Are You Sabotaging Your Relationships Without Even Knowing It? Here‘s How To Stop.

Dr. Tari and Author and Relationship Coach Jess McCann discuss “The Cursed Mind” in dating and relationships and how this often causes us to self-sabotage in our love life. Cures for this self-sabotage are discussed so you can change your patterns and finally get the relationship you’ve always wanted.

Jess McCann just has been a dating and relationship coach for over 12 years. She’s the author of three books and has given expert advice on many national TV shows like Good Morning America, as well as been featured in publications like Cosmopolitan and the Washington Post.

Her most recent book, If Love Is A Blessing, Why Do I Feel Cursed is the book she considers to be her life’s work and is available on Amazon and in bookstores now!

Find Jess online:

Instagram: Jess McCann ( • Instagram photos and videos

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Find Dr. Tari online:

Get a Relationship Reading and discover your blind spots in dating: Relationship Reading – Dr. Tari Mack (



Episode Transcript

Are You Sabotaging Your Relationships Without Even Knowing It? Here‘s How To Stop.

Dr. Tari: Welcome to Dear Dater, the podcast for people who want to change their disappointing relationship patterns and finally access the love they deserve. My name is Dr. Tari Mack, and I’m a psychologist and celebrity love coach. My journey has been one from disconnection and loneliness to love and miracles.

And I want this podcast to give you the tools and awareness to help you create and access the love you want in your own life. What we yearn for is meant for us. So if you yearn for love, you’re meant to have it. When we change our relationships change. I’m so glad you’re here.

I’m really excited to welcome my guests today, Jess McCann. Jess has been a dating and relationship coach for over 12 years. She’s the author of three books and has given expert advice on many national TV shows like Good Morning America, as well as been featured in publications like Cosmopolitan and The Washington Post. Her most recent book, If Love Is A Blessing, Why Do I Feel Cursed? is the book she considers to be her life’s work. And we’re going to be talking about it here today. Welcome Jess.

Jess McCann: Hi, Dr. Tari. Thank you so much for having me.

Dr. Tari: I am so excited to have you here.

This book. I heard you talking about it and it just sounds like something that can help so many people. So I’m really happy that you’re here.

Jess McCann: Thank you so much. That is my hope is that it helps people stop suffering in this cycle of repeatedly negative outcomes in their relationships.

So I’m really excited to talk to you about this because I love your work, love your Instagram feed. I follow it very closely and agree with so much that you say. So I think we’re going to have such a fun time discussing this.

Dr. Tari: Before we get into the book. I always like to ask people about their own journeys and what got them to where they are today into this space of love, dating relationships, whatever it is. So tell us a little bit about your journey.

Jess McCann: Sure. It’s been an interesting journey because I’ve always been very interested in relationships and the dynamic between people in relationships, even as a young child.
I actually didn’t start my career out of college thinking that this is what I would be doing. I was, I actually had a sales job. I started my own sales company and I employed sales people and I was very young. And it’s surprising that it even worked out as young as I was, but I used to teach people how to go business to business and sell things like phone service, internet service.
Yeah. And I would use dating as the parallel when I was teaching them how to walk into a business cold and build a relationship. I would say it’s just like going into a date. That’s how you build a relationship. And people would say to me, you should write a book on how you can use all these sales techniques in dating.

So I actually did that. I came with this idea of my first book, which is called, You Lost Him at Hello. And that’s all about how you can take sales techniques and apply it to the dating world. An agent picked it up, a publisher picked it up. So that started my career as an author. And then I left the sales world because I really realized that in a large way, you could use all the relationship building techniques and selling and marketing and business and just teach people how to build a relationship, more thoughtfully, more tactfully.

So that kind of gave me my entree. As I was going along and teaching people how to date, so to speak, I realized there was a large group of people that would suffer the same relationship outcomes over and over again. And I was in the process of actually finding my own relationship, my own person. And I met him and we got engaged. And so I was like, yay, I’m getting married. And right as we started the engagement, I realized that although I was teaching people how to date and I was doing well in the dating arena myself, I didn’t know how to have a truly loving, committed relationship with someone. I wasn’t given the tools I needed growing up, my parents are divorced and then they’re remarried and divorced again. So I was never modelled how to be in a relationship with another person.

So I went through a huge growing pain with my husband first year of marriage. Along with looking at clients that were suffering the similar outcomes. And so it’s a law with a little separate. W a period of time when I was newly married and I had a horrible illness that was like a mystery to a lot of people. So I was in the state of suffering for over a year and a half. All these things combined popped me into awareness of what we’re going to talk about today, which is, how your mind can really sabotage your relationships, which led me to write the book that we’re talking about. If Love Is A Blessing, Why Do I Feel Cursed?

