Soft Power: Moving from You and Me to Us

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August 16, 2022

Soft Power: Moving from You and Me to Us

Terry Real August 16, 2022

In this podcast, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with “the relationship turnaround guy” and bestselling author Terry Real about: the origins of his two-day relationship intervention; the groundbreaking—and rule-breaking—approach of Relational Life Therapy; dealing with shame and grandiosity, and the contempt underlying both; the skill of “joining through the truth”; what healthy self-esteem looks like; why “there’s nothing that harshness does that loving firmness doesn’t do better”; speaking to and from the mature, wise adult instead of the adaptive, wounded child; relational mindfulness; recognizing your tendency toward “fight, flight, freeze, or fix”; our toxic culture of individualism and the shift to “soft power”; why an invitation works a lot better than a complaint; the essential rhythm of relationships: harmony, rupture, and repair; honoring the ecological system of your relationship while having your individual needs met; and more.

TERRY REAL is an internationally recognized family therapist, speaker, and author. He founded the Relational Life Institute (RLI), offering workshops for couples, individuals, and parents around the country along with a professional training program for clinicians wanting to learn his RLT (Relational Life Therapy) methodology. A family therapist and teacher for more than 25 years, Terry is the bestselling author of I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression, the straight-talking How Can I Get Through to You? Reconnecting Men and Women, and The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Make Love Work.
 
A senior faculty member of the Family Institute of Cambridge in Massachusetts and a retired clinical fellow of the Meadows Institute in Arizona, Terry has worked with thousands of individuals, couples, and fellow therapists. Through his books, the Institute, and workshops around the country, Terry helps women and men, parents and non-parents to help create the connection they desire in their relationships. His ideas on men’s issues and on couple’s therapy have been celebrated in many venues, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20, Oprah, and the New York Times. For more, visit terryreal.com.

Author photo © Hans Robertson

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Founded Sounds True in 1985 as a multimedia publishing house with a mission to disseminate spiritual wisdom. She hosts a popular weekly podcast called Insights at the Edge, where she has interviewed many of today's leading teachers. Tami lives with her wife, Julie M. Kramer, and their two spoodles, Rasberry and Bula, in Boulder, Colorado.

Photo © Jason Elias

Also By Author

Soft Power: Moving from You and Me to Us

In this podcast, Sounds True founder Tami Simon speaks with “the relationship turnaround guy” and bestselling author Terry Real about: the origins of his two-day relationship intervention; the groundbreaking—and rule-breaking—approach of Relational Life Therapy; dealing with shame and grandiosity, and the contempt underlying both; the skill of “joining through the truth”; what healthy self-esteem looks like; why “there’s nothing that harshness does that loving firmness doesn’t do better”; speaking to and from the mature, wise adult instead of the adaptive, wounded child; relational mindfulness; recognizing your tendency toward “fight, flight, freeze, or fix”; our toxic culture of individualism and the shift to “soft power”; why an invitation works a lot better than a complaint; the essential rhythm of relationships: harmony, rupture, and repair; honoring the ecological system of your relationship while having your individual needs met; and more.

Fierce Intimacy

Terry Real is a family therapist, author, and founder of the Relational Life Institute, which hosts workshops on family and relationships throughout the country. He has written several books, including The New Rules of Marriage: What You Need to Know to Make Love Work. With Sounds True, he is the creator of Fierce Intimacy, an audio training in essential communication skills for couples. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon talks to Terry about the inherent challenges of being in relationship and the many approaches to addressing those challenges in couples therapy. Terry discusses how men and women relate to one another in different ways, as well as the steps necessary when couples are badly out of sync. Finally, Terry and Tami speak on the Relational Life approach to therapy and the skills we need to develop in order to take our interpersonal relationships up to “full throttle.”

Terry Real: Standing Up to One Another with Love

Terry Real is a family therapist, public speaker, and the founder of the Relational Life Institute. Terry’s written works include I Don’t Want to Talk About It, How Can I Get Through to You?, and The New Rules of Marriage. With Sounds True, he has created the audio program Fierce Intimacy: Standing Up to One Another with Love. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Terry about his somewhat unusual, do-or-divorce approach to couples therapy. They talk about deal breakers in relationships and why they don’t necessarily need to end a partnership. Terry explains what it means to hold a “core negative image” of a partner, why this is all too common, and why recognition of that core image can actually strengthen a relationship. Finally, Terry and Tami discuss what “fierce intimacy” truly entails and why canny relationship skills are the very same qualities that will help the human race rise to meet the challenges of the future. (64 minutes)

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Embracing Empathy as Your Superpower

What do I do when a loved one is suffering? How do I have empathy if I’m getting a divorce or losing my job? If my family treats me unfairly? Or if I’m emotionally overwhelmed or in chronic pain?

If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, I’ve written The Genius of Empathy for you. It also includes a beautiful foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In the book, I present empathy as a healing force that helps you overcome obstacles in your life with dignity, grace, and power. As a psychiatrist and empath, I draw from my insights and present techniques from my own life and from the healing journeys of my clients, students, and readers. As I say in the book, “Empathy softens the struggle, quiets the unkind voices, and lets you befriend yourself again.”

Empathy doesn’t mean being “on call” 24 hours a day for those in need. Empaths can often wear an invisible sign that says, “I can help you.” However, if you want to heal yourself, have better relationships, and contribute to healing our tumultuous world, you must learn how to set healthy boundaries and observe, not absorb, the energy of others.

To start taking a more proactive role in how much empathy you give others at any one time, I suggest that you keep in mind the following “rights.” They will help you maintain a healthy mindset and prevent or lessen any empathy overwhelm that might arise:

  • I have the right to say a loving, positive “no” or “no, thank-you.”
  • I have the right to set limits with how long I listen to people’s problems.
  • I have the right to rest and not be always available to everyone.
  • I have the right to quiet peacefulness in my home and in my heart.

Practice: Take a Sound Break to Repair Yourself

Plan periods of quiet to recover from our noisy, fast-paced world. This helps calm your nervous system and your mind, an act of self-empathy.

It’s rejuvenating to schedule at least five minutes of quiet or, even better, complete silence for an hour or more where no one can intrude. As I do, hang a Do Not Disturb sign on your office or bedroom door. During this reset period, you’ve officially escaped from the world. You’re free of demands and noxious sounds. You may also get noise canceling earbuds to block out noise.

If too much quiet is unsettling, go for a walk in a local park or a peaceful neighborhood to decompress from excessive sound stimulation. Simply focus on putting one foot in front of the other, which is called mindful walking. Nothing to do. Nothing to be. Move slowly and refrain from talking. If thoughts come, keep refocusing on your breath, each inhalation and exhalation. Just letting life settle will regenerate your body and empathic heart.

Embracing your empathy does require courage. It can feel scary. If you’re ready to discover its healing power, I would be honored to be your guide to helping you in overcoming your fears and obstacles, and enhancing this essential skill for long-term change.

Though many of us have never met, I feel connected to you. Connection is what fuels life. While empathy is what allows you to find peace. With both, we can make sense of this world together.

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Ignite empathy as a superpower for personal healing, deeper relationships, and more potent work in the world. New York Times bestselling author Dr. Judith Orloff draws on insights from neuroscience, psychology, and energy medicine to show us how to access our sensitivities, soothe our nervous systems, and embody our most fierce and authentic selves.

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