Finding True Love, With Yourself, Your Partner & Life w/ Matthew Hussey | AMP # 459

By Aubrey Marcus April 18, 2024

Finding True Love, With Yourself, Your Partner & Life w/ Matthew Hussey | AMP # 459

Navigating love in this age can feel impossibly difficult, with online dating, ghosting, disillusionment, hot & cold, and many other challenges- dating struggles can lead to hopelessness and even existential dread. This is because we all have an innate drive for love, and always will. In this podcast, Matthew Hussey, a world renowned dating coach, speaker and author, breaks down his lessons from over a decade as a dating coach, helping millions of men and women navigate relationships. It’s also an incredibly vulnerable conversations amongst true friends who are able to share the challenges that we still find within our own lives. 

Check out his latest book: Love Life, available everywhere books are sold. 

Podcast Transcript:

AUBREY MARCUS: Matthew Hussey. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Aubrey Marcus. 

AUBREY MARCUS: We're here. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: We're here. It's good to be back. 

AUBREY MARCUS: There's something that's changed since the last time we had a conversation. 


AUBREY MARCUS: You have a little proof of concept in your love life. Game here. You got a little proof of concept that you wear on your finger now.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Finally, credibility. Finally

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, it works.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I don't have to justify my existence in my career. 

AUBREY MARCUS: And your beautiful wife is here in the studio. And I imagine this has been quite a journey for you to have been in the philosophy of this and of course the practice and your dating and all of the things that you're doing, but now the real, you're in a real crucible. And so the illumination that's come from this, I'm sure is poured into so much of the work and what you've written and everything that you've done. So how's that journey been to move from things you've thought about to now, Oh, you're living it. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I think it was a different journey than the one that I was taking people on in an earlier part of my career where I was like, in a mode of trying to get people more opportunity in their love lives, because that was something I knew how to do in my own love life. I knew how to generate opportunity, but I didn't know how to be happy. I didn't know how to find peace in that area of my life and I hadn't found what I was looking for. If I even knew what I was looking for, but I certainly hadn't found my person and what’s interesting about this book is that I'm married now. This was not a book written by a married person. I was single writing this book. I found love during the process and then the final edit I did of this book was on my honeymoon. Just really crazy. So there's so much in this book that was also me wrestling with and taking on my own challenges in my love life that I had struggled with for a long time. Albeit behind the scenes, because it was hard, I didn't feel vulnerable enough or I wasn't vulnerable enough in my career a different stage to really talk about the ways that I was chronically dissatisfied in that area of my life 

AUBREY MARCUS: How many people do you meet where, whether they're single or with somebody, where in the romantic category they're like 10 out of 10, aces. This is the best. It’s the best it could be.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Who is single 

AUBREY MARCUS: Or in a relationship.


AUBREY MARCUS: Like full romantic satisfaction. Like, fuck, yes. This part of my life is like, it's exactly what I was hoping for. 


AUBREY MARCUS: Not a lot, right? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Not a lot. And  I think that should give people comfort. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: Because I think so much of what makes people really unhappy, single or feel even more unhappy when they're looking for love is that they're comparing themselves to what seems like a world of people who have figured it out and we're basically not in a relationship wanting to find love comparing ourself to everyone who's in a relationship and when you take that barometer and you say how many people who are in relationships are happy, peaceful, feel like they're with the right person and are even going to be with that person 5 or 10 years from now, then starts to become a much smaller category. And I actually think that even though that sounds really pessimistic it can offer people some comfort because you realize. Oh, I shouldn't be comparing myself to everyone in relationships, the actual number of people who are happy is much smaller. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Well, and if you are comparing, compare to the truth, not the projection of what people are projecting because the social media projection of what a relationship is like you can watch your friends Instagram relationship and be like, Oh, they're doing great. And then, next post later, conscious uncoupling posts, you know, and there's a huge gap between all of the bullshit they had to deal with and all of the hell that they were going through. And then, so you go out with that buddy and you get some beers and you're like, yeah, it was fucking brutal, but like the people don't actually project outwardly the difficulties of it. So you get this skewed perception. And distorted reality that you're comparing yourself to, and it's hard out there. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It makes it so much worse. I think it's why I love talking with people. It's one of the reasons I truly love real friendship, where you sit down and you genuinely talk about your lives together because I always come away from those conversations feeling less alone. I always come away thinking and whether it's in relationships or whether it's in business or anything, anytime I sit down and actually talk with people. I'm like, no one knows what they're doing as much as I thought they knew what they're doing, like in business. There'll be people I admire and I sit down with them and I connect and they're like, yeah, I'm just trying to figure it out. Like, I'm just playing. I don't really know if this is going to work. I'm like, I'll be looking at the thing going, this looks like a really good strategy, what you're doing. And they're like, yeah, I don't know. I'm just trying it. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And there's something about that I've always found really comforting and unfortunately in our love lives, it tends to be the area where we mask things the most. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: Because people don't wanna admit it to themselves. You could have a friend in a really unhappy relationship who it's like too much for them to even admit to themselves, how unhappy they are because they may be really deep and it may be too much for them to admit, like, my partner is so difficult that I don't know how this is going to pan out over a lifetime. That's such a huge thing to realize. I remember being in an unhappy relationship and someone we both know. She left me after having done an interview with me and she went back to her sister afterwards. And I didn't know this at the time, but she left and she was like, he is not happy. And I didn't realize I was projecting any of that. I was just clearly in a certain state that was unrecognizable to her and she was like, he is not happy. But it's not like I was going to dinner with buddies that night talking about how bad it was.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: I wasn't able to even admit that to myself. So when you even consider that, people aren't even admitting to themselves what they're struggling with. So they're definitely not telling you so we do have this very false picture of how everyone's doing 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, I mean I bring guys over and we play basketball and in between the games when we've all sweat and we've all talked enough shit to each other and there'll be those little conversations in between and we'll get to hear some truths that'll come out. It's just you find that generally, this is an area of people's lives where it's not always working in the way that they hoped that it would. And there's areas of their passion that have been extinguished. And then there's some aspects that there's a lot of different levers that have been pulled, that have moved them off the course of what they feel like their best expression of their life would be, but then they are kind of stuck in this trap where they're not fully happy. And I think what a relationship can be is like, is the generator in the foundation for all of the rest of your life, right? Like it can be that solid point where it's like, Oh yeah, I get to go back home and the relationship then strengthens everything else in your life. All too often, it's the other way around though, where it's like people have their life sorted out, but their relationships are struggling.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: And when that happens, it's like the energy that saps from you is terrifying. Times in my life where I've been unhappy in that area, when I look back at my output in life or my creativity, what I was bringing to my family or to my friendships, it was on the floor. And it scares me to think what that would look like over a decade, two decades, when something that you're in is a vacuum for your best energy.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And you're just trying to kind of, like, fight to emotionally stay alive or to try and be in a good place, you're managing constant anxiety or constant chaos or constant guilt or constant stress or whatever it may be, it's a hard place to be. And I think the other thing is that people, I almost wonder if they're not sure how happy they're supposed to be in this area of their life, like is the level of happiness that they're aspiring to unrealistic. Is it something that they have to correct? Can I grab some water, please? Thanks. There. Yeah. Thank you. 

AUBREY MARCUS: We have some still waters too. If you need them.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Oh, that's good. Yeah. They're wondering. It's easy to look at the couple that seem like they're perfect or crazy in love and think, is that a level I'm supposed to be aspiring to? I think there's a legitimate question around what's enough, at what point should someone say no actually this is pretty great. And I think we're told a lot of stories about the way things should be. Some people do achieve that. We know that not everyone does achieve that. Not everyone even achieves finding a person right. There are plenty of people out there in life who don't even find a mate to be with. So it's this really, really tricky area where you have all these different levels of what looks like happiness and love. And I think people get stuck going. How good is it supposed to be? What does great actually look like in this area? Does it look like feeling great all the time? Does it look like being in love all the time? Does it look like the passion is never diminishing? Does it look like peace? Does it look like content? Like what does happiness mean? 

AUBREY MARCUS: What does it look like for you? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Oh man, I think it's a combination of peace, like real peace, where I feel at home, like I feel home.