So I’ve been coaching now for 12 years and helping people break the curse, so to speak, ever since, and I’ve been married for, this’ll be 11 years in September and I have two kids.

Dr. Tari: Wow. Yeah, it’s so interesting. People’s stories, and how they relate to the work and the gifts they share later in life. So you talk about the curse and you said you named the book that because a lot of your clients say they feel cursed in dating, love relationships, and you yourself felt that way at some point. So what is the curse?

Jess McCann: Yeah. So that’s exactly right. They would say I’m cursed, and they would also say,
I think it’s me, I’m doing something wrong, but I don’t know what it is. I can’t see it. And I felt the same way in my new marriage. We kept fighting over and over again. And I kept thinking, why are we having the same fights? How does this keep happening for my clients? That it was basically, they would, they had a pattern, a very strong pattern of either going on three dates and the person would say, I’m not interested, or they get in a relationship, get to the commitment part and then the person would say, there’s something missing here. They would just have these outcomes that would play over and over it. You had looked at yourself and go, I have to be contributing to this. I can’t be really cursed. It can’t be a magic spell or Voodoo. So I set out to find out what is the curse?

And it was a perfect combination of watching my clients while going through the struggle of figuring out my own self in my new marriage. What I realized was that the curse is your mind. It is the specific part of your mind, which a lot of people refer to as the ego which was leading my relationships and also leading the relationships of a lot of my clients.

And so when you lead with mind and not heart, you make very self-serving choices and you’re not even aware of it. So for me, the ego is, and the curse mind is you’re worth searching self-absorbed mind. So you’re going into relationships with the idea that if I get into this relationship, it’s going to fulfill me and you’re very focused on what is this relationship going to do for me? How is it going to fulfill my needs? It’s just all about yourself and I didn’t realize that’s how I was interacting in my marriage. Everything was about what would my heart has been doing for me? How was he making me happy? Did he do something I liked or not liked?
It was filtered through. Unaware, but very self-absorbed lens. And when that’s how you are conditioned, when that is how you are habituated your whole life, you don’t know that you’re even doing that, but the fastest way to ruin rapport with you and another person is to prioritize your own needs, wants, and emotions over theirs. Because as I’m sure, and a lot of listeners know. The Quito happy relationship is putting the other person first and them doing the same.

So the curse is being too unknowingly, self focused on yourself, your own needs, your own wants. And we’ll get into the five ways that manifests because a lot of people think when I say,
You’re too self-focused, too self absorbed. They go, I’m not self absorbed. Some people walk around thinking they’re great, that they’re better than everyone else. And yes, that is one way it can manifest. But as we’re going to talk about, there are five ways that you can be self-absorbed and they’re not all positive. And they don’t all go through boasting and bragging like most people typically think that they would.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. So before we get to those, I want to ask about something you just said. You said in a happy relationship, we’ve put the needs of our partner over our own. And I want to talk about that because what I believe in what I teach is our own alignment needs to be first and foremost. So how is that? And when I say that, I’m sure you know what that means. It means making sure you’re okay. Expressing your feelings, speaking your truth, making sure you’re meeting your own needs. So how do those two things fit together? And I guess, do you agree with that?

Jess McCann: I totally agree with that. I totally agree with that. And the reason that I say you’ve gotta be able to put the other person first is because you do need to be in alignment. So the book really talks about how you’ve got to get yourself centered and balanced so that you can not worry so much about you, because what you’re doing is you’re using the other person in the relationship to try to fill this void in you. So you have to get into your own good aligned place so that you don’t, you stop worrying about yourself at all. You’re not seeking something you’re not taking from this other person so that you can go. I’m good. I feel good. And I have lots to give to my partner and I can be present in the relationship. And if I’m present, I can assess what they need, what they want, and most importantly, what they’re saying to me when they say something. Because a lot of times fights happen because you’re so empty and feeling such a void in yourself that your partner says something innocuous and small and you take it so personally, like a personal attack, which starts a whole thing, a whole argument. But if you’re centered and aligned, then you can go, I can just give to you, you can just give to me, and it’s this beautiful connection and exchange. So yes, you’re right. You’ve got to be centered. And I definitely am a huge proponent. That is what I call the cure, which is the last half of the book.

Dr. Tari: I skipped ahead.

Jess McCann: You skipped ahead? You skipped ahead to the cure is get yourself, right? Get yourself aligned, get yourself centered so that you don’t use another person to fulfill these needs, that they cannot fill. They cannot feel anyway.

