Figs and Teale reveal the unique challenges the podcast has presented in their relationship as they explore the role emotional processing plays for couples accomplishing tasks together.
Figs and Teale reveal the unique challenges the podcast has presented in their relationship as they explore the role emotional processing plays for couples accomplishing tasks together.
01:03 Introduction to topic
04:52 What it's like creating the podcast
06:30 "Mixed agenda" — Therapy sessions vs. recording sessions
08:47 When do you emotionally process?
09:25 Wounds that come up around speaking for Figs & Teale
12:44 The recording task takes precedent, but feelings affect the success of the recording
13:51 Figs' contextual ability to process information
16:17 Becoming uncomfortable friends with wounds
17:37 Teale's reservations and feeling small
21:47 Processing and knowing each other gives you the space to wait
22:47 Figs' hopes for Teale and goals for himself
24:32 Growing equality in their work relationship dynamic
25:23 Figs feeling left alone in this context
27:11 Teale's perspective
28:44 A negative cycle
28:42 Leaving The Figs Show — an emotional work in progress
31:04 Vulnerable reflection and understanding
32:47 Earning the right to bookmark hurt feelings
37:11 How to do it: "Yes, and"
39:04 How it applies to Teale and Figs' journey
40:27 Example of the "Yes, and" method
42:34 Renewed in the process
If you or someone you love are struggling in your relationship, visit empathi.com for quizzes, courses, and consultations.
Figs: So welcome back to Come Here To Me with Figs,
Teale: And Teale!
Figs: And this week's episode, we're not actually gonna share a therapy session, we wanted to actually do an episode to talk about the process so far for us, what it's been like.
Figs: You know, the process of doing couples therapy together, watching the therapy sessions afterwards, seeing what we learn, then actually, you know, picking what to share, putting it in a coherent narrative, and then recording the actual episodes. It's quite a process. It's quite [laughing] a project, I gotta admit.
Figs: You know, I don't know about you Teale, but I'm not sure if I fully grasped how many hours a week of work we were taking on doing this.
Teale: Right. Yeah, we're like, "Oh it'll be simple, this great idea." And then it's like, "Oh, my gosh,."
Teale: "Oh, an extra hour in to watch the session, and then to kind of formulate what we thought was important."
Figs: Exactly. And that's the thing, you know, like watching the session back, it's more than an hour, because we're stopping and talking. And there's so many different little subtle points. But yeah so today we just wanted to– it gets very "meta", as we say. Like, you know, we do sessions, then we talk about the sessions, and then we are now going to talk about us doing the sessions and the talking about the sessions and the recording the sessions. It all gets a little meta, to say the least. Right?
Figs: But I do think it's important, right? Because, you know, I think the reason we know we wanted to do this particular session is, it's an interesting thing, where like, obviously, you see us and hear us in the actual therapy sessions themselves. Tiny little things can be triggering.
Figs: Right. And then we process the way we get triggered. But then when we record the sessions, you know, it's a fine balance between honoring what comes up between us relationally, and making sure we get the task done of recording an episode, right? Like, if we were to address properly every time something comes up between us in the recording session, that we would never actually record anything.
Teale: That's true.
Figs: Like we can't be in process all the time.
Telae: I mean like therapists, like we can just talk about, you know, the type of toothpaste you have and go into, like, some deep process about it. You know, one thing I'm kind of digging about our relationship — this has been challenging for Figs and I, individually and as a partnership and it's been really exciting, too; and yeah, it's like a growing edge for us — but one of the things I love about our relationship is that we have a lot to talk about just like all the time. We don't have a lot of like — maybe we should try to build towards more just like spaciousness and quiet between us — but we're always like, "What about this?"
Teale: And "Let's process this," right? It feels pretty alive.
Figs: No, it's great that we always have so much to talk to each other about. So the main juicy part of this session I think we're going to talk about: the way it's difficult for us in relationship to each other doing the project, right? Obviously as you hear the couples therapy sessions or see it if you're watching the videos, you get to see how in general, it's difficult, but the actual recording of the show brings up relationship issues between us. So this is the main thing we wanted to talk about. But before we get there, I guess I wanted to ask you Teale, what is it like doing this in general? I mean, its entirety. The therapy sessions, the reviewing the sessions, the recording the sessions. And we haven't even gotten to the place yet where then those sessions are out in the public domain. That will be another thing to process. But how has the overall process so far been for you?
