We all have stories in our minds; dreams, ideas, and plans of how our lives are supposed to go. We work towards these plans and we decide life is supposed to go according to our plans, and then stuff happens. This concept I’m sharing with you today about letting go of the narrative of “how life is supposed to go” may be uncomfortable for you because it definitely was for me, but I urge you to just contemplate it this week.
You don’t have to believe that how he died was when and how he was supposed to. You might not ever want to believe it. But what I want to offer to you is that choosing to think that it was supposed to happen another way when it didn’t will continue to keep you stuck in suffering. So this week, I’m showing you how you can start to think about this differently if you feel ready to do so, and how it will help you create less resistance and turmoil.
Listen in today as I show you the upside of dropping the story you might be holding onto about how your life was supposed to go. We fool ourselves when we argue and fight for that story, and we are the ones that suffer. I’ll be sharing a few questions you can consider to decide how you’re going to show up for the one life you have and how you’re going to choose to live on purpose.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 63, How Life Was Supposed to Go.
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. Wondering, have you ever caught yourself thinking that this isn’t how life was supposed to go? That this wasn’t your dream, that you were supposed to live happily ever after?
We all have a story about how life was supposed to go. And this week, I want to talk about how holding onto that story can keep us so stuck in suffering. First though, a quick listener shout-out. Proton Priest wrote a review called, “Thank you,” and gave the podcast five stars.
And she wrote, “I love this podcast and I listen to many of the episodes twice. This has been a blessing as I have more time during quarantine to work on healing. I listen while I walk and love the perspective Krista provides. I loved episode 30 about making decisions. I felt decision overload. Our home flooded and my car died less than three months after losing my husband. I’ve had a year of hard decisions.
I’ve had help making decisions, but now a year into my new journey of being a widow, I see I can make more decisions on my own. The myths of grief and feeling better now were both a huge help, and I shared what I learned with my teenagers. Thank you for sharing your growth and journey.”
Thank you so much for that review. I really appreciate it. And if you haven’t left one and this podcast has helped you, would you do that for me? That is not just important to me. Of course, I feel – my ego loves it when I read reviews. It makes me feel really good. But the real reason I love getting reviews is because it is what helps other people find the podcast and that’s what I want more than anything is for this podcast to help people, help all the widows. And there are 11 million of us, so I want to at least help one million of those. So if you haven’t left a review of the podcast and you love it, I would love it if you left a review.
Okay, little bit about what’s going on in my life. So we are getting ready for a virtual Heather’s Camp. I’ve talked about Heather’s Camp on the podcast quite a lot. Heather’s Camp is kind of my volunteer passion. My friend and sorority sister Heather Muller died when she was only 25 and, in her memory, we created a camp for kids with visual impairments.
And it’s just the normal summer camp experience designed to serve kids who have vision loss. Some very minor, some all the way to really, they have no vision. And this year was supposed to be our 20th year of Heather’s Camp. Enter COVID.
This year, we’re doing a virtual Heather’s Camp. We are figuring out how to do things from Zoom. So this fits kind of well into today’s episode in that Heather’s Camp 2020 wasn’t supposed to be virtual in my mind. It was supposed to be amazing and in person and have fireworks and all the parties and celebrations, and here we are doing the best we can with a Zoom virtual Heather’s Camp.
But that’s what’s coming up for me. I’ve been working on that. And I also wanted to share with you, I just finished a review with a client. And we were talking about the progress that she’s made and she’s a widow. And we were talking about the progress that she has made in the last 12 or so weeks that we’ve been working together.
And I told her, and she knows who she is. If she’s listening she knows, I’m not going to use her name, but she knows who she is. I told her, I don’t usually cry when I do reviews with clients like this. I usually try very hard because I genuinely believe that I don’t know what’s best for your life and I try to stay completely unattached to whatever decisions you make and whatever direction you decide to go because it’s none of my business.
And any progress that any of my clients make is not because of me. It’s because of them. I give the tools, I give the coaching, I show them where they’re holding themselves back and I show them what they’re creating with their minds, and I show up powerfully and I love them with everything that I have. But any change that they create in their lives is not mine to own. It is theirs.
If it were me, then every client who ever worked with me would create exactly the same results and they don’t. So I know it’s not me. It’s always the individual. But in talking through how much this woman took our coaching and changed her life in less than 12 weeks, even talking about it now, it just makes me want to cry.
I’m so proud of her. So, so proud of her. And I want you, even if you’re not her, to use her as inspiration because if she can go in such a short period of time from really worrying so much, from really being so doubtful, so anxious, so unsure of herself, to feeling like her life is on track, to believing that for herself, to feeling hopeful and optimistic, from going to just lots of insecurity to this woman who is full of peace and is no longer wishing her feelings away and believes she’s in the right place and that she’s where she should be, and has so much courage. If she can do it, anybody can do it.
So I just wanted to share that with you because I know sometimes it’s easy when you’re listening to the podcast and you don’t have anyone in your life who can really relate to your story, and it’s really easy to feel alone and it’s really easy to feel like you’re on an island. And it’s really difficult to find beacons of hope and people that lift you up and inspire you and have had a similar experience for you.
And of course, for me as a coach, this is why I exist on the planet is to do this work and to help other people who have been through experiences like mine create futures that they love. So I will not use your name, but it was such a privilege to be part of your change and I’m just so stinking proud of you. I just can’t even handle it.
I’m going to stop the blithering over here. We’re going to get into it. So listen, let’s talk about how it was supposed to go. The reason for our suffering is that we think we know how life is supposed to go. And I want you to hear me.
