#175 How to Love Your Body Unconditionally

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When you think about the relationships in your life, what are the conditions you put on them? 

Do people have to earn your love or do specific things to deserve your love? 

For most of us, the answer is yes. 

But have you thought about how that applies to yourself and your body? 

What are the conditions your body has to meet to deserve your love? 

If it doesn't meet those conditions, what do you do, and how does that impact your life? 

Most of us decide to complain about our body, ignore it, act as if we have no control over it, or turn to abusing it. 

In this show, I'll talk to you about why that happens and how you can shift your mindset and learn to choose unconditional love for your body. 

Imagine how amazing that would feel.  

If you didn't know that choice was available to you, learn everything you need to know about it now. 

Read the full transcript here:

This is Laura Lummer, The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach. I'm a healthy lifestyle coach, a clinical Aruyveda 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, hello, welcome to another episode of The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am so excited to be on episode 175. Because when I think about that, and it's like holy cow, I'm so close to 200 episodes, just sounds like a big landmark thing. I know everything that goes on behind, you know, recording and creating and putting a podcast out there. So for me, 200 is landmark. And I've got 25 more to go. So I'm going to have to think of something super cool to do at 200 episodes. So I better get planning on that you have ideas of a fun, special thing for 200 episodes, you can come to my Facebook and message me and let me know because I think it's gonna be a great celebration. All right. So before I get into the show, I just have one thing that I want to ask of you, if you enjoy listening to The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast, and I hope you do, it would be awesome. If you could take the time to leave a rating or review for the show, you can do that wherever you listen to this podcast, it's super easy to do it on your smartphone, wherever you listen to the podcast, I think on Google that you can actually leave a review, I've heard that you can like it, I think something like that. But wherever you listen, there's usually a feature that allows you to review it, or at least to leave some rating some stars for it. So you can even find this podcast on Audible just say, hey, Alexa, play The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach Podcast and you can review it and rate it there on Audible as well. So lots of ways. And the reason I asked that is because if you leave ratings and reviews, the more ratings and reviews a show has, the easier it is that more comes up and shows itself to people that are searching that term. So if you find this podcast helpful for you, then leaving a rating and review, we'll make it easier to find for other women who may need to hear what is in the show. And so that would be helping me out and it would be helping them out. And I would really appreciate it. So that being said, thank you in advance, take a moment to do that. That would be incredibly special. And I would appreciate it. Alright, so you know, it's so amazing. I have a conversation with someone. And I think, Wow, this is a really powerful topic, this is something really meaningful. And then I'll go into coaching calls, and it's just wild, that topic will come up again, and again. And when that happens frequently, I think this is something I have to talk about on the podcast, because I know that most of us are thinking this. And also for the podcast that came out last week where I read that letter about what I was telling myself in the first couple of years after my breast cancer treatment. I got so many amazing emails, messages and comments from people on how much that meant to them, how much they identified with it, how much they cried with me through it, because, you know, that brings up some pretty powerful emotions. And that subject kind of ties into what I'm talking about here today. So first, let me tell you a little story. I was talking to someone to a family member of mine. And the subject came up about someone that she cares about very much. And I had asked Oh, when was the last time you talked to that person or texted that person. And the attitude and the energy of the conversation shifted very quickly, and definitely some hurt feelings and some anger came up. And as she started telling me why she wasn't putting in effort to talk to her text that person. She said at the end of it, I gave my unconditional love and that's my bad because I didn't get it back.
And we talked a little more about that because it's not unconditional love when it's got a bunch of conditions attached to it. When someone has to jump through hoops and call you a certain amount of time and text you a certain amount of times and give you a certain amount of attention. Those are called conditions and conditions don't meet the requirements for unconditional love. Love is choice. Feeling love is a choice. And feeling love comes from specific thoughts, the thoughts that you have that bring the feeling of love. And then when you feel that love, you take specific actions, you might reach out to a person more, you just continue to show up as the person who loves someone else. Without having the expectation of anything in return, you just say, I love you. And you always get to choose that. And that always feels better than something else. As I said, the conversation shifted, the energy shifted, it turned to anger, turn to resentment, that doesn't feel good. Those are not good feelings. And the thoughts that create those feelings are not good. So the