Finding Empowering Relationships with Dr Lurve
Finding Empowering Relationships with Dr Lurve
Felicity Cohen: Hello, I’m Felicity Cohen. I’m so excited to introduce you to my Wellness Warriors podcast. For over 20 years, I’ve been a passionate advocate for helping thousands of Australians find solutions to treating obesity and health-related complications through surgical intervention and holistic managed care.
My podcast is dedicated to all the people past, present, and future who have helped shape my journey and continue to inspire me to work consistently to achieve a healthier Australia for both adults and future generations. I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to the Wellness Warriors podcast today, it’s my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Dr Lurve. Dr Lurve is one of Australia’s leading experts on all things love and relationships. And many of you will have seen her across so many different news channels previously. She has a bio that is far too long and extensive to give you a list of all her credentials right here, but just know that being an expert on all things relationships, many of us have got a billion and one questions, and it’s really so exciting to have you here today. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me.
Dr Lurve: Thanks for having me, Felicity.
Felicity Cohen: So Dr Lurve, the first thing I would really love to know is how you became so passionate about love, relationships and friendships.
Dr Lurve: Well, I think it happened organically. I worked across quite a number of areas you know, through my career from forensic education, you know, business, and there was one thing that was apparent across my whole career, was that relationships are so important in every area that we work in. And I had people presenting me with issues in regards to conflict and that conflict wasn’t just in intimate relationships. It was everything that we had from, you know, child, a parent from, wife and husband, colleague and, you know, colleague or, leadership teams and working teams. It was across every area that I worked in.
So, it sort of just fell on my lap and towards the end of that journey, I started working with a sexologist in Adelaide actually. And I started to attract many people that were in coupled relationships, intimate relationships, open relationships, poly, monogamous, and I just found that I had a knack for relationships and it became quite, I became quite passionate about building relationships and either helping you sustain them or moving out of the ones that weren’t helpful.
Felicity Cohen: Okay, thank you so much. Why is it that we do need good solid friendships?
Dr Lurve: Well, you know, friends are like the family we choose, so choosing wisely is helpful. I really do believe that those that you surround yourself with can greatly impact the way you see life, the way you talk to yourself, the way that you talk to others and the energy you bring to the world. So it really can impact the way that you interact with life in so many areas. So these solid friendships that we create are really essential to, you know, to have a good quality of life. I always say the quality of your relationships really is, does equate to the quality of your life. And so these solid friendships really help us get through most things, sometimes it’s, you know, the family issues that we have, it’s the boyfriend issues, it’s the career of work experiences that we have, and our friends are really there not just to have fun but also, you know, we’re there for each other. We help each other through hardships so it really is important to choose wisely and to make sure that you’ve got, you know, quality over quantity.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely! And for me personally, when I think about the quality of my own friendships and relationships, that one person, when I was going through something challenging, who always knew intuitively when to pick up the phone, it just can’t replace that kind of friendship. It’s so valuable to how we function as human beings every single day, you know.
Dr Lurve: Absolutely, and I know for me, I’ve got a, you know, a handful of friends that will be my friends forever and you know, when I was living abroad and overseas, it’s that connection, you know, I was in living in Dubai at the time and I just had this gut feeling that I felt like I needed to pick up the phone and, and contact her, and I just pick up the phone, I’m like, “Hey, is everything okay?” She goes, “how do you know? How do you know!?” I’m like, “I don’t know. I just had this feeling that I needed to ring you to see if you’re okay” and she was going through, you know, a really horrible time in her relationship and a breakup, but she just said, “I haven’t told anyone yet” and I said, “but I could feel that was something going on that I needed to contact you”. So you’re right, that connection is really special and I think the more of those that you can have around, or the more of those you can invest in, the better your quality of life.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely, and I think the key word there is invest in because once you identify that, that connection and that friendship is so powerful, so supportive and so helpful, you need to continue that investment forever because they are the friends that will be there for you for the rest of your life.
Dr Lurve: Yeah. And, you know, Felicity, we say investment, but we could easily take that as literally, you know, you need to invest every single day and it’s really a hard yard or a hard call. That’s not what we’re saying, it’s not what I’m saying, I’m saying that the investment in these relationships really does feel natural. You know, it’s both of you who have an equal amount and effort to catch up. It just feels like, you know, when you haven’t seen each other for a long time, you just pick up where you left. That’s the type of investment we’re talking about, you’re interested in each other’s lives and you feel comfortable sharing that. That’s the investment.
Felicity Cohen: I totally agree that it’s a respect for that relationship and that you also, for me, that investment is about nurturing always and never forgetting how valuable it is. How do you think you know, when a friendship is right for you?
