My new book “You Grow Me” is out today! (Free preview of Chapter 1)

February 14, 2024

Today, I am so thrilled to announce the release of my first book “You Grow Me: The Next Level Human Philosophy of Love, Sex and Romantic Connection” co-authored with my dear friend, Dr. Jade Teta. It’s all about creating growth-oriented relationships, rather than getting caught in the trap of “you complete me” and relying on other people, particularly our romantic partners, to fulfill our needs and happiness.

This book leaves the bulls**t Hollywood love stories, Rom Coms, and Disney nonsense where they belong – in fantasy land – and instead lays out how to create a relationship where you can show up more confidently as your authentic self, which allows you BOTH to feel more deeply connected to each other.

As a gift to you, I’m releasing Chapter 1 FREE in this podcast episode (links below to purchase). I sincerely hope “You Grow Me” helps you completely reframe the way you look at relationships – with both others and with yourself. 

Please let me know what you think! I’d love your feedback on the book, please email or DM me with your thoughts and takeaways. And thank you so much for all your support throughout this podcast – “Your Grow Me” would never have happened without it! (PS: check out Episode 373 for a behind-the-scenes recollection of the frenetic, hilarious, and exhausting story of how we wrote this entire book in just 9 days).


On Amazon: “You Grow Me: The Next Level Human Philosophy of Love, Sex and Romantic Connection”


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 I’m Emily Gough, a human connection coach, writer, and speaker with an insatiable sense of curiosity and adventure. Always asking more questions and using the power of stories to teach, learn, and grow. We boldly explore relationships, connection, and the nuances and complexities of the human experience with compassion, honesty, and a sense of humor.

With both solo episodes and highly curated guests sharing incredible stories, experiences, and expertise, the Room to Grow podcast takes the entire idea of growth to the next level. All while covering the uncomfortable topics, many of us would like to avoid. There’s always more room to grow. Let’s do this.

Hey, Hey, welcome back to the room to grow podcast. Emily here. And today is a very special day because today my brand new book with my coauthor, Dr. J Teta is published. It is now available for purchase on Amazon. And this book is called you grow me. It’s all about relationships and creating growth oriented relationships rather than coming from the place of you complete me, which is the societal narrative that all of us have been fed.

I have fallen into this trap. Jade has fallen into this trap before we, we write from this place of laying out for you how to create a relationship where you can show up more confidently. You can show up as your authentic self. You can reprogram neediness. You can end up feeling so much more deeply connected to the other person while also remaining so true to yourself.

And it creates this container that provides a. depth of relationship that is the kind of relationship that we all want. But so often when we come from this place of trying to outsource our needs to other people, particularly our romantic partners, and we place expectations on it, even subconsciously, we’re not even aware of some of these things.

These are some of the issues that create relationship. Problems and can end up leading to heartbreak ultimately. And listen, there’s so much growth and benefits to, to heartbreak as well. And we get into all of that in the book too. But what, what we really want is beautiful relationships that feed us, that nourish us.

And they are incredibly powerful. And this book is going to help to completely reframe the way that you look at relationships, the way that you view relationships and the way that you show up, not only in relationships with others, but with yourself, that is the most powerful piece. So I’m so excited for you to get to listen to this.

So when Jane and I wrote this book, um, last year, I, every morning I would sit down before we write and I would just try to open myself as much as possible and like, okay, allow whatever wants to come through to come through and to essentially write from a place of wanting to throw up the day the book came out due to the, the vulnerability hangover of it all.

And you know, I did write from that place. Today I don’t feel like throwing up because I’m like, no, this is, this is what needed to, to come through me and I’m really, I’m really, really proud of, of what we have created. Um, it’s been a true honor to write this book and I’m just so excited to share it with you.

So I would encourage you to go over to Amazon, search for YouGrowMe. All the links are also in the show notes. Um, you can get paperbook, hardcover, Kindle, and the audiobook. Is also probably going to be available today, but if you don’t see it up there, it is coming in the next couple of days. The autobook is done.

We’re just waiting for it to finish uploading onto Amazon. So it is all going to be there for you. We would love for you to purchase, share it with someone, write a review. It would mean the absolute world to us. It’s how we get the word out there about a book like this. And we are really, really excited to.

