"It's important for people to understand that wherever you hold resentment...that's a place where you don't prioritize yourself."
- Mark Groves, Ep90. The Monica Kade Podcast
In Episode 90 of The Monica Kade Podcast I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mark Groves. He has a specialised interest in the area of Human Connection. He’s an author, speaker and sales consultant.
Aside from his professional titles, he’s just a really cool guy doing some incredible work in the world. I don’t say that lightly. I found his work on Instagram—as you’ll hear in the episode—and was really moved by the way he writes about relationships. But sitting down to chat with him was another level. If he lived in Australia, I’d totally have him over as a dinner guest. He’s intelligent, easy-going and just one of those people you enjoy having a conversation with. No BS, just pure heart. And I like those kind of people.
He’s in love with science, psychology, and uncovering the mysteries of what makes great relationships work. Speaking of that, he’s certain there are no “secrets” when it comes to great relationships. Rather, he believes that all relationships are by design and we are all the architects of what we want.
Mark has a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology and has written for Plenty of Fish, Thought Catalog, Goodmen Project and is the Relationship Columnist for 24 Hours Newspaper. When he’s not working with clients you’ll find him traveling the globe, playing in the mountains and ocean, or pretty much anything that gets his heart beating in the paradise that is Vancouver, BC.
- How he became a human connection specialist?
- What he had to do to master his understanding and approach to relationships
- Why your relationship with yourself if first paramount
- How you measure up your worth in a relationship
- How to create healthy boundaries in a partnership
- What marriage used to be and why it’s no longer that
- How you can equip yourself to be a better partner
- How he helps people ‘understand their emotional matrix by mastering themselves through their word”
- What he really thinks about your “List” for your ultimate partner
- Is it possible to feel free in a relationship
- Sunset or sunrise and why—plus he shares a really cool anecdote about his answer!
- If he wasn’t in his current career, what he’d like to attempt
- A piece of wisdom he’s been passed down and lives by
Monica Kade:00:01You're listening to the Monica Kade Podcast, a conscious approach to all things health and lifestyle, empowering you to be your best self in each moment because the truth is that's all we ever have. On Mondays, I bring you pep talks for your soul and episode sharing, personal conscious lifestyle tips that'll help you make better choices in all areas of your life. Each Wednesday you'll get an interview with a game changing entrepreneur, creative mind or thought leader doing what they love and challenging the status quo. These people move me, they're changing the world and I hope they impact yours. Let's dive into this week's conversation.
Monica Kade:00:39Hello and welcome to episode 90 of the Monica Kade Podcast. My guest today is Mark Groves. He has a specialized interest in the area of human connection. He's an author, speaker, and sales consultant. He's in love with science, psychology and uncovering the mysteries of what makes relationships work. Speaking of that, he's certain there are no secrets when it comes to great relationships. Instead, he believes that all relationships are by design and we are the architects of what we want and I'm really excited to chat tomorrow because I have been following him on Instagram for a little while and he has some really beautiful words about relationships and that's why I wanted to bring him on the show. Without further ado, let's dive into our conversation.
New Speaker:01:24Okay. Welcome Mark. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Mark Groves:01:28Thanks so much for having me.
Monica Kade:01:29I have been really excited to chat to you because I came across your work quite a while ago now on Instagram and I was really moved by a lot of the different quotes that you write on relationships and not just relationships, just some of the quotes that you wrote on your Instagram page and I find in a sea of quotes on Instagram, you know when you come across someone that's putting stuff out there and it just stands out, you know, it makes me stop.
Mark Groves:01:58Well thank you so much. I appreciate you stopping by and then now we get to jam. I know we'll talk about some good stuff today.
Monica Kade:02:06So you're a human connection specialist and a speaker. And I guess the, maybe some of the listeners then don't know who you are just yet. Can you just tell us how you found yourself stepping into this world?
Mark Groves:02:19Man, I think a lot of this work, uh, really comes from personally and like a selfish place cause it's more like I got to figure my shit out. So I used to, um, be in sales and when I was in sales I was all about like studying how do I get someone to change behavior, you know, to change from one product to another to start using my product. And so I was very much like, how do you, you know, I remember I have books like how to get anyone to do anything and you know, like with friends and influence people. And then, uh, you know, I was really good at sales and it was just like a human behavior was very interesting to me. And then when I went through a breakup, I was engaged and I ended my engagement. And when I ended my engagement, I really wanted to understand, I was like, wait, like I'm really good at communicating. So why am I so bad at talking about my feelings cause that's not like a skill set issue.
Mark Groves:03:17There's something else going on there. And I really asked myself like, how did I get here? Like how did I get to this place where I'm so disconnected from myself and I couldn't really label the moment that had happened. All I knew was that I had avoided every hard conversation and swept everything under the rug. And as everyone knows, you eventually trip on that. And so I started to study relationships. It was like I want to understand marriage, I want to understand romantic relationships and understand what makes some stayed together and others not. And why do some people thrive, you know, in relationship until they die. And for the most part, people don't. They, you know, end up disconnected. And I was like, I don't want that for me. And as I dove into that, I really started to see that everybody wanted more of that. And I, you know, I was a bit angry at first because I felt like I'd grown up in sort of being lied to about what relationships are like and that they're supposed to end. You know, you stay in love forever. That's not what I was seeing. But of course, you know, you human nature is to dismiss information that contradicts what you believe or hope. Hmm. So I started to see that I was doing that.
Monica Kade:04:29I think it's so awesome that you actually took the time to stop and ask yourself that question. I know that a lot of people, you know, they're relationship ends and not everyone stops to take that time to really like, Hey, I, okay, it's, maybe I need to get to know myself. I need to, you know, really review what's happened to you. And, and then you just take that stuff with you to the next one.
