2022 was one for the books for me personally. I started the year with a new baby, launched a new program, and grew in ways I didn’t know I needed.
In this episode, I share my biggest lesson from the year: one that, when practiced, can bring relief and peace even in the midst of uncertainty and discomfort.
The lesson is around the concept of duality: The ability to hold onto two opposing views at the same time.
Don’t miss this episode if you want help navigating the things that don’t make sense or don’t have an easy answer.
To learn more from me, be sure to be on my email list here.
Get on my waitlist for my signature group coaching program here.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast
episode number 107, My Biggest Lesson From 2022.
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.
Hell, everybody, welcome to podcast number 107, it’s the first podcast of
2023. I am excited to be here. I’m recording this at night while my baby’s
sleeping. And as I prepare to travel once again in the morning, I have been
thinking a lot about what I need to say, what would be the most useful. And
I thought that I would share with you today what my biggest lesson from
last year was. There were lots of different lessons, lots of different
things that I learned, but there was one that really, really stands out
that I want to talk about today as I think that it will help you as well.
So, this past year, lots of things worked well. I had my baby just before
the end of the year in 2021, then I went on maternity leave for the first
quarter of 2022. I had some pretty difficult personal trials that came up
in 2022 and at the end of 2021, in addition to having a baby and just a
bunch of things at the same time. When I came back, I launched my Know in
90 group for the first time. I’ve now run that three different times and
been able to help lots of women get really clear on where they’re going,
what direction they want to go after infidelity.
The thing that I have learned the most in all of the things, all the ups,
all the downs, all the in-betweens is this concept called duality. What is
duality? It is that two things can be true at the same time, and that we
can experience two very different strong emotions at the same time, two
very different experiences of things at the same time, and that it’s okay.
What happens when we experience this duality, and I’m going to spend this
conversation with you talking about, is the term cognitive dissonance. I’m
sure you’ve heard this term. Cognitive dissonance is where we can see these
two things and we feel a lot of discomfort because we can’t quite register.
Like if we’re used to thinking one way and suddenly we’re presented with a
different way, our brain is going to bring up dissonance, disagreement.
Like going, “No, that can’t be true, that can’t be right.”
And then often, what happens is when we’re able to hold onto that cognitive
dissonance instead of just rejecting the one because it feels off, it will
actually lead us forward into more truth. It’s not amazing. One example of
this from history is when scientists were studying light. What is light? Is
light a wave or a particle? One group of scientists said, “It is a wave”,
another group of scientists said, “Surely, it has to be a particle.” They
held their ground, they argued this for a long time. But what we learned
over time, what we have learned is that they’re both true. Light is both a
wave and a particle. How cool is that?
Some family circumstances, some family examples around this are when a few
nights ago, I was talking to my kids and they brought up, “What would’ve
happened if you and dad never got married? What would’ve happened if our
mom never died,” conversations like that. And my son, Dalan, who is my
stepson technically, he told me that he doesn’t think that he could say,
“I’m glad my mom died,” but he said, “but I’m really glad that you and dad
are married and I think that it’s all worked out.” And so he was in his own
way telling me how he has been able to hold that duality, the duality of
losing his mother and also being happy that he has the family that he has.
Isn’t that interesting? It doesn’t have to be one or the other, right?
Maybe this seems minor to you, maybe this doesn’t feel like a big deal to
you, but I was raised very black and white. It is this way or it’s this
way, right? You can’t have both. As the scriptures that I was raised with
said, “You cannot serve two masters,” that you can’t straddle the fence.
You can’t see both views or see truth in both views, either it’s this or
it’s that. And so, that has really caused some havoc for me around certain
issues, like marriage issues for example. Because if we have ideas in our
head of what a good marriage looks like and our marriage looks a little bit
different, it can cause some real problems because our brain would want
that certainty and can easily go to, “Well, I guess it’s all terrible then.
I guess I have a bad marriage.”
