In those moments where life falls short of our expectations or when something just isn’t going according to plan, the unmanaged mind tends to think it shouldn’t be happening, or things should be different. But honestly, these thoughts are creating so much unnecessary suffering, on top of the grief that we’re already going through.
So, in this week’s episode, I’m sharing a simple but powerful tool that will help you put these moments into perspective, and allow you to move through them with more peace and less suffering. This technique has made a huge difference in my life, and I can’t wait for you to start using it in yours.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 104, This Is the Part Where…
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. So, I’m going to teach you today something that’s pretty powerful. And it was inspired by what’s been going on in my own personal life, which I’m also going to tell you about, so you can see how I take the tools and I use them in my life and then I teach them to you.
So, it’s not just me teaching from this high, preachy place. It’s me being a messy human who is imperfect and flawed and has a human brain with a barking dog that lives inside of it and needs these tools just as much as anybody else does, just as much as every person who listens to this podcast, including you.
So, I’m going to teach you this tool and then I’ll tell you why it came up for me, how I’ve been applying it, and I hope that you will find it very valuable. So, here’s the thing. Most of us are accidentally creating suffering on top of our grief and we don’t even know it’s optional.
We’re doing it in those moments where life falls short of our expectations, when other people aren’t behaving like we want them to, when we don’t like how we behaved, or when something just isn’t going according to plan. Maybe we’re experiencing a negative emotion or maybe an old belief pops up that we no longer want to think.
These things happen and then we decide that they aren’t supposed to happen. Sound familiar? But the truth is that things like this are supposed to happen. They do happen.
And telling ourselves they shouldn’t be happening just makes it harder for us to deal with what’s happened. So, it’s our resistance to what is that makes us less effective in dealing with what is. Our resistance makes it harder for us to show up in life the way we want to show up. Our resistance to what happens in life creates our suffering in life.
So, in this episode, I want to teach you a simple but very powerful tool that you can stick in your pocket and you can use to create less suffering and more peace in your life, starting right now. Are you ready?
Okay, so first, here’s what this is not about. This is not about finding a silver lining. This is not about forcing gratitude. It’s not about counting your blessings. It’s not about invalidating the truth of what you’re feeling. And it’s definitely not another self-help tool for you to weaponize and use against yourself. Deal? Okay, I just want to say that straight out of the gate.
So, the problem that we’re really trying to solve, I want us to get clear on that. So, I want you to think of a time recently where your brain decided something that happens regularly shouldn’t be happening. Maybe you had a feeling that you’ve had a million times before and then you told yourself, “I don’t want to feel this way,” or, “I should be further along by now.”
Maybe your child or coworker or mother-in-law said something to you in a tone that they tend to use on a regular basis. And even though they’ve said things like that before and they’ve used that tone of voice before and we can probably count on them saying things like that again, you thought, “Ah, they shouldn’t be saying that. Why did they say that? Why do they always have to be that way? They shouldn’t be that way.”
Maybe yet another person asked you how you were doing and you thought, “I don’t want to talk to them about how I’m doing. Why do people keep asking me how I’m doing? Stop it.”
Maybe somebody told you again, for the umpteenth time, that you are so strong and how impressed they are with how you’re handling things. And if you’re anything like me, you thought, “I wish they would stop saying that because they have no idea what’s really going on inside of me right now.”
So, something happened that’s happened regularly. It’s happened before. It’s not new. And then your brain argued with it and said that it shouldn’t be happening and that you wished that it wouldn’t be happening. Do you have something in mind? And you know it’s probably going to happen again and yet, every time it happens, you wish that it wouldn’t happen. You’ve got it? Okay.
So, if you’ve picked something that you know has happened multiple times in your life, then we know that the odds are probably pretty high that it’s going to happen again, right?
So, when that thing happens the next time, do you want to tell yourself it shouldn’t be happening? Because when you do, you create resistance and you start using that precious brain space, that precious energy that you have arguing with reality instead of deciding how you want to respond to reality.
You literally give away your power to something that you can’t control, which makes you less able to decide how you want to show up, to decide who you want to be when something happens that’s out of your control. You create frustration for yourself. And you give your brain the homework assignment of finding evidence for how this thing that happens over and over shouldn’t be happening.
And then, that’s what your brain focuses on. So, now it’s not available to you to do the work on what you want to create in your life because you’ve sent it off on a mission to hyper-focus on what you don’t want. Which then it just finds more of.