Mark Groves:04:55Yeah. You know, it's, uh, I would like to say that I consciously just stopped and was like, Ooh, what is it about relationship and me? No, I wouldn't say that I still had a lot of, um, as I was asking those questions, I was sort of shut off from actually allowing myself to be loved again and you know, not let anyone in. But I was able to rationalize why, you know, once you learn enough information you can sort of intellectualize it. Any choice, you can intellectualize any relationship choice you can intellect. And I just started to see that, um, as I just understood more of the subconscious and why we do what we do, I was like, wait, I'm doing some things that I shouldn't be doing anymore and they're not constructive to creating a connected relationship.
Monica Kade:05:41And can you give us an example of one or two of the questions that you decided to ask yourself at that point?
Mark Groves:05:48Yeah. So first one, one is how the hell did I get here? That was for sure the first one, the next one that started to be like, why am I, cause one of my sort of, um, muck coping mechanisms or defensive mechanisms from true intimacy was too, I would drink and then the drinking would allow me to get rid of my values and then I would hook up with girls and it would be, you know, I was using this method of short term connection to feel loved and seen. But as soon as a woman really wanted to love me, I would come up with all the reasons in the world why she wasn't the right person or you know, but I was just so afraid if love, I was so afraid of actually what's beyond the intimate experience. So when I started to wake up to that, that I was feeling very disconnected in those experiences, I would wake up, you know, with guilt and shame, you know, as they call it, the walk of shame.
Mark Groves:06:45And I think if you have shame after you do anything, I know we joke about that and I certainly used to joke about that and my friends in college, we would say that you needed to shower with shampoo the next day. And so, you know, it's funny. And then at the same time you started to look and you start when you start to become more responsible for your choices or decide to be, you recognize the pain. And in putting yourself under fire, you recognize the pain and putting yourself in even sexual or relational experiences that don't feel like they're filling you up, that you actually have to numb yourself in order to participate in them. Or you're, you just started left, um, empty in some sense. And so I started to really observe how I was feeling. I started to get back in my body. I started to do yoga, started to meditate. I started to really feel the consequences of my choices, but not only that, I started to pay attention to the consequences because I've for sure ignoring it for a long time. Again, coping mechanisms, you know, that you don't know you're doing until, you know.
Monica Kade:07:51Yeah, definitely. Now I can imagine that just for our listeners. So they don't think this was like, uh, uh, you know, it just happened overnight and the changes happening.
Mark Groves:08:01No. And then it wasn't overnight, that's for sure.
Monica Kade:08:04Yeah. Because I, you know, even in my own experience, I guess something I've noticed about myself in my adult life and, and think and something that it's required energy for me to undo is, you know, just holding things in and not expressing it and how that effects so many different types of relationships and, and so I know when you start to operate in a way that you're not used to, it's a bit scary. So how, what was that process like in the beginning for you? Just so our listeners can kind of know that you know, that there is a process to it?
Mark Groves:08:42Yeah, yeah. I mean, man, the process for me to actually like really own that, I mean, my engagement ended at 27 ish, 27 and a half. And I mean, I didn't really wake up to the pain of those choices. You know, I had a one year relationship at 32, but then I went back to my same and relationship ended. I went back to my same strategy is broken heart, go find random connection to, to distract myself. And so what you start to see is that whenever you inhibit or block a core emotion like grief or sadness or love or joy, all of them, um, you start to uh, go with defensive or compensatory strategies in order to not feel that. And so we have many ways we do that. And you know, I used to think that it, you know, humans are like an onion and you peel the onion, you know, you like learn something new and all of a sudden you're like, shit, I fucking thought the onion would get smaller.
Mark Groves:09:42But the onion just keeps getting bigger. And I was talking to my friend Sheri Salata, she used to be the executive producer of Oprah, obviously very wise. I mean, she's like homies with Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra and stuff telling her that that thought. And she said to me, maybe what you think is peeling layers is actually expansion. It's not shrinking. It's growing. And I was like, oh, what a beautiful way to think about personal growth or just, I'm starting to think about how you think, you know? And we don't usually think about how we think and the choices we make because we're just sort of, um, you know, like sheep in a way. And I don't mean that as an insult. I just mean like we sort of go along with what we think we're supposed to do in life and we operate in the same relational patterns that we observed from our parents without ever really thinking like, wait, maybe this isn't actually the right way for me.
Mark Groves:10:41And then it's really the rev, you know, the rebellion of, of evolutionary psychology and programming that got us to where we are today, which is really like, you know, tribal thinking to now being like, what do I actually want and, and how do I navigate my own life and navigate one with someone else, which is such a, you know, when you look at the history of relationship, never have we ever been in this place before. And marriage was never about love. That's not why it was invented. And so when you create, when you bring something as, as elusive, as chaotic, as love to something that was never structured for that, it really just takes a new skill set. It doesn't mean it's impractical or can't, they can't coexist. It's just like, okay, how do you actually have a long term relationship and still feel like yourself still feel free. And I think that that's a really, you know, that's an education that we have to really dive into unknown.
Monica Kade:11:42So many juicy questions from that. I love that analogy, the analogy of expansion process. I, I like it because it, it's a reminder that it's an ongoing process. Like with expansion, you know, it's infinite, you know, that the depths that you can go to, you know, it's infinite. So I think with the initial analogy, you know, we're, we're appealing and these things to like get rid of them. And so we get to that place, it can almost feel like we're not going to arrive, you know? And, and people want to give up them because they're like, oh I thought I was done here. And it's still more to go.
Mark Groves:12:22Well. And I think we think about it in the sense of like, I'm going to peel away or remove or unlearn all the things that are not productive as opposed to sort of seeing yourself as the hulk. Cause it was like growing and expanding and tearing off and letting the skins drop, the mass come off. That really is about giving birth to yourself in this beautiful way. But in order to do that you have to start to question like which parts are actually parts. I want to keep that I learned because of course there are beautiful parts to what we've been learning from our families, from our cultures, from our religions. Um, but there are parts that are just collective truths that we've tried to agree upon that are actually not real. And you know that a woman has to have the role of a housewife.
