We've all had those experiences when something was not what we expected. Whether it’s having kids, starting a new job, or a relationship in your life, you have no doubt experienced the phenomenon where reality does not match the expectation. In this episode, I’m sharing the three steps to help you overcome difficult situations that are not what you had hoped for.

Listen in as I dive into how we can get through those difficult seasons in life that we all experience at some point, including how to stop resisting when it’s hard and why the act of acceptance often leads to self-compassion. I also discuss the issue of gaslighting, explore the difference between gaslighting and resisting, and share how to tell whether you might actually be gaslighting yourself.

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In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • How to stop resisting what is hard
  • How to tell the difference between gaslighting and resisting
  • What it means to gaslight yourself
  • How acceptance leads to compassion
  • How to determine the next step forward

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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell: Hello, there my friend. How are you today? I'm so glad you're here today.  I'm really excited to share with you this episode because the message kind  of keeps coming up in several different ways in my work life, my personal  life. And so, somehow, I feel like there's some people out there who need  this message, and I'm very excited to be able to bring it to you today. 

I just want to say there's obviously a little lag in when I record these, but I was working so hard to  get a hundred reviews of my book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time on Amazon, and we have surpassed a hundred. 

So, I just want to say thank you. If you're someone who's gone and left an  Amazon review, thank you so much. I know it's a big ask. I don't like being asked to leave an Amazon review. I'm just like everybody else. I'm like, “I don't want to do it either.” 

But it really, really, really does make a difference. And so, if you've gotten  anything of value out of this podcast, if you've purchased the book and gotten anything out of that, would love for you to leave a brief Amazon  review, or you can leave a lengthy one if you'd like, that's fine too. 

But leaving an Amazon review really does help because all of us, we can't  help ourselves. We all, when we're looking for something, especially on  Amazon, we always look and check and see what the reviews are like.  

Even if we just look at the number, we don't even read any of the reviews.  So, that is the world that we live in and I just appreciate you for taking the  time to go and do that. 

So, thank you so much. If you've already done it, thank you so much in advance. You could just pop over there quickly and go ahead and do that.  And if you haven't picked up the book, then definitely go ahead and pick  that up; How to Lose Weight for The Last Time at all book sellers and the  audio versions available as well. 

Okay, so just to give you a backstory on what we're going to talk about; I titled this episode When It's Not What You Expected. I think we've all had  these experiences for sure. And the more I've been kind of mulling over this  topic, the more I've been remembering things in my life where things were not what I expected, but I'll just tell you what has sort of spurred this, why I decided to talk about this. 

So, this has happened to somebody that I know in my personal life. And then also, I've been coaching on this, actually a couple of different clients  on this recently. And so, if you are not somebody who's having babies, I  don't want to lose you. If you're like, “That's not on my radar,” this is still  going to apply to you, so stick with me, but you'll understand what I'm trying  to say here. 

So, to various degrees and in varying ways, what all of these people  who've been coming to me for help have been experiencing is something  related to the struggle with having their first baby. And really, the main  theme is they all wanted to have a baby. They were all excited to have a  baby, and now they have the baby, and it's not what they expected. 

And it's funny because I was thinking about myself in terms of what I  expected when I had my kids, but also, as a pediatrician, you really go through this with families day in and day out. And so, I was in practice as a  pediatrician for 10 and a half years, and I saw a lot of this.

Of course, there are the people that feel amazing while they're pregnant,  it's an absolute dream come true. They have the baby, they have a really easy delivery, and then the baby feeds super well, and the baby's a good  sleeper and there's really just no problems. But let's just say that's maybe 1% or 2% of the time. 

But when we have a baby that is being a baby the way babies are, it's so easy for us to think that we're doing something wrong or there's something  wrong with us because we're not enjoying it the way we think we should. Or just somehow, we're doing it wrong or we made this like irreversible mistake. 

That's another thing that sometimes comes up. Like I remember sometimes  kind of joking, but sort of being half serious. It's like, whose idea was it to  have this baby? You know what I mean? Like because what are we going to do now kind of a thing. 

And so, really, what it comes down to is when we are embarking on  something really new in our lives, in the case of these people that I'm  talking about, it was having a baby. In the case of other people, it could be really wanting a job at a certain institution, like your dream job and  getting that. 

