Every woman who goes through a divorce makes a choice, subconsciously or intentionally to live bravely or not. Listen in as I talk about what it means to live bravely during and after divorce.
I'll share with you parts of my divorce story that I've never talked about on the podcast. I'll share with you moments during my divorce journey where I was living bravely. My hope is that you will use my story as a conduit to seeing your own moments of living bravely and carrying those forward as a beacon as you move into your new life experience after divorce.
Want to submit a question for the 100th episode? DM Karin @karinnelsoncoaching on Instagram. To schedule your complimentary consult with Karin click here. The Becoming You Again Program for divorced women is coming! If you want to be the first to know when it's available then you need to join the waitlist by clicking here. Make sure to follow and rate the podcast on your favorite podcasting app.
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Full Episode Transcript:
I’m Karin Nelson and you’re listening to Becoming You Again episode number 92.
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.
Hello my friends. How are you? Before I dive into today’s episode I wanted to give you a quick reminder that my 100th episode is coming up and I will be recording it soon. And in that episode I am going to be doing a Q&A where you can literally ask me anything you want. I don’t know if I will answer you can ask me. So if you have a question for me, it can pertaining to divorce, or not – it can be personal, it can be whatever you want go ahead and DM me on FB or Instagram @karinnelsoncoaching. I’ve received some great questions so far but you still have time if you want to submit your question. You have until February 6 so keep sending in your questions because I will be recording that very soon.
Alright, so this podcast episode is going to be a little bit different than what I usually put out there for you. I’m going to be talking to you today about bravely living and what this means during and after divorce. As I’ve been working with my clients over the last I would probably say at least year and a half especially there is a common theme that tends to thread itself through our work together and it’s this idea of shedding the old life that once was; who you thought you were, what your life looked like, and the comfort and safety you that you kind of felt in a certain way in that life. And being able to open yourself up to and listening to that still small voice that is kind of inside of you that has been quiet and dormant for a long time for most of us, opening yourself up to her and to letting that voice be heard, and to take space, and heal, and live and over time even thrive. Because I think that is such an important thing that so many women who are going through a divorce are able to access at certain points I decided to talk about in this podcast and I decided to call it living bravely because of something I read by Glennon Doyle.
You know I’m a huge fan of Glennon’s and often when I’m reading her words I feel like she basically just opened up my head and took all of my thoughts and put them down on paper. I was reading something Glennon wrote the other morning and she was talking about her decision to divorce. She is talking about the example that she wanted to be for her kids and who she wanted them to see their mother as. She said, “I decided to quit showing my children how to slowly die and instead show them how to bravely live.”
I love that line. Show them how to bravely live. And I was thinking about in terms of my own life and how have I been able to live bravely in ways for myself and an example to my kids and other people around me as well? And I wanted to talk about kind of the importance of this. First I want to take a look at the importance of these two words on their own.
When I think about the life I was living and the person that I was when I was married, yes you could say I was living, but it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t connecting to myself at all. I had shushed so many of my wants and desires and my needs and my dreams for my family, and my religion, and my culture and community because of who they told me I needed to be. And I was really good at pretending. I was really good at people pleasing and living a role where I was the ‘happy wife’, or the ‘supportive wife’, or the ‘good mother’, or the ‘good friendly neighbor’, or the ‘dutiful daughter’. But I wasn’t living for me for Karin – as Karin even. I wasn’t even quite sure who Karin was.
And then there’s the word bravely. And I am going to talk about all this more when I go deeper into my story. Brave means you are ready, willing even to endure pain and challenge. When you go through a divorce, whether it’s your choice to divorce or not, you do have a choice to decide if you are going to add bravery to that experience. There is no getting out of challenges and emotional turmoil when it comes to divorce. Even if you have the easiest, most amicable divorce possible – you will still feel some kind of sadness, or grief, heartache or heartbreak for something pertaining to the life you had, the life your kids had, not being in a relationship or something else. Right? You will face negative emotions and changes in your life after divorce. The question is, are you willing to face those emotions and those changes and those challenges with bravery? Are you willing to endure what comes and to allow it to mold and reshape you, as you live bravely into your new experience?
So I said today’s podcast was going to be a little different and that’s because I’m going to be sharing with you more of my own story. I have shared snippets here and there but I don’t think I’ve gone into much detail about what living bravely has been like for me. I want to kind of share more of my story with you because my hope is that you will see some of yourself in my story and find ways that you can live bravely for yourself as you move through your divorce and into your while new life experience.
So I was raised in a very devout Mormon, or Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints family in Utah. Everything about the Mormon church is about families. Families are very important and so the role of mother and the role of father becomes very important and you learn at a very young age that the role of a woman is to become a mother; is to become the leader over the household and to take care of the household and the children and the role of the father is to go out and provide for the family and be the presider over the family when it comes to holding the priesthood and different things in this area. But the woman’s role is to be the mother and to take care of the children and to kind of be the presider over the home. And I do not think there is anything wrong or bad with any of that. I think those can be great definitions for people. Right. I think the problem comes in when you put so much of your worth on, and this was definitely the problem and challenge that I faced for so much of my life, was putting so much of my work and my value as a woman on being number one chosen to get married and number two becoming a mother. Now I did not necessarily want to have kids right away. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to have kids overall. But I definitely wanted to have a partner and I want to be married and I got married when I was 19 years old. And that was really important to me and I fully accepted and took on the identity of being a wife. That was huge for me. So much so that I became so much a people pleaser in that role that I kind of stopped seeing my friends. I kind of gave up those relationships because now I had my eternal partner.