reason I bring that up, I'm not talking about external relationships today. I wanted to relate that story to you because as I was having a conversation, then afterwards, I realized, you know, that's how we are with our own bodies, we do not love our bodies unconditionally. And that comes up again, and again, and again, in my coaching sessions. That was a theme that I could see when we were doing the Five Day Sugar Challenge, which was last week. And I see that in terms of us, telling ourselves, you know, that we're not lovable, that our bodies aren't worthy, because they don't look a certain way, act a certain way, or feel a certain way. So one of the tools that I use in my coaching that was taught to me in Life Coach School was about the manual. And the manual is basically the rulebook we have written for people, we have a certain expectation of our family members of our friends of our co workers of our parents, of our neighbors, and we decide this person should act like that. And when they don't, we think something about them. And then we feel angry, or hurt or resentful, or whatever it might be. But we go have that manual with our body as well. And so I started thinking about this, and I thought, look it, let's try to separate. And whatever this you is right, the person, the observer, that part of us that notices what we think that part of us that notices a sensation in the body, that part of us that notices an emotion that we're feeling and separate that kind of take a step back, and then look at our body as an outside entity, like there's Laura's body, and I'm deciding I want to be in a relationship with that body. Am I deciding that? Do I choose to be in a relationship with my body? Or is my body just kind of there and we're just kind of stuck, and we just kind of bing bong off each other all the way through life? Do we consciously stop and look at our body and say, hmm, I am in a relationship. My consciousness, right is a part of this body. My consciousness chooses how I think about it, and how I treat it. What I tell it, what I put in it, how I judge it, and how I label it.
Do I want to have unconditional love for this body? And what would that look like? Because as it stands now, for most people, me included, there's always judgments. Right? Oh, I hate this body. Uh, my skin doesn't look as it should. Oh, I'm aging. Oh, I mean, I'm 58 years old now. So believe me, I say, have said I'm totally guilty of this. And here, oftentimes from friends from family. How much I hate aging. Oh, I hate this body now. Right? We're sending hate and judgment to ourself. Because we have a manual. We have an expectation of a body. This is what a body should do. This is what a body should look like. And if this body does it meet these expectations or follow these rules? Well, I'm going to unleash my wrath on it. Or I'm just going to ignore it. I'm going to give it the cold shoulder. I'm not going to pay attention to what I do and how I treat it. And what I say it's been a bad body. So Screw it. I'm now giving it any attention. You have a certain set of rules and expectations. And I think there's a very important question to ask why. Why do you have that expectation? Why is your body supposed to look a certain way? Why is your body supposed to work a certain way? It's just this biological entity, right? I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who's a physician. And we were just talking about how remarkable it is that we know so little, and understand so little about what is happening in our body. Right? We don't understand all of these years, we've been dealing with cancer. I don't even know how many years since we first realized what cancer was. And we haven't figured it out yet. Right? She's dealing with a condition right now. And nobody really knows what that condition what brought it up? Or what will make it go away? Or why it is what it is. And there's a lot of that. There's a lot of Oh, that's really rare. Oh, we never see it, or we do see it. But we don't know why it is. Right. We don't understand a lot of the ways that our body works. And each body works so differently. So why do we have these expectations that our body should work a certain way? Why do we have these expectations that our body shouldn't be susceptible to a chronic illness of some kind of any kind? Why do we tell ourselves that, and then we feel this disappointment, this anger, this resentment, this hatred towards our own body, for a rule, we set up for it that made no sense to begin with? I think it comes from the fact that if we were fortunate enough to have the earliest part of our lives be relatively disease free, then we just had the expectation that, oh, this is the way it's supposed to work, we get used to that, right. And I think that that's what makes it difficult for us to age as well, we get used to a young body. For however many years the body is young, we get used to youthful skin, we get used to being able to move without pain, average for most of us right? To eat more calories than is necessary without gaining a ton of weight for most of us, for many people until we hit a certain age, and then bam, everything changes. And so because our experience at a certain age is one thing, we just think that's the way a body is supposed to work. But it does it right a body changes and transforms where we write this rulebook for it. And when it violates our rulebook, we decide we hate it. And here's another really interesting point on that topic. You know, before cancer, when we look back, and we view our relationship with our body before cancer, either we were already unhappy with it, and we're already ignoring it. Or we were comparing it to someone else. It wasn't good enough, because it didn't look like this person who you judge to be better. But then you go through cancer, and it's changed in a way that you don't want it to be changed. And now who do you compare it with? You compare it with your previous self, right? Suddenly, your hair was good enough and you wish you had a back, suddenly, your joints were great, and you wish they didn't hurt, suddenly, your skin was good enough. And now man, it's really bad. I wish I could get the old skin back. And it's just this crazy, vicious, unhealthy relationship that creates so much suffering in our lives and impacts every area of our lives. Because it impacts our self confidence. It impacts the way we view ourselves in the world. Because we tell ourselves stories about the way other people view us because of the judgement of the physical appearance of our body.
