In this episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing renowned sex and relationship expert, Dr. Laura Berman... See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/discover-the-secrets-to-self-love-and-fulfilling-relationships-with-dr-laura-berman/#show-notes
In this episode, we have the pleasure of interviewing renowned sex and relationship expert, Dr. Laura Berman. With years of experience helping thousands of individuals, Dr. Berman shares her most practical tools for stepping into self-love and building more fulfilling relationships. Through her own personal experiences with trauma, Dr. Berman has turned her pain into a passion for helping others find healing and growth. Join us as we delve into the secrets of self-love and relationships with the expert guidance of Dr. Laura Berman.
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Michael: Hey! What's up Unbroken Nation. Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guest, Dr. Laura Berman, who is a world's leading expert in sex, love, and relationships with two masters for and a PhD from New York University and has helped thousands of people around the world to love better. Laura, my friend, how are you today? What is happening in your world?
Dr. Laura: I'm great. I'm really happy to be here with you.
Michael: I'm very, very excited to have you. For those who don't know you, tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to where you are today.
Dr. Laura: Oh, gosh, a little bit. You know, I'm an expert in sex, love, and relationships. I've been doing this for close to 30 years. I've written nine books. I've hosted radio shows. I have a podcast. I'm just here on the planet to help people heal and learn to love and be loved better.
Michael: I love that, and that's the first thing that kind of attracted me to you and your work years ago when I first discovered you because I was thinking to myself as I was in this like, interesting transition of stepping deeper into love and an intimacy capacity was just realizing like, wow, the trauma and abuse, the things that I've been through personally have carried such a weight and put on such a big wall for me to be able to cross that threshold. And I've come to discover in the continuation of like literally doing the work and a lot of that being through discovering in real time. I've been able to let those walls down to grow, to learn, to love, most importantly, love myself first. But, you know, I think one of the biggest aspects of this journey that in society as a whole, we fail to realize that the impact of our past on our present. And I'd love to just start with talking about the correlation between how we love as children and how we ultimately love as adults.
Dr. Laura: Yeah, that's everything. I mean, it's not just even more important than how we loved as children is how we were loved as children and how complicated that is for 99.9% of us ‘cuz I have yet to meet anyone who had a perfect experience in childhood. And when I talk about trauma, you know, I'm talking about sort of big tea trauma and little tea trauma, but trauma is trauma, right? And so, there are so many ways, in many families, it's really insidious and subtle, you know, it's not like they're beating the crap out of you or like worrying alcoholics or even sexually abusing you, it can be things as subtle as stonewalling you when you do something to disappoint, right? And giving you this silent treatment or hyper criticism or not allowing you to have any boundaries or any privacy or hyper sexualization. You know, that's something I talk about a lot in my childhood that I wasn't sort of overtly sexually molested or abused, but I grew up, my father really saw it as his purpose to raise me and my sister, but just speaking for myself, which is all I can do, raise me to be a seductress. You know, and so he sexualized me from a very early age and was teaching, you know, leaving Cosmo articles on how to give a blow job on my bed when I was 12 years old. And so, even something is that's not necessarily normal, but you know, it's not overt sexual abuse. So, there's all sorts of ways in which I always think about it as like there's a point of fracture in everyone's life and it's not necessarily one moment in time, but where we start to divert and our relationship with our worthiness of love drastically changes. And then that changes the trajectory based on those agreements we consciously and unconsciously made in our childhood, in order to keep ourselves safe, in order to get approval, in order to get love, in order to get our needs, met, all of which are very normal, right? But those strategies, which are all we could come up with in our little child's mind, we carry into adulthood, and then that's what really stands in the way of love moving forward.