It could be really wanting some sort of leadership position or some sort of  promotion, and then finally getting that. It could be that you've really, really,  really wanted a certain kind of a relationship in your life and just we're really  missing it, wanting it. It was a goal of yours in your life to have this kind of  relationship. And now, you have it, and it's not what you expected. 

I mean, it can be any number of things in our lives. We thought it was going  to be one way and it's not. 

Now, the thing with having a baby is, I mean  obviously, if we really come down to it, yes, you know you don't have to be  a parent. But I think for the most part the people that I'm talking about and talking to are not entertaining giving their child up for adoption or having someone else raise their child. Yet they still find themselves in this position of being  in a season of life that they're not especially pleased with or where they might be really, really struggling.

Of course, there can be so many other factors that play into it. If we're having postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety just all sorts of different  factors play into it. It could be, we could argue it's a little bit different than I  got this job. Well, if you don't like the job, like you could also leave. 

But that often doesn't really feel available to us either. Or we think, “Well,  it's always been my dream to work at this institution or at this hospital and  here I am and why am I not happier? I thought I would like it more. I  thought I wouldn't have the problems here that I had at this other place. Or  I thought that I wouldn't have any problems anymore and I don't have the  same problems I had at the place I used to work at, but now, I just have  new and different problems, shoot.” 

And so, I think that it's just a really common thing. What I've told many  people in my life, and this is the total truth, is I have three children and for  me, going from zero children to one child was by far the hardest, hardest,  hardest transition. It was not easy for me. And I was a pediatrician. 

So, whenever I feel like I can help people, all my fellow pediatricians out  there, you're going to know exactly what I'm talking about. When you're talking to somebody and they're struggling with their baby, this is actually  just coming up recently. I was on a call with several people, and the person who had the new baby  was really struggling. And I was like, “Oh, you know, I'll connect with you  offline. I know what to do to help you with that.” And like literally bread and  butter, pediatrics, and then a couple other people were like, “Oh no, I know like a baby sleep coach and you should hire a night nanny.”

And they were like coming with up with all these suggestions, which are not  bad suggestions, but I was like, “You guys, before we had all those people, we had pediatricians who knew what they were talking about. I can help you. I'm here right now. Let me help you.” 

And of course, things are so much better already because it's like once  you've done this, once you've been around the block a few times or maybe  many, many times, dozens of times, and then hundreds and thousands of  times, you just know what you're doing. So, shout out to all the  pediatricians out there. We know how to get babies to sleep. Yes, we do.

Anyway, I digress. It really can be so difficult to be in that stage of life  where it feels like it's never ending. It's going to be hard forever. 

You think something's wrong with you because you don't like it more or you  must be doing something wrong because it's just not the experience that  you thought it would be, or it's not the experience that you've heard other  people having. 

And it's really easy to feel bad during that time. And even when we know  how to manage our minds, sometimes it feels so bad that we're like, “I just  need anything to help me to feel better.” And so, food, alcohol, like bring it  because I just need something. 

So, I wanted to address how to approach those times in our lives when it's  just it's not what we expected. Maybe your parents are aging and it's not  happening in a way that you expected. And it's hard and you don't know  when it's going to end. And it's just a difficult, difficult season in life. 

So, I have three steps for you that I want to talk about because I think  there's the way that we think about what's happening to us, what our beliefs  are about it, and then there's the actual thing. And we often mesh all those  together and we don't realize how separate they are. 

So, certainly, what I'm going to offer to you is not like, “Oh, this is the way  to make the hard thing better or this is the way to make the thing that you  were not expecting become what you did expect.” That doesn't always  work that way. In fact, often in life it doesn't work that way. We don't order  up what kind of a baby we get. 

I can't tell you how many times I had people tell me they had a pretty easy  baby for their first baby and then they had a second baby who was just like  a normal baby. It's like a normal baby. And they're like, “Oh my gosh, if this  was our first child, we would never have had another one.” 

They were so spoiled with the first one. And then the ones who had a really challenging baby as their first one. Have another one that's pretty  normal or relatively easy and they're just like, “Oh my gosh, it can be this good. I had no idea.” 

Honestly, those are the types of things that if I miss anything in practice, it's stuff like that. Just like people coming in, being at their absolute wits end and you just knowing. You're like, “Listen, I'm going to fix your problem.  Like you can thank me later because I know what to do here and it will  work”. It's so great. 

Anyway, okay, three steps. So, when you are in a situation where it's not  what you expected, what do you do? Okay, this situation that you're in, it's  hard. It's just really hard. 

