Have you ever struggled with feeling lonely - even when you’re surrounded by people you love? I have. It’s painful and confusing. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Vivek Murthy, a physician and the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, about loneliness and the physical and emotional toll that social disconnection takes on us. We talk about his new book, TOGETHER, and what it takes for each of us to tilt the world toward love and connection.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hi, I'm Bernay Brown, and this is unlocking ass. This episode is sponsored by our friends at Seattle, foods right down the street from me and Austin Texas And you may have heard Other episodes where I talk about society, if you have you know that they, offer amazing grain free, dairy free gluten free heritage, inspired food They came into being just at the exact same time when we found out that Ellen was gluten, tell them. We had to change our diet, which is hard when you eat tacos and tortillas and things as often as we do the forcing with whether almond flower tortillas and we ve been huge fans ever since you wouldn't tar pantry right now, you see probably fifteen different products from Seattle.
It's, not just our pantry. That looks like this. If you look at the cabinets at work and the refrigerators at work, when we're there, which we haven't been for a little bit, but when we're all, they you'll see a lot of Seattle products with Washee tape on them that had people's names on them like these are my chips this is my enchilada sauce. So, I went under slack and I ask everyone at work to tell me their favorite things from Ziyadi. Here's what they said. Catherine wrote I have three teenage boys, it's dangerous to not have chips around by far, my favorite, is the lime flavoured grain, free, tortilla chips, Catherine, all the incoming meteor inquiries with a team and she's amazing Susan works in Seattle, who is dear to leave facilitator. Ass. It has a lot of coaching with us and with organization. She last week I made mushroom spillage cheese enchilada, as using their almond, tortillas and Green Enchilada saw us. We added a spy
add the triple sauce when we serve them up. They were amazing, making them again on Saturday. This was led by a good Gillian questions on flock about the exact recipe for making these spanish she's enchilada is so. This is the funny ones. I thought Lauren, works and evaluation Road there Chris Are my favorite, especially the hull opinion lime flavour spelled at El Av? Oh, you are lower It's from Scotland. She was actually a. Former graduate student of mine and who works us now, amazing. She writes she left. The crisps pick a chips touchy, to know, tat used to love totty totty the hot sauce challenger and our office, and she can pretty much should be everyone. She On slack, I love their hearts, us, especially the galloping yo and have an arrow I hadn't, so many houses because they all contain sugars. I was so happy to see their options, yet it has everything.
Clean everything spicy in its great Teresa answer. Any question about anything. She's has a photographic memory. She is the culture bearer of happy things. She wrote. I crunch the Fuego chips, in my tortilla soup for spice an of this is the answer is specific and an accounting, their ships meet the to my task. They can hold a slice of avocado and withstand dipping into salsa. We are all huge fans, Seattle Foods you can find the mature grocer, you can look online at Seattle Foods, dot com, try the crisps wink! That's in Texas, we would say Try the tortillas and try the sauces their amazing, Today I am an attack to doktor, vague Murphy as the nineteenth. General of the United States from two thousand fourteen to two thousand seventeen as
where his doctor, he called the nations attention to critical public health issues and clean the opium, AIDS epidemic E cigarettes, emotional, health and well being as the vice admiral of the. U S, public service commissioned corpse. You ever saw uniform service of six thousand six heard officers dedicate to safeguarding the health of the nation doctor. Marthy are vague. As I call him in our interview, has a new book out on loneliness and cottages hit me I M just pierce my heart a little bit. The book is called together, the healing power of human connection, innocent slowly world and work dig in today about what is loneliness, what isn't loneliness and how we can be more connected to ourselves to each other. This an important episode for me. I can really battle loneliness, sometimes even with people. I love any help me dig in and understand so I hope it resonates
you get something out of it. This is such an important time to be talking not only about what loneliness is, but what loneliness is not So can we just start at the very beginning? What is loneliness? Well I'll answer that in two ways, Bernay I'll tell you what researchers and scientists Let's have a menaces and I'll tell you what people, the real people and communities across the country told me in. His was a loneliness you'll, see it defined in the literature is a discrepancy, a gap if he will, between the connections that you need and the social connections that you have its by definition is subjective term, but that also means as its different from objective terms like isolation, which are more discreet. There are a number of people you have around you, so I can have,
you people around me and feel quite lonely, but I can also have just a few people around me and not be lonely at all. It's often about the quality, of my connections both to myself and to the people around me, but there's or people I've been described as loneliness and have experience in their own lives on research in general. I began my tenure visiting communities across the country and I didn't ask people about loneliness may I ask them just a very open, ended question, which is: how can I help and I tried to into what they had to say, but as they described many concerns a had, whether with substance use disorders or violence or chronic diseases, pc that they saw ramping up in their communities I heard where these stories have loneliness and people wouldn't say. I'm lonely. They would say things like. I feel it
