Confidence and divorce

 

Announcer: [0:00] You’re listening to the OverDivorce.com podcast with hosts Tom and Adrian, two guys swapping stories about getting over divorce. If you’re going through a painful divorce and are struggling with anger or anxiety, then you’ve found the right podcast. Hang with us for the next 30 minutes or so, and we promise, you’ll gain useful insight and effective tips and techniques for getting over your divorce and rebuilding a better life.

 

Tom: [0:24] Welcome to the Over Divorce podcast. I’m Tom.

 

Adrian: [0:26] And I’m Adrian.

 

Tom: [0:27] Today we’ve got an interesting topic on the agenda. Adrian, what are we talking about today?

 

Adrian: [0:35] Today we’re talking about the all-important confidence…

 

Tom: [0:39] Oh, yeah.

 

Adrian: [0:39] …and what that means to you, how your confidence is impacted while you go through your divorce, and maybe some ways of helping build that back up.

 

Tom: [0:50] It was interesting because I was perusing the pickup artists guys online. That is something that came about over and over again. In the materials and in the sample materials was this idea of how important confidence is. I think it really relates well to our last episode where we got into finding new love. From the guy’s point-of-view I think the confidence thing is really super critical to be effective. Meeting new people and attracting the kind of person you want to attract.

 

Adrian: [1:24] All aspects of your life. Whether it’s your personal life, how do you handle yourself? Your business life? Your love life? The degree in belief that you have in yourself and how good you feel about yourself really impacts all those areas in a real measurable way.

 

Tom: [1:44] Particularly relevant to guys who were in our position, where our wives decided that they were finished, and when we’re sort of surprised by that. I mean that does [laughs] tend to…

 

Adrian: [2:00] Tends to rattle you a little bit. [laughs]

 

Tom: [2:03] Yeah. Moderate your confidence a little bit. I found that, into this thing now a good 11 months, and think about things that happened to cause the relationship to collapse and what’s wrong with me? That just spirals into all these other areas and you start thinking about it.

 

[2:22] I’m reminded of the movie “Dumbo,” where Dumbo needed his feather to fly, or at least he thought he did. What is it that we need in our lives, individually, in order to kind of get up and get at it and be successful and believe enough to accomplish something?

 

[2:44] It’s not necessarily that we need the feather as Dumbo the elephant discovered but we do need something in our lives to remind us that we are capable and that even though shit happens we are still OK. There are still reasons to press on and there’s still value in your life and who you are as a person.

 

Adrian: [3:04] One of the keys is being able to look at things that you can do that will give you confidence. I got this idea from Dan Sullivan who leads a company called Strategic Coach. It’s basically high-level entrepreneurs that get together. One of the issues that come up is confidence. His belief system is that you can orchestrate that. You can essentially look at the things that you do or can do on a daily basis that make you feel good about yourself.

 

[3:45] For me that’s hiking, making sure I’m drinking half a liter of water first thing in the morning and that I’m eating a healthy breakfast. When I do those things I get these little incremental boosts of confidence. I feel good! I think a good exercise to go through in determining what those things are is spending 20 or 30 minutes writing down all the things that give you that little boost that you can incorporate through the day. Then keying in for those and actively going after those things to help you push through and build upon that.

 

[4:24] I’ve got a little check list that I go through [laughs] . On a daily basis ill make sure that I’m eating healthy, taking my vitamins, drinking my water, flossing my teeth, going on my hike and a number of different things. When I tick them off I’m like “OK! I’m feeling good and heading in the right direction.”

 

Tom: [4:46] It’s amazing that connection you described between self-care and confidence. The one thing that is easy to miss, particularly when you are sad, lonely and not feeling right is this idea that can creep in that mind that you are not in control. You get this message from different parts of your brain that tell you things aren’t right, this has to get fixed!

 

[5:22] It’s interpreted often as pain, and it’s described as painful, psychic pain. When you take control over your self-care, whatever that is, whether it’s getting up and choosing to exercise, and saying I’m going to exercise, choosing to drink water with a little lemon in it as opposed to your huge tumbler of coffee, or as opposed to a Coca-Cola or a Mountain Dew.

