This week’s topic is: How To Skillfully Communicate, Set Healthy Boundaries, and Be Understood with Joelle Prevost
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Joelle Prevost, who is a licensed counselor and the author of The Conversation Guide: How To Skillfully Communicate, Set Boundaries, and Be Understood. Listen in as Joelle shares how to work through setting boundaries that protect your wellbeing, honoring each other’s reality, reconnecting with your relationships using language and conversation skills, and so much more!
- How to mitigate miscommunication…
- Working through victim mode within your relationships…
- Boundary setting to protect your wellbeing…
- Offering alternatives to help soften setting boundaries…
- How to honor each other’s reality…
- Reconnecting with people using language and conversation skills…
About Joelle Prevost
Joelle Prevost holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology and is the author of the self-help book The Conversation Guide: How To Skillfully Communicate, Set Boundaries, and Be Understood. She is a registered clinical counselor, a licensed teacher, and a passionate communication-skills coach. She has worked as a therapist in high school, group, and one-on-one settings. In private practice, Prevost works with anxiety, trauma, and chronic illness. She lives and practices in British Columbia, Canada.
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Joelle Prevost’s Interview
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Kimberly: 00:01 Hi, loves and welcome back to our Monday interview podcast. I am very excited for our practical and important conversation today on our show, which is with Joelle provost. She has a master’s degree in counseling psychology, and she has written this wonderful book called the conversation guide how to skillfully communicate, set boundaries, and be understood. We have to have conversations in everyday life. And one of the things that’s really tricky is setting healthy boundaries. And this is so important because it allows us to maintain our emotional wellbeing, our mental health, and through that also our physical wellbeing. We’re not really taught how to set boundaries growing up. A lot of us, it’s not a class we take in school. And so today Joelle shares with us. It’s a really practical guide points and tools that we can use in our daily life, in our conversations, which in turn, as our subtitle says, allows us to just feel understood and heard and helps to strengthen and better our relationships.
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Kimberly: 01:16 So I’m really excited to get into our show today, but before we do, I want to give a shout out to a fan of the week and her name is magshelgi, and she writes the best walking companion. The only person that wants to walk with me at five in the morning is Kimberly Snyder and her feel good podcast, all parts, education, empathy, encouragement, and extreme accessibility. If you wanna grow as a human and be inspired on profound levels, it’s worth checking out grateful for these podcasts, magshelgi, thank you so much for your amazing, amazing review. It means the world to me and I am so honored to be on those morning, walks with you, you and me, sister side by side. I’m always there for you. So thank you and just thank you for being part of our community. And I’m grateful that we’re connected.
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Kimberly: 02:22 You know, it is like these like-minded souls. We find each other and we’re here to support each other and to be here for each other. So that being said, please also leave us a review. When you get a chance it’s free and easy. You may be a future fan of the week, so I can read your beautiful words. And also if you take a screenshot of your review and email it to email@example.com, we will send over our seven self love affirmation series, which is another nice voice in your head. Um, it’s a program for deconstructing limited beliefs, and it’s something that’s particularly effective to play after you just spend a couple minutes in breath, work or meditation, and then you can start to go down into your deeper programming and start to unlock some energies there to really unleash your potential. It’s something I’ve been working with for years, and I’ve noticed my whole life start to open up. So I’m really excited to introduce this to you to share it with you. So please leave us a review and thank you so much in advance. I also encourage you to subscribe to our show and that way you don’t miss out on any of these interviews, which can have some incredibly powerful, beneficial information for your life. And also our Q and a podcast, which I am loving our new format, which is very action, step oriented and research oriented. And we rotate around our four cornerstones week by week.
Kimberly: 03:25 Now also please share the show with anyone that you think will benefit part of this, um, the path of the heart and say the, the B to yoga. The, the love, the compassion growing is to just share. We share resources. We share love, we share time and we can, we what we can. And so sharing the show with anyone that you think would benefit from some of this is a beautiful way to expand that energy, which of course burdens more magnetism, more goodness into your life as well.
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Kimberly: 04:29 So the last thing I’ll mention is that, uh, new book is out and I say our, because again, this is for the community it’s called You Are More More Than You Think You Are – Practical Enlightenment For Everyday Life. You may have heard me talking about it previously, and if you haven’t yet checked it out, I really encourage that you do so because it’s a practical guide for me sharing the, the teachings and the practices and the tools that have really profound profoundly allowed me to expand my life, abundance, peace intuition, and getting past the blocks that were holding me back, which, you know, number one was fear. And number two was feeling a lot of shame and not feeling whole because I was attaching so much of my worth to past behaviors and things. So it’s very important that in order to create our life, we follow this three step process, which is removing the blocks, embodying who we are wanting to really tap into that intuition and our uniqueness, and then third creating from that deeper place of connection. So when we go right to creating and we don’t get the results we want. And so many people say this to me, I’m frustrated doing business, I’m working so hard. It is because I believe you’re not following steps one and two. So that is the structure of the book. And I offer it to you from my heart for your own benefit. I hope that you take these teachings and apply them the way
Kimberly: 05:56 That I have, and it benefits you tremendously. So you can check that out as well, wherever books are sold. All right. All of that being said, let’s get into our show today with a wonderful Joelle Prevost.