Teale: Um, I guess it's harder than I anticipated for myself, just like kind of feeling like, "Whoa, I feel like," you know, first of all, I have a lot of, "Oh, and maybe I've got a lot of issues," kind of being faced with this part. And so I feel proud of myself that I'm being brave and exploring those because those issues come up between you and I all the time.
Teale: But now I'm just kind of like really diving into that. That's obviously kind of number one: that's in therapy, and then being brave about sharing them with other people. So that's been big for me.
Teale: And then but the recording of the podcast. Yeah, it's been harrowing. I feel like there's some areas–
Figs: [Laughing] "Harrowing."
Figs: That's quite like– go on, yeah.
Teale: Can you tell I read novels?
Figs: I can. Very dramatic.
Teale: I know.
Figs: But yeah, there has been harrowing moments–
Figs: you're right, go ahead.
Teale: But sometimes, you know — we've been really excited, we've had like very positive weeks about them like, "Yes, let's do this," and then we kind of have had like a little bit of a more challenging week this last one.
Figs: Right. Yeah, no, absolutely. It's interesting, you wouldn't have anticipated — although there was reason to anticipate — that it was actually the recording of the shows that would be the most difficult part. The therapy sessions are not actually that difficult.
Figs: It brings up feelings, but–
Teale: That's true.
Figs: I think it's just easier when there's not a mixed agenda. Now, I'm actually coming up with this right now, in the moment, this isn't, again, something I've really articulated or formed inside my own mind before. I think why the sessions are easier, even though we're processing difficult feelings — we truly are just in the session, like I'm not thinking during the session, like, "Oh, what's this going to be like for the listeners or the viewers."
Figs: And so it's just you and me being with each other in our emotional process. It's just a single agenda; single, you know, goal, which is just to be an emotional process with each other and be curious about ourselves. That actually is pretty easy. I think, why the recording sessions, we do of the actual podcast episodes, why that creates more tension between you and I interpersonally, relationship wise, is because there's two agendas. There's two different big things going on. And this is what makes relationship so difficult, right? Because, obviously, one we're recording an episode of a podcast. But in the process of recording the episode of the podcast, our relationship is still ongoing.
Figs: And so there's a way in which the agenda is almost like an insult to our relationship, in a way, right? Because, you know, if, let's say, there's something that happens where I don't hear you during recording, that hurts your feelings, right? But what are we going to do? Are we going to process that real-time? like we're already processing in the session, but then are we also going to process real-time like, what feelings got touched inside of both of us when the recording didn't go perfectly?
Figs: So it's a tough one. But I think this is really important, right? Because, you know, I like this– I don't know, is it like a racing expression in general or it's an Irishness/English expression, there's, you know, horses for courses.
Figs: [Laughing] I've said that to you before, right? Like there's just certain times where I think it's really good that you and I are able to process, "What is it that's really happening between us right now?" And I think doing that really well, the idea is, that that then gives us the ability to then let things go and not process, right? And so this is what I wanted to talk about, you know, that in the actual recording, sometimes it's emotionally quite tense between us.
Figs: Right? And you do want to share a little bit about how that shows up for you in the actual recording of the shows?
Teale: Sure. I mean, it's definitely like, probably important for our listeners and something that's not like a fully baked, you know, understanding between you and I, but; so I can get a little self conscious about like when Figs speaks, and when I speak. And, "Am I speaking enough? Am I sharing enough?" in these kind of processing, preparation for the podcast or recording for the podcast and so it's actually kind of like a rat's nest when you open that up a little bit.
Teale: Because you were helping me understand wanting to feel really celebrated and like you can take up space and the people around you are not threatened by that. And then you have some kind of wounds that come up around that.
Teale: And I have some wounds that come up around like, "Is what I have to say important?" and maybe some self esteem stuff that comes up and obviously, I feel really positive about what Figs and I record almost all the time. I'm like, "Ah I think that was great." And what Figs and I have discovered over many years is that he has a very different feeling about interviews or live recordings that we do. And we've actually backed away from projects, even just like doing interviews together because of my feeling like, "Well, did I share enough?" or, "Did you give me enough space?" And you feeling like, "Oh my gosh, Teale," like as though what you're doing is not okay.
Figs: Mm. You mean me feeling like I've been criticized.
Teale: Yeah being criticized.