 

[5:53] When you make those choices to take care of yourself, that puts you in control, and you can begin to quiet that psychic pain of “oh, things are out of control.” Then, you have the confidence to carry it into your job and into your life that you can take control of the things that you need to, to be happy. I think we’ve talked about happiness and what that means, and we can certainly talk about it some more, but I really do think that idea of self-care leading to confidence is powerful and often missed.

 

Adrian: [6:28] Yeah, and it keys in on the area of what you can control, and what you can’t. Looking at things that you might not have control over your acts in that whole relationship and coming to terms with that, but damn it, I can brush my teeth when I want to. [laughs] Or I can choose to have a kale shake as opposed to the new Mountain Dew drink.

 

Tom: [6:49] You talk about kale shakes all the time and I’m not doing it. I’ve gotten as far as spinach in the smoothie thing, and I think that’s as far as I can do. Have you really had a kale shake?

 

Adrian: [7:02] You know, spinach shakes are for the weak. Kale shakes…

 

[7:05] [laughter]

 

Adrian: [7:07] Fuckin’ dominate. There’s no doubt about it. They taste disgusting, and that’s how you know it’s working. It’s all about quantity and what you’re diluting the kale flavor with.

 

Tom: [7:20] What are you diluting the kale flavor with?

 

Adrian: [7:23] Bananas and strawberries. That’s the key. Get yourself some good protein powder.

 

Tom: [7:28] What kind of protein powder do you like?

 

Adrian: [7:31] I like vanilla whey, by AHN…I think it’s called AHN, is the brand. Buy it in bulk, and put a scoop of that in anything. I’ll put that in coffee, and put it in my kale shakes.

 

Tom: [7:41] Don’t put it in your vagina man, whatever you do.

 

[7:43] [laughter]

 

Adrian: [7:44] I dust it around my vagina, I do a little dusting. But not all the way in. Now, but that helps. If you’ve got a good protein powder, it will help mask the nasty kale taste, and it gives you energy. It’s delicious.

 

Tom: [7:58] They’ve got the kale chips at Arden’s Gardens here in Atlanta, and I just can’t go there. I’ve had Kale, and I’ve tried it, and it’s so true, and we’ll post this up, it’ll be on the Facebook page, it is the most nutritious food on the planet, essentially, next to spirulina, I guess, those things are just insanely healthy. You eat it and you just kind of go, “oh, really? What cruel, cruel troll is God that he would make something so healthy taste so awful? What’s going on here?”

 

Adrian: [8:30] I’m looking for the kale suppositories, because I’m with you. It’s pretty bad, but I need to get it into my body somehow. Willing to take one for the team on that one.

 

Tom: [8:44] All kidding aside, I do really believe that your ability to consume that, and to say “I know that this is good for me and I know that this will make me feel better and this will make me more alive and feel better about everything” and having the control to go yeah, it tastes awful, but I know factually that it’s going to make me feel better. That is the essence of control.

 

[9:11] That, in turn, can’t do anything but make you feel more confident that you have the ability to eat this kale or drink this kale shake, or the ability to run…the distance I need to run to get better, or hike, and dedicate that time to it.

 

[9:29] One of the things that I’m starting to do, I’m moving from that checklist, to actually scheduling this stuff, so that it’s easier to move myself through the day and do this self-care work as part of my schedule, as opposed to trying to manipulate myself into doing it. I know it’s a thin difference.

 

[9:52] I think if you sit there and schedule it and go, “From the time that I wake up until this time, I’m going to go into the kitchen and put this healthy meal together.” Then 20 minutes after that, I’m going to start my exercise regime. Whatever it is. Then literally schedule that stuff so that when you’re scheduling other things for the day, you’ve blocked this stuff out.

 

[10:17] It’s this concept we were talking about before the podcast of paying yourself first. Taking care of yourself first and then doing the things that you need to do to pay the bills. It’s that control-confidence connection that is so important to look at and to really internalize and make part of your life.