Mark Groves:13:09You know, it's a very common one and collectively we agreed to roles. That's just a very simple one that the man has to be a provider. And we know that those structures are being completely challenged by women in the workplace and men staying at home. You know, those are just two very simple examples. And I think when you can start to wake up to the possibility of being anything, then all of a sudden you, you at the same time meet grief for not doing that. And that's usually where we stopped because we experienced a lot of grief and shame and we don't want to turn towards it. But again, if you block or suppress an emotion and it will always come out in a different way in the illness and justify addictions and you know, being addicted to your iPhone being, you know, into the drink to whatever it is.
Monica Kade:13:58Yeah, absolutely. So then you also touched on how, you know, we can develop and grow these relationships where we don't feel trapped or that you know, that we can still be our own person in a relationship. And I'm sure a lot of the listeners are putting in the hands going, ah, that sounds like me. So can you maybe talk a little bit on that? You know, what's the, what's the first steps, the step someone like that, experiences that can take,
Mark Groves:14:34I think the first part is to just to have this ability to sort of look at your life like an archeologist, you know, where you're not judged mentally picking apart. There's of course going to be emotions and sadness and excitement in grief just from thinking like, Oh shit, I could have done all these things and I haven't been them. And then we usually are like, well dammit I, and then their shame because we haven't been doing them. And you know, you just got to stop those cycles as a, it takes a real, uh, I think meditation is honestly the greatest skill set you can build cause it really starts to free the mind. It builds compassion for self. It allows you to observe your triggers as they happen in relationships so that you can choose a different pathway in conversations that are more connected. So I think the first part is just being able to say, to really ask yourself like, okay, do I feel free in this relationship?
Mark Groves:15:25Which we then the natural thing to do is to then blame our partner for that too. We go, well I'm not free because you made me a housewife or you made me a provider or society did or whatever. But the real next step is to see that those are agreements that we made together. You know, and when you wake up to the possibility of a different role or whatever, that even means for our, for the person, it's easy to resent and be angry. And I think, you know, it's important for people to understand that wherever you hold resentment, wherever you do, 100% always true, is that that's a place where you don't prioritize yourself. And you know, of course then the followup thing as well, I resent my children, but I have to make them first. Things like that. Right? Um, and while you do have to put your children first, sometimes, you know, when they're a baby all the time almost, um, you still, there's plenty of people prioritizing themselves and being right parents.
Mark Groves:16:26So it's just a matter of figuring out how to do that. Learning the skill set of boundaries. So if you want to maintain individuality in a relationship, which is, this is the thing is we have all inherited and observed, and that's what the original construction of marriage was to essentially get inlaws. You know, and I'm sure everyone here has had a certain in law that they didn't, if they had the joints, they wouldn't have added to the family system, you know, so. Right. So it was like, why would I want inlaws? Well, when we had an egalitarian society, we, it was important to be able to roam further. So you know, you married someone in the tribe next two years, it allowed for the free sharing of information. And so that's really why marriage was constructed. Um, but then once we had the agricultural revolution and anyone can learn about all of this from, there's beautiful marriage historian named Stephanie Koontz who wrote a book called marriage, a history and all this stuff is in there if you want to dive more in.
Mark Groves:17:22But essentially when agriculture came around, then people could own land and then people could own people. And what would happen is if you were in the top 10% that don't own land, you wouldn't want your child to marry someone who worked on the land, right? So it started to stratify society has started to keep rich people, rich, poor people, poor. And you still see that systemization of relationship. I'm still evident in the relationship areas where people still have arranged marriage, right? You still have a lot of hierarchy. You see it and you don't see it structured a consciously, but you see it where wealthy families married within each other and you know, that kind of stuff. And so when you can start to see that the model of relationship you were really given by grandparents and great grandparents is it, you start to see that it was really a model of I need to give up who I am and what I want in order to procreate and carry on our family system, right on the genes.
Mark Groves:18:20And so we've really been modeled codependency. And so when you start to see that, you start to recognize that the skill sets, you know, it was all about like the martyr or give up who you are and give up your dreams. You know, B, again, the stay at home mom or the guy who works at a factory. You know, why would anyone want to work a hundred hours at a factory and never see their family? Right? That doesn't mean a lot. So both genders compromised. We obviously know that um, women were even more compromised and their ability to be free and contribute. And so it's really fascinating when we start to just learn that cause then we go, oh, because then it's not my fault, right? Start to learn, okay, how do I embrace my own dreams and how do I embrace my partner's dreams? Cause that often threatens us is our partner starts to pursue their dreams, developed personal growth, go after stuff they love and then we're mad that they're doing that because we're not doing that.
Mark Groves:19:15The resentment, right? So instead seeing that if you wake up within a relationship where both of you who are recovering from that sort of loss of self, the abandonment of self, the relationship becomes who you are. Relationships bad. I'm bad. You know like you can really see this in any relationship where we are so inter meshed that every, our own health and feelings depends on the health and feelings of the actual relationship. More even our partner's feelings. And that's challenging, right? Because you have to differentiate within a system that is about not having herself. So the first part is to the couple really just saying like, hey, you know, like I really want to pursue this. Or as a couple, can we start to like really validate and create some shared agreements that we should grow within this individually. The fear usually is that they'll grow away and that's where most people get really triggered and they cling tighter.
Mark Groves:20:17And so it really is about if you start to pursue like all healing, if you start to take care of you and learn about you and learn about boundaries and how to say no and what you need in order to be filled up. And you encourage that in your partner, which is different than all of a sudden your relationship becomes a separate organism that is separate from you and them and you start to see it. You know, um, Stephen Covey uses this example. He wrote seven habits of highly effective people and he uses this example of the relationship being like an emotional bank account. So when you compromise the relationship, you take a withdrawal. And when you want to nurture the relationship, you make deposits and you can do that in many ways. And really, you know, the common question that you hear people you know who have former structures of relationship or inherited former instructors is they'll say, my relationship isn't giving me what I need.
