Image for The Gathering Pod A Martha Beck Podcast Episode #128 Finding Your People
About this episode

There are more people on earth than ever before… yet so many people are lonely. The thing is, love and friendship aren’t a numbers game. There’s a way to attract the people who are waiting to love you. Come find out how!

Finding Your People

Martha Beck:

Welcome everyone to yet another version of The Gathering Room. We are going to do our meditation, but I’m going to wait for everybody to come in first because you don’t want to come in right in the middle of a meditation, and I’m just sitting here staring. Today’s Gathering Room is called Find Your People because I have noticed recently at my advanced age that I have traveled all over the globe and there are a few people that I really, really want to hang out with and it is worth any amount of effort to get to those people. But how did those people find each other? I mean, really how Roe ended up coming from Australia to meet me when I had no idea she was on the road for it. There are all kinds of people in my life that have come from a distance and should never have been able to connect with me at all.

So I was thinking when I was in South Africa, one of my friends there, I used to give her coaching sessions when she was single and lonely and worried, she always would be, and she really had a strong sense of family and wanting to have one. It’s very difficult. I sometimes define yearning as loving something you don’t yet believe, so she could feel what was meant to come in her life and she yearned for it, but she was afraid it wouldn’t happen. So we did a lot of sessions and at the end of, I don’t know, a few years later, a couple of years, not long, she met the man of her dreams and they’re married, and they have two gorgeous children. And then we sometimes ran seminars together and someone in one of the seminars said, “I’m afraid I’ll never meet the right person or meet my people.” And she said, “You can be sitting with a bag over your head at the top of ever Everest and your people would still find you.”

This has been my experience of finding people, but I’ve also found that many, many, many people feel isolated and don’t have anyone that they really get along with. Now, the reason for this, sometimes I would say to people, I mean, this is talking about romantic love, but it could be true of friendships, social support of any kind, people to help you do an activity. I often say to such people, “If I said to you, I have a pair of shoes and I’ve lost one, go get it for me. You wouldn’t know what to do because I would have to show you the first shoe before you knew what you were looking for, the mate looks like this on the opposite.” So what I realized about people is that they don’t know who they actually are. They haven’t seen what the first shoe looks like, so they go out looking for things that they’ve been told would be awesome, or people who look great on paper or people… And I’ll get to this more in a minute, who fit their particular conditioning.

If you come into total integrity as your real self, that doesn’t happen. And I wrote a whole book, I just noticed there are so many copies of this book up here, but The Way of Integrity, I should probably change some of them. Anyway, a very short way to say you should live in integrity is to know what you really know, feel what you really feel, say what you really mean and do what you really want, really, really, really. If you get it, and people always say, “Do what you want. How could you?” Well, if you feel what you feel and know what you know, you’re going to develop things like compassion and generosity. And if you say what you really mean, people will be either drawn to you or sent away depending on whether or not they like your truth. Now, when you’re completely aligned in your integrity, you know what you know, feel what you feel, you say what you mean and you do what you really, really want, the people who will come around you will match you. It will be seeing the first shoe and then finding the other one.

The problem is we get caught up in what I call cultural eddies. It’s like you’re trying to flow down this stream and you want to go with the flow but then it gets caught up in a little circular thing, and it’s any localized culture that really, really teaches you to be a certain way, so it could be your national culture. I had a client from Poland once who was like, “Yeah, we’re pessimistic. Don’t even try to cheer me up.” Sorry, I do not believe that about all people from Poland. It’s just her words. Anyway, you can have a national culture, you can have a regional culture. Someone just told me today that her son was saying, after traveling up and down the east coast of America, he said, “Here’s the thing, people in the south are nice, but they’re not very kind. They’re not really kind. People in New York are not nice, but they’re really kind.” So that is an example of a regional cultural difference, just a different way of presenting oneself in a different way of either manifesting or hiding your own truth.

