Something I see in all of my clients – and even myself for a long time – is that we buy into the stories we tell ourselves about us. These can be insignificant things, like how I used to tell myself I wasn’t good at returning items I didn’t like to the store I bought them from. But we do it with more impactful things, like telling ourselves we’re not good at dating or that we’re bad parents.
This episode isn’t so much about convincing yourself that these thoughts aren’t true. It’s no secret that when you think anything long enough, you’re going to believe it’s true. What I want to discuss today is that you can choose not to buy into these thoughts for the simple reason that they don’t serve you and that having them at the forefront of your mind is never going to be helpful.
Now, I have to warn you, what I’ve got for you this week is really easy to understand conceptually. However, when it comes to putting this work into practice, you are definitely going to experience some discomfort. But stick with me here because this is by far the most helpful thing you can ever do for yourself.
Listen to the Full Episode:
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.
What You’ll Learn from this Episode:
- Why most of what we believe to be true about ourselves is actually completely optional.
- How to differentiate the facts of your life from your beliefs about you.
- The ways I see my clients’ stories about their situations prevent them from moving towards new results in their lives.
- How to question any belief you have that begins with, “I am…” and ask yourself whether it’s a belief that’s serving you.
- What you’re missing out on when you choose to believe stories about yourself and your situation that are not helpful for you.
Featured on the Show:
- Interested in small-group coaching? Request a Consultation here!
- Raising Dion on Netflix
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 36, Your Beliefs About You.
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 actually look forward to. Here’s your host, certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there. Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. How are you? What’s going on in your world? What’s happening? My daughter and I – she’s 16 – we just finished watching Raising Dion on Netflix. Have you seen it? I usually like to watch any show that has a widowed aspect to it. and I won’t tell you much about it because you might want to watch it.
We enjoyed it. It is about a widowed mom and her son; whose name is Dion. And he basically gets magical powers after his dad dies. And it’s very mysterious and the ending took my daughter and I both quite by surprise. In fact, we had to watch the last couple of episodes twice because we couldn’t figure out how we didn’t see the plot twist coming.
But it was really good. And I always know too, when I’m going to watch a show like that, that it’s probably going to bring up some thoughts for me. Maybe you’re the same. It’s probably going to end up giving me some sort of good cry moment, which Raising Dion absolutely did. And I just always appreciate hearing another widow’s story, even if it’s fiction. It just makes you feel less alone and more understood. So, if you haven’t seen that show, I’d go check it out.
Okay, let’s jump into your beliefs about you. What I’m going to talk about in this episode is rather simple conceptually. It’s easy to understand. But I want to make sure that you know that I know that it’s not always easy to apply. So, once you’ve listened to it, if you struggle to apply it, please don’t give yourself a hard time.
Pease know that you’re normal and that, sometimes, things that are really easy to get intellectually are not easy to actually put into practice in our lives. So, I just want to start there.
And I also want to tell you a story about one of my clients because I think it will illustrate this beautifully. And really, I could give you tons of stories that are very similar and would apply the same concepts because I see this so very often.
So, one of my clients – I will not use her name. Not that it matters. One of my clients came to me really believing about herself that she was disorganized and never followed through on anything. And the way we talk about, the way that we see ourselves, our beliefs about ourselves almost always come out exactly as it did for this woman, who is a widow and a mom, and told me that it’s just the way she’s always been, that she’s never been able to follow through with things, and that she’s always been disorganized.
And it was really presenting a problem for her at this particular time in her life because all of her husband’s stuff was in their house. She had a gigantic house that she and her children and her husband lived in. All of the things that had come from his office, which didn’t belong in her house but were now there because they had to be moved from his office, were now in her house. And she felt very overwhelmed by all of it.
She wanted to move. She wanted to take her family somewhere else and get a fresh start. But she didn’t believe in her ability to do so because her beliefs about herself were that she was disorganized and she didn’t follow through. So how could she possibly tackle all of what was in front of her and needing to be dealt with so that she could move?