Teale: And then on top of that, like this is one thing personally is like, Figs and I have a lot of equality, but professionally, Figs is at a more advanced place in his career. He's like, done studying I haven't done, he's done emotional processing I haven't done, he's older than me. You probably can't tell it 'cause he's like so beautiful and baby faced,
Teale: but by like, kind of a significant amount. You have more life experience.
Figs: Exactly, you still have all your hair.
Teale: I've go– [Laughing]
Teale: And a little too much of it.
Figs: Well right now you've got like big head– big hair!
Teale: Big head and big hair.
Figs: Not big head, big hair.
Teale: That's okay. So he's kind of like, "Well," you know, and obviously, if you haven't been able to tell Figs is a great just speaker. I can't speak like him in terms of just off the cuff, "Let me prove my point." I can with my clients and in my sessions when I'm kind of engaged like that. But as a speaker, I'm a little bit more new to this process. And you're more experienced.
Teale: Obviously. And I think it's like how to share the space.
Teale: It's like we're putting on a couple different hats like the equality of our relationship, the equality of professional–
Figs: [Laughing] Sorry, definitely, the bone broth is–
Teale: Is it smelly?
Figs: Yeah. Teale is drinking bone broth.
Teale: [Laughing] But it's not–
Figs: I said I was gonna be fine, but you're right, it's kind of an intense aroma.
Figs: But by the way, look, I even notice this is easier. See, right now, I'm not– I think this is a really crucial point, there's something about– what we're doing right now is the agenda of the podcast.
Figs: And so it's very easy for me to sit here and listen to you and be at ease inside myself and give you this– happy to give you all the space. I think something happens in me when I feel like, there's this thing we have to do.
Figs: And that has to take precedent over what happens between us. Now I know why that is a disaster. Because if I hurt your feelings, if I you know, talk too much, or don't give you space, or it seems like I don't value you during the recording, it's going to make the recording go really [laughing] badly, right? Because you're going to have explicitly or implicitly some reactivity.
Figs: And we're going to get in the cycle that's ongoing underneath what it seems like we're still meeting the agenda, but we're both not feeling good inside, right? But it is amazing, like, this conversation is so much easier for me. I'm not feeling a threat of like, "[gasps] It's going," like you said, Teale, I usually think things are going badly. But I don't really feel that right now, because it's so crystal clear exactly what we're doing. It's not confusing.
Figs: Right. So it really is an interesting process. And if I could be so bold, just to–
Figs: You know, there was a moment in my life where I thought I wanted to become an actor, like a professional actor, because in certain contexts, just like as a couples therapist, and even like, right now, I can really take in information really well. Like I take in a lot of information, I'm able to hear and respond. And you know, like, I did so much improvisation with dance and theater improv. And then you know, as a therapist, I can see other people and feel what they're feeling and respond to them. But I'm only coming to realize just how contextual that skill is of mine. Because once I feel like the camera is on,
Figs: –and there is an agenda or lines I have to deliver, it's very hard for me to not feel so threatened that it's almost like literally all my senses are shut down.
Figs: Like I can't hear. It's very hard for me to hear what you're saying. As you know, it's very hard for me to read anything. Like sometimes we have to read, "What is it that we're talking about today?"
Teale: Or people will ask you questions.
Figs: Or they ask a question, exactly.
Teale: Yeah, so Figs is like, as you can see, very, very bright, "A rapid processor," as our therapist calls him and like not just bright just like– you're really smart.
Figs: Why thank you.
Teale: I'm not trying to make you feel good, but it's just legit. I'm trying to help her our people. But you have these limitations that can come up.
Figs: Yeah, in certain contexts I am really dim
Figs: Right? And what I mean by dim–
Teale: The screen just went dim.
Figs: The screen went dim.
Teale: Woah. Freudian dimming.
Figs: But yeah, my ability to process information when I think I'm on stage diminishes greatly. Now the reason, see, I want us to do this particular episode and what we're doing right now is I don't want to shrink away from that. I want to do exactly what we do in the therapy sessions, is I want to move into it and study it and get curious about it, and become — even if it's uncomfortable friends — become uncomfortable friends with this place inside me where I get overwhelmed, I feel threatened, I then feel threatened if you're talking, I feel if I'm not talking like it's going badly. Like when you are talking, that's when then I'm left with myself, and because I feel threatened inside. It's more uncomfortable for me when I'm not talking. So I really want to like stay with that process and not run away from it. And I guess I'm asking you, even though I know it can be painful for you, too, then — obviously — to not feel valued to feel I'm a mansplainer, you know, my request is don't give up. Like let's stay in the fire. Because I think you and I are going to learn so much about ourselves by continuing, you know, to tolerate the discomfort that this project puts us into.