Dr Lurve: Well, I think it’s that, isn’t it? It’s that natural feeling. It’s that you can just pick up where you left off. Even if months have gone by and you’ve travelled or you’ve worked and you’ve been busy. There are no feelings of, I’ve been hard done by, or you haven’t put the effort in, because you just know that you’re there for each other. It’s just second nature that you’ll pick up the phone when you need to, and you’ll just talk to them.
So that’s that genuine interest, that respect for each other’s lives and feeling really comfortable with the space that you have between that time. It’s not, you know, you didn’t speak to me today, I haven’t spoken to you for two weeks and there’s a problem. There’s no problem. There never is a problem, it’s okay!
Felicity Cohen: Exactly. Setting boundaries has become such a mainstream topic, but they are easier said than done. Why do we need boundaries and how can we set them effectively in a friendship environment?
Dr Lurve: It’s tricky with friendships and I mean, it’s tricky with all relationships really, but boundaries are really going to be, are put in place for many reasons, not just in friendships. But if you’re talking about friendship, it might be, you know, if you’ve got boundaries around your own personal time, if your friend is really your friend she’ll know that you are uncomfortable with showing up unannounced at her house, or crashing your date nights or, you know, she’s able to listen to you and take the hint when your mood is not really, you’re not really in the mood to catch up. So boundaries mean you’re being clear and gentle with your approach. You know, you’re letting them know that I love spending time with you, but I also love spending time on my own, or I love spending time with my boyfriend or my partner or my children. So effectively it’s I love you, but you know, I also love this as well and there’s that level of respect.
I think the trick with setting boundaries is setting boundaries without feeling guilty for setting them, because we can often get into that space of, I feel horrible that I’ve said I don’t have the time or I feel horrible that I haven’t, you know, I don’t want her just rocking up without an invitation, but this is what I need for me and just understanding that that’s okay, that you need the space. And if you have a true friend, it’s one of those friends that should be around, they’ll totally understand.
Felicity Cohen: So clearly a mind field of an area is our friendship relationships and it’s so easy to step over boundaries in those situations where perhaps you don’t like their partner or you only see a really one-sided view of their relationship. How do we support our friends through our own relationships in a way that protects that friendship and maintains boundaries?
Dr Lurve: Yeah. You know, friends, relationships, can be hard, especially if you are watching a friend and, you know, or you feel they aren’t with the right person and you are unsure too, you know, approach the topic with them. I know this can very much get in the way of many friendships, it’s ended friendships because a friend has gone, “he’s not right for you, or he doesn’t treat you right. Or she doesn’t treat you right” or whatever it is. So whether a friend doesn’t like your partner or you don’t like theirs, I think, what we need to do is remind ourselves that we are very much seeing one side of the relationship and we don’t really know the dynamics of the relationship behind closed doors. But, a lot of the time, if you’re a real friend, you have a gut feeling and you know there’s somewhere deep inside that this isn’t right for them. Unfortunately, we can voice how we feel but we can’t make them change their mind.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. And I’ve seen that happen even in my own personal relationships and yes, I can remember friends that I’ve lost because they haven’t necessarily approved of a partner, but felt that they weren’t right for me for whatever reason. And they were probably right!
Dr Lurve: Yeah, and that happens! And sometimes, most of the time they know us best and they probably are right, and sometimes we go through, you know, maybe five, ten, sometimes twenty years with the wrong person and everyone knew they were the wrong person, but we stuck in there and we did what we thought was right as a woman in a relationship and we fought for something, you know, the dream or the idea or what should happen culturally or ethnically, whatever it is, and then they weren’t the wrong person.
I think where it gets difficult is when you lose people because they see you with the wrong person and because you’re not listening or taking their advice, they start to take a step away. And that’s hard because there are a couple of reasons why they take a step away. They take a step away, one, because they don’t want to see you get hurt and they can’t feel like they can’t protect you so they said “the further I’m away from this, the less that I’m going to see her hurt” and the other thing is, is that sometimes friendships can be a bit controlling and they’re like, “you know, she’s not listening to me, so I’m going to give up and I’m going to walk away.”
Felicity Cohen: Definitely such an interesting area. Something I’m really fascinated by, and I’d love to hear your input is dating apps. There are so many of them, and we know that they’re complex, they are challenging, and reality can be very different to that of social media or, you know, the online world.
I’ll never forget a psychologist who worked here years ago, who said to me, “you’ve just got to kiss a lot of toads before you find the right one” and no, I’m not doing that! I’m so never doing that, but it was such an interesting area because at the time there were at least five people in my office who’d met their forever partner online, and it just never worked for me.
So what’s the key thing around being able to navigate meeting someone online in a safe space that’s authentic and genuine and gives you that opportunity to meet someone?
