Becoming Mrs. Karen Stanley & Steps to Finding the One | S2. Ep 32


Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re T.H. & Jessica. 

T.H.: Welcome everybody to Divorce etc’s podcast with ‘Becoming Mrs. Karen Stanley’. She has embraced the Mrs. In a divorce world, you want to lose the Mrs. She’s going to tell us about her journey, and how she’s paying things forward, and why she’s so proud to be a Mrs. Karen Stanley now. Welcome to our show.

Karen: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.  

T.H.: I heard Karen on a podcast that she and I can’t figure out which one it was yet, but I was so intrigued by her and her story. Karen is a real-life expert like us and now she, like us, has taken her experience and is paying it forward in a different way. Resident badass, that’s the term this show. Why don’t you give us, like, a quick recap of how you came to be right here? You talked to me about an aha-moment from when you were divorced and single. Everyone’s looking for an aha-moment to shift things and their way of looking at life. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

Karen: I’d love to. I was single for about, it seemed like a thousand years, but it was about eight. I 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. Also, they didn’t really want the same things I wanted. I truly wanted to be in a loving, healthy, marriage. I kept attracting all the people who don’t want that.

Jessica: Can I just ask a quick question for people to know? Even though you had gotten divorced, your thoughts were that you still were totally open to the idea of marriage and getting married again, that’s what you wanted?

Karen: Not right at first. I mean, I said I’m never getting married again many times.

Jessica: When did that change?

Karen: Well, I had all these beliefs about marriage based on my experience, right? So because this marriage failed, then marriage must be bad. Men are bad. It’s not something I want. Marriage is like a chain chaining me down, keeping me back holding me back. On the inside, I knew that I was lying to myself. What I really wanted is to be in a healthy relationship and for my children to see what a healthy relationship looks like, live it and be involved with it, and have a great role model as a second dad. That’s really what I wanted. No matter what I said at the beginning, I knew I was lying to myself.

Jessica: How old were your kids when you got divorced?

Karen: Oh, they were babies, one and three.

Jessica: Yeah, mine were two and four. I get it. Okay, ahead. 

Karen: Yeah. I went to a wedding, and she was also a single mom and met somebody who was in his 40s, right around there. They were about the same age. That was my aha-moment because it made me realize that even if I wanted all of those things, I realized that my beliefs were keeping me back, my beliefs about myself and about my marriage and about men, and all the blame that I put on all of the situations, and always looking outward for what was wrong with you. Why didn’t you do this? Why can’t you figure that out? Why aren’t you like me? Why don’t you want the same things? I realized that she’s a single mom, she has two kids, and she had so many of the same circumstances. Then everything that I believed up to that point was not true. What did she have that I didn’t? She had certainty and she had self-confidence and self-worth. She knew she was going to meet somebody. She never doubted it. She was like, whatever, I’m going to do my thing and I’m going to go be awesome. He’s coming. My soulmate’s on his way. I knew I had to get that certainty, that level of belief. I need to change my beliefs about myself and about relationships in order to attract. I don’t know…it just hit me. If I’m not going to attract a badass husband unless I feel like a badass when I walk out the door, so why don’t I?

Jessica: How many years out of your divorce did this happen?

Karen: This was almost seven.

Jessica: Had you been working on yourself? Had you gone to therapy after your marriage? Had you done the things that people are like, you’ve got to do this because this is what you’re supposed to do when you get divorced?  

Karen: I certainly did therapy, and I’m lucky to have found a great therapist and a great coach. She really helped me a lot and led me to a lot of amazing books and healing. I know there are a lot of people who have terrible experiences with therapists, and so I think you’ve got to go with your gut. You really need to talk it out. You need some tools? Yeah, do it. So I did, and that really helped me a lot for a few years.  

Jessica: So it helped you for a few years post–I’m just trying to dig in here for people to really understand the story because I think that so many of us who get divorced are in a very similar place. We come out of a marriage, and you feel like there’s work to be done. You’re not quite sure where or what direction to go in, so you take the lead from a therapist. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn’t. The therapist that I went to after my first divorce was not really helpful to me. It was one of those types of therapy philosophies where she would just sit there and wait for me to talk. I mean, I got so much more out of my conversations every day with T.H. I was like T.H. is sort of my therapist. This is not really helping. After six months, I’m like I’m literally not getting anything out of it. But what I think is interesting about what you’re saying is that you were in therapy for seven years, and you still had not gotten to the–it would take you going to that wedding to understand that you weren’t where you needed to be. That you needed to change the direction of what your focus was, in terms of working on yourself. Is that what you’re saying?