I'm carrying this entire load? All by myself, I feel like I disappeared tomorrow. Nobody would even care, I feel like I'm invisible. So that's what loneliness it was like to many of us were experiencing it in everyday life. It's such a hard thing to do Unify and addressed because I, like you, have talked Thousands of people over the course of career and I've very few people. I D. The file loneliness as the experience her emotion that their feeling. So many of them are just described it to us. I'm thinking about some work that the air she's doing with our work and there's a story that Didi half Hell an officer in the air force tells where addressing troops, and she said how are you doing now
had tired, tired were really tired and she stopped digging an unkind appealing the onion and she said if you are lonely and people just couldn't even speak. They put their heads down in their hands up and said: I'm lonely I'm really lonely, it just shows up so many different ways. What are some of the ways that loneliness shows up in our lives a powerful story. You just mentioned in my experience, is almost identical to that Well, nobody came to me and sat I'm the only one. I start the surface and more explicitly and ask how many people. Feel lonely or how many people are worried about loneliness in their lives and the lives of people that you love ice hockey. Visceral, looks a recognition
over the time that I served eye to talk, but so many public health issues, and I sometimes I could see the people you are really connecting with them. Sometimes I could see they were acting Surrey, burly Zika. She was an example of that when I was a dealing with as he can help break. That was a time people would come to put two and two together say. Ok, I understand these are the rest. These are things that should do to prevent an ok. I gotta. This makes sense. But there were some moments where people were connect. Really this relator topic, because it touched on a life experience at home. And the loneliness was one of those topics, but the reason that we don't hear about it. And we ourselves mean on your recognize it in our own lives. I think have to do with you things hitting number one. There is deep stigma around loneliness, the shame loneliness and makes us think that if we are lonely that we're not likeable likeable there were broken in some way and now prevents us not just from admitting it other people, but even from many it to hour, and I think
second reason, though, we don't always see it is because it doesn't look like the purse and at a party sitting alone in the corner, loneliness. In fact manifest in different ways has social withdraw. All. I can manifest his anger command of has his irritability. He can show up indifferent ways, and it can also lead to different types of illnesses. I can You realize in the work that I did, during my time in government and afterward that loneliness was often one of their root contributors, the substance, use disorders and addiction and was a key part. Was driving violence in so many people's lives and in their communities, and so look around us and we will see the manifestations of loneliness, but it looks very different from this. Jerry that we often have in our heads, if flies, underneath the radar there at a really deep level affecting us in profound ways, but just be under our vision and hence we don't addressing
then we don't talk about a nearly as often as I think we need you it's hard, because think about my own experiences of loneliness, which I believe we all have experiences of loneliness right and when and when I think back on my life and the bouts of loneliness it I've had an experience of loneliness. I have, never been more lonely in my life Then, when I was surrounded by people, I knew and even loved and some of the most fulfilling connected times. I've had I've been alone. And so I didn't know what to call it when I was growing up, but I would be surrounded, maybe by family or I'd be at school and there would be ten people around me, but I would be so deeply lonely that I thought something was wrong with me. I didn't know if I was having like panic attack we for sure and know what that was back then, but one
things that you write in this is a minority and then talk about it? Is that ok, yeah Researchers have identified three dimensions of loneliness to reflect the particular type of relationships that are missing and and our emotional loneliness is along for a close confidant or intimate partner. Someone with whom you share a deep mutual bond of affection and trust relational or social loneliness is the yearning for quality friendships, and so, companionship and support color, Dr Loneliness is the hum for a network or community of people who share your sense of purpose and interests? These three dimensions together reflect the full range of high quality. Social connections humans need in order to thrive. The law of relationships in any of these dimensions can make so lonely, which helps explain why we may have a supportive marriage yet still follow four friends in community- tell me about
those experiences that I had. I can still have them when I, surrounded by people. Love who love me, but I feel deeply lonely am I the only one. Absolutely not in fact there many of us who have assets here is myself included when I was a child. I felt that same way. I had parents and a sister who deeply loved me and those words answer to the internet connections. Those really relationships, where we feel that we can truly be ourselves with another person where we can show up as who we are and what we don't have to hold back and we know that were love, so I had that, but when I didn't remains. I didn't have those relational connections at sea category, I didn't have the friendships where I could hang out somebody in the EU or in between classes, her sit next to them. I'll tell you the scariest time for me in the school day, ways lunchtime going into that copyright,
am I going to sit next to, or will there be anybody who want me to sit next to me? I just wasn't cuz, I don't like being with people or I was an extreme interpreter, was that I was actually quite shy, lacking. Those relational connections left me quite lonely, even though I had those deeper intimate connections in my life, the resigning this is so important understand is that if you are in a deeply fulfilling marriage, but you feel only because you don't have those relational connections or your experiencing collective loneliness. The lack of a community understand that there are different types of relationships and we need it could lead your spouse to think that their failing you in some way to think well, you're, feeling lonely. That must mean that this marriages, in as good as I thought, but that's not the case- we can have deeply fulfilling marriages and best friends and family. There be no love
