Now It Makes More Sense! How Context Creates Connected Conversations

Each of us is a unique mixture of life experiences, and we bring all of those experiences into our conversations with others. In today’s episode, Tony explores the role of context in conversations. Tony shares an example of how one word can dramatically change the meaning of an entire paragraph from the book “On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You Are Not,” by Dr. Robert Burton and he shares cultural differences from the article “15 Fascinating Cultural Difference Around the World,” from

Tony also uses his 4 Pillars of a Connected Conversation to show the importance of curiosity and context in conversations.

Go to right now to sign up for Tony’s free marriage workshop held Wednesday, November 3rd at 6 PM PT!

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——————————– TRANSCRIPT ————————————

[00:00:01] Hey, everybody, welcome to episode two hundred and ninety three of the virtual couch, I’m your host, Tony Overbay. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified my blabber coach, writer, speaker, husband, father for ultramarathon runner and creator of the path back in online pornography recovery program that is helping people reclaim their lives from turning to pornography as a coping mechanism. Go to if you want to learn more about that. There’s some group calls that keep gaining steam and the program itself. We’ve got a nice group of people and people are just changing their lives. They’re becoming the people that they always want to be. So that’s and a huge thing. And I will go so big on this because I got this episode out on a Monday morning instead of the usual Tuesday morning. Because on Wednesday of this week, Wednesday, the I am stalling as I look at a calendar Wednesday, the third at six p.m. Pacific time. My my good friend Preston Pug Maya and I, Preston is the one who helped me create the magnetic marriage course. We are going to do a marriage magnetic marriage workshop again. That’s at 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time. So go to Tony over magnetic and you will find out more information on how you sign up to attend this free event. And it is a free marriage workshop and we are going to cover so many things about how to make your marriage more magnetic. And there’s a little video on there on that that page that you’ll get to that.

[00:01:24] I highly encourage you to just take a quick look at because the more that we talk about the magnetic marriage course, the more people that have gone through the course. I am telling you you don’t have the tools by nature, and that is meant by no no disrespect. There’s nothing wrong with you, but you really don’t have the tools. We don’t come from the factory with these tools of to be heard is to be healed and these four pillars of a connected conversation that we teach in the program. And there is just so much more. And so people typically have to get to a pretty bad spot before they go looking for tools on how to repair their marriage. And I am telling you, these are the tools that if you can embrace them now that I believe you can really help prevent a lot of the where people start to feel disconnected or they that wedge grows between them, go to Tony over magnetic and you can watch a little video and you can sign up to participate or to watch the marriage workshop, which is this Wednesday at six p.m. So I hope that I will see you there on the live stream that we’re going to be doing, and I can’t wait. So let’s get to today’s topic today. I’m talking about context, and I thought about so many different things I wanted to to share with regard to context.

[00:02:35] But I’ve been speaking a lot lately. I talked about this event in Utah that I spoke at. I came home from the event and then I did a couple of there called fire sides in my area. Then I did a lesson today for a couple of church congregations that got together, and all of these are on mental health. But there are so many common factors that are occurring of that lead people to not feel heard or to not feel seen or to not feel understood. And so these four pillars of a connected conversation that we teach in the marriage course, their gold, they really do. They can help in so many different situations. But I find that we just often don’t understand the context of someone else’s life or their experience, even if we share the same home with them. If we share the same bed with them, we still don’t understand truly the context of where their brain is in any given moment and the situations that they have been through that lead them to express things the way that they express them. And so when we are not looking at a relationship out of curiosity, we are missing this incredible opportunity to really connect with our spouse. And I think a lot of times we don’t understand the context that somebody is bringing in to any given moment. So I’ll give you a really silly example. I’m doing this on video right now and I have a beard.