Dr Lurve: Well, I think the first thing is that you’ve got to turn up online, authentic and genuine. A lot of people jump online and they have one foot in and one foot out, so they’re not too sure. So they don’t really present themselves authentically just in case. The other thing that trips them up is that some people go online to find the one. And that’s an issue because the one when you’re looking for the one, your expectation is pretty high and when your expectations are that high, you never get to sift through some of the gems that might be hidden in the dirt because you want the gem to show up straight away. So people will be presenting themselves to you and you won’t accept their presentation because you’re like, “you’re not the one you’re not supposed to look like that act like that, feel like that. You’re not supposed to talk like that and you’re not supposed to work in that field” whatever the limitation is to the person. And so what happens is that when you go out there looking for the one, or I want someone long term, you forget to kiss, and when I say kiss the frogs, it doesn’t mean necessarily kiss them, they give the frogs a go because you don’t know which frog’s going to turn out to be a prince, right? So you limit yourself if you go into the dating world and you say “I’m going out to find the husband”, or “I’m going out to find the wife”.
You need to be going out because you’re curious, you need to be curious about what it is that you want, and you need to be curious about what other people want. And I think that’s where people forget to get curious. This is about getting to know people, this is not about putting a ring on a finger.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. And I noticed in one of your, it might have been on your Instagram or on one of your posts that you were quoted as saying, you know, “practice, practice, practice” and that’s such a valuable kind of comment that if you’re not putting yourself out there and giving yourself that opportunity to learn, it’s not going to happen.
Dr Lurve: Well, I know like, currently I’ve got a client at the moment that’s gone from never ever dating and never dated for, you know, 10 years and is now, I can’t stop her from going on the apps! And she has progressively learned a lot of lessons through that, you know, the first time, you know, she learned about what ghosting is and what that feels like and the rejection and how she took it so personally, and then we worked through that and then the next one was, you know, the gas lighting and, you know, learning all of these things along the way. I think it was, the main thing about that, was that she never took it, and it was good obviously she had some coaching and support from me, but it was never about her, it was always about the other person. So when we are taking these things personally, we are thinking shit, we’re like chipping away at our self-esteem our self-worth, I’m not good enough, no one’s going to love me, which is not actually true.
These are just people that have come along the path that is shown up and taught us a lesson and then we go on to learn the next lesson because then we’ve learned, you know, what gaslighting is, we’ve learned what ghosting is or we’ve learnt what total crap talking is, and they’ve just lied out of, you know, every part of their body, we’ve learnt that. We’ve also learned what that looks like, and we get better at it.
Felicity Cohen: So learning to understand all of these concepts, the catfishing, the ghosting, gas lighting, I don’t actually quite get exactly what that is. Can you explain to us and our listeners, what is that and what we need to look for in that kind of behaviour?
Dr Lurve: You know, gaslighting is a situation where you feel a particular way and your partner makes you feel crazy for thinking that. So you may say, “I feel really uncomfortable with what you’ve done” and they will turn around and totally say, “you are silly for thinking that. That’s unreasonable. I didn’t do that, I did this” and turn the whole, manipulate the whole story so that you go, “oh, maybe it’s my fault”.
Felicity Cohen: Okay, thank you.
Dr Lurve: So anytime you feel like you are voicing a particular feeling, emotion, a behaviour you’re not seeing that doesn’t agree with you and the other person is not acknowledging how you feel and making you feel different or, you know, ignoring how you feel or totally dismissing what you are trying to talk about, that is them gaslighting you. What you were saying is rubbish, what you were saying doesn’t exist, what you were saying is invalid, this needs to be your truth, and they almost dictate your truth. And you start to think, shoot, maybe I can’t speak for myself or maybe I am going crazy, maybe I am the problem.
Felicity Cohen: They’re big questions to ask.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, yeah.
Felicity Cohen: In the space that I work in with people who are exploring weight loss, often weight loss surgery, and they’ve been challenged for many, many years often having been through all the diets on the planet, and tried for years, many have medical issues and so many other triggers before they actually get to that point where they’re exploring a weight loss intervention.
It’s really interesting, one of the questions that often comes up when I’m talking to people is, “oh, but my partner or my husband, or my wife or my spouse, they say to me, but I’ll still love you no matter what your size” and it’s a fascinating conversation to have with someone before they’re considering having surgery. That separating those two concepts out that how your partner loves you should be so totally separate from your weight and who you are.
Dr Lurve: So there’s a couple of things here. The partner’s saying I’ll love you no matter your size, so to the partner, it doesn’t matter whether you are a size eight or a size twenty-eight, what he, or she’s saying is that I love you regardless. It’s the person that’s carrying the weight that has the limitation. They’re the ones saying, “if I carry this weight, he can’t love me. So if I lose the weight, first of all, will he still love me because I’ll be different? Second of all, will I feel worthy because I lost the weight because I only know myself as this weight, as carrying this extra weight?”
