It might be hard to remember the last time you got really angry with someone who respects you. That’s because of the unique role that respect plays in our emotional regulation and interactions with others.
Dr. Joseph Shrand, a triple board certified psychiatrist, explains how this feeling can change your interactions with everyone from complete strangers to those you’re closest with. We’ll also discuss how to get respect, simple ways to show others you value and respect them, and Dr. Shrand’s I-M Method, which reminds us we’re all doing the best we can.
Dr. Joseph Shrand is Chief Medical Officer of Riverside Community Care headquartered in Dedham, Massachusetts. He has been a Lecturer of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct faculty of Boston Children’s Hospital. He is triple board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, and addiction medicine. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine.
Dr. Shrand hosts a weekly radio show on WATD 95.9 FM, The Dr. Joe Show, exploring who we are and why we do what we do. He is the author of “Unleashing the Power of Respect: The I-M Approach,” “Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World;” “Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing Our Most Dangerous Emotion” the winner of the 2013 Books for a Better Life Awards, Psychology self-help category; “The Fear Reflex: Five Ways to Overcome It and Trust Your Imperfect Self;” and “Do You Really Get Me? Finding Value in Yourself and Others Through Empathy and Connection.” “Outsmarting Anger” has recently been republished in paperback due to demand. Among colleagues and staff, he is affectionately called “Doctor Joe,” as he was “Joe” in the original children’s cast of the PBS series “Zoom.” Find out more about him at https://www.drshrand.com/.
Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, “Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations,” available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author.
Gabe makes his home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio. He lives with his supportive wife, Kendall, and a Miniature Schnauzer dog that he never wanted, but now can’t imagine life without.
To book Gabe for your next event or learn more about him, please visit gabehoward.com.
Producer’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.
Announcer: You’re listening to Inside Mental Health: A Psych Central Podcast where experts share experiences and the latest thinking on mental health and psychology. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.
Gabe Howard: Greetings, everyone. I’m your host Gabe Howard and calling into the show today we have Dr. Joseph Shrand. Dr. Joe is triple board certified in adult psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry and a diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He hosts the weekly radio show The Dr. Joe Show, exploring who we are and why we do what we do. Dr. Joe, welcome to the show.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: Gabe Howard. Thank you so much. I am delighted to be here.
Gabe Howard: Today’s topic is all about respect, what it is and how to get in. And I think that many people believe that respect is straightforward. We believe that we all understand it, but it’s anything but simple.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: I think that respect has somehow gotten a, in some ways a bad rap, as if somehow respecting someone means that you are in a more vulnerable and weak position. But it’s the exact opposite. Respect is the foundation of who we are as human beings.
Gabe Howard: I know that one of the things that’s that’s out there and you see it all the time on social media where somebody disagrees with somebody. And let’s let’s use like a real world example. Somebody will say, I don’t like the Color Purple, and then somebody else will say, well, I find the Color Purple to be beautiful. And then somebody says, Well, that’s really disrespectful. You don’t respect me. How how dare you do that? And it it devolves into this argument about respect. Now, I have a saying. Disagreement does not equal disrespect, but I don’t think that’s well understood.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: I don’t think that disagreeing with someone is disrespectful. What we need to do as human beings is recognize that we can have different perceptions and perspectives and still value each other and respect each other, as a matter of fact. It’s that respect that allows one to feel valued, that allows one then to trust the other person. That I can disagree with you. It doesn’t mean I value you any less. That’s really the critical part, because this value thing is what is so important to human beings