And when I reflect back on what is really difficult about breast cancer, well, there's a lot you know, but not not speaking of the treatments, but difficult in us processing is that this thing happened to me, and that this thing changed me. And that that there's a fear going forward that this thing will happen to me again. And so it's not only important, that we start to review this relationship with our body and how we choose to love it, how we choose to be in a relationship with it. But it's also very, very important that we learn to become very present with our body. We learn to stop comparing it to the way our bodies were before cancer, because that is a very painful loop to get in. You know, and I know, you know, I know I share that story with you. But as I say that, I think so I'm sitting here telling you the story. And I'm a little uncomfortable today. I have some pain in my body today. And so I changed my workout, I'm being a little more gentle with myself. I got pretty tired. So I didn't feel like I needed a nap. But I needed to just check out for like 10 minutes. So I just took some time to do a deep breathing exercise. Instead of being very frustrated with my body and saying, Damn it, Why is this happening to me? I can be present with it and say, This is what's happening right now. And this is what I need. Right? I could totally look back and say God, I miss the days when I could lift weights every day and I had so much more muscle and I felt so good and I was going to yoga all the time, but What good does it do me to think that way? That doesn't help my relationship with this body, I want a good healthy relationship. I want to love it so much. And I want to treat myself with love. So when I talked in the very beginning of the show about this recurring theme, that is the theme that I see this absence of unconditional love for ourselves and for our body. This rulebook that is so big and so cumbersome, that we look at this rulebook and think I literally can never live up to this book. So screw it, where's the ding dongs? Screw it, let's binge on Netflix. It's not even worth starting, or the anger towards the body, that total anger that this isn't right, this isn't fair, this shouldn't be like this, I shouldn't look like this. And that the only thing that is creating those feelings of misery and dismissal, and self hatred, self loathing, self judgment, is your own thought.
I was reading somewhere I wish I couldn't remember where it was. But it said that people tell themselves they're not lovable. But love ability is determined by those around you. So when you think about it in that way, I could judge myself all day long. But you know what if I asked my children, my sisters, my husband, my mom, they would love me. They would think I'm beautiful. They would think that I looked amazing. Because they told me that all the time. That's why I know. And I can say that. And I have been around many women and I have been in the spot where we tell ourselves, I'm too fat. I'm too ugly. I'm too short. I'm too tall. My hair is too fuzzy. My hair is too short. My hair's too stringy. All of these things, and the people around us will say why would you say that? I think you look beautiful. And they mean it. Right? Why would you say that there's more of you to hug I love you like this. And we refuse that love. We tell ourselves we're unlovable when everyone around us is saying I love you. And we won't open ourselves to that love. Because we don't love ourselves and our own body and conditionally. We use this body as a barrier to accepting the love that's coming in to us. Because we don't have love in us. For ourself. It's such a simple fix. And such a difficult fix at the same time. So where do you start? Where do you start? And honestly, I said a minute ago, and I think a great place to start is by literally thinking of your body as if it were outside of you. Literally thinking of your body like yourself 2.0 Here's me 2.0. That body, that's me. Are you going to be mean? How are you going to treat it? How are you going to talk to it? How do you treat and talk to other people around you. And just really start to look at yourself from this outside perspective. So this body just walks up to you you meet it out on the street looks just like you but you don't recognize it. And you're like, Hey, hi, nice to meet you. And this bodys pretty cool. Like this is this is cool individual, this is a nice person, how you gonna treat this person? How you gonna talk to this person? How are you going to feed this person? Are you going to criticize this person? What are you going to love about them? What are you going to say is amazing about them. And so that's the next step in this exercise, viewing this body as something outside of you. So you can get a different perspective on the way that you treat it, accept it and the rules that you lay out for it. And then taking that next step, to write down everything you think about your body, every thought, The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, every single thing, every single thing that you think. And then really look at it. And get an understanding of the relationship you're creating