Beliefs vs Values in the Aftermath of Betrayal

When my marriage unexpectedly crumbled, it felt like my entire belief system did too. This harrowing time led me on a quest to distinguish what was truly important to me, and it’s a journey I’m getting real about in our latest episode. We uncover the often-confusing difference between beliefs—those truths we hold dear—and values, which steer our lives in the direction of what matters most. Together, we’ll navigate the choppy waters of self-doubt and low self-esteem that can arise when life throws curveballs, and I’ll reveal the tools you can use to chip away at negative beliefs and rebuild a foundation firmly rooted in your true worth.

Transformation doesn’t stop with the self; it ripples out into our relationships, too. That’s why we’re taking a hard look at how living in sync with our values can dramatically enhance our connections with others. It’s about choosing spaces and faces that resonate with our core principles—and sometimes, that means embracing the raw, vulnerable act of authenticity, even when it’s easier to just fit in. We also explore the deep healing that coaching can offer in the aftermath of betrayal, illuminating paths to move forward and embrace happiness anew. If you’ve ever grappled with trust, felt adrift in the wake of life’s storms, or yearned for deeper, more meaningful relationships, this episode is your beacon in the fog.

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Hi friends, welcome to Happily Even After. I’m Life Coach Jen, a certified life coach that specializes in relationships. I’m a mom of four awesome kids and one amazing senna. A home decorator, a remodeler, a shopper, a scrabbler and a snuggler. I want to help you with your relationships, mainly the relationship you have with yourself and your family and God. Thanks for listening and letting me share the tools I have learned that can help you live happily even after some of life’s greatest challenges.

Hey, friends, welcome to today’s podcast. So this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about and hopefully you’ll find it of value as well. I saw Instagram post from a guy named Adam Grant. He’s a great person to follow, but he was talking about this concept and he said beliefs are what you think is true. You’re going to have to like I might say this a few times. So beliefs are what you think is true. Values are what you think is important. This is important because if you base your identity on your beliefs, your sense of self and your ego, then what you think is true and you have to admit you are wrong it becomes a major threat to your identity. So when a belief starts not being true to you anymore and that you are wrong about that, it really can create a crisis, and I’ll give you some examples in a second. But when you base your identity on your values and you like, say you value curiosity or any other thing that you value, when you change your mind about that value, it becomes a moment of growth that is more important than if you got it right or wrong. Like it’s not about who you are, it’s just about what is so hopefully that made sense.

So sometimes our beliefs, when we question our beliefs so example of a belief that I had was that my marriage was going to be forever. When I started questioning that, it really rocked my world. Like I really was not open to the thought. I let a lot of things in my marriage that maybe if I had focused more on my values, I wouldn’t have. I don’t know, because we can’t go in the past, but I’m just trying to think about this and I want you to think about, like, what things do you believe? And I think it’s important to question them, because we have been taught by our parents, by our culture, by our society, by our religion, a lot of beliefs and sometimes we just go through life believing them without questioning them Now. Do I still believe that marriage can be forever? Yes, and I wish mine was, but mine wasn’t, and that said nothing about the type of person I was. So that wasn’t on me, it was just my marriage didn’t work out. But when I internalized it, I mean low self-esteem, I’m not good enough. All the things start creeping in, and so I think it’s important.

Another one is divorce isn’t an option. When you’re married, you believe divorce is wrong and this is an okay thing to believe, except for when your spouse is having an affair or a gambling addiction or you know many pornography or so many other things and you’re like wait, I believe this, and then it affects your identity. So pay attention to what you believe and sometimes realize like they might come into question, and you still want to believe that. Do I believe divorce is wrong anymore? Absolutely not. Thank goodness we can get divorced, I mean back in the day, and in some countries divorce is illegal, and so I’m so grateful that that is an option, because we didn’t know I didn’t know at 25 when I married my husband, what was going to happen in my marriage and to live in that if I still lived in, that. I lived in it for 26 years. If I still was living in that, I just don’t even know Like I would be a shell of a person. I am so grateful I can be out of that.

