Have you ever considered how many rules you have around love?
We all have them…our manuals.
Rules for how friends should behave, how kids should act, what lovers should do if they really care about you.
The list goes on.
In this week’s show, we’ll talk about different ways that your love manuals stop or limit the flow of love in your life.
Listen in to flip the script this Valentine’s season by becoming aware of how you can free up space for more love in your life.
Read Full Transcript Below:
This is Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Ayurveda specialist, a personal trainer, and I'm also a breast cancer survivor. In this podcast, we talk about healthy thinking and mindfulness practices, eating well, moving your body for health and longevity. And we'll also hear from other breast cancer survivors who have reengaged with life and have incredible stories to share. This podcast is your go-to resource for getting back to life after breast cancer.
Hello, and welcome to the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast.
I am your host, Laura Lummer. And really happy to be here today. Today, this show is my Valentine's gift to you. And before I get started, I just want to give a huge, huge thank you to Yammers123 and DonaCretors, you both took the time to leave beautiful reviews for the show. And I appreciate it so much that I just wanted to give you a shout-out and say thank you. And I also want to mention a line from Dona's review.
I'm assuming Dona is your first name. In that line says the best part about these podcasts is the messages apply to noncancer issues too. And that's so important. You're 100% correct because what I do is Lifestyle coaching. It encompasses all aspects of our lives.
But because we have that shared experience of going through a cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment or living with cancer, you know those experiences and that trauma and the way it impacts us and changes our lives can have a very specific impact. And because of that, this show is really special to survivors, because we get each other in a way that people who haven't been through that experience may not be able to get you.
But at the same time, it's just life that we're trying to process and get through. So I'm super glad that you're here. And that you do see the show for all that it is it is not just about cancer. And it is has everything to do with just living our best lives because that's what we're here for. Right?
We're not here to talk about cancer, we're here to talk about how do you live your best life after cancer with cancer after a diagnosis of cancer. So thank you, again, so much, ladies for leaving those reviews. And if you are a regular listener or even a new listener, and you enjoy the show, it would mean everything to me if you could take a few minutes and leave a rating or review and make sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything. Alright, so let's jump into the show.
Now, this show will air just a few days before the beloved or dreaded, depending on what side of the fence you're on Valentine's Day. So I thought I'd tap into talking a little bit about how we allow or don't allow love in our lives. And as I think back on my own life, you know, it's really astounding the evolution of what I believed love to be, or how I allowed love to flow or not flow in my life, and how I have come to truly understand the meaning and value of loving myself. And the impact of that learning to love myself has on literally everything in life. It's amazing. And so that being said, I also want to acknowledge that letting love flow from others to you and from yourself to yourself is a really big challenge for a lot of us.
So I want to offer some insights on that today. And I want to start off by explaining what I mean by the love manual, right? mastering the love manual is the name of this episode. Well, we all have ideas and expectations of how the people around us should treat us. Especially if we love those people, whether it's family love, romantic love, friendship, love doesn't matter. But if we love them, we have an expectation of how they're going to act towards us. If they love us, in our mind, we may think if that person is my friend, they should treat me this way. Or they should do these things. For me, this is what a friend does.
A friend allows me to do certain things, right?
We have this expectation. So for example, I expect my friends to be supportive, caring, nonjudgmental, to go with the flow. So when I'm around someone who isn't like that, who may be condescending, or negative or high maintenance in the sense that everything has to be that person's way or they become emotionally volatile.
Those people don't fit into my requirements for the friend manual, right the one the manual that I've written in my head, but then there are other friends who go way beyond the normal friend expectation, and they actually fulfill expectations that I would have a family. And therefore, because I think that way, I feel like they are family, right, because they master the family manual.
So it's these expectations of people around us that are most likely never communicated to them, right? You don't sit down with your friend when you meet them and say, Okay, here are my expectations of our friendship, and you lay out all the rules, you may be aware of all the rules you have in your head for your friends.
So the relationship evolves and behaviors and experiences happen organically. And that's how you kind of see where people fit into the guidelines you've created. And what you'll label them, call them, think of them feel towards them. So my own coach calls these guidelines and expectations we have of other people, our manuals. And it's important to recognize that we even have a manual for ourselves.
