If you’ve been listening to the podcast for awhile, you know how much I talk about the growth that can happen following a life-changing (and un-asked for) event. In this episode, I talk with my first podcast guest, Master Coach Krista St-Germain, all about post traumatic growth.
Krista is very familiar with grief, loss and having plans change. In this episode, she’ll share her own story of loss and how it propelled her into challenging her beliefs, leaning into future possibility, and ultimately helping others grow after loss.
If you’ve ever wondered how you can be even stronger after infidelity, this episode is for you. You’ll hear us talk about grief, loss, post traumatic growth, and how to manage regret. You’ll leave with new hope for what is possible in your life. You don’t want to miss it!
To learn more from Krista St-Germain, you can check her out here:
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 24, Post-Traumatic Growth with Krista St-Germain.
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 for you 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’m going to keep this intro super brief because I want to
go ahead and dive right into the guest that I’m bringing on today. It’s the
first guest I’ve had on the show, and I think you’re going to love her,
Krista St-Germain. She’s a master certified coach. She’s going to tell you
about her experience and why she became a coach. And I think that you’ll
love her and learn a lot from her. So without further ado, I bring you
Hey everybody. I’m so glad to be here with you today. Today I have
something so exciting. I have my very first guest to the podcast. And I’ve
put a lot of thought into who I want to be my very first guest, and I
picked somebody that I think you guys are going to love.
She has been an example to me, even though she didn’t know it. I’ve been
watching her since I first met her. I met her my very first night of coach
training and I was so nervous. I was so nervous to go to coach training and
put myself out there.
And I went to an event where we got to meet each other before the training
started and I went and talked to her. She was one of the instructors there.
And she was so kind and just has a bright light about her that I was drawn
to. And it turns out we have a lot of overlap in the things that we work
So her name is Krista St-Germain. She is a certified life coach. And she
has a lot of experience with some of the things that you are dealing with,
my listeners, and I thought it would be good to bring her on and let her
tell you a little bit about who she works with and her journey to getting
to where she is.
So she went through her own really, really hard period of time. And I’m
going to let her talk to you about it and about who she coaches and we’re
going to have a discussion about that. So go ahead, Krista and give us an
introduction to who you are, your story, how you came to be a coach and
what you do. Go for it.
Yeah. Well, first I just want to take a second to tell you, thank you for
having me on. I’m honored that I’m your first podcast guest, and even more
honored to hear that, I guess I really didn’t know that I had made that
much of a difference for you, so that makes my heart happy. So thank you
So I’m a master certified life coach. I specialize in grief. Never in a
million years before having my own grief experience did I really ever
expect that I would be doing this work, but it’s now kind of what lights me
And so how I came here, right? How far down the rabbit hole do we go? So I
had been just at that point in my mid 30s, where all circumstances pointed
toward should be happy, but I didn’t feel as happy as I thought I was
supposed to be. And I couldn’t really figure out why, two kids, a job,
stable marriage, all of that, but I just wasn’t loving my life.
And so I’ve been into self-help and those kinds of topics, since I was a
teenager. I started looking for resources and I stumbled onto a podcast
about life coaching and it was Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School
Podcast. That was a number of years ago, back when it was very, very early.
And fast forward a couple of years, I got a divorce and I got remarried.
The divorce was not lovely, right?
Ultimately, I chose it, but I didn’t really want it. It was pretty painful.
It was agonizing for me to actually decide whether to get a divorce. I know
that’s something that a lot of your listeners struggle with too. It was
slowly, painfully ripping off the Band-Aid for a long, long time. Turned
out to be a very good decision.
But anyway, got remarried to someone who I considered to be just the
perfect human, the man of my dreams. If there was ever a redemption story
in marriage, he was it. He was just amazing. French Canadian, lovely
accent, smart, he was an engineer. He was just a Renaissance man, and he
just took such great care of me. And it was a marked difference from my
So fast forward a little bit more, and we’re coming home from a vacation
trip. It was a volunteer project that we had worked on together, something
I’d been doing for, gosh, now 20 years. And he was there, we had driven
separately, and so on the way home, I had a flat tire. And I pulled over on
the side of the interstate and he pulled over behind me. And being the kind
of masculine, I can take care of it guy that he was, he did not want to
call AAA and wanted to change the tire himself. I did not insist that he
And as he was trying to get the tire out of my car, a driver who we later
found out had meth and alcohol in his system, he didn’t hit the brakes at
all, all I heard was metal honestly, hit the back of Hugo’s Durango and
trapped him in between his car and my car, and within 24 hours, he’s gone.
