How many times ha you been through a painful experience in your life and found your way through?
Sometimes we process things in a healthy way, and sometimes we press on, stuff emotions, and just get through it.
So why do people say they’re broken?
What does being broken even mean?
In this episode, I’ll talk about what’s underneath the idea that we can be broken and how there can be two sides to that idea.
No matter which side you find yourself on, know that you are not broken and that there are times in life that are just deeply painful.
But even those times can lead to tremendous growth.
Referred to in this episode:
Laura Lummer 00:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hey, friends, hello, hello. Welcome to Episode 211 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. And here we are the big pink month, October, this podcast will come out the first week of October. And I want to talk about what happens in October. When we're on the other side of the pink wave, meaning we've already had a diagnosis. We're in treatment, we've had treatment, we're living with cancer. And I wanted to talk about an experience that I recently had. Because I think a big part well, I know a big part of our experience as survivors involves hearing other people's perceptions. And who knows where other people's perceptions come from, why they think what they think about people who have cancer who've been through cancer. But that's not the problem. The problem comes in where we take someone else's perception and we think, Oh, maybe I should feel like that. Maybe I'm not taking something seriously enough. Maybe I should feel worse or Yeah, that's right, I should feel like this and feel terrible and not being engaged in my life. There can be all kinds of ways we respond to other people's thoughts and perceptions. So in a minute, I'm going to share a story with you of something that happened with me, and I want to dig into what this means. First, before I ever do that, I want to let you know that we have finished pre enrollment for the becoming EU program. And I'm very, very happy to say I'm excited to start with this group of women. And you can now join the becoming EU program. But anytime it is open, it is waiting for you. It is a great program. And you can find it by going to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash u y o u ord go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com and go to coaching and support and you will see the becoming U program. This program is an eight week experience. And it's going to take you from that place of not knowing really what you want in your life or why you're not making something happen in your life or how you even decide to make something happen in your life. And I'm going to guide you through that exact process. And going from that place of the confusion and I don't know and overwhelming and indulgent emotions, to really moving with confidence into understanding who you need to be and how you can get to the place where you want to be in life. So it's very cool. It's not about just, it's not setting goals and looking at tangibles. But it's really about you, because changing your life, committing to something making something happen for you deciding you're going to do something for yourself.
Laura Lummer 03:32
It isn't about checking the boxes, it's about thinking in a new way and learning to live from that future version of you. I'll refer back to my favorite quote, but Albert Einstein quote that when I've read it, I've written it, I've posted it, I took a picture of it on my phone, I read it all the time. And it's that energy is everything. And that is it. And if you want to create a reality, you have to decide what it is. And then you have to match the frequency of that vibration. And when you do that, you cannot help but attract it to you. Because that is physics, energy matches, energy, energy attracts energy. And in the becoming you program, I show you how to do that. You get all the tools, you get office hours with me you get coaching and it is amazing. Okay, so go to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash you jump in, wherever you are, it doesn't matter. Everybody starts at a different place and you will still get the whole entire program. So I'll see you there. Okay, let's go minute about what happened. So I love love, love, love spin classes. And it's something about an ominous spin class. It's just so much energy and if you love spin, you can totally feel the right. The instructors are so motivating and they're excited. And you know, in the saddle room you have every Buddy from someone who looks like they spin for 12 hours a day, every day, to people who it's their first time on a bike. And I love that I love that it's a place where you can come in and people can work at their own pace and do what's comfortable for them. I have to make modifications sometimes for me. And that's okay. Because when I'm in that room, that vibe is there, the energy is there. And I just feel healthy. And referring back to the quote I just shared with you about deciding what you want, and then matching the frequency of that vibration. That's how I live my life. I live my life as a healthy person, a healthy, strong person, because that is everything I do is focused on that, including IE the saddle room, being in the vibe, pedaling to the beat, looking around ear to ear, smile on my face going, I'm here, I'm healthy, I'm pedaling, and no one in this room looks at me as anything other than someone who's working out with them. No one in this room looks at me goes, Oh, I think that lady has stage four cancer, right? They just look at me. And they're like, yeah, we're just here having a great time. So I share that with you because I went to the spin class. And I'm loving it. And I love the people that were there. And I met some new women that were there was a class specific for breast cancer survivors. And the instructor was awesome. She was amazing. And she had been through an experience with someone she loved dearly of cancer herself. And she just was extremely supportive. And the whole experience was great. But something she said, and she said it a couple of times, as she was trying to be very inspirational. And I think trying to create that vibe of this as a safe space and welcoming everybody there. And she kept saying, you can come here broken. You can be here broken. And we'll all be broken together. And I gotta tell you, I had a visceral reaction to that statement, like I heard, you can come here broken, it's okay. And in my gut, it just went like what the hell? I'm not broken? What are you talking about? And, you know, that phrase was used a couple of times. And I thought to myself, that just does not sit right with me. I am not broken, I am more alive than I think any other time in my life, especially everything that I've been through, and how much of that has made me look at every moment as a gift and just step into life and say, Man, I don't know how short life is. But I'm gonna make sure I make the most of it. And so I'm sitting here and I hear this phrase, and it's stuck with me. And I thought, What the heck, you know, don't don't call me. Stupid, don't call me broken.
