My Spouse Had an Affair... So What?

One of my classmates at the Life Coach School starting talking about things as BLC (before life coaching). I love it because it’s so true; we see everything differently now. BLC, this headline would have infuriated me. So what? Seriously?

Infidelity

Divorce

Addiction

Losing a job

Kid’s choices

Medical Diagnosis

Death

Disconnected Marriage

Special Needs Child

Disapproving Mother-in-Law

One of my biggest paradigm shifts ACL (after life coaching) was when it finally clicked that circumstances are neutral. I can already hear you arguing with me. My brain argued as well. How can any of those things be neutral? Here’s what I mean: they are neutral until we have a thought about them. It’s our thoughts that make them negative or positive.

Infidelity is neutral. One person might be completely devastated by the news that their spouse cheated on them. Another person, who is unhappy in their marriage but is afraid to leave it, may be elated because now they have a reason to leave and can feel justified. Another person may feel relieved because they’ve been cheating too and now they don’t have to feel guilty anymore. If the infidelity (the circumstance) caused the emotion, all of us would have the same emotion.

The difference in these people is their thoughts about the affair. When I say “so what?” I mean “what are you making it mean?” What are your thoughts that are causing you to feel the emotion you’re feeling?

Here’s another infidelity example: I have a client going through a divorce involving infidelity right now. She’s heartbroken. She told me “when it was good it was really good.” But the infidelity was happening long before she found out about it. She thought things were really good while he was doing the same things that she thinks are making her feel awful right now.

If it was the infidelity causing her negative emotion, she would’ve felt that negative emotion when the infidelity started. Since she didn’t know about it, she didn’t have a thought about it, and her marriage was “really good.” After she found out she had lots of thoughts. Her thoughts are causing her heartbreak, not the infidelity.

Why is this important? Because after she’s processed her grief and is ready to feel something different, she can. We can’t control other people. Oft times we can’t control our circumstances. But we can control our thoughts. Knowing that our thoughts create our emotions means we have the power to feel differently anytime we want to.

That doesn’t mean she should just hurry and change her thoughts so she can feel better. She may want to feel grief for a while. There is power in allowing your emotions. But knowing your feelings are created by your thoughts means you have the power to feel better whenever you want to. It also means you can write your past any way you want to.

What do you want to make it mean?

How do want to feel about it?

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