AUBREY MARCUS: The relationship becomes a sanctuary. I think that's a key element where energetically there's this kind of feeling of sanctuary, like, I'm home now. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That's exactly

AUBREY MARCUS: I can drop everything else. It's like I can cry if I want to, shit if I want to, laugh if I want to, scream if I want like I'm home now.


AUBREY MARCUS: That's a big part 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That was huge for me. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: But it took me a minute to realize that was the feeling I was having. In my relationship now it took me a minute to see that I wasn't being judged, that I was being truly accepted for who I was, that I was able to be vulnerable on a whole different level, because in the beginning I was still not being vulnerable in a lot of ways, I was still holding a lot back, like, I always think with vulnerability, we don't all have the same idea of what vulnerability is. Like, I used to think vulnerability was telling stories about how hard things maybe were for me at some stage. But then I realized there's nothing vulnerable about those stories, really. You know, like, the world is full of rags to riches stories. Or pain to success stories of whatever kind. The self development world is full of those like before and after, they're not really vulnerability, when you tell a hero's journey story it's really a story about how awesome you are. It's not a story of how I have this piece of me that if I tell you about it, I think you're going to look at me differently. I'm going to feel so much shame and you're going to think I'm ugly, you're not going to think I'm as attractive, you're going to think I'm insecure, like that to me is vulnerability, is the thing that there's some risk to it because you really are afraid that someone might not accept you. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: It's easy to tell the hero's journey story of your life and pass it off as vulnerability, but that's the story of how you used to have it hard and look how impressive you are, you got through it.

AUBREY MARCUS: I think a lot of people wait until they've gotten to the outcome of moving through the challenge to then be able to tell the story with the happy ending, not tell the story in the middle of the story when the ending hasn't been written yet. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah. While they're still on the typewriter.

AUBREY MARCUS: Exactly. And I think that's exactly what you're pointing to is that, Oh yeah, it's easy to say, Oh, we went through some trials and then, and we had a death lodge ceremony and then everything was so beautiful on the other side. No, no. Talk to me in the death lodge ceremony. Talk to me when you think that the relationship is gonna be over. You think all is lost. You think that you just can't go on anymore. Like that's the real actual vulnerability is the, is the present moment that I think should be encouraged to be shared in your intimate circle cause like letting people into those truths. We all have those moments and we don't need to whitewash it with a good story of how, Oh, and it all worked out. Like, no. Like it's okay to just be in the shit. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I'm just in it. 

AUBREY MARCUS: I'm just in the shit of it. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That's something that it took me a while to learn. I feel like, was I a late bloomer in that department? I certainly was like not good at it at a time when I probably thought I was good at it and it only in the last few years have I really started to show more of myself in a way that's felt risky or felt like scary, even podcasts where I'm like I talk and then at the end of I go home and I'm like, I feel anxious. I don't know if I should have said that or talked about that. And I'm not someone who thinks, there's definitely times where it's possible to overshare. It's not like we should go on a first date and just like, 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, for sure.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Here's all of my demons. But I was on the wrong side of that for a while. And it’s been an interesting experience for me in these last few years to just embrace being more and more of myself like the me is to me and Audrey, my wife, has been a huge healing presence in my life for that because the things that I thought would make me unlovable or unattractive to her, I hadn't really truly shared with people before I felt accepted. And that was like, it was a very corrective kind of experience for me. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. I found on my own, I think really deeply about the things that I speak in relationships, the actions that I take in, I've developed a level of courage, I would say, to look at the places where I've been manipulative or deceptive in a subtle way. Where I tried to engineer a situation and I'll catch myself and I'll go, Oh, there you are. You're an asshole. Like you didn't need to do that. Like that was selfish. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Like you'll catch yourself in the present doing it or you'll catch yourself. You'll look back on time. 

AUBREY MARCUS: I'll look back at it, but I'm willing to actually, I think I'm more willing to actually say no. Yeah, you were being a dick, you were being selfish, and really to analyze that and to own that part of me, that can be bad and can be selfish and can be kind of like, can drive a situation and try and steer it more than actually it wants to be. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: How do you do that? I'm curious what you do with this because how do you stop yourself from veering from that to and therefore I'm a bad person. Because I know in my life, that's something I've struggled with, where I think, if I did try to manipulate a situation, or if I did something that I look back on with some shame, or, I'm like, there was a level of, I don't know, something in there that I just don't like, my brain can go to, that's right, I'm a bad person.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: As opposed to like that was a selfish moment or that was selfish, you did a selfish thing or you did a slightly manipulative thing and tried to engineer a situation to your benefit or whatever. But how do you stop short of thinking you're a bad person? 

AUBREY MARCUS: Because I know I'm a bad person and a good person. I'm both. I've really looked inside and said, Oh yeah. There's bad in here. There's bad in here. There's selfishness in here. There's a way in which I can be, there's a selfish impulse, a drive from the separate self that isn't connected to the field, thinking that prioritizes my feelings and my pleasure and my experience above everybody else's. And that part is bad. And there's that part of me that exists. And it's always there. It's always there, but it's the choice I make to be better that allows me to actually navigate along that continuum and to become better. But so how I do it is I go. Yeah, I'm bad. I'm bad. And I'm good and I'm really good

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Says this full integration of all these parts of yourself instead of needing for it to be one truth that you're constantly in battle between Am I good? Am I bad? It's completely holistic.

AUBREY MARCUS: I'm good and bad. And it's almost like those two options are in quantum superposition, right? Is it a particle? Is it a wave? What's going to manifest? What's going to actualize through myself? Is it my goodness? Or is it actually some of my badness, some of my selfishness that's going to actually come through here and to just be comfortable with the fact that I know when, all right, yeah, that was bad. And this is good. And this is really good. And I think I've just developed more comfort in that without the shame. So, because what happens is if you're ashamed of the bad parts, then you'll trick yourself into thinking that you didn't do anything bad after all, right? Like you'll find all of these ways to justify what you did and this is what was happening. And then you'll kind of exile that part of you. But just to really hold all of it, the full spectrum of who I am, all the bad and all the good. I think that's probably been the most helpful process for me and also helpful in my relationship to just be willing to go like, Okay. Yeah. Yeah. That was bad. Yeah. I'm sorry. Like that was fucked up, and that's been a real journey because I had a very harsh inner critic that was really tough on myself when I would do something bad. And I didn't want to be bad. I don't want to be bad. I don't want to, I want to be good. And I'll slip and I'll fall and I'll be selfish. But the more that I'm soft with that level of judgment and myself and loving that part of myself, the easier it is to kind of navigate and to really know and not really have to defend, if something called out like, yeah, all right. Yeah, that was bad, you know? Here's my goodness 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: The end is so important. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: The end, I think that's the huge link for me is it's possible multiple things are true, but this one that you fear. Because the anxiety is that no, but this is the truth like the bad is the truth of who I am or that or the week is the truth of who I am or whatever it may be and I think that's the end. And the full holistic view of yourself that that then gives way to, I think is very powerful and it stops you from. I love that idea that you, accepting that, yes sometimes I'm bad is there's a humility that then comes with that, right? Because it makes it easy to apologize. It makes it easy to just own things. When you can't have that be true, then you're actually a really difficult person to be with because you then are distorting reality all the time. And now you're into making someone question their reality because you just can't allow for that situation to have made you in that moment bad

AUBREY MARCUS: Right. That's where it gets really bad, like really toxic. And this is all the whole gaslighting phenomenon where you're like, where if you cannot accept your own badness and that you may have acted selfishly and you may have acted in a wrong way and you can't just own that and be comfortable with that being an aspect of your expression. The arguments in the conflicts that you'll have, they'll just never fully resolve and you'll just build more and more tension 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: And with people who are truly narcissistic, you have like someone who will happily make you question your sanity before they'll ever allow themselves to be bad because it's just too

AUBREY MARCUS: Right, their identity structure cannot hold that they've ever done something wrong. 


