Self doubt is very common amongst divorced women. There are many factors that influenced the conditioning of women to feel self doubt, and even as we are seeing an upward trend in the equality of women and men, the most important work to be done has to start with the individual woman and learning to believe in herself and her capabilities. In this episode I'll teach you three steps to take to stop doubting yourself after divorce so that you can show up with more confidence in your life.
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I know what it feels like to second guess every decision, even small ones like what to have for dinner. I've been that mom who cries herself to sleep after divorce because I'm so worried that I've made terrible decisions that have ruined my kids' lives and that I just don't have the capability to know what are the 'right' decisions and what are the 'wrong' ones. If you can relate to this, then you need to come work with me. Since my divorce six years ago I've learned the tools and techniques needed to make decisions confidently and to trust myself to know what's best for me and my kids. I can teach you how to build that confidence in yourself as well, so being confused about what to do in your life will be something that you used to do. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m your host, Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again, episode number 74.
Welcome to becoming You Again. The podcast to help you with your mental and emotional wellbeing during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the trauma of your divorce by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so your life will be even better than when you were married. I’m your host Karin Nelson.
Hi friends. Welcome back. So sometimes before I jump into episodes I like to share what I’ve been up to in my life, or maybe a show or movie that I’ve watched or a book that I am reading that I think you might enjoy. And this time I wanted to share with you the book that I just finished reading. It is called The Midnight Library and it’s by Matt Haig. This book is such a good read. It is very easy. It is one of those books that you just start reading and you don’t want to put down because it is so engaging. It’s not very long. It’s just under 300 pages. I read it very quickly. It took me like two days may be to go through. But I think it is mostly because it is so intriguing and such a fun idea. Basically in a nutshell it’s about a woman named Nora who is really unhappy in her life and it seems like everything is going wrong for her. She feels disconnected from herself. Very disconnected from her life, her relationships, and pretty much everything that she sees about her life and the way she kind of interprets the things that have happened to her in her life is that everything has gone wrong. But the twist is that her life really begins to change when she enters the Midnight Library and gets to see and experience her life in many different ways where if she had just made one decision differently. One teeny tiny decision, when major decision, it doesn’t matter but it kind of goes into this multi-verse of possibilities of what her life could have been were she to just make one different decision and she gets to go into those lives and kind of experience that and see what her life would be like. I think this is such an interesting idea and it makes this book really, really good because this is something that we do as humans, but especially as divorced women. Right. We like to play the if only card all the time. We like to think about our past choices and how if we had just done this one thing different media our life would look different, feel different, we would be different in such a different way, a better way. Right. Or we think about the things that we might have missed out on or we think about our regrets and how we should have, could have, would have and then our life would be so much better. And this book kind of takes that idea and questions it and kind of present the truth in a way that is very enlightening. So if you’re looking for a good book to read, try this one out. It’s The Midnight Library. It’s by Matt Haig. I loved it, and I think you might like it too.
Okay so onto today’s topic, how to stop doubting yourself after divorce. Self doubt is very common amongst divorced women. Right. There are many different factors that can go in to conditioning you as a woman that create that self-doubt like things like where you were raised, the experience that you had, if you were raised in a high demand religion like I was being raised a Mormon, and even just growing up in western society where there is a system of patriarchy that is woven into our framework as a society, as a culture. And all of these things and even more that I have not mentioned have contributed to the conditioning of you as a woman. Of you doubting yourself. Of you making choices. Of you not feeling capable responsible were able to live a life after divorce that is good, that is what you wanted to be, that is created in a way that you feel good about.
For example, it wasn’t until the 1974 thanks to the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the passing of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act that women could finally be able to open their own credit card. We could apply for loans. We could have a mortgage in our name, on our own, and we could do those things without needing our husband’s permission. But before 1974 that was not a thing. You needed your husband to say that you could do those things on your own. You could have a bank account, I think it was the 1960s, that you could have a bank account but there were still banks out there that required a husband’s permission or signature to say that you could have that account. So thankfully things are changing for women. Right. We are being looked at as more equal to him and though we are not fully there yet. Things are still changing and it is good. We are moving in an upward trend, an upward direction but there is still more work to do. And we have to start with ourselves on learning to create that self confidence, that self belief, that self capability and really learning to step into letting go of this self-doubt that has been woven into our human experience as women who have grown up in this Western society, in this Western culture. So I want to kind of do my part in teaching you that that is not true and that we can start to break down that story and let go of that story and feel more capable, feel more confident really stepping into knowing that you are valuable and worthy of the human, just as much as a man is to create and live a great life. You also are capable of doing that as well after divorce. So I’m going to walk you through three steps that I think are going to help you drop that self-doubt when it comes to living your life after divorce.