Now, manuals aren't necessarily a bad thing. They're just a thing, right?
Their ideas and expectations we've had, but they can cause a lot of problems. And we're going to talk about a couple of those problems. Because the thing is that when people deviate from the manual, in a good way, as I referred to a minute ago, then there it's a pleasant surprise. But if they deviate from the manual in a way you perceive as bad, then it can be painful, and it can create a lot of turmoil.
So a great example of this is if you have a child, you've heard yourself say to that child, you can't treat me like that. I'm your mother. And they roll their eyes as they're walking away from you, right. And that's one of the problems because you cannot make other people follow the manual that you've written for them.
But once you become aware of what your manuals are, and you can examine why they exist and whether or not they serve you. If they don't serve you the good news is because you wrote those manuals, you get to change them.
So when I was thinking about doing the show, I thought, let me start off by googling the ever philosophical question of what is love? And let me see what comes up?
Well, one of the first things that popped up was the song, what is Love by Haddaway. And I thought, Okay, this is perfect because if you're familiar with that song, I would sing it for you. But I want you to keep listening.
So I'll spare you from that. But if you're familiar with that song, the first line is what is love. And the second line is, don't hurt me. And this is a great manual to examine. Because in the I Love You don't hurt me a scenario, which I can clearly remember from my own life when I was younger. And I had, unbeknownst to me some very defined manuals. And anyone who violated that manual was met with the cold shoulder, and it would create resentment in me towards these people towards and primarily my primary romantic relationship.
And it was not only a source of creating problems and resentment, but it was also been controlling. And with hindsight, I can see that because in all honesty, even though I wasn't consciously aware of it at the time, giving someone the cold shoulder is basically saying, you have violated my manual for you. And now you must adhere to the rules for manual violators. You must feel like shit. You must acknowledge your unworthiness. And I don't know to see section eight on how to properly kiss my ass to prove to me that you love me the way I want you to love me.
Does that sound familiar? Now or from any other point in your life? Right?
So here's the thing with I love you don't hurt me manuals. They are a fear-based approach to love.
Think about it.
If you're worried about getting hurt. What are you fearful of? You know, you're not in a happy place. You're coming from a place of fear of loss, fear of judgment, fear of rejection, right? Fear of hurt.
And so what aren't you doing when you're in that place? More than likely, you're not going all-in?
You're probably taking tentative actions somewhere in the relationship or somewhere in your life to stay safe. Because don't hurt me is a part of your manual. You may be acting in ways you think someone else will like so that they like you. And in doing so you move further away from that authentic, amazing person that you really are. So you're not staying in that place of curiosity.
Which is if you could move into that place and try to understand the thoughts and the emotions of the other people that you're in these relationships with, then you have an opportunity to develop a closer relationship.
Or, also, if you just allow that flow of love, you can see whether or not that person fits into any of your manuals, right? Maybe they don't have the capacity to love you in the way that you like to be loved or want to be loved in your life. And that's another really important realization to look at. And from that space, there's another thing, there's a message that you're sending yourself, that you're not good enough. Because if you were good enough, and you truly believed that, you wouldn't be trying to hide yourself, in fear of being discovered. fear of being hurt, fear of being judged, or fear of being left behind.
I saw this show, I think it's called The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I saw a couple of episodes, people were raving about it. For the longest time, I watched a couple of episodes. And what stays with me from those episodes was how she would set her alarm to get up much earlier than her husband, so that she could be completely dressed, have her hair done, have her face on before her husband would wake up. So she never wanted her husband just to see her as she was when she woke up, right. She was hiding herself. And what is that saying that saying, I'm not good enough the way I am. And don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with looking good and doing your hair and doing your makeup.
But feeling confident in yourself as a person. And as the person you are without fear of rejection or judgment is really, really important. And coming from that place just continually holds you back from relationships, when you're in that place of fear. And telling yourself You can't let your guard down.