Interview with Joelle Prevost
Kimberly: 01:03 Okay, great. So, Joelle, it’s so great to have you on the show today. I got your book and I was really fascinated about this conversation around having conversations, which sounds like such a basic thing. We start to talk, you know, two, three years old, but it’s not always so simple. <laugh>
Joelle: 01:26 Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, it can be really complicated. Those emotionally intense conversations. I found that a lot of my clients were avoiding, they were avoiding for a variety of reasons, but a lot of it seemed to be just a lack of confidence and lack of skill or a combination of both. And so I just saw that there was a need for just some simple laid out instructions for people to just use some scaffolding for some of these more difficult conversations that again, we, we tend to avoid, um, so that people can actually feel confident in having those and, and that’s gonna help better their relationships, hopefully.
Kimberly: 02:08 Well, there’s, there’s the, the big conversations, the difficult ones, but there’s also every day, mm-hmm <affirmative> little miscommunications that sometimes sort of build up. So when you’re having those bigger conversations, there’s all this backstory. And what’s what I find difficult. Sometimes Joel is like, we, we know where we’re coming from, right? Like our intention is to share or to speak our needs, but sometimes it can come across or, you know, there’s people that may perceive it as being critical or you are attacking me when you’re really just how, you know, trying to communicate our, our needs. So what are some of the, um, you know, there’s, there’s amazing chapters here about validation and, you know, describe what are just, you know, from the outset, what, what would you say to someone that’s saying, you know, I’m at a point now my has grown. I know that I, I deserve to have my needs met mm-hmm <affirmative>, but I’m struggling for my loved ones or my partner to really take in the way I’m trying to communicate.
How to mitigate miscommunication
Joelle: 03:11 Great question. Cause that’s a huge part. As you mentioned in the book and kind of laying the foundation in the book, uh, is this kind of concept of, of different realities and different perspectives. And as you mentioned, we know our own intentions, but the way that they’re perceived, we have no idea how that’s gonna go. And so there’s various ways you can try and set yourself up for success as much as possible and try to mitigate those miscommunications and those misinterpretations of what you’re trying to, to say or, or get across. So there’s a, a whole bunch of things in the book. I can go through a couple of them now, if you want, please. But I mean, first of all, the setting up these conversations, it kind of depends on what type of conversation you’re gonna have. If it’s something you’re, you’re maybe more preparing for and maybe something you feel like is a bit more precarious as far as how it may go, uh, starting off with a lot of validation, kind of front loading it.
Joelle: 04:12 Yeah. That conversation. And, and I go through why validation is so important to us as the, maybe the, the speaker we’ll say in the, in the conversation or as ourselves. Yes. It’s good for the other person, cuz they feel understood and heard, which is great, but how is it important to me? Right. I wanna be motivated to do it. What am I getting out of this? And so there’s a lot of things that validating someone does and, and by validating, I mean, you know, really showing you understand someone’s perspective, not just saying, oh yeah, I get it. I get where you’re coming from. I understand it’s using those emotion words. What is actually going on for them? You’re feeling really hurt. You’re you’re confused about this. This was super shocking for you to hear. You’re extremely excited, you know, showing actually showing them, you understand rather than saying yeah, I get it.
Joelle: 05:05 Oh, I get where you’re going from. So in doing that, we do a few things. We first kind of preemptively shut down their defensiveness. Mm we’ve. Because we’ve shown that we understand them. So now they don’t have the urge to jump in and defend their own intentions or defend their own reality or, or describe their perspective because they don’t need to, you you’ve already shown you understand it. So that can already cut down a lot of defensiveness in, in a interaction. It also ensures that you actually do understand them because sometimes there are those miscommunications. And so if you’re saying, oh, you, you felt really hurt by that. They could be like, no, actually that didn’t bother me. Oh, okay. Well this is a completely different conversation now. Right. Rather than if you had just said, oh, I understand what’s going on for you. Well, how do you know that?
Joelle: 05:58 For sure. So that’s really important. And then also it’s, it’s modeling the behavior that you wish to see from them later. Right. Of, Hey, I’m putting my own perspective aside and focusing on you and understanding you right now. And that will be expected in the reverse in a moment when it’s my turn to describe. So I can’t say enough good things about taking the time to, to validate. I was just talking to one of my best friends last night about an argument she was having with her sister. And, and it was so funny. We just always keep coming back to, to these same concept. She’s like, you know, you should write a book about this. <laugh>
Kimberly: 06:38 <laugh>, they’re like, I got it here for, did she read your book? It’s very
Joelle: 06:43 Thorough. Yeah. She’s
Kimberly: 06:46 To be broken down even further into all these subtopics.
