Brian McGill said, “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” And Wayne Dyer said, “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”
This is going to be a massive two-part series with my friend Stephan Speaks, a certified relationship coach, speaker, and author. He helps both men and women overcome the challenges that hinder their relationships, empowers millions to take charge of the difficult situation standing in their way of the life and love they seek and make impactful changes on a daily basis.
Stephan’s written a book called Love After Heartbreak: Volume I which is all about helping you self-heal find inner peace and true happiness. I’m so excited to have him back on the show! Our conversation was so powerful that we had to split it up into two parts, so make sure to check out part two after this.
In this episode, we discuss how social media is affecting our relationships, the biggest problems men and women face when cultivating healthy relationships, how to determine whether we’re really connecting with a new partner or it’s a fake connection, why arguing is not healthy, and how we can learn to communicate better.
Stephan Speaks — also known by his given name, Stephan Labossiere — is a certified relationship coach, speaker, and author. From understanding the opposite sex to navigating the paths and avoiding the pitfalls of relationships and self-growth, Stephan’s relationship advice and insight help countless individuals achieve an authentically amazing life.
Dedicated to helping and devoted to keeping it real, Stephan’s straightforward yet compassionate delivery style attracts a varied clientele, including notable celebrities, civic and social organizations, academic institutions, singles, and couples alike, who can and are ready to handle the truth!
Stephan has been seen, heard, and chronicled in national and international media outlets, including the Tom Joyner Morning Show, The Examiner, ABC, and Huffington Post Live, to name a few. To coin a phrase by an individual who attended one of his speaking engagements, “He’s definitely the relationship guy — all relationships, all the time.” With an international following of singles and couples alike, the name Stephan Labossiere is synonymous with breaking down relationship barriers, pushing past common facades, and exposing the truth. It is this understanding of REAL relationships that he brings to everyone he encounters.
He’s got some great books out there, and after listening to this podcast episode with Stephan Labossiere, you’re going to want to hear more of his stuff. His most recent publications are Find Love After Heartbreak, He Who Finds a Wife, and The Man God Has for You, and they all teach you about how to create healthy relationships with the right people.
He also has a new coaching program: “How to Manifest the Life & Man God Has for You.” Ladies, I’m speaking to you here — if you are looking for the right man, you definitely want to check out Stephan’s coaching program! He’s a relationship genius and genuinely kind guy, and I know his advice will help you manifest the relationship you’ve been dreaming of.
Let’s jump right into part one!
No matter a person’s level of success in life, I feel one of the biggest questions a lot of people have right now is, “Why do people have such a hard time these days finding love?” Never mind these unprecedented times during the pandemic, there’s also social media, millions of options — it’s hard to know where to start and put our focus on dealing with these different challenges.
“I want to start with social media. I used to be someone that said, ‘social media is not the problem. It’s people, social media simply exposes the issue.’ [While] I still believe that I have come to a place of seeing how evil social media can be, how much damage it can cause, but not just simply the negativity it pours into people’s relationships — but the expectations that it sets in different ways, like men forgetting what an average woman looks like because they’re looking at [Instagram] models all day. Women are forgetting that not every guy has a million dollars that can shower you with a ridiculous amount of gifts.” – Stephan Speaks
While not everyone is falling for the illusion of luxurious lives online, a lot of people are, and it’s impacting people’s ability to appreciate relationships. We have such different levels of how we engage with each other compared to what it used to be.
Not only is life so different now, but the complexities and traumas that we all bring to the table are compounded by these illusions. It’s important to realize that it’s not just about finding a partner — it’s about finding someone we’re compatible with.
Just because we enter into a committed relationship, doesn’t necessarily mean everything will flow easily. Even if both partners entered into the marriage and the relationship not completely healed, that changes the instant one decides to begin their journey to healing.
Perhaps one partner on their healing journey finds relief, maybe even peace in their heart, and they’re not triggered any longer — but what if the other partner continues in their own traumatic past experiences and is not willing to heal? I asked Stephan how he would work with this couple.
