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Episode 5 - Your Invisible Cape

Updated: Mar 18




You're ready to grow, you're ready to move on to the next level.... but everyone around you is struggling.


What's a newlywed to do?


How do we improve our lives without leaving those we love in the dust?


Budgeting for newlyweds can be tricky. You might struggle with getting your apartment organized, or your new home. Maybe for you what's hard is losing weight or drinking less... but sometimes we're ready to move on from these challenges and up-level our lives, but something surprising is holding us back.


Finding your invisible cape means electing yourself the official representative who is going to break the trend... for the sake of yourself, and for others who need someone to look to. Those around you might be struggling with peer pressure or negative thinking, but you can be the example of what it's like to live life without that particular struggle. Sometimes we don our invisible capes to allow ourselves to buy a more modest home or post less about our fantastic marriages, so that we aren't putting pressure on those around us who might be struggling.  This is not only super fun to do, but it can allow us to get the motivation to make the decision we really felt was best for us in the first place.


Check out this week's episode for a whole new way to look at overcoming your challenges.


Ep 5 - Your Invisible Cape:

Hey, welcome back to the First Year Married Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in yet again. I'm trying to get a couple episodes done. This is December 24th, but we are Jewish, so that just means we have two days off from work to get stuff done, so I'm getting some episodes recorded to get ready for you.

We were planning originally on publishing these biweekly, but really the truth is, my episodes are not crazy long, so it's totally doable to do them weekly. I also feel like this is the kind of information that, for me, I like to just get that booster shot on a weekly basis.

If once a week I could just focus in on my marriage, how do I want to improve, what kind of self-development can inspire me this week, I really think it's more valuable on a weekly basis, so we're going to shoot for a weekly at least for now.

What I want to talk to you today about is this idea called the invisible cape. Let me talk to you first about where it's needed. We have a validation culture. Maybe that's always been the case. What I see happening with some of my clients and some of my friends and myself, always myself too, is that sometimes it feels hard to do the thing that you know is right or that you want to do and that you're totally capable of doing, because everyone else is struggling in that area.

Sometimes, it's this is the right thing to do and I don't really have the motivation to do the right thing, but sometimes it says it's the right thing to do when I'm totally motivated, but I don't know how that's going to be for the people around me.

The question could be like, "How can I be the only one? How can I be the only one who's happily married when I know a lot of my friends are fighting a lot with their husbands? How can I be the only one who's financially successful when they're struggling? How can I be the only one who's organized when they're all a hot mess? How can I be the one whose presence when everyone else is just so busy? Everyone is busy. How could I just be the one that's just present and fine with that?

How can I be the only one who's happy to eat healthily and it's just not an issue when food is a struggle for all of my friends? How can I be the one who enjoys to exercise when everyone else has an expired gym membership and is making sarcastic comments about it? How could I be the only one not drinking at that party when I don't really want to drink but everyone else is doing it?"

We sort of feel like we're distancing ourselves from other people when we're not experiencing the same thing that they are. By the way, I want to make it very clear that, that is not a list of all the things that I'm perfect at. I wouldn't say I'm 100% at the time happily married and financially successful, organized, present, happy to eat healthily, exercising and never drinking.

Just in case anyone was getting the misconception that I'm describing myself, please put that to rest right away. Again, this is definitely something that I think we all experience. There's an area where you're ready to grow, you're ready to move on to the next level, but it feels like everyone around you, it's just a given. It's a given that it's just impossible to just relax. Life is so hard and busy.

It's a given that when you're newly married, money is an issue. It's a given that food is just difficult. It's just hard. Weight is hard. Your body is hard, whatever it is. That's just a given. It feels like a risk of alienating yourself to be different from that.

I want to offer you another way of looking at it. I like to imagine an invisible cape on my client's back, and sometimes on my own and often on my friends. The idea for me is this. You just don't know who's out there who just needs that one person. She's really ready to move into a better place into her marriage, but it just feels like everyone around her is struggling and maybe that's just what's normal.

Here comes this woman with this invisible cape and she's just happily married. It's not that she's rubbing everyone's face in it, but she doesn't complain about her husband. She doesn't make jokes at his expense. She's just happy, and confident, and successful in her marriage.

Yes, it's great if you do all these things for yourself for sure. We're all motivated by very different things. Sometimes, it can be a struggle again because of that feeling that you're disconnecting from everyone around you. I like to let that woman, that imaginary woman who just needs that one example to be my motivation.

Everyone is struggling with food. What if it's not an issue for me? What if even though the messaging that I get is that food is hard and dieting is hard and a healthy weight is hard and not eating things that you want. That's really torturous. Really, it's the end of the world if you can't have that brownie.

