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807: Shrink Your Fat Cells & Fix Your Metabolism – With Dr. Benjamin Bikman

TMHS 570: The Relationship Revolution: How The Pandemic Has Created The Opportunity For Better Connections

Our personal relationships have a far-reaching effect on our happiness, our success, and our health. Our connections with others are the truly the backbone of all aspects of our lives. Studies show that having strong social connections can boost your self-esteem, lower your susceptibility to mental health problems, and even increase your longevity.

Having social support is an innate and instinctual part of being a human. We are profoundly shaped by our environments, including our interpersonal relationships. In fact, our need to connect is hard-wired into our DNA. Throughout human evolution, we have always relied on and been connected to others socially. 

On today’s show, we’re diving into the power of cultivating healthy relationships, including what key qualities of a strong relationship, and eight warning signs of an unhealthy relationship. You’re going to hear five specific attributes of a healthy relationship, as well as eight critical signs you should adjust or let go of a relationship. Enjoy! 

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Why humans evolved as tribal creatures. 
  • The synergistic dynamic between your self-esteem and your relationships. 
  • How the pandemic has affected relationships. 
  • Why your perception dictates your reality.
  • What the number one driving force of the human psyche is. 
  • How the human brain syncs up with other brains. 
  • What mirror neurons are, and how they impact your communication skills.
  • How your amygdala impacts your emotions.
  • What instinctive elaboration is. 
  • The impact of asking empowering questions. 
  • Five specific attributes of healthy relationships. 
  • The importance of expressing gratitude for the people in your life.
  • Why respect is a vital component to a healthy relationship.
  • How honesty can help you grow.
  • Eight critical signs you need to make adjustments in your relationships. 
  • What to do when a relationship causes you to sacrifice your integrity. 
  • The importance of being surrounded by people who celebrate your wins. 
  • Why you should gain clarity on which relationships add value to your life. 


Items mentioned in this episode include:

Thank you so much for checking out this episode of The Model Health Show. If you haven’t done so already, please take a minute and leave a quick rating and review of the show on Apple Podcast by clicking on the link below. It will help us to keep delivering life-changing information for you every week!


Shawn Stevenson: Welcome to The Model Health Show. This is fitness and nutrition expert, Shawn Stevenson, and I'm so grateful for you tuning in with me today. Name something that is more impactful on your happiness, on your success, on your health than your relationships. Our relationships have a truly deep impact on our sense of joy, on our sense of empowerment or sense of peace, but on the other side, they can also be a deep source of pain, of anguish, of turmoil, of disruption. We often don't think about just how much our relationships impact our livelihood. Humans are innately tribal creatures. Even the most introverted among us still need other humans to thrive. It's built into our DNA. Our DNA expects us to connect with other humans. It's how we evolve. We literally cannot survive. Once we get here, there are animals that they get dropped out of the oven and they get up and they can make it, they could survive.


Have you ever seen those little baby turtles on the beach? Day one, no mama, they got to scurry their way back to the ocean. But for human babies, we need our mother, we need somebody to take care of us. We need other people just to survive. And that doesn't just go away because we get older. Oftentimes our hardwiring is just now we're just a bigger baby, we're big adult babies who require a lot of the same inputs to the degree. A huge meta-analysis published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology detailed how our social relationships and our level of self-esteem are deeply reciprocal, and here's the key, this is true in all developmental stages across our entire lifespan. So, to put this bluntly, our relationships deeply influence our self-esteem, and our self-esteem deeply influences the quality of our relationships. They are synergistic. They're feeding right into one another constantly. And so, the quality of our relationships will affect how we feel about ourselves. We can't do anything about that. We can't turn it off. And how we feel about ourselves is going to determine the quality of our relationships and our standards, and what we are extracting and giving into our relationships, and the list goes on and on. Today, we're going to break these things down and understand this important tenet in our lives about how important our relationships are to our ability to thrive as human beings.


That is the goal today, and the reason that this is so important right now at this very moment, is that over the past two years, we've experienced a tremendous strain as a society and many relationships have been totally fractured or dissolved over this two-year timespan. Many relationships have been broken apart. Also, many relationships have been strengthened over these past two years. And also, many new relationships have blossomed over these past two years.


But one thing is for certain, you likely didn't end the pandemic with the same relationships and connection that you started with, unless you were hiding under a rock, unless you were hiding in a turtle shell, you likely felt the weight of relationships ebbing and flowing and changing and evolving. And also, for many people, it's been a tremendous experience of adjustment, and so today we're going to dive in deep and dissect why our relationships are so impactful in our lives, and also, what do we do to optimize, and support cultivate healthy relationships moving forward? Because truly, we have to heal as a society. There's been so much divisiveness. There's been so much infighting. Instead of it being Team Human, it's been divisiveness and them versus us. And if we're going to get anywhere as a species, we've got to get more united and for that to take place we cannot put this in the hands of politicians who are, innately, they're coming into the game divided. They're like, "You know what, I'm on this team." They're telling you right out of the gate that they're not with what the other people are talking about, alright.


If it's going to change, it's going to be up to us, and what we're doing within our own households, within our own mind, it starts there, within our own households and within our own communities, and it can blossom from there. But truly, this change is up to us, we cannot sit around and wait for someone else to fix this. It's up to us. And the path can be incredibly rewarding, not to say that it's not going to come without work, and we're also going to look at, what do we need to do for us to achieve that sense of peace and empowerment when relationships are just, they're totally fractured and there's no repairing them. That's okay too. And we're going to talk about all of those things so that we can feel more empowered moving forward.


Now, I want to kick things off by talking about just how much our environment impacts our livelihood, impacts our perception about reality. Because our perception of reality is our reality. Our perception of reality is our reality. No two people in the history of humanity, including the billions of people that are alive right now has the same exact perception. It's impossible. No one else sees through your eyes and has your life experiences in this kind of tapestry of events, in this patchwork quilt of ideas and experiences and fears and perceptions. All of that constitutes the lens that you see life through. And the number one driving force of the human psyche is to stay congruent with the ideas that one has about the world around them, and to stay congruent about the ideas that one has about themselves. And we're going to dissect that more as we go along, but that environmental influence, there is often the statement that you are a product of your environment, it's absolutely true.


We cannot help it. We are hardwired to pick up and to assimilate the world around us, and it's an amazing thing, it's an amazing feature of life here on planet Earth. Now, that statement, however, can be incredibly limiting because it's not the full story. You're not just a product of your environment, you're also a creator of your environment once you become aware. Knowing that your environment will inherently influence you, that doesn't mean you just become a victim. This means that, "Oh, my environment is influencing me. Let me create an environment to the best of my ability that is creating the conditions to where the behaviors that I want to evoke are automatic, the thoughts that I want to think are automatic, the feelings that I want to feel are automatic because I've created an environment that are conducive to those things." Alright, this is the power that we have.


Now, a big part of our environment is people, alright. People are a big part of this tapestry. And so, this starts to remind me of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and the different characters and their land of make-believe. But a big part of that expression was teaching an engagement with other human beings, even though my man was playing with a lot of puppets. But it's also being able to story tell and to understand that these characters that we're associating with have their own agendas, they have their own needs and desires as do you, and how can we blend these things all together in a way that's efficacious for everybody? And so, understanding people are a major contributor to our environmental input, alright. Now, that environment can be affirmative, or it can be detracting. It can be health-affirming, or it can be dangerous. And there's some of everything in-between.