Michael: And so, often we that that crevice, that fracture you're talking about, like we get stuck in that, we get trapped in that we believe this is our value, our worth for some people like coming through my childhood, just the emotional incest that I dealt with, dealing with enmeshment, grooming, all of those things on top of, you know, as the audience knows, and I've talked about it many times, being molested as young boy. You know, those are things and as an adult, my worth became entirely tied to sexual endeavors like, not how I feel about myself, not how I show up in the world, not my actions, my efforts, my intentions. And one of the things I fear is that people are so often stuck there, especially now in society, like sex is so overtly in your face every single day, but it's like, don't talk about it, pretend it's not there, be a good Puritan American, and you're like, wait a second, that's fucking ridiculous that's not how the world works. But people feel so much shame and guilt and hurt just about the idea of even tapping into who it is that they believe they are. So, when you're in this fracture, you want to be able to step in and figure out who you are, to let go of this shame and the guilt that's associated understanding probably that it's tied into the way you were loved. How do you start to like build confidence, belief, self-love, like the things that you need to do to like traverse that fracture into being whole?
Dr. Laura: Yeah. Well, I think the key where many people kind of leap over and don't wanna address is really owning what happened, you know, and there's more often than not many what happened, not just one thing that happened but also more as, or more importantly, there are the facts or the remembrances of what happened. But there even more importantly is those parts of yourselves that you disconnected to when those things happened. And so, what I try to help people understand is that we all have all these parts of ourselves that are like, you know, it’s almost like if you can envision yourself made up of a million different puzzle pieces of all these different little parts of yourself at all these different ages and stages of life that you just kind of disconnected from and put in a basement somewhere. And we spend our lives not wanting to, just like when I was a kid and when most people are kids, you know, there's that dark scary basement in your grandma's house or something and you kind of run by, no one wants to go near there, God forbid you gotta go down there and get something. It's really scary there. Monsters in the basement. I'm not even gonna look there. Right. And we do that to ourselves. And so, more often than not, I find that people just, there are all these parts of ourselves that we don't wanna be with or see because there's so much shame and confusion and darkness and we're still connected to the fear that we felt as that three-year-old, five-year-old, seven-year-old, ten-year-old, whatever it was. And so, we don't even wanna look at it, and so we just spent our lives pushing that aside, pretending it's not there and of course, those are the ones that are driving the bus in our relationships, right? Those are the ones that are reacting when we're triggered or making these unhealthy decisions in love. If we were to make those decisions from the conscious whole person adult that we are now, we would make them differently. But the ones that are kind of making those decisions are those smaller hurt shadow parts of ourselves.
So, for me, so much of healing comes from welcoming all of those parts to the table. And what I find more often than not is, you know, like if you go down into that dark scary basement and you're expecting all these ghouls and evil beings and poltergeist and crazy things down there, you turn on the light and it's all these sweet little, innocent, beautiful little younger parts of yourself, and all they want is for you to see them and integrate them and be there for them in the way you would a child or a friend, or a loved one the way you are for plenty of people in your life, it's about being willing to do that for yourself. And what I find time and time again, which is one of the most beautiful parts of the work that I do, is that when shame is exposed to the light, it almost always evaporates. And so, that is such a huge part of healing because that's how those parts of yourself can be integrated, and now they're in your conscious awareness. So, when you're next presented with that circumstance where you put up a wall or you sabotage, or you overreact, or you run away. You are aware and you're like, oh, that's that little seven-year-old that learned that love can't be trusted, or that if I open my heart that it'll get stomped on or I'll be gobsmacked, no sweet one that is not, that's not the truth. Right? I understand why you adopted that belief, ‘cuz that was all you could understand a child is narcissistic by nature, everything that happens around them is because of them. Right. So, if mom or dad hurt me or leave me or abuse me, I must deserve it, if I were more of something or less of something, then they wouldn't do that, that's how a child's mind work. Now, that's not how we look at it as adults if a child were to come to say that to us as an adult, we would say, of course that's not true. But we don't do that for ourselves ‘cuz we're not willing to be with those parts of ourselves or we don't know how to.
Michael: Yeah. And I think a big part of it is, well, and I'm curious the how to I agree with. Right. Because until you get into it, it's like well, you don't really understand how, and that was my experience. But I felt like a huge part of my journey. Laura, I would lay in bed at night after putting myself in what we will call some vastly precarious situations and I would just be like, fuck dude, why did you do that again? And it was this constant trapping, trapping, trapping, trapping where like I was reinforcing the same negative behavior that my parents had effectively told me I was going to do. And it wasn't until I really started finding the place to have grace for myself…
Dr. Laura: …and compassion.