Dr. Tari: Right. Oh my God. I love this so much because I think what also, what you’re talking about is like, when we are out of alignment, when we’re not feeding ourselves right. When we’re not okay, we are coming from fear. So just like you’re saying, our partners share something with us and we can’t hear it because we are in fear. Like you said, we take it personally. What does this mean? We feel like it’s an attack and when we are in alignment, we’re just pure love. There’s nothing to be afraid of, oh.

Jess McCann: That’s exactly. But you’re totally right. There’s so much fear that goes on in the cursed mind and the ego. It runs on fear, a fear of not being significant. So when it hears something that it’s, that your partner says, if you feel insignificant, you will take whatever they say personally, because you have been conditioned to think I’m insignificant and I’m looking for significance. Anything that can enhance it or diminish it. Like I’m going to filter it that way. So it causes so many problems. And the key is not, most people think the key is to find the right person will make me feel significant, whole complete. And it’s just, that is what causes so many patterns, negative patterns, is the very thought that I will become worthy, complete, and whole when I get the right person. And then the right person comes and it’s destroyed. Oh, it must be the wrong person, but really it’s you.

Dr. Tari: Yes. So true no person is going to save you. No, person’s going to solve this or change the pattern. It starts with you. So let’s talk about the cursed mind, right? So what is the first face of the cursed mind?

Jess McCann: As I said, the curse mind is your worth searching self-absorbed mind. And again, everybody thinks that means you walk around, like you’re great. But here’s the first face: it’s called the warrior mind, and people that have anxiety are going to identify with this. Cause I was very anxious myself, had panic attacks until I was 21 or 22 years old. Then all of a sudden. When the curse mind revealed itself to me, I realized anxiety is not baked into my bones.
What I’m doing is I am future obsessing about myself and my worth and my feelings and my needs. It’s creating anxiety in me. But really all it is, is I’m obsessing about myself in the future and that’s what creates worry.

So people go on dates and instead of being present, sitting on the stage, really focused on the other person, trying to get to know them, trying to connect with them, they have this inner dialogue going on all about themselves. But does this person think of me? Will they ever call me again? Do I think I’m going to get in a relationship with them? Oh, he just left. He’s going out of town. Should I reach out to him? Because maybe this is the only chance I have. Everything that they’re thinking, and if you have the worry your mind is future based, brought back at yourself. You’re not thinking really about the other person about if they’re right for you. You’re not really getting to know them deeply because you’re so focused on your own future and how that other person’s going to fit into it or not. And that creates disconnect in the present.

That’s why a lot of people go on these dates and they’re like, oh great. I think I made a good impression. I looked great. I sounded for funny me, and then other person doesn’t call. And they’re like why didn’t you call? And a lot of times I’ll say you probably were at your worry your mind. And they’re like I was, but how could he have known that her, how could she have known that? Like they don’t know that they just feel the disconnect because when you’re off in the future, you’re absent from the present.

And I just mentioned that the career is being present and a lot of people think, oh, I know how to be present. That means just focus on now. It’s not so simple. It’s not so simple to just focus on now, because if you have been trained your whole life to narrate, especially in the future. It’s not so easy to go on a date and be present.
It takes a lot of effort and work and practice to be present. But that is the key, especially if we’re talking about dating, you want to be able to go on a date, sit down and be completely empty of thoughts in your head so that you can receive what the other person is telling you so that you can assess the energy that the person is giving off.

My clients often say to me, how do you know that my date isn’t going to call. How do you, how did you know he was not a really good guy or guy ready for a relationship? And I’m like, because I am empty of my own thoughts about myself. And so I can be very clear in receiving other people’s thoughts, feelings, energy. I can receive all of it because I’m not blocked thinking about myself. I am completely present in the moment. So once you get there, you can assess very accurately as well. So it’s very important to practice presence, and I’m a big proponent of meditation in the morning, even if it’s just a 10 minute meditation. I call it holding presence, noticing your thoughts that are very often the future, right? What do I have to do today? What do I have to do tomorrow? What’s this person going to think of me when I walk into the office? There’s so much future in thinking. So it’s very important to hold presence. Notice those future thoughts and keep coming back to just holding presence naturally so that you’re connected with the moment. That will help you go on dates and be present when you’re in front of someone. But if you don’t practice it alone, it’s very hard to do in front of another person.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, I agree. I think meditation, it is one of the most powerful tools and it will change your brain. And it’s really hard for some people. So I always say, start with five minutes, listen to somebody, do like a guided meditation, a guided visualization, just find something. And even if you feel like it didn’t do anything, like if your mind was all over the place, it’s okay. Just keep doing it. It’s like going to the gym, you got to practice building that muscle.