but still feel lonely in other dimensions of our life, and it doesn't mean that our internet connections are deficient in any way. We need all three dimensions. To fill socially connected in the way that feeds ass right. That's right. What about in situations where, thinking as I was reading your book about. I was with people who loved me and people I loved, but not people. But I could really be myself when I was the good girl, the performer. The you know the please, sir, do you think those hey viewers, the perfectionism, a pleasing can draw I've loneliness because we're not allowing ourselves to truly be seen absolutely The things I learned in the writing of this book was that the foundation for connecting with other people is connecting with ourselves and to be connected to yourself means one, that you understand your worth, the you understood
your value, and that gives you the power should be yourself indifference headings and did not try to be somebody that you're, not because you feel you're not enough, but the other piece of this being connected here when self has to do with being grounded and we live in it in a world especially now at a time when the world around us is often chaotic being able to let that noise settle and centre ourselves and being a place of peace is so powerful because one be approach, other people from the place of ground in this and when we approach other people knowing our true sense of worth and believing in ourselves a kind of Actually we have is very different. We approach people the willingness to listen and an ability to him more, be ourselves as opposed to trying to get something from them, which is a sense of obligation, as we try to be somebody that they think we should be
and so I do think that why wait wait, wait, wait, wait! You gotta often say that again approaching p all for genuine connection, verses approaching people for validation? That's right!. And I see this from personal experience. Having spent many years of my life not being in a good place of connection with myself, in secure about who I was trying to be somebody else and. Bringing that to my interactions with other people and it didn't feel could as human beings we are extraordinary creatures. We have evolved these systems over thousands of years, and these instincts then guide us toward deeper connection with other people And we often may not know when something is often an internet what exactly is off, but we often know something's off their times when a for all of us, where we re going to
in relation. You know, I'm were nervous and we're trying to be again who we can get a person wants, a being resort. If you ok the moment, hopefully this is going well. I think that they, like me, cetera, and then you turn it. From a conversation- and you just feel emotionally drain- is a thing about having to live in a persona, that's not you were trying to do drive to be somebody who's, not you it has a massive emotional tax and drains us have our and that means we have less to give to other people and are also means. Are we don't feel is good, and I spent a lot of time in my life feeling that way, and so I think he s when we think about The power social connection and how to interest loneliness, we not only have to think about how we engage with other people. We have to think about that, So we have to ourselves and recognise it's a lot of times. The problem begins there. It's not actually,
outside it so interesting to me, because I get this question a lot around different constructs, but it's like I'm an oppose it to you, it's unanswerable. For me, this question comes up all the time. It's a chicken egg question social connection and reciprocal relationships. Really drive a sense of self worth and we need a sense of self worth. You enter into reciprocal meaningful relationships, that's hard, is it just a slow stacking of those things, or is there a temporal relationship between us, Ariel scandal, you're a Europe silly right, and I think, if we all find a way to think about how these things work together can be paralyzing yeah. I quit I'm not ready to go in and interact with other people cause I'm not fully connected to myself yet right, but I the things things you work off of each other, there was simply the recognition that our can,
should we ourselves is important and that it influences how we connect with other people. Simply that can be a powerful because it gives us the ability to observe our inner. Actions with others and to understand more deeply. Why we may feel good or not so that, after an interaction, but these things bill. So one of the things that I have tried to do in my own life- and I see it somebody who is spent many years of his life trying to build a more connected life. It has by no means always been successful at that and so struggles. You know what this every day but when I think that I've tried to do Is to make sure that I'm keeping tabs and checking in on how I'm feeling, during my interactions and if I'm, not feeling good but actually tried a poem myself out and say: hey am I just thought in a good place and if I'm not in a good place,. That I need to spend a little time getting in a better place before I try to keep pushing it washing in building a connection with people or finding more friends are connected with more people at a party, and you. I say this because you know I feel like I spent some
of my life in a culture. Was telling me that the way we advance in our lives where we saw problems away. We succeed is through action and What has come to realise is that saying and doing our two parts of who we are, but the doing part is guide, by the being meaning. If we can, Be in a good place, then we can often do better, but we don't focus on how we feel at how grounded we are if we're not focus enough on the beach, then were just spinning. Are we also often inaction trying to work so hard, to push a bolder uphill, whereas we yet so much more leverage in our life if we can be in the right place to places saturninus as pay for peace place where we value and love ourselves, and so That's where I think it is really important to recognise that there is an interplay, and it also means that, if I interact Somebody who makes me feel good, then. I also tried to think of
