my thoughts and my feelings. I get into bed at night and I think I wonder what’s going on, on Instagram. I wonder what I missed. I wonder if anybody liked my post. I wonder if anybody sent me a DM that I need to reply to, or if there’s a comment that’s interesting. And I wonder, I wonder, I wonder, is the thinking typically I wonder what’s going on, on my phone. I wonder what’s happening in my email.
For me anyway, those are the thoughts. So I want to just become aware of them and then become aware of the feelings those create for me which is interest, desire or this sort of compulsion to get onto my phone. So that is stage one. Do you want to describe stage two for us?
Natalie Clay: Yeah. So stage two, the way I would sum it up is I know it’s my thoughts but. So everybody starts saying that in stage two because that’s when we have taken a look at a lot of situations after the fact. And we’ve started to really separate out the circumstances from the thoughts. And so that’s the stage where we can start to begin to notice it as it’s happening. But in this stage there’s also a ton of self-judgment.
So what I find is people say, “Well, I know it’s my thoughts, but.” And what that really means is you don’t completely know yet that it really is your thoughts. You’re starting to recognize some of the thoughts that you’re having that are causing you to feel bad. But we still kind of think that the circumstance is making us feel what we’re feeling. There’s a little part of us that still thinks that’s true.
So that stage is useful though, but I also like to remind people when you’re in this stage, don’t use this new knowledge to beat yourself up. Because the second you’re thinking, well, I know it’s my thoughts, so I shouldn’t think that. That’s never true, you’re still thinking it. Your brain still has really good reasons for hanging on to it as truth at this point. So at this stage, this is when we’re starting to recognize as we’re going through it that yeah, we do have some leverage over how we’re feeling and we’re still feeling that way. It’s okay, you just kind of have to be there.
Jody Moore: Yeah. And the part where we have a tendency to want to beat ourselves up is I just want to say, it’s not going to move you through that stage faster. It’s only going to keep you stuck and spinning because the judgment of self for whatever reason, just sort of causes us to stop looking at ourselves, stop observing. And the more observance the more awareness, kind of like you said, 80% of the work that needs to happen is just a deep level of awareness. Not just a surface level, like being able to identify that’s a thought, that’s a circumstance.
It’s a really, a knowing deep within that that is a thought, meaning it’s optional. And there are hundreds, if not, thousands of other possible thoughts available to me and I have the ability to redirect my brain.
Natalie Clay: Yes. And the other thing I would say that’s really important during this stage is kind of starting to figure out what we want to think, what things we want to change our thinking around. Because there’s going to be some things that cause us pain coming from our thoughts. But maybe we want to keep that thought anyways, and that’s okay.
So what you have to remember going through this process is this is not in any way trying to say once you master this, that you’re going to feel happy all the time. That’s not the way life’s supposed to go as we continue to grow and evolve. But there’s a lot of things that we cause ourself excess pain on or sometimes any sort of pain that we may not need to feel at all. It might not be serving us in any way. And when we allow ourselves to look at other possibilities of ways to look at things, then sometimes we don’t want to feel bad anymore and we can find a way through that.
Jody Moore: Yeah. I want to talk for just a minute before we move on to stage three, about how we find some of those more useful ways. Obviously this is work we’re doing with our clients a lot, is just kind of offering them different options and playing with what might work a little bit better for them. But one of the shortcuts I like to use for myself and my own self-coaching is to just add something to either the beginning of my thought or the end of my thought.
So, for example, if my thought is I really want to look at my phone right now, or I wonder what’s going on, on Instagram. Then I might add something to the beginning like, I notice I keep thinking the thought, I wonder what’s happening on Instagram. Because it shifts me from just like an instant sort of compulsion to check Instagram into a curiosity about my own brain. I notice my brain keeps offering me that, interesting. And I don’t necessarily have to answer that desire; I can just sort of notice it.
Or I add something to the end like, I wonder what’s happening on Instagram right now and it’s okay for me to wonder. And it sometimes interrupts me from like I have to check it, just to like it’s okay to want that and not answer it. So sometimes just adding a little something to the beginning, a little something to the end, it doesn’t cause me yet to lose the thought, I wonder what’s happening. But it sort of starts shifting me into the direction I want to go with a better thought.