And this is a big thing in the Mormon church. When you get married it is not just for your time here on earth like most people’s marriages you now. In the Mormon church when you get married it is for time and all eternity. Meaning even after you die you are still connected to his person and his children for ever and ever and ever whatever that looks like in the afterlife. So it is kind of a big deal to get married and to be chosen and I took that to heart. I was chosen. I got married and now I am a wife and I took that role on big-time. His likes word now my likes. If he was happy then I was happy. If he was successful in his job and I was supportive and taking care of things at home then I would be successful in my role as a wife. And boy did that creates a major problems down the road but I didn’t think it was a big problem at the time.
Like I said I was not quite sure I even wanted to be a mom but my husband wanted to be a father and so we had many conversations about this I remember. I had dreams of wanting to be an actor. I really wanted to act and it was something that I had wanted to for a long time and I finally got up the courage when I was in college to audition for plays and be in place and I really enjoyed doing that so, so much. And my husband really wanted to have kids and I was not so sure that that was something that I wanted to do. I was enjoying my life of kind of following my dreams and doing some things I had never really done before but I acquiesced. I was still a member of my church and it was a big deal to become a mom and after a few years of being a young married couple we decided to have a baby. Now I thought because I have never been pregnant before and I have been on birth control that it was going to take forever to get pregnant and then it did not and I was kind of bummed at first actually and then after I felt my baby kick for the first time which was of human sin, I think it was for five months, I cannot remember exactly, that is when I kind of started to get excited. Like okay this actually might be kind of cool.
And we are going to fast forward a couple of years and I had two kids at this point. And I love my kids more than anything. They know that having kids was not on the forefront of my desires when I was younger but once I had them they are truly the joys of my life and I love them so much and I am so grateful that they are a part of my life. But that is another part of my story is once a became a mother to my daughter, I was 24 years old, I adopted the role of motherhood as my new role. That was it. Like being a wife great, cool, I can still do that part-time but being a mom, this is the thing. I am going to put my whole self into this. I am going to love my kids with all that I have, with all of my being even if it means giving up even more of myself and I have already given up. Which is like I gave up my wants and my desires and my needs and I am going to take care of my kids and raise them as I think they need to be raised and teach them the best I can and just love them to the best of my ability. So I took on that identity of being a mom and I really took it to heart. They were my everything and they still are. I love my kids so, so much.
But as the years started to move on and I continued my people pleasing ways and I continued trying to make everyone else around me, make sure everyone else around me was taken care of, make sure everyone else around me was safe, make sure everyone else around me was happy and doing everything that I could to keep things going smooth and keep everybody from feeling any kind of negative emotion or being hurt in any way or struggling or having some kind of challenge I started to develop a lot of resentment to other people, especially I would say to my husband. And I started to feel really sad. I just was not happy. There was nothing in my life that really resonated with me as this is for me. This is for my own happiness. This is because this is something that I want to do. This is because this is something I enjoy. I did not have any of that but I did not really understand at the time, I did not have the knowledge that taking care of those needs was up to me. I kind of thought that again I had this idea that if they were happy then I would be happy. And it was not turning out that way. You know like my husband was starting to find success in his job finally after years and years of struggle and he had all of these hobbies and he was out doing these fun things and he seemed very happy and yet I was miserable. I was so sad. I didn’t have anything that was just for me but I did not understand that it wasn’t his job to create that happiness for me. I didn’t understand that it was my job to do that.
And so I got really tired of feeling sad all the time and really tired of feeling resentful about everything, about he’s out having fun and doing all of these cool things in traveling to Germany and working on movies and doing all these cool things and I am here being a mom, which I am good at. I am good at it but it is not really my dream to just be a mom. Right. I got really sick of feeling those things are kind of turn to apathy instead. I am just going to repress it and pretend like I don’t feel anything at all and I am just going to kind of go numb. And I did that for many, many years.
And then I had a couple of turning points a little bit later in our marriage. Like many of you know we were married for almost 20 years, just shy of 20 years and it was in those last, I think it was in the last year before we decided to divorce where I started to choose to live bravely in certain moments. I remember specifically we were on vacation. My husband and I and our kids. We were on vacation and I remember our kids run a ride somewhere and it was just he and I have and we were talking and I have very vivid dreams every single night. I have dreams and I remember lots of them and I can remember things that are happening in the dreams and I remember specifically the night before this conversation I had a dream and I said I had the weirdest dream last night. I had a dream that we were divorced and we were on vacation together as a family with the kids but we had our significant others. We were both like remarried or something or have boyfriends or girlfriends, I cannot remember exactly but we had different partners. We were definitely divorced and we were all on vacation together. And I just thought how weird it was that we are on vacation now and I am having this dream about divorce. I remember the look on my husband’s face at the time. It was one of like curiosity and almost like hope – could I dare say that.