that is what was it about. That was it that I had a breakthrough, moment. Were I let my guard down, allow myself to be vulnerable and was real with the other person. If so, then I want to do more and that is it the day. Did that with me and by, being vulnerable. They actually empowered me to be the same with them and that such a gift, in this way. I think we don't have to secluded So we get to a point where we are maximally connected with thousand then venture out into the world. We can do that two things at the same time, in fact having we need to because they do they off of each other. How we learn right. I'm really prefer doing to being sometimes, but it's easier, ok, few, it's easier. So so, let's talk about the costs, once of loneliness for a second. So am I saying this right? Julianne hold one stead. Yes, her research so. Reading again from your book together Julia
Studies show that people with strong social relationships are fifty percent less likely to die prematurely than people with weak social relationships. Even more striking. She found that the impact of lacking social connection, do seem. Lifespan is equal to the risk of smoking. Fifteen cigarettes a day, it's gone than the risk associated with a b city, excess alcohol consumption and elect exercise, you write simple. Put Julianne had found that weak social connections can be a significant danger to our house. Five years later. Julian published another massive analysis of data. I think these were met. Analyses right these were before men analyses oh for your listening. This is where you tat a lot of different research from different researchers, that's valid and reliable data and can- and to see what the trends are across the research. So she another study that analysis Forming a higher risk of early death among the lonely, so by
point. You write. A growing number of research papers were reporting that willingness was associated with a greater risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure stroked sure depression and anxiety studies were the suggesting that lonely people were moral. We too have lower quality sleep. More immune system dysfunction and more impulsive behaviour. Impaired judgment like this is no joke right- and this is one of the things that struck me in and in fact it expect me in the face when I was certain general cause, I didn't notice for I didn't learn that in medical school I didn't in residency training. Why not? Well, If you re living one just traditionally in medicine, we have felt so much in the physical body and so little on the until an emotional dimensions of health, and I think the other The reason is that the empty doctor
nurses and not just like any other human being in this respect you in that these tend to focus on what they know into. This is old peril, remember, hearing growing up about the man who is looking under a street lamp and answer by comes violence has hey. Can I help you what you looking for pointy says I lost my keys, trying to find them and he's. Ok, let me help you name. They keep looking together and after a while the German and walked up to helps had united. We campaigned, ensure you last year Is it no? I lost him in the Bush over there, but the lights over here. That's why I'm looking here? It's either almost ridiculous story, but it alone, it's something about human nature, which is that we tend to look where it's easy to luck. And in medicine to we tend to can examine and focus on where expertise is so. This becomes a k self fulfilling prophecy? The less we understand about emotional while being the more we ve, keep focusing on physical wellbeing and don't look at what's happening, but I'll tell you
from the very earliest days than I stepped into the hospital as a third, your medical, soon. I remember being struck by how many patients would come into the House Hospital with serious illnesses. That would be all alone in something when big decisions have to be made. Do we pursue this new course of time meant that may have serious side effects. I would go to the patient and do you want me to call summit so that we can bring them in and you can make this decision Whether this is a really tough thing to decide entirely on your own and it would break my heart. Rename it so often they would say no there's nobody to call there's no one. So I just have to figure out myself and even at the time of death, so many occasions I can remember were- with just me and my colleagues for the final witnesses to so many people's last moments on her and had always made me deeply sad.
So loneliness was around us so often in medicine, but I didn't know how to address it. I was it having it powerless in the face of it, and it was only when I said delving in two research. I Juliet Hotline stance and ice doing that when I was certain general motivated by the stories of people there is meaning across. Country, it was only then research area, eyes. Loneliness is so much more than a bad feeling, but it has profound consequences for our health one of the things that I read and together that really kind of my breath away? Why is How loneliness. Let me read what you write again, one change stoking the current trends of lowering, as is the politicized climate of distrust in division that hangs over much of the world. While many factors play to this polarization, social disconnection is an important root. Cause
is that work. What is the relationship between loneliness and social disconnection- and this highly charged polarized world, it's a quick question and it was when I realize this connection. If it really stuck with me, I, spending so many years as in during my time in government working at the heart of polarisation in America, which is why I didn t see and feel terribly about it, and wishing there is some way around it and been are really understand. He was driving it. Here's how social connections Hatton, when we are deeply connected to other people, one of the great things that happened is it were more able to listen to them. Able to give me the benefit of the doubt, and that makes in dialogue possible if you think, about Thanksgiving or holidays had relatives who come over and or for good friends and people.
