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Guy Winch

How to Heal a Broken Heart

“We need to think about feelings and how we respond to them as something we have control over.”

I have had a lot of injuries in my life. I’ve even had a physical injury that destroyed my sports career. Honestly, that was nothing compared to some of the emotional injuries I’ve been through.

We all tend to neglect our emotional injuries. We push them off and consider ourselves as wimps or over-emotional. In reality, these injuries are extreme. They need to be cared for like any broken bone.

If we continue to ignore our heartbreaks, that pain will never heal. It will carry with us for years, or even decades.

On this episode of The School of Greatness I’m joined again by the amazing psychologist, Guy Winch, to discuss emotional pain — whether it’s from a break up, the loss of a loved one, or any other negative feelings that may be holding you back in life.

“Self criticism isn’t valuable.”  

Dr. Guy Winch is a licensed psychologist, author, and in-demand keynote speaker whose books have been translated into twenty-four languages.

Dr. Winch’s viral TED Talk, “Why We All Need to Practice Emotional First Aid”, has been viewed over 5 million times and is rated among the top 5 most inspiring talks of all time on TED.com.

His upcoming book, How to Fix a Broken Heart, just came out and that’s what we dove into in this episode.

Previously on the show (way back in year 1), we talked about the idea of “emotional first aid” and how important it is for us to learn how to heal our emotional injuries just like we do our physical ones.

However, as Guy pointed out, heartbreak is a special kind of emotional pain and there are certain behaviors that support us in healing from this (and many that don’t.)

Learn how to understand yourself and your friends in heartbreak, and heal the healthy way, on Episode 601.

“We all bleed the same when it comes to emotions”  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • How do we communicate with someone who has a broken heart? (7:02)
  • Should we feel embarrassed for grieving? (12:32)
  • What are examples of some things people do with feelings that are ok or that they shouldn’t be doing? (14:21)
  • What are thoughts we should be having after a heartbreak? (18:30)
  • What’s the best approach to process the feelings? (25:36)
  • What’s the best way for friends to reach out to someone going through a heartbreak? (31:08)
  • What’s the longest it took you to get over a romantic relationship? (40:15)
  • What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself from 20 years of psychology? (43:10)
  • What do you think is holding you back from doing what you want to do faster? (47:03)
  • Has there ever been a challenge someone brought to you that you didn’t feel like you could find a solution for? (52:00)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What happens if you don’t process your heartbreak (10:36)
  • The “stupid” feelings Dr. Winch has (13:02)
  • The time frame for when someone should be able to get back to a normal life after a heartbreak (16:32)
  • The best process for when you breakup with someone (21:42)
  • Which is harder to recover from, an emotion or a physical injury (27:34)
  • A serious heartbreak that took Dr. Winch a long time to recover from (35:45)
  • What’s the greatest part about being a psychologist for Dr Winch (41:32)
  • The greatest challenge Dr. Winch faces in his life right now (44:34)
  • A common theme he’s learned about people (49:00)
  • Plus much more…

Connect with
Guy Winch

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:              This is episode number 601 with Guy Winch.

Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Herman Hesse said, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”

Ah, yes, we have a juicy one today, a powerful one, for those with a broken heart or those who are experiencing break-ups, emotional healing, whether it be with a human being break-up or the loss of an animal or a pet. I’m very excited about this one.

Guy Winch, PhD, is a licenced psychologist, author, and in-demand key-note speaker, whose books have been translated into 24 languages, my friends. His new book is called, How To Fix A Broken Heart, and it’s out on Valentine’s Day, that’s right. And his viral TED Talk, Why We All Need To Practice Emotional First Aid, has been viewed over five million times and is rated among the top five most inspiring talks of all time, on ted.com. So, that’s pretty cool. Top five most inspiring TED Talks of all time.

He is constantly featured in the press and he also writes for the popular Squeaky Wheel Blog on psychologytoday.com, and he has been working with individuals and couples in his private practice in Manhattan for over twenty years.

What we talk about today is, what happens if we don’t process the heartbreaks in a healthy way. So, what actually happens to the body, the mind, and our energy, if we don’t process heartbreaks in a healthy way. Also, a good time frame to gauge if you’re healing healthily. Also a good time frame to know if you’re healing in a healthy manner.

We talk about the best way to handle a break-up, why treating an emotional injury the way you treat a physical injury is so important and why most of us don’t do this. And also, how to support your friends who experience some type of heartbreak in their life as well, as we all have friends, family, who go through these types of things.

This is a powerful episode. Make sure to take a screenshot and post this over on Instagram, on Twitter, on Facebook, let your friends know you’re listening to this, or watching it, lewishowes.com/601 for the link to share it on.

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Alright, guys, I’m super excited about this one, again, when dealing with the heart, it’s one of the most challenging things. A lot of us can deal with physical pain much more than we can with emotional pain. So, this is a powerful episode for you to understand, if you’re ever dealing with a broken heart, again, with an intimate relationship, or an animal, a loved animal in your life, or just so you have the tools to understand how to connect with your friends or family who might be going through a break-up or some type of emotional broken heart as well.

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you the one, the only Guy Winch!

Welcome back, everyone, to The School of Greatness Podcast, we have the legendary Guy Winch in the house! Good to see you, my friend!

Guy Winch:                  Great to be here.

Lewis Howes:               You were on episode number 42 back in December of 2013, and it was such a profound and powerful episode we did on emotional first aid. So many people loved that, when it was just a baby podcast, but everyone was talking about it. Because, I think, most of us don’t know how to move through our emotions when we feel pain, or any type of thing we’re going through. And so it was very powerful, then, for me to go through that at that time and a lot of our audience.

But now you’ve got a new book out, called, How To Fix A Broken Heart. You guys can get it, it’s out right now, check it out, Amazon and everywhere else, in stores, How To Fix A Broken Heart. And this is really something that’s not talked about. We were talking about this before we started. People don’t really talk about how to fix your heart when it’s broken, and how to connect with someone who’s got a broken heart, without making them feel wrong, without making them feel embarrassed, or like it’s a silly thing, right? Because we have some friends, sometimes, who go through a heartbreak in a relationship, or they lose a pet, and sometimes we don’t know how to communicate with them.

So, what would you say, first, is how do we communicate with our friends or loved ones who are going through a broken heart? What’s the first kind of approach to create a space for them, would you say?

Guy Winch:                  So, I think, the biggest problem in doing that, is that our perception of heartbreak in general is that it’s something that the young go through. The teenagers, you know, when your fourteen-year-old comes home and their heart broke, “Oh, you know, they’re fourteen,” so, that’s why this is so painful for them, because they’re only fourteen, so they don’t know how to deal with it. But heartbreak is as painful at forty-four, and sixty-four and eighty-four as it is at fourteen, except, we forget that, because we’re not heartbroken. We remember it pretty quick when we are.

Lewis Howes:               Why are we heartbroken?

