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April 25, 2019 49 mins

In the final episode of the season, Joshua David Stein and Jason Gay talk guilt — what it is, where it comes from, and how to get rid of it — and its pleasant counterpart, pride, with Dr. Jessica Tracy, author of "Pride: The Secret to Success" and the director of the Emotion & Self Lab at the University of British Columbia. Plus, they look back fondly on their time together and say sweet things. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hello, and welcome to the Fatherly Podcast. I'm your host,
Joshua david Stein, and this episode I'll be speaking with
my friend Jason Gaye. Also Dr Jessica Tracy, who studies emotions,
most notably guilt. Anyway, stay tuned. There's laughter, there's tears,
there's crickets. Welcome Terrifogly Podcast. I hope you're enjoy this show. Hey, Jason,

how's it going. It's going, man, I like your bag
of crickets. There are live crickets in the studio. It's true, right,
right right, didn't you hear them? Crickets? Do you want
me to do crickets? I can do hours of crickets,
but these crickets do chirp. So I have crickets with
me in the studio because my son has a fat
tailed Get go and and you have a little cricket

cadge next to the get cocage. And yeah, they in
fact chirp, and sometimes it sounds like, you know, somewhere
in Maine and my son's room in the middle of February,
and they're all going to die. But we're all gonna die.
And anyway, welcome to the studio. This is the last
episode I had with you and I wanted to walk
down memory Lane. Please. Yeah, I mean I didn't know

you before we did this, that's true. I feel like
you're still cipher, but we did have some good experiences
and I don't think so. Yeah, I feel like I
got a chance to inside your mind, but also the
minds of some really interesting people who I don't typically
interact with because I'm just in the goofy world of
sports man, not to circle jerk, which would be hard

because there's only two of us. But like, what, I
don't know doing these episodes, is there anything that really
like stuck out that you also like use in your
life as a dad? Or oh? Absolutely, you know. I
think about the very first episode, actually the very first
episode that I was part of with Luke Cage, so
that was kind of like a little bit He's an
interesting guy, but if my sort of standard um celebrity stuff,

the one that stuck out with me early on was
Matthias the bass jumper, and that I guess maybe because
it's running a little bit on the parallel track of sports,
because this person was like an adventurer an athlete but
doing crazy ass stuff and contextualizing it into being a parent.
And I think about that all the time. You know,

when I'm baste jumping, when you're like turning without using
your turn. Um, yeah, I I remember, Matthias. We also
interviewed I interviewed David Cheff, whose son Nick was the
subject of Beautiful Boy. But I also think back to
a couple of seasons ago I interviewed Laird Hamilton's and
it was the same idea that I don't mind taking

these risks. I don't mind if I die, although obviously
I don't want to even that even though I have kids,
because this is who I am, Like, I am this
person who does these behaviors. You are okay and then
and that was always so striking to me that they
thought the moral um choice in that sense was to
show theirs to fully be themselves for their kids. Like

for both layer to Mattias, it's like, I want to
show my kids to do the things you are and
the things you're passionate about. It does not resonate with me,
but I finally speaking with you and Matthias, I understood
what they're saying. It must also be a lot easier
to tell your kids what you do for a living
My children still have no idea what I do for

a living, and you know, when I get around or
do understanding it, they're not going to really be interested in.
I don't think I raised crickets. Um, my kids know
that I bring home toys and they're excited about that,
like giveaway, like hey, I got a foam finger from
the cell phone company that kind of stuff. No. No,
because through fatherly I get like, like all the new

toys before are out, what is going on with that?
You haven't put Jason on the free toy racket train.
Come on, you haven't put me on the red I
don't even know the sports teams. I can get you
into the Gleason's Gym Wrestling Orama, Yes, I would like that. Um,
anything else then is come on, that's surface stuff. We

talked about some some heavy heavy lifts. Yeah, I mean listen,
I said this on the air. I believe. But I had,
you know, tremendous you know, admiration for the way that
you sort of took on very publicly, you know, your
own sort of demons and issues and had conversations that
I think applied for a lot of people of you know,

we're going through ship in their lives um and remind me,
I'm embarrassed that the doctor who came in to talk
about BPD, Valerie, I mean, and her intern Boris. I mean, folks,
if you haven't listened to this episode, I mean, it
was ninety of the most you know, extreme minutes of

my life. I felt, just as an observer of it,
you know, I'm not really you know, it was really
doing a lot of listening to you talk about it
with her, you know, it really sort of underscored how
this stuff can have value and and not to sound
glib about it, but we're in an era now where
they're fifty bazillion million podcasts, right and there's probably fifty

bazillion of them are a bad dads and parenting and
this stuff. We're not reinventing that. But when you get
into a conversation like that, what you were having and
being candid in the way that you were, not to
sound corny, but but I was like, this has real
value for people. There are probably a half dozen people
who listened to it, maybe more who for whom it
was life changing perhaps, and that's kind of cool. Yeah,