You may have really different political views were or different some other philosophical basis. You may still have a deep well of love for them, because our family are there good friends and even though they might irritate at a little bit with their point of view when you might get annoyed at them. If they still needed help, he would respond. If you are in distress, they probably respond to and your likely much more able to listen. Their point of view and somebody with whom you had no connection so it turns out. Their relationship is the foundation of dialogue. The reason this is really important away- and I guess I guess I've: u again. This is huge relationship is the foundation of dialogue? That's right! She we're not having dialogue is we're not in relationship. That's exactly right!. When people say well, if we want to get people together on reproductive health rights, if we want to get people together,
On issues related to gun violence, we should just put people with different points of view in the same room and have him do it out and shit. Your point of view and understand where the coming from that doesn't often work because you're not building dialogue on anything substantive innovation. In beings. We are relational entities, we see each other out. Enacting that's, how we are assessing other people, often Rocco's upwards Like me, when I want to hang out with a person like this, is ours Your brain thanks- and we do that just instinctively. And so when we have a relationship and it doesn't, They mean that either We listened to a dialogue with your best rats. Not at all. This is a fascinating and powerful thing about human connection is taken, can often be established in a relatively short period of time. If you spend five minutes talking to your neighbour, and it really open weighing you understand some of their shared experiences in you understand: hey there. Also struggling to to care for their toddler, unfair at a teller work at the same time,
gives you a shared experience. It gives you a incite, maybe a little bit into their values into who they are, and it makes much easier to have a conversation about a difficult issue versus walking and called the reason that online dialogue, so challenged the reason. So many people say that reading Hence, on social media are an article is just chives them crazy he's because it no relational context. For those exchanges And is also no visual, cues Susie, beings. We evolve. Just to listen to the content of somebody speech, better process, their party language and their expressions and the tone of their voice. And when you devoid of all of that at that, lack of relationship and you have what can be often toxic exchanges between
and so this is why relationships and connection are so important for the future of society, because we do have big problems that we have to address, whether that health care, whether that's the next pandemic, whether that issues like climate change and the We can address them because her to be for one person to do alone, he's if were able to talk to each other, and that doesn't happen with our Essentially it so interesting, because what I found, especially when I was doing the research for braving the wilderness about. How true belonging can happen with other people unless she belonged to yourself. First mean very match aligned with what I'm reading in in together. But what does, that's interesting? Is Most of us, I would say and provincial to say all of us, but would play They can also, most most of us love, someone and our? important relationships with people:
whose politic or cultural beliefs. We find incomprehensible. But what attended do is we tend to consider them the exception to the group that they believe to that, we hate and you right This was a mine blower for me, let me read what you wrote today. Technology creates the illusion that we do know our enemies that we see them. We hear them in our own homes every day at any time, We choose to look the version We know in quotation sharks are often deceptive than you know dimensional. Yet we believe what we see and hear, even when the videos are completely fabricated. As a result, people. We learn to fear, seen both closer and even scarier than they ever used to whether were talk about republican versus democrat animosity or conflict in the Middle EAST. I, since had imminent, rat makes our world for less safe and hospitable. It arose
words are sense that we all belong here. Do you feel like? I know these people, because I see there craziness on social media, I see their crazy avatars. I see that crap right. I feel- like I know them. Therefore, I engage in personal, combative stuff with them, but Like I would never do in real life what's up here preside over Europe alone burn having all of us have tat instinct in I stopped watching. The news along too they and I'll watch periodically here and there for a specific purpose, but parliament's a because I was having a chain reaction to I've. Seen these people. Nine tv saying things that I thought were just utterly rep, sensible and I had seen them seeing summer things over weeks and months, I feel again or they're coming from, and I don't like it and I feel angry at me, We ve got worse and worse and worse, and the truth is, I didn't really know who they were.
