Michelle Obama: How to Stay with Your Partner When They Are Changing & 4 Check-ins You Should Be Doing in Your Relationship

    Foster meaningful connections and productive conversations by approaching discussions with maturity, empathy, and a willingness to understand others' perspectives. Giving everyone a voice creates a sense of ownership and decreases hostility.

    enJanuary 08, 2024

    About this Episode

    Do you want to learn how to strengthen your relationship over time? 

    Do you want to have better communication and expectations with your partner? 

    On this very special episode of On Purpose, Jay Shetty sits down with the former First Lady of the country, Michelle Obama. During Michelle’s time as First Lady, Michelle launched several initiatives, including "Let's Move!" which aimed to combat childhood obesity, and "Reach Higher," promoting higher education. Her memoir "Becoming," released in 2018, became one of the best-selling books of that year and took the world by storm. Today we sit down to talk about her most recent book, “The Light We Carry.” 

    In this raw conversation, Michelle opens up about her thoughts on marriage, fame, and public service. She talks about the toxicity of social media and technology that affects our mental health and how to be open to the changes and possibilities people bring with them. She also talks about how negative news and social updates are affecting our society and the community we are in.

    We also dive deep into relationships and  why we put so much pressure on our marriage, how to choose the right person for you and make the relationship work even when it isn’t perfect, and how to practice constructive arguments with your partner.

    In this interview, you’ll learn:

    • How to think freely and independently
    • How to take care of your mental health
    • How to become a supportive partner
    • How deal with negativity
    • How to become an effective leader
    • How to make your marriage last  

    Together we’ll learn how to find calm amid life's noise, give people the space to be seen and heard, and explore topics that resonate with the very fabric of our personal growth journey.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    • 00:00 Intro
    • 01:18 What is the Best Part of Being You?
    • 02:16 What’s Your Longest Friendship?
    • 03:16 The Struggle of Leaving the People You Love Behind
    • 06:36 Be Open to the Possibilities of People
    • 11:36 What’s the Hardest Part of Being You?
    • 14:23 When You Lose a Piece of Yourself
    • 16:48 What Keeps You Up at Night?
    • 19:00 Allow Your Brain to Rest from the Noise
    • 24:26 Mindful Usage of Technology
    • 26:48 We Consume More Negative News Daily
    • 31:03 How Do You Sustain a Successful Relationship?
    • 35:33 The Non-Negotiables in Any Relationship
    • 37:08 You Are Responsible for Your Own Happiness
    • 42:50 What is Your Fight Style?
    • 48:42 Giving People Space to Be Seen and Heard
    • 53:15 What Offends You the Most?
    • 54:39 The Best Personal Growth Moments
    • 59:59 Conclusion with Michelle Obama

    Episode Resources:

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Surrounding oneself with supportive and honest friends is crucial for personal growth and success, even if it means leaving behind old friendships that may hinder progress.
    • Being open to new people and experiences allows for personal growth, learning, and the opportunity to meet wonderful individuals who can positively impact our lives.
    • Michelle Obama highlights the loss of anonymity and the need to appreciate the value of freedom and normalcy, while urging young people to consider the consequences before pursuing fame.
    • In a world filled with concerns and challenges, Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of staying open and connected to people, while also acknowledging the need to disconnect and find sanity and peace.
    • Constant influx of information through technology overwhelms our brains; taking breaks, engaging in analog activities, and focusing on small actions can improve mental well-being.
    • The constant exposure to overwhelming information online can lead to stress and anxiety, especially for children. It is important to be cautious of the effects of social media and recognize that having more information doesn't mean things are worse than before.
    • Open communication, learning from mistakes, and commitment are crucial in sustaining a long-term relationship.
    • Successful marriages require choosing a respectful and likable partner, accepting flaws, setting boundaries against abuse or criminality, and maintaining individuality and outside relationships for personal growth.
    • Every relationship is unique, and effective communication and understanding are crucial in maintaining long-lasting connections. Invest time and effort, navigate conflicts, and prioritize individual needs for a fulfilling and meaningful relationship.
    • Understanding and adapting to our partner's communication styles and emotional needs is essential for effective communication and resolving conflicts in a relationship.
    • Foster meaningful connections and productive conversations by approaching discussions with maturity, empathy, and a willingness to understand others' perspectives. Giving everyone a voice creates a sense of ownership and decreases hostility.
    • Thoughtful and strategic communication involves acknowledging and addressing emotions in a safe space while conveying reason, compassion, and empathy, and giving space for unheard voices to create a positive impact.
    • Being strategic in communication, staying authentic to oneself, and maintaining resilience are essential when navigating through challenges and advocating for peace and progress.
    • Michelle Obama urges us to uplift and support young people, promote equity, and overcome fear to strive towards a better world for all.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Importance of Choosing the Right Friends on the Journey to Success