AUBREY MARCUS: They cannot hold that an impulse, this darker and selfish impulse came out an impulse to actually hurt you and an impulse like, I feel pain. I want to hurt you. All right. Well, that's a normal actual animalistic response. We found it in the, we were just talking about fighting before we came on this boxing and kickboxing someone hits you with a good shot. There's a natural reaction to like, Oh, I'm gonna hit you back, motherfucker. Like, all right, there's an animalistic part that sometimes can come out in your love life and to your lovers and you have to be able to say like, shit, like, I'm sorry, like that part of me came out and hopefully catch it before it actually does its damage. Right? Like, hopefully you want to be able to be aware of it and to mitigate it. And this isn't just a carte blanche. Oh yeah, I'm bad. And I just do whatever you want to navigate yourself in that way. But to understand that. There's a kind of a soil from which all of these sins can come from. And this soil is part of the humus, the earth of the human of who we are and then if we know that like the humus, the earth, the soil contains some of this energy. It’s like okay, I'm sorry and I'll be better next time.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah. It requires a level of self acceptance to do that like you kind of have to, in many ways accepting yourself first which is such a hard thing. Like when I think about how much we carry around from our lives and for me for a long time I used to carry around such regret around decisions, around things I wish I'd done differently. Pain that I'd caused in some way, mostly the pain I'd caused myself, when I thought like, decisions or actions I took that hurt me or wasted time, I would really carry that. And not everyone does that to the same extent, like I know people who just don't beat themselves up very much. They're just gifted. 

AUBREY MARCUS: They're like Forrest Gump. That's like a Forrest Gump trait, where if you don't have that part of you 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: No, they’re like gifted.

AUBREY MARCUS: That beats them up.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah, it's amazing. 

AUBREY MARCUS: It’s amazing

MATTHEW HUSSEY: They're like, yeah, I didn't do that. And I'm like, I can't relate to you at all. I spent my whole life beating myself up. So this is like, you know, I have to have such robust tools for dealing with that because it's something I dealt with for a very long time. And it took me a long time. When I think of things that took me years to like, forgive myself for moving past and learning. I mean, I have frames. I have like paradigms that I taught myself that were very helpful to me, that were very useful for self forgiveness. But everything you're saying is also just another route to that self forgiveness because you're just making space for the fact that we're complicated.

AUBREY MARCUS: Who was the person, did you have an avatar in mind when you wrote this book, Love Life? Who was the person that you were writing this book to? What were they dealing with? What was going on in their life? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Okay, there was a woman who came to me who said, the beginning of our session. This was the very first thing she said to me and bear in mind all the things you would assume someone would ask me when they first are with me. She said, I want your help. I need to learn how to kill this hope that I have to find someone


MATTHEW HUSSEY: Because it's not working out for me. And it's making me so sad and when I see my friends and people around me who have found love, I think that's amazing for them and I'm happy for them. But at the same time, I'm truly jealous. I don't wish them bad, I'm so jealous because I want that for myself so badly and it brings me pain to see this thing that is so elusive to me and has never worked out for me and to be confronted with it. And she said, I don't want to feel like that. And she said, if I never meet someone, I'll be sad for the rest of my life. If I hold onto this hope, this desire to meet someone. So can you help me kill the desire so that at least I can enjoy my life? And that may not be the kind of average avatar for this book. This book will deal with people who are at all different levels of wanting to find love. And some of them may be in a much more hopeful part of their journey of wanting to find love and just wanting to learn how to do love better. But the reality is finding love is one of the most universal things, it may be the most universal thing that we all want and it is hard and it makes people really unhappy. When they want it badly and they've told themselves that this is a fundamental part of my life vision and what I'm excited about or what I think is going to make me happy in life. And it's not working out for me. And then over time, they see friends disappearing into relationships, who are no longer there to hang out with in the same way, and become increasingly unrelatable. And the older people get, often the more invisible they feel. And they're still dealing with all of the nonsense of dating that comes with trying to find a person, the ghosting, the flaking, the hot and cold, the dating apps, texts that don't even result in a date, let alone a relationship. And situationships that never turn into someone saying I'm ready. I want to do this. People always feel like they're the person after or the person before the person that someone marries and they live with a kind of chronic pain. And I wrote this book to first show people how to do love better and how they can, I believe that there are some real important things that we have to do in order to find love. And some real important things we have to avoid in order to find love, but I also wanted to address the real feelings that people have about this area of their life, which is that feeling lonely, wanting to find someone and not having found someone is like a chronic ache that doesn't go away. And how do you deal with that? So that you're not deferring your happiness to a time when you do find it. And how at the same time do you do the things that might help you find it faster than you are right now? That was who this book is for. 

AUBREY MARCUS: How did you respond to that woman who wanted to kill that desire? Because I imagine that you can't kill that desire. You can't kill the desire for love. The desire for love is like the desire that a flower has for the sun and the rain. You can't kill it. It's just gonna be there, it's unavoidable. So I'm sure you had to channel that in a different way. What was your strategy? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: One of the things I write about in this book, which is an unexpected thing in a book about how to find love, was my own chronic physical pain. And how I had my own encounter with something I felt I couldn't make go away. For many years I got tinnitus where my head was ringing in my ears, you and I have talked about this and it didn't go away and freaked me out and doctors told me it'll go away in six months and then when it didn't go away in six months, panic set in, and I'd wake up every night and pray that when I woke up it had gone away, and I'd then hear the loud ringing as soon as I woke up. And it ruined silence for me, which was something I loved. I no longer enjoyed silence. Meditation was just ringing in my ears whenever I was trying to meditate. And that made me think I'm never going to be able to do this right. Which is ironic with meditation. But I truly never stopped thinking about it ever. And then that morphed into all sorts of other symptoms from dizziness, pain in my ear, pain in my head, behind my eye, a buzzing sensation in my head. It just started like it was developing into a whole series of chronic sensations that for a long time made my life a misery. And I didn't know how, I did everything to try and get rid of this, when something's ruining your life like that, it becomes your number one motivation is to do anything I can to get out of this and I went in search of everything that could make a difference of every kind of therapist and acupuncturist and doctor, I threw everything at it. I flew to Germany in the middle of covid to try to get a plasma taken from my blood and injected into parts of my head and my ear to try to figure, that it didn't work. And I spent an ungodly amount of money trying to fix this thing. Nothing moved the needle at all. And I reached a sense of utter hopelessness. I went to a therapist and I said to him, I'm going to live for other people from now on. Because I'm never going to be happy again. So long as this is here, I'm never going to be happy again. And I can't make it go away. So I'm never going to be happy again. I had to get no joy from my life anymore. This is all I think about is my physical pain. And I was lucky, actually, I was lucky that I had a lot of responsibility. And I had family and team and people that relied on me and it all gave me something to focus on, the people I was working with that I was coaching, it gave me something to focus on, but it was none of it was for me anymore, it got really dark and I had to start to look for other tools that didn't involve fixing it and I learned some, I developed my own little like toolbox for how to manage this thing and every tool in that box came back down to one central premise, which was there is the physical pain I'm experiencing, as well as the ringing in my ears that is a fact that wherever it comes from, wherever it's originating from, the pain is real. But there's also my relationship with this pain and that part, I do not know how to control this part. I've tried everything, but this part is making it a thousand times worse. How I am relating to this is creating utter hell on earth for me right now. And so how do I manipulate my relationship with this thing? What's the leverage I have and then it came down to a number of things and I can go through those, but every single one of these relates precisely to that woman in her situation, because when she went to bed at night and I talked to her about this, I said, when do you feel it? ASo I go to bed at night, I lay in the dark, I look up at the ceiling and I feel this feeling in my stomach, this loneliness. And I said, okay, so let's start with the fact that that loneliness you're feeling is a feeling and that feeling itself is deeply uncomfortable. By the way, so is getting stung by a bee, right? If a bee came in here right now and stung one of us, it would hurt. But our relationship with it wouldn't be a fraught one, we wouldn't start going, what a piece of shit I am for leaving the window open where a bee could come in. I'm such an idiot for not being on guard. Like I'm a moron. I've always been a moron, come to think of it like we wouldn't do that. You just go, that sucks. A bee stung me, the hell. And that feeling in your stomach, that loneliness is also just another sensation. What turns it into way more than that is the relationship you have with that sensation. For me, in my physical pain, I had a story that my life was over. And that I would never be able to enjoy anything again. I remember working with a coach who I was, part of what I was lamenting at the time during this time was things I used to enjoy eating and drinking, I just couldn't eat and drink anymore without making everything even worse. And I love food and I like cocktails. I'm not a big drinker, but like, I'm a person who I just like life. This is one of the things that really hurts. Like at the time I was like, I fucking love life. This is robbing me of who I am. I'm no longer who I am anymore with this thing. And I was lamenting the fact that I couldn't even have a sip of wine or I couldn't eat this food or whatever. And this coach said to me, look, we don't know. Like I was saying, I can never have a sip of wine again now, bla blah. She was like, we don't know where this is going to be in five years. We have no idea. All we know is that right now, these things seem to aggravate it. So let's lose the ceremony and just focus on removing some of these things right now. And then we'll reassess. And that phrase, lose the ceremony, became a very key phrase for me because it got me out of this catastrophic thinking of, this is what all of this means and this is me projecting it out to the next 10 and 20 and 30 years. Everything changes. Everything changes, your body can change, how you feel can change, or I might change the way I feel about this thing. I might no longer, how I feel about it today will also change, even if the pain doesn't, and at a certain point, those almost end up becoming the same thing. So, all changes and I started to, these are two of seven different things I put in the book about what I did about my physical chronic pain. But I started using all of them all the time as a way to have a completely different relationship with this thing, that did not have all of the story that I attached to it, that started to create a completely different level of surrender to this thing. And it truly changed the game for me. I like it. It was the most spiritual experience of my life, this thing I was a type of person who was used to working my way out of every problem I ever had, like grinding out of any situation I was in, and I could not grind my way out of this one. And it was my biggest, first encounter with something that made me truly unhappy that I couldn't change.