Mark Groves:21:14Instead of saying, what does my relationship need from me in order to feel that way because of your relationship is your life and you lose your relationship, you lose, you win, you lose your happiness goes up your whole identity. But if a relationship is a component of your life and you lose it, then you don't lose you. I love that. I'm sorry, pivot. You know, it's hard to pin it because then people go, they oscillate too independent, which you know, you definitely see that from um, like women who are not taught that it's, well they experienced great loss of self and you know, in the patriarchy is like there's really no identification and the male is over, um, has walls around his own emotions and heart. And so both are in their own prison, you know? And so you see that people then oscillate to like, men do this too. I saw my mom lose herself so I'm never going to allow myself to lose myself. Women the same way we become overtly independent versus overtly codependent. And so we, we don't know how to be in love and still holding onto ourselves. We can, we've become incredibly good at just being codependent or just to being independent.
Monica Kade:22:33Yes. So then that, and that's a very fine line.
Mark Groves:22:37Oh yeah.
Monica Kade:22:38Do you feel then maybe it's, maybe it's going through the experience of going either way like that we learn or is there some sort of an approach that we can take so we can, you know, not have to go through that experience of one or the other before we realize how that will work for us?
Mark Groves:23:00Well, you know, I wish there was a, uh, I mean, yeah, one is just like, if any of this resonates with you, then it's the beginning of a beautiful journey of observing who you are and how you show up and love. And if you fix a fix is the wrong word. If you grow the skillset of how to be really great at love, you will be great at everything. That's just true. Cause this skill set of having boundaries honoring herself, all of that will contribute to work. People who have great boundaries at work are more likely to be promoted because people can trust them even if they say no to projects. Um, and that's, you know, in an in a work environment that likes you compromising yourself, it won't do well. But why would you want to be in a work environment that wants you to compromise yourself as you, if any of this resonates, then all of a sudden you go, okay, like a real good way is to take an attachment quiz and you know, you can send that link out.
Mark Groves:23:55When you post this, there's a great quiz that will look at how do you connect to other people. And attachment is essentially research that looks at how did you connect to your primary care giver, mainly your mom, um, before the age of two. And that will be related to how you connect to romantic partners. The beautiful thing is you can change your attachment style. So there's an anxious, there's avoidance, and there's different types of avoidance and there's anxious avoidance, right? So there's like the one and then they're secure. So the definition of a secure attachment is my partner's needs matter as much as my own, not more, not less as much. Most people are there. Partners either matter more or there's matter more again, right? It's that same structure. I oscillate between being too open or too closed due to me being too dependent versus independent.
Mark Groves:24:44And that's really what all relationship labeling is, is systemizing a way that we lose ourselves versus hold on too tight. And so it really is about learning. First you have to learn who you are and separate that from what you were taught. A lot of people have a hard time with that, especially if you grew up in a home with a dominant, aggressive parent parent who was an addict to a parent who was had a chronic illness. A parent too was completely withdrawn because you're spending so much time taking care of each other, someone else's needs that you won't have fully developed her own in the same, if there's no parents around, then who's going to listen to your needs. So again, sort of we get fused or stunted at a certain age of where we never really got to fully develop, which is then that builds are compensatory strategies.
Mark Groves:25:38Again, I'm going back to the like we are getting to these defense mechanisms where we might become like a provider. We might become the giver, we might try to take care of everyone. We might become a perfectionist, we might do, you know, become a high achiever. All these ways of getting validated to avoid the flow of the grief and sadness and loss. So again, even excitement and positive emotions can be blocked too. You know, maybe we didn't get to experience joy as a kid. We got excited and our parents said like, you didn't get an a, you got an a minus, you know, and all of a sudden that sends a real strong message that you will only get love from me if you get an a. So we sort of develop performance based love and this is just a really important to look at because that affects how we show up today. You know, I really wish we didn't have to like dive into our childhood, you know, kind of established yet. But really we're just looking at patterns and the beautiful thing about patterns and we, you know, there's a lot of talk about hereditary wounding looking at your family tree, that's exactly what you see. It's all patterns. And if no one has ever taught you a way to do a different pattern, then how would you know? And the beautiful thing about knowing their patterns is they're not who you are. They're just behaviors.
Monica Kade:26:50And as that's awesome because that really does give us the opportunity to, especially for anyone that's listening to this conversation right now and is resonating with that is an opportunity to go, oh hey, you know, I don't have to continue down this path and maybe stop for a moment and just become aware of, or I will, how have I been living my last week up until now? And am I happy with that?
Mark Groves:27:10Yeah. Like there's no judgment here. It's really to say like you're beautiful and that your being is so worthy of love and connection and it's a skill. It's not, you know, I wish it was some sort of magical pill that you could wake up to and take it. But we all want hacks and shortcuts. We want to drink the green juice and be healthy and don't get me wrong, I have a cellular juice. I'm like, damn, I just drank a salad and you feel good. But at the same time, it doesn't provide long change, lasting change. And when we sort of look at that is there's something beautiful that happens when we do this work. And it's that we finally feel seen everything we've been looking for in our partner to do for us. We provide for ourselves and then they can just love us.
Mark Groves:27:55We stopped some contracting or healing to other people. We stop actually, you know, choosing people from our pain when she, you know, I like the idea of, it's like the words for it to be like we eroticize what hurts us. We make sexy, what can hurt us. And you can see that in anyone who chooses unavailable partners of open narcissistic partner is abusive partners. We've sort of like made our, our chemistry is drawing us towards people and you can see it as a having a very high function actually that is drawing us to people that we need to develop a skill that we didn't develop as kids. Right? So that area where we're fused and you'll see when people get in a conflict, you ask them things like, how old do you feel right now? Seven they'll just know and it's that's not by accident. Then it's the age where that experience similar. A similar template occurred.
