Skimm'd from the Couch: Glennon Doyle

March 25, 2020

What happens when we actually listen to our gut? Bestselling author and activist Glennon Doyle is no stranger to having deeply honest conversations with herself. And she sat down with Danielle this week to talk about her newest memoir, Untamed. She told us what happened when she freed herself of expectations others had for her. And how her life changed when she listened to her own inner voice. 

Glennon shared what she learned about honesty from recovery circles, why companies should encourage “untamed” meetings, and what to do in moments of uncertainty. 

On Recovery Circles 

Glennon: Recovery meetings were the place that I felt safest and bravest in the world because in those circles, it felt like the only time that I actually heard anyone tell the truth about life. It's like we all have these two selves and these two voices, and now I would call them our tamed selves and our untamed selves. And our untamed selves are the voice inside that when someone says, "How are you doing," is like, "Oh, not so good.” And then the tamed self says, "Fine, thanks. How are you." So recovery circles are the places that I discovered people who were using their untamed voices.

On Being Untamed at Work 

Danielle: I also think about my friends that are working in law firms. If they showed up being like, "I'm going to live my untamed life," I can picture the eye rolls. And I think we all struggle with how to exist within a society that has these expectations and also want to live in a freer way. It's a big question

Glennon: …So the most important thing about a corporation is that it's twofold. 1) is how we work together, and 2) is how we make space for every single individual to bring her full self. So actually, corporations are creating culture. There's no more important place for people to start bringing their entire individual self to the table and actually have space and have the safety and have the freedom to use their untamed self at tables because that is how culture changes… 

I think what we have to do in corporations, in churches, in institutions, in political groups, in families, in relationships is create room where people who have differing ideas, differing voices, differing experiences can bring their full selves to the table and know that they will be both hold by the group and free to bring a different self to the table. There is no more important place for people to begin to start using their untamed voices than in corporations.

I envision corporate rooms where they're having their untamed meeting of the day. Like, you are allowed to bring your voice, that thing that you think you're not supposed to say, to this table today, and it will be safe. 

On Looking Inward 

Danielle: You said that we abandon ourselves when we sacrifice our own happiness in pursuit of pleasing others. I think everyone probably agrees with that in theory. How do you start to shift that narrative?

Glennon: …Girls are taught in every moment of uncertainty not to go inside but to go outside, to look for approval, permission, and consensus. So we learn that when we're young. We continue to do that when we're older. It’s not easy, but it's the simplest shift on Earth. In a moment of uncertainty, we [need to] resist the urge to look outside of ourselves, right? We get still. We go inside, and we practice feeling for ‘the knowing.’ And I don't even have to describe what ‘the knowing’ is because everybody knows what it is. Some people call it God. Some people call it intuition. It doesn’t matter what you call it. 

...What I figured out through recovery, through the last decade is that I can just do the next precise thing that my knowing guides me to without asking for permission beforehand and without explaining myself after. Saves me 80% of my time and energy, right? I really believe that that is the most revolutionary thing a woman can do is just the next right thing without explaining yourself.

Danielle and Glennon
danielle, glennon, amanda, abby wambach

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