The Love Bridge

with Glennon Doyle

We need guides to walk with us when life goes a little off-script. In this episode, Kate speaks with bestselling author Glennon Doyle about unlearning the roles we’re stuck inside even when it costs us and what’s better than being perfect–being human.




Glennon Doyle

Glennon Doyle is the author of #1 New York Times bestsellers UNTAMED, LOVE WARRIOR, and CARRY ON, WARRIOR. An activist and thought leader, Glennon is the founder and president of Together Rising, an all-women led nonprofit organization that has revolutionized grassroots philanthropy – raising over $25 Million for women, families, and children in crisis. She lives in Florida with her wife and three children.

Show Notes

Click here for more info about Glennon’s non-profit, Together Rising.

Buy Glennon’s books Untamed, Love Warrior, and Carry On, Warrior here.

You can find Glennon on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can also find Glennon on her website.

Discussion Questions

Click here to download these questions as a PDF.

1. Glennon Doyle, author of the new memoir Untamed, found traction with readers when she shared a Facebook list that was different from other people’s lists. Have you ever dared to share something different than the script that was given you? What happened?

2. “It’s amazing the things that we hide from each other… They usually end up being the things that we were probably meant to help each other carry. Right?” Glennon reflects. Tell a story about a time where you thought you knew someone and then realized there was a whole other layer to them. What insight does this story give you about what connects and divides us?

3. Glennon doesn’t know which came first: the redemption of her first marriage or writing about the redemption of her first marriage in her second memoir, Love Warrior. What do you think she means by this delineation? When have you found yourself feeling for a redemption story?

4. While preparing to promote Love Warrior, Glennon meets a woman she calls the Mockingjay. Upon seeing her, she inexplicably hears the words “There she is.” Glennon reflects now, “I knew that it was from my wild, from my real voice because I wanted her. And it was the first time I had wanted anything beyond what I had been trained to want.” What have you been trained to want? When, if ever, have you wanted something different than what was expected of you? What did your wild voice sound like?

5. Glennon was trained to believe that good mothers are martyrs not models. Then, an ordinary interaction with her daughter ignited an extraordinary change of heart about her own love life: “I thought, oh, my God, I am staying in this marriage for her. But would I want this marriage for her?” How do you understand the relationship between your duty to yourself and your duty to your loved ones? What is your ultimate duty?

6. Roles are important, Glennon says. The problem is when we accept our culture’s definition of our roles instead of inventing our own. For example, Glennon used to think a broken family was a divorced family. But then she came up with a new definition: “a broken family is any family in which any members have to kind of break themselves into pieces to belong.” What definition have you had to reject and remake for it to fit your reality?

7. “People who don’t suck are people who have felt pain,” Glennon says. And, yet, we spend so much effort trying to protect those we love from it. What is it about pain that makes not just brave, wise, kind children but brave, wise, kind humans?

8. Glennon and Kate agree that not all pain is created equal. There is the pain of being human. There is the pain that’s inflicted upon you. And there is the pain you choose. Why are these distinctions so important? Can you give an example from your own life of why they matter?

9. Kate admits that it often feels like if we hurt inside, something’s wrong with us. And yet every great spiritual teacher has told us the opposite which, in the words of Glennon, is, “There’s no glory except straight through your story.” What message has religion or spirituality given you about how to become your truest, untamed, self?

10. If there’s one thing Glennon has learned in the last few years it’s that her joy and her people’s joy is not mutually exclusive. “There is no one-way liberation.” What’s one way you’ll choose joy today?

Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate and Glennon’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?

Discussion Questions written by author, editor, and facilitator Erin S. Lane.


Kate Bowler:                      Hi, I’m Kate Bowler, and this is Everything Happens.

K.B.:                 Look, the world loves us when we are good, better, best. But this is a podcast for when you want to stop feeling guilty that you’re not living your best life now. We’re not always having the juicing spree of our lives. I used to have my own delusion of living my best life now. I’m a Duke professor, wine and cheese enthusiast, wife and mom. Instagram gold. Then I was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. That was four years ago and I’m still here. And now I get it. Life is a chronic condition. The self-help and wellness industry will try to tell you that you can always fix your life. Eat this and you won’t get sick, lose this weight and you’ll never be lonely. Believe with your whole heart and God will provide. Keep this attitude and the money is yours. But I’m here to look into your gorgeous eyes and say, hey, there are some things you can fix and some things you can’t and it’s OK that life isn’t always better. We can find beauty and meaning and truth, but there’s no cure to being human. So let’s be friends on that journey. Let’s be human together.

