Episode 20: Values

Chris Wells & Emma Nicholson

Release date: October 19, 2022

This episode wraps up year one of our podcast! It has been a privilege to share Dabrowski’s theory with our audience, and we want to thank you for listening and becoming a part of our community. In episode 20, Chris and Emma explored the values that guide the Dabrowski Center, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of the Theory of Positive Disintegration through advocacy, education, and innovation.

The values discussed in this episode include:

Truthful—We strive for accurate representation and preservation of Dabrowski’s work and to deal with people in a straightforward and kind manner.

Authentic—We will be authentic in our speech and actions and in our desire to promote mental health and help others. We maintain this desire to help others as our primary focus.

Inclusive—We are inclusive of everyone and affirming of their identity and personal experiences. We stand against bigotry, harassment, and discrimination.

Kindness—We strive to act in a way that seeks to do no harm. We will act with altruism, humanity, and promote the good of others.

Connecting—We aim to bring people together and forge a community based on respect and friendship.

Honorable—We act in an ethical manner, with integrity, fairness, and transparency, and speak up against those who do not.

Supportive—We support people in their educational journey, making information accessible and available, and providing ways for people to seek guidance and help.

Encouraging—We will encourage people who seek new ways to explore, present, research, and work with the theory of positive disintegration.

Bold—We will be bold, brave, and innovative in our mission to bring the theory of positive disintegration to the world in new ways.

Thank you, Bee Mayhew, for editing this transcript!!


Emma: Welcome to Positive Disintegration Podcast. In this episode, we're going to be talking about values.

Hello, listeners, and welcome to another episode of Positive Disintegration, a framework for becoming your authentic self. I'm your host, Emma Nicholson, and with me is co-host Dr. Chris Wells. Hi, Chris.

Chris: Hello, Emma. How are you?

Emma: I'm really good today. It's just you and me having a little chat.

Chris: I know I'm pleased. It's fun to not have a guest once in a while, I think.

Emma: I'm excited because it means I can misbehave. [shared laughter] Every time we have a guest on, it's normally the first time meeting them. So I'm like, oh, better be on my best behavior. But you know how to take all my terrible jokes. I think I can let myself a bit loose today.

Chris: You can, and I can too. I mean, to be fair, I always feel like I have to be on my best behavior too.

Emma: Yay, so it's the naughty school kids day.

Chris: [chuckles] That's right.

Emma: Which is slightly paradoxical because today we actually want to talk about values.

Chris: Right, we're talking about values and of course, having a bit of fun during the podcast doesn't mean that we don't have strong values. I'm looking forward to discussing this. It seems like something really important for us to tackle because values were extremely important to Dabrowski and are an aspect of the theory. Multilevelness is one of the foundations of the theory, and it's all about values. Values are, I would say, infused into everything.

Emma: My understanding of values in the framework, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, is, as you said, when you get to multilevelness, basically the process of positive disintegration is really shaking off who you were in order to sort out what your values are going to be for yourself moving forward. So, what is higher and what is lower and it all sort of centers around value. So, it's kind of like the jewel in the crown, so to speak. It's really trying to figure out who you ought to be and the values you ought to live by as compared to what you're doing currently.

Chris: That sounds right. I actually looked up some quotes that I thought would be good to sprinkle into this episode, and there's one that's pretty brief that goes really well with what you just said, and it's from an unpublished manuscript called “Thoughts on Positive Disintegration”. He said, “when we seek higher realities, we search for ways to weaken and destroy our presently prevailing reality. In this process, we do not lose those values which support our sense of life. We destroy only those things we personally decide must not exist.”

 I think that that's how the third factor works as a dynamism. When we're consciously and deliberately affirming those aspects of ourself and those values that are more like us and are who we want to be and we're rejecting and discarding those values and those aspects of ourselves that are less like ourselves or less like us and that don't support our developmental path.

Emma: It's kind of close to something that you and I have been working on which is talking about values for the Dabrowski Center. So, you know, you can do this for an organization just as much as you can do it for an individual. I wanted to start by getting you to tell us a little bit about the Dabrowski Center, because it's new and [tell us] what it's going to be and what its aims are.

Chris: Well, the Dabrowski Center is a new nonprofit organization. I just got it going at the beginning of 2022. Its mission is to actively promote mental health through the application, exploration, research, and dissemination of the Theory of Positive Disintegration. We want to alleviate suffering by reframing mental illness through the lens of Positive Disintegration.

