When it comes to healing from infidelity, accepting what is – is key to moving forward. This does not mean agreeing with it, liking it or not being sad about it. Acceptance means acknowledging that it happened instead of arguing with it.
When I first start working with new clients, they generally switch back and forth between making themselves wrong for the infidelity, or making their spouse wrong. Both stories have the potential to bring up strong emotions, and they often use those emotions against themselves instead of processing them.
In this episode, you’ll learn the 3 stages of growth and how accepting what is – is a key ingredient to moving forward. You’ll learn what acceptance is, and what it isn’t. You’ll understand the freedom that emerges when we let our thoughts be just thoughts, and aren’t threatened by our own feelings. As we allow ourselves to just be, we create a safe place to feel, process, and ultimately create the life we really want.
I’m Andrea Giles and you’re listening to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 25, Accepting What Is.
Hello and welcome to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more free than the life you’re currently living
but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place. Stick
around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks off. Is
it possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea
Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, everybody. I hope you’re all doing well. Welcome to episode number
25. We are moving right along. So I’m going to just jump in. Okay? So
something happens that’s really interesting when I’m coaching. I coach
several people a week and it’s like, my clients don’t know each other,
right? They don’t know each other, but it’s like there’re themes of the
week where multiple people will come with the same stuff that they’re
working through. And I find myself teaching the same things or coaching
through the same things. And so I decided that I’m going to share a podcast
about the things that I shared with my clients in hopes that it will help
you as well. This is actually a topic that I really enjoy teaching. I enjoy
thinking about it. I enjoy looking inside my brain to see where I’m at with
certain things where I’m creating problems for myself and I’ll get into why
that is, okay?
But you’ve probably heard before about acceptance and how important it is
to accept things, to be able to move forward. Like you hear about loss and
how, we can go through the phases where we’re really just in denial of the
loss, we just want it to be wrong. And that one big piece is accepting a
loss, right? So how does this play out in the realm of infidelity? I’m
going to tell you about it, okay. So there’s somebody that I follow named
Byron Katie and she does a lot of work around acceptance and not just
accepting things, but learning to love them. She has a book called, Loving
What Is, and one of the quotes that she has that I use a lot is, “When you
argue with reality, you lose. But only 100% of the time.” And my friends,
that’s about right. When we argue with what is, we create a lot of pain for
So in this podcast, I’m going to go through three different stages of
growth and tell you about what it’s like in those stages. And I’m going to
give you examples of what it’s like in those stages based on some actual
clients. So when people first start with me, they’re generally in stage
one. What is stage one? Stage one is when we are really mad at what is,
we’re arguing with what is. We’re making it wrong. Sometimes this looks
like making other people wrong. Sometimes it looks like making ourselves
wrong. I’m going to give you some examples. Okay? So this past week I
coached one of my clients who her divorce just finalized in December. She
had plans for January. She was excited to kind of feel like she could move
forward with her life. And she slipped a disc in her back is in terrible
pain. She’s flat on her back.
It was tough to even get on the call with me because she was in a lot of
pain. And she’s making it mean that all the things that she’s wanted, she
can’t have. She can’t move forward. She can’t do the things with her home
that she wanted to do. Something bad has happened. She can’t do things with
her body that she wanted to do. And she’s kind of mad about it. She’s also
sad. She’s feeling a little bit of depression around it. She’s feeling like
right when she starts to move forward, something happens to pull her back.
So in her mind, she’s creating a lot of sadness and grief and extra layers
of grief around that this shouldn’t have happened, that this is wrong, that
it happened. Okay.
Another example is another client who has been divorced for several years,
but she still is kind of mad about how things played out. And she feels
like she got the short end of the stick and that her ex-husband got
everything he wanted. He got everything he wanted and she did not get what
she wants and that’s as good as it’s going to get for her. And she has a
lot of evidence to support this story. She has lots of evidence to it.
“He’s having the life that I was supposed to have, and this is as good as
it gets.” So that’s the story that she’s in. The more we coach, the more I
can show her how she’s creating this story for herself over and over again.
And I’ll get to that a little bit later about what happens when we evaluate
those stories. But right now she’s in a spot where she’s just mad at it. it
shouldn’t be this way. I’m going to give you some more kind of not
symptoms… That’s the wrong word, but just indicators that you’re in this
Before I do know that there’s nothing wrong, inherently wrong with being in
this stage or in any stage. It’s just a place of awareness to see where we
are truthfully. If we can’t see where we are, we can’t decide to do
something different, we can’t change what we don’t know, we can’t see what
we can’t see. So there’s nothing wrong. It’s just awareness. Okay. Back to
more indicators of being in stage one.