Karen: Correct. I wasn’t in therapy for seven years. I was single for seven years when I had this aha moment. I think I went to her for a couple years, on and off throughout that time period. But yeah, I realized that the work needed to be done on myself and to stop putting any focus on any person. You can’t control anything except for your own growth and your own experiences and your own transformation. Transformation is daily work. There is no finish line. I love that John Maxwell says that because if you cross the finish line, you’re finished. You’re never done working on yourself, no matter what, even when you meet the one. Then you’re working on things together, and you’re growing together, and you’re learning a new person, and how to love a new person. It’s another amazing opportunity for growth. That’s when I really started to work on myself. I didn’t date. I did a lot of what my friend Lindsey called ‘manopauses’.

T.H.: I love it!

Jessica: Oh my god, that’s so good! We have to start using that.

Karen: Isn’t that the best? Manopause – you’ve got to take a break for a year or two. I did that throughout my whole singlehood. Raising two kids by yourself is an insane amount of work. The first thing I did was just really what is it that I really have been procrastinating on? Why don’t I feel good about myself? I looked around in my life, my health, my finances, and I just really made a list of what I wanted to focus on. I just want to focus on these areas. How to make my relationships better with my kids, how to focus my energy on my environment, all of it, your home, your friends, who are you spending time with, that are helping you get closer to your goal or helping you get further away from your goal. It was so powerful to just focus on those things. I always tell people if the love of your life knocked on your door right now, would you keep them waiting on the porch? Or would you just slam the door and go, hold on, I’ll be right back because something’s not right, something’s in disarray, or something you’re embarrassed about? I made a list of everything that I really wanted to work on specifically. I just worked through those. I just worked through those things every day, little bits and pieces at a time. I felt myself feeling better. I felt more clarity. I felt more happy for no reason.

T.H.: You’re lighter, right?

Karen: Lighter!

T.H.: Yeah, I get it.

Karen: Working on little things. A little progress–

Jessica: Can you share some of the things on your list that you felt you were embarrassed about or whatever it was that you were just referencing, that were your things?

Karen: Yes. In my house, my son had broken the sprinkler system I don’t even know how many years before that. My entire backyard was just weeds that were three feet high, which kids thought were great because it was a jungle, but I would die if anybody saw it like that. And so I got it fixed and got landscapers and cleaned up the yard, because if anything makes you feel like urgh, you have that feeling. I looked around and there were pillows from my marriage, and I was like, you’ve got to get rid of all of the old energy so you can make room for the new. My bedroom used to be like the family room. That was me and my kids. My kids used to sleep in my room with me because it was actually arbitrary as we had visitors. I had my two sisters sleep in their rooms, and they came in and I put a mattress on the ground. I would never sleep if they were both in the same bed with me, but one would get to sleep in the bed, and one would get to sleep at the foot of the bed on the mattress. Every night they would switch and take turns then. When my sisters left and we had no more visitors, they just stayed there. It was like that’s where we read every night in my bed and then we go to sleep. It was a beautiful, wonderful thing. I realized how you have to make room physically, mentally, emotionally in your space, in your life, in your heart, in your mind, and literally, in order to attract somebody. Because where’s he going to sleep? Who’s going to want to come in? You haven’t made any room for him, literally and physically, in your closet, in your shower, in my cupboards, and make sure he has his side of the bed. You’re ready, like physically, mentally, and emotionally preparing for him.

Jessica: That’s so interesting. I’ve heard before that your bedroom should be your sanctuary. But to the extent where the only things that should be happening in your bedroom are sex and sleep. There are people who say don’t have pictures of your kids in your bedroom. Theoretically, there shouldn’t be a TV in your bedroom. If you want a serene Zen place to be, you have to set the stage to have that. I’ve never heard anyone talk about the importance of creating that actual physical space. But it makes so much sense that it would then link into your emotions or emotionally, you’re opening it up and allowing that space to exist and allowing room for someone to come in. I love that.

Karen: It changes your beliefs.

