Christine: You are listening to the Your Empty Nest Coach podcast with Coach Christine, episode number 12, The Power and Understanding That Life Isn’t Supposed To Be Perfect. This podcast is for you, a mother who years ago walked away from a career to raise your child. Sure, you’ve been busy with volunteering, car pools, maybe part-time work and taking care of everyone. But your main gig, that’s been your child. Now, that they are in their later years of high school, the empty nest looms ahead for you and it’s freaking you out. I’ve been there and I get it. Together, we’ll turn our freaking out energy into freaking awesome energy.
Hello, my empty nest friend! Episode 12. How are you today? I hope you are feeling amazing, because you deserve to feel amazing. This is really fun. I don’t know if you can tell, but definitely from my first podcast episode, the sound quality is slowly getting better. I’m in my official podcast booth, which I think, hopefully, you will enjoy. It is an umbrella, with a sleeping bag over it, on top of my laptop, so I don’t have the sound waves reverberating all over the place. A little cramped in here, but I love it. I’m slowly improving.
Today’s episode is definitely inspired by Byron Katie, and this quote of hers, “If you argue with reality, you will lose 100 percent of the time.” I will link to Byron Katie’s site in my show notes, which you will find on my website. The gist of this whole thing and what really hit me, was what is happening, whatever it is, is totally supposed to happen. Why? Because it is happening. Arguing with the reality of the situation is absolutely pointless. Life is sucky 50 percent of the time. It is. It’s called life, not called the magical perfect world, where everything goes your way. Welcome to life. Congratulations! You are alive.
Why do we believe that life is supposed be perfect? That is a lie that serves none of us. If your automatic thought when something bad happens is well, this shouldn’t happen, and then you continue to spin out of control and not do much but complain about it. I want you to understand that in that specific moment, rather than dealing with a situation, you’re clearly choosing to argue with reality.
You are arguing with reality. What do you think that’s going to get you? Oh, Christine, but I’m just saying that, thinking that, because it’s comforting. Is it? Let’s look at an extreme example. Imagine that you just got into a car accident. There is an emergency situation to deal with. What is the best thought to go to once your brain understands what has happened? Cars crushed, I’m still alive, let me assess the situation and figure out what to do next, or this is awful, this shouldn’t have happened, why do these things always happen to me? I get it, this might seem like an extreme example, but when you see the importance in an extreme situation, and then realize that you are doing this all day, every day, in tiny moments of your life, how do you think that compounds, and what do you think it creates in your life?
Are you constantly arguing with the universe, with reality, that things shouldn’t be happening a certain way? Let’s say your child doesn’t get a scholarship they were hoping for. Do you spend three days complaining about it, calling the school to find out why, and fighting it? Or do you realize the competition must have been really intense, let’s see what other scholarships are available? Here’s another one, your child’s guidance counselor didn’t get a paper over in a timely fashion. Do you complain about it to everyone, or do you figure out how to solve it by making an appointment to confirm the counselor completes the task?
We see this in movies all of the time. Something tragic or unbelievable happens. There are a whole bunch of people freaking out about it, and one, typically, the protagonist, the hero of the story, quickly assesses the situation, figures out what to do and saves the day? What did they do? You could say they were trained for this, or they are a born leader. They were born that way. What is the real answer? It is that they spent no time arguing with the true circumstances of the situation and got right to work.
What if I tell you, you can be the hero in your own life? You can. If you’ve been listening to my podcasts since the beginning, you know there is power in observing your thoughts. This week, I want you to observe your thoughts and look out for how often your thoughts lead you to argue with reality in either complaints, or arguing, or saying that shouldn’t have happened.
Yes, the situation might be unfair, but if it happened, there really is no “shouldn’t have.” It already happened. Unless you can time travel, it’s a done deal. Arguing with a circumstance changes nothing except for how you feel and how you show up in life.