I’m going to have you check this out and read it and let us know what you think. Okay. So enjoy this because I am sharing chapter one with you, um, Jade and I also speak our own parts. So this book, unlike, unlike a lot of books where the, where there’s two authors and you kind of combine voices, Jade and I have very different.

writing styles, and we have a little bit of some, some differing opinions sometimes with a lot of overlap. So I’m really excited for you to hear this because there’s, there’s a very distinct kind of like back and forth rhythm to this. And the feedback that we’ve gotten from the people who’ve listened to it is that it’s a really good balance.

And that’s what we, that’s what we have felt as well. Um, that it’s, You’ll, you’ll, you’ll see. You’ll see what I mean when you get to listen to it. So this is chapter one of the book, You Grow Me, and I can’t wait for you to listen.

Chapter one, love at first story. Disney and Hollywood bullshit, plus the inaccurate stories we tell about romance.

Where do we get our notions about love? Did we learn about love from watching our parents? Did we have older siblings or cousins who clued us in? Was it Saturday morning cartoons? Disney fairy tales? Hollywood rom coms? Something else? Our stories about love matter, not just a little, but a lot. In the same way our early childhood development determined much about our personality, coping skills, fears, and the rest, it also impacted how we see love.

When it comes to romance, it’s not love at first sight, it’s love at first story. The first order of business, then, is to deconstruct the narratives we hold around romantic relationships. The you complete me story. You. Complete. Me. Shut up. Shut up. You had me at hello. You had me. And then they hug, kiss, and live happily ever after.

This drives me nuts. Every single Hollywood romance seems to end right when things are going to get tough. Even five year olds on the playground, who manage a kiss from their preschool crush, know the way things work. So what? You gotta kiss. Now you have to manage conversations about what your mom packed for lunch.

Why you were sitting so close to Billy? How come you left me with the broken crayons? Last time you gave me green M& M’s, and this time you stuck me with all the brown ones. Hollywood knows that they better end romance stories at the beginning. Otherwise, very few would end on a high note. The movie quote above is from the late 90s classic, Jerry Maguire.

It’s a story about a man grappling with finding himself. Jerry struggles to balance work, the His new wife and his old patterns of being a wheeling, dealing, slimy sports agent with his newfound desire for meaning after a bad piece of pizza and a sleepless night. That struggle of leaving behind his old persona and creating himself anew culminates in the climactic encounter with his new wife on the verge of the two of them splitting up.

You complete me, he says, at which point, Renée Zellweger, who plays the wife Dorothy Boyd, practically melts in his arms. All her dreams have come true, and his as well. Now they can walk off into the sunset as the perfect couple who, quote, live happily ever after. It’s beautiful, except it’s not. What do you think happens over the next weeks and months?

We all know exactly what occurs. Things get hard. There are great moments. Shitty moments, hot sex, piss stained toilet seats, romantic dinners, skid marked underwear, beautiful moments of snuggling on the couch, screaming matches over whose turn it was to bring the trash to the curb. And then routine sets in.

You know every aspect of this person. Shit gets real. Real boring. No more hot sex in the morning. No more orgasms. Jerry finds himself getting off alone in the shower and Dorothy fakes orgasms only to sneak away and finish the job for real with the vibrator she stashed in the laundry room. Dates turn into screen time.

Dinners turn into takeout. And fun? Not so much. Even vacations are a reminder you feel stuck and you don’t know why. When that movie ends, we are meant to believe Jerry and Dorothy will live a blissful romantic life. But will they? I think we all know what the answer is. But why? It’s simple. They are living with a major misapprehension regarding relationships.

They believe the wrong story. The stories we live. When I was young, my parents took my brothers, sister, and me to Florida to visit our grandparents for Christmas. On Christmas Eve, I went to bed excited because Santa was going to bring me some good shit. I was dreaming of a dirt bike. I was getting a little older, and this year, I decided I would stay up and try to catch that dude dropping off the presents.