Monica Kade:28:43I want to touch on something that relates to what you've just said. What are your thoughts around, you know, how people create these lists are like, I want all these things in a partner and now write down whether it's like physical attributes or how they handle themselves in conflict. You know, everything. And I, and I saw a wonderful, I think it was somewhere on Instagram, a quote somewhere, you know, where they said all those things that you want in a partner. Go and be that for yourself first. probably not as eloquently said just then, but...
Mark Groves:29:18... it sound eloquent to me. Especially with your accent.
Monica Kade:29:22Uh, what's your thoughts around that?
Mark Groves:29:26A 100% alignment with that of like, you know, write the list, be the list. Now I think it's important too. There's a couple caveats to that. One is just be mindful of who you choose and why you choose them so that your list, so let's say you choose unavailable partners, which is very common, right? And I hear people say, I always date assholes. And it's like, how do I stop doing that? I'm like, well, logically you just stop. You know, I don't like Brussel sprouts. I don't eat Brussel sprouts. That's how simple it is. But it's not that simple because there's something underlying that choice that you believe you're worthy of that kind of behavior and that kind of partner. So you have to get to the belief that's below. But you know, I always tell people, you don't need to spend fucking years figuring this stuff out.
Mark Groves:30:07You can literally, you don't even actually have to know why a pattern exists to change it. You just need to know that a pattern. It's not helping you. I think it just helps for people to learn where it comes from. So they can say, it's not my fault, which is beautiful. It's not our fault, but it is our responsibility. What happens? You know, what we do with it. Um, it's not our, it's not our fault what happened to us, but our responsibility, what we do with it, and really the aspect of this that's so important is when you create a list of what you want. And there's some research showing that when a woman declares what she wants and then she speed dates, she actually chooses different than what she just said. And that's because there's biological drives and subconscious drives that are actually at hand.
Mark Groves:30:49So you say, I want a really kind person. Then you go on a date and you meet this, you know, guy or girl. And that research would be true for a man too. And let's be clear, that's not a gender neutral and that's not a gender bias research. That would be true for any human. It just happens to be on a woman. Um, but what's interesting is when you can start to recognize what are your biological and wounded drives, you have to consciously choose not to go towards them first, which feels a logical cause. It's like, but I have a connection with them and we day from a very scarce perspective, which is this person must be the one. And what we do then because of scarcity is that then drives us. Cause we've as a culture rewarded people for being in a relationship. So if we're not in one, we think there's something wrong with us.
Mark Groves:31:37And if we're not married, we think there's something wrong with us. We've created sort of a hierarchy of relationship status. If you're married, you're better than if you're engaged. Better than if you're dating or better than if you're single. And you know, if you have that disease and then if you're divorced or even sort of held in a lower hierarchy, which is all bullshit, you know, but we've agreed collectively that that's how it works. And it's either conscious or unconscious, but most people operate from the place of, if I have a relationship, it will validate that I'm worthy of being chosen. You know? That's true because when people, you know, your old aunt finds out, you're still single and she says, why are you still single? And you're like, cause if I can choose to be like, why are you an asshole aunt? You know?
Mark Groves:32:22So it's really important to start to look that if you place your worthiness in a relationship, then you'll never find it there. And it will leave when they leave because you've placed your worthiness on them, which is way too much pressure. And so when you're, yeah, right. And when you're dating from that place of scarcity, you won't have hard conversations because you'll be afraid that the relationship will go and you likely will tolerate behavior that is not acceptable. And so the first thing is recognizing that you don't actually even have to be good at math to figure out that there's a lot of people out there for you. You could make, you could not carry the, to do the subtraction wrong, divide wrong, and you'd still end up at like a billion people. That's the first part is that you start to shift your mind from scarcity to abundance, which takes work.
Mark Groves:33:15You know, it takes concerted effort to say, oh, there I go again. And so you moved to abundance. Then you realize there's, you know, two things I think we need to do really well in dating. One is say no to the wrong people faster. When you do that, you put yourself in a completely different place for someone else to come into your life that you never would have been in. If you had an a made the decision to end that sooner and you learn that, you know, some people six years later they acknowledged the red flags and their life blows up, but they see that on the first date or two there was massive red flags and so you just start to move the yardstick quicker and hopefully you make the decision faster. The other side is that instead of thinking someone's the one right away, like right when you swipe and get a match and your nervous system and your dopamine, it's like, Ooh.
Mark Groves:34:06Which I know that feeling, man. I've done online data and know what that feels like and I'm not denying its reality. It's just to recognize that that's your biology again, being rewarded and triggering the, you know, the the addiction system and instead making it so someone has to become the one. Yeah, they become the one by gray choices, by being kind by, you know, all the different ways that you become. The one and that they earn it. And the thing that I always say to people that I work with is your choosing. You're not waiting to be chosen. Yeah. Like your choosing. You're not fucking settling for bread crumbs. Like God dammit, we would never do that at a restaurant. And if you do, you've got to speak up, dude you've got bad boundaries, you know? And so why do we do that with love, with maybe the greatest, most important decision of her life will be who we choose as a partner certainly will have a lasting impact on our health.
Monica Kade:35:08What I love about that is, you know, making sure that people are realizing that they are choosing it makes sure that we are in our power. You know, it means that we're being connected to ourselves. We're connected to our, our bodies. Because like he said, if you are in tune with yourself, you know, on, you know, within the first couple of dates of meeting someone that yes, there might be a chemistry connection, but there's other things that are the red flags that happened early on. And I think when you are connected to yourself, you see those and that's the moment where you can go, okay, I'm, I'm aware that this is taking place and I'm choosing, I made they're going to continue on or I'm going to say no.