We have stories in our minds, we all have them. Dreams, ideas, plans, desires, and we think that they’re possible and we buy into these plans and we work towards these plans and we decide that life is supposed to go according to these plans, don’t we? We decide that we’re supposed to live long, happy lives with our partners. We decide that they aren’t supposed to die.
They aren’t supposed to have cancer, they aren’t supposed to have accidents, we aren’t supposed to find them, we aren’t supposed to do CPR, they aren’t supposed to die by suicide. We aren’t supposed to parent our kids alone. We aren’t supposed to be widows, especially not at this age. This isn’t how life was supposed to go. Sound familiar?
For me, Hugo and I were supposed to travel together. We were supposed to keep working at the same company and sharing stories about coworkers and having lunch together during the week. We were supposed to go to Canada in the fall and take the kids to Mexico that August.
We were supposed to hike Mount Harvard the following summer just like we’d hiked Mount Yale, although the next time we were going to be ready, we were going to actually train. In my mind, there were lots of things, lots of stories about the things that Hugo and I were supposed to do.
And as I stood there and I watched the doctors do CPR in the ICU, the thoughts I remember the most were this can’t be happening, it isn’t supposed to be this way, please god, I’ll do anything. That’s what I remember. It isn’t supposed to be this way. This isn’t supposed to be happening, this can’t be happening.
And yet, here I am, and here you are, and here we are. And this is how life went. We tell ourselves these stories of how life is supposed to go and then life doesn’t go that way. In my mind, Heather’s Camp was supposed to be in person this year. It’s not. So is it possible that life wasn’t supposed to go the way we thought? And do we want to choose to believe this?
I remember just even coming into 2020, I thought we were supposed to go to Denver in March for my daughter’s big crossroads volleyball tournament. We were supposed to go to Orlando in June. I thought my kids were supposed to go to school until mid-May. I thought summer break would be normal. We’d be back in school in mid-August, just like every other year.
But how I thought it was supposed to go and how it went are two very different things. And when I dropped the how it was supposed to go narrative and I dropped into the this is how it’s going, I created less resistance for myself, less turmoil, less frustration, less suffering.
So what’s the upside of choosing to believe that someone was supposed to die exactly when and how they did? I want to offer it just for consideration, just for contemplation. You don’t have to believe it. You might not ever want to believe it. You might not be ready for it now. You might even get mad at me for it. I know the first time I heard the idea I kind of – I wanted to tell the person who told it to me that they could take a hike, but in much less friendly words.
So it’s okay if you never choose this thought. And even if you do choose the thought that they were supposed to die exactly when and how they did, you don’t have to like it. You don’t have to want them to die, you don’t have to wish that it happened how it did. But what I want to offer to you is that choosing to think that it was supposed to go another way when it clearly didn’t will continue to create suffering for you.
I’ve said it a lot on this podcast but it’s so useful so I will say it again and I will quote the lovely Byron Katie. “When we argue with reality, we lose, but only 100% of the time.” When we argue with reality, we love, but only 100% of the time. And this is what creates suffering.
We think it was supposed to go a certain way, we think that thought. We have stories, we have narratives, we have dreams, we have plans. And then when it doesn’t go the way that we thought it should, the way that we thought it was supposed to, we don’t give ourselves the gift of dropping the story of how it was supposed to go and we hold onto that story of how it was supposed to go and we hold onto the reality of how it went and the two clash.
And we create conflict and we create a place that is impossible for us to win in. And we argue with it. We argue with what happened, how it all went down, and cling tightly to the story of how it should have happened, even though it didn’t.
I don’t think I was ready to think about this any differently until quite a while after Hugo died. So if this feels uncomfortable for you, if you feel a little bristly when you listen to me talk about this idea, I hear you, I feel you, I was you. And there is no rush and you don’t have to put down your story and you can continue to think that it wasn’t supposed to be this way for as long as you want to think that. Forever if you want. I won’t take it away from you.
But I want to offer to consider that even if you don’t love the way that it happened, even if you simply move from it wasn’t supposed to be this way to this is the way it was, you will feel slightly better. You will create less resistance, less suffering.
And I believe the truth is that none of us really know how it’s supposed to go. It would be nice if we could somehow know, but we don’t. We just have ideas, we just have dreams, we have hopes, we have plans, and all of that is okay and all of that is beautiful, but none of it is certain and we’re kidding ourselves when we tell ourselves that it should have gone some way other than how it went.
We’re fooling ourselves. And that’s okay. That’s the way of the humans. But when it doesn’t go the way we think it was supposed to go and we continue to argue and fight for that story about how it was supposed to go, we lose. We are the ones that suffer. We are the ones that stay stuck. We are the ones that argue with reality.
So it happened the way that it happened. How was it supposed to go? I don’t know. I don’t know. I guess it was supposed to go the way that it went. Now what? Now who do I want to be? It went that way. I didn’t think it was going to go that way. But who am I going to be now that it went that way? What am I going to choose next now that this is the way it is?
How am I going to show up for this one life that I’m still living? How am I going to move forward? How am I going to dream again? How am I going to love again? I get to choose, right? You get to choose. We get to choose. But we don’t get to choose when we spend a lot of energy arguing that it should have gone some other way, that it wasn’t supposed to go this way.
And if we want to love life again, if we want to live on purpose, then maybe it just went the way that it went. Maybe it was supposed to go that way. And maybe we can focus our efforts and energy on creating what we want next because that’s what we have the ability to control.
Listen, I love you. You really do have this. Even if you’ve been telling yourself it was supposed to go some other way than it went, even if you’ve been sad and miserable, you’ve got this. Alright, I love you. I’ll see you next week. Take care. 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, 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.