The stories you’re believing right now about their loss causing your suffering are unfair fantasies.
This might be a hard pill to swallow, but know that I’m coming to you from a fierce belief that you can have the life you want, even if you haven’t given yourself permission to dream about it. And it starts right here, by not entertaining your unfair fantasies any longer.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 138, Unfair Fantasies.
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. You know what, before we get into this one, would you do me a favor? If the podcast has helped you and you’ve never left a review, or you’ve never rated it, would you take a couple of minutes and do that? It would mean a lot to me, and it helps make the podcast more visible to people who are looking for this kind of support. It’s really important to me that as many people hear it as possible because I know it will help them. I know it helps widows. So, if you would leave a review, I would be grateful.
Okay. Sometimes, the most loving thing I can do as a coach is to tell it to you straight. Because the people who love us are going to show us empathy, and that’s about it. And that’s not always in service of what we want for our futures. So, this is going to be one of those tough love kind of podcast episodes, but my intention is not to criticize. It is not to fault find. It is truly to give you information that I think will help you. It truly comes from love. It comes from a fierce belief that I have that the life that you want, even if you haven’t given yourself permission to dream about it, the life that you want still is possible for you.
It is me knowing and fighting for that future version of you that does not want her loss to hold her back anymore. And I also get that you might not be ready to hear this podcast episode yet. I think there would have been a point in my grief where if somebody had told me what I’m about to tell you, I probably would have told them to go jump in a lake. I might have thought that they were insensitive or even horrible. So, if that’s you, if you’re not ready, you don’t have to take this teaching right now. You can just decide that it’s not for you yet. But come back when you are ready, and it will be here for you, okay?
So, what is an unfair fantasy? Why do we care about this? Have you ever told yourself that if only they hadn’t died that things would be better? Or perhaps it’s if only they hadn’t died, my kids wouldn’t be in pain? Or I would be happier, or I would be feeling better, or if only they hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be feeling overwhelmed right now? This is what I am talking about. This is the unfair fantasy.
Yes, it is true that if they hadn’t died, we wouldn’t have negative emotions related to their loss. We wouldn’t have negative emotions related to all the secondary losses. Our kids wouldn’t be in pain, right? We wouldn’t be solo parenting if they hadn’t died. That is true, but it is an unfair fantasy that we so easily fall for that somehow, if they hadn’t died, our lives would be better, or we wouldn’t have the same negative emotion. We have this fantasy that the ratio to positive to negative emotion that the overall quality of life would be objectively better if they hadn’t died.
We don’t just do this about our person’s death. We do this about lots of other things, right? If I only had more money, if I had only gone to a different school or gotten a different degree or gone to school, if I only had different parents, or if I only not had that one traumatic event from my childhood, or if I’d only gotten more money from my last job, or whatever, if I weighed less, if I something different about our passed. If only, then, I’d be happier. If only that hadn’t happened, or it had happened differently, then somehow the grass would be greener.
It’s not true. It’s not true, and that’s the truth from love. We are humans on the planet, and part of being human means experiencing negative emotions, right? It’s what gives context for positive emotion. It is an inescapable and valuable part of our life experience. If we didn’t have despair, we would not have a context for ecstasy.
If we didn’t understand sadness, we wouldn’t understand happiness. We have to have both. The human life was meant to be all of it. But there’s a part of us that doesn’t want to feel that negative emotion. We don’t want to experience it. We don’t think it’s supposed to be there. We associate it with danger and all things bad. And so, we tell ourselves that it shouldn’t be there, and we fantasize that somehow if life were different, there wouldn’t be so much negative emotion.
If life were different, it would be better. We would feel better. And we look to our external circumstances. It’s an unfair fantasy that we tell ourselves that if only this hadn’t happened, we would no longer be human. We would no longer have the human emotional experience. But we weren’t meant to have a life free of loss, sadness, loneliness, overwhelm, fear, and anger. We were meant to have a life that includes all of those things. All of those things are part of living the human life.
They would be part of living your human life even if your person was still living. Even if your person was still living, you would still have negative emotions. You would still have challenges. You would still have ups and downs. So, please consider the impact of this unfair fantasy. It’s like we’re driving down the highway, and we’re looking for the off-ramp. We’re like, I don’t want to be human anymore. I don’t want to have negative emotions anymore, so let me just find any off-ramp I can.
And we look backward and blame our life’s experience as the cause. So, please, stop believing that the story that you have, that your life would’ve been better if they hadn’t died, is true. It’s not. It wouldn’t have. Your life would have been different. That’s for sure, different, but it would not have been better. You would still be human. Your brain would still have a negativity bias built in. It would still want to focus on the gap instead of the gain. You would still experience the negative emotions. They would just be about different things in life.
And I know that lots of people would agree with you when you say that your life would’ve been better if they hadn’t died. But what I want to offer you is that choosing to believe it, choosing to keep this fantasy, is not helping you. If we keep entertaining this unfair fantasy, then what we really do is tie ourselves to the past. What we really do is create a less than experience or our present.
We guarantee that our future won’t be better than our past, let alone better. I don’t want that for you. This is not the new normal that you need to be settling for. So, the idea that your current suffering is caused by their loss is really only true to the extent that you keep believing it. Are you with me? If you’ve been thinking this, you’ve not done anything wrong. But I want you to consider giving yourself permission to put this thought down, to see it for what I believe it is, which is inaccurate and unfair to you.
Inaccurate and unfair to the life that is in front of you. This is just the part of you talking that doesn’t want to feel negative emotion. I have it too. We can love that part of ourselves. We can embrace what it really means to be human. We can stop assuming that the grass would have been greener because it doesn’t help us. If you’ve listened this far and you still want to tell me to jump in a lake, it’s okay. It’s okay. I have thick skin. I can take it, and I probably would’ve said it myself at one point.
But I really just want you to consider what if what I’ve told you is true? What if what I’ve told you is helpful? What if believing that your life would’ve been better if they hadn’t died is actually making things harder for you instead of easier? What if believing that is actually taking you farther away from the life you want instead of moving you closer toward it?
And then, what do you want to believe about what’s possible for you and for your life? Because they died, they definitely died, it happened, here we are. And now what? We can’t control it. We can’t change it, but we do get to decide what it means. You really do get to choose whether you believe your best days are in front of you or behind you. And I’m going to vote for in front of you every single time because I don’t see a downside. I don’t see a downside.
Alright, I love you. None of that crap that’s in your brain; you don’t have to believe any of it. Challenge all of it; if it is not serving you, you don’t have to listen. You don’t have to listen. Alright, she steps down from her soapbox. I love you. You’ve got this. Take care, and I will see you next week. 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 will 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 you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.