Michael: Exactly. And I was able to explore it a little bit more and be like, okay, why did I hook up with this person from fucking my space aging myself? Why did I put myself in this weird position over here? Why am I sabotaging my finances, my career, my health, my body, and I sat in it and I was like, okay, I'm looking at my life. I'm 350 pounds, smoking two packs a day, drinking myself to sleep, I'm doing everything that my parents told me I was going to be, I was living out their reality. And what it came is I arrived at this moment where I had looked at myself in the. I asked myself, what are you willing to do to have the life that you want to have? The answer became “no excuses, just results.” And what that was about no longer playing the victim for me, no longer making excuses, no longer negotiating, but more so having the willingness to walk into the basement. And it was a scary basement, I have an ACE Score of 10, there's like chaos in that background, right? And I discovered something beautiful that you said like down there was this hurt loss little boy who needed companionship and love and acknowledgement. But I fear people even hearing this and acknowledging it and like knowing to do the thing they're supposed to do, just stand with their hand on the door and won't walk through. How can we help people walk through?
Dr. Laura: Oh, that's a tough one. I don't like to push anyone to walk through any door. Right. That they're not ready to walk through. But with all things and you kind of described this when you know, were describing where you were back then and all things that where fear is holding us back and that's what you're describing, your hands on the door of the basement but you won't, you know, you're too scared, you can't bring yourself to go in, it's the same thing, you're in a relationship and you're unhappy and you wanna leave, right? But you're too scared to do that scared about money, scared about being too old, scared about not finding, you know, whatever circumstance you're in, where fear is holding you back, there is a tipping point where eventually the pain of being in the situation is gonna get greater than your fear of taking action or leaving it or opening the basement door. And so, for most of us, if you can't open that door, I don't wanna force you to do it, but I want you to understand that there is gonna come a time where the pain of not opening the door is gonna become so great that it's greater than your fear of opening it. And so, yes, what I want is for you to be brave and it helps to have support with a therapist or a trauma healing, or even better, you know, I find somatic experiencing is extremely valuable for healing from trauma, right? So, to get yourself support and to acknowledge and have grace for that part of yourself that is scared shitless to open the door, right? And maybe you just open it a crack at first, maybe you just, you know, start with a baby step, maybe you just don't do it for a while. Right. That's okay too because everybody has their own just like we have our own trajectories of trauma, we have our own trajectories of healing as well.
Michael: I love that you just said that because that's so true. If you were to name a modality, I have tried it and I have come to find some things work effectively well and some things I'm like, I can't believe I'm doing this right now. And you know, that's a part of the journey and I think often, and especially right now in mental health, things feel very dogmatic and people feel like this one thing is really supposed to work for me right now whether it be like couple therapy or somatic work or whatever. And I think people beat themselves up because that one thing isn't working and how do you really know if something is working for you?
Dr. Laura: Well, you know, I wish there was a magic bullet, you know, but there isn't. Right? And there are so many different modalities and things to try and I think what we have to understand is that trauma healing is not about fixing something, it's about a journey of healing and it's a lifetime. And I think every single one, if we want a quality of life, if we want a life where we're manifesting our heart's desire, every single one of us has healing to do, period. There isn't one we come here, I fully believe now, after all these years, and my own experiences as well, but working with thousands of people, we come here for these wounds. Our souls start out in oneness, right? We are part of oneness, we have no pain, we have no trauma, we come here into these human bodies and we have these experiences that disconnect us from ourself and disconnect us from our grace. And part of the journey of being here in these bodies, on this planet, in this life is the journey of healing and it is never over. To me, part of the purpose of life and so, just like our love is part of the purpose of life, right? Self-love is part of the purpose of life and the journey of self-love and self-discovery is never ending. I mean, you're always gonna discover news aspects of yourself when you reach a certain level of healing, there will be another layer of the onion to peel away. And that doesn't mean that you suck and that you're not healed and that you haven't done enough that just means you're alive and that you're living in integrity with yourself and you're constantly expanding your consciousness, that's really what healing does. So, if you can approach like this is part of fundamentally my life's work; everyone's life's work then you have a very different attitude then you're exploring. Now, if you're in acute pain and crisis, obviously you're looking for something that's gonna help and support. Right. And you know, I think there are good places to start to start with someone who really understands and has a lot of experience dealing with trauma to definitely do any kind of work that allows you to get back into your body and start attuning to your body ‘cuz anyone who's had trauma, which like I said is the majority of us, we've learned to leave our bodies long ago.