Natalie Clay: Yeah, I like that. I also do something similar where a lot of times when I have the thought, again, if it’s judging my spouse, I think maybe either I’m judging them or I’m judging me. I like to use the example of selfishness because I think that’s one that gets thrown out a lot. They’re just really selfish, or I am just being really selfish.
And as soon as I find myself making a judgment about them or me I like to answer that back with, maybe. Because that frees my mind from getting out of the idea that being selfish is something in our DNA or it’s something that’s just who they are or who we are, which is a really un-useful way to look at that. So I try to avoid labels at all for that very reason is it’s not a useful way to look at things if that’s the case and I’m just selfish, we’re all kind of stuck.
But, so when I answer it back with maybe then my brain immediately starts searching for evidence of why I’m being that way or why they’re being that way. And I also, along with that, like to always remind myself that we all at our core have really good reasons for doing and saying everything that we’re doing, it doesn’t come down to selfishness. It comes down to first of all, our brain motivating us to survive, is what a lot of behaviors come down to. But also when we really find out the honest true answers for why we do what we do, most of the time they’re really good answers.
So I like to remember those two things as I’ll just answer it back with maybe and search for other ideas and also just know that, you know what, I bet he has really good reasons for what he did, or I bet I have really good reasons for what I did. And then my brain’s completely shifted to a new direction to find much different evidence than before.
Jody Moore: And you know what I love about that is it’s a practice of answering your brain. I feel like a lot of clients come to me and they’re like, “But I think this, and I think that, and I think this.” And I’m like, “Okay, yeah, your brain is going to offer you,” I kind of think of it as brain chatter, it just kind of chatters at you like the ticker tape running across the bottom of the news screen or whatever. But you can develop the skill, which is what we’re doing in stage two. We’re practicing the skill of managing your brain. And one great way to do that is just to answer it.
So it says, “He shouldn’t do that,” or, “He’s doing that wrong.” And when you answer, “Maybe,” it’s like you’re not just at the effect of that thought anymore, you’ve answered it. You’re sort of having a dialog which is one of the great ways I think, to what we call manage your mind or direct your brain to go the direction you want it to go.
Natalie Clay: That’s right. And one other little tool I like to use in stage two is – because I think sometimes it can be tricky of like, well, when should I change my thought? And when should I just allow the thought? When do I know that I want to keep it? And so the way I like to do that is I think about if I was to tell this to somebody that I knew loved and cared about me, like my really good friend that I like to go to when I’m struggling, what is it I’m wanting to hear?
And most of the time we’re not wanting to hear, “Well, you should just change your thought.” If they said that to us enough times I would stop going to that friend. But that’s what we do to ourselves all the time, which is why I think we’re so disconnected from ourselves. So when I think about that friend, if I’m wanting them to say, “Of course you’re feeling upset by that, of course that seems so selfish.” But they’re also always able to maintain a little bit of optimism, which is that, “You know what, I bet he didn’t mean it.” Or, “It’s okay that you were that way,” for whatever reason.
But they allow me, they completely validate where I’m at. So I’ve tried to apply that to me and be my best friend, and that’s really helped me to reconnect with me, which is if I want to just feel like of course, it’s justified that I feel this way, I just let myself. Of course I feel this way, it’s fine. But the huge difference there is I’m no longer then going to them and trying to change them, but I’m also not beating myself up. So that’s just a little trick that I use.
But there are also times where I want to go talk to someone and I want to hear their ideas. And if that’s the case, if I’m talking to Jody, I’m like, “Can you tell me a different way to look at this or what am I missing here?” And she’ll give me a different perspective, then I know that’s when I want to kind of change my thought and question the way I’m looking at it.
Jody Moore: Yeah, I love that. Okay, anything else you want to say about stage two?
Natalie Clay: No, but this stage isn’t super comfortable because of just the constant habit to judge yourself for your thoughts. But just don’t judge yourself, just practice being the watcher of your brain, think of it more like a science experiment. It’s really fascinating the lengths our brain goes to in the name of survival. But it’s okay, and just noticing it, it doesn’t mean that you’re not getting it because you’re still having the thoughts. It means, yeah, you’re right in the middle of it and you are making progress.
