I want you to consider where in your life someone is wrong about you. It could be that someone in your family is blaming you for your husband’s death, or that you’re the reason they weren’t closer to your husband while he was alive. It could be your kids thinking you’re unfair, or your friends believing you’ve changed. Whatever it is, we all have at least one person who has us wrong.
There’s no doubt that when somebody expresses an opinion about us that we know to be completely off the mark, it hurts. It can make us defensive and frustrated, and if we’re not careful, that defensiveness can lead to some aggressive behavior from our ego. But I want to show you another way on this episode.
Tune in this week as I discuss the wasted energy that goes into proving that we’re right and they’re wrong, and that even if we could convince them through arguing, it wouldn’t bring us any peace. Instead, I have some tips that I use for letting go of my ego, seeing their opinion for what it is, and simply allowing them to be wrong. And trust me, it feels so liberating.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 76, Let Them Be Wrong.
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, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. The holidays are coming. So, I thought we should do something fun. I want to do another giveaway, because I kind of like giveaways, and who doesn’t love a giveaway around the holiday?
And, I still want to reach all 11 million widows, or at least a million of them would be good. So, what we’re going to do is make it super-easy for you to register to win a $100 Visa gift card. That way, you can spend it anywhere you want. Maybe you want to support a local business owner, because they’re struggling with COVID. And last time, I gave away Amazon gift cards, so this time, I’m going to give away a $100 Visa card.
You can spend it wherever you want and you can register in two different ways. One, you can go to Apple Podcasts and leave a review, actually review the podcast, tell everyone what you like about it.
Or you can share it on social media. And to do that, just take a screengrab as you’re listening, and share it on Instagram, on Facebook. Tag me. If it’s on Instagram, you can tag me @lifecoachkrista. If it’s on Facebook, you can tag me @coachingwithkrista.
And then, when you’ve done one of those things, you’ve either left a review or shared a podcast episode on social media, just email us and let us know that you did it, firstname.lastname@example.org. And every time you do one of those things, we will put your name in a drawing for a Visa gift card, $100. And we will run it through the end of 2020. So, it will be a nice little January get your year started off right kind of prize to win. Okay, so that’s that.
Alright, let’s talk about the topic of this week, let them be wrong. So, typically, I love reading emails from podcast listeners, typically. But there is the occasion when I get a nasty-gram. And receiving two of these rare gems last week, on the same day, was the impetus for this episode. And before I tell you what the emails said, I want you to consider where in your life is someone wrong about you?
Maybe someone’s blaming you for your husband’s suicide. Maybe someone thinks that his heart attack was your fault. Maybe someone is convinced that you are always the reason that their relationship with him was rocky and they blame you for being the wedge between them.
Maybe your kids think you’re unfair or that you’re a terrible mom. Maybe your friends think that you’re different since he died and not in a good way. Maybe they don’t understand why you’re hurting and someone is telling you, you should just move on already.
I don’t know who they are or what they think about you. But I know that most of us have at least one person, if not more, who has it just wrong about us. So, keep them in mind as you listen to this episode.
Okay, back to the nasty-grams I received. Here’s what they said. One said, “Too bad you won’t help the poor and downtrodden. We need it the most. Guess you cannot relate to being thrown into poverty after death of a spouse. There’s no support where I live, but thank you for a few free videos. I think I’ll pass. God bless your endeavor.”
The other said, “I figured that. I doubt very much that your coaching is worth $500. I’ve lost a lot of members in my family and grieving is a grieving process you have to go through.” Ouch, I doubt very much that your coaching is worth $500. Too bad you won’t help the poor and downtrodden, but god bless your endeavor.
That stung, I’m not going to lie. That stung for a second. It did. But pretty quickly, I felt empathy for the women who wrote these emails, especially the one who said she was thrown into poverty. She’s probably really stressed. She probably feels like she’s alone and I imagine she was quite disappointed when she filled out the application to work with me and she got a response that we aren’t a good fit. And she’s upset, I get it. I can understand why. I don’t know exactly what’s going on for her, but I can understand why.
And the woman who said she’s lost a lot of members of her family, maybe she’s really struggling to catch a break. She’s probably pretty disappointed as well, it’s probably a lot for her to deal with. And I don’t know either of these women, but I can understand where they’re coming from.
But there was a time when I was new to coaching and I was still learning these things for myself, when emails like this would have set me back quite a bit. I would have taken much longer to see it from their perspective and to try to understand. And instead, I would have just been filled with self-doubt. I would have been second-guessing myself and wondering if I’d made the wrong choice and feeling guilty for wanting people to pay for my services. And I would have bought into the story that I don’t care about widows thrown into poverty.
And if I hadn’t learned what I want to teach you today, I might also have gotten defensive. Because once we increase our self-belief, sometimes we want to defend. So, I would have likely gotten defensive and felt pretty justified in doing that.
And I might have lashed out at them, given them a little talking to, even if it was only in my mind. I never lash out. That’s just not the way that I roll. But probably in my mind, I would have stewed about it. I would have let it get under my skin. I would have had this dialogue about, “Don’t they know that I spend over $1000 every month to produce this podcast and they can listen to it for free and don’t they know that I do free coaching calls every month and don’t they see that I gave them my free course instead of charging them and what about my free private Facebook and my Facebook lives? There’s only one of me and I can’t help everybody who wants my help for free.”