So to break this down a little bit further, researchers at Princeton University hooked up test subjects to devices to read their brain activity, and they had them to sit down, and these are strangers, alright, but they had them to sit down and just to create a little bit of small talk, create some rapport, and they found that once individuals had established even a small level of rapport and connection, their brains started to sync up, their brain activity, their brain waves that they were monitoring started to mirror each other, alright. These are strangers, these are people that they don't even know, and they saw that when humans are in conversation with one another, their brains start to sync up, alright. Our brains start to sync up when we're in communication with other human beings in the real world. This is just something we're hardwired to do.


It's been there throughout our evolution. We don't think about this, it's the invisible to us. We see other species of animals having their connectivity and we're just like, "How are those birds getting together in that flying V?" Alright, "Did they train for this? Was there a practice run?" They just know. Bees, their connectivity and understanding their position and all things, all animals, I can go on and on and on, they understand there's this seemingly invisible connection, what we might think to be like telepathic even, connection, that once we start to even dabble in words like that, it gets into some freaky areas that start to bring up things like Ms. Cleo, "Call me now," alright, that kind of thing. We're talking about real hardcore science. Not to say Ms. Cleo wasn't tapped into something, I don't know, I think she was active though. Where is she now? VH1, where are they now?


But anyway, so understanding how powerful we are in something that is unseen when we're connecting with other people, and I'm saying how powerful we are because we will inherently influence the people that we're connecting with, and they will inherently influence us, alright. Your brains start to talk to each other and start to sync up. Your mannerisms, if you've ever noticed this, and I definitely have been a student of human behavior for a long time, so I notice it and I notice myself doing the things and how we pattern the people that we are around. Especially if we're in a one-on-one conversation, we tend to sit the same way, we tend to do the same things with our hands. We just start to mirror each other, it's a natural human instinct to do that. It's just something that's... It's disarming for the person that we're talking to. It's kind of like, I'm like you.


But then once people know these things, they can manipulate the system. And there's many great pieces of data and documentaries that highlight how folks who are looking to scam people or manipulate folks. They're taking on these deep psychological human traits and using it against other people. Even in cool ways, like magicians might do stuff like that. They understand human psychology, they do certain things to get your attention to go one way, while at the same time, they're pulling a beautiful dove of peace out of their fanny pack. So, I was just watching Peacemaker on HBO Max, starring John Cena, very, very different type of show, but I think it's called the Dove of Peace is his symbol. But anyway, so they're doing these very purposeful things, understanding human psychology and how we relate to each other and relate to the world, and leveraging that psychology to make something remarkable happen.


So again, we're exuding these behaviors, whether we realize it or not, now is a time to be more empowered in it, and the biggest takeaway is, who is your brain syncing up with? Who are you allowing your brain to start to mirror? Are you conscientious about that? Because would it now be the time for you to be more intentional in who you're surrounding yourself with? Now, to take this a step further, we've actually been able to identify specific neurons in the brain that are exhibiting this mirroring behavior. In fact, they're called mirror neurons, alright, mirror neurons. And I was first introduced to this science and the more recently discovered social brain, so it's dubbed the Social Brain of Humans by Daniel Goleman. Dr. Daniel Goleman. And I did one of my all-time favorite episodes with Dr. Daniel Goleman many years ago. He's one of the people that I've had to talk to and to get out to more people because of the impact that he had on my thinking.


So, we'll put that episode for you in the show notes, definitely an instant classic. But these mirror neurons are literally replicating what you're seeing and hearing in the world around you. So, what this means is that whatever you're watching, whatever you're witnessing, even right now, if you're watching this video and seeing me or you're listening to my voice, there are neurons in your brain that are simulating you doing what I'm doing. There are mirror neurons that are literally simulating you being the one who's doing what I'm doing. This, to give you a real-world example, is why we feel so emotional when we are watching a movie, for example, we feel the fear, we feel the exhilaration, we feel the sadness. "Nothing happened to us." That's Robert Pattinson experiencing that intense situation, right? "I am vengeance," right? That's him, but we feel connected to it. We feel a visceral connection because we're witnessing it and there's a part of our brain that's simulating us being involved. Very, very powerful stuff.


And again, this is for what we're watching, what we're listening to. These mirror neurons are simulating us as the one who's doing the thing. Now, this can, again, be utilized intentionally by what we are exposing ourselves to, but the truth is, in our society today, the vast majority of the time, people are outsourcing their minds to other people, and they are completely unaware of the hazardous effects of outsourcing their minds to people who do not have their best interest at heart. Outsourcing their mind to major media, for example. A study cited in the International Journal of behavioral medicine had people watch just 15 minutes of the news and found that it directly increased their levels of anxiety and mood disturbance overall. The most shocking part is that even after distracting the participants with another activity after watching the news, they were not able to return to their baseline levels of emotion that they were at pre-watching the news, the news literally stuck with them and changed their mental and emotional state. And network media has 10X their efforts of fear and manipulation and the profits that they've pulled in these last few years.


And the crazy thing is, is that most people realize that they're doing this, they're consciously aware of the concept, let me put it like that, because, for example, in the 1970s, when the first Gallup polls were conducted, approximately 70% of Americans said that they trusted in the honesty and accuracy of the news, but that trust has severely eroded in recent decades, reaching an all-time low of 32% of folks polled trusting in the honesty and accuracy of the news by 2016. It went from 70%, so a C average, all the way down to an F-minus, minus, minus, minus, minus. Very small percentage of the population believing in the honesty of the news, yet so many people still can't seem to stop listening to them. They can't seem to stop watching.


It's as if they're addicted to the fear. It's as if they're addicted to the worry and the divisiveness. And the truth is that they are. This is going back to our very primal programming as human beings. We have parts of our brain that have enabled us to get to this place as a species by avoiding danger and being able to fight or flee and constantly on the lookout for trouble. And so, if you've got 24/7 access and a variety, a buffet of different flavors of fear about stuff that's happening in the real world, or at least framed in a way that should be invoking fear, man, our brains are not even remotely capable of handling that kind of input. It is incredibly abnormal.


And those pathways that are getting sparked, primarily if you look at a part of the brain like the amygdala that is heavily driven or evolved to be hyper-focused on threats, being hyper-focused on the expression of emotions and about survival of self. This is a very powerful aspect of the amygdala is that it's helping to keep you safe, and that's not a bad thing, but when it's being manipulated by people that would have you, you keep those eyeballs glued to the television when you can evoke a state of perpetual fear, and that's what it's designed to do, yet again, people just can't seem to stop listening to them. And you probably have wondered about that over these last two years, maybe it happened to you where you just suddenly started tuning in more, but not just... This is also pre the pandemic as well.


This was during the political sphere, the political events that took place even more recently prior to that, and the divisiveness that was already taking hold of our country where we started to rely on these stories, these very sensationalized stories about different presidential candidates, and what that was doing, so what seeing is stories about the candidates over and over and over again, but what you're not seeing is the revenue skyrocketing for these network news companies because they get people to keep their eyes glued, they're getting people to watch and pay attention to them that normally wouldn't even be paying attention to them because they want to get onboard with the fight against the other person, right? So, media has devolved into... It's no longer about education and informing the public, it's about one team versus the other, and we see this very clearly that the major news networks have a clear political agenda, clear political agenda, there's no unbiased news or unbiased reporting.


It's coming from this political slant, and you're tuning in based on the ideas that you hold of yourself, of the person that you see yourself to be politically speaking often times. And one of the best activities that we can start to work on doing, if you are going to watch the news is to open-mindedly which is dangerous even when saying this and watching the news, but looking at the different news networks that are counter to each other, that is guided by one political party versus another, or reading articles from major new sites that have a political slant one way versus the other. And to get a more well-rounded view coming from them, which is not necessarily a well-rounded view, but just to be more balanced, and I'll tell you right now, it's difficult, it is very difficult because you're going to have your own biases and you're going to be looking at some of this stuff and thinking that they're absolutely ridiculous, where other stuff you'll kind of lean more towards, but eventually, if you are really understanding what's going on, that both sides are treating this like sports, it's turned into one team versus the other, it's no longer the news, it's sports-centered, but with murder and war and disease.