Guy Winch:                  So, the kind of heartbreak that I speak about in the book, the two specific kinds, romantic heartbreak, and I’m not talking about divorce, because divorce is something established, “Oh, you’re going through a divorce, you poor thing,” people acknowledge and recognise that’s a difficult life shift. But heartbreak short of divorce, your significant other you’re not married to, it’s a boyfriend, it’s a girlfriend, what have you. That is considered, “Ah, that’s not really that important. It should be something you can get over.” So, I speak about romantic heartbreak…

Lewis Howes:               Someone breaking up with you, or someone passing that you’re in love with? Is that a heartbreak, or no?

Guy Winch:                  Yes, if it’s not a spouse. In other words, the idea is that marriage conveys this legitimacy of a relationship in many ways, but emotionally as well, and so we feel it’s valid emotionally to be very upset if your spouse left you or passed away. But if they’re not your spouse, or your, let’s say, fiancé, let’s say just you might have been living with them for fifteen years and be espoused in every way except the marriage licence, that’s considered different.

So, that’s one of the heartbreaks I talk about. The other is about losing a pet. And I’m not talking about goldfish. Or, maybe some people are very attached to their goldfish, I don’t want to criticise the goldfish crowd.

Lewis Howes:               Or a lizard.

Guy Winch:                  Yes, I mean, I’m sure there are some adorable lizards, but mostly mammals, and you know I’m joking. Maybe cats, dogs, maybe other kinds of animals, horses, you can be…

Lewis Howes:               Pigs, cows.

Guy Winch:                  Perhaps, we can be very attached to, and they can serve a huge function in our lives, and when we lose them, we can feel extremely bereft. We can go through a significant grieving process. But if you’re a forty-year-old executive, who just lost his cherished cat who had been with him for twenty-two years ever since his mother died when he was eighteen, and he is bereft because the cat died, he is not going to go in to work, and say to his boss, “I need a week off, my cat died.” Because that wouldn’t be good for his career.

Lewis Howes:               Or his image and any of that.

Guy Winch:                  Exactly that. But, the grief he is going through, can be as significant as losing a first degree relative. Yet, it’s not sanctioned. It’s not something we acknowledge, we think is serious enough. So, I wrote this book because I want to talk about, these are very important emotional, psychological and life events, there are things we need to know about how to handle them ourselves and how to handle people in our sphere who are going through them. And if we don’t know them, we don’t talk about it. So that was the main reason I covered those two topics.

Lewis Howes:               What happens to us emotionally if we don’t process these heartbreaks in an effective way. If our cat dies, but it’s our companion for twenty years, if a cat lives that long, and it’s there with us for all the heartache that we’ve gone through, and it passes, and we don’t process it, we don’t share these things with our friends or we don’t talk about it or we don’t take a few days off, how ever many days off we need, what happens, long term, to us if we don’t process it?

Guy Winch:                  That depends on who you are, your psychological make-up, your support systems, a lot of things about your own psychology. But to some of us there is a concept called complicated grief, and this is true of pet loss, of romantic heartbreak and of any kind of grieving, even grieving relatives and friends, et cetera. If we don’t go through the grieving process in an adaptive way, in a way that literally takes us through it and think of recovery as any kind of recovery. You know, if you have broken bones, if you have a heart attack, and you’re recovering from it, you need to recover. Build your strength, set the bones, et cetera, et cetera.

If you don’t go through the recovery correctly, you can end up with a phenomenon called, complicated grief. And in complicated grief it means you don’t quite recover. The wounds don’t quite heal, and then there are all kinds of vulnerabilities that are there, in terms of your mood, in terms of how you respond to certain things.

Lewis Howes:               Your energy, your attitude.

Guy Winch:                  Yes. In other words, if you lose a romantic partner or a cherished animal and five years from then, if somebody talks about it, it should, it can give you an ache, it will elicit that kind of sadness for a moment, but it shouldn’t take you right back. And with complicated grief, it can take you right back, you can literally start bawling your eyes out ten years later, because you never quite processed it in a way that got you through it. You’re still somewhere stuck in there.

And, so, it’s very important to actually process grief in the correct way. All kinds of grief. It’s especially difficult to do when you feel embarrassed, weird, about the fact that you’re grieving in the first place.

Lewis Howes:               Right, so we shouldn’t feel embarrassed for grieving, or what are you saying?

Guy Winch:                  Shouldn’t feel embarrassed for having any feeling we have, truly. Because, we never summon the feeling, right? The feeling happens. We’re not in control of it. We are in control of how we respond to the feeling and what we do with it. Whether we indulge it, whether we wallow in it, whether we try and manage it in some kind of way. How we respond to the feeling, we are responsible for, but not for having it. It’s not in our control.

So, we shouldn’t feel embarrassed for any feeling we’re having, any strong feeling we are having, we are having. The question is, what are you doing with it when you are having it?

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. Do you ever feel you have any embarrassing feelings or stupid feelings yourself?

Guy Winch:                  I have many stupid feelings, because we all do. Look, I’ll just give you a very trite example. Superbowl’s coming up, it’s coming up now, it might already have happened, but there are going to be these Superbowl commercials. There’s going to be one, because there always is, every year, in which I start to do this, and I start to feel emotional, because it’s a really good commercial and it made me emotional and I usually feel like, “Really, it’s Kleenex, I don’t know why I’m feeling so moved. I know this is a commercial.” But it’s well done, it triggered something in me, I had the emotion, I know it’s “silly”. So we all have these responses. We all have our soft spots where we see something and it just really touches us or infuriates us, you know, we have our stuff.

And so, the buttons that get triggered, we all have those and the emotions, so if we know our buttons, we can go, “Yeah, that’s just how I respond to this thing, and it’s silly, but I can also get over it,” and I get over the Kleenex commercial rather quickly, so, yeah, we all have “silly” feelings. But that’s an example of a silly feeling: when we’re actually responding emotionally to stuff that happens in our lives, it’s not silly, it’s just how we respond. It’s important information.

Lewis Howes:               You said how we respond is what matters, not having the feeling.

Guy Winch:                  Yes, what we do with the feeling.

Lewis Howes:               What we do with the feeling. So, what are examples of some things that people do, with feelings, that are okay, or that maybe they shouldn’t be doing?

Guy Winch:                  So, look, it’s interesting, because I think there’s a significant proportion of the population that doesn’t believe in “doing” something with the feeling. In other words, “My feelings are my feelings, I don’t have to do anything with them.” These are people that just behave very angry when they’re angry, “Because, well, I’m angry, so I’ll behave angry!” You might be angry, but then the question is, are you imposing that on someone else? How is that affecting the people around you? How is that affecting your ability to be productive and to be happy in your own life?

So, we need to think about our feelings and how we respond to them as something over which we have a certain level of control. Except, this is psychology. This is not hard science, as in, put A in, multiply by B, C comes out. It’s not exactly that way, because we all have a different black box there, so put A in with B, some will get C, some will get D, some will get E.