So whatever cultural eddie you’ve gotten caught in, you circle around and really it does feel almost like magic sometimes. It’s like we’re sending out a vibe, a vibration and people who like that vibe or recognize that vibe end up clustered around us. So this is why, for example, I’ve had people in codependency treatment say, “Both my parents were alcoholics and I can go in to a football stadium full of totally functional people with one alcoholic and I will go to that alcoholic like an arrow and cleave to them not knowing with my head that that’s what I’m doing. Only finding out once again, to my bitter surprise that it’s somebody who’s overly dependent on alcohol.”

For me, it’s almost like you know how molecules attached to each other, how they physically have shapes that connect with each other. It’s like they have little docking, one molecule will have a little docking site and a virus unfortunately will get a mechanism that fits with the docking site and it can hook onto your molecules and really cause havoc. So there are different docking sites for different types of people. One of the types I talk about a lot are narcissistic people. And so a narcissistic person is only interested in themselves and they only like people who are solely interested in them, and I call that an echo. You’ve probably heard me say this before, but narcissists in Greek mythology only had one friend who was named Echo, and she was a water nyad who could only repeat what other people said. So he would look down into the water at his reflection and say, “I love you.” And she would look up at him through the water and say, “I love you,” and they had the perfect relationship. He was a narcissist and she was an echo.

So I always use this illustration, if you’re formed like this you’re a narcissist. So you meet an aligned person and they’re like, “No, no, I can’t mesh with that, that doesn’t work,” they go off looking for someone else, then they meet someone who’s an echo, just fits right in. The echo is responding to them because they were conditioned by other narcissists or a narcissistic system, and it may be that we just generally send out a vibe, but when we get really close to someone, we’ll dock as it were with people who have the compliment of our particular cultural way of acting. So this isn’t good, for example, for either the narcissist or the echo.

And say, the echo comes into integrity, now they’re like this. They can interact with other people who are in integrity. They can do all kinds of things together. They can go up and down, and side to side and they don’t clash, but the narcissist has nowhere to dock and the echoes have nowhere to dock. They actually like being with narcissistic people. It makes them feel familiar and safe, and ultimately very miserable. So supposedly I have heard it said, “The way you know how you present the world is by looking at the six people with whom you spend the most time,” think about that. It’s like you may spend very little time with your family, maybe you’re a workaholic who works 70 hours a week. Guess who you’re going to be around, other workaholics. You may not spend the most time with your family, or you may only spend time with people who drive you crazy and then wonder why other people can’t come in and make you feel better, and it’s because all the docking sites are filled with people who are coming to a complimentary way of presenting.

So think about the six people with whom you spend the most time, and if you have a pattern of repeatedly attracting or tolerating people that don’t feel like really nourishing to you, there’s no give and take, there’s just give and they take. You give or vice versa, either one is not good. So here’s the thing, these people in their infuriating way of annoying you or upsetting you or breaking your heart are showing you the places you’re not in integrity, showing you the places where you were taught to behave in a way that isn’t your true self. You don’t know this. You’re not doing it to be bad, you’re doing it to be good. But by replicating those cultural eddies, you just keep them going and you just end up stuck in them forever and ever. Amen.

So look at places where there’s a repeated pattern of doing something you don’t really want, of not letting yourself know what you really know like, “This person annoys the hell out of me,” not feeling what you really feel, “Oh, I’ve got to get away.” Not saying what you really mean, “I’m not interested in what you’re saying. I’ll be leaving now,” and doing what you really want, just leaving. That may not be nice, but it’s kind. And ultimately anything you do that is untrue cannot be kind because it will betray you and the other person.

But anything true is ultimately kind and everything kind is ultimately true. That is my experience of trying to find my integrity. So think about those patterns of the people that are in your life or the loneliness that is in your life because you’ve been trained to believe you don’t deserve to be with other people. You’ve got to get out of those cultural eddies and you can find how to get unhooked by looking at the painful spots in your own relationships, “They all take without giving.” Are you giving without taking? That’s your part of the pattern. “Oh, they’re also boring,” oh, are you pretending they’re interesting to their faces? That’s not kind but it’s nice, and it makes you fit in with their configuration. If you’re always going with people who have addictive problems, are you the one who is an enabler for addictions? So you start to turn the spotlight back on your stuff, on your side of the pattern, and then your job is to reverse the pattern in your own behavior.