Sometimes you believe good things, like I believe in myself. I believe I can do it. So some of those beliefs you might want to keep, I’m destined to fail. You’ve heard of people like oh, I just fail at everything. Okay, is that true? Like when you have a belief like that, question that belief because, first of all, you don’t fail at everything. Find things that you have succeeded in or that you’ve been good at. But sometimes our brain our brain for sure likes to pick out the negative in most people, and so if you find that you’re believing a thought and also our beliefs are our thoughts, they’re not our circumstances, you can’t give someone a blood test or go to court and say this person fails all the time and the judge will be like what are you talking about? But in your thought you could believe that thought. So I want you to just question some of your beliefs and decide do I want to believe that still and it could be yes or are there times if you’re thinking or believing the thought I’m destined to fail Like can you find a few moments where you were actually successful? So it’s just a little trick to play with your brain and in your thoughts to have you start maybe believing something different, like I. Sometimes have failed in my life, but actually I succeeded a lot too.

A lot of people especially if they’ve been in an abusive situation or their spouses have had an affair they believe I am unlovable. Okay, I want you to question if you believe this I am unlovable. I want you to know it is not true, because let’s think of all the people that do love you. The problem is, you’re only thinking about the one person that you feel unloved by, which is probably your spouse. Maybe that’s true, but do you want that person to really love you if they’re cheating on you, lying to you, disrespecting you? Probably not. So let’s decide. Okay, I might be unlovable to one or two people in the world, but look at all these other people that love me. So it’s just a way to pinpoint something that you feel like is ingrained belief in yourself and question it.

Everyone has the capacity to change. Now, this thought is a tricky one, because I believe people can change. It is why I stayed married for so long, because I believed surely this time my husband is going to change, he will see his wrongdoings and his wayward ways and look at our children and our family and all the things that we have, what he would be sacrificing and giving up if he chooses to go, leave our family and go a different path. Well, that was unhelpful for me, right? Because I was putting what I thought, what I believed, onto him and then being really sad about that. And, honestly, that was his choice, right? And so sometimes a so-called positive belief can keep us stuck doing something that really it might be okay, like some people are just going to choose not to change and that’s okay. It’s not our problem, right? The only person we have control over is ourselves. And so, really looking at your beliefs and seeing what beliefs you like, what beliefs are serving you and are helpful in your life, and which ones are not, and now this is a deep dive, right. So? But if you just find a belief like I’m not good enough, like that’s not true either. We all aren’t good at certain things and we all have things that we are good at, so focus on really questioning that, especially if you’re feeling stuck in your life or in your marriage or your relationships. So it’s just a good thing to question your beliefs.

Religion, I think, is a huge one that people tend to question. People call it a crisis. I don’t think it’s a crisis. It’s just something that they just believed on the face of what they were told. And now they’re just like looking into it a little more and deciding, like, do I want to believe that? Do I like believing that? What does that mean for me? We tend to make that like oh my gosh, red flag alert. Like you know, my child is going off the deep end. No, maybe they’re just questioning some things and that’s okay. Allow them that space, because there’s lots of things in our life that we were just told and we have to gain our own opinion about it and our own thoughts about it, which becomes so much more powerful than if we’re just told to believe something. Now our values? Now I think this is interesting because I think we could all agree on certain values and if you don’t know what the values are, I mean there’s lots of values. So just Google like values and kind of look it over.

But when we first get married, I’m pretty sure I never had the conversation about to my husband like, hey, what do you value? I assumed he valued having a monogamous marriage and valued honesty and trustworthiness, like that loyalty. Like I think I just assumed that’s who I was and so surely the person I was marrying also had those same values. But I was wrong about that. Clearly, if they had the thought like, oh yeah, I’m a totally loyal person, but when it came to my marriage they were not loyal, they were not honest, they were not trustworthy, so the values that maybe they held were different in the way, I needed them.

And I think, having the conversation, even if you’ve been married 20 years or 15 years or 30 years, go on a date night and say, hey, let’s talk about our values, like really get clear. And even if you’re single because I’ve been really working on this like, what do I value? Because if I ever choose to start dating, or even with my own children, I for my sake want to know what do I really value in my life, because other things that come my way and if I don’t value them, if they’re not in my top 10, it’s a much easier. No, and it’s a much easier way. You know what? It’s not really my thing. I don’t can’t think of one at the moment, but there might be a value that it’s like eh, that’s a great thing. I’m glad you value learning about I don’t know 16th century history and that’s important. I might value learning, but that type of learning I’m not interested in. So great for you but a no for me.