Laura Lummer 07:49
I knew it was coming from my place. I knew she was being very compassionate. And she was really just saying what she felt, and I'm sure it had some reflection on her own experience. And that's why I say we hear things sometimes from other people's perspectives. And we have to be very careful not to absorb that energy. Right? I'm not gonna sit in this room and hear someone say, I know you're broken. It's okay, come, you're broken. And I'm gonna think, oh, I should be broken. That's not happening. Right? I don't have to absorb that. No, maybe that did resonate with some other people. And definitely it resonated with the instructor herself. And as I said, I know is coming from her heart and from a kind place just trying to embrace everyone and make them feel safe. But I thought about this a lot. And I know that I have definitely worked with clients who hear other people's words or perceptions, and then take that to heart and think, Wow, maybe even I've heard this soon. Maybe I'm in denial. Maybe I shouldn't be doing as much as I'm doing. You know, maybe I should feel worse about this. No, write someone else's perception, someone else's story, someone else's lens through which they see life, as nothing to do with your story has nothing to do with your journey. It is not yours to take in. And I think that's very important, especially as we're going through this month of October, when everyone's talking about paying and everyone's talking about warriors and everyone's talking about survivors and that's all okay. And that's all good. And I think they're only saying it for motivational, inspirational, caring reasons. But if it doesn't resonate with you, you don't have to take it in. Right? You can leave it behind and let their perception their view, be for somebody else be for that. It's okay. But if it doesn't fit your idea of you or what you want in your Life, you don't have to take it with you, you just gotta leave it right there where it is. And you get to decide what you're going to be and who you are. I think that's super important to remember. Because, boy, October is one thing, when you've never had breast cancer, and all you're doing is looking at football teams wearing pink shoes and people doing 40 mile walks, and you're thinking, Wow, it's so powerful. And it's so emotional. And isn't it inspirational and wonderful. And it is, and it is all of those things. And I've done the 41 mile walk myself, and I know, a lot of my clients have done these things, even after treatment, to just like, we need to know, like, connect to that and say, you know, this makes me feel alive, like I came back from cancer treatment, and I was able to step in, and do this thing and accomplish this physical thing. I think that can be an important part of people's healing. But the kink wave can also be very upsetting for a lot of survivors. And I think that that becomes upsetting again, where we take it in, and think it has to be ours. When you hear people say, Oh, you got a free boob job, and you're thinking, you freaking remove my breast to save my life. I've got radiation burns, I have misshapen breasts, maybe I'm missing one baby, I have no reconstruction. I'm scarred. They don't feel normal. They don't look normal, normal being the way they looked before. They don't feel natural. They're not the ones I was born with. They don't work like natural and people say these things. And again, I don't think that there's maliciousness there. But we've got to be careful to take it in. People don't know what they don't know. And it's okay. They don't need to know. Right, you don't have to explain to every single human being the painful journey you've been through. And why waste your energy doing that. More importantly, invest your energy into knowing where you're at. And being confident with who you are. And being confident to reach out and get whatever help and support you need. Your stories your own. Your journey is your own. And especially during this month, I think it's important to remember that. So let me go back to this idea of being broken. When I left that class, I'm telling you that word it was like it was like it had sticky tape on it or gorilla glue. And it just stuck to my brain, I think what is this broken thing? And so I actually looked it up? I did I looked up what what what does this mean? When people say I feel broken? Like what is the dictionary definition of being broken. And here's what I found. So the Cambridge dictionary says that when a person is broken, it means that they have suffered an emotional pain that is so strong, it changes the way they live. And then it's usually a result of an unpleasant event. Okay, I can accept that. So I started thinking, okay, it changes the way you live. And there's no question in my mind that breast cancer changes the way most people live. It at the very least, it changes the lens through which you see life. Now, whether you act on these feelings and make a change, it could go either way. And so let me tell you, both sides, what I see and what I work with, and try to offer you some suggestions that might help you if you're on either side of the spectrum. But when I think about that broken and feeling like something has happened to you, and that it's so deeply traumatizing, it changes the way you live. That can happen on a negative side. And what I mean on the negative side is that you have these thoughts that you're crushed, you're different. Your life has changed. Your innocence has been taken from you. It's unfair. You've been singled out somehow by the universe, you're angry, that it happened to you, you're frustrated, you're unsure of your future, and dealing with a lot of fear. All of those things lead people to withdrawing from life and everything I just said are things that I have heard from survivors. And so that in turn, causes them to withdraw from life. And it's this vicious cycle, so much fear about the idea that it may come back and they may lose their life, that they don't live their life now. So much anger, that life was taken from them and changed that they don't live life now, which is all we have. So when we get stuck in that negative part. If we're of feeling like this emotional trauma is so deep, that we change the way we live on this negative skew. And our life gets smaller and smaller. And I want to offer that this is not broken friends, this is