Gabe Howard: I am absolutely in the camp of I believe it’s very respectful to to tell me that you disagree with me. Right. Because it means that you care enough about me to allow me to understand you. Now, the work that we’re going to talk about today on the podcast is your work on respect. And you have a method called “Unleashing the Power of Respect: The I-M approach.” What is the I-M approach?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: The I-M approach is the idea, and it’s really a belief that we’re all doing the best we can at every moment in time with the potential to change in the very next second to another best we can. This is my current maximum potential. This is who I am. This is me and I matter. We have spent so much time in our world thinking the other person is broken, thinking our cells are broken. We have our inner critic. But the I-M is saying, forget all that. You’re doing the best you can at this moment in time, but if you don’t like it, you can change it. But we are influenced and responding to four domains. The Home Domain. No one’s going to argue that the home that you’ve grown up in has an influence on who you are, even today. That’s the first domain. It’s the home domain. Then there’s the social domain, which is everything else. It’s the rest of the world. You and I chatting. It’s going to work. It’s going to school. It’s walking down the street. It’s going into a restaurant. Everything other than your home domain, the social domain, and you can appreciate that stuff that happens at home can affect things that happen in your social domain and vice versa. You have a good day at work. You may come home and feel great. You have a difficult time at home. You may go to work and have a difficult time. These two domains are outside. And then the two internal domains, the biological domain of your brain and body, are you hungry? Are you tired or you’re digesting your lunch? And then what I call the Ic domain.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: How do I see myself? How do I think other people see me? Human beings are very interested in what other people think or feel. We call that empathy. But what we really want to know is, what are you thinking about me? These four domains interact all the time, but I truly believe we respond the best we can. You don’t have to like your I-M. You don’t have to condone it. It’s not a free ride. You’re going to be held responsible because everything you do has a natural consequence. And, Gabe, it doesn’t even mean you’re going to win and be successful. And for some people, success is when you love going to work and love going home. Some people, success is having food in the refrigerator. For some people, success is having a home to have a refrigerator. For some people, success is just waking up and being able to get through the day. But instead of judging yourself and other people as less than and broken. Should be doing better. Less valuable. Let’s look again at why we do what we do based on the influence of the four domains. And I want you to just think about these words. Look again, audience, listeners, think about the words, look again and reverse them. Again look. Again to repeat something, look like a spectator. The I-M is saying, let’s respect why people do what they do without judging them. Gabe, think about this for a moment. When is the last time you got angry at someone you really believed was treating you with respect?
Gabe Howard: It is true, it’s much more difficult to get angry. You can be annoyed, agitated, maybe, maybe even fed up, which I suppose are on the anger spectrum. But if I believe they are respecting me, if I believe that they are, I’m going to go with arguing in good faith. I wouldn’t say that it’s anger, it’s annoyance. Right? Which is different. It’s a different flavor.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: It is. And, you know, we can get into the whole concept of anger, but I mean, just think how many words there are for anger, annoyance or debility. That’s the spectrum. There’s so many words for anger. But anger is an emotion designed to change something. It is the fight branch of the fight flight freeze response. We get angry when we want somebody to do something different. Start doing something. Stop doing something. Being respected feels great. So the brain doesn’t activate anger. That was actually the subject of another one of my books called Outsmarting Anger. Respect is what leads to value, because you’re right, when when you feel respected by someone, as you say, you know, listening to their argument, listening to why they like purple and even if you don’t. You’re giving them that gift of time. You’re reminding them of their value. This is key for the I-M. That respect leads to value and it’s what everybody wants. Think about every person you’ve ever met in your life. The common thread that binds us all? We just want to feel valued by somebody else. I’ve had people say to me, I don’t care what other people think about me. And my response to them is, you know, if you don’t care what people think about you, why are you wearing clothes? And they go, okay, come on, Dr. Joe, I can’t walk down the street naked. People will, oh, uh. Yeah, we do. We all care what other people think or feel about us, and we really want to know that they see us as valuable.
