The Link Between Perfectionism and Loneliness with Buck Dodson

March 31, 2021

The Link Between Perfectionism and Loneliness with Buck Dodson

The Link Between Perfectionism and Loneliness with Buck Dodson

“When we are substituting accomplishment and getting things done for our deeper needs of connection, for belonging, for love and acceptance, that is always going to be hollow. It’s like fast food; it’s empty calories.” - Buck Dodson

Perfectionism is something that everyone suffers from in one form or another, and today’s Brave By Design guest has insights to share that can help it from stopping you thrive in your daily life. 

Buck Dodson is a life coach and licensed therapist igniting gay men’s curiosity about their deepest wants and supporting them to embrace, express and live out their most compelling life visions. Buck also hosts his own podcast, Gay Man’s Life Lab.

You don’t need to be a gay man to benefit from what Buck has to share today. What he reveals is a reminder that life really is about the messy parts, and overcoming perfectionism isn’t something that can be achieved quickly. Be gentle with yourself, and most importantly, give yourself the grace and patience needed in this process.

Connect with Buck: https://www.buckdodson.com/

Remember to hit SUBSCRIBE wherever you listen to podcasts!

Are you a service-based business who wants to build your brand and get booked solid? Learn how podcasting helped Laura do that over at: podcastbrandlab.com

What You’ll Hear In This Episode: 

  • Buck’s experiences coming out as a young man and the struggles he faced early on feeling the need to be perfect [8:29]

  • His thoughts on how we use perfectionism as a mask, and what’s really going on underneath the surface of it [15:16]

  • What he says is the payoff with perfectionism, and why people ultimately do it [19:46]

  • How Buck knows when he is starting to slip back into what he calls “perfectionistic thinking” [20:52]

  • Why perfectionism is not only hollow, but also a substitute for what we’re really looking for [21:29]

  • The ways that perfectionism and codependency are linked, and how boundaries can be implemented to help offset the damaging effects of this relationship [25:21]

  • A powerful first step to take to start breaking the grip of perfectionism [36:03]

  • Connecting with your body as an antidote to perfectionism [42:04] 


Additional Links & Resources:

Buck’s Instagram

His Podcast & Gays and Gals Happy Hour Episode 

Brave By Design Episode 42: Boundaries as a Bridge to Connection with Lisa Dempsey

The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz

Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/bravebydesign)

Transcript
Buck Dodson:

When we are substituting accomplishment, substituting getting things done for our deeper needs for connection, for belonging, for love, acceptance that is always going to be hollow. It's like fast food. It's empty calories.

Laura Khalil:

Welcome to brave by design. I'm your host Laura Khalil. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking bake, exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers in business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Hey, brave by design community, it's me Laura Khalil, I wanted to pop in before you heard today's episode with a couple of notes. And the first is an audio note about today's episode, you will hear that my microphone in this episode unfortunately had some hiccups. As we were recording, we didn't know about this until the episode went into editing. And my audio engineers who are awesome have done everything they can to clean up the audio for you. You're going to hear our guest buck Dodson, crystal clear, which is great, because what he has to share, I don't want you to miss. But I may sound a little bit clipped during this episode. And that is just because my microphone had a life of its own apparently, during the recording. So we did not want to scrap this episode, because we absolutely wanted you to hear from buck Dodson. I think that this is a very, very important message he has to share today. So apologies for the weird audio from my microphone. Hopefully that is not going to be an issue in future episodes. We're working on fixing that right now. But just an FYI, if I sound weird, you're not hearing things. That's really what's going on. And we've tried to fix it as much as possible. Second thing I want y'all to know about is if you have been wondering what I have been up to lately, I want to introduce you to my new venture, it is called podcast brand lab. And this is really the place where I am sharing and helping service based businesses such as coaches, consultants, speakers and agencies, build their business and get booked solid by using podcasting as their marketing platform. This has really come out of my own experience in building brave by design for you all, and how it has helped me to grow my business opportunities. And so over the course of the last year, I've been learning from that I have started to help other businesses get booked solid by using podcasting. And I would love to invite any of you who are listening to head on over to podcast brand lab.com you can download I have a free download. It's a video of me describing how we built brave by design to become a top 125 business podcast, with out ads without a huge list and without me being a celebrity. So if that sounds like something that's of interest to you and you are a service based business, it is targeted exactly to you. I run monthly roundtables for service based businesses looking to get booked solid using podcasting. And it is appropriate for podcast hosts, as well as those of you who are podcast guests. So if you want to do more guesting on podcast, if you want to host your own podcast, if you want to figure out how do I have my phone ringing off the hook, thanks to my podcast appearances or show. That's what I teach you at podcast brand lab.com. So if you'd love that free download, head over to podcast brand lab.com you'll also be notified of our monthly roundtables and those are totally free to attend right now. And they are a fun and interactive way for service based business owners to really leverage podcasting to have a fantastic year and serve your clients. So friends, that's really what I have to share with you today. I'm excited for you to listen to this episode. And without further ado, let's hear from buck Dotson. Everyone Welcome to this episode of brave by design. I am so excited today because it is like the gay man inside of me is screaming for joy. I have on buck Dodson, a Board Certified life coach licensed therapist who has been helping gay men realize their full potential for over 15 years. He specializes in helping his clients great a second act filled with confidence, creativity and connect Buck is also the creator and host of Gay Men's life lab. I am so excited. We can learn about buck at buck dadson.com, you can go find that in the show notes. Buck, welcome.

