I’m joined by the very interesting Dr. Luella Jonk—a psychotherapist and a functional medicine practitioner from Canada who is also a long-time listener of the show—to have a conversation all about relationships.

You will hear us discuss John Gray’s essential relationship assignments as well as many other relationship insights—we talk about why we are obligated to take care of ourselves first before getting into relationships, why anxiety is so prevalent these days, the cost of trying to control other people and outcomes, the difference between mental health care in North America and in Western Europe, and much more!

Check out Dr. Luella’s website here and her podcast, I Think, I Can.


We are obligated to take care of ourselves first. [01:56]

It is important to understand how much your physical health affects your mental health. [07:12]

Most of the couples seeking therapy, say the number one problem is communicating with each other. [15:23]

Women’ roles have become more confused as they move from home responsibilities into the corporate world where they may be competing with their masculine energy. [17:20]

Men’s role is to listen and not give advice when the woman needs to transition from the workplace to the home. [21:47]

The modern male is charged with being all things to all people. John Gray says men should stay calm, cool, and collected. Choice of words, tone of voice, and body language play a big role. [24:54]

You cannot control anyone or anything. There’s a lot of self-love that can be practiced. You are going to be all right. [37:28]

Luella believes that North America is not doing as well with mental health care as perhaps western Europe.  [41:10]

Why is anxiety so prevalent these days? [46:01]

Lead with love rather than fear. [54:00]



We appreciate all feedback, and questions for Q&A shows, emailed to podcast@bradventures.com. If you have a moment, please share an episode you like with a quick text message, or leave a review on your podcast app. Thank you!

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B.Rad Podcast:

Luella (00:00):
Inevitably, no one can control anything, right? So what you do, you, you can cultivate, cultivate, and nurture that own self-trust.

Brad (00:12):
Welcome to the B.rad podcast, where we explore ways to pursue peak performance with passion throughout life without taking ourselves too seriously. I’m Brad Kearns, New York Times bestselling author, former number three world-ranked professional triathlete and Guinness World Record Masters athlete. I connect with experts in diet, fitness, and personal growth, and deliver short breather shows where you get simple, actionable tips to improve your life right away. Let’s explore beyond the hype, hacks, shortcuts, and sciencey talk to laugh, have fun and appreciate the journey. It’s time to B.rad.

Brad (00:51):
Hey, listeners, I’m joined by the very interesting Doctor Luella Jonk, a psychotherapist and functional medicine practitioner in Canada. What an interesting combo, huh? She is a longtime listener and we’ve exchanged some emails. She appreciated my show with Mia Moore and said, Hey, let’s talk about some more relationship insights. That’s what I do all day. And so we get into it. You’re gonna get a lot of references to John Gray and my, one of my favorite shows about the essential relationship assignments dispensed by John Gray, by compilation of all the notes that I furiously took during his four different interview appearances on the show. So I will put that show in the show, show notes and would encourage any and all couples to listen to it together. Males <laugh> maintain your composure at all times. Females never nitpick, always express everything as a preference. And then we are often running with better communication and maintaining, uh, that spark and that passion and that excitement for a relationship for years and years.

Brad (01:56):
So, Luella and I get into some of those and give a nice refresher course for all of those listeners. Striving to improve relationship dynamics. And in particular, she brings out a really important point: honoring her functional medicine background, also, that we are obligated to take care of ourselves, get our own shit handled first before we even bring a dysfunctional person into relationship dynamics, which are doomed to fail. And she says in her practice today, when the couples come in, typically what’s happened is one or both parties are overstressed and not taking good care of themselves. And I made a funny analogy that kept coming up throughout the show. So you’re gonna love hearing about Gary in the corner. And I said, uh, once upon a time, let’s say we’re at a party, hypothetically, and, um, later, I tell my partner, well, my feelings were hurt because you’re talking to Gary so long in the corner, <laugh>.

Brad (02:58):
And I think it’s really important to realize that if you can get your own together, not be such a baby, not be so sensitive, not be so insecure, whatever the issue is. But that one that I just referenced is super important. Boy, you bring your A game to a relationship. Let’s then see how things go with all the little petty disagreements and dysfunctions that we traffic in strongly driven by your own baggage and your own personal life stress level that is too high. So here’s a nice reminder to take care of yourself, love and respect yourself, bring your best to a relationship, and then let things flow how they may. And I want to thank you for your interest in this topic, for pushing play on the show because by showing that interest and caring a bit about your relationship dynamics, you set yourself up for success and progress and personal growth.

Brad (03:54):
A lot of times we’re too busy to worry about <laugh> our relationship with those pesky kids or that annoying partner ’cause we got our head down just to marching along. And that’s when it’s time to wake up and realize, Hey, we only have one life to live. As Mia Moore likes to say, we might as well make the best of it and face these challenges head on and think about it, put some energy into it, try to make things better. So here we go with Dr. Luella Jonk.

Brad (04:21):
Dr. Luella Jonk. We are happy to connect after exchanging some emails. You mentioned enjoying the Mia Moore Show. So thanks for the, the fan mail and a real couple recording and talking about relationships. And now here we are going to the pro who is doing this for a career. But, uh, what’s also interesting about you as not only a therapist specializing in couples, unwittingly, you’re gonna tell us about that too, but also putting that, um, functional, uh, medicine practice into the mix. So maybe as you introduce yourself, you could talk about that unique combining of professional skills and services.