Mark Groves:35:50Right, exactly. And that when you step into that space, you start to see that you are making the world respond to you rather than responding to the world, which is really the complete shift from operating from evolution and what you're taught to creating evolution. Which I don't mean that in a sense that you know, some arrogant sense that we are um, in charge of everything. Cause that's certainly not true. But you know, you think about it like, um, you know, I have this real belief that you, fate will not work for you if you don't move yourself towards faith. That you still have to choose your way into alignment, which then comes back to make the list B the list because you can't ask for someone else to be something you're not on top of that. What are you actually dating for? You have to get very clear on your dating intentions.
Mark Groves:36:40So many people waste time with booty calls, which don't get me wrong, you can go get your needs met, but if you're really looking for a relationship, you're putting yourself in a completely different place. You know? And on top of that, like you're, you're at someone's house or wherever you decide to do the old Shebang, but you're at that place instead of being somewhere else. And, uh, choices, not just a choice. It really is sending a confusing message to yourself. If you want a relationship and you're settling for that, then you're sending a message to yourself that you don't believe you're actually gonna get it. You're also taking up your time with someone who's not that person. You might also be misleading that person, you know, there's so many things that we have to take into account. And I say that all with no judgment because I have certainly done all those things. So that's why I'm very conscious of all the things I was doing doing. That's why I can see it so quick.
Monica Kade:37:35Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So now on your, on your website, you have this beautiful sentence that I just loved and I'll share it with everyone. And I thought maybe you can talk a little bit about it, but you mentioned that you help each person understanding emotional matrix by mastering themselves through their words and as a word lover and, and understanding, you know, the choice in our worlds, in our words and the impact they have on other people and ourselves. I was really moved by this. So tell me what you mean by this. How, how do you help them understand that emotional matrix with the words what I love?
Mark Groves:38:18I love that, that's the line cause I would've never guessed that. I appreciate that. Um, it's that our words really do create our world. You know, the words we use, the way we speak to ourselves or in a critic, you know, frames really thoughts, thought over and over again become beliefs. And so we have to be very mindful of our thoughts. You know, we think that our brain is us, that it's a sub we are subject to as opposed to seeing that we have software that's loaded on our computer that you could think of it like we had a hacker who was like, yeah, this, if you want to handle emotion, you should yell wherever you want to handle emotion, you should shut down and run. Those aren't programs that help us today. Mm. So I really see the work as meeting someone, allowing themselves to be seen, allowing themselves to feel the feelings that they've never allowed themselves to, that they've gotten afraid of and no one ever gave them permission to.
Mark Groves:39:13And then being able to put words to that. You know, you talked about being in your body, you know that being able to, and that's really what it's about is getting back in her body's feeling doing that. You know, a lot of people get frustrated and stressed cause they're like, why can't I just tell you what my core values are or what my needs are? And I'm like, okay, patients, you know, compassion, you, no one ever asked you then want a different thing to realize. No one's ever asked someone what do you want? What do you need? I mean we asked superficially, you know, as a kid, someone says, what do you want to be when you grow up and you're like an astronaut and then when you're 17 and you're deciding on your major or they say that's not realistic. Yeah. Right? So there's a lot of conflicting messages.
Mark Groves:39:55Dream, but don't dream too big. B, Keep your dreams realistic. And so really it is about, I really love to help people first be seen. Second, give words to that so that when they are in emotional triggers and they are reactive because the triggers don't go away. They're these beautiful radars that say when I've been in a similar situation, I got hurt or I felt unseen or experienced a trauma. And it allows us to, you know, we have to see those as beautiful thing because they're sort of our police. It's just that often we might, because it's through the brain of a child, we might miss code something and make it a 10 and a 10 instead of a two out of 10. And so, uh, we know that when someone gets overly reactive to something very simple, simple, and that's because it's just a reminder of a wound.
Mark Groves:40:48And so it's being ... When you teach people feelings, they can label it, you know, they connect to their body, they'd label how it feels, and then they make a choice, you know, to choose a different behavior that's connective rather than disconnected. So that's really sort of how I see it is we all have emotions. It's just that we all haven't had permission to have them and we all often don't have words for them. And that's a practice. You know, you might say, I'm mad right now, and then you're like, oh no, I'm not. I'm actually frustrated. And so it's practice. It's just practice.
Monica Kade:41:20Yeah, absolutely. There are different layers. I like to say that there are different layers to each core emotion. You know? Uh, I used to, um, teach acting classes to kids and a great way, you know, for them, they're at a level where they understand what, you know, anger is and they, they know like frustration is, and so just explaining to them, you know, okay, well are you just angry all the time or is there another layer to it? And when you talk to them, they kind of become more aware that there's different layers to these, the different emotions like you just shed.
Mark Groves:41:57Yeah, I think it's a, I have friends who are actors and so amazing and it's such personal growth, but yeah. But um, yeah, it's so interesting the courses they have to take and you know, you have to be within yourself in order to, you know, I love that saying that you can only go as deep with someone else as you've gone with yourself. And that shows you just how important that personal work is. Cause if you can hold space for your own pain and how will you ever hold it for another and you might resent someone who has pain, um, because they're taking up your space to hold it for yourself. Again, that resentment piece is so important because we start to see that it's actually a massive radar for, um, where we don't prioritize ourselves and you know, we send the message that everyone else should come ahead of, especially women.
Mark Groves:42:42And, and that sort of inherently programmed in a female's biology. That's what, and that's what carried arts vcs forward. And although it's true that, uh, we need women to care and just as we do men to prioritize when it's important, you should never abandon yourself for other people. And that, you know, self abandonment, you know, a lot of people will say, well, we're going to stay together for the kids. And I always ask people, what do you think that we'll teach your children? And that's what we have to pay attention to. You know, I'm not saying that people can't work it out and they shouldn't stay together for the kids. And obviously the ideal scenario is, is parents together and peaceful household. But when the home is filled with chaos, you know, we married that person from a totally different place. Um, it's actually more healing to stand in your truth and to communicate and show that you take care of yourself and then you stand for yourself. You know, I've worked with plenty of people who, when their parents divorced, when they got older and they found out they stayed together for them, they are pissed at their parents.