[00:03:47] It’s the longest beard I think I’ve ever had. It is, I know, the longest period I’ve ever had in my entire life. And someone was asking me about why the beard and there are so many thoughts here that are going to sound silly but silly, because out of context, they just sound like some ridiculous reasons that somebody spouting off when in reality, I wanted to grow facial hair. But there are a lot of context clues that lead up to that. Let me take you through a few of them. Cue the violins, but I have never had a lot of hair. I went bald in 19 or 20. That’s a rough go when you are 19 or 20 year old guy. I was trying to play baseball. I was in a fraternity, I was at Kansas State University and this was a long time ago. I’m almost fifty two and there wasn’t a lot of information. I couldn’t just go Google premature, balding or hair loss or that sort of thing. And of course, I would look at my family and there was not a lot of hair in my family on the men’s side. So I should have had a little clue there. But I thought, you know, because I’ve been wearing too many baseball hats, is that the reason why? So fast forward, and in two thousand three, I finally shaved my head and that was a little earlier than people were shaving their head.

[00:04:50] So I got a lot of comments about that. A lot of people assumed that I was ill. I remember having a package going to a FedEx location around Christmas once and a lady looked at me and went, Oh. And she said you can go ahead, and I felt great. But I think that she thought, Oh, I must have lost my hair and chemotherapy or something like that, so fast forward, I moved through my life. I’m bald, and any time I even thought about having facial hair, I always thought, and this is just my take. But when someone is bald and they have facial hair, I always think, how do you, where do you know to cut off the line there by the sideburns? And here I never even tried that. So then three years ago, I finally succumbed to glasses. I can’t hold things out long enough to see them my short. I need reading glasses. But then just being in the office and looking at my iPad and looking up at the client and then looking down at my iPad again, apparently I was doing some damage to my eye. So I have these office lenses, so we got some readers and then they help people that are a little bit further away become more clear. And so I finally have glasses and I think, Oh my gosh, that is the line of demarcation where you can grow your facial hair up too.

[00:05:53] So I start growing out the facial hair, then I realize I feel pretty good at the age of 50, when I turn 50 and my beard has some gray and white and red and brown and all kinds of all the colors like Skittles is what my beard is. And then I think, man, I never thought I would feel this good at 50. So there’s a part of me that thinks I kind of enjoy looking a bit older. And so there’s so many things in context. And yet I still will find myself in the presence of people who will say, Oh, I think someone that’s not clean shaven, and then they fill in the blank about what their judgmental statement is. So context can mean so many different things. Not that someone needs to defend themselves of why they grow facial hair. That’s a whole other conversation. But it’s interesting just to one of the ways to really lead with curiosity is to want to know the context that somebody has grown up in or the context of why they’re behaving the way that they are behaving. And in reading the book on being certain by Robert Burton, M.D., the subtitle of that is believing you were right, even when you’re not. There’s an exercise that he does in there that is talking about this, about the feeling of knowing, but it is an amazing exercise that has to do with context. And so I’ve shared this when I’ve spoken a couple of times.

[00:07:02] And so I wanted to fit this into a podcast. So quite frankly, this is a podcast built around this exercise. And then I have some really neat things that talk about fascinating cultural differences. And do you look at different cultural differences with curiosity or do you look at them with judgment? Do you say, Well, that’s ridiculous. Those people shouldn’t do that. They should do things the way that we do them or the way that I do them? Or do you look at that and say, Hey, I want to know more about that, because if you can do that with a different culture, why can’t we do that with our spouse? Or why can’t we do that with our kids? I went and played golf with my son yesterday. My wife is out of town. It was just my son and I, and we had some of the funnest conversations around some things that I won’t even talk about on the podcast because it’ll sound like I’m sure there would be people saying, Well, why would you even talk about that with them that might encourage him to do this or this? But it was. We talk nonstop through nine holes of golf and on the way up there and back because I just wanted to know more about his experience and in hearing him and not telling him, Wow, man, I can’t believe you did that or can’t believe you said that he’s just so much more open to to talk.