Teale: Mm. Well, I love how you put that and it feels really vulnerable. And you're talking about just how it can be– feel your limitations.
Teale: You know, your excitement and yeah, I'm open to trying.
Figs: [Laughing] You're open to trying. Well say more. What do you mean?
Teale: Yeah. I wish I could do like a full fledged, like, "Fuck yes."
Figs: Right, mhm.
Teale: You know, and like that I would want to meet your energy. But most of all, I want to meet your energy just in my authentic place.
Teale: And this has already been a really big learning experience for me and for us. And like I said, I'm open to this. You know, like you named when you feel threatened and you feel like when I'm talking it's hard for you to like be with– you know, pay attention to what I'm saying.
Figs: It's hard for me to be with myself. And then of course it comes across like it's hard for me to hear you.
Teale: Yeah, I find myself getting like small and like wanting to walk on eggshells or just not wanting to talk until you give me like an obvious indication that that's okay. So I find our couples therapy sessions very freeing, I can really be myself. But in the processing, I feel like I get small. And that's where I'm at right now. But earlier this week, I wasn't small, I was more kind of brazen.
Teale: Like, you know, I didn't use discernment to kind of have an opportunity to process and kind of like, "Oh, we're processing, let's process this." And it didn't go well.
Figs: You're talking about when we did a recording.
Teale: Yeah. Yeah, I'm just saying like, I'm feeling small right now. But I was feeling big earlier this week. And I kind of like showed that. And I think it really hurt you. And you felt criticized. And I kind of felt like, "Oh my god, I'm not being discerning about when I'm processing." And so now I'm just kind of scared.
Teale: I think what can happen is, you know, if I can just be vague and say, "Oh, some self esteem or something stuff comes up." And like here, you're saying it's hard to stay with yourself when I'm talking. And like we're naming kind of the reactive patterns — it looks like you can't listen or that there's not space or when I talk, you're not happy with me. So it helps me to know that it's part of your process. This is even just kind of illuminating for me. But of course in the moment, it touches a place inside for me where I feel like what I have to say isn't valuable. And I think, you know, growing up and having like some learning differences and being kind of like a wild teen that expressed myself and was, you know, definitely accepted in my friendship groups but kind of felt not as accepted. It just touches all these like little tender spots of being like, "Do I deserve a place to be here?" Right, you know, and, "Am I a good communicator?" And I feel that I am in my own practice, but I'm in uncertain territory. And then when I have a moment with the person I love more than anyone who looks a little bit like, "You're trailing off," or, "You're being vague, Teale," or, "Finish your thought," or, you know, "Why are you speaking there," it touches– it kind of like goes to my heart and it can hurt so bad that part of me wants to run away.
Teale: So when you're like, "I just don't want to give up," or "Don't give up on us," or, "Don't give up on this," like, there's nothing more that I want than to do this project and to have it be like a rich experience for us and for our listeners, and there's also a part of me that's like, "I'm feeling kind of fragile."
Teale: And, "I hope I can do it." And I hope I can, you know, you and I can process enough that I can remember and be reminded about what's really happening for you. And then you can maybe learn a little bit more about where my vulnerability touches because I can get critical of you and be like, "Why are you doing that? Why are you not giving me space?" And that's what you see. And that touches all the wounds that you have.
Figs: Right. Exactly. It does. You know, and that's where it's complicated, right, that we're trying to record an episode, but while we're recording the episode, relationship-significant things are happening between us, right? So how to attend to both of them. And I, you know, like, the therapy sessions, like even like what we're doing right now, you and I processing them outside of the recording session. But you know, at least now we've done this, we can even name them when they're happening maybe during the recording session. But hopefully, the goal of knowing ourselves and each other as well as we do, is sometimes we can wait to process, right?
Figs: Like, you know, like, "Oh, I got my feelings hurt, I can see Teale's feelings are hurt, but we can continue with just completing the task at hand." Right?
Figs: Like, that's my hope, not that it's an abandoning of you, leaving you hurting, or me leaving me hurting that we someow can–
Teale: It's just, can I just say, though, in relation to that, that sounds like your goal for me, is that you'd like me to be able to like, contain my reactivity.
Figs: Yeah. Well, no, it's a good point. [Laughing] I definitely would like you to be able to contain your reactivity.