And I promise you that this isn’t helping you fall in love with your life. It’s doing the exact opposite. Are you with me? And again, I do this too. It’s not just you. It’s all of us.
Okay, so, this is the part where… is an acceptance tool. “This is the part where my teenage daughter rolls her eyes at me and tells me that I’m ruining her life and she wishes her dad were here. Of course. Of course she did.” And that doesn’t mean anything about her.
“This is the part where I go out in public and people ask me how I’m doing and I feel awkward and uncomfortable. Of course. This is the part where my brain tells me that I should have done something differently before my spouse died. It’s done that a million times, it’s probably going to happen quite a few more, of course. This is the part where I notice that I feel happy, and then I feel guilty because my brain makes my happiness mean that I didn’t love my spouse enough, of course.”
Are you picking it up? Before I became a coach and I worked in corporate America, the job that I had for 10 years is where I met Hugo. We were on a project one time where every Thursday morning we would get on one of our corporate planes and we would fly to the office of an avionics company that was about three hours away that we were working on a project with.
So, we were redoing the avionics suite in this particular airplane and so, part of that was this Thursday morning shuttle trip where a few of us who were involved in this project would fly up for the morning and have meetings and then they would fly us back. Which was amazing, by the way, and felt just so fun.
But anyway, all of the characters that were a part of this project were almost like characters in a movie. There were some really unique players on this team. And so, to pass the time and to entertain ourselves – not that we didn’t have enough work to do, but just a bunch of creative people – we put together this bingo card.
Because every Thursday morning, the same people would say variations of the same things. They would do the same things. They would say the same things. They would ask the same questions. The same things would happen every Thursday morning when we went on this trip.
And so, just for entertainment purposes, we made a bingo card out of it. Maybe you’ve seen this done with dysfunctional family bingo, where your uncle says that thing that your uncle always says. Your aunt does that thing that she always does.
And so, with this bingo card, there’s always going to be somebody who comes on the conference call and somebody says, “Who just joined?” And so, it earned a spot on our bingo card. There’s always this part where this one person would yell at this other person. It was reliable. We knew it was going to happen.
There was always this part where engineering would argue with the pilots. We knew it was going to happen. And so, instead of telling ourselves that it shouldn’t be happening, instead of being mad that it was happening, we made it fun. We made it light-hearted, we turned it into a game.
And I’m not saying you have to go to that extreme and turn these things into games, but these things that keep happening to us, these things that keep happening to you, these people in your life that keep doing the same things over and over and over, when we expect it to change but yet we know it won’t, we just create our own frustration.
So, why not just cut ourselves some slack? Why not just cut others some slack? Why not go to a place where we drop into acceptance, and when that thing that happens that in the past has always frustrated us, we just tell ourselves, this is just the part, this is just the part where…
This is just the part where I start dreaming again and then my brain says that I don’t really know what I want or I don’t really know who I am and I probably can’t be happy without my partner. That’s just the part. But I don’t have to listen to that part of my brain. I also don’t have to argue with it, right?
I was coaching a client the other day in my group program and she was talking about how every time she goes out with people, she has so much fun and then she comes home to her empty house and then she notices that she feels lonely. And so, we talked about, “Yeah, of course, we could think differently.”
We could change the thoughts that cause loneliness, because loneliness is caused by thoughts. But also, we don’t have to argue that it’s happening. We can just tell ourselves, “Yeah, this is just the part where I go out with people, I come home, and I notice I feel lonely when I think about how quiet my house is. Of course. But it’s fine. Loneliness isn’t a problem. I can let it run its course. It’s not going to last that long. I can think differently if I want to.”
How many times have you been caught off guard by some aspect of your grief? All of a sudden, you’ve burst into tears and then you tell yourself, “It shouldn’t be happening. Why am I still crying?” No, this is just the part. This is just the part where I have a little grief grenade that goes off. And there I am crying. But that’s just a part of grief.
This is just the part where, for me – I’ve done this one a lot – where I look in the mirror and all of that past social conditioning shows up in my mind and I start judging myself and my body. And what’s happened before is that then I get mad at myself for judging myself and I tell myself I should know better.
But now, I’ve just decided that no, this is just the part where all of that internalized patriarchy shows up in my brain and I start judging myself and my body. But that’s okay. I don’t have to listen to those thoughts. This is just the part where…
So, the reason that this episode even came to me, it’s almost like every time I go to teach something, it seems to show up more in my life. And maybe that’s because I’m aware of it. I don’t know.
