Resilience: Coming Back to Yourself with Josh Connolly

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again and this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford

I love that quote and it’s perfectly applicable for today’s podcast. Today’s topic is resilience and restarting and emotional intelligence, and my guest today is one of the world’s experts on the topic.

He shares his own raw and unapologetic authentic story of coming from the ashes of darkness and pivoting his life. He shares ways that we can increase our emotional IQ and how we can be a rock for those who depend on us.

Josh Connolly is one of the UK’s most influential mental health advocates. He has appeared multiple times on the BBC, ITV and Channel 5 News.

He has spoken in the House of Commons to contribute to policy on mental health issues. He was also a script consultant for the TV show Hollyoaks.

Thanks to his motto “It’s fighting against what we feel is what gets us problems” Josh Connolly has run workshops on resilience in schools and for many brands around the world.

Since 2014 he has been an ambassador for Nacoa, an association that supports children of alcoholic parents.

Today, Josh speaks openly on the importance of emotional intelligence as a way to optimize our relationships. He also shares his incredibly authentic story and going through dark times in his life where he actually considered ending it all and how he can use our humility as a superpower to inspire others.

What You’ll Learn

02:45 On his childhood.

I found very powerful this quote: “Domestic violence doesn’t have to have been on you for you to day that you experienced it”

06:09 being around strong looking men

Josh Connolly talks about his dad being an alcoholic and very violent, which generated a trauma in him and that he has been able to detect: on a conscious and subconscious level, when he finds himself surrounded by strong men or with a very marked masculinity, he cannot be the same as he feels the need to curse more, invent fights, pump his chest out, or even be tougher in the way he is. And he takes this as a result of the message he received as a child.

09:25 What is true masculinity?

Josh Connolly talks about what he thinks is true masculinity. And for him, it’s the ability to be every part of himself in the way that makes him and the people he loves feel safe. For Josh Connolly, the ability to be able to make himself feel safe gives him the opportunity to co-regulate emotionally with the people around him. But he knows very well that it is not easy and in this sense he mentions that we must learn to be more compassionate with ourselves when the moments are not easy. How do you show up in those moments to understand that we are also human beings? For example he says that he has yelled at his children and he has justified himself by saying that he did it because he didn’t want them to be like him, but the truth is that he yelled at them because he couldn’t feel safe enough to be in his self and be what his children needed, and he realized that those were moments when he was not regulated at all, so for Josh Connolly masculinity has to do only with him.

12:24 On losing your patience

17:55 Revisit and comprehend

Josh Connolly talks about a parenting advice he applies with his children. He tells the story of his 11-year-old son who is very sensitive and by sensitive he means that he gets overwhelmed very quickly because he picks up on the emotions of other people he lives with.

Josh Connolly mentions that he was just like his son, but the difference is that when he grew up, it was very frustrating and confusing to know or feel that something was going on at home and when he asked he was told that everything was fine. And the antidote to that is to help them comprehend their experience, be with them, and tell them: what you’re feeling makes sense.

It’s knowing how to validate them, and it’s revisiting the moment where you were wrong as a parent so you can talk about it with your children and help them understand their own emotions and live through them.

Josh Connolly mentions that he drastically changed his relationship with his son because he started to work on himself, he asked himself how he could be with his son and how he could relearn how to deal with his own sensitivity in order to be with his son’s sensitivity.

21:45 Kind of a conclusion of the marker above

25:13 On telling the truth to your kids

25:56 Telling the truth to help kids comprehend of what they experienced

Josh Connolly talks about speaking truth to children. He says that most of the time children always know the truth but if you as a parent communicate it to them, it will help them better comprehend what is going on at that time in their lives.

Josh Connolly gives this advice because he says that he spent a good part of his life thinking that there was something wrong with him and when someone spoke to him with the truth he did not feel that his power was taken away, on the contrary, it was given back to him because he knew that he was not broken or needed to be fixed but that what he felt was a normal reaction and the best reaction he could have with the skills he acquired because of his environment.

For Josh Connolly the worst and darkest moments of his life have been when he feels lost and only by going towards the truth has he been able to move forward.

32:07 On trauma and wounds in relationships

33:28 On anxiety

34:57 On communication and overcoming anxiety

38:59 What makes his marriage strong

Josh Connolly thinks his marriage is strong because he and his wife complement each other so well and because his wife has taught him so much. Plus he has made it so that today his life is all about his wife and children and that everything he wants to do fits into this life goal. One of the most important lessons his wife has taught him is that you can be part of a loving system, make mistakes and still be part of this system because he has learned that if things go wrong, together they will work it out.

46:56 On communication and midlife crisis

Josh Connolly talks about a key advice for a good marriage and that is to know how to communicate with your partner, but it’s not just about what you say but also about saying it in a timely manner to prevent building resentment.

It’s about having the willingness and desire to go the extra mile and work together, to grow together, to question things that make you uncomfortable and evolve. But more often than not, the opposite happens and that is where apathy sets in and things lose their meaning.

For Josh Connolly, mid-life crisis is when someone has reached that stage in their life where they can no longer act on something they are not and then everything goes into crisis, and here communication with your partner becomes key.

The inability to truly be who you are and not communicating is the core of marital problems, and Josh Connolly thinks that human problems.

52:33 Authenticity

Josh Connolly talks about authenticity. He mentions that it is something we are born with and also need. Authenticity is based on 3 simple points: understanding what I feel, knowing what I need as a result of this feeling and knowing how to communicate this need within my relationships and activities.

Josh Connolly mentions that as we grow up we lose that authenticity because we realize that it can cause us some friction with our parents so we suppress our feelings and desires in order to feel loved or part of something.

In order to regain authenticity we have to be curious, because curiosity will always lead us to the real answer.

56:26 On giving his 19 y/o self advice

59:30 What he expects to happen to his older children in 20 years

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