Or if we’re thinking about our children and our kids are not quite what we
thought they would be and they do things that we did not expect them to do,
or they are people that we did not expect them to be, it can be really easy
to go to this place of judging our children and thinking that they’re doing
it wrong because it doesn’t look the way that we thought it did or that we
thought it would. But when we can hold space for what is actually true and
also hold in there what we thought and feel that dissonance, something new
will emerge, a new truth will emerge.
One of the things that my kids have asked me more than once that I think is
interesting is, “Hey, mom, if you could go back and start over with
Finley,” that’s my baby that’s now one, “if you could just go back and not
know about her, like you wouldn’t even know she existed, would you go back
to that time and not have her or would you choose to have her, if you
didn’t know, like you didn’t know she was there, that she was even an
option?” And without missing a beat, I can say, “Oh, I would choose her
every time.” Because I didn’t know how much joy this little human would
bring to our family, to me personally, to our marriage, to my husband, to
our children, to lots of people. She’s just a joy. She’s an absolute joy.
But part of the duality in that is that this last year was really hard and
there was a lot for me to adjust to. There was a lot. It was hard for me at
44, I’m now 45, I turned 45 in July, to get used to having this little
person who’s totally dependent on you, to get used to nursing, to get used
to having it cramp my style, right? I’ve gotten pretty used to just being
able to come and go as I pleased. And not so much anymore, I have a
one-year-old, and she’s still nursing and it’s just been a huge adjustment
for me. So, I can hold the duality of on one hand being so happy that she’s
here and being so madly in love with her and on the other hand saying,
“Yeah, and it’s been very hard. It’s been a very hard adjustment for me.”
They can both be true and it’s okay. It’s okay.
All right. So, let’s talk about infidelity and duality. Part of the reason
why people struggle so much with infidelity is of course it’s a breach of
trust, right, of course there’s all of that, but part of it too is because
as a society, we have labeled lots of different things. But we have labeled
infidelity, we have labeled cheaters, we have labeled affairs. And when we
think of affairs, we automatically judge, we automatically make
assumptions. And so when I have clients whose spouse has had an affair or
some kind of unfaithfulness in some way, it can be very hard for them to
get to a place of duality where they can hold in one hand that their spouse
really hurt them, really let them down, really hurt their marriage, and
hold in the other hand at the same time that their spouse is a good person
who maybe made a mistake.
And it can be very challenging to their brain, and they want the certainty
of it being it’s either this or it’s that, he’s good or he’s bad. Right?
And with this duality, we’re growing our capacity to hold both and to even
make space for all the feelings of it at the same time. So it sounds like
this, we can say, “I’m really grateful for the growth that this has
brought. I’m really grateful for how much our family has grown, how much I
have grown, how much our marriage has grown. And I wish it never happened.”
Okay? That’s duality. You can hold both and it’s okay. It’s okay.
Why does this matter? For me personally, in my life, where this is taking
me is more than ever stepping into becoming more of my own authority. From
the mindset of it’s either right or wrong and if you’re doing it different
than this then you’re wrong and there’s something wrong with you, that is a
very fear-based way of looking at the world. And it feels scary. And for
me, what I’m stepping into is keeping that in mind and also stepping out
into my own authority and what feels true to me, even if it is contrary to
maybe some of the things that I have subscribed to in the past. It’s owning
my own authority and holding space for both until I come to a new
What about answers that never come? Back to infidelity. There may be
questions you will never have the answer to in a way that really settles
your mind, connects the dots. You can be happy, you can be healing, whether
with your spouse or on your own, you can be happy that you’re moving
forward, and you can also hate that it happened, right? It’s okay to not
have all of the answers. It’s okay to not have all the dots connected and
to still move forward and kind of let go of it. In fact, I recommend it
because there are going to be some things that we can beat our head against
the wall trying to understand, trying to get answers to and they won’t
But here’s the beauty. As we grow our capacity to sit in the space of
duality where we can let it be hard and let it be easy at the same time, as
we let both things be, clarity simmers to the top, truth simmers to the
top. By not rushing the answers, by not rushing the process, we allow
ourselves to be open to them, we allow ourselves to settle into them. Isn’t
that amazing? So, how do we do this? It’s a cultivating activity of
allowing ourselves to be open and not shutting it down when it starts to
get hot. And by hot, I would mean when it starts to get uncomfortable.