Joelle: 06:50 Yeah. Well, and that’s, that’s kind of exactly, you know, what’s, it’s funny and, and she’s in psychology too, and she’s great. And she’s helped been, been a great sounding board to bounce ideas off of, through writing the book actually. Um, but yeah, I mean even in our own lives, it’s it can be hard to remember these skills, right? Yes. And, and so again, that’s why I, I felt, I, my research, I didn’t really set out to, Hey, I wanna write a book. What should I write about, I was seeing clients, I saw them avoiding conversations. I saw them saying, I know I need to set boundaries, but I don’t know how yes. And how I’ve, I’ve gotten that far where I know there’s this need, but now I, I don’t have the instruction manual of, of how to do it. And so I thought, okay, I’m gonna give people a list of, of skills and that’s the first half of the book. And so, you know, you can mix and match those skills and they’re just, again, nothing super groundbreaking, but just hopefully very clearly laid out where I, I didn’t see that anywhere else. Yes. And then the next half of the book is just how to apply them, what order to put them in just examples of how to use them. And, and hopefully, uh, that’s helpful to people to, to relate it to their own life and their own situations and conversations that they have.
Kimberly: 08:05 You know, what I think would be really helpful for, for people to hear too, Joel, is seeing your work in the real world. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I’ll use an example in my own life, cuz I think, you know, this is so well illustrated, but it’s, you know, we, we learn so much from our own stories and our own relationships. Totally. And so there’s a couple things in here I’ll preface this and this is, you know, something, this is ongoing discussion with my husband and I’ll say, who is a, you know, really wonderful, obviously human that I’m in love with people come from different childhoods, right? We come from different backgrounds, we have different childhood wounds. And so that’s another challenge that I’d love to hear your perspective on. But so this communication was, um, you know, even in the time that we’ve been married now we grown evolve as humans.
Working through victim mode within your relationships
Kimberly: 08:54 Right? So for me, I feel like through all this work I’ve been doing, I start to rise up more in my self-esteem and saying, well, I actually really need help here because I’m the kind of person that just takes on takes on all the stuff at home, all the stuff with our kids. And I’m also working full time. So in the beginning that was fine. But now that things have gotten even busier and now our younger is two years old, it’s just like a really two boys like really rambunctious house. So then I, you know, we had a discussion of, Hey, you know, I do the morning routine, which is the breakfast and the lunch and the getting ready for school, the driving to school, then I’d pack work. And then I pick up from school and then I’d do all this stuff. So I need a break.
Kimberly: 09:33 And what we decided was like starting at five o’clock and we would do bath time and start dinner. And then that was something that’s been really helpful over, you know, the past few weeks and few months it’s pretty new that we’ve implemented it actually. And then, but what I was finding, well, first of all, that took some Ling Joel, because he was like, but wait, I’m I’m home. I mean, you know, a lot of men are out all the time with their friends I’m home, but then it was sort of getting to that point where I could say we you’re home, but you need to actually like do the tasks. You know, it’s not just home or, you know, kind of off or playing haphazardly. And so then he started, you know, coming at five and I would come down here to my woman cave and take a shower and separate my body.
Kimberly: 10:14 Otherwise the kids are used to gloaming on me and then what would happen? I, I would go up at the allotted times six, 15, and they’d still be in the bath and I’d see, no, I need it to be bath time. And then you get them dressed in their pajamas, which is a lot of energy at that age, two and six. And then I need you to start dinner. Otherwise I come up and I still have to do all those things. And what he, he kind of took it as a criticism. He’s like, I’m home. And now you have your time and now, you know, blah, blah, blah. Now you’re criticizing the way I do things and the criticizing, isn’t my intention. It’s just that I really need these things done. So it feels like this Joelle, you know, like I’m, I’m trying to just say my neat, but there’s something inside of him that takes things as like criticism and I’m saying it calmly and I’m trying to say it with love. So it’s like, you know, what do we do if people have, um, I don’t know, the past they’re bringing in where they have, you know, I don’t know what you wanna call it. Like just, you know, they they’re hypersensitive to criticism or there’s victim mode or whatever there is at play that has nothing to do with you.
Joelle: 11:20 Yeah. So again, I think this goes down to, to some of that mitigating the defensiveness in people and that’s something that hugely comes up because it’s a, it’s a wonder we can get anything done because we all have, as you say these past and these lenses through which we see the world and these belief systems and these perspectives. And I kind of in, in the book, just refer to all of that as our reality. Yes. And so we’ve all got our own version of reality that we’re living in that is completely different from everybody. Else’s I, again, have no idea how we get anything done, but somehow we manage. So, so this comes up a lot where you’re seeing this this very differently. And the example I use is, is, you know, uh, people in psychology have used a bunch, is that, um, example of the dress meme from, you know, 10 years ago or whenever that was where some people see it as, as gold and white and some people see it as black and blue and it’s the same photo yet.
