#165 The Pressure to Be Happy

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The last thing anyone wants to do is feel uncomfortable. We avoid it at any cost. 

We do anything we can to move closer to happiness even if it means that we never spend time looking at or dealing with what is making us uncomfortable. 

We feel pressured to be happy. 

If we’re not happy, other people might feel uncomfortable or worried. 

If we’re not happy, we may appear ungrateful for all the good things in life. 

But what if we can have all the good things and still be ok with exploring the uncomfortable so we can change them too? 

Check out this episode to hear more about creating more happiness by not giving in to the pressure of being happy.

Referenced in this episode:

5 Day Giveaway! 

Read the full transcript here:


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. As always, I am thrilled to be here today. And today's a really good day today is my husband's birthday. My husband is an awesome guy. And we're planning a very fun night we're going to a place out and we live in Southern California. And we're going to a place called The Magic Castle with very good friends of ours who also have a birthday today. And in keeping with the themes of good days and birthdays, I have a birthday coming up next week. And for my birthday, I want to do something special for my audience. You know, when I started this podcast, the reason for this podcast was to create a space where breast cancer survivors could come to feel heard, understood, related to. I created the breast cancer recovery group and all of my coaching programs to create that feeling of community and support in this very much needed space of recovery from breast cancer treatment. And this podcast is a huge piece of that. And it's a gift that I give back and that I want every cancer breast cancer survivor who needs it, to be able to hear it. So for my birthday, I want to reach even more people. I want to expose everyone who wants to or needs to hear any message in this podcast to be able to know the podcast exists. So I am creating a five-day giveaway. And it's going to start next Monday, November 22nd, which was actually my grandma's birthday too, another very special day. And every day from the 22nd through the 26th, which is my birthday, I am going to give away a prize every single day. There's no cost to it, there's nothing you have to buy. But I need your help in spreading the awareness that this podcast exists for those people who know it. And if you help me spread that awareness, I'm going to draw from all those names and I'm going to give some prizes away. Now you can get all the details of my five-day giveaway at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/giveaway. I'll also post that link here in the show notes for this episode. But basically, all you need to do is leave a review for the podcast, take a screenshot of that review, post on your social media, and tag me so that I know you did it. And everybody who does that is going to go into the drawing. And I'm going to draw and give away a prize every single day for any reviews that are left for the show. Alright, so again, get all the details at thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/giveaway. And thank you in advance just for being here and for helping me spread the word that there's a space here for everyone like us who needs to have more support, and know that they're not alone. All right, so let's get right into the show. So I started off by telling you that it was a good day, and it is a good day. But over the last week, I've had a few really rough days. Nothing disastrous has happened. Nothing traumatic has happened. They've just been some challenging days. And I'm actually in a mentoring program to elevate my own coaching skills and ability, even more, getting a lot of feedback in this program, doing a lot of self-assessment and self-study, and increasing my own self-awareness. And I'm sure you know that in doing that a lot of things come up that can be difficult to process, hard to look at. And self-judgment comes in and criticism comes in. And it can present some really challenging moments. As I've been going through exactly those things over this last has been two weeks now but last week was a little more challenging. But it's challenging in a good way, right. It's challenging in a way that pushes me towards more personal growth, which is exactly why I am doing this program. I'm doing what I'm doing. So in doing this in sitting and reflecting on one particularly very challenging day I was having a discussion about it and brought it up with my own mentor and coach when I explained how I was feeling and how I didn't want to feel like that, I was asked the question, What is wrong with feeling like that?