You need to know your stuff. You need to know what your emotional responses tend to be and how you manage emotions best. For example, some people are great with denial. And I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way, I mean that, when something comes up that’s distressing, they can actually compartmentalise, put it aside and get on with things.

Some people can only do okay if they then call twelve to fifteen people to talk about the feeling and only once they’ve spoken about it to that many people and delved into it and dived into it and mashed it to pieces, then they can put it aside. There’s no right or wrong. What works for you?

My point is, everyone should actually be thinking about that, and be asking themselves, “What does work for me? What does help me move on more quickly? What does help me get back to my baseline and get back to functioning? What does help me process the important things, but not have it interfere with my life?” That is a trial and error process we’re all in, in life, except, we need to be aware that’s a question we have to ask ourselves.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. Do you think there’s a time frame where someone should be able to get back to normal life after a heartbreak. Like, it shouldn’t take you more than six months where you have to talk about the person or the pet you lost or the relationship you lost, or the person who broke up with you, or whatever. “Okay, Sally, it’s been six months, we’ve been hearing your story every single day. Get off the couch, it’s time to do something.” Do you think there’s a good timeline, or are we all different?

Guy Winch:                  We’re all different. But I do think, I mean, you threw out six months, it’s actually a good marker. Because if, after six months, you are in a very similar emotional place than you were, let’s say a month out, two months out, you’re not moving.

Lewis Howes:               You’re not progressing.

Guy Winch:                  You’re not. And so you are stuck. And people do get stuck. And their friends do know it. “Wow, I’ve heard this story for six months now, and it’s the same story, and it’s the same…” you know, and that’s somebody who’s stuck, who is not actually moving past it.

It depends on the relationship. It depends on the quality of the loss. It depends on the circumstances of your life. Like, somebody can, what’s disproportionate? It might take somebody six months to get over a two year relationship. It might take somebody six months to get over a ten year relationship, and it might take somebody six months to get over a two week relationship.

Because, for them, they were single for so long, [it] was just not happening for so long, and then it really seemed like it did and they were so hopeful and their expectations were such and suddenly, and they live on some kind of island where they don’t meet people that often, and what have you. An island can be silly, the idea is, it depends. It can really… it depends on the meaning for you.

And it depends, again, on how you process it. If you’re saying to yourself, “I’ll never meet somebody again. This is it.” That’s not going to help you move forward. Because that makes it so big, and A, you don’t know that. So, it’s a very demoralising thought. So even if you think it, is it valuable to dwell on that thought? Is it valuable to really buy it?

Lewis Howes:               What are the thoughts we should be having after heartbreak?

Guy Winch:                  That, “If I met one, I can meet another.” That, “If there’s one person that I felt really works for me, there’s got to be another that really works for me.” People aren’t that unique. We should be able to find somebody who is in that realm. So, our thoughts should be, “Boy, that sucks, losing that. Boy, that’s painful. That’s really, really difficult.” But let’s actually look at what it is we lost. Because one of the things that happens, in romantic love for example, when that loss happens, we tend to idealise the person we lost.

Lewis Howes:               They’re the greatest ever. Everything was perfect.

Guy Winch:                  Ever! Everything! And you look through the pictures in which they were smiling and look through the pictures in which you were holding hands. You do have pictures of them looking terrible or picking their nose, you’re not going to look at those, right? You’re going look only at the ones that, “Ah, it was so amazing… It was so amazing, what I lost.”

It’s inaccurate and it’s certainly not going to help you recover, and so it’s terribly tempting, because your mind will bring up those images. Your mind will remind you of, “Oh, it’s that restaurant. We had such a great time in that restaurant.” You also had a really bad date in that restaurant. You got into a wicked fight, two weeks after the great one, you’re not thinking of that.

So, it’s important to balance. It’s important to say, “Yes, this was great about them, and this was great about the relationship. Let’s also focus on what was not.” And literally do that. Not in the sense of, yeah, let’s think badly of them, but no, let’s think realistically of them. These are all the ways in which they were not great. These were all the ways in which the relationship was not great for me. These were all the compromises I made, which I was okay in making, but they were compromises. These are all the friends I lost touch with because they didn’t get along, all the activities I didn’t do because they weren’t into them, et cetera.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, and if it’s like a three month romantic experience where everything was perfect, seeming, then do you just say, “Well, then there’s got to be other people like that out there as well.”?

Guy Winch:                  Now that’s a question I have, right? Now, let’s say a three-month romantic relationship where everything seemed perfect. Really? Then why did the person leave.

Lewis Howes:               What if they died?

Guy Winch:                  I’ll give you the death. But that’s the much rarer situation. That three months into a romance, somebody gets hit by a car. It happens, but those are rare, really.

Lewis Howes:               Very rare. But if someone leaves and you’re like, “Okay, well, why did they leave?”

Guy Winch:                  Well, alright, but then, how perfect was it?

Lewis Howes:               Right, right, if they were willing to let it go.

Guy Winch:                  If they left, A, how perfect was it if they were thinking of leaving and I didn’t even realise it, so there was some…

Lewis Howes:               Disconnect.

Guy Winch:                  Disconnect, or there were some ways in which I wasn’t paying attention, so you really have to question the perfect three-month relationship that ended suddenly. It could not have been that perfect, and then you need to figure out, “You know what, here’s what I was not looking at. Yeah, I see all these things now, that I didn’t pay attention to at the time.”

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. So, what’s the process then? A break-up happens, do you try to connect with the person who left you, or broke up with you and talk to them and ask some questions? Or do you just go on your own way, and process it a different way? What is the best? To reach out to friends and family? Do you hire you as a therapist and connect on these things? What does someone do?

Guy Winch:                  Here’s the thing: You first need to acknowledge that this is really painful and that it’s okay that it’s painful. There’s nothing wrong with it being painful. But you have to acknowledge that you just sustained a big emotional wound and you now need to heal. And then your question needs to be, “What are the steps I need to take to heal? And what are the things that are not going to be helpful for me to heal?”

Lewis Howes:               Like looking at them on Instagram, or looking at photo’s or reminiscing constantly.

Guy Winch:                  Not going to help. Now, for example, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of why the break-up happened. There’s research that shows that if we have a clear understanding of why the break-up happened, it’s a little bit easier to move on. Not many of us get that chance. Not many of us get the chance to sit across from the person and go, “So, tell me, honestly, why you’re breaking up with me?” and have the person say, “To be honest, you snored at night, I didn’t like your habits this way, you didn’t like my mother, and…” You’re not going to get that.

Some people are like, “I’ll tell you!” but not common. And usually the ones that say, “I’ll tell you!” you don’t feel great after they did. So, the thing is, you don’t need an iron clad explanation. Mostly, if they broke up with you, then something about that chemistry, connection didn’t work for them. Something about the match wasn’t perfect.