Gabe Howard: So obviously if we want to feel value, we have to have value. And in order to to to have value, you have to. I’m going to go with increase it. Right. I believe that we all have base value, right? We have to grow that value in the eyes of other people. How traditionally have people increased their value?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: Well, unfortunately, traditionally, for millennia, people have increased their value by decreasing somebody else’s. And then are astonished that the other person does the same in return, and then are astonished that this leads to war and division and the type of conflict that we actually have in our world right now. We have spent millennia increasing our value by decreasing somebody else’s. You know, as a child psychiatrist, I work a lot with kids who’ve been bullied and they all learned the I-M approach and they begin to realize that, wait a second.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: It’s the best that person can do. That bully, it’s the best they can do. To feel valuable is to try to make me feel less valuable. What’s going on in their home or social domain? What’s going on in their biological or Ic domain? How do they see themselves that the only way they can feel valuable is to try to make me feel less valuable? I don’t have to like it, but I want to understand it. And that thing can lead to the value, the reciprocity and the trust. The trust is a remarkable thing. It’s based on a neuro hormone, a brain chemical called oxytocin, not OxyContin. Oxytocin. It’s that feeling you get when somebody says, Gabe, you have got the best podcast ever, the best podcast ever, and you get that rush. That’s oxytocin. We have an opportunity at every moment in time, remind someone of their value and then help them trust.
Gabe Howard: Dr. Joe, full disclosure, I was born in 1976, but I know from your bio that you were on the 1972 kid’s show Zoom. Now I’m not familiar with Zoom, but the more experienced members of the audience are. Can you tell us what Zoom is and how did it influence you? Am I talking to a famous child star?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: Yeah, well, I guess so. And I really appreciate the word experienced compared to older. Thank you, Gabe. I appreciate that. Yeah. Can you believe it? 50 years ago, Zoom was suddenly emerging in the United States. It was a show in which it was just kids and kids were doing. We were doing songs, we were doing skits, we were doing improv. We were doing what are called Zoom raps where we were just talking with each other. And if you go to WGBH.org/Zoom50, they actually have released the show, the original show, so you can watch it. But Zoom was fundamental for me because it really taught me about respect and value and trust. That’s where a lot of this stuff started for me. My family was a lot of anger because my parents were very angry with each other and eventually wound up divorcing. So I didn’t see much respect at the home domain, but each of my parents was incredibly respected in their social domain. My mother was a very successful actress. My father was a very successful pediatrician. So I wondered, why couldn’t they do that at home? And then I wind up in Zoom, this kid’s TV show, which was the first fully racially integrated show where we had African-American kids and Asian kids and Hispanic kids and white kids and Catholic kids and Jewish kids and kids from all over the Boston area. And we created an environment where we could just really engage. I can tell you just two nights ago, I’m chatting with Kenny, one of our other Zoom kids from 50 years ago and 50 years we’ve remained friends. What it showed me was that you don’t have to have any of these barriers. You don’t have to have these different groups when you have respect and value leads to trust. And that’s what Zoom was about.
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Gabe Howard: We’re learning to unleash the power of respect, the I-M approach, with Dr. Joseph Shrand. I understand that the I-M approach is really based on two truths. What are those two truths?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: The two truths. Small changes can have big effects. That’s the first truth. You make a small change in any one of the four domains, your home, your social, your biological, your Ic domain. That can have a ripple effect through everything. If you think you need to change everything, you’re going to get overwhelmed. And when you’re overwhelmed, your brain releases a particular chemical called cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone of stress and actually isn’t released by the brain, to be perfectly honest. ACTH is released in the brain and then sends a little message to the adrenal glands on top of your kidneys. Releases cortisol. That’s going to happen if you think you’ve got to change everything, but you don’t need to. Small changes can have big effects. The second truth. You control no one, you influence everyone. You get to choose the kind of influence that you want to be. Everyone is interested in what you think or feel about them, even if they don’t want to admit it, they are interested. They want to feel valued by you, which is going to have an effect on their biological domain. You treat them with respect. You wonder why they do what they do. They feel valuable. You’ve increased their value. As soon as you do that, your value gets increased. And then there’s a trusting foundation for a real discussion for perspective.
Gabe Howard: Let’s talk about a real world example. How can I use the I-M approach today? Right now?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: I’ll give you a wonderful example. I mean, just just think about this one. Imagine you’re driving down the street and you get cut off. Your limbic system is going to respond. You get angry, but you can think, Oh, geez, why is it the best that person could do cut me off? And here’s a great one. You think, gosh, what if they have diarrhea?