I was smart enough to work out that maybe he would send a team of worker elves instead. I believed in Santa Claus. But I thought maybe the sled was just something they told us kids. I figured he might pull up in one of those big stretched limousines painted like a candy cane and nine dwarfs would jump out and have all the presents under the tree before anyone knew a thing.

It was early in the evening and I had to pee. So I woke up and opened up the door to the adjoining hotel room and saw my mom and dad putting down presents. At first I thought they were maybe just straightening up the presents after Santa left them. But as they tried to explain, I could tell by the looks on their faces they were bullshitting me.

I just gave a disgusting look, and my little kid brain silently said to itself, My parents are poopy faced liars. If I was an adult, I probably would have blurted out, Are you fucking kidding me? And you have been bullshitting me all this time? In truth, I am not entirely clear on all the details around how I figured out Santa wasn’t real.

I do know that it fucked me up. About a week later, I almost got kicked out of my first Holy Communion for starting a philosophical argument about Jesus Christ. I think I said something like, How do I know Jesus Christ is not just the adult equivalent of Santa Claus? Now, you might think the story of Santa Claus is and was harmless.

But for me, I think it was the first lesson that lying is just fine as long as no one is getting hurt. You know, no harm, no foul. We accept a ton of stories like that in our lives. Now as a clinician, psychology researcher, and philosophy geek, I know exactly how this works. Something happens that we can’t completely understand, and we write our own story about it.

Subconscious knots. Think of the subconscious brain as a long string of yarn. Say you’re bored, and all you have is that piece of string. What are you going to do? Probably use it to tie a knot. I would do this in elementary school. I would find a piece of string on the floor and tie one knot after the next, one on top of the other.

In time, I would have a big ball of knotted string. The original knot would be completely obscured by all the other knots tied on top of it. It was nowhere to be found. Our unconscious stories are a lot like that. I remember a particularly traumatic moment as a child when my mom screamed to my dad after a fight that she was leaving and never coming back.

I was just a little kid. It scared me. And I did not know what to do. She stormed out of the house and drove away. My dad just looked at me and said, Go get your pads and cleats. We gotta get you to football practice. That was my first or second practice. And when my dad dropped me off, I didn’t know what to do.

I wanted to scream, cry, or run away. But I was with all these other kids, and I was too embarrassed to cry. When we experience fear and uncertainty as kids, we read it as danger. When we are in danger, we fight, flee, or freeze. I guess I was in the perfect place because at practice, I could fight. I ran full speed every time I heard the whistle and hit every single kid as hard as I could.

I must have looked like Adam Sandler in The Waterboy, taking all that hurt and hurling it at those kids. And I was getting rewarded for it, too. In The Waterboy, Sandler plays a socially shy, intellectually challenged waterboy who is teased by the football players. One day he snaps and tackles one of those players so hard that the coach puts him on the team.

It’s a comedy. Sandler’s character, Bobby Boucher, turns into a star linebacker on that college football team, where he uses all that pain and anguish as tackling fuel. That’s exactly what I did. At that moment, I took all the pain and fear of my mom leaving, and tied a knot into my unconscious brain’s string of yarn.

When that strategy worked, I started tying more knots, and more knots, until I had a huge wad of mental yarn 100 stories deep. In time, I forgot about that first painful knot of yarn I tied. It was not until decades later, through years of journaling, meditation, and ceremonial psychedelics, that I became fully aware of this ball of emotional yarn and started to loosen the strings enough to see the original knot I tied.

I had to start rewriting the top layer of stories to spot that lower layer, and those stories were not benign. I had been carrying that ball of yarn for a long time. It followed me through high school football and wrestling. It followed me to college where I worked as a bouncer. It followed me around for decades.

It manifested in anger issues and many fights. Of course a kid who wrote a subconscious story of Mr. Tough Guy is going to later find work as a bouncer. The first of my convoluted series of nods did not get loosened until a bar fight in college where I destroyed my hand. I had to have reconstructive surgery from punching through a bottle the guy I was fighting was holding.

I had to go through some serious pain and suffering to even see that the story I was carrying was a dysfunctional one. It took another 20 years to fully get all the way down to the original knot and finally untie that one. And you know what? When I finally got there, I was reluctant to let it go. I was used to it.