in pain. Okay, this is emotional pain. And very, very few humans, I think there's some lucky ones out there who may have had parents or mentors or someone when they were young in life, that helped them see that the way they think about these things could change their experience of them. But most of us know, that's not what happened. So are you a broken human being? Absolutely not. You're someone in pain, who doesn't know how to process that. And so this is, if you find yourself on that side, and you hear this word, oh, I'm broken. And you think that you identify with that, then let me offer this, your hope and you're worthy, and you are in pain. A lot of times, what can keep you stuck in that place is that you don't have a great support system. You may have people around you who don't understand aren't open and empathetic to what you're going through. And they may just be going to that, that first resort that people do when we survivors finish treatment just be normal. What's your problem? Why are you acting weird? Why can't you just be like you used to be, right, that's not a great healthy support system. And I highly encourage you if that's something you experience, to reach out, because you are not alone. And it is okay, that this horribly traumatic life threatening experience scared the bejesus out of you and you don't know how to process it. So it's okay to reach outside of your immediate circle, and find support, find support in things like a local hospital, find a coach, find a therapist, find a support group, anything where you can listen to other women, you may or may not yet feel comfortable sharing your experience your emotions, your thoughts, that read about others, listen to others, and know that you're not alone. And whatever it is you're feeling is exactly what you need to be feeling now. And you just need to learn how to process that. Okay. What happens that keeps us in this negative skew is that you don't have the communication skills to even explain what you're actually going through. And I don't mean that to say like, Oh, you don't know how to speak, you're illiterate. That's not what I'm saying is that this can be so deep and so much that it can be difficult to grasp the emotional feelings, the physical feelings, the sensations in your body, and put them into words that really capture what your experience is now. And honestly, again, I think that's something that is so beneficial in that place where you might be saying to yourself, I don't even know how to put this into words. And I have heard this before. And Bravo, What a brave step for the women who have come to me who are just like, I'm in pain.
Laura Lummer 18:15
I just don't know what to do. I don't know what to say, I don't know where to start. I don't know what it is, I just know, I don't feel good. And life is getting smaller and smaller. And I'm cutting myself off from the things I enjoy. Because friends that doesn't support healing, cutting yourself off from your joy does not support healing. And you're thinking, Well, you know, I was finished treatment, I'm fine. No, we're healing every day, we're supporting our body's ability to heal and be healthy every day. So whether you are in treatment, or you have an active disease, or you have no evidence of disease, you are the shepherd of this body. And you are the one that is in charge of supporting it in a way to continually have the ability to heal have a strong immune system be healthy, vibrant, glowing, energetic, while those things for you because you deserve that experience. So sometimes it can just be that and when you get into a support, group, read books, listen to podcasts, reach out in whatever way you are comfortable with, then you start to learn how to verbalize that a little bit more. You start to learn how to take the sensations and emotions that are in your body and give them words and when you give them words then you can release them. And then that helps that pain. It takes the edge off and a little bit at a time the pain gets less and less intense. And you understand how to process it, not to stuff it, not to ignore it, how to process it, how to take it, feel it, look at it and let it go. And that's a very, very big step. Okay. And another thing is that when we're in this place, oftentimes we get very stuck in our head. So when I work with women who have gone down this negative idea, this negative emotional pathway, and accepted this idea of I'm broken. Well, if you're broken, that's like, I'm not home anymore, something's broken. I'm beyond repair here, like I am broken. Okay? How do you take action there? How do you get out of that place? Right? So in that place, oftentimes, it can be that you're thinking about things you want to do, but you're in so much pain, and that pain is being masked, because you're just saying, I'm broken, which is kind of like being in a place in life that you're not comfortable with, or having a habit or doing something that's not serving you, but yet you continue to do it. And then you say to yourself, I don't know why I do it. I don't know why I do it. Well, saying, I don't know why I do something, is never gonna get you to figure it out. If that's the case with you, or you know, you're in pain. And you just say, Well, I'm broken, then that doesn't help you to say, where's that pain coming from? Saying, I don't know why I do this. A better question to ask yourself is, if I didn't know why I'm doing this, what would I say? Because you know why? And the answers are in you. Sometimes we're not ready to admit why. But you know why. And then there's that, which is the thinking about taking action to do something for yourself. Masking that and putting a bandaid on with this, I am broken, and then that's acceptable, right. And people around us like, oh, yeah, you know, she went through a horrible thing. And she's just, she's just broken now. Like, she's just going to be different now forever. Versus step back and say, I'm in so much pain. I can't see my way through it. Let me get somebody to help me in quicksand. And I need a hand a rope, a ladder, something. Right. So we've got to be careful with the language we use. Because when we say something, like I'm broken, wow, where do you go from there? Right? And you have to ask yourself, what does that really mean? Because that's like a high level description. I'm broken. Okay. What does that mean?