 

Adrian: [10:38] The beauty of setting up these little habits and routines that are difficult at first…setting up the kale shake routine that I go through in the mornings, that was hard at first. But now it’s so easy. I know exactly what I’m going to have, and it kind of pulls me forward and it takes a minute to throw everything into a blender and blend it up.

 

[10:58] That’s easier for me than thinking of something else to eat. It’s easier for me to shop for it, because now I just grab a bunch when I’m running low. I get a bag of frozen strawberries and a bunch of bananas and make sure I’ve got plenty of protein powder, and I’m pretty set.

 

[11:13] Once you get into that habit and that routine, it totally will move you forward. I know we’ve talked about that in some previous episodes, but it’s so important to take the time to establish these habits and then build upon them. Once they’re entrenched, the effort disappears. They pull you. They now have the leverage.

 

[11:36] We do pretty much the same things every day. We pretty much eat the same things and we talk to the same people and we listen to the same shit. We read the same types of material. Why not take some time and orchestrate that, and make sure that you’re doing the best that you can in the different areas of your life?

 

[11:54] Use this period, this time of going through a divorce, to launch yourself into checking all those areas and making sure that you’re becoming the best you. I’m sounding a little preachy now. I need to simmer down.

 

Tom: [laughs] [12:06] Yeah. Go on, brother. But it’s true what you say, and it’s super important. You’ve talked about exercise and diet. I’m wondering about other things that can be done to build confidence.

 

[12:23] I was thinking about this and talking with a therapist about this. One of the things that she pointed out that I thought was really useful and powerful was this idea of stop focusing on the things that you feel like you’re doing wrong, and start focusing on the things that you’re doing right.

 

[12:43] What are you doing right? What are you thankful for? What’s positive in your life?

 

[12:51] Because regardless of how low you are, if you really take a minute and begin to think about that and take your advice, Adrian, and write it down, and then look at it and really try to expand on it, you can add things to that list simply by deciding that you’re going to take control over it.

 

[13:11] In doing so, you get that confidence. But beyond thinking about and maybe even journaling what you’re doing right and scheduling these self-care routines, are there other things that we can do to build our confidence?

 

Adrian: [13:25] I think a big one is taking some kind of a martial art or a boxing class, or some kind of active, combatant type of a sport. Whether it’s jiu-jitsu or kung fu, or whatever. Boxing. I think the ability to handle yourself, or to know that you can take care of yourself physically if you’re in an altercation with another person, that’s a huge boost in confidence. Being able to, if shit goes down, I know that I’ll be OK or be able to maybe scrap my way out of an encounter.

 

[13:57] Just going through, pushing yourself, taking yourself kind of to the physical limits when you’re really working out hard in that type of a scenario. That does bring an element of calmness and confidence. If you have never done any kind of martial art, I highly recommend looking at that because it does give you a sense of calm and ease.

 

[14:19] You’re not super, hyper-vigilant. I think it takes care of that reptilian part of your brain where that it’s always looking for danger, and you can maybe back off a little bit and say, “OK, I know I can handle myself if I’m in a situation where a fight breaks out. I’ll be OK. I’ll be able to take care of myself.”

 

Tom: [14:35] Yeah. There’s no tension of fight or flight, because you are confident in your ability to fight. It relieves that pressure of fight or flight that’s consistently there. Like you’re saying, that hyper-vigilance, which is essentially another word for just continuing to experience fight or flight.

 

[14:51] I think that’s a really good suggestion. I’ll share this, too, if I can find it because it was back in the day. It was awhile ago, admittedly. But they did a study where they had twins. One twin did old-school boxing regime from the ’50s. This boxing coach. He ate like the boxers ate back in the day and just did everything really old-school.

 

[15:16] Then they had the twin brother, who was using the latest thinking for fitness. They put the twins at it for like 90 days. Then they did a bunch of testing on them. It turned out in this particular case that the twins that boxed and did the old-school were actually in better physical condition than the guys that were doing it…

 

Adrian: [15:39] On the Bowflex?

 

Tom: [15:41] Yeah, on the state of the art stuff. What was interesting, I think, is the boxing guys were working a little harder but it actually paid off way more.