It was a part of my identity. After all, what would I be without this tough guy fighter story? Even my muscular body reflected the oversized, knotted psyche I had created. Why am I telling you stories about knots of yarn, tackling fuel, and grotesquely injured hands? Because our unconscious stories become us.

It’s like Carl Jung says, Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. That is exactly what the original knotted piece of yarn did. It manifested in my everyday reality without me even being aware it was there. Your Romance Story You’ve been told a romance story.

Your romantic story is a knotted piece of string that has many loops, turns, and tangles. Big ones, small ones, complex ones, and simple ones. It is a conglomeration of cultural stories and personal experiences. The Hollywood rom coms, the Disney romances, the Pixar love stories, and the old school fairy tales all seep in.

You also watched your parents relationship. Which is hugely impactful. Add to that your teenage crushes, first loves, breakups, traumas, dramas, orgasms, and heart spasms. At the core of this knotted ball is one story that almost all of us have in common. This story directs our romantic experience whether we like it or not.

It’s the you complete me story. On top of that story is the love lasts forever story. On top of that, love conquers all. Next is, love is all you need, and on and on it goes as our love story knot grows. Somewhere along the way, things start getting confusing. Your parents break up or are cruel to each other.

Your first love story betrays you. Oops, love doesn’t last. Then you, the artist and musician, have your high school sweetheart dump you for the football player, or vice versa. Uh oh, maybe love doesn’t conquer all. And on it goes. The stories start getting a bit twisted. What’s confusing is that your unconscious brain is not as logical and linear or sequenced as your conscious brain.

It does not think in structured words and arguments. Those knots are often coded in metaphor, symbol, and feeling. Two opposing messages can get tied in the same ball of knots. On the one hand, you know logically love does not always last, and even when it does, it’s not all orgasms and rainbows. But your unconscious mind still remembers the fact that beauty was going to fuck Beast even before he became the prince.

Shit gets a little confusing. Remember when we talked about the idea that suffering leads to beauty, and beauty often comes from suffering? It’s like the poet Christina Rossetti says, And the rose saith in the dewy morn, I am most fair. Yet all my loveliness is born upon a thorn. You can’t have one without the other.


story of The One. I will take this, and I will make this the best thing to ever happen to me. Those are the words I said to Jacob, 48 hours after having my whole world of nine years come crashing down around me. And I meant it. I was able to zoom out and take a macro approach, even in a moment of shock, trauma, and more pain than I knew how to bear.

This was such a catalyst moment that even through the pain, I could recognize the gift. I was being given an opportunity to rewrite my story, to change the characters and cast, to create a whole new direction for myself and move closer to the life I’d always wanted to create, even if it meant I was going to have to go at it alone.

And I had never felt more isolated in my life. Even with wonderful humans around me who were offering support, this was a road no one else could walk for me. I had to figure it out and move through it. And that’s a reflection of all of life. I had to stretch myself far beyond what I had believed to be the limits of my strength, courage, and capacity to hold pain, so I could meet parts of myself I would never have willingly chosen to move towards.

Yet what I found was someone so much more capable than I had ever believed possible, and it built a level of self trust, confidence, and recognition of my own competence and capabilities that I knew I could handle whatever came my way in life. That’s the exquisite beauty of our pain. The French have an expression, la douleur exquisie, the exquisite pain, particularly tied to wanting someone we can’t have.

To me, the greatest source of pain comes from being so deeply disconnected from ourselves that we run around from person to person, hoping they will be the one to soothe our tender hearts, when the person we’re truly searching for and denying to ourselves is us. We can’t skip over the pain or bypass it.

Being able to feel it and move through it is the only way. But when we can recognize how the pain of an ending is simultaneously a brand new beginning, it keeps us open to the possibilities that are available to us. Jade said something to me once I’ve often reflected back on. I’m so sorry you’re in pain and experiencing this, and I’m also incredibly excited for you.

Because when you hit rock bottom, there are a lot of gems down there. You just have to pick them up while you’re down there so you don’t have to continue to repeat the process. The growth we allow ourselves to experience in these moments is what will open us up to new people, experiences, and versions of ourselves.