So, learning to start coming back into your bodies through somatic experiencing or embodiment work or even just yoga in the beginning, you know, just doing something to really create that mind body connection is really important. And if you're in crisis getting, you know, and you may have to try a couple of therapists, you may have to try a couple of modalities to get some initial relief. But in general, beyond that acute stage where you're really in crisis, it's a journey of exploration. I mean, I have tried every possible modality out there, out of curiosity, out of seeking new levels of healing, new levels of understanding myself. And for me, certain ones work really, really well, and they may not work as well for someone else.
Michael: It's very true. And I found for myself, realizing and understanding, I was so incredibly disassociated especially in my mid-twenties, it was like my brain was on planet Pluto and my body was in a whole other galaxy. Right. And to bring those back together, to be honest with you in the beginning was terrifying because I was like, oh, I feel things and a big part of that journey did come through yoga, it did come through that experience of getting into the breath, of doing the somatic work of just the willingness to be gentle in it. And just say, hey, what do I need body? What is it the thing that you need, what you have to discover? Why do you think it is that, you know, you mentioned something and it really hit a nerve in my brain and it made me say, why do you think that we have to come here to heal? Why is that a part of our journey?
Dr. Laura: Well, just think about yourself. Look what you're doing right? Would you be supporting all the people you're supporting and healing? Would you be bringing the light that you're bringing to the world? Would you be adding to the expansion of the world in the way that you're doing? Had what happened to you not happen?
Michael: No, of course not.
Dr. Laura: No, right now, that's not to say you wouldn't have lived a meaningful life and that you had to have all of this trauma to. But I do believe, and this is, you know, just me, right? I can't prove this. I can only talk from my anecdotal experience in what I know inside myself on a cellular level and what I've learned from the journeys I've been on that we have these, for lack of a better term, soul contracts, right? We come here, we're souls having a human experience, right? We're not humans having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having a human experience. And so, I think, you know, there's all of these stories and theories of generational trauma and past life trauma. I won't take you down those paths. I could, but it would get into the woo woo but what I will say is that every single one of us comes here with things our heart wants to learn, and from our greatest pain always comes our greatest gifts. And that's true for every single one of us. And if you wanna really find your life purpose, think about what breaks your heart, that's where your life purpose is gonna be found. And so, that's not to say it's okay and fine that you, one was traumatized and abused and mistreated, that's not okay and I'm not excusing that with what I'm saying. But I do think there is tremendous purpose that comes from those experiences, especially if you are willing to do the work to heal. And really, for every one of us, and I know this is absolutely unequivocally true in my life, it's a cycle of heal, learn, teach, heal, learn, teach, heal, learn, teach. And I think that's on some level true for every one of us.
Michael: I entirely agree. You know, if I rewind my life six years ago, there is a 0% chance we're having this conversation, right? And through my own journey in the universe, and luckily a couple people being like, help me, there's no way I'd be here. It's really a fascinating journey and then sitting very much in this idea that life happens for you and not to you. And just being okay with that, being like, damn, that's heavy. Okay, cool. What do we do with it? I love this idea of this circle of heal, learn, teach. Break that down, ‘cuz I think that this could be really practical for people right now.