Jess McCann: You do. And it will save your relationship because once you get into a long-term commitment or a marriage. You might not notice that your future focused fears are ruining the love and connection in the present. And I was guilty of this in my new marriage, because I would often have start arguments with my husband. That was future worries, future fears that I wanted to talk about now to get ahead of that. But a lot of things you cannot deal with until they’re in the present moment, there are some things you can prepare for, but a large majority of problems have to be solved in the moment when it comes to another person.

So you can absolutely start these arguments that are years down the road, what’s going to happen if this happens, and that happens. The dreaded, what ifs can sink your relationship because what ifs are our future imaginary problems that you’re trying to wrestle with and cope with because you want to mitigate your fear. But your partner is looking at you like, how am I supposed to, how am I supposed to argue? This is not really happening right now. How can we work on a problem that’s not right now in the moment?

Dr. Tari: Right.

Jess McCann: I’ve seen many relationships just be destroyed by the constant need to argue at the future.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. And by focusing on those fears that aren’t even happening may never happen, you’re creating them, you’re calling them in, right? Oh my gosh. All right. So what is the second face of the cursed mind?

Jess McCann: So the second face of the curse mind is called the inferior mind. Now you could also call this face, negative, self-absorbed thinking.

So it’s the opposite of somebody that walks around boasting about themselves, bragging about themselves. This person is negatively absorbed in themselves thinking they’re not good enough. If only they were thinner, prettier, smarter, more successful, they’d be happy. They have this constant narrative in their head that they’re not enough yet. And so a lot of times we hear this all the time, self-love and no negative self-talk. Try to get a positive self-talk. That never worked for me. In fact, it had an opposite effect because I grew up very negatively self-absorbed but I had a mother who kept telling me, no, you’re the best your grades. You’re this, you’re that. Eventually as I started to grow up and date and get results, plus my mother in my year, all the time, I started thinking I am. That didn’t solve my problem, that just created new ones.

So the inferior mind is you’re just too absorbed in yourself in the negative sense, and you think that our relationship yet again, is going to cure those feelings of inferiority. But one thing I say in the book is that there’s an inverse relationship between self-esteem and thoughts about yourself. Meaning the more you think about yourself, the worse your self esteem is going to get. The less you think about yourself, the higher your self esteem raises. We’re not created to obsess about ourselves.

If you want to get spiritual, we’re created to witness the universe and the miracle of life and each other. We’re not made to walk around obsessing about why our abs aren’t fit enough yet? Or what does my co-worker think of me? Or this guy said this to me? What does that mean? I’m not worthy or I am worthy. We’re not designed for that. The more you think about yourself, the worse you’re going to feel. So for me, the cure for that is not start talking positively about yourself. It’s recognize that you’re always thinking about you in the negative sense, in some form and drop the thought. Learn to get rid of the thought completely. You don’t need it. You don’t need to. And in fact, worth itself is just a thought in your head, which is why no one ever reaches the end point. Because they’re just thoughts. They’re like clouds, they just move around. They float away. They come back. You’ll never feel worthy because it’s just a thought and thoughts aren’t permanent.

Dr. Tari: Wow. This is so interesting and I love it. Yeah. Instead of trying to replace it, you drop it and you notice that you’re once again focused on yourself.

Jess McCann: It’s the only thing that has ever worked for me. It’s the only thing that ever seems to work for my clients. I’m not poo-pooing positive self-talk because it does work for some people and that’s fine. If it works, that’s all that really matters. For me, I needed a step further and notice whether it’s negative or positive. I keep making it about myself. And as soon as I do that and any time I’m down, it’s funny, I still use it as a tool. Anytime I feel bad in life, or I start too much narration in my head, all that it takes is for me to say, look at that Jess, you’re thinking about yourself again. That’s why you feel this way. Meditate. Think about someone else. Get outside of your head. Get out in nature. Take some deep breaths, drop the thinking about you, and I feel better.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. And how does that show up in relationships and dating?

