EP03 – The Most Important Thing

This is a highlighted quote from the blog post.



In Episode 3, Joyce chats with Angelica from @withlovehelly about LOVE and how it looks in everyday life in the midst of frustration, codependency, and lack of empathy.

Intro music from BENSOUND.COM. Instrumental music from JOSEPH MCDADE.

Things to listen for:

  • How do you continue to love even despite constant disagreement?

  • How do you pair vulnerability with compassion?

  • How do you turn negative energy in one interaction into positive energy elsewhere?

  • How do you turn down the volume on your critical voice?

  • How do you celebrate your own growth?

Click headings below to expand for content

+ Show Notes

  • Angelica’s introduction
  • “Love is the most important thing in life”
  • What led Angelica to start the podcast?
  • “I really need to learn to love myself
  • “It started out as a journey of self-love, but now it’s just about love.”
  • What does self-love mean to you?
  • This is what really changed me and my love for myself
  • Love Without Hurt
  • Insert your core values in compassion
  • This is how you insert your values into a core hurt
  • You need to go back to that scene and be the child being held
  • “We expect to change people’s opinions, and 90% of the time we don’t”
  • Codependency is sharing identity
  • Love is freedom, not control
  • Love is “forcing me to be the best”
  • We are offended by so many things
  • Codependent people take it personally
  • I used to be that codependent person
  • It’s subconscious, but it comes out in the ways they react
  • Do the work: Make the subconscious conscious so that you can rewrite the script
  • Once you take the shame out of the picture
  • I’m a lot like my mom
  • We see ourselves as damaged people
  • Vulnerability was a game-changer for me
  • You need vulnerability AND compassion
  • Compassion is not empathy
  • You become softer the more you mature
  • You can’t love me if you don’t support me
  • Joyce’s core hurt
  • Perception is not reality
  • Our generation is split on communication: over and under-communicators
  • The more open we can be in communication, the more we can value ourselves
  • “I’m going to give my opinion and expect zero in return”
  • I’m expending all this negative energy that could be turned into positive energy
  • Expectations trigger us – “I don’t want to lie about how I feel”
  • Don’t hold in your true feelings, but take a step back
  • “I’m okay either way”
  • I blocked off pieces of myself when I knew they would react negatively
  • “I wanted to convince them so I could convince myself”
  • “Turn down the volume on the critical voice”- Mountain Meditation
  • What is the immovable piece of who you are?
  • I am love
  • Chinese churches are all about saving face
  • I was so used to pretending to be someone
  • You can tell when other people have done the work
  • The hardest part is taming my ego in response to other people’s ego – How do I keep my ego at bay?
  • The INFJ door slam
  • I have a really big deal with my personal appearance
  • I can’t believe you wouldn’t do your hair for me
  • I have to learn to just be neutral
  • I realized I was a huge part of the problem
  • It’s important to celebrate the change

+ Resources

  • Mountain Meditation – Try it out yourself here.
  • Brene Brown – If you’re new to her work, start with her TEDx talk here. She also has a Netflix special here. (Highly recommend her work on vulnerability and shame! She has been a game-changer for many. )
  • INFJ door slam – Read about the INFJ door slam here. “They may politely tolerate the other person’s presence but minimize their interaction with them. They revoke access to their personal thoughts, feelings, and authentic inner world — in other words, they stop being vulnerable around this person in order to protect themselves from further hurt.

+ Full Transcript

Joyce: [00:00:04] Hey, everyone! This is Joyce with Overthinker the Podcast, a podcast for deep thinkers, deep feelers and those who love deep conversation.

In this episode, I bring in my good friend, Angelica Garcia. She and I talk a lot about love and what it looks like in everyday life, even when we’re frustrated, even in the midst of codependency and a general lack of empathy for the other person.

In the episode, we answer questions, like:

  • How do you continue to love even in the middle of constant disagreement?
  • How do you turn down negative energy in one interaction and channel that into positive energy elsewhere?
  • How do you turn down the volume on your critical voice and how do you celebrate your own growth?

Before we get into the episode, I just wanted to let you guys know that there are show notes for this one at, separated by hyphens, not spaces. The page has a full overview of the episodes so you can just go first and see if there’s anything you specifically want to listen to. There’s also going to be resources linked and pictures that you can follow along with. If that’s your style, head over to I hope you guys enjoy this episode. I’ll talk to you in a little bit.

Joyce: [00:01:31] Okay, we should probably start from the beginning. The beginning, I guess, let’s see. Why don’t you introduce yourself. Just like your name, who you are, what you do?

Angelica: [00:01:42] Angelica Garcia. I’m in digital marketing. I love long walks on the beach. I’m just kidding, I really do though.

So love is like my biggest thing in life. I think love is everything. And whether that be just regular love, religious, like whatever it means to anyone. I think it’s the most important thing. And so I just want to spread as much love and as much light as possible.

So I’ve been trying to do that lately through some of the morning texts and podcasts and videos and things like that. And really it kind of came down to just my own self-love, because I’m a really good person that loves everyone else. And sometimes when it comes back to myself, I have a really hard time with it. I don’t know if that at all answers your question.