Gabe Howard: [Laughter]
Dr. Joseph Shrand: And they’re cutting me off because, man, they got to get to a bathroom. And if they don’t, well, you know what’s going to happen. So here’s another example. A real-life example happened to me not that long ago. I live in a lovely neighborhood and a stranger I noticed is outside my front yard. And they’re putting a sign on my front yard. The sign happens to be for a yard sale at their house. Now I could have gone out really angry, but instead I go out. It’s an I-M. I’m wondering why this guy put a thing on my lawn and I said What’s going on? And he gets defensive immediately, which means he must know he’s doing something that maybe could elicit anger in somebody else and says, Oh, it’s right next, it’s right next to the fire hydrant. It’s public property. Okay, I’m not angry with you. I mean, I’m just wondering what’s going on. You’re having a yard sale. You put a sign on my lawn. Why you having a yard sale? Because I didn’t get angry because I kept it frontal, didn’t go limbic, I learned a story about this man. And he started to tell me why he was having a yard sale. And it was because a couple of years before, on his wedding anniversary. Been married for 30 plus years, maybe more. Goes upstairs to give his wife breakfast in bed. And she’s unexpectedly passed away.
Gabe Howard: Oh, wow.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: He’s devastated. Yeah. And it’s taken him two years to be able to come to terms with it enough to begin selling some of their belongings because each belonging that he sells, he feels, will be a loss of her. But it’s also going to be a recognition and an acceptance as best he can. I would never have learned that story if I’d gone out angry and said, Get that, you know, get that sign off my lawn. People are amazing and they will share their perspective with you when they feel respected and valued because then they can trust enough that you’re not going to judge them. That’s what we need to do. That’s what we can do. We have brains capable of it.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: You can do it right now. Okay. Right now. Any one of our listeners. Here’s one way to do it. If you go into a store, say thank you to the person who served you. Just that simple thing. You know what it feels like. You know how different it is when somebody says thank you or they just sort of take their coffee and walk away. You know, you have an influence on that person. You’ve reminded them of their value when you say thank you. It’s remarkably simple. I wish I’d invented something really complicated, but it’s just who we are as human beings. Let’s enjoy it. You know, we don’t need to be in these different groups anymore. It doesn’t need to be that group is okay and this group isn’t. We may get into this discussion.
Gabe Howard: Dr. Joe, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. Where can folks find you online?
Dr. Joseph Shrand: Online you can go to www.DrShrand.com. That’s DrShrand.com. It’s my website. You can get “Unleashing the Power of Respect: The I-M Approach” on Amazon if you just type it in. “Unleashing the Power of Respect” and putting my last name, Shrand, because there are other books that have unleashing and respect in their titles. You’ll also see once you get there a whole bunch of my other books. This is my fifth book, Gabe. It’s mind blowing. It’s my fifth book. My first book was on stress. My second book was on Anger. My third book was on Fear. At which point my wife said, Are you trying to tell me something?
Gabe Howard: Yeah. I was noticing a theme here.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: Right, right. And then the fourth book was called “Do You Really Get Me?” And then this fifth book sort of ties it all together. It’s translational. So these books are for anyone to read. I will translate all the deep science and then show you how you can apply it right today. “Unleashing the Power of Respect” is a collection of stories of some of my patient teachers. I call them my patient teachers because I’ve learned so much from them. And after that is an eye in perspective changing. Changing the way we perceive things. I just want to I just want to say, please check it out. If you can get unleashing the power of respect, you can be a contributor to changing our world. Let’s do it.
Gabe Howard: Dr. Joe, thank you so much for being here.
Dr. Joseph Shrand: It has been my absolute pleasure, Gabe.
Gabe Howard: And to all of our listeners, a giant thank you. My name is Gabe Howard and I am the author of “Mental Illness Is an Asshole and Other Observations.” I’m also an award-winning public speaker who could be available for your next event. My book is on Amazon, or you can grab a signed copy with free show swag or learn more about me by heading over to gabehoward.com. Wherever you downloaded this episode, please follow or subscribe to the show. It is absolutely free and hey, can you do me a favor? Recommend this show to your friends, family members or colleagues. Referring the show is how we grow. I will see everybody next Thursday on Inside Mental Health.
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