078: How To Deal With Shame & Sadness Because Of Your Rashes w/ Dr. Joan Rosenberg

Chronic skin rashes can often lead to a vicious cycle of unpleasant feelings, which many of us don't want to deal with. My guest today will talk more about the different kinds of unpleasant feelings, and why being consumed by them can keep you from being your authentic self.

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My guest today is best-selling author, consultant, master clinician and media host, Dr. Joan Rosenberg. She is a cutting-edge psychologist who is known as an innovative thinker, acclaimed speaker and trainer.

As a two-time TEDx speaker and member of the Association of Transformational Leaders, Dr. Rosenberg has been recognized for her thought leadership and influence in personal development. Dr. Rosenberg has been featured in the documentaries “I Am”, “The Miracle Mindset”, “Pursuing Happiness” and “The Hidden Epidemic”.

She’s been seen on CNN’s American Morning, the OWN network, and PBS, as well as appearances and radio interviews in all of the major metropolitan markets.

A California-licensed psychologist, Dr. Rosenberg speaks on how to build confidence, emotional strength, resilience; achieving emotional, conversational and relationship mastery; integrating neuroscience and psychotherapy and suicide prevention.

An Air Force veteran, she is a professor of graduate psychology at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, CA. Her latest book, 90 Seconds to a Life you Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience and Authenticity, was released February 12th!

Have you learned how to deal with and manage unpleasant feelings? Tell me about it in the comments!

In this episode:

  • You are not your feelings
  • Toxic positivity
  • How to step out of the vicious cycle and onto a better path emotionally
  • Eight unpleasant feelings
  • Living with unresolved feelings

Quotes

“You are not your feelings and you are not your thoughts. You experience both of those, but you don't equal those.” [3:40]

“When we experience unpleasant feelings, they're actually there for protective purposes.” [5:47]

“When we reclaim the truth of who we are, the soulful depression goes away, we start to feel clearer and we start to move into, not only expressing ourselves authentically, we reclaim that inner peace.” [10:11]

“What I want people to be able to handle is the everydayness of unpleasant feelings.” [14:47]

“What the skin condition does is heighten your awareness of your vulnerability.” [19:35]

Links

Find Dr. Rosenberg online

Get your FREE gift from Dr. Rosenberg HERE. Your Gift Includes: The Rosenberg Reset – A printable PDF guide of Dr. Rosenberg’s 90-Second Reset (1 Choice, 8 Feelings, 90 Seconds); Confrontation Prep Checklist – A printable PDF containing the 8 steps to help you engage in difficult conversations; Audio Excerpt from 90 Seconds to a Life You Love – (Little Brown, Feb 2019) Dr. Joan Rosenberg narrates the exciting introduction that explains the 90 Second Reset.

90 Seconds to a Life you Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience and Authenticity

Follow Dr. Rosenberg on Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

Nitika Chopra on the Healthy Skin Show: How to thrive emotionally living with chronic skin rashes

078: How To Deal With Shame & Sadness Because of Your Rashes w/ Dr. Joan Rosenberg FULL TRANSCRIPT

Jennifer: Hello everyone and welcome back. I've got an amazing guest with me today. Her name is Dr Joan Rosenberg and believe it or not, I actually know Dr Joan because she is a part of a group of practitioners that I belonged. I've gotten the opportunity to know what exactly it is that she does and I was so blown away by her work that I invited her here. Best-Selling author, consultant, master clinician and media host, Dr. Joan Rosenberg is a cutting-edge psychologist who is known as an innovative thinker, acclaimed speaker and trainer. As a two-time TEDx speaker and member of the Association of Transformational Leaders, she has been recognized for her thought leadership and influence in personal development. Dr. Rosenberg has been featured in the documentaries “I Am”, “The Miracle Mindset”, “Pursuing Happiness” and “The Hidden Epidemic”. She’S been seen on CNN’s American Morning, the OWN network, and PBS, as well as appearances and radio interviews in all of the major metropolitan markets. A California-licensed psychologist, Dr. Rosenberg speaks on how to build confidence, emotional strength, resilience; achieving emotional, conversational and relationship mastery; integrating neuroscience and psychotherapy and suicide prevention. An Air Force veteran, she is a professor of graduate psychology at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, CA. Her latest book, which I think you guys would really appreciate and love, is 90 Seconds to a Life you Love: How to Master Your Difficult Feelings to Cultivate Lasting Confidence, Resilience and Authenticity. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Dr. Rosenberg: I'm so thrilled. I can't wait to hang with you.