I think for me, like, yeah, I feel a little
self conscious already just talking about myself, and it's very
self driven. The season has been quite self driven. I think, um,
and it felt really good that I've gotten a couple
of emails you have more than a couple, Like I've
gotten a handful of emails with people thank you so

much for talking about this one thing. And I think, Yeah,
it's easy to just be turning out content because that's
what we do. That's how I get paid. Both of
us have been content monkeys. And to finally do something that,
you know, it was difficult to do personally, but I
do felt I do feel like resonated with other people
in a way that was meaningful to me. Apart from

meeting you and getting to hang out for the time
we have, the most satisfying and valuable thing was to
was to hear that we helped people who are struggling
similar I mean, you know, and very few people get
the opportunity to have that kind of impact, and so
that's a special thing. And I also just like, look,

I'm still in the world of like New Dad and
and trying to figure it out and making mistakes all
over the place, and just to be in the company
of people who are also trying to figure it out
is therapeut. Well, we're not quite done yet, Jason. We
have one more guest, Yes, Dr Jessica Tracy. She specializes
in pride. But I'm going to try to steer the

conversation to guilt classic JDS, move your sweet spot. Yeah, okay,
So we'll be back with Jessica after the break. Well,
I wanted to first of all, thank you for coming

on the podcast. I know you have written a lot
and research a lot about pride, and we'll get to pride.
But I wanted to open with a emotion. Although this
really goes to the the question of what is an emotion?
A feeling that I'm struggling with a lot in my
personal life, always have been, but particularly now guilt. Um

and it's a weird, heavy thing that I carry with me.
And like I said, it's kind of at the intersection
between an emotion and a physical sensation. And I was
hoping you could maybe orient us a little bit about
what that emotion is. Sure, Yeah, the guilt is heavy.

I think that's a really good description of it actually,
And and you know, I would say this physical part
is very much part of the emotion, the way that
emotional researchers think about and define emotions. Typically the feeling
part part of it, and the physical sensation will be
call physiological sensations, all that kind of stuff. That's that's
part of the emotional experience in the sault. It's this

coordinated bodily, behavioral, cognitive, subjective set of responses that work together.
And they do that because they're serving a particular function.
And that's how an evolutionary perspective, the idea is that
we have emotions because they're books called. They help us survived,
They help us survive our social lives. They help us,

uh kind of. It's been in some ways that we
would want to in you know, social world, gainst status,
keep friendships, they included within our important social groups. And
guilt is definitely one of those yeah so yeah, so
well it's funny because it feels really make it feels like, God,
I shouldn't be feeling that steel terrible that actually, do
you think about it. The reason we feel guilt is
typically because we've committed some transgression, or at least we

think we have. We've done something long often to someone else,
although not always um and this terrible feeling what we
have about it Essentially, it kind of tells us, listen,
this isn't something that we should do. If this is
something that in the future we should work hard to
do differently, and even maybe there's things you should you
to fix the situation. Maybe we owe someone an apology,

maybe we need to go and show someone that we're
sorry for what we did. Um And and that's basically
the function guilt serving. And that's a really important function
in terms of our relationships and our social groups, which
you know as a social species are pretty critical for us.
You researched this connection between the physicality and the um
the physiological symptoms that you were talking about in the

psychological symptoms, is guilt in any way more powerful than
I don't know, joy, your rage or does each emotion
have that intersection between the two um, Whether guilt is
more powerful than something like wage or anger or joy,
My guess is it really varies in the person. UM. Still,
I think we feel negative emotions more intensely than positive

emotions for the most part, so guilt might be a
more kind of overwhelming experienced and joy. Right, if if
you're feeling a negative emotion, if you're already you're previously
feeling a positive emotion, that next emotion can really take
over ithaps our attention. It really has greater salience. And
that's adaptive as well, because when things are going well,
we don't need to pay a lot of attention. We're fine.

Somethings going badly back to the situation where we do
need to change our avior and do something different, or
the consequences, you know, in many cases could be die
or at least in our revolutionary history. To compare guilt
and enrage, you know, I don't know. I think it
really would depend on the situation, the person, the context,
all that kind of thing. Don't you want to have
a little bit of guilt? I imagine somebody who just

leaves a life without any guilt, They just I don't
know what kind of species that would be. I think
of guilt as being some kind of harness to make
sure that we, you know, commit, follow through on commitments,
adhere to obligations. Now, of course, it has negative connotations
all over the place. And but but isn't there some
version of guilt which every person needs? Yeah? No, I

mean that's exactly what I was trying to say when
I talked about it being functional how I see these
emotions is that we need them. They're doing something important
for us. If you didn't feel guilt, then you would
hurt your partner, you'd hurt your friends and would care
and so you wouldn't fix the situation and they would
hate you an outcast. So it is absolutely adaptive for
us to feel these emotions, and people generally tend to