And just like I do when I don’t see my own beliefs, and just like I know you do when you don’t see your own beliefs, we present these beliefs about ourselves to others as though we’re just observing the facts, we’re just telling it like it is, we’re just being really honest. Like, “Listen, this is the way that I am. I’ve always been this way. I know this about myself.” And we say it like, “The sun is shining and I’m disorganized. The sun is shining and I don’t follow through. Never have, don’t know how, not who I am.”
So, I want you to think about the beliefs that you have about yourself that seem completely factual. And that brings me to lesson number one, which is that most of what we assume to be true about ourselves is completely optional. So, we really need to question our assumptions.
There are certain things that, of course, we believe about ourselves that are facts. Like, I believe I live in a house with my two children. That is a fact. Everybody would agree. Anybody could come into my house and they would know that that is true.
So that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about the math of our lives. I’m talking about the interpretations of who we are as women. Who do we think we are as humans? What do we think about our characters, about our potential, about our habit patterns, about our strengths, our weaknesses?
What are the stories that we’re telling ourselves that we’ve told ourselves so many times that now they have become beliefs and we just treat them as though they are facts? Because if everything that we say to ourselves about ourselves is optional, we want to be really interested in making sure that what we’re telling ourselves serves what we want to create because, for this client, her story about herself, her belief, this thing that she thought for so long that she was disorganized and didn’t follow through was really getting in her way of creating a result of moving her family.
And she really thought the only options that she had were to hire somebody to come and take care of this, to have somebody come and do it with her. She couldn’t even see for herself that really, all that needed to shift, was how she saw herself, what she believed about herself. If she could actually start truly believing that she was organized, that she did follow through, then that’s what she would create.
So, most of what we assume to be true about ourselves is optional and we really need to question all of the things that we assume are true. And really, that includes anything that follows the words, “I am.”
“I am not good with investments. I am a people-pleaser. I am a hot mess. I am not good with technology. I am not very patient with my kids.” What are the I-am statements that you’re making about yourself? I want you to question all of them.
And when you question them, I don’t want you to ask yourself whether they’re true. I want you to ask yourself whether they’re useful. That’s my second point; truth is not so relevant when we’re looking at our own beliefs about ourselves.
And the reason it’s not relevant is because any thought that the human brain contemplates long enough will seem true. And that’s just the brain doing its job. Whatever we put inside our brain, no matter where it came from – and who knows where half of it came from? It could be things we picked up as children. It could be things that we heard from other people. It could be things we got in performance reviews. It could be things that our husbands told us. Who knows where it came from?
But whatever the thought is that somehow winds up in our brain, our brain will just start to look for evidence to back up that thought, evidence to prove it true. And you’ve probably heard me talk about this in prior episodes. It will also then exclude evidence that doesn’t line up with that thought.
So, when you’re looking at your assumptions and you’re questioning all of them, don’t ask yourself whether the assumption is true because, of course, it will feel true. We will always believe the most useless thoughts. We’ll believe them. We’ll have lots of evidence for them.
And because we have so much evidence, we don’t even consider it could be possible that they’re optional. So, instead of asking yourself whether it’s true, I want you to ask yourself if it’s useful. Does it serve what I want to create?
I know this is kind of a silly, like, minor example, but it came to mind, so I’m going to share it with you anyway. So, I used to have this belief that I wasn’t good at returning things. I believed that I would buy things from the store, and then, if I didn’t like them, that I wasn’t good at returning them. And I was kind of embarrassed about it.
And so, guess what would happen; I wouldn’t return them. I would let things linger in my house that I had bought and didn’t want and I would let them sit there to the point that I felt guilty and didn’t want to look at them anymore and then would just donate them to charity because I really had this belief – and I did not see it as optional – that I wasn’t good at returning things.
And so, of course, my brain went about helping me prove that thought true. And all these things sat around in my house, but I really didn’t believe that I was good at returning them, and so I didn’t. So, we can do this in the most minor and trivial of ways, or the most impactful significant ways. But we’re all doing it because we all have human brains that like thoughts on autopilot.