Felicity Cohen: It’s a really fascinating subject and I like patients to focus first and foremost on the health consequences and outcomes and for their partner to see how much better life could be for them in a relationship together as a healthier couple. So with that weight gone, you know, without the limitations that could be physical, emotional, or potential health risks that can be, you know, really quite a life-changing if they’re not addressed.
Dr Lurve: Yeah.
Felicity Cohen: And then we go through the other side of the equation. Once patients have lost weight navigate their way through not just maintaining a relationship, but reestablishing what that relationship can look like. And it can be many of them, so many different challenges.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, well, you’ve got to remember while you’re in a relationship and you know, you’ve got some health and weight challenges, there are other challenges in a relationship. There are connection issues, there are intimacy issues, there’s you know, stamina, there’s the ability to have the energy to do things that you would probably love to do. And you create a level of comfort in a relationship for both parties, one carrying the weight and the partner as well. And then you go through this journey of, I think I want to, you know, lose the weight, sometimes that’s the motivation is that I need to lose the weight.
Other times it’s the health, you know, I’ve got diabetes or there’s some stuff going on with the heart and I really, you know, if I don’t lose this weight, it’s going to cost me my life. You know, some people are really at that, if I don’t lose weight, I’m going to die early. And so there’s a real shedding about weight loss surgery. There’s a shedding of self, there’s a shedding of physical weight, emotional weight, and if you’re not working together through that journey, you could very easily see the journey also become quite parallel and you live a separate journey, and so it’s very important that both partners are working together on this because the person that’s been carrying the weight may have been carrying the weight for some time and they’ve identified with being a particular person at a particular weight.
That weight also may mean a couple of other things. It may be it’s my comfort zone, it’s my protection, it’s all I know, it’s how I protected myself growing up, it’s how I do live comfortably, it’s how my husband interacts with me. He met me at this size, this is how he likes. And then it’s, hang on, there are some health issues or I don’t like how I’m interacting with life at the moment. I want to have this weight loss surgery, and then he, so we are going to talk about monogamous male and female relationship at the moment, he will turn around and say, “I like you the way you are, but if that’s what’s going to make you happy, that’s fine.” He also needs to learn how to be different from you because you are different now. You’ve shown up different, you don’t have the weight, you’re possibly feeling a bit better about yourself, you’ve got a little bit more energy, you know, you’re a little bit more, your stamina’s increased, your libido might be better. So there are a lot of changes and if you’re not prepared for the changes, it can rock a relationship.
Felicity Cohen: A hundred per cent, and I’ve seen this so many times that you know, the sex and intimacy change the self-esteem changes and sometimes with changing self-esteem and building new self-confidence, patients or people who’ve gone through a weight loss journey, might all of a sudden notice, or maybe I was actually settling in a relationship that was not serving me and maybe this is my chance to say, I can actually look for something that is more, that I deserve more.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, yeah, absolutely! So you’ll see when, with some of the clients that I’ve had that have gone through this process, they’ve got to a particular stage where they start to, they didn’t realise how much they didn’t feel good about themselves because they became complacent in that feeling and it wasn’t until they shed the weight and they got a little bit healthier that they realised, “hang on a minute, I was actually living as a shell of a person and I had no life, but I didn’t know any better. And now I’m having all of these feelings and all of this confidence and I just realised that I was actually compromising what I really want because I never thought I could get better. I never thought I was worthy of having a better connection. I never thought I could have more sex, you know, my partner doesn’t have a libido and he doesn’t want to have sex, you know, more than once a month, whereas I realise I want to now”.
So lots of things change in the relationship and so when they start to go, “I compromised for that fifteen years or those five years or those four years or whatever it is, because I thought I wasn’t worthy enough and now I’m growing the confidence, and now I feel like I have a choice. That’s what happens is that when they get to that stage, they’ve made the choice to have weight loss surgery. It opens up other choices and they say, “wow, I have a choice now that I don’t have to settle. I didn’t settle for the 50 kilos, I chose not to have it anymore, and now I’m going to choose to do life or relationships different” so it opens up a lot of choices.
Felicity Cohen: Yeah, so, so fascinating. And the concept and the conversations that we often have in here around the self-love journey and what that looks like and understanding how that looks, you know, self-esteem, and I know in one of your blogs, you talk a lot about self-love really being first and foremost about self-acceptance and I really love that term. How do we kind of look at self-love and what are the values around that? How do we actually evaluate if we’re in a really solid, good relationship with ourselves and that we do have good self-appreciation?