Joyce: [00:02:31] Yeah, I don’t even remember what my question is anymore. Oh, I said to introduce yourself. Oh, my gosh. We’re both, like, uhhhhh.

Angelica: [00:02:42] I’m just really excited to be here.

Joyce: [00:02:42] No, it’s awesome. I’m glad you’re here. What led you to start the podcast? Was there an incident where you’re like, this is it? I got to do it, you know?

Angelica: [00:02:50] Yeah, I’ve been wanting do it for a while and had kind of had an idea of like where I wanted to go with it and it never really like came to pass. I just really couldn’t force myself to do it.

I was in a year long relationship and that just was like back and forth the whole entire time. And I was like one hundred percent in. I literally thought this was my soulmate and this is my person. She wasn’t out and she would break up with me because she just couldn’t do it. Her religious views and her family didn’t know. And any time she felt bad, she just couldn’t do it anymore.

I finally, I think, at the last time that we broke up, I was like, I have to figure out how to love myself because for me to stay in a relationship like that for a whole year just really means I don’t love myself. And it just was a lot of self-reflection. And then I was like, I bet a lot of people need to hear about this. It really almost became more like accountability to myself to actually do it and not necessarily to do the podcast or videos, but to learn how to love myself, because I felt like if I just kept saying it like, oh, I need to learn to love myself. And then if I didn’t speak it to someone or make sure everybody knew.. like, I was going to physically have to do things to learn that, then I wasn’t ever gonna do it.

So really the first one came for me just being like, man, I’m just gonna say whatever I have to say right now and I’m going to make myself go through this journey and figure it out. And that’s really how it started, was that piece. And I think from there, I’ve kind of gotten comfortable with it. And I don’t necessarily know that it’s a journey of self love any more. I think it’s just a journey of love.

Joyce: [00:04:35] That’s so quotable. “It started out as a journey of self-love, but now it’s just about love.” Why did you think a podcast was the way to do self-love? Like what did self-love mean to you?

Angelica: [00:04:48] So for me, I think self love is the biggest thing. So in my idea of love, people always say like, oh, you can’t love anybody else if you don’t love yourself. And I actually think that’s untrue, I think that’s incorrect.

I think when we love other people when we don’t love ourselves, it’s selfish love because we’re expecting them to love us back how we don’t love ourselves.

So we can absolutely love them, but at the end of the day, we’re asking them to fill a void that we should be fulfilling for ourselves. And so that’s kind of where I went with it from the beginning, is that I’m very much an awareness person and a reflective person, and I try to figure out like, what’s wrong with you? Being like, these are the things wrong over here. And so I wanted it to be reflective of, like, what am I doing and why am I doing? And then like, how do I change the behavior?

And so for me, I started out with the normal things that people say, like go meditate, go to yoga. I’ve been doing yoga for a year. And all of these things that people have talked about.

And really, I think one of the things that kind of started to change me and the love for myself is speaking with my therapist. And she’s really cool because she started me off with this thing that’s called Love Without Hurt. And it’s a program that she runs. And basically it was, we have these core hurts and these core values.

If we can teach ourselves that when our core hurt is being attacked or we feel like it’s being attacked, that we can actually insert our core values in compassion, then we actually don’t get offended and we don’t get upset.

And so it’s a very interesting concept. But that’s kind of where I started to realize like this is more than just like meditation and yoga. While all those things are really, really great, I think it’s more of training your mind.

Joyce: [00:06:44] Because one of them is, you’re kind of doing the work. You’re facing it head on. I was just talking to my therapist about this in the past session. She’s like, hey, you know, you’re struggling with these feelings, what are you doing about it? And I was like, I’m ignoring them. She was like, Joyce come on, you know? But I was like nah, nah, no, I journaled about it, it’s fine.

I wanted to make that tangible. You’re saying core values and core hurts. So she has done something similar with me and I have a list of my hurts, but I’ve never heard of the values piece of it. I think in isolation, I’ve really built up some values this past year. But what does it look like to fit your value into a core hurt?

Angelica: [00:07:27] Yeah. So usually like the core hurt. So for me, my highest level core hurt is feeling unloved. So usually when I’m in a situation and I react in a way I would assume as a negative manner, it’s because I feel some type of unloved or I’m not enough. And so the way that I go about that and inserting my core value is that I have what’s called a core values shield, the things that mean the most to me, that know that I bring value to them and that I am loved, and that I am love.

And so a lot of it is, I will say, I am worthy. I am trustworthy. I’m a dependable person. I’m all of these things. This is who I am as a person.

She did an exercise with me where she said that I was driving, and then there was a wreck. And I saw the wreck happen in front of me. She was like, do you stop and help? And I was like, of course. And she’s like, so you get there and there’s a mom and a child. She’s like, and they’re both stuck. Who do you save first? I was like, probably the child.