AUBREY MARCUS: So to go back to your relationship to hope then, because hope is Dante's Inferno. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. There's actually some interesting wisdom in that, because hope in a place where there is only suffering and pain in the Inferno, hope is another form of pain because you're projecting this, Oh, well, I'm hoping that this is going to go away. And then it's not. And then the disappointment and then that constant thing. So the abandonment of hope is one potential strategy. And at the same time, you still have to hold a vision of the future, like Dr. Joe Dispenza would say, like, hold a vision of the future and draw that vision of the future closer to you, so you can't let go of a memory of a future where this thing is healed, and you can't be subject to the vicissitudes of dealing with hope and the disappointment and disappointment as that hope go. So how did you deal with hope yourself? Like, man, I hope I wake up in this and then disappoint. How did you deal with that? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That's such a great question, man. It's such a great question. No one's ever asked me that. It's funny cause that story of Dante's Inferno, the story of Pandora is an interesting one because when she opens the box, it was actually a jar that she opened, but when she opens it and all of these afflictions fly out to plague mankind, when she closes it out of horror, the one that's still in the jar is hope. And there's an interpretation of that story that says that actually the one grace for mankind was that hope stayed in the jar because hope was the worst of all of them. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: The idea in a world where it's not going to get better, it's going to get better is the worst kind of torture and so I know for me, the way that played out was that anytime I would have a new appointment for some treatment or doctor or fan, like some out there thing that could help every time I used to get my hopes up, even just having a date in the diary for a treatment felt like a kind of relief. It was almost like my pain for a brief moment got better, just knowing that there was something coming up that was going to treat it. I relaxed, which is by the way, I think, the same as a lot of people feel when they go on a promising date, they go tell all their friends, it was an amazing date and for a moment, it feels like I can relax because, ah, like hope again. But when it didn't help me when a week later I was feeling the same symptoms, the crash for me was terrible. Like it was like I would sink even lower and again, that's what happens to people in their love lives, right? It is going somewhere and then this person doesn't call me back, now they're not texting me anymore. So for me it wasn't about me telling myself that it will never get better but it was a kind of total surrender to the way that it is now and not living for the day when it did potentially get better. I had to make space for the possibility and even do certain things that I thought might, if there was legitimately something that came along that I thought could make a difference, then okay. But I really had to surrender to how it was, and I had to make space for possibilities, but also truly just make peace with the fact that it almost became a game. A kind of game to me, where it's like, if this never changed, could I get to a place where I'm happy enough? Like right, until that point, I had just been miserable. So it became, could I get to be happy enough? Because being happy enough is a powerful place to be. I really believe that. You get to become happy enough, you can start to make an impact in your life again. When you're not happy enough, your life starts to contract. And you hide away, you can't get out of bed, you don't want to socialize, you don't want to create things, you don't want to work hard. But when you're happy enough, you can start to make some magic in your life again. And you might end up actually finding that upward momentum you need to go beyond happy enough. So for me, my goal became happy enough. And that became my own kind of beauty, arriving in that place and being grateful to be happy enough, to be grateful to be in a place where I was no longer constantly suffering.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And then to just stay curious. Like curiosity for me became a really important word, just stay curious, not hopeful necessarily, but just stay curious, stay humble. Don't think you know everything, about everything. Just make space for the possibility that was a big one for me because there is a kind of arrogance in thinking that we know. That we know that it's never going to get better, that we know because of our past history with love, that we're never going to find love, that no one's ever going to come through the door, that we're never going to be able to operate differently in our lives, or we're never going to feel differently about this thing. I've been humbled enough times in my life where I thought nothing was ever going to be different, or this situation's never going to change, or I'm never going to get over this one. I've had that situation enough times to have massive humility that I am not a good predictor of how something is going to feel five years from now, or how much it's still going to bother me five years from now, or how stagnant or the same that thing is going to stay five years from now. I've been humbled so many times that I can't not leave room for the curiosity of, I don't know. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, give God a chance. That's a saying that I have. Like, God always has cards, and that's the humility of it is God is a loaded word for a lot of people because it means a lot of things, but to me it's the mystery. God, the mystery, always has cards, always has cards, like there's never a place where God doesn't have cards. And so when I find myself in those places of hopelessness, because while hope can be painful, hopelessness is also like, Oh yeah. Incredibly devastating, right? So it's that double edged sword of like the pain of the hope and failing to meet the hopes that you get in the disappointments. But then the place of hopelessness is no place to live either. So you can't live there. So it's like this radical acceptance of where you are and then filling that with as much gratitude as you can for the situation that you're in, and knowing that God still has cards, the mystery is yet to unfold, not moving to catastrophic thinking. And it takes a kind of rigor of the psyche to stay on that path of acceptance, surrender, gratitude and then being aware of the pitfalls where, man, maybe I should just fucking end my life. Like, maybe I should just fucking end it, you know? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah, you have to be, I think those are peaks of intensity that we have to be really careful of because there's, I always think the most dangerous emotion is overwhelm.