    Maintaining lifelong friendships can be challenging, especially when embarking on a journey of success. Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of surrounding oneself with solid and grounded individuals who keep them focused and honest. She describes her circle of friends as a big kitchen table, comprising childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, and law school friends. However, not everyone is meant to accompany you on the climb to success. Michelle compares this journey to climbing Mount Everest, where some people may not be emotionally or physically ready to make it to the top. In order to keep progressing, it may be necessary to leave some friendships behind, although it can bring about survivor's remorse.

    Embracing Openness for Personal Growth and Meaningful Connections

    Staying open to new people and experiences is essential for personal growth and meaningful connections. Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of not closing oneself off from potential friendships and relationships, even in positions of power and influence. While there may be risks of disappointment and hurt, the possibility of discovering someone special outweighs the potential negatives. Being open allows for personal evolution, learning, and the chance to meet wonderful people who can positively impact our lives. Instead of being closed, specific, and controlling, embracing openness, randomness, and supportiveness allows for greater connections, opportunities, and personal development.

    The Sacrifices and Challenges of Power and Fame

    Being in a position of power and fame may come with sacrifices and challenges. Michelle Obama highlights the loss of anonymity and the inability to participate in everyday activities without scrutiny. She emphasizes the importance of appreciating the value of anonymity and freedom to observe the world without being observed. Michelle acknowledges that fame and influence have restricted her ability to have spontaneous experiences and normalcy. She advises young people to consider the consequences before pursuing fame. Despite the difficulties, Michelle emphasizes the importance of staying open and connected to people's experiences to maintain empathy and understanding. Overall, this conversation sheds light on the less glamorous aspects of power and fame.

    Michelle Obama on Loss of Freedom and Connection after leaving the White House

    Michelle Obama reflects on the loss of personal freedom and connection in her life after leaving the White House. She shares how both she and her husband, Barack Obama, have lost the ability to freely enjoy cities like Chicago and New York due to security concerns. The couple can no longer casually walk down the street or take public transportation. Despite these challenges, Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of staying open and connected to people. She also reveals that her biggest fear now is not personal, but rather the state of the world. She worries about wars, the environment, education, voter participation, and the impact of leaders on society. Despite having access to vast amounts of information and news, she acknowledges the need to deliberately turn it off at times to maintain a sense of sanity and peace.

    Disconnecting from Technology: Resting Our Brains for Mental Well-Being

    Our constant connectivity and information overload through technology is overwhelming for our brains. Michelle Obama highlights that our brains have not evolved enough to handle the constant influx of information, and this is especially detrimental for young people, leading to higher rates of depression and suicide. Taking breaks from the noise and finding ways to shut our minds down and be present is crucial for our mental well-being. Activities like knitting, exercising, or engaging in hobbies that involve physical motion can serve as meditative practices, allowing our brains to rest. Focusing on small actions, creating, building, and making a difference in our immediate environment can bring satisfaction and a sense of purpose. Disconnecting from technology and finding analog moments are essential for our overall well-being, just like our phones need a reset, our brains also need a break from the constant flow of information.

    The Impact of Rapid Technological Advancement on Mental Well-being

    The rapid advancement of technology, especially social media, has had a significant impact on our mental well-being. Michelle Obama highlights how we haven't biologically adapted to this new media, which is why we often feel stressed and anxious. This is particularly concerning for our children who have no filter and are constantly exposed to the overwhelming information online. Just like cigarettes, we need to be cautious and mindful of the effects of this new technology. Jay Shetty adds that we now absorb in one day the same amount of tragedy that we would in our entire lifetime years ago, leading to panic and a distorted perception of safety. We need to recognize that although we have access to more information, it doesn't necessarily mean things are worse than before.

    Navigating the Challenges of Relationships and Marriage

    Relationships, including marriages, can be challenging and difficult. Michelle Obama, who has been married for 31 years, acknowledges that there have been times when she wishes she didn't say or do certain things. However, the key is how couples address and rectify those mistakes. It is important to apologize, learn from the experience, and practice effective communication. Michelle emphasizes the need to talk openly about marriage and share the entire experience, including its challenges, because many people are unaware of the natural rough patches that occur in long-term relationships. Sustaining a relationship requires the commitment to figure things out and not give up when it gets hard. It's a continuous learning process that improves with time and practice, even after years of mistakes.