Doesn't it feel like that's what we're being told? Like this is like life or death whether you get to have a brownie and you're like sacrificing yourself in some really major way by not eating the brownie of the plate.

Maybe that doesn't need to be such a big issue for you, but you've kind of taking it on for the team like that's what we do. Us women, we struggle with this, so I'm going to take it on. It's going to be my thing. I'm also struggling in this area, because I want to be like you. I want us all to be able to commiserate and validate and understand each other and support each other in the difficulty of all this.

Then what if there was that one woman on the outside being like, "Hey guys." It also doesn't have to be difficult. In coaching, we call it jumping in the pool. If you have a person who's drowning. "My mother-in-law is so difficult and I just can't handle her. She's always doing XYZ. She's always sabotaging this. She's always criticizing me, whatever."

Then you were like jumping in the pool is like going in with them and drowning with them like, "Oh my gosh, how do you manage? I wouldn't be able to do it for a second." Sometimes, that feels really good, right? Sometimes, what our friends need is that person kind of on the outside throwing the life raft.

That could look like a lot of different things, but it could look like you saying, "Yeah, it took me a while to really get used to my mother-in-law." Isn't it funny how you just have this brand-new relationship all of a sudden? I think you're going to get there and I think you're going to find that, that could be one of the most rewarding relationships in your life.

Now, of course, I'll talk about it in a second, about how to not just sound preaching obnoxious. What you're offering your friend is so much more valuable than commiseration. You're offering them a different choice, because if they're coming from a paradigm where the mother-in-law relationship is by definition difficult, and that's just a belief that they have and they don't question that belief and then you offer them evidence against that belief.

Again, they might take it or leave it. You can't control what other people are going to do, but you're offering them another choice. To me, that's the invisible cape. I see this a lot. I work with college students a lot and they'll say to me like, "This is the kind of thing that happens at a party and everyone does it, so I can't not."

I think to them like, "Well, what if you were the one wearing the cape? You don't want to be doing that at the party. What if you didn't and then you became the excuse for all these other girls who also don't want to be doing it and they could just follow you because you gave them that excuse? Now, it's not everyone. It's everyone but her, and I'm just like her." Sometimes, we just need to imagine this invisible cape. I'm opting out of that struggle. I'm opting out of that peer pressure, whatever it is.

Here's some other places that could come up. We dealt with this when we were looking for a stroller. I know for a lot of you, strollers are seem like a million years away. I personally found the experience of choosing and buying a stroller more stressful than choosing and buying a car, maybe even a house I would say.

This is an impossible decision and there are so many choices and everything feels life-and-death. We were looking at different strollers, and if you know anything about the market, you can get these unbelievable luxury strollers.

We have four kids, and for the fourth child, I was really thinking like, "Maybe I've earned it. Maybe the first three I had to be middle of the line strollers, but maybe now I could get one of those really nice ones that I've always looked at."

My husband and I sat down and thought about it. The decision we came to was we could probably manage spending the money on a nice stroller. That wasn't going to put us under, but what he felt it was going to do, what we didn't want to do is have one person, one couple who's getting ready to buy a stroller and they really can't afford to get a nicer stroller.

When they go looking around at their friends and their acquaintances and everyone has one of those really nice strollers, we felt like let's let there be people who opt out. Let's let that be an option for them, because for us, yeah, we could probably handle it. We're sort of adding to this environment of everyone has to have this certain level.

Maybe that's going to be hard for somebody else, and maybe we don't want to put that in there. That was my personal ... Definitely, trust me, I felt like an absolute superhero opting out on that one.

It could mean keeping a smaller house getting a less fancy furniture when you could. Maybe you could. Maybe it's worth considering that you don't have to just because you could and you, for sure, don't have to because your friends are.

Even if you're choosing not to push yourself because you actually really ... It would really be a struggle for you to get that nicer house and that's really. You can also be having the invisible cape, because what you're doing is you're making a financially responsible decision. Trust me, there are people out there who know you who need examples of people who are choosing the more financially responsible choice, so you've got your invisible cape.

It could also mean that your husband comes home on your anniversary with beautiful flowers and chocolate and everything that you love and you choose not to post about it on social media. I'm not saying you have to do any of these things. I'm just giving you examples of where you might use this, because you might feel like, "Maybe, I don't want to contribute to an environment where that's an expectation."

What you could do is you could post about the times that there aren't flowers and how you celebrate it in a different way. I should talk at some point on this podcast about the way that we do presents and gifts in my marriage, but I will just say that there is zero expectation on him ever to have a romantic gift that's exactly what I was hoping for that I never told him about.