So, you're cheering on the team Fauci's versus their cross-town rivals, the Ronas. It's the Fauci's versus the Ronas in a match to the death. And so, we're looking at things through these lenses because they're creating this sport center mentality of getting people to be aligned with their team and rooting against the other team, that's not what the news is even supposed to be about. It's supposed to be about balanced information for the public, and it also used to be a means of analyzing and going after the corruption of the entities that are controlling what our citizens are actually doing, and the benefits, the resources, the health that we're experiencing as a society being directly influenced by these entities that are in positions of power. Now the news is more aligned with those entities and positions of power, you've probably seen a major pharmaceutical company funding all of our major news networks brought to you by, you know who. And it's happened again and again and again, where pharmaceutical companies are providing billions of dollars, billions of dollars to major news networks. So do you think that they're going to be apt to pointing the finger at the corruption that's taken place within pharmaceutical industries.


Absolutely not. That's biting the hand that feeds you. They're not going to talk about the fact that Pfizer was caught illegally experimenting new drugs on children in Nigeria, they're not going to talk about the fact that Pfizer was ordered to pay the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice. They're not going to talk about the fact that Pfizer was the first major pharmaceutical company to be convicted of a RICO violation, which was created, RICO litigation was created to help to bring down organized crime syndicates, they're not going to tell you that, they're not going to talk about the fact that Pfizer was caught suppressing and manipulating their data for their drug Prempro that ended up causing breast cancer in countless women and killing our citizens, I can go on and on and on and on, but the media's message their segments is brought to you by Pfizer.


How is that even a thing? How is that even a thing? So that's what we're dealing with right now as a society, and so if you're wondering why our friends and family members, maybe we had already gotten the middle, of course, the news lies to us, and it's manipulative and it's just trying to drive fear and all these things, but then the right conditions happen, and suddenly they can't stop watching the news, they're getting their education from the news and from so-called health officials that are making the appearances on those same media networks.


I thought that we had this handled, that's something that you might think. I thought that we had come to this agreement that the media is not trustworthy, why are we devolving? And of course, people can create what we tend to do when we're making poor decisions, is that we justify them. We use our highly evolved brain to prop up and justify reasons to make excuses as to why we're doing a hurtful behavior. We're very good at it, by the way, because we have a nation of pretty intelligent people and very educated nation overall, and when you start teaching smart people wrong things, when you start teaching really smart people things that don't work, they're going to become very good at justifying things, that don't work, they're going to become very good at imploring you and teaching you to do things that don't work. Now, for me, I'm a results guy, we don't have to look very hard at our society to see how that's gone for us, if we just take the domain of healthcare, for example, and what we've been taught, and we can take a look at the conditions of food and resources in our environment, and just take a look at the resources and what we've been taught.


What's the outcome have been? Well, here in the United States, congratulations. We are the most chronically disease nation in the history of human civilization. By far, by far, I've often shared these stats, I will not hesitate on any occasion to share them again, we are about to hit 250 million United States citizens being overweight or obese. Right now, prior to the pandemic, we were almost at 45% of our citizens being clinically obese prior to the pandemic, since then, things have not gone very well. That number has gone up significantly. The numbers are still being collected, but it's not going to be pretty. Something that was supposed to happen, we're supposed to hit 50%, 2030. Guess what? We're going to get there faster if we haven't already hit it. 130 million of our citizens prior to the pandemic, had diabetes or pre-diabetes, about 60% of our citizens have some degree of heart disease and number one killer on most occasions for years.


More than half of our population, ticking time bomb, and again, as you know, we can go on and on and on with the state of things, but the question is, how do we get to this place and what can we do to move from it, because a big part of this, as we're discussing today, is the quality of our relationships, because I promise you, if you're in healthy relationships with people who are healthy and you're in a community, it's not going to be a situation where you guys are hanging out and talking about ideas and service, and then you're just like, "Hey guys, hold up, let me go hit up this McDonald's drive through, I'm trying to get those two first, that's two apple pies for a dollar."


And I know about that life, 'cause I was about that life. I'm trying to give me an unhappy meal, excuse me, happy meal, bro. You're not going to tap out of that health affirming community, if you're a part of that community, you're hanging out with healthy people who would never set foot into a McDonald's unless they had to piss really bad. If you're hanging out with us, we're not going to pull up at the drive-through, we're not going to pull up, we're not going to run for the border. Taco Bell is what I'm talking about, we're not going to be hitting up the Taco Bell. If you're hanging out with me, it's just not going to be something that's even in our paradigm, it's like that is like a blur, that stuff doesn't exist, we're so focused on health and real food, that stuff becomes irrelevant. It's the people that we're around. Our environment is going to dictate.


In the environment that I come from, when I first was introduced to the concept that I am in control of my health outcomes, when I had experienced a deep feeling and a deep experience of victim hood, because at the age of 20, I was diagnosed with an advanced arthritic condition of my spine as a kid, really, I was just 20 years old, and my physician told me that I had the spine of an 80-year-old man, when I was just a kid, supposed to be in my prime of life, but my body was breaking down. I was in immense pain, I was on all these medications, so I had my little combo of Celebrex and Tylenol PM that would help me sleep at night, and that was the life that I was living while at the same time, trying to be the first person from my family to graduate from a university, as I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in Ferguson, Missouri, and all that, that entailed as well.


And as soon as I set foot out of my apartment complex, the first thing I see as soon as I leave the driveway is a liquor store right there, in a bust a right, I see the liquor store and I got Lee's Chicken right here, got a fish fry place, Chinese food restaurant, but not like a nice Chinese food restaurant, which you might have conjuring up in your mind, if you're not from where I'm from, this is where you go in, you're getting pork fried rice, you know what I'm saying you're getting your high braised chicken and you're talking to the person through bullet-proof glass. There's like a rotating thing for you to put the money in for them to roll the food back out. That's what I'm talking about.


There's no health being served up in this establishment, Dairy Queen is right there, Papa Johns, Dominos, Taco Bell is right there. Steak 'n Shake, if you got a couple of extra dollars, you know that the Steak 'n Shake is a little bit more expensive, it seems like a little bit more fancy, then Arby's is right there, which I still to this day, do not know anyone who pulled up at that Arby's, I know that I didn't, but it was there nonetheless, I guess they were getting paid. Then there's another Chinese food place, Krispy Kreme, Burger King, Jack in the Box. And there was a Wendy's right there as well. All of this, this was just if I went right and within a mile, just turning right, don't even get me started if I turn left, don't even get me started if I turn left, I'm surrounded by this, there was no gyms in my area, there was no gym, there's no yoga studio. I didn't know what yoga was. And so, for me, it was my commute to the university.


That's where I found some solace. That's where I found some resources. But guess what, I had to be a student at the university to be able to utilize that. And so, this entire time when I'm dealing with this health issue, I'm feeling like a victim because the environment is telling me that I'm a victim, the repetitive thought in my mind every single day was why me, why me. It was on repeat, it was on loop in my mind all the time, why me and why won't somebody help me, why won't somebody help me, which was very uncharacteristic of the person that I had evolved to be prior to that diagnosis. I had all of these years of figuring it out, being in conditions, very volatile conditions growing up, where I had to be my own man at a very early age, where I had to figure stuff out, where to pick myself up, where I had to work, where I had to do the impossible. I was about that life.