One of the things I used to do when I was younger that when I would have conflict with people and it's just something that my parents taught me is, I would step back. So that's why the complex- and I was just right- I think that this person has a mother who loved them, I know that's not always true, but conceptual, What I was trying to remind myself up is. It is. Crazy or likeable, as people can seem at times there are parts of us that our lovable to others. And this is something about just reminding myself of that- that will soften Some of that anger and dismayed military take a deep breath, yeah and I think that trying to think about that in an expanded context too. I tried also think that this person, whoever it is, has something that they're scared about
That might be the word about their children could be that the word about their own health can be that they ve got an elderly relative, whose sick and can access healthcare and their word about that, like we don't know, what's going on in people's eyes, but it's safe to say that most people, if not everyone, has something in them- that's lovable, and they have something that they're scared about, and that makes it deeply human interesting, because I would say I have found the exact same thing in our research that mute. Vulnerability. Is the thickening agent that too? then transactional context based only relationships and adds the good stuff in mutual vulnerability is emotion. Experience. It's not knowledge. It's not! I know you. I read your cv, it's that so true
related to this- and this was like, while this was fascinating, let me what I want to talk about is motive. Attribution asymmetry; ok, I don't I I don't know I don't know what that was, but I have it so the cognitive bias, again known as motive attribution asymmetry, it tells us that our beliefs, grounded in love all our opponents beliefs are based on hatred. Stew, these found that this bias applies to Israelis, who believe they are finding out of love for their people, while Palestinians are driven by hatred and vice versa. The same by us and exploit Democrats and Republicans in America who believe that their Fervour is driven by love of country while wondering why the other party hates us quote, unquiet the contempt and we'll talk The word contempt. That's a serious word. They can that results from this type of bias, is this rural and righteous feeding not just on laughing, because, unlike I see myself, feeding
just intolerance, but also the same emotional stew that eggs loneliness so toxic. If must deal with people who, you believe are driven by hatred, you're bound to fail. Jacket and frustrated the contempt that results from this type of bias. Is this role and righteous theme just intolerance, but also the same emotional stew that makes loneliness so toxic. I have, I have motive, attribution asymmetry. Well, we all do cause were where human beings- I don't like it, neither too high, and I think it's. This is why, if you bring to people together round a table Who have is deeply opposing views and you asked him to dig into that conflict. This is white, so hard to have a real conversation, because people, though trust. Each other's motives, hitting the other person is motivated by something bad other motivated by something good
and the only way we really get to dispel? That is when we build true authentic relationship with each other, That can only happen. I were willing to open up and be vulnerable and be ourselves even its of her a brief moment. But what I worry about Renee Is that I think in the world in which we live there me signals coming people telling them who they need to be telling them that data The mission of success and worth is often driven by your ability to acquire wealth, reputation or power. Those three things have become the gods at whose alters we worship.
Society, but I don't think they serve as well, because I think that reality is that the true definition of of worth he's much more intrinsic, has to do with our ability to give in to receive love, and that does not require wealth or power or reputation. It requires courage, the courage to be vulnerable. It requires the ability to recognise that we have deep, are you intrinsically within us, but because society often tells us a chaste, those false gods? Having many p, and up feeling that they're just not good enough I worry, in particular, about young people who are growing up today in a member Kenzie, but also millennials. You know when I was younger. These influences were there to die like they cropped up overnight, but the number of messages
bombarded with my soul, so many fewer than what people bombarded with today. Just one as many channels, and so if I did something done, middle school, like ten people knew about in my class night. This did happen often, but can you do something today and people worried that it's going to be all over Youtube? You know within an hour to me what I think about my children and I think about our collective children. I think about what I worry about the next generation. It's actually abyss. It's my worry that we're not setting our children up to believe in themselves to recognize true, source of power and self worth, and they weren't said telling them that your value is conditional. Its base on your ability to acquire a bunch of extrinsic things in space on circumstances, and if you can't read Those if you can't quantum quote succeed, then that means you are less and less valued and that certain
Edward spiral when it comes along and says a less secure feeling are worth the less likely. We are to believe that other people- hang out with us somewhere. We sought to retreat into our shell and this, You always very interesting bernay and an unfortunate because it Downward spiral of loneliness actually is evolutionary in nature in a thousand, years ago, when we were a hunter gatherers being separated from our tribe being lonely. If you well, that was a really really important moment. Big that meant that our likelihood of survival just went out right is more like it by predator do not have a stable food supply, and so what happening. That moment is that our threat level shift up, but our attention so focuses inward, as we are Worried about our own safety in the modern context that can be extraordinarily difficult when you're trying to interact and have a conversation with somebody
who is as an elevated threat level and their worry that maybe something you say is no different from where you are intending to be just on edge, whether excessively focus on their son themselves, that makes it harder to connect with them, but the insidious thing about loneliness at last for a long time is it also chips away, her self esteem and you come too leave. It may be the reason. Your lonely is that you're not likeable. Are you not probable, and so that downwards I always really really powerful and that's what I worry about for our children future generations is that unless we make a conscious decision to shift something in our culture that tells us what self worth is defined by, then we will continue to lead people to a place within on feel there enough and that an China, is a recipe for loneliness, have so many thoughts. Everything I've found in twenty years of research, completely soup, it's what you are saying and its
I was reminded of when you are talking about a kind of threat level when you're threat level is an yourself focused. It reminds me of the relationship that we know that exists between shame and empathy so shaman empathy are not compatible affects our emotions, so when we're in shame we're very I'll focused. We are worried about not being enough, we're not other August at all. It is really hard to build meaningful. Relationship from a place of shame because shame corrodes our capacity for action, with others, because it so self focused one is site that was really hopeful. You write about Amy Warner's, landmark study her. It's a long term study of childhood resilience in here. But you write that I think is so helpful. Today, its widely understood that one of the most important factors in preventing addressing toxic stress and children is healthy, social connection. While
traumatic past may increase our risk of bad things happening. We are not destined to crash and burn. Adversity doesn't mean that were destroyed. Wonders. Research in the work of others tells us that we can rescue one another. It is in, relationships with one another that we can all find healing and a better path forward, give her reading that because of its remit me avowing inspired, I was when I came across Emmy Werner's work the story of loneliness is actually a hopeful story doesn't just end with sadness and an increased risk of illness. But a reveal the power of human connection in our life in Estonia or that connection has to heal deep trauma and to heal there may have been there for four years and years and years.