She’s like, so you save the child and you go to the mom and the mom can’t get out. She’s stuck and you have to wait. So what are you doing? I’m like, I sit there and I hold the child. She’s like, exactly. Until help comes. And then help comes, right? And you save the child and the mom because you’re sitting there with both them, but you’re holding the child.

She said, So when you have the core hurt, you need to go back to that scene and be the child being held. And know that you’re safe and you’re OK. And you’re in a safe space.

Reflect on the situation. What are the facts? Whatever was hurting you? Is this somebody saying this about you and is it true? Like if somebody hurts you by saying like, you’re ugly or whatever, is it true? And do you believe it to be true? Or does it just hurt because somebody is being mean? Then you assess the core value, or you put the core value towards it. Like, I feel like I am this way.

Like for me, I say like I’m a child of God, I’m beautiful, I’m all the things. And then I just cover it up basically and I either address the person then after that, because then I can come from a place of compassion and love and I can address the person and say, I don’t necessarily agree, but that’s your opinion, you know? Or I can come and say, This was hurtful, and this is why. Rather than lashing out or being like, you’re wrong, I’m awesome.

Joyce: [00:10:18] Right. Right.

Angelica: [00:10:18] Because we come from a place and we expect to change people’s opinions, and 90 percent of the time we don’t. Like, you’re probably going to never change anyone’s opinion, and we spend so much extra energy trying to change negative opinions instead of just being like, that’s your opinion. This is mine. And, you know, take it or leave it. We try to explain ourselves all the time. Oh, but let me tell you exactly why I feel this way. Like a lot of times people don’t care.

Joyce: [00:10:48] Yeah. Yeah. In general, that reminds me of just like co-dependency in general. Like this idea of enmeshment. Because I think that when people are wanting to convince other people, at least for me and how I’ve seen it, is that you kind of share this identity.

You’re projecting your own self on them to be like, oh, that is unkind to say or, you know, from my perspective, from my baseline. And so it’s interesting, I see it a lot in relationships.

Like for me, too, in the past when I was dating somebody, I would get angry when he talked about Trump and he didn’t absolutely hate him, because I was way more liberal at the time. But then now I look back and I’m like, man, if we had that conversation again, I’d probably be like, man, I disagree with you, but I’m not going to be mad about it because you are your person, and I am my own person. And that’s OK. You’re allowed to have your own opinion.

And then that has kind of fed into this thought or this kind of mantra for me that love is freedom, because for me, love was control.

Growing up, my parents, that’s how they expressed it to each other. My dad, he likes to eat a lot. And my mom would always be like, don’t eat that, don’t eat this, blah, blah, blah. So it’s almost like a mother and a child kind of feeling.

And at the time, you know, that’s normal. You’re a kid. You’re like, oh, yeah, that’s just what it is. And she would usually she would say this phrase like, “I wouldn’t try to control you unless I cared so much.”

But now she’s equating control and love. And so I had that fed to me throughout my life. And I still kind of struggle with that belief.

So if I have a partner and they don’t really care that I’m staying out late or that I’m hanging out with so-and-so, because they’re just a healthy, well-adjusted person and they trust me, you know? But now I’m like, wait, why aren’t you getting jealous? Like, why aren’t you trying to control me?

Because now there’s still an inner piece of me that thinks that’s love. And now having to reiterate, no, love is freedom. Love is freedom.

Like, what does that mean? It means you don’t get angry when people express their opinion. It just means that you’re like, OK with how they are, their habits. These are non essential things. They are just who they are.

Angelica: [00:13:02] I think there’s like two things.

One is, I also grew up in a kind of controlling environment and it was more about making me the best person that I am. That was love, like forcing me to be the best at every possible thing. That was love. And only getting recognition when I was the best. And when I wasn’t, I got zero recognition.

Joyce: [00:13:24] Wow.

Angelica: [00:13:25] And so I really struggle with that in my relationships where I expect, because my expectation of myself is so high that I expect everybody else in my life to meet this expectation.

And when they don’t, it’s devastating. And so I’ve had to really come back to the middle and learn like one, is that expectation reasonable? And if I’m not willing to do it, I can’t expect anybody else to do it.

Yeah, but also I need to allow somebody to be themselves. Like you said, like love is freedom, right? What you were saying with, we should allow people to be themselves. Those things aren’t essential.

You know, like we can’t… forcing somebody to be something they’re not as not, you know. That’s not love.

But also, I feel like when somebody is expressing their feelings, a lot of times, especially in our generation, we take things so personal. We are so offended by so many things, it’s unreal.

And so somebody might be like, I feel like what you said meant this. And to me, like, I love that. Like, I love people who say that because in my brain, I’m like, OK. Like, what’s behind that feeling? Like, where did that come from? Is it is it something I did? Is it something that happened in your past? In my brain, I get pumped because I’m like, yeah, let’s figure this out! Let’s get to the real deal.

And I’ve really noticed that when I say that to other people who haven’t done the work and who are really, like you said, co-dependent, they take it as a personal attack, as if they are the worst person. I never said that. I’m saying, what you just did makes me feel this way because I, like this is my feeling, my thing, I’m not saying you did anything wrong. I’m just saying it makes me feel a certain type of way.