 

[15:48] I mean, they were faster. Their reflexes were faster. Their oxygen intake was higher. Their stamina was higher. All these things, all these objective measures of fitness. The boxing was a superior method of maintaining fitness. Admittedly, this is before the whole “fitness is a sport” thing started. It was before…

 

Adrian: [16:13] CrossFit guys?

 

Tom: [16:14] CrossFit. Thank you. It was before CrossFit.

 

[16:17] But I think the point salient that, if you get into some sort of martial art, whether it’s western boxing or eastern martial arts — jiu-jitsu, karate, Judo, those sorts of things — our argument would be, hey, it doesn’t matter which one, but do something martial because that is really going to help on two levels.

 

[16:37] It’s going to help with your fitness, and that in turn is going to help you with your confidence. But it’s also going to give you confidence and sort of calm that sort of fight or flight thing that happens in our brains when we’re under stress.

 

Adrian: [16:50] I’m right there with you. Doing something. Even if that’s not your thing — even though I’d highly recommend checking that out — you can do something like a ropes course or an Outward Bound type of experience where you’re learning how to survive and take care of yourself in the middle of the wilderness or the middle of the desert.

 

[17:08] Any type of environment that you’re learning how to take care of yourself when you’re under a stressful situation, that’s going to help you. That’s going to flow over into a lot of different aspects of your life. It will definitely bring more confidence and just more self-assuredness.

 

Tom: [17:26] I love that survival idea. I was actually reading about that today. It’s so funny that you should mention that, because I was thinking about this podcast and what we would be talking about.

 

[17:38] I was perusing magazines and there was an outdoor one that was discussing sort of survival techniques and tactics. I thought to myself, “Wow, they do Outward Bound for the kids. I wonder if they’d do it for the grown-ups?”

 

[17:54] We’ll have to do some digging in and seeing, because I agree with you. I think that that would be just a great thing if you had the time and inclination.

 

[18:02] We try to be really practical on this show. But it isn’t hard to imagine instead of taking your two weeks and going to the beach and drinking a fruity drink, it might actually be worth it at this point in your life to take that time and see about going to — not a survivalist camp with a bunch of anarchists who are sure that the world is going to end — but really go somewhere where you can learn to trust people and work on some of the survival arts.

 

[18:30] Like what to eat in a particular environment. How to start a fire without a blow torch. [laughs] How to find warmth when exposed to cold, and vice versa.

 

Adrian: [sarcasm] [18:43] What happens when you lose the batteries out of your remote. Like all of the essentials of survival.

 

Tom: [18:47] Yeah. When my GPS goes down, I don’t know where I am!

 

Adrian: [18:50] No kidding, man. That’s totally essential, right? The GPS. I’m basically retarded when it comes to maps now.

 

Tom: [18:58] Well, right. It’s like this is what’s happened culturally. We’ve lost these skills, and I think along with it, a lot of guys have lost confidence. Kezia Noble talks about that. This has been great for women, the whole dating thing and choosing.

 

[19:13] But it’s been rough on guys, because sort of look and go “Uh, I’m not really sure exactly if you’re going to be offended if I’m chivalrous or how that’s all going to work and how I should talk to you.” It just becomes more and more confusing.

 

[19:28] Having confidence of any of those skill sets I think is really, really helpful.

 

Adrian: [19:33] Yeah. Like what we talked about before, the confidence will carry over into other areas of your life. Including your love life. Having confidence and being self-assured, for the most part, is something that’s very enticing to women.

 

[19:47] They want to know that they can count on you and that you’re reliable, and that you can take care of yourself and help and take care of them if need be. Pulling all those different facets together. It’s really important to develop and carry that through for different levels of your life.

 

Tom: [20:05] It helps in your job and it helps with your other relationships, your family relationships. Because everybody — like it or not — if they don’t know better, and they know you and they know what’s happened, they see you as vulnerable.

 

[20:21] We’ve talked about this. I’ve experienced this really acutely. But it’s very clear that gaining confidence and control will help your friends normalize their feelings around you and they’ll feel better about being around you.