[00:08:03] And then, quite frankly, this is where I feel like we have things backwards in so many different things that the more that he feels heard and the more that I can understand his experience, especially in the context of today’s youth and friends and social media and high school and all of these different variables that, yeah, I had my experiences 30 something years ago. So now I want to know. I want to know what the context is that he’s he’s working with right now. There was some of you may have heard about this because we thought it was just a local event, but there was a message about a potential school violence last week, and it turned out to be more of a national, more of a national story. But it was really interesting just to hear him talk about what that’s like these days growing up and how often you do hear in social media or people having videos or sending pictures or Snapchat or these sort of things of people that are threatening violence or that sort of thing. When I was in high school, we didn’t hear about that at all. And so what is it like to grow up that becomes more of a regular thing? So just understanding the context of where someone’s coming at and what their experience is can lead to so much curiosity and can just build a much better relationship.

[00:09:13] So here’s let me take you through this exercise, and I really think that this is going to be you’ll enjoy this. I can’t lie. So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m going to read a. This is from the book on being certain, and I’m going to I’m going to read a little bit here that’s going to lead up to the exercise. So, Dr. Burton says to begin our discussion on the feeling of knowing, he said, read the following excerpt at normal speed, don’t skim or give up halfway through or skip to the explanation because this experience can’t be duplicated once you know the explanation. So take a moment to ask yourself how you feel about this paragraph that I’m about to read. After reading the clarify, and then I will give you a clarifying word, and then I’m going to read the paragraph again. And as I do so, I want you to pay attention to the shifts in your mental state and your feeling about the paragraph. And I really feel like this is something that when. You hear this. I would love for you to share it with your kids or share it with your spouse, or because this can only be done one time, it can only be duplicated once. So let me read this paragraph and I’m going to read it straight through, and I just want you to just check in and see how you feel about this paragraph. Here goes newspaper is better than a magazine.

[00:10:16] A seashore is better than the street. At first, it’s better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times, take some skill, but it’s easy to learn. Even young children can enjoy it and want successful complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however, soaks in very fast, and too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. One needs a lot of room. If there are no complications, it can be very peaceful and Iraq will serve as an anchor. And if things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance. So when you heard that paragraph and I just did this when I spoke at an event this morning, do is it comprehensible or is it meaningless? And thankfully, whenever I spoke about this, no one has known where I was going with this, and so it feels pretty meaningless and incomprehensible. And so Dr. Burton says, feel your mind sort through potential explanations. Now here’s the fun part. He says, now watch what happens with the presentation of a single word. Some talk about context. Let me give you one word and see how things change. And then I’ll go a little bit more about that. But the single word is quite. Kite, kite, so now as I reread this paragraph, feel the prior discomfort of something amiss is going to shift to this pleasant sense of rightness. Everything fits, every sentence works and has meaning every one of them.

[00:11:38] And let me do that then. So let me start here. So remember, the context is a kite. A newspaper is better than a magazine. A seashore is better place than the street. At first, it’s better to run than to walk. You may have to try several times. It takes some skill, but it’s easy to learn even young children can enjoy it. One. Successful complications are minimal. Birds seldom get too close. Rain, however, soaks in very fast. Too many people doing the same thing can also cause problems. One needs a lot of room, and if there are no complications, it can be very peaceful. Iraq will serve as an anchor, and if things break loose from it, however, you will not get a second chance. So how did that discomfort shift once you had the context of what that paragraph was about? Dr. Burton says everything fits. Every sentence has meaning. When you heard that, he said, it is impossible to regain the sense of not understanding, he said in an instant without due conscious deliberation. The paragraph has been irreversibly infused with a feeling of knowing, and so I’m doing a little bit of a stretch here, but I feel like that same. We owe that same concept to the people in our lives, to the conversations in our lives. Do we understand the context in which they are providing? If I just start talking about things and if my wife hears them as nonsense, does she truly understand what the context is that I’m delivering information? And if not, then there comes curiosity, and curiosity is where a connection really occurs.