Jess McCann: Oh my goodness. We talked about a little bit about it earlier, when you said about taking things personally, and that’s the number one way that it shows up because when you’re negatively, self-absorbed anything that happens in your life and especially with another person, you think, it’s about you. So you get a text too late in the day. You were expecting it earlier, you think, oh, it must be because they’re not interested or it must be because they don’t like me and respect me. And now I’m upset. Now I’m going to ruminate on that and make it all about myself. Or, you can take it out of the relationship context. You’re driving on the street and someone cuts you off. Your thought is they don’t respect me. They’re cutting in front of me because I’m not worthy enough to be on the Road. It’s really funny how people take so much of life as meaning something that is about them. Taking things personally is probably one of the biggest ways that the inferior mind really sabotages love. And another way is most people try to cope with the inferior mind by people pleasing. Instead of dropping the thought and going, thinking about me again. And they’re like, okay, I’m not good enough. Maybe if I please this other person, they won’t leave me and they’ll tell me they love me and they’ll fulfill me. So I’ll just keep pleasing with the hopes that this person gives me what I need back. Of course, that’s not love. No, that’s transaction.

Yeah. Yeah. And it doesn’t work. And the other person can feel that energy of neediness, of eagerness. Some people will take advantage of it and go, this is great, you’re a people pleaser. I’ll just keep letting you please me. People that have their worth their salt. We usually go, oh man, this person has really low self worth and this is not a good match. Like they’re not obviously ready for a relationship. I’m not feeling it, not feeling the connection. You can not connect to a person who is solely focused on themselves. So they move on. So I would say people pleasing and taking things personally are the two biggest ways that the inferior mind sabotages love.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. Wow. Woo. All right. Number three, you call it the one term mind.

Jess McCann: Yeah. This one blew my mind when I read about it. I read about, so I read books first. Are you a fan of Eckhart Tolle?

Dr. Tari: Oh yeah.

Jess McCann: This is a side note, but my book If Love Is A Blessing, Why Do I Feel Cursed? is a translation of his books because I found them to be so powerful and insightful when it comes to relationships that I started handing them out to people. This is the problem, read this, but they would look at me and go, I don’t get it. And so I would try to explain it. Some people did, some people obviously got it, but many of the clients that I was working with didn’t so I felt the need to translate what he was saying into a very digestible relationship book, because he’s a very prolific writer and I write at a fifth grade level so everyone can understand what I’m saying.

So when I read Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now, he talks about how, when you feel inferior, but you don’t recognize those feelings of inferiority. You’re avoiding the feeling of inferiority. What you’ll do is you’ll look outside yourself and go, what can I get? What can I obtain to feel better about myself?

Maybe I can obtain a new car, a designer clothes, a relationship. So it starts this cycle of wanting the cycle of craving things outside yourself, things that you think will enhance your sense of self and you can become very addicted to this craving, this wanting and getting cycle. And that’s what the wanter mind is. It’s this unrecognized feeling of inferiority, and it manifests in constant craving. So in a relationship that looks like, and I had this pattern, I would look at a guy I would say, oh, he’s cute. I want him. And he might be a Lou for a player. And like a lot of girls, the more he made me chase him, the more I wanted him, the minute I got him, I started to get bored. I started to go home a lot. I’m not really that interested anymore. Oh, he must not be as great as I thought. I would get rid of him, move on to the next person and the cycle would continue over and over again because I was dating again with my cursed mind, looking for that self enhancement instead of my heart. Wasn’t really looking for love, but I wasn’t aware of it. So I just kept wanting and obtaining people, getting bored with them, casting them aside and moving on. And this is a huge pattern for so many people in society today. I’m sure you see it over and over again.

Dr. Tari: Oh my God. I see it. And I also lived it. It reminds me years ago, I don’t even know, 15, 20 years ago. I remember a therapist telling me and I’m open about the fact that I struggled with bulimia in the first part of my life and how this work that I’ve done completely cured that. But one of my therapist, I would talk to her a lot about dating and she said to me once, I don’t think you are actually looking for love. It’s like you’re bingeing and purging. And it was like, oh my God. And it’s exactly what you’re talking about.

Jess McCann: Yes.

Dr. Tari: Oh, totally the parallel about eating disorders.

Jess McCann: It’s the same thing. You’re thinking this food is going to fulfill you in some way. And then you’re like, no, it doesn’t. And so you’re purging it. And so you’re just going in this cycle of unrecognized, void in yourself, thinking that something outside will make you feel bad.

Dr. Tari: Which is addiction, right? Whether it’s alcohol, shopping, porn, gambling, relationships, love.

Jess McCann: That’s exactly right. And I talked about that in the wanter chapter because it’s very relatable to women to talk about shopping. And, oh my gosh. I’m not saying that shopping is a problem. It’s when you think the shopping is going to make you feel better and you get this boost of, oh, I feel good now, I feel great about myself. And then, a couple of days later, you’re like, okay what else now I’m feeling bad. Again. I must need to buy something else. And it becomes this vicious cycle.