Dr. Laura: Yeah, and it's not really neat and linear, right? Cause you're healing and learning, and learning and healing, right? That's a big gobby cook right there. So, you're healing, and as you heal, you're learning, right? And you're learning things that work, you're learning about yourself, you're getting insights and sometimes that leads to more healing, right? Or the need for more healing. But as you do that, you're also sharing and helping to heal the world in many different ways, right? So, that doesn't mean you have to get a podcast or start producing content that helps heal the world that will be true for many people, but for other people what we have to understand is that as we heal, we are also healing the world because we're all part of the same energetic soup. You know, we seem separate, but we're all energetically connected on a quantum level. We're all pure atomic energy vibrating and there's no separation between us. It seems like there is ‘cuz of our five senses and what we perceive, but on a quantum level, on an atomic level of the smallest little atom that we are made of, ‘cuz that's all we are is pure vibrating energy. We're all part of the same energy, and there's been so much cool science I mean, this is really what I get into in my book, Quantum Love. But when one person is healing enough to be living from a place of just curiosity and openness, doesn't have to be joy, elation, bliss, just curiosity and openness instead of shame and guilt, right? If you're just living in curiosity and openness, you are positively affecting 75,000 other people who are living in shame and guilt just by being on the planet. You don't have to do anything with it. You don't have to say anything with it because your energetic frequency, we're all affecting each other just with our energetic frequency and healing is what raises your energetic frequency as you move the lowest frequency state is shame and guilt, and that's where many of us live, that's when you're accidentally manifesting more things that are creating more shame and guilt, right? And as you can heal authentically and open that basement door and be with those parts of yourself and start to heal that shame and guilt, then your energetic frequency, your atomic energy actually changes frequency in, there's science to show this, that every emotional state we hold in our body has an energetic frequency and we affect one another. And there's also, when you heal yourself, every little millimeter of healing you do for yourself, you are also healing everyone who you physically touch in your life and everyone who comes after you, right? And we can get really kooky in the quantum field since time is linear only and for us humans, you know, we need some way to understand time; time isn't really linear, right? So, when we're healing ourselves, we're healing who comes after us, but we're also healing who came before us. We're healing everything when we heal ourselves.
Michael: That's fascinating. One of the things that I do when I go to a restaurant with friends, you know, you put your name on the list and it says time, I always put now. You know, I'm always reminding myself, and that's about for me, being present, not just in that moment, but in life in general, realizing can't do anything about what I said five minutes ago, can't do anything that hasn't happened yet ‘cuz it hasn't happened and just trying to stay here. And my hope is that as people get more familiar with it, they go, I'm not healed yet, I'm like, what does that mean? Are you different than you were yesterday? Are you operating in the world in a space and capacity that you never done before? Well, that feels like healing to me.
Dr. Laura: There is no healed. There's always more to do. You know, there's always more to evolve. You can heal to the point where you're not in constant pain and where you're not blowing up your life. But there's always more healing to do, there's always new realizations to have. And you know what, it's such a fascinating time for me, I'm working on a book that I hope to have finish by this, the end of the summer called “You're not crazy, You're just descending” because there's so much happening in the world right now energetically that is calling on all of us to shed our shit. And we don't even want to, like, whether we want to or not, because the Earth's energetic frequency has drastically risen because of all sorts of things I won't get into, but we are on the planet Earth and we match her frequency always, that's one of the reasons that if you want to calm and be in wholeness and feel that wholeness you spend time in nature. Have you ever noticed that? It's really hard not to get to that zen place when you're surrounded in nature for a while? Because nature doesn't match our frequency, we match natures. Period. It does not match ours. Other humans match ours, but nature doesn't. Right? And the earth right now, the schumann resonance, which is the electromagnetic frequency of the Earth, has spiked and risen. And many experts out there believe that that's a big part of all the chaos we're seeing in the world, the wars, the riots like because, so in order to raise your frequency, you have to heal stuff, you have to release what's holding you in guilt and shame. And so, people feel like they're going crazy, which is why the title of the book because all of a sudden, these memories are surfing that they surfacing that they've never even thought of before, or they're suddenly seeing a pattern in their life, in relationships or in something else that they never even considered before. It's like things that were hidden in plain sight suddenly come into view because they're coming up, or all of a sudden you know, you'll be hysterically crying and you don't even know why, it's because you're literally shedding old trauma, old pain, your body is having to raise its frequency, and in order to do that, you have to shed those parts of yourselves that are stuck in shame and guilt and fear and anger.