Dr Lurve: Well we know that boundaries are the first and foremost there. It’s really understanding what is it, and what I need to create in my relationships. And it doesn’t matter what type of relationship from working, intimate, friendship, or family, what do I need to create so that I am not feeling like I’m continually compromising what I want? And self-love is that self-love is saying, “what do I need? And what do I want and how do I create space to get that without feeling like I’m doing the wrong thing or without feeling guilty”, because that’s why we don’t do it. That’s why we don’t put the boundaries up, that’s why we don’t say no when we really want to, and I think with people going on that journey and that weight loss journey and the weight loss surgery journey, look back and they reflect and they think how many times did I say yes when I wanted to say no because I didn’t feel like I was good enough to say no because what happens if I lost love? What happens if I lost connection? So the more times I say yes, the more connected I feel, even though there’s a part of me inside that really wants to scream that no.
Felicity Cohen: Okay. I think there are also so many different fears around making those choices for change as well that often can get in the way, you know, that fear of loss of that relationship too when they’re stepping into a new zone. And I think it’s so important to not fear what potentially could happen because you’re opening up this whole new world and not losing your sense of self in a relationship and staying true to yourself, but also finding, you know, your own personal goals within that relationship as well that you don’t lose them, they still become a priority all the time.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, look Felicity I think when you’ve gone down a track in life where your health hasn’t been a priority or your nutrition or your movement in life, you’ve already compromised yourself. You’ve already compromised your quality of self-love because you’ve put it second in comparison to everything else. You know what you put in your mouth and what you feed your body is a form of self-love. It’s like, what am I worthy of eating? What am I worthy of filling myself up with? Moving your body is a form of self-love, it’s like, if you don’t move it, you lose it. And it happens in your body, it happens in sexual relationships, it happens in intimacy. And this is what happens with those people that are going through that journey as the larger you get, the harder it is to move and the larger you get, the harder it is to be intimate. And so you lose sex drive, you lose mobility, and so all of those things are a form of self-love.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely. What do you think about the idea of, you know, love at any age? We see so many people go through marriage and divorce, breakups and, you know, changing at different stages of life, different ages. How do we kind of think about, you know, is it possible to still re-partner and find love at any age?
Dr Lurve: Absolutely! Oh my goodness, love is just timeless. We are all able to have love at any age and I think with love as we get older, what happens is the type of love that we need changes. It’s not love itself, it’s what it looks like, how we receive it, it’s how we give it. We might find that I know that some of my older clients, you know, moving into, you know, that have gone through the grief that has lost somebody at 73 years old and, you know, they don’t want to do the next twenty years, you know, or ten years on their own, and they’re looking for love in companionship. You know, they’re not looking for love and passionate sex, whereas some of them are still quite, you know, sexually active, which is fine and good for them! But, you know, they might be moving into a transition that love is different for them.
So love is about connection and whatever it means to you at any given time, whether it’s from the minute you’re born, to you know, primary school, high school, adolescence, whatever that love is, love is accessible to everyone at any time in their life, even accessible to self, right? Self-love all the time.
Felicity Cohen: I love that. That’s just perfect and I really agree with you, it’s how you perceive it and what you’re looking for, whether that’s companionship or romantic love. It’s different for different people at different stages of life.
So I was asking some of my staff what questions they wanted me to ask you today, and one of them was asking me about, and she’s a young mom with a small child, how do you keep the spark alive? You know, they’ve been way beyond that honeymoon stage of the relationship, gone through having first child, working and juggling, you know, all the different challenges of life. What are some of the tips that you might have for keeping the spark alive in their relationship?
Dr Lurve: Yep. So I think the one thing that I notice when it comes to moms, like me included for my first and probably all three of my children, is that I put myself in a position where I fit into the child’s life and that’s probably what I did wrong. I probably should have come across it from how does this child fit into my life? So when I had my first child, my whole world changed, it was all about the child. And rather than changing my mindset and saying, “Okay, this child’s coming into my life. How does that child fit into my life?” my whole world changed and it became about how I fit into the child’s life. So I started to compromise a lot of things in my own life from intimacy, communication, date nights, exercise, food, and sleep, a lot of those things because the child becomes the focus of everything. And I think what we need to remember is that in a relationship, it doesn’t matter how many kids you have your relationship with your partner is the priority. Then it becomes about the kids. And as moms that can be quite difficult because the kids always come first, the kids then, you know, the house cleaning and then the cooking and then the husband, or then the wife, whichever way you are sexually orientated, and it’s almost like the priority is a little bit skewed in a relationship. If you’ve got children, you’re in a family, it’s you and your partner first and then it becomes about everyone else. And I call that the couple bubble, is that the couple needs to stay in the bubble, they make the decisions, it’s about them two first and then every other third party, kids, in-laws, family, friends, colleagues, whatever it is, business, is outside the couple bubble. So you do what’s right for each other first, then you do what’s right for everyone else second, and I think we get mixed up with that.