Joelle: 12:20 People see it very differently. And the whole internet was, you know, everyone was fighting on Twitter, cuz people want to defend the reality. It’s very precious to us. If someone comes in and says, Hey, this is this color. You’re like, no, it’s not, it’s this color. Right? And so it sounds like what’s, what’s potentially happening in, in your situation, is that for him, he, he feels like he’s doing enough. And for you, you feel like he’s not doing enough and no one’s right or wrong here. These are just two different perspectives. And so what we wanna do, if we’re approaching a conversation around a topic like this is so I’ll, I’ll go through kind of the, the 10 steps at the beginning of the book. Um, maybe really quickly is a few things to do before even having a conversation like this. If you know that it’s going to be a potentially delicate one where, okay, this person’s prone to feeling defensive and, and taking, you know, taking things as criticism.
Joelle: 13:19 I wanna be extremely careful about how I go about this. So the first thing I wanna do is, and I always come back to this with clients is set my personal goals for the conversation. So I would ask you, what are you trying to get out of that conversation? Because a lot of people go in thinking, I have to convince him that he’s not doing enough, or I have to convince him that I need more time. Or, and that’s never gonna work. Like I, with the students at the school I work with, sometimes I say, you know, I give them the picture of that dress. And I say, okay, who, here’s good at debating convince the other person to see the color you see, they’re never gonna be able to get someone to see the dress, that color it’s impossible. So we waste so much time in our communication arguing about whose reality whose perspective is right when that’s actually not what we should be focusing on. So bringing it back to our personal goals, figuring those out and asking ourselves, oh, are those realistic, fair and achievable goals? And I have a huge section of the book about how to check for that is so I’ll ask you, you know, thinking about this conversation now, what, what would your goal be? What are you hoping to get outta that?
Kimberly: 14:38 Yes. So the goal is and was, and I’ll give you a little more information was to, by the time I get out for my little break here at six, 15 dinner is at least started, the children are dressed and they are out of the bath. And so what happened was the first conversation did not go so well, Joel. Right? And so it was like just defensive and charged. And so what I did, and I don’t know if this, this, you know, falls into your philosophy is I, I literally put like a calendar invite during the day because we’re both working and we have zoom calls and, you know, he has his office over there and we treated it like a work meeting where I went into his office and we had a calm discussion. And I said, look, I said, these are the reasons why I need dinner by six 15.
Kimberly: 15:24 You know, otherwise our baby’s eating too close to bed and there’s this potential of him like getting heartburn, whatever it, like, I just laid them out. And he wasn’t as defensive when I, I don’t know, maybe it was like during the day. So I don’t know if you like, it just, it helped. So now we’re in that place where, you know, that part is settled, but there was all that like stuff beforehand, but then I kind of made it, I treated it more like a work meeting and then I just laid out the reasons <laugh>
Being realistic with your goals on whether they are realistic, fair, and achievable
Joelle: 15:53 Yeah, I think so. That’s, that’s great. So our, our goals can kind of fall into a few different categories and I won’t go into all those, but it seems like the one that yours fell into is trying to motivate someone to change their behavior. Now, the wording of that’s very specific because we can’t control other people. And so again, we need to be realistic with our goals where it’s like, I’m gonna try and give him motivation for change, and I’m gonna try and work with him to come up with solutions to try. And that’s my goal for the conversation. And so now you have a goal that despite any emotional, you know, detours we may have in these conversations or whatever else comes up, it’s like, I’ll know that’s kind of my north star. I, this is what I’m here for. And so I’m trying to like come up with some, some ideas for change here, um, and try and motivate him to, to be on the same on the same team as me with regards to those changes. So, so that’s again, such a huge part of these difficult conversations that people often miss or create unrealistic expectations for themselves. And so setting personal goals again, very important. And then a few other things to do before conversations is I think, as you mentioned, one, choose a time place and platform. That’s gonna set you up for success as much as possible. Are you having this conversation at the end of a long day? Are you stressed? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Yes.
Kimberly: 17:25 That’s the difference when I did it in the like 11 o’clock in the morning.
Joelle: 17:30 Yeah. So again, think about what you know about yourself and the other person and use that information, right? You’re, you’re an expert on, on a lot of things, um, to do with these interactions. You have a lot of data already, usually. So, so that’s one and then a couple other skills I go into in the book. Um, just, you know, if you need to calming before having these conversation, I go into a bunch of stuff about that and just some, some listening skills to remind people of, and that can, can include even not predicting their reaction, letting them knowing when to sit back and let them react to something. Cuz um, often time we’re, we’re already thinking, oh, this is not gonna go well or, oh, they’re gonna take it this way. But sometimes it’s, it’s remembering to listen and remembering to let them react. So, and lots of things to do before a conversation then, and then coming into it. I’m curious. How did you start that conversation? What’s your kind of opening line? How do you,
Kimberly: 18:35 Well, um, you mean the, the, the effective one where we met in the office. So I think, you know, it it’s this, I just think it’s the, you know, it felt like this misfire at first where, you know, he’s so loving and caring, he is around the family a lot, but it was just, it’s just, you know, he said this to me before you need to tell me what to do. Whereas you know, the mother energy or the kind of mother I am very intuitive, like this is when the child’s hungry or like, this is what they need or, you know, this is when they need a hug. And so nobody tells me what to do. Right. So I think there was this assumption of like, obviously like all this stuff needs to happen. So it was really laying out from the beginning. Um, and then it took away the well you’re criticizing the way I’m doing it.
