Karen Stanley, author of Becoming Mrs. Stanley, didn’t expect to ever get married again after her initial divorce. Now, she’s proud to have embraced the Mrs. in a divorce world. Karen shared with T.H. and Jessica some of the key things she learned while on her journey to finding herself – and her husband.
Figuring Out the Right Mindset
When Karen reentered the dating pool, she noticed she kept attracting all of the emotionally unavailable men. “They seemed to all have lots of things in common, and one of them was pretending to be someone they weren’t,” Karen observed. They didn’t want the same things she did. While all she wanted was to be in a loving, healthy marriage, the men she would attract didn’t want that.
Karen’s initial divorce had led to a negative outlook on marriage. “Because this marriage failed, then marriage must be bad,” she thought. But she knew she was lying to herself. What she really wanted was to be in a healthy relationship, one that she could show her children, with someone who could be a great role model to her kids.
This mindset changed when she attended a wedding of a single mother like herself. “That was my aha-moment,” Karen found. “It made me realize that even if I wanted all those things, I realized that my beliefs were keeping me back.” If another single mother could find someone after divorce, why couldn’t she? What did the bride have that Karen didn’t?
She had self-confidence and had self-worth. She knew she would meet someone. Karen realized at this moment that if she wanted to find someone, she needed to have this kind of certainty in herself.
What Needed to Change
Karen knew that she had to change her beliefs about herself and about relationships to attract. She looked around at her life, her health, her finances, and made a list of what she wanted to focus on. Focusing on herself and taking a break from men, allowing herself to have these “manopauses” – coined by her friend Lindsey, which we absolutely love – helped her get closer to her goal of self-confidence and self-worth.
“You’re never done working on yourself, no matter what, even when you meet the one,” Karen notes. “Then you’re working on things together, and you’re growing together.” There isn’t really any moment where you’ll be done finding opportunities for growth. It’s constant, and it’s great because it just means you can keep bettering yourself and your life.
One of Karen’s biggest obstacles was the debt she had accumulated. She went through bankruptcy, divorce, foreclosure, and the loss of her car all in the same year. “Looking back, it’s such a gift because then I can start all over from scratch,” Karen reflects.
By focusing her attention away from men and back onto herself and what she wanted to work on, she began to feel better about herself. How could she make her relationship better with her kids? How could she focus on her environment, her home, friends, anything else in her life? “It was so powerful to focus on those things,” Karen found. She found herself feeling better, finding clarity, and just being happy for no reason. And though this wasn’t a physical change, Mr. Stanley could sense this change in her.
The best part about Karen’s story is that she had known Mr. Stanley throughout this entire journey. He was a client of hers, and one day, she walked in and he couldn’t figure out what had changed about her. Was it her hair, her looks? Nope. Mr. Stanley was just noticing her inner growth. “I was really stepping into who I wanted to be. I was more confident,” Karen says. And Mr. Stanley could just tell.
Mr. Stanley wasn’t Karen’s typical type, nor was she his, but in the end, this didn’t matter. “It’s not about your physical details about your body or your hair,” Karen tells Jessica and T.H.. “It’s about an energy, and also letting go of those details.” Aside from the physical attributes, you have to be honest with yourself about what else matters to you. It’s important to see that they value spending time with you. If someone isn’t filling up your calendar or isn’t putting in the effort to spend time with you, they aren’t the one. If someone wants to be with you, they’ll put in that effort.
Karen has a book out, Becoming Mrs. Stanley, where she divulges how she took the tools she learned and focused on how to apply that to her growth. But she wanted to take this one step further and provide a community to those who need that cheerleader in life to support them in this journey. So with her video course, Shift, she knew that she could be that cheerleader for the people.
Growth and self-confidence take time to build, but these are tiny little shifts you can make to get there. Practice makes perfect, after all. Tools like this are key in getting your foot out the door and putting yourself out there once again. It’s about practicing making healthy choices and seeing things in a different light. Something we can all do.