Scott Churchson: “Living with another person is like holding up a magnifying mirror”

Living with another person is like holding up a magnifying mirror — you become much more aware of the best and worst parts of yourself. My current wife and I were married later in life after living on our own for years, and it was a difficult transition for us both in the beginning. As part of […]

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Living with another person is like holding up a magnifying mirror — you become much more aware of the best and worst parts of yourself. My current wife and I were married later in life after living on our own for years, and it was a difficult transition for us both in the beginning.

As part of my series about “How To Learn To Finally Love Yourself” I had the pleasure to interview Scott Churchson. Scott has been an actor and stuntperson for a decade with credits including HBO’s The Deuce, commercials for CBS News, MSG Networks and several others as well as one stint on America’s Got Talent 5 years ago. For the past year, Scott has been a correspondent for the show Football Gameplan on the Game+ Cable network, has a podcast through the BarnBurner Sports Network across 122 podcast platforms/ZingoTV called The Sports Den plus has a weekly radio show called the 80s Kid Radio Show in New Jersey on WFDU-HD2. In his spare time he enjoys kayaking, gardening, and spending time with his wife and their three-legged asthmatic cat Scully.

Thank you so much for joining us! I’d love to begin by asking you to give us the backstory as to what brought you to this specific career path.

Hey thank you! I appreciate it. For me it’s seldom been routine. Ten years ago while looking for a career change I stumbled onto an ad on Craigslist of all things to start doing background work on television, something I always had an interest in doing. That led to a career in TV and film which was enjoyable and still is, but I made the decision to go back to school to focus on radio & TV broadcasting. I was fortunate to land work as a correspondent for the show Football Gameplan on the Game+ Network (14 cable packages in the US & Canada) covering both FCS College Football and the newly re-formed XFL. Then Covid happened, the league closed up shop, and college football is likely not going to be played this season. Fortunately, both will likely return soon..

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you hope that they might help people along their path to self-understanding or a better sense of wellbeing in their relationships? 
I’ve been fortunate that despite Covid I’ve been able to continue my radio show; the 80s Kid Radio Show on WFDU in New Jersey. Also I’m happy to be working with two guys, Jared Robeson and Rob Stats on The Sports Den, which can be heard on the BarnBurner Sports Network and on ZingoTV. I’ve known them for years and am fired up working with them. But I love entertaining. I just feed off the energy of the crowd and like being that average Joe that people (for some reason) look up to. I guess I’m just relatable, ha ha. Lastly I want to mention that alongside my wife (and FAR better half Robin) we shot a TV pilot called “When Life Hands You Lemons” which profiles awesome people who’ve come out on top despite challenging ordeals. Our guest was a three time cancer survivor who was given a less than 5% chance of survival. 20 years later she’s still kicking butt.

Do you have a personal story that you can share with our readers about your struggles or successes along your journey of self-understanding and self-love? Was there ever a tipping point that triggered a change regarding your feelings of self acceptance?

In a weird twist it was escaping my first marriage. 2004–06 were rough years for me. I was depressed, I drank a lot after having a girl I was dating dump me for another woman (funny now, not so funny then) and I kind of fell backwards into a marriage that was abusive physically, verbally and psychologically. Police were involved, I had to sleep in my car during the winter a few times and it was a rough go. But getting out of the marriage and spending more time with my parents and reconnecting with them brought me the understanding that I didn’t need another person to make me happy. It wasn’t the job of my significant other to make me happy, happiness was up to me.

According to a recent study cited in Cosmopolitan, in the US, only about 28 percent of men and 26 percent of women are “very satisfied with their appearance.” Could you talk about what some of the causes might be, as well as the consequences?

To be honest, I’m surprised it’s even that high. I think a huge reason for body image insecurity comes from magazines, TV, movies and so on. They tout beautiful people with low body fat, ripped bodies, awesome hair and you look at that and think, “I’m ugly as hell compared to that.” You start looking at yourself in the mirror and pointing out all the flaws that you have and resenting yourself for it; forgetting that the entertainment world in all its forms has the power of trainers and dieticians that the average person doesn’t, with huge studios footing the bill. The consequences? Absolute depression when you compare yourself to a standard you can never achieve. You see people on the street and think to yourself, “I wish I looked like them instead of me.” Then you drown your sorrows in unhealthy comfort food, thinking “What the point of even trying?”

As cheesy as it might sound to truly understand and “love yourself,” can you share with our readers a few reasons why it’s so important?

Absolutely important, but absolutely difficult. To counter your cheesy with my own, you’re with yourself every minute of the day. Most thoughts about ourselves are negative and our mind becomes like that really bad friend that belittles us but still we hang out with even though we know they aren’t good for us. Your mind is your best friend, now whether that friend is a good one or a bad one is up to you.

Why do you think people stay in mediocre relationships? What advice would you give to our readers regarding this?