Unknown:

Thank you so much, Laura,

Buck Dodson:

I'm so happy to be here.

Laura Khalil:

I have to, I'm thrilled to have you, you know, I have to tell you the story. So like I was living in San Francisco about, well, I was living there a while ago, but probably 15 years ago, when I was there. You know, I was out on the town, I was newly single, I was kind of doing my thing I was in my late 20s, I felt really different from a lot of women who were dating. Like, I couldn't really relate to them. And I had a gay male friend, say to me, it's like, you're a gay man trapped in the body of a straight woman. Like, I think you might be right. And sort of the it's sort of the only thing that ever made sense to me, because my dating tendencies and communication styles tend more masculine in how they're put out in the world. But I also think that there's probably some various and I'm not a good to everyone who's like listening to this, let's just be clear, I'm not and I'm not trying to usurp their unique experience and challenges on this planet. But it is pretty unique to be a gay guy, right? And to grow up in that culture to hit 40. So can you tell us let's just start, we're going to talk today about perfectionism. But before we get into that, I just kind of want to hear your story and how you got into doing this work and helping people create their second act.

Buck Dodson:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I love that story. Before I get into that, I love your story of being in San Francisco. And this like being a gay man and as a straight woman's body, because that is, I mean, I oftentimes feel like a straight woman and a gay man's body. So I just did a podcast with some friends. We did a guys and gals happy hour, because it's like the relationship between gay men, and mostly straight women is so rich, and so sacred. I mean, their whole books written about our friendships, our connections. So I just mentioned that because it's so common that experience and so you know, even though I work primarily, with gay men, right now, I've always I have this kind of interesting marketing issue. It's like I work with women and gay men. So because I think we have very similar experiences and a lot of ways, but so I love that. And just to say a little bit about me, and kind of what, you know, brought me Yeah, I became a therapist, really, because of my experience coming out. So when I was 15, I came out to my mom, actually, she asked me if I was gay, which was kind of a dead giveaway, because my whole room was covered in Madonna posters. And it was like the it was 1990. And so I was watching Madonna Truth or Dare, like on a loop over Christmas break. And I was like, Mom, I really wanted to New York can be Madonna dancer. And so she was like, do you think you might be gay? And so I said, Well, I don't think I I know. And so the next day, she left a poster on my bedroom door that said, I love you. And I want you to go to counseling. And that's why counseling was really about I just,

Unknown:

yeah, I know, I know,

Buck Dodson:

it sounds bad. But it was really like, I want to make sure you are okay. And I don't really have to help you with this. So she sent me to a counselor, I was 15. This is my first experience in therapy. And you know, he said, Well, your kids, definitely gay. So that's not going to change. But that's the least of his issues. He's anxious, he's lonely. He's got a lot of shame. And he has a pretty big issue with perfectionism. And he's 15 years old. And I remember he gave me a book called the spirituality of imperfection. So just from the beginning, my coming out experience coming to terms with being gay, and connecting with this really loving psychologist, and going to therapy was my real sort of path to this kind of work, because I thought, wow, this is really compelling. I really love I mean, I grew up in therapists offices, I oftentimes say that so

Laura Khalil:

but it's all about experience was really, in many ways, actually pretty lucky and positive that there wasn't like, as I'm understanding, there was not a major negative backlash from your family. Is that correct?