be more pro social good people. Um, there are a
lot of results from the people who are prone to
deals are actually kind of the best people in a
lot of ways, in ways we think of in terms
of morality. Right there. Empathetic, they care about others and
help others, They work hard, they're conscientious. Um. On the whole,
feeling guilt is not a bad thing, and in fact,

many psychologists or emotion researchers can prost dot with shame, which, well,
it's also something that you know is adaptive for us
to feel comes with much more problematic set of consequences shame,
shame and guilt. Yeah, so, so the many differences that
guilt is typically felt about a behavior that you did,
so I hurt my partner, right you feel guilt, Shame

is much more about who you are, So instead of
being able to focus on you know what, I forgot
to call my partner when I was supposed to hear
that I really made them feel bad. That's terrible. Instead
you say, oh my god, I am a bad person.
It's so funny because yeah, Jason and I on the
podcast a couple of episodes ago had this researcher Valerie Poor,

who UM works with borderline personality disorder, which is what
I have, and she was talking about how, like, UM,
so much of having BPD is like suffering from shame,
and so it's you know, I think one of the
reasons I was so excited to talk to you, and
I am so excited to talk to you. This is
great so far is UM because I'm carrying around all

this guilt. I'm basically um leaving or my relationship is
ending with my wife and I have kids, and so
I'm kind of swirling with all of these heavy emotions
and it's really hard for me to parse out what
part is guilt and what part is shame. But I
I think the thing that I'm curious about and like

is useful or could be useful, is you know, the
function of guilt seems to be a little bit too.
Um catalyze. I guess that's the word um atonement, which
I just learned the other day is comes from at one,
not a tone, but it comes from at one making
hole again, which blew my mind. Um, but what do

you do with guilt? Like, I can't make it better,
I can't go back, and I can't remedy the situation.
I can't make it better, So I'm caring it can't
be resolved and does guilt? To me, it feels like
guilt is festering, you know, like it's just gonna be
They're unsatisfied, right, I mean, I guess the question is

you can't. You can't always fix things. I totally agree.
There's things that were done that are done, and that's
scene at the end of the story. But there are
ways that you can show and that can both make
the person that you have heard feel better or at
least feel like you're still a social person worthy of
their trust. And then we can make because at least

you try to do something in the of it right.
And I think that's where apology, confession, all that kind
of stuff comes in. So you know, you can you
can do things that are bad and then try to
make up for them that has happened. I can never
you know, I can never change what happened, but I
can show you I'm still that morally upright good person
that you saw that I was. I just did a

bad thing, and I know that it was a bad thing,
and I'm fully acknowledging that it was a bad thing
and how much it hurt you, And I want you
to know I'm going to do better in the future.
And I think that you know, that's the way that
we deal with guilt, and it's really you know, it's
as adaptive a way as possible to do with a transgression.
I think with shame, what research suggests is that because
it's much more about the self, you can't make a

distinction between what you did and who you are. So
whereas with guilty, can say I think that that's not
who I am. I know I can do better, the
same you can say, you know what I shame mean,
spaces sorry, you say this bad thing is who I am? Right,
I'm just I'm this bad person. I can never do better,
And so instead of going and trying to fix it
or apologize or let on you are, the typical response

to shame is actually to avoid the situation. Hide um,
not you know, not go seek out the people that
you've heard, but actually kind of directly avoid them. Hide away. Um.
That's what shame keeps me motivated. And you can't understand
it's you know, there's ways of which, as active and
our evolutionary history, if you're going to get attacked to
hide and avoid, But in most situations, the most social
or in our personal situation in our lives, that's not

the most adaptive solution. I think of these as such,
you know, primal emotions. Is there any way in which technology,
as it has for a whole bunch of you know, emotions,
exacerbated the condition of guilt? I think of like, you know,
the person who's uh toiling at the workplace at ten
o'clock at night and looking at a photograph of their kids,

you know, having a birthday party or something like that.
Are they do we have these these supposed tools in
our lives, are they perhaps stressing our feelings of guilt
and shame? So sorry, you're thing because you like technology
to think about it. I'm wondering because we have now

in our lives at the access to knowing everything that
is happening at a given time, and making ourselves available
even if we're not. Um is there femi available? Yeah?
You know, and you know there's all kinds of conversation
of course about like not being present in the moment
and what that is as a condition. Um is there

any way that sort of modern life is again sort
of exacerbating the idea of guilt and shame because we
are so capable theoretically of being and doing things multiples
that wants, but we can't. Yeah, that's interesting, I mean funny.
The way I always think about social media and technology

affecting this kind of stuff is because we're so aware
of what everyone else is doing, and because everyone you know,
so many people use social media to appetise, advertise all
of their virtuous acts. They are virtue signaling, virtue signaling exactly. Yeah,
because we're constantly confronted with that, we have this constant
sense of not with him up to what we should