When I envisioned the center, I really wanted it to be the home of the theory, an international home of the theory. I wanted people from around the world to know that they could reach out for help, services, resources, so our objectives for the first three years are all specifically around these things.

Emma: How do you see the Dabrowski Center is going to be different from other websites that are hosting Dabrowski's work or talking about the theory?

Chris: Well, for one thing, I'm hopeful that it's not only always going to be a website. I hope that eventually we will have an actual physical location with a library and an archive and rooms to have classes or groups or to bring people together. For now, it is just being run out of my home. One thing, of course, is the archive is the foundation of it, but it's more than just a bunch of links. It's meant to be curated information.

Emma: So what I'm hearing from you is it's going to be more than just a library or a repository. It's actually going to be a place where people can, even in a virtual sense, gather and form a sort of community around the theory to help each other, and help each other in accessing those resources and talking about the theory. So it's not just, as you said, “a bunch of links”, it's actually going to be a place where everybody who's interested in the Theory of Positive Disintegration can kind of get together and discuss it as well as have access to those resources.

Chris: Yeah, building community is a big part of my work.  I've discovered over the past couple of years that this is something that I love doing, and I'm pretty good at it so I'm going to keep deliberately building community around the theory. The archive, yeah, it's going to be curated. You know, I would say that I'm kind of an instrument in the archive in that I have internalized a lot of this information in these documents.

The consulting work that I've already been doing involves receiving inquiries from people who have questions about the theory and there's a wide range of what I see. People write to me and they say, “hey Chris, this is where I'm coming from, this is my perspective”. Maybe they're a graduate student, maybe they're a professional, maybe they're just a person who's interested in some aspect of the theory. They tell me what it is that is on their mind and I point them to the places where they may find what they're looking for in Dabrowski's work or Michael's work or whoever, you know, in the over-excitability research. I know these documents very well and I enjoy pointing people in the right direction and so that's a big part of what I've already been doing and it's sure to be a significant part of what I do with the Center too.

Emma: Basically you're an expert on the frequently asked questions, I guess, around the theory. [shared laughter]

Chris: Yes, for sure.

Emma: Which is handy when you're trying to guide people… to know what people are going to ask and where they're going to need to find help.

Chris: Well, and another thing, actually, you just prompted me to realize I should mention that we are going to produce content that's educational. We're going to produce videos that explain the theory in different ways for different populations. At the Dabrowski Congress in July, I talked a bit about my goals for creating a database of providers who work with the theory, work with gifted individuals, and also a database of resources that, again, like you just said, sort of from what I already know people are looking for.

We also want to develop best practices around working with the theory for clinicians specifically, but also for educators, for any professionals, this is something that we don't have. This is something I've already talked about with clinicians, coaches. I talked with Jen from InterGifted. She actually kind of has created her own curriculum for working with the gifted through InterGifted, but we don't have it for Dabrowski's theory, and it's important.

Emma: I mean, this is really sort of pioneering stuff, which is exciting in a way. You know, you're sort of breaking new ground here. and giving people something that they haven't had before. And it's still… it's important to mention that the site's still under construction and this is just sort of kicked off, but I guess it's a prime time to think about values. You've got your aims, which is the things that you want to do, like you understand the what, but the values are shaping the how we're going to go about it, how we're going to behave, how are we going to provide those services and how are we going to be? Yeah, so it's a good time to think about that stuff.

We’ve just finished drafting a set of values that hopefully we can get up on the Center [website] for people to look at, but I think it's a good time to talk about it and maybe even get people's feedback to discuss this is how we're thinking that we want to be and considering values is so central to the theory itself. It's a good fertile topic, I think.

Chris: It really will become kind of a code of ethics for people who work for the Center, who work with the Center, the people who are in our community. It's very important to have guidelines around behavior, because if we're doing community building, not only are we modeling the behavior and the values that are important to us, but we want to really be explicit and clear about them for the other people that we're working with.