And so totally unexpected. What do you do? Where do you go with that? And
in my mind, of course there were many things I had to work through, but one
of the biggest was this idea that I was never really going to be truly
happy again, that I had missed my shot. And I didn’t really even want to
say it out loud. Everyone around me is saying, “Oh, you’re so strong. He’s
in a better place.”
Had he survived, he would’ve probably been a double amputee, at least a
single, but probably a double, and so I kept hearing things like, “He
wouldn’t have wanted that and that would’ve been too hard for him. So it’s
better this way,” and all those well-meaning things that people try to say
to make you feel better, but that really don’t help you at all and actually
invalidate how you’re actually feeling.
So I went back to therapy and got to that place where I was able to
function again, and I told the story enough times that I had processed it,
but still in that place where I really did not feel optimistic about the
future. I did not. I couldn’t visualize it. Everything I thought I wanted
was us, it was him. That was what was on my mind. We worked together at the
same company. That was just what I wanted was that marriage.
And so yes, the kids were getting fed and yes, I was back at work and yes,
people were telling me I was strong and the to-do list was happening, and I
was going through the motions. I was surviving, but I was really thinking,
okay, the best I can hope for is to get used to this new normal. And I
really hate that term now because of how misused, I think it is.
Yes, after a loss or a big change in life, there will be a different
normal, but it doesn’t have to be a normal that is worse than the normal
that we had before. It can actually be a normal that is better than the
normal we had before. We get to choose what kind of normal we want, but in
my mind it was resignation. It was, I have to get used to this normal I
really don’t want, but it’s the best I can hope for, so suck it up, right?
But then I also had this other little part of me that just thought, surely
that’s not all that’s possible, surely there’s something more. And so I
started reading and I learned about post-traumatic growth and that was at
exactly the same time when the coach I had been following, Brooke Castillo
launched a program that was actually, I felt perfectly timed for me. Before
that she had just done high ticket weight loss, which wasn’t what I needed,
but she launched something. So I enrolled and coaching became, it really
just changed the entire trajectory of my life.
Therapy had helped me get to that point of functioning, but coaching was
what helped me figure out, no, actually I don’t have to settle for this
resigned less than new normal. I actually can create whatever I want in
life. I can actually use the loss if I want to, not because I have to, but
if I want to, I can use the loss to really redefine myself and what I want
out of life and go forward and love it even more, if I want, become more of
who I want to be.
And so that’s what happened. I had an amazing experience personally. And
then once I did the bulk of my own work, I decided this is just too magical
not to help other people with. And I think that’s how a lot of us get into
this work is we have some personal transformation story ourselves, and then
we decide, I got to share this with the world and that’s what happened to
So that’s what I do now is primarily I work with widowed moms and I help
them figure out how to get past whatever’s in their way and really, truly
love life again, not just settle for the new normal.
Oh, I love it. Do you remember when you had the moment of, what if there’s
more? Like when you really started to let it sink in that it could get
really, really good. Do you remember that?
I remember that fall just going through the motions and I don’t know that
it really was a light bulb moment, but it was just thinking, wow, okay, I
think there must be something else because this is not what I want to do
with the rest of my life. This is not the type of life that I want to have.
I don’t want to just survive. Other people are doing this, they are
thriving, so then it must be possible for me. And so I don’t know that it
was one particular moment as much as it was probably just little moments
here and there, little glimmers.
Little lights that touch you.
I love that. So like Krista said, she works with widowed moms around grief
and post-traumatic growth. And first I want to touch on grief, okay? So
like you, I had well-meaning people telling me what they thought I should
feel or not feel, and you’re maybe not doing it right, those kinds of
suggestions and words.
And so it’s interesting because we can get into a spot where we feel
something and then deny our own feelings or make ourselves wrong for
feeling it like, shouldn’t I be here instead of here?
Would you speak to that? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned with all the
people you’ve talked to, with your own experience. What’s your take on
that, about feeling what you’re feeling when you’re feeling it?
Yes, if I could impart one lesson to all of my clients and probably all of
your listeners, that would be a great lesson, feel what you’re feeling when
you’re feeling it, and don’t judge yourself for it.