Luella (05:02):
Yes, Brad. And, I’m assuming my, your audience too, that, that I’m, I’m, I first hounded you down because of, uh, you know, it trickled through listening to Elle Russ’s, podcast or the primal Blueprint when she was hosting that podcast. And then reading all the Primal Blueprint, you know, the books that you did, um, with Mark Sisson. And, and I was like, addicted to your animated voice on a few of those audio books, because that’s mainly the way I take into my content. So, so, uh, yeah, you first appeared as a guest on live podcast, which is called I think I Can. And, yeah, Brad, I’ve always been super interested in well, nutrition, exercise, and taking care of our bodies. And, but I also realized that, you know, the mind, yeah, the mind is just one organ of the body, but I was also very fascinated with the mind and, um, because of the, the mind, well, the brain, they say the brain gut connection, the mind body connection, mind, soul, you know, connection.

Luella (06:24):
I mean, I, I just, that’s why I went from, you know, being a psychotherapist to, to applying to the Institute of Functional Medicine to see if I could get my practitioner’s, certification as a functional medicine practitioner, and, put myself through about two or three years of hell to, you know, I felt like a fish outta water being with all these MDSs and MDs and MPs and, you know, psychiatrists and yeah. But I made it on the other side. Um, and feel very fortunate to, to have that certification as well as my being a registered psychotherapist.

Brad (07:12):
Oh, that seems extremely rare to be able to engage with someone who has both those certifications. And do you actually intermix those? Is that possible when you’re have a client?

Luella (07:27):
You know what? That’s, that’s a really good question. And, I tried, but you know, it’s, and it is something I didn’t really think about before embarking in the functional medicine. And, and I really tried in the sense that, um, I would have my new clients fill out, like, you know, a current symptom questionnaire. It’s called A C S Q, and of course, the, the ACE questionnaire, the adverse childhood experiences, and, you know, they would be okay with the adverse childhood experiences as one of the, the forms I’d have them filled out. But then when it got to the, and like the current symptoms questionnaire, and they were, I was asking them about their gut health and you know, what the amount of vegetables and, you know, meat and, and stuff like that, they, that’s when like I could kind of see them going and, and that was a condensed form at first. I had them all fill out like a, like a quite like a 45 minute functional medicine, like standard intake form. And a lot of them were kind of going, wait a minute, <laugh>, like, nothing, what, what is going on here? And so I

Brad (08:42):
Just want to complain about my lazy husband. What are we doing here?

Luella (08:45):
Exactly. Exactly. So not everybody bought into it as much as I thought. Like I, you know, some people were going, this is great, but then that was unfortunately about 10% of my clientele. So, so, you know, we reluctantly, I sort of had to just kind of go, well, you know, for those that are interested. And then, and then some people would see functional medicine practitioner on my website, and they would be going, they would come to me just for that, you know, an autoimmune disease or, or whatever they might have. So unfortunately, I sort of did have to separate it. But, you know, I still, like, I always feel with the knowledge that I learned from that certification, like I feel so, like such an advocate. Like I go into my physician’s office and I’m just like, you know, so why aren’t we checking the vitamin D again?

Luella (09:41):
You know, like, like, I just feel, and, and then I, you know, I get to into the eight point B and, and like, you know, because like, yeah, my cholesterol, you know, I sort of have this high cholesterol and, and it’s genetic, you know, and so, so I’m asking them all the details and they’re like, I don’t even know what that is, <laugh>, right? So, but like, so I feel, you know, I feel really, really good about that. I’m thinking if I save my life or one of my family’s life, even if I can’t incorporate it into my practice as much as I want to, it’s, it’s well, well worth time.

Brad (10:19):
Well, it occurs to me that a lot of the subclinical conditions that fall in the realm of functional medicine have to have a psychological component that’s extremely relevant. And in fact, a lot of those are what, what are, what are driving the, uh, quote unquote chronic fatigue or another thing.

Luella (10:40):
Exactly. Exactly. Like, so, you know, yeah, I feel very empowered, I guess you could say, when I’m speaking to, you know, someone who’s not taking care of their body. And, um, and, and then I, and then I can give them all the, like, the ugly details about what, what’s that, what, what that is doing to them, you know? And it for example, like I had a young female surgeon in, um, who was, you know, complaining about anxiety and, and burnout. Like she was still a resident at this point. And yeah, sure enough, she had some really terrible gut issues and yeah, like, I mean, it was like, I could talk her lingo, you know? And, and so she, she finally did get it like, about the whole burnout piece and how, how, if you don’t start taking care of yourself, you’re not gonna be able to take care of any, any other person.

Luella (11:40):
And so, you know, speaking to women in that way as well, like, you know, from a very knowledgeable standpoint when it comes to nutrition and exercise and sleep, and doing some sort of, you know, meditative or yeah, stress, stress release, releasing exercise, you know, that that’s gonna, that’s gonna make a huge change. And you know, how you, how, how, how you work, how you treat your family, like how you read your children, how you, how your intimate relationships are, right? I mean, and then, and then the whole like, like the hormones, like, you know, uh, helping women through perimenopause and, and menopause and, and, you know, speaking to couples about, you know, and like women not having enough, you know, sex drive and men, right? If they’re overdoing it as well with the, the low testosterone. I know we, I think you suffered from that at one point, or was it Mark?