We latch onto a thought. We get good at thinking it. our brain delegates it to the lower part of our brain so it’s just on repeat all the time. We gather all this evidence for it, and we don’t ever even question that it could be optional.
And, when we do question it, because we aren’t asking ourselves whether it’s useful, we’re just asking whether it’s true, sometimes we keep thoughts that really don’t serve us at all.
So, think about those things that you would follow I-am with, “I am…” and ask yourself, is this useful in my life? Does this help me going forward? Do I want to think this about myself? Evaluate all of it.
And this is my third point; evaluate every assumption you have about yourself because if they’re all optional and you put them through the litmus test of whether or not they’re useful, then you can kick out the ones that don’t serve you and you can replace them with ones that do.
I teach a very specific process for this in my Mom Goes On coaching program. And we spend a lot of time here because how we see ourselves determines what we will create next. And if you’re listening to this podcast, then I’m pretty sure you want to create something that makes you happy. You want to create a life on purpose. You want to create the next chapter and actually love your life again, right?
And I bet you might be telling yourself some stories that have now become beliefs that don’t’ seem optional and you have a lot of evidence for and they’re going to hold you back. So, if you’re thinking, perhaps, “I don’t know how to be happy without my husband. I’ve never lived without him…” some of you married your husband straight out of high school and spent your whole adult life with him. And right now, your brain shows you everywhere how you don’t now how to be happy without him. When you’re thinking that thought, you will have a ton of evidence for it.
And you probably might think that it’s the truth. Well yeah, it probably is the truth because thoughts we think over time become our truth. But truth in this way is optional. And it’s equally available to all of us to decide to believe that we can be happy without our husbands, right? If we identified as someone who doesn’t handle her emotions well, it is equally our option to decide that we do handle our emotions well.
If you want to date and your current thought about yourself is that you’re not good at dating, “I am not good at dating,” that’s obviously going to keep you from dating, right? So you can choose to believe, “I am good at dating,” or, “I’m going to figure out this dating thing…” all of it. I want you to question all of it.
Everything you think is true about yourself that isn’t math – now, if you get on the scale or you tell me how tall you are or you tell me what college degree you’ve got or where you’ve worked, that’s math. That’s fact. Those are tings that everybody in the world would agree upon. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the observations you make about yourself, the things you think are just true.
“I’ve always been this way… I’ve never been the kind of person who… I’m not good at… I am good at…” that’s what I want you to question because, number one, most of what we assume to be true about ourselves is totally optional. We want to question all of our assumptions. And we don’t want to question it by asking whether or not it’s true because, of course, it will feel true.
We want to ask ourselves; does it feel useful? And if it is not useful, it does not need to occupy any real estate in our brain any longer. So, I want you to evaluate all of those thoughts that you’re thinking about yourself, all of those beliefs that you have about who you are and what you’re capable of and what you aren’t capable of. And know that they are all choices.
Who knows how they showed up in your brain, but it’s your choice whether they get to stay in your brain. You can kick out the ones that don’t serve you and choose new ones on purpose. Alright, you can do this. This is my passion. I love helping widows do this in their own lives. I love helping them redefine how they see themselves so that they can create what they want going forward, especially when they have no idea what they want because that’s where a lot of us are.
We come out really truly knowing that we don’t like what we’ve got going on, but we have this big kind of dark blank space and we can’t really even imagine what it is that we want sometimes. And that’s okay too.
So, think about it. what are your assumptions? Question them; all of them. Decide whether they’re useful. Kick out the ones that don’t serve you. Choose the ones you want on purpose. And let me know if I can help you. And if you want to do this with me inside of Mom Goes On, my six-month coaching program for widowed moms, you know what to do, right?
Go to my website, coachingwithkrista.com, click request a consultation. That will take you to a little questionnaire. You’ll fill it out. And if it makes sense, you and I will get on the phone and we’ll see if I can help you. Alright, I hope you have an amazing week. Remember, I love you. You’ve got this. And I’ll see you next week. Take care, bye-bye.
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