Figs: But you're right, like, what is my goal for myself? Like my goal for myself is to keep working on being able to listen and be present. And just to keep tr– I actually want you to have a bigger and bigger voice and for my voice to be less and less important in our business. Right? Like, so that's my goal. But it's not always easy for me. And so I want to keep working on that and helping you feel valued and that there's space for you. You know, and like I said, look, I'm aware of — I appreciate you naming it — there are so many different dynamics that make it complicated. But again, I want to be very clear in you feeling you're valued under space for you, and that I celebrate your contribution is my number one most important thing that I want to work on. And it is complicated. Like, you know, I do look at what part of this — look, I'm a man, you're a woman, I'm older, you're young. Look, I don't know whether there's some built in patriarchal part of it where I'm likely to think I have to talk to resolve things. You know, I'm totally up like continuing to study that and notice it.
Teale: Good for you, that's really brave.
Figs: [Laughing] Thank you. Yeah. And then yeah, look, there is this weir– like you and I are equals in our relationship, like, completely, and yet what we do for a living is we talk about relationship, and it just turned out that from the time we met that I was further along in that journey than you were. And the gap is getting smaller and smaller and smaller, which I'm really happy about, right? Like really, really happy about. But you know, there is, historically, there's some kind of habits of me being seen as the one that knew the answers to things.
Figs: And some of that is just not accurate anymore. So I think it's a realigning with the truth that you're an expert in your own right, right? You do amazing work with couples and individuals. You know, and there is some — maybe, maybe there's not — maybe there is some part where I know the structure a bit better of what it is we're trying to do. Like, you know, with the narrative structure of, "What's the introduction? What's the middle piece?" and, "What's the conclusion?" on the overall project on any given episode. And so sometimes I feel a responsibility, I feel I am left more alone with the responsibility of making sure we execute on the structural narrative.
Figs: That, you know, some of the realigning between us… you know, again, I paused there because I realized that is a request I'm making of you is like, the more you know where we are in the overall project, where we are on this episode, what it is we're really trying to achieve, then what I'm hoping will happen is I don't feel I have to hold the reins so tightly.
Figs: You know, because I feel like you're really with me, not only in the moment to moment talking and what the point is in the second, but how we're going to get to A to Z in 40 minutes.
Figs: You know what I mean?
Teale: Yeah, well, you know, I think two things come up. One is that I think you're totally right. I think that you are holding some of the pieces that are really important for the structure and that being the holder of that, you can feel the aloneness and then you can feel more in that kind of Pursuer's role of wanting to be directive and kind of more in control of the–
Teale: –of the structure and so it helps me to hear that you feel alone with it. And I think you're right. You know, for the listeners back home, I'm in the middle of another very exciting project and my mind is in two places right now, even though this is the thing that really really feels vital and exciting and alive for right now. But I'm really wrapping something up. So Figs knew I am wearing two hats right now. And so one of the — it's not to be defensive, but just to recognize, I think I can move towards that. I feel like I'm interested. I'm excited. I don't want you to feel so alone. I also just recognize that — I know you know this — that people contribute in different ways, right?
Teale: And that you know, there hasn't been a chance to say, "Oh does Teale know this structure?" because you can take over pretty quickly and, "Can Teale do this?" Because I do it in a different way than you,
Teale: –right? It's kind of like you know, I hear spouses and say, "well I do try to clean the kitchen but it's not like how you want it exactly."
Teale: And someone's like, "But I really need you to bring out the sponge because it actually means this to me." So that's what you're doing, is helping me see, "You know what, I can bring out the sponge how you want me to do it because there's something deep down inside that you're saying, 'I really want you to be here with me, Teale, you're so important to me.'"
Teale: "'I just want to feel that you care and that we're in it together.'"
Teale: And I can really– like that helps me kind of– my head goes up. I feel like, "Oh, I thought I was just kind of shitty."
Teale: "I thought I was just kind of a disappointment," and then that's why you were taking over. So it's a negative cycle–
Teale: –that we have identified in our couples therapy sessions.