Buck Dodson:

With my mom, that is true. Yeah. So you know, I grew up with, you know, I had a single mom, my parents were divorced at that point. And so yeah, I had a very fortunate experience with her. Now, I also grew up in Texas. So and this was in the, you know, 80s and 90s. So it wasn't a particularly accepting place to grow up. So coming out, outside of my immediate family was not as positive. But for the most part, I would say, I had a good experience. Many people come out and are rejected, and I didn't grow up in. I mean, I did have a grandmother who told me I was going to hell, but that had to do more with something else. Okay, wow. Yeah, that's another episode. But yeah, I had a positive experience with my family, I think that actually set the stage for why I went into a healing profession into a service profession.

Laura Khalil:

I was just looking it up as you were talking, because I was trying to see when Matthew Shepard was murdered. You know, we're similar ages. And it was in the 90s a very precarious time for a lot of gay men and lesbians. And I'm sure people who are just don't identify as straight to actually express who they are. But I don't know if you know this about me. But I have half siblings who I discovered through genetic testing. Do you know this story?

Buck Dodson:

I have seen this on your Instagram. I write about it, right.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah, I have. And I have these nine half siblings. And we all share a sperm donor. And what's really interesting is I'm the only one who had heterosexual parents. All of their mothers are lesbians for the most part. And yes,

Buck Dodson:

they couldn't. I didn't know that part. Okay,

Laura Khalil:

yes, they were lesbians, they are lesbians. And there was one doctor in Southeast Michigan, who would help them get pregnant. But what's so interesting is, uh, hearing their mother's experience of, you know, we think today of sin, trying to conceive and have kids. And we're like, yeah, you go girl, fertilization clinic, find a best friend, whatever. But back in the 80s. And prior to the 80s, that was an extremely precarious trend for a gay person to even risk their lives, their livelihoods and their families. I think a lot of people don't realize that, especially people who are under 40 don't realize how precarious that was to actually outwardly be gay. So

Buck Dodson:

Oh, yeah. It's remarkable. How much has shifted since then. But yeah, I mean, it'd be that experience for your siblings, you know, I mean, that was the common experience. And, you know, and for me growing up in the, I mean, I was a teenager in the early 90s. And, I mean, that was still mean, that was even before like, we talked about HIV and things like that. I mean, it was it was before willing grace, right. It was a very different time. And in a lot of ways, it was very lonely. It was a lot of us really struggled. It was before social media. So we didn't have a lot of the the opportunities to get online and see people who looked like us. And who would say, hey, it gets better. No, all I saw were images on television that were so anti LGBT, right? Or it was just anonymous. Like, my mom's concern was, you're gay, you're going to get HIV, right? That was her concern about it, or you're going to be, I remember her saying, you'll never get married. Like, I'm so sad, you'll never get married, you'll never have children. Like that was part of her grief process. So we actually did get married. I remember calling her. And I remember her telling me I was in the car. And I had just got married at the Napa County Courthouse. And she cried, cuz she said, I never shared this with you. But I just want you to remember that, like, I thought you would never get married. And so the fact that you're now married to your husband, you know, it's just was a was a real was very, a milestone for her. That's when I came out in 1990. You know, that was not the case. No, that was

Laura Khalil:

I mean, that was 2000. Was that to eight that gay marriage passed?

Buck Dodson:

It was 2015.

Laura Khalil:

What? Not, I thought it was way before then

Buck Dodson:

when it became the law of the land. Yeah, because I got married legally in 2014 in California, because it was legal in California, and it was still not the law of the land. So the Supreme Court passed it in 2015. That's when I came out. That was 1990. So that was 25 years. Before that. So anyway,

Laura Khalil:

what a journey along.

Buck Dodson:

Yeah, totally. Right. And it was, you know, I mean, I think so much for me was I see this with in the LGBTQ community, especially with gay men, that we do go into healing professions, we do go into the service professions, many of us become therapists, counselors, coaches, healers, spiritual guides, you know, because I think our experience is such, it's also painful that, working through that, in order to come to terms with who we are, and to be able to live authentically, you know, we usually need to get some sort of help or guidance, or if nothing else, we want to pay it forward.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah, to the next generation. That

Buck Dodson:

was definitely my story.

Laura Khalil:

I love that. So we're here to talk about perfectionism, but is perfectionism, you know, and for people who are listening, you don't need to be a gay man. To make sense of this, apply it to your life in the ways that it works, because we all suffer from forms of perfectionism. Is perfectionism a mask Was it a mask It's something we use to hide behind her so many people exalt being a perfectionist as if like, Oh, I'm so great that I want to get everything right. And I don't make mistakes. What's really going on? When we peel the layers of perfectionism back?