But as soon as I got that permission slip, you have an incurable condition, I took it, this will give me permission to stop trying, this will give me permission to stop fighting so hard, I've been fighting so hard all my life, now I get a permission slip to just stop. To give up. And I took it, and the thing is that permission slip said, "No one is going to blame you. No one is going to blame you. Shawn, you have this incurable condition, they said, you can never improve. You're going to have to deal with this for the rest of your life." Why it's me? Poor Shawn, and I took it. And what happened was, there wasn't a sense of peace, there wasn't a sense of ease and of grace, what happened was my life continued to spiral downward, I thought that I had hit a low point, but man, rock bottom. Rock Bottom is low, low.


So not only am I dealing with this so-called incurable condition. Now, two years of eating the very same foods that put me in that state and making my body out of absolute garbage, now guess what? Now I'm overweight, on top of that, I was at least a fit guy, I had the outer appearance of fitness though it was made of a lot of hydrogenated French fries. But now I lost that part of my identity. Now, the mental anguish sets in, now the feeling of being excluded from the rest of society because I was embarrassed is kicking in, all of these things set into the degree that I was faced with a choice. It took two years. Diagnosed at the age of 20, and about halfway through my 22nd year on this planet, so I was about 22 and a half, I was faced with a choice. After I saw the final doctor in the series of people, I was seeking out to like, "Please help me, just tell me that I can do something about this," and him telling me, "This is incurable. I'm sorry, son. There's nothing we can do about this. Here's another prescription."


And finally, it hit me. It took two and a half years. Some people, it never hits them, some people never find themselves in that position in the first place, but for me, it took that amount of time for me to realize that I had been outsourcing my potential to other people, my relationships with the people that I was seeking as mentors, as support, as teachers, as coaches, they were telling me that there's nothing I can do but wallow in my pain and live out the rest of my life being a fraction of the person that I saw myself as being. They were telling me that I was a victim, and I was subscribing to their belief, because I saw them in a position of authority. They know far more about me than I do, and believing that I was a victim, all of that time, I've been giving my power away, and I finally realized that at no point throughout this entire process had I taken responsibility for my life, had I taken responsibility for my own health, had I taken the opportunity to surround myself and create an environment that was health affirmative, when they appeared to be so much sickness around me.


Because the thing was, this entire time the resources were there, they were available, the right nutrition, the right education, the right resources, the right relationships, they were there the whole time, but I wasn't acclimated to them, I wasn't tuned into them, all I was focused on was pain and suffering, and I was looking for more things to affirm that because there's an aspect of human psychology, it's called instinctive elaboration. It's a process that the human brain naturally does automatically, constantly, it's just on automatic running. Instinctive elaboration, essentially, is an aspect of the brain in human psychology that is always seeking to answer the questions that we pose it, whether they're conscious or unconscious, the human mind is always seeking out the answers to the questions that we pose it.


This is how we got to be where we are as a species. Questions are the answer. They guide us, they're guiding our attention, and what you focus on literally expands in your psyche, so when I'm asking for two years every single day on automatic, why me, why is this happening to me, why won't somebody help me, all I'm seeing and seeking out in my inner and external environment are things to affirm, why me. Why my life is so bad, why no one will help me, how un-helpable I am, how incapable I am. That's all I saw. That's all I saw. But as soon as I switched that question, this was the first question when I had that revelation that I'd been outsourcing my power, my potential, the first question that I asked, and on that same mattress on the floor. I asked, "What can I do to get better?" I asked a simple question in my mind, "What can I do to get better?" And it was the first time that I had asked something about me taking responsibility for my health, and everything changed from that moment, I would not be here with you today had I not shifted my perspective and asked an empowering question.


So, all relationships, all of our relationships start with us, all of your relationships start with you, and how you perceive your own value. All of your relationships start with you and how you perceive your own value. Again, the number one driving force of the human psyche is to stay congruent with what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about others in the world around us. Your relationships will reflect what you believe about yourself, your relationships will reflect what you believe about yourself, your relationships will reflect what you value, your relationships will reflect your standards, or lack thereof, your relationships, your standards, including behaviors that are acceptable for you, behaviors that are unacceptable for you, and if you're not abiding by your standards, there will be behaviors that you say are unacceptable, but you still tolerate. When I decided to get well, the crazy thing, and it took me years, it wasn't until a few years ago that I really thought about this and analyzed it, the way that I've been living my life previously, the relationships that I had been in, I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, The Ladies Man.


Alright. But anyways... That was the story of my life. Alright? But the way that I was functioning in relationships, again, even that was programming from my environment, I remember just all the while as a child, being a little kid coming around my mom's friends. "Oh, he's going to be a heartbreaker. Oh, he's going to be a heartbreaker. Ooh, your son is fine, he's going to be so fine." And that's just like coming in. I don't even have a choice in the matter, they're telling me what I'm going to be. The environment, my friends, the communities, my associations, they were all doing the same thing, I just fit right in, regardless if I want to have my life to be a love story, this beautiful Notebook type scenario. My behaviors are going to reflect what I'm exposed to, but as I started to get healthier, and once I got healthier and I began to help other people, I began to, I got on fire to want to teach other people who are coming from the same circumstances as me, who are being told there's nothing you can do about this, and or just people who wanted to achieve a level of health and they've been struggling.


And now these folks are coming up to me at my university, once I transform my own health, they saw the difference, and they would just... It was so crazy; it was like a magnet. My professors were coming up to me, fellow students, faculty at the school, and these amazing humans became the first people that I had the opportunity to work with as I'm shifting my coursework back to biology, nutritional science, Kinesiology, because now I'm like, I get it, I get it, and I get what I'm teaching, what I'm being taught here at the university is not really matching up to reality, there's a lot of rote memorization understanding of concepts, but there's very little application in the real world as of what constitutes real human health, that wasn't matching up. And so, I saw the disconnection as well, how can I make this make sense for this person. When I'm in biology class, learning about these mitochondria, who gives us sh*t about mitochondria, when you're just trying to pass this class. There's no connective tissue to me as a human being, why that matters, and I sought out to find ways for other folks to understand and to appreciate the magic that's happening within the cells of our bodies.


And so as I'm doing this and as I'm just completely driven to be of service and feeling this unexplainable, uncontrollable energy to want to serve and support others, coming from a place where I was very self-centered, my life, up until that point, I'd been very self-centered, not because I wanted to, I was always a good person, I never sought out to harm others or anything of that nature, but I lived in an environment where I had to watch my back, I had to be careful, I had to... Even within my own household, it could be dangerous, there have been countless, countless violent events taking place under my own roof. And so that creates this psychology where safety and focus on self gets developed, but I didn't realize that. And so that had been a part of the out-picturing of my behavior, but that container that I was trapped in, I exploded out of it, I burst out of it, and I went to the other extreme of like, my life is all about service to other people, and I'll tell you, even today, every single day of my life, as soon as I wake up, as soon as I'm aware that I'm aware that I'm awake, I ask, "How can I serve today?" Still to this day, but I also ask, "What is it that I can do today to experience more health, vitality and happiness." I ask something for me too.