[00:13:02] And needless to say, this is where then I just move right in to my four pillars of a connected conversation. That first pillar truly being that to the assumption of good intentions that nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks, here’s how I’m going to hurt my spouse or my partner or my mom or my dad, or I’m not. And I certainly don’t want to put myself out there, and my goal today is to feel dumb. That’s not it either, or as president, I’ve been talking about. Even more so lately is if you have a hard time with that, assuming good intentions, then you can dig a little bit deeper and just really understand that there’s a reason why somebody is expressing themselves the way they are. So picture and I know that this isn’t going to happen exactly. But if someone is expressing to you what sounds somewhat meaningless information, then do you have the context? Do you have that keyword of tight? Are they talking about something? And they are talking about something because they grew up on the West Coast and they’re talking about something to do with the beach, and you have never literally been to the beach. Are people talking about going to Disneyland? I didn’t go to Disneyland until I was with my wife after we were married, and I never even realized a lot of the context of things that I was missing when people would make cultural jokes or references around Mickey Mouse or Disneyland or that sort of thing.

[00:14:11] It’s a small world. After any of those things, I realized I didn’t have the context. I didn’t have that one key word kite that would make sense of a lot of the things that people were talking about. So where I want to go next to those four pillars of a connected conversation, if you really look at how that works, then when I’m talking about context is I want you to approach your relationships with this curiosity and it can be hard. I talked last week in an episode of my Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, which I think this concept is so deep when we are having conversations with people and we feel like we’re being criticized. And the criticism can come in so many different ways. We may feel criticized when that person absolutely does not mean anything to be critical. So when somebody says, Hey, I don’t think you should say that to our son, then it’s hard for the person not to start to feel, get their feelings going and feel like, Oh man, I think that they’re criticizing me instead of looking at that with curiosity. Looking at that in context, what’s the context that my spouse is expressing of why they feel I shouldn’t say something in particular to my son a real experience? And if you haven’t heard that episode, I was talking about this quote.

[00:15:17] I had been talking with Gail and Condi on her talk show, and it had gone really well. I was talking about narcissistic traits or tendencies, and then I laid out that that quote that oftentimes people that have narcissistic traits or tendencies, which can be all of us. Because, man, I would love for you to go listen to that episode because I talk a lot about how moving from childhood, we all have these egotistical narcissistic traits or tendencies where we do feel like everything revolves around us, and we don’t really have a lot of empathy for the plight of our caregivers because we’re we’re little kids and the world really does revolve around us. And so there’s so much there to talk about. But when we move forward into adulthood, our hope is that we will grow from self-centered to self confident to go from that immature way to express ourselves and relate to other people to a more mature way. And that mature way is to listen with curiosity and empathy and to say, tell me more not to feel like we have to control every situation or put someone down or have our way be the only way that is an immature way to communicate. So these four pillars and thinking about the context of which someone else is expressing. Is it’s just a way to connect and it’s a way to connect, it is not our factory settings.

[00:16:29] We have to be intentional about staying in a conversation and being present and asking more questions and then not turning to this feeling of criticism so that then we shut down and then we do anything we can to defend our fragile ego. So pillar one, that assumption of good intentions, or there’s a reason why somebody is saying or doing the things they’re doing. I think that it just moves right in here. If somebody is again expressing themselves in a way that you don’t think is meaningful, then go dig for that tight explanation. Go find the context which they’re expressing themselves. Pillar two is you can’t say you are wrong or I don’t believe you, even if you think they may be wrong or you may not believe them because the goal is to keep the conversation going. The goal is to be heard, to be heard is to be healed. To be healed is to hear someone. So knowing the context of the way they’re expressing themselves can be so key to understand what their experience was like growing up. One of the things I was speaking at recently was that it was to a large congregation of people that are very active in their faith. I didn’t grow up with a lot of religion in my life, but would have adopted a lot of religious principles later in life. And so I oftentimes don’t have that background of spiritual, scriptural knowledge, and I used to feel really bad about that.

[00:17:46] But now I understand that is just the context in which I grew up. That’s my schema as a whole. Other psychological thing that’s pretty fascinating or all of the things that I bring to that moment then make me the person that I am. Pillar three is the questions before comments, which I think is so important you can assume good intentions that someone’s not trying to hurt you when they say a bunch of things that sound maybe meaningless. Even if you feel like they are wrong about what they’re saying, you telling them they’re wrong. We’ll shut that conversation down. And Pillar three is then questions questions for comments. Instead of saying I get through both the first two pillars instead of violating Pillar three and saying, OK, I have no idea what you’re talking about, let me just tell you what it sounds like you’re talking about, but now go ahead and tell me what you’re talking about, because that’s going to shut the conversation down or pillar four is to not go into your bunker. It’s to stay present and just stay in that conversation and say, I really do want to know. I’m maybe struggling to really understand the context, but I’m here and I care about you, and let’s stay in this conversation until we both feel like we have some understanding or we both feel heard.