Monica Kade:43:51Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as, as someone, my parents actually have a separated, you know, later in life too, probably like three years ago. And it's an, I don't, they didn't stay together for us. But it's interesting like if they were to stay together now and just because you know, for the family unit or something like that, none of us want that, you know, it would just be, it would ruin the relationship as a family and, and already it's already not working, you know? And, but my question to you is, and it's something I guess having gone through that experience, because as an adult it's interesting how that can affect you in different ways. Cause I always tell all my parents that those people that are going to be together forever, you know, that type of thing. Do you feel that maybe even when we're having these conscious relationships that there may come a point where we have these conversations and express how we're feeling and this is, you know, where I would like the relationship to go and that possibly, you know, all that can happen and people still may separate.
Mark Groves:45:05Yeah, I mean I think it's important to recognize that first off, not every relationship is going to last forever. You know? And I that when I first said that, I remember the first time I said that in a talk. I mean, so many people were pissed at me and my only point to reinforce that is, well think about your first ever girlfriend or boyfriend, not with them anymore. So like, why was that one allowed to end? But when you enter a relationship at 25, you're just supposed to have shit figured out in life. Supposed to align. I mean, it was easy to be married at 19 when you died at 32. You know, like, cause you know, as as um, I remember hearing Stephanie Coontz say the long haul just keeps getting longer and to be interesting because you think about it, you know, here's how I see it.
Mark Groves:45:57If you are two independent people nurturing a relationship and you remove the expectation of it having to last forever, which then if you have the expectation that it has to last forever, then you won't have hard conversations that might break it up. And you'll also not try as hard because you'll think, because we got married, they can't fucking go anywhere. But you only have to realize that your partner is a human being who has independent choice and they'll resent you for treating them that way anyways for withdrawing and not putting in an effort. And they can leave at any moment. So when you realize that everybody are in relationship with, can go at any time, the idea that you expected is ignorant anyways, it's naive. So instead what we, you know, I think a powerful shift is make the intention that lasts forever or as long as it's supposed to.
Mark Groves:46:50Then you don't create this, you know, you don't want your relationship for either of you to feel like a prison. You don't want to, you know, I said to my partner, you know, a couple of years ago that, you know, we were like, are we going to do this? Are we not? And I said, you can go and I will still love you and you can stay and I will love you, but I want to build this. And if you want to build it with me, that's amazing cause I want to build it with you. But if you don't, that's okay too. Because you have your own life and you have your own dreams and you have your own desires. And we just have to make sure those align. And if they won't, I'll be sad. But I would never want you to abandon yourself for me. Hmm. And that is true to this day.
Mark Groves:47:35And then as I can already tell you that, that will be true when we're in our 50s and I'll, I'll, I'll be in my late 50. She'll be in early, you know, so that'll be true always because I will always have such compassion for her as a soul and a human to say, if this ever feels like a prison, we're not creating the right environment. And you're not free to be you. You are always free to come and go. I hope that you choose to not know, but I would never want to feel like it's a prison either for me. And that's when you choose each other instead of have to. Yeah. I have two. Sucks. Have too is you know, and, and, and that really threatens a lot of people when they hear that. Hmm. Um, because then they think, well, then, well, what is marriage?
Mark Groves:48:22We don't take commitment seriously these days. You know, you hear that all the time. Yeah. And you know, there's a couple of real big misnomers about generations today. One is if people leave too early today, people stayed far too long before Ryan. So we can always criticize. Second side is we think that this is like the most overtly sexual generations to ever live and there's Tinder and everyone's banging each other and there's Grindr. And do you know that the millennials actually have less sexual partners than any previous generation before in the research? Of course research is always just a snapshot. So I think that's really interesting because that's sort of blows so many generalizations that we make.
Monica Kade:49:02Yeah, I remember rating that as well and, and how there was a shift in their approach to relationships and, and I thought that was really cool to read and just observe, you know, and like you're saying, definitely a lot of ideas that aren't necessarily true are being thrown around in that research kind of shows us a little bit of that snapshot and what actually is...
Mark Groves:49:25Yeah, I'm just not into like generation shaming and every previous generation has shamed the next generation. They don't know what really matters. And it's like when the fax machine came out was everyone's so worried that dating marriage, women, cause people get backs each other like a dick pic or something, you know, like what the fuck? To me it's just, I just fucking deal with what's in your own kitchen. You know, like yeah, there's no need to, because then that just creates judgment and that creates shame. Then we see that in down like inheritance of culture and religion of like, you know, especially now that we live in such a global world and economy that you can go on the internet and learn a totally different way of being. You can move to a different country and all of a sudden have way different cultural norms and way different, um, ways of loving.
Mark Groves:50:14And that just shows you that there is no one right way. But I think there is collective human truths that are like, hey, you know, we should be kind to each other. We should love the planet. And you look at [inaudible] what capitalism has done, terms of um, greed and you know, all the different ways that we have abused our planet. And now we're seeing that weight, like whole foods are good for you. You can't just fucking process everything, you know? And that like we should respect the mother earth cause mother earth will, I mean everything's a system. You can never get anything for free. Oh it always corrects itself. I mean that's how the universe works, which is true of us too. It's like you never see a tree be into another tree. Like Yo, you got to grow your brand faster. Like this is fucking bullshit and glad to step it up. You're in the wrong place. You don't have enough light. Everything is perfect. And I think that that's interesting that we think our lives should be any different.
Monica Kade:51:07Right? Like even today on my woke, I was having that same thought. You know, I'm just observing things that are happening in my life and then, but also then reminding myself, but it is what it is. Like it's perfect as it is and I don't need to change it. It will change itself when it needs to.