Anything you’ve learned about grief, you should probably just throw out the
window, frankly. We live in a culture that does not like grief, does not
understand grief and promotes a lot of misinformation about grief. So
timelines are not relevant, stages are not relevant. There is no such thing
as feelings you should have or shouldn’t have, thoughts you should or
shouldn’t have. It’s completely unique and individual.
And that’s how we want to approach it is yes, other people, they don’t like
us to feel negative emotions because they don’t know how to act. When we
feel bad, they think that it’s contagious or it makes them feel bad. They
don’t understand how to let us feel how we feel without trying to come in
And so they have the best of intentions, but what we need to understand is
that the feelings aren’t right or wrong or good or bad, they are not
problems. Feelings are not problems. How you feel is worth feeling all the
way through, all the way through. Process it. We don’t need to avoid it, we
don’t need to resist it. It’s not useful to judge it. What’s most useful is
to acknowledge it, feel it, and move forward.
Beautiful. What’s interesting about my podcast is that my most listened to
episode it’s called Feeling Your Feelings. And it’s listened to way more
than the other ones, which tells me something about what we don’t know in
our society, we’ve not been given permission to feel. And so it can be so
empowering to learn that actually not only is it okay to feel whatever
you’re feeling, it’s actually healthy and good and is the thing that will
help you move forward.
Yeah, but just like you, no one taught me how to feel the feelings and so I
didn’t know. And I really had a lot of thoughts that the goal was to feel
happy all the time.
Right, that’s how you’re winning.
Yeah, and so negative emotions in my mind then were a big problem. And so
then I would judge myself a lot for feeling negative emotions. And so
instead of just allowing the initial emotion to be there and process it,
then I would judge it or judge myself and then create layers of additional
emotion on top of that emotion. So not useful, not useful. If we could just
allow the one emotion that we’re actually feeling at the time without
judging it, it’s a whole different experience for us.
Yep, that’s right. And I think with my listeners, they’ve dealt with some
form of betrayal in their marriages, some form of infidelity, varying
levels, varying degrees, but have felt a broken trust. They have felt that
what I thought was is not, at least in part, right?
And it can be very disorienting, which is very similar to what I imagine
what your clients feel, very disorienting, very I thought the world looked
this way and now it looks this way.
And so that process of getting your feet back on the ground to where you
feel like the world’s not spinning around you, what would you say to my
listeners about that piece, where there’s a lot of confusion, there’s a lot
of that disorientation, like very I’m not sure what is even real, I thought
it was going to be this way? What advice would you give?
So first I think we always need to be again, allowing and processing
whatever it is we feel. That has to be the first step. If we don’t do that,
we’re really not going to make much progress in the other steps.
So we have to do that first, but then we also have to start understanding
that a lot of what’s in our mind, isn’t going to serve the life that we
want to create going forward. A lot of the stories that our brain is
offering us about our past and what’s possible in our future, really aren’t
going to serve the future that we want to create.
And so that doesn’t mean we’ve done anything wrong, that doesn’t mean
there’s anything wrong with us, but that does mean that we have an
opportunity. And so we want to take advantage of that, which is that we
want to start looking at the stories, the thoughts that our mind is
offering us objectively, because when we can see them objectively, when we
can tell …
If your mind has a story that now you can’t trust anyone for the rest of
your life, it will feel really real to you and you will have a lot of
evidence based on what your husband did and what happened, that men are
untrustworthy or you shouldn’t trust or whatever it is. Of course, the
brain doing what the brain does, it searches and seeks evidence of our
thinking. It won’t show you what you want to see unless you start actually
looking for it.
So you have to see that story first and know that it’s optional. And then
once you know that it’s optional and you see it as a story, then you can
discern is this story one that I want to keep or one that I want to replace
because that’s what we have an option to do.
And, this is why I love coaching so much, most of us can’t do that for
ourselves because we have human brains that are busy believing stories and
we can’t tell the difference between our stories and objective reality,
But that process, if you will allow your feelings, look at your stories and
see them as stories, and then decide if there’s stories you want to keep or
dump, and then replace the ones that you want to dump, that’s what gets you
back on track and that’s what gets you creating the future that you want
instead of just repeating the same old story, and repeating the same life
that you have right now.