That is something that I decided from the beginning. I was just not interested in that expectation. I had heard too many women be upset and frustrated because their husband couldn't read their minds and get them exactly what they never told him they wanted. I just decided that what was really romantic to me was to be in a relationship that was open enough that I could tell him exactly what I wanted and we could see if that's something that's a reasonable purchase, and then when I could I would get it.

It might sound really unromantic to you, but it's wonderful. Again, I guess I'm saying sort of two things. I'm saying on the one hand, there's times where we are ready to up level. We're ready to move on and let go of a struggle. Or maybe it's something we've been taking on this struggle that was never authentic for us in the first place. We're just ready to be done with it.

It can feel hard because all our friends feel like they're struggling in that area. What you're doing when you're opting out of that struggle ... First of all, of course, you're improving your own life, but in addition, you're offering an option to those people around you.

Then when it comes to adding to that expectation, adding on the positive end, not the negative end, but adding on that positive end, we can always question if we want to be part of that. Again, I'm not saying you can't. I'm not saying that if it brings you a lot of joy to brag about what's going on.

A very wise woman, Devorah Kigel, for those of you who know her, once said to me, "You can always tell your mother-in-law. Every time your husband does something romantic and sweet, absolutely. Send a picture to her of the flowers. Wow, you raised a real prince. Thank you." You can always brag to her. It's not going to make anyone else feel bad.

I love this phrase, "A rising tide lifts all boats." This idea that when things get better, everyone gets better. You can sort of contribute to that rising tide. You'll see that people who are successful tend to be spending time with other people that are successful. It's an amazing thing.

People who are healthy and active tend to be around people who are healthy and active. Do well. Give yourself permission to do well in whatever area of your life that you want. If it's your marriage, if it's your finance, if it's being organized or healthy, just give yourself permission to do well and leave the door open for them to come with you.

A big fear on their part might be disconnection that you're leaving them. That you're going away from them. I think that you can still let them know that you totally get that. You get that it's hard for them, because you understand hard.

We all have something where we struggle, but you don't have to struggle there. Ultimately, you really can't control what they think either way. There might be people who decided that this means that you've kind of ditched them. That really has so much more to do with who they are than who you are and it tends to be that people who go there are going to go there at some point no matter what you do.

Really, you might as well just go on and do what you wanted to do in the first place. Just have an awesome life and give yourself permission to just question all those things that you're struggling with and just question if any of those are struggles for you.

I had this amazing experience when I went to college. Growing up, we didn't really eat dessert like on a regular basis. I went to college and there was cake served in the food court at every meal. My roommate always took dessert, because they just had dessert after dinner at their house, and I didn't.

I just took some because she was taking some. It was sort of like I was taking on this whole thing where suddenly I eventually managed to convince myself that not eating dessert was like this huge struggle.

It's so interesting because I'm not really that into dessert. It never matches my expectation. It's never as good as I think it's going to be. I once lived or actually went to a school that was right across from a bakery and the smell of the bakery was literally heavenly. I cannot describe how good it smelled. It's called Angel's Bakery, for those of you who know it.

I remember at one point realizing that the taste of the food was never as good as the smell. I just decided at that point I'm just going to enjoy the smell like that's the point. The point here is just to enjoy, like I'm going to a smell mall and I'm just going to go and smell all the smells and love them and it's going to be great. Just sort of divorce that from the whole idea of going and eating because I just didn't want the let down. My mind came up with such a better experience based off that smell than what was the actual reality.

Here, I just had this experience of I just took on this whole thing about food that I never had growing up and it became this whole struggle. It was just something that I could opt out. I had evident that I could opt out of it because I had never been a struggle before, but sometimes you don't have as much evidence but you can always question those thoughts.

"Do I have to be financially unstable just because I'm newly married and starting off of my career? Does money have to be hard? Is it really hard not to be so busy all the time? Is organization that complicated?" Just questioning all those things. Maybe organization is easy and fun. Maybe eating healthy is something I feel really good about. Maybe money is pretty simple and I don't mind dealing with it.

I just want to offer you another option. Offer you that life vest if you're one of the people struggling in the pool, which I guess we all are at our own times. I want to say thank you for tuning into the podcast.

If you haven't subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe to the podcast. If you haven't checked out my first video, why your husband isn't the reason you're unhappy, that goes in depth into my coaching material, the tool that I use with my clients. It's on firstyearmarried.com. It's completely free. You can also get show notes if you want any information about this episode at firstyearmarried.com, and I hope you go and have yourself an awesome life. See you next week. Bye.

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