So we have to also, with love and compassion, be able to allow other people to feel things even though we didn’t intend to for it to feel that way or whatever, but for them to have their own feelings for us to be able to address their feelings without us being like, I’m a terrible person, like that kind of thing.

And I also say, when people say, like, oh, I didn’t intend for it to be. That makes me laugh so much because I’m like, well, number one, nobody intends to be mean or bad unless you’re a psychopath. So obviously you didn’t intend for it to be bad.

Joyce: [00:15:44] It’s kind of a non-statement of, cool, for stating a fact but that has nothing to do with the situation.

Angelica: [00:15:51] Exactly.

Joyce: [00:15:52] Yeah. I used to be that person that was pretty codependent and definitely took things personally. And that’s just because of the way that I was raised and the experiences that I’ve had, you know?

I’ve really lessened a lot of the shame that came with that. And that was a huge part of my growth. It’s like once you take shame out, you’re like, oh, it’s just information now. It’s not something about me and how messed up I am.

Now that I’ve reached more of a place where, one, I can speak more boldly but, two, I can just not be afraid to speak the truth. That’s been a huge change.

So while you were talking, I was picturing myself on both sides of that because I’m sure people, too, they’ve been on both sides of being the person trying to be like, hey, I have the best in mind for you. Like, I’m just trying to help. And they take it personally or it’s the other way around. People get butt-hurt about the most random things, but it’s because of their experiences.

So yeah, I always call that the narrative, or the script, that they’ve been programmed with, right? It’s subconscious, but it still comes out in the ways they react.

And then part doing the work is making the subconscious conscious, and then rewriting that script. Because if you don’t, then you pass on the cycle, and that was terrifying to me. When I realized, man, if I do nothing right now, my kids are gonna have it. I’m just gonna repeat the cycle that my parents passed down to me. And I was like, nah, that’s not about to happen. Like, that is not OK.

Angelica: [00:17:32] I think that’s so powerful. And I love that you said it was about shame. I’ve never thought about that before. And that’s so true. Like, that’s 100 percent true. Like once you take the shame out of what they’re saying. Because you’re shaming yourself, that’s why people get upset. I think that’s a huge deal.

I also feel the same about, you know, the next generation. So for me, I’m a lot like my mom and my grandma and basically every woman on my mom’s side of the family. A lot of it was just, we see ourselves as damaged people based on the experiences that we’ve had. And so a lot of times, they are not very vulnerable and very willing to be open.

And so I worked for so long to, really be able to speak my truth and to be vulnerable enough to be honest with myself as well as everyone else around me, and I think that was literally a game changer for me.

You know, one of the early podcasts that I did, I spoke some truth and one of my ex-girlfriends was like, you would never have done that.

Joyce: [00:18:39] That’s how you know you’re growing!

Angelica: [00:18:39] Like to even have gotten one feeling out of you would have been like pulling teeth. The crazy part is, I was, like, really? I was like, I don’t think so. She’s like, no.

Because it’s now become so much ingrained in myself. The more work you do and the more effort you put towards it, it’s just like any other habit, right? It just starts to become part of you. And I don’t even realize like who I was before I even started to try to do any of this.

And I think, like, obviously, Brené Brown, everybody loves Brené Brown.

Joyce: [00:19:12] I love Brené Brown.

Angelica: [00:19:12] Vulnerability literally has changed my life.

Yeah, but it’s also being able to be vulnerable along with the compassion piece. Like that’s the piece that I have found nobody’s really teaching on it yet, but it’s so big.

Joyce: [00:19:28] Like self-compassion, right?

Angelica: [00:19:29] Self-compassion to be able to give other people compassion, even when they don’t deserve it.

Because I feel like a lot of times we think empathy, empathy being like, I can understand where they’re coming from. And I can be in their position and feel what they feel.

And compassion is more like, I can understand that you’re hurting. I may not understand why or not even agree with it. But I can come to the table with like, you’re hurting somehow and let’s figure that out. And people think that that’s weak or that’s not OK, because they think of it in an empathy standpoint. “I don’t agree, so no, I’m not coming to the table.”

You know, whereas if you can come to the table like, you’re hurt in some form or fashion. Let’s talk through that. Let’s talk through the hurt, whether it has to do with me, whether it has to do with a lot of things. Like I can feel the anger or the hurt and I can come to the table with not offense, not the shame, not anything. If we can come to the table with just love and compassion, so many things could be talked through, I feel like.

Joyce: [00:20:30] I just see that as a motherly feel. Because I think that moms have to do that for their kids a lot, of constantly, like, I disagree with what you’re doing. But at the end of day, I love you.

You know, the younger people I find are the more hotheaded ones, the ones that are saying, look, I have to stand for something and I can’t, like, be friends with you.

You know, it’s just interesting, as you get older and the more you mature, you do become softer and you’re just cool with people and letting them be who they are and supporting them.