T.H.: Well, let’s take a step back because when you and I spoke before this recording today, we were talking about identifying yourself worth, like really discovering what you deserve and what you should have. And so as you grow and you start to see yourself differently, things look different, right? Those pillows never bothered you before, but now they bother you. It’s like your progression in your growth. I don’t want to say healing, because it’s not always healing, it’s just growing. You have to be maybe not fully in that pain or discomfort anyway, to be able to grow in a healthier manner. But you only see things as you grow. Otherwise, you accept it, because you surround yourself, like you said, with that bad energy. And it just keeps feeding you. I totally get it. I mean, until three years ago, so 10 years, Jess, I was seeing a therapist for 10 years. I was in two serious relationships that just were definitely better men in terms of my relationship, but still not the right man for me. But I was still accepting it. It takes a long time. For anybody who’s listening, it’s not something that automatically happens. We’re going to hear how Karen met Mr. Stanley, but she really took the time to grow and allow ourselves to make a mistake, and shit, there are weeds in the yard. Now I don’t like that. You let yourself make those mistakes so that you can see and grow. I understand seeing a man in your life and seeing a partner where they’re going to fit in. But ultimately, you have to fit into your own space first before you have any room for anybody else in your life. I just wanted to bring up that point because you and I did speak about that. I thought that was just everything. And so now you’re doing these courses to pay it forward. Fast forward and tell us how you met Mr. Stanley.

Karen: Well, the coolest part about our story is that I’d known Mr. Stanley this whole time. He was a client of mine. He was in front of me literally the entire time. I walked in the door one day, and it was as if he couldn’t figure out what was going on. It’s like hey, what’s different? Did you lose some weight or–he couldn’t figure it out. That’s because I was a different person. I was really stepping into who I wanted to be. I was more confident. I was following through on the promises I made to myself. I was achieving my goals and setting little goals for myself about family time, and finances, eating away at the debt I had. One of the things that made me keep feeling like a piece of crap is because I went to went through bankruptcy and divorce and foreclosure, and I lost my car all in the same year. All of that happened. Looking back, it’s such a gift because then I can just start all over from scratch. I didn’t even have enough money to buy my own laptop. I changed jobs and I joined this other agency where we were set up to work from home. A massive, massive gift, so that I could be home and navigate all of this and be there when my kids needed me, and work. That’s one of the things that made me feel bad about myself is that I had debt. I had IRS debt. I always talk about instead of focusing on that debt, focus on the end game and put a plan in place. Since I was making progress, the debt wasn’t gone, it wasn’t erased right away. It takes time, right? I just put in monthly payments, and I had them automatically taken out. I didn’t look at the statements. I didn’t look at anything. I just focused on zero and progress. It’s going to be zero. Making those shifts to say I am worthy, I am a good person. It wasn’t like I had some elaborate plan to rack up tons of IRS debt and move to Mexico to get out of it. It just is what it is. I needed the money at the time. I didn’t file my taxes for a couple years, whatever. I was self-employed for the first time in my entire life. It is what it is. Pay it off. The government’s not going anywhere. Making little progress towards those goals, that is what changed my belief in myself. And I felt good about myself. I was progressing in my health and my healthy choices and my goals. I always thought that going to the gym was just punishment for what you ate and drank the night before. I went anyway, but I didn’t enjoy it, and it wasn’t something I really wanted to do. And so instead of that, how about not punishing, and how about doing something that you really love to do? Move your body because you feel so better and your mind is better. Then just choose it. What’s the goal going to be? Move your body five days a week. What is it that you like? I love hiking and yoga. Every week that went by, I did those five times. I also felt good about myself. That’s how you develop your self-worth. That’s how I did. Every little bit just changed how I feel about myself. Then you walk in, and you see the same person, and he can’t even figure it out.

Jessica: I love that. I feel like it’s those little things. I feel like for everybody listening, you look around–and T.H. knows I’m in a temporary apartment right now because I had bought a new apartment, and it’s being renovated. My stuff’s been in storage for a year, and it’s been a lot of moving and a lot of transition. My apartment that I’m in right now is an absolute shithole, and it doesn’t make me feel good about myself. I’m not going to lie. It’s a conversation that I’ve had like if I’m dating, I don’t want to bring anybody over. There isn’t anything I can do about it. It’s a temporary rental. I know that the new place will be great. But I do feel for people listening, if you look around and you see things that you can change, small things, pillows, going to Home Goods, mowing the lawn, those little things can make such a huge difference and be such an uplifting part of your day. It really is those teeny tiny things. I love that that’s where you’re emphasizing your energy. Because I think sometimes you look at situations and it feels so overwhelming, and you just don’t know where to start. Then you can’t ever get started, and so it just drags you down. It really is one step at a time, literally.