[00:18:47] So let me jump into some. There’s some really fascinating found an article. It is. It’s about different cultural differences. It’s called fifteen fascinating cultural differences around the world, and this is from it’s from Chef Tariq, who is a resource of Middle Eastern recipes. So I really do feel like I went digging around his website and there really are some phenomenal recipes. But I’m not much of a cook, but some of the things sound amazing. But he has 15 different cultural differences that I think really are, and I think you’ll see where I’m going with this before I get to the 15. He has some general do’s and don’ts, he said. Make sure you tip in the United States, but don’t be insulting and do it in Japan. And before I became a therapist, I went to Japan for about a decade, three or four times a year, and that is absolutely true. At least in the time frame that I was going, you don’t tip in Japan, and I used to feel I would say to my my friend Yoshida San, Well, yeah, but I’m an American, so why don’t I tip? They’ll think that’s really cool, but not understanding the context that you do not tip that that is not something that is cool. They will not view that as, Oh my gosh, this guy is amazing. It’s a man. You don’t respect our culture, so not tipping. And here’s another one that’s very true. Slurp away while eating in Japan, but don’t you dare in the United States without coming across as very rude.

[00:19:58] This is a very true story. The first time I ever went to Japan and I had this new suit I was wearing and we went to a ramen place, a noodle place. Again, the most true of all true stories, and I pick up my bowl of noodles to slurp them like I had been trained to do, and I literally dumped them right into my lap and they were so hot and it was this really cool new suit I had. And then I had to go to the bathroom and I had to take my pants off and I had to wash out the the pants. And then it was a I didn’t even know at the time, but it was a family restroom. And so a woman walks in and I’m sitting there my underwear, trying to wash my pants out and so I can just speak from experience that that slurping away is encouraged. But make sure you hang onto your bowl. That would be what I would do. He also says Don’t mix up Aussies and Kiwis in New Zealand. Do not blow your nose in public in Turkey or Japan. Another one in Japan. My my, my business partner Yoshida San, would cover his mouth when he would speak on the phone, cover his mouth when he would use a toothpick. And so when you think about that, it just looks like we are just these people that are just out there, bold and loud by just talking on our phone, picking their teeth and blowing our nose, apparently.

[00:21:01] He said, I wouldn’t jump the queue or the line in the UK, and I know that one as well. Don’t stand in a queue in the Middle East. Don’t stare at people in Germany, he said. The best thing to do when traveling for international business or for fun is to read up on new countries that you’re visiting and that is so true. So while we’re here and we’re talking about context, here’s some just fun things that are, he says, cross-cultural understanding is paramount. If you want to get along with other people from other places, let people feed you in Ethiopia, he said. If you find yourself in Ethiopia dining with locals, you may be in for a surprise. If someone reaches for your mouth with some food, be sure to eat it. Otherwise, you might be seen as rude. This is because one way of showing affection in Ethiopia is to feed the people that you’re eating with. So if they are reaching out with their hands, putting food into your mouth, feel honored. And how fun is that to know that there are these just such different things that are happening in other cultures? So if there isn’t a need for context, I feel like this is so relevant. Make sure to get naked in Iceland, he said.