Buck Dodson:

Well, I just want to make it a point because I know this isn't a, you know, a Gay Men's podcast. And most of your listeners aren't not gay men. But this idea of perfectionism. In my experience, over the last 15 years of being a therapist, and a coach, working with gay men, and also my own experience, we struggle so much with this idea of, let me try to be perfect to as this mask, as you say, to protect against the vulnerability of rejection of being told we're not good enough, being bullied, whatever it might be. So I think that we have, in a way, have an opportunity to share with non gay people, how to really recover from putting on a mask of perfectionism as a protection against showing you know, who your real self is, and becoming, you know, showing your real self as you know, that may have to do with being gay or join nation, it may not. But I feel like we have something to offer in that regard. Because we do. It's a tool, quote, unquote, tool that we use, oftentimes to cope with our shame, which is pretty intense. So for us to fully live, not just come out, but to fully live wholeheartedly and thrive in our lives, we really do have to recover from perfectionism. So I do think it's something we can offer to our you know, our sisters and brothers who are not gay.

Laura Khalil:

But if I can interrupt you for a second, what I find really interesting, and I hope that people can hear is that these are strategies. perfectionism is a strategy that we can employ to protect us in certain ways. And so I heard someone say, this was probably on Tick tock, because I become obsessed with Tick tock, but I heard someone say, I heard someone say, a therapist say that when people come into his office, and they're alcoholics, you know, they're trying to deal with their alcoholism, he says, You need to first think yourself. alcoholism was a resource and a strategy that helped you survive and cope. And no, you don't need it anymore. And it has actually become really detrimental to your life right now. But acknowledge and thank yourself for saying, Hey, I found a way to survive. And this is the way I found and do you feel similarly about perfectionism? It's a strategy. It's a way to survive.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, yes. 100% I'm so glad you're saying that. Because I oftentimes talk to clients about perfectionism as a tool. And something that we learn early on that quote, unquote, will work helps us. So you know, to and I use the analogy of addiction all the time. And I really want to encourage listeners who do struggle with perfectionism, to think of it in a compassionate way, as something that you may need to recover from, for the rest of your life. You know, it's just like, with someone with some sort of addiction, or an eating disorder, or things like that, you know, that's not something you think, Oh, I'm cured. And now I don't have to worry about it anymore. I really want to I encourage clients to zoom out and think of perfectionism, as you know, yes, a strategy you have used to protect yourself, it helps you survive. And now your work is to learn about it, and learn about like, what it was doing for you, and figure out sort of how to really work with it in a compassionate way and transform it so that way, you're not it's not consuming you, it's not taking over you, it's not controlling you. Because at one point, it did work, but it doesn't work anymore, to your point. And what I see and there are a lot of ways to understand perfectionism and, and to think of it as a strategy or a mindset, or if you're so inclined to think of it as an addiction, if you want to think about it that way, because it kind of is a bit of an experience. I mean, I know I'm a I'm definitely a recovering perfectionist. I work with a lot of highly perfectionist people and it can be kind of a high

Laura Khalil:

you know, Okay, tell me more what is that what is that high? What does that prove to yourself or what does that feel like?

Buck Dodson:

It's well, it well, first of all, it's a very like revved up feeling when you're just like, I mean, if you think about perfectionism on the, you know, before it becomes really destructive, or you're aware how destructive is it's very much about like being productive and getting a lot done and being high achieving. And, you know, perfectionism is often rewarded in our professional lives. Yeah. You know, and we live in a culture that really values like, you know, the US culture, certainly, really values like productivity and basing our self worth on achievement and accomplishment, and even even on a just a more daily basis, how much you can get done in a day. Right? How many people I don't know if you're like this, but I can be very attached and identified with my to do list. And, you know, it's like, I love to check things off the list. Yeah. But then it's like, I get into this place of like, is my whole life about to do lists? And, like, getting things done? Is that really living life? And that's what I know. I'm, I'm actually kind of slipping a little bit and perfectionistic thinking, because I'm getting off on getting stuff done. And it's like, oh, yeah, that feels good. And it's a little dopamine hit. It's a little fix. When I can, yeah, get that off my list. And then I look at how much I got done today. So may not be anything really valuable, right? My business or anything, right? Or for my life, but it was like, Oh, yeah, but I went to Trader Joe's and I went to Costco, and, you know, like, called the bank, all this kind of stuff.

Laura Khalil:

And it somehow makes you feel good, but it's still pretty hollow.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, it is hollow. And that's where I really like to emphasize that perfectionism is a substitute for what you're really looking for.

Laura Khalil:

Oh, my God, tell me more.