It took a long time because I went to the other extreme and you can lose yourself in service, which is definitely a more altruistic life. But we have to strike a balance because I need to be healthy and I need to be good in order to serve at the highest level and really reach my capacity of service, and so me dedicating my life to service, my old relationship patterns, they just didn't fit together, it was like puzzle pieces that just don't fit together, and so it wasn't intentional that I stopped hanging out with the same people, the same behavior patterns in relationships, all of that just kind of dissolved because I was so focused on being healthy myself, that type of stuff just didn't resonate anymore, it was because of a change in my environment. So the environment under my roof, yes, now I'm surrounded by these books and these different lectures that I'm listening to, but I'm spending a lot more time at the university gym, working with clients, studying of course, outside of school and going across town to get to the health food store because there's nothing close to me, but I was just like, it became automatic, "Oh, this is where I go."


No matter where you are, no matter where you are right now, regardless of what people say, because what tends to happen is that people start with the excuse making, when they see somebody achieve some level of success, we tend to go like, "Oh, that's good for you to say," or "That's easy for you to say." Of course, you sleep good. I might share some strategies for improving sleep quality, right, and 99% of people are like, "That's amazing, I didn't know that" Or, "I'm definitely applying this." Oh, this is something I do as well, this resonates, but there's going to be that 1%, at least 1% of people who start with the excuse making, at least 1% for most people, but I tend to do things so heavily, other oriented and empowering that it can be difficult for you to deny it, but somebody can be like, "Oh, that's easy for you to say, you probably have the nicest mattress and the thousand thread count sheets and you're like sleeping in lotion, basically, it must be easy for you to say you could sleep good."


All the while, they don't realize that I started improving my sleep when I was sleeping on a floor in Ferguson, Missouri by myself with nothing, and they set in with the excuses, and that's what disempowers them, that's why they won't achieve success, because they're automatically shooting down their own potential, because it's those people. So, we got to stop with the excuse making, with the mythmaking and understand how powerful no matter where we are, no matter where we're starting from, no matter what we've been through, we can absolutely create the life and the success and the health that is possible for us. But again, as we're talking about today, our relationships are critical in that. Okay, now we're about to transition into five specific attributes of healthy relationships, but before we get into that, I just want to reiterate this point that being that relationships start with you and how you perceive your own value, I want to ask you a question, are you actively getting better as a human being? Are you personally, have you made a conscious decision that you're proactively improving yourself?


Because a big connective tissue for relationships and for us to carry the perception, carry that charge, that energetic charge of belief, we can have moments of happiness and positivity for sure, but we can exist in that state more often and think the thoughts we want to think when our brains are healthy, and this is a fact, because as we shared on a recent episode with Dr. Daniel Amen, the world leader, he is the number one person in the world in neuroscience and SPECT imaging, actually looking at the brain and understanding, literally seeing what's happening in the brain when the brain is healthy, when you're experiencing various mental health challenges because in this field of psychiatry we're often treating symptoms based on conversations and not actually acknowledging the organ itself that is the expression of our mental health. So being mentally healthy, if we're talking about happiness, it's a brain function primarily, and so we have to have healthy cognition, healthy brains.


Now, I want to ask you a question, do you think that the majority of Americans have healthy brains? You know the answer to that. You know the answer to that, because our brains are literally made from the food that we eat, 60% of the American diet is highly, they're called ultra, ultra-processed foods. That's never existed before. Throughout human evolution, ultra-processed foods makes up 60% of the American diet. Our brains are not healthy, they're made out of absolute trash, because the human body, you're going to make your cells out of the raw materials that you give it. And the human body is also resilient, like, we're still here, we're still kicking, we're still making it. Your body will find a way, but what if we start providing the best stuff to our brains and actually before the show, most shows I would utilize a very specific nutritive source just for that little extra boost in cognition, and this is highlighted in a study published in the advanced biomedical research, finding that royal jelly, royal jelly has the potential to improve spatial learning, attention and memory. Spatial learning, attention and memory, spatial learning, we're talking about interacting with our environment, really, really cool stuff.


Royal Jelly, this is what exclusively the queen bee is dining on. The queen bee is living years, a couple of years, versus the worker bees a few months. It is like night and day difference, and royal jelly also has well-established antimicrobial anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, it's also been found to facilitate the differentiation of different types of brain cells, and to top it off, researchers in Japan discovered that royal jelly has the power to stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus, the benefits go on and on for me, it's always like, "Okay, why? What is it about this substance is so remarkable for human cognition and brain health?" And a big part of that is that royal jelly contains a significant amount of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter found in both the central and peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system, more specifically your brain, acetylcholine is a major player in attention, memory, and other executive functions.


Now, any time we're talking about bee products, we've got to save the bees, we've really got to focus on sustainable beekeeping more so than ever, not just this concept of like, Just leave the bees alone. Just because of what we've done to the environment, bees are not doing good we need more people engaging in beekeeping to help to remedy the situation, this is a major driver of pollination and the thriving of other plants in our world, we need bees in this relationship, and the only place that I'm getting my royal jelly is focused on growing the population of bees and sustainable beekeeping, plus, they're making sure that it is the cleanest possible bee products because also bees are going to be picking up and also there's these ridiculous pesticides and all those kinds of absolutely ridiculous stuff that's going in the environment that's going to be coming through your bee products, and you want to make sure that you are not bringing in nefarious substances with the great stuff that you're trying to get, and so they're testing for 70 plus pesticide residues, including heavy metals like arsenic and cadmium and lead, and also analyzing, making sure that there's no nefarious bacteria like E. Coli and salmonella, and mold, and this goes on and on.


The only company that's doing this at this level is Beekeeper's Naturals. Go to, that's and you get 25% off, taken off automatically at check out, nothing else like it, they just bumped up this discount, I still don't know why they did it, I got to talk to them because, wow, this is a great offer. I don't know how long they're going to keep this offer around, but it's 25% off, their nootropic that features royal jelly is called B Smart, B Smart, and also in that formulation with the royal jelly, they also have one of my all-time favorite things, Bacopa, a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human trial published in 2016, found that after just six weeks of use, Bacopa significantly improved speed of visual information processing, learning rate, memory consolidation and even decreased anxiety in study participants. Great stuff. B Smart from Beekeeper's Naturals, go to


Alright, now let's get into these five attributes of healthy relationships. So, number one, these are the specific character traits that you'll see consistently in healthy relationships. Number one is that healthy relationships help you grow. Now, relationships just for them to be healthy does not mean that they're going to be easy all the time. Our relationships are meant to challenge us, to challenge our thinking, to challenge our humanity, and to bring out the best character traits that often lay dormant within us, to be able to have an active playing field where you're able to perspective take, to see things from other people's point of view. It's a constant exercise in humanity, now, this doesn't mean that we're swinging to the other side where it's growing from abuse, we're not talking about that, we're talking about a healthy amount of growth and development because of the relationships that we have in our lives. So, number one, healthy relationships. Number one, attribute. They help you to grow.


Number two, attribute. There's a mutual contribution. Alright, there's mutual contribution. If you've experienced relationships where you are the one who's giving and giving and giving, and the other person is taking, taking, taking, that's not a relationship that's based on mutual contribution, because within all relationships, we need our cup filled as well, it might not be in the same context, because even as I'm talking about giving, I'm not just talking about cash and people out, I'm talking about being there for people, I'm talking about being a listening ear, I'm talking about having their back, I'm talking about providing them with resources, the list goes on and on and on, but if these folks are just siphoning from you and they're never contributing anything, listen, that's a tell-tale sign, that should be a red flag alert that this is not an aspect of a healthy relationship. Alright, so there's mutual contribution.