Dr. Tari: And do you think the wanter mind? Is it the same thing in a relationship where okay I want this relationship. I need a relationship to make me feel whole. Then you get the relationship and then you’re constantly needing more. You’re needing those conversations. You’re needing that validation. It’s like this need, is that the same thing?

Jess McCann: Absolutely. Hit the nail on. That’s exactly what it is. And you don’t recognize that again, whatever it is outside of you cannot fix the problem you have to become aware.
And what I say in my book is just be aware of how focused you are on yourself. And that can be life-changing just to wake up and go every day I think about me, when I want what I need, what I what is going to happen to me in the future in the past. Am I good enough? Am I not? Of course, you’re going to keep looking for outside validation for these thoughts. So the key is to drop them to accept that. And one of the cures is to be accepting of yourself and that will really help because I think a lot of times the reason that we start that whole narrative of negative self-absorbed thinking is because we don’t want to accept something about ourselves, we don’t want to accept. Whatever it is that we don’t like. And because we’re unaccepting, we keep asking other people to validate it, but it’s a thought that we carry and that we own. So we are the only one that can quell the thought. So it just keeps coming back to us.

Dr. Tari: Nobody else has the answer?

Jess McCann: Yes.

Dr. Tari: Oh my gosh. Okay. So number four, what’s the fourth base of the curse?

Jesse McCann: The fourth base is the superior mind, which is opposite of the inferior mind. So the inferior mind is negatively self-absorbed. The superior mind, it’s not that they’re just positively self-absorbed, it’s that you want to enhance yourself and of course that can look like the typical person that walks around boasting and bragging about what they have. I think that’s everyone’s definition of ego.

The superior mind has a couple of very bad habits that it engages in order to enhance its feeling of self-worth. One of them being, judging. And it’s something that a lot of people can see from others, but has a hard time recognizing and in itself. Judging other people makes you feel good about yourself. Your ego loves the boost when it puts someone else down. So it really is very sabotaging to single people, because if you are someone that engages your superior mind often, you’ll go on a date and before your date can even open their mouth, you’re judging. What does his hair look like? What does his shoes look like? Why did she say that? I don’t like this about her. And so if you don’t recognize that you simply have this habit to judge, you will judge yourself out of every single date that comes your way. You will look at every single person on your dating app and swipe left on because you can find something to judge as not being good enough. And it makes you feel good and enhanced but it doesn’t get you into a relationship.

So judgment is a huge sabotager of love, and it is a big habit of the superior mind curse.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. I love that. And I talk about this in my book too about, and the root of judgment again, is really fear. It goes back to that fear that we’re not good enough. So we, we have to judge other people to keep them away, and it’s so common. We go on these dates and we just pick people apart. And we’re just keeping ourselves from connection. And I think what you said earlier, it’s about really accepting who we are because as we accept who we are, we can accept who other people are.
We’re all the same. We’re all connected. We’re all flawed. We’re all imperfect. We’re all beautiful. And if we’re looking through that lens, We are going to find connection versus disconnection, which is what the space of the mind gets us.

Jess McCann: Yes, that’s exactly right. Yeah. And you can’t accept yourself if you continue to ruminate about yourself. Yeah, so they’re at odds with each other. And so that’s the only way that I know self-acceptance happens is by recognizing and admitting, I have a problem. I think about myself way too much. Let me just accept every part of myself and never think about that again. And I think people think that means, I don’t care about myself, actually, that’s when the real self-care happens, because then, oh, it’s not about me obtaining someone or buying a new pair of shoes. It’s about me doing that soul care, getting up in the morning, reading something that fulfills my soul or journaling some of my thoughts so that I don’t carry them around all day.
The real soul care that’s necessary. So I love that you just pointed that out.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. And I think a lot of people feel like discipline, like that self-criticism the discipline, that’s what keeps them going. They need that, and they feel like if I just accept myself, I’m going to get lazy. I’m gonna, I’m not never going to do anything. I’m going to let myself go. And it’s really the opposite.

Jess McCann: Yes. Oh, you’re so right. I love that you brought that up because I really have a hard time when I hear people talking about, if you feel bad, just do it anyway. Just discipline. I’m like, it sounds like maybe you’re on the wrong path. If you really have to have that much discipline. It sounds like you don’t really love whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. You’re not loving the process. So maybe you got to get small and fight about the why you’re doing it in the first place.

Dr. Tari: Yes. Yeah. And meet yourself where you’re at. That is real self-love, right?

Jess McCann: Yes. Yeah, we could probably do a whole thing on what self-care really is.

Dr. Tari: I’ll have you back. We’ll talk about that.