Figs: No, yeah, it's good to know like– look I take over when I feel scared. What I'd rather be able to do is let you know, "Hey, look I'm scared, I'm alone with this," and the story is I have to take over control of, you know, managing the structure of a given episode recording. You know, because that creates other problems, right? Because then you don't feel valued, you don't feel heard, and you get your feelings hurt, totally understandably. So I'm gonna work on not taking over, you know, so I won't leave you feeling not valued and hurt, right? And then I– yeah, again the request is then, help me — the vulnerable request is, please help me feel like I don't have to take over, you know what I mean? Like do your part, right? I mean you know, please. But I'm still gonna do my work regardless. You know, just– sorry, my mind just went to like, look, this whole business of having employees, the whole point of doing it, as you know, I really want to lift up other people's voices. I don't want that to be the Figs show. The whole reason we have to name "Empathi" was to get this away from being Figs-centric. And that is still a work in progress.
Figs: Right? It's still a work in progress.
Teale: I hear you. You don't want to be Beyonce?
Figs: I do not want to be Beyonce.
Teale: I do.
Figs: [Laughing] Very good. But so look when I say it's a work in progress, it's a work in progress in loads of different ways. It's hard to trust other people that people will be there, will people do the work. And I trust you completely until I don't. And the main reason I don't is I just get really scared. Right? But then it hurts your feelings, right? When I don't trust you. Totally understandable. And I know that's true for everybody. Right? You know, our staff therapists or, you know, our technical team. If I don't trust them, and then I start trying to get Mr. Controlling pants, it's going to really hurt their feelings. So I look, this is something I'm working on all the time.
Figs: Thank you for working with me, as I learn about myself.
Teale: Aw, you're welcome sweetie.
Figs: Anything else you want to share about the process?
Teale: I think I'm feeling a little bit more like, kind of peaking my head out of the hole like a little fox kind of sniffing the air that your vulnerability really means a lot to me. And it's not just like, "Oh, Figs, you need to work on being less reactive, and just be in that place." I really think what I hear is that the more involved I am, maybe your nervous system can relax a little bit. Exactly. And that I'm so important to the process and that you're working on elevating my voice and that you do love my voice. And that's part of why you really want me here — although you can want me here in this specific way — that it makes sense that when I don't show up, or I don't, you know, respond in ways that you're anticipating that it can really hurt you and that you can get more critical or take over. And so–
Teale: –I'm touched by that. And I want to work on my reactivity when that doesn't happen. Because inevitably, it's going to happen, we're going to get into this negative cycle.
Figs: Yeah, of course.
Teale: And so what I'm hearing is that — and what we had kind of happened disastrously, which is for another day — is that when I'm feeling that and not addressing it, I can be really critical.
Teale: "Hey, I'm not being heard."
Teale: And that touched a lot of really painful things for you. So working on, when I'm sharing, "Is it an appropriate time?" I'm working on integrating that. And it makes so much sense to me, because it hurt you in a lot of ways.
Figs: Right. Yeah. No, I think I just a little bit — thank you. And what I think you're referring to is like, look, it's just a context, right? Like, if we're at a dinner — which, one day again we'll be at dinners with other people — and then you start telling people about how smelly my farts are,
Figs: –that is very different, that you told like 10 people at a dinner how Figs has really smelly farts, right?
Figs: That's very different from you taking me aside, just you and me and saying, "Hey, Figs, wanted to tell you about your farts are really stinky, right?"
Figs: And so the part– look, I'm always up for processing with you, right? It just– again,
Figs: –like there's a moment when we're with the 10 people,
Figs: –and I farted, once snuck out.
Teale: Like, why does it have to– why do the things got to sneak? This is the age that I'm talking about.
Figs: Thank you. Thank you. But– no, I was only making this one up, now it turns out it's true.
Figs: But like, look, there's a way in which you don't have to say it at the dinner, because it just magnifies.
Teale: I hear you.
Figs: It magnifies it. So look, you know, this has been a really rich process.
Figs: It's been a lot and really good to talk through what happens between us in the therapy session, and then of course to now talk through what happens in the recording of the session.
Figs: It feels really helpful for us, I hope that it's useful for you, the listeners and viewers. Just the last point we want to talk about is, just to go into a little bit more detail about the difference between how we show up in therapy sessions and show up for each other when we're processing hurt feelings between us — inside either of us individually or between us — outside of a therapy session and how we show up while recording a podcast session or like, substitute recording a podcast session for, we're at dinner with friends.
Figs: Those ten friends where I lead at the fart, right?
Figs: That doesn't happen.
Teale: Aw, no, he has so many friends.
Figs: Well, thank you, thank you. Or, you know, whatever it is we're trying to get to our journey and relate. Like how do we get to our final destination without having to stop because we hurt each other's feelings on the way?