Emma: Because when you build community, if you have a community without rules, really, it can be a free-for-all. If I've learned anything from work, you can't monitor people and pull them up on their behavior or their actions unless you've actually set that down in stone first. It's like putting down group rules in a Facebook group or something and saying, look, this is how we expect you to behave and if you don't, we're going to ask you to leave. but you can't do that until you've kind of set them out. I want to talk to you about those values and in doing so, I think we're going to talk a little bit about what they are, but also what they aren't. So people sort of understand what's in-scope and what's out of scope.

Chris: I think that one of the problems we've had in the Dabrowski community with people who do talk about the theory in their work, is that we don't have clear guidelines around what is appropriate and what isn't appropriate. It's one thing to accept different interpretations. I think that it's important that we aren't pedantic and excessively picky about how people talk about the theory. That's not my goal at all. I don't look to nitpick how people discuss Dabrowski's theory. But when I see something that's just outright wrong, well, I haven't exactly known how to go about doing anything about it. It's not easy. It's not easy for me to call people out when I see that there's something wrong with what they're saying and they're tying it to Dabrowski's theory.

And if we're being honest, we're seeing that happen right now with others who are using the theory. Part of what drove us to make this explicit now, is that we do have a set of values that we work with, and we feel like it's really important for the public to know what they are. We also feel that it's important for the public to know what we don't think is in the scope of our values, like you said. I guess we should just jump into it.

Emma: And I think it's important here to call out that it's not just about policing people. It's about guiding them and helping them do the right thing, because I think a lot of people set out with really good intentions. Sometimes people accidentally overstep lines because they can't really see them that clearly. It's really easy to stray outside the borders when the borders aren't clearly defined, pretty much. I think most people go into this with good intent, and if we can kind of provide guidance for them, then that helps them achieve what they're after, which is normally doing the right thing.

Chris: That's right. We're definitely not trying to attack anyone. I thought you worded that very well. Exactly.

Emma: Thanks. Well, let's kick straight into it. We've got nine values that we've drafted up, and the first one is “Truthful”: we strive for accurate representation and preservation of Dabrowski's work, and to deal with people in a straightforward and kind manner. This is about truth in how we present, quote, talk about Dabrowski's work, but also in how we talk about our own stuff with other people.

Chris: We're striving for honesty. That's right. In everything we do. Yeah, I don't know what to add to that, actually. I mean, yeah.

Emma: It's pretty straightforward. I think it's something a lot of people think is pretty good ethical value is to try and be truthful. Our second one is “Authentic”: we'll be authentic in our speech and actions and in our desire to promote mental health and help others. We will maintain this desire to help others as our primary focus.

Chris: Yes, that is the primary focus of the Dabrowski Center- to help others and to use this theory in a way to promote mental health and alleviate suffering.

Emma: And I've always thought when you keep your goal really to help people and you always keep that in the back of your mind when you're creating content, in particular, it's something I try to remind myself all the time when I blog or if I do YouTube videos, which is why I don't do them on a schedule. I always do them if I've got something that's cropped up in my life and I've got something to say and I've got lessons that I've learned that I want to share with other people. 

I think if I don't keep that in the back of my mind and I just do content because I'm expected to put it out, it's not going to be authentic. If it's not authentic, it's not going to actually help people in their goal. Like if I'm trying to just do it for self-promotion or to get followers or whatever, it's not going to be authentic and if it's not authentic, people pick that up, they know it, and it's not helpful.

Chris: I agree. I think that's perfectly said. I'm so tempted here to say, “and we won't use it to push our own agenda”, but I'll leave that.

Emma: No, you can't.

Chris: Right. Well, going along with what you said there, Emma, you know, we all have things that we're interested in, that we care about, that are our own causes that are close to our heart. We can't use this theory to push political agendas, especially. It just is inappropriate and not authentic.

Emma: Particularly in a group context, because remember, this is the Center's values, not our personal values. We have to keep in mind, you know, what is the center there? What's it designed to do? Are we being authentic to that aim?

Chris: Exactly. Although this really ties in well to the next value, which is that we're “Inclusive”:We are inclusive of everyone and affirming of their identity and their personal experiences. We stand against bigotry, harassment and discrimination.

Emma: And I guess this is the first one, really, where the whole ’what we aren't’ sort of comes up because we're definitely declaring there that we're going to take a stand against things that we don't agree with and bigotry, harassment and discrimination is the key of that. If we want to be inclusive and we particularly want to be affirming of people, on the flip side of that, where we see someone that's doing the opposite behavior to that I think you have a responsibility, particularly when we're talking about big whopping things like bigotry, you kind of have a responsibility to take a stand and say, no, this isn't right and this isn't what we believe.