So, the boyfriend and I put an offer on a house. How about that? We weren’t really expecting to. We’ve been kind of looking for houses. And it started more as a pandemic entertainment thing where there weren’t that many people having open houses or visiting open houses.
And so, we just occasionally, like, one time we rode our bikes to some open houses that were in a neighborhood nearby and started looking. And then it became a fun thing to do and, over the course of the last year, it went from, “Well this is kind of fun,” to, “Maybe we should buy a house. Do we want to move in together? I think maybe we do.”
And he has two kids. I have two kids. How do we find a house that’s big enough and in the school district that we want to be in, all the things?
So, long story much shorter, made an offer on a house not too long ago. And it’s not just any house, y’all. It’s the most beautiful house. It’s beautiful. It is unlike anything I have ever lived in.
I grew up very middle class. And shoutout to my parents who worked very, very hard to give me the upbringing that I had. But this house exceeds honestly what I ever thought was possible for myself. In fact, it’s in a neighborhood that I used to drive through in my early 20s and just ogle. I didn’t ever imagine that was possible for me because yes, I have a college degree, but you know, in my mind, people who live in houses like that are doctors and lawyers and surgeons and, I don’t know, they do things that I didn’t really think I was capable of doing.
So, I tell you this to say that while I was ecstatic about being able to buy this house and I know how much money I’ve been making, I’ve been watching myself create it, I’ve been watching myself over the last few years create this very successful coaching business. But my brain and my self-concept have not caught up with my success just yet. I’m working on it, but it’s not quite there.
And so, as happy as I was when we found out that the offer came in, almost the very next thing that happened, definitely by the next morning, was that my brain stated offering me all of these limiting beliefs that were clearly already there. But buying this house just brought them up to the surface, “So, who do you think you are? You can’t afford something like that.”
I started thinking like, can I maintain this? I started thinking, “You don’t belong there.” Really, legitimately, my brain offered me, “You don’t belong there.”
But of course, right? Of course, the month where I’ve had more success in the business than almost ever before, so happy with the boyfriend and things are going so well, find this amazing house, have made some kind of bigger business decisions and spent more money investing in the future of my business. Of course, that would be the time when the barking dog in my brain would freak out.
Because the primitive part of my brain that wants to keep me safe and is constantly scanning my environment for danger, of course it would look at all the things that are going well and then try to throw some shade my way and offer me some thoughts from my past or thoughts that keep me playing small or thoughts that protect me from potential rejection.
Of course, this is the part where I make a big leap, I go to up-level in a way in my life, and part of my brain tries to protect me. It’s just the part where that happens.
So, I’ve been seeing this show up a lot in my clients and I definitely saw it show up in my brain. And at first, I really did believe all of those icky thoughts. I really did believe them. And I had to do some self-coaching and get coached on it.
But now, I’m taking what I’m teaching you today, this is the part where… and I’m just being compassionate with myself and I’m being compassionate with the part of my brain that wants to try to protect me, that wants to try to keep me safe, that really does think that buying this house, even though the math is totally solid, that part of my brain is a little bit worried.
And that’s okay. It can be. This is just the part where I go to up-level and the primitive brain just freaks out a bit. It’s totally fine.
So, what would it be like for you to apply this tool to you? What would it be like for whatever that thing is that happens, that predictable thing that you identified earlier, that thing that you tell yourself you don’t want, that thing somebody else does, that thing that you could just put money on is going to happen again?
What if the next time it happened, you didn’t answer with, “This shouldn’t be happening?” Because that’s what I could have said. I could have held that against myself and said, “You know what, Krista? You’re a coach. You should have this figured out by now. You should know how to manage your mind. This shouldn’t be happening to you. You should be better than this. You teach this stuff. You should be able to apply it 100% of the time.”
I could have done that to myself. That’s not the way that humans work. Were messy. We’re not perfect. We’re not supposed to be.
So, what if your answer to that super-predictable thing next time it happens was, “This is just the part where?” And you stopped resisting it and you stopped giving your energy to what it is you don’t want, and instead you just dropped your resistance and you freed up that energy to focus on what it is that you do want? What if you did that? It’s so much more powerful.
Okay, that’s what I have for you this week. I’ll keep you updated on the house and how my brain drama unfolds. I love you. You’ve got this. And I’ll see you next time. 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.