So getting clear on what you value and the importance, like how important I’m guessing everyone listening to this knows honesty, trustworthy, loyalty are my top values. If someone is like that’s maybe like on their radar but not really that important, it’s going to be a no for me. In my past I don’t think like I would have said like honesty, trustworthy loyalty, like I didn’t necessarily have the reference, like they’re the most important thing in my life value. But now, because of my past marriage of someone that was disloyal, dishonest, wasn’t faithful in my marriage, that is my number one value and that is going to be an issue for me. If I did meet someone else and also it has really brought to my attention like, okay, I value this and other people.

How am I showing up honest, trustworthy, loyal in my own life, with myself, with my kids and with my community, if I say I’m gonna do something, do I do it and of course, no one is perfect at everything all the time, right, but in general, am I showing up living those values? Do other people not that I wear a T-shirt? This is, I value honesty. Like call me out if I’m not honest, but am I showing that? Do someone see me and be like, oh yeah, I can really count on Jennifer. Like she’s gonna show up when she says she is Like I really feel like I can get the honest truth from Jennifer. Like that’s who I wanna be. I want my kids to know my mom is always gonna tell me the truth and I always try to reiterate that Like and if I struggle the first time, I’m gonna come back the next day, 20 minutes later and say hey, hey, you know I was thinking about this and I feel like I didn’t exactly say that the right way or I wasn’t completely honest. I’m not sure why, but this is the truth. So that’s who I wanna be.

So figure out what your values are. If you value play, are you doing things in your life Like you might say you value having fun and play meaning like traveling and whatever you consider play? Some people think hunting is play and that would never be play for me but or fishing or camping and those things, but like going on a trip, or I love watching a really good movie on Netflix or a TV show or doing a puzzle, like that is really fun for me. So am I incorporating the things I value into my daily life, into my life in general? So really focus on like generosity is the value of mine. How am I showing up in generosity in my life? Do I surround myself with other people that are generous, because you want to surround yourself with people that have similar values not the same, but similar, because you’re gonna just feel more connected with those people.

And so in your marriage I think it’s so important to kind of see what people value. And you might have a mismatch, and that’s okay, don’t panic, your marriage isn’t over. But figure out like okay, we both don’t value play, but how, if you’re the spouse that does, how can you get that need met outside of your marriage in a healthy way? Not with another person of the opposite sex. But there are other ways to get your needs met in your values that are healthy and good and really can create a stronger marriage if you let it and so Google what are values and kind of start thinking about you might already know, but if you don’t, like I didn’t know, like really what are my values? And consider, in having that conversation, talk about it with your kids, help them start figuring out what they value. Because if, like my kids are young adults, are they dating people with similar values? Are they meeting people? Are their friends? Do their friends have the same values as they do? Or are they with friends that have different values but, for whatever reason, they’re still hanging out with them, and so getting them to see that at a higher level can be such a great learning tool.

Values can serve as a guide for human behavior. And just know, like from your childhood you might have had values in your family that you’re like I don’t really agree Like my family was super frugal and I don’t wanna save every plastic container and I don’t value that as much as my mom did. You don’t have to have the same values as your family, but you can be respectful of them. But you don’t have to make you. You don’t have to be a clone image of what your family did. You get to choose your own values. There’s not a right value or a wrong value to have. There are marriages that loyalty is not on the radar. They just have chosen a different path in their marriage or they’re not even choosing to get married, so they’re gonna have a different value system. So don’t compare your values with someone else.

So recently I went to this trauma conference with Gabor Maté. He is a very influential doctor and has done a lot of research in the trauma field and he’s written lots of books and he was talking about how babies are born. When babies are born, they have two needs that we are just innately born with. And one is attachment, or I’m going to call it connection. They need to be cared for, loved and held, and you’ve heard of like research that shows a baby that’s just like left in their crib and never held can die, and they’ve done lots of research on that. And then our second need is authenticity. I’m not going to call it alignment being connected to our feelings and our gut, which is our gut, right, and we’re listening to them and feeling them, so kind of our nervous system, which I’ve talked about. So we need connection. We’re born with connection and then also with authenticity, where our gut and our feelings match. So if you have a baby, a baby will cry when it’s hungry. It’s a way to communicate to the world, like something’s going on, or when it needs a diaper changed, or it could cry for many reasons, but it’s, it’s this natural way to communicate. So now we’re adults, okay, and sometimes our two needs that we were born with as adults collide our need for connection and our need for alignment.