Kimberly: 19:21 If I say, well, you know, from this time to this time, these are the things that need to happen. And I think understanding that he is more, he’s very, you know, masculine, like linear, like task oriented, which isn’t always the way I lay things out. But like you said, seeing from that other person’s perspective that, um, you know, it’s just understanding more how he thinks, I guess, or, you know, just trying to be more, um, empathetic to that was was helpful. Yeah. And so I don’t remember Joel, how I started the conversation, but I think it was more like I so appreciative that you’re here, that you are the kind of amazing father and husband that you are. So maybe that validation did come in because I was sensitive to the fact that he had taken things as criticism when I wasn’t trying to criticize at all.
Why starting these conversations off on a positive note is important for healthy communication
Joelle: 20:12 Mm-hmm <affirmative> well, that’s, that’s great. And I think that’s starting these conversations off on kind of that positive note. Yes. Can be so important because sometimes I, I call it like coming in hot or like ripping off the bandaid where people have are again, so distressed by having these types of interactions, they’re just like, okay, just gotta like, get it done. So I’m gonna be like, okay, you’re doing blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And whoa. That immediately puts people back against the wall defensive. Now this is me versus you. This is whose reality is right. This is, you know, turning into conflict. So instead of some of those kind of go-tos of that, people seem to use that what my suggestion is, again, people can, can do it if they want. And I always tell my clients do it if you want don’t if you don’t.
Joelle: 21:02 But I suggest starting off by aligning on the same team with your conversation partner. So to do this state common, overarching goals that you both have, they don’t have to do even with the conversation, but it’s like, why are you even interacting with that person? Getting that back in your mind? Like we both love and respect each other. We both want what’s best for our kids. We both are trying so hard to be the best parents possible right now. It’s like, there’s again, kind of a, a guiding light for us. We’re on the same team here. Right? So just some simple statements like that to start off a conversation can be so disarming and so helpful in creating an atmosphere that’s gonna be open and people are gonna be able to listen to each other rather than again, that, that kind of defensive conflict, um, type of type of energy. So,
Kimberly: 22:04 So Joel, let me ask you another question. So let’s say there’s, there’s this kind of, you know, close relationship where we’re working through, we’re the heads of the family, husband and wife partner, roommate, business partner, best friend. Right. And then on the other end of the spectrum, let’s say there’s the friends that you, you realize you’ve grown apart from. So maybe you just sort of naturally, I don’t know, you say like break up or you just spend less time apart. It’s very easy to avoid, but then there’s the middle ground. Okay. And what I mean by that is we get, I get a lot of questions in my podcast about people that have, let’s say relatives or the in-laws or the sister, like whoever it is, right. That they’re around sometime they can’t cut them out because, you know, whatever, because of the, the, the situation with the family or whatever it is. But let’s say this person is very toxic or let’s say this, like you said, we can’t change anybody. And this person is like very negative or whatever it is. And I certainly have experienced this as well. And so you can’t get away from them. And maybe you have tried to communicate some boundaries about, you know, I don’t wanna hear about this stuff or please keep this out. And they are who they are. Right. So what are we to do in that situation? <laugh> to minimize and to protect our own wellbeing. Yeah. It’s very tough
Boundary setting to protect your wellbeing
Joelle: 23:23 For sure. And boundary setting was the reason I wrote this book. I mean, I, I talk a lot about just conversation in general and all these skills, but that, that is only to set the stage for the chapter on boundary setting, which is one of the last chapters, because yes, boundary setting is, is a very complicated topic. And I, I talk in the book about all the reasons why that’s case. And as you mentioned, one of those reasons is that we cannot control other people. I tell, yes. I tell my clients all the time, if we could control other people, I’d be out of a job a hundred percent. So we, we have this need for boundaries and there’s a bunch of different, different things that can go wrong. And so if, if someone is, you know, you’ve maybe set a boundary and you’ve said, um, this is a, a conversation topic that I don’t wanna talk about. I think that was one of the examples you just gave of this is something I don’t wanna talk about this, this thing.