Some guy who’s like writing a book. He was like, yeah, you know, you might tell your friends this and they’re not going to agree with you. They may not support you, but that’s OK, because you can still love somebody who doesn’t support you and I was like, explosion.

Angelica: [00:21:20] Mind blown.

Joyce: [00:21:21] I feel like it told me more about me than about what he said. Because he said it so matter of factly, like so logically and I was like, wait a second. Supporting doesn’t equate to love? Like if they don’t support me, they don’t they don’t love me, right? And if they don’t love me, why should I love them back, you know?

So it’s like this very reactive, this reactive attitude. You know, you’re not choosing to be the person that you want to be. You’re not saying, you know, I’m gonna love them, even if though they don’t support me. It’s kind of like a siloed area. But we still have all these other connections.

But I think it has to do with my core hurt, because I have a very similar one, which is, I don’t feel worthy. I don’t feel lovable. And a lot of that is, I don’t feel understood. I don’t feel heard and seen. So all these are connected to me.

And so, yeah, I think that’s why I definitely get triggered when people don’t get it or they don’t seem as excited as I would want them to be, which is like totally a perception thing anyways.

Like it’s not even a reality of how they feel. Somebody could be like, I’m so excited. And, they may be super excited, but I’m like, are you sure? You don’t seem excited.

You know, so it’s easy to get angry at those things because of the assumptions that I make about people and what they actually think. But I don’t actually know.

Angelica: [00:22:49] I think that definitely comes back to communication in general. I think our generation is split on communication. Like some people are over-communicators and then some people don’t wanna communicate at all.

Joyce: [00:23:03] That’s interesting. What do you mean by an over-communicator?

Angelica: [00:23:06] Like, I consider myself to be an over-communicator just because I want to speak about everything. Like if I have a feeling, I want to talk it out. I want to talk about everything.

Most people, especially if it’s a hard feeling or like it’s uncomfortable, they don’t want to even like- ten foot pole, like, oh, like let’s just put that under the rug and hope that goes away and, let’s move on forward and real happy and joyful and here it is. And I’m like, that’s not gonna work out.

But I think that the more we can be open to communication, even if the communication isn’t received well, the more we can value ourselves.

So, a lot of times- I use my family as a lot of reference as well as you do, which I love, because a lot of it comes from my family. A lot of the reason I am the way I am or or even some of the things that want to work on.

But my brother and I have very different ideals when it comes to different political stances. And so we’ll have these conversations, and I’ve really learned that I’m going to give my opinion, but I’m going to expect zero in return. Like positive or negative feedback, I’m going to be neutral about the feedback. If the feedback is positive. Awesome. Feedback is negative. Awesome. Like, either way, I want to be neutral because then I get so hyped whenever his opinion is different than mine.

And I put all of this negative energy and I’m only receiving negative energy back and I’m actually expending energy that could be turned into positive energy in a different space. Instead of saving it and reserving it and putting all of that positive energy into a positive situation.

And so I’ve really come to find that when I’m having conversations with people and I start to realize maybe we don’t really align on some things, that I have to bring it back a little bit and be like, still have the conversation and still be there, still be engaged, but not put forth as much effort as I would have if somebody is in it with me. Because then that’s when I should be pouring out the energy, that’s when I should be excited and be like, yeah, let’s go! And the crazy thing is, is the more I’ve done “saving in the negative” and “putting into the positive”, these positive conversations have been blowing my mind.

Joyce: [00:25:23] Yeah. Sometimes I think the expectations are the things that trigger us because you’re like, coming super excitedly about something, like did you hear about so-and-so? And they’re just like, so? Like, why are you so excited?

I’m worried about the contagion of the emotion. And I’m like, man, I’m excited. Why can’t you be excited? Because my baseline is that if somebody comes to me, that I’d be like, super excited with them. You know, that’s my way of expressing that sort of care and love. It’s hard to expect that from others.

I think back in the past, I may not have agreed with you because.. Like, I guess I perceived it as a sort of dishonesty. Like if I was sitting with somebody and they were telling me an opinion, if I could feel myself getting triggered, right? And then I hid that from them, it’s almost like I’m lying to them about how I really feel about it.

But then the more I’ve thought about that, I’m like, man, letting that emotion out. And maybe that’s not how I actually feel, it’s just that the emotion is kind of exploding at that point. And I probably would have said something I didn’t mean or I don’t actually think. And so it’s almost like an irrational thing that I’m keeping from letting out.

Because the part about telling the truth and being vulnerable is kind of a twisted version of vulnerability, where it’s like, I need to show them everything, like how angry I am. Like if they have the best, they should have the worst. Like that stupid quote. I mean, which I get.

But also, it’s like I used it as a way to justify letting out anger on people that probably didn’t deserve it. Like if I had just taken a step back and thought about it and come back later, and be like, okay, cool, we disagree.

Angelica: [00:27:03] Yeah. And that’s what I mean. Like, don’t hold it in. Don’t hold in your true feelings. But at the same time, like if somebody says something that you don’t agree with, being able to step back and just be neutral about the situation. Like you can give your opinion.