[00:21:59] Icelandic people are very relaxed about nudity, and in fact, women have the right to be topless in public if they want without fearing any kind of backlash. However, he said when it comes to swimming pools, Icelandic people are very uptight about hygiene and the naked body. So when going to the pool, you must take a clean bathing suit with you and not wear it under your clothes. Once in the changing room, you’ll get completely naked and take a shower while being watched by the shower guard. And this is to be sure that you wash your intimate private areas along with other areas before being allowed to leave the shower area. Only then can you put your suit on and enter the pool to enjoy swimming, soaking and relaxing. So that’s a lot of rules you would know, and this did remind me I used to go to the onsen the Japanese hot springs when I would travel. And I remember one time, Boy, you had to get right there and buck naked. And that wasn’t something I was used to and just walking around. And I just remember at one point they had a hot the hot springs and a cold pool. And I did not know that going from open vascular place into a very cold pool that I all everything in my whole body, my capillaries, my arteries than just seized up. And so I remember sitting down into that pool and already being very aware of my nakedness and then feeling like I literally was having a heart attack and that I was going to die in this cold pool in Japan.

[00:23:14] But then it turns out that I was not supposed to go immediately from that hot to cold, and eventually then everything seemed to be OK when meeting people in Japan, he says. Tell them your age now. I did not run into this one, but he says it’s very common and not considered rude to ask a person’s age in Japan when you meet them for the first time. The Japanese language is rich and complex, and it’s the language has different words depending on the age or status of the person you’re talking to. And I do remember that you can say orgasm us is a good morning in Japan, and there’s you throw a little more flavor into it if the person you’re speaking to is older. Number four, he says, do all the talking with your mouth in Turkey. Hand gestures and signals are always better to use in your home country where you understand what they mean. And I realized that I speak with my hands a lot. I really do. But he said, for example, in Turkey, allowing your thumb to protrude between your first and second finger in a fist, which is I’m doing right now, is extremely rude. And he said, also don’t make an OK gesture unless you mean to call someone, he says an A-hole and a very derogatory way.

[00:24:17] So giving someone the OK, not OK. In in Turkey number five, he says giving gifts in China can get you into trouble in certain. Gifts in China can cause great offense, such as giving cut flowers, which is only done at funerals, giving a clock as seen as bad luck since. The words giving a clock sound just like the words attending a funeral, a gift of shoes would be interpreted as giving a gift of evil again because the word for shoe and evil are very similar and nothing with the number four is that is associated with death. The word for sounds like the word death handkerchiefs are a symbol of saying goodbye forever, so those don’t go over well, either. And he says, finally, don’t give a sharp object as that insinuates you want to cut off the relationship. He says you should be safe with a gift of fruit or tea or even alcohol. Number six, don’t touch anyone’s head and Malaysia, especially babies, which is really hard to do because they’re so cute and they smell good. But babies don’t touch the head of an adult, either, you said, just better to hold back on that impulse. And also Malaysia, it’s rude to to point where directions are normally given with an open hand. Cultural differences are not. It sounds like Chef Tariq is saying it’s better not to make hand signals when in a foreign country. The number seven, he says, use both hands in South Korea using both hands when handing things to other people.

[00:25:26] Whether your business card or especially money number eight, keep your feet on the ground in the Middle East. Apparently, it’s considered very rude to show people the soles of your feet or even point them in their direction and be very careful when you sit with your legs crossed. Just a few more here. Keep a knife and fork in your hands and chili. He said. It’s very rude and chilly to eat anything with your hands. Even when eating french fries always have a knife and a fork at the ready. And 10 No. 10 don’t make a toast with your wine in Georgia, not the state Georgia, but the country. Georgians make toast with wine, vodka or beer if they wish someone bad luck. Many cultural differences exist around the consumption of alcohol, so it’s good to be well versed, and, he said. However, 10 to 15 toast a night in small glasses with other alcoholic beverages that must be downed is in one. It’s completely normal. Number 11 This is fascinating because I’m a fan of showing up on time, if not a little bit early. But he says don’t show up on time for dinner in Tanzania. So it is considered rude to turn up for dinner on time in Tanzania, where you are expected to be 15 minutes late at the very least. And when you do show up, do not give any hints that you smell the food as that is very rude.