Buck Dodson:

Yeah. So, you know, there's lots of ways to think about perfectionism, you can certainly think about it as you know, being constantly not feeling good enough, or being driven to accomplish and achieve and feeling you know, always in your head and things like that. These are, you know, symptoms of perfectionism. But when we really drill down back to your point, like peeling back the layers, it's really a relational experience, it's about defending against needing other people, it's about defending against our needs for other people. And so, when we are substituting accomplishment, substituting getting things done, for our deeper needs for connection, for belonging, for love, acceptance, that is always going to be hollow. It's like fast food, it's empty calories, but when you're hurting, or when you're not really conscious of your needs. Or maybe you grew up in an environment where needing other people was really scary, and was unsafe, or when you did show yourself, like an experience of a lot of my gay clients. When you do show your real self and then you get rejected well, right, then the message is, well, connection and relationships are not safe. So I'm going to go to the thing that I know, quote, unquote, no, I can depend on and I can,

Laura Khalil:

I can achieve and I can do really well, and I don't need anyone.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, I don't need anyone. That's what's underneath perfectionism is that I can get to a point where I don't need any thing from anybody.

Laura Khalil:

Wow. So I'm having like breakthroughs right now. Okay, I feel freer, like Oh, so for people who were, who have prided themselves on their perfectionism feel I can do it myself, I can probably do it better than you. Why do they go into therapy, and maybe learn about their perfectionism? Are they What are sort of the cracks in the armor that they're beginning to experience that drive them to learn more and get help? Is it that they feel alone and isolated question?

Buck Dodson:

Well, that's one of the experiences is there's usually, well, that emptiness that you talk about, starts to become intolerable. And at a certain point, and certainly, you know, I work a lot with, as you said, people over 40 so that's, you know, my jam and you know, I'm in my mid 40s. And so I'm all about midlife. You know, when we get to midlife and we are feeling like these accomplishments and these achievements in this way of life that I've been living, which could be about you know, trying to make a lot of money and try to have the perfect body and all that stuff. That becomes so unfulfilling. And then you start hitting that existential fear of Am I going to be alone? Am I like, I want love. I maybe I'm scared of it. And I don't know how to have it, or give it or receive it, but I want it and I Don't know how to be in relationship with other people. So there's usually that or oftentimes it's, you know, just a complete breakdown of the strategy. So it may have turned into a full blown addiction. It may have destroyed, you know, perfectionism, can it goes hand in hand oftentimes with codependency and difficulty with boundaries, and oh, that'll destroy a marriage, it'll destroy your relationship, you know, Pia melody who is a codependency expert. She and uh, you know, she also works in substance abuse and in recovery, she says codependency will kill you faster than any drug. Wow. Yeah. So I really think of perfectionism. You know, again, from this relational context, as it's a wall against intimacy. It's, you know, it's sometimes our boundaries are walls, you know, they're impenetrable.

Laura Khalil:

And so how does that relate to codependency? Are there people so like, I like to go through a relationship dynamic, where let's say you're in a relationship, and you are like ultra perfectionist, trying to make everything just so how does that interface with codependency? Yeah,

Buck Dodson:

good question. So well, if codependency is really about, you know, not knowing sort of what I'm, well first of all, it's about not knowing what I'm feeling and not knowing and being very defended against and of my own feelings, not being able to tolerate the vulnerability of being in relationship with somebody. So if my, you know, defense against that is to protect myself to wall off, and I do that by trying to be this perfect needless person, then the only kind of, if you're actually in a relationship with someone, somehow those needs are going to get met. So you're they're gonna, like, you know, fixate on the other person, which is usually what happens. So that's a big hallmark of codependency is that I'm preoccupied with you, and your needs and your feelings. And I'm minimizing my own because I can't handle right, thinking about my own, I can't handle feeling my own, so I'm gonna focus on yours. And then of course, is going to relate to that try to be maybe tried to be the perfect, the perfect spouse.

Laura Khalil:

But it's still unfulfilling, because you're still walled off and first. Oh, for sure.

Buck Dodson:

And we're totally off putting to you know, it's, that's the thing. It's like perfectionism is at once desperately, what's underneath it is a desperate need for connection. Right? And it's the thing that pushes away connection would you want? I mean, who do you want to hang out with the person who like, looks like your friend who looks like they have it all together? Or the one who will call you up and say, You know what, I'm just I'm feeling like, my life is a mess. I don't know what I'm doing. You know, just like, we're drawn to that not drawn to people who look like they have it all together.

Laura Khalil:

That is so interesting. And so when we talk about perfectionism, and I want people to hear this, we're really talking about connection and it sounds like first and foremost, reconnecting with who you are reconnecting with the self and accepting the self.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, and I'm really glad you said that about defining connection as connection to others connection to self and I want to add one more to that connection to spirit. So that may be connection to a higher purpose that may be connection to higher power the universe, you might say God, so these are all so your connection to self connection to others connection to something greater than ourselves.