I could have gotten super-defensive, hackles up, defending myself, wanting them to agree with me about who I am. Wanting them to know I’m right and they’re wrong so that they would approve of me, so they would tell me I’m a good person.
And my defensiveness probably would have turned into frustration and seething. Byron Katie always says, “Defense is the first act of war.” And that’s where I would have been. I would have been committing the first act of war with my defense. Because my ego is no different than everybody else’s ego. Our ego wants approval. It wants to be right.
It perceives rejection as a threat. Our ego wants to pick up the rope and pull back, pull back hard, engage in the tug of war and give that person the what for until they see it, until they see it our way, until they see how right we are and how wrong they are. And defensiveness doesn’t really feel that good.
Sometimes, it seems justified though, but I want you to really consider, what does it feel like when you feel defensive. Because for me, it’s not pleasant. It’s kind of agitated and off-center and my stomach is tight and my chest is tight and my brow gets all furrowed, which if you’ve ever seen me on a live coaching call, you know, I’m pretty sure my brow is permanently furrowed. I don’t need additional reasons to furrow any further.
But that’s what happens when I feel defensive. It’s not fun. It doesn’t’ feel good, even when it feels justified. Justified, it doesn’t feel that great either. But you probably know this feeling, I imagine. Because I think we’ve all been in this place where we think someone doesn’t get us and it gets under our skin. We let it get under our skin. And we kind of get ourselves just frothed up and certain that, until they know the truth about us, we don’t want to let it go. And then, that’s when the tug of war starts. That’s when the war starts.
Even if we don’t ever tell the other person that we think that we’re right and they’re wrong, we spend our energy thinking about it. We waste it, energy that we could use to do things we actually care about, things that would help us love life again, things that would be in support of our dreams and our goals. All that energy of defensiveness, of trying to prove gets wasted in the pursuit of trying to be right.
And so, then we’re playing the tug of war and we’re literally giving away our power to something we can’t control. Something we can’t control, which of course is the other person’s thoughts. We can’t control the other person’s thoughts. Their thoughts cause their feelings. We can’t think their thoughts for them. Therefore, we can’t make them approve of us.
There’s no possible way for us to surgically remove sentences in their minds and replace them with the sentences that would make them believe we’re right. It’s an impossible task. And then we get defensive and we sacrifice our peace and we blame them for it. And we think, “If they could just see me for who I am, if they could just understand where I’m coming from, then I could feel peace.”
We get ourselves all wrapped up in ego pretzels and we forget who we are and we forget what really matters. And we can’t even learn anything when we feel defensive. So, what if we just dropped the rope? What if we don’t engage in the tug of war. How different would our experience be then?
Because we’re not perfect. I’m not perfect. You’re not perfect. Nobody’s perfect. And that other person who doesn’t understand us isn’t perfect either. But they’re doing the best job they know how to do. For reasons we may never understand, that is the best they have to offer right now.
They are waking up every day trying to do the best job they can in this world. We all do. And it genuinely doesn’t matter if they think we’re someone other than we know ourselves to be. It doesn’t matter if they think we’re someone other than we know ourselves to be.
What if you really adopted that philosophy and you just let them be wrong? Maybe you want to have a conversation and seek some sort of mutual understanding. Okay, maybe you want to prove your capability to somebody in your company so you can get a promotion. Or maybe somebody thinks you can’t handle yourself and you want to show them that you’re up for the challenge because maybe their approval is necessary to open a door. I don’t know.
And if that’s true, instead of coming from defensiveness and with an attitude, which is where I have come from so often, how can we be calm? How can we be so calm and so certain of who we are and what we’re capable of that we just don’t let people get us riled up, we just don’t let our thoughts about their thoughts get us riled up?
How can we rise to the challenge, show someone what we’re made of, and come from abundance at the same time? I think it’s possible. The truth is that we get to decide whether it matters that people understand us, whether it matters that people like us, whether it matters that we get their approval. We get to decide if it matters.
And so, if it’s just your ego talking, like my ego was talking, tell your ego to just take a seat. That’s what egos do. That’s what the primitive part of our brain does. It barks when it senses danger. Our ego does not like rejection.
But we get to decide. What if we just don’t need them to change their minds? Let their opinion roll off of you like water on a duck’s back. You know who you are. You know where your heart is. You know what happened with your husband. You know what it is that you want for your kids, even if they don’t like it.
You know that you probably are seeming different to your friends, and maybe not in the way that they would like. You know that you’re not just going to move on already. You know why you’re hurting. You know you’re doing the best job you know how to do. They don’t need to know. You’re not perfect. That’s okay.
So, that’s what I want to offer you today, the experience of just dropping the rope. Because the tug of war, it doesn’t happen if both people aren’t tugging. And we can spend a lot of energy in tug of war, a lot of energy that we could use to spend creating something in life that we want, creating something in life that is our dream is our goal, is the next chapter.
We could put that energy towards something that we can control, instead of trying to control other people’s minds, which just isn’t possible. So, I want you to, as much as possible, spend your energy in service of a life that you want. Don’t waste it trying to change things you can’t because you’ve got a lot of life left to live. Yes, yes.
So, let them be wrong. Let it roll off. Know who you are and choose where you spend your energy on purpose. Alright come back to this one later, when somebody says something and you can feel the defensiveness, come back to this one. Relisten before you decide how you’re going to respond. Next time I get an email, I might have to relisten to my own podcast. Okay, we’ve got this. I love you. Take care, everybody. 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, 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.