In stage one, we are believing often that something outside of ourselves is
causing our pain. It might be the husband. It might be the ex-husband. It
might be the other woman. It might be an injury. It might be the finances
that this is as good as it gets financially. “If only I had more money, I
could then go create the life of my dreams.” Or sometimes we make ourselves
wrong. We believe that we made a terrible mistake and if we only would’ve
made a different choice, we would not be in the situation we’re in. And I
guess this is as good as it gets.
We may resist our own feelings because they feel bad and pile more and more
judgment on top of those things. We might make the stories that we have
true over and over by giving it evidence to feed it and then making
ourselves feel much, much worse in the process. With our emotions, we might
feel an initial emotion like sadness. And then we think about being sad.
And then we might shift into blame and blame somebody that we’re sad. And
then when we go into blame, we might pile on some anger like, “This jerk
did this thing and now I have to feel sad and what’s wrong with him and why
did he make this choice?” And then we’ve gotten ourselves really worked up
and created a lot more drama for ourselves. A lot more emotion for
This is the difference between pain and suffering in stage one, we are
suffering. It’s like we’re taking that initial emotion that we’re feeling
and we’re using it against ourselves. We’re punching ourselves in the face
over and over and over again by piling on more and more emotion. Another
thing we do is switch back and forth between blame and shame. So blame is,
it’s your fault. Shame is, it’s my fault. It’s back and forth and back and
forth like taking a mud ball and throwing it over there, splat, and then
there’s a mess there. And then that mud ball getting thrown back on you,
splat. Now there’s a mess here. Neither way feels good. But we often go
back and forth between the two in stage one.
We might wonder, “If only, if only I would’ve done this.” We might
ruminate. We might deal with a lot of regret thinking that things just
should be different, should have been different. We create a lot of drama
about why it’s unfair, why it should not have happened and tend to feel
sorry for ourselves. We may feel like a victim. There’s a lot of resistance
in this stage pushing back. Pushing back on our feelings, pushing back on
what is, being mad at it, making it wrong.
Now, one really important part about stage one is that this is our primal
brain running the show. As I’ve mentioned before, we have our primal brain.
That’s our brain that is just in default mode. It’s offering up the
thoughts that it’s always offered up. It’s offering up the feelings that
it’s always offered up. You might be experiencing patterns over and over
again. And even if you know it feels terrible, it’s what you know. This
stage you’re not being able to even access the wise part of your brain,
that prefrontal cortex. It’s shut down. We’re not open to actual problem
solving how to move forward because we’re in this stage of often fight or
flight, reaction, feeling threatened. We’re not able to problem solve in
this spot. We’re not able to access our actual truest, wisest, most
grounded self. Okay. That’s step one.
Let’s move on to step two. In step two. This is acceptance. This is when
we’re able to look at the facts from a fairly neutral space. We’re able to
separate out more clearly what the actual facts are and what we’re making
those facts mean. In that first stage, we’re generally believing all of our
thoughts as truth, “He is a jerk. I am not enough. I am this. He is that,”
like we’re totally believing them, just they’re just factual.
In stage two, we are actually able to separate it out and go, “This is the
thing that happened. This is what I’m believing about it.” Also in stage
two, we still feel emotions. Sometimes, really have emotions, but we don’t
layer them with other emotions. We let them be. It’s like going, “Okay. I’m
feeling some sadness. I guess I’m hanging out with sadness right now.”
We’re not judging ourselves for feeling sad. We’re not making ourselves
wrong for what we’re experiencing. Yes, are recreating it with our
thoughts? We are, but there’s a level of acceptance of it, “I guess this is
what I need to experience because this is what I am experiencing.” We
actually lean into the emotion rather than pushing it away, avoiding it,
making it wrong. We lean in, we go in deeper in it. We feel it in our body.
We ask questions of it. We feel where it is in our body. We ask it what
it’s trying to teach us. Why are you here? We create a safe place within
ourselves to feel. Yes, there can be pain in the stage, but it’s not
You’re not punishing yourself for the initial emotion. You’re just letting
it be. It’s like a necessary processing, purging and cleansing. And even
though these feelings can be quite uncomfortable, there’s also a calm in
this space. So with this client, with the hurt back, it’s like just
allowing herself to say, “This just is.” It’s not right or wrong. She
allows herself to feel disappointed, maybe even depressed, maybe even
frustrated, but she’s not piling extra layers of drama on top of it like,
“Bad things always happen to me or this is not fair.” It just is.
It just happened. She’s just taking it at face value the actual thing that
happened without all the layers of judgment on top of it. This is where you
are giving yourself space for everything that you feel. You’re opening up.
