#148 The Road to Suffering is Paved with Expectations

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What if you didn’t have any expectations? Would that be weird, or might that be liberating? 

Could you identify expectations, see the suffering they cause, understand where they come from, and then change your mindset around them? 

In this episode, I’ll talk with you about expectations and the results they cause in our lives. 

I’ll offer you a way to look at and think about the expectations you have for your body, your health, your recovery, and a suggestion to help you relive some of the suffering you’ll discover in that work. 

Referred to in this show: 

Join the Revived Membership Experience

Enroll in the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Workshop

 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 another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And as always, I am thrilled to be here with you, it's a gift to be able to be here and do this show every week and know it's out there hopefully, helping someone who might need to hear what's in it.

And before I even jump into the show at all today, I want to take a moment and extend a huge heartfelt thank you to Pjain27, wish I knew your real name, You left an awesome rating and review for the show. And I just appreciate that so much. It really makes a world of difference in the podcasting world to have ratings and reviews for the show. And it does help the podcast become easier to be found by other people who may need to hear it. So thank you so much. I know it takes effort to do that. To even you know, scroll down and leave a rating I all the time struggle with it. I hear things I love and I have to force myself take a minute and leave a rating take a minute and leave review.

So I appreciate you taking that moment to do it. Thank you very, very much.

Okay, so also I want to remind you, this is the time there is just about a week left before we start the better than before breast cancer workshop, this workshop goes over three days, it is one hour a day, you can grab a seat completely free, when you enroll now, you'll be able to go right to the workshop page. And on that workshop page, you will find a video explaining my four pillars of breast cancer recovery, explaining to you the model, which is a tool, I was taught by my own coach that is used in helping to work through thoughts and emotions, it's super powerful. And then when we get to the workshop days, you will join me for an hour a day could be on camera could be off camera, it's webinar style. So whichever you prefer, but be there live is so awesome. It's a great powerful experience, the workshop days will be recorded. So if you can't be there live, you can go back and watch them, you'll have a week to go back and look and listen to them.

And I just cannot tell you how powerful these workshops are. You've got to be there to experience it and witness it and see them. And it's so interesting. I just had an experience this morning where one of my members posted something about how she went back and looked at some of the recordings that we had from coaching calls within our revived membership group and how much she was able to work through a very difficult point by listening to someone else being coached on it.

So it's really powerful.

And if you've ever wondered like what is the deal with this coaching stuff? Come to the breast can't better than before breast cancer workshop and check it out, see what you think it is awesome. We will talk about a different topic each of the three days. And all of that information you can find at https://www.thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/btb better than before. And if you're listening to this podcast on your smartphone on an iPhone, you can scroll right down, you'll see a link in the description for this today's episode. And you can just click on that link, it'll take you right to the registration page.

You have another option to where you can also get coaching and a month in the revived membership as well as the workshop. So lots of great stuff for you. The revived membership is open for enrollment until the end of this month until July 31st.

And it is a powerful, awesome experience. I highly, highly recommend you check it out. Because I would love to work with you if you are struggling with making sense of all of the things that happen during breast cancer after breast cancer and this space of recovery where you're trying to figure out life and figure out your emotions and where you suddenly realize that there is so much more to dealing with recovering from and living with the aftermath or even the experience of breast cancer come to the revived membership.

I get it, I know it, and I know how I can help you shorten that learning curve of suffering.

So check it out. https://www.thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/btb for better than before or if you know you just want to jump right into revived https://www.thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/revived.

Alright, let us get into this show.

So last week I talked with you about the Regroup pillar about a part of the reason Regroup pillar, which is examining relationships in your life, people in your life and whether they serve and support your wellness and, and a positive outlook or if they actually take away from good energy in your life.

And today I want to talk about the Release pillar, the first pillar of breast cancer recovery.

And it's not as if release is, oh, I did everything in release. And now I've moved on. And now I'm over it. And now I don't have any issues around breast cancer life, I figured out all the things.

It's this constant recycling through the pillars, it's release, renew, regroup, revive, release, renew, every time you move to a different stage of life, or come up on different experiences. Some you we think about these pillars, and what's within the pillars, and it helps us to see, well, this might be something I need to let go of. And then the release pillar, there are things like labels, and self judgment, and self compassion, and post traumatic growth. And what today's show is about expectations.