Chris: That's right. We're taking a stand against racism, homophobia, anti-trans rhetoric, all of that. We really mean it when we say we're inclusive. And, you know, I know that you are the editor on another podcast where you had to actually change the name of your podcast and… [cross talk with Emma: That's right. It was a…]  And take a stand against transphobia.

Emma: That's right.

Yeah, it was a… It's a Harry Potter podcast, so… shout out to Potterversity, but we had to change our name because we had the author's name previously in the title. When she started coming out and saying those things on Twitter, we had to actively take a stand against that.

It's been a subject that's been brought up many times on that podcast. But that [time] involved us going, right, well, fine, we're going to rebrand the entire thing. We're going to disassociate ourselves from the author, but also we're going to speak out against it and say why we feel it's wrong. There've been several episodes where we've talked about the hurt that that's caused within the fandom, so it's not just about saying, well, we're going to drop that like a hot rock, but we're actually going to stand up and say, we don't agree with that. This is why it's wrong. This is the hurt that it's causing.

Chris: I think it's great that you were able to do that and not just give up. It must be really discouraging to get that far into work and then realize that you have to rebrand and you have to also work out your feelings about the issues. So yeah, that's not easy.

Emma: And to be honest, it could have been really easy to just sort of drop it and walk away. There are people within that fandom who are trans, are LGBTQ, and don't stand for those ideas that the author's talking about. And it's that, again, that comes back to that sense of community. It's like, do you walk away from your community? You know, do you throw the baby out with the bathwater? And it was, it was a really hard decision and there's a lot of hard conversations about it.

Chris: I bet.

Emma: There is one thing that I also want to explore in a little bit more detail, particularly when we're talking about affirming and we're talking about personal experience and affirming personal experience. I just wanted to ask you to touch on a little bit of the neurodivergent experience because we have seen some examples where people would prefer that neurodivergent labels are thrown out the window. Can you give us a few thoughts on how we're being inclusive of people who have neurodivergent experiences?

Chris: Sure. Yeah, we really are going to strive, or we are striving to be very inclusive of however people identify themselves when it comes to neurodivergence. If you choose labeling from the DSM, if you stick with Dabrowskian terminology, it doesn't matter. We accept you however you identify. So the language that we use already on the podcast, we use identity first, autistic, ADHD-er. We don't say a person with autism. We take a neurodiversity-affirming approach. I'm not sure what else to say about this, to be honest, other than that.

Emma: I've got a very terrible analogy for this, and I don't know if it's going to fly, and maybe I'll have to cut it out. I've seen this concept of, ‘well you experience the world differently and perhaps think you're a little bit of an outlier’ or ‘you're a bit weird or a bit strange’ and I've seen that being dismissed with the ‘well, everybody's weird brush’. And for my mind, it's denying the fact that there's a scale. To say, well, everybody experiences anxiety every now and then. or everybody feels a bit different every now and then. I think it is dismissive of people who feel that more than the normal.

And as I said, everything is on a sliding scale. It's like when Shelagh Gallagher [episode 16] talks about what is excitable and what is overexcitable. There's a point where it can be too much. My terrible analogy is: normally masturbation is seen as a good and healthy thing. You know, we all do it, it's fine, we shouldn't have hang-ups about it, it's a normal practice, but there are some people out there who have problems with it because they do it too much. So, you know, it's not just a matter of saying to someone who goes to a therapist and they go, I've got a problem with chronic masturbation… well, everybody jerks off, that's fine, don't worry about it. It's that they are experiencing this more than others and it's now starting to affect and impact their life.

So that's the literal definition of problem masturbation is when it gets to the point where it's affecting your life and your job and your relationships, you have a problem with it. So, while anxiety and weirdness and depression are in some ways normal experiences, when you have that too much in your life or when it starts to impact you and affect you very negatively, there's a sliding scale of that. And I think throwing out neurodiverse experiences kind of ignores that sliding scale issue.

Chris: Yeah, it's so important to me to be validating of people's experiences and to not be invalidating. And I would never say that… you hear this from people sometimes, “oh, everybody's a little ADHD” or, you know, or you'll hear someone say like, oh yeah…

Emma: OCD is one that people tend to go, oh, I'm a little bit OCD. It's like, are you dismissing someone else who actually has OCD?