T.H.: And it’s also great that he noticed because you’re taking baby steps to progress and growth. But when we look in the mirror, it’s like whatever. It’s the same face, same eyes, whatever. Nothing’s really different. It’s really nice when someone’s like, you just look awesome, there’s like a glow about you. You probably walked in that room Karen with a smile on your face. You may have walked around feeling heavy, and it shows on your face and your personality, and the way you carry yourself. You probably walked in so much lighter, regardless of pounds, just like heaviness in your head and your brain that you like shed like bad skin.

Karen: So true.

T.H.: So the fact that he recognized that is what’s so beautiful about your story coming together because you do have to be in the same place at the same time. And you’re right, I did close the door on the man who I’m with now, who is my guy. I definitely needed the universe to play a role and kick me in the ass, because I thought I was done. It’s really a beautiful story. You need Mr. Stanley, and you go to your meeting?

Karen: Actually, that day was in the summertime, and he just said, man, dating again after all these years, and mentioned that he had separated from his wife a while ago. He was saying, gosh, it’s so weird to be dating, because he was married for so long. The two women that I work with, after that meeting, we went to lunch afterward.  They were saying you should date John Stanley! I’m thinking, I don’t think that I’m his type. I know that he’s a car guy. He runs a Toyota dealership. I’ve been in marketing for car dealers for a long time. I know the car guy type, and it’s the exact opposite of me. They’re 5’2, blonde hair, and big boobs. I’m 5’10, 165 lb – I’m like an Amazon. I just thought it was so funny. He wasn’t my type either. The reason why I love bringing this up is because sometimes this type, you’ve got to really decide or think about your type, the type of people that you are “attracted” to, and ask yourself, how is that working out? It’s like you keep attracting the same. How is it working out for you? If it’s working out great, okay, great. But sometimes, this type or this thing that we have in our mind about who’s our type–he’s tall. He’s so slender. He’s such a skinny guy. He’s in shape, and he’s great. I mean, he’s just super healthy and you’d never know that he’s 18 years older than me. You’d never know it. He looks amazing.

Jessica: I would not have known that looking at the picture of you guys, no.  

Karen: No way. To your point about your face or your change and how it’s like you, I was getting older. I don’t have any less gray hair or less wrinkles, but I was glowing, and he could see it. It’s not about your physical details about your body or your hair. It’s about an energy, and also letting go of those details. You don’t have any control over the timing. I had no idea when the time was going to be right, or that it was going to be somebody that I had known this whole time. It was just beautiful. So a few months later is when I actually came to visit. It was at the end of November where I tried to just find him. I just stopped by to get some things and say hi. He stopped me and he was like, hey, sit down, sit down, sit down, sit down. We just sit there and we sat on the busiest Saturday of the year. There are a hundred people in the showroom. He has 150 employees, and he runs this huge business. Everybody’s everywhere. We sat there like it was time stood still. We just chit-chatted about everything. I mean, his face was peeling. He’s like, oh, sorry about my face. I just got a chemical peel. And I was like, ooh, I want to get a chemical peel. Things like that, people that I’m not used to talking about things in real life. We’re talking about this, and alkaline water, and these greens, I’ll get you some, because I’ve been taking these greens in the morning. I’m like, oh, that’s great. And music, and this and that, and just an hour went by like that. We had never done that before. I’d only known him in a business sense. We both kind of left, and I was like, I’ll let you go. I’ll go. You’ve got business and blah, blah, blah. I walked out of there going, what just happened? Two days later is when he came to ask. It was like this text, and I wish I still had it. My phone blew up and I lost all my texts from the beginning of our relationship. It was like this long–he’s like, I don’t know if you have a babysitter, or you have time, or you like football, or you need to wash her hair, like all these ways for me to say no.

Jessica: It’s so cute.