Yeah, so one of the things I talk about a lot on my podcast is building
trust. Lots of different angles about building trust, but something you
just said, I just want to make this point that a lot of my clients, their
situation is thinking that they weren’t enough or their spouse wouldn’t
have done what they did.
And then if they do decide to stay, then it’s easy for their brain to find
reasons to be alarmed or to be worried or looking for danger. And if they
leave, then there’s this concern, like you said of, I don’t know if I could
ever trust again. I’m wondering with you and with some of your people, I
talk about how we put a lens on and that’s what we see, right?
That’s what we look for, that’s what we see, that’s how we filter things
and I can see how easy it would’ve been for you to hold Hugo as the
standard. He was the golden standard and no one can ever compare to him.
And so we can use those same lenses, we can do whatever we want with them.
Whatever we believe is what we will see. So for you, you did have this
wonderful relationship and then you could use that against yourself, just
like my clients sometimes use against themselves that they don’t feel like
they can have a healthy relationship.
So did you find that at all, as you stepped out into the dating world? Was
it easy to compare? How did you talk yourself through that?
I think I had a much easier experience dating than I watch a lot of other
people having, and I think the reason is because I did so much of my own
work before I decided to start dating again. So I spent four years not
dating, and that’s not good, bad, right, wrong either, that was just, I
personally wasn’t even interested in dating until about that amount of
time. But I had done so much of my own work and so much coaching that
literally, I dated one person and I found one.
And I know that’s not common, but I really was in a place where I didn’t
believe all of those stories. The person that I’m dating now and have been
for almost a year is not a lot like Hugo. They’re very, very different. And
I do notice sometimes or maybe before, not so much anymore, but there would
be little stories that would pop up in my mind, but I think because I did
so much work on those stories, I spot them as a story.
Yes, right. You could catch them before they gained traction.
Yeah, before it’s like a runaway freight train.
Right. Yeah, you catch them first. And also, I think I trust myself much
more than I ever have in my whole life. I trust myself now even more than I
did when I was married to Hugo, because I’ve just done so much self-work
and I believe that no matter what happens and no matter how I’m treated in
a relationship, I will be my own champion.
I love that.
I have nothing to fear because I create my own safety and I can trust
myself with myself. And I didn’t figure that out until kind of recently.
I love that so much. I love that you said that because a lot of my
listeners have that thought of, what if it happens again? What if I find
somebody else, if they choose to leave and it happens again? And the thing
that’s interesting is that, that’s not a unique thought process. We think
that it is, but hearing you and knowing the people that you work with and
knowing who I am married to, I am married to a widower who lost his wife,
and knowing for him that sometimes that thought comes up is what if I have
to do it again? What if I have to do it again?
And so it’s not necessarily unique to infidelity or to loss, our brains
want to protect us from danger. And so if there’s any possible sign of
danger, we’re going to try to shut ourselves down from doing the thing,
Yeah, and if we can see it from that perspective, we can thank our brain
for trying to keep our best interests in mind, no pun intended, but be
like, “Yeah okay, my brain is just really trying to keep me safe and it
associates certain things with risk. And I can appreciate that about my
brain and I don’t have to take it so seriously. I could be a little more
lighthearted about all of these stories and fears that float around in my
Yeah, I love it. And like you said, you’ve done the work to become your own
champion. And that is where real power is because my husband could decide
today that he doesn’t want to be married to me, people still die, things
happen. And I love what you said about knowing, how you know that no matter
what happens, you’ve got you in a way that you never experienced before,
and that has been my experience too.
Not that it would be easy by any means to go through it all again, not that
I would want to. Of course, I wouldn’t want to, but I know that I can
handle it. I know I would be okay. And that’s power, that gives us freedom
to step back out into the world, right?
Yeah, there’s really nothing that we can’t handle. And I believe there’s no
value in telling ourselves stories about, well, that would be too much,
like if it happened again, that would be too much. Or I see my clients
doing it sometimes having lost a spouse, they will tell themselves that if
they lost a child, that would be too much. Or they don’t want to get in
another relationship because they don’t want to lose it.
But what’s the value? There’s no upside to that story of it’ll be too much.
And there’s really no truth in it because humans are incredibly resilient.