Luella (12:47):
But, yeah, I mean, it, that’s very, very common too for men that are, are, you know, going through burnout and stuff like that. So, so it’s, yeah, I, I absolutely still use it in my practice, but not everybody is, you know, it just like in, in the health and and wellness field like that you work out, like we, even with having that knowledge, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna change every anything, but at least they’re aware of, you know, how stress can affect the guts and, and how what you need is, is gonna affect your ability to hold attention and, um, yeah. And, um, you know, whatever, achieve more patience in your life and regulating anger and, um, yeah. I mean, if you feel good in your body, you just, you’re just a happier person. When you’re a happier person, you’re, you’re a better dad and you’re a better partner, and, you know, so I mean, how can you not separate those things, but,

Brad (13:57):
Well, yeah, we’re, that’s a a thousand year old insight from a Aristotle and Plato and so forth, but we, we tend to, we tend to like to separate and isolate, especially in the disease care model. I noticed you, uh, said, especially women need to take care of themselves. And our friend John Gray, uh, highlights this, um, this situation in modern life where the female is now asked to transcend her traditional role and the prominent biological drive of the female to be the nurturer caretaker. And now the modern female is charged with being the, being everything to everyone. And yeah, that’s why he contends we have record rates of, uh, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, burnout. So maybe we could focus on that issue for a bit, and perhaps your feelings on some, some of the John Gray insights are, I guess, controversial or not everyone agrees, but they resonate strongly to me where he’s talking about, um, you know, culture is evolving where we don’t have to be in these fixed and rigid roles of old times. And that’s a good thing for society, that the women are not making the meals and having babies, and that’s it. However, we have to negotiate because we still have these baseline biological drives of both the male and the female that are now getting intertwined.

Luella (15:23):
Exactly. And, you know, um, I interviewed John Gray as well, and I remember that at the, you know what, like, and I, I’m also a Gottman’s couples therapist as well. I was trained in the Gottman therapy, which I think a lot of people love. And I think I, I even heard you speak with, Mia about that in one of your, your, one of your, uh, episodes. So, you know what, yeah, you bring up an interesting point. Like, I feel like the Gottmans are excellent, excellent. At the communication piece. Like when it comes to couples, and let’s face it, I mean, most of the couples that enter my room, that’s the first thing that everybody says, right? Like, I pick up the phone and it’s like, yeah, we’d like to make an appointment, you know? And I’m like, okay, what’s going on? We, we just, we just don’t know how to communicate.

Luella (16:12):
I mean, it, it’s like, it’s like the number one thing that any couple will say. So, so the Gottmans great at that. But what I like each about John Gray’s work too though, is that he, to me, brings in more of the, like, you know, the, you know, what one might call spirituality in a sense or energies, um, and how he talks about, you know, female or feminine, sexual essence and, you know, a masculine sexual essence and how, you know, and I almost feel like it, it’s sort of like the pendulum has swung from, you know, the classic fifties and sixties. Like, you know, was it Joan, Joan Cleaver? Like, leave it to Beaver, sort of like, you know, housewife where, I mean, very submissive, very, I mean, you were just, you were a housewife and you didn’t really have a chance to work outside of the house where it, then it swung all the way towards, you know, the seventies.

Luella (17:20):
And I think that’s where John Gray, like, you know, kind did most of his work in the seventies and eighties and, and where, you know, it was a lot, a lot more feminism like, or feminine movement, I would say, like burning of the bras, et cetera. And now, I, I’m, well, and, and, you know, it’s, it was too, and then it went too far. And, and then you have, you know, both partners working out of the home, women slapping on their red lipstick blazer and high heels shoes, and, and walking into the, the corporate world and in the corporate world, let’s, let’s call it like, they have to bring out their badass energy, you know, which is more of a masculine energy, like, let’s get this shit done. You know, and it’s sort of like checking off all the boxes and, um, yeah.

Luella (18:15):
A a lot of doing energy. And, and so all day long they’re in that doing energy, getting their shit done. And then when they come home, they’re still in that masculine, you know, sexual essence or masculine energy, if you wanna call it. And they’re starting to like, you know, telling their partner to get this and that done. Yeah. And, and what would be that masculine energy is also what we call a mothering energy. And, in terms of like, no one really sees it as a mothering, like mothering being a masculine energy, but think of it, if you’re mothering your children, you’re telling them, you know, this, that, this, do that, and to get this done and, and book this swimming lesson, and, and, you know, again, you’re in that badass, let’s get these things done. We, you know, and, but if you start doing that to your partner, like he’s looking for, you know, where’s, where’s my, where’s my wife?

Luella (19:21):
Like, where’s, where’s the woman? Like, where, where’s the feminine energy? But she’s, she’s just spent all day in that, so in, in the masculine. So it’s, it’s to just make that switch right away can be, can be super difficult. So what women can do instead is just remind themselves, like, you can do both, but you have to take care of yourself. Like you have to nurture yourself, because again, they’re stepping in like to the house and they’re doing, doing, doing. And rather than just sort of being in that like goddess energy, you know, that, that rest and digest, that relaxation, that receiving energy sort of thing. And, um, yeah. Because they’re just too busy doing, and like, if there, you can do both, but you just have to remind yourself that you do have to give yourself that grace and take care of yourself. And, um, yeah.