Number three of these five attributes of healthy relationships, number three is there's gratitude, there's gratitude, there's a sense of appreciation that exists within the relationship, they value you, you value them, you appreciate them. They appreciate you. Now, in the day-to-day, especially... And by the way, this is in the context of all of our relationships. Whether it's familial, whether it's romantic, whether it's a work relationship, whether it's a community relationships, whatever the case might be. All of these things apply. So there can be times, of course, where you might fall off on the gratitude a little bit, and you can start to take somebody that you love deeply, and maybe you have these other character traits for and attributes for, but the gratitude has kind of fallen off a little bit, and you can start to see it, because the opposite of gratitude is focusing on what the other person isn't doing or you feeling like they're focusing on what you are not doing.


Gratitude is an instant remedy when you could start to remember and acknowledge just how much someone else is bringing to your life. And especially in a context for me right now and thinking about our intimate relationship, your significant other, chances are, they're bringing a lot of value, especially if it's a healthy loving relationship, they're doing a lot of things in your life that you might take for granted, it's kind of a natural human tendency is to get a little bit jaded by things that we are just acclimated towards. There are folks who are able to, for example, live in the sunny State of California, they are born and raised here and never go to the beach, or they don't appreciate that the weather is always nice, and I'm coming into the scene like, "Man, this is crazy!" Like, "Do you not understand," I have not gotten used to the fact of the sun being present most of the time. It just blows my mind. Right?


But you can get jaded if it's the thing that you're used to, but I'm coming into it also realizing that. And also again, I'm coming from a very tough circumstances, so when I see this, I'm proactively like, "Man, this is beautiful." I constantly, pretty much on a daily basis, I'm just taking time to look up to see the palm trees and to appreciate the environment. And it's just like, we can get jaded by these things, and the same thing happens in our day-to-day lives with our relationships. We can get used to somebody making sure that we have something to eat, or we can get used to somebody showing up and really providing at the level that's necessary to keep everybody, to keep the lights on.


So, cultivating that feeling of gratitude is one of these key attributes of healthy relationships. And just to be clear, again, there can be ebbs and flows of these attributes, but overall, healthy relationships are going to have these five qualities. Number four is, there's respect. Alright, respect. Aretha Franklin was on that. She understood because it's respect for you as a human being that is most important. This is probably one of the most critical, because when you lose respect, you lose the relationship. When you lose respect, you lose the relationship. So being able to contribute to the upliftment and acknowledgement of you as a human being is absolutely critical to a healthy relationship. Respect, respect, respecting the innate value that that other human exudes and respecting who they are as a person, what they bring to the table, there's many different layers of respect, but respect is a critical ingredient.


And number five of these attributes of healthy relationships, number five, there's honesty and integrity. Honesty and integrity. You want to know something really remarkable about honesty? Honesty provides a sense of certainty and a sense of peace for that person in a very uncertain world. It provides a sense of peace and certainty in their lives when they know that you are an honest human being. It provides, it puts the mind at ease. They don't have to worry about dishonesty. There's enough uncertainty in the world providing that is absolutely remarkable. At its core, honesty is an act of kindness. Honesty is a platform on which you can help each other to grow and to be able to honestly analyze things that you may need to work on, what they may need to work on, what you may need to let go of, what they may need to let go of, being able to have this honesty and to be able to be honest about things that need improvement or that just don't need to be a part of the relationship or whatever the case might be. Being able to have honest conversations and be able to trust in the honesty of the other person.


But to be clear though, honesty is not a weapon. Because honesty can also be utilized in a detrimental way, because you're on the mindset that I'm just being honest. "I'm just being honest here, but Bill, you're an *sshole." That might not be the honesty that we're looking for. I mean, Billy might be. He might be, right? But sometimes we're just kind of leaning into that, and this concept of ultra-honesty, this moving forward here, because honesty is coupled with number four, again, which is respect. Honesty plus respect, that's where the magic happens. So, honesty is an act of kindness. When somebody knows that you are not being dishonest, and what that does is it puts their mind at ease. It gives them a sense of peace and a sense of certainty in a very uncertain world. And I mentioned this is honesty and integrity. What integrity is, integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility. You want to be with somebody, you want to have relationships with people who are incorruptible. They're not going to turn on you because of a check, or they're not going to turn on you because of a certain condition takes place, they're not going to turn on you because of a piece of fabric covering your face.


That's what honesty is, and that's what integrity is; being incorruptible. So, this leads to a bonus here of these five. A bonus one would be, a quality of a great relationship is that they have your back. They have your back. You can trust and believe that they've got your back. If you're met with opposition, they're right there, they got you. Not people that abandon ship, not people that flip on you and go to the other extreme, that's not good business. That's not a real healthy relationship. So, if you feel like somebody doesn't have your back, you really need to analyze that and think about that, because that's one of the prerequisites to having a healthy relationship. Because it's healthy relationships that we need right now more than ever. Healthy relationships, and bringing communities together, require us to have an open mind. This is another important tenet. We must be open to new ideas, and you've probably seen a huge lack of that the last two years.


We must be open to people having differing points of view than us, but still respect their right to their point of view. We must be open to people having differing lifestyles than us, but still hold a space for them to live the lifestyle that they see fit. Yes, we must absolutely have an open mind, but as Walter Kotschnig said, "Don't keep your mind so open that your brain falls out." So, this goes back to having our principles and our standards. Keeping an open mind, absolutely, you must be open to being wrong. We must be open to new ideas. We must be open to new perspective, that's humanity. As soon as it's a one-size-fits-all, as soon as it's, "This is the only way," or you're ostracized and out, that's a problem.


We must have the capacity to have an open mind and to be understanding. Now, however, we're not so open-minded that we are harming ourselves, we're not so open-minded that we lose ourselves, we're not so open-minded that our brain falls out. So, this goes back to our original tenet that our relationships are there to help us to grow, but this does not mean necessarily, of course, that our relationships are supposed to be easy, but the key here is just because I'm saying it doesn't mean it's going to be easy this does not mean that you have to suffer. You need to continually grow, but you do not have to expose yourself to suffering. So, with that being the context of moving forward and creating healthy relationships and moving our society forward, we have to stop settling. You've got to be clear on what you want, and also having standards, and we need to cultivate those things now more than ever, because oftentimes, the toxicity of really poor-quality relationships, it's taking up so much space in our lives, especially our mental space.


And we're just holding it open for that toxicity that can have a tendency to keep pulling us down. When we finally have the audacity to say, "Enough is enough. I love you from over here, but I'm letting go of this negativity, I'm letting go of this damage, I'm letting go of this being this one-sided relationship." And what happens is you start to make room. You start to make room for better to come in that you could oftentimes not even see because it's so consumed with the negativity. And again, this doesn't mean that the negativity or the negative relationship can't be uplifted over time, but that is no longer your responsibility. If you've put in the time and the effort, and this is somebody that you love and you care about, you do not have to run yourself into an early grave to try to prove your love to someone else or how much you care about them, or whatever the case might be. Because you're taking away your life energy from being of service and bringing light and love to the people who actually give a damn. Who have their hand up and say, "Hey, listen, I appreciate you, I got you.”? So, what we need to do is go through eight critical signs that you need to make some adjustments in your relationships starting now, and we're going to do that right after this quick break. Sit tight. We'll be right back.


Few people know that regularly drinking coffee has been shown to help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. This attribute referenced in the journal Practical Neurology is yet another reason why intelligent coffee consumption makes the list of best neuro-nutritious beverages. Another study featured in the journal Psychopharmacology uncovered that drinking coffee has some remarkable benefits on mental performance. The research has found that intelligent coffee intake leads to improvements in alertness, improve reaction times and enhanced performance on cognitive vigilance task and task that involve deep concentration. Now, why am I stressing intelligent coffee intake? This means acknowledging the true U-shaped curve of benefits and not going ham on caffeine. The data clearly shows that some coffee, a cup or two a day, and the accompanied caffeine is a great adjunct for improved mental performance.