So let’s take a few questions, but I think I’m experimenting with putting in the meditation at different points in The Gathering Room. And today I wanted to think about putting it right in the middle because I wanted to put a question to you before we go into our usual meditation. And that question is, where would you like more love? Where would you like more of a sense of common ground, a sense of mutual adoration? Set your sights really high. Imagine yourself, your life filled with people that you can just lie back and trust knowing that they will be honest and honorable, and that their vibe is going to be similar to yours, so think about that space, and think about the emotional texture of the people you would love to come and love you.

And then there’s this little thing in the new age manifesting world called intention, attention, no tension. That’s how you manifest something. You put strong intention, you want to create this, you put your attention on it very, very intensely for a minute, and then no tension, you let it go. Actually, it’s been shown that the brain works this way when you want to come up with an answer to a difficult problem. I also think the magic of the world works this way. So everybody, I hope you’re thinking about the texture of the people you want to fill your life, and that’s really a strong intention for those people to be in your life and not other people. You have to lose some friends that needed losing. And having put your intention and attention on this subject, we’re going to go to no tension by doing our usual space stillness and silence meditation.

So get your arms and legs uncrossed in a place where you can breathe easily. Get your spine straight if that’s a possibility for you. And we start with that strange question by Les Fehmi of the Princeton Behavioral Center. Is it possible for me to imagine the distance between my eyes? Is it possible for me to imagine the space in the atoms between my eyes? Can I imagine the space in inside the atoms of my entire body? Can I imagine that space extending infinitely in all directions and I move through it, I exist within it? Can I imagine the stillness in which all action occurs? Can I find in my own body the stillness in which action occurs? Can I hear or imagine the silence underneath all sounds? So listen to the sounds around you and then drop into the silence that holds them.

This I truly believe is the signal, is the broadcasting level from which our true selves draw information and into which they send information. So when you do that meditation and you drop whatever you’re thinking about, my experience is things find you, your people find you even if you’re at the top of Everest with a bag over your head. So now let’s look at some questions. Jamie says, “What’s the best way to clear those docking sites to be able to make space for your people? Work People definitely don’t feel nourishing.” To be in an integrity if they’re not nourishing is to kind of walk away a lot, not kind of… Really walk away a lot. That was a cultural thing that I just did, “Be nice.” No, no, no.

If they’re talking about something that offends you, walk away. If they’re talking about something that bores you, walk away. I have a friend, she does this as a joke, but it’s half serious. If you start saying, “Let me tell you about my PhD dissertation.” She’ll sit up and shout, “Bored now,” and it does get you into a different way of being. So respond to them with integrity. Don’t be unkind, but be truthful even if your truth is to walk away, and just don’t join as much. Donna says, “What if those people we attract offer us both very negative realities with some positive benefits? For example, I attract narcissists who have also provided me with opportunities to earn money working for them. How can I get into an integrity when I’m also in need of an income?” Well, you do the work knowing that this person is a narcissist and that you will go along with them in the work sense, but you know very clearly, “I’m dealing with a narcissist now,” and you don’t start to pander and grovel, which is what echoes do.

Instead, you do the work you need to do and you don’t respond with pandering and groveling. Some narcissists will explode if you do this. They’ll get very, very angry. They’ll stomp out. They’ll threaten to leave. They will leave. Good, being around a narcissist is one of the best way to drain your battery and fill your life with horror. As Rose said to me the other day, “You’ve got to lose a little to gain a lot.” So if you start saying to the narcissist, “No, I don’t think I’ll do what you’ve invited me to do, and I don’t think I’ll tell you what you want. I know you want to hear,” you may lose a little, they may go, but the people who come in are people who can handle your truth, and trust me, your entire life will go better. And what’s happened to me? Everybody’s going to run into dysfunctional folks.