Chris: Right. It's very important to me that we're validating of people's experiences and along those lines, I would say we also don't want to be gatekeepers. If you're self-diagnosed autistic or ADHD, that's fine. You can be a part of our community. We're not going to ask you to go be evaluated before we accept you for who you are. I trust that people know themselves and that they have either done the exploration or that they're doing the exploration.

We're all at different places in our journeys. You're going to have some people who they're new to this, they've just figured it out, they're figuring out the language, they're figuring out what fits and what doesn't fit. Then you're going to have people like me, who've been trying to figure out for years what was going on for them, and who have a pretty solid idea of it. But, you know, I mean, I may never know 100% what my deal is, and I've come to terms with that, and I'm at peace with it.

Emma: I think that's actually a good segue into the next one. Our next value is: “Kindness”: we strive to act in a way which seeks to do no harm. We'll act with altruism, humanity, and promote the good of others.

I think that's as good an idea to keep in your mind when it comes to yourself as well as other people. You're on your own journey just as much as everybody else, and it's important to remember to be kind to yourself as well as others.

Chris: The next value is “Connection”: we aim to bring people together and forge a community based on respect and friendship.

I feel obligated to say here that we endeavor to do a better job at community than has historically been done around Dabrowski's theory. And we really mean it, this is very important to us.

Emma: Yeah, because I think ‘community’ is more than just a group of people, it's how they help each other, which is important.

Chris: Exactly. And it also means not undermining each other's work, not gossiping about each other behind each other's backs. You know, it's treating each other well and with respect. That's a big part of what community means.

Emma: Yeah, I agree. That respect is all important. Also the friendship, because, as you said, you don't want things to be adversarial. From what I've understood in sort of hearing stories that have been going on, the community around Dabrowski Center was kind of really organic, I guess, kind of developed organically. In this way, you know, we were talking before about guidance. I think this is an attempt to put those guardrails in place?

Chris: Yeah, that's a good way to look at it, I think. Exactly. That we are providing some guidance around our community building efforts and saying, yeah, this is how we should behave in community.

Emma: And again, it's not about punishing people or gatekeeping or any of that. It's about ensuring that the how helps us get to the what is it we're trying to do. How we go about being a community, is it productive to getting to the aims that we want to achieve?

Chris: Exactly. Well, and it brings us to the next value, which is “Honorable”: we act in an ethical manner with integrity, fairness and transparency and speak up against those who do not.

Emma: So, again, this is a what isn't. If people aren't being fair or transparent or acting with integrity or behaving with an ethical manner, then we've got that obligation to speak up about it.

Chris: That's right.

Emma: I think particularly for organizations, transparency is normally high on the agenda. There's a lot of companies out there who say they want to be transparent. Integrity is another value that comes up in your company sort of value list, but fairness is a concept that you don't see quite as often and I think that's quite important to hold that up.

Chris: Oh, I agree. It's very important. And it's also important to mention that not everybody is going to think it's fair when things don't go their way. If you come into our community and you aren't acting with kindness, you're not being honorable and respectful, you're going to be asked to leave.

If it's a Facebook group or somewhere on social media, you'll be blocked. You know, we'll give people a warning before it happens, but it's going to happen. That may not feel fair if it happens to you, but I hope that you can look at yourself if that does happen and question, why did this happen? Instead of going on the offensive… We see a lot of bad behavior on social media because everybody's there together and we're all coming at the experience from different angles. from our different levels of development and values. The word ‘fairness', it just occurred to me that sometimes people don't think it's fair the way that they're being treated, but part of being in a community is knowing that you're one of many and that there's a culture.

Emma: That's it, isn't it? Because it's not just about fairness with the individual. It's like, well, what's fair to everybody at large?

Chris: So the next value is “Supportive”: we support people in their educational journey, making information accessible and available and providing ways for people to seek guidance and help.

This is a big part of the mission.

Emma: Yeah, absolutely, because really providing that information and putting it out there in the community is kind of the aim. I think it's [the] making it accessible and available is part of the how we do it. It's not just a fact of putting things up online. It's about providing that support around it, helping people to understand it.