Figs: We don't want to forget and abandon the part of our feelings got hurt, but sometimes we got to be able to bookmark them.
Figs: Right? But we have to earn the right to bookmark hurt feelings.
Teale: That's a good point.
Figs: A lot of times when I help people process their feelings really deeply, they're like, "Oh my god, do I have to do that all the time." And I'm like, "No, you do not have to do it all the time. But you do have to earn the right to not have to do it all the time." And what that means is that you know that you– if push came to shove, and we were to process the feelings that got hurt, we can trust that we can come out the other side of that process feeling more connected to each other.
Figs: And how you get to a place that you could trust this because you've done it so many times in the past that, "Look, I know Teale just called me out in front of 10 people about my smelly farts. I don't need to process that with her this second, I can bookmark it because I know in the future, on our drive home from their house, I will let out an even bigger fart.
Figs: To punish you. No. That we will be able to process how my feelings were hurt.
Figs: Right. And that's why I didn't pass the potatoes when you ask then.
Figs: No, exactly. But here's the thing–
Teale: It's a great tip for the listeners.
Teale: But I wanted to hear your idea.
Figs: Just 'cause processing feelings: gotta be able to do it. That's where the rubber meets the road, right? And then we want to be able to complete tasks with each other. We can't process feelings all the time, like, "God, like can't you just go to the beach?"
Teale: We can't?
Figs: No, please.
Teale: [Laughing] Right.
Figs: Like, you know, we're gonna go to the beach today, right, with the kids.
Teale: No you're totally right. Right.
Figs: Let's just go to the beach. Let's not like, "But Figs, on our walk to the beach, I noticed I wasn't valued." And I'm like, "Oh yeah? Well, it seems like you're critical of me." No, Jesus will never make a beach.
Figs: Right. But so how do we do it? There is a different skill set then that you wanna use. Here's what we do, right? We try and practice this process we call, "Yes, and." And if any of you are familiar with improv, "Yes, and," is the golden rule of improv. Whatever the other person says is true.
Figs: It is a gift and you're excited to receive the gift, and your job is to make the other person look good. Your job is to make me look good. And my job is to make you look good. And so that means if someone says to me– let's say I'm very sensitive about the fact that I'm bald, right? I am not at all sensitive.
Figs: I'm very lucky that I'm bald, and I couldn't give two tosses — whatever that is — about being bald, right? But let's say you and I are on stage and there's 200 people in front of us. And you say, "Ha ha, look at you, you big bald effer," right?
Figs: And it really hurts my feelings. If I'm practicing, "Yes, and," I'm going to, "Well, it turns out, I'm going to have to be a big bald effer now in front of these people."
Figs: And actually just take it on, because I'm going to make Teale look so good, even though the actual thing she said actually hurt my feelings. Because we gotta complete the scene. We're going to complete the scene, right? So, "Yes, and," whatever the other person says it's true, it's a gift, and it's an amazing gift you're excited to receive, and then you're going to tell the other person like, "You know what, I love being a big bald effer."
Figs: I actually shaved my head off on purpose and waxed it in a way that makes sure would never come back so I could be your big, bald effer. Right?
Teale: I like that.
Figs: So that's what I'm hoping– I know I'm doing a lot of talking.
Teale: No, well you're talking because this is so important. This is so important.
Figs: Yeah, thank you.
Teale: And I'm just having this like insight as you're talking about it, how it especially applies to your in my journey a little bit. Can I share it?
Figs: Yeah, please.
Teale: Is, I think that for a lot of years, we were just like, in the grind, in the groove, however you want to put it and we did processing on the fly. We were having kids, I was finishing graduate school, you were launching this fantastic, you know, business. But like, in some ways, we're getting to the earning the right to, "Yes, and" right now.
Teale: Like doing this work with each other and doing it with our amazing therapist, it's like, we've always talked about, "Yes, and"-ing and like, I think I just really– I'm just starting to really get it.
Teale: Is how to do that. Because it's based on what we're doing right now in our therapy. And that in some ways, we've been trying to do that, but like, now we're doing it.
Teale: And I feel really like I can really do, "Yes, and." And I keep wanting to do like, "You're not a big bald Effer, cause you've got like a little side ponytail.
Figs: Got some hair. Oo look at that, that is a fun side ponytail.
Teale: What if it just grew out like that?
Figs: [Clicks tongue] Oh, I wish I had long hair– no.
Figs: But thank you, that's a good look.
