This week is a special episode. I'm teaching you what I learned from Glennon Doyle's book Untamed. After reading Untamed in book club I wanted to share some of the insight's that I gained from Glennon.
Things you'll learn from this episode:
1. The one thing that every woman has that will set her free and how to tap into it.
2. Emotional freedom and learning what your hard emotions are trying to tell you.
3. What it means to be an effective parent in this generation and how you can step into being the parent after divorce that you want to be.
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Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome back to Becoming You Again. I’m your host Karin Nelson. I’m a certified divorce confidence coach and this is the podcast where I teach you how to reconnect with yourself, create emotional resiliency and live a truly independent life, so you can have an even better life than when you were married.
Hello my friends. How are you? I am doing so good. We just went and had a delicious sushi lunch as a family without - minus my daughter. She is actually on an internship in Germany right now and so she actually didn’t get to be here with us but we did get to go with the rest of us and we had sushi at one of our favorite restaurants and it was delicious and I am so full. But I’m also going to sit here and record this podcast for y’all because I love you and I am here for you. This week is another fun treat where I am going to be teaching you some lessons learned from an amazing author because I just vanished reading a book of theirs. And so without further ado this week I will be talking about divorce lessons from Glennon Doyle.
My book club this last month read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and I wanted to share with you, my listeners, some of the things that I have learned from her book. I just want you to know, this is just a few things. There’s so much more that I learned from her book and this is the second time that I’ve read her book and I definitely picked up new things the second time reading it through. So if you haven’t read this book, I would highly recommend that you pick up your own copy. Listen to it on Audible. You figure out how you to listen to it or read it. But it will be worth your time and your while, I promise you that.
So just as a quick summary, Untamed is Glennon’s memoir of the end of her marriage to her husband Craig just as much as it is the love story between her and Abby. Glennon teaches us how to divorce gracefully moving through the anger and moving into forgiveness. She teaches us how to work together with a new partner while making space to be fully yourself all in the process. She teaches to give yourself permission to be step out of the cage that society and rules have put on women and to step into our own knowing that we hold within us. Every single woman holds this within us and in fact every single human I should say, not just women. Every human has their own knowing within them and we just have to know how to tap into it. Untamed is a manual that every women needs in their life to show them how to trust themselves and love themselves fully and then turn that love around and put it out into the world.
So that’s just a very quick summary that I came up with and I want to share with you some of my takeaways from Untamed that I think can help every one of us as we are struggling to get through divorce.
One of the main themes of this book is to learn to ‘know’ yourself as a woman. There is a section called ‘Keys’, where Glennon talks a lot about the process of our own knowing. She says, ‘When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself.’ In this section called Keys she is talking about how she and her husband at the time were going through counseling and she had found out that her husband had cheated on her once again. It was something that had happened several times throughout their marriage. She talks about this in the book and she had always turned outward to get her answer on what she should do. She would ask google what should I do if my husband is cheating but he is actually a really great dad. Or she would turn to peer groups or the groups she was in on social media or whatever and she started to notice this pattern that everyone had a different opinion about what she should do when it came to her and Craig and their marriage. She started to recognize that depending on their background, their socialization, their cultural or religious backgrounds or beliefs, they all had differing opinions and it did not really make sense to her that if there was a correct way or a right or wrong way or something she should be doing or shouldn’t be doing, then why would everyone have very subjective views and opinions about it? Because if there was a right way then it would all be the same. Right? We would all agree that this was the exact way that you should do this. You should do this if your husband cheats on you. So it was in that realization that she came to and this conclusion of there is no right or wrong. There is no good or bad. There is no should or shouldn’t in situations like this. And really in reality in most situations. All that there was was what someone else had decided was right or wrong, was good or bad, you should do or shouldn’t do. And that if she wanted to know what her, Glennon, should do in this situation she was going to have to know for herself. From inside her. From her soul what was going to be the right decision for her. That’s when she learned to be still and know and listen to herself and really get in touch with what would be the right thing for her in her life.
