Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 174, Be Done Apologizing. So many widows have a more difficult time loving life after their spouse dies because of all the ways they think they aren’t living up to a completely optional set of standards. We think we need to change ourselves but really we don’t. We need to change the way we think about ourselves. We need to put down the idea that we need to be different.
We need to consider that who we are and the way we do things might actually be okay. It might actually even be amazing. It might be something we can be proud of. It might be something that if we stopped listening to the mean thoughts in our mind about it, even the subtle ones, that we could actually lean into and let ourselves enjoy. That’s what I want to talk about on today’s podcast. Let’s be done apologizing shall we.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. I’m excited about today’s topic. I feel it, I’m a little fired up already. So be forewarned. As far as what’s going on in my world, so fall is in full effect. You know I love fall if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I love fall. I actually waited until the 1st of September or a little bit after that to even decorate for fall. Usually, man, mid-August I’m there. But I waited a little bit longer but I love that it’s starting to feel like fall where I live.
We went to the state fair. We got early Christmas presents which I would not have ever imagined I would like it this much but it’s this BACKplus massager that I can put in the back of my office chair and then one for my neck. And oh my gosh, so amazing, well worth the money. Bought the Christmas presents early, opened them, enjoying them now. Let’s see what else. So, Keith Urban is in town, going to that concert tonight. I’m not a huge Keith Urban fan, I like him, I have seen his show before but it’s going to be a fun night out, so got that to do later on tonight.
And my daughter is doing so great in Costa Rica. Its actually way less of a transition than I thought it would be for her and for me, so it’s going well there. And then this is fun and unexpected, my stepson, Hugo’s son, so my stepson from my marriage with Hugo is getting out of the marines and he’s coming home soon with his wife. They’ve been in Hawaii and they’re coming back to live in Wichita where I live and so I’m super excited to be able to see him and see her and have them back. So that’s what’s going on.
And then also I mentioned in the last podcast episode but I am so excited to be able to support those of you who have applied and been accepted into Mom Goes On with the chance to have a phone call with Patty. Patty is our director of client enrollment. We’re actually going to do a podcast episode, have her come on so you can meet her. But Patty is just lovely. She will put you at ease. She is so good at listening and understanding what’s going on for you. She’s also a Master Certified coach. And she also lost her first husband so she totally understands grief.
And so, Patty’s role is for those who have applied for Mom Goes On and are interested and who we think we can help of course based on what you put in the application. Patty’s role is to get on the phone with you, understand what’s going on for you, make sure it really is a good fit, answer all your questions, and then if you decide to enroll to make that as easy as possible. So, if that’s something you have been considering I highly recommend that you go do it now, coachingwithkrista.com. And you can click on the Work With Me page and you can apply there.
Another thing I haven’t done in a while is read listener reviews. So, I’m going to read two of them because I haven’t done that in a while. And I really do appreciate when you take time to leave a rating or a review. This is what gets the podcast in front of more widows and 11 million widows, they aren’t all listening to the podcast. So, any time you write a review or rate the podcast it just helps it become more discoverable.
So, two that I want to read today, one is from a listener who calls themselves Mamatharia. And the title is So Thankful for You. And it reads, in 2011 I was widowed at 32 with five children under 11. I was adrift at sea and felt sorry and lost. Eventually I felt healed and ready to date. In 2014 I was remarried and found a true partner for what I hoped would be forever after. Unfortunately, he suddenly passed away in November 2021 and I felt more shattered than with my first husband.
Last month I found the show and I cannot begin to express just what a lifesaver it is. I wish I had support and resources like this in 2011. Krista is absolutely amazing and such a godsend. Thankful eternity for your work. Thank you so much for that review. That means a lot to me.
And then the next one is from Anna Bunk and the title is Amazing. And it reads, your podcast was recommended to me. I lost my husband October 1st, 2021. I started listening soon after even though my widow fog was intense. I went back and listened to different podcasts with different areas I was struggling with. Your podcast is so awesome and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing your gift and knowledge to us widows from the bottom of my heart. Thank you.
I get to do this job. I get to do this. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is real. This is actually real. So, thank you, I know that sometimes there’s so many of you that listen and we’ll never get to meet, you might never become a client of mine. But know that I love you all the same and just I’m so grateful for your kind words and for the opportunity to help you in this way. So, alright, let’s not get emotional. What’s going on with me today?
