How To Be Kind To Yourself

Episode #702

Are you tired of feeling like a success on the outside, yet empty on the inside?

Do you ever find yourself caught in a cycle of chasing achievements, only to feel unfulfilled once you attain them?

In this episode of The Powerful Man Show, Tim explores a profound shift from being pushed by pain to being pulled by pleasure. Through a compelling real-life story, Tim unveils the hidden struggles of a successful man grappling with a sense of inadequacy despite his accomplishments.

In this enlightening discussion, you’ll gain insights into the damaging effects of a “not enough” narrative and how it can lead to inner turmoil, disconnection, and even self-sabotage. Tim takes you through a transformative journaling exercise, helping you uncover the beliefs, emotions, actions, and language patterns that reinforce this negative mindset.

By understanding the origins of your self-limiting beliefs, you can take the first steps toward becoming a true friend to yourself, embracing self-compassion, and stepping onto the path of empowerment and fulfillment.

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Tim Matthews  00:22

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the Powerful Man Show!

My name is Tim Matthews. I’m your host and unfortunately, my co-host, Mr. Dougie Fresh, is not with me today. He’s resting and recovering after a very long road trip from the west coast of the US. All the way across to the east coast, where he’s been able to meet the men and their families, some of the men of the movement and their families and just hear their accounts of how being in the movement have impacted them. So no doubt he’ll have lots of stories to share once he returns next week. So I’m very excited to hear all about that.

And then obviously, Mr. Arthur Magoulianiti, who sometimes joins me on here, one of our master coaches, he’s actually in Japan. He is over there with his wonderful wife. They are doing a course with a master samurai. So we like to walk the talk here at TPM, or at least we do our best to do so. And that means a lot of our coaches and our team continually invest in themselves. So anyway, I won’t continue to bore you with the details of what we’ve been up to.

My aim for you in this 20 minutes or so is to help give you some actionable steps really off the back of a conversation that one of our inner circle men brought to me. So I’m going to share with you their account of what happened recently for them and maybe it’ll resonate. Let’s just see. So this amazing man, basically what he was sharing, he was really confused as to how he had ended up at this position in his life because for all accounts, on the surface, he was a very or he is a very successful man, financially successful, runs a nine figure business from a family perspective, successful. He’s got a wife who loves him dearly, he’s got two amazing kids, and from a professional perspective, he’s doing really well as well. Leads a company with a few hundred employees. He is rocking it.

However, for a long time he felt the complete opposite on the inside to what his life portrayed on the outside. Right? Instead of feeling like a success, he felt like a fraught. Instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, he felt empty, lonely, lost, and kind of confused because he had all the trappings of what he was told and what we’re often told as men were going to make him successful. We’re going to fill him with confidence. Yet the more of these things that he had, whether it was a bank account, the home, the holiday home, the cars, the wife, whatever it may be, the more of these things that fell into place in his life, the more that he fell out of love with his life.

And what weighed the most heavily on this guy was the fact that he had no one he could turn to because he felt stupid. The shame that he felt from not being grateful, essentially, for what he had weighed so heavily on him that anytime he tried to turn to anyone close to him and tell them what he felt, they would just brush it off and say, come on, look at your life. What do you have to complain about? So he just got shut down, and nobody understood him. Nobody got it. And when he was sharing all of this with me, I shared something with him that I’ll share with you in a moment that for him, it struck a chord and a light bulb went off.

And it’s a simple shift. It’s one that I found to be very useful in my own life. It’s one that we have used with hundreds of successful businessmen in the movement. And it always seems to that’s not fair. Most of the time, it seems to land. Now, if you can relate to this gentleman that I’m talking about, then you’ll know how confusing it can be and typically what will happen. When I was in this position, I would try and sedate this. I would try and drown out the internal angst, essentially, with either working out and I’d work out harder or sometimes I wouldn’t work out. I’d be very up and down.

I’d drink somewhat to excess, relatively speaking. For me, it was excessive, right, because I was finding myself wanting to reach for alcohol as a way to calm and quieten my mind, because what my mind was saying to me was not pleasurable, quite frankly. And if you can relate to this, then you also know how tiring it can be, right? Because you often tell yourself, oh, well, maybe it’s the next million. Maybe when I get to this next milestone, maybe when I get to eight figures or nine figures or whatever it is, that’s when I’ll feel better.