And so, number one, I want to invite you to stop resisting the fact that it's  hard because it is hard, it is a challenge. And then we're thinking it  shouldn't be that way, and then we're resisting and pushing it away. We  don't want it to be that way, which actually makes it worse and increases  our suffering. 

And I'm not saying that you shouldn't be going and looking for solutions out  there. Like if your baby is having a hard time whatever it is. Like you're  struggling in this leadership role. Yes, of course get help. I mean a hundred  percent, always do that. 

But sometimes doing so is just a manifestation of us resisting how hard it  is. We just keep looking for the solution to make it not hard. And  sometimes, that solution does not exist. Sometimes that solution just  comes with time. Sometimes the baby just needs to get older. That's just  what has to happen. Like this will get better one way or the other. 

And sometimes, we've exhausted everything and this is just where we're at.  Or sometimes, maybe you are now in a leadership position and you really  realize that this person who reports to you needs to be let go. And there's a  whole process that needs to take place in order for that to happen. And it's  going to be a while, it's going to be hard until that happens. So, what do we  do? We have to stop resisting the hard. And I want to talk about gas-lighting ourselves here a little bit because  actually, a client asked this like, “How do you know when you're just  resisting versus gas lighting yourselves?” 

So, just talking about gas lighting. Gas-lighting is actually the term that comes from an old movie, I  think it was like in the 1950s. I actually just read about it because I think that Angela Lansbury was in that  movie. And I think it might even have been her first movie, and she just passed away I think yesterday. 

So, I was reading more about her. I always loved her on Murder She Wrote, it always made me feel good growing up, watching that. Anyway, I digress. Okay, so in this movie, there was an abusive husband  who was essentially convincing his wife that what she was experiencing as  her reality was not true. So, it's like he was making her think that she was going crazy, like not stable.

And so, I have not seen this movie, but my understanding is that the lights  outside, the gas lights that they used to have for street lights, he would say,  “Don't you see it flickering?” Or maybe she would say, “The gaslight is  flickering.” I don't remember which way it was. And he was like, “No, it's not.” 

So, she's like, “No, I see this with the light.” And he's like totally contradicting her and making her believe that what he is experiencing is  true and that her experience is fabricated somehow in her mind or is not  true, or that she's somehow delusional or something like that. 

So, that term, in recent years, has become more popular saying like, if  you're gas-lighting someone that's like they're coming to you and saying  like, “This is a problem.” And you're like, “No, it's not a problem. No, that's  not what's happening.” And they're like, “No, but it is. This is my lived  experience.” And they're like, “No, it's not. No, it's not.” And that's  obviously, a really not great position to be in when you're being gas-lit. 

So, sometimes people talk about gas-lighting themselves, and so what  does that mean? That means you are having this lived experience of your  life. Like back to the baby example; you have this baby, the child is not  sleeping, you are exhausted, it's really hard for you. And then you're telling  yourself, “This isn't hard. This is not a hard thing. Like, nope.” Like you  just get to work and you just get these things done, and this is something  that you should be enjoying. This is an enjoyable thing. 

So, you're trying to convince yourself to think more positively about  something that goes against what your lived experience is. And so, I say  this all the time to my clients, like, we never want to use coaching tools  against ourselves. We never want to go, “Hey, you know, I can think a more positive thought about this, so therefore, I should, and if I can't then something's wrong with me.”

No, that's not how this works. We never do that. We never shame  ourselves or guilt ourselves 

because we are choosing not to use the tools, finding that the tools aren't helpful in that specific situation. Like, no, we do not need to do that. So, what we need to do is honor and recognize for  ourselves the true experience that we're having. 

Yes, this sucks right now. This is hard. I don't like this right now. If I had my  choice, it would be different. I maybe wouldn't wish this on my worst  enemy. Like whatever your lived experience is. Stop resisting the hard and  thinking it shouldn't be that way – this is hard.  Just accepting that this season in life, this time in my life, this thing that I'm  doing, whatever this thing is that I'm involved with, this is a hard experience  for me. My true lived experience of this right now is hard. So, that's our first  step. Just honoring that. Yeah, it is hard. 

Then step number two, we have to stop judging ourselves for it being hard.  It's so easy for us to go, Okay, yeah, it's hard, but if I were a better leader, if  I were a better daughter, if I were a better mother, if I were a better  girlfriend, sister, wife, whatever — not sister wife necessarily, but you know  what I mean. 