Now, it could be that this is the wrong time in their life. Their ex came back and their old feelings got reactivated; they really weren’t emotionally available; although they said they were interested in a serious relationship, given their history and their age, it’s possible, no, they would like to be, but they’re not. There are all these reasons that you can assume without getting information from the other person, to conclude that, “Here’s the thing: it wasn’t the right time, they weren’t ready,” et cetera.

The thing you should not do, is look at all your faults, or your perceived faults, and say, “I just wasn’t tall enough. I wasn’t blonde enough. My body wasn’t “this” enough. I didn’t make enough money.” In other words, if they were with you for three months, your height is not an issue, because that’s something that’s a threshold thing, in other words, if you were good enough for three months, it’s not, “It’s alright,” but after three months, “I realised they are too short.” It doesn’t happen that way.

So, it’s very painful to start looking at all your deficiencies and go, “I just wasn’t adequate, I wasn’t good enough.” It’s not useful, it’s not accurate, and it will be very demoralising and make you hurt more.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, eat you up inside.

Guy Winch:                  And that’s the thing most people do. They literally lament, “I wasn’t this enough. I just know, if I was prettier, they would still be with me.” No. Because they were with you already, so, once they were, it’s something else. And then it’s just about the mix, you know, about the match, the chemistry.

So, it’s much better to just assume a likely explanation and then put it aside, and not wrestle with the question of, “Why? Why?” That “why” question gets people on the hook for months and years on end for no good reason, because even if the heavens open and somebody told you the why, you’re still broken up. So what does it matter?

Lewis Howes:               You’re still hurt. Yeah. So you may as well make up your own “why”.

Guy Winch:                  Yeah. And move on from the “why”. It’s not useful.

Lewis Howes:               And then move on from the “why”. And then still, you have to heal, you still need time to heal the wound.

Guy Winch:                  Oh yeah. That’s just one thing.

Lewis Howes:               But first, come up with a conclusion for yourself of “why”, so you have something and you can put it to the side. Then you’re still going to need to process the feelings, the emotions, right? What’s the best approach to doing that? Telling all your friends constantly, nagging them to come over and cry with you and have pizza and wine?

Guy Winch:                  First week, yes. I’m all for food and alcohol as an emotional numbing device, but yes, social support is a very important ingredient. People who have more social support are going to recover more quickly.

Lewis Howes:               Really?

Guy Winch:                  Yes.

Lewis Howes:               So, if you’re isolating yourself, you’re not going to recover as fast.

Guy Winch:                  Except, there are some people who do better, remember I said there’s some people who can compartmentalise and put it aside, and that works better for them; there are some people who’s approach to emotional pain is, “I don’t want to talk about it,” and that works for them.

That is different from people who are like, “I would love to talk about it, but I’ll bet none of my friends want to hear it.” And then they don’t call their friends, because they’re afraid their friends won’t want to hear it, yet they do have the need. That’s not healthy for them. If they have the need for social support, reach out, get it.

But there are some people who are like, “I don’t want to talk about it. Talking about it makes me feel worse. I’d rather just move on,” and they can. But if that’s your approach, and, again, four months later you haven’t moved on, maybe you need to rethink your approach. But this is the thing about this: There’s no right answer. This is the importance of this book. This book says to you, you have to monitor how you’re doing, right?

In other words, if you have an injury, a sports injury which I know you’ve had, I’ve had, and you go to physical therapy, you’ll sometimes find, within three months of physical therapy, this is much better, and sometimes it’s not. And then the physical therapy clearly isn’t helping. You need to try something else.

So, you monitor a sports injury. You gauge, week to week, how you’re doing, whether you’re getting stronger, whether you can do more things, sensation, function is returning, what have you. You need to be monitoring your emotional recovery in the same way. “Is this working? Is this not working? That made me feel worse, that just set me back three days, stalking their Instagram account. Maybe that’s not a good thing for me to do.”

Lewis Howes:               What do you think is harder to recover from: an emotional injury or a physical injury?

Guy Winch:                  When I ask most people, “Which would you rather have? Emotional pain, you have have a choice. Here’s physical pain, here’s emotional pain, what are you choosing?” Everyone chooses the physical. Everyone chooses the physical because, when you break a leg, right, it is a very painful moment, a few moments thereafter. But two weeks into the leg healing, it’s not that painful.

Lewis Howes:               It starts to get better, yeah. The shock of the pain only happens for an hour maybe.

Guy Winch:                  Emotional pain laaaaasts. And laaaasts and laaaasts. It is longer, sharper and…

Lewis Howes:               Deeper. Into the soul.

Guy Winch:                  Yes! So, most people would say, “I’ll take the physical.” For example, there are people, and this is completely off topic, but I’ll just mention it, there are people who do the cutting, right? Where they cut themselves with a knife, you know, you’re familiar with that? Teenagers, sometimes adults.

Lewis Howes:               Yes, on the wrists or whatever area.

Guy Winch:                  But what they are doing is, they are feeling such emotional distress, they are distracting themselves from the emotional pain with the physical pain. They are choosing that as a distraction over the emotional pain.

Lewis Howes:               Wow. Crazy. So, we should be monitoring, over the following months of emotional heartbreak.

Guy Winch:                  Yeah, if you’re recovering from anything you should be monitoring.

Lewis Howes:               Ask yourself, “What’s working? That’s not working? What gave me a couple of hours of relief or allowed me to move forward? And then, what took me back?” Like maybe you’re stalking something on social media or you’re waiting to see if they show up at a restaurant, or seeing who they’re liking online, and all of that.

Guy Winch:                  Right. So, here’s a silly example. Somebody will say to me, “Well, my friends called and said, Let’s go out, and I was like, Naah, I’m not in the mood.” Now, you should go out. And then they’ll go out and then they’ll say, “Yeah, I had a fine time, but then I came back and I was sad again.” Except that if you don’t go out, those three hours that you weren’t distracted and felt better and felt more connected, you won’t have. Number one.

Number two, the going out with your friends, is reminding you of something very important: of your life without that person. Listen, you can still go out, you still have friends, you still have a social life, you still have you.

Lewis Howes:               Because guys still flirt with you or girls still flirt with you or you see other opportunities.

Guy Winch:                  That can certainly happen, but it’s not going to happen if you’re sitting at home in the dark. So, yeah, there’s a lot of value in pushing yourself to do things, even if you don’t feel like it.

Lewis Howes:               So you should go out.

Guy Winch:                  Yes. You should go out. You should try and restore the life you had before, or reinvent the life you had before. Sometimes after a ten year relationship you don’t want to go back to the life you had before, but you want to re-establish what the new single life is then. A lot of people have the thought that, I don’t want to re-establish what it’s like to be single, I just want to find the next person, and not have to have the single part.

But you as a person, your sense of identity, your sense of who you are, your sense of what your life is about, what you stand for. Yes, you do have to recapture that, that’s part of ego and self-esteem, ego in the positive sense of it. Self-esteem of feeling connected and tethered and know who you are and what you stand for, and those are important things. So, re-establishing your sense of self is an important step that you should not try and just skip over until you find the next person.