Karen: It was so cute. He said, but I have two tickets to the Cardinals game – you know, they’re a football team here – would you like to go? I texted my business partner, oh, no, John Stanley asked me out. What do I do? Because he’s our client, it’s a recipe for disaster, right? No, he’s a true gentleman. He would never let anything come between our business. Even if you guys just end up being friends, he would never do anything to jeopardize our business. Okay, you’re right. You’re right. So I said I’d love to go. He’s like, great. Okay, well, I don’t know…even if we end up being friends, I also have two tickets to the Fleetwood Mac concert two days after. And so I always tell people, if someone’s not filling up your calendar, they’re not the one. He wants to spend his time with me. They will say I want to be with you, and I want to spend my time with you. I don’t want you to be with anybody else. I just want to be with you. He’s got tickets to stuff and he wants me to come, right? There’s no agenda. There’s no–what is it called when you’re a means to an end?

Jessica: Ulterior motive.

Karen: Thank you. No, if somebody wants to be with you, they will, period. End of story. And if they’re playing those games and they’re doing the five days, the three days–I mean, John doesn’t even know the rules. He didn’t even know he was breaking rules, because he doesn’t care about the rules. It’s so funny, and he’s so cute in that way, and young and sweet and innocent in that way.

T.H.: You’re making your own rules. You’re making your own life together.

Karen: So spend time together and get to know each other. And it’s beautiful.

T.H.: You were saying you were never going to get married again. I’ve said the same thing up until probably a year and a half ago. I just am not opposed to it. I personally am not got ready for it, but I’m not opposed to it like before. I think I was always opposed to it because I was afraid I was going to get divorced again, which would have happened if I ended up with either of those men who I was in a relationship with. Your whole journey is so awesome. Now you’re just so embracing and proud to be Mrs. Karen Stanley. It’s like this is what the relationship is supposed to be grounded on, seeing each other and wanting to be together, the little things. Even if you’re doing nothing, it’s like the greatest day.  I just think that that message is really important. We are not marriage haters. We’re not men haters. We are pro-healthy relationships, and we know that it comes from each person on their own. There’s no one that’s going to complete you. You complete yourself, and they’re the cherry on top. That’s why Karen has been someone I’ve been watching for a while because I just think it’s awesome. It’s just really great. Jessica and I really try to put it out there that look at where we are now. We are really growing in the most healthy way and has nothing to do with a guy. If a guy’s there, great, but we’re growing in the best way possible. Putting yourself first Karen was critical for you to be a happy Mrs. somebody else.

Jessica: Right.

Karen: 100%. And you’re always going to attract who you are and not who you want. The focus is really becoming the person that you really want to be. That’s how you attract the right one for you. Why I’m so passionate about it now is because we’re seven years in almost, December 7 was our first date, and a couple years ago, I just realized I would have never imagined the gifts of being in a beautiful, wonderful, committed relationship that I hadn’t experienced those. The reason why I’m so passionate about is that we all have experiences and we create those beliefs based on what has happened already up to this point. You have no idea what it is like, what it could be like when you have someone who’s your biggest cheerleader and your biggest partner. That foundation is friendship. Yeah, romance is there, romance is wonderful, and he’s an incredible lover, but he’s my best friend. I got so tired of attracting people that didn’t tell me the truth. I’m just going to lay it all out. I don’t care. I don’t care if you don’t want to ever see me again and if we only have one date. I’m just like, yeah, this happened, and this happened. I went through bankruptcy, divorce, whatever. I have debt.

T.H.: This is who I am.

Karen: I don’t care. I’m paying it off, whatever.

Jessica: Yeah, it really is. T.H. knows I’m a huge believer of everything happens the way that it should. Everything happens the way that it’s supposed to. I love your messaging of just being yourself and putting it out there. It is all about vibe and energy. You’re going to get back what you put out there. And so I think for everyone listening, it’s just hugely important to know there’s so much light at the end of the tunnel. Things can be so much better on the other side, whether someone chooses to get married again or not. I mean, it’s obviously a personal choice, but it shouldn’t ever prevent you from being able to find the happiness that you’re looking for if you want to be in a committed relationship with someone and have a life partner. Whatever that looks like, marriage or not, I love the messaging behind it. I love the fact that now you’re paying it forward and using the skills that you learned in order to move forwards yourself to be able to teach that to other people so they can get to the same place you are, which is fantastic.

Karen: Well, thank you. Because I spent so many years being self-loathing and never thinking I was good enough and I wasn’t skinny enough, and I wasn’t pretty enough, and everybody told me I was overwhelming and too exuberant, and I’m tall, I’m too big. My grandpa said I’m so big you should be a boy. We all have those moments.

Jessica: Yes.