And what I found so fascinating and which really made a lot of sense to me, is that we will choose connection every time. So for you women people that are like why didn’t I pay attention to my gut screaming at me? Something is going on, my husband’s lying to me I felt something for years and I ignored it, because you chose connection to your spouse over alignment with yourself. And do not judge yourself. That is a normal thing that we will choose every time. He said there is not a time that we don’t choose that. However, eventually you get to a point where you are so out of alignment that there is no connection and you start choosing yourself above the connection, and I can totally see this in my own life. Some people get to it quicker than others. Me, it took me 26 years. Some people get to it in your five or the first time, or your 10. So don’t judge yourself of when it happened, but when you realize you’re so out of alignment with yourself that the connection doesn’t even matter, that is when true change can happen and you will be able to disconnect from that person and start aligning with yourself.

Now the key is to start aligning with yourself, to recognize what did you sacrifice, what did you do to get so out of alignment? And it’s hard to explain, but it is a feeling you will feel when you are more in alignment with yourself. It’s actually my word of the year is alignment and I’ve been working on this. I didn’t know how unaligned I was with my beliefs, with my values, with everything in my life until I got, after I got, divorced and I started the healing process. I went from not recognizing who I was, not even knowing who I was, to actually now figuring out who I am and loving, appreciating, understanding who I am, and I’m so grateful and like almost finding my younger self again, like, oh my gosh, I was this person all along.

I just got really out of alignment during my marriage because I was choosing connection to my spouse even though the connection wasn’t I wouldn’t say great, because they were having an affair, multiple affairs, but it was still at that time more important to me to connect than to leave and get in line with myself. So I think the trauma world, the world of therapy, has made so many great connections with our body, mind and spirit that it just made so much sense. I just wanted to stand up and go give them a hug because I’m like, oh my gosh, no wonder. Because before I made it mean, what is wrong with me? Who would do this? Why would I do this over and over again? Because if you’ve experienced betrayal once, you think I never want to experience this again. It is so painful and then I would do it again and again and I’m like, what in the world? But now I understand and in a way it made me feel so much compassion for myself and I got it.

And so if you’re wondering, like, why did that woman? Why did she not know her husband was cheating on her for 10 years? She may have known, but she was so disconnected from herself that she was choosing the safer option, which was the connection over really paying attention to her gut and her feelings, and so judging her will not help her. Loving her will, having compassion and understanding for her, because we don’t know, because we weren’t there. So just know. If that is your experience or your experience of your mom or your dad or someone in your family, it makes perfect sense that they chose connection over anything else. So just have love and compassion for them. So I just I thought that was so fascinating.1: 25:01

And, in conclusion, just remember that look at your beliefs, write them down, take a second, take 10 minutes, brainstorm five, 10 of your beliefs and kind of consider do I want to believe that anymore? Do I have a different perception now that this is my life experience? I believed this for so long. Do I still want to believe it? And if you do, that’s okay. And if you don’t, what do you want to believe instead? And look at your values what are you valuing in your life? Do they still hold true? Do you want to still have those values? What is your spouse value? What are your kids value?

I think it would be such a great thing to talk about, so I hope this was helpful. It really was a big light bulb moment for me, so hopefully I was able to let you in on that little moment of mine and you had one for yourself. Anyways, if you need a coach, I would love to be your coach. I am so passionate about helping other people heal from betrayal, because it is the thing that can keep you stuck in your life or can make you free as you heal. Thanks so much for listening. Have a beautiful, wonderful day and I’ll talk to you soon. If you want to learn how to live happily even after, sign up for my email at hello at Follow me on Instagram and Facebook @happilyevenaftercoach. Let’s work together to create your happily even after.

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Hi, I’m Jennifer

I love helping women and men heal from betrayal. I originally started this podcast with my husband and since my divorce I have taken it solo. I love sharing and talking about the 50/50 of life and providing tools to help you along your path to healing.

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