Laura Khalil:

So you can be doing the perfect workout routine, you can look absolutely incredible. You can have you know the best Botox and facial rejuvenations and whatever and you can look amazing, but on the inside, you are completely disconnected.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, right. disconnected from your feeling Yeah. disconnected from your soul. You know, your soul spark again, going back to the midlife piece, a huge part of midlife is once and for all, saying I'm going to follow this soul spark that I have inside of me that because I don't, I'm running out of time. So if I don't start living for myself now, and doing this thing that I came here to do and make my contribution on, it's not going to happen. So learning to do that and getting connected with that and being willing to say, it's probably gonna be a messy process. This the people are probably not going to like everything that I have. To say, approve of everything I had to say. And again, that's an act of challenging perfectionism.

Laura Khalil:

Right? I mean, and not ever. I mean, this is really interesting, because when we begin to confront it, it means that you may begin to assert different boundaries as you learn what you love and what you're comfortable with and what you want less of in your life. That can be surprising to people who are not used to it.

Buck Dodson:

Oh, yeah.

Unknown:

Yes,

Buck Dodson:

yeah. And it's surprising on both sides, it can surprise yourself to be like, I was just working with a couple yesterday. And they've been together for 20 years, and are just coming across a certain boundary work around, you know, setting boundaries around not feeling like they need to take care of the other person. They're not feeling like they need to, like always get it right. You know, it's like, oh, maybe we just like don't see this the same way. And it's kind of messy. And they're sitting in that and holding that boundary with each other. And it's like, this feels weird. Like, they almost were like, We feel disconnected, because we're setting boundaries. And like, well, that's just because this is foreign. You know, this is actually bringing you closer. But because your partner has not experienced you setting this boundary before, and you have not experienced setting this boundary with him that it feels right now, like, it's not bringing you closer, but in fact, it is,

Laura Khalil:

you know, we have an episode of brave by design, I just want to mention it for the listeners, which is called boundaries as a bridge to connection. And I want to recommend if you're hearing this, and you're like, what the heck is this about? Like, what are you telling me? Go check out that episode as well. Because by actually being authentic, being who you are, and expressing that you're showing up more fully as yourself, and you're able to connect more deeply? With people as you?

Buck Dodson:

Yes, yes, yes. Yes. How excited? Yeah, well, right, exactly. Which can be, you know, a little scary. So let's be real, you know, being like, all of who you are in connecting as all of who you are. That is, you know, like, that's not for the faint of heart. So just embrace that, that it's gonna be a little vulnerable. And that's where all the good stuff is. Yeah. You know, like, you want connection. And perfectionism prevents and blocks connection.

Laura Khalil:

I love that book. A couple more questions that I have for you. One of the things that I have, you know, as I work on myself, and I've kind of begun to experience is really a sense of less anxiety. As I, I don't really consider myself a perfectionist. In fact, I'm probably like, I could probably do things a little better in certain ways. But I do find that as I'm clear with boundaries, as I'm more comfortable stating who I am, as I'm more comfortable giving an enthusiastic Yes, or as sincere no to things. I feel less anxiety and stress at the same time, because I'm not showing up as someone who isn't me. Do you do notice that with clients who, as they begin to do this work, like does their stress tend to decrease or anxiety?

Buck Dodson:

100%? Yeah, yeah, there's oftentimes, when I'm working with a client, and I use a lot of something called internal family systems work, which is also known as just quote unquote, parts work. So when we make contact with that inner perfectionist part, and begin to get to know it and understand its story, and unburden it, from this idea of like, oh, I've got to protect you from getting hurt In these relationships, or that kind of thing. or protect you from, you know, showing all of who you are, because people won't want to see that or whatever the message, right? They always report like feeling like, in the moment, this is in session, you know, I feel calmer, like I feel like more spaciousness. In my heart. I feel like my shoulders are a little more relaxed. I feel like there's a release of that anxiety that you're talking because it's like, we're so we don't even realize how much we're defending. Trying to protect ourselves from just like, being seen.

