Prepare yourself, my loves. You’re not only about to get some absolute fucking GOLDEN nuggets out of this, but you’re also going to find out some shit you’ve never heard about me and my partner before…and I think it’s going to be super educational, honestly.
Personal development work doesn’t stop once you get into a relationship…and to prove it, Drew and I are going to talk about some of the times our own shit has come up, despite us both being deep in our own personal development journeys.
And, to make it even more exciting, we’re getting interviewed by one of the coolest people in the entire world: my best friend, India Vine!
They’re both fucking hot shit inside and out. They are amazing human beings, and I’m thrilled to have them both here.
India lives in another state in Australia, but she came to visit for the weekend, which has been fucking amazing. And while she’s here, I figure…why not have her ask us some questions?
Michelle: So Miss India, do you want to introduce yourself?
India: Hi, I’m India! I am also a coach and a mentor, though I work more in the world of manifestation, wealth, money, energetics, business, all that cool shit. I just happen to have the coolest fucking best friend ever, which is Michelle. We’ve actually been friends for years now; we have grown and evolved so many times together, and it’s honestly fucking cool for me to interview her in this setting, because I have seen this girl go through…some interesting situations throughout her personal development work journey, to say the least.
So it’s cool to be interviewing her as someone who has known her through many evolutions of herself, both as a single person and as someone in a relationship. I like that I can bring that context to this.
Michelle: Most of you know Drew already, but just in case, can you reintroduce yourself?
Drew: Sure. For those who don’t know, I am an addiction and trauma specialist. My entire background and life experience revolved around living through the depths of addiction to alcohol and drugs. I came out the other side, did a ton of work myself, and then sort of started down the “trauma train,” as I like to call it.
It’s been a hell of a journey, but that was the journey I had to go down to find the answers I’ve always been looking for.
India: I could take this in so many directions, but the first question I want to ask is this: what would you say to people who look at and listen to you two and think that this relationship must be easy for you both, since you’re both deeply entrenched in personal development work and you’re both coaches?
I personally know that there are two coaches in this relationship, but there are also two humans. So while you both have all of this self-awareness, you’re both committed to personal development work, and you’re both showing up for it, I know there’s more to it than that. But for someone who’s listening to this and thinking, “That’s cool for you guys, but my partner is not interested in personal development work of any sort,” what would you say to them?
Drew: I mean, first and foremost, I was doing personal development work well before I became a coach or mentor or whatever you want to call me. It was life or death for me; I had to come to the realization that I either would choose to heal, or I was probably going to die.
That was my tipping point into this personal development work, and then after that, it became a value set. And before long, I realized that I really love learning about myself and becoming a better version of myself.
So ultimately, most of my personal development work was done as a single person, if I’m being really honest.
Michelle: We’ve done a lot of work together though.
Drew: Yeah. I needed to figure out who the fuck I was first, but there was also a lot of growth within different relationships that highlighted so much more that I would never have learned about myself until I got into that relationship…including ours.
Michelle: For me, part of the reason that I share so much of my story with you guys is so that you take me off the pedestal. I want you all to know that I’ve been where you’ve been, and I’ve moved through it.
If I can do it, you can do it. And that’s not coming from a place of preachy, rah-rah kind of energy. I truly believe that, all right?
I have done fucked-up shit in relationships. I’ve shared lots of it with you all before. I literally chased a man through the streets yelling, “Please love me!”
Like, hello? You can’t tell me that I’ve always been the way I am now. I fucking haven’t. It took a lot of my own personal development work to get here.
India can attest to this. She’s known me for years and has seen me through so much of that cooked shit.
It’s very easy to look on Instagram or read these blogs or listen to the podcast episodes where Drew and I share about our relationship and go, “Well, that’s easy for you. You’ve probably always been that way. You probably grew up in a secure household.”
We didn’t. We did not grow up with secure attachment at all. And I’m sure there are people who had it a lot worse, and people who had it a lot better; we all have our individual experiences, but regardless, here’s what I’ve seen to be true:
The faster that you can take us off the pedestal and stop thinking that we have something unachievable for you, or that we have something you don’t, the faster you can close the gap between your current relationship and the one you want.
If you can stop thinking there’s no point in even trying and start to see Drew and I as humans who have our own shit that we struggle with, you will make progress that much faster.
There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. So dissolve any kind of separation between you and me, or you and Drew, or whoever you’re pedestaling as having your ideal relationship. I guarantee that no matter who you’re looking at, their relationship hasn’t been smooth sailing from day one.
Drew: For example, there was a time I almost blew this shit up.
Michelle: Oh, are we going there? Let’s go there.
Michelle: So Drew, you want to talk about when you literally tried to blow up our entire relationship?
Drew: Well, I think we’d moved into our house by then, so we were living together. We’d been living together for maybe a month or two, and shit that I was completely unconscious of at the time started coming up. And I got to a point where I genuinely thought that this wasn’t the relationship for me.
Michelle: And I knew that wasn’t his truth. That’s not me trying to enforce my truth on him—I could just feel the dissonance between what he was telling me and what I knew. I knew he didn’t want to break up with me.
