Regardless of where you are and what your challenges might be right now, whether it’s accepting the death of your person, or perhaps something entirely different like figuring out your business or a new dream of yours, this topic I’m diving into today applies to all of it.
I believe that it’s possible for us to move through our grief while we hold two opposing beliefs at the same time: everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. In many ways, you can hold the belief that you are not in danger and that you’re still a valuable, lovable human, but on the other hand, you have loss and excruciating pain. So how can we suffer less when we’re having all these feelings?
Listen in today as I show you what it means for everything to simultaneously be okay and not okay. The contrast between joy and despair or happiness and sadness is what makes up the human experience, and I’m showing you how embracing this perspective will allow you to give yourself the space to believe that everything’s okay, while you’re not okay.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 74, Everything’s Okay and Everything’s Not Okay.
Welcome the 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. If this is your first time, I’m so glad to have you. Before we get into the podcast, remember I ran a little competition. For those of you who were listening to the podcast and sharing podcast episodes over on Instagram and tagging me @lifecoachkrista, I said I was going to give away a gorgeous necklace. A baroque pearl necklace called Grit, which I just love so much.
So I’m so excited to announce that the winner of this necklace goes by the Instagram name @griefandart. Griefandart, I know you, and everyone else, if you’re not following, griefandart on Instagram, you are missing out because this woman is a very talented artist, also a widow and a mom, and someone I’ve come to know.
I swear it was unbiased in my choosing of this person. But griefandart, I will not say your name publicly because it doesn’t say that on the profile, but you know who you are, and your necklace will be arriving shortly. Everyone else, immediately go and follow griefandart on Instagram.
Okay, I’ve been thinking a lot, which is typical, about what helps us in grief, what helps us when we’re having all the feelings. How can we suffer less when we’re having all of these feelings? What do we do when we don’t feel okay, even if everyone’s telling us we’re strong? This is what I do all day. I think about grief and living life after loss and helping women so they don’t just tolerate life, but they actually start loving it again.
So that’s what led me to thinking about today’s topic. So I know some of you are listening because you’ve lost your person very recently. I know some of you, it’s been a little longer, for some of you it’s been years. Some of you haven’t even lost your person yet, but you’re anticipating it.
So regardless of where you are, I want you to listen to this with your own current challenges in mind. And that can be different for everyone. So maybe your challenge is the emotional whiplash that you’re experiencing. Maybe your challenge is figuring out how to parent solo, or how to accept the death, or the impending death.
Maybe it’s learning to be your own champion, or how to discover your next dream, or maybe it’s your in-laws, or your mother, or your sister, or your boss. It could be that your challenge is to forgive or forgive yourself or your spouse. Maybe it’s your inner critic. Or maybe it’s the part of you that keeps looking for external validation and trying to people please.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s a challenge that you’re trying to grow your business. Everything applies to this. Everything’s okay, and everything’s not okay. Just stay with me.
I remember once when I was in grade school and I was upset. So upset because I didn’t get invited to a birthday party that one of the girls from my class was having. And at the time, I was convinced that everyone got invited but me. I don’t know if that’s actually true but that’s how it felt.
And I remember it stung. And when my mother asked me what was wrong, I remember trying to hide it and be strong, and you know that choking feeling that you get in your throat, the one that comes right before the flood of tears, and you know if you say one word or utter any sound, the floodgates are about to open. That’s the feeling I remember.
And my mother, being the amazing mother she was and is, still is, told me it was okay to cry. She told me to just let it out. She told me I was safe and that it was okay to be upset. And she just held me, and she let me cry. I don’t know how long I cried, but holy cow, it was the hard ugly sobbing heaving, can’t breathe kind of crying, until I didn’t need to cry anymore.
And she never minimized my feelings, she never told me I shouldn’t feel that way or it wasn’t that big of a deal, or I had other friends. She didn’t try and take it from me. She just created a space where it was safe for me to not be okay.
And in that situation, that one big ugly cry was exactly what I needed. I needed someone to make it okay for me to not be okay. So I believe that it’s possible for us to let ourselves move through clean pain, and you’ve heard me talk about clean pain and dirty pain, but move through clean pain. And that’s what my mom helped me do that day.
And it’s possible when we hold these two opposing beliefs together at the same time, that everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. Now, with the loss of a partner, it’s not just one ugly cry like it was for me over the party. It’s far more nuanced. It’s far more long-lasting. It is different.
But some of the same lessons apply. Everything’s okay and everything’s not okay, which is to say we are okay, and we are not okay. I’m okay and I’m not okay. So first, how is it true that everything’s okay? That we’re okay?