Unknown:

The energy? it Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Buck Dodson:

And then you release all this creative energy. And that's, you know, I mean, you as a coach know, that's a big goal of our coaching, or whatever. You know, one of the ways that I'm I coach people, yeah, we're trying to release creative energy that is locked inside of you by all these masks, you know, strategies that used to work that no longer work and keep you small. And that's an amazing feeling when you can. I love being perfectionist. Well, I actually don't like to label people as perfectionist, but okay, you know, when I work with people who struggle with perfectionism, recovering from it. I love, love, love, love to see when they start to loosen that grip, or it has a little bit of a grip, or less of a grip on them. And they get that relief. Like you're saying they feel less anxious. And they're like, oh, wait a second. Can I live like this? Yeah.

Laura Khalil:

Isn't that cool? Yeah, not always have, you know, sort of this thing around your neck that's sort of choking you off from full expression. So but obviously, we could talk for hours. I mean, truly, like, I could just keep going. But I want to give the audience a couple takeaways. So for people who are struggling with feeling like yes, I think I have some perfectionist tendencies. I don't really know, what is what the next step what are what are what is a step I can take to begin to confront that. What do you recommend for people who want to start facing those who want to start getting back into connection with themselves by breaking the grip of perfectionism?

Buck Dodson:

Yeah, well, that's a great question. And, you know, the first thing is to, first of all, be self compassionate. And that is, there's a lot of research on mindful self compassion, I encourage them that's like an actual tool. So you can google mindful self compassion. And there are exercises and things that you can do to just practice that. But that's the first thing that I really encourage people to do is begin to see this with a friend, I've tried to be tried to see it with a friendly, compassionate perspective, like you would if you were talking with a friend who was struggling with this, you know, this is not when you're deciding or realizing that perfection is on is something you struggle with. This is something that has been with you for a really, really long time. It's not going to change overnight. And it's not anything you need to fix. It's something that I really want to encourage listeners to be gentle with themselves around. Because that actually that in and of itself is an antidote to perfectionism. So practicing mindfulness. Yeah, gentleness and curiosity. I mean, like, Hmm, I wonder, I wonder what this is about. But I wonder, what is it that, you know, why do I need to? Do I feel like I need to push myself so hard?

Laura Khalil:

You know, I love that because some of the harshness when we really get down on ourselves is probably just more perfectionism.

Buck Dodson:

Yes. Exactly. Exactly. It's more self attack, right? It's more self attack. So if you can begin to see it, as you know, like, even just observing, you know, I usually, you know, in coaching, start clients with a self observation practice for a couple of weeks where it's not, you're not going to change anything you just want to observe when you engage in perfectionistic thinking, so to use perfectionism, an example perfectionistic thinking, or maybe strategies around perfectionism, just to begin to observe the contexts and where it shows up. And, you know, what was going on? What was the situation? What was I feeling in my body? How did I respond to that? And then you can begin to also think, what would have been another way? If I wasn't consumed with my perfectionism in that moment? What is another way I could have responded? Right? How would I have liked to respond in that situation? So maybe, to your point of like, I would have liked to say no, right? Or I would like to say yes, or, you know, there's or even just asking yourself even coming on here, if I come on to a podcast, or even when I'm recording my own podcast, I always have to be mindful of like, Oh, I need to really, like nail this and get it right. But just by noticing that thought of like, Oh, yeah, that's the thought. That's my part, my inner perfectionist part trying to protect me. And so just, you know, I got it. You don't like I love you. I know what you're trying to do. But I want to just have a conversation with Laura and with listeners. And, and that goes to listeners, it's not going to be about me being perfect.

Laura Khalil:

Exactly. It's about you know, showing the messy parts and showing all those bits. Yes.

Buck Dodson:

I love that.

Laura Khalil:

I have to tell you, because as we're talking, I'm remembering. So I got into therapy about eight years ago, and I thought I was going to therapy. I bet a lot of people do this as well. They think they're going for one thing, and then they kind of are like wait a minute, what's happening here? This is not what I thought I came to talk about my relationship problems, where are you going? And so I remember being in therapy and I had a somatic therapist and so for those who don't know she does a lot of like, mind body integration type work like how are you feeling in your body and I had had so powerful, a very powerful I had zero connection, zero connection to my body. Part of that was how I was raised was, and this was never really explicit. But there was an implicit idea that, you know, the female body is a thing of seduction. This is bad. You know, this is for a man's pleasure. And so, you know, I had very little connection to anything happening under my neck. And so I remember going into therapy, and she said, Okay, I want you to just put your hands on your stomach and just breathe and see how you feel. And I did that. And I had a complete breakdown, like, complete break, crying, sobbing, hysterical, I was scared of it. I didn't like it. You know, it took a really long time. And I'm sharing the story for people who are listening who are like, you know, maybe feeling similarly or have had these kind of experiences. This is not overnight work. This takes a real This can take a long time for you to get back into reconnection. So to Buck's point, be gentle with yourself, be kind to yourself, except that Oh, if I'm having a freakout, that's okay. I can have a freakout. And we can come back to it another time. And you know, you're still worthy. So buck, yes. I just loved this conversation with you.