Lewis Howes:               Right. Re-establishing those healthy habits for yourself, seeing who you are, what your identity is, single, not just being in another relationship.

Guy Winch:                  Right, reminding yourself that, “I can have a good life being single, even if I don’t want to be single.”

Lewis Howes:               How can friends connect to someone who’s gone through a heartbreak, the best way? Should we be reaching out to our friends consistently, and if they’re constantly complaining month after month, how do we support them then?

Guy Winch:                  So, the general guideline is, let’s say this person lost a first degree relative. You would reach out to them, you would check in on them, and you wouldn’t do it for a week. You would do it for a while. What you would also do, is you would be sensitive to what clues they’re giving you about how they want to talk about it.

Some people will be, like, “Yes, I want to talk about the loss, I want to talk about missing the person. I want to talk about those things.” And some people, you’ll say, “How are you doing?” and they’ll say, “I’m okay,” and they’ll start talking about other things. You get the sense that they really appreciate the connection, but it’ll be more helpful for them if you just connect and talk about other things, rather than about that.

So that’s in regular kind of grief. Same with this. In other words, reach out, ask, but also be aware that, if they don’t want to talk about it, don’t push, but show them you are there in case they do want to talk about it.

Lewis Howes:               Is this for the romantic break-up as well?

Guy Winch:                  Yeah. For pet loss, for romantic break-ups. With one caveat, because you asked two questions essentially. A, how are you there for someone, and the other question you asked, really was: What do you do when you see someone floundering? See somebody not recovering? See somebody stuck? Do you say something? “It’s been five months and you’re still talking about it the same way.”? How do you approach them? How do you let them know that you think they need to deal slightly differently?

And I would just do it in a very matter of fact, but compassionate way, of saying, “Look, I’m happy to talk to you about this, whenever you want. So, I want to be super clear that I am your friend, that I am happy to talk to you whenever you want. I do want to point something out to you: You sound the same now, as you did five months ago. So, I’m not sure you are recovering, as well, as speedily, as efficiently, as you could be. You are still so sad. And I’m not saying the loss wasn’t significant, it was. But it should be getting better and I’m worried that it’s not. And so, I’m going to suggest to you, think about approaching your recovery in a different way, doing something different, taking some different steps. Because you feel stuck.”

Now, they might come back and go, “What are you talking about? I don’t feel stuck at all.” And you’re like, “Alright.” You’ve said it. As a friend, that’s your duty. Say it, put the idea in their head, but you can’t force them.

Lewis Howes:               Right. Did you ever have a challenging heartbreak, either romantically, or with a pet that took you a long time to overcome? Even though this is stuff you study and you work with people as a psychologist all the time?

Guy Winch:                  Amazingly, that doesn’t make you immune to anything, in other words, I’ll tell you a story about my childhood pet, was a dog. She was a collie, and she was a neurotic dog. And my brother and I are both psychologists, not because of the dog, I don’t think, but certainly she was really neurotic.

We got her, I forgot how old we were, but there was a point in which she was older and we were leaving the country, and we could give her to someone, but no-one wanted a ten-year-old collie, and so we decided the more humane thing to do would be to put her to sleep. She had cancer, she had a medical history, and we found a vet and we told him the situation, and he said, “Wow, that’s sad, I get it. Neurotic dog, she’s not going to do that great with new owners. Maybe that’s the best thing to do. Bring her in.”

We brought her in and I put her on the table, and he’s petting her, and he’s a young vet. He’s petting her, and then he starts examining her teeth, and I’m like, “This is very thorough for a… Is this for the coffin?” Is he going to select her dress to put… like, what’s going on? And he goes, “You know, she looks much younger than ten.” And I’m like, “Yeah, she’s a young looking ten-year-old collie. I’m not sure where this is going.”

He said, “Look. I know she’s neurotic, I can see she’s tense, but I’m really good with animals, and I have a wonderful clientèle. I know you guys are leaving and you can’t take her. What if I brought her here for two weeks and displayed her for my clients and see if anyone that I know who has a good home and a good heart wanted her. Would that be okay?”

Now, we had tried to give her away, to find people, but we couldn’t. And I said, “Well, what if you can’t?” He goes, “Here’s what I’m proposing: Pay me for the injection. Leave her here. In two weeks, you can call me and find out if I was able to place her or not. And then think what you want.” And my brother and I looked at one another and we were really emotional, because just the idea of it.

Lewis Howes:               You already thought the dog was going to be gone in ten minutes.

Guy Winch:                  I know, it was torturous, right? And at that point, the vet’s wife runs into the room and starts screaming at him, “No! No! Your practice has been open for six months and we have seven dogs at home.” She looks at us, she goes, “He’s not going to offer her to anyone, he’s taking her home. I’m telling you right now! No! I won’t have another dog!”

And he looked at her and he goes, “But look at the dog! The dog’s great!” And that’s what happened, and his wife is still there glaring at him and he goes, “No, no, I will be trying to offer her to other people,” but he was kind of saying, “I’ll probably take her.”

And so, that’s what we did. We paid him for the injection. We left her there. We sobbed on the way out. It was horrible. It’s like leaving your kid for camp, knowing that you’re not coming to pick them up. It was so horrible. We felt horrifically guilty. We felt like we are such terrible people, we couldn’t take the dog with us. But he seemed like a really good person, obviously, if that’s the issue he was having as a vet. And then the question came, two weeks later.

Lewis Howes:               Did you call?

Guy Winch:                  What would you have done?

Lewis Howes:               I don’t know. I would have just imagined that he was in a happy place with a home.

Guy Winch:                  That’s what we did. We assumed that she was with him. This is a great guy. We assumed she was with him. We didn’t want to call and find out that wasn’t the case. And that allowed us to think, “She’s going to have a good home, this is a great guy, he’s great with dogs, she’ll have the best care, obviously.”

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, maybe a couple more years and then she’ll pass on.

Guy Winch:                  But the guilt stayed with me for a long time. Because, look, this is your dog, you know?

Lewis Howes:               Oh, you’re abandoning your friend who’s been with you for ten years.

Guy Winch:                  Yeah. There’s no easy, there’s no great way to feel about that, and I felt guilty for a long time. And I didn’t do work on feeling guilty, because indeed, I was moving to the States, I had to set up a new life, there was a lot on my plate. But I realised, a couple of years later, when every time I would go to people and they had a dog, I would be like, [swallowing my guilt], and just petting the dog, or I would be like, “I need to do some work on this, because I’m not handling it. This hasn’t been processed well.”

Lewis Howes:               It was still a factor, yeah. Wow. So did you start doing some work on it?

Guy Winch:                  I did.

Lewis Howes:               What did you do?