Step one is to learn to manage your thinking. This is what I teach you in this podcast. This is literally basically every single podcast episode, the underlying theme is is to take control of your own mind. The more you can be intentional in your choices and intentionally what you want to think, that is going to create feelings inside of you like self-confidence, like determination, like feeling empowered that is going to have you showing up in a different way and will create a completely different experience for you. It’s the number one thing that I teach you on this podcast. It is the number one thing that I teach my clients when we work together one on one. And it’s a skill that I believe will serve every human being the most as we go throughout our human existence.
A managed mind or learning to be disciplined in your thinking means that you are consciously choosing thoughts to think that are going to serve you in certain situations. Most of the time you don’t need to be paying attention to your thoughts and you can kind of let your brain do what it does best which is go on autopilot. But there will be certain times and situations where you want to show up for yourself, for your benefit, to help you feel better and act in a way that serves you and that is always going to start by intentionally choosing how you want to think. And this comes into play especially after going through a divorce or especially when you are going through a separation because you are in this transitional phase of trying to figure out who you are and what you want your life to be like and there is a lot of disbelief. There is a lot of self-doubt going on because you may be never had to do this before. So this is the time where it is most important and will be most self-serving for you and your life moving forward to intentionally choose how you want to think.
So let me give you an example. I have a client who had decided to go on a 10 day self healing intensive where she would have to be away from her kids for 10 days. She did like her reasons for deciding to do this, but she had a lot of self doubt that this was the wrong decision and that maybe she should not go. So we talked about it and I pointed out to her that this was a situation where really stepping up and being the manager of her brain was going to serve her so well. Because when her brain wanted to offer her all the reasons why she shouldn’t have done this and when she shouldn’t have gone and why it was a big mistake she could remind her brain that she liked her reasons for going and then list off the reasons why, and then not allow herself to step into unkind talk about she did it wrong or how she is wrong or how she can’t be trusted or any of those things. Right. And when she could be the manager of her brain this would serve her really well in the self healing intensive because she would be able to really be there and focus on what she was therefore and allow herself to heal from her past trauma rather than spending the next 10 days self doubting and feeling full of worry and regret over her decision and really not getting anything out of the experience that she wanted to get out of going on this 10 day intensive. And then she would come home and she would have regretted ever even going in the first place. Allowing yourself to be the manager of your brain and intentionally deciding what you want to seem concerned moments will serve you more than anything else that you do in your life moving forward.
The second step to overcoming self doubt is to allow your feelings. Often when we are doubting our choices, we are doubting our capabilities, it’s because we are trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the future and we think, if I can just show up in this way that will make it so I don’t have to feel anything negative, then I’ll be able to trust myself that it was the right decision or then I’ll be able to trust myself that I can actually handle this. Then I’ll be able to know that it was the right choice or I’m worthy and I’m valuable.
And you may not be aware of this story going on in your head, but I promise you that one of things we fear most of all is negative emotion. We doubt that we will be able to handle it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard women say if this continues this way I just can’t handle it. I can’t handle the negativity. I can’t handle how hard this is. And when they are saying that they are talking about the negative feelings that they are feeling inside of them. The sadness, the despair, the loneliness, the shame, the guilt. We doubt that we will be able to handle these negative emotions. We doubt that we are capable of making it on our own, making enough money, being the kind of parent we want to be, being alone because if any of those things happened, or more things, right, that we have a fear of, we are bound to feel something negative. We are bound to feel lonely. We are bound to feel sad, regret, shame, anything else and we doubt that we will be able to handle those negative emotions. Because those negative emotion seem hard and heavy and defeating. And they are when we are resisting them. When we want them to go away. When we are not opening ourselves up to them. They are hard. They do feel heavy. They do feel overwhelming because we are working so hard to not feel them that we are expending all of our energy on trying to resist actually feeling them instead of just opening ourselves up to it and allowing it to be there.
The antidote to feeling this doubt of yourself and to not believing that you can handle these emotions is to just actually feel them. Feel your feelings. Emotions are supposed to be with you. And remember emotions and feelings, I say those words interchangeably. They mean the same thing and it is actually the sensations that are happening inside your body. What does sadness feel like inside of your body? Where do you feel it? What about anxiety, what about shame, where are they? What is it look like? What does it feel like? Emotions are supposed to be with you. They are part of being human.
And the thing about emotions is none of them last very long. They are fluid. They are transitional. They are always moving in waves, in and out, up and down. So opening yourself up to your emotions and breathing through them and allowing them to be inside of you, and a part of you, that is what is going to build belief in yourself that you can do this. You will start to see that you are capable and not self-doubt is going to melt away.