    The Importance of Understanding, Acceptance, and Setting Boundaries in Successful Marriages

    Successful marriages require understanding, acceptance, and the recognition that no one person can fulfill all our needs. Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of choosing a partner we respect and like, with the understanding that both individuals will have flaws and make mistakes. However, she also emphasizes the need to define our own "quit worthy" boundaries, where certain behaviors like abuse or criminality should never be tolerated. Ultimately, she highlights the importance of individuality within a marriage and the need to cultivate other relationships and interests outside of the partnership. This allows for personal growth and the freedom to find happiness within oneself, while still maintaining a strong bond with a partner.

    Nurturing Relationships: The Importance of Communication and Individuality

    Every relationship is unique and it's important for individuals to define what works best for them. Michelle Obama shares that she has friends who are each other's best friends, while others prefer constant communication. There's no one-size-fits-all approach to relationships. It's crucial to detach from expectations and openly communicate with each other, rather than holding onto unexpressed desires and becoming resentful. Marriage and friendship take time, effort, and effective communication. Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of regular check-ins to maintain closeness and understanding. Furthermore, learning how to navigate conflicts is a vital skill in maintaining long-lasting relationships. Ultimately, investing in relationships is challenging but worthwhile.

    Navigating Communication Styles in Relationships

    Understanding each other's communication styles and emotional needs is crucial in a relationship. Michelle Obama and her husband have different fight styles - she tends to explode and then hide, while he is a fixer. They have learned to navigate these differences and find ways to communicate effectively. Michelle acknowledges that exploding on a fixer doesn't feel good to them, and her husband has learned that she needs time to calm down before engaging in problem-solving discussions. This shows the importance of considering the other person's emotions and adjusting our communication approach to achieve our goals. Maturing our passion, thinking strategically, and prioritizing understanding over being heard are key elements in resolving conflicts and making meaningful change.

    Finding the Balance in Effective Communication

    Effective communication requires a balance of authenticity and strategy. Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of going high, which means approaching conversations and relationships with maturity and empathy. It's about considering the perspective and emotions of the other person and understanding where their feelings and perceptions come from. Authenticity is valuable, but it's also crucial to be mindful of how our words and actions are received by others. By stepping back and making room to understand others, we can foster genuine connectivity and create space for productive conversations. Additionally, giving everyone a voice and making them feel seen and heard decreases anger and hostility, promoting a sense of ownership and investment in society.

    Michelle Obama's Approach to Strategic and Responsible Communication

    Michelle Obama emphasizes the importance of strategic and responsible communication. Despite feeling anger, pain, and disappointment, she recognizes the need to carefully deliver messages that can make a positive impact and move the needle. While she acknowledges and addresses her emotions in a safe space, she understands that expressing them in an uncontrolled manner in the public sphere only adds fuel to the fire. Michelle believes that authenticity lies not in blurting out the first thing that comes to mind but rather in conveying reason, compassion, and empathy. She asserts that modeling these qualities is essential for those with a platform, as it resonates and has a greater impact than individual feelings. Moreover, she highlights the significance of giving space for unheard voices, acknowledging the distortions and challenges that can arise in public forums. Michelle's understanding of strategic communication and thoughtful expression serves as a masterclass in effective communication.

    The Power of Strategic Communication and Authenticity

    Strategic communication is crucial in navigating through challenges and maintaining control over one's narrative. Michelle Obama's experience highlighted the importance of being authentic while also being cautious to avoid mischaracterization. She emphasized the need to be smarter and more strategic than those who try to instill fear and disrupt progress. Learning how to effectively communicate on the public stage was a valuable lesson for her. This aligns with Martin Luther King's words about the need for organized and thoughtful action for those who advocate for peace and compassion. Michelle's story teaches us the significance of being strategic, resilient, and staying true to our values while facing adversity.

    Michelle Obama's Message of Empowerment and Equality

    Michelle Obama's legacy is centered around creating a stronger foundation for young people. She believes that with just one word, we can change a kid's life for better or worse. Therefore, she hopes to help more young people feel seen and uplifted through her work. Additionally, if given the chance to create one law in the world, Michelle Obama believes that everyone should have fundamental rights such as a home, food, a job, and education. She emphasizes the need for equity and for those who have more to be forced to trickle down their resources to benefit those without. Fear, she argues, is what often prevents us from seeing our shared humanity and connecting with others. It is exploited by those in power to maintain control. Overall, Michelle Obama's key message is about the importance of lifting up young people, creating equity, and overcoming fear to build a better world.