Alright, let’s get into the episode. So not along ago I got pretty lit up after a coaching session as one does. And I could feel some shifts happening in myself that got me just kind of fired up and wanting to share that with all of you. I noticed some places where I was apologizing in my life and hiding aspects of myself. Telling myself that I should be different or that at least I should keep certain things to myself and that got me thinking about doing a podcast episode because if I’m struggling with it, you’re struggling with it.
And it wasn’t even just with people outside of my home, it was with people inside of my home that I was kind of apologizing and not fully being myself. I’ll tell you a little bit more about that nearer the end of the episode. But let’s talk about what it means for you. What are all of the ways you keep apologizing? And I’m not just talking about things you say out loud that you’re sorry for. I’m talking about all the ways you judge yourself and tell yourself you need to be different.
I’m talking about all the ways you hold back, stifle yourself, shut yourself down, play small, don’t let yourself dream, or don’t set big goals. I’m talking about all the work you do to manage what others think. I’m talking about every time you alter a decision, sometimes in the tiniest of ways because you’re attempting to control something that you can’t control, i.e., other people’s opinions about you.
And I get it, sometimes we apologize because we see someone that we love is hurting and we say, “I’m so sorry.” And it’s not because we’re admitting fault, it’s just because we see pain and it’s hard to watch those we love experience pain. Even if we know that pain is part of the human experience, it’s not always easy to remember that in the moment. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is the way that we dump on ourselves with stories about who we’re supposed to be, and how we’re supposed to be, and what we’re supposed to do.
Specifically, when what we want to be doesn’t match the stories of who we think we’re supposed to be. I’m talking about all the rules that we give ourselves about what it looks to do widowhood right, as though that’s a thing. What it looks like to do life on this planet as a woman or a mom right, as though that’s a thing. It’s not a thing. It’s something we made up and we’re all defining it differently because by its very origin doing it right is something that only exists in our mind. So let that start to kind of sink in.
And then let’s consider what are we apologizing for? What are all the things you think you are but shouldn’t be or maybe aren’t and should be? Too loud, too quiet, too fat, too thin, too much, not enough, too sensitive, too harsh, too needy, too bold, too indecisive, too strong willed. And who gets to decide that it’s bad or good to be any of those things? Who even decides that those things are, who made up the rules about what is too needy and that that’s even a bad thing? What is too indecisive and that that’s a bad thing?
What is too much? What is not enough? We just, we made it all up. So (a) it’s not a problem if you are these things. It’s only a problem to be those things when you decide to believe that it’s a problem. Put another way, who you are and how you live is not a problem. Be done apologizing for it, be done. Decide that no matter how you are you are wonderful, and worthy, and valuable, and amazing. What would it be like if you stopped apologizing for how you move through the world? Be done. Be done.
So (a) it’s not a problem if you are these things and (b) you aren’t actually those things anyway. Your brain is just in the habit of thinking particular thoughts about you that feel true. It’s in the habit of seeing you through a particular lens. It’s just being a good brain when it gathers evidence in support of your own thoughts. But guess what? You aren’t actually too anything unless you decide you are. Case and point, for the longest time I thought I was a procrastinator. I really did. I had lots of evidence to support it. I believed it to be true about myself, I felt like it was factual.
Maybe you have labeled yourself in that way. But did you know, it took me a while to figure this out, if you’ve labeled yourself in a particular way, that the only reason that keeps being true is because of the label. We label ourselves and we keep proving it true. We keep proving our own thinking true. So, I wasn’t actually a procrastinator. I was a person who thought of herself as a procrastinator. I was a person who labeled herself a procrastinator and kept proving her own thought true.
So, you are not what you have labeled yourself. You are the awareness behind that label, behind that thought. What if you stopped seeing yourself and your thoughts about yourself as true? What if you started identifying and recognizing that you are the awareness who gets to choose her thoughts about herself? You are the awareness who gets to choose consciously how she labels herself. You get to choose. It’s not just true because it’s in your brain. It’s still optional even when it feels true. But regardless and this I swear blew my mind.
Did you know that even if you choose to keep a label like procrastinator, that it’s only a problem if you decide to believe it is. You could be completely at peace with procrastinating or however you label yourself and not be embarrassed about it, not decide to hide it. That is available to you. We can either stop labeling ourselves or we can embrace the label. We have options. We can either stop labeling ourselves or we can embrace the label, no apology necessary.