Jennifer: I know. And you know, one of the things that really struck me as we were talking over the last weekend which we spent together, was that there is so much discomfort emotionally in living with and dealing with skin rashes. No matter what type of condition you have, there is so much shame. Oftentimes there's a lot of frustration, sometimes anger and to many degrees in certain individuals, there can be an awful lot of hopelessness. And I remember when I was going through my battle with Eczema, I was literally ready to become a hermit, to never leave my house, to never physically interact with anyone because I was so tired of people just giving me these vacant stares. And as if they were looking at a car accident happening on my hands and didn't want to ask, but were so curious, they couldn't look away. And it made me feel dirty and disgusting and infected. I didn't want to necessarily be around people that made me feel that way. Unfortunately, I had a network to help pull me out of that. But I thought that you're the perfect person to have the conversation about this with. So we have these uncomfortable feelings and that's what you talk a lot about. So can you start us off on what should we know about these feelings that we experience that we don't want to feel, but it's really hard not to. And oftentimes we want to push them away, but maybe there's a better way.

Dr. Rosenberg: You know, it's interesting based on the way you frame the question and kind of your lead into it. The first thing I would say is that you are not your feelings. You are not your feelings and you are not your thoughts. You experience both of those but you don't equal those. So it's the part of the challenge and part of the invitation would be to start to see how and what you think. So what you think is the exact thought you're thinking and the how you think it is the patterns of thinking you get into like only seeing the negative or only thinking that other people are thinking about you. Those are patterns of thinking and that that doesn't equal you. And the same is true in terms of what I call unpleasant feelings. You're not the feeling. You experience it. So you are not shame. You might experience shame. You are not sadness, you might experience it. And so the part of it is starting to see yourself as if you're a spectator sitting in a movie theater. And when you start to experience your thoughts, see it as if they're going across the movie screen. You begin to observe it as opposed to be it.

Jennifer: And what's interesting as you're saying this, what's coming up for me is like you're not sitting within what feels like a storm. Because I oftentimes think of how it's really easy to get wrapped up in that sense of shame, that feeling of someone's staring at you asking questions or telling you that you don't know how to wash your hands or yourself. You don't know how to use the moisturizer correctly and you're just feeling this sense of like redness well up in you and feeling hot and you're like, I just want to run and hide right now.

Dr. Rosenberg: To me that's the experience of embarrassment or maybe the experience of anger depending. Notice I don't call them bad or negative, when we experience unpleasant feelings, they're actually there for protective purposes. But most of us don't want to experience them for one because we've come to know what we're feeling emotionally in our body first and two what we experience when we experience unpleasant feelings are uncomfortable bodily sensations. So the first thing that I kind of observed around this is that my take on it is that it's not that we don't want to feel the whole range of what we feel pleasant and unpleasant feelings. It's that we don't want to feel the bodily sensation that helps us know what we're feeling emotionally. And that's the thing we want to run away from. That's one thing. The second thing, based on what you were just saying is that, when someone has like Eczema or some other kind of condition and it's observable to others, what we get caught in is we're almost always thinking that someone is thinking about us. You have to catch the wording on this. It's a little nuanced. If I were to ask you let's see how often is someone thinking about you? The real challenge here is it's not that they're thinking about you. It's that you're thinking that they're thinking about you. And most of the times you're wrong. Yeah.

Jennifer: What's really interesting about this as well is that there is this whole movement, and I've had a conversation with a guest on the podcast already, Nitika Chopra for those of you who've listened to it, where she had said that feeling like you have to constantly put on a happy face and pretend like you're happy. Even though we're really sick and we feel awful, but we're just going to put on a happy face and act like if we're positive, everything's gonna change. And we don't deal with the emotion of all of what's coming up that it can be incredibly toxic in a sense. And so there's that concept of toxic positivity that I think more people are starting to realize that it may actually be hurtful to deny how you feel, like not even processing these uncomfortable emotions.

