How To Start Taking Back Control

I did a free coaching session with a very brave and resilient woman yesterday.

She is engaged to get married again but can’t seem to calm her fears about actually going through with the marriage because her divorce has left her with so much fear and pain.

She is not alone in her fears. I have talked with many women in her same position; so much fear and so little confidence that they can actually ever trust and and love again.

Becasue there are so many women who struggle with this exact same thing, I wanted to share one of the best tools I know to help women lesson their grip on fear.

As women are looking forward to another marriage after going throught a devistating divorce, their brain is on high alert for any red flags of warning. The see so many things that trigger fear.

Let me share with you one example of a “red flag” often comes up.

Women often fear differing religious beliefs. Even if her and her fiancé are both members of the church, they notice differences in their fundamental beliefs about church doctrine. His view about the doctrine will usually get the red flag waving. Here is the most recent “red flag” about religious beliefs that I have worked with. My client believes that Jesus is the literal son of God. Her fiancé does not believe that Jesus is the literal son of God.

She believes that his belief about the doctrine is the problem. But I have some very good news. It is not his belief that is the problem. It is her belief that they should have the same exact religious view that is actually the problem. She believes that marriage can’t work if you have differences in fundamental beliefs.

Why is this good news? Because you can’t change his beliefs but you can change yours.

Don’t hear me say that his belief shouldn’t be a problem for you. That is completely up to you to decide. I’m just saying, if you don’t want it to be a problem and you want to go forward without fear, you have to be honest about where the fear is coming from. It is coming from your belief and not his beliefs or actions. And when your ready to have control over your fear rather than letting someone else’s beliefs or actions control your emotions, you must start by owning that the fear actually comes from your belief, not his.

How do you take back your control and be honest with yourself about where your fear is coming from?

You learn to separate your belief from the facts.

Let me show you.

What are the facts in the story I have told you? And just to be clear, a fact is something that everyone would agree on.

Facts:

There is a women.

There is a man.

They are engaged.

They are both members of the Church of Jesus Christ.

They both believe in Jesus Christ.

She believes that Jesus is the literal son of God.

He does not believe that Jesus is the literal son of God.

Once you pull out the facts, the next step is to recognize that every fact is neutral (and this is the hardest part to grasp). Non of the above statements are good nor bad. Facts are not a problem AT ALL until we make them mean something.

The problem is not that he doesn’t believe that Christ is the literal son of God (fact), the problem is that she thinks that he SHOULD believe the same as her or it is a sign that they will have problems in the future (what she makes it mean).

When we have strong beliefs, especially religious beliefs that run so deep, it is very hard to see it from a different perspective. It is very hard to make a statement neutral. It is very hard to not place judgement on “he does not believe that Jesus is the literal son of God.”

In order to start taking control rather than letting fear be in charge, you find the facts then work on seeing them as neutral. However this is the hardest part because most of us don’t want to see the facts as neutral. We want to keep our opinions. And you totally can. But if it isn’t helping you to get what you want, it may be time to learn how to start seeing them as neutral.

And how does one do this when your belief is so strong?

In this instance, she would need to start by opening her mind to the possibility that his belief is OK.

You start by asking yourself questions like:

What if this isn’t a problem?

I wonder if it is possible for me to believe it isn’t a problem?

What if is ok for him to believe that Jesus is not the literal son of God?

What if adults get to believe whatever they want to believe.

What if we get to allow others to believe whatever they want to believe and still love them unconditionally?

What if we shouldn’t all believe exactly the same thing. What is true for one is not true for another.

Having different beliefs does not mean that things will go terribly wrong in the future. Many people have different religious beliefs and have beautiful, safe, secure and loving marriages. They only have problems when they begin to think they should both see things the same.

When you believe that something will go wrong in the future, it makes a person feel scared, insecure and defenseless. They are just waiting for something to go wrong. Their brain scans everything for trouble and I promise you will find trouble.

And then things do go terribly wrong because they have gone terribly wrong in your own brain. You have made yourself crazy with the constant hunting for evidence that something will go wrong. This does not feel good. Why would you want to stay in a relationship that has you always on the lookout for warning signs.

What if you could just believe that these differences are no big deal? I’m not asking you to put on rose-colored glasses. I’m just asking you to open up your mind to the possibility that it really doesn’t have to be a big deal.

If you looked at a color and called it blue but your fiance looked at it and called it black, would you think that was a huge problem? It’s probably not going to be a deal breaker.

If you looked at your religious beliefs as just seeing different colors, it would not be a big deal. You wouldn’t be afraid and your brain could use its limited brain power to find your common ground and all the things that will make your marriage beautiful. Remember, your brain will always find what it’s looking for.

The truth is, even if you both said you believed the same exact things, there would still be some differences in what you actually believe. And here is what I think is awesome, he knows that your differing opinions cause you some pain and doubt and he hasn’t tried to recant his story. Maybe you’re not that different. You both want to be transparent and honest.

So to recap:

Find the facts in your story. Facts are something that everything in the world can agree on.

Facts are neutral.

Discover what you are making those facts mean.

Open up your brain to the possibility of believing something different.

Try it, I promise this works.

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