She talks about how we as humans all have this knowing inside of us and what we need to do is we need to get still in order to access it. She says, ‘If you just stop doing, you’ll start knowing.” I think the whole idea of knowing from your own soul is genius because I believe it is 100% true. Glennon explains how to do this in such an easy way. She talks about all throughout the entire book. But for me personally when I was going through my divorce I experienced this knowing for probably the first time in my life and it really did change my life. It continues to change my life to this day because I will continue to go back to this place of knowing so that I can make my decisions right for me instead of looking outside of me on trying to decide how to live my life and how to make my life amazing or great or what I should do in these certain situations. Right. This knowing that I had, this experience I had when I was going through my divorce it was a beautiful experience.
So my husband and I at the time had been going back and forth about whether we should or shouldn’t get divorced. We were fighting and arguing more than we ever had, and yet neither of us really could come to a decision on what we wanted to do or how we should move forward or if we could move forward together or get divorced or whatever the situation was, we just hadn’t decided. It was like we had 1 foot in the door and 1 foot out the door but both of us were kind of in the same position. And so one day I was on a walk and I asked myself, ‘Karin, what do you really want?’ I knew that to get to the most honest answer I was going to have to at least for a moment let go of the all of the outside influence. I had to let go of the idea of what were people going to think of me. Like I had to stop thinking about what my parents would think or what Eric with the were well made kids would think or what my church leaders would think or what would my neighbors think. Right. I had to let go of all of that and really be honest with what it was that I wanted. I had never allowed myself to answer the question in that way. On my walk that summer morning, I answered that question honestly from my knowing and the answer was that I wanted a divorce. I knew that my marriage was complete and it was time to move onto the next chapter. And did not moment I felt immediate peace. It washed over me which I didn’t know it at the time but one thing that has really been helpful when it comes to mindset work is this knowing that our thoughts create our feelings and many times you can make decisions based off of how those thoughts make you feel. And by feeling that peace in the moment I knew that getting a divorce was the right decision for me.
So Glennon talks about this in the book and I want to mention it as well. Because living from your knowing doesn’t mean that your life will be all roses and daisy’s and perfect and you’ll never have any problems or you’ll never feel negative feelings or you’ll never deal with hard things. That is not what coming from your knowing means. Of course you’re going to experience hard things. Of course you’re going to feel negative emotions but you’ll be doing all of those from a place where you trust yourself to know that when those hard things happen, that when you feel negative emotion you can still handle it. You’ll be confident that you are making the decision right for you because you know from your soul that it is your right decision.
My knowing about asking for a divorce didn’t mean that my divorce wasn’t hard or challenging or difficult. It totally was. It was heartbreaking when we sat down and told our kids that we were getting divorced. It was awkward and hard figuring out how to be around each other and trying to navigate all of that. We still had to find our groove when it came to communication and coparenting and when brought new partners into our lives and figuring out finances and all of the things that divorced couples have to deal with. But when things got hard and confusing and challenging I always went back to my knowing and that seemed to ground me and gave me permission to believe that I could do this, and that I had the all of the answers that I needed within myself.
The next thing I want to talk about is how Glennon talks about really stepping into allowing her negative emotions. She talks about how during her divorce that when she really learned to allow her feelings to be present. She has a very long history of numbing out to her negative emotions, like so many of us do. Right. This is not visiting that is only - that only Glennon does. We all do this. She just kind of took it to the extreme in some ways and she is very open about her addictions and the things she has struggled with in the past throughout her many, many books. Untamed just happens to be the most recent one. But she talks about how she had bulimia that started in her adolescence and then adding drugs and alcohol to the mix. She has since recovered from those numbing practices but she didn’t really get to a place of allowing her negative feelings to be present and pay attention to those feelings to find out really what they were trying to tell her about herself until she was going through her divorce.
She talks about this in ‘Deliveries’ section. I love the way Glennon equates hard feelings to being like the door bell is ringing and a package has been left behind with information about yourself. She says, “As I practiced allowing my hard feelings to come and stay as long as they needed to, I got to know myself. The reward for enduring hard feelings was finding my potential, my purpose, and my people.”