Why are you resisting it? Of course, the answer is, I don't like it. I don't like the way it feels, I'm uncomfortable. So as I consider the discussion that we had, and all this that was going on, I started to really think about the pressure we put on ourselves to stay happy, right, we tell ourselves all the time, we have to be happy. And when we find ourselves in an uncomfortable place, processing an uncomfortable emotion, feeling something that's uncomfortable, as fast as we can, we want to move out of that, instead of just allowing the feeling and then allowing the thoughts that are coming up with it, and processing what's really happening so that we can grow and we can learn to understand learn more about ourselves, even more, we just want to get out of that space as quickly as possible. That totally includes me. So I got called out for that. Right? Why? Why don't you want to feel like that? What is the problem with feeling like that? And on the one hand, the problem with feeling like that is it is uncomfortable. On the other hand, the benefit of feeling like that is I examine what causes me to feel like that, and then I get to work on it, and I get to grow from it. And this applies to so many of us in everything that we go through, especially in breast cancer recovery, or in living with breast cancer as I am, because there's this constant evaluation, or we come out of breast cancer treatment, or we get diagnosed with a recurrence, we have to learn to live with cancer and manage cancer, which not only people with metastatic breast cancer have to manage cancer. Anyone who has had cancer, as we move forward, we are managing breast cancer for the rest of our lives. And part of the discomfort of doing that is the constant reminder, right? It's the scans is the doctor's appointments, it's the blood work. And maybe we do them every six months or once a year, or maybe we've been moved to every other year. But whenever it comes up, there's often the story we tell ourselves as I shouldn't have to still be dealing with this, right. And when that feels uncomfortable or frustrating, we go right to self-judgment, we go right to I should just be grateful, I should just be grateful. I'm still here and alive. Why am I complaining about this? What is wrong with staying in that place? Where you are telling yourself I don't want to continue to have to manage this or be in this space or feel this feeling whatever that feeling is that comes up for you? Why don't we pressure ourselves so much and tell ourselves, we have to be happy? I was having this conversation with one of my sisters the other day. And I said, you know, if we look back at our lives as women, how many times do we hear You know, you'd be a lot prettier if you just smiled? Or why would a pretty girl like you don't have a smile on your face? Right? There's this constant, oh, I'm supposed to be happy. Not only am I supposed to be happy, but I'm supposed to be happy to please everyone else. I'm supposed to appear happy and smiling so that people around me feel better about looking at me. Now that right there is an interesting thing to explore, isn't it? And then we buy into that we get conditioned for the time we're little kids, we're not even aware that we're being conditioned to do this, then we go through challenging times in our lives, really challenging times. And everybody has challenges whether they're the day-to-day life challenges, managing family, managing money, managing jobs, managing a diagnosis, managing recovering from a diagnosis, and all the other types of things that can happen in life. We tell ourselves, we have to find a way to be happy. And we pressure ourselves so much to get to happiness, that honestly, we miss out on a lot of opportunities to grow and to change. Because if we allow ourselves to stay in that very uncomfortable place, that place where we are judging ourselves a place where we are looking at our life and saying my life doesn't fit right now. We take a chance of learning something very valuable. Because I believe, and I want to offer to you, that we can be very grateful for all of our blessings, and we can count our blessings. And we can live a life with gratitude every day and I highly encourage you to do that. And at the same time, we can experience feelings of discomfort. We can bump up against things in our life that aren't working for us. And it's okay at those times, to stay in that place. And to, to really acknowledge and allow yourself to realize, I'm not happy here.



Now, after going through cancer twice, I have a very different outlook on life. And after going through all the coaching that I have gone through and continue to go through, you know, I just have a very different perspective on life. I don't look at cliches, so much as cliches because many cliches are very, very true. Like Life is short. That's just a friggin truth. That's nothing to just go ehh and brush off. That is very, very true. Finding Happiness is an awesome thing in life, do what makes you happy, right? It feels good to be happy. But how do you do what makes you happy? If you're not willing to stop and acknowledge what you are unhappy with? I'll share a personal story with you. So my youngest son, he's 22 years old, he was supposed to be looking for an internship for the degree that he's working on. And in looking for an internship, a company hired him. And they love him, of course, because he's a great worker, and he's just a great person. Yet this job was anything but what he wanted in his life. When he would tell me about it, I would say, Do what makes you happy? Do what makes you happy, life is short. And he would give me this litany of I don't want to disappoint this person, I don't want them to think bad of me, or I want to make sure I meet their expectations. And I will listen to him and think 22 years old, and you're already going to live your life for someone else, even if it makes you miserable. Not okay. Right? Not okay. I would just encourage him to really look at all of the aspects of what he was currently doing, that were good. And the things he was currently doing and was working in that he didn't really like. And to say both are true. And both are okay. And so for the things that you really don't like, is that a part of what you want your future life to have? Do you want that in your life two years from now, five years from now? And of course, he didn't. But did you want these other things that are great about this job to be in your life in the future? And he did. So I share that story with you. Because he did make a decision to leave the job and go do something that was going to make him happy. And when he made the decision. And he let that job know that he was leaving, he called me and said, You know what, I feel so good about this decision, I am never going to allow myself to stay in a place that makes me unhappy again. And I was so happy to hear that. Because that's really the message here in life, we tell we talk ourselves out of happiness, so much of the time, because of the pressure to be happy does not sound weird. So we're not happy. Because we force ourselves and say I should be happy in doing that we don't deal with what makes us unhappy. And the result is we're even more unhappy. So why the pressure to be happy? What is wrong with allowing ourselves to realize there are things in our life that are not okay. And really staying in that uncomfortable place. Not trying to get out of it as fast as you can. Not heading to the tray of fudge not heading to the bottle of wine, not saying oh my god, this has been a horrible day. This is a rough day I'm so sad. I'm so angry. I'm so disappointed. I'm so all of these things. How do I get out of this feeling? Even not even turning to those people who have you know, oftentimes we'll go to a friend, we'll go to someone we feel safe with and we care about. And we'll explain how we're feeling. And in return, we'll get but look at the good things in your life. And I just want to emphasize that message again, experiencing and feeling what isn't good doesn't mean you're discounting your entire life. It means you're realizing something in your life isn't working for you, and just stay there. But one of the reasons we don't like to stay there, in addition to the fact that it's uncomfortable, is that if we stay in that space long enough without justifying it without buffering it without running straight to I'll just feel happy. I'll just feel grateful is eventually will realize we have to take action.