Oh, maybe when I’ve built this home, I’ll feel better. Oh, maybe when I’ve gone on that vacation, I’ll feel better. Maybe when I’ve taken a little bit of time off, I’ll feel better. And sometimes you do. However, it’s kind of fleeting, right? And you always end up back at the same position. It’s kind of like a game of Snakes and Ladders. You’re going along, you’re rolling the dice, you’re doing well, you take a step, you’re feeling better and all of a sudden you hit a snake and you’re right back down to where you began. And then you continue rolling the dice. Take a step, take another one, and you get a little bit of luck and you feel a bit better and you climb a ladder.

Well, then a snake appears and it’s this up and down, back and forth, two steps forward, one step back. It’s tiring. And you know that life can be easier. Life can be more rewarding. And you see other people that just seem to be happy. They seem to work hard and play hard. And you can’t seem to strike that balance because you just work hard and then you lose interest. You lose touch with your hobbies, with your passions. Anyway. Well, look, if you relate to this I know I did for a long, long time then I want you to consider that you might be pushed by pain instead of being pulled by pleasure.

Now, what does that mean? So when somebody is pushed by pain, when a man, a successful businessman, is pushed by pain, essentially the internal dialogue going on for that man is one of not enough. And this not enough narrative takes hold everywhere. It’s not enough money. I’m not fit enough. I’m not rich enough. I’m not ripped enough. I’m not successful enough. I don’t have enough sex. I’m not happy enough. And it’s this constant not enough. And underneath it all, they keep on telling themselves, essentially I am not enough. And they’d always realize this. But it’s the not enough narrative and the not enough lens that they look at their life through.

And honestly, this has helped them at certain parts in their life because it’s driven them to get out of the painful situation they were in. Whether it was a pain of not having money, whether it was a pain of a tough situation at home and they wanted to move out, whatever it may have been that served them to a point. However, what used to work for them begins to work against them, right? Because as they begin to experience more and more levels of success and this could be financial, emotional, spiritual, physical the worse they feel because they continue to look at everything in their life through that lens and through that narrative and they don’t realize this.

And this is where the shame stacks because everyone else that’s kind of looking from the outside in, they can see all of the more than enough. They look through the more than enough lens. You have more than enough money. You have more than enough health. You have more than enough happiness. You have more than all these different more than enough narrative and lenses. But the man’s trapped on the other side of it, right? Now if this is resonating for you, then I would invite you to consider the possibility that there’s another path for you, right? Instead of being pushed by pain, you can be pulled by pleasure.

Now, what do I mean by that? That might sound a little bit woo woo and a little bit esoterical, and it’s actually not. It can be very practical for you when you actually choose to commit to becoming aware of the internal narrative, to overcome and change the unconscious commitment that you’ve had to not enough, essentially. And you begin aligning your life so that you can be pulled by pleasure. And you might say, well, Tim, that’s an idealist way of looking at this. It’s not possible to be pulled by pleasure. We all have to do things we don’t want to do. I agree. We do.

So it’s not about the absence of those things. It’s all about where it comes from. Because even if you have to do something you don’t want to do, you can still come from a place of gratitude, joy, love, peace in those moments. And that isn’t an idealistic perspective to the point where you’re ignorant of what’s going on. I’m not saying that. Let’s take a scenario like something happens in your business, right? You need to step into a certain position.

If you’re pushed by pain, the narrative that you may encounter there is, why has this happened? I’m a failure. I should have seen this coming. Is this the end? Is it all going to crumble? And as a result, that narrative would result in you being extremely stressed, probably quite anxious. Your sleep is going to be affected. You’re probably going to start drinking more in an evening. You’re probably going to become more short tempered with your wife and kids, right? And you’re going to be more likely to become busier than effective.