Jess McCann: I’d love that.

Dr. Tari: All right. So the fifth and final face of the cursed mind, what is it?

Jess McCann: I call it the contestant mind. So in the contestant mind, when you’re in that mode of thinking you view life as a contest. So this is where the habit of comparison comes in because your self esteem, your self worth, all of a sudden is determined by how well you measure up to other people, right? That they’re your barometer. So you’re looking to your left and going, am I as good as this person? I am great. I feel enhanced. And then you look this way and you go, my goodness, this person, I’m not, I feel diminished. So the contestant mind is constantly looking for this contest of worth ping-ponging between feeling inferior and feeling superior. And this causes a lot of problems in the relationship field too.

And I, you actually posted something on Instagram that I loved. You posted something about not getting side-tracked by drama, while the contestant mind loves drama. Why? Because she wants to be in the middle of the drama, hoping that she comes out victorious winner. If you’re in a love triangle, that’s drama. But if you’re chosen and the other person’s not, you’ve enhanced yourself, you become the winner. And that’s what the contestant mind seeks to have over and over again. Which is why many people are, have this track record of being attracted to people already in relationships.

I have clients that come to me and go, I don’t know why I’m so attracted to people that always have girlfriends. And I’m like, you’re not attracted to the person you’re attracted to the situation.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Jess McCann: The situation is full of drama and the chance for you to be named the Victor. Your ego loves that. And that’s why we keep falling into that.

Dr. Tari: And it’s a short-term gain or an illusionary gain.

Jess McCann: It’s so temporary as is all the boosts that come from the curse mind, they’re all temporary. And the problem is that’s where the addiction comes in. The temporary boost goes, that feels good. Then it feels horrible.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. Yeah.

Jess McCann: Because anything you do that’s so self-serving often does cause you’ve done something that might feel good to you temporarily, but usually it ends up sabotaging your life and other people’s lives in some way. So you feel horrible. And so instead of going, what can I do to not go through this big up and down again? You just go for more boosts. All right. You got to get a boost again. And the cycle continues.

Dr. Tari: And it reminds me to one of my old patterns. I’m still aware of, cause I think the propensity is still there, is when I enter a new relationship, all those big feelings, all those good feelings, for me, like the hook used to be just validation. Somebody really seeing me, somebody complimenting me, oh my God, it was like a drug. And then when I was away from that person, I would, it was like, I would crave them. I’d want to see them all the time. And when I saw them, I would get the drug, I’d get the boost. And then when I was without them, I would need the drug again. I would confuse that for love or connection, but really it was about me getting my hit in the relationship.

Jess McCann: Absolutely. And that is the whole point of my book is what do we confuse for love? We confuse that dopamine hit, that worth enhancement for love. We confuse approval for love. We confuse anxiety for love. He makes me feel anxious. She gives me knots in my stomach. It’s so unpredictable. It’s love. It’s not love, it’s anxiety.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Jess McCann: But we have so many emotions that we have not recognized yet. It takes a lot of self-introspection to realize, oh, what I’m feeling isn’t love. And if you’ve never really felt love, you have no idea what it’s supposed to feel like. And I suffered from that as well. Oh, love is peaceful and calm and content. To me for a long time, that felt boring. Because I was so used to the up and down rollercoaster of emotion that was coming from my mind. It was coming from this ego fulfillment. But it’s not love. And I had to actually learn to go through this detox. It was like an ego detox where I had to embrace what I thought was boring was actually peace. I just wasn’t used to it. Now I love peace. I want nothing but peace. I don’t want any drama. I don’t want any messiness or volatility. I just want peace.

Dr. Tari: Yeah.

Jess McCann: I want to be peaceful and I want to be with peaceful people, but that need 15 years ago, I would’ve thought peace was dull.

Dr. Tari: Yes.

Jess McCann: There’s no way to win with peace. I can’t enhance myself with peace. I need some drama for me to feel good to come out the star or the Victor or the winner.

Dr. Tari: Yeah. Yeah. You and me both are stars. I think we have similar past.

Jess McCann: Yeah, absolutely. But it’s great. Because you can talk about this with your clients. I can talk if we don’t live it. We can’t say we experience it and then we can’t help other people come to the other side, because as much as that rollercoaster emotions had a really high and such a painful low, right?

Dr. Tari: Yes.

Jess McCann: Such a painful low. And when you let go of. The cursed mind you come to this, even calm, peaceful place with yourself, with other people. And that’s where like the love and magic and comfort really happen. And it feels really good to your soul and you start to get used to it. And then you realize I would never go back to that rollercoaster, that anxious pit in my stomach, as high as I could get the lowest so bad, so painful, I’ll never go back there again.