Guy Winch:                  At the time I was in therapy. When you’re in graduate school to become a psychologist, they strongly recommend that you be in therapy, because you should know your stuff, right? So, I actually did discuss it. I talked about it in therapy, and I talked about it for quite a bit. And I came to, and I really went through, A, is the guilt warranted? Could I have done something better, should I have thought further? And really, there weren’t really alternatives like that, but I had to go through a process of self forgiveness. Which is what I did.

Lewis Howes:               Really? Once you forgave yourself then you could move on.

Guy Winch:                  Yes. And my brother went through a process where he kind of vowed that any dog he has is going to be, you know, the next dog is going to be a rescue dog. And his next dog was a rescue dog. And so, it was many years later, probably twenty years later, that he had his next dog, but it was a rescue dog, and he wanted to do that, you know, kind of in her name.

Lewis Howes:               Now, this might be interesting. You felt a lot of guilt with the dog, right? For how long?

Guy Winch:                  For a couple of years.

Lewis Howes:               Now, was there ever a romantic relationship where it took longer than that for you to heal?

Guy Winch:                  No.

Lewis Howes:               Why is that?

Guy Winch:                  Because I didn’t put anyone to sleep.

Lewis Howes:               Right, right, there you go!

Guy Winch:                  I didn’t drop them off somewhere and go, “I’ll be back later, maybe.”

Lewis Howes:               That’s so bad! So with a romantic relationship, what was the longest it took?

Guy Winch:                  To get over? Look, my general guideline is, I think the recovery does have to be proportionate to the length of the relationship.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, yeah. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dog, an animal or…

Guy Winch:                  But again, if you’re dating somebody for two weeks it might take two years to get over, but usually it should take less than if you were dating for two years or for twenty. And in my experience, my limited experience of me, the recoveries have been proportionate to the lengths of relationships, but I was also very much aware of that in my recoveries.

I was very much aware that this is the relationship, this is how long it should take, these are the steps I need to take. I was not a passive participant in my recoveries. I was very active, personally and in general, as a psychologist and since I was informed of the information, and I know the tools I can use and the steps I should take, it would be silly of me not to. So I tend to.

Lewis Howes:               So you were, “I need to go out three times a week with my friends.”

Guy Winch:                  Oh, yes. I need to force myself to.

Lewis Howes:               “I need to go to the dog park. I need to do whatever.”

Guy Winch:                  It was literally, like, “I don’t feel like it, but I know what’s good for me. I feel like doing this, but that’s not going to help.”

Lewis Howes:               And over time you just start to feel better.

Guy Winch:                  You recover more quickly, it is less painful. And there’s something empowering about feeling like, “Here are tools, and I’m using them.”

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, that’s cool. What’s the greatest part about being a psychologist, therapist, for you? You meet people every single day who come to your office in New York City. What’s the greatest part of it for you?

Guy Winch:                  The greatest part is not what I would have expected when I started. I’ve been in practice for twenty-five years, and I have people who I saw when they were eight years old, who came with their parents, who, twenty years later call me and say, “I’m twenty-eight, you saw me when I was eight. I wanted to come see you about something.” Or people that I saw as a couple for ten years ago, are like, “We need to come back for a few sessions.”

People, I think, need to use a psychologist, or that’s at least my approach to therapy, is, I’m a family doctor in that sense. I’m not going anywhere. We’ll come, we’ll work on stuff, other things will happen in your life, you’ll have to go and see someone at some point, you come back and you leave as needed. There is no, “You must be in therapy once a week for this many years and then never again.” Not how it works.

And, so, to me, the greatest satisfaction is, I get to see the stories unfold. I get many, many Christmas cards every year, of people who send me their family pictures, their individual updates, from fifteen from twenty years, now, of telling me how they’re doing. And I always write back, and I always cherish them, because that’s the satisfaction. I look how their lives are progressing.

So, to be able to see the full story, is a real gift, because you were involved in that story, you care! And often they leave and, “Did it work out? Did it not? Did they…?” you know? And in many cases I do find out, and it’s great.

Lewis Howes:               Wow, that’s cool. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself from twenty plus, twenty-eight years now, of practice?

Guy Winch:                  Twenty-five.

Lewis Howes:               Twenty-five years of practice?

Guy Winch:                  The biggest lesson I’ve learned about me? That is a tricky question. I’ll answer this way: It never fails that, it happens very frequently that somebody will come in and talk about something and I will have a moment where I’m going, like, “Huh. I need to address that. In my own life.” Or, “That’s something I didn’t do well, in my own life.” Which I didn’t realise until they started talking about something that was so similar that I realise, “Ugh, I’m guilty of that.”

So, when you’re talking with somebody about, and when you have many patients, eventually, and not that eventually, frequently, it’s going to dovetail with things that are going on in your own life. I have authors I work with, talk about their books and the frustrations about marketing books, and I’m like, “Mm!” and I feel like applauding. But it really helps me, because then I have at least the honesty with myself of if that happens, to not ignore it and go, “Yeah, but…” to then actually do some thinking about it and figure things out about it. And, to me, that’s great. That’s a great gift.

So, that’s what I learned about myself. It’s these little moments where somebody’s going through something that I had gone through or I am going through, and I realise through their narrative, that there are options that I hadn’t explored, there are things, new tools and new perspectives that I should be adopting.

Lewis Howes:               What’s the greatest challenge you face in your own life right now?

Guy Winch:                  It’s not a challenge, per se, but as you get older, and this is trite for people who have gotten older, but it turns out it’s true, but as you get older, you start to care more and more about legacy. About what’s your impact on the world? Are you just in this life visiting, taking what you can? Or are you trying to have an impact? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to help? Are you trying to leave this place better, in your small way, than how you found it? And that becomes more urgent because you have less time to do it.

You know, when you’re younger, you can be like, “I’ll get to that.” And as you get older, it feels more important, just for me, I’m not saying for everyone, but for me to make sure that I can do what I can do. And so, my next challenge, mission, assignment is to continue to do that and then figure out what’s the next. Right now it’s about heartbreak. Right now it’s about all these heartbroken people walking around, and the people around them who don’t know how to deal, who are not really doing the right thing for themselves and could be. And that’s information I really want to get out there.

And after that there’ll be the next piece of life that I want to tackle and say to people, “Oh, here’s another piece of life you can do better with and that we’re not really talking about.” Because in all my books, the theme, the thread throughout them, is they all are about issues that we all confront on a daily basis, but do not talk about.

My first book, The Squeaky Wheel, is about the psychology of complaining. And complaining is a broad thing, it means how we complain to our spouse, to our friend, to our colleague, to customer service, and all those realms. And complaining psychology is very screwed up and we do that very poorly, and very ignorantly.

The next book, Emotional First Aid, was about the common wounds of daily life, like failure, rejection, loneliness and how there are very clear steps we need to take to heal and yet we don’t. So here are these steps, this is what you need to know. This is about heartbreak. The through line is daily experiences that are not pathology, right? They’re not depression, or anxiety, so we don’t talk about them enough. And emotional health, something we need to pay more attention to.