Like, that's the one to really be careful of. Anger comes in different forms, sometimes you can use it for good, sometimes not, but you can figure out a way to use anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, all of these things that we think are bad emotions. None of them are truly dangerous until they reach a crescendo and the crescendo is when you get overwhelmed, you're overwhelmed with anxiety. You're overwhelmed with anger. You're overwhelmed with depression. When you get overwhelmed, that's when we want to check out or when we think it's all too much. And I tried to make it my mission in life to avoid any of the negative emotions ever reaching a point of overwhelm, being very vigilant for what takes them to the point of overwhelm. And you said God has cards, we have some cards too. And one of those cards is to any point in our life, always be willing to make plan B, the new plan A, and if it's plan C, then make plan C, the new plan A. That is one of the most creative things you can ever do in life. Like that's a pure creation when you can take plan B and make it the new plan A. And we do that first by leaning into the circumstances and what's something special I could only do from this particular place. There's an experiment I got told about by a psychologist with rats where rat A was allowed to run on a wheel and rat B was on a wheel that was hooked up to rat A's wheel. So whenever rat A ran, rat B had to run. And at the end of the experiment, Rat A showed all of the positive markers of exercise. And Rat B showed all of the negative markers of stress. Both doing the exact same amount of exercise, same amount of exertion. But Rat A chose to run and Rat B didn't. So much of life to me is in that idea that we're all running in our life, we're all doing something difficult. And by the way, let's not forget that we all choose difficult things to do in life. People choose to climb mountains. They choose to build a business. They choose to write a book like we do. We choose to do these difficult things. We choose to go to the gym. This is all pain that we opt for. Who said that the pain we opt for is any more beneficial than the pain we didn't opt for? I would argue the pain I didn't opt for has been more valuable to me than the pain I've opted for. So for me, I like to do a little thought exercise where I imagine the really painful things in my life, maybe the things that I wish would change or I wish hadn't happened and I imagine them on a menu and next to the pain on the menu is all of the unique benefits that I can only get from this particular pain and each item gives me specific benefits that can only come from this particular pain on this day or this year or this part of my life and I imagine with the pain that I didn't choose, I imagine myself choosing that pain going, well, I really want those items. So I'm going to choose this pain. The same way I would choose to do something difficult like write a book. I'm choosing this pain. And by doing that, you are proactively turning yourself from rat B to rat A. You are now deciding to run this race or to run on this wheel. And when we do that, when we stop being a victim of this thing that's happening to us and we now go, okay, I'm choosing this thing, I'm choosing these benefits that I can only get by coming through this or by dealing with this, even if I never come through it, then there's a true power to that. And I think that's how we end up creating a masterpiece. I've never watched it, but I watched five minutes of it and instantly I gleaned some ideas from. Have you ever watched the TV show, chopped. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: Right. I haven't either. But I remember being in a dentist chair and it being on the TV and seeing like the first five minutes and the concept is just, these chefs get given a basket of ingredients, and they have like 20 minutes to do something with those ingredients, and in this one episode I saw they got like a finger lime, an Alaskan king crab, and kelp jerky. Now, obviously, everyone likes the Alaskan king crabs, there's a great ingredient. No one's looking at the kelp jerky thinking, thank God I got the kelp jerky, that's gonna come in super useful. But, it's not like the show is, now everyone opened their basket of ingredients, oh, you got the good ones, you got the bad ones, okay, you win. That's not the show, the show is,

AUBREY MARCUS: What do you make of it?

MATTHEW HUSSEY: What do you do in those 20 minutes? The show isn't about ingredients, the show is about chefs. And that should give people some real comfort, I think, because we all get different ingredients and some of our ingredients really suck. And it's not like, I think that we do the wrong thing by trying to get ourselves to love our ingredients. Like you may not love your ingredients. There may be certain ingredients that it's just hard to love. And that might be, what's your kelp jerky? It's easy to love a chef who can do something interesting with kelp jerky. So that for me has been a very transformational idea because anyone can take that and say, you know what, I've been spending so much time wishing for different ingredients instead of thinking, how good of a chef could I become 

AUBREY MARCUS: if you ever heard of the rebel Zen monk, Ikkyu Sojin.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: No, tell me. 

AUBREY MARCUS: He was this rebellious monk who said he could learn more from an hour in a brothel than his fellow Zen brothers would learn from a year on a meditation cushion. He was just this wild, erotic Zen monk. And Ikkyu Sojin had a quote and it was, throw me into hell and I'll find a way to enjoy it. And that's exactly what you're talking about. He's like, serve me up these ingredients. I'm a Zen master. I'm going to find a way to enjoy this dish that life is served. Like, he had so much confidence in his ability to be able to take any ingredients and make it into a dish. And actually enjoy that dish, and that's master level living. That's like, that's being the artist of your life. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: And when you are that artist. I think the great irony is that's when people begin to notice you differently because you start to become very intriguing to people, even if you never talk about the thing that has made you that person or the pain that you've gone through, like I know I, for a long time when I was dealing with my own pain, my physical pain, I didn't talk about it. Like I'm talking about it today, but when I was trying to wrestle with it, I felt like I couldn't talk about it because it was too, I couldn't face the idea that people would keep reminding me of it. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: So I didn't talk about it, but there was a different depth to me. While I was going through that and I was wrestling with it and trying to navigate my relationship with it and it added a layer to my work, it added depth to my work and the way people were noticing what I was doing. They didn't know where it was coming from but there was an added level of interest and that's no less true in our love lives when people get to a point where they've found a place of calm or peace where they've the kind of the person that's emerged out of that is has a particular kind of strength or playfulness that they're able to now have because they're no longer in fear. So now they're able to actually be playful again. It's like now you actually might find yourself getting noticed by people who didn't notice you before. And that's why the past in your love life does not have to equal your future no matter how long that past has been going for so far.

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, there's something really beautiful when you meet somebody. I had this experience recently where I got to really know somebody, like I felt like I really knew them. And then eight months, nine months into knowing them, she just shared, like, some really brutal shit about her childhood. Like really brutal and I was like, no shit, like you would expect that somebody would lead with that. Oh, you know, like this, I had to deal with this and this is my victim story and this is so hard and this is why that, but it was like, she wasn't hiding from it or buried, but that was just part of the ingredients that she dealt with and she was making a masterpiece of her life. And then for me to go in there, I was like, it was really like this mind blowing. I was like, wow, I'm just learning about that now, how fucking cool. And like my admiration for her was like through the roof. I was like, fuck yeah. Amazing.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: And the side effect of that is that you can't help but question what else that person has up their sleeve. 

AUBREY MARCUS: No, totally. Like what else happened there was horrible shit. I don't like, what else have you transmuted quietly and heroically, not looking for any applause, not looking for like, look what I did, but just quietly alchemized into some beauty that just shows.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I always think about that when people are out there. Trying to find love and they're on dates that we have such an emphasis on impressing over connecting and we should flip those. Like, impressing is when we go on a date and we're constantly talking about what we've done or what we've achieved, who we are as a person in this world. And we don't connect that way and if you can hold back the urge to impress and instead just connect, that affect you just talked about, that will happen naturally because sooner or later that person is going to discover these things about you that you didn't feel the need to volunteer upfront. And when they do find them out, the potency of that, that you didn't feel the need to like lead with that.

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, exactly.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It’s amazing

AUBREY MARCUS: Exactly. The people are

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That's like my experience of being your friend. I've just realized. I feel every time we hang out over the years, I learned some other thing you're good at. I had no idea that you had any ability whatsoever and you just casually like, I'm like, Oh, you're good at that too. What a freak. 

AUBREY MARCUS: I think one of the things that I love about friendships is I actually love and I think this is a part of why I've had my challenges in love life, but I've had a gorgeous love life history. And I think I can look back at that and yeah, all right, there's these challenges here and there and all of these different journeys. But in my friendship, beautiful, like gorgeous friendships in my life. And I think it's just because I love people and I love like I'm wildly interested in other people. And their stories and like who they are and their unique signature and what's going on and also love when they get to see some flash of that unique ass. It's not the accolades or what are done, but like the actual magic that's in there. And that's something to really live for, you know? And I think navigating to that as quickly as possible with people is really what I like to do where it's just like, how do you just clear all the, I can't be bothered with the small talk kind of environment. It's like, let's go to the deep end, that’s where interesting shits are

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Do you have any ways that you do that, when you're talking to people? What's your method for avoiding small talk in general? 

AUBREY MARCUS: There's a kind of deeply penetrating presence that I try to like to lay in, that actually tries to see through so I can see through what they're saying and see underneath. And it's almost like an unspoken invitation for that, it's not like a trick of words or just the right question but I try to create an environment where like we're going in like a little deeper and a little deeper. And that's why I like containers that are set up for that, where people are not expecting. I hate like the mixers and social fucking gatherings.  It's like a nightmare for me. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah, me too.

AUBREY MARCUS: It's a fucking nightmare. I can't do it unless I can find my way to find somebody and then just drop in.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: What do you do when you get invited to something like that?

AUBREY MARCUS: Decline. I mean

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I get it whenever I get invited to something like that. I just think this is a thing in my month that I don't want, like, I know that this is going to require such disproportionate effort from me to leave the house and go to this place. Full of strangers and having frivolous conversation.

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, I'm attracted to depth.  I'm just wildly attracted to depth. And whatever shows up in that depth, I'm like, I find myself allured to it. And so, my own natural allurement to the depth is, I think one of the key signatures for me is it's like, I like the deep end of the pool and if we're going to be, so there's certain times where people, they don't like going in deep end. So in the situation where people don't like going in the deep end, then I'll find a game we can play. Right? Like some like we'll play. All right. You want to play bags? You want to play darts? You want to play pool? Or like if we're going to do something and just bide our time,

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I like that.