Joelle: 24:21 Sometimes we need to do some other things to help that boundary land. And so I’ve got some steps in my, in my kind of boundary setting list of steps to do. Um, one of which is offering alternatives. So mm-hmm, <affirmative> in the book I go into, you know, I don’t know if you know, Indiana Jones, that movie where he he’s in, I think it’s temple of doom and he’s got the treasure on the pedestal and he looks at it and he has a bag of sand in one hand. And then he like swaps them out because it’s on a weighted pedestal. Yes. That’s like, has all these traps attached
Kimberly: 24:56 Go to it’s change the conversation.
Joelle: 24:59 So exactly when we’re setting a boundary, we’re essentially taking something away from someone it’s either. I don’t want to talk about that. I don’t want you to touch me that way. I don’t wanna do this thing. I don’t something that I’m, I’m not willing to, to give or, or let someone else have. Right. Whether it’s my time or, or energy or anything. So if we’re doing that, a lot of times people will push back on that because they don’t like that fair enough.
Kimberly: 25:24 Or they’re used to it, Joel. Yeah. Right. So I’ll use it. The example is always gossiping, right. Or always talking badly about others or always being so entrenched in the news or the negativity. Right. So they that’s like their reality.
Joelle: 25:39 Yeah, exactly. We don’t like change. There’s very few people that I talk to that are like, oh, great. A ton of change. Bring it on. It’s usually we dig our heels in our brains just were not wired to, to enjoy that. Um, so, so if we can do what Indiana Jones does and take something of at least equal weight, right. To, and, and give that instead and replace that kind of thing that we’re taking away. So it’s, Hey, I don’t wanna talk about this, but here are things I do wanna talk about with you. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Because that person might be interpreting that as, oh, you don’t wanna talk to me about anything. Right. Sometimes people get into that kind of defensive, like all or nothing kind of potentially manipulative, um, way of getting what they want of like, oh, well I can’t talk to you about anything then, right?
Joelle: 26:29 Yeah. And so their interpretation of your boundary setting is like, they’ve done something wrong or so offering alternatives can really help kind of soften that boundary and feel like you’re not taking so much away from them. Another potential alternative or optional step, uh, with boundaries setting when people are very resistant to your boundaries. And again, not, not needing to be used all the time, but sometimes as necessary as stating repercussions, you have children, this is what we do with them. We can do this with, you know, our, our adult friends is I don’t wanna talk about this topic. So if you bring it up, then I will do X, Y I will leave the room. I will change the topic I will, you know, right. End our conversation respectfully. So this is telling them what they can expect. This is cuz we can’t control their behavior. We can’t say don’t ever talk about this again. So you can say, Hey, it, it causes me a lot of pain to talk about this topic. I’d appreciate if we didn’t. But if you, if you choose to bring it up, then I will cuz we can control our own behavior. Yes.
Offering alternatives to help soften setting boundaries
Kimberly: 27:41 I will just remove myself
Joelle: 27:43 Exactly.
Kimberly: 27:44 From the conversation.
Joelle: 27:45 Yeah. And so it’s picking a repercussion that is realistic though, and that you can be consistent with. And that is extremely important. And again, I go into that in a lot more detail in the book, these repercussions, cuz sometimes it’s like, if you do this, I’m never talking to you again. Or like you will never see like sometimes we get those types of people who throw these completely unrealistic repercussions out there and, and so their boundaries aren’t respected. And so it’s really intentionally and deliberately choosing a repercussion that you feel like fits the situation you can stick to and that you can be consistent with. And that will extinguish the behavior eventually like yeah, we can tr train other people that, oh, every time I bring up this topic, Kimberly leaves the room. Yeah. Or changes the subject. And so I’m eventually gonna stop trying cause I’m not getting what I want out of that.
Kimberly: 28:40 No, that, that’s very powerful. And thank you for bringing up the consistency. Yeah. Because sometimes when we’re wishy washy, cuz there’s some days where I’m like, eh, you know, and I recognize now I’m, I’m growing in, in my power Joel in this boundary setting, which I think is a big, it’s like a, we’re not always taught this as children. Right. So it’s this new skill that we learn as adults where it’s more like, I, I’m not gonna just take it and feel uncomfortable sometimes. And sometimes I say it, but really recognizing, Hey, it’s not okay with me. You know, whatever it is. And then just really following through.
Joelle: 29:22 Yeah. And that is why one of the steps that I have in boundary setting is be consistent. You know, the, the reminder of that consistency. Definitely. And I used to work with animals. I, I worked at the Vancouver aquarium. I, I would, I trained some of the animals there and was into animal behavior and conditioning in a previous career. And you can see very simply rewards behaviors, you know, it’s, it’s classical conditioning. It’s <laugh> so, so using, using some of those, it’s like, okay, if we have the, you know, we, we pair the food with the sound, the sea, turtle’s gonna go to where the sound is. Yeah. Because it knows the food is there. Right. It’s and so it’s the same with our behavior. And so we just really need to bring that self-awareness that deliberate way of, of acting and yeah. And that will result in consistency.