So, it’s all in that vein, and so the next thing is going to be the next aspect of that, that I will choose to tackle, that I think needs to be spoken about more, and people need to be more informed about and yet they’re not.

Lewis Howes:               What do you think is limiting you or holding you back from doing more of what you want, faster?

Guy Winch:                  Hours in the day, and I have, in my life, made certain choices. People who have seen my first TED Talk will know that I have a twin brother, an identical twin brother who is also a psychologist, who has cancer. And he’s had it for a long time, and he’s in remission, but he’s not cured. It’s not a curable cancer.

I, long ago, around the time of the diagnosis, obviously, made a decision that a certain amount of time, I’m going to carve out to spend with him. And it’s a significant amount of time. That’s time I’m not going to be in my office working, I’m not going to be writing, I’m just going to be spending with him, because that’s very important, for me. That limits things in a certain way.

My practice is very important for me, because my work is to talk about the human experience. My practice puts me in touch with the human experience. I am a sample of one, I’m not sufficient to think, “This is how it works for me, therefore this is how it works for people.” That’s not sufficient. Reading science journals is not sufficient. Working with regular people in their daily lives, through their variety of struggles, is incredibly informative, is incredibly useful, and incredibly grounding.

And that’s not a part I’m willing to give up. With those limitations, there’s only so much time left over, for the writing, the speaking, and I do, I think, quite a bit of it. So, I try to maximise how much time I can do that, but I don’t want to sacrifice my time with my brother, my practice, my personal life, for the sake of… I’m not that selfless, that I will be, like, “My needs don’t matter.” That’s part of my message, so kind of, they do.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. Interesting. What’s the common theme, over twenty-eight years you’ve learned about people? What’s the thing that we all want and need the most, that we’re all looking for?

Guy Winch:                  The thing is, again, it’s going to sound like “duh”, but I’ll say it this way: My last book is in twenty-four languages. Languages, you know, it’s in Arabic, it’s in Indonesian, it’s in Vietnamese. What it taught me was that our emotional fabric, our emotional DNA is identical. Our emotional experience of the world and how we tend to react, is far more similar than disparate.

And we always tend to think, “Well, I feel this way, but other people don’t in that situation,” or, “I’m feeling insecure in this situation, but other people don’t seem to be.”

“I feel really pained by this mild rejection that happened when my colleagues went to lunch, but didn’t invite me. But someone else would shrug it off.”

And what I’ve learned is that, no, the person who looks like they’re shrugging it off, are not manifesting it, but it stung. Because it stings when your colleagues go to lunch without you, even if you didn’t want to go to lunch with them. Even if they go to a steakhouse and you’re a vegan, the rejection of it stings.

I’ve learned that there is something extraordinarily universal about our emotional experience. And it crosses cultures, it crosses age, it crosses gender, it crosses race, it crosses nationality and it binds us. And yet, we don’t experience the commonalities we have with the human race all over the planet, as we really have a very similar emotional experience.

Now, somebody from a war torn zone, does not have the same emotional experience as I do, because they’re dealing with survival. They’re not dealing with, “Am I happy today?” they’re dealing with, “Is a bomb falling on me today?” It’s a very different [situation]. You don’t have the luxury to ask whether you’re happy, when bombs are falling over you. So in that sense it’s not a similar experience.

So, when you look at the similar situations, we respond similarly. And that universality, I feel, is such a strong bond we should have with one another, that we all bleed the same when it comes to emotions. It makes me warm to humanity, when somebody comes into my office who is very different than me, in terms of their life experience, their race, their age, whatever it is. And they start talking and I always am struck by how much we’re similar, how much we respond the same.

And I get them, because I feel those things and that’s the thing that struck me most in my practice, which is in New York City, so it’s incredibly varied, not in some kind of place where you have people who are all the same race, the same culture, it’s very varied. And yet, when people are in my office, it doesn’t matter what their race or culture is, I mean, it does for certain things, of course, just because that’s their context, and their life experience. But in terms of their emotional responses to typical things, it doesn’t.

Lewis Howes:               Has there ever been a challenge brought to you by someone over twenty-eight years that you didn’t feel like you could find a solution for? That it was just like, “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

Guy Winch:                  Yeah, “I can’t help you, I’m so sorry.”

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, “Figure it out, like take some time, it’s just going to take time and I wish you luck.” You know?

Guy Winch:                  Look, I’ll be honest with you. No. And here’s what concerns me about saying no: because I know the answer is no, because it just hasn’t happened, but then I thought, well, what does that mean? Am I that conceited? But actually, here’s why it’s no. Because I don’t need to know the answer when they come in. I just need to know how to start getting out of the stuck place they’re in.

If somebody comes in and says, “We are stuck,” which is a general theme, that’s the general language of somebody going to therapy, “Something’s not working, I’m stuck. The relationship to this, to that.” Then they’re stuck because they are seeing things in a certain perspective. The minute I’m looking at things in a different perspective, they are less stuck in my mind, because they’re stuck because they are seeing it like, “I’m stuck because I’m unhappy with my partner, yet I can’t leave them for A, B, C and D.”

And I know that’s assuming the partner can’t change at all, which is probably not true, that’s assuming A, B, C and D are all valid in the same way, which is probably not true, that’s assuming they tried everything, which is also probably not true. So, I don’t have to know the answer. I just have to know what options they have. How to help them think through developing new options. How to show them a slightly different perspective on how they’re thinking about things, that makes them feel less stuck in that respect.

So, that I can do, and in that sense: No.

Lewis Howes:               There you go! I got a couple of questions left for you, but make sure you guys get the book, How To Fix A Broken Heart. It’s out right now, go check it out. Also a great TED Talk that you should watch as well. It’s called the same thing, How To Fix A Broken Heart?

Guy Winch:                  It will probably be called How To Fix A Broken Heart, but if you go to ted.com and just put in “Guy” even if not “Guy Winch”. You’ll see my profile and then you’ll find both my TED Talks. Or my website, guywinch.com will feature them prominently.

Lewis Howes:               Both of them, yes. Go pick up the book. Are you guywinch on Twitter and Instagram as well? Facebook?

Guy Winch:                  @GuyWinch on twitter, Guy Winch Author on Facebook and shamefully, I am not on Instagram.

Lewis Howes:               What are you going to do about it?

Guy Winch:                  Actually, I signed up, but that’s it.

Lewis Howes:               Okay, good. But you’re never on there.

Guy Winch:                  No.

Lewis Howes:               It’s a waste of your time.

Guy Winch:                  It’s not a waste of my time. It’s making choices. It’s making choices.

Lewis Howes:               Okay. Well, go check him out on Facebook and Twitter. And your website. This is called, The Three Truths, this question. Imagine you have achieved everything you want. You’ve built the legacy, you’ve written all the books, all your wisdom has gotten out of you. You did it all. And you feel like, “You know what? I did it all, I feel complete, I feel solid, like my life meant something, it mattered. My legacy will go on.”

But for whatever reason everything you’ve created has been erased.