There was no Disney movie or Hollywood rom com that could have prepared me for the cold harsh reality that hit me over the head in my own life. What real life experience taught me, even though you’re probably not going to like hearing this, is that you are the one who is going to be getting out of bed with you till death do you part.

I don’t know about you, but as much as that initially felt like a harsh dose of truth, when I accepted it, I felt a weight lift. It actually takes the pressure off when we stop believing the idea that there is some perfect person who is both awaiting our arrival and eluding us at the same time. We search for this one, the person who will check all our boxes and believe the fantasy of some magical unicorn of a human who will fulfill our every need, love us the way we’ve never been loved, and make us feel as though everything will be okay in the world.

That’s a beautiful idea, but it’s exactly that, a fantasy. Esther Perel has talked about how in modern day romance, we look to our partner to fill many different roles. An entire spectrum that used to be provided by a whole community is now what we expect from one human. Everything from a best friend, lover, and co parent, to a breadwinner, housekeeper, and dog walker.

And yet, the weight of expectations that come alongside being someone’s everything can be too much for even the healthiest of relationships to bear. It’s about becoming the one, instead of searching for someone else to be the one. More than that, I don’t believe there’s only one person out there for any of us.

I think there are different ones who will be best suited to us depending on timing, circumstances, and how evolved our growth is. We heal in relationships. While we would love for it to be true, there’s no one out there who is going to complete you. And, of course, we can’t fully complete ourselves either, despite how we might have made this sound.

We are wired for human connection to our core and require other humans not only to thrive, but to survive, grow, and evolve. Relationships aren’t mirrors, they’re reflections. Just because you end up with someone who lies and cheats doesn’t mean you lie and cheat, at least not in that same way. But what that relationship may be reflecting back to you are the areas where you lie to yourself or others to keep the peace.

Pretend everything is fine and sidestep any potential argument that might happen if you spoke up and said what you really felt. Perhaps you cheat in the ways you accept the breadcrumbs of a relationship, denying yourself the full meal you know you truly want and desire most. These are the pieces of ourselves we can’t always see until we have others to relate to.

And sometimes, people can be assholes. But if we walked through the world completely alone like Will Smith in I Am Legend, and never saw or interacted with another human, we would have no idea who we really were, because we wouldn’t have the experiences or reflections to relate back to us. We heal in relationships, but we also have to continue to do our own healing work both inside and out of any potential relationship.

In fact, after a long stretch of being on my own and dating more casually, I came to the realization I kept bumping into a glass ceiling of my own expansion in certain areas. I was experiencing an increasing frustration that there was so much more growth within myself I couldn’t access without the help of another in a deeply intimate partnership.

There’s no hole in your heart that can be filled by someone else. More than that, love is not finite. It multiplies and compounds in the most extraordinary ways. There may not be a happily ever after, but there’s a very real other option for you to expand into. Living into your joyfully present now, whether with another person or in the presence of your own company.

We can’t guarantee any relationship will work. Types, old stories, past wounds all tug at us unconsciously in a way that makes us buy into an untenable story. Don’t mistake me, there’s nothing easy about this process. Untangling the cultural narratives of relationship ideals that have been embedded into the traditional bedrock upon which relationships are built is no easy feat.

And if you’re feeling a great deal of resistance to doing so, I relate. Taking ownership and responsibility for our own shit is the key to healing. And it’s also the most uncomfortable part of this process. It’s so much easier to point a finger at someone else. But whenever we do, we have to remind ourselves there are three more pointing back at us.

Even in situations like mine, when I would have been considered by societal standards to be the victim, I never identified that way and wanted nothing to do with that label. Instead, I remember being determined to look at my role under a microscope and take responsibility for the part I played in the relationship.

It wasn’t to excuse my former partner’s behavior or make it acceptable. Those parts were his to own. But I needed to reconcile with where my own patterns had played a role. Sure, I didn’t cheat, but I betrayed myself by ignoring my intuitive hits when things felt off. I put his needs above my own, and then would sometimes resent him for feeling like I wasn’t a priority.