AUBREY MARCUS: Let's compete and 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: You'll find a game.

AUBREY MARCUS: You’ll find the game.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: There must be some axes around here somewhere.

AUBREY MARCUS: Exactly. So my two strategies are either a game or depth and I avoid all the other things. Like I don't want to play the game of talking about nonsense that doesn't really matter. Like that's not interesting to me. I want to play a game of depth talking and play a game. Like, Chris Williamson's here in the studio. I love playing pickleball with him. Not because he's good at pickleball. He's fairly average. I'd say mediocre, mediocre player. But we not only get to play a game, but then in between the games. Chris is a master talking about depth, you know, so it's like, I light up when I see that motherfucker, not because of his mediocre pickleball game, but because of his depth in between, and also if you have

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Right. You suck at the pickle ball of the depth

AUBREY MARCUS: And if you've lost to Chris Williamson pickleball, I just want you to know. You're worse than mediocre, whoever you are listening to right now, but that's it. Then those are the types of, and I think that's one of the reasons why we've been friends. It’s one of the reasons why the experience we went through with Wim Hof was so potent too, because we got into the depth, like we got into the depth with each other. And once you get into the depth, somebody, and there's a bond that's formed, that's just fucking different. So I love those initiatic practices, those things that drive you into depth. I think it's one of the reasons why Fit For Service has been so successful is because we do initiatic practices like shamanic breathwork and lodge ceremonies or ecstatic dances or things that bring people, or even just communication technologies that drive you into deeper depth and then people are like, oh fuck. I'm not alone 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: When you don't have those kinds of thick tools at your disposal. And you're just speaking to someone, do you try to access that depth with them? And that slipped into that presence you're talking about by just slowing down, making better eye contact than 90 percent of humans ever make? What do you do to try to create an environment where someone can go deep like, 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, I look for openings and sometimes they're not there and I'll move. And so I'm scanning, but there may be just some little thing that I can see, something that I can notice. It's about observation in awareness at a really high level, like, well, the way you said that, there's something that hurts underneath that, or there's something that's really exciting about that for you. What is that thing? Like, I try to find the subtext beneath the text and I'm scanning for that. And if I can't find it and it's like, let's play shame ball, let's move on. And so I’m always navigating towards one or the other. I actually haven't been consciously aware, this conversation is really making me aware, but that's exactly how it goes. It's either like immediately steering into games, like within five minutes, it'll be like, what games do we have here to play everybody?

MATTHEW HUSSEY: There’s something so funny about it, you're either talking about truly existential subject matter, or you're playing Cornhole. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: No in between.

AUBREY MARCUS: And I'm actually happy with either. No in between. I just can't bear it. I fucking can't bear it. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: One of your audience must be able to create some kind of fun artistic meme out of that. Just you on one side, like your head exploding with ideas, and just you on the other side just playing Cornhole. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. Have you dealt with the harsh voice inside your own head, you know, like I wrestle with this, and my failures, my defeats, I mean, like constantly, and even things that don't really matter, and it's part of what I think brings out my greatness because I always I'm competitive like that and I like my competitiveness, but it can also turn really dark against me and it can really start to tear me down and also keep me from shining if I let it go. Have you dealt with that voice in your head that beats you up and kicks your ass.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Me and Chris were literally talking about this today because I think it's such a common voice for so many people and mine has been really brutal in my life. There's a moment, I'm going to see if I can find it. This isn't numbered correctly, but there's a thing in here that I think is Interesting for this. Here we go. There was a moment when Nikki Glaser in an interview with Rogan, actually, she started talking about like orgasms and she said, I've always been into being tied up. I'm someone who doesn't feel like I deserve pleasure without having pain. Like I don't ever celebrate something. I can only celebrate or relax if I put in so much work that I'm dead, it's really hard for me to enjoy myself in life. I have to punish myself first. And so, orgasm is hard for me to give myself one and let myself have that much. It's too much. It's like Christmas. You have to wait a year for Christmas. You can't have Christmas every day. So I like to be tied up and forced to have Christmas. Then I wrote, some may see in this a shocking description of what she feels she has to go through for the privilege of having an orgasm. I see the way so many of us live our lives. I struggle to believe I'm worthy of moments of joy and peace without first putting myself through a brutal schedule, monitoring my productivity levels down to the minute. Some people apply this earn your cookie mindset in ways that lead to healthy achievements. Not me. Mine is a mutation whereby joy and self compassion are regularly outlawed by an internal tyrant who decides when I've been flogged enough for one day. Just when I'm about to collapse, a voice inside says, Okay. Give him an hour of peace before bed, but make sure he knows we'll start again bright and early in the morning. That's essentially been my life. And I've had to really work to find roots to self compassion. And I know some people may need to find roots to push themselves harder. That was never my challenge. It was always the reverse for me. How do I stop living with this maniac? Like what can I do to change this? And the big realization for me was a kind of redefining of what self love looked like. I truly believe that self love needs a rebrand, that we have gotten it wrong in so many of the ways that we talk about it. Firstly, self love has to somehow be more or deeper than a bubble bath and some candles. 

AUBREY MARCUS: It's not self care, it's different. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: And I'm curious to know where you ended up with this. For me, I started almost running my own experiments trying to figure out, where does self love really come from? Like, what does it look like? And why? Why love yourself? Like, what is that? And I started asking audiences, why should you love yourself? And people would say, well, because it's a harder question to answer for most people. If you say, should you love yourself? They'll be like, yeah, that's really important. But why? That stumps people. So then people would give me answers like, well, because we deserve it. I say, but why? And they say, well, because I'm loving and kind and generous and I'm good to my family and this and that, I'm hardworking and that immediately that to me didn't work because I'm like, well, then what about the days where you're not those things? Do you not deserve love on those days? Like this feels a lot like telling a kid they get love for getting A's.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And by the way, what about when you find someone who has more of those things? Are they more worthy of love than you? Because there's someone who does generosity better than you. There's someone who works harder than you. So now we're into it. I deserve love, but not as much as that person. So then people would, they would sense that there were like trap doors to this and they go, well, I should love myself because I'm special. And aside from the fact that that exchanges one kind of aphorism, one generic answer for another. I would say, but is everyone special? And they'd say, well, yeah, of course. I'd say, so then if there's 8 billion people on this earth and they're all special, then it kind of feels like none of us are. Like when we say we're special, what does that actually mean? What began to occur to me is that we try to love ourselves through the wrong model. The romantic model of love does not work for self love. The romantic model is there are certain things I like about you or admire about you or I find fascinating about you or I find sexy about you and I start to fall in love with you. But we don't experience ourselves that way, right? If familiarity breeds contempt, and that's why a lot of long term relationships suffer or end, it is because people get way too familiar with each other and they take each other for granted. When it comes to ourselves, who would we have more contempt for than the person we've spent every second of our lives with since the day we were born? So this idea that we're going to, at some point fall in love with ourselves, it just doesn't work. And I think it makes a lot of people feel inadequate for being unable to do so. So I started looking for other models of love that don't fit that kind of a model. And one of them was the parent child relationship, where if you say to a parent, why do you love your child? Most parents don't start reeling off a bunch of characteristics about their child. They'll just look at you strangely and say, because they're my child. What do you mean? Because she's mine. Well, he's mine. That for me was a clue. And I started looking for that dynamic in other areas. So you can find it with a child and a stuffed toy. You are like a kid with a stuffed rabbit. And that rabbit is beat up. It smells, it's been dropped in a thousand puddles, it's missing an ear, it's fluff coming out the seams. If you say to that child, do you want to exchange this rabbit for this new expensive one that I got you? They'll be like, what are you, no, it's my rabbit. Give me my rabbit. People are like that with their pets. You walk down there, there's some ugly dogs around. You walk down the street and you see a dog that's just missing all of its fur, it's like a tongue hanging out to the side, it's got no teeth. And you say to that dog owner, why do you love your dog, he'll be like, what are you talking about, it's my dog. If you said, do you want to exchange it for this pedigree, expensive dog, they wouldn't be interested, this is my dog, that for me, was a complete game changer of a realization, because it showed me there was a kind of love that already existed in lots of different dynamics in this world that could be applied to yourself. Now, how do you apply that love to yourself? Well, you realize that, firstly, if you say you love people, and you care about people, then you deserve at least as much decency as anyone else you would give it to. Like, let's just start there. You're a person. I often think we don't think of ourselves as a person, we think of, like, just eyes looking out onto the world in this body. I dress every day. We're as much a person in the room as anybody else. So even just by that rationale we deserve to give ourselves as much decency as we give anyone else. But it's actually much more interesting than that. Of the 8 billion people on this planet we are the only person that is responsible for taking care of this human, no one else. It's like imagining at birth you were given a human. And you were told, this is yours to take care of forever. Now, someone else had the job of raising you, ushering you into adulthood. Keeping you alive in those early years, they may not have done a good job or they may have done a good job, but it was their job to keep you alive. What no one told us at a certain point is that, in the changeover, it was our job now to take on custody of that human being and we've had one job ever since and that is give this human the best life you can give this human, take care of them, nurture them, stand up for them, help them actualize, help them have a great time, your job is to take care of this human. When then I imagined someone asking me, why do you love yourself? By that rationale, I would go, it has nothing to do with who I am or what I have or what traits I have, what personality traits, any of that has nothing to do with how I match up with anyone else. I love myself because I'm mine. I'm my human. And the comparison through that lens makes absolutely no sense because I can't exchange this human for another one. I'm the only human I get. So my only job in this world is to take care of this one human. So to your question, when I am being horrible to myself, when I'm being a tyrant, what I say to myself is, where have you been? You had one job. You had one job. Take care of this human. Look what you're doing right now. What is this? That's for me, that changed the whole thing. 