Guy Winch:                  I love finishing on an upbeat note, but please!

Lewis Howes:               Everything has been erased, so no-one has access to any of your information any more, right? But it’s the last day for you, this is many years from now, 100 plus years from now, right? No more TED Talks, no more…

Guy Winch:                  No, I got the picture. It’s sounding like the apocalypse happened.

Lewis Howes:               And you have a piece of paper and a pen…

Guy Winch:                  I’m curious about, “Where is this going?!”

Lewis Howes:               You have a piece of paper and a pen, right, and you get to write down the three things you know to be true about everything you’ve learned. Maybe you’ve written about these things, maybe you’ve talked about them, but they don’t have that information any more. All they have is a piece of paper left by you. If you could write down three lessons, or three truths, from everything you’ve learned that you would pass on.

Guy Winch:                  Okay, so distill it down to three things.

Lewis Howes:               Three things of like, “This is all that you have access of me any more,” even though you got to share it, it was erased, this is all you have left. These three truths from Guy Winch to the world, what would you write down as your three biggest lessons or three truths that’s all people will have?

Guy Winch:                  Alright. Here’s one: Prioritise your emotional health. Pay attention. Make it important. Be proactive about it. That, to me, is very important.

Number two, I would say, if you have this feeling in this situation, other people do too. Even if you don’t see it. So, you don’t need to walk around feeling, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I having this reaction? Why do I not? Why do I?” Other people do too. They don’t show it, and you might not show it, either. But they’re having a similar experience, or they would have a similar experience in your circumstance.

And, by the way, since I’m just answering off the hat, which is to say, if this actually happens, I might, with more thought, change some of these.

Lewis Howes:               Of course, of course. This is just the first thing off the top of your mind.

Guy Winch:                  The first blush, is, and this is not new, but people still don’t buy this enough, and to me it’s hugely important. Self-criticism isn’t valuable. It actually doesn’t do much.

Lewis Howes:               What do you mean by that?

Guy Winch:                  We all get self-critical. We criticise ourselves, we call ourselves stupid, or loser, “I’m such an idiot,” you know, “Why do I have these feelings? Why did I react that way? What’s wrong with me?” People literally have an internal voice in their head, many of us, that is harsh and cruel and they literally, when they are feeling worse, they beat themselves up.

And it’s something many people do. When we feel bad, we become self-critical. I always ask, “What do you think you’re getting out of that?”

“Well, A, I deserve it, B, it’ll prepare me for next time,”

No it won’t.

“And, C, it’ll lower my expectations appropriately.”

No, it’ll just demoralise you.

So, people have all these reasons for why that’s an okay thing to do. It is pointless. It is damaging. It’s the self-esteem thing. Like, we need to build our self esteem in difficult moments, and our tendency is to do the exact opposite. And it is incredibly damaging, and when I put people on the spot and they say no, and I can prove to them that it’s useless. That the one thing that they think is useful about it actually isn’t.

Because if you want to actually look at your mistakes, you don’t have to be self critical about it. You can just say, factually, “I probably shouldn’t have said that on the date, because that probably wasn’t appropriate to talk about my ex for twenty minutes in the first half hour of a date. Wrong!” without going, “I’m such an idiot! What’s wrong with me? I’m a loser! I’ll never meet somebody because I’m such a loser.”

Not necessarily the second part. First part, true. You don’t need the second part to make the point.

Lewis Howes:               Acknowledge it and move on.

Guy Winch:                  Yeah. And the first part, actually, you will listen to much more if you don’t add that stuff on, later on, that’ll just make you feel so terrible. So, self criticism, not useful.

Lewis Howes:               Don’t need it.

Guy Winch:                  Yeah. Very automatic. Stop it.

Lewis Howes:               Right. Acknowledgement is good, but not criticising for hours afterwards. Got it. Those are a good Three Truths, off the top of your head. I like it.

Before I ask the final question, I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Guy. I really value your relationship, and the information you did the first podcast has stayed with me. I think it was very powerful for me in a time when I was going through a lot of emotional… I needed some emotional first aid myself during that time, and it helped so many people.

And I think the the work that you’re doing, whether it be one on one with couples or individuals, you’re making a massive impact. The TED Talks you do, this book, everything you do, you do it with a uniqueness. There’s something about you that brings also this witty humour and fun to things as well. And you’re able to connect universal ideas, to help us all relate to the idea, so we can use it more effectively, these tools in our lives.

So, I acknowledge you for constantly diving into the research, for studying your information, for mastering it, because you work extremely hard to make something so complicated, so much easier to experience for all of us. I want to acknowledge you for that.

Guy Winch:                  Thank you very much.

Lewis Howes:               Of course. Make sure you guys get the book, How To Fix A Broken Heart. The final question is: What’s your definition of greatness?

Guy Winch:                  My definition of greatness is setting a goal and reaching it. It doesn’t have to be Everest. The local hill, if that’s a challenge for you, and you set that goal, and you climb that local hill, that’s greatness, to me. Because it’s not one thing. It’s not a monolithic thing, it’s an everyday thing. I think. I mean, that’s how I would prefer to think of it. Greatness is something we should try to achieve every day, and so it’s about living your potential. About trying to, about setting goals, whatever they are, and meeting them. That’s greatness, to me.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. Go get the book. It’s a small, but powerful book. Get it for a friend who’s going through a heartbreak, read it yourself.

Guy Winch, thank you. Appreciate it.

Guy Winch:                  Really do. Thank you.

Lewis Howes:               There you have it, my friends. I hope this brought you some healing, some tools, some insights on how you can help heal yourself with a broken heart, or how to support your friends and family and loved ones if they ever experience a break-up or a broken heart as well.

Again, the full interview is lewishowes.com/601. Take a screenshot, let me know what you thought of this. Tag me on Instagram @LewisHowes, on Twitter and Facebook. Let me know what you think. All the resources and information are back at lewishowes.com/601, to watch the full video interview, make sure to go there.

You can subscribe to us on YouTube as well because we come out with a new video every single day, to inspire, educate and entertain you in an uplifting way. So, check us out, we’ve got over a quarter of a million subscribers over on YouTube and it keeps growing every single day.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this one, and, again, this is a journey. We’re all going on the journey together. There’s going to be moments in our life where we deal with heartache, where we deal with stress, where we deal with emotional trauma. And it’s all warranted, based on our own experiences.

It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been with someone, how little we’ve been with someone, it’s all okay for us to feel these things, and, in fact, it’s healthy for us to feel these things. But, I hope these tools and insights and lessons give you some options for how to not let it ruin your life, or control you for too long, or hold you back from living fully and getting yourself back out there in a healthy way.

And again, Herman Hesse said, “Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes, it is letting go.” And again, we get to let go of those feelings and emotions that hold us back from fully living and experiencing life in the most powerful and beautiful way.

I love you very much, and you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!

Music Credits:

Eternity by The Flash Music

Way is Up by Gigatop

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