We’re so much more resilient than we think we are. And if you look back at
your life and you think about any obstacle you’ve had, you probably
wouldn’t have chosen it, but when it happened, you figured it out. You
rallied. Like plot twist, and then it may have been painful and there may
have been suffering, but you adjusted or course corrected. You figured it
out. So why would we tell ourselves anything else? I don’t know.
Yes. Yeah, and we’re still here plugging away despite all the plot twists,
We’re still here.
And there have been a few.
Yeah, for sure.
There have been some plot twists.
Yep, for sure. So one of the things I wanted to dive in with you, Krista is
your work around post-traumatic growth. That’s something I have not
specifically talked about. We talk about growth a lot, but not specifically
in those words and I’d love to hear about post-traumatic growth. Tell us
how you define post-traumatic growth and how you see that play out with
your clients, the people that you work with, and even yourself. I want to
hear about your own growth there.
Absolutely. So post-traumatic growth to me was a surprise. I think most
people are familiar with this idea of post-traumatic stress, but far fewer
have ever heard the term post-traumatic growth and that’s because it just
hasn’t been around as long. So it was a phrase coined in the mid ’90s by a
couple of researchers, Richard Tedeschi and Lawrence Calhoun.
And basically they used it to describe this field of study that says trauma
can actually be a springboard to greater wellbeing. And before this work,
the best we could hope for was that after something traumatic, we would
just get back to that baseline that we had been experiencing before the
And then these two researchers came along and started studying what
actually happens to people and what is possible after trauma, which is that
we can use it as a way to grow. We can not only bounce back, but we can
bounce forward and we can develop greater appreciation, greater meaning,
greater satisfaction, greater connections, greater alignment with
spirituality and values and become more enchanted with life, not just get
back to that baseline. And so for me, it was like, “Wait, what?” Right?
That we can-
And I want people to be careful too, when they’re hearing this, because
what we don’t want to say is that you have to do that. It’s not a moral
obligation. You don’t have to grow from anything that has happened in life,
but if we want to, it’s really nice to know that we have the option.
That you can.
That we can, that we can aspire to more than just getting back to the
baseline of functioning, that we actually can go beyond if we want, and
that’s always. And it doesn’t have anything to do with whether or not
you’ve had a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, right?
And even trauma is such a subjective term because what’s traumatic for one
is not traumatic for another. So we really want to hold that a little bit
loosely too, but we can just decide, hey, this what’s happened to me in my
life, and I choose to use this as a springboard to create an even better
life, to create a life I love even more because I can, because I’m the
I love it.
… of this car, right?
Yep. Beautiful. So the listeners can’t see me over here, shaking my head,
nodding vigorously with everything that she just said. I love what you said
about the concept of bouncing back versus bouncing forward. I’ve never
heard it put that way before and I love that. We all hear, bouncing back,
you can do the work and bounce back, and what if there’s more?
What if there’s more? I love that, that we can-
And I think grief, it is such the opportunity for us to just really stop
and take stock, take inventory.
And then what we do with that can be, it’s really just unlimited. So for
me, for one, I figured out that no offense to my past corporate job, it was
well paying and the people were lovely, but it really wasn’t what I wanted
to do in the world. It was paying the bills. It was what I thought I could
do in the world, but it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.
And so this being able to stop and take inventory and really decide, okay,
I think life is maybe shorter than I was thinking it was before, what do I
really want to be doing with my one precious life? I don’t really think it
has to do with business jets, no offense.
And then what are the relationships that we value? Do I like all the
relationships I’m in, and I don’t just mean the romantic ones? But am I
showing up as the version of myself that I want to be? I have a lot of
perfectionist patterns in my life and a lot of people pleasing patterns and
we could stop right now if we want to and change those patterns.
And there really are no limits, but something major like death of a spouse
or loss of a spouse or really anything, it doesn’t even have to be major
quite frankly, but anything that feels traumatic, if we want it to be, can
be an opportunity.
And that’s just the truth.
Yep, I have found the same experience that it’s time to, it’s almost this
necessary pause to stop and to evaluate and to really … We’re meaning
makers. We want to find meaning out of things. And I think with these
experiences, like you said, that can feel very big, it’s like, well, it
must mean this, but if it doesn’t mean this, what else could it mean? And
doing that work to evaluate.