We are learning more and more bat trauma, especially when it occurs in child, as an extraordinary impact on the trajectory of our life, not just on our physical health, but on our job prospects and whether or not we run it trouble with the law so much of our life, his impacted by these early experiences If all we know is the science of childhood trauma that tells us how about the consequences are, that can be a very disheartening. We have to me what is so extraordinary about the power of human connection. Is it something I feel so simple and we take for granted? has its ability to heal in extraordinary ways, because to our relationships. I believe we channel love. And love allows people to accept themselves and put down
advance of shame that so often covers us and constrains us, and here I think about this often bernay as as a doctor who has written prescriptions for so many medicines over the years. I can't abiding medicines for blood pressure for Die It is, and I know I believe that medicines can help, but here Nothing more powerful mini then love in terms of its ability to heal there's nothing that I have written a prescription for that eclipses. What love can do in the face of extraordinary injury and trauma in pain and the most clear way that we feel love is in the context of relationships, authentic, open relationships in when I left government? It was a tough time for me. I was Going pretty lost, filling burned out has actually feel his deep sense of shame which I spent many months. Trying to make sense are still have an under per cent made sense of it.
But dad shame was really holding me back and it was making me turn further inward and I felt really really lonely and during that time and One of the things that I came to realize during that time was that building community was so is it for me, because the pain that I had endured, some pains, which were very public, many of which were not I needed to find resources and that is my giants- I had a wife who I love dearly and who loved me and my wife Alice as much as I was blessed with parents and his sister and brother in law. Love me in. So very close friends. I realized what I really needed to do was to work through some of my own demons and start a love myself and accept myself and throw off that code of shame. That was really wing me down,
and it was really hard to do, and I couldn't do it alone. I had to do it through relationship by the hard work of actually opening up to close friends and say: hey actually been struggling. This is like one going through and the reason I decided to focus on the whole topic of loneliness and social connection. My work there after is that what I look back at all the issues that I was dealing with, the surgeon General Weather was addiction over. There was violence, there was a big city or whether ways depression anxiety. I realise that the router so many of these, whereas loneliness and part of the solution for so much of it, was actually human connection in its struck me as almost obvious. I, how silly for revising this earlier, that something that we need so desperately to heal. What else?
today has been very right there, under our noses for millennia, its will drawn to naturally it's how were born in children when they are born, they want to be relational creatures themselves. They don't feel ashamed of things. They say what they think their who we want to be an eye, and I feel I should really blessed to have a three year old than a two year old right now, because they mind me of how Oliver where and how I was too, and I realize it what's happened is not that I have some how become broken Any of us have it's just that we allow things to layer on top of us other people's expectations, societal beliefs, shame about experiences that we had a perhaps in go the way we wanted and that's all constrained from being who we were so my mission. My hope is that I can do something small.
God willing, maybe even something bigger than small, to help move as a society toward a world where we value connection where we put people at the centre of our lives and we build not only people centred lives, but people centred, Eighty, because what that looks like that looks like a world where he make people in our relationships the focus of our time and attention. It looks like. A world where we design our schools and even our workplaces to strengthen and support connection. Like a world where we think even about policy and not just about the financial impact of policy, but the impact it's gonna have in our ability to connect and build relationship with each other in a society where we prioritize people is also one where we bring back to our public dialogue.
Do you even how we vote at the ballot box, because this isn't about politics? You know in the toxic sense. This is about making politics what it can be in its best moments, which is an opportunity for people to lead from a place of their deepest values, can inspire other people without leadership, to build structures, and solutions that can serve all of us and left us all up, and so, when we build a society, we build lives at her centred around people. That's what is possible at what we can achieve our selves. It's also the world that we can leave our children. That to me feels like a cause worth working on a man I mean a man, that's other. That may be all I have to say. I think the biggest barrier to everything you're talking about when you're talk let your to your own three year old, I think the biggest barrier we have to building the world
describing building a world where we're socially connected is the weird, not natural, but passed down and taught shame for meeting each other. I would bet a lot your two and three year old. Have no shame about. Pendency need three now yeah and my kids the same and bit somehow we grow up, believing that if we need each other were less than and you know. I always say we don't have to do this alone. We were never meant to hear from the way you know, neurobiology works and our lives. You know from near mirror neurons down and it's not.