Karen: T.H. was sharing with me, her grandmother [Laughs]

T.H.: I said I’ll tell everybody the story because I don’t know if I recorded it yet, but my grandmother was Canadian and came from a very high society world, where the way you present yourself is everything. If you keep your mouth shut and you look great, you’re like, 90% there. She was visiting my parents in Florida, and I was there. I came home from the gym, and she goes, where’d you go? I said I went to the gym. She went like that. I said what do you mean? She goes – you can’t leave the house without your face on! You are not a natural beauty. You cannot be walking around like that. That’s what she said to me.

Jessica: Oh my god.

T.H.: This could be like a whole other shrink session another time, but all I can say is, obviously, I remember that. I already had kids. I don’t think she noticed. But she literally would not leave her bathroom until her face was on, her makeup and everything. I had shared that with Karen when she was telling me her story about her grandfather. I’m like, yeah, well, that seems to be the thought process. Now look, now we’re battling with the thought process that you’re too much, and you’re too tall, and you’re not skinny enough. It’s still the same messaging, but it’s just different words. And it’s really shitty. That’s why I feel like we need so much work all the time. I mean, I had a great childhood, I’m very close with my family, but there’s shit that should never–it could have been done differently, that I’m trying to break that cycle going forward. But that’ll be another podcast.

Jessica: And I feel that’s over-emphasized for all of us who come out of divorce because that’s the time where you’re really overanalyzing everything about yourself. Even if you are doing the healthy work in terms of accepting responsibility for your role in the end of your marriage, you’re still thinking of all of the things that you need to improve. Or what if I was this? Then would this still have happened? It’s totally that time of your life where you really are looking inward and nitpicking everything about yourself and hearing all of those voices in your head about all of the things that aren’t perfect about you. It just emphasizes everything a hundredfold.

T.H.: Those are very deep scars.

Jessica: Yes.

Karen: They are.

T.H.: But you need to realize it doesn’t take two minutes to get over it. It takes a little bit of time. So give yourself your time. Tell us quickly about your program that you’re launching now.

Karen: Well, it’s called Shift, because it does take time, but it’s actually little teeny shifts that you can make. The way that I shut up that inner bitch telling me I was too fat and too loud, and too big, and too everything – it’s just practice, just like anything. You want to practice shutting her up. You want to practice making healthy choices. You want to practice seeing things in a different way. Becoming the person that you really want to become really is all about, like you just said, taking responsibility for everything up to this point, and then what do I really want to change. It is little teeny things at a time. These are the tools that I use to make those small changes in my life and my heart to move forward to focus on the things that are going right. It’s small shifts every day because things come at us all day long. Even when you find the most amazing man, the most amazing partner, and your greatest cheerleader, you’re living with somebody. You’re learning somebody. You’re healing things together. You’re realizing all of his wounds. It’s a journey forever. Forever. And something new comes on. He just had cataract surgery yesterday. When we first got together, we were hiking, and he was tight in the chest. I was like, oh my gosh, what’s going on? What’s going on? Usually, I can barely keep up with him, and he was kind of lagging behind me. I said we’re going to the hospital right away. He said, nah, it’s nothing. I’ll just sit down for a second. No, we’re going to the hospital right away. And so we did. We’re right next to a Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. He needed a stent. They put a stent in–

Jessica: Wow.