We have to find it. This doesn’t mean forced gratitude, by the way. This doesn’t mean silver linings. How is it true that everything’s okay? Right now, we’re not in physical danger. Even though our body thinks we are, and our brain thinks we are. Our worth isn’t at stake. We’re still valuable, lovable, amazing creations.
We still have an unlimited capacity to love, be loved, and to be love. We still have food, we still have shelter, our basic needs are met. We are still capable of laughter. We still have the ability to choose our response. We have agency, free will. Not all of the good stuff has gone away. Not everything is not okay.
So we could say in many ways that everything is okay, that we’re okay. But at the same time, we can hold the belief that everything isn’t okay, that we aren’t okay, and we can find the truth in that, yeah? Our person died. All the feelings. All the losses. The dreams we had, the future we planned, the awfulness of watching those that we love hurt.
It’s that groundless, rug ripped out from under you, house burned down to the ground, disorienting chaos. Body, mind, spirit. You know this. It’s the literal ache in our hearts. Everything’s also not okay. And here’s what I think is true.
This is what makes up the human experience. Comedy does not exist without drama. Despair gives context for joy. Sadness makes happiness possible. One does not exist without the other. The contrast is what makes it all work.
Everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. When we take the broader perspective of knowing that our experience is just as much full of downs as it is ups, by design, that only because they both exist, the ups and the downs, do either of them have meaning. Are you with me?
Everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. Death has always been part of life. It’s always been part of our earthly experience. All death. Not just peaceful death where someone dies in their old age, maybe in their sleep. Not just the death that we saw coming. But the death from drawn out and agonizing illness and unforeseen accidents and the death by suicide and the deaths of babies and young children and terrible, terrible things.
Deaths that were welcomed and deaths that weren’t. This has been the way of it since the beginning of time. Everything is okay and everything is not okay. Wars, loves, plagues, birth, grief, it’s always been. It will always be a part of life. Mourning, pain. We were never meant to not experience all of it. This is the way of it. This is the way it has always been.
Everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. And it’s easier when it’s someone else’s life to have that perspective. It’s so easy to look at someone else when you’re not the one in pain and hold those two beliefs. The challenge is when it happens to us.
If we can hold the belief that in the grander scheme of life, everything’s okay, even when we have tremendous and excruciating pain, then we’re better able to relax into it, to allow ourselves to have the experience of not being okay. Because we know that it’s temporary, and even though it feels unnatural and terrible, we can know that it is the way of nature. We can surrender to not being okay and that’s what has us suffering less.
Acceptance, allowance, surrender. Letting ourselves not be okay. And honestly, the truth is that we never really knew how life would unfold up until this point. We thought we did. And we don’t really know how life is going to unfold in the future. We still dream about it; we still plan for it. But we don’t really know.
And the truth is that even when we don’t know, we’re still able to choose our response to any situation we encounter. No one can take that from us. And there will always be so many situations that are beyond our control. And the truth is that we can handle any feeling, we can let any emotion pass through us.
And no matter what happens, our past is the past. It doesn’t limit us. It doesn’t define us. It has very little to do with our future, unless we decide that it does. No matter what, we’re still infinite possibility, we’re still divine nature and love, pressed into human form. That’s what I believe.
Regardless of our spiritual beliefs, if we can know that everything is okay in the larger sense and because of this, because of this choice we make to know that everything is okay in the larger sense, then we can let everything not be okay right now as we mourn. We can let pain flow through us over and over as often and for as long as we need it to.
We can love ourselves. We can love ourselves through an experience of life where everything doesn’t feel okay, knowing all the while that everything is okay, that we’re okay. So I want you to consider, give yourself permission to believe that everything’s okay, so that you can give yourself the space to not be okay.
Zoom out. Zoom out. Use a wider lens on your life. Take the perspective over your life that my mother had when I came to her so devastated and tearful. And remind yourself that in the big picture, it’s okay, you’re safe. Everything’s okay and it’s not. The presence of pain doesn’t mean things are off track. It just means we’re human.
And I don’t care if this is just about the loss of your spouse. Maybe it’s so much more than that. Maybe it’s that relationship that you’re having doesn’t feel okay. Maybe it’s that big business goal that you’ve set, and you haven’t hit it and it doesn’t feel okay. Maybe it’s that dream that you’re chasing or whatever it is for you. Everything’s okay and everything’s not okay.
I hope this helps you. I want you to know, listener, some of you I know, so many of you I don’t. But the infinite love in me sees the infinite love in you. My pain sees your pain. You are not alone. I love you and you got this. Alright, take care everybody. I’ll see you next week.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about, even 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 you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than what you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click Work With Me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.