be doing. You know, if my friends are this kind
of parent, why can't I do that? You know, they
post this port their kids. Should I be doing you
try to posting that? That absolutely is a real issue,
that there's this constantly social comparison that is kind of
thrust upon us. Yeah, I mean I kind of, Jason.
I think to your your question, it's almost like the
more opportunities you have to express yourself and the more

actions you have, the more opportunity you have to do something,
you feel guilty about it. Because if I understand Dr
Tracy correctly, it's like guilt is occasioned by acting in
ways that don't accord with your moral understanding and moral code.
So if that's like, um, you have the option of
um posting a picture of your kid, right, on one hand,

you want to do that because you're proud of your kids,
and we'll get to pride in a second. And then
but then you're also taking this opportunity to reify yourself
and advertise you can violate their privacy. Then you feel
guilty about it. So every opportunity you have to act
as an opportunity to feel guilty. Sure, and on top
of Joshua, we both know that there are many people,
and I believe you're one of them, who have you know,

objections and very legitimate ones to not say, putting their
kids out there on social media and so on. And
then I put up a kidding on social media, and
that's a feeling of pride for me, but also accompanied
by some guilt because I am, you know, violating what
some people feel are you know, child's rights. It's a

self expression. So, Dr Tracy, you've also written a book
about pride, and I was wondering two things. I was
wondering if there's any sort of parallels between pride and shame, sorry,
between pride and guilt, And also I'm just curious about
pride being is the subtitle the original version of the

um the book was, you know, pride is one of
those emotions which moves from the moves maybe from healthiness
to harmfulness, you know, like, yeah, I think the subtitle is, um,
how the world's deadliest sin is also the keyest success
or something like that, Why the deadly sin? Why the

deadly sin holds the sucred human success? Ye? So talk
to me about pride which is also pro social? I think, yeah, well,
so this is really interesting, And actually I think you
kind of the way that you characterize your question actually
is perfect because the way that pride relates to guilt.
To understand it, you actually have to make this distinction
became two different kinds of pride which really gets at

this deadly sin issue. So what we found in our
research is that pride is not just one thing. I
think the kind of pride that most people, we log
culture think of most typical um is the pro social kind.
And we call that authentic pride, and that's basically feelings
of confidence, achievement, accomplishment. It's what we feel when we've
worked really hard for something and then you know, we

get well on it, and we know that and we
feel good about ourselves for it. And this kind of
pride is great, has all kinds of adaptive benefits. It
motivates people to work hard um, and it's linked to
all sorts of positive personality traits and pro social behavior.
But then there's this other kind of pride, which we
call hubristic pride, taking from the Greek word hubris, and
that's that's the one that we're trying of talking out

with that deadly sin idea. Right that pride pride is
considered what of Dante's deadly Actually Dante said it was
the deadliest of the seven deadly home um. And so
hubristic pride, which also is very much what people think
about and they think of pride um, and it's it's
very much people experience. When we have to talk about
their pride experiences, they report all kinds of huberistic pride
experiences as well, but it's characterized more by feelings of

egotism and arrogant and she didness. So it's sort of
pride too much. It's too much pride or inappropriate pride,
and it's linked to all kinds of negative outcomes. So
maybe kind of pride. What are the rains that take
pride from hubristic pride back to um? Saying pride or um?

I think you call it authentic pride, authentic bred. How
do you get from one to the other? Is that
what you're asking? Well, if it's on a continuum, right,
And I do feel like sometimes they're continuum. Yeah, I
didn't mean to imply that. Yeah, So it's two different
kinds of pride and experience both the experience neither very

much independent experiences. Okay, So it's not that too much
authentic pride yields hubristic pride, it's that the route is different. Yes, exactly,
Why were you attracted to pride? I'm attracted to guilt?
Why were you attracted to pride. Why I want to
study pride. I mean, to be honest, I actually started
studing guilt and shame before I started studying pride. I,

like you, interested in when I was thinking with the
self and how self and emotions relate. And so these
emotions all pride, guilt, shame, these are all what we
call self conscious emotions. So there are the emotions that
we feel when we think about ourselves and when we
feel self conscious almost of evaluating ourselves. And when I

got into this line of work, um, I was really
interested in in sorry, guilt and shame, but they're actually
have been a good deal was already done on guilt
and shame and they've been almost a pride. So I
sort of got into it just because for that reason family,
that you know, here's something that no one's really studied
and actually turns out to be quite important. I just
want to go back to the guilt thing just for
one feel guilty about it. That's just the way my

mind where I just want to um dwell for a
second on the idea of moving on. Also because it's
personal for me and like it's like I feel this
momentum and that I have to do this thing, which
is move on. And on one hand, yeah, I feel
happy that I can move on and like be a

happy person or try to be a happy person, and
also so much guilt that I've incurred so much damage
for other people, and the idea that I can't undo
the damage. I mean, I know you said, you know,
I know you said, like apologize and and um, confess
and all those things. But at the end of the day,