And once we start doing that, we do it everywhere, like well, if it doesn’t
mean that, what else could that mean? And we can start doing this massive
unpacking and then putting back in actually what is useful and helps us
Right. And no pressure on doing that. And there would’ve been probably a
time after Hugo died, if somebody had said something to me like, you know
you can grow from your grief? I would’ve wanted to punch them in the
For sure, yeah.
It’s something we need to come to in our own time and do because we want
to, not because we heard on some podcast that you could.
Yes, absolutely. And I think that the piece, what we talked about earlier
in this podcast is with grief, how letting yourself be where you are, truly
letting yourself be where you are, is the best gift you can give yourself.
Not trying to hurry yourself out of it saying, “Oh, I should be doing
better. I could grow from this. I could be doing better. So and so says I
can do more,” but being where you are. And what is the power of being where
you are? What do you think, of allowing yourself to be there?
As you say it, what was coming to me was there’s this way of being where
you are that is useful, and there’s a way of being where you are that
isn’t. And when you are where you are and you own it and you don’t
apologize for it, but you see your role in it.
So here’s the difference. So if I’m having a quote-unquote, “negative
emotion” and I’m blaming it on something outside of me, of course, I
probably think negative emotions are bad and I’m going to trying to be
getting away from it, but there is a difference between being in a negative
emotion and blaming someone else for it compared to being in a negative
emotion and owning it.
Not that you did anything wrong because you have a negative emotion because
emotions aren’t right or wrong, but so you can say, “You know what? This
other person, or this past experience really has far less power over me
than I’ve been thinking. I actually am feeling the way that I feel because
of the story that I’m telling myself about what happened.
And I may want to keep that story, I may not, but before I’m going to do
any of that, I’m going to own it. And I’m not going to rush to change it,
but I’m going to own it because in that place, there’s no rush. In that
place, I’m not wrong. In that place, I’m just human. I’m allowing myself to
feel what I feel. And I’m not thinking that anything outside of me has to
be different really, or anything inside of me has to be different.”
And I think enough time spent in that space is what allows you to own your
current patterns. When you can see them and you can own them, but not rush
to change them, there’s a point at which we just get this authority over
them, and that point is the magic.
That point is, we’re like, “Well, okay. So if I’m that powerful that I’ve
created this, what I have right now, what else could I create?”
And then it’s like light bulbs turn on, where we start to see other people
actually can just be who they are, things in my past can just be what they
are. And that really has nothing to do with what happens next, how I feel
next, who I become next, because I’m really … You blow your own mind with
what you’ve created in this moment.
And that can be kind of hard, especially when you think that how you feel
is another person’s fault, because we don’t really want … It seems
counterintuitive to want to believe that how we feel is caused by how we
think, because we don’t know how to do that without making ourselves wrong.
So that’s what I think.
It’s not just like, let me just sit in my own pity party and play in this
poopy diaper and be with this feeling, that’s not the be where you are that
I think is productive. It’s the let me see how I’m feeling, let me not
judge how I’m feeling, let me own that actually, I created this feeling
with my thoughts and that, that’s not a problem because what it means is I
am so much more powerful than any wrong that I think anyone has done to me
or any event from my past.
Yeah, and telling yourself the truth about it.
Being honest with yourself. And then if you do that enough times, what I
see a lot and what I’ve experienced myself is the more I am just aware, the
more I just am like, “Yep, it’s my thinking. And you know what? I’m going
to hang out here. I’m going to hang out here. I know I’m creating this for
myself.” But then you get to this point, like you said, where it’s so
powerful to go, “What else is possible? I wonder what it would be like to
try this on instead. What would that be like?”
Yeah, and to know that as we do that, we’re not just going to be choosing
the positive stuff.
I still choose to miss Hugo and I’m a coach. And sometimes I think people
don’t understand, well, why would you choose to feel a negative emotion?
Because I feel like it’s appropriate, I like missing him, I don’t want to
not miss him. You could still choose to be angry, you can choose to have a
It’s not about, I’m trying to get away from the negative and only have the
positive. If we really want the depth of the emotional human experience, we
want to have the low lows and the high highs, but owning them is the key.
Yep, beautiful. So in the last few minutes here, you touched on something
that I would love to dive into a little bit. You talked about, how did you
say it? You talked about our framing of past events and the stories that we
tell about it. And I want to talk about regret because I imagine it’s
something that you hear from your people and it’s something I hear as well.