Laura Lummer 22:22
And then answer that question for yourself. What does that mean? It means that I don't feel the way I used to. Okay, what feels different? Well, I'm afraid of everything. Okay, tell me about that fear. Let's get down into the pain. But let's not keep it up at this high level of giving it a label that just excuses any kind of attention when what you need most is attention. Okay. So if this is a tree, and brokenness at the top, we've got run branch that's going to negative emotion. And then that's the pathway that we go that we just discussed. There are ways out of it. And those are the ways to increase your support system. Look, for better support, reach out, improve your communication skills, listen to other people talk about it, see what resonates with you find the words, to talk about the feelings and sensations in your body, and take action to help yourself. You must take action to help yourself. We can sit here and think about things all day long. But until we get up and put ourselves in that uncomfortable place, reaching out and taking action, nothing will change. All right. Other branch is a positive branch in a way, right? Let's say we go back to that definition says changes the way you live life. Well, breast cancer certainly changed the way I live life. But it didn't change it from a negative perspective. It changed in a way where I saw Wow, the life I'm living right now is not going to do it for me. I want more. I want something different. I'm completely changing the direction, the trajectory of my life at the age of 50. Right, I finished my treatment and my reconstruction and I was walking on down there My poor husband to help put him through and I'm walking with my husband. I said, Listen, I decided to go back to college. Come on any of you that have gone college, you know, that's very time consuming. I was working full time we were newly married. And he was like, I'm not 100% on board with this. And I said I've got to do it. I'm going back to college. I want to study health coaching, Health Sciences and Health Coaching. I'm going to work with breast cancer survivors and I need to go back and get this degree to feel good and know that I can understand what this behavior changed nutrition exercise all the things behind this house coaching and life coaching is about and he was like what the heck you're 50 years old? Yeah, I am. I'm going to change the way the next decade of my life looks. Okay? So it can be positive, well, then what happens? There's a lot of stuff you have to go through. So even if you're thinking, well, this changed me. And because it changed me, I want my life to go in a different direction, then a lot of people get stuck. Because how do you redirect life? How do you start to be different, right? Let's say that you're married, or you have children, or you've had a job for however long and you just decided, this no longer serves me?
Laura Lummer 25:33
How do you make the change? How do you make the first steps, and here's what I hear often, I've already got a great life, I should just be grateful. I shouldn't want something different, I should just be happy with what I have. I don't even know the next step to do. So you know what I should just be grateful. And meanwhile, there's this little seed of something inside of you. And it's just burning away and burning away. And it's saying, Come on, come on, you saw this, you know, this, you feel this, you want something else, it's okay. To walk through the fire. It's okay. to not feel guilty. You know, I feel guilty because I want to change my life and make it better when I should just leave it status quo where it's comfortable for everyone. I don't think so. I think that we need to find a different way to look at that, that you offer even more, I guarantee you, I bring more to the table for my marriage and my children and in my family now than I did before I had breast cancer. Because I followed that path that spoke to me. So when we feel that feeling, that positive side of something was so severe that it changed the way that I'm looking at my life, these things can come up, I shouldn't do this, I shouldn't feel like this. And be careful those judgments. Because more importantly, say yourself, I feel like this, Wow, I feel this thing happening, I feel this need I feel this desire, I feel this compulsion to do this thing. Notice that right? Be very curious about it and start to explore it. And sometimes we have to