Dr. Rosenberg: Absolutely. I don't talk at length about this, but I reference the idea in the book. So I think I think of what you're describing as incongruent. Not authentic, it's not genuine. And the cost of doing that in my mind is what I call soulful depression. When you're not being congruent, so you're acting like you're happy when you're actually feeling sad and then you're not telling the truth of what you need to other people. So then you're feeling like you have even less resources cause you can't ask for help because you're actually not telling the truth. So that when we don't tell the truth of our own experience, I believe we experienced that incongruence within us. And we strip ourselves of our own sense of a liveliness, and in the process we don't feel centered. We don't feel grounded. And we lose a sense of inner peace. And on the other side, we feel more anxious, we experience more bodily symptoms. I don't know what we would activate in terms of stress hormones. Right? And if it goes on for long periods, then we start to experience a depression that, again, it's a quality of depression, I've never seen anybody measure it or talk about it before, but that's the thing that I call that soulful depression. When we reclaim the truth of who we are, the soulful depression goes away, we start to feel clearer and we start to move into not only expressing ourselves authentically, we reclaim that inner peace.

Jennifer: Mm. So for someone who is really struggling during the middle of what feels like a wrecking ball that has just plowed through so much of their life, limiting their ability to feel comfortable going out in public and interacting with people. They also just physically feel very unwell because of how sometimes how uncomfortable or painful their skin issues are. What would be one step that they could start to do right now and I know you already shared the idea of looking at things and the emotions that you're feeling, these uncomfortable emotions from that third person perspective which I think is actually very powerful and when I began to practice that years ago when I began a bit more of a serious yoga practice, it had helped me tremendously. But that is one thing that someone could do. Now, if they know that, what would be one really good step that would help them begin to shift or a tool that they could use in order to begin setting themselves a little bit, I don't know, putting themselves on a better path because it feels like this is very self destructive behavior in a sense. It's not that we mean to be, but I almost feel like you become more upset and then you feel more upset and it's just the self perpetuating vicious cycle. So how can we begin to step out of that?

Dr. Rosenberg: That's a great question and I would say two things to that. One: they're related. One is to understand for the most part, confidence comes from the inside out so it's not centering yourself outside of you. And the moment you go outside and you start to again worry about or think about what you think other people are thinking about you. You just lost your center, you lost your personal power because now you're putting it into somebody else, anticipating or believing, they're thinking a certain kind of thing about you. And now you need to turn into a human pretzel to perform and be the thing that you think that they think you are. But so the other one, one of the most important things you can do then is to say what is it that I think I feel I need or I believe? So that you ask questions that bring you back inside of you. And that you then take actions that relate to what's going on inside of you. And you understand that anytime you start to think about what you think other people are thinking about you, then you are distracting yourself from the experience of feeling vulnerable. Then the idea of feeling vulnerable is that I could get hurt. Meaning I could get sad, I could get embarrassed, I could get disappointed, I could get angry. And the strategy to be able to handle the vulnerability is to have the sense that you can handle the other seven feelings I talk about. And I realize we haven't even mentioned the unpleasant feelings I always talk about.

Jennifer: So what are those eight feelings?

Dr. Rosenberg: So there's sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, vulnerability, embarrassment, disappointment and frustration. And if you'll allow me for a moment to expound.

Jennifer: I would actually love for you to do that because I'm going check, check, check, experience all of those in the process of dealing with my skin. And I know others would. So I think they would really appreciate it.

Speaker 2: So why these eight? Because these eight are in my mind, the most common every day. Spontaneous reactions, emotional reactions or emotional outcomes to things not turning out the way that we need or we want. So the everyday-ness of unpleasant feelings. And what I want people to be able to handle is the everydayness of unpleasant feelings. Do they relate to tragedy and trauma too? Yeah, they do. But that's not where my focus is going. It's on everyday experience.

Jennifer: And it was interesting, I shared with you a story of, and I've seen this a couple of times, probably more than a couple of people who have actually gotten to the other side where they figured out what was causing their skin rashes or they maybe talk like a biologic drug and they've been using that and it worked on their skin and they're on the other side of the fence, healthy skin, and they realize this whole time they thought, if only I could get there, I will feel happy, I will be healthy. I can go back to a normal life only to discover that the sadness and the shame and everything else that they've been used to embodying is still present and they really don't even know who they are to some degree. And that's their own acknowledgment. By the way, folks, I'm not putting words in their mouth. That is what those individuals have said. So is there some truth from your perspective in that situation of someone who has gotten this one goal, if they thought everything would change when they were better and yet they're still living with these feelings?