But going too far starts to lead to diminishing returns. So, we want to make sure that we're getting an optimal intake of coffee, and again, not going overboard. But also, coffee is best when it's not coming along with pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, fungicides, these chemical elements are clinically proven to destroy our microbiome terrain. So, destroying the very microbiome that helps to regulate our metabolism, regulate our immune system, the list goes on and on. Obviously, you want to make sure that those things are not coming along with the high-quality coffee that we're trying to get these benefits from. And also, what if we can up-level the longevity and neurological benefits of the coffee by combining it with another clinically proven nutrient source? Well, that's what I do every day when I have the organic coffee combined with the dual extracted medicinal mushrooms from Four Sigmatic. And if we're talking about optimal cognitive performance and the health of our brain, the protection of our brain, there are few nutrient sources, like lion's mane medicinal mushroom that pack these kinds of benefits.


Researchers at the University of Malaya found that lion's mane has neuroprotective effects, literally being able to help to defend the brain against even traumatic brain injuries. It just makes the brain more healthy and robust. So again, this combination of medicinal mushrooms plus organic high-quality coffee is a match made in nutrient heaven. Go to That's, get 10% off. They're incredible mushroom elixirs, mushroom hot cocos and mushroom coffees. Again, that's And now, back to the show.


Alright, now we're going to dive into eight signs that you need to make some adjustments in your relationships, or even potentially let some relationships go. Now I'm saying adjustments because we can change the proximity of the relationship or based on what we're going to go through, you might have the revelation that is time to let this relationship go. So, number one of these eight signs that you need to make some adjustments in your relationships or even let the relationship go, number one is when the relationship brings you more hurt than happiness. You have to start to honor your happiness. You have to start to honor your peace. If you have a relationship in your life that is constantly hurting you, and you keep justifying that or you keep ignoring it, and the suffering has outweighed the happiness, this would be a great time for you to make an assessment and decide if you're going to adjust this relationship or even move on from this relationship, but it starts with you valuing your own happiness.


Now, number two of these eight signs that you need to make some adjustments in your relationships or even let relationship go, number two is they only come around when they want something, right? They're disappearing into the night, you turn around, they're going, batman style. You turn around, ghost, Patrick Swayze, until they need something then they pop up and they're DMing you, they're calling you, they're talking nice to you, then they get what they want, then they disappear again. They crawl back up under the rock, or they go back to the dark streets of Gotham or whatever, they disappear. They're not around unless they want something from you. We have to acknowledge when this is taking place in our lives, because oftentimes, scenarios like these tend to happen for people who you really love, you deeply love, and you've probably done a lot for them. But the thing is you're not doing them any good, any service is temporary. You're putting a band-aid on a gaping wound in their life because they are not stepping up and becoming responsible for their own life.


If you keep on being the person solving their problems, and they're not learning how to take care of themselves and to solve their own problems, this behavior is going to continue to happen. You have to be willing to let it go. So again, this goes back to their contribution, mutually contributing to the relationship, that's a healthy relationship. If they just come around when they want something that is not a healthy relationship in any form or fashion. Alright, moving on to number three, on these eight signs that you need to make some adjustments in your relationships or even let relationships go, number three is, the relationship is causing you to sacrifice your own integrity. The relationship causes you to keep compromising and acting out of your own character. Just to make them happy. Just to appease them. This could be, and again, all of these are not just about intimate relationships, but also family relationships, extended family relationships, work relationships, community relationships, relationships in your neighborhood. When you are compromising your own character in order to make them happy, in order to fit in with them.


When you have a certain standard or tenet and you see the demonstration or disrespect of that tenet that you hold, maybe you have a deep value of honesty and integrity, and you're now exposed to a couple who's in a relationship that blatantly does not honor that integrity and honesty, and they're looping their way into your circle, you don't have to allow that. What we tend to do is just accept people, it's all good, they'll get better over time, but when people show you who they are, believe them. This doesn't mean that you don't allow them to do what they do, they just don't have to do it around you. They just don't have to bring their compromised integrity into your sphere, where you constantly have to program yourself to ignore the red flag. So, I hope that that makes sense. If the relationship is causing you to sacrifice your integrity, for example, maybe it's even in a business context where you're putting money over your integrity, for example. Man, people would do a lot for a check, for real, but do you want to be that person?


So, if the relationship is causing you to sacrifice your integrity, you might want to adjust that relationship. Distance yourself from that relationship and or eliminate, let that relationship go so that you can make room for better. Number four here, of these eight critical signs that you may need to make adjustments in a relationship or let the relationship go, number four is, you're staying in the relationship expecting that they'll change. Again, when people show you who they are, believe them. A lot of relationships have gone down the drain, caused a lot of pain and suffering with the hope, with the potential that it could be good. Now, I'm a product of potential, alright? My wife cashed out with me. She hit the jackpot, but I hit the jackpot with her, just to be clear, that's really the way that it goes.


But she saw potential in me, because she met me, I had that mattress on the floor. I was living in Ferguson, and I just wasn't really doing that great from some perspective, from the surface perspective. But if you look just a little bit deeper, you saw she met me being of service. She met me working at the university gym and being so... I didn't even really notice her like that. I mean, I notice who comes to the gym, but I wasn't like trying to holler at her. I was so focused on being of service, and she saw that, this dedication and my love of helping other people. She saw something in me. That potential was showing evidence. You have to see evidence of the potential, not just the potential based on some airy-fairy idea of what we think a person is supposed to be like. Let them express evidence of that thing. So, I'm a product of somebody banking on my potential.


Absolutely, so it's not that we eliminate the potential, but staying in the relationship and continuously expecting them to change and become that person that you want them to be or that you expect them to be, and it's creating a lot of suffering and divisiveness and pain. Again, when people show you who they are, believe them. Alright, moving on to number five on these eight critical signs that you may need to adjust the relationship or even let the relationship go. Number five is, when they expect your world to revolve around them. When you have a relationship with somebody who outwardly demonstrates that they don't care about the challenges, about the pressures that you are experiencing in your own life and yet have no problem placing their problems on you, that is a serious red flag. If they're not concerned about what you might be going through, what's going on in your life, in your day, the pressures that are on you, and yet they have no problem dropping some random craziness on you or just talking out the way to you and causing conflict or whatever it is, not caring about what you have going on in your life.


Again, huge red flag. When they don't understand how much their actions affect other people, when they don't understand how much their behavior affects you, that's a red flag. Some people are just wired up that way, oftentimes it's a response through the conditions that we grew up in. Again, we might develop coping mechanisms to where we start to feel a sense of fear or inferiority, or we hit the other side of a feeling of superiority, a sense of abandonment. And so, we'll start to portray these things and they'll constantly make things about them, not as a means of connection and communication, but as a means of justifying their feelings of inferiority or their portrayed superiority.


So, making everything about them, where do they fit in to the things going on in your life, the work that you're doing, constantly finding ways to revolve it, to make it about them. We can make things about us in an effort to communicate, we share a story, we share an insight from our own experience as a means of connecting with other people, of teaching, of growing, but when we start to make the story about us and what we are lacking or what we have, and they're bringing that to you constantly, that's a huge red flag.