K.B.                             I would consider myself quite an expert in a life that veers over the edge. If you’re listening to this, you are probably an expert too. Maybe something terrible happened to you or to someone you love. Maybe you just realized you didn’t know how to live. Once you figured out that life is harder and more fragile than you expected. Since my diagnosis four years ago, I realized that I needed people and language for living like this outside the normal. Other people who live off script where actually I now know that is where most people live. What do we need when life throws us off script? Cheerleaders, truth tellers, sages who have walked the road before us because none of us really know how to do this alone. Today’s conversation is with one such traveler who knows what it’s like to live off script. 

K.B.:                                    Today, I’m speaking with Glennon Doyle. Glennon is the author of New York Times best sellers, Carry On Warrior and Love Warrior, which Oprah is adapting into a movie, and her latest book, Untamed. And she is a gorgeous writer, an activist, and the founder of Together Rising, a women led nonprofit that has raised over 22 million dollars for families in crisis. Glennon, what a joy to be talking with you today.

Glennon Doyle:                              Kate, I’ve waited so long for this moment. I guess we have to do it in a podcast to be able to speak to each other. It’s the only way I talk to my friends now.

K.B.:                           Well, you were one of the very first people who ever read and endorsed my very sad book. And I was so grateful for that. You are this unapologetic lifter of voices. I just remember waking up that morning and I was in my p.j.s and I saw that you sent me a message and that was when, like, I was so sick and I burst into tears. I was so happy. And then my husband came over. And then we all did a giant group, Pajama Huggle, which is a standing hug. So that was a big moment for us, so thanks.

G.D.:                          Oh, what a joy to know that.

K.B.:                           I would love to start by talking a bit about your story for anyone who might not be familiar. I remember that you took a Facebook quiz one day when you were a stay at home mom to three kids at the time. And I wondered if you’d tell me what happened.

G.D.:                          Yeah, well, I was, yeah, I was just dripping with children and I was pretty freshly sober, only a few years sober and I saw one day on Facebook this thing was going around called “the twenty-five things.” And people were writing 25 things about themselves and posting them. And so I thought, okay, I can do this. Like, this is a way maybe I could feel less isolated and, you know write, I love using that voice. And so I sat down and started writing. And the thing is that I should have checked more carefully what other people were writing, because I just- I just did what I- I used the voice that I use in recovery meetings in that list. My number six was “I’m a recovering food and booze addict, but I still find myself missing booze in the same twisted way we can miss those who repeatedly beat us and leave us for dead.” And my friend Sarah’s number 6 was “my favorite snack food is hummus.”.

K.B.:                           Everyone else is like, I have a cat named Mittens.

G.D.:                          Exactly. And what happened is I just wrote that list and posted it and walked away. And when I came back to the computer, I found they had been shared all these times and I had like 30 new emails in my inbox and I had six messages from my sister. And that like repeated messages from my sister usually means that I have done something that normal people don’t do. You know, that it’s going to require some cleanup on her part. It’s just, so that’s when I figured out that I had used a different voice in my list than most people were using. Yeah, but it’s also when I discovered, you know, when I started opening up those emails from people, I realized that they were telling me they were from people who I had known for a very long time, but I had never really known because they were sharing with me things they’d never shared before.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          You know “I struggle with bulimia, too.” “My sister’s an addict and we don’t know what to do.” Just a lot of ‘me, too.’

K.B.:                           That is such an intense feeling to know like that everybody else was sort of living on script and then all of a sudden like there’s this whole other layer. I remember that feeling like the second I got sick and because the hospital was attached to my place of work, all of a sudden I was having totally different conversations with people I thought I knew, like people had worked alongside for like ten years. And all of a sudden you hear like all the “actually, I’m not totally sure that my life’s gonna work out. And this is what happened when things came apart.” And I’m scared. I’m scared. I’m scared. And I don’t think I really- I’d like to think like I’m an empathetic person or something, but I don’t think I actually knew that until I started listening or maybe just being honest in a different way.

