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Ep #138: Setting Boundaries and Letting Go of Guilt Around the Holidays | Becoming You Again Podcast



Are you ready to trade in your holiday stress for serenity? Because let's be real for a minute...holidays can suck during/after divorce. I'm going to be talking about how you can transform your festive season by setting boundaries and letting go of the guilt around your boundaries which is especially crucial if you're going through a divorce. You're going to learn the art of self-care beyond spa treatments, guiding you to truly honor your needs, even if it means saying no to others occasionally. The goal is to equip you with the ability to embrace your emotions and other's emotions without guilt, acknowledging them as vital catalysts for personal growth.



In this episode, you're going to learn how to craft a holiday season that if FOR YOU without needing to manage your loved ones emotions. You'll walk away with practical advice on how to enjoy the festive season with guilt tolerance, emphasizing that setting boundaries and prioritizing your emotional health is an act of self-love, not selfishness. Make this holiday season your best one yet.


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Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.


Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

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Full Episode Transcript:

If you're going through a divorce and you find yourself stuck, feeling confused and very overwhelmed, then you're in the right place, because this is the podcast that can help you. You're listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 138, and I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life, so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome back to the podcast. My lovely ladies, I am so glad you're here. Today's episode is kind of gearing you up for the holidays and, since this episode is going to be dropping on the Monday before Thanksgiving, if you're in the United States of America, you'll be celebrating Thanksgiving in just a couple of days, and if you are also in America or some other parts of the world, you may be celebrating some other holidays that are coming up. So just know that my heart is with you. I know the holidays can be very difficult for people who are going through a divorce, for people who are divorced, for people who are thinking about getting a divorce, and so this episode specifically is for you. This episode I'm going to be talking about helping you set boundaries around the holidays and also letting go of the guilt that might be coming up because of those boundaries that you're going to be setting for yourself. So let's jump in Now. I'm going to talk with the idea in mind that boundaries in this sense and I actually think in every sense, but maybe you don't know about how boundaries work, so I'll explain that in a minute but boundaries are a very important form of self care. Now, this idea is not a new one to this podcast, but if you're new, it might be new to you, and if this is a new idea that boundaries are a form of self care, then I would highly highly recommend getting the book Real Self Care by Pooja Lakshmin. Her book is incredibly helpful. It teaches you what real self care is. Not just baths and candles and going for a walk. Those are all great things, but she really walks you through what real self care is, and so I will be using some of her ideas from the book as a guide in this podcast, as well as my own ideas and experiences from my own life, from the lives of the women that I coach and so on. So I know the holidays can be tricky for people who are divorced. For some of us it can be a time of year that is very painful. You might not have your kids with you at a time when you previously always have been able to spend time with them. Like maybe you don't have them on Christmas, or maybe you don't have them on Thanksgiving or on you know parts of Hanukkah, and that can be very painful. You might have to go to a dinner or a party and be around people who are judgmental of you and your choices, or you might already feel like the holidays are something that you just cannot wait to be over. You would just rather skip it all together. But then that crappy little thing called guilt sometimes will arise when we have this idea of like I just don't want to go to that party or I just really don't want to be around people this time of year, but my mom is going to be really sad if I don't come, or my friends are going to think that I am a terrible person and they're not going to want to hang out with me anymore, or whatever it is right. We have this guilt that kind of pops up about us not wanting to let someone else down or not wanting to be thought of as bad or selfish or whatever it is, and that guilt might be something that is holding you back from truly showing up and taking care of yourself, or truly showing up and opting out of things that you really don't want to do, things that really aren't going to provide you with the self-care that you need during this time of year especially. So, in this episode, I'm going to be giving you some tips on what boundaries are for yourself around holidays and ideas around overcoming guilt that you may be feeling because of the boundaries that you are going to be setting in the name of self-care. You have to start thinking about the holidays as a time of year that is