And we want to consider where it comes from, these labels, these ideas of who we should be. We get a lot of mixed messages from our culture. We’re socialized in particular ways. We pick up ideas like bad pennies about what’s good, and what’s bad, and what’s right, and what’s wrong, and what’s desirable, and what’s undesirable, how we’re supposed to be, how we aren’t supposed to be. We learn it from our parents. We learn it from our faith traditions. We learn it from popular culture, from marketing, from examples we’ve seen.
It’s everywhere, we’re marinating in it, the rules of who we should be, what we’re supposed to be. And what I want you to do, I hope you will is question all of it. Question all of it and decide for yourself what you want to believe about who you should be and who you are but be done apologizing, be done. And maybe you’re apologizing for the experiences that other people are having of you. I’ve been doing this. And if so let’s get curious about why. How they experience you is none of your business. How you show up is your business.
Who you choose to be is your business. What you choose to think, and feel, and do, how you choose to behave, to contribute, how you decide to move through the world, that’s your business. How you decide to live now that your person has died, whether you play small, whether you go all in, whether you keep their stuff, whether you don’t, whether you wear the ring, whether you don’t, whether you date again, how you parent, what you do with your money, that’s your business.
How you respond to other people, what you bring into the room, that’s where your power is. Ask yourself truly, why are you apologizing for what other people think and feel about the choices you make? Because you can’t control what they think and feel. Agreed? So why apologize when they have thoughts and feelings that you can’t control? As long as you keep needing them to think and feel differently about you, you’ll be focused on controlling something you can’t control.
And being a chameleon when you don’t want to be a chameleon is draining. It wears you down. It wastes your energy. If you were unapologetically yourself how much energy would you get back? What else could you use that energy for, that actually matters to you? And I think I get so fired up because it’s like I’m equally talking to you and I’m also talking to me. I keep learning this, and growing, and evolving, and learning it again. And I set bigger goals and the same nonsense comes up in my brain. And I keep relearning it over, and over, and over.
And I want both of us, you and me to spend that energy on something we care about, to use it to create more of what we want in this life. I want us both to be done apologizing. And I see it so much that it pains me. So many widows have a more difficult time after their spouse dies because of this optional set of standards in their brain. It’s just in their brain. We do not need to change ourselves. A lot of people come to me for this work too by the way. They’re so convinced that who they are is a problem and they hire a coach to change who they are.
But surprise, what I actually help you do is not change who you are but accept who you are, to think differently about yourself. You don’t need to change but you do need to put down the idea that you need to change. We need to consider that who are, how we do things, the choices we make, could potentially not be the problem. What could be the problem is our judgment of what we do and who we are. And we could put that down. And we could not change who we are and be proud of it.
We could literally lean into all of those things about ourselves that we are currently judging and let ourselves enjoy them. It is possible. We could do that. But heaven forbid we would think that who we are is okay. How awful that would be for those who wish to profit from our insecurity. Entire industries might collapse if we actually started accepting and loving ourselves as we are. The whole beauty industry, they make money on our insecurity.
And by the way, even as I say these words to you I see my own opportunities. I see my own hypocrisy. I see my own lack of belief, I see it. But the deal is that I’m choosing to become more and more okay with all of it even my own lack of living into what I’m saying. I’m dropping more and more of my own should thinking. I’m continuing to champion myself at deeper and deeper levels. And at times I have actually believed and held back because I have believed that in order to teach you that I have to have mastered what I teach and that’s nonsense.
Teachers aren’t perfect, they’re human, and holding ourselves to some perfectionist standard before we can help people just means we help fewer people. And it’s not logical and then I’m not having it. I’m not having it.
So here are some things that I’m done apologizing for. And I want to encourage you to make your own list. I’m done apologizing for swearing. Now, on the podcast I don’t swear that much because when my kids were little I hated it when podcast guests swore. I didn’t like it. And I remember what that was like. But when I’m being fully me I swear. I wish you all would have known Hugo but my late husband’s favorite word, he’s a feisty Quebecker. His favorite word was the eff word.
And it was actually quite hilarious to watch him. He would get so worked up about something, his face would get all red. And his neck would be all red and he would just French accent flying, so many eff bombs. It was pretty comical. But so, what? I’m done apologizing for that. If you coach with me I’m probably going to swear from time to time and I’m done spending energy filtering myself. I’m just going to be where I want to be and if it isn’t for you that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be for you.