Chris: And I'd like to add here, actually, because this is a perfect place that when we say ‘accessible’, we mean it from a disability perspective, too. We've started making transcripts available for the podcast episodes, and it's a little slow going because we're having them transcribed by a professional. We're averaging about one a week right now.

It's really important to us that we make this podcast accessible to people, even people who can't hear the audio recordings, or people who just prefer this information from a different input, people who want to read it. I think that that's an important thing to mention too. When it comes to the archive materials, that we make sure that the PDFs are accessible and that they can be read with a reader well, that there's alt text for images. We're just trying to really go out of our way to make sure that we're not keeping anybody out of having the experience of learning about Dabrowski’s theory through any of these outlets through which we share information.

Emma: And to be fair, and perfectly honest, we're going to fuck that up sometimes. You know, we're going to miss the mark or where there's going to be something that we didn't think about. I guess that's where it goes back to the whole thing about kindness… we will try our best to do these things and keep our values in mind. But, you know, sometimes we'll cock it up but that's about being open to feedback and being kind on ourselves and go, “oh, well, we didn't get right the first time, but we've learned our lesson now, and we'll try and adjust”.

Chris: That's right, and always feel free to let us know if you think that we're not doing it well, and we will take that feedback and see how we can do it better. I'm always open to feedback and correction when it comes to this stuff.

Emma: Coming from a business analyst background, I'm always of the approach of ‘test, learn, and iterate’. You're not going to know whether or not something's always going to work until you throw it out there in the environment and see what happens with it and test it.

But then you learn from that feedback and go back and do another iteration. I think that it’s important to point out that when we put things out there, particularly if it's new or no one's done it, we're not always going to know if it's going to work. It's not always for lack of trying or… sometimes you can't hold off until you've got something perfect. You've got to go out with something because in my experience, particularly with computer systems and stuff, you can put code into an environment and you could have tested it in the test environment a hundred times. The minute you put it into production, something falls over that you couldn't foresee.

So in that way, yes, sometimes you will see things that aren't perfect that we put out, but that might've been either because A) we've tried our best to do it and we don't know any better, or B) because we simply want to get something out there and learn from it and get that feedback and do a new iteration.

Chris: Exactly.

Emma: Sometimes you just have to say, you know, fuck it, be a little bit brave and do something because you're not going to get anywhere if you just sit on things and wait till they're perfect, which kind of leads into the next value, “Encouraging”: we will encourage people who seek new ways to explore, present, research and work with the Theory of Positive Disintegration.

Chris: Yes, we will encourage you. This is a really important one. I've heard many times over the years now that people are afraid to present about the theory. They're afraid to put their work out about the theory because they're expecting to be, what's the best word that I'd like to use here?

Emma: Shut down? Judged?

Chris: Yes.

Emma: Criticized?

Chris: Yes. Exactly. I mean, they're expecting to be criticized. It's really important that people feel safe in doing this work, that they aren't afraid to do research because of how it's going to be accepted or rejected by the Dabrowski community. We need to really do a much better job of encouraging young scholars, anybody who is wanting to work with the theory, to go ahead and go for it. We need you. We need new blood. We need new ideas. Please don't be afraid. We've got your back.

Emma: We do have your back. And again, this comes back to recognizing that people are doing their best and nobody's going to get it perfect. If we're going to hold that position for ourselves, we're going to encourage you to do the same and take a position of guidance. So yeah, you might get a few bits wrong,

You might get feedback on that, but we don't want it done in a way that will discourage people from doing further work. I think this is another area where, you know, what we don't want. We don't want people to be shot down in flames and discouraged from working with theory because that's going to be counterproductive to the overall aim of getting the theory out there. We don't want people to walk away from it completely disheartened and bummed out and like, oh shit, I cocked that up. Everybody hates me now. We don't want that for anyone.

Chris: No, we don't want that for anyone. And this actually leads into the final value, which is “Bold”: we will be bold, brave, and innovative in our mission to bring the Theory of Positive Disintegration to the world in new ways. And we mean it.

Emma: We do. Don't tell us “can't”. We don't want to hear that word. [laughter]

Chris: That's right. And I feel like we've already shown our willingness to be bold by doing the podcast. And, you know, it's hard to believe that next month will be a year since we recorded our first episode.

Emma: Shit, I feel old.