However, when you’re on a different path, the path of power, which by pain is a path of force, pull by pleasure is a path of power. When you’re on the path of power that enables you to have a different perspective. So you experience the same situation, but from a different place. When you go into that same situation, pulled by pleasure, then you know it’s the right thing to do. You take gratitude from the fact that you’re in alignment with the leader that you want to be leading from the front. You’re diving into it. You’re grateful that you caught it. You are confident in your ability to write it. You are leading by example and your people are following you. Stay true to the vision that you have and realize that this is just a tiny course correction. You don’t blow it out of proportion, and as a result, you become less stressed. You’re able to continue to sleep well on an evening. You continue to be able to handle these pressurized situations with poise and perspective.

So therefore, you can continue to enjoy your life. Instead of becoming short tempered with your kids and your wife, they’re able to watch you handle this stressful situation and continue to be playful and confident in the CFO, right? The Chief Fund Officer, as we like to call it, in the powerful man. So what are some shifts that you can make so you can stop being pushed by pain and begin to be pushed by pleasure?

And just I’m going to go back a moment here. So pushed by pain is the path of force. Okay? It’s living from the outside in. Pulled by pleasure is the path of power. It’s living from the inside out. It’s be do have it is. You choosing to be the person now feeling successful, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially. You choosing to be successful now taking the actions that a successful person takes, kind of like in the example I gave a minute ago, as a result, having the life that a successful, fulfilled person has instead of watching those other people play out.

So the first thing you get to do is become aware of whether you’re in this situation. If this is resonating for you, I would invite you to either pause a recording or have an action step here where you are going to journal. And what I’d like you to do is to just do two pages of journaling. I’d like you to just write down exactly what’s coming to mind around this idea and start to consider how you talk to yourself. How do you motivate yourself currently? What is that narrative? What are the words you use? More importantly, what is the energy behind it?

If it’s an energy of stress, pressure, frustration, impatience, anger, then it’s not a great place to be. Would you talk to your kids in that way? Is that how you’d get your kids to do something? Is that how you’d get your kids to become better by leading them and talking to them in that way? I don’t think it is. Is that how you get the best out of your staff? It’s very Machiavellian, right? It’s rule by force versus rule by love.

So journal, write down, begin to get clear on what is the narrative going on in your head for you. Are you seeing yourself and your life through the lens of not enough? Do you have a narrative of not enough? So from there, once you are clear, you get to begin to take some changes, to take some steps. Right? Now, honestly, usually this is where coaching comes in really handy. And this isn’t a plug or a pitch for us at the movement here, but if you get the right coach, then they’re going to be able to guide you through this because you’re going to have blind spots at the end of the day, ideally you’d get to the root cause of where this came from.

So in fact, I’m going to give you a quick exercise you can do as a second step here. So step number one, get clear on where you are. It’s where you’re going to do the journaling. Step number two do is on another piece of paper. I want you to draw a stigma big stick man in the middle of the piece of paper, in the top left hand corner of the paper, I want you to go and write down beliefs. In the top right hand corner, write feelings. Bottom left hand corner, write actions. Right hand corner write language. And language will be body language. The words you say, they’re the main ones, right?

And now what I want you to do is building on the journaling you’ve done. I want you to imagine that you are in the position of acting out this narrative, right? So think of a time maybe it’s this week when you’ve been stressed and you’ve been talking to yourself in a similar way that you’ve written down in that narrative. Maybe you’ve even had a big success, but it hasn’t landed for you. Maybe that’s something that stands out for you this week. Or maybe you’ve been given compliments and they’ve not been able to land for you. You brush them off, you sweep them under the rug. Maybe you write that down as a narrative.

Now, when you’re in any of those positions, I want you to start writing down and filling in around this stick man. Okay? So what are the thoughts and the beliefs that stick man has? You’ve probably written some of them down in these two pages of journaling. I am not enough people are lying. I’m not really that person. Let’s say you’re receiving compliments, right? Write them all down. Say write them out as though they’re in the present tense and you’re thinking them right? Now tune into what are some of the feelings that you experience when this side of you is running the show? Maybe it’s tension in your shoulders. Maybe it’s anger, disappointment, ungratefulness, frustration, impatience. Maybe you rush around a lot, whatever it may be. Bottom left hand corner actions.