Brad (20:32):
So yeah, the, the assignments, one of my favorite shows, <laugh>, if I will say on my own podcast, is me compiling all the different insights from four John Gray interviews and then just spitting it out. And so the females obligated to, you know, come down off that kick competitive Yeah. Male side, as John Gray calls it, and for example, allows someone to take care of them. The man’s deepest biological drive is to be the hero in the story, and the protector and the champ who, who’s got this, the man’s, favorite words to say is, I got this. And then, um, the, the, yeah. You know, the desired response is, thank you. You’re awesome. Rather than, um, what, what John Gray’s, number one, rule or suggestion to the females, don’t nitpick. If the man says, I got this, don’t say, why are you using that type of epoxy on the rain gutter? That’s not gonna be waterproof. You know, that’s where I guess the communication falls apart, is when we try to, you know, bust out of these roles because of culture, and yes, we really want deep down, um, cannot be, you know, washed away with the lipstick and the high heels in the business suit.

Luella (21:46):
Right? Exactly.

Brad (21:47):
Yeah. And so how does the female come down at the end of a busy, stressful, hectic day? She wants to vent. Uh, and the, the man’s obligation at that point is to listen in intently without offering advice or critique. And that in doing so, the female will vent out her, um, you know, her, her energy, and then be able to relax and connect and come down off that male side and nurture her female side. I love it. And then why is it so hard for the man to sit there and listen intently without offering advice or criticism? It’s because the man wants to be the hero in the story and say, I got this. Here’s what you should say to your boss. Tell him to blank, blank, blank, instead of just listening. And the advice is out there, I’ve dispensed it with great energy. Here I am going off again. And then the very next day we kind of drift back into this, you know, familiar pattern driven by our deepest biological drive. So we have to kind of think our way out of it today.

Luella (22:48):
Well, exactly. You know, and like, yeah. So, so we have, you know, yeah, we have the, the, the biological side of us that’s always gonna wanna come back to neutral, right? But like, if we’re pulled too much in one of these other energies, it’s, you know, I think what you’re saying it, it’s hard enough as it is, like on a biological physiological level for, you know, a man and a woman to have effective communication. Mm-hmm. Without, you know, without a woman being in the badass energy all day. And, and maybe the man Yeah. Like, I mean, but see, that’s a, that’s a point if she’s able to sort of take that hat off at the end of the day and just be able to receive, you know, get into that receiving energy, in other words, like she might not be as reactive when the man defaults to the problem solving.

Luella (23:51):
Right. And, but if she’s really in that masculine energy and she comes home and she goes right into that conversation, then yeah, it’s gonna be real like two heads butting, right? Because she’s in the masculine, he’s in the masculine, and then they’re gonna go at it. But I know, like, I mean, it’s like, it’s a woman’s, you know, part of their, their, their essence to just like, like there’s so much emotion. All they want is connection. All they want is their partner to hear them and, and just say that, right? I think that’s what John Gray says, like, men, like, I know, I like his like short little tips. He says, you know, just say, I hear you like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and like, men are just like writing down these tips. Right. Okay. Okay. I gotta remember that. I hear you. Okay. When I walk away, I just, I just, just say, I hear you. Okay.

Brad (24:48):
Tell, tell me more is another one.

Luella (24:49):
Oh, right, right. Tell me more. Right, right. Yeah. Yeah.

Brad (24:54):
And then I guess we should balance the conversation over on the male side now. And so the modern male is charged with being all things to all people, and we want them to be sensitive, vulnerable, communicative. Yeah. Conversational and so forth. And so we want the man to share his feelings rather than be that stoic person who comes in the door after a long day at the factory, sits down, pops open a beer and waits for dinner to be served, et cetera. Great. And that is definitely cultural progress as well away from this stereotypical macho man who likes sports and cigars and working hard and, um, is not much for sharing feelings. However, again, we’re pulling away from that deepest biological drive of the male, which is to be in control, to protect, to conquer outside challenges of the world, and then, uh, protect one’s, you know, loved ones.

Brad (25:48):
And so once the male starts getting into an emotional feelings, <laugh>, conversation, they are diminishing their testosterone and they’re getting into their female side, which can tend to make them feel, uh, unwhole and off balance. Their, their estrogen is elevating, their testosterone is suppressing. So mm-hmm. His advice, which this is where I’ve floated this to other professionals, and this is where a little bit of controversy kicks in. I think he wants the male to be calm, cool, and collected at all times. Like a kung fu master, in other words, manage and regulate control one’s emotions at all times, which kind of precludes one from being completely vulnerable and sensitive and open and chatty and telling how, you know, my feelings were hurt when you were talking to Gary too long at the party over there in the corner. That’s not what the female wants or needs, and that’s not what works for the male, but we’re kind of asking the male to be Mr. Sensitive boy as well as Mr. Badass as always throughout millennia.

Luella (26:57):
Yeah. Well, yeah, you bring up a really interesting conversation and like, I mean, you, you articulate that really well. Like, I don’t think, you know, any guy in my office has really described it like that, which shows me that, you know, you have been listening to these experts and, and you see it as, as being a challenge. But, you know, I think, see, this is where I think John and Julie Gottman are, are really excellent too, with the communication piece. Like this is where tone of voice, body language, I think becomes really important. You know, what, what words you’re choosing, et cetera. So, and, and in that sense, I don’t think we have to lose our, you know, like, like we can stay in our masculine energy, like as a man and still communicate in a way that like you’re gonna receive the respect that you, you need.

