Pain is inevitable as we live this human life. There is no getting out of or getting around feeling pain, especially when it comes to divorce and the end of that relationship. But what I've learned after years of coaching is that even though pain is inevitable when we go through challenging circumstances, suffering is optional. In today's episode I'm talking about the difference between clean healing pain and optional, unnecessary dirty pain, what this can look like in your own life through examples that I use. I'll teach you how to clean up all the muck, dirt and grime of overwhelming dirty pain so that you can move through the clean pain and finally move on with your life after divorce. What you'll learn in today's episode:
The difference between pain and suffering and why one is inevitable and the other is optional.
What clean pain sounds like in our heads and what emotions it can show up as.
What dirty pain sounds like in our heads and what emotions it can show up as.
How to clean off the much of dirty pain and move on step closer to healing after divorce.
How honoring your clean pain can be cleansing.
The one step that will change everything for you when it comes to being able to move forward in your life.
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How often do you get to the end of your day exhausted and overwhelmed because of your life after divorce? Do you know what to do to stop feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted? Has the advice of your friends, family and other divorced acquaintances failed you and you don't know where to turn? Then I have the best news ever because I know exactly how to get your out of overwhelm and how to help you stop feeling exhausted so you can show up in your life excited for the day instead of dreading what's to come. The best place for you to start is to schedule some time to talk to me so I can show you what's really going on and how I can help. Click here to schedule your free discovery session with me.
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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 fellow podcast listeners. I’m so happy to be back with you today talking about all things divorce. I want to thank all of you who have been listening since the beginning. The podcast is growing, which I absolutely love because that means that I can help so many more women who are struggling with divorce. And I want to ask those of you who are listening and liking what you’re hearing to please go and rate and review the podcast on whatever app you like to use. You can even do it right now while you’re listening on your phone. The more ratings and reviews the podcast gets, the more the algorithm picks it up and puts it in front of more people, right, and suggests it to more people and more women like you and me who need this help in their lives will be able to have access to this podcast that they might not even know is here. Alright so thank you for doing that.
I’ve been thinking about this topic that I’m talking about today a lot, because I have many women come to me and ask, how do I get over all this pain from my divorce. It’s so heavy and it’s so hard and I just want to stop feeling so terrible all the time. And so I wanted to talk with you today about how you can better heal from the pain of your divorce.
Pain is inevitable as we live this human life. There is no getting out of or getting around feeling pain. But what I’ve learned is that not all types of pain are the same. I’m going to talk more about that today.
I want to start off by telling you a story of the Two Arrows. A man who is in a lot of pain and suffering because of life experiences he is having goes to Buddha and he asks him how he can stop feeling all the pain and suffering from everything that he been going through. Buddha says imagine you’re walking through the forest and someone shoots you with an arrow. You feel the pain of the arrow and it hurts very bad. You take the arrow out and you do your best to heal and feel calm and peaceful again. And then suddenly a second arrow is shot and hits you at the same place the first arrow hit. Buddha asks the man, “Do you think the second arrow will be more painful than the first?” The man says, “Yes, the second arrow will hurt even more than the first. The pain will be unbearable.” Buddha says, “You see we can’t control the pain of the first arrow. This is life’s experiences, like losing loved ones, growing old, getting sick, going through a divorce. We have to bear this pain and move through it. However the second arrow is our reaction to the first arrow. Things like judging ourselves and judging others, criticizing ourselves and criticizing others, becoming angry, becoming frustrated and carrying around hate. We have no control over the first arrow, but the second arrow is optional.” Buddha said to the man, “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
So I tell you this story because I really want to illustrate to you how pain and suffering are different. Right? Just like in that story we have the pain of circumstances that come into our lives like divorce. Divorce hurts. The end of a relationship after many years together or even a little time together, it doesn’t even matter the amount of time, it matters how we were feeling and thinking about that relationship. And that pain hurts. But there is so much more suffering that we pile on top of that pain and that hurt, that grief that keeps a stuck and it is all optional and I’m going to talk about it today and give you examples so that you know exactly what it looks like.
Because everyone of us who is going through a divorce or who has gone through a divorce knows how painful it is. There is no getting out of that pain. Right? There is no getting out of the pain of an end of a relationship, or the loss of what was, or the grief that we feel deeply and profoundly. That is what I’m going to be calling clean pain. However we often will create suffering for ourselves that is unnecessary by using our mind to punish us over and over and over again. This is what I’m going to refer to as dirty pain and it includes blaming others, shaming yourself, spinning in what would have been, feeling hate and anger and holding onto judgement. Things like that.
Clean pain is necessary and clean pain is inevitable. Dirty pain is optional.
So let’s talk about each one and I’ll give you some examples so you can see how these are showing up for you in your life.
Clean pain is felt when we go through difficult, challenging circumstances like a divorce, like the loss of a loved one, like losing a job or getting a cancer diagnosis. Clean pain hurts. It 100% hurts. Right? It hurts deeply. But this pain is related to the actual facts of what is going; of what is happening.
For example when you go through a divorce you feel deep sadness, disappointment, hurt, grief. All of those things. These are all emotions that are normal when we go through the end of a relationship. The loss of what was. These emotions are actually necessary and when we allow them to be with us, to be present inside of us and when we process through them they will actually move through us so that we can move forward when we’re ready.
So this clean pain could show up like a thought like, “My husband left me after 20 years of marriage and it’s really hard and I’m really sad.”
Or “My marriage is over and I miss what we had.”