G.D.:                          Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it’s amazing the things that we hide from each other, keep from each other. They usually end up being the things that we were probably meant to help each other carry. Right?

K.B.:                           Well, and you wrote this gorgeous book, Carry on, Warrior, I remember that so clearly. And you’ve had this beautiful ministry of being honest about parenting and marriage and how hard it is to raise kids. And I remember because I saw you right before the release of your next book, Love Warrior. And you had a whole vision for life on script. And I remember just connecting so much with the way that you were working so hard to be honest and also to say like this is how in the midst of the hardest things we can, in our vulnerability, be truly ourselves. You did this lovely thing where you hugged every single person who came to the event that night and so I have really nice photos of you hugging me when I’m very sick. And I’m super bloated because was super chemo puffy. And I- I honestly had no idea that at that time you were struggling through your own feeling that your life script was just about to break. So what happened?

G.D.:                          Love Warrior is a book about my previous marriage and about the implosion of that marriage when I found out that my husband had been unfaithful to me throughout our marriage. And Love Warrior was sort of the redemption story of that marriage, and I needed it to be a redemption story. I just really, really felt like I needed my life and my marriage to be a redemption story so I took back control the way I know how, which is therapy in writing. And at the end of a few years, I had myself a marriage redemption story in book form and real life form.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Though I don’t know which came first, right. And I went to my first event to launch the book and I was sitting around a table with a bunch of other writers at this event trying to make small talk. And the woman I was talking to stopped speaking and just turned her head toward the door. And so I did, too. And there was a woman standing in the door and she was 7 trillion feet tall and she was just wearing this gray trench coat and this blood red scarf and this platinum hair shaved inside and long on top. And she just took up the whole doorway, the whole universe. And everybody, all the writers, were staring at her because it was like the Mocking jay had just landed at our nerdy book party, right. We just did not understand what’s happening. And she just her eyes went around the table and she- her eyes stopped on me. And immediately when they stopped on me, I just felt, I don’t know what the right word is, I- I heard or felt or just became three words. And the three words were, “there she is.” And tragically, I actually- Kate, I stood up. I don’t know, like the words rose inside of me and I lost control of my freaking body. So I stood up and threw my arms open. This is like the family joke of the world now. So, so now I don’t realize it till I’m already standing. So now my ten nerdy book friends are staring at me instead of the Mocking jay because I have stood up and opened my arms wide. And so all I can think to do is like bow, like pretend that this is like how I normally greet people, you know. So I just do this weird bow, I mean there’s no more awkward. I’m sweating now, I’m sweating now just thinking about this. So, you know, if like the Queen of England had walked in the room this would be extra, what I did, right. So I just immediately sat down and as I sat down, I really thought that those words I heard, “there she is,” were from on high. Like I thought I just had become part of this magical Disney moment. And it took me forever to figure out, oh, I was hearing- those words came from within.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Right, I was actually hearing from my true voice that had been buried underneath all of these expectations and ideals and things I was performing. And I knew that it was from my wild, from my real voice because I wanted her. And it was the first time I had wanted anything beyond what I had been trained to want.

K.B.:                           Right.

G.D.:                          Right. And I loved her and it was the first time I’d loved anyone beyond who I’d been expected to love. And I also knew eventually, because- that it was my true inner voice, because the whole world was saying “no.” I mean, everyone I loved everyone- like everyone on earth was saying, no, no, no, not this. And I was still saying yes. Right?

K.B.:                           And you just flung your little heart wide open with your arms.

G.D.:                          Yeah, like the nerd I am. Like the awkward nerd I am.


K.B.:                           Ah I love that! My kid and I always talk about like, “and then we looked at each other and our hearts built a bridge, and then we make this little like rainbow.

G.D.:                          Oh God, that’s it!

K.B.:                           But that’s the feeling, it’s like- it’s like all of a sudden two people from across the rooms just like built a rainbow, to each other’s hearts.

G.D.:                          And you got the rainbow in there, Kate. I see what you did there. Got the rainbow in.