Luella (27:58):
Like, in other words, I mean, if you’re the type of guy that, you know, let’s say, I’m just trying to think. Like, let’s say you are a, let’s say you’ve been burnt like crazy in past relationships. Let’s say you’ve been cheated on like multiple times or something like that, right? So, so you’re walking in like that party and your partner is Chatty Cathy, and like chatting it up with all the guys sort of thing. You know, how do you communicate that to your wife without sounding like, you know, you’re, you’re whining or way too vulnerable or overly demanding. And I think a lot of it’s, it, I think a lot of it is just your choice of words. But like, you know, I think too is it’s like, I think boundaries, like its standards and values is important on both sides.

Luella (28:59):
Like, I mean, like, first of all, like, you have to think that, that that man has no, like, to me, he doesn’t have any right. To tell his wife who and who not to talk to, but he can say, you know, I’m working on this trust issue, you know, how hard this is for me. And it, it, it would, it would just really help me, like to include me in that conversation or something like that. If, if you do choose to have a conversation with, with whatever Jack over there, like, I mean, if you could just either

Brad (29:40):
Include me, I think it was Gary. Oh, okay. <laugh>. Yeah. That’s super interesting. And it again, um, brings to mind maybe some potentially controversial insights. And one of ’em that I have held strong throughout my life is, you know, now we’re asking the couple to provide what the community used to provide. And I contend that males whatever age, if you have a good support group of male friends where you can talk through the Yeah. Important matters of life and relationship and feelings and moods and preferences, if you can work things out to where you bring your a game all the time. And this exact example of, you know, this hypothetical example where, I said, what if the guy says, oh, my feelings were hurt when you, you talk to Gary over there in the corner and John Gray says, quote, when you say, my feelings are hurt, that’s death to a relationship.

Luella (30:44):

Brad (30:44):
Because the female just, it is, that’s not what she’s looking for, and that’s not what she needs deep down. So if I can imagine getting my, a game together with my boys and talking through the multiple offenses of people cheating on me so many times that now I’m insecure and, and hypervigilant, and I get my feelings hurt really easily when my new girl goes over in the corner and talks to Gary for too long, I need to work that out. Arguably, again, you go ahead and write us an email if you dispute this, but I feel like the best way is to have my go-to source that is not my partner, so that I come to the party that night with my A game all the way, and I am, you know, disciplined and resilient and, and love myself enough that I’m not gonna get triggered or sensitive when, you know, a a hypothetical girlfriend partner is talking a long time to Gary over there in the corner.

Brad (31:40):
Now, if you have a rough go and a rocky relationship in the first place, when you head out to the party, then who knows what all kinds of things are gonna bust up. But that, that, that charge to, to, to me, that that assignment from John Gray to be calm, cool, and collected and manage and regulate your own emotions. And if you do have emotional dysregulation, his assignment is to go off and do testosterone boosting activities. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, such as you can list a whole bunch of ’em. It’s conquering challenges that you enjoy. I’m gonna go blow off some steam in the gym, or running on the trail or tinkering with my motorcycle in the garage, and then coming back to the relationship hole rather than getting into these nitpicking, which on some level might satisfy the female need to connect through arguing. That’s a common theme that I see. But on the male side, it just, it just usually destroys that male energy of wanting to be the hero and, and the guardian and the protector in the relationship.

Luella (32:46):
Yeah. Yeah. I’ll comment on a couple things. Like, I would just, like, I’d be one thing, like, yeah, I think guys are, are, are better than the, than this, but like, sometimes I find when, when women, like, when women have a lot on their minds, they flock together that like, just like, like birds, right? Like they flock together and they talk to our talks, our talk, and that’s, that’s so almost like a therapy session for them. But like, I find sometimes girlfriends can give really bad advice, right? Just like family thought, you’re

Brad (33:25):
Gonna too gonna, I swear I thought you were gonna say good. So this is getting interesting now. So, um,

Luella (33:31):
No, no, because you got, you gotta think like, you know, those girlfriends love you and, and your family loves you, and all they want is for you to be happy. So they, they might just like say, you know, you deserve to be happy, you know, you deserve, like, don’t let that, you know, don’t let him and da da da da. And, but while, you know, but that’s not professional advice. And, but the guys, I mean, one thing I really love about guys is sort of like, they just don’t let, like little, I don’t know, like, they really don’t let the, the little things like really affect. I mean, I always, I couldn’t give this example in the room all the time, like how, if a woman’s, if a woman’s girlfriend, let’s say cheated on her husband and, and your standards are like, you know, there is like no infidelity in my life.

Luella (34:26):
And so like, I mean, you would drop the girlfriend almost like, you know, like whatever, a hot cake, right? Mm-hmm. It’s like, whereas a guy would be like, you know, if your wife would find out you’re going out for a beer or a golf game with Joe who least just, you know, cheated on his wife, Mia might be like, what the, like, you know, how can you do that? And he’d be like, I don’t know. He’s a good guy. And you know, he’s a pretty guy. Like, and he like, I love golfing with that, you know? I mean, and, and it’s true. Like, I mean, like, he don’t let you don’t sweat. Like, you know, you would consider, like, it’s not like you don’t consider it important, but it’s just sort of like you, you see the person for who they are not really for the deeded that they, they’ve done, and you kind of, you know, but women, women are, are, can be really catty that way, right?