So she’s going to look for, you know, reigniting the spark, she’s got to get back in the couple bubble, put everything else outside and go, what do we need? Do we need a date night? Do we need to sit down and have a game night at home, just you and I, cheese platter, a couple of wines, put the baby to bed and just connect. How much are we connecting? Are we even connecting or are we connecting only about the child? And have we forgotten why we actually fell in love with each other?
Felicity Cohen: I think that’s so valuable because I’m sure that if the focus then becomes on the couple, they then become better parents as well. So the parenting story together because they’re connecting better is going to change that whole playing field. They’re less likely to argue or to have multiple other challenges if you flipped that whole cycle of behaviour that I think, and I’ve seen so many people trapped in that, focusing on the child first. So I really love that, that’s a really great idea.
Dr Lurve: Yeah. Well, and just to put a picture to it, if you think about it, if you’re in a couple bubble and there’s no couple in the bubble and it’s mum and child and the husband or the girlfriend or the partners outside, how do you communicate? There’s like a glass thing around you, you know, there’s this bubble around you that’s muffling what you’re trying to say. So the other, partner’s not really being able to hear what you are trying to say because it’s baby first, and them second. But if they’re in the couple bubble with you and you are communicating, it’s clear, you’re understanding, there’s no getting mixed up. There’s no, you’re trying to read my mind or you’re trying to understand through the couple bubble what’s going on, you’re actually in the bubble together. Then you start to rely on each other, then it’s, you know, he’s saying, “all right, babe, what do you need? Okay, why don’t you do that? I’ll do that and then I’ll take care of the other priority while you look after that”, you become a team and I think that’s where we go wrong is that we forget that we are a team first. It was the team that made the baby, stick to the team!
Felicity Cohen: Couldn’t agree more. And that kind of makes me think about when is the right time for us in life to seek out relationship advice, relationship coaching, and to tap into really working on our relationships. I think far too many people wait until there’s a crisis, a trauma, a breakdown to start navigating the relationship where maybe we’d be better off looking, to support relationships to become healthier, better and stronger. We could be thinking about connecting with a relationship coach far earlier than we were with a life coach or other areas of life.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, and you think about it, I have people come to me prior to being married. They want to know how, we are getting married and we want to make sure that we know some of the things, what to expect, how we put tools in our toolbox, and how we make this the best marriage that we could possibly have together, how do we do this? And those things around the couple bubble and those things around having your tools, how to manage third parties, how to manage in-laws, family, expectations, business. That is all, you know, spoken about prior to the commitment and so they already set themselves up for success. And it’s a little bit like doing a business plan before you do a business. You set out what are the risks. What’s the return on investment? What do you need to plan for? What can’t you plan for? But the plan’s there and I think that’s the same thing coming into any relationship it’s never too early to learn what you can do in a relationship because the skills are transferable.
When you are at work, your couple bubble is between you and your leadership team, or when you are the boss, your couple bubbles between you and the employee, or when you are a doctor or a GP or a surgeon, your couple bubbles between you and your patient. So the skills are transferable and I think there is no better time to learn about relationships than now. And it doesn’t matter where you are at, whether it’s a good relationship, a relationship on the rocks, not sure if you want to do a relationship, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re a teenager, whether you’re in primary school, relationships will give us the quality of life that we’re after. They’re going to give us the connection that we’re after. So why would we wait to feel lonely, not worthy and disconnected before we go I need help.
Felicity Cohen: I think that’s the best advice you could possibly give our listeners and I really love that. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
One of my favourite quotes that I’ve been reading through on your Instagram page is the following, and I’m going to go to quote you back to you because I really love this, “growth is uncomfortable because you’ve never been there before”. How do we encourage and inspire people to put themselves in that position of being uncomfortable?
Dr Lurve: Well, I think this is what people avoid, right? This is why they stay the same, is that I’d rather be comfortable than uncomfortable, which means I stay the same and I stay mediocre and nothing ever changes, and I’ll keep complaining about everything that doesn’t change because I don’t want to feel uncomfortable. It’s just a never-ending cycle. So I talk about this and obviously, I’ve done lots of training, and acceptance and commitment therapy talks about accepting the way you feel, still committing to what you want to achieve. And that is something that I talk about with all of my clients, is accepting that you feel scared, accepting that you feel worried, a little anxious even, maybe not sure, but not being the reason why you don’t follow through.