Joelle: 30:20 And then if we can be consistent with that, then we’ll be able to have, you know, better relationships and, and better boundaries. But, um, there’s all sorts of things that get in the way of that consistency. It’s way easier said than done. Probably a lot of the listeners are thinking exactly that right now <laugh> oh yeah. But then in that, what if they’re just they’re pushing or like, I feel like I’m such a horrible person. They’re making me feel bad. All of these things come up. When we set boundaries, we feel guilty. We feel shameful. We feel selfish. We feel all of these different things, which again is part of why boundary setting is so difficult and so complicated. So I, I address that in the book through a cognitive behavior therapy lens, cuz I, I use a lot of C B T in my practice and, and I hope that that can be a helpful way to kind of bump up against some of those emotions that are, are then causing a behavioral reaction of, of not setting the boundary or being inconsistent. Right? Yes. It’s like if we’re having that thought of, if I’m setting the boundary, I’m having the thought of I’m selfish, I’m a horrible person. It’s like, well hang on. How true is that?
Kimberly: 31:30 Right. Exactly. And you know what, Joel, what’s helped me and this incredible growth in me paralleled with becoming a mother. Right. So my son older son just turned six and I can see, like you were saying, oh, I don’t, you know, I don’t wanna be a bad person. I can see how wishy-washy, I’ve been in boundaries in relationships like my whole life. But with him it’s for his best interest to be consistent and to set those boundaries. So he is able to be, you know, to live his best life and to move forward. So I, I feel like being a mother has taught me a lot and you know, I always say like being about has helped me heal so much and, and bring so much to the surface. And also like you were saying, Joel, it’s like, we’re so we can be so self critical.
How to honor each other’s reality
Kimberly: 32:14 We can turn it on ourselves. But I try to think, where is the line? Right. So this person can, let’s say talk about all their stuff and I can’t change them. And like, what do I own? You know, I can set this boundary. I, I don’t have to take in all their stuff. Like I don’t have to believe in their reality. I don’t have to let it bother me so much. Sometimes I feel like when people are going on and on I’m the, I let it bother me. Right. So there’s, it gets murky in between the boundaries. Because like you said, sometimes we try to convince, we try to say, I don’t like this reality. This is my reality. Why don’t you see my reality? And it’s like this back and forth. So what advice do you, would you say about really just keeping that healthy line of this is mine. This is yours honoring each other’s reality.
Joelle: 33:00 Yeah. So this is something that I, I address in the kind of next steps. And maybe to circle back to the conversation with you and your partner about the, the schedule for the childcare is, is that in order not to get caught up in that defensive realities is what is universally true across all realities and that’s gonna be how we feel. And so being able to, when we’re validating someone, as I mentioned before, really cutting down to those emotion words and when we’re describing. And so I noticed in your example, if I may critique it slightly, what you, you mentioned of, Hey, like you’re, you know, you said to your partner, you’re, you’re doing this and the kids need this and everything instead, potentially using this as an opportunity to describe how you are feeling, because if you’ve opened the conversation, like we’re on the same team, we love each other.
Joelle: 34:01 We want what’s best for each other. You know, you can validate him a bit, you’re working really hard. You’re doing your best, any, any kind of emotion words he might be feeling, maybe he’s, maybe he’s tired sometimes maybe he’s, you know, feeling really hopeful that things have gotten better with the new schedule so far. And then it’s describing how you feel like I’m feeling really exhausted or I’m feeling really, I don’t know what kind of emotions may, but cutting down to, to that and using those again, those, I feel statements as us counselors just love, uh, there’s a reason for that because they’re hard to, to argue. Yeah. Right. Some people might, oh, I don’t think you should feel that way is kind of all you can really argue, but they can’t actually ever argue that that is how you feel.
Kimberly: 34:53 Right.
Joelle: 34:54 But we can argue the situation a whole ton because the situation, again, just like the dress, we all see it differently. That’s not gonna get us anywhere. So that’s why it’s, it’s very powerful. And I work with a lot of my clients about increasing their emotional vocabulary. And again, in the book, I have an appendix full of like a bunch of emotion words, uh, just getting to know that. So you can really clearly articulate not only how you feel and ex and describe that to someone else, but also hopefully guess how someone else is feeling in, in your validating and understanding parts of, of the conversation and communication as well. And that is just so such a powerful tool and yeah. Can, can make kind of all the difference in these. So next time, maybe there’s a conversation with the childcare. I’d be curious to hear it. And you know, rather than the kids need this and, and you need to do this, it’s like, I’m feeling this way. What an invitation for your partner to come help you.
Kimberly: 35:48 Yes. Yeah. You know, just I’m feeling overwhelmed. Mm-hmm
Joelle: 35:52 <affirmative>
Kimberly: 35:53 By the time five o’clock rolls around and there’s so many more things to do, you know, whatever. Yeah. I’m, I’m gonna look at your list, Joel, because it’s, it’s funny that, you know, you know, as a writer, I can, I can think of all these things to write about and all these, you know, verbs and adjectives, but when it comes to our own ex human experience, sometimes we feel stagnant. Mm-hmm <affirmative> in describing it.