K.B.:                           And then there she was. And then there you were.

G.D.:                          And then there’s you. And I mean, listen, this was weeks before my book launch of my epic marriage redemption story. I mean, it was and it was the worst timing that anyone could imagine. Everyone freaked out. You know, the editors, the agents, everyone. But, you know, when you hear that inner yes rise.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          And like shake the bars of- of your cages, it just becomes, it just becomes impossible to abandon yourself again.

K.B.:                           Well, I think it’s one of the most common stories I think we have, especially as women, that we’re just supposed to be grateful like this feeling like, no, everything’s enough where everything we have is enough. You have your Starbucks order already, thank you.

G.D.:                          Just enjoy the latte even though you ordered the mocha.

K.B.:                           You have it; you know your preferences. But like sometimes we know deep down that a lot of us are struggling against the feeling that there should be more somehow.

G.D.:                          And isn’t that Kate, like that’s the ultimate sin for a woman, right? It’s like the one thing you’re not allowed to do as a woman is want more?

K.B.:                           I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know a more shameful word in like my vocabulary, or maybe it’s just like very all the Enneagram twos of the world, but the word selfish. Like if you just want more, you’re being selfish. And I think, too, especially if you’ve almost lost so much that, that, that might have been a feeling you had where you just fought to get everything back. So then why give it up again?

G.D.:                          Yeah. When I knew, when I knew that I was deeply, deeply in love with Abby, I also knew that I couldn’t do anything about it because I was trained to believe that a mother, a good mother, does not- she doesn’t honor herself. She- she hides who she is and she hides her emotions and she hides her desire, because that is what is good for the children.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Because otherwise she’d be selfish. But one day I was standing in front of the mirror with my daughter, Tish. She was looking at herself and she turned around and she said, “can I do my hair like yours, mommy?” And- and I realized in that moment, ‘oh, every time she looks at me, she’s asking a question.’ She’s saying, how do I do my hair, mommy? How do I love? How do I live? And I thought, oh, my God, I am staying in this marriage for her. But would I want this marriage for her. Right? It’s like we have been trained, it’s part of our taming. Like we have been trained to believe that the ultimate form of motherhood is martyrdom, which is such an incredible burden for our children to bear. Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Because to be the reason, to know innately that they are the reason that their mother stopped showing up, stopped living. And also to know that one day if they become mothers or if they even become someone deeply in love, that it will be their duty to slowly disappear.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Right? That’s when I realized oh, that’s not- that’s, that’s taming. That’s part of my taming, that a mother is a martyr. No, what a mother is, is a model. Right? That it’s- it’s not if- if our children will only live as fully as we give ourselves permission to live, which means that brave motherhood must be about refusing to settle for any relationship or any community or any world less true and beautiful than the one that we would want for our children. Right? Which made me figure out, oh, my daughter does not need me to save her. She needs to watch her mother save herself.

K.B.:                           Yeah, I had such an intense enough feeling like I had- I totally hear what you’re saying about like, if we can just prop up our lives then we give all the extra. Then like, that’s what parenting is, it’s like you make yourself smaller so then they can get all the more. I’m blown away by- by how hard it is just to even recognize hunger in ourselves when it it feels I think when it feels sometimes like the opposite of being a mom. Yeah. Like you’re supposed to just get quieter. Smaller. I mean more like softer in a way.

G.D.:                          Yeah. Disappear.

K.B.:                           Yeah. Like you speak really beautifully about how when we finally get, we get into roles then people can just bury themself in the role. Like I’m a mom, I’m a wife, I’m a fancy business lady if you’re in a Hallmark movie, but it’s before you’ve realized that the spirit of Christmas has been lost. I think- I think when those roles shift, it can feel like our identity gets taken away, like a marriage ends or a kid leaves for college or you retire and you challenge us to live with a different set of questions than like what’s my, what’s my role? What’s my job?

G.D.:                          You know, roles are important. All these things we have I mean, my being a mother and being a wife and being a- a woman, all these things, these are extremely important. But I think the problem comes when we accept our cultures, definition and ideals of our roles. So it’s not a problem to call yourself a mother, but it became a problem for me when I accepted my cultures definition of what a good mother was, which is she’s selfless, she’s a martyr, she’s whatever. That was the problem. Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah, yeah.