I feel like this is what we do to ourself. Like especially when I was younger. Like I knew somebody didn’t agree, and yet I’m still gonna give my opinion and try to make sure that they know that this is right and they’re wrong. So you’re just putting negative energy into something – that they’re not going to change and you’re not going to change.

Joyce: [00:27:33] Because you’re invested at that point. You’re looking for a specific outcome. And it’s like, if you don’t get that outcome, you feel like it’s on you. Just like so angry.

Angelica: [00:27:43] Yeah.

Joyce: [00:27:43] I know that feeling exactly, like I’m imagining it right now. The frustration.

Angelica: [00:27:49] It’s the frustration and the anger and you’re just building your own negativity, like your negative energy instead of just being like, well, I don’t agree completely, at all. But, obviously this one conversation probably isn’t going to be like your ah-hah moment in life.

When I was telling this to a guy this summer, he was like, so do you just not have conversations with those people? I was like, no, I continue to give my opinion. I said, but I expect zero reaction from myself, meaning whatever they decide to say back to me, it’s fine.

Like I’m good either way. If they have a negative response back or a positive response, like, in myself, I’m OK either way and I’m not going to get upset if it’s negative.

And I continue to say it. If they’ve heard it enough and then they choose to believe it, awesome, I did my part. But I’m over here in this positive interaction and a lot of times we’re like, oh, yeah, this person has the same idea as us. Cool. Instead of being like, yeah! Like, let’s go! Let’s link up, let’s build this positive energy over here.

We do that with negative energy, like we want to fight it so hard. I’m like, oh, I’m going to win and then nobody wins.

Joyce: [00:29:04] It cancels out.

Joyce: [00:29:07] You know, when I was a little younger, I would just block off that piece of myself toward somebody because I knew they would react negatively. That became really not sustainable.

And so realizing that when you continue to tell people and to self promote, in a sense, and being like, this is just me, you know? Because I think I used to have a fear of conflict or a fear of them disagreeing with me, because I think part of me wanted to convince them of something, so I could prove to myself that I was that thing, versus if I had just started with myself and been like, Joyce, you are already X, Y, Z, then it doesn’t really matter what other people think.

But I think there was that frustration. And there was anger too, because I wanted them to see it in me. I’m like, wait, why does that matter? And so after the compassion piece for me fell into place, the self-compassion, and turning down that critical voice and being like, hey, you know, thank you. Like you have protected me for a lot of my life. You have served me, but I don’t need you anymore, you know? And so turning that down, turning the compassion piece up and just being able to realize that I have less of those interactions. Now I’m like, oh, thanks for the opinion.

I think sometimes when it catches me off guard, I definitely still get triggered.

There was this mountain meditation that I really, really loved. I don’t know if you’ve heard of this one. Basically it’s like, picture the most beautiful mountain you’ve ever seen. And for me, I picture Boulder’s mountains because I went to school there. So the Flatirons, just gorgeous. I saw it every day during school. And then it’s like, pretend you are the mountain now. Pretend you are the mountain, you’re visualizing this and then watch as the seasons go by, like people come. They’ll speak and say, oh, you’re a beautiful mountain or it’s rainy, they’re like, oh this is the worst. But at the end of the day, you’re just this mountain that’s existing. And what these people are saying, it’s just what they think, you know? And so this idea of you being this immovable force. When people say things, they’re just saying what they feel, you know? But you’re still a mountain, you know? Nothing’s gonna change that.

And so it’s finding what that piece is, like, who you are, in a sense. Once you know who you are and know that, oh, this is the immoveable piece of who I am. I am this mountain, and so it doesn’t matter what you say, because I’ve already decided, I’ve already made a decision that this is who I’m going to be and this is what I’m going to do.

Angelica: [00:31:58] I think that is the perfect picture for core value. The mountain is the perfect picture for core value and a lot of it is love, like I am love and I am this mountain. And no matter as things are passing by, no matter what happens, I’m still going to be this mountain and I’m so going to be here with love. And I think that’s the exact idea of core value.

Joyce: [00:32:23] Man, that’s so tough because, like-

Angelica: [00:32:25] And we’re like, aaaand adulting!

Joyce: [00:32:29] Yeah, because when I was younger, when I was in high school, I was a super religious. My dad’s a pastor. So I grew up in a kind of unhealthy setting where I went to a Chinese church. And I think it’s more obvious there. They’re very fixated on appearance, saving face and behaving a certain way. So they’re very harsh, very critical on my dad.

And so as a child, I was so young, but I felt like I had to be a certain way so that it didn’t impact my father’s career, right? And so all of that was put on me. And I can look at that child and be like, so sad for her, right? Like, no child should have to deal with that sort of pressure.

When I got older, I didn’t even really know who I was because I was so used to pretending to be someone. This idea of the false self, you know? So many people don’t really know who they actually are, and this lack of self awareness. They speak like on this layer, but I see you and you’re like, here.