There’s still pain involved in these thoughts that’s going to show up in your body as grief, as sadness, as disappointment and that pain is valid and that hurt is valid and it’s real and it’s okay for it to be there. I want you to know that. It’s okay to feel this pain.
Dirty pain, however, takes all of these same experiences and then it coats that normal, necessary clean pain with dirt, with muck, and with grime. Dirty pain, remember is optional. It’s when you take all these challenging things and you add blame on top of it, or shame on top of it. It’s when you spin in what could have, what should have, what would have happened. It’s when you add in anger and the hate and the judgement. These emotions added on top of the clean pain that you’re already feeling make it really hard to move through any of the emotions right. They just pile on top of each other and they keep stuck and they keep you spinning and they prevent you from moving forward.
When I worked with Karin Nelson as my divorce coach I worked on myself from the inside out. Best of all, I learned to love and forgive myself through my divorce. I found me again and started putting my needs first. I learned to create healthy boundaries without people pleasing or being codependent. I found my confidence again and I am proud of who I’ve become. I would tell any woman who is going through a divorce that if you are struggling to know who you are or if you’re struggling to believe that your life can be good again, then you need to work with Karin as your coach. She helps you see that your life doesn’t end with divorce, and it’s really the beginning of something new and amazing. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, click the link in the show notes to find out more about how to work with Karin Nelson.
So I want to use the same example of going through a divorce that I used before, and you’re still are feeling all of the same clean pain emotions, that sadness, that hurt, that grief, and that disappointment but then on top of those with this dirty pain you’re just piling on layers of dirt and grime. Right? You’re piling on the blame for your ex for cheating and not showing up in the marriage the way he should have. Or you’re shaming yourself for not leaving sooner or not being a good enough wife. And then you’re just going to sprinkle on some dirty grime of some anger over everything that has led to this point and why couldn’t it be different or why couldn’t he be different or why couldn’t I be different. Right? And then you add in a little hate because his life might be so much better than yours. And then you just start to feel heavy, and exhausted from all of the negative stories and emotions that you are piling on top of yourself. And you feel terrible, and you feel miserable and you feel stuck.
This dirty pain could show up as a thought like, “My husband left me after 20 years of marriage and I wish I could have been a better wife and mother. He wouldn’t have left if I was. No one is ever going to love me again. I’m just not lovable. I’m just not good enough and I’m just not wanted.”
Or “My marriage is over and basically my life is ruined and he’s out there dating and spending money and having so much fun. I hate him so much.”
I hope that you’re seeing the differences here between the necessary clean pain and the optional, unnecessary dirty pain.
Alright so now that we have a good idea of what clean pain is and why it is necessary and what dirty pain is and why it is optional, the next step is to figure out how do we clean up this thinking, right? How do we clean off the muck, dirt and grime of dirty pain? If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while you might actually know what I am going to say is going to be the first step because the first step to any kind of change is…say it with me if you know…awareness. Right? You have to become conscious of the stories that you are telling yourself and the stories that you are telling the world, the stories that you are putting out into the world. Because we don’t just say these things in our heads. We also tell them to our friends and our neighbors and people in our Facebook groups and communities and the people we met at the grocery store about how hard our life is right now. Right? You’ve got to be aware of what you’re saying in your head and then story about your divorce that you are telling and continuing to retell over and over and over.
And then the next step after you have that awareness is to allow and honor that clean pain that you’re feeling. It’s ok that you’re sad. It is okay that you’re disappointed. It’s okay that you’re grieving. I’m not saying that you have to love feeling this way. K? None of these feelings have to be your favorite thing ever. You don’t have to love it. You don’t have to like it. But giving yourself compassion as you open yourself up to these emotions is actually going to allow your mind and your body to heal the wounds so that you can create that peace and that calm that Buddha is talking about in that story.
The next step after we honor the clean been feeling is to start to reframe these miserable, painful stories that we are holding onto. If you’ve never reframed a story before it may seem tricky but that’s where me as a coach or another coach you are working with or even a therapist can really help you take the story that isn’t serving you and begin to reframe it and tell it in a different way. We’re not changing any of the facts about the story. We’re changing your perception of the story. Okay?
I’m going to give you an example this so you can kind of see how you can reframe a story and I’m going to use my own divorce story. So here’s the dirty pain version of my divorce story.
My ex ruined everything. We were married almost 20 years and he cheated on me, just threw me away and threw away our life away after 20 years just like a piece of trash. And I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to be loved again. I’m 40 years old now. I have no idea how to live in this world without someone else. We were married when I was 19. I just really don’t think I can do this on my own. I don’t see how it’s even possible for me to do this on my own.
So that’s my dirty pain story. Now here is my story reframed and this is the clean pain version.
My marriage ended after 20 years together. I’m scared and I’m sad because we’ve been together since I was 19. But I also know that I’ve done a lot of scary, hard things over these last 20 years and I’ve handled every single one of them. This could actually be the perfect opportunity for me to step up and see what I’m capable of. And it can still be scary and it can still be hard, but I know I can do scary and I know I can do hard.
So you can see in those two examples that allowing yourself to reframe from focusing on the dirty pain and instead really focusing on the clean pain, the pain that is going to move you through the experience is very empowering. It puts you in the driver’s seat of your life and it feels so much better. Even though there’s still negative emotion attached to both stories the second story, the clean pain story feels much more doable, and cleansing and empowering than the other. Right?
Pain is a necessary part of life. It’s a necessary part of life, but it’s that unnecessary suffering that is going to stand in your way of living a fully experienced life.
Alright my friends, that’s it for today. Thank you so much 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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