Michael: It makes me think of Ghostbusters too, with the ghost that's running through the entire part of New York City and the more angry the people get, the more it bubbles up and then it starts taking over everybody and everybody's mad and they're destroying everything, and then suddenly it's like this beautiful, happy music comes on. And it calms it and it makes it go away. And it's this resonance of peace and happiness and joy and love and contentment and fulfillment that ultimately is the thing that starts to, and of course there's more of the movie, but that part came to mind cuz it's like we're in that ooze right now.
Dr. Laura: Where we're in the ooze and the truth is that ooz is just masking the truth. I mean, I was just doing, I have this class that I teach, or we call it a club, it's the Manifestation Mondays Club. And, you know, we meet once a month and we give a lesson on sort of removing the blocks to really manifesting and a lot of it is about healing but manifesting the love and the life you want. And what I was explaining to them just the other day is that you don't have to find, like you sometimes feel like you have to find that truth of how lovable and perfect and beautiful you are, and that resonance as you talk about. It is there, you are born that way, it is there from the moment you take your first breath, maybe even before that, right? But let's just say since from the moment you take your first breath, it just gets conditioned out of you or traumatized out of your awareness of it. But the flow of that grace is always there, you can't do anything to make it stop. You can't do anything to make it disappear. What disappears and stops is our ability to connect to it. Our willingness to be aware of it. Right. But it's always there. So just like that, the Ghostbusters example you gave, right? Like that grace and that resonance is already there within you, it's just covered up. I think it was, I'm blanking on the country, it was a country, I don't think it was China, but it was this story about this Golden Buddha that when there was a war and pillaging happening, the monks at this monastery covered the golden Buddha in mud to make it and like, cement type stuff to make it hidden so no one would steal it. And it was several hundred years later it was totally forgotten about, no one remembered that this was a golden Buddha when suddenly there was a crack and they were moving it and there was a crack and someone saw some light shining through it and they chipped away and they were like, Oh my God, this Buddha has been sitting here pure 18 karat gold for centuries, and it was just covered in muck. You know? And that's what we are.
Michael: Yeah, that's so true. I mean, you know, I remember having a conversation with my therapist one time that really profoundly changed me and he was just very much like, honor the truth of your childhood. Honor who you are, remember who you are. And I was like, that's really interesting cuz part of me, you know, I realized that a huge part of trauma is the theft of identity, right? And in that was going back to be like, what do I want? Who do I want to be? What did I want more than anything as a kid? And I've mentioned this on the show before, but I wanted to be a rock star. That was it, that was my dream, to be on stages, to have a mic in my hand. And it's like, I do that now with a different instrument. Right. Speaking of big stages, having these conversations and it's so much about that. But it wasn't until I was until kind of sit some of this trauma somewhere else that I was able to like step into this.
Dr. Laura: To come back to your light.
Michael: Yeah, exactly. And you said something on another podcast that I wrote down because it was really beautiful and I want you to expound on it. You said, when people are committed to their trauma, it's because they haven't had a place or a person to hold onto it for them. And I'd love for them to talk about that.
Dr. Laura: Well, that's what we do, right? Until we're challenged, this is so insidious and integral to our development, right? And so, we end up where we are now, we don't dissect or replay like how we got to where we are and we never really can ‘cuz there's so many factors involved. But the truth is, until you have a place to hold and put that trauma, so it is not you, right? It's what happened to you. It was the muck that is covering your golden self, right? But it's not you, you're the golden Buddha, right? It's just all this other stuff. And so, one of my favorite Paulo Coelho is one of my favorite writers, and I can't even tell you cuz I've read every one of his books. I can't even tell you which book this came from, but I've never forgotten this one little line it was part of a much larger story. But one of the characters was saying to the other, you know, ‘you don't have to believe the story of your life you've been told.’ You don't have to believe like you've been told a story through things that happened to you, things loved ones, and key caregivers said to you about you, the way they reacted to you, you've adopted a story of who you are, what you're capable of, how worthy of love you are, who you are, the story of your life, right? But that's just a story, you don't have to believe the story of your life you've been told, right? You're the golden Buddha that's covered in muck. The muck is not you. You're not the muck.
Michael: Yeah, that's so true. And I don't know if this is held true in your life and your experience, but for me, I had to convince myself of that.