This is the behavior patterns of narcissism, and to a degree, again, just to be able to survive in the world, people are going to have a level of narcissism at different points. But when it's a deeply conditioned character expression of narcissism, not caring about their impact on your life when they bring negativity to you constantly out of the blue because something is going on in their life. Or when they constantly are making things about themselves, you can rest assured that this behavior is deeply embedded and you have to give yourself permission to allow them to get the help that they need, because clearly, the help that you've been giving isn't enough, because at its core, what's going to continue to happen is they're going to blame you for their problems, this is what folks do when they're tied up in a narcissistic tendency. Again, it's not that they're trying to be that way, 99.999% of the time. But we have to be able to do the inner work necessary so that we start to take responsibility for our own actions in our own life, and also having the audacity to care about other people and what's going on in their life and being a source of support and light and the things that you're giving, they're reciprocating that.


That's number five here, and these eight signs that you may need to adjust or even eliminate a relationship. Number six is, they don't celebrate your wins, if you're people that are not celebrating you when you have good things happen, you need to keep your eyes on that. Alright, and also with that is coupled with, they might even hate on you when you get some progress, or you get some success. Alright, there's a lot of different cultural understandings about haterism now, Kat Williams has a great one, the comedian Kat Williams where he's talking about the fact of, truly, if you're doing anything of success in this world, you're going to have haters, it's automatic. He's telling you to strive to get more haters. If you got 14 people hating on you, you need to try to get to 16 heaters by the end of the summer. It's a demonstration that you're growing, you're evolving, you're doing something people have... When you start to rise up, I just shared this with my youngest son, Braden, because he's just like, "People hate on you?" We were talking about it. I don't remember what the example was, because he wanted to start a YouTube channel, and of course I'm a parent, so I'm worried about my man.


When do I allow people to be able to comment or things like that? Because people out here on interwebs, there's some studio gangsters out here, there's some internet gangsters that just say the wildest stuff to people that they don't know. So, I shared this example with them that when you're working to build yourself up, just think about a building. Your part of a city and you're growing yourself, and you're building yourself up and working to be a skyscraper, that's a sense of inspiration and empowerment and resources, and other people have the same capacity, the same potential to build themselves up as well. But a lot of times people see what you've achieved, and they start in with the excuse making and all the reasons that they can't. And so rather than them building themselves up and doing whatever is necessary, they'll work to try to tear your building down so that everybody is even again. And it's not often even intentional, it's just a psychological thing for people to be comfortable not growing or feeling a sense of threat of losing somebody that they care about and they're growing and becoming this skyscraper, and so when I shared this with him, he actually said, "I love that example. That makes so much sense."


And so, I also pointed him to the fact that there's so much good to go around, there's so much opportunity, there's so many resources, and most importantly, resourcefulness as a people, we are so resourceful when we allow ourselves to be. Even from the worst of circumstances, we can rise up and we can be the greatest version of ourselves. And so, we all have that capacity, so we want to stack conditions to where we have more people in our lives, we're celebrating as we're growing, who are cheering us on as we're raising and elevating ourselves to that Dubai level stature. And so, it's just a really remarkable thing because especially today with the advent of social media and so much in our face, we can easily fall into that trap of, you see somebody doing something like, "I could do that, that could be me, that should be me." Rather than, well, make it you, make another hove, do it, do what is necessary, build yourself up, put yourself in position to be that person rather than putting that energy into tearing other people down.


Absolutely. There are people who are coming into the game with what appears to be more advantages, but man, if I've learned one thing in this life, your disadvantages can become your greatest advantages, and I had a sh*tload of disadvantages, and we can flip those things and we can make a powerful impact on the rest of the world. But we have to change our story, we have to understand how powerful we are to effect change in the world.


So, moving on, number seven, in these eight signs that you may need to adjust the relationship or even let a relationship go. Number seven is, you keep being forced to justify their actions. When they are hating on you, you tell the story, "Well, they've been through a lot, they've been hurt," you keep on justifying their behavior, whether it's bringing direct vitriol towards your way, whether it's hate, whether it's them keep taking advantage of you and disappearing, them manipulating you, whatever the case might be, and you keep justifying their behavior, and I'm saying this from experience, I've done it, I've done it many times. Especially if we love people, we're going to have a tendency to give our heart, give our soul, step up in a bigger way to do something for them, all the while we're justifying their actions when they take advantage of us. We got to clean that mess up moving forward.


Number eight here. And finally, when your values simply don't align, your values simply don't align anymore. There's this powerful statement that some people are in your life for a reason, for a season or for a lifetime, and we have to be able to understand that there's going to be a change of seasons, there's going to be a reason from time to time that people come in and out of your life, and there are going to be people that are there with you for the long haul. And it's not always going to be the people that you think it's going to be that are fitting into these different positions, so when your values are not aligning anymore, that doesn't mean that you love somebody less or that you don't care about them, but in order for you to fulfill your soul's mission here on the planet, we have to be willing and have the audacity to adjust that exposure to the relationship, the position of that relationship in our lives or even make room and let that relationship go.


There's this quote from Big Sean that says, "If it costs you peace of mind, it might be too expensive," I felt that, I felt that. And why it could be so difficult to let go of relationships that are causing us harm and constantly causing us irritation and we're facing vitriol and pain, is that our brains get acclimated to these behavior traits and these habits. Oftentimes, repetition lays down that neuro-association, it's laying down more myelin where we just expect, "Oh, this is just how it is. That's just how they are. This is just how I respond," and we keep letting these things go on, on automatic. When in reality, we have to take control of our thinking and be able to self-assess and understand, am I actually valuing myself, am I actually valuing my time and my energy and my love? Where could I better be expressing in sharing and giving this love that I'm taking from this place over here and putting it where it's not valued? That I might be taking for my kids to put into this relationship with somebody who doesn't appreciate it. Alright, so it can be difficult because of literally the way that our brain gets wired up, but today it's about understanding ROR, return on relationships, it's the most valuable entity in our lives. If we're talking about ROI, return on investment, it's not that.


That's cool, but ROR return on relationship has the biggest impact on our health, on our peace of mind, on our success in life, and the list goes on and on and on. You're going to be hard pressed to find something that's more impactful than the quality of your relationships. And I want to share one final word to summarize why this is so important to do it this time, because over the last couple of years, we might have thought that our relationships were a certain way, but then we saw how just a piece of fabric can cause people to drop out of your life. We saw how a new drug hitting the scene can cause divisiveness within families and relationships that might have been existing for years. But the thing is it's not these superficial things that cause the break in the relationship, that possibility was there all along. And now what this has offered as clarity on who truly values you and who's incorruptible in their appreciation of you as a human being, we get the opportunity to make room for better. We get to see how politicization and this idea of certain political parties and people subscribing to camps, can create so much tension between our citizens, right? Like right wing, left wing, it's the same bird, is the same bird.


We need to understand that we are one people and of course, primarily seek out and cultivate healthy relationships, but we're doing that from a place of altruism and love for the people who might not agree with what we are doing, what we're about, and who might be living in an existence right now of negativity, of vitriol. But you're creating the condition, transforming the environment to where your love and your appreciation, your expression of goodness and of service is going to inherently impact those people as well. That's the balance. And I appreciate you so much for making me a part of your life and being somebody who has an opportunity to have a relationship with you in your story, it means the world to me. It truly does. And listen, we've got some epic, I'm talking about epic master classes and incredible guests coming up for you very soon. We're just getting warmed up. I appreciate you some much for tuning in, take care. Have an amazing day, I'm going to talk with you soon.


And for more after the show, make sure to head over to, that's where you can find all of the show notes, you could find transcriptions, videos for each episode, and if you got a comment, you can leave me a comment there as well. And please make sure to head over to iTunes and leave us a rating to let everybody know that the show is awesome, and I appreciate that so much, and take care, I promise to keep giving you more powerful, empowering, great content to help you transform your life. Thanks for tuning in.

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