Joelle: 36:18 Yeah.
Kimberly: 36:18 It’s interesting. You know, limited.
Joelle: 36:22 Yeah. It can feel extremely limiting. And I think that’s, again, the emotional vocabulary piece can, can really help open that up. And again, just help us feel like, you know, if, if we’re not feeling understood it’s okay. Well, do we even know how we’re feeling? <laugh> right, exactly. That’s, that’s gonna be step one. How could we expect anyone else to, if we don’t even know, and language is so powerful to put, you know, specific words to an emotional experience, you know, maybe doesn’t do it fully justice, but that’s kind of what we’ve got when we’re communicating verbally a lot of the time. Right. So, so being able to, to kind of hone that skill as much as possible, I think is, yeah, we’re just super helpful.
Kimberly: 37:12 I think that, you know, again, depending on our childhood where we weren’t always allowed to express or understood how to express, and I look back at my, you know, which I talk about openly now, Joel, like my background and as a teenager, I couldn’t express my feelings. So I, you know, with these eating disorders that I had, it was, you know, kind of swallowing my feelings. I would eat a lot and then I would purge and it was this like aloneness and I wasn’t talking to anybody about it, but it was this behavior that was so unhealthy. That was a manifestation of that. Right. And then I realized like as time went on as an adult, oh, like I take on, I don’t always express needs. You just kind of take on and take on. And so these skills in your book and, you know, learn, continuing to learn are, you know, this education around, um, self care, which is really what this is about.
Kimberly: 38:03 Self-expression and self care is, is really vital as adults because we don’t have that class in school. You know, we all have different parents that are all doing their best and where they’re coming from. And sometimes they pass on these ancestral traits, intergenerationally and things keep going and people aren’t talking about things. And so it’s so important to our, you know, wellbeing. The name of this podcast is feel, feeling good, which isn’t just cheerful and happy, but it’s feeling connected as I define, you’re really connected to your needs and to your truth and the true self inside of you and our voice, our expression is there to help, um, communicate that in the world. And so if that is blocked, your throat cha is blocked, then it does stagnate a lot of energy in life. Doesn’t it?
How to reconnect with people using language and conversation skills
Joelle: 38:46 Yeah, definitely. And it can just make us feel so alone. Yes. When we’re not feeling connected or understood, or that someone understands our, our reality not accepts it or agrees with it, but just understands what’s going on for us. That is so isolating. And that’s where we see a lot of people really falling into low mood and, you know, lashing out and, and all of these things that, you know, they, they come to me wanting to change and it’s yeah. How, how do we reconnect with people and using language and using these conversation skills can be such a, an important piece of that. Of course there are lots of other pieces, but being able to, again, be articulate, be deliberate express ourselves in a way that mitigates those misunderstandings and helps us feel understood and be able to better understand other people. I mean yeah. What a gift that can be to, to just connect with the people around us.
Kimberly: 39:49 Beautiful. And when with ourselves <laugh> as well. Yeah. Right. Definitely. So thank you again so much, Joel, for this wonderful book, the conversation guide, we will link to it directly in the show notes. And also Joel, tell us where we could find out more about your work and connect with you further.
Joelle: 40:07 You can go to www.theconversationguide.com and everything’s up there. You can feel free to email me. If you have questions about the book content, I’d love to talk about this. I could talk about it all day. <laugh> uh, I know we didn’t have time to fully finish your example conversation, but I’ll let you go through the book with that, Kimberly. And if you have questions you can email me or, or gimme a call and, and I’d love to hear how, you know, some of these skills, hopefully those little tweaks right. Can make all the difference. So I’ll be curious to hear how those go for you. I really appreciate you reading the book and, and putting stuff into practice. I, I just get so much joy out of seeing hopefully the, the success that this brings people <laugh>.
Kimberly: 40:52 Absolutely. And I just wanna say before we sign off, I’m here on page 2 62, which is the table of emotion words, and it is really important. Like you said, that we expand the way in which we can communicate about our own feelings. So I really encourage everyone to check out the book and to go through this list, which will better enable us to express. So it’s not beyond like bad, good, happy, sad. I mean, we really can communicate so much more and mm-hmm <affirmative> thank you so much Joelle. And for being here with us today, appreciate you so much.
Joelle: 41:26 Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time to chat with me. This has been so much fun. Thank you.
Kimberly: Thank you so much for tuning into our show today. Please be sure to check out our show notes for more information about Joelle her book. Again, as she mentioned, it’s called the conversation guide. Other shows that I think you would enjoy articles, recipes, so on and so forth. Meditations. I will be back here Thursday for our next Q&A podcast to then take great care and sending you so much love.