What are some of the actions you take? Maybe you are on your phone more than you’d want to be. Maybe you drink alcohol every evening. Maybe you fall asleep watching TV. Maybe you avoid working out. Maybe you spend longer at work. Maybe you take on projects. You say yes to things that you don’t really want to do. People pleasing. Then what’s some of the language in the bottom right hand corner? How do you stand? What are your facial expressions? How do you move? Right? Because this state is going to show up on you like a signature. These four pillars of your being, if you will, they all create a signature for how this version of you shows up.

If I was coaching you, what I would do in this scenario is and start to take a bit deeper and realize when did this version of you first come about? I mean, the reality is this version of you has served you in your life. It has. And the struggle that a lot of businessmen experience is when they try and wrestle with this part of them instead of realizing that it served them. And usually for a lot of men, this was formed very early in childhood, and it was formed as a strategy in order to survive. They were looking around their environment of what was going on, and they were considering, okay, what do I need to do in order to stay safe, loved and protected? Right?

Now, for me, I used to walk on eggshells a lot. So for me, what I did is I learned to be quiet. I learned to go within and be quite insular. I held my voice back, all these other things, what I did. And as I grew up, they didn’t serve me right because then I became a people pleaser and so on. So anyway, this shadow aspect of you, this is what could be running the show for you unknowingly. So at this point, this is where it’d be great for you to either reach out to us we can guide you through this, or reach out to someone, somewhere to get some help and start to get into the root cause of where this came from. When was this formed and what can you do to begin shifting this?

Now, it’s not a long and complex process. It’s kind of like a mask that you’ve been wearing, a mask of protection, a mask of survival. For some men, they’re worried about accepting the happiness that comes with their success because they’re worried that they’re going to lose their edge. But the reality is when you stop being pushed by pain and allow yourself to be pulled by pleasure, you can achieve a hell of a lot more in a lot less time with a lot more ease. And I have seen this happen in hundreds and hundreds of men. This is where doors begin to open in walls that you were previously trying to walk around or climb over.

Time begins to collapse on itself because you begin to tune into your higher levels of inspiration, your higher levels of creativity, your higher levels of confidence. Your leadership goes up, you take faster action, you see things more clearly. You enjoy your success. You just feel better. So I’m going to leave you with this favorite, one of my favorite passages from favorite book of mine. Nobody likes tyranny.

Why would you be a tyrant to yourself? Stoicism is not about punishing yourself. It’s a firm school for sure. But as Seneca wrote, in fact, no philosophical — philosophical — can’t say the word. No philosophical school stuff. It is kindlier and gentler, no more loving of humankind and more attentive to our common good to the degree that its very purpose is to be useful, bring assistance, and consider the interest not only of itself, but of all people. And all people includes yourself.

In case you need reminding, after a lifetime of studying philosophy, this is ultimately how Seneca came to judge his own growth. What progress have I made? He wrote. Have I begun to be a friend to myself? A friend to yourself? You are not the enemy. You’re the person doing the best you can. You’re the person getting better every day. You’d never let a friend say they are worthless. You’d never let them give up because it was too late. You’d never let them write themselves off. You’d refuse to let them abuse themselves, torture themselves with a friend.

We are able to remain calm. We are able to reassure. We give advice, not admonishments. This isn’t just a kindness. It’s so immensely helpful. We’re able to be a resource for them. We’re able to pull them out of the depths and get them back on the road to success and happiness. Now imagine what you’d be capable of if you regularly provided that service to yourself. From a place of love and support, we grow. It’s an act of self-discipline to be kind to the self, to be a good friend. Don’t beat yourself up. Build yourself up, make yourself better. That’s what friends do.

So, gents, thank you for joining me on another episode of The Powerful Man Show. If this has resonated and you want more information, by all means reach out. You can either find me on Facebook if you are already in the movement, then just shoot me a message through Work chat. If you’re curious to hear more about what we do, then head over to thepowerfulman.com/results.

You’ll see a lot of the results from the men in the movement, and you can always reach out to us there as well. So again, thank you for being part of our movement, for listening, for joining in. There are hundreds of thousands of men involved in our movement in one form or another. You listen to this. You’re one of them. Thank you for being here. It means the world to us. And I’ll see you next time on The Powerful Man Show.