Luella (35:27):
It’s unfortunate, but they can be. So, so if, yeah. So maybe your buddies would give you some, some really good advice. I don’t know because I’m not a guy and I haven’t hung out with them to know what kind of advice, you know, they, they would give. But, men do seem to be a, you know, more stable that way. Like, they’re not going to tell you to drop her in a second. They’re, you know, they’re gonna be like, I think they would be more encouraging like that. Um,

Brad (35:59):
It depends how good of a friend we’re talking about. Yeah. But generally, the people who have had the biggest impact on my life and, uh, I’m closest with are straight shooters. And so if I need to hear from an outside source, Brad, don’t be such a wuss, quit being a crybaby, or, or, or, you know, emotionally Yeah. Uh, overly fragile. Yeah. That stuff can set you straight really nicely to where you might be heading back into a relationship interaction saying, Hey, I’m, you know, I wanna say I’m sorry. And, uh, I take ownership for being, um, sensitive, insecure, whatever, whatever. And, um, you know, you, you can get boosted by your support circle. And similarly, I think the female can bring some of her relationship challenges to the female support group and then come back more whole than engaging in the number one, warning again from John Gray, no nitpicking is allowed because that will destroy the man’s desire to be the king and the protector and the, the hero and the story. And so if all the nitpicking can get, uh, finished at the book group meeting, yeah, then we can go back and maybe, get a perspective that, you know, life ain’t so bad. Everybody’s in this, in this together, and we’re, we’re, we’re, you know, uh, your friends are also, struggling with your husband’s unwillingness to do the dishes or what have you.

Luella (37:28):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And, and the other piece that you mentioned, which I really love, is, um, you know, like, and I try to really speak about this a lot, is this, rather than feeling like, you know, I don’t know if I can trust her, you’re right. Like in inevitably no one can control anything mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? So, but you can cultivate, cultivate and nurture that own self-trust, meaning that, you know, I trust, um, that I’m going to be okay. Like, honestly, I mean, I, the way I see it, it all the time is like, like you, you’ll never control her. So if, if she does, you know, whatever break your trust or is commits infidelity of any sort, emotional or, or, or anything else, then, then you have to trust that you’re gonna be okay no matter what. Right.

Luella (38:35):
That there’s a lot of self-love that that can be practiced. And, I trust that I will be okay, and I trust that I’m worthy of a better relationship, right? One that really respects me and honors me as a person. Do you wanna let her go? No, but it’s a true statement. I always tell my clients that you will be okay. Like, think about all the other things you’ve gone through in life that you never thought you’d make it out on the other side, but you did, you know, all four feet on the ground like a cat. Like, you know, like you were tossed in the air and you actually landed and you were okay, so you did it once, you’ll be okay again. Does anybody wanna go through that? No, but I’d rather know for certain than live with a life of anxiety, you know, hounding her all around the party because you’re scared about her possibly, you know?

Luella (39:38):
And that’s where boundaries and standards, you know, to me come into play too. It’s sort of like, you know, I love myself enough that I’m gonna hold true to my, the standards and boundaries that I have for myself as a person. Like, you know, so, but, um, you know, that whole infidelity piece is, is not an easy a topic for a lot of people. Some say, you know, I think a lot of people would like to say that, you know, that’s like, you know, someone who does that to, like, that’s, that’s a definitely, like, I’m out, that’s a hard out. I’m done. But, but what I feel it was, it is really the truth. It’s usually like couples that have been together for a long time, like we’re talking 20, 25 years, maybe 30 years in the relationship, you don’t just kick that to the curb easily, you know, you, and then hugely, it’s like, I think of all the couples that I’ve had, I think, um, you don’t, there was maybe 10% that did end it after infidelity like that and it was a better thing. Like, I mean, one, one of the partners was sort of a deadbeat and it was good that, you know, it happens sort of thing. So, so, but most of the time it’s just a chance to kind of take it, the look, the a closer look at the relationship and mm-hmm. Yeah. And change.

Brad (41:10):
So, what’s it like on the front lines? I mean, you’re seeing a lot of couples come in, I guess a certain percentage of them are in crisis. I wonder how it affects your mental health and, uh, wellbeing and it, it seems like, uh, an incredibly rewarding and important career, but also potentially draining. And then I guess you could even talk about what, so are some of the trends that you’re seeing and, you know, what’s going on in the, the state of the union with couples. You’re in Canada, and I assume, we’re probably dealing with the same stuff as we are in other developed countries and in Yeah, correct me otherwise,

Luella (41:51):
Yeah. No, I, I do, well, you know, I mean, I say North America, like a, along with our, our diet, I think we could, I think we’re not doing as good of the job in our mental health than perhaps Europe. Europe would be, that’s the only, you know, central western Europe. It’s the only kind of comparison I can, I can make just because I have some family members and colleagues there, and like, when I think about, yeah, like, you know, this is a whole nother topic, but like, the amount of suicides and especially male suicides, it’s, it’s, it’s a real crisis. And, um, you know, it’s, it’s like that’s, that’s super, super sad, right? And, but I don’t think they have that extent. The percent, like the stats, I don’t have any stats to tell you, but I, I’m almost just from conversations, it’s, it’s, it’s not as much for sure.

Luella (42:57):
People don’t have like a therapist like 24 7 in Europe as, as they do here. I think there’s a whole bunch of factors relating to that. And, and I think, you know, we’re not in that do energy in Europe as well, so they, they have more time to cultivate their relationships. Like they’re, they’re not working 24 7. Yeah, so, so I I don’t think it is as much, um, across, across the ocean there. But in otherwise though, yeah, like I’d say, well, first of all, you ask, you know, how do I deal with it? And like I say, I take, you know, I take care of my body. Like I exercise a little bit in the morning, like a 20 minute thing, um, just for strength and flexibility. I take a, a good hour walk every evening at the end of the day with, with my dog.