Work on my right. It's not gonna work of ready this by ourselves now so grateful for the buck. What you just said, dare I think, is so important because that peace around they need to be independent and to be able to go it alone and accomplish by ourselves so deeply ingrained in modern culture such as american culture, its become the culture and many other countries in the world which are quite what modernizing, I think it's it's danger because it's true dry? We are right, reflective of our real nature, but I find myself even still today moments where I feel ashamed at TAT were help, because I feel that I should be able to figure this out all my on yeah me too,
yeah and I I got upset with myself on this moment. I want to fight back and thinks I'm like. No, that's not how this is supposed to be. That's not how we were built this human being that we came to recognize that behind all of the complicated decisions that are being made- and this is her to become like it's become a touch point for me now, so I came to realize that people are being primarily driven by just wanted to emotions. Primarily, I love her fear, and the love can manifest in different ways is generosity is kindnesses empathy. The fear also has a lot of manifestations is insecurity. His anger, his indifference,
and whether you're at the highest levels of elected office or whether you're on the front lines you know of a hospital or rather you're, a teacher and a school or a student in a classroom, were all subject to these two forces, and all I could think of in those months had followed. While we are waiting for our assigned to arrive, was what can we do to tip the world
toward love in terms of what drives us, because right now it feels that the world is locked in this deep struggle between loving here and it's affecting all of us. It's affecting our countries, its affecting how we function and how we are as a human race, but that to me is the has become the central question like of our time. How do we move the world away from fear into word love, and we do that in our own lies by what we choose to speak up for on the public square, but issues we choose to support that we raise our children. This is a deeper question that then I worry about that. I think about. It also gives me hope, because I do think that our true nature per day is that of law when we're living in fear. I don't think that's really who we are, who we were meant to be and the most
we're way that we feel that love is in the form of relationships, which is why human connection such a deeply important part of the healing the need to take place in the world. The amendment that my new prayer armantrout tipping the world toward love. I love that interest. China Tipp the world a little bit toward love. You have this a small tribute to you. You have done so much of it in your work, I'm one of many people who has been inspired by the writings of you, ve done in other speeches. It you given I didn't, tell you this in the beginning, but when I was a surgeon general, you were something of a celebrity in her office. People read your books. But always saw me hey we gotta do something with bringing brown we ve gotta make this required reading in the office. You
you ve managed inspired just done so many people through your extraordinarily beautiful, honest and vulnerable conversations and, of course, the great research that you ve done. So I just want to thank you for the contribution they have made to humanity cause it's it's helping make the world better for me and for my kids so far, my our thanks Thank you. Thank you. I want to close by reading something from together your new book. It speaks to Tipping the world toward love, you right click. Connected life begins with the decisions we make in our day to day lives. Do we is to make time for people. Do we show up, as our true sounds, do we seek out others with kindness, recognising the power service to bring us together. This work and always easy. It requires courage, the courage to be vulnerable to take a chance
others to believe in ourselves, but as we build connected lives, we make it possible to build a connected world. That will be our final word. Beautiful Thank you vague. Thank you for showing us that site and I wouldn't want a world without medicine, in science and data and everything else, Love and connection matter and I wouldn't want to world. Without medicine, in science and data and everything else. But I think sometimes we think we can hotwire connection and cures that take less work. Then we, into each other, but how do we give up on people cause we're all? We have right, that's right, the less right and these things to go together.
Give me the story of of loneliness and connection is a deeply inspiring empowering month, because the one thing I've learned to this experience is that all of us have the power to be healers, because all of us have the power to love, to build a relationship to see each other give each other the benefit of the doubt show up as ourselves. We don't need. From the outside to be able to do that. We were born with those abilities, and so, as I imagine a world with healers, I see endless possibility supper, we can build, we can fix, and hopefully will we cannot be together. My money on us yeah I believe it. I think, we'll get through this pandemic. I think, will learn. I think we learned a lenient each other and if nothing else will have huge reminder of our inextricable connection. Thank you. So much for
Waiting ass today are lacking ass. It's been really powerful. Thank you so much pain. I really enjoy this conversation me too I really appreciate you listening to I can. I hope, this episode. Brought you some information. Some ideas for connecting at least really helped to understand the importance of it. I wanna thanks yet a foods. Thank you for your good work. Thank you for your heritage inspired, loving healthy food If you're interested in finding more about city foods, you can ask your local brochure You can also go to see at day foods, dot, com. And I also want to let you know if you want to find out more information about together with aches new book then go to the show nets page at Bernay Brown, dot com,
I know that feels long. I know we still disconnected. I know we wanted to get back to normal. We want an end date. We want to know what's going to happen next, I'm with you, I dont know that's coming, I do know it's going to come some point, and I just- I wish you love. I hope you help till this world toward love. And stay awkward, braving kind, pink shop.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-25.