G.D.:                          So it’s not for me a challenge of not accepting any roles or identities.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          It’s just a problem of not blindly accepting what other people tell me the ideals of those roles are.

K.B.:                           Yeah. Yeah.

G.D.:                          Right? Like family, I mean Kate, I was taught to believe that what I was supposed to avoid at all costs was a broken family and that what a broken family was, was a divorced family.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Okay?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          That’s why I did everything under the sun to save that marriage, even though it wasn’t- it shouldn’t have been saved. Right? Because I was, you know, unconsciously had accepted that this idea that a divorced family was the worst thing and that was brokenness, right? Until I sat and thought about it enough. Until I got still enough to really think for myself and saw wait a minute I know a lot of marriages and families that are still together, still in their original structure, that are broken as all hell.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          And I know a lot of families who have morphed and evolved their structure and are vibrant and full and where everybody has their freedom and is able to be held and loved. And so, you know, it wasn’t- it was the idea of rejecting culture’s definition of what a broken family was and making my own definition. And for me, a broken family is any family in which any members have to kind of break themselves into pieces to belong. And a whole family is any family, regardless of structure, where every single person can bring their whole self to the family table and know that they will be both held and free.

K.B.:                           I like how much, too, you center what it feels like to live in that space, like what it feels like to be defined by that kind of love. You say things like, ‘What do I love? What makes me come alive? Like with beauty like? What’s all the me underneath?’ And that really, that’s so appealing to me because I always had this vision where like, I would know a good life was one where there was no like love hunger. Like there was so much love and so many things to love and people to love that they all just bumped up against each other. So I thought, yeah, like competing love. That’s a great vision of like more than enoughness. That it sounds like you just want to live inside.

G.D.:                          That’s right. That’s so beautiful, more than enoughness. I mean, you know, that’s kind of how the family feels right now. And it doesn’t look anything like I was told happiness will look like.

K.B.:                           Yeah. You’re so good about being honest about that change didn’t just cost you and how terrible it felt when you worry that change would cost your kids. I know it’s not the same thing, but I felt a lot of that when I was worried like because it was my illness or my constellation of problems that suddenly I felt like I was the bad thing that was happening to my kid. Like, how is my pain going to cost anyone else but me? How do you help frame that for yourself? And when you think about, like, the cost of change?

G.D.:                          Yeah, well, I mean, I think that we kind of came from this you and I are probably a similar parenting generation, I mean, it feels like every kind of cultural and parenting generation gets kind of like a memo of what good parenting is.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          You know, our parents got an awesome one it was like, ‘just take this thing home and drink tab and wine coolers and like, call it home at 9:00’ and that’s it. So they got the awesome memo. And ours was just awful, Kate. I mean, it was like, ‘here’s this child. This will fulfill every hole you’ve ever had in your heart, if it doesn’t something’s wrong with you. Get therapy.’

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          ‘Take this child home and just make sure nothing ever happens to it.’.

K.B.:                           Yes.

G.D.:                          Right? ‘Protect it from everything.’

K.B.:                           Yeah. Yeah. The hampster bubble model. That makes total sense to me.

G.D.:                          Yeah. And that’s why we are a generation of, you know, helicopter parents, lawnmower parents. Like we just- it’s not our fault, I mean, we really thought that was what was good parenting is. But the problem is that all our kids are assholes. Right? Because they are.

K.B.:                           I’m hugging you with my heart right now. I’m just, so you know.

G.D.:                          Well, it’s just like because people who don’t suck are people who have failed and learned from it. And like, we don’t let our kids fail, right. Or people who have sucked are people who don’t suck are people who have felt pain.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Like really felt it and sat with it and so then- then they become people who don’t want to cause other people pain. Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          So, so I mean for me it was really, it took truly, truly accepting in my own personal- in my own life.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          That there is an alchemy to pain that I’m trying not to worship pain anymore because I think that some Christian stuff I’m trying to undo for myself, but I have lived through enough pain that has changed me for the better.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          And made me wiser and gentler and kinder and realer that I believe it. I believe in it enough to let my kids have it. Right?

