Tony Robbins Low Self-Worth Intervention with Comedian Theo Von

Here’s a moving moment where Tony Robbins helps comedian Theo Von deal with feelings of low self-worth. It’s a fascinating and very real interaction to watch with much to learn. One of the things you can observe here is how good of a listener Tony is. Most people will interrupt the other person at some point; Tony will make the other person finish their thoughts even if they themselves don’t want to take it there.

Theo’s Struggle with Pride

Theo candidly opens up about his difficulty in feeling proud of himself, a sentiment that resonates with many. He describes a sense of disconnect, feeling as if pride in himself would betray an internal script he’s lived by.

Theo: I feel like if I actually feel proud of myself it’ll go against some script that I’ve always had written, or some thing that was always written inside of me. It’s like if I wrote on the wall of myself, I’m proud of you, it wouldn’t even show up on the wall.

[…]

Tony: “What emotion would you feel if you’d see that on your wall, “I’m proud of myself”?

Theo: “I think I would be ashamed of myself for even thinking that.”

This reveals a common psychological conflict where personal growth feels like a betrayal of one’s established identity.

Tony’s Insight on Emotional Homes

Tony introduces the concept of an “emotional home,” an idea that our most familiar emotions, shaped in our youth, become our comfort zone.

He likens it to people who live in an area where every two years or so a tornado completely wipes out everything, destroys all the houses, causes total devastation. Poor people around there pick everything up they can afterwards, they rebuild things as good as they can. 2 years later the same thing happens again, they rebuild, and it happens again, they rebuild, and it happens again.

And eventually you just want to shout at them: “Why don’t you move?! It’s going to happen again!”

And yet, people rebuild in that same place, they don’t move elsewhere, even though they know that eventually, another tornado will come and tear it all down again. Because that’s what they know, it’s their home, because that’s what’s familiar to them, because they’re less afraid of losing it all in another tornado than they are of the challenges of the unknown.

This metaphor beautifully illustrates how we often cling to negative emotional states simply because they are familiar.

Theo’s Attachment to Negative Emotions

In a particularly revealing segment of their conversation, Theo Von shares with Tony Robbins a deeply personal and complex emotion: his attachment to negative feelings. This attachment is not just a habitual response; it’s an integral part of his identity.

Theo said: “It’s almost as if I was deserting myself if I felt good about myself.”

Theo’s admission that leaving behind these negative emotions feels like abandoning a part of himself is a powerful statement about human psychology and emotional attachment.

The Loyalty to Negative Emotions

Theo describes his negative emotions as almost familial, akin to old friends or brothers. This personification of emotions illustrates a profound loyalty to them. It’s as if these emotions have been his companions through various life experiences, and abandoning them feels like a betrayal.

Theo’s analogy indicates how deeply ingrained these feelings are in his psyche and how they’ve shaped his sense of self.

Understanding the Comfort in Pain

Tony Robbins, in his response, delves into understanding this attachment: he acknowledges that often, the emotions we are used to, no matter how negative, provide a strange comfort.

They are familiar, and familiarity, even with pain or sadness, can be more comforting than the unknown.

This paradox is a common human experience, where people cling to familiar patterns, even when they are harmful, as he already had pointed out in the metaphor with people staying in disaster-prone areas.

The Fear of Losing Oneself

Theo’s hesitation to let go of these emotions is rooted in a fear of losing a part of himself.

This fear is indicative of a deeper issue where individuals identify so strongly with their emotional experiences that they cannot distinguish between them and their true selves.

The negative emotions become intertwined with their identity, making the idea of letting go feel like losing a core part of who they are.

Negative Emotions as Self-Care Trigger

Some people are always so preoccupied with taking care of others that they never take care of themselves—until they experience an emotional crisis. And then, even though they the emotional crisis feels bad, they for themselves. To them, it’s the only act of self-care they know. They might feel like the only time they deserve self-care is when they’re feeling so terrible that they can’t do without. And in those cases, there can be an underlying belief that if they let go of the negative emotions, they lose access to that self-care.

A simple way to check if this applies to you is this little exercise:

What if I told you that you could go back to feeling all the bad feelings whenever you want, but you don’t have that to be the predominant emotion of your life? You don’t need to beat yourself up, be ashamed, not be too happy—that’s all just an old story you bought into a long time ago, that has nothing to do with who you actually are today, but because you keep telling it to yourself, you reinforce it and stay in that story.

The Challenge of Emotional Transformation

Tony challenges this notion by suggesting that these negative emotions are not true friends. He implies that recognizing and embracing more positive, supportive emotions is not an act of betrayal but an act of self-care and growth.

This part of their dialogue highlights a crucial aspect of personal development – the ability to recognize harmful patterns and the courage to break away from them.

The Journey Towards Positive Change

Theo’s vulnerability in expressing this attachment and Tony’s insightful guidance offer a microcosm of the journey many undergo in personal development.

It’s a journey of recognizing how our attachments to certain emotions, even negative ones, shape our lives and how challenging yet essential it is to break free from these bonds to embrace a healthier, more positive self-concept.

In conclusion, Theo Von’s attachment to his negative emotions, as discussed with Tony Robbins, encapsulates a significant challenge many face: letting go of harmful emotional patterns that have become a part of our identity. This conversation serves as a poignant reminder of the complex relationship we have with our emotions and the transformative power of redefining this relationship for personal growth and well-being.

The Power of a New Narrative: Change Your Story, Change Your Life

A crucial moment comes when Tony advises Theo to stop reinforcing his negative self-narrative.

Theo: It’s really hard for me to feel proud about myself.

Tony: Stop saying that. Because every time you say that, you’re rewiring it back into your body. It’s a story. There’s an old phrase that says: “Tell a lie big enough, loud enough and long enough, sooner or later people believe it.”

He stresses the power of stories we tell ourselves and the need to change these to positive, empowering narratives.

Finding Your Most Empowering Emotion

Tony then leads Theo through a process that can lay the groundwork for a deep transformation.

Exercise: Drawing the Line Between Positive and Negative Emotions

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line in the middle
  2. On one side, list all the positive emotions you feel in an average week (any positive emotion you feel at least once during an average week)
  3. On the other side, list all the negative emotions you feel in an average week
  4. Ask yourself: Which of these lists is more powerful, the positive or the negative one?
    (For most people, the negative emotions are more powerful.)
  5. What’s an emotion that if it would become the dominant emotion in your life it would get rid of these negatives? It can be one or two emotions.

This exercise leads you to identify your most empowering emotions that can have the biggest impact on leveling up. You want to stack the good.

Tony and Theo did the exercise above, and for them, the result was love and self-acceptance, as a powerful emotion that can counterbalance negativity. He shares his own journey of transforming pain into a force for helping others, a testament to the transformative power of love and gratitude.

From self-pity to self-love

Tony advocates gratitude as a means to foster self-love, a perspective that shifts Theo’s understanding of his emotional patterns.

One of my biggest addictions was self-pity. I didn’t even realize it. I thought was helping myself by focusing on myself, but really I was too pityful. I realize my alcohol was self-pity.

– Theo Von

This conversation is a deep dive into the complexities of emotional health and self-perception. Tony Robbins, with his insightful probing and metaphors, and Theo Von, with his vulnerability and honesty, present a compelling narrative that is both relatable and inspiring. It serves as a reminder of the power of our internal narratives and the potential for change that lies within reshaping these stories.

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