Jody Moore: Yes. And one more thing I want to add is that again, I think the majority of the work in both stage one and stage two is just more awareness of your own thinking, which is why we sometimes tell our clients, “Let’s not be in a hurry to change this. You have to be willing to observe yourself in the situation to gain the level of awareness necessary to change your brain. But there are times when like Natalie said, having a different thought to redirect to can be really powerful and useful.
And I like my clients to just pick one because when they’re in the thick of it, you’re probably not going to remember. If you have like a dozen that you’ve heard that you like, when that thing comes up and your brain offers you the default thought, you’re going to be like, “Wait, what am I thinking again?” So I like to just pick one, write it down, practice redirecting my brain to it.
And what’s awesome about that is if you genuinely want to believe that new thought your brain will start looking for evidence that that new thought is true. Just like it’s built a whole case for your current thought, it will build a case for your new thought if you’re really open and you just gently practice redirecting your brain to it in stage two, but it is uncomfortable.
Natalie Clay: But, Jody, I completely agree with that and I think the key there is if your brain wants to believe it. So it doesn’t work if you’re just beating yourself up thinking, well, I’m such a jerk and I keep thinking this. Do you have a reason that you like, that you want to believe something different? And so I think you have to be really careful there. And if not, just question why not, like that’s interesting, but it cannot be from a place of judgment.
Jody Moore: Yeah, that’s a really good point; it has to be your choice. And sometimes our brains think it’s so useful and important to keep thinking this painful thought. So it takes sometimes a little wiggling and that’s what coaching can really help with that.
Okay, so stage three is pretty fun. It’s where you sort of have rewired your brain and you start to view the world differently. For me, and I know Natalie will speak to this as well, but it’s not something that happens in a moment where I’m like, “Oh, yay, it just happened, I’m different now.” It’s a gradual process and there have been many things that I have done this work on my own head with or worked with other coaches that I can look back now.
And of course what I think is that the circumstance changed. I’m like, “Oh, my son is so much more positive than he used to be.” But really he may or may not be, he may have changed, as I changed he might be changing in response to me. But really 90% of the time what’s really happened is that we’ve changed our own brains and therefore we’ve changed our experience of that circumstance. And we’ve changed the result that we’re getting in our lives.
Natalie Clay: That’s right. And what’s interesting about this process is there are some things that will happen in our life where you can have one effective coaching session, that it’s completely changed. And you don’t need to go through all these different phases for even a long period of time. It can be completely resolved in one coaching session, which has been so amazing to me, and I’ve definitely experienced. But it seems to be the things that maybe are tied into our identity or things that we’ve been thinking for a long time that we need this process for.
But like Jody was saying, it doesn’t often happen all in one moment where it’s just this really gratifying feeling of like, I finally have this all figured out, I did it. It’s much more like you’ll look back in your history and think, oh wow, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a really big argument, or I haven’t been really insecure in a while. So it’s much more gradual, the changes that occur, and we’re always going to go through things. So this also doesn’t prevent you from ever experiencing discomfort in the future, which is not the goal of thought work.
But what it does do is it opens you up to the possibility of whatever’s going to happen in the future because you now have confidence that you’re going to be able to get through whatever happens in the future, when you know how to feel negative emotion. And you know how to be kind to yourself during negative emotion, and you know how you can move past it if you want to. So that changes everything.
And so the result I tend to find is that we still have highs and lows in life, but they are no longer as intense at all, it’s just much more subtle waves instead of these big extreme highs and lows of a roller coaster.
Jody Moore: Yeah. And you’ll start feeling like, so in your marriage, like the example that you were talking about earlier with judging your spouse. What do you think it would look like for someone when they’re sort of in stage three with regards to that example?
Natalie Clay: Yeah. So first of all when people can go through this process and realize why they were judging them, it always has something to do with them, not their spouse.
Jody Moore: Probably be in judgment of themselves, partially.
Natalie Clay: Absolutely. And so usually that is something that can go away. It may not ever completely go away, there may be things, that particular thing might be something that always irritates you. But it’s not going to irritate you the same way. Or I should say your thoughts aren’t going to cause you to feel as irritated because you can recognize where it’s coming from. And just say, “Yeah, I don’t like that.” And that’s fine.
Or there’s also some things that you can really recognize what in you, you’re responding to, you can do the work on that. And it honestly will just be a nothing thing that you won’t even notice anymore in the future.