In the case of my first marriage my head was in the wrong place. Everyone in my life was getting married, having kids and moving forward and I was alone on Saturday nights. THAT got into my head big time and led me to a bad marriage. But I stayed in it because, at least to the outside world, my life could appear normal. That perceived normalcy was SO important to me at that time. So I understand if someone is in the same boat. Looking back I’m reminded of a great quote about life in general. “If the next three years of your life matched the last three, would you be happy? And if not, what are you doing to change it?”

When I talk about self-love and understanding I don’t necessarily mean blindly loving and accepting ourselves the way we are. Many times self-understanding requires us to reflect and ask ourselves the tough questions, to realize perhaps where we need to make changes in ourselves to be better not only for ourselves but our relationships. What are some of those tough questions that will cut through the safe space of comfort we like to maintain, that our readers might want to ask themselves? Can you share an example of a time that you had to reflect and realize how you needed to make changes?

Living with another person is like holding up a magnifying mirror — you become much more aware of the best and worst parts of yourself. My current wife and I were married later in life after living on our own for years, and it was a difficult transition for us both in the beginning. Your opinions, routines, and ways of doing things are always right when you live alone but are a frequent source of conflict when another person has to share the space. The toughest question, and one we sometimes ask ourselves on a daily basis, is how important is it to be right? Outside of a handful of circumstances like taking a test, driving a car, or performing surgery, it’s typically only important to your ego. She and I have had to give up a lot of attachment to “the right way to do it” and find “the way that works for us” whether it’s my way, hers, or a completely different one.

So many don’t really know how to be alone, or are afraid of it. How important is it for us to have, and practice, that capacity to truly be with ourselves and be alone (literally or metaphorically)?

I think again it comes down to how you treat yourself. If your mind is a good friend, you’ll be okay, if your mind is a bad one being alone with it isn’t safe.

How does achieving a certain level of self-understanding and self-love then affect your ability to connect with and deepen your relationships with others?

I think the better you understand yourself, the better you can relate to others. By understanding that you’re not perfect, you’re never going to be perfect, you can also understand that others are the same way. But not being perfect doesn’t mean the end of the road; far from it. There’s always something new to learn and some new way to grow. As a society I think we’ve become conditioned to view life only through our own lens, and not the lens of someone else with different experiences, strengths and weaknesses. If you can remind yourself of that with the person you’re speaking to it’s a huge win for you both. Wisdom comes, I think, not necessarily from agreeing with an opinion different from your own, but from respecting an opinion different from your own.

In your experience, what should a) individuals and b) society, do to help people better understand themselves and accept themselves?

Realize that EVERYONE has baggage and challenges. You’re not alone that way, nor is anyone else. I feel that keeping that in the back of our minds at all times allows us to be more sympathetic to others, even those we don’t agree with. Commonality is a great way I find to bond with a stranger. That would be huge to remember on social media. People are so often more interested in firing off their opinions that they forget the person they often chastise is human as well, with experiences, attitudes and mindsets that are both similar and different from ourselves.

What are 5 strategies that you implement to maintain your connection with and love for yourself, that our readers might learn from? Could you please give a story or example for each?

So every morning there are 3 things I do habitually: 1) 20 minutes of meditation to focus only on staying in the present moment. 2) Daily typed out affirmations focusing on myself and my self concept & 3) Daily journaling focusing on where my head is at over the past 24 hours and in the moment. Doing this after waking up sets the tone for my day. Also, I do aim to stay away from social media throughout the day unless it’s necessary; there have been too many studies done showing the negative effects of social media on our emotions. Lastly, I stay away from anything negative in my TV/YT/Netflix watching as much as possible. I’m super-susceptible to negative images so everything I watch stays light. The most serious thing for me is superhero shows on the CW or Star Trek The Next Generation.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources for self-psychology, intimacy, or relationships? What do you love about each one and how does it resonate with you?

I’m big on YouTube; I feel that YT is an absolutely underrated/underused self improvement vehicle. For me I’ve always been better with audio over a book anyway. I’m big on Charisma on Command to study how to better communicate with people, people like Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, John Maxwell for general self improvement & leadership and I’ve started listening to Evan Carmichael who breaks down life lessons from today’s most successful people.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? Maybe we’ll inspire our readers to start it…

#ALLINTHISTOGETHER or #ALLONTHESAMETEAM Let’s get these hashtags going! We’ve gotta get out of our own way and stop thinking that only our opinions and beliefs are correct. It takes all kinds to make a world and everyone has pain and everyone has something to offer as well. I know I’m beating a dead horse here but that’s only because it’s something I absolutely believe in.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you use to guide yourself by? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life and how our readers might learn to live by it in theirs?

That one’s easy, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it” — Charles Swindoll. So much of life can be broken down by that one statement!

Thank you so much for your time and for your inspiring insights!

Absolutely thank you! You folks are awesome!

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