Now I didn’t know at the time but he was having an affair. The point is when I had this dream it was kind of the first time I gave myself permission to question whether divorce maybe wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it was because I had been unhappy for so many years. I cannot tell you how many times I even used to kind of, this is going to sound terrible and I am so sorry. I apologize to my ex right now because I would never ever truly want this and to my kids I apologize, I love you all. These were just thoughts. Okay. Our thoughts are not us. But I definitely have thoughts when we were married right kind of wished that my husband would die because I thought it would be easier than getting a divorce. I thought if well he just died then I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a divorce and it would just be way easier. Again, I would never really actually want that to happen. I am so grateful for my ex at this point and I love my kids more than anything and it would be devastating for them if their dad died so please don’t take that the wrong way. But I did have that thought while I was married.
But when I had this dream, the point is, let me get back to the point here. The point is this dream is one way that I was living bravely in that moment in my life. Because for just even a moment I gave myself permission to question whether a divorce would actually be as bad as I thought. I had been telling myself for so long that divorce was out of the question. Even though I no longer believed that marriage was for eternity because I had left my faith years and years before. I still had this idea in my head that getting a divorce was a bad thing and that people would be looking at me in such a bad way and judging me and how would this affect my kids and how would this affect me and how would this affect him and what would people think and what our families think and all of that, I had that story running through my head and I truly believed that divorce was such a bad, terrible thing. But it was just not something you did especially not in my family. But this dream helped me to live bravely in that moment in question, mean it is not as bad as I think it will be.
The next moment of me living bravely was when I confronted my husband about his affair. Like I said he had been having an affair and I didn’t know about it. And then about five or six months later I found out on my own, like independent of him. He didn’t tell me. I found out that he was having an affair but I held it in for weeks. I didn’t say anything for weeks. I was so scared of what it meant. I was so angry. I was so angry at him. I was so angry at myself that I didn’t see the signs. And for me I think in a moment it was kind of this protection mechanism for me right. It was almost like I was in this freeze or fawn where I didn’t know what to do and so I just didn’t do anything. I wasn’t ready for that yet. But then I was able to live bravely in a specific moment and I reached deep inside myself for the courage to endure whatever pain and whatever challenge was going to, from this confrontation and I asked him if he was having an affair and he told me that he was. And we talked about it and of course that conversation led to many more conversations and many more opportunities for me to live bravely each and every day since that moment.
The next moment I remember specifically of living bravely was when I was out of my walk. I have told the story on the podcast many times before where I was out on my walk questioning what do I really want? I was going back and forth about divorce. We had had many conversations. Neither of us could just say yes or no either way and I decided to just ask myself the question and really listen and be honest with the answer. And the answer was very clear I want a divorce. I lived bravely in that moment and I allowed myself to hear the answer number one. And to be honest with myself and to not push away the answer because of the fear, because of the challenge, because of how it would affect anyone else around me. How all of the other people might be looking at me or judging me, how it was going to affect my kids and I put that all aside and I just listened and I lived bravely into that moment. And I knew divorce was the right answer for me. I knew in that moment that I really had to let go of what other people are going to think. And I really had to let go of this story that I had about myself and about choosing myself and my own wants and my own needs meant that I was a bad mom or meant that I was selfish or meant any other thing that I had been telling myself. I knew in that moment I needed to live bravely.
I want to share another quote from Glennon Doyle here that I think again perfectly encapsulates so much of what I was thinking and feeling as I was going through my divorce and the times where I was choosing intentionally to live bravely. She says, “All my life I’d received the memo that a good mother is a martyr, that our duty is to slowly die for our children – to bury our dreams, passion, ambition, emotion and humanity and to call that love. What a burden to pass down to our children. To give our children this legacy – that love means disappearing and dying instead of emerging fully and living – is to lay upon our babies a legacy that is a lie.” And that is the end of her quote.
I want to offer to you that when we step into moments of living bravely we allow ourselves to feel and experience life. And we allow ourselves to be honest with what our life truly is and the meaning that we give our life. When we step into these moments we remember that life is 50/50. It is going to be full of good and it is going to be full of bad. It is going to be full of hard and it is going to be full of easy. It is full of pain and joy in every experience. Living bravely for you is definitely going to look different than it did for me and that is totally fine. We are all here having different experiences and some of them are good and some of them are bad and some of them are hard and some of them are easy but we are all having the same kind of experiences, just different flavors. But want you to ask yourself, am I allowing myself to live bravely? And if not, what am I afraid will happen if I do? What am I afraid I will feel if I do? Who am I afraid of letting down if I do? And is it worth it?
This is your life. You matter. You are allowed to have a life of intention, a life designed by you. Open yourself to living bravely in moments whatever that looks like for you.
Alright my friends, that’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening. I will talk to you next week.
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.