When I coach, I coach and work with many women who don’t want to feel the pain, the sting, the anguish and the misery of their divorce any more. They are tired of it. They feel exhausted at the end of each day by doing everything they can to push against really feeling and allowing those negative emotions. Those negative hard feelings to be present. They are so done with it. They think that if they allow those feelings and if they process through them and listen to them, that those hard feelings are just going to stick around. So like they think if I keep up with the sadness I’m just going to – it’s going to make me more sad. Or if I keep this shame around it’s going to make me continue to feel shameful and hate myself. Or if I feel this anxiety I am not going to be able to get anything done because it will just get worse and I will continue to remain in my head. They think that those feelings will end up sticking around longer or they will fall deeper into despair or depression or emotional ruin. And I teach my clients that they are wrong about this. It is actually the opposite. The harder you work resist those hard emotions, the longer they stick around. The more you want to get rid of them and think it’s been long enough and think to yourself it has just been so long. I am so done with this. It has been too long. It has been over a year or five years or three months or whatever timeline you put on it that you think it is enough. I am done feeling these negative emotions and I don’t want to feel them anymore the longer they will push back and stick around and you will continue to feel that emotional overwhelm. But the key is when you can sink into those feelings and allow them to be there and then allow them to process through your body and really get curious and ask yourself I wonder what this feeling is trying to teach me about myself, I wonder why it sticking around - that’s when those emotions are going to move through you and move on. And you are going to be able to move on.
So when you are feeling a hard negative emotion as you are going through your divorce process, what I want you to do is first take in a deep breath and then let it out and then just sit with that emotion. Do not go get something to eat to try and give yourself a dopamine hip. Do not push it away by pretending it is not there and going apathetic. Do not sit on your couch and turn on Netflix and numb out in any way that you can. I want you to just sit with it in your body and allow it to be inside of you and get curious why is it there? What might it be trying to tell me and then figure out where it shows up in your body because that is how we process through an emotion is really getting inside her body and getting out of her head in figuring out what does this emotion look like? What does it feel like in my body? How can I process through this in the most effective way where it is going to dissipate and not get harder or feel heavy? I promise you this is a technique that I teach my clients when they come and work with me and I will walk them through the process as many times as it takes until they become proficient at it. But when you know how to process through an emotion effectively it will completely change your life. You will no longer feel like you are not in control of your emotional life. You will no longer feel afraid of your emotions because emotions are not scary anymore. They are just something that you process through in your body. You feel it. You allow it to be there. You get curious about it and then it dissipates and disappears. And it is the best thing that I teach. It is my favorite thing that I teach and it is something that I continue to do to this day for myself and to teach my clients.
In the ‘Memos’ chapter Glennon talks about the different types of ‘memos’ that we as mothers have been socialized to follow when it comes to raising our kids. She talks about how we have had different memos for different generations but the memo that so many of us women have been given right now is that the goal of parenting is to “never allow anything difficult to happen to your children.” Tell me if this sounds familiar. I feel like I definitely had this memo and I’ve been working over the last few years to really kind of let go of this idea. Glennon goes into a more than half page explanation of exactly what this memo looks like in today’s world including things like making sure our kids are constantly entertained. Making sure that your child is liked and loved and included at all times and never feels sad and if the teacher does something your child doesn’t like then call the teacher and make them fix it and apologize and never allow your child to feel any uncomfortable emotion. She goes on and on and on and gives so many different explanations that are kind of laughable but also very true for so many of us because we just don’t want our kids to suffer. We don’t want them to actually have a human experience because that would mean that they will have to feel something uncomfortable and not be happy all the time.
She goes on to explain how this is doing a huge disservice to our children and to ourselves. Because when we parent like this we are basically giving up our own lives in favor of constant neuroses, of making sure that everything is perfect for kids and then feeling guilty when we cannot do that and feeling exhausted because we are trying to live these perfect harmonious lives that in reality will never happen. Right. We are not made to live perfect lives. We are not perfect beings and it is not possible for us to do that and the more we strive to do that the worst we feel. And on top of that it’s creating children who turn into adults who are not prepared for life. These children who grow up to be adults have never tasted failure. They have never tasted falling down and getting up and trying again. They don’t know how to handle dealing with making mistakes and figuring things out on their own. They don’t even know how to effectively human because we are doing our best to take humanity out of our children’s lives.