You’re allowing, you’re getting grounded in what is. You’re acknowledging
the thoughts that are creating the results that you’re getting. You’ll have
a clear awareness of what you’re creating for yourself with your thoughts
without making yourself wrong. It’s like, you’re a scientist with the lab
coat on. And you’re just like, “Huh? How interesting when I put this
together with this, this is what it creates.” Now back to the client with
the ex-husband and the money situation and all of that, where she feels
like he has the life she always wanted. What phase two would look like for
her is just acknowledging that it is what it is and not in a trite way of
throwing up your hands and saying, “I guess this is as good as it gets. It
is what it is.”
No, no, it’s very different than that. It’s acknowledging the facts and
acknowledging what you’re making the facts mean and really telling yourself
the truth about it. I am making it mean that this is as good as it gets,
that I got the shaft, that I got the short end of the stick and those
thoughts create so much pain for me that I hide and I withdraw and I feel
sorry for myself. And I believe that this is as good as it gets, which of
course, when we’re looking for that, we’re going to create more of it,
because that’s what our brains do. We give ourself evidence to the thoughts
that we’re having. So round and round we go. We create more of the same. In
this stage it’s just seeing it, just really acknowledging this is what
happens when I think this way.
It’s being able to stand back. There’s some space between you and the
thought where you can go, “I created this. This is where I’m at,” and
there’s no judgment. You’re not making yourself wrong for the thoughts that
you’re having. Okay?
Step three. It’s the intentional creation of results and another word for
it is, now what? So it’s like this. This thing happened, now what? This is
what happened, now what? What do I want to believe? The wisest part of the
brain is accessed here. The wisest part of the brain gives you little bits
of wisdom of what’s possible for you. It helps you remember who you are,
helps you remember where you’re going. It helps you see things in an
alternate view. This stage three is where possibility comes in. This is
where the word “maybe” comes in. If it doesn’t mean this, what else could
it mean? And this is where the intentional creation of feeling slips, where
we decide on purpose what we want to feel and access the thoughts that
create that feeling.
It’s where we try on different emotions and decide which ones we want to
play around with. It’s where we use those emotions as fuel to take
intentional action, which will create new results. This is where you are
instructing your brain of what you want to believe, instead of just taking
the easiest unexamined offer your brain gives, the path of least
resistance. This is a stage where you might feel some resistance because it
feels foreign like, “Oh, that sounds hard.” It’s okay for it to feel hard.
There is no right or wrong here and for some the “what next” never comes.
Some choose to stay in that space of believing. They have been robbed and
that something went terribly wrong for them for the rest of their lives.
I’m sure you know people like that. It’s a painful place to live, but for
some, they choose it for themselves.
And like I said earlier, there is nothing inherently wrong with this, but
it is the experience with life that they’re creating for themselves. So why
do people choose to stay here? I’ll tell you, because our primal brain is
running the show. When it’s unexamined, the primal brain is running the
show. It’s screaming at us not to do anything that’s too different or too
risky, too dangerous, or opening ourselves up to more future pain. We want
to avoid pain at all costs. So if we’ve been hurt, our brain will say,
“Don’t do that thing. It hurt you before. Don’t do it. Stick to what, even
if what you know is brutal,” even if what you know feels terrible. A lot of
people stay there because the thought of doing something different feels so
terrifying. It feels like jumping off a cliff into the air and hoping
something will catch them.
It can feel like a free fall. It takes a lot of courage, my friends, to
challenge your own thinking. It’s easier not to. So why do it? We do it
because we get to create the life experience we want. We have agency. We
all have experiences in our life that are handed to us, that we got, that
we didn’t necessarily want. And we always have choice within it. We always
do, but it requires work. What experiences do you want most? What do you
want your life experience to be and are you willing to do the work for it?
So where are you at with this? If you’re in stage one, ask yourself good
questions and it’ll help you get clarity about what you want next. Here’s a
couple questions to consider. What is the upside to staying here in this
thought pattern? How is it serving me? What is it pretending to protect me
from? What do I risk in letting go?
This is all about awareness and telling yourself the truth. When you tell
yourself the truth, you get to decide what you want to do with that truth.
But until you’re willing to hold that mirror up to yourself and really
examine the stories you’re telling, we’re not in a position to process what
needs to be processed to move forward. And literally anything is available
to you when you decide to create the thoughts and feelings to get the
result that you want. Another thing I want to add is that it’s totally
normal to have one area where you’re really clear where you feel really
open and other areas where you’re in stage one, where you’re like, “Nope,
for sure, this is somebody else’s fault. For sure, if they would do this
thing differently, I would feel differently,” where we’re really in that
But the more you practice these tools, the faster you’ll get at identifying
when you are in stage one. You’ll be able to see it faster. Like, “Yep,
totally know I’m creating this and I’m okay hanging out here for a while
until I decide I’m ready for something else.” Again, you’re not making
yourself wrong for it. You’re just noticing. So back to those two client
stories that I talked about. What stage three looks like for both of them,
first, the one with the hurt back. Stage three is where we open up to
problem solving, where we see what control and power we do have. For the
one with the hurt back it’s, “Who can I ask for help? These are the things
that I wanted to get done. These are the things that I wanted to check off
the list. If I can’t do it, who else could? What resources do I have? Who
could I ask for help?”