[00:26:29] So imagine then just someone like myself showing up and on time a little bit early and then saying This stuff smells amazing, and all of a sudden you’re drummed out of the country. Number 12 Never put a fork in your mouth. In Thailand, a fork in Thailand is used to shovel the food onto your spoon only and not for eating with. So that is the job of your spoon. This one’s interesting. Pucker up your lips and Nicaragua number 13. Knowing about some cultural differences will keep you safer in Nicaragua. Pointing with fingers is not done. Instead, people use their lips for this job. They pucker their lips and gesture in a certain direction, usually to point out something happening nearby. Number 14 Go hang out in the cemetery in Denmark. When many people around the world want to hang out, relax and maybe have a picnic, they usually head for a park. But not so in Denmark, where they head to the cemetery for little rest and relaxation. The cemeteries there are very well manicured and host a lot of people, especially during nice weather, and this is a pun warning coming, chef Tarek says. A cultural difference or a custom that we can live with on account of the graveyard. And then 15, this one actually sounds kind of fun. Throw a tomato at someone in Spain. La Martina is a festival in Spain that is all about throwing tomatoes at each other.

[00:27:35] It all started in nineteen forty five when a parade careened out of control, overturning a fruit and vegetable stand, and people began throwing tomatoes at one another out of frustration. And after a couple of years, the authorities tried to ban the practice. But they said, if we can’t ban this and so a festival was born. So throwing usually lasts an hour and there are some rules to adhere to. No tearing or throwing T-shirts. No hard objects or bottles squash the tomato a bit before throwing it so as not to hurt anyone and stop when you hear the signal. And once done, the fire department hoses down the main square, revealing a very clean ground due to the citric acid and the tomatoes. So something makes me wonder if that was a wise plan to actually clear or to clean an entire block or that sort of thing. So I hope you can see why I enjoy those. It’s fun to learn different things about different cultures, but I’ve talked often about the idea. I mean, today we’re talking about context and we’re talking about, do you bring that same curiosity about that? You would, in a culture are saying, Oh, wow, I didn’t know that into your own relationships or in your relationships. You say, Well, that’s ridiculous. Or you might have even been saying these things are ridiculous here, as would some people in other countries think some of the traditions that we do are ridiculous as well.

[00:28:47] I’m literally recording this on Halloween. My family’s out of town and handed out some candy, then ran over to record a quick podcast. And I remember talking with someone else in Japan who had talked about the Halloween holiday didn’t make a lot of sense. And I’ve heard comedians joke about this often, and my wife and I have talked about this from time to time. But it is pretty fascinating that you tell people to your kids, don’t go up to strangers, don’t take candy from strangers. Except for this one day when they’re dressed up in these really scary masks. So I can only imagine what that must be like to a country that doesn’t have Halloween, where they must feel like it literally doesn’t make sense. So we dress up. Some people are dressed up as Super Mario, but then others are these demonic things from. But then we’re all getting along and we’re all handing out candy and putting it in pillowcases. And then every now and again, you’ll watch a horror movie like Halloween, where now someone with a mask is actually a bad guy. So it is really interesting when you take that in context and then really take a look at we have our own things that I’m sure are pretty crazy, that other countries would think that that’s they don’t understand why we do them. So the goal the challenge this week, I think, is to really start to just have that word curiosity in your mind.

[00:29:54] And with curiosity does come questions. It comes tell me more. And I feel like you are going to have to watch and see. Check in with yourself on. If you do feel certain things as criticism and oftentimes when we feel criticism, then our brain immediately goes to protection mode. We are so worried that when somebody is saying something that is not the way that we view or think about something that for some reason they’re putting us down in our brain is this don’t get killed device. Our brain is this I must protect myself device. And so oftentimes when somebody does ask a question about why you do something the way you do or they tell you that they don’t necessarily agree with what you are, what you agree with, that our heart rate will start to elevate a little bit. We’ll start to go into this fight flight or freeze mode. And so that’s why it is so imperative and important to be able to recognize that you are two different individuals to have in a conversation, each with your own experiences, each with your own context around the things that you’re talking about. Fascinating, fascinating data. If you look at even looking at twin studies where two twins can go throughout life, literally sharing DNA and going through life together, and they can watch something happen, so the same input. But then if you ask them to write what happened to completely different outputs, so if you’re looking at that from a context of with twins, then how on earth are any of us having the exact same experience? We aren’t.