Mark Groves:51:24Yeah, exactly. You just need to listen to the hint of how to change it at a move it, you know, I think that's what we start to see that you know, emotions are not who we are. Feelings are not who we are there pieces of information. They are literally pieces of data and when you are taught to not feel feelings, you don't, you block the data. And that's why when you look at like what is the response of the body? Well illness, anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, right? Which then gets expressed in different ways. But if you actually just sit and listen and you start to get back in touch with those feelings, you start to see that you are so wise. You're so wise. Body is so smart. It didn't get here by not being smart. You know it's like that same intuition that says, I think there an animal by me is the same intuitive thing that says you actually know what's best for you.
Mark Groves:52:12Sure there's a wise person who might be able to lead you towards a better decision or a decision that's great for you, but everything is unfolding at the perfect time and if you stop suppressing the information that you're getting, then you'll be like fucking Yoda. You know, I keep saying like everybody's like fricking Yoda. If they just paid attention to all the wisdom they have, you don't need the degree to know what's best for you. Yeah. You just need to listen. And I think that that's an important aspect to change our language. You know, language being so important. Instead of saying I am angry or I am sad, which you then become cause everything you put after I am, you can't then be its opposite and you then you embody the feeling. But if you say, I feel then you've now separated who you are from what you feel and if a real, even more powerful shift is to go, a part of me feels that way.
Mark Groves:53:06You're capable of having more parts feel different ways and that's why we can be in conflict when let's say we get engaged and we feel nervous and we feel anxious and we feel excited, but the anxiety causes us to think, is there something wrong with me? Because we can't claim to feelings at the same time because of our language. But if we say part of me is anxious and I want to explore that, but a part of me is also really excited and there's so much uncertainty, then you've started to just give more space for the inner child, for the emotional experience to be more than one fucking thing. Which I say the words, sorry for my language, but it was because I get so passionate about it that okay, there is really so much space for you to be you, but it starts within your own being that you'll have to create that space. You have to start to be the parent, be the protector, be the person who said there's more to you. Let's hear it and I'm going to protect you as you open. But that boundaries is like learning how to be the warrior and the lover, you know? And those are two archetypes that can coexist, must coexist because you can't love openly without having protection around who you laugh. A lot of people pour their loving to people who are never fricking available, you know?
Monica Kade:54:26Gosh, you've said so many beautiful things in that segment there. I was just like very moved by it and I could continue this conversation. I have so many more questions for you, but we're running out of time and I'd have to have you back on the podcast again to continue our conversation.
Mark Groves:54:42I would love to, thanks so much for having me.
Monica Kade:54:44That's okay. It was a real pleasure and I have no doubt that our listeners have got so much from this conversation and
Mark Groves:54:52I hope so.
Monica Kade:54:52Yeah, definitely. We've covered so many beautiful aspects of relationships. And um, before we finish up, I have a couple of signature questions that I ask sunset or sunrise and why?
Speaker 3:55:07Oh Man, I would say sunrise now and that's because I posted a picture once of a sunrise or sunset and my friends said to me, and my friend who like loves the Dao de Jing and all this, he wrote me and he said, anyone can earn a sunset, but can you, can you get up and create the time for a sunrise? And that changed a lot for me. It was such a beautiful, he wasn't critical. It was, is it like this beautiful invitation and the next morning I got up and took a picture of sunrise and sent it to him and he said to touche, and so I think it's because anyone can experience the that now granted if sunrise is at 530am, I might miss it.
Monica Kade:55:48I, that's, that is very beautiful. I really liked that. It's shifted the idea of a sunrise in my mind already.
Mark Groves:55:55I, yeah, it's like not everyone else was watching.
Monica Kade:55:58Yeah. Okay. Number two, if you could attempt another career, what would you like to attempt?
Mark Groves:56:07Oh man, that is a great question. [Thank you.] I could attempt another career. I don't know, man. I, I just love what I do, but I suppose it would be, oh, you know what, I really liked it. I played soccer and I, you know, at a reasonably high level, I think to be, I grew up in Canada, so the opportunity for like when I was younger for, I'm not making any excuses though for like playing in Europe or something. We're very near were none really. Um, so I think that would be a really cool professional athlete of sorts. That'd be neat.
Monica Kade:56:43Yeah. Awesome. And is there a piece of wisdom that someone's given you or one that you know, you've come to yourself that you live by each day, that you could share with us?
Mark Groves:56:55You know, my uncle who has since passed when I was 17, I broke the law. I stole something and I got into a lot of trouble as a horrible criminal. I broke the law twice. I was caught twice and I remember sitting on my front step with him and he know he was a very eclectic, eccentric man. He lived in Thailand for awhile, you know, handsome addiction issues. And he said to me, I was sitting out front, you know, fill in a lot of shame and you know, he'd broken a few rules in his life. So he had, and he was packful of wisdom and he said to me, you know, mark, not always the easiest ways, the best way. And I was like, what? And it's like there's plenty of ways to get to a place. And the only thing good about the easy ways that it's easy, and that always stuck with me.
Mark Groves:57:51That always stuck with me because I realized that although I abandoned that truth for years of my life, integrity became just sort of like a core tenant of my work of me of like, I can't tell anyone to do anything I'm not doing, you know, my work really became a place of accountability for myself because I knew that I would live at that space of my highest level of knowledge, you know, to learn something and then change. And he just always reminded me that it's so easy to get a need met immediately to get a dopamine hit. But there's so much more to taking the path that requires values and integrity and honor for me.
Monica Kade:58:32Beautiful. Okay, well thank you so much again for today. I really enjoyed our conversation.
Mark Groves:58:38Yeah, my me as well. Thank you for having me. I'm so grateful.
Monica Kade:58:42Thank you so much for listening. And if you enjoy this conversation with mark and you think one of your friends or family might enjoy this conversation, maybe you want to share it with your partner, then please do share it along. And if you share it on social media, do you be sure to tag me at Monica Kade on Instagram? It's always really nice to be tagged and hear your insights, so please do share those and I'll see you next week.