AUBREY MARCUS: That's beautiful, man. It's beautiful. I think one of the ways that you can look at this too is to have, through my own spiritual practices and journeys, a real connection with the mother and the father, the divine form of the mother and the father. And I know their love for me. You're my Aubrey. You're my Aubrey. I love you. Tell me your story. Tell me your story, Aubrey. You know? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: That's really beautiful. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Like, the father says, you're my Aubrey. And the mother says, you're my Aubrey. And to know that the mother and father loved me like that. And then to say, Oh, now, I'm in charge of that. And if I'm ever beating myself up to know, like the mother and the father, what are you doing to my Aubrey? What are you doing to my Aubrey? You're like, how dare you? That's my Aubrey. Don't you dare abuse my Aubrey. Don't you dare. That's my Aubrey. It's the only one like him. It's my son, and to feel like you're a welcome child in the universe, and to know that the mother and the father, God if you will, just loves you like that, and is saying to you constantly like, tell me more son, tell me more, show me more, live your story, live your unique story. There's no one else like you. Only you can live your unique story and fucking live it. And I don't mean I don't lose my way, but that's how I find my way home. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It's stunning and what strikes me about that is the voice that you use when you talk to yourself in that way and when you picture the mother or the father saying that to you. That's my Aubrey. There's a very intentional and specific voice that you use for that and when the voice that we've spoken to ourselves to inside is completely different from that is like the polar opposite. It's like sunshine to get an external voice, even if that's a voice that we're telling ourselves, but it's coming from somewhere else. It's a very healing and corrective relationship. I sat with David Kessler, who is like one of the foremost experts on grief in the world. And I was doing an interview with him for my audience and it was all about heartbreak and how grief applies to heartbreak and I was done the moment he started talking. Wasn't for me, I was like this is for the audience. I'm excited to ask this man questions. He started talking and my brain got hijacked. Because there was a voice that he was speaking in about our pain, that the voice he used was so kind, so loving that it was alien to me. I've never spoken to myself in that kind of loving way and he said he saw me welling up and like he asked me. He said that right there what you're feeling is a little bit of unresolved grief and I just broke. It just broke me and the more he told me, I couldn't stop that entire interview. I couldn't stop welling up and I got to the end of it and I realized this was like an externalization of a voice that I needed to hear so badly that was really alien to me in so many ways. And just to have someone model what that voice would be like, the way you did just then is so powerful because we often feel incapable of using that voice for ourselves.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: But when you can, my version of the mother and the father is that almost standing on the outside of myself looking at the human that I'm in charge of. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yes, exactly. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: But it's the same thing. It's like adopting a new voice that you use for yourself. So powerful. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. And we've had the other voice modeled for us. We've had the, you get love if you get A's voice modeled in relationships and parents and coaches. So we have all kinds of surrogates in place of the true voice of the Mother and Father, the true voice of the divine, of all of these surrogates that have patterned these other voices, the voice of self criticism, the voice of judgment, the voice of you're not enough, you're not good enough, you're failing, and all of these different things. And you have to listen to the voice behind that voice, like the voice all the way. And if you haven't made contact with that, it's going to be really hard to find your way through. And then I actually learned this through some of the really challenging, this really clicked in for me in a particularly challenging ayahuasca journey, where it was so difficult and so like overwhelming and painful that the voice of the mother at this point came in and was just like coming through and it came through me through my voice talking to me and this is how it goes. Again, it's my voice talking to me, but it was the energy of the mother and it was like, it's okay, sweetheart, I know it's hard, I know. And it's like that real compassion. Like, I know. I know love. It's okay. And then there's the other voice that can also be the stern voice in the mother. Like, Aubrey, get up, Aubrey. Like, get up. You're strong. Like, you can do this. You can do this, my son. I know you can. I know you can and like those voices like that come through

MATTHEW HUSSEY: You feel it when you say it, man. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah, it's real. It's like it's real. And I think we've been disconnected from spirituality because there's all kinds of ideas of God and ideas of the mother and father and we projected all of this, but to make that true contact, it's the only way to find your bearings. And I still, again, I lose my bearings all the time, 


AUBREY MARCUS: But ultimately that's the only thing that brings me back. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah, it's funny. We come from different experiences, but there's so much similarity in the places we've arrived at on this.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And that's what brings me back to, there is a completely different voice than the one that I or life or whatever experiences I've had or trained in me that has been pretty terrible. Pretty terrible. Yeah. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. Has there ever been like a crisis point for you where you thought that the harsh voice might actually win and actually that you've thought of like, I'm just fucking out of here. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: For me, I had a story that I had like caused my pain myself. That I'm taking care of myself, like anxiety and all of the ways. It was just basically I'd done a number on myself and that's why I triggered all of these symptoms. That's why I had all of these things and I found it so hard to forgive. I truly punished myself for that. For years, like really really just punished myself for that. And that was the thing that for a while I really deeply struggled with because like I said it wasn't just the pain, it was the real hatred I had for myself that the problem was the pain was a trigger for that thought and the pain was always there. So there was no escape from it was not like, sometimes I hated myself because I was having a bad day. It was just a constant stream of self loathing that originated in this feeling of, my pain is here. That means my life is over. You're frail, you're weak, you're unattractive, you're never going to achieve your dreams now, and you're never going to enjoy life again. And 

AUBREY MARCUS: You did it all yourself. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It’s all your fault.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And that really messed me up. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: That really messed me up. I wince at the way I was with myself during that time. It’s dark, it was a very dark time in my life. Scary to even think about it is like, it's almost a place I can't relate to now, but if I think, if I really go there, I'm like, I can go there and I can go, Oh my God. I think we have, sometimes we have a bad memory for pain, you know?