Problem solving, for the client who is feeling stuck and she got the short
end of the stick, this is where she steps back into remembering her own
power, remembering her own gifts and abilities and that her success in life
is not contingent on anyone else. It’s where she gets to be deliberate
about the life she wants for herself, owning what she really wants and
deciding to go for it even if it feels so scary, even if it feels so
threatening. Her desire for it overrides the fear. That’s what happens in
stage three. It doesn’t mean that some of the negative emotions just
disappear and go away. It means that we’re intentionally choosing emotions
that are going to help give us the edge to move forward, despite the
I’m going to give you an example for my own life that happened several
years ago. So I was a single mom and I went hiking with my brothers and my
parents. And I was jumping from one boulder to another and I didn’t quite
make the jump. I fell and I broke my foot and I badly sprained my ankle. I
was out of state at the time. I was visiting in Utah. I lived in
California. I got home on a wheelchair and at the time I had six kids that
were 15 and under, it was, of course, my right foot. So I couldn’t drive
and I was not happy. I was mad. I felt much like my client that came to me
last week with the slipped disc. I’m like, are you kidding me? It’s already
hard. I’m already a single mom. Like seriously, this is stupid. I was not
happy. I felt really depressed. I felt like it was out of my control and
that the things that I was making forward momentum on were now at a
standstill. And I just remember feeling so discouraged. So, so discouraged.
Well at that time, I had to learn to ask for help and to speak up and to
ask my kids to pull their weight a little more than they had been. And
another miracle happened. One day I got a knock on the door and it was a
beautiful young lady who’s a nanny for a neighbor. She was the nanny of a
neighbor and she said that the neighbor of mine had paid her to come help
me. Isn’t that amazing. She paid her to come help me for several hours,
which was just the most biggest miracle. And in this space of accepting,
instead of resisting and arguing with, when I got to the place where I was
willing to accept this is what’s happened.
This is where I’m at. I was able to allow people to serve me, allow people
to help me. And this young adult came to my house and she was amazing and
she got stuff done. She moved fast. She just went through stuff, cleaned
stuff up, got the kids on board, got so much done. And I could just sit
there and watch and be so grateful. But I was able to allow her to do it
because I was in a place of acceptance instead of saying, “No, I’ve got it.
I’m okay,” and arguing with it. I let her come. Now, after that happened,
it was like two months later, I woke up one morning with this loud voice,
“It’s time for you to prepare to move.” Like, “What?” And my first husband
had been passed away for a year and it really came out of the clear blue
that it was time for me to move.
And I’ll tell you what. Allowing myself to not be able to do the things
that I thought I should be able to do, got me to a place where I was ready
to move. This young woman that came in and helped so much, got things
really organized for me. So it didn’t feel so daunting to move. I was able
to just do it without all the drama. I picked up my kids. I decided that I
wanted to go live by my parents. I bought a house close to them, moved to
Salem, Utah. We only lived there for one year until I got remarried and
moved to Montana. But that year was like a breath of fresh air for my kids.
And for me. We needed that year. And I’m so grateful that I got to a place
of acceptance of going, “This is the current situation. I do need help,”
and I allowed it. And then I allowed myself to think of possibility.
What else is possible? In this case, it was possible to pick up and move my
family from the Bay Area to Utah. So ask yourself where you’re at. Where
are you? What stage are you in? No answer is a wrong answer. Just tell
yourself the truth. Right where you are. I love you. I see you. And you’re
good. My question for you is what do you want? What does it costing you to
believe something went terribly wrong and this is as good as it gets?
What’s it costing you? What do you want to believe instead? Acceptance is
the key here. Okay? Accepting, leaning into it, dropping the resistance,
learning to create safety for yourself around the unknowns. There’s so much
power here. This is where you learn that you create safety for yourself,
that you create your life.
Isn’t that the best news that we don’t ever have to expect someone else to
create things for us and then just wonder if they’re going to let us down?
No matter what anybody else does, we can learn to have our own back. We can
learn to create whatever life we want and to trust ourselves. I can’t think
of anything more powerful.
All right, my friends. That’s all I’ve got for you today. I will see you
next week. Have a wonderful weekend. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to The Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
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