And I'll tell you why. If you ever heard and I'm sure you have heard the saying the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Well, I'm going to offer a new saying, and that is that the road to suffering is paved with expectations. Expectations creates so much friggin pain. And this has just become especially obvious to me, in going through my own experience with breast cancer, recovering from breast cancer coaching people getting diagnosed, again, working through all the things that come up with the stage for diagnosis. And I'll tell you something that happened to me just the other day.

So I started struggling with or having issues with lymphedema back in March of this year. And that was a result of having a five centimeter tumor in my lymph nodes, which is now gone, yay, responding really well to chemo. And also being put on crutches because of the amount of cancer in my hip and pelvis and needing to be on crutches and not have any weight bearing on those bones while I was going through radiation.

So in that experience, it just triggered lymphedema, and lymphedema once you've had lymph nodes removed, it can be triggered lifelong, you've got to always manage it and be careful with it. So I had never really had any issues with it before. They were very minor. And it was after the removal of my lymph nodes in 2011. They were very minor and it was for a short period of time. But this is not minor. This is an issue. And so I am going through therapy, physical therapy for my lymphedema. And I do all the things right.

The protocol for me is to wear a compression sleeve throughout the day compression bandages throughout the night. It was for six weeks, constant compression bandages day and night compression bandages. I get lymphedema therapy and measurements twice a week. And now I have if you follow me on social media, you saw my brand new lymphedema, Flexi touch machine, which is super cool. And basically it's like a Michel Michelin Man suit and you put it on and it does a lymphatic drainage massage, which is really relaxing and nice. But I have to do it an hour a day, every day. And so here I am working on this since the end of March. And it's a lot of work and effort in time. And still the swelling in my arm, it's gotten a little better in some places, and it's actually gotten worse in other places.

So now I've gone back to having to spend more time with compression bandages, and just really, you know, going full force and squeezing the juice out of this arm.

So the other day, I am getting dressed and putting on a cute shirt. I'm going to go out to the movies with my granddaughter, we're going to go have lunch. It's a beautiful day outside, it's summery and sunny and lovely. And I look at that compression sleeve and I just say no, just No. I am breaking up with you today. Today, we need some space from each other today emotionally and mentally I cannot handle putting on that sleeve one more time.

I just want to feel normal. I just want to feel free. I just want don't want to have a reminder of cancer on me today.

And I thought about that because it was really powerful as I looked at like my whole body was just no, no sleeve today.

And I spent a little bit of time thinking about this and I was like why am I having such a strong reaction today to that sleeve? What is the thought behind it? And what I came to realize is that I am holding on to an expectation of my arm. Right? I was diagnosed with lymphedema. I was given a protocol. I followed the protocol I've been diligent I've been committed, because I know that this can easily turn into cellulitis if I get a puncture or scratch or anything, because I have had that happen before. In the very beginning, when I told you I had mild lymphedema, I had that happen.

I had cellulitis, it was horrible. And so I'm very diligent about protecting this arm and following my protocol.

But what I realized is that beneath all of that is an expectation that it will be fixed. Right? That it will heal that it will change that it will stop that at some point, I won't have to do this, somewhere de back in there in my brain was saying, why isn't this fixed yet. And so that feeling of disappointment that comes with that thought, this should be better by now, that's attached to that expectation leaves me feeling like oh, this is exhausting, it should be better by now, I'm disappointed, I'm done with that sleeve.

So then I don't wear the sleeve. And then guess what happens? For two days, I'm back in compression bandages, because my arms swelled when I didn't wear this sleeve, and it was hot outside.

So I bring this up. Because looking at the expectations we have is so important. And that is a part of the release pillar. And I'll tell you why. Because we have such a strong expectation of going back to the way that we used to be.

So we have a future expectation based on going backwards. And this results in so much suffering. And so you might be thinking, well, what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to never expect anything in this life? And I want to offer? Yes, yes. I think releasing expectations, first of all, identifying expectations, truly understanding the expectations you have of yourself, of your body of your life, of what cancer treatment meant to you of what should happen after cancer treatment.

Examining those expectations and asking yourself first of all, why do I have this expectation?

