Travel into the heart of what’s stopping us from being us, with an experienced psychotherapist.
I first heard about Joe from my housemate, Michael. He told me that Joe ran weekend workshops for healing trauma and helping people form a relationship with their emotions.
I was curious and checked out Joe’s site. I went straight to the video section and began watching a video of Joe explaining the different types of anger. The content was fascinating, but the way he was speaking fascinated me even more.
He was relaxed and spoke as if he were talking with a good friend. It didn’t feel like he was trying to sell me anything or talk me into his point of view. He was simply sharing what he knew about anger.
I clicked on the ‘About’ section of his site and read, “[…] My approach is dedicated to equipping you with the awareness and the tools you need to remove the obstacles that are preventing you from being the person you wish to be.” After reading that, I knew I needed to have a talk with Joe.
In this episode, we go to the heart of what’s stopping us from being us.
A useful talk if you want to know what’s stopping you from being yourself, or you’re thinking about embarking on some of your own self-development work.
Joe Douglas is a psychotherapist who helps people take responsibility for their lives and runs regular weekend workshops for people to understand and remove their emotional blocks so they can live a full and happy life as themselves.
Click on a time marker to hear the full conversation.
What Is Stopping Us From Being Ourselves? 03:18
- Ben: I’m feeling a bit nervous right now, but I can see it’s not you that’s making me nervous.
- Joe: Emotions are really important. They are good indicators that something is going on inside us.
- There is a lot of ‘stuff’ protecting us from ourselves.
- Until you feel safe, the real you is not going to come to the surface.
Childhood Is Where Our Initial Protections Are Created 05:54
- Ben: As children, we don’t have any reference for what fear or pain is.
- Joe: Children are the centre of their own universe. They push down who they are to fit in if they have to.
Let Your Body Feel Your Emotions Instead of Covering Them Up 09:08
- Joe: There are no bad emotions. It’s the suppression of our emotions which causes the pain.
- Suppressing anger can cause a lot of damage when suppressed for long enough. Domestic violence and secondary anger are some of the results of that.
Have You Had to Work at Being Authentic? 12:28
- Joe: It’s mostly been natural to be myself.
- Ben: I’ve come from a background of self-doubt, so it’s been harder for me to feel comfortable expressing myself.
- Joe: When I was younger I struggled. In the north of England, the sense was you didn’t show your emotions, you cover them up with alcohol and drugs.
My Personal Growth Process Began After My First Marriage Ended 16:16
- Joe: I began to realise how much anger was inside me. It was like a power station.
- I did 5 or 6 years of intense personal growth work
- Ben: What was driving you to do this self-growth work?
- Joe: My second wife wasn’t telling me what to do so I had nothing to rebel against. She used to say, “You can do anything you want.” That gave me the space to start looking into myself.
- The stronger my relationship became with my emotions, the less they affected my life.
- I could sense there was more to life than what I had been experiencing. I realised the message we were being told, was to distract yourself away from what you’re feeling to make it go away, and I thought, I’m not going to do that anymore.
- I realised the more I paid attention to my body, the more I realised that if I ignored it, things would get really bad.
Pain Is Crying Out for Love 24:30
- Joe: When someone is behaving in a completely unlovable way, that’s when they need love most of all. Because inside, there’s a whole load of hurt.
The Courage to Be Yourself 26:36
- Joe: Without courage, you’re not going to get into the realms of who you really are. It can be pretty scary. It can feel like a volcano or a big black abyss.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are all powerful beyond measure.” –Marianne Williamson/Nelson Mandela
- Joe: You can do anything you want. If you want to drink and drug yourself to an early grave, you can do that. If you want to wake yourself up and bring the fullness of your brilliance, bring it.
How Did You Begin Tapping Into Your Inner Voice? 30:35
- Joe: I began paying attention to my body and my emotions.
- You have to make space for yourself and ask yourself, ‘What do I need?’
Depression, Anxiety, Loneliness – Can They Be Healed or Only Managed? 31:43
- Joe: Until you process and form a relationship with these things (unpleasant emotions) they’ll always be there.
- Ben: I felt crazy when these emotions came up, I didn’t know how they worked and why I was feeling them so intensely.
- Joe: I think it should be called clinical suppression, not clinical depression.
The Heart of It Is Trust 37:14
- Ben: Family stories can easily dismiss our inner-truth.
- Joe: You get messages as a child which diminish what you are feeling. You learn to ignore what you’re feeling.
Joe: You learn not to trust yourself; ‘these people who are bigger and wiser must know better than me.’
- Joe: If people were to take responsibility for their own emotions they aren’t going to have such a big trigger when their kids are demonstrating the same emotion.
- You don’t have to do, or be anything, to be better. You’re fine just as you are.
Why Are We So Scared of Expressing Our Power? 41:47
- Joe: You’re frightened of being powerful because you’ve seen power misused. So you squash yourself down. The sad thing is the world needs more of that power.
- Ben: What’s the way forward? How do we come into our power?
- Joe: Compassion. Be kind to yourself.
What Advice Would You Give Yourself When You Were Deep in Struggle and Suffering? 44:14
- Joe: I would say to myself, ‘This isn’t who I am. There’s more to life than this, and I’ve got to stick around to find out what that is.’
- You need to summon up compassion for yourself.
- There’s no place you have to get to be worthy of love. You’re already worthy of love.
Recommend Resources for Beginning the Self-Healing Journey 48:32
- Joe: Anything that helps you become more mindful. Mindfulness is a great tool. Just notice, without judgment, what’s going on.
- Ben: So, self-awareness, and also being aware of the judgments you have about the things you become aware of.
- Joe: Go back as many steps as you need until you get to a place that is non-judgemental.
Where Can People Find Out About Your Weekend Workshops? 49:53
- Joe: They can visit www.turninganewleaf.com.au
- The workshop is a mindful exploration of your relationship with your emotions (anger, sadness, fear, joy, love.) It’s about building the capacity to give and receive love.
- Our defences keep us safe, but they also stop the good stuff from coming in.