I am going to read you a quote about this. Okay, the quote is by someone
named Bruce Lee. He says, “Be formless, shapeless like water. If you put
water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it
becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water
can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” And what that means is to
be malleable, to be flexible, to not be so set on your ideas, on what you
think is true that you miss opportunities to step into the space of not
knowing, of being open, of being curious.
The beautiful thing about this is that the things that are true are still
going to stand. We’re not denying truth, we’re not erasing truth. In fact,
we’re often strengthening truth. By looking at all the options and being
open to what else might be true, if something is true, it will still stand.
Okay? So, this malleability like water is being willing to be open, being
willing to ask questions, to be willing to think deeply about something in
a way that maybe you never have before. Okay?
Another quote I want to share with you is by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the
famous author. He said, “The test of a first rate intelligence is the
ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still
retain the ability to function.” Isn’t that amazing? In this article about
him, it says this, “I guess what Fitzgerald is trying to tell us is that
the hallmark of being top-notch is the ability to comfortably embrace two
points of view that are simultaneously at odds with each other. In other
words, embracing contradictions and avoiding the danger of holding onto
apparent absolutes.” Okay?
So, this is hard for people. It’s hard, right? He talks in that quote about
the most intelligent minds. And even for the most intelligent minds, it’s
hard because we want the certainty, we want to know, we want to be sure.
But there are sometimes that that’s just not available to me without
closing down my own intellect, without closing down my actual real
experience of what I’m actually experiencing, what is actually true for me.
So, the key, my friends, is to grow your capacity to hold space for
opposing views. Cultivate this allowance for opposing views. Be willing to
be wrong. Be willing to be wrong about all of it. In relationships, be
willing to be wrong. Also, be willing to let yourself be right. We can be
both. We can be both right and wrong. Okay?
Let curiosity lead out. Let love lead out, let courage lead out, a desire
to connect deeper, to understand deeper, to pause what our typical reaction
might be and see what else is there. This is duality, two opposing views.
And I used to think that if you had two opposing views in a relationship
like in a marriage, that it meant that you just needed to go end it if you
had some things that you were so disagreeing on. And I’ve come to
understand that that’s part of what makes marriage interesting, is that
you’re not going to see eye to eye on everything and that it’s okay. And
that the greater thing at play here is to learn to love each other well
even if you don’t agree on everything.
That’s powerful, right? It’s easier to love people when you all just get
along and agree on everything, but the real power comes in loving when you
don’t agree on everything. Okay. One more little bit is that the other day,
at the end of the year, I was doing some journaling, and as I was writing
about my year, it was interesting, one of the words that came up over and
over and it was the word alive. Alive, alive, alive. I felt really alive
this last year. I felt like I was experiencing pain, and sometimes deep
pain, and deep joy. I experienced so much joy. I experienced wonder that I
had this new little beautiful girl to love. I experienced awe in myself and
what I’ve been able to create, that I’ve been able to grow my business
while having my seventh biological child and 12th child as our blended
I have felt some heartache at some different things that I’m navigating,
and some loss, and happiness, and contentment, and joy. My marriage has
never been better. But we also experienced some hard times this past year.
Both can be true. This is life, my friends. This is life. This is the good
stuff. This is what it means to be alive, not avoiding the hard, not
dreading the other shoe dropping, but making space for it knowing that
you’re resilient, knowing that you can handle all of it. And knowing that
from holding the space for all of it, something beautiful will come
through. Something beautiful will come through when you can hold the
duality of both. It’s like magic.
All right, my friends, that’s what I have for you today. So much love to
you as always. If you are looking for ways to work with me, I have a new
group opening up soon of Know in 90. You can get on my wait list over on my
website, andreagiles.com. That’s the easiest way to reach me. That’s what I
will be doing soon and I hope to see many of you inside that group. All
right? Take care of my friends, I’ll see you next time.
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
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.