If I were just different, if I were not flawed in these ways that I'm picking  myself apart for, then I wouldn't be struggling, then it wouldn't be hard. No, we don't need to judge it for being hard. We don't need to resist it, we don't  need to judge it. That's our first step is to just be in what is challenging right  now. This is a hard time. I always find that as soon as I offer myself that, I  feel compassion for myself. 

Yeah, this is hard. This is hard. It's hard to be a human living a human  existence, having to deal with the things that humans have to deal with  from time to time. This is hard. And what I'm doing is I'm offering myself  that love and compassion that I really want to feel. 

I really want to just feel better and it already feels better just offering  yourself that love and compassion. You don't have to make the hard thing  go away to be able to feel better. You can just stop resisting and judging. 

And then the third step, once you really have gotten to that place of  acceptance of this is the situation, no longer judging yourself, no longer  pointing out all your perceived flaws, no longer pointing out to yourself all the things that are wrong with you and how you should be better or  different, then the next thing to do is to ask yourself, “What is the next step  forward?” 

And it could even be a micro step, but sometimes we get so hung up and  stuck in resisting and judging that we aren't able to really move  forward in a useful way.

Like I find that once we can get to that place of acceptance, we can be  open to our brains offering us some sort of solution. Like maybe what I  need is to read a book on leadership. Or maybe what would be helpful is to  speak to this person that I know that really is quite skilled in leadership. Or  maybe what would be helpful is to reach out to that person I know who's a  pediatrician, like maybe she could help me. 

Versus like researching everything, overwhelming yourself, feeling like all  the things contradict themselves. And overwhelming yourself more, trying  to escape what's hard instead going, you know what, maybe there's  something more to be learned here. 

Maybe there is some sort of step forward. I'm embracing the hard, I'm  going to be here with myself while it's hard. And if that's the case, what  might be a little shuffle forward? Doesn't have to be a giant leap, but just a  little, a little shuffle forward, a little inch forward. 

What could be that thing, without putting pressure on it, without thinking this  has to be the thing that is the solution. Like when I think about how long it  took me to lose my weight permanently, like it would be so easy to just get  stuck in the whole thing. 

Like this is so hard. It shouldn't be this hard. Something's obviously wrong  with me because it's this hard. But when you are able to go, “Yeah, you  know what, it is hard, but I'm dedicated to figuring this out.” And if that's the  case, I can accept that right now I'm struggling, that it's a challenge. I don't  need to judge myself for that. But what might be the next best step if I did  know where I should put my attention, where might that be? 

And that's where you can start to hear your intuition. You can start to  remember things from the past. Like maybe someone told you something  and you'd forgotten it up until that point. You start to see solutions that can  become available to you and you start to be open to those solutions too.

Sometimes when things are so hard, we start to shut down, like nothing's  going to help. What's the point? It's just so hard. And that can really  devolve into some significant problems. In terms of our mental health and  just really, really struggling. 

So, it's really just three steps. We got to stop resisting the hard, we have to  stop judging ourselves for it being hard. And then from that place, asking  ourselves, what is the next step forward? What makes the most sense to  move forward on in terms of an idea, an action, something to think about,  someone to reach out to for help. 

What is the next thing? We don't have to struggle by ourselves. Sometimes  I think that's the other thing. Well, I don't even want to reach out to anybody  because I'm embarrassed or ashamed to even share this. No, there's so  many people in this world who want to help you. It's okay that it's not what  you expected. You do not have to beat yourself up over that. It's okay, this  happens, this happens. 

Actually, the more I think about it, the more examples I can think of in my  life. I'm like, I think this actually happens frequently. You go on vacation,  you get to the hotel, you're like, whoa, the Airbnb or something, like that's  not what I expected. Like how do we move forward with that? Three steps.  Stop resisting, then stop judging. Then ask yourself, what's the next logical  step forward? 

If you are struggling with something that's not what you expected, I just  want to send you tons and tons of love. It's a hard time. It is a hard time,  and it is hard to be going through a hard time, but I know that you can do it.  You are doing it, and there's so many people in this world who are here for  you, love you, and want to support you. So, make sure that you open  yourself up to receiving that as well. Thank you so much for your attention today. Have a wonderful rest of your week, and I will talk to you very soon. Take care. Bye bye.