Luella (43:57):
And that’s, that’s a great thing for me. A lot of contemplative thought, you know, where that’s prayer or just thinking or whatever it is in the morning as well. Like, like, you know, a good morning routine is, is no better thing. And, and then, yeah, like I, I would see most couples come to me, like, I, as I said, it, it’s sort of like communication problem, but it’s really like both of them are just not taking care of themselves enough, you know, knowing and not, and not building enough time for connection. Like it’s, you know, like when you think about the amount of time when you first started to date somebody, or you were in the honeymoon phase or whatever it is, um, that, like the hours that you would spend together, like just talking, getting to know each other. Like, if couples could maintain even half of that throughout their marriage, maybe even a quarter, you know, like, well, I think the Gottmans say, you know, 10 minutes of connection a day is all you really need.

Luella (45:06):
We wouldn’t be in this crisis that we are right now. So I, I think it’s just like, you’re just not, like, you know, maybe women being more in their masculine energy, more of the do. And, and, and the guys just trying to, you know, like, you know, yeah. Take care of their family and just not enough time for family, not enough time for each other. And, and that’s, I think is the biggest issue. And, and then, you know, anxiety, a lot of people will come to me just on an individual basis saying, you know, they’re, they’re ridden with anxiety, and of course, someone who’s ridden with anxiety is not gonna be a good partner, right? So,

Brad (45:50):
And where’s that emanating from as we realize that the increase is severe these days? What do you think?

Luella (45:59):
What, where, why is it becoming Yes,

Brad (46:01):
Why is the anxiety is so prep these days?

Luella (46:05):
Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, on an individual, like a, like a deep level, I feel, a lot of comparison. You know, like social media is, and the internet is just wonderful for, for so many things, but uhhuh, but it’s just, it’s too, like, think of it, Brad, like when you were in your bedroom when you were like, you know, 13 or 15 or whatever, at least, well, I think you’re about the same age as I am, but,

Brad (46:44):
There were no mobile devices, but it that way back then, yeah,

Luella (46:48):
You didn’t know what Jack, Jerry, you know, Steve were doing. And, and now, like, I, I just like, that breaks my heart when I, when I think about like these poor, like young boys, maybe, you know, in their bedroom, seeing what all their friends are doing on social media, but they’re not there, you know, they’re not there. And heaven forbid that, you know, you’re not a jock in the school. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, I think that’s another way that the school system could do a much, much better job is celebrate those boys that are more creative, you know, in the arts, whether it’s music, drawing, you know, theater or whatever it is. But I know from my own two, two boys that like, one was a complete jock, and I feel like, you know, friendships galore. The other one was a little bit more quiet and more creative, more arts and, you know, you’re not as Mr. Popular.

Luella (47:53):
And so, I think that’s one way. And then women always with the body image, right? So like, in, in terms of anxiety, I like, I think that’s the root cause is just a lot of it anyways, just knowing, um, you know, you’re always thinking you should be doing better. You, you, you, you should be better. You should be at this age, doing this at this age. You should be, you should, everybody’s shoulding on themselves way too much, I guess <laugh>, it’s, it’s probably a, a good way of summing it up. Like we’re all, we’re all doing it. And, and when we just realize that, you know, we’re, we’re perfect just the way we are, we don’t have to or be anybody, it would help a lot.

Brad (48:40):
So I think, yeah, I guess, um, build in opportunities to get away from that stuff. And, and

Luella (48:46):

Brad (48:48):
I notice that, um, I enjoy exercise in my, my whole life, and part of that enjoyment comes from I’m able to disengage from the digital world and the cognitive world, and I’m doing something with my body. And so it’s like inherently healthy for that reason, of course, among other ones. But now we’re obligated to use all this discipline to not, you know, go overboard on things that don’t support our long-term mental health or physical health.

Luella (49:21):
Oh, yeah. Like, yeah. And yeah, same, like, and I, I, I don’t know, like I just, I almost kind of feel blessed that I, uh, that I’ve always been a lover of exercise because it’s such a great way of releasing that, that stuck energy, you know, or that anxious energy, whatever it might be. Like, I mean, it’s just sort of like, when I, when I talk to some of my clients and I ask what they do and, you know, in terms of exercise or any sort of movement, and they say, I’m just like, oh, what? Like, you know, like, I mean, like if, I mean, I remember even Covid and, and I, and I live in a cold part of, of Canada, like, I, I didn’t care what the weather was like, I made sure I went outside every single day, right? Like, I mean, it’s the least that you can do for your body to get some fresh air.

Luella (50:10):
And, yeah. And it’s, that’s like, that’s another thing for me, it’s sort of people taking responsibility for, you know, for their mental health, for their anxiety, rather than saying, okay, this is why, whether it’s parental influence, whether it’s societal influence, you know, there’s so many reasons why, you know, maybe they are where they are right now, but we all have a choice every single day when when we wake up, right? And I know Mark is a huge believer of this as well. Like, I mean, it’s never been, like, it’s never been easy for anybody, you know? It’s but, but I think it really begins with self love. Like, it just, a lot of it is self love. Like, I love myself so much. I’m gonna nurture my body, I’m gonna take care of my body. I’m gonna make like, carve time out during the day for my, for, for, for exercise, for, you know, meditation or quiet time or whatever that might be like. And it’s, it’s not selfish to do that, right? Like, there’s no better way of spending your time, um, as far as I’m concerned. And yeah, so it, it, like, it begins with self-love and, and knowing you’re worth it.