not just for everyone else, but it's a time of year that is also for you. Your thoughts, your feelings and your priorities in life are important and they are valid even around the holidays, even if you have kids, even if you're divorced, even if nobody else agrees. Your thoughts, your ideas, your priorities they are valid, and this year this year might just be the year that you make space for you and allow the holidays to be what you want them to be. I'm giving you permission, so, to be able to make space for yourself during a time of year when it can so easily fall into a category of putting other people first. And don't get me wrong okay, thinking about other people other than yourself all the time, that is a beautiful thing. I'm not saying you should just never think of anyone else. You should not give any gifts, you should just do whatever makes you feel good and fuck everybody else. Like no, that is not at all what I'm saying here. Okay, gift-giving, thinking of others, helping others in need, sharing love, sharing light those are all amazing and they are a beautiful part of the holidays. However, I think that most women who are listening to this podcast are not the person who falls into the category where I'm just going to think about myself and no one else. And if you are the kind of person and I'm guessing that you probably are if you're listening to this podcast but if you are the kind of person who is always putting everyone before yourself, who is always discounting how you feel, what you want, what you need, and doing things to appease other people's feelings, to make sure that they're happy, even if that means you feel miserable, then again, this may be the year that you are going to make space for you and make the holidays what you want them to be instead. So how do you make space for yourself? You're going to set boundaries. Boundaries are how you can take your time, your energy and your attention back and, let's be real, those three things are often what is sucked out of us at the holidays, right? So let me explain for those of you who don't know or don't understand what a boundary actually is. And again, if you've listened to this podcast for a while, then you already know what I'm going to say. And if not, or if you forgot, then listen up, because this is important. Boundaries are about recognizing that you have a choice and then you get to communicate that choice to others. Boundaries are about keeping you safe emotionally, and sometimes, you know, physically as well, but mostly in today's day and age, we're talking about emotional safety, and boundaries are not about manipulating someone else's behavior, but rather deciding for yourself what you need and then following through with that choice to give you what you need. The tricky part with boundaries usually isn't the recognizing that you have a choice in things and then communicating that choice. That's actually sometimes the easiest part of boundary work. Like, you might recognize that you are going to come to the family party, but you will not tolerate judgmental remarks about your divorce or how you should have tried harder in your marriage or how you've ruined your children's lives because of the choice you made, and so you might voice that to your family. You could say listen, I'm coming to this party. However, if those type of remarks start up in the conversation, I will be leaving the party. That's where you understand that you have a choice and you are communicating that to everyone else that's going to be at the party. So that part could be very easy, right? The tricky part with the boundary comes usually in dealing with other people's feelings about the boundary that you set. Other people are going to have feelings and thoughts about your boundaries, and because of that it's really easy to get caught up in the possible backlash of other people's feelings about your boundaries. That's then going to make you question whether you should keep that boundary, whether you should have even set that boundary, or whether you are valuable or worthy enough to take up space and have a voice in the first place. So, with the example that I just gave about going to the party telling everyone, if these things start to come up, I will be leaving the party. There might be some people at that party who were like, why don't you just like, suck it up, it's not that big of a deal. Or maybe if it's someone that you really love that's going to be at this party, their feelings might get hurt. They might feel sad if you leave the party. They might feel like you don't love them anymore if you leave the party. They might not want to speak to you. They might give you the silent treatment if you leave the party. Like those type of feelings are the possible backlash that we worry about when we set boundaries for our own self-care, and so when other people's feelings come into play and the possible backlash that may be felt shows up, this is where you have to remind yourself that the boundary is what you need to interact in the world. The boundary is for you. That is why it's self-care and the boundary. Whatever you decide your boundary is going to be, it doesn't have to be that you leave the party Like I don't even know if that's anybody's thing right, but you get to decide what your boundaries are and then communicate them, and those boundaries may be exactly what you need to make the holidays great, to make the holidays bearable, to make the