Karen: –two hours later. If I hadn’t been with him, would he have just blown it off and had a heart attack? He could have died. I made him. It’s so funny, I think God puts people in our lives, all of them, not just our life partners, but all of them for a reason for us to learn, and help, and grow, and heal. It’s a beautiful thing. When things that come at us are really frustrating and really hard and challenging, we can we can thrive. Not only just survive and not just get through the day, but really thrive and grow if we learn these tools. These tools helped me so much to stop being so frustrated and down on myself and nitpicking my body and my face and everything like we all do. We’re so conditioned to have this “perfect” version of whatever you’re supposed to be. Everybody has their own definition, from Cosmo or from your grandma or whatever, and it’s bullshit. We’re all different. Every single one of us is different. But how do you do that though? How do you love yourself the way that you are with your dimples and your cellulite, and you’ve got the creases in the eyes? Who cares? But how do you do that? It’s easier said than done. Well, I finally learned how, and it’s not a yep, [claps hands] done. Okay, I learned nothing. I’m done with that. No, we keep getting older. I’m going to get another wrinkle at some point. You keep doing the work. Keep loving yourself so that you can be the best mom, and be the best wife, and be the best co-worker, and sister, and brother, and daughter, and all of your roles. But you are not your roles. You’re a beautiful soul having a human experience. How do you get those voices out of your head? How do you heal from the past and move on to create the future that you really want? I believe that if you see yourself in your dreams and you’re real with yourself, and you say, okay, what do I really want to be 10 years from now? What do I want my life to look like five years from now? Are you sitting alone? Are you really sitting alone? I think you’re lying because you’re trying to protect your heart because you’ve been hurt so many times. We are not solitary creatures. Companionship and love and friendship and loyalty, somebody who’s really got your back and you can really open up to and tell all of your secrets to and not be ashamed anymore, if that’s in your heart, which I believe for most of us it is, then I believe it’s there for a reason. When we work on ourselves, work on healing those wounds, open our heart, and work on loving everything about us–one of my favorite quotes is “You can’t love the person you’re becoming and hate the experiences that shaped you”. When we love and we are grateful and we see the good, and I have tools that helped me see all the good from all of the hurt, all the abuse, all of the heartache, and all the nights bawling to myself on the floor when we can love those experiences because that made me resilient. Well, if you hadn’t gone through those things, who would you be? It might be this person, right? And so all the strength and all the growth and all the things you learned, and focusing on the things that you learn from those, that is what my book is about. My book is called ‘Becoming Mrs. Stanley’. Then I wanted to take a step further because I think a lot of people are more experiential, and they want to learn these tools. We need a community, and we need help, and we need to have people cheerleading with us because the people you surround yourself with are so important. A lot of people are also hurt and scarred and closed, and they’re afraid and they don’t really want you to change. And so I thought I’m going to do a video course so that we can have a community come together, people who really want to learn these tools and take it a week at a time and deep dive into and do the journaling and writing. There’s exercises, and there’s everything that helped me see the truth about who I am, love the things that I am, and I’m different from every single person and love that, then that is what helped me attract the person that was perfect for me. He’s not perfect, and I’m not perfect. I just believe that we were meant to be together so we could get on this journey together and then go down this path. I never would have done any of this. I started my own business, I wrote a book, I recorded a video course, and it’s not just because the subject is about how to attract real love into your life. Obviously, a little, duh! I wouldn’t have done either of these, but I wouldn’t have done any of that. I have a partner that’s cheering me on and telling me to do it. We were hiking couple years ago and I just feel like I was listing all the things that I really worked on, these things that really changed me and helped me feel good about myself and this and that. I think I really did a lot of work, and then boom! I walk in the door and you see me differently. I feel like it’s replicable. I feel like it’s a strategy, like little strategies, each little thing. He goes, you should write a book. Okay, I never thought about writing a book. I just wanted to help others who are struggling with the same things I was.

Jessica: Yeah, and having a cheerleader like that in your life is something that hopefully everybody deserves and can find. I love the fact that you’re putting it all out there for everybody to find. What is your website address so people can look into the book when it’s out, and the course?

Karen: The book is out. It’s on Amazon, ‘Becoming Mrs. Stanley’. But if you really like experiential, and you like video, and you want to join the community, I highly recommend it. It’s launching soon. It’s on my website right now. It includes weekly coaching. We’re all going to come together on Facebook each week. Everybody’s working on different things at different times, but we’re going to have weekly Q&A and come together as a community, everybody who really wants to make changes by making small shifts. That’s why it’s called Shift. It’s just practicing those small shifts every day, every day, every day, forever.

Jessica: We love the community aspect also. It’s something that we talk about a lot. For everyone who’s listening, it’s Mrs. Karen Stanley, but all of Karen’s information is also going to be on our website on her own exEXPERTS page. You can go there and you can find it. Pick up the book and check out the course. The transformation that you’ve made sounds amazing. We’re thrilled to just have you as one of our exEXPERTS.

Karen: Me too. Thank you so much for having me. I’m super appreciative. I’m so glad we found each other. I love what you’re doing.

T.H.: I know!

Karen: I just want to say I wish that I had you guys. You two, and this community, and everything that you’re building and you’re helping, I wish I had that. I got divorced in ‘08, and we didn’t have things like this.

T.H.: Us too. No, I know.

Karen: Seriously?

T.H.: Yeah.

Jessica: Yeah. Thank you for that.

Karen: Yeah, it’s beautiful.

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exEXPERTS.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS Divorce etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and our website at  Thanks for listening!

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