Buck Dodson:

I did too. Thank you so much, Laura. I, I love talking about this. And it's, I really love that story. And we're sitting here just imagining that and yeah, it's really powerful, and, and what a connection to self.

Laura Khalil:

Yeah. And that's that whole disconnection from self, right is that I couldn't even face myself, this body that's keeping me alive, that's keeping me healthy and keeping me sharp, I didn't have at that point, I was like, 31, or 32, I had no relationship with it at all. And, you know, for people who follow me, especially on Instagram, I talk a lot about this now. And I know that this is something that we're not explicitly talking about on the podcast today, but I'll bring it up. I talk a lot to women about self pleasure practices. And part of the reason I'm so into that is one, it feels good, too, it actually helps you release chemicals that give you more confidence, they give you more self esteem that give you more clarity. And three, it is a self care practice that is not rooted in a capitalist structure of forcing you to buy something to make you feel better about yourself. And it's a connection with the body. And I think those are really, really important things. So you know, that's not the explicit goal of today's show. But connection with the body.

Buck Dodson:

Yes, no, I actually think it relates perfectly. And I, I love that you're focused on on that and encouraging and inviting women to connect with themselves on that level. And that is an antidote to perfectionism, really, to the like that anxiety and as and then living in your head. That is the pain of perfectionism. So connecting with your body. Yeah, like, wow, talk about.

Laura Khalil:

It's a really great thing. Oh, my gosh, yeah. And you know, the great, the great part book is you don't have to do it to please anyone. And the reason so the reason I always talk about masturbation is because that's a practice, a lot of women get into this mode of like, if I'm gonna have sex, I want to make sure the guy knows I had a great time, or I want to Hoot and holler and whip it up and all this stuff so that they know they did a great job and they know they can please me when often they're not pleasing you at all. And so that's again, more disconnection. So when we, when we masturbate, when we give self pleasure to the by even touching yourself, even just like touching your body and saying, Oh my gosh, thank you. I love you. This feels so good. That's not for anyone. You don't have to fake it. You don't have to perform. You can just literally be with yourself. And it feels really good.

Buck Dodson:

So hey, man,

Laura Khalil:

I just got on my little soapbox there. It's gonna be like, brave by design. Oh my god. She's talking about it again. But I can't

Buck Dodson:

talk about masturbation. Here we

Laura Khalil:

go again, Laura, and masturbation. But you know,

Buck Dodson:

I love that though. It's so it's so selfie. It's self healing. Yeah, it is. So like these it's again recovering from these messages that God I mean, women gets so many messages around their body. And so yeah, it's being disconnected and then going into these strategies we use right to keep us disconnected and then so it's so empowering to say like, you know, what, screw that. Yeah, I'm done with that.

Laura Khalil:

We're gonna do that.

Buck Dodson:

Right, exactly. I mean, it's gonna take some time to not do that anymore. But I'm I want to Be with myself. Yeah. And be with other people in a way that like isn't about me like needing to perform for them exactly. and earn their love and desire. That's like you.

Laura Khalil:

Exactly, exactly. Buck. I am sure people are dying to learn more about you. So the podcast is called Gay Men's life lab, y'all. I don't care if you're gay or straight or anything in between. It is a great show that you will get value from but how else can people learn about you and just love you up?

Buck Dodson:

Oh, I love that. Love me up. Yeah. Let's love Let's be in a love fest, they can go to buck Datsun calm. And that's where you're gonna get most everything you need to know about me and in about working with me. And then also on Instagram, which is just buckets and coaching. And you know, I am far from perfect on Instagram. So I'm just gonna invite people to be with me in that. But yeah, Buck Dawson, Koshi on Instagram, and then buck Datsun calm. And you can sign up for monthly email, which I call a life letter. You can read about like, my journals and things like that. I also write you know, I write a blog and which is all about just connecting with yourself and self love. And I love it trying to live life with a little more ease and a little more. Surrender. Yeah, and love. So that's where everyone can find me.

Laura Khalil:

Fabulous. Thank you so much for joining us on brave by design. My pleasure. Thank

Buck Dodson:

you for having me, Laura. It's been great.

Laura Khalil:

I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date. And I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode. Please leave a review and comment on Apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on LinkedIn and I'm also on Instagram at force of badassery. All that information will be available in the show notes. Until next time, stay brave