the damage is done. You know, I cannot undo that damage.
And you know, I'm a I'm a I'm a Buddhist,
And so the idea that I've I've incurred this negative
karma which will carry I will carry with me for
this in all my future lifetimes. And there's nothing I
can um, there's nothing I can do with that. How

do you move on? Does it just does guilt dissipate?
That's a great question. I mean, I you know, I'm
just I'm going to sound like a broken record here,
but I really think that yeah, I mean, over time
it's going to dissipate, but especially to take fun. But
you do whatever you can, you know, even if if
it's apologizing any you know, if I guess your idea

will sort of be you apologize to people you've heard
and they actually say, I hear you, and I forgive
you for me. That is so important and that is
not at all happening right, right of course, right, And
so that's over time, it might you know, you might
sign that whoever you've hurt will eventually be in a
place where they're ready to forgive you, where they feel
differently about the situation and their own lives and you know,

the results of whatever happened and all that sort of thing,
and so that that could change and that could be huge.
But um, but you know, it's sort of like, you
know what, I'm not a bad person. There's all these
ways in which I'm good and I want to be good.
The fact that I feel bad about this the past,
that I feel guilt is a signal of that. I mean,
think about if you were not a good person, you
wouldn't feel guilt at people. The fact that you do

and you're tortured by it, I think you can sign
of that. And then it's sort of like, Okay, well,
how can I work in my life to be better,
to do things differently and to try not to hurt
people in the future, you know, I think, um, yeah,
that's that's you know, And that's that's what I know
about guils. You know, I don't. I think it's I

think you're in a tough situation, but I think that
really kind of working to know that this is not
about who you are, and it's obviously not. But why
do you need be feeling guilts? But rather everyone does
stuff that they wish they hadn't done, and that hurt
the people they love. And then it's a matter of
how do you feel about it and how you cope
with it and how do you how do you make amends? Um?

Can I ask? I agree, it's not easy. It's not
a walk in the park. Yeah, exactly. I want to
ask your I just want to ask about your experience
with the emotion and self lab Um okay. So I think,
like I've worked for a long time not to minimize
my emotions, but not to have my emotions, um like

rule my life, and they have thus far in a
lot of ways. And so I'm curious, like, after working
in this field for so long and studying it and
like this is your life's work, just generally, how do
you see emotions fitting into our human experience? Well? Big question.
But I think one that I'm curious what you you know,

there is a big question. I think, you know, I
think they're a huge part of it. I think that
I hear what you're saying that you don't want your emotions.
I forget the word you use, they're just phrasing you use.
But you don't want emotions to be such a prominent
for shaping your Yeah, my perspective is that's that's how

it works. You know, that's what they're there for. And um,
I think that whether it's you know so so, a
lot of it is I think choosing the right emotions,
regulating the emotions that are problematic, and converting them to
emotions that are less problemul. In my book, I talk
a lot about how you can harmost try to actually
motivate you to become the kind of person you want
to be because you can allow yourself to feel the

authentic kind of pride that's going to motivate hard work
and all the kinds of behaviors that they're going to
get you to that place you want to be. The
key is to not, you know, to regulate uberistic cry.
Try to avoid those experiences and minimize them convert them
to authentic cry that kind of thing. Um. And so
that's one way to do it. But to just say well,
I'm not going to feel emotions. I'm not going to
let emotions be the driving force, I think that's unrealistic.

I also think, um, you know, emotions motivate us to
do everything we do. So it's sort of like, well,
I don't want to feel emotions because I don't want
to be motivated in those directions. That's fair enough. Whatever
directions it is you don't like, but whatever direction you
want to be motivated, and it's going to be an
emotion that gets you there, right, So you just got
to kind of figure out what emotion it is that
you need to feel to be motivated in the way

that you want to go. You know, for some people,
I can imagine it would even be anger. I think
a lot of people don't want to feel anger and
have a lot of problems with anger because it's controls
their behavior and makes them behaving ways they don't like
when they see it later and think about it later,
and it's so overpowering. But of people out there who
actually are being taking advantage of and being walked all
over might be motivate in themselves with pride. Is there

a connection the good side of pride? Is there a
connection to the principles of self esteem? You know, I
think of pride for many people being a form of empowerment.
M yeah, absolutely, Yeah. So authentic pride, the good kind
is very much really self esteem. Um. I think you know,
we call it sort of a trade state distinction. So
if you feel a lot of authentic pride at a

state or momentary level, then you'd like to be someone
who has high self esteem at a trade or dispositional level.
And I think that's actually true that people who are
able to feel at easily are people who do have
kind of stable, uh sense of genuine self work, who
kind of feel that that they're good people essentially, which
is what self esteem is. I want to ask you
just about a classic cliche that you always hear in