Dr. Laura: Right. Because there's so much of you look, in order to survive difficult times as a child, you know, it's hard for us to understand what the intellect and perspective and of an adult, how we felt as a child. Right? It helps to hang out with children to see and as a mother, I've definitely learned this more acutely than I probably would've if I hadn't been around children as much as I have. But they don't see the world as we do, their world view is very limited obviously, ‘cuz they're new little humans and so they either don't question or they come up with these strategies that are all they have available to them with their internal resources at that phase, and their understanding of the world at that point in their lives, which is very limited, they come up with a strategy, right? So, like in my life, and it also has to do with your personality and I think your soul path, right? So, in my family, right? If I said, you know, oh look, the sky is blue. And my dad said, no, it's not, it's yellow, right? I would say, oh, I must be wrong. What I'm seeing is not real and my dad's right. So actually, what I think is blue is really yellow. I must not be able to tell the color of the sky, or I must think that what I think is blue is actually yellow, right? Because my dad was so scary and could be so abusive if you inflicted with the way he wanted to view the world that I learned really early that if I was gonna stay safe and if I was gonna get his approval and love his truth, was the only one that I could accept, right? My sister had a very different personality. She would be like, fuck you, the sky's blue, you know, and she had her other, she ended up with a lot of other, you know, traumas and dramas than I did. We both had our own journeys to take, right? And we both had our own personalities, but for me, the journey was about one of them, there were many of them, but in this vein, it was about discernment, it was about learning to even see and trust my own. Right? But I did that in order to survive. I didn't know any better. I was like, okay, you're the one that can beat the shit outta me if I say something to disagree with you, and therefore you're the only one that can keep me safe. So, I'm just gonna line with you and give my own truth away. Right. The adult me would've never done that, but I was a little child, and so we have to have compassion for those parts of ourselves and we also have to understand that we were doing the very best we could and we make these unconscious agreements and contracts that if not questioned, remain throughout our adulthood, right? So, I became, until I addressed this, I was someone who always second guessed my choices, who never felt confident in my decisions, who would make a decision about something and immediately question it or if I spoke to someone else five minutes later who had a different opinion, my husband would even complain about in the beginning of our marriage, ‘cuz we would make a decision and then I would talk to someone else about something and it would come up and they would have a different opinion and I'd come back to 'em and be like, you know what, maybe we should. And he's like, we just made a decision, why are you letting this other person? But I couldn't hold onto my own truth because I had learned very early that that wasn't safe.
Michael: Yeah, that I had the very same experience and I learned something really important from a mentor who said, stop asking people's opinions because it has nothing to do with you. And that really changed profoundly the way that I'm able to move through the world. I'm curious, with all the people that you've worked with, all the people you've helped, is there a commonality amongst them that, for whatever this word may mean for them individually, has led to success in their lives?
Dr. Laura: You know, for me, I think everyone's journey is different, but the key is in being willing, you know, I always sort of think of use this metaphor of having tea, you know, inviting them to tea, inviting them to sit at those parts of yourselves that you hide, that you're ashamed of, that you don't wanna see, to just sit down with them, you know? And then as you do, of course you see that those are not evil, bad, shameful parts of you, they're just these little sweet parts of you that came up with these strategies that don't work. And it was the best they could do at the time, right? But it's really those who can find the grace in that and I will say that the most exponential healing that I’ve been able to create for myself, especially over the past couple of years when I've gone through some tremendous, tremendous earth-shattering loss in trauma is to connect with spirit, you know, whatever that is, I'm not even talking about organized religion, right? I'm talking about whatever you think of God, Jesus, Allah, I call it holy oneness, the energy that innovates all of us, the source of that is just pure love that flows through us and in us, and from us, right? What innovates us, our consciousness, our higher selves, our God selves, there's our personality self. And one of the ways you can connect to this, and I love doing this with people, is if inside yourself, inside your head, you silently say hello to yourself. The one who is saying hello is your personality, the one who is hearing hello is your God's self, your essential self, your access point to the oneness that connects all of us. And what I have found really is that as you start to tap into that and connect with that through meditation, through mindfulness, through prayer, through breath work, you know, whatever you wanna try that works. As you start to connect, you not only have amazing, perfect guidance in your day-to-day life, you feel that you can attune to that, you have an automatic compass, but it's almost impossible not to realize how worthy of love you are because simply by virtue of the fact that you exist, you are a fricking miracle. The fact that that sperm got together with that egg and grew without any complications, that it prevented you from being born for nine months and that you are alive right now and the unique one of a kind expression of love that you are. I mean love that is, I don't mean that your parents have been in love. I mean that you are love, right? To be the unique expression that you are is a fricking miracle, it is beyond a miracle and you are worthy of love simply because you exist. You don't have to do anything or be anything or not do anything in order to be worthy of that love. And that's where the gold under the mud really is found, I think.