“I hate to say this, but I have to be honest, I can never encourage someone to remain in a toxic situation. I do think we can take an approach that says, ‘Let’s see if we can work this out.’ Let’s give them a little bit of grace here. The main thing is, can we achieve progress? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if we’ve been behaving or tolerating this dysfunction for so many years, we can’t expect it to be perfect tomorrow. Are you willing to at least start to walk on that path and make progress? I don’t want to encourage divorce, [but] I cannot feel comfortable telling people to stay trapped in a marriage with someone who doesn’t want to face their issues. If you have freed yourself from that, you have healed.” – Stephan Speaks
They’ve got to be willing to make a move — this is so powerful and true. It’s not about expecting somebody to change overnight — it’s about communicating what you need and giving them the space to recognize the changes you have made and decide to make changes towards facing their own issues and healing too.
“It’s painful to let those emotions you’ve suppressed all these years come back out, and now your fear of healing or facing the process of healing is greater than your fear of losing this person. They think because you’re married to them, you’re not going anywhere. That’s not enough incentive to face their fear of facing their issues. The only thing that may get them to do it — is the threat of divorce. The reality is some people won’t get it together until there’s a real consequence on the table.” – Stephan Speaks
Stephan is always doing his best to coach people to avoid that consequence, but the sad truth is that we cannot control anybody, and no matter how much we talk, sometimes only hitting rock bottom is what can break the cycle of fear.
I often wonder if people confuse chemistry early in the relationship for compatibility or if the connection simply fades away. Stephan takes some time to explain the importance and differences between each one for us.
First off, let’s start with Stephan’s definition of chemistry.
“Chemistry is the art of getting along and flowing with each other. Chemistry can be created — it can be destroyed. Yes, some people have instant chemistry, but just as it was [created], it can also be broken instantly.” – Stephan Speaks
Chemistry is still important and needs to be in every relationship for it to work and flourish, but that’s not what’s most important.
“Connection sets the stage for everything else — if you have a connection, you will be able to have chemistry and compatibility.” – Stephan Speaks
Compatibility is a logic-based structure of putting two people together, and it speaks to having shared values. We can use arranged marriages as an example of building relationships on compatibility — whether a person comes from the right family, has a good job, or a good education to make them a good fit for the other person.
“When those two people are alone with each other, it doesn’t always hit. This is why an online dating site can match two people together that are compatible on paper, but in person, it doesn’t always play out the same because the chemistry, or more importantly, the connection is missing.” – Stephan Speaks
What a valuable point he makes: connection is what cannot be created or destroyed.
Connection is either there or it’s not — there’s nothing you can do to build connection.
“Connection is your spirit recognizing its match. It is something that is happening beneath the surface. This is why many people who have felt a connection can’t always explain it. It’s just there, you just feel something with this person. It’s so much deeper than anything you’ve ever felt. You can be compatible with tons of people. You can have chemistry with tons of people. You do not feel a connection with a bunch of people.” – Stephan Speaks
Stephan believes if we were to do a survey about whether they’ve had a connection in their life, the majority will say it’s a one-time occurrence.
Now we know which of the three to focus on when we meet someone!
As much as meeting someone and having a connection is important, step one is always healing ourselves first to successfully remain in any relationship. This one act of learning to heal will start to improve the quality of your choices dating someone, in a relationship, or getting out of a toxic relationship quicker. The tricky part? How do we know what part to heal?
The awareness to start healing is the easy part — there are so many questions that follow like “How do I do it?” and “How do I get started?” Healing is a journey, and we need to be prepared for how long it takes to get healed. I asked Stephan if this is a lifelong journey or if it can happen overnight.