We always know when there's something in us that's not fitting. That's not feeling right. We know right? We know something is off when We need to make a change, then we think about the changes we need to make, whether it is changing a job, changing a career, having difficult conversations in a relationship, changing a relationship, ending a relationship, starting a relationship, moving to a different place, whatever the fixes are. We know them ahead of time. They're making us uncomfortable, and they're making us feel unhappy because we're thinking this isn't right for my life. And then we buffer with happiness, we find something else, find something to distract your mind to say, but this part is good because if I stay here, I'm gonna have to change something. And that's a lot of work. And it's much easier. If I just realize I can focus on my other blessings, and live with a part of me that's unhappy, and just stay there. It's easier. But it sure as hell is not going to make you happier. It's not going to go away, it's not going to get better. The difficult emotions and the discomfort you feel from it that come up, are not going to go away, you're just going to keep pressing them down, pressing them down, pressing them down. And they will result in something maybe more buffering, meaning turning to something else to make yourself feel better, more frequently, whether it's food or alcohol, or work or anything else. So that you don't have to take the action to make the change on the thing you know, is creating discomfort and unhappy feelings in your life. That's the hard part. Right? That's the truth.



So let me offer you a few suggestions on what you can do when you're in this place. You don't have to make change happen immediately. You know, changing anything in your life is a process dealing with breast cancer is a process healing from breast cancer is a process and making changes in your life is a process. But if you can stay in that place when those feelings of discomfort, come up the uncomfortable powerful emotions and begin to look at what is really driving them and start to write down those things. Start to write down, what is coming up for you what your thoughts are when you're having these uncomfortable emotions. And what you're telling yourself has to be done. Because sometimes you can back off on what you're telling yourself. So it's not quite so uncomfortable. Let me give you an example. Let's say that you come out of breast cancer treatment, you're reevaluating your life, that veil that I talked about that veil that is over our eyes, as we go through life doing all the things we were conditioned to do is removed. We come out of breast cancer treatment, we look around our life, we say, oh shit, life is short. And this thing is not working for me. Let's say it's a job. This job is not working for me. I'm not finding any happiness, I'm not finding any rewards. I'm not finding any fulfillment. But the job provides a good living and benefits. Right? There's good and there's bad, you don't immediately need to quit your job. You can start to look at as I shared a minute ago with my son, look at what you like and what you don't like, what are the qualities that you do like and you don't like? What other things? Could you find those qualities in the good qualities? What do you want to leave behind? And you can start first just getting to a place where you can get more comfortable with the need that's coming up in you with the thought idea or judgment that's creating the discomfort, just start to get curious about it, start to really spend some time with it. Instead of telling yourself, I have to make a huge change. Even if it's a relationship and you realize this relationship is not where I want it to be. You don't have to leave the relationship necessarily, right you can start looking at the relationship and spending some time before you bring it up. Understanding it yourself and getting very grounded in the aspects that you are happy with and the aspects that you're not happy with. And then when you're ready and you feel comfortable knowing what you need, then you can confidently express what you need from a place of compassion. You can confidently make change and take action in your life from a place of compassion for yourself. So I think this is one of the very big hurdles in creating change in our life. And discomfort comes up whether it's, you know, changing anything or creating a healthy boundary, making new lifestyle changes creating new lifestyle habits. We tell ourselves sometimes if I have a healthy lifestyle. If I incorporate more vegetables or decide that I'm going to be a healthy person in the way I eat, that means I can never have ice cream again. And it's not true. So I think spending time with the discomfort, and really looking at the ideas behind the discomfort that make it so powerful, and bringing it down into smaller things and saying, Hmm, maybe I can just keep eating the same amount of ice cream I eat right now and incorporate a half cup of vegetables in every meal. Maybe I can stay in the relationship that I'm in right now and begin to have discussions about things that I would like to see improvement in. Right. So we don't have to as the old saying goes, throw the baby out with the bathwater, because that in itself, that belief system in itself creates a lot of this pressure to move out of feeling uncomfortable. Find something that makes you feel happy, and then ignore the discomfort and move on. But if you can stay there and evaluate it and break it down and make it easier to manage easier to process, even create processes around it, that makes it more acceptable for you in your life and know that you're taking steps toward change. That is a little easier to actually create the life that you want to live rather than ignore what's pushing you towards wanting to create that life. Alright, I hope that makes sense to you. And if it doesn't, you can email me you can find me on Facebook, you can come to The Breast Cancer Recovery Group, my free Facebook group, join it ask me questions in there. And I am happy, happy, happy to answer them. So thank you for joining me here today. Please go to thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/giveaway, get all the details once again on my five-day giveaway, which will happen November 22nd 2021, through November 26th 2021. And even if you're someone who has already left a review, it's cool I have a place for you to be in it to no problem. You don't have to write a new review. So check that out so that I can gift to you all for being here and being a gift in my life. Thank you so much for listening and I'll talk to you again next week. And until then, be good to yourself and expect others to be good to you as well. Take care.



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