[00:31:12] We may be in the same place, but at any given moment, our brain is just a amalgamation of just a potpourri of experiences that lead up to how we think, feel or behave in any given moment. And it’s we’re in this over half an hour. I’m going to wrap this thing up, but I just feel like any chance I can get to express to anyone that you are not broken. You are you, you are the only version of you. So I really want people to not think what’s wrong with me, but reframe things when you think things instead of saying, What’s wrong with me for thinking this, say, check out what I’m thinking because you’re doing this whole game of life for the first time ever and every moment that you are in, the moment that I’m recording this, the moment that you’re listening to this, it’s the first time you’ve ever brought yourself to this situation right now. And so the things that I’m expressing, the things that you’re thinking while you’re hearing are not meant to be done with what’s wrong with me or why am I doing this? It’s more of a Hey, check out what I’m saying. Check out what I’m thinking. That’s fascinating. And then look at that with yourself, with curiosity.

[00:32:16] Look at Wow, why am I thinking that when I was laying out some of these cultural differences, some of them, you may have laughed, others you might have thought, Oh, that’s ridiculous. Others you might have said, Wow, that makes a lot of sense. So look at that with curiosity. Take that that. Take this episode and I’ll have the show notes. I’ll have the link to the article that I referred to, and not even just to listen to what those cultural differences is are. But then ask your spouse, your partner, your kids, you’re whoever. What do you think? Do you think that’s funny? Could you see yourself doing that? Look at things with curiosity, not with judgment, because we need to stop. We would change this whole narrative of feeling offended when someone expresses their opinion, and we need to feel safe enough that we can go to the people that we care about and express ourselves in a way that in any way, because that’s we desire connection. We desire to know that somebody is there, that we matter, that somebody cares about us. And the way we do that is human interaction. But we are not going to keep putting ourselves in a position to interact with other human beings if we are constantly being met with a feeling of judgment or shame or that sort of thing. So take this next week. Be a little more curious. Think of the context.

[00:33:27] What is the word that one word kite? What are you missing from this person’s experience that they’re sharing? And find out and then just learn more. Tell me more about that and maybe hold back on wanting to let somebody know why you think what they’re saying is wrong or that you disagree. And I promise you that you are going to start to feel more of a connection and you are going to feel your yourself feel a little bit. I think we’ve all had these experiences before where you have had a negative interaction with somebody, and that does not feel good to carry that around with you. It breaks my heart a lot of times, my son, I’m wrapping this up. I promise my son and I were driving by some an older guy that was in this truck and he just looked angry and we were about to miss an exit. So I did get in pretty quick and he was so angry and there was no part of me that woke up that day and thought, Man, I cannot wait till about one thirty in the afternoon. I’m going to drive down the freeway and I’m going to. I hope I can hit it right where I’m going to try to get wait to the very last minute and then cut over and get on this exit. And I promise you, it really was safe. But he was so mad and I told my son that breaks my heart to think of what that.

[00:34:30] Son must feel like and how often they must feel that way, walking around life feeling. Why do people do what they do? Why can’t they just do it this way instead of looking at life with curiosity? So there’s my goal. There is my hope. There’s your assignment for the week and do not forget. Go to Tony over Bacon Magnetic and sign up to to find out more about this workshop, which is Wednesday, the 4th. Oh, now I just panicked. Is it Wednesday the 4th? It is Wednesday the third Wednesday, November 3rd 6:00 p.m. Pacific and find out more about that. Boy, if anyone’s still listening, I completely botched doing the ad again this week. Virtual Couch If you are interested in the world of online therapy, sliding scales a very easy process to get on board and find a therapist that can help you with so many different things. So you deserve to to take a look at your mental health. All right. Have an amazing week. If you are, I think any of you who have been joining me over on the Waking Up the Narcissism podcast, the Apple had there were some list that I saw where the growth of it, it’s up four thousand percent a week with the people subscribing and listening. And so I could not be more thankful for the people that are supporting that podcast as well. So I have an amazing week and I will see you next time on the virtual couch.

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