Chris: But it's hard to believe because when we were doing it, I mean, I just was so scared or I was thinking terrified, but I didn't want to make it sound… yeah, terrified. It was really, really hard to feel safe doing it. I was just afraid of how it would be received. Yeah, it was scary. But now, I don't feel afraid anymore. It's really clear to me based on the feedback that we've gotten from our listeners that we're in the right direction and moving in the right direction and we're just going to keep at it.

Emma: Absolutely, it is a great sign that we are moving in the right direction, even though every time we get feedback from someone saying, “I really enjoy the podcast and it's helped me”. I'm like, oh shit, really? I do that with feedback on all the stuff that I do. Like I set out with a goal that I want to put this out there. I want to help people. And then when people tell me I'm helping them, I'm like, oh really? I don't know why, but…

Chris: [laughter] I feel the same way. It's always a surprise even though that was the goal and what I'm hoping to do. I'm still happy and pleasantly surprised when I hear that it's actually working.

Emma: Astonishment with oneself, Chris. That's what we've got here.

Chris: We do have a lot of astonishment.

Emma: But we're going to continue to challenge that. This comes back to all the other stuff that we've been saying about [how] we're doing some stuff for the first time and we don't know if we're going to get it exactly right.

It's also about seeing some of those challenges and those hurdles and those fears and just going, you know what, I'm going to do it anyway. Even with the whole thing of trying to simplify the theory and make it accessible, which is why we collaborated on this podcast, both of us got a passion for doing that. I saw, before I started blogging and doing my YouTube videos and stuff, people saying “you can't simplify Dabrowski's theory and it's too complicated and you're going to end up getting it wrong”. And I'm like, well, you know what? I'm going to give it a stab anyway. 

I don't know whether or not that was boldness or just stupidity, but I gave it a go and it seems to be helping people. So it's also about seeing those challenges or the things that people assume. Really, it's those assumptions that people say, oh you can't do this, you can't simplify the theory. You can't do this other thing. And then going, you know what? I'm gonna give it a go anyway.

Chris: I'm so glad that you did. It's really hard to overcome that, the worry that you're not gonna get it right. When I saw you do your videos at first I was like, whoa, it really blew my mind that you were so bold and just able to do it. I had thought of making videos and just was so locked up in my fear of not getting it right, you know, it was holding me back.

The podcast has helped a lot with getting over that fear. And, and the more that we talk about it, and the more that we do this work, it's clear to me that we need to talk about the theory in new ways, we need to stretch ourselves, we cannot keep trying to do things the same way that they've been done, because it's, it's not enough, it's not going to keep us going.

Emma: I completely agree, because the theory has been around for a number of decades, and if the ways it had always been done were working, everybody would know about it.

But the fact of the matter is, we've got this beautiful, life-changing tool, this theory that can really help people, and it's still hiding in the shadows. So it's like, well, something's got to change. It goes back to that old saying of “the only boat that isn't rocking is one that's not going anywhere”. So we've got to try new things because people are out there struggling and we just can't afford to sit on this theory and not share it with the world.

That's why part of that “Bold” value is to bring the Theory of Positive Disintegration to the world because it's got to get out there if it's going to help the people that it needs to help and it should help.

I tell you what, I won't say that I wasn't shitting my pants when I put those first videos out, because I was. I was so worried about how it was going to go and how it was going to be received, and I thought to myself, fuck it, let's do it, because what's the worst that could happen? Nobody watches it? Or you get a few crappy comments or people trolling you? So I just had to suck it up and it comes back to having that higher vision of what it is that you're out there to do. If you really want to help people and you really want to get the theory out there, you kind of have to try something new, because let's face it, what's been going on previously hasn't been working. Otherwise, everybody would know about the theory.

Chris: That was so beautifully said, Emma. Thank you.

Emma: No worries.

Chris: Well, it was. I mean, especially what you said about the boat. That's exactly right. You know, this boat has been tied to the dock for too long.

Emma: Yeah, it's got to sail somewhere, which is why the word innovative sits in there, because if you don't give this a go and you don't change something, you're just going to be moored at the docks forever with your sails flapping sadly in the breeze, like, get out there! [laughter]

Chris: I feel like I've laughed a lot during this episode, but it's been on mute. Yeah, there's been some laughter.