with yourself. Get an understanding of the conditions that you're giving your body. And then I want you to write everything your body has done for you. Over the course of your life. Everything. Like learn how to ride a bike, drive a car, walk back and forth to school, hold people's hands. Think of all the things this body has done for you and ask yourself Is that pretty cool? Can I love that? Is that an awesome thing? And then as you do that, you see this evolution? Right? An evolution of the body. I'm 58 years old, certainly I don't have the body of a six year old and I don't have the body of a 25 year old and I don't have the body of a 40 year old. I don't have the body but 56 year old, the body of a 58 year old who has cancer and who has been through cancer. Right? What do my expectations? Look at those and see Is that realistic? Why are you telling yourself these things? And here's the big question. Would I like to love my body? Remember I said a minute ago, you get to choose the kind of relationship you want to be in? Would you like to love your body? Would you like to stop comparing your body to where it was last year, five years ago, 20 years ago? Would you like to just get the experience of being in it now and embracing it fully experiencing love, and being able to release all of those emotions that make you feel like shit, because of the way you think about your body?
All of those emotions, all of those thoughts, you say, I'm not worth it. I don't deserve it. It doesn't matter anyway. All those things? Do you want to feel what that brings up for you? And if not, I'm so happy to tell you, you have the choice not to have to feel those things. You get to choose to have unconditional love for the body that you are in. You get to choose to stop labeling it, you get to choose to love on it and ask it what does it need today? You get to decide what do I want from this body a year from now? Two years from now, five years from now? And is what I'm doing now? In word and action going to get me there? And if it isn't, then it's time to start working on that relationship. You know, when I first started coaching breast cancer survivors, I thought women are going to want to know what what do I eat what keeps me safe now because I'm afraid of having cancer. And it was very, very quickly that I found out, wow, that's not even the major part of recovering from breast cancer. The big part is what you tell yourself about yourself, and what result that creates in your life. And we view ourselves as a body, right? We look at our body, that's that outside expression of ourselves is what everybody sees. It's what we see. And then we judge ourselves as human beings based on a physical appearance of a body. And we can't help it. It's our human brain. It's how it works. But you have the ability to notice that and override it. You have the ability to see that and say, I deserve to live a happy life. And I am going to love this body unconditionally. Because it's through this body, that I get to participate in this life. And I am by no means saying just be grateful to be alive, be great for your body still works. I freaking hate it when people say that. Because you can just switch your head to that. And you're already grateful for being alive where you wouldn't have gone through chemo and radiation and surgeries and be on anastrozole, letrozole, and tamoxifen and all the other shit that we go through. Of course, you're grateful to be alive. So let's throw that idea off the table, please. Because it's already understood. So now beyond that, what are the conditions you're putting on your body in order for you to be able to love it? And are you willing to let those conditions go? Are you willing to love your body? Unconditionally? And if you're listening to this, and you're sitting there and you're thinking, Uhh Yikes, I don't I think so. I think I might be go back, listen to the exercises I gave you here and actually do them. Actually think about them, actually write them down and take a look at all of the thoughts that are going through your head. And if you're thinking I want to I know I want to but I'm just I don't know exactly how. Well when I started to record this podcast and over the last two weeks of coaching calls and sugar challenge and things that I have seen and heard. I decided to reopen the Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership in February, because I want to invite you into it to get the help and support you need and our February theme is going to be unconditional love. And you will learn so much in this month not only about loving yourself, but about what conditions you put on love across the board in your life and how love can be so much easier. How you can enjoy it so much more. Because if you have the choice to feel judgment, resentment, anger, bitterness, self loathing, or love. How would you choose anything else?
All right, if you have questions or comments, you know you can find me on Facebook, Laura Lummer, The Breast Cancer Recovery Coach, you can go into The Breast Cancer Recovery Group my free Facebook group and message and discuss this podcast and your ideas and challenges with it. Or you can go to my website, thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/lifecoaching and enroll in The Better Than Before Breast Cancer Membership, you will be so amazed at the transformation that you will get in your life by participating in the life coaching membership and learning those practices of retraining your brain and thinking differently about yourself in your life. I know this I say with 100% certainty and confidence because I have dozens and dozens of women who have proven that already. So I'll talk to you again next week and until then, Please be good to yourself. Love yourself unconditionally and I'll talk to you soon


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