Teale: Did you like it?
Figs: I do, I do. But yeah, so look — the rubber meets the road in relationship in your ability to go from disconnected, we both have hurt feelings, back to connected to each other. You have to be able to do that. You gotta focus the time on that. And that's what earns you the right to then not have to process and actually complete tasks.
Teale: Mm. Yeah.
Figs: And then when you're in those moments where, "Look, we're not going to process feelings right now. We're going to go to this family dinner and if we hurt each other's feelings, we're going to look at each other, squeeze each other's hand, and compelete the dinner without us having the process in front of her family. You're going to apply this concept. Right before you go into your family's house for the dinner, right? You're going to look at each other outside the door and go, "Look, everything you say, I'm going to take as a fact, when you tell everyone you did 80,000 downward dogs this week, even though I saw you on the couch eating popcorn and chocolate all week, I'm going to go, "Yes, you did. And every one was better than the last."
Figs: Right? I'm just gonna like, "Absolutely." I'm not going to like, "When?" Like, "No, you didn't, you chocolate-eating, popcorn-gobbling–
Figs: –couch… goddess, exactly.
Figs: Like I'm just gonna like– when we're there, during that task of getting through this family dinner without melting down, we're gonna, "Yes, and," eachother. On the drive home I might be, "Sweetie, I know you have a hard time with your family. The whole 80,000 downward dogs was a little stretch."
Figs: But we're not going to do it there, right? So everything the other person says when you're in a, "Let's just get through this task," it's true, it's a gift, you're going to accept it with excitement, and you're going to make them look good. And if something came up in the process, process it later — therapy or just between the two of you. You gotta have range. You gotta be able to do both.
Teale: There's a time and a place, people. I'm learning this.
Figs: And this is what we are doing in public. We are showing you us processing our feelings, and we're also showing you when we do the recordings us try– even though today is more like a process, it was more vulnerable.
Teale: Yeah, this is not necessarily us doing the, "Yes, and," this is us in the process.
Teale: Parts of it, although I think we naturally, "Yes, and," each other because we're doing some of this deeper work. But our therapy...
Figs: Exactly, it's just our way of doing– yeah. But yeah, in the actual recording of the episodes, we're gonna try and keep the emotional process actually something we're talking about that happened in the therapy sessions, and while we may name it with like, "Hey, by the way, you know, like, I got my feelings hurt because I thought you were critical of me," we're not going to derail the recording, making sure we get that done, to process the feelings live.
Teale: Sounds great.
Figs: We might do another episode like this to talk about what happened and process it.
Teale: Yeah, good idea. Well I liked this.
Figs: Me too. It's really good. It that helps feel like more renewed about this process.
Teale: I'm learning so much. From you, by the way.
Figs: Oh, thank you.
Teale: And with you, I know. But really, it's okay to say that.
Figs: Yeah. No, I appreciate it. It's hard. No, it is, and it's hard to take in. It always feels very vulnerable to be acknowledged, so thank you. And I am learning so much from you, as well. Right? And just like so much about myself and the way I process information, the way I hear threats when you're actually feeling soft and warm towards me, but yet I can still hear like– I feel like you're criticizing me. Like it's really profound to be willing and open to study oneself in this way. Because how I'm interpreting what's happening versus what I see happened, there is quite a big gap between those two things.
Figs: And so I think that's true for everybody. So, you know, I highly encourage you to keep studying yourself, study your relationship, and thank you for being here and letting us model us, in our clumsy way, do it.
Teale: Exactly. Now you get to study us.
Figs: Exactly, yeah.
Teale: Creatures in the zoo.
Figs: Try not to judge us too much.
Teale: [Laughing] You can judge me.
Figs: Yeah, so, come here–
Teale: As Beyonce.
Figs: [Laughing] Exactly.
Figs: And me as Shrek, right?
Figs: You can judge me as Shrek.
Teale: Hot Shrek.
Figs: Yeah, what was I gonna say? Yeah, hot just because I'm not green.
Teale: That is true. [Laughing] Just because you're not green.
Figs: But look, the next one we'll be back, we'll share one of our therapy sessions.
Teale: Yay! Looking forward to it.
Figs: Great. You'll get to hear how we integrated our processing about our recording process. Okay, take care.
Teale: Process. Process.
Figs: Have a good rest of your day, evening, morning, wherever you are in your life right now.
Teale: Enjoy yourself.
Figs: Bye. Thank you.