Second of all, where did it come from? You know, what evidence do I have that I could expect this? And this is the way it's going to be?

And then asking yourself a super, super important question. Is this expectation serving me? Is this expectation, creating more happiness in my life? Am I growing as a result of having this expectation? Or is this expectation, keeping me stuck in suffering?

Now, you may hear me say don't have any expectations, and think that's just ridiculous.

So I want to offer that I believe very much in having goals, goals in life. But I feel like a goal is something that we say this is great, right? This is something I want to take action on. And that the action is where we focus.

So when it comes to my arm, I had to examine this expectation of this should be better. And I had to say to myself, I need to change my mindset here. Right, I need to change my mindset from thinking this is going to get better to understanding that this is something that just needs long term management, as does healing from breast cancer.

You know, as does supporting your body after breast cancer treatment. This is something that needs long term management, and the expectation that when I get done with chemo, radiation, surgery, reconstruction, whatever it is that you've chosen to do that, bam, everything's going to be normal again, that expectation sets you up for so much suffering friend, so much. And then I'm going to take that a step further. And say those expectations we have in life, they can create the same suffering.

And there's so many in so many areas, that examining them and why we have them. And really looking at the fact that most of the time because you have an expectation, it results in disappointment or suffering. And I've heard people say to me, Oh, see, I just so I shouldn't expect things from people because they're always going to let me down. And the same thing with our body, right, or our healing, so I just shouldn't have any expectations. And that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying Yes, the expectation part. But what I'm saying is, yeah, we need to become present in the moment.

And we need to accept where we are now in this life. And then we need to say to ourselves, okay, what is it right now that I like want to keep don't like want to change I would like to work on and then we start that journey. And we start that journey and we can have a goal at the end of that journey. We say I am going to work towards this goal. And then each It's not have I achieved the goal yet? It's what can I do today to work towards the goal? Because we don't want to be looking at. I'm not there yet. Oh, I'm not there yet.

Okay, what am I doing to achieve that goal? So if I look at my arm, and I say, well, I'd love to be able to get to the point where I can go for a day without wearing lymphedema sleeve and not swell, okay, that's a great goal to have. But in order to do that, I know that there's a long term process that I have to learn to accept and be committed to.

And this is the same with so many different aspects of healing from breast cancer. And I say this, because I see comments so much of the time, where I hear I can't do this anymore. And I'm so defeated, and I'm so depressed, and I'm just suffering so much. And every single time that is followed by because fill in the blank isn't better yet. Because I'm still struggling with this. Because this is still happening to me.

And friends, that is based on an expectation that at some point, it's going to stop, or that it should have already stopped.

And so what I want to encourage you to do, is to really look at those expectations. Why do you have them? And can we roll that expectation back?

So as I was working on this the other day and saying, okay, you know, I clearly I didn't realize that I had this expectation that it was going to get better that it was going to stop and heal. But I did you know, it was in there. When I stopped and I did this thought download, I was like, why am I just reacting so powerfully to this, it was because of this underlying expectation. But now that I'm aware of that, I can let it go. I can look at it. And I can say I can let that expectation go. And I can come back to the intention I have for every day in my life, the intention of doing everything I can today to support the healing in my body.

And I come back to that intention. And I say, okay, it isn't about the expectation that this is going to stop. It's about living the intentional life, of being focused on healing. And asking myself today, what have I done? Have I done the exercises? Have I done the therapy? Have I worn the garments? Have I checked in with myself and let go of any thoughts that are creating suffering and pain behind all of that.

And I share this with you because so often when I'm dealing with someone who's really struggling with negative emotions, around the expectation that something should be different than what it is, there's typically a lot of powerlessness wrapped up in these emotions as well. So you have an expectation.

And in fact, here's the interesting thing.

So I looked up in the dictionary, the difference between expectations and goals.

And an expectation is a belief that someone will and I'm going to add in or something, a belief that someone or something will or should achieve something.

All right.

But the definition of a goal is the object of a person's ambition or effort, an aim or desire.

So you see, there's a little bit of a difference there, right?