Dr. Rosenberg: Well, I wouldn't say necessarily that they're there. I would say they're living with unresolved feelings. Feelings are temporary. They come and go. They're living with what remains unresolved that their feelings may be attached to. I'll try to walk through a couple of different things there too. Let me see if I can kind of organize my thoughts though. Let me come back to the idea of confidence coming from the inside out. When somebody says, when my condition gets better, I'll be better. They're living kind of a condition- or circumstance-based life, i.e. when the something from the outside gets better, when my condition changes, I'll change. I'll be different. And that's not how life works. It might help, you know, we have more money available to us. Certainly there's greater freedom to kind of be who we want to become or when the skin condition resolves, we feel free of something that we've been concerned about and has taken so much of our mental and emotional time, right? Or affected not only our relationship with ourselves, but our relationship with others. But putting life on a condition and circumstance and your wellbeing on that…Wellbeing and confidence is generated from the inside. So you can still be a grateful human being. You can still be a loving human being. You can still be an engaged and generous. And I can go on and on and on with all kinds of attributes of who you can be in the absence or despite the fact that you have the condition. So part of the challenge is, who are you? Who do you want to be? Even if you have this condition. My invitation or my challenge is to be that you can be a very generous, loving soul or grateful and loving soul and have the skin condition, but the condition then doesn't have you.

Jennifer: Those are some powerful words. Those are really powerful words,

Dr. Rosenberg: So you have the condition but it doesn't run your life. It's understanding that anytime you start to worry about or think about what you think other people are thinking about you, you are distracting yourself from the experience of feeling vulnerable. And you know what? You happen to be vulnerable with a skin condition. And maybe I walk out the door and I'm still that same vulnerability absent the skin condition. What the skin condition does is heighten your awareness of your vulnerability.

Jennifer: And it's interesting that you share all of that because it's so true. I felt very vulnerable, probably at every minute I was being judged, dismissed. Every single interaction was almost as if it was tainted, whether the person knew that I had the skin issue or not, I felt like I was trying to hide or manage or, you know, keep them from seeing it. And it's just so interesting how it can, can consume your life. And I want to thank you so much for being willing to have this conversation because a lot of times on other skin podcasts, what I've noticed is we just focus on the physical stuff. And I talk a lot about the physical and the biochemical and the hormonal and Yada, Yada, Yada products and all sorts of things right now. But this is the deep stuff. And I think considering how many people have, there is such an a sense of an emotional suffering for so many people with this that I thought, you know, I want to step up to the plate and allow us to have these conversations to meet people where they are, to give them the tools that help them find a way forward. Because our regular culture is not all that helpful in making people feel better and it's not also teaching us how to effectively embrace and work through these uncomfortable feelings and learn to become more resilient. And so that's why I really appreciate you being here and I would really love to have you back because there's other topics that we haven't even, we just don't have the time to touch on right now that I think would be worthwhile for us to discuss. And in the meantime, I think what would be great is if we could leave listeners with a gift from you. You have this confrontation prep checklist. And the reason I think that actually might be helpful for people is because there oftentimes are uncomfortable conversations or difficult conversations that happen and we don't really know how to engage in them. And instead the tendency is to shut down when we feel vulnerable, when we feel really ashamed. So would that be something that we could share with listeners?

Dr. Rosenberg: Sure. You know what? I think that if they go to drjoanrosenberg.com/gift, I believe that's one of three gifts available to people.

Jennifer: Awesome. That is perfect. Great. We'll put that link in the show notes everyone and I want to make sure too that you are able to find Dr. Joan. Drjoanrosenberg.com Is her website. She's also on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. I'll put all of that in our show notes and I would be remiss if I didn't again remind you the conversation that really sparked this whole podcast is because of her book, 90 seconds to a life you love: How to master your difficult feelings to cultivate lasting confidence, resilience and authenticity. And it is available online through Amazon. I'll put a link in the show notes for you to make it easy for you to find. I think if this conversation speaks to you, the book would be an amazing resource for you as well as Joan. Would you also recommend people check you out on like your Ted Talks?

Dr. Rosenberg: There's two ted talks. And both would relate to what we're talking about. The first Ted Talk is the gifted wisdom of unpleasant feelings. And then the second talk is grief, the pathway to forgiveness. And I talk about something I call disguised grief in that Ted talk. And certainly wrestling with a skin condition would be would fit under. I'm sure that the kind of questions that I raised in that talk would touch on the kind of experiences that people have.

Jennifer: Fantastic. And thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it and I look forward to when we can have you back.

Dr. Rosenberg: Love that. Thanks so much.

"You are not your feelings and you are not your thoughts. You experience both of those, but you don't equal those."