Emma: Yes, me too. With that habit of putting ourselves on mute, it's like, oh, we missed all the laughs. [transcript note: nope, many were captured ;)]

Chris: That's all right. That's right.

Emma: We're laughing on the inside in silence

Chris: Well, and you know, I think it's important to know that you can talk about values and still have fun.

Emma: That's right.

Chris: They don't have to be stuffy and boring or too serious.

Emma: And you can bring up masturbation as well, which I just thought was fantastic.

Chris: Yes. Yeah, that was one of the laugh points for sure.

Emma: See, you can talk about values and have fun. See, we're being bold. We're doing something no one expects us to do.

Chris: That's right.

Emma: So, that's our values.

Truthful, Authentic, Inclusive, acting with Kindness, Connection, Honorable, Supportive, Encouraging and being Bold.

I think we're probably going to put these up on the site soon, and it'd be great to get people's feedback on what they think about those.

Chris: It would be great to get feedback, and yeah, we're working on the website. It'll be up soon. I guess the only other thing I really wanted to mention in this episode, since we're introducing the center for the first time in a podcast episode, is that it's a nonprofit organization. It's a 501c3, and it relies on donations. It's a public charity. So if you're listening to this and you're a fan of the podcast and you have money to throw around, we would welcome donations and your support because we rely on it.

It's not going to be easy. You know, I mean, I really wasn't sure if I wanted to go the nonprofit route because it's scary to think that my work is going to be supported by the kindness of others. But I have to say that I've already been amazed at the donations that we've already received. And I'd like to thank everybody who's already shown their support. Wow. It's just so heartwarming.

Emma: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you to everyone who has supported the Center so far. Chris is right, this stuff doesn't come for free. Getting transcripts and even uploading the stuff to the archives and even getting help with building the website and stuff, we are basically relying on the kindness of others. Both Chris and I have got day jobs that we've got to worry about, so there's only so much that we've got in our power that we can do. However, if we keep getting support, the more support we get, the more energy we're going to be able to put into the Center, and that's going to help everybody. If you can, please consider donating something to the Center.

Chris: And actually, the other thing that the Center is in charge of now is the Dabrowski Congress, and the Dabrowski Congress is also going to need help and donations to continue, hopefully for many years..

Emma: to continue doing great work!

Chris: Yeah, right! A big part of our community is the Congress, which happens every two years. We want to be able to pay our keynote speakers. We want to be able to pay for their travel expenses. We want to be able to rent a venue and all of that.

Emma: Well, maybe you do it more than once every two years. That'd be fantastic.

Chris: Well, we can't until the center has more people and more support. I can't possibly do a Congress every year in person on my own. We're going to have a committee, but it's like…I don't know how I would possibly fund that, you know, money is necessary in order for these things to happen.

Emma: Money equals work.  I'll tell you what, if people didn't get a chance to go to the Congress that was on in July, Chris has got the videos up.

Chris: The videos are on YouTube and we're going to also have them linked on the website.

Emma: There's a fantastic list of videos there and I'd highly recommend it.

Chris: Yeah, they're great. I was enjoying them while I was editing them, you know, just revisiting them. We have so much great content just from the Congress that it's wonderful. We'll put this in the show notes.

I created a few different campaigns for donors. There's a campaign to get us to the $10,000 goal of the first year expenses for the Dabrowski Center. We're very close. We're only like $2,000 away. There's a campaign for the Dabrowski Congress if you want to donate specifically to that. There's also a campaign just for this podcast.

If you want to help support the transcripts, now we're using Squadcast for our recording. All of this stuff costs money, so if you have the resources, we're very grateful for all of you who can help. Thank you so much.

Emma: So thanks, Chris. This has been fantastic. Thank you for joining me for this little chat together.

Chris: Well, thank you, Emma.

Emma: Thank you. Thank you to everybody for sticking with us as well. Thank you, listeners. We appreciate you very much. If you're listening to us on Apple or Spotify, please give us a rating or leave a review. And if you have any questions, feedback or topics you'd like to discuss, or you've got some feedback or input on the values that we just went through, please get in contact with us. You can email us at positivedisintegration.pod@gmail.com or hit us up on Twitter or Instagram. Remember this podcast is funded by the Dabrowski Center. So if you like what you heard, please consider donating through the link in the show notes. And until next time, Keep walking the all-important path to your authentic self.