I created a false sense of safety and security in him and the illusions I had about the relationship, because I wanted to believe those things to be true, not because they actually were. Given my deep distrust of men that began performing in childhood, I entered the relationship searching for proof from day one that I couldn’t trust him.

There was a moment a few years in, when we almost broke up after he left for a few weeks, and we never truly recovered. I used it as a way of putting myself in a position of power and held it over his head, allowing resentment to fester. In some ways, it satisfied me, because he handed me the ammunition I’d been searching for all along.

That nothing he could do would make up for his crime of reminding me of my father, who had also been a disappointment to me. It was a self fulfilling prophecy. Then there was the parent child dynamic that formed. I didn’t trust him. Therefore, nothing he did right was particularly worth it to him because he was going to end up distrusted anyway.

I felt safer being in a position of power. It protected me. I controlled the household, the money, the major life decisions, house, travel, etc. And he felt he didn’t have autonomy. except when he lied to me. Manipulating and controlling my reality was the way he was able to feel his own sense of autonomy, power, and control, because neither of us felt particularly free with the other.

I share these insights to demonstrate how powerful the subconscious knots we create silently run the show in our relationships until we develop greater awareness. As humans, compassionately working ourselves through these moments is the difference between repeating patterns and necessary growth that leads us towards new experiences and healthier dynamics.

Listen, we can’t guarantee any relationship will work. No one can. But the goal here is not to make you bitter about relationships. Just the opposite. It’s to allow you to grant yourself the freedom from the cultural and Hollywood narratives that have painted these pervasive ideas we hang on to with everything we have because they’re what give us hope that everything is going to be okay in the world and we’ll never feel lonely again.

More on this later because even the healthiest relationship will not safeguard you from loneliness. I always give so much credit to anyone who does this work, and decides to embark upon this path, because many people simply don’t. In fact, I would change that to most people won’t, not truly. Because opening to the idea that no one is out there to complete us, means that it’s left up to us.

And that’s going to mean taking a good hard look at ourselves, even if we don’t necessarily like what we see. To examine our own shadows, the messy parts we prefer to keep tucked carefully behind a closed door. The patterns we’ve spent a lifetime repeating and playing out with different people, and the long held beliefs that may turn out to be untrue.

It’s like experiencing seismic, cataclysmic shifts that shake us to our very core. The person who remains is one stripped of old ideas and reshaped into a bold new landscape, which can seem unfamiliar and may require introductions to this new version of yourself. But you get to welcome all that you are and all that you are becoming in the process.

It’s not an accident you’ve picked up this book. In a world full of short form videos like Reels and TikToks, there’s obviously something within you that is looking for a different set of ideas to consider when it comes to relationships. So, where does that leave us? We can grow, we can be in progress, always learning, becoming better, and loving in a way that honors this process in ourselves as well as our romantic partners, whether those relationships last or end.

We can rewrite the narrative from you complete me to you grow me. And we can open to the idea that while life might look different on the other side, we’re more than capable of stepping up to the

plate. The two sides of suffering. I’m in my apartment in Santa Monica, California. I’m miserable. I feel empty in my chest and heavy in my gut.

It’s loneliness sitting on top of shame. I can’t speak much. My throat is raw for no reason. It’s as if I’ve been emotionally dry heaving. There’s a constant lump in my throat that I attempt to relieve through incessant yawning. This must be depression. I have not felt this in my life yet. This is rock bottom for me.

My marriage ended. My lover rejected the idea of even talking to me as a friend. I spent my nights tossing and turning and not sleeping, but watching my feelings spin around like a kaleidoscope behind my eyelids. And every once in a while, an image pops into my head and then dissolves while falling back into a thick fog.

I’m restless and exhausted all at the same time. My subconscious mind wants me to hear something, and it’s not going to be denied. Finally, I spot it. An image of a young boy comes screaming up to my eyelids like a race car, then immediately stops crystal clear. It’s that young kid. The one who wrote that sad story about his mom leaving.

She didn’t, by the way. But by the time she came back later that night, I had already tied several knots of unconscious narratives in my mind. I’m looking at this young version of myself while I’m half asleep and half awake, and I start to understand something. It’s not a logical understanding. It’s a felt sense that I have been missing something.