I’ve had interactions with a lot of people who are a little [inaudible 00:18:21], and you just speak your truth, do your job and leave. And this will cause great chaos for a little while and then it’ll cause such peace. Rose says, “I’m becoming my authentic self more and more, and I’m going through a challenging time of experiencing new aspects of myself which aren’t nice. Any advice?” Yeah. Just ask yourself if it’s true. “I really don’t like Fred.” “Well, that’s not nice.” “Yes, but is it true?” “Mm-hmm, that is true.” I don’t like Fred because of this, this, and this. Okay, that’s different from how I want to live my life, huh? That’s good information about how I want to live that I’m getting from my dislike of Fred. But if I were nice about it, I might not even know. I mean, the niceness goes so deep in most of us, especially if you’re a female, or especially if you’re in a marginalized group.

People who are not at the top of the power hierarchy really learn to duck and grovel and do all these subservient things. And when we stand up straight, it doesn’t look nice to us or to other people, and that’s okay. You don’t have to be nice as long as you’re true and kind. Filament says, “I am co dependently and meshed with my family and can’t extricate myself from them enough to meet other people or even take good care of myself. How can I dismantle this block to finding my other shoe?” Same, exactly the same. There was a psychologist, her name is Alice Miller, and she was a German psychiatrist who studied in part the way the German people reacted to Hitler when he was coming to power. And she talked about how the Germans who were raised by very authoritarian fathers thought Hitler was amazing because he so embodied, this really angry, ranting patriarchal figure. And then she said to get out of that, people had to have a really clear perspective, and some German citizens after the war and even during the war, denounced their father’s participation in Hitler’s regime.

And here’s the interesting thing, even years after World War II, the people who said, “I really denounced what was done by the Nazis,” got a lot of bad press from people in Germany who would say, “But it’s your family. It is your family. You have to be on your family’s side.” And they would say, “But my family, my relative murdered a whole bunch of people.” “Doesn’t matter, it’s family.” That enculturation is very, very deep. And of course, you don’t have to abandon your family, but what would happen if you started speaking truth to them, telling them what you really fit, saying your real opinions, maybe some explosions and maybe you would want to deal with that, and maybe you’d say, “Come hang out with me when we can have a civil disagreement. I’m going to go find some friends now,” so you don’t have to abandon people wholesale. That’s an extremist reaction, but you do have to start speaking the truth, and systems that don’t like the truth will react to you negatively.

That’s your signal that your truth is not being held by other people in truth because people in truth tolerate each other’s differences of opinion, but systems that rely on untruth have to have very enormous solidarity and they’ll really push you to stay in. So I’m so sorry that you are in that situation, but don’t let yourself think that just because they’re related to you, people can be awful and you have to hang out with them forever. Becky says, “I feel like I know some pretty great people, but their slots are pretty filled.” So then you say, “All right, what am I doing that I keep trying to access people who aren’t available? Interesting. I’m going to look at that in myself and see if there’s a pattern.” And I’m not coaching you right now in person, so I can’t tell you exactly what’s going on with you. But very often when people are always trying to connect with folks who are unavailable, they’re very unsure of their own worth and they expect to play second fiddle. They expect to be discarded, ignored, and it matches what they were taught to accept.

And if you go in and you find that you think you’re not worth loving, you have to fix that lie, that’s a lie. And when you fix it and you know your worth, you’ll just be like, “Damn, if they’re busy with other people, they’re just going to come over here, because how fabulous is it to be around me?” Once you know who you really are, I love what Byron Katie said once, “If you knew how important you are, you would burst into a billion pieces and just be light.” So once you dig through all the untruths that are keeping you from your integrity and you ground into that integrity, you’ll know how worthy you are and other people will too. Good luck with that, Becky. Toto, I can’t pronounce that, but they say, “How do you deal with fear and negative beliefs that what you long for will never actually happen?” Oh, sad face.