Brad (51:40):
That’s, that’s interesting that you took us here from a question about couples, because it seems as though a lot of the problems are coming from, you know, outside forces. I mean, we all know that, uh, every couple, once upon a time was in love and then doing great and connecting and spending tons of time. But then if the layers of stress start to stack up, of course it’s gonna, it’s gonna trash the relationship and maybe we can, instead of butting our heads against the wall so much, you know, take care of the individual person, and again, bring your a game to the relationship and see how that goes for you rather than arguing about the same shit over and over because nothing’s evolved, including the high level of stress that the individuals are under separate and distinct from the relationship.

Luella (52:30):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I know like, and I talked about teenagers comparing themselves, but really adults’ doing it all the time too. You know, like the neighbor down the street or whatever, you know. Well, yeah. So it’s, it’s like, stay in your lane. I always say, you know, that stay, stay in your lane and yeah,

Brad (52:53):
That stuff go, people. I mean, I think there’s some aspects of, uh, chronological aging that are, uh, not as much fun. I don’t have as much resilience as an athlete. I am getting injured or tired, whatever. But, um, some of the things that feel like rewarding to me are having an improved perspective and being able to, uh, let things go, realizing that, you know, we’re all marching toward the finish line, and so mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we sure as hell not better not waste any time now, um, you know, working through anxiety and frustration in our head when we have the potential to let it go and leash up the dog and go for that hour walk no matter what.

Luella (53:33):
Exactly. Yeah. And, and you as an athlete, probably, you know that better than, than anybody, just like the whole idea of staying in your own lane. Like you’re not looking at your com Well, you know, like I, I think there’s room for competitiveness when it comes to sports or card games like, and things like that. But, but never be competitive with yourself, you know? That’s, that’s, that’s the problem. I think a lot of people just, you know, well,

Brad (54:00):
We attach our self-esteem to the outcome, and, you know, having competitive intensity in life is allowed. It’s part of many people’s basic personality nature. You can’t, you know, you can’t suppress it. But having that ability to let things go and to, you know, compete for the sake of, you know, personal development and the enjoyment of the process, that’s when you get all the rewards. And when we’re just obsessed with outcomes, that’s when we struggle and suffer and get discouraged and, you know, take a hit to our self-confidence, self-esteem. And I think we’re socialized to behave this way. That’s what, that’s what we’re trained to do, is to measure yourself worth, I know, by your degrees on the wall and your accolades on the social media and all that.

Luella (54:50):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and, and, you know, age brings wisdom when it comes to that. Like, honestly, hope. Like, I, like, I mean, I know that I could, I could have been the, the therapist that I am right now, or the coach that I am right now with like, like not half the stuff that I learned, that’s for sure. You know, it’s, it’s been my own life experiences. And so like, do, did I need, you know, the, all the certifications and degrees? No, but, but you know, it’s, it’s sort of like, I mean, I think, you know, for your audience, I’d like, I’d like, um, them to think about, you know, like moving like ahead. Like, you know, if we’re, if we’re gonna move ahead and change the way we’re gonna do things, you, there’s really two ways of going. Like, like with any action that you do, you could either lead like with love or you can lead with fear.

Luella (55:53):
And I think a lot of us have been, you know, unfortunately conditioned to, to lead with, with fear. Like, if you don’t do X, then, then this is gonna happen. If you don’t do that, then this is gonna happen. Rather than, you know, what is my heart telling me to do? What, you know, what’s my soul telling me to do? Like, what, what’s my gut instinct telling me to do? What’s my intuition telling me to do? And, and that’s the, it’s that feeling that people have to start like feeling rather than, you know, um, thinking, you know, instead of being in their heads all the time. It’s sort of like, what feels good for me right now? Like, you know, honestly. So, yeah.

Brad (56:35):
Nice. I love it, Luella. Thank you.

Luella (56:38):
You’re welcome.

Brad (56:39):
How can we follow your work or connect with you?

Luella (56:42):
Well, on Instagram, that’s for me is just sort of fun. It’s just sort of like whatever. But, uh, this is Loa Yung, it’s, and it’s the j is pronounced as, as a y, so, and there’s no, yes, no, that’s okay. There’s no other Luella, there’s no other,

Brad (57:02):
No one’s had that name. Yeah.

Luella (57:04):
Oh, good. Yeah. So, so you can find it easily there. And then Facebook again is, it’s Luella Jonk and that’s where I usually do most of my longer posts. Um, nice. So yeah, my website is Luella Jonk.com, so I can.

Brad (57:19):
All right. People,

Luella (57:19):
I do video distance, um, ah, yeah.

Brad (57:23):
Nice. Okay. Good stuff. Thank you, Luella Jonk

Luella (57:31):
There you go. Yeah. You know, it’s so, oh, connect

Brad (57:33):
With her. A little

Luella (57:33):
Bit of Spanish into that, right? Except yeah, yeah,

Brad (57:36):
Yeah. A little flavor. Okay. Yeah. Thanks for listening everybody. Good stuff. And now go honor those assignments. Take care of yourself first and foremost. Thank you so much for listening to the B.rad Podcast. We appreciate all feedback and suggestions. Email podcast@bradventures.com and visit brad kearns.com to download five free eBooks and learn some great long cuts to a longer life. How to optimize testosterone naturally, become a dark chocolate connoisseur, and transition to a barefoot and minimalist shoe lifestyle.




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