“First thing, how long it takes to heal is going to take as long as you’re willing to put in the work — healing is not a time thing, it’s a work thing. When people say, ‘Time heals all wounds.’ Time alone doesn’t heal a thing, it can help and does aid in the process, but it is no good by itself. You have to take steps.” – Stephan Speaks
So often we hear people say, “I’m going to take a year off from relationships to heal,” but we never hear why they chose a year. If you’re not doing the work in that year, all that happens is they hide from the world and relationships, distracting themselves but never healing. Instead of focusing on the length of time to heal, Stephan takes us through the process we can do right now.
“My first step is called the ‘who hurt me’ list. Get a piece of paper [and] write down who hurt me, every person who comes to mind. It doesn’t matter how long ago it happened [or] if you think you moved past it, — if they come to mind, there’s some level of relevance. [Next to each name, put] a sentence of what they did to hurt you. This is how we’re going to start to locate what you’ve been holding on to. [Be] genuine — you can’t try to control the narrative, just let yourself feel. Ask yourself the question, close your eyes, let it come.” – Stephan Speaks
Even if you only remember one or two big ones, by tackling those first ones, you set the stage where everything else gets taken care of naturally and your level of healing will allow you to see things differently.
“Step two, we’ve got to get things off our chest, and this is where we do the letter-writing process. The first draft is the most important, this is where we have an emotional detox and you let all your raw emotion out — I don’t care if you curse or wish death. However you feel, let it come out. You’ve got to let the anger, the hurt all pour out of you into this letter.” – Stephan Speaks
This process is like any other detox — you can’t get to a healthy place unless you flush out all the negative energy. Stephan urges us not to be politically correct or try to frame things in the right way. This is not about being considerate. By doing that first draft, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to feel a weight off your shoulders, and you’re going to feel more peace. Once you’ve finished draft one, Stephan suggests praying, meditating, or whatever you need to do to become mentally calm.
Now read the letter as if you were them and put yourself in their shoes.
“Anything that comes off as attacking, condescending, or blatantly insulting, you’re going to change — not change the message, just your delivery. The importance behind this is twofold. One — this letter [will] help you learn how to take your negative emotions and thoughts and reword [them] into a more loving, positive message. Loving does not mean you won’t say some things that aren’t hurtful — there’s just a difference between lashing out and expressing how you feel, saying, ‘This is how you impacted my life.’” – Stephan Speaks
Sharing how we perceive things rather than saying, “you’re this or you’re that” means by the end of it, you have fully expressed yourself, but in a more calm, loving manner.
To get the maximum benefit from this exercise, Stephan suggests sending the letter to whomever you wrote it to.
“The focus of the letter is for your healing — so whether you send it and they never respond or you send it and they reject everything you said, the purpose is your release of all those emotions. You’ve got to embrace forgiveness, [which] is another piece of this healing puzzle. I have seen amazing things happen because of these letters.” – Stephan Speaks
That’s a great place to leave it for part one as we begin part two with forgiveness!
Guys, part one of this conversation is jam-packed with so much valuable information. To get the full benefit of Stephan’s wisdom, listen to the full episode for detailed information, and don’t forget to share with a friend who might be going through a tough time right now.
If you enjoyed this conversation, please make sure to spread the message of greatness and inspire someone else in your life. It would be really great if you could also tag Stephan, @stephanspeaks, and me, @lewis howes, on Instagram with a screenshot of this episode and your greatest takeaways from it.
This is just part one, you can jump straight to part two here where we discuss forgiveness, finding real love, and setting expectations. It’s in that episode where Stephan Speaks will share his definition of greatness.
If you’d like, you can listen to our previous conversations on episode 994 where we spoke about the secrets of attraction, or on episode 730 where we chatted about love, intimacy, and relationships. You won’t be disappointed!
I want to leave you with this quote from Joyce Meyer who said, “We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers, instead of critics.”
I know it’s easy to criticize the partner you’re with or judge someone, but that is a recipe for disaster in relationships and the reason why learning from someone like Stephan Speaks helps us become a partner that encourages.
I’m so grateful for you and you know what time it is — it’s time to go out there and do something great.