the workplace and so on, and you know, with regard
to when you were talking about emotions. You know, we
we use the word, you know, emotional as a negative
to describe people. Oh he's so emotional, she's so emotional. Uh.
When someone says this, when they say it's just business,
it's not personal, is there in fact such a condition,

or are things always correlated to personal and emotion in
those kinds of conditions. What's going on in your life, Jake,
I would serve papers this morning. No, no, no, Yeah,
it's a great question. It's really interesting. I think, you know,
it's funny. I assume people do that to sort of

day Listen, don't feel emotions about this. This isn't about you,
isn't about our relationship. But I think what you're getting
at is true that there's always some relationships at state, right,
And maybe maybe it's not a close friend. Maybe it's
just we were people who spent time together at work,
but those are still really important people in our lives.
We spend a lot of time with the people that
you see at work often, you know. I feel like

I spend more times work on a day day basis
than I do with some of my closest friends, because
you can't find time to get together that often, you know.
So I do think that you know, everything ends up
being quote unquote personal in the extent to the extent
that if someone does something that's going to be hurtful,
it's it's going to be hurtful. Um, But presumably you

can sort of say, listen, this is a business decision,
meaning I mean, like you, I want you to be
my friend. This doesn't have anything to do with how
much I want to spend time with you. This is
just about you know, the need to make money or
whatever it is. Um, it's still gonna be hurtful, but
maybe it's a it's a way of minimizing the hurt. No.
I think you're absolutely right that people use that kind

of phrasing to inoculate themselves. I mean, the other you know,
the silly one is the SEINFELDI and like it's not you,
it's me. You know that kind of thing, right right, yeah,
I mean but to me, I don't know. Just to
push back on all of this, Like for me, I
think that, um, what I'm trying to work on is
the sense that I have of the steady sense of

self already that like I identify with my emotions, Like
if I feel angry, I'll say I'm angry. But you
know what I'm trying to, um, realize that there's no
like steady me to feel the anger. You know, something
that helps me a lot. And I think this speaks
to them well as it personal or not personal is
to to observe, oh, there is anger, Like there's a

sense of anger, there's a sense of sadness, there's a
sense of joy less And that has helped me in
my life more than because for me, emotions are such
a strong rush that I'm so attached to them and
it's like getting caught in a current and then you
look up and you're like five ft below the water,
you know, and you're just like what happened. It's like

I'm angry, I'm sad, I'm blah. Um. But to just
feel those emotions flow through me without being attached to them,
I mean, that's kind of been my project for like
since two thousand ten. You know, I don't know Dr Tracy,
if I'm like, I don't on a fool's errand or whatever. No, No, No,

I think I actually think. I mean, I think what
you're talking about, like practices from Buddhist meditation and that
kind of thing is is a great way of working
on regulating your emotions. You know. I think, Um, you're
absolutely right that to to acknowledge them to Okay, I'm
having this emotional experience, but it doesn't have to take
me over. I can observe it and kind of get
that external observer perspective that I know meditation practices help

people kind of adopt. UM. I think that's a really
good way to to sort of allow yourself to get
a little detached from it, to not let that anger
totally take control. Um, it's hard. I think. You know,
emotions are really powerful because you know that's how they
were designed by evolution right there. They're meant to control us.
But you're right, they often do it in ways that
we don't want to. Actually, isn't isn't good for our

social relationships, And so what you're suggesting could be a
really a good way to go. The evolution thing is
so interesting, So are like current emotional our current emotional lives,
like I've never thought of it before, is also a
product of evolutionary change, Like it has behooved us as
a species to feel these emotions. Do you think that's

exactly right? Do you think that there's a, um, I
don't know, a tipping point where are kind of to
go back to Jason's point, Um, where we've encouraged, We've
accrued so much power to act on our emotions that
it kind of is no longer evolutionarily beneficial to have
such strong emotions, meaning, oh I'm angry, I have the

power to enact this anger on millions of people now, right,
whereas before our scope of capabilities was smaller. Oh yeah, absolutely.
I think that the emotions of Spain evolved when we
lived in a very different situation, and they evolved to
help us deal with those is not the one we

deal with now, and it's super problematic, and I think
you know, do example, you do this just one example
of that, but there's there's a lot of them, like
shame is another rate example, okay, is you know in
our evolution through the ancestral environment in which much much
of this stuff kind of emerged. Of all, we lived
in small groups, typically with mostly family members or people
who knew really well. And so if you did something

that was a violation in some way, feeling the same
and hiding so that you weren't attacked or thrown out
of the group was probably an adaptive way to go
because you could get, you know, thrown out of the group.
And shame as a pinion that says, look, I know
I did something ry I needed is submission, right, and
you can do it another animals in the submission displays
we feel shame about something that no one might even

know that we did, but it causes us to hide
trying to be better. Um. And it can really, it
can really be problematic. And I think you're also that
a lot of the things that were once functional, um,
because of that context are in the in the current context. Okay,
last question. If you the University of British Columbia could
put together the ideal emotional life or slate or lineup