I look close and there’s a zig zaggy line splitting my younger self’s face in two like a jigsaw puzzle. Then half of my face shifts to my 40 year old current self and the other half goes blank. The message I’m getting? You need to color this side in. No one is going to do it for you. I immediately see it.

Some part of my psyche is giving me a glimpse of the story I told. It is one of the first knots I likely created in my little kid’s brain. I need someone to complete me. I need my mom. I need a woman. I need multiple women. I need emotional support. I need the dopamine cookie of romantic connection. Floods of insights.

And then I wake up. The next day, I’m still depressed and sluggish. But I think that subconscious visit changed something in me. I got this wild idea to go out into Santa Monica and talk to strangers. I do it. Mostly homeless people. But there are so many stories, and all of them are worse than mine. I return that night, and I scribble out an honor code.

Ten commandments of who I will commit to being. First thing on the list? Honest. I will be the most honest person I know. Honesty is kinder than kindness. That phrasing will come later, but that is the sentiment. I began to see how I got myself into this place by writing a multi part story. Part one was, You are tough and you can fight.

Use that to distract yourself from the pain. Part two was, be nice and sweet and do everything to help, especially women. Pay attention to every detail. Don’t let them cry. Do the dishes and support their dreams. Your needs are not important. Now as my 40 year old self, I could see it. I was a liar and a cheater, not because I was an asshole, but because I was too nice.

Even my angry and fighting self was rarely a bully. I was almost always the bully against the bully. And I was almost always playing protector and fighter for women. Man, our subconscious stories are jacked up, aren’t they? Then something amazing happened. A little voice started whispering to me. It said, Jade, some hurt people hurt people.

Not you. You help people. But Jade, you need to learn to help yourself first. Your romance stories are all wrong. You are not meant to complete your lover, and they are not meant to complete you. You are meant to grow with each other. To learn from each other. I understood what the voice was saying, but now I had to figure out how to start.

I would not know the complete answer to that until a few years later. But it started with becoming the person I wanted to be with. The romantic mirror. The bottom line is the quality of our romantic relationships can never exceed the quality of the relationship with ourselves. That might sound like psychobabble bullshit.

But remember, our romantic partners are mirrors to us. If you look in the mirror and see an ugly, scared, unlovable person, that’s what often gets reflected. Even if we stumble across the beautiful, perfect match for our higher self, we won’t recognize them in the mirror. Their glare will be too much. Even if they see us in the mirror.

They will quickly begin to see our clear image become obscured by smudge. If this is a little hard to grasp, here’s an example. When I was lying to my wife, manipulating her reality, and trying to have my cake and eat it too, I thought everyone was a liar and a bullshitter. People would give me compliments, and I would think they were blowing smoke.

People would tell me they had to cancel plans, and I would think they were making up excuses. My lover would tell me she could not meet because she had to get her kids, and I would think she was lying to me. Everyone was a liar. I couldn’t trust anyone. Meanwhile, I was the one who was lying. Over a decade later, I’m proud to say I am the most honest person I know.

And guess what? Everyone around me is trustworthy. I take them for their word. I have no suspicions or doubts. I’m confident they are telling me the truth. And if I find out they lied, they are no longer in my life. I don’t live dishonesty, and I tolerate no lies in my psychological mirror. I cleaned up my manipulative mind, and I encounter clean psychological reflections in almost all the people I meet.

So, I became the person I wanted to see in my world. I created a new me, and as a result, got a new them. Rewriting the story. If you want to rewrite the you complete me story to the you grow me model, You’ll need to rewrite another story. The story is that you find a romantic partner. That’s wrong. You won’t find them.

You create them within your own psyche. In other words, you become a generous, beautiful, honest human first. And then a new partner shows up to mirror you and help you grow to your next level human potential. You might be thinking, Okay, I get it, but how the hell do I do this? Don’t worry, when we started getting these insights, it felt like some magic beans dropped into a soup of unicorns, rainbows, and lucky charms.

I mean, how the hell do you spot these seed stories, those knots we tied on top of one another, in the first place? If you want to begin rewriting these stories, and start becoming the next level romantic partner you would love to have, you need to pull up the roots of this system. Believe it or not, it’s not that hard.