Dr. Tari: So I know you said your book comes out in September. But for people listening right now, if they’re really resonating with this conversation and they want to get started on releasing the cursed mind, letting go of the ego, how can they start?

Jess McCann: That’s a great question. And I would ask everyone to grab a copy because you can download it and it will be delivered on September 7th so you can order it right now. But I would say that the two most important things are start to work on noticing your thoughts about yourself. When you start to feel anxious, when you start to feel that I’m not good enough, I feel really bad about myself, take a step back and really start to see. Look, I’m thinking about myself again, whether it’s in the future, whether it’s in the past, whether it’s positive or negative. Notice the thinking about yourself. Take a couple deep breaths and come back to the present moment outside of yourself.

So I would say that would be step number one and step number two. I really am big on gratitude because most of the time, the cursed mind likes to ruminate and what is not happening right now. What is lacking in the situation or what is lacking in me? And the only cure that really works for lack is gratitude. And there is so much to be grateful for. So I, no matter what your situation is, there’s always something. So I’m a big proponent of getting up in the morning and journaling a few grateful thoughts to set your day, right? To set yourself on a path and gratitude, as opposed to a path of lack.

And there are so many other little things that you can do and it depends on what curse you’re really struggling with. I struggled with them all the curse and that’s not unusual. This is really one ego split into five different manifestations. So it’s very likely a lot of people will have all of them. Maybe you’ll have one worse than the other. Yeah. Or maybe you will transition from one to the other as I did. But wherever you are right now, there is a corresponding cure that will really help you for me, it’s meditation. For other people, it might be journaling, but that’s a good place to start is to notice your thoughts and then journal about gratitude of your own life.

Dr. Tari: Yeah, I love both of those things. They’re so powerful. And I want to add about the gratitude. I love the journaling and I also encourage people what’s really worked for me is when you are in a moment where you’re experiencing peace or happiness or joy to just say, thank you. Like just like round into that moment, take a second to say thank you. I think it’s Anne Lamott that says there’s two prayers. One is health and the other is thank you. And I just loved that so much. And I agree, gratitude is so magical. If we put that lens on, like I’m gonna look for everything I have that I can appreciate. It’s just, it just shifts everything.

Jess McCann: It does because the world is very neutral in my opinion. And it’s all about your perception. You can perceive it as lacking, or you can perceive it as full and abundant. But it’s very neutral and it’s really on you, how you’re going to take in other people in the world.

So I, I love that you said that and I think saying out loud is so important to create that habit as well, because a lot of times just keeping everything in your head is not enough. So writing it down, saying it out loud, those are all really good ways to kickstart so that you get back into the habit because I’ll just be honest, breaking the curse, breaking a mind habit is not easy, and it’s not done by just saying, wow. I’m so self-absorbed, I want to be more other focused. I want to be more focused on others. I said that too. And then I realized, oh, it takes work. It takes work to really change your mind habits, but it can absolutely happen if you’re willing to put the work in.

Dr. Tari: Oh, absolutely, like complete and total transformation as possible. And I think you and I are walking, breathing examples of that. Oh my gosh. Where can people find you if they want to work with you, if they want to find your other books?

Jess McCann: Yeah, all my books are on Amazon or in bookstores. If their bookstores are still around. I don’t know. I haven’t been out. I’ve been out lately for the pandemic. If there’s still a bookstore in your area, you can walk in there and ask. And then I love people finding me on Instagram. My handle is easy to find, it’s: And I have a website, but I don’t check it as much as I do my Instagram. So I would, I love DMs. I’m happy to help. I do offer coaching.

Dr. Tari: I just want to thank you so much for this conversation. The way that you talk about this and this idea that being self-focused is sabotaging our relationships and our dating life. And our access to love is so simple, but I think so life-changing.

Jess McCann: I hope so.

Dr. Tari: I’ve learned a lot.

Jess McCann: Oh, good. Good. I’m so glad. I appreciate you so much. Like I said, I just love everything you put out on Instagram and just eat it up. It’s so wonderful. And I can’t thank you enough for having me here and allowing me to share my work because it’s really ongoing 10 years to write this book. And I really hope that it helps people that are struggling, men and women. And it will help people in any kind of relationship not just romantic and certainly not just heterosexual. I really appreciate you allowing me to spread the message with your podcast. Thank you so much Dr. Tari.

Dr. Tari: Thank you.

Thanks for tuning into Dear Dater. This is Dr. Tari reminding you that if you want love, it’s meant for you.