Michael: Yeah, and it sounds to me like the way to get there is you have to start to crack that mud so that gold starts to shine through a little bit.
Dr. Laura: Yeah. You have to be willing, and it does require courage, you know, and that's why sometimes the pain has to get bad enough for you to be willing to take the leap and be courageous enough.
Michael: Yeah. That's really beautiful. And I found in my own journey that, and sometimes I'm very thankful for that pain. I mean, like the suffering was for real. I always tell people between 26 to 29 years old we're arguably the three hardest years of my life because it was like one step forward, million steps, backwards, iteration, learning, growing, changing, healing, and ultimately getting to that place where I sit today, now a decade plus removed from the beginning of this journey of just being like, I'm okay with who I am. And that's why we created this show, I just, I want people to realize like, you don't have to be a billionaire. You don't have to be a fucking social media influencer. You don't have to write a million books. All you have to do is like go stand in front of that mirror and be okay with the reflection. But you have to be willing to walk into that basement to get there. And that's the juxtaposition, like, that's the dichotomy, right?
Dr. Laura: Life requires courageousness, a good life does, and if you want a good life, that's where it starts. And, you know, in terms of the title of your podcast, you know, the truth is we were never broken, right? Parts of us were broken down. Parts of us were seriously damaged and mistreated, unfairly and abused but the core of us, is never broken. And that's really what the journey is about, is awakening back to that part and that me, and the only way you get to that, you can't go over around it. You have to just go through the muck and then you find that you were never really broken in the first place.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely. Laura, my friend, this has been an amazing, amazing conversation. Before I ask you my last question, can you please tell everyone where they can find you.
Dr. Laura: Yeah. Go to drlauraberman.comto my website. I have tons of content, there are blogs, quizzes, meditations, for really kind of getting back into your body and healing and creating the love and the life you want, and you can learn about the manifestation Mondays Club and other stuff I have going on, as well as on social media all at Dr. Laura Berman and you can listen to my podcast, which is called The Language of Love, all about love, sex, and relationships from a mind, body, and soul perspective.
Michael: Brilliant. And of course, we'll put the links in the show notes for the audience. My last question for you, my friend, what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
Dr. Laura: Oh, I just said it. What it means to be unbroken is that you were never broken in the first place. And being unbroken means coming to the realization that the truth of you and the core of you is always pure light in love, and that the only part of you that has been broken is the stories you tell yourself about. You know, and the things that have happened to you that you didn't deserve, and maybe even the mistakes that you've made out of those hurts, but none of that is the truth of you because the truth of you is always absolutely perfect.
Michael: I literally just got goosebumps. It's beautifully said my friend. Thank you so much for being here, Unbroken Nation.
Thank you so much for listening.
Please like, subscribe, comment, share, tell a friend.
And Until Next Time.
My friends, Be Unbroken.
I'll see you.
Dr. Laura Berman is a world-renowned and well-loved sex, love and relationship therapist. She earned two Masters Degrees and a PhD from New York University, and has spent the past 30 years devoting her career to helping others learn to love and be loved better from a mind, body and spiritual perspective.
Dr Berman has been sharing her wisdom in public forums for decades. She was a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show and has since continued to be a sought after expert, frequently offering advice on-air and television. She has appeared on almost every major daytime and national news television show, and been featured in most major news and magazine publications in the United States. Dr Berman is New York Times best selling author of 9 books, and an award-winning syndicated radio host. She currently hosts the popular love and sex advice podcast, The Language of Love.
Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.
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