or whatever for the current kind of conditions of society
and reach and all this stuff, how would you configure that? Wow,
you're asking her to save the world. Basically, No, but don't.
Don't you think it's interesting? Like what would the ideal person?
Would they feel less shame? Would they feel you know, like,

what would be optimized for the survival of our species? Well,
that's that's a tough question. I thought you were gonna
say for you know, for our happiness and emotional health. Okay, fine,
happiness and emotions the easy way, yeah, because it's really different, right, UM,
And the research is easier. You know, the research is

to address that question about happiness and health, and so
you know they're they're okay, sure, no problem. We know
that people who feel guilt and don't feel shame are happier,
They have more satisfying emotional lives, they are less likely
to get depressed, they have higher self esteem. So that's
one thing for sure. Separate shame and guilt. Yeah, and
and feel you know, it's okay to feel sutil but

don't you're not to feel shame. UM, anger within reason.
I think you know, we know the people whose anger
gets out of control and they have about the wage
and and and aggressions that can be really problematic. Um.
Authentic pride, the good pride, but not hebriistic pride, the
bad pride that leads people to hurt others and just
look out for themselves and and be even be aggressive
and manipulative and that kind of thing. Um, those's happiness.

Everyone likes positive emotions. There's lots of different positive there's happiness, gratitude, empathy, compassion, tenderness, admiration.
All these emotions are about strengthening our social relationships, and
they feel good and they help us in our relationships
with others. So those are good. Okay, happiness is good. Good.
We've got to keep here we need fear fear, well,

Dr trasan maybe not chronic anxiety. I would, I would,
I would throw that in the waist bucket. Yeah. The
problem is you need fear because if something dangerous is happening,
you've got to respond adaptively. Yeah. But you can have
fear without anxiety maybe. Yeah. The anxiety. Anxiety is to
fear as shame is to guilt. Um, not exactly. It

it's vulnerable the theory, well, because it's not just like guilts,
a mild version of shame. It's it's actually listened by
a different kind of understanding or different appraisal about the self, right,
whereas anxiety is kind of a more mild version of
fear to some extent chronics, more more continuous, but less intense. Gotcha, well,
Dr Tracy, thank you for joining us. Um, I feel happier,

less anxious, and a little less guilty. That's not true,
but I appreciate it. Segment yea, thank you. Yeah, thanks
for having me. Sure, thanks take care. Do you feel satisfied?

I do you know this is going to sound like
a really fastile point, but like it just is amazing
to me that there's a whole world of study of
conditions like this, that one could literally dedicate their life
to studying matters of guilt or pride. It's just it's fascinating,
you know. I just always thought of like academia is like, Okay,
you're gonna do like Faulkner dinosaurs, you know, and and

and and In many ways, this stuff is just so
much more essential to the human condition than almost any
field to study. Yeah, I don't know if I was
going to be in academia, this would be the thing
I would go. But I think my my takeaway from
that is one doing podcast interviews on cell phones. This
is a bad idea to um and this is something

like I came up with in my own like therapy,
life is the mind, Like spiritual practice is so different
from this kind of like Western understanding of emotion, even
though it ties into it a little bit that like
I have a hard time it's kind of like I
understand what she's talking about about emotions, but I feel
like I have some sort of like answer, which is, oh, yeah, yeah.

I don't even know if I want this on the
podcast because it sounds so douchy, But it's like it
transcends the idea of it transcends the idea of self.
Like I think ultimately there is no self. So my
solution is to dissolve a sense of self instead of
trying to harness my emotions. I don't want to harness
my emotion period. That doesn't sound that douchy to me.

I also wonder, um, you know, I don't know how
you feel about this parenthood and seeing you know, both
of our children are broods are broods. They're young, and
the emotions are not terribly far from the surface. They
are reactive. They haven't really learned the bad habits, at

least mine haven't of like, you know, trying to mask
their emotions yet. And there's something actually kind of great
about that they are what they are in that moment um.
And I feel that's been a little instructive for me,
as an adult who is full of you know, nonsense
and coping strategies and like, you know, explanations and rationalizations

for every imaginable emotional state, to just watch how kids
kids are what they are in that time and it
passes through them. And I think that's the thing that
has been instructive is I see Arge get fucking distraught
for thirty seconds and then he's back and he's getting
his fish sticks or whatever, and it's like, no big deal.
But I think for me as a parent, the emotional

aspect has been that I cycle. I feel so many emotions,
and my style of parenthood is very hands on and
high volume. So there's so many instances in which I act.
I don't know how to put it. When you don't
have kids, right and you're not around them, and you're

not around your kids all the time, you're not really
asked to have that many actions. You're not taking that
many actions where you're taking actions that you want to
take right when you're with your kids and they're all
over you all the time, and you're being asked to
decide eight thousand things that'd be thirty seconds, and you're
cycling through all these emotions. It's also an opportunity to
observe your own emotions, and I think that's what's been