This, my friends, is not what being a parent and a mother means. Our only job as a mother is to love our kids. That’s it. And let me tell you sometimes loving your kids means you’re going to let them fail, even when you know you could totally step in and fix the problem. Sometimes loving your kids means that you let them feel the pain that is going to come along with a divorce or with losing the game. Sometimes loving them means that you don’t try and cheer them up or cover it up with ice cream or talking them out of feeling the negative emotion. Sometimes loving your kids means teaching them how to show up with humanity and understanding and kindness all the while knowing that they won’t always be capable of living with those traits. Sometimes they’re going to be mean. Sometimes they are going to make a mistake. Sometimes your kids are going to get a bad grade, or lose a job, or get into debt, or cause a car accident, or drink and drive, or whatever thing our kids might end up doing in their lives. And being their loving parent doesn’t mean you just give up on being a parent at all. It means teaching them the things that you want to teach them. Being the example you want to be for them. Provide consequences and rules when you think that’s necessary, and then allowing all of the things happen to them as they are going to happen to them and be there to love and support them through their life experiences.
One thing that I personally have been working on for the last few years as a parent is showing my kids that their emotions are valid whatever they are. So when my son is angry after a hard day at school and he comes home and I say hey how was your day and he says I don’t want to talk about it, leave me alone and he kind of says it in a rude voice. Right. My job as his mom I have decided is to allow him to be angry and give him space that he needs to process through that emotion as he wishes. Now don’t get me wrong here. When I say process through an emotion I am not talking about acting out on your emotions which lots of people think that I mean when I say process through so I am going to describe the difference between processing through an emotion and acting out on an emotion. So if my son came home from school and he was upset and he was angry and I was going to give him the space that he needed to process through that emotion what it doesn’t mean is that he doesn’t get to act out on his emotion. If he is feeling angry he doesn’t get to punch the wall or throw things. He doesn’t get to yell at his sister and tell her she’s stupid. He doesn’t get to run around throwing a big tantrum kicking and screaming. He doesn’t get to get a gun and go shoot things. That is when we act out on our emotions and it is not the same as processing.
So if my son came home from school and he started doing those things I would of course enforce consequences and say that is not how we act. That is not appropriate. You do not get to act that way just because you are feeling upset. But when I allow him to process through his emotions it means that he gets to have the space to feel the emotion inside his body, to allow it to be there. To think the thoughts he is going to think and process through it however he needs to process it inside of him.
And what it looks like for me is I don’t tell him that he can’t be angry. I don’t get angry that he’s angry. I don’t tell him that he’s wrong for feeling this way. I don’t tell him that he shouldn’t be feeling this way; that we need to fix this; that tell me the problem so that I can fix this. I just allow him to feel angry for the amount of time he needs to feel it where he’s processing it inside his body and then that anger will dissipate on its own.
Now I’m not perfect at this by any means. Of course there are times when if he’s angry I do try and fix it and I do try and make it go away and I do sometimes even get angry that he’s angry, but I am so much better at this than I used to be five years ago even. I want my kids to know that it’s normal and human to feel negative emotion. I want my kids to know that sometimes we are going to have uncomfortable emotions and that it’s not a bad thing and it’s not something that needs to be fixed. I want my kids to know that whatever they’re feeling is valid no matter what it is and that they are allowed to feel it and if they want to change it I also have the tools for them to be able to do that as well.
So those are some of the lessons that I have learned from Untamed. This is a beautiful, amazing book. It completely changed my life in so many ways and I have read it twice like I said before and I think it will be a book that I will continue to go back to and continue to learn from and grow from. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend you do and if you have then you definitely know what I am talking about.
Thanks for listening. I will talk to you next week.
If you like what you heard on today’s podcast and you want to know more about working 1:1 with me, you can go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com and schedule your free consult to find out more. That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
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