And so I think it’s really easy when I was a kid to say things like, oh, I am love, I’m a mountain, you know, but it’s just me repeating things that I’ve seen. And it wasn’t like LIFE deep, you know, like I hadn’t experienced it.

That’s why it’s interesting now. You mentioned this earlier. When you talk to people who speak a certain way or act a certain way, you’re like, oh, you’ve done the work. Like, I know I can trust you on this level. And I can speak on this level. I know you won’t take it the wrong way because we’ve both done the work, like we’re on the same page in that sense. But it’s so hard to talk to somebody if they’re operating on the ego level. I’m like, dude, you’re not even seeing the reality for what it is, you know? And that’s the scariest thing because it’s like, I can’t show you until you choose to see. Because I can tell you a million times, but maybe one day it’ll click.

Angelica: [00:34:18] I totally agree. I think for me, the hardest part of all of this is when I meet somebody with ego and I know that’s what it is, is me still taming my own ego because I can do well at the very beginning and I can be like peaceful and nice. And then like still, still, still, still and they’re like still coming at you.

I’m like, OK, man, I’m being cool right now. I’m being so cool right now. And then it hits a level where I’m like, aaaand I’m done. And now the egos coming out and now I’m coming for you.

So it’s like, I want to work, like, how do I keep it at bay all the time? Even like when it’s a consistent battle of somebody else back and forth.

I feel like it’s like a nun, almost. Like if somebody was like being so mean to a nun and they’re just smiling at you like, God loves you. I just feel eventually I’m like, that’s enough. That’s enough. And I think for me, that’s where the compassion piece comes at.

Like, if I can come to this situation with love always, then it doesn’t matter how many times somebody comes to the situation with ego. I can always respond in kind with love, but that is like, I’m definitely not there yet, but that is the ideal situation for me.

Joyce: [00:35:36] Yeah. I’m definitely not there either.

My tendency in general is to escape or cut things out. I don’t think there’s been a time where I kept someone in my life after they continuously took advantage of the situation.

I’m thinking about the Myers-Briggs right now. I don’t know if you know it. So I’m an INFJ, and basically INFJs are notorious for the Door Slam. Once you hurt them enough, they’re just going to like – and it all happens at once, it’s, like, you get blindsided. They slam the door in your face, they walk away, and they never talk to you again. And there’s like, no remorse. Like once you pushed it to that degree.

I hate the idea of that, because that’s kind of the ego. But it’s also the hurt child, you know? It’s the child that you’ve hurt so much that they don’t know if they can trust you anymore. I felt a lot of that growing up of. Like, every time I tried to share something with my parents, it felt like every time I was getting hit back. They just didn’t agree with me and they didn’t support me in any of these things that I was super excited about. They didn’t get it.

Yeah, I hate the idea of door slamming, but I’ve also seen it happen a lot of times in my life. Where I’m just like, dude, you’re too much like, I cannot have you.

And I think what’s not good about that is that there’s never an intention to open that door again. Because usually up to that point, I will be the person that’s always wanting to reconcile, that wants to push through the hard times so that we can be on the same page. But if you push me too far, I’m just like, no, never again.

Angelica: [00:37:13] I think that’s fair. I think for me, most of it is my own family. And so a lot of times, like, you know, for me to close the door… I’m also, we talked about, very religious. And so for me, to be more like God and/or Jesus is that people went down, went down, went down, like had negative, negative, negative, negative. And not once was Jesus like, OK, man, here’s the hand. Like, see you later. It was always just like, ” Yeah, man, keep coming. Let me hug you. This is awesome.”

Joyce: [00:37:42] laughs He’s like, “Fuck this shit, you know? This isn’t worth it, I’m going home!”

Angelica: [00:37:49] “I love you. Thank you so much for being terrible.

And so it’s one of those things where I have to… again, back to the core value, gotta circle back around! Back to core value and core hurts is that when that’s happening, especially my own family, it’s a core hurt that I’ve had for a really long time.

For instance one of the things is I have a really big deal with my personal appearance because when I was a kid, that’s all my mom chastised me about, like, if I ate too much, if I was getting too big, if my hair didn’t look right, if I, you know, whatever, whatever, I had to get laser hair removal because we were worried about my underarm hair color. Like, it’s just all of these things.

And so she came a couple weeks ago before Christmas because I didn’t go home and she had to come see me because, heaven forbid, the first thing she did in the first five minutes, I… like during the week, sometimes I don’t do my hair because I don’t want to blow dry it. Like I just let it dry naturally, just because I don’t want to damage it. Same concept, it was a Monday, so I was like not doing my hair. And I get into the car and she said, what’s going on with your hair?

Joyce: [00:38:55] Like her first reaction…

Angelica: [00:38:57] And I was like, what? And she was like, what’s going on with your hair? And I was like, nothing’s going on with my hair. Like, what are you talking about? She’s like, you just decided you didn’t need to do your hair because I was coming today? I would imagine that you would actually, like, have done it.

And I was kind of taken aback by it at first. I was like, is she being for real? I had to like, take back. And then I felt the ego like, excuse me? Like, what do you mean?