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    04:48 10 Reason Why People Stay in a Relationship

    12:44 Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Relationship

    18:14 The Three Cancers of the Mind

    24:44 Difference in Scorecard Perspective

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    Benny Blanco: 3 Ways to Stop Caring About Failure & Get Out of Your Own Way

    Benny Blanco: 3 Ways to Stop Caring About Failure & Get Out of Your Own Way

    How can you overcome the fear of failure?

    What can you do daily to care less about failing?

    Today, Jay sits down with Benny Blanco for an inspiring conversation about pursuing passions, mentorship, failure, and continuous motivation. Benny has made a huge mark on the music industry contributing to hundreds of millions of album sales worldwide. Benny has worked with A-List artists like Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry. As a solo artist, his albums "Friends Keep Secrets" and its sequel have amassed over 11 billion streams, featuring multiple platinum hits. Beyond music, Benny has ventured into television and even released a cookbook, "Open Wide," showcasing his diverse talents and interests

    Benny shares insight on how to not let failure stop you and getting over imposter syndrome. We also go dive into Benny’s life outside of music, exploring his passion for cooking through his cookbook "Open Wide." Plus, Benny talks about his relationships, how he keeps his creativity flowing, and the small joys that make his life special.

    In this interview, you’ll learn:

    How to pursue your passion with limited resources

    How to not let failure get in your way of achieving your goals

    How to embrace the unexpected in creative work

    How to transition your passion into different fields

    How to find joy and creativity in everyday moments

    Don't miss this intimate look at Benny Blanco's life and maybe learn a thing or two about making your own multi-track masterpiece or the perfect dish to serve at dinner!

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    00:00 Intro

    03:43 What’s the First Creative Thing You Put Together?

    06:15 I Never Cared About Failure

    10:33 Developing Amnesia to Failure

    14:22 How Did You Meet Your Mentor?

    18:10 “The Boy I Mentored” 

    23:42 How Do You Show Up After a Rejection?

    26:51 Love Can Be Felt Through Music

    29:56 What Do You Do When You Wake Up?   

    32:02 Why Do You Struggle with Meditation?

    33:28 Why I Went to Therapy

    38:25 The Pressure of Perfectionism

    44:49 Do You Love to Cook?

    47:20 Do You Eat Healthy?

    48:47 Finding Comfort in Food

    54:42 What’s Your Sleep Pattern?

    56:40 Friendships Built Over the Years

    59:19 Multigenerational Friendships

    01:03:44 Better Relationship After Divorce

    01:05:52 Benny on Final Five   

    01:15:57 What’s Your Vice?

    01:17:53 Do You Take Supplements?

    Episode Resources:

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    Why Your Self Worth is Keeping You Stuck & How to Stop Sabotaging Your Personal Growth With Jamie Kern Lima

    Why Your Self Worth is Keeping You Stuck & How to Stop Sabotaging Your Personal Growth With Jamie Kern Lima

    How does low self-worth stop you from moving forward?

    How can you stop self-sabotage and grow personally?

    Today, let’s welcome Jamie Kern Lima. Jamie is a New York Times bestselling author, founder of IT Cosmetics, a company she started in her living room and sold to L'Oreal in a billion-dollar deal, becoming the first female CEO of a brand in its 100+ year history. She's also an active philanthropist who has funded leadership training in more than 100 prisons and shelters across the US, and has donated over $40 million in product and funds to help women face the effects of cancer with confidence. 

    Jamie and Jay ponder on the meaning of self-worth, distinguishing it from mere confidence and challenging the misguided belief that our value is tied to our physical appearance. We get to hear the detrimental effects of self-doubt and present empowering strategies to transform your relationship with rejection, offering a new perspective that fosters resilience and self-compassion. 

    And then the conversation dives deep into personal beliefs, urging us to identify and discard unhelpful misconceptions, while giving emphasis on why authenticity is crucial and its role in conjunction with other factors in achieving success. 

    In this interview, you'll learn:

    How to build self-worth

    How to distinguish confidence from self-worth

    How to handle rejection

    How to overcome self-doubt

    How to remain authentic

    Together, let's learn how to distinguish your worth from external validation, turn rejection into a stepping stone, and live authentically.

    With Love and Gratitude,

    Jay Shetty

    What We Discuss:

    00:00 Intro

    03:17 Do You Feel Worthy Today?

    10:04 Confusing Confidence with Self Worth

    17:37 Your Weight Impacts Your Worth is a Lie 

    24:03 What Has Self Doubt Cost You?

    31:25 How to Change Your Relationship with Rejection

    37:02 The 4-Part R to Reframe Rejection

    44:00 You Need This Today

    48:13 Which Lie Are You Trying to Unlearn? 

    56:32 Authenticity Alone Doesn’t Guarantee Success

    Episode Resources:

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