Because with an expectation, we just have this thought we have this idea, we say this is the way it should be. And we haven't done any work behind that to say, why do I think this is the way it should be? You know, what's behind that? What evidence do I have to support that, which is a reason that I believe that, whereas with a goal, we can say, Alright, here's what I'd like. And now I get to own the actions behind it. What are my actions?

So going back to working with someone who's really struggling with not being where they tell themselves, they should, quote, unquote, "I should be here already, I should be done." Just like me with my arm, "like this shouldn't still be happening. I'm doing all the right things." When we go down that road, we lose our power. We're giving up our power, our choices and the steps than the actions that we can take to move towards our desired goal, to some unseen universal energy that just should make this happen. And then we have the thought it doesn't matter. Right? The efforts I put out don't matter.

So if I looked at my arm, and I said, "crap that's been going on since April. And there's a part a section of my arm that's even worse than it was this isn't working, I give up. I'm just not even wearing this damn thing."

Well, then the result is going to be, it is only going to get worse.

Because the way we think always, always, always ends up with the results we live with.

So when we can identify an expectation that hasn't been met, and is causing a suffering. And we can dig down into that and figure out why do I even have this expectation? What evidence do I have that this should happen?

And the most important question of all, is this expectation serving me? Or could I choose something else? some other way of thinking, that wouldn't cause me so much pain? And then we can take ownership and ask ourselves, what am I doing every day to support this? Right? Because when we start to think like that, we take different actions, we don't get frustrated and give up.

So many times, especially after breast cancer, the expectation of weight loss, oh, my God, we go through hell, ladies. So many of us, me included, I lead the charge, we go through hell with this expectation that after everything we've been through, and after chemotherapy, and after being thrown into menopause, or maybe already being in it before your treatments, that you should just be able to lose weight.

And we had to ask our and then we get tired of expecting that to happen, and give up and say, well, it might as well eat the cronuts, because nothing's working anyway. I might as well have another Margarita, because it doesn't matter whenever I do. Right? And our thoughts end up in the result, which is typically more weight gain, if that's the way that we think.

So it's just so important for us to open our eyes to the expectations we have in our life. And I would just encourage, you know, when you take that five minutes for yourself, or 10 minutes for yourself everyday, hopefully it's more than that. But at the minimum, I hope it is that and ask yourself, if you are struggling with something, if you have something, you know that it's really bringing you pain and disappointment and frustration that you look at it and say, What is my expectation here? And why add Why do I have it? Where did the expectation come from? Is it serving me? Is there something in this some way that I could change my thought, and have a different goal, establish what I would like to be the outcome, and then all the actions I can take in working towards that goal.

And just shift that whole way of thinking from I expect this, this is the way it should be to going you know what that is not helping me. That's just not friggin helping me.

I was listening, actually to a coaching call in a group that I'm in last week. And this poor woman, Oh, My God, she was in so much pain over two pounds, right? She wanted to lose two pounds. And she hadn't been able to do it in just beating herself up. And I cannot tell you just the frustration, the anger, the heated emotions that were coming out of her. Because she had the expectation that what she had done would work. She told herself it didn't work. And then she was just focused only on this didn't work.


We lose the curiosity, we lose the opportunity for other approaches, we lose the opportunity for other perspectives. And that happens in all kinds of areas of our lives.

So when I tell you, the road to suffering is paved with expectations. I mean it.

And I hope that you do take some time for yourself to examine when it comes to the areas I'm struggling with in life.

What do I expect?

When we can recognize the thoughts that aren't helping us, that aren't serving us that are not making our lives better, because we're clinging to them, then we can start the work on releasing them. On training our brain to think differently. On identifying This isn't what I want to think this is what my brain is offering me and I'm going to reject that thought because it isn't serving me.

If you need help with that, get a seat in the better than before breast cancer workshop come and talk to me and let's coach on it. I would love to there's nothing I love more than seeing someone get that breakthrough. And right there, I can see them let go of so much pain and their heart open to the idea. There's another way here. There's another way to look at something, there's another opportunity, there may be a different approach that might bring me more happiness instead of compounding the suffering.

So I hope that helps. Come and join me, the better than before breast cancer workshop, you can register for free at https://www.thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/btb and I would love, love, love to see you there. Because this is real. This stuff is real that we struggle with. And I'm telling you, it's also manageable and it can get better.

All right. 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.

Take care.



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