If it’s making you sad and it feels like you’re collapsing or if you’re burdened, those are all signals coming from your body and your emotional inner compasses, we call them in Wayfinder Life Coach Training, all your compasses are saying, “Oh, it’s so sad that it’ll never happen,” but the belief that it will never happen is not true, that’s the sad face. It’s that you believe an untruth, and I’ve spent years believing that the things I wanted to make me happy could not come true, and most of them dropped easily because they were just cultural baggage. I didn’t really want them anyway, but the things that were deep in my heart, true, I suffered greatly from not believing in them for years and decades before they happened.

And then I lived for years and decades and found, “Oh, they do happen.” If you get into integrity, they do happen. That’s why my last book was all about this because that’s what makes it work, is being in your truth. Without being in your truth, you can only reflect the cultural eddie. When you’re in your truth, magic happens. So dear, it’s not true that it won’t happen. It will happen. Jessica says, “I was just talking to my son about this this morning. What would be the best turtle steps for a 23-year old to start finding their people and their integrity?” First sit and think, “What do I really love?” Give him the four steps that I gave you. It’s fun to pose it this way, “What do you know that you pretend not to know? What do you feel that you pretend not to feel? What do you say even though you don’t mean it? And what do you do even though you don’t like it?” You’re going to start backing away from those things and you’re going to start putting into the space…

In the book I say, “Do 10 minutes a day less of what you don’t love and 10 minutes a day more of what you really do,” and it starts to steer the whole ship of your life, every little turtle step finding out what you love and what you don’t love. It makes that vibe change, the vibe you’re putting out in into the world. And I swear he’s going to get more friends sitting in his room doing that for a few days than going out and trying to find people at parties and stuff. Because you’re not really looking for people at parties, you’re looking for your people, people who are like you, and you want to get a good look at that first shoe. Tell him to get a good look at who he really is, and then put out into the universe the kind of person who will match that. Dis enlightened says, “How do you advise kindly walking away or declining family invitations without giving a reason? Especially when the real reason is you may love but not like them or their treatment of you.”

You can just say, “You know what? I’m not coming.” What you want to avoid is victim language, “I’m so sorry, I can’t come. We have all this stuff going on.” They’ll just say, “Well, we’re open all next month,” and then… If you get into lies, you’re going to get into deep water, so you use statements of assertive choice, “I’m not doing that. I’m choosing to do something else. I won’t be there.” And they’ll say, “Don’t you love us?” “I love you very much, and I won’t be there.” “Don’t you like to be with us?” “Not really. I love you, but it’s really hard for me to be with you.” And then they have to deal with that. And is it nice? No. Is it kind? Yeah. If you’re going to have a truthful relationship with them and they never hear your truth, how can they adapt or conform to what’s true for you? And you’re giving them the example of how to get up out of their cultural eddies and be aligned with themselves, and that’s good for them, it’s good for you. It’s just not culturally acceptable, but I don’t really care.

So Michelle says, “I yearn for close relationships. I’m an introvert who I’m not sure ever was amongst my people. I’ve been betrayed by many and I’m closed off. What to do now?” Well, what you’re doing now is connecting online with the people who feel like coming to The Gathering Room, which I deliberately never marketed or talked about much. I just started doing it because I wanted to just put out a vibe into the world and see if my people come. And here you are, so many names week after week. It’s like we’ve known each other for years now. Isn’t it wonderful? And if you start connecting with lots of people online, going to places online that thrill you… Roe wrote an Instagram post, I don’t know, some joke about, “Where are all the gay people?” And someone wrote back, “We’re all at Pottery Studios, find us.” I don’t know if that’s true, but she got a good hint for where she could go to meet other lesbians.

So use the internet, connect with people, find out what you love, find out what charges you up, and then look at the places where your relationships have not been fulfilling or they haven’t existed. Go in and find the lies that you are putting out into the world, “I have to act like this. I’m not worth real love. I’m too much. I’m not enough,” all those things that we throw at ourselves to keep us from finding our truth, which is that we are infinitely precious and unique, and that every single one of us deserves a life full of people you can really love who love you back. So thank you for coming to The Gathering Room today. I love you. I hope you like the meditation in the middle. Feedback is welcome. I will see you later. Bye.

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