I felt like the attitude coming. I could feel it rising. I was like, no, man, it’s not that serious. I was like, I don’t know, I just don’t usually do it on Monday sometimes. And she was like, I just can’t believe, like, you wouldn’t do your hair for me. Like, when I was coming, I was like, all right.

And so I, like, got out of the car. We got out of the car, we were at the first place we were going to, and I just like, put it up in a bun. And I was like, hopefully this will be better, like I don’t know, like we are where we are, it is what it is.

Joyce: [00:39:52] That’s very nice of you to put your hair up..

Angelica: [00:39:55] But like then she kept going, like the fact that I didn’t come home and like-

Joyce: [00:39:59] Whoo, so that’s what you were talking about earlier, was they keep coming at you.

Angelica: [00:40:04] Like, kept going. And then that’s in the instance where I realized I have to be able to then just be like, cool. Cool. Like I continue to just be like, cool.

And that’s what the neutrality of the thing comes from, when I’m giving my opinion or whatever. Even when I’m in a situation that’s negative, like I have to learn to just be neutral and like it’s almost like water off your back. Like I’ve heard that saying so many times, but I never knew what it meant until that day where I was like, okay.

But what she’s saying is her own deal. I’m good. Like I was fine walking around with my hair like that. Like, I’m totally cool with not going home. I’m cool with all the things. She’s obviously not OK. And this is where we come back to the compassion thing. And if people could talk with open communication and say, I feel this – then we can have an open, compassionate communication conversation.

Joyce: [00:41:00] It seemed like that in that encounter, she was almost offended because she saw doing hair or your appearance as an act of love or like an act of respect. So it’s like if you don’t do it, then you must not respect me.

Angelica: [00:41:16] You didn’t care that I was coming.

Joyce: [00:41:19] I’m like, what? So it’s interesting that… at least, that’s good. I feel that’s either growth on your part or just something you never picked up from her because if you had been like, oh shit, yeah, I don’t give a fu- like you know, if you had the same values at that point, then I think that would have been an issue.

But the fact that you were kind of taken aback, like she thinks this, and that doesn’t make sense.

Yeah, that’s rough. Yeah. But I’ve had similar experiences of my parents and the reason I know I’ve grown – and all of this has happened within the last year. But every time I’ve seen my parents. Like even this past Christmas, my mom was like, yeah, you’ve changed a lot.

And that’s the first time she’s ever said that to me.

And I kind of just realized that I had always blamed them, but I realized that I was a huge part of the problem, if not most of the problem.

Because now I think our family’s pretty peaceful, because they’ll just say things, and I’m like, cool. Exactly like that. Or I’ll say something like, I’m sorry you feel that way. Yeah. Like, I’m genuinely sorry that you feel that way. But that’s kind of separate from what I’ve decided to do, you know?

They’ve had to get used to that, too, because they used to get triggered by my non-reaction. But now they’re realizing, oh, she’s like her own separate person. And I think especially in Asian families, it’s very much like you share an identity with your family. It’s like all about the community and not about the person.

So, yeah, I can definitely sense the change. And I think it’s so important to celebrate that when you experience those things because it’s hard to tell you’re growing. You always see it in those moments, the little snapshots. Like, man, if it was last year I would’ve reacted completely differently in that situation. And that’s how you convince yourself that, I am growing.

I’m not the person that I was yesterday, and I don’t have to repeat this cycle. Because I think sometimes we get in our head of man, like, why am I even trying? I’m just going to keep doing the same thing because it’s in my DNA, like this is how I was raised… and get into that disempowering thought cycle.

But then taking a step back and being like, no, I’m gonna keep trying because I’m already growing. You know, you have to learn to see the ways that you’re improving.


Joyce: [00:43:36] Hey, guys, I hope you really enjoyed that episode. I freaking love Angelica, and I hope you guys did, too. She has so much wisdom and so much knowledge to share. So much knowledge, in fact, that I decided to split this one into two separate episodes. So next week, we talk a little bit about romantic relationships, what we’re looking for in partners and how we came up with those criteria. Stay tuned for that. Real quick, before I wrap up the episode, I wanted to remind you guys that I started doing show notes, starting from this episode. You can find them at Separated by hyphens, not spaces. On that page, you’re going to find a complete breakdown of the episode, so you don’t have to go back and take notes or anything. Also, some resources. So I linked to Brené Brown’s Ted Talk, her Netflix special. I also linked to a really awesome version of the mountain meditation. I really, really love it and hope that you guys try it out because it really helped with my codependency and just not being firm in my identity. I also link a picture of the Flatirons so that you can follow along and have a visual imagery if, you know, you didn’t grow up around mountains. Go check it out. You might find something new. And that’s all I have for you. So again, I’m Joyce. This is Overthinker the podcast. See you guys next week.

Photo of the  Flatirons in Boulder  by  John Cartagena  from Unsplash

Photo of the Flatirons in Boulder by John Cartagena from Unsplash


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