I remember the first time I really grasped this. It had to do with our cat, Lego. He has three legs. We rescued him from a shelter when he was two years old. He’s pretty chill most of the time, but he has issues. He is missing a leg. It’s really cute when he has itch on his left ear, his back-left stump tries to scratch it. It’s kind of sad and cute at the same time. He lost his leg when he was a kitten, so our best guess is he only remembers ever having three legs. The only thing he doesn’t do well is jump, and that’s not really a problem for us. Anyway, I digress. He has this habit of doing the butt scoot after he poops. Don’t worry, we’ve had him checked out by a vet. It seems to be a habit he’s developed at this point in time. Fighting the reality that we have a cat that does this, gets me nothing but frustration. We’re not going to get rid of him over something like this. He does it and now, when he comes out of the litter, I wait for him to do it, clean it up and it’s pretty much routine now. We come home after being out and look for the streak. It’s our reality. It’s so much easier to find it, clean it up, and move on, than to show up any other way. Let me tell you, when this first started happening, I did not show up pretty.
Another example from our life, as a family, is my husband, when he was diagnosed with colon cancer, he was 38 years old. He was the best example of someone who didn’t argue with reality. He simply did what he needed to do. He did the treatments, continued to work, and certain things became his new reality. Many of those new things aren’t pleasant, but he doesn’t spend time arguing with it. He figures out how to work around it and with it. I guess, he’s a bit of a hero around here, really. Let me give you one more that kind of does rear its ugly head in my life from time to time.
Before I had my daughter, I worked in tech. I spent 15 years out of the work force, full-time. While I stayed up-to-date on technologies, a 15-year gap is big on a resumé. My day job now, is an admin coordinator, and it took me months to find an employer willing to give me a chance. I also work in a place where if you’re an admin, you’re pretty much an admin there for years on end, which doesn’t fit my usual profile. While I’m not overly challenged in this role, it has its benefits. I can walk to work. I have a boss who’s flexible with my building of this business, and it is an income that we need as a family. There are days where I see areas that I can help so easily. There are days where I’d like to be challenged so much more. Just throw a huge project at me and let me run with it, and it gets to me.
It got to me last week. I was arguing with my reality big time. The funny part is, other than knowing I can do so much more, do I really want that responsibility anyway? Not really. I have this business I’m building, and I love it. I spent more than a few hours complaining one of the days last week. It’s not the version of me I am most proud of, but I’m human. Then, I took in my reality. I was out of the workforce for 15 years. I have a flexible job now, where I can help others. I get to coach all day long. I really do. It isn’t part of my job description, but I definitely got to work on my coaching there, and that is free training for me. I don’t get to do big tech projects, but I also don’t have to work those stressful hours any more. Why am I even fighting with reality, really? Seriously, it’s so not worth it. Better to come up with a plan to change it, or just be okay with it. Anyway, notice your “that shouldn’t have happened” statements. Observe them with fascination and then process through them. They have the power to stall your life completely. Who wants that? Not me. I choose moving forward and processing through things. Once I catch my “should have’s,” that is the key. Noticing them, and then, changing them.
The questions I have for you in this episode are:
1) Who are you in life? Are you the hero solving things, or the person crying hysterically about their circumstances?
2) How do you feel when you think about the fact that life really isn’t supposed to be perfect?
Fly on over to our Empty Nest Flock Forum at youremptynestcoach.com/community to share your answers with the entire flock. The adjustment to not having your kiddos at home full-time isn’t always easy, but it sure can be a ton more fun with a flock of friends. As always, I provide content to make you think, my empty nest friend. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that impact your life in a positive way.
My next episode’s title is Future You Has All the Power. Don’t forget to sign up for my free Thursday Thoughts About email. Sign up and every Thursday you will receive a thought from me, and I also share Your Empty Nest Coach updates.
It is listener feedback time. This one’s titled Life Coaching Based on Self-success, “It’s always impressive when the life coach has succeeded using the techniques herself, and Christine has big time. I’m eager for the next episode.” This is by reviewer 1946. Thank you, reviewer 1946, who may or may not be my father. That’s the best. Isn’t it?
I would love to read your feedback or review here in an upcoming episode. Either provide a review on Apple Podcast or tag me on social media. If you have a question you would like me to answer on the podcast, you may submit it in my Empty Nest Flock Forum or email me at podcast AT youremptynestcoach.com. Include your question and how you would like me to refer to you, meaning, should I use your name, a pseudonym, like empty heart in Erie, or anonymous.
Thank you so much for listening, my friend, and remember, you are amazing!