Your subconscious may not speak in words and logic, but it does speak in patterns, signs, obstacles, and feelings. Trust us, it is speaking to you. When you encounter recurrent obstacles, stuck emotions, and repeated patterns, they are pointing towards your deep rooted seed stories. That is your subconscious trying to get your attention.

It may start by tapping you on the shoulders. But if you don’t listen, it will escalate its strategy until eventually it takes a club to your gut and stomps you in the genitals. It’s doing it for your own good. Trust me. Step one is to start understanding where the dysfunction is coming from. You or them.

How do you do that? Let’s use my favorite example, bad breath. If someone has ass breath, they are not going to know. Trust me, they are clueless. No amount of breathing into a cupped hand is going to clue someone into the fact that they have a rectum as a mouth. They are too close to themselves. They know by how other people treat them.

If they have not been kissed in years, are constantly being offered gum, and people keep their distance, then they can be assured something is up. Do you know those close talkers that get all up in your face? Yeah, well, if your breath stinks, you’ll have no idea about those people because you have the exact opposite problem.

People will be so far away, you’ll have to shout just to communicate. I jest, of course, but you get my point. If it’s your pattern, your obstacle, and an emotion you are stuck in again and again, over and over, then the issue is with you. If this is something that has never happened to you, then it may not be you.

But just in case, make sure you chew some gum while you vet if the dysfunction is coming from them or you. This is what makes romantic growth a bit tough. It is also why you want to cultivate honesty and compassion in your romantic encounters. You learn more from romantic interactions than any others.

Listen to the patterns. Pay attention to the emotions. Watch for those similar obstacles and repeated struggles. You know what I mean. You’re seeing a new person, but it’s the same old partner. That’s when you know you are the one who needs to up level. If the person looks different, but the patterns are the same, then the problem is you.

My friend Aubrey Pohl, a master level mindset coach, has a nifty little catchphrase for this. She says, if you have an issue, It’s you. Let’s practice. How do you know if you have the you complete me story deep in your subconscious? You think a romantic relationship is only successful if it lasts. You expect your romantic partner to immediately reject the life they were living before you came along and wrapped themselves around your schedule.

You have a timetable for when to move in, when to get married, when to have kids, and a whole other agenda that the partner must fulfill. Your partner needs to be everything to you. Friend, parent, lover, dog walker, babysitter, podiatrist, proctologist, and chef. Final thoughts. We humans are meaning making machines.

When it comes to romance, the meaning we make runs deep in our subconscious. It’s connected to the stories we picked up through our development. Parental dynamics, feelings of safety and security, issues around acceptance and belonging. Challenges regarding freedom and autonomy and all the rest. Just because we are not consciously aware of these stories does not mean they are not running the show.

They are. If you want romance to deliver, you need to be aware of these stories. The most pernicious of these stories is the you complete me story. But we can’t just erase an old story and be done with it. We need to replace it with a greater truth. Relationships can never complete you. But they definitely can and will grow you if you allow it.

How do you do that? That’s what we’ll cover in the next chapter. Key takeaways. Hollywood romance and Disney fairy tales are not real life. Our subconscious stories are running the show and determine how we see and show up in romance. Becoming aware of our unconscious knots is the first step to unraveling our dysfunctional patterns in relationship.

Repeated struggles, recurrent obstacles, and stuck emotions point you to the stories you must address in your subconscious. Our romantic partners act as a psychological mirror, forcing us to see the reflection of who we are and who we might become.

Thank you so much for listening. If you want more, one of the most common questions I get is where do I even start doing this work to create deeper connections and better relationships? I’ve got a free 15 page guide for you called Where Do We Begin? This is the very foundation that you need to start building healthy relationships with others and with yourself.

This is my gift to you and multiple people have referred to it as life changing. You can find it over at roomtogrowupodcast. com or check the show notes to go download it and have it sent straight to your inbox. Thanks so much and stay tuned for more episodes weekly.


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Create the kind of relationships that make your entire nervous system breathe a sigh of relief as you think to yourself, “this is what it’s supposed to feel like.”