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          So, so when I think about what my kids are learning through, through what we- our family’s gone through, it’s just they’re actually learning how to be human. I was at this recent event where a woman raised her hand and she said, “Glennon, I am going through a-” she was going through something awful in her life. She said, “my kid is in so much pain. And every day I look at him and I think it was my one job to protect him from pain. And I couldn’t do it. And I feel like such a failure.” And we started talking and I said, “okay, give me three words that you would use to describe the kind of man you’re trying to raise.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          And she said, “I want him to be brave and I want him to be wise and I want him to be kind.” And I said, “OK, so what is it in a human life that creates courage and kindness and wisdom?” And it’s it’s pain! That’s it. Right? It’s not courageous, kind, wise people don’t become that way because they’ve had nothing to overcome. They become that way because they’ve overcome and overcome and overcome. So what our generation is doing is we are protecting our kids from the one thing that will allow them to become the adults we dream they’ll be.

K.B.:                           Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was exactly my fear. That if you can’t protect them, then you’re- then I’m, then I’m just failing. And who can protect them from- who can make a world in which there is no cancer or no divorce or, you know, no bullying or no global warming or-. I felt like the deepest thing to want, like a world without pain. And then the most absurd delusion to say, like, it’s my only job is to make our home the only place where we pretend that scenario. So, yeah, it took me a bit to feel like I could settle on the idea that. Yeah, and you’ve said that you said that they needed a model and not a martyr. And I think I felt that way too about pain. It’s like if I could show- if I could show my son that there is, that there is meaning and beauty and strength in the middle of the terrible, then maybe his terrible will be, if not always bearable, then then knowable and even just like mappable as a, as like a geography that he will have to walk through too.

G.D.:                          And I mean, I um tried very hard for very, very many years of my life to try to create a world in which there is no pain. And that was addiction for me. That’s what we addicts are trying to do. It’s just like- it’s just a friggin’ nightmare.

K.B.:                           Yeah, yeah.

G.D.:                          It’s a nightmare that is different in every way than the nightmare that is real life. So after trying that for two decades, I just realized, no, no, no, I’ll just take the real stuff.

K.B.:                           Yeah, but it is true that it does feel like if we hurt inside, there must be something wrong with us. I just want it to go away. How do I make it go away?

G.D.:                          That’s just being human.

K.B.:                           That feels right. That feels right. Your account of like how to listen to that. You started calling your pain like “the ache.” So like how have you learned to listen to it. So I know like a, I don’t know like this, honestly Glennon like-like yesterday, today, like the second I feel like I’m in pain I’m like, ‘no. There- I must be a little bit broken.’ It’s so hard not to feel that way.

G.D.:                          Yeah. I mean, I think that we are living in, I am telling you I don’t think that it is as hard for, we talk a lot about that this is just like the human condition is to distrust pain. And all I know is that, you know, every great spiritual teacher has ever walked the earth has told us the opposite of what consumer culture tells us, which is that we don’t know why, we didn’t design it. Well, I guess a couple of them did claim to have designed it. But- but, but but you do need your pain. Right? I mean, that’s the part of the Jesus story that I feel in my bones and my skin in my blood. This-that story of like there is no resurrection without the crucifixion. There’s no glory except straight through your story, like you can’t skip the crucifixion. And I think of that pattern that first the pain, then the waiting, then the rising. I don’t think of that as like an old story from a million years ago. Like, I think of that as myself feeling jealous because I’m looking at something that I know I was meant to do and then I have to sit with it instead of easy button my way out of it and then let it change me inside and let it turn me into the next version of myself that I’m supposed to become.

K.B.:                           Yeah, yeah, yeah. There’s like an interesting distinction in there too, because there’s the pain that helps us grow, there’s the Aikens side that points to the soft places or like the hard places that if we could just get more air in there or like turn it to the light like little sunflowers that like different things would happen, then there’s all the people where like stuff happened to us. And then people keep trying to tell us to like learn lessons from it. And you have such a soft heart for the underdog. How do you help people see the distinction between the pain you can learn from and senseless suffering?