holidays happy. So this idea of other people's feelings coming into play, this is where guilt rears its ugly head. Guilt is an emotion that always kind of seems to be running in the background of women, just kind of is there. It's like this underlying emotion that just never seems to go away. And it's not because women are always doing everything wrong or that we're just never good enough, which is definitely something that society would have us believe about ourselves. Right, but rather guilt is a tool that is used to keep women small. Guilt comes from the outside judgment, based on contradictory expectations of women, from a culture that tells us that it is our job to put other people first, that it is our job to serve others and to dismiss ourselves and our wants and our needs and our priorities, or, in other words, put ourselves on the back burner until everybody else's needs have been met first. Guilt tells us that our thoughts and our feelings are small and they're not worth speaking up about, and that other people's priorities and other people's thoughts and other people's feelings are much more valuable, are much more valid and are much more worthwhile. That's what guilt tells us. Guilt also tells us that it is our responsibility to make other people feel good, feel comfortable, feel happy, feel welcome, feel included, feel taken care of. But often we do this by discounting our own feelings to make that happen. So to be able to successfully set boundaries this holiday season and to let go of the guilt, to effectively say no to someone else and say yes to yourself, you are going to have to learn to tolerate other people's disappointment at your boundaries and then believe that letting those people feel disappointed doesn't make you a terrible human. That is a belief that you should latch on to and carry around with you. Doing things that are in your best interest, that are for you, that are a protection and a self-care mechanism for you, and then someone else feeling uncomfortable or disappointed or upset over that does not make you a terrible human. It doesn't make you a bad human. It doesn't make you a bad person. You have to learn that it is okay for other people to take responsibility for their own emotions and for you to take responsibility for your emotions. This is a skill that most of us have not been taught. So when we start to develop this skill of taking responsibility for my emotions and letting other people be responsible for their own emotions, that can feel very uncomfortable. But let me remind you of something Feeling uncomfortable doesn't mean that something has gone wrong. Feeling uncomfortable can actually just mean that you're not very good at that skill yet, that you're not very good at the skill of guilt tolerance yet, that you haven't quite figured out how to feel the discomfort of feeling guilty without making it mean you're a terrible human. One way to get better at upping your guilt tolerance, once you've set the boundary, is to turn down the volume of that voice in your head that tells you you've done something wrong, which is basically what guilt is right. It's that voice telling you you've made a wrong choice in some way. You've done something wrong. You need to make amends, you need to fix it. That's what guilt is. So one way to really just up your guilt tolerance is to just turn down the volume on that little voice. The voice is probably going to just stick there. It's really hard, having been raised in a culture where we are taught these things about guilt, where it's in everything that we do, that it's our job to put everybody else first and that when we don't, we feel guilty about it. It's hard to completely get rid of that voice. But it doesn't mean it's not possible to turn the volume down, and you don't have to make it forefront. You don't have to make it the voice that you make decisions from. So turn the volume down and again, you may not be able to get rid of it. Don't even try to ignore it, because when we try to ignore voices like that or things that we don't want to think anymore, or pretend that it's not actually there, it just ends up getting louder, it ends up sticking around longer and longer. So we just let it be present. We just let it be present, but we turn down the volume and we don't give it the attention that it seeks. Guilt does not have to be the emotion that you make your decisions from. Guilt can just be a feeling that's kind of there in the background until you get much, much better at reframing what the discomfort actually means, while at the same time taking on the responsibility of your own emotions. I promise you if you can put this into play this holiday season, where you set boundaries for yourself, and then you don't use guilt as your compass, but instead you turn that volume down and get really good at upping your guilt tolerance and you learn to really take responsibility for your own emotions. You have the chance of making this year, this holiday season, your best holiday season yet. I promise it's possible for you. All right, my friends. Thank you for being here. Happy holidays upcoming. I will talk to you next week. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one on one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one on one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's wwwKARINNELSONCoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.

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