Because the feelings are short-lived, their emotions and emotions if you break it down, it’s an emo-tion, they move, they have motion, they don’t stay forever. And so if you can sit in the pain or if you call it pain, the fear, the anxiety, for that little bit of time and accept that you feel that way rather than push it away and saying, I shouldn’t feel like this, or I don’t know like how I feel or, I don’t want this to present itself. And it does anyway, if you can accept it and do it anyway, you are more likely to get success in most areas of your life, including intimate relationships, business, you know, health, physical fitness, any of that, you know, it’s not comfortable when you’re learning to run a marathon when you’re, you know, I’m trying at the moment thinking, “oh, I’d like to learn how to run.” I’m not a runner! And learning to run five kilometres is difficult, when I’m doing that interval training and I’m running for one minute 30 seconds, I don’t feel comfortable. I want to press stop or put the, you know, the speed down, but I’m like, “you know what? This is temporary, it’s a minute and 30 seconds. I’ll just run it out and feel pretty shit for that time and I’ll get to breathe at the end of it” but at the end of the day in 30 days, I want to be running 5 km.
So it keeps your eye on the prize. You got to know what your target is and I think that the difference, is that people tend to forget what the target is and they get so caught up in the feeling of fear and anxiety and uncomfortableness that they forget why that’s coming up.
Felicity Cohen: And the self-doubt and that sense of accomplishment that you are going to feel when you get to that 5 km mark is so worth every single second of being uncomfortable.
Dr Lurve: Well, I won’t lie to your Felicity, I don’t think I can do it! I say, like, you know, it comes up for me as well. I’m like, “oh, I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t even know if I want to do it. What’s wrong with me. Why am I setting this goal for myself?” because I feel uncomfortable. I’ve told myself for so long that I’m not a runner, but I don’t know why I’ve told myself that because physically, biologically, I should be able to run. But it’s just a limiting belief and this is what happens is our limiting beliefs turn up and they try and convince us that we can’t do something.
Felicity Cohen: Absolutely! And they show up in so many different areas of our life all the time, every day, learning to shed those limiting beliefs would really help us step out of our comfort zones and become so much more successful, not just in relationships, but in many areas of life.
Dr Lurve: But they don’t go away on their own! You know, the pelican’s not going to come and pick ’em up and take ’em away from you. It’s going to be up to you to sort of, you know, feel it and work through it. So the uncomfortable feeling just means you’re about to have a breakthrough. And if you do want the breakthrough to sit through it, you’ll be fine.
Felicity Cohen: Beautiful. Do you have any wellness routines that are non-negotiable’s that help you to stay balanced, especially when you’re so engaged to, I guess absorbing, communicating, and coaching with people every day of your life? What are some of your non-negotiable wellness routines?
Dr Lurve: Obviously movement. Movement for me is really important. I like to move and listen to podcasts, so it’s just my giving back to myself. So moving my body, making sure that I’m, you know, spending time, I don’t get a lot of time to read because I work and I like to be present with my kids as well and manage a couple of other businesses. So for me, it’s definitely movement and learning, the other thing that I make a non-negotiable is that I’m social. I love to be social and I love to connect with friends. I love to dance, so I need to make sure that I’m always filling up my cup. I work hard, but I play hard and that’s totally one of my wellness routines, is that if I’m going to, if I’m going to play hard, I need to work hard. And I feel like that’s a really good balance for me.
I also, you know, eat well and, you know, I have the occasional junk food and the occasional night out where I’ve drunk probably one or too many! But it’s not something that, you know, derails me. I’m like, okay, what’s next? What’s the next day? What am I eating the next day? Am I hydrating? Am I eating fruit and veggies a little bit more this week? It’s just a real balance. And what I speak about often in some of my workshops and seminars is, I talk about something that came out of Harvard, it’s called the Priority Principle, and I don’t get caught up too much in the mindset of balance because sometimes people think balance is about, “I’ve got to do everything equally” I’ve got to be mum this much, I’ve got to be working this much, and that’s not achievable, not in our life at the moment.
For me, it’s the priority principle. What’s my priority today? I need to feel good today, okay, I need to move. What’s my priority? I’ve got to work through this email list, that’s my priority. I’ve got to finish a workshop today, that’s my priority today. So it’s working through my priority first and then everything else second. It’s almost like I’ve got a couple bubble with my priority, right? It’s me and my priority. What are we talking about? What are we doing? And I make that a conversation that I have every night before I go to bed, what’s my priority tomorrow? And I jot it down because then I don’t have to think about it and then I get to sleep and then I wake up and I already know what my day’s like.
So there are a couple of things, movement, priority principle, nourishing, and work hard, play hard is a must. It’s not negotiable.
Felicity Cohen: Sounds pretty perfect to me. What do you wish you knew about wellness 10 years ago?
Dr Lurve: I probably wish I knew that like I used to work very hard and not play at all. And I almost felt like it gave me, you know, some stripes on my shoulders. It was like, you know what, Dr Lurve is a really hard worker, like, look at, you know, I’m proud of myself, but I didn’t feel like I wasn’t really that happy. Like I was achieving, yeah, I’ve got a couple of University degrees, I’ve got a good business, I was changing people’s lives, but there was something missing. And I think what I know now is that I wish that I put myself and my happiness and the fun aspect, the stuff that’s going to fill me up, I wish I took a little bit more advantage of that part.