G.D.:                          All I know is that the pain that I have experienced in my life has always, if I can sit with it for long enough, has cracked me open and made me deeper and softer and more grounded eventually. When I think of like a different kind of suffering, I think of not the senseless suffering because the senseless things that happen to us like diagnoses and loss and all of those, because all I can say in the face of that is I don’t know.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          I have no theories.

K.B.:                           Yeah, yeah, yeah.

G.D.:                          But I also think that there is a set of pain that is honestly chosen pain. I think it’s the kind of pain that I see in the eyes of a woman who knows that she should be- that she’s slowly dying in the relationship and that she needs something else, but she’s not saying what she needs. Right? Or a woman who is biting her tongue so hard, not saying the thing that she knows she needs to say, or a woman who knows that her purpose is somewhere else and doing something else but is not doing it.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          So that’s the kind of pain that I’ll never choose again. Right? That abandonment of self. That’s the difference for me between being 30 and 40. Honestly.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          It’s like- it’s like I know I can’t avoid the senseless crap that’s gonna happen and I won’t even try to make sense of.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          I know I can survive the just- the pain of being human, which is what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about making sense of tragedy. I’m talking about just that the daily pain of being human.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          But I won’t choose it. I won’t choose self abandonment as pain ever again.

K.B.:                           I love that you’re like if there is pain to be chosen, I will not choose it.

G.D.:                          If there is a choice. I mean, that was honestly what I when I chose Abby, I- that was part of it. It was like, oh, I have, I was having a conversation with one of my dear friends. And I was telling her why I was not going to leave Craig and be with Abby. And I said to her, “you know what, this is going to be painful, but I have always been able to learn from pain.” And she said, “yes, you have.” And she said, “I wonder if you’d be able to learn from joy.” And I was like, that’s an idea. Like, I- I have not yet considered. And, and, and truly, I am telling you. I mean, I’m new to it, right? I just started choosing joy like a hot minute ago. But so far, so good.

K.B.:                           That is it an account of like a tender little middle ground that I’d love people to live inside. Is that like there’s all the pain of being human and then there are all the things that we can’t choose that will just happen. And then for that little bit inside there, there is some pain we have a choice about. And in there, wouldn’t it be so nice to, like, pick the love bridge?

G.D.:                          And I just Kate, I really believe that if we can undo this idea in our head, that if we pick, if we choose our joy, it will be bad for our people. This is like an incessant lie that has been planted, especially inside of women that like you cannot choose your own joy because because your joy is mutually exclusive with what is best for your people. And if there’s one thing, there’s one single thing that I have learned in the last few years as a result of this whole life change is that that is not true.

K.B.:                           Yeah.

G.D.:                          Is that when I choose what is true and beautiful and joyful for me? It it is, it is by its very being eventually what is true and beautiful for my people because there is no one-way liberation. Right? When I, when I choose joy, that gives my children permission to do the same.

K.B.:                           Well, thanks so much for helping me think through what brave and good enough and not perfect would feel like if I just paid a little bit more attention to the voice inside. Honestly, thank you.

G.D.:                          Thank you for being one of my favorite teachers in the whole world.

K.B.:                           Oh friend, that’s so nice!

G.D.:                          It’s true, it’s so true.

K.B.:                      Glennon speaks so profoundly and hilariously to those of us who have tried so hard to be good.  Good             moms, good wives, good kids, good employees, good friends. But the good life she talks about isn’t without pain.  It involves pressing against the cultural scripts and rules we’re trapped in to uncover something deeper, something truer, something more meaningful.  Being human. She writes, “I learned that there is a type of pain in life that I want to feel. It’s the inevitable, excruciating, necessary pain of losing beautiful things: trust, dreams, health, animals, relationships, lives. This kind of pain is the price of love. The cost of living a brave open hearted life and I’ll pay it.” That price of love is one worth paying. A love that looks realistically at all we have. And all we are. That presses into the sharp edges, lingers a bit longer in the uncomfortable moments, and learns to build a life we love, even if it’s a little off script.

K.B.:                       Don’t miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe to Everything Happens wherever you listen to podcasts. And I’d love to hear from you. Find me online at katecbower or at This podcast wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the Reynolds Foundation. Huge thank you to my team, Jessica Richie, Keith Weston, Harriet Putman and JJ Dickinson. This is Everything Happens with me, Kate Bowler.

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