MATTHEW HUSSEY: Probably why we decided to write another book. I think we have a poor memory a lot of the time and you forget sometimes in those moments how bad it was and realizing, connecting with how bad it was can be a nice source of gratitude and confidence. Because you and and confidence because you can actually through that you can realize just how far you've come 

AUBREY MARCUS: I mean what an insidious trap to be punishing yourself for punishing yourself, right. It's like you get in this loop of like I hurt myself and therefore I'm gonna punish myself for hurting myself right, and so you get stuck in that loop and then it's this just twist of the, so there is a voice like, how could you do this to my sweet, to my dear Matthew? How could you do this? And then that voice of judgment comes in. Well, you now have to pay the price for doing that, but then you're still doing the same thing. You're not even recognizing it's the deceive, the voice of the deceiver, what I call the anti you coming in and deceiving you and actually perpetuating the cycle. Whereas if you can just step into a place of forgiveness and say, yeah, that happened in the past. And like, I forgive myself for the transgressions against myself and I forgive, and I can start from here. We had a little conversation before we started and I'm right now. I really feel like I'm from a place of the greatest clarity I've ever been. And I can look back at a lot of mistakes and still acknowledge the mistakes, but forgive myself and say, I like where I'm at right now. And like from here forward is a new journey in a new path and I don't have to carry the baggage and the luggage. And the reparations that are need to be made internally for all of the things that I've done, like here you are right now is almost, I like the thought exercise of imagine my consciousness was just beamed into my body fresh right now, a new consciousness and I check it out and I stretch and I'm like, well, hips are a little tight, but the body's pretty good. And mine's pretty sharp and wow, the house is really nice. Oh, My wife is beautiful and she loves me and fuck 


AUBREY MARCUS: Actually, I'm good 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It's so crazy that you say that man. Do you know I have almost an identical thing I do? It's so crazy. I imagine that like what if you kind of woke up into your life today. And your job was just to make the best of that life. Like that’s your only job is to make the best of that life. You've woken up into this body today is like a soul who woke up in this body and that's your job is to make the best of it from here. The freedom that would come with that, the excitement that would come with that. It's literally, I mean, it's practically identical to what you just said. And I think this will help some people as well, there's a section in the book on self forgiveness. And there's an analogy that I use that's really helped me when it comes to forgiveness, which is, like, it starts with the thinking of your iPhone, right, and imagine, like, all the way back to your original iPod. And how buggy it was, and it froze up, and imagine taking your brand new iPhone out of its box today. And just yelling at it for all of the ways that the iPod from 10 years ago froze and was buggy, like it would be a weird thing to do. Now imagine life as a series of runners in a relay race, like the Olympics, right? The Olympics, four runners in a relay race, each runner has a quarter of the race to run, and each runner at the end of their quarter hands the baton onto the next runner. Now, if the second runner tripped and cost them some time, the third and the fourth runner would have to run a better race. As a result of the trip, it would be weird if the third runner went home that night and started yelling at themselves in the mirror for the fact that the second runner tripped. I think of life as we are a series of runners all in the same relay race. Now, you could think of it as a runner that wakes up at the beginning of every year, like midnight, at the end of December, the runner from this year hands off the baton to the runner who's going to run next year's race. Or you could see it as like I do, which is a series of days, like every day a new runner wakes up and that runner has the job of running their best possible race today.


MATTHEW HUSSEY: And at midnight, yesterday's runner hands off the baton to me and now I go. This for me this idea many runners one race has been a real route to self forgiveness 

AUBREY MARCUS: It’s beautiful 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Because I now get to look back on like I might be mad at an old runner. I might be like really?


MATTHEW HUSSEY: I got a deal with this now, I got run this race because you like my finances are here because of you or because of this whatever. I don't look in the mirror and do that to myself. It's a big difference. Now there's a great line in Jurassic Park, where Dr. Hammond says to one of his staff, I don't blame people for their mistakes, but I do ask that they pay for them. The difference between blame and accountability is really important for self forgiveness. Self forgiveness, when you say that was an old runner, you are not excusing yourself from accountability. Because you're still in the same race, so you might have to make up the time. You might have to run a better race today because of something from before. So you take on the ownership of running the best race you can with the circumstances given to you. But blame in that context, blaming yourself today. Doesn't make sense through that lens and that recipe for self forgiveness has allowed me to stop constantly identifying as the person from all of the worst moments in my life, integrating it the way we've talked about earlier in this integrating those parts of me and realizing it's all part of me. But not identifying like I am the person from 10 years ago. No, that was an old runner in the same race who, frankly, the runner that woke up today has new tools, new insights, has had different mentors, has had access to more information, has gotten to a place where it was more ready for change, like there's so many ingredients that today's runner is working with. That the runner from five years ago or 10 years ago or 20 years ago did not have. So again, I'm a new model today. I can't judge the old runner by the new model. What I mustn't do is take the baggage. And take this person is a brand new runner that woke up today and is ready to go and go before you go, take this suitcase and this one and this bag and this two ton weight. Okay now have a great race, you can't do that travel lightly 

AUBREY MARCUS: One of my favorite quotes, probably my favorite quote is from heraclitus, “No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.”


AUBREY MARCUS: Right? So and that's exactly, speaking to exactly what you're saying, and it seems to me that we could create a type of ritual. All right, let's use the, I love your metaphor of the runners. I think that's exactly accurate, but let's just say we use the river and let's say every time you take a shower, you make this like a conscious ritual, that you enter the shower as the person you were, and you emerge from the shower as a new person. And it's like, you've stepped in the river, the water has washed clean everything, like washed away all of that. And you're going to step out and whatever you're accountable for from the previous runners is still there. Maybe you have an addictive tendency that you have to deal with. Maybe you have a circumstance yet. It's still going to be there. The shower is not going to erase that, but you're a new person. And you can make new choices as you come out of that. And just some way to just remind yourself of that would be really helpful. And this is just coming to me on the spot. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I love that.

AUBREY MARCUS: But like every fucking shower or every cold plug, whatever you wanted it to be, just be like, Okay, I step in and I'm gonna emerge and now fresh from here. What am I gonna do? 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: It's great. I love it. 

AUBREY MARCUS: It's fucking cool. I like it too. I'm gonna start doing it. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Yeah. What a great shower. My next shower is gonna be. No, I love that. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. Matthew, you're a fucking gem, man. This has been beautiful, brother. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I love, man, our conversations. 


MATTHEW HUSSEY: It's off the charts. I love it.

AUBREY MARCUS: It's great. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I love it. I'm really excited to see the feedback and. I hope it resonated with people. I really do. You set the bar very high, like your level of conversation and thinking and the way you dive into things. There's just no room for fluff with you. You’ve thought about things so hard and you've done so much work of your own. I don't know anyone else who spent five days in the dark. Or done as many journeys as you or done as many different versions of your own work and your own healing. It's like, man, this inspirational and to watch from the sidelines is fascinating and incredible to have been able to take part in something big with you like we did in Poland is an absolute privilege. And I know the people that you have in Fit For Service do that because they get to experience that privilege too of going through something with you every single year. But it's such a pleasure, man. I love it. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Likewise, my brother. Likewise. It's a deep joy. Like I'll drive home tonight and I'm going to be filled with this sense. Like, ah, like Matt, my brother all the way. 


AUBREY MARCUS: Yeah. Like my brother all the way. And like, we just connected again, you know, we don't talk all the time throughout the year. We'll keep in touch and a little text here or there, but then we'll see each other and we'll be like, Oh yeah. 


AUBREY MARCUS: We're back. My brother all the way. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: I love it, man. 

AUBREY MARCUS: It was awesome, man. In this book, fucking go out there. Get it. You have so many gems to share, not only about romance, but about life itself. So 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Well, the way Anne Lamott's, Bird by Bird is kind of a book about writing that's also about life. I feel like this is a book about finding love. That's also about life. For anyone who wants to get it, I mean, you could get it in all the normal places you get books, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, independent stores. But if you go, just make sure you do this because it's going to be a really cool thing. If you go to with the order confirmation code, you can also order it from that site. But if you take the order confirmation code there, you can put that in, for an event I'm doing on May 4th, and it's an event that's not open to the public. It's literally just for anyone who buys a book, and 

AUBREY MARCUS: I hope you got a stadium, bro.

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Ha ha ha! Hey, let's hope! But it will be a virtual event. Anyone could do it from anywhere in the world, and it's going to be a really great coaching event to pair with the book. So it'll bring the book to life and it'll be a celebration and it's only happening once. And so all the details for that are at and it's free to anyone who buys a book. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Fuck yeah. Let's go. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Thanks for having me. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Love you, bro. 

MATTHEW HUSSEY: Love you too. 

AUBREY MARCUS: Love you guys. We'll see you next week.