Or worrying that someone else might not like the way you act or like the way you look. And then they'll end up doing something to hurt you. It's not a good place to be. And in addition to that, this set of rules stop can stop you from so much more than just the flow of love from people in relationships.
When your mindset is one of don't hurt me, it can also stop you from pursuing your dreams. Right? Because taking steps outside of your comfort zone puts you at risk of hurt, harm, right?
Feelings that may be negative feelings of failure, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of self-doubt, you know, why would you put yourself out in the world and take a chance of feeling like that if your manual says don't hurt me, right?
You're directing it towards yourself.
But think about in this situation, how different life could be if you adopted that mentality of, Hey, I'm going to put in my manual, I want to see how many times I can fail. And you accepted failure as a learning experience.
Or if you told yourself, hey, I'm going all into all of my relationships, no expectation of what someone else is going to do, I'm just going to be me, all of me. And I'm not going to have the expectation that people will adhere to a certain manual, I'm just going to be open to seeing who the people in my life are, and how I can enjoy them for who they are authentically are without giving them a manual that they won't follow anyway, right? They're not gonna follow the manual.
So if this resonates with you, and this is a kind of a manual that you have around love, I invite you to do some thought dumping about it. Literally, take a piece of paper and a pen, and list all the things you expect from people, including yourself.
And here's a prompt for you: If you love me, you will... fill in the blank.
And when you start writing all your thoughts that you had, you may see all kinds of ways that you're actually stopping the flow of love in your life. Because you're writing in your manual the way that people have to be if they love you a really interesting exercise. Okay.
So here's another one. Another definition of love that I saw in my Google search was from the online news platform called the elite daily. And it said and this is a quote, only when you put someone's needs above your own can you say it's true love.
So I don't know if you guys ever watch Saturday morning cartoons, but I did. I was a huge fan of Saturday morning cartoons. And if you were also you could probably picture this character driving along, and then seeing something out of the corner of their eye catches their attention, and aggressively. They just skid to a stop right and you hear that cartoon noise. Everything just stopping.
Well, that's kind of how I felt when I saw this quote because I thought how in the world Do you have healthy boundaries, step into the creation and pursuit of your dreams and become a fully authentic version of yourself. When someone else's needs always come before your own. Now, if you have kids living at home who need your care, there are a lot of times that you have to put their needs ahead of your own, because they're your responsibility, and they need you to do stuff.
But even in that situation, and I know this as a mother and from all the other mothers that are in my life. In that situation, if you don't take time for yourself, to do something you enjoy, or take a break, take a nap, take a walk, have a date night, have a girls night, you will lose your shit at some point, you will burn out you will feel frustrated, you will feel taken grants taken for granted, or whatever whatever, whatever the feelings are that come up because it's hard work taking care of other people.
And even though we have this life experience with other human beings, it's still our own journey. And it's so important to connect to what is important to you, to surround yourself with people who support you, who treat you well, and who are champions for your happiness.
Because think about this, if your manual says I have to put aside my dreams and desires and happiness for the sake of the people I love, so their happiness can come first. There's just no truth in that.
Because first of all, you can't give happiness to anyone. No matter how awesome you are, or how much love you give to someone. Happiness comes from inside each of us, it's a choice we make, you cannot create that for someone, you have to choose it and the people you love have to choose it for themselves. And in addition to that, when you're coming from that place from that kind of a manual, you're setting an example for the people you love whose happiness you say is a priority. And that example says, Hey, the person I love, you should put your needs and happiness second to everyone you love, just like I'm doing for you.
So what? It just doesn't work.
Because if true love is putting others' needs above your own. The no one's needs are ever going to be a priority. It just doesn't even make sense. Now, again, there are times when and if you're caring for others, that you make compromises, to serve the greater good of the household of everybody's needs. But in a sense, that's also putting your needs first. Because if you decide let's say, for example, that you want to be a stay-at-home parent, and that's an important thing to you. And let's say you choose to leave your job or put off travel or school or whatever so that you can do what you've decided is what you want to see for your family. While you're still doing what's important to you, you still got to make that choice. And you can tell yourself that you're putting off your dreams or putting off your needs. But the truth is, you're living your dream, right now, you've made a decision to do this and be that person in that role for your family because that's what is meaningful to you. Right?