 

[20:36] It’s not just about picking up your next girlfriend. It’s also about your family feeling better about you. Not worrying about you so much. Your friends not feeling like they have to fix you or do things differently now because of this hurt that you’ve been through.

 

[20:51] There’s a lot of other benefits besides the ones that we’ve been talking about with respect to finding a new girlfriend or getting romantically involved again. But it’s also almost everyone you deal with, right?

 

Adrian: [21:06] Kind of expanding on the family issue, if you’ve got kids, the last thing you need is to have your kids kind of trying to take care of you.

 

[21:13] Being able to really show self-assuredness and confidence in yourself during this is crucial, because they’re learning how they’re supposed to act and behave through you. I think that’s definitely something that you need to keep in the forefront of your family relationships.

 

Tom: [21:32] Boy, that’s a great point. The point about confidence and kids. Particularly the younger ones, right? Looking at daddy and knowing that he’s OK, so they’re not feeling the need to take care of you and so you don’t allow that power shift to occur.

 

Adrian: [21:46] Yeah. Exactly. A great way to do both is to do your martial arts with your kids. Because let’s face it, you’re a grown man and you can take them. You can also put them in their place. It’s really a win-win.

 

[22:03] [laughter]

 

Adrian: [22:06] In terms of having your kids take care of you or have that perception, you don’t want to have that happen in terms of your relationship with your children. You want to establish that you’re fine. You’re taking care of yourself, you’re taking care of them, and they’re safe.

 

[22:20] Yes, it might be going through a rough patch, but ultimately, they’re going to be OK and they’re going to be taken care of and they’re in a safe environment.

 

Tom: [22:28] Because you’re going to be OK. You are going to be OK. As we’ve gone through our podcasts, hopefully that message is beginning to connect. Because it’s important. Because it’s really true.

 

[22:39] We’ve been through this. I’m going through it. You’re going through it. Adrian’s been through it and is still going through it. But ultimately, from the very first podcast, hopefully it’s been clear that guys have been going through this for a long time.

 

[22:54] It’s changed culturally, dramatically, in that there are a lot more of us guys who have just been blindsided by this than there had been in the past, certainly. But the problems that are associated with divorce has been around for a long time, and we do get over it. We do come around.

 

[23:13] The trick is, use this opportunity to really grow. It’s not just getting over it. Yeah, you’re getting over it, but you’re really going to be a better person.

 

[23:23] Because you’re going to adopt these new habits that are going to improve you, improve your outlook, improve your continuity with friends, family, and bring a new air of confidence to a whole new set of people that you haven’t even met yet that are going to be some of the best friends you’ve ever had in your life.

 

Adrian: [23:44] Amen to that, brother.

 

Tom: [23:45] We’re coming up at the end of our 30 minutes. What are we going to talk about in our next podcast?

 

Adrian: [23:54] In our next podcast, we’re going to be talking about Sudoku and how that is going to absolutely get you through this fucking divorce.

 

Tom: [laughs] [23:58] Revolutionize.

 

Adrian: [24:03] Next podcast, I don’t know. What are we going to be talking about, Tom?

 

Tom: [24:07] I think that we are going to be talking about the cycles of depression and the ups and downs that we go through when we’re going through this divorce. How we start to feel better and then we don’t. Then we do, and then we don’t.

 

[24:26] How we sort of come out of these cycles and sort of into the light. We’re going to riff on something we talked about a couple episodes ago, which was hope.

 

[24:36] But we’re going to talk about the other side of that a little bit. We’re going to talk about the ups and downs that are inevitable, and need to be viewed as such, and how to manage that. That’s what I’m thinking.

 

Adrian: [24:46] Sounds good to me. Until then, I’m Adrian.

 

Tom: [24:49] And I’m Tom. Thanks for joining us.

 

Adrian: [24:51] Thanks.

 

[24:51] [background music]

 

Announcer: [24:52] Thanks for listening to the overdivorce.com podcast with Adrian and Tom. The opinions expressed are theirs alone. They’re not professionals. Join us next time anyway. It’ll be good for you.

 

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