so useful for me is I can see, oh here,
I'm getting frustrated, here, I'm getting angry, here, I'm happy
here on this, And then how am I acting based
on those emotions? You know, and you can't match them emotionally?
I mean, that's just you're not going to last very long.
You know, if you're like meeting their anger with anger
and their fear with fear. I mean you're in the

you know position very often and trying to mitigate whatever
emotions they are, if they're negative. I'm not trying to
mitigate their happiness yet yet. All that's that's that's my
mother specializes, you know what, speaking of Like Algie asked
me this morning, Um, why have we never died? That's like, wow,

that's a whole pod right there. Yeah. I was like, well,
I guess the causes and conditions that would have caused
our death haven't come together yet. And that's how you
really answered it? Well, yeah, how else I would have
been like your cereal the Yeah, the circum I said,
the um when I say the circumstances that would lead

to our death haven't occurred? Yeah, that was a deep question.
Yeah whatever. Okay, So kids encourage emotion. They make you
aware of your own I believe, at least in my
case because I'm quite a bit more sophisticated. That's what

you think. Um. Tracy brought up a good distinction between
shame and guilt, which those are totally like commingled with me.
I think for me, it's like, so I live alone
now and like I'm out in the world, and it's like,
my thing is what do I do with this backpack
of guilt that I'm carrying? Do I still you know,

like the guilt is I think she's right, a signal,
a sign that I do have a moral compass, And
so I cherish it for that because if I didn't
feel that guilt and I've ruined so many people's lives,
it's like, then I'm a sociopath. But at the same time,
it's a really heavy burden to carry around and at
some point I think it's going to cause me to

act in ways that aren't beneficial for other people. Um
in my own life. It's like it'll be part of
my ship that I carry around everywhere, and I don't
want that. And I don't think she provided an answer,
and I don't think there fully is an answer for
what to do with that backpack. Yeah, there's nothing. And
you know, you were talking about Buddhism and spirituality there

and trying to like not you know, dwell on the self.
There's no coping mechanism, no nothing there. No, I think
what the Buddhist perspective is the problem isn't the backpack.
The problem is wanting to put down the backpack. The
back it's just there. I think a Buddhist perspective would
be not to attach it to your sense of self,

which aligns with what she's saying about how guilt is
transmogrified into shame. I think of them as being somewhat separate.
Not to challenge her, you know she likes so much,
but but but with guilt. I think of guilt as like, Okay,
you know we're men in New York City. You're getting
these emails, Joshua, you gotta come to my book party,

my band's plan. Hey I just started doing stand up comedy,
and you're like, oh god, I'm just like to me,
guilt is like not going to all the invites, right.
Shame is a different thing. Yeah, but your life is
like like I'm getting I don't get that many email.
My friends aren't that successful. My guilt is more like, Hey,

this person that I was married wanted to move upstate
and become a farmer and had this whole life vision
for us and invested in me as her husband, and
had this life planned out for us, and I ruined that,
and I've ruined another person's life. You know, that's not
quite an email. I mean that has that has been
put in an email, but there's more to it than that.
So it's like, it's so hard when the guilt is

so huge, that's weapons grade guilt. Yeah, how do you
not let that bleed over into shame? And then if
you don't let it bleed over into shame, which I'm
trying hard not to, what do you do with that
whole big circle of damage you caused? Do you think
that humiliation is a totally separate feeling from all that

I'm The reason I asked is that you know, someone
close to me I had a marriage dissolved a long
time ago, and they talked about how that just that
feeling of humiliation to just to tell people, you know,
you have to confide and you know, friends and then
coworkers and things and all that kind of process just
like really wore them down in ways that they didn't anticipate. No,

I mean, I don't feel humiliated at all. I think
it's I feel I feel like, at the risk of
sounded glibe, this is how people are, and people funk up,
and that's what it's that's what it means to be human.
You're in the fifty two percent. I mean, this is
not like some sort of like I mean, but I'm

not in any way trying to justify anything that I've done.
I'm not doing that. It's like, I still take responsibility.
I still take it seriously, but I have a really
hard time and I don't want to for my own sanity,
and I don't think it's healthy to say, well, I
I am this a barrant who aren't individual who did this. No,

I'm I'm a human and I funked up and I
know it. I'm trying to do better. Well, that's it
for the Fatherly Podcast, for this episode and maybe forever. Um.
I want to thank all of you for listening and
the kind of comments that you've sent or let me
know that you've felt. I like it that I've done
something in the world that I think has been of service.

I want to thank our executive producer Andrew Berman, our
producer Anthony Roman. I guess I helped produce it, but
I don't need to thank myself. Juan A Duotone Studios,
who's engineering this, all of our co hosts, Postel Pringle,
Jason Gay, Krishnan Davalu and everyone who's been a part
of the podcast. That's it.

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