And it’s something that I’ve grappled with, for sure. It’s something that I
have worked through on my own, where for you, their spouses are gone,
there’re conversations they will not be able to have face to face with
For many of my clients, especially as their awareness grows, they can see
where they maybe would have done some things differently in their marriage
and they might experience some regret. So tell me how you help your people
through regret. What would you say to that?
Can I speak first to the difference between guilt and regret?
Okay, because I see that a lot too, where … So guilt is when we did
something and at the time we knew it wasn’t aligned with our values, but we
still did it on purpose. Regret is when we look back in time and with
hindsight, we have new data and if we could get a do-over, we would do it
So I notice a lot of confusion there, where people are telling themselves
they feel guilty when really at the time they were doing the best job they
could with what they knew, they were acting in accordance with their
values. And so I hope to clear that up, first of all, that there is such a
difference between guilt and regret.
But then with regret, I think we want to look at it from a lens of
usefulness. So yes, many of us look back and we think, wow, if I had known
then what I know now, I would’ve done it differently. And sometimes I think
there can be value in that. Sometimes there can be a lesson there that we
can take and apply to the future.
So if we can go back at that situation, that we now have new data around
and look at how could we have done it differently, even with that same
data, because maybe there’s just a lesson here that we can take. And if we
give ourselves time to explore it, then we can apply it going forward and
it can actually be beneficial. I’m all in favor of that.
What I don’t love is when we use hindsight to beat ourselves up, when we
use hindsight to solidify a terrible belief about ourselves, there’s
something wrong with us, we always do it wrong, we should have done it
wrong, we’re not good enough, blah, blah, blah. So let’s not use it as a
weapon, that’s what I suggest.
Is it useful? If there’s something useful in there, let’s find it, let’s
apply it to the future, let’s take it forward as a lesson learned. If it’s
just something that we’re weaponizing, that’s going to hold us back, that’s
going to create less of what we want, solidify a belief that doesn’t serve
us going forward, there’s no value there, it’s not useful.
Perfect. I love thinking it as collecting data points, like now I have this
information and I can apply it to where I’m going.
Right, which really is the iterative cycle of life, iterative. So you make
a plan, you do something, you get some data and you adjust. My
manufacturing background, that’s what you learn is you just troubleshoot in
the manufacturing environment with that cycle, you plan, you do, you check,
you act. It should be the same way with life, we make a plan, we do
something, we check our results, and then we act.
I love that.
And we tweak what worked, what didn’t, and we just keep going.
But what happens is I think with regret, sometimes we just stay stuck. We
aren’t actually moving forward with or taking any lesson learned, we’re
just hyper-focused on this one part of life that we wish we could do
differently, which really doesn’t serve us in the present moment and it
absolutely holds us back from creating what we want in the future. So can
we just iterate faster and take the lesson or not-
… and keep going?
Thank you so much. That’s perfect. So to wrap up, do you have any last
words of wisdom for my people that you’d love them to know?
Yeah. I think your brain is so much more powerful than … And so whenever
you’re thinking about what’s possible for your future, I think it’s
completely normal to not exactly know what you want or believe it’s
possible, but if you can just leverage that so much more is possible for
you than your brain is currently letting you see, and keep leaning into
Just keep leaning into that because we tend to underestimate what is
possible for us in the future, especially after an event that we didn’t
want and it’s normal, but we can get beyond it. And so just to have hope
that maybe you don’t see it right now, but just keep leaning in and just
keep asking, what if I could love my life again? What would it look like?
And it can be even the smallest of things, but just keep asking that
question and keep leaning in to what it could be in the future instead of
just residing yourself to the new normal that you really don’t want.
Yep. So beautiful. Thank you so much. So, if my listeners want to learn
more from you, where would they be able to find you?
Sure, they can find me … My podcast is called The Widowed Mom Podcast and
mostly it’s grief, right?
So they can find me there. They can find me at coachingwithkrista.com, and
it’s K-R-I-S-T-A. And on Facebook, I am Coaching with Krista. On Instagram,
I am lifecoachkrista. So I’d love to connect anywhere.
Okay. Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, so much. It was wonderful to hear
from you. You’re just so wise and articulate, and I love the way that you
explain things. I know that my listeners are going to love this episode. So
thank you so much for being here, I appreciate it.
Totally my pleasure. Thank you.
Thank You for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
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