You don’t have to think it’s appropriate for you in order for me to be okay with me, in order for me to show up the way that I want to show up. I’m just not going to give any more energy to it. I’m also done with apologizing for the way that I think about politics and social justice issues. I don’t need anyone to think like me. You can think however you want to think. I respect that we live in a country where we each get to form our own opinions. But I also don’t need to shy away from what I believe. I believe in diversity, and equity, and inclusion.
And I will continue actively educating myself on what that means to me and how I can show up in a way with what aligns with what I believe and what I value. Recognizing that many of you who listen we are not on the same page. Many people in my own family are not on the same page and that’s okay. But I’m not going to apologize for how I think and what I believe. I’m also done apologizing for my spiritual views. Again, I don’t need anyone to think like me but I also don’t need to hold back what I think, to control what others might think of me.
I believe we are all divine beings having a human experience. That we are the physical embodiment of God, the universe, the great I am, oneness, divine love, source energy. It doesn’t matter what we call it. Humans have given many names to the same idea but I believe we are the human expression of that divine love. We are that source energy pressed into physical form. And if that divine love is everywhere and all present which I believe it is, then that means that wherever we are love is and all is well and that’s how I see it.
And how you see it is up to you. I don’t force my views on anyone but that’s how I see it and I’m done apologizing for it. And listen, here’s what I want to say, it’s not like I was actively saying I’m so sorry I believe these things. It wasn’t that easy to detect. It was subtle the way that I have been apologizing. It was in my not bringing it up, in my shying away from it, in my worrying about how other people might receive it, that’s what apologizing looked like for me lately.
A couple of other things I’m no longer apologizing for. I am no longer apologizing for my prices and the decisions that I make in my coaching business. I created this business, it’s mine. I will do what feels right to me with it. I have spent so much energy worried about what other people think about the decisions that I make in my business. How I run my business is a gift I give to myself. How you run your life is a gift you give to yourself.
When I do things in a way that keeps my cup full, that’s when I’m able to give generously to others. That’s what will keep this working in the long run. And if I don’t do that, if I run a business to please other people that’s when I get depleted. And the same is true for you. If you’re making your choices for other people’s approval that’s when you get depleted. And when I get depleted I have less to give. And giving is important to me. If I get depleted I have less to give and that means I run this amazing business into the ground, myself into the ground.
So, I will do it the way I want to do it. I want you to do it the way you want to do it. I will keep my coaching prices where I want to keep them, while also giving generously to those who will never pay me like with this podcast, with the gazillion emails I send, and free public coaching calls, and all the things I do that I don’t charge for. I will keep doing that but I’m not going to apologize anymore for how I price my coaching.
And when I can be my own champion in that way not only do I keep a healthy business that I enjoy, but I role model what it looks like for you. And I give you an example of what it looks like to run your life the way you want to run it even if people don’t like it. And believe you me, not everybody likes my choices and it’s okay and I’m not apologizing for it.
The last thing I’m done apologizing for is telling people what I do. I’m done shying away from that. I noticed myself at a neighborhood holiday party last year just a little uncomfortable telling people that I’m a life coach. Because I know – well, okay, that’s not true, I don’t know, I suspect, I imagine. My brain offers me that many of those people kind of go, “Huh, you do what?” And then they assume that my partner must be the breadwinner and want to know what he does. What even is a life coach?
And my truth is that yeah, a lot of people don’t know what a life coach is. A lot of people might not think much of it. But what I know about it, is the best career I’ve ever had. Is the best thing I’ve ever done. Is the most fulfilling, the most amazing, the most meaningful. It is hard work, owning a business is hard work but it literally helps people change their lives. It gives value to the world in a way that feels amazing to me. And it is okay if my doctor, lawyer and restaurant owning neighbors might not get it and might look down on me. I’m over it. I love what I do.
And being shy about it is a subtle way that I’ve been apologizing for it and I just don’t want to do that anymore. So, what are you apologizing for? Who are you apologizing to? And what if you stopped? Be done apologizing. Live your life the way you want to live it. Do your grief the way you want to do it. Be who you want to be and let other people think what they will think. No more energy given to controlling other people’s opinions. No more shying away from who you want to be and what you think. Alright, are you with me? I’m talking to you.
Okay, that’s what I have for you this week. I hope it really helps you wherever you are and whatever you’ve got going on, please remember and tell yourself, tell yourself, look in the mirror, I love you and you’ve got this. Alright, take care and I’ll see you next week, bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so that you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.