For example one of the things that completely transformed my relationship with my boyfriend and I was the way I showed up around him and opening myself up to feeling frustration. When we first moved in together, and you know there’s that transitional time of learning how people live and do things in ways that you don’t really get a taste for fully when you live apart. So I had ideas of how he would be and how things would be done and then he moved in and I had all of these expectations and things didn’t quite happen that way, and began to find myself feeling very frustrated. But I didn’t want to feel frustrated. Right. My first instinct was to push that frustration away. To pretend that it wasn’t there. To pretend that I wasn’t feeling frustrated. To show up very passive aggressively around him and you know taking things out on him, taking my feelings out on him and I really didn’t believe that if I allowed myself to feel frustrated then I would feel better and that things would change. I was like no. Feeling my feelings. That’s stupid. What are you talking about? Why would I ever want to feel frustrated on purpose? But I decided that I was going to try yet and I was going to see if it could actually work. Because I thought that like okay I will be open to this. Maybe it will be better than being passive aggressive with my boyfriend. There is a possibility that it might be better than pretending that I am not feeling frustrated even though I really am feeling frustrated and lying to myself. And so I just said okay fine. I’m just going to open myself up to it and when I feel frustrated because I think he should be doing something differently than he is I am going to allow myself to feel frustrated. I opened myself up to it. I figured out what frustration felt like in my body, and then I just breathed and I allowed to be there and I processed through it. An I stopped being afraid of feeling frustrated. I stopped doubting that I was capable of feeling it and I stopped doubting that if I did this it would be helpful for me. And the most surprising thing happened. The frustration wood, and he would be there for like maybe one minute and then it would dissipate. And then I might come back later on that day and I would just open myself up to and processed through it and allow and breathe and it would go away. And it wasn’t as hard and it wasn’t as heavy and it wasn’t as scary as I thought that it was going to be and it wasn’t even that big of a deal which was really surprising. But the best thing, the thing that truly transformed who I was in my relationship with my boyfriend is I was able to let go of so many of those expectations that I was holding onto. Things that didn’t even matter at all. Like if he put his close away right away after they were washed or something. Things that like didn’t matter to the happiness of myself, the happiness of our relationship and how close we were. I was able to let go of those things that I thought were so important that were leading to me feeling frustrated and I really just opened myself up to letting go of the expectation, but if I did feel frustrated I would open myself up to it and it completely transformed how I showed up in my relationship with my boyfriend. It actually brought us closer together, mean not doubting that I could just feel the emotion and it would be okay to be inside my body. And it would be okay to be there.
Learning to allow the emotion of frustration taught me that I am capable of feeling any emotion. Any negative emotion. And that it’s okay for them to be there, to be a part of me, to be inside of me when the calm. When they show up. And frustration maybe isn’t as scary as loneliness or as scary as sadness or as scary as anxiety or whatever it is but I promise you when you can just let go of that resistance and open yourself up to it, breathe and let it be inside of you, figure out where it is, what is feel like, that is when they stop being scary. That is when you stop doubting that you are capable of handling any emotion comes your way.
And the third step in overcoming self doubt is to keep working to understand your infinite value. When we doubt ourselves and we believe we’re not capable it’s because there is an underlying story that we are not valuable or we are not worthy enough in some way. Like, I can’t apply for that job because I’m not smart enough. Or if I don’t have a partner that must mean I’m not lovable or worthy of happiness, or of being loved or living a good life. I’m just not sure that I’ll know what the right decision is because I don’t value my opinions. And I just don’t know how to handle my kids right now; I feel like everything I do is wrong and I’m screwing up their lives.
All of those are examples of stories that my clients have had at one point or another that were creating self doubt and these types of stories and so many others that we carry around with us are all tied to not believing in having unlimited value or our worth is 100% or that we are 100% lovable at all times.
But your worth and your value is complete. It is unlimited. It never depletes. It never changes. And you may make mistakes. You will. It’s inevitable that you are going to make mistakes. Right. Or you might behave in certain ways that aren’t you at your best. That doesn’t make you less of a human. That doesn’t make you less worthy, let us lovable, less valuable. It doesn’t make you less worthy of living a human life. This is the work that you, and I and everyone else will be working on for the rest of our lives. Right. It is this idea of working to believe and accept that you are worthy. They are valuable. That you are lovable. But just because it is work that you are going to be doing ongoing doesn’t mean that it is not work worth doing. Knowing your value, learning to accept it is the most important work that you can do. And stepping into that acceptance of your value and your worthiness and your lovability it will only help to distance you from that self-doubt. From believing that you are not capable and it will truly land to building a framework of trusting yourself that you are capable, that you can create and have and live any kind of life that you want even after divorce.
Alright my friends, that is it for today. Thanks for listening.
If you like what you’re learning on the podcast and you’re ready to create lasting change and results in your life then you need to be working 1:1 with Karin as your divorce coach. This is where we take everything you’re learning in the podcast and 10x it with implementation and weekly coaching where you start to see change in yourself and your life immediately. To find out more about how work exclusively with Karin go to www.karinnelsoncoaching.com . That’s www dot Karin nelson coaching dot com.
Thanks for listening. If this podcast episode agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give it 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 to check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description.