So definitely taking care of myself and having those non-negotiable’s, I wish I knew that. I also wish I knew about the couple bubble because I would’ve definitely had myself and my partner first rather than each child that I had, and it took me, you know, three children to work out that this couple bubble really does work. And, you know, some of my own mistakes to go, now I know what I could have done better. But you know, all in all, wellness really isn’t about, you know, meditating or getting facials or any of that, it’s everything we’ve spoken about. It’s my thoughts, it’s my ability to accept how I feel and do it anyway. It’s having a priority every single day, even if it’s tiny, even if my priority is to relax and read the newspaper in the sun, that’s my priority, it doesn’t matter.
And giving myself, I guess, acknowledgement and gratitude for what I’ve done and where I am really important. Because, you know, sometimes I go to bed and I’m so excited, and I’ll just say, “thank you, thank you, thank you” and it’s not writing, it’s just saying, thank you, because something amazing has happened and just being grateful for that. So those little moments that we might even think are insignificant, we take for granted. So I think that’s probably some of the stuff that I wish that I knew earlier, is that I didn’t say thank you enough growing up. I was too busy being too busy on these successful achievement trains and lots of expectations for myself that were unrealistic. So I think gratitude, being thankful, putting myself first, the couple bubble, all of those things are things that I wish that I knew 10 years ago. But I’m so glad I know them now because I can teach everyone else.
Felicity Cohen: Fabulous! One of the things that you mentioned that you incorporate into your wellness routine is listening to podcasts and I just wanted to mention to our listeners that I absolutely love listening to your, Between the Sheets podcast. There are some absolute gems and some real gold nuggets of advice in all of your episodes. So I’m really, really enjoying listening to that also.
Dr Lurve: Yeah, thank you. No, that’s been good, that’s going into a different, a little bit of a different series the next few episodes. So that will be interesting, so you got to keep an eye out for that.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you. And finally, our listeners are all Wellness Warriors. We know wellness is worth fighting for. Once you lose your health, you spend the rest of your life fighting to get it back, whether that’s physical or mental or spiritual health and something that’s always inspiring to learn about is how others are going on their wellness journey.
So my last question for you today, Dr Lurve, is, can you share with us a time when you were struggling with your wellness and what did you do to fight for it or reclaim it?
Dr Lurve: I do. I was going, actually through my own relationship stuff and it impacted everything about, physically in my body. So I wasn’t, this was quite some time ago, but it was, it really showed me the impact our emotions and our psychology have on our physical body. And my endocrine system went out, my thyroid, I started to put on weight, and I was sluggish. I wasn’t, you know, I was oversleeping, my feet and hands were cold. I was like, what’s going on? And it was all the stuff that I was avoiding. It was the stuff that I didn’t want to face. It was the stuff we spoke about earlier about feeling uncomfortable, and I know for me, that’s the stuff that showed up. And so what I needed to do was, first of all, face the stuff that I was avoiding and admit that it was there. So the acknowledgement was foremost, and we say that about any type of change, is that you’ve got to acknowledge what needs to change before you can change it. And so I was acknowledging that I needed to make some massive changes. So unapologetically, I really made it a priority. So I took a step back without saying, sorry to anybody and without feeling guilty and saying, “I really need to put myself in that couple bubble and do something that’s going to make a difference for me” and I started to realise that if you don’t really work on your wellbeing in every part of you, you know, your emotional wellbeing, your psychological wellbeing, your physical wellbeing, your spiritual wellbeing, it will force you into a state of illness, and I didn’t want to be there because I was starting to see it unfold in front of myself.
I was starting to feel it, I was starting to be it and that was non-negotiable for me. Being unwell was definitely the point where I went, “this is not going to be I spend the rest of my life or how I choose to.” So it took me hitting pretty much about rock bottom to realise where I wanted to be and sometimes that happens. But I did eventually remind myself that things will always get done, and this was a combination of me not feeling good enough and being a perfectionist, that it should have been done perfectly and it should have been done yesterday and why is it taking so long?
So I had to learn the virtue of patience and that there’s no rush to get it all done right now and that it will eventually happen. So I reset by looking at really what was important for me right now and what can wait, and that’s where I came up with, you know, following the priority principle. If this meant I needed to slow down and unplug for a little bit that’s what I did.
Felicity Cohen: Thank you so much for sharing. Such an insightful chat, I loved every single second. Thank you very much, Dr Lurve for joining me on the Wellness Warriors podcast.
Dr Lurve: Thank you for having me.