Jody Moore: Yeah, you’ll look back and go, “Remember when I used to get so bugged at that?” And you’ll kind of laugh at it.
Natalie Clay: Right.
Jody Moore: And with the phone example, again, in stage two it’s a constant noticing, uncovering of all the different thoughts that go on every time you want to get on your phone. Sometimes you’ll still answer that compulsion and get on the phone. Other times you’ll be able to interrupt it. And when you get to stage three you won’t have those compelling thoughts as frequently, most likely. Like you said, there are some things that I think, yeah, I might always have to manage my brain around that.
But there are other things, like you think about if you ever had a boyfriend before you were married and when you broke up you thought you were never going to be able to get over them. And you were never going to be able to stop thinking about them. And now you’re like, “I don’t think about him at all.” And that’s the brain rewiring itself and that’s the goal if we’re trying to change a habit, or a behavior, or a pattern of thinking is that we rewire it to the extent that now we’re focused on different things.
We’ll have new problems that will come up, but as we do so, like Natalie said, we gain the confidence to like, I know what to do. I know how to look at my brain. I know how to change it if and when I desire to. It’s like we feel more in the driver’s seat of our own experience in life, don’t you think?
Natalie Clay: Absolutely. And one of the things that we do when we’re working with a client is to help them to get out of resistance to what’s going on. So, even if there are some things that linger, just dropping the resistance, it’s incredible how much more tolerable things are when we’re not thinking it shouldn’t be that way.
So even if I’m judging my husband for something, then even just acknowledging, yeah, that bothers me, and so what, makes it – it doesn’t take it away. It’s still my thoughts and I’m still being bothered because of my thoughts. But when I just decide that’s fine, there’s some things in life we’re going to be bothered with about each other, and that’s not a problem. It is night and day different than thinking either I have to change or they have to change.
Jody Moore: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So we just want you all to know that there are these three stages. And like Natalie said, sometimes you can go through them in one coaching session and make a change, and sometimes it will take longer. But don’t think that you’re not getting this or you’re doing it wrong, if you find that you move in and out of stages, it’s also not linear, like done with stage one, check, now stage two. You can move in and out of them, and Natalie and I have both experienced them too.
And just to summarize, the way I think about it to simplify everything is stage one is happening after, stage two is happening in the middle and stage three, it’s actually happening before the thing, the circumstance comes along. It’s not quite that simple obviously, but that’s a simple way to think about it. And just be kind to yourself and patient with yourself because you’re a human with a human brain that does all kinds of crazy things. And know that it’s worth it though to do this work.
Natalie Clay: Yeah. And what I would add to that is, what I like to remind people is that you’re doing this for you for the experience that you’re having in life. And so many things that we’re learning in life it’s to get the best grades, to get into college. Or even if it’s our spiritual life, we’re trying to learn it to become better people. Thought work isn’t designed to make you a better person, it’s to help you live a more enjoyable existence. And so any time you’re using it against yourself you’re doing it wrong.
So I just think it’s good to remember that, this isn’t the only way to approach problems in life, if this works for you, fantastic. If it’s not, even if it’s not in a moment, that’s fine too. So don’t use this against yourself ever, it’s just not useful.
Jody Moore: Yeah, amen. Alright, thanks everyone for joining us. If you want to learn more from Natalie Clay, where can they find you, Natalie?
Natalie Clay: You can go to my website, it’s natalieclay.com. And you can sign up for a consultation where you can come with your spouse and we can kind of talk through what’s going on without trying to figure out who’s doing it right or wrong, there’s no need for blame. Everybody has really good reasons for why they’re showing up exactly the way they are in your marriage. So it’s just a matter of talking through what’s going on so that we can make a focused plan for you.
I also have a podcast, if you’re not wanting the personal attention, I try and share all of my learnings, all of the things that I share with my clients I put out on my podcast. It’s Couples Coaching with Natalie Clay.
Jody Moore: Perfect. Alright, have a good day everybody, bye bye.
Who is your life coach? If you don’t have one I would be so honored to be your coach. I created a virtual coaching program called Be Bold that I want to invite you to join me in. We can address challenges, we can work on goals, and we can do it in so many different ways.
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