Drew: Yeah, for sure. But that felt like my fucking truth at the time. There wasn’t any dissonance in that for me, and it was weighing on me so heavily. I was sitting with it for a couple of weeks, and Michelle could feel that…and Michelle needs to feel a level of security, so that was disrupting her world.
Finally, I came in and spoke to her and said, “I don’t think this is the relationship for me. I genuinely don’t believe this is where I’m meant to be right now. And I don’t know, I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what’s next.”
So, Michelle took that as us breaking up—
Michelle: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. He absolutely broke up with me. He literally was like, “I’m calling the real estate agent on Monday to get out of the lease,” but he insists now that he was just “floating the idea.”
This is going to go down as our Ross and Rachel “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” moment. But anyway, he did end up turning that around.
The point is, to continue the answer to India’s question, this didn’t come without its challenges.
I always thought that when I got into a conscious relationship, none of my stuff would ever come up because that man would make me feel so safe and so secure, and he wouldn’t have any trauma.
Well, turns out he did, and so did I. We’ve both had shit come up, but I’m glad that it did come up, because we worked through it and now we’re way stronger than ever. Personal development work doesn’t stop at a conscious relationship. It just shifts.
India: I’m going to spin it in a different direction, because I just feel like this is going to be really fucking helpful for a lot of people listening to this.
Drew, one of the questions that I knew I wanted to ask you is about people who think their partners won’t engage with them on this level.
Lots of women are probably looking at the kind of conversations you and Michelle have and thinking, “I could never have a conversation like that with my partner. He would think it’s ridiculous.”
So from a man’s perspective, what would you tell the women who want to get into personal development work with their partner, but think they’ll be ignored or rejected?
Drew: First of all, keep it fucking real.
Michelle and I, when we do our relationship check-ins, we aren’t sitting around staring into each other’s eyes and lighting candles and singing Kumbaya. We’re real fucking humans, and the conversations we have are real and raw. That’s what personal development work is.
In my work, around 80% of my clients are women. Maybe more. So I have these conversations with women all the time, and when they say things like “My partner would never get into personal development work with me,” I often ask them, “Have you even given them the opportunity?”
Nine times out of ten, they say no. So that’s an interesting place to start from.
Beyond that, I might say, “If you were to broach the subject, how would you communicate that? How would you invite this man into a conversation like this? How would you broach a particular subject matter or a point of conflict or something that’s just not sitting right for you?”
Listen, none of us are taught this stuff. We’re not taught how to communicate, especially within relationships, so that alone can be extremely scary. But it can still be done…and it should. Your partner may surprise you.
I had a client the other day who said that she really wanted to broach a number of different topics with her husband. But she was playing out the worst-case scenario of, “There’s no way he’s going to listen.”
I asked what he was doing, and she said, “He’s watching football. There’s no way he’s going to turn off football.” And I told her, “These are all just stories you’re making up right now. How do you know this if you’ve never given him the opportunity?”
Here’s what I told her to do: I told her to go and put her hand on his shoulder and say something like, “Hey babe, there’s something I would really like to speak to you about. It doesn’t have to be right now, but I would feel very loved and supported and safe if we could just make some time and space to have a five-minute conversation to speak about some of the stuff that I’m learning about myself with this dude that I’m working with on the other side of the world right now. Would you be at all open to that?”
That was fucking scary for her. But she did it—when we finished our session, she got out of her chair, did the thing, and messaged me after saying, “Drew, he instantly turned the fucking TV off without me even asking.”
This is one of the biggest problems I see that play out in relationships: people act as if it’s two people versus each other instead of it being them as a unit versus the problem.
Two people versus fucking each other. Yeah. As opposed to like, hey, it’s you and me as a fucking unit versus problem right in front of us.
So to the women that are listening: given the opportunity, a man will always fucking want to rise to the occasion. If he’s actually willing to take some level of responsibility in that relationship, and if you can speak to him in a way that activates his inner man, I guarantee you that if you can find those right words, he will rise to the occasion. Even if you think he’ll push off the idea of trying personal development work himself.
This was so fun, and I’m so glad India was able to come and interview us. (If you want to get into anything manifestation and money, you need to check her out. I’ll have her shit linked below.)
This is only a portion of what we discussed—to get the full juicy package, listen to Episode 124 of Unf*ck Your Relationships. There is SO MUCH good shit in there, I could honestly charge for it.
In the meantime, if this piqued your attention and you want to learn more about personal development work as a couple, you want to get into Relationship Revival. Drew and I will be taking you through our actual process for our check-ins and what we do when we have our shit come up.
We’re also going to be live-streaming our own check in. We’re going to talk about finances, sex, emotional intimacy, our individual goals, our goals as a couple, and so many other things that will be really valuable for you to see!
Sign up for RELATIONSHIP REVIVAL: https://michellepanning.thrivecart.com/relationshiprevival/
Join The Connected Woman EXPERIENCE: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman-experience
Join my email list to get access to exclusive pre-sale prices for programs: https://view.flodesk.com/pages/644afb566a53602a000e4ae3
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Follow India on Instagram @indiavine!
Follow Drew on Instagram @drew_wild!
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”