So it's not really putting off something else or putting your needs Second, you put that need that you believed was best for your family first. So it really makes a difference in how we take a look at it. And a writing prompt for you. If this is your love manual if your love manual is everyone's needs have to come before mine.
Here's a prompt for you: How do I love others and fulfill my own needs?
Now putting that down and just writing up every thought that comes into your head, this might show you areas where you're doing some great work, and other areas where you're telling yourself things that just aren't true with respect to the choices that you're making, or not making in your life and why.
So this exercise can really help you get to a place of peace with the choices that you make in supporting your loved ones. And you can also offer you clarity on the choices that you're not making in your life and relationships. And what your manual is telling you about why you're doing that. Okay.
My third and most favorite Google result was from an article in psychology today and I'll link to that article and all of these articles in the show notes at the what you'll find at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/125.
Okay, so here's my favorite. This is a quote, "Love is a force of nature. However much we may want to we cannot command demand, or take away love any more than we can command the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain to come and go according to our winds."
So what if this could be in your manual of love? What if your manual could have the rule that I allow love to flow in my life, to me from others to me, for myself, and to others without attachment to the outcome? Now, let's not make any mistake here, this does not mean allowing people to treat you badly. You know, I am a huge advocate of healthy boundaries. So thinking of love as a force of nature and energy that flows in life, and being open to both receiving and giving love without fear of being hurt, without expectations or specific behaviors.
That's so freeing, right, you get to be free.
And that's a beautiful thing. So when you examine your manual about love, and you recognize the limits you set on yourself and others, you won't have so many things to get angry about, right? If you drop some of those rules in the manual, there are so many fewer things that you can say, well, that's really annoying. That's not what I expected that person to do. And wouldn't it be amazing, to not have to get upset about what other people do? And now think, what if you could love yourself that way, and allow love into your body? Like a force of nature? How cool would that be?
So I want to leave you with this story. I was listening to a podcast the other day. And the host asked the question, she was interviewing somebody and she asked her this question.
How do you respond to yourself when you see yourself in the mirror?
And the woman she was interviewing with or immediately just kind of grunted, right? EWW!?!?
Like the thought of seeing herself in the mirror? And the host said, yeah, that's the problem.
When you see your bestie, right, your best girlfriend, you see her and you say, Hey, how are you? Oh, my God, you look great. Your hair is so cute. Where'd you get those shoes? Right? You're excited? You're complimentary. You're interested, you're curious about her life? And she went on to say to her, why can't you do that? When you see yourself? Why can't you look at yourself in the mirror and say, Hey, girl, you look great! You're doing great. Oh my god, you've done so many great things this week. Look at you. Look at your cute shoes. Look at how great you look, God, I love you. I'm so glad you're here.
And when I heard her talk about that, I thought, wow, you know what, that's a really powerful. It's a really powerful. And what are the thoughts that come up for you? When you think of that when you think of yourself in that situation? Seeing yourself in the mirror-like, Hey, you look awesome. So happy to see you. Do you feel like the woman who was being interviewed was you just go.. eww, I can't even imagine? Are you partway there? Are you totally there and you're good? You're writing I see myself in the mirror every day. And I'm like, dang girl, you looking good.
So wherever you're at on the spectrum, I want that thought for all of us on this Valentine's day and every day to be how can I love myself more? How can you allow love to flow through you, to serve you, and to be a force of nature in your life, rather than a book full of rules for yourself and everybody else?
You deserve that freedom, you deserve that happiness. So I hope this Valentine's weekend you carve out some time for yourself. And you use some of these prompts and you examine some of the ways that you allow love... ways you could allow more love... ways that you block the flow of love and relationships in your life...
And I'd love to hear what you come up with. So please come and join the breast cancer recovery group or find my Facebook page and direct message me or leave comments in the breast cancer recovery group because your insights and experiences when we post about them only help each other and engage all of us in learning how to adopt a more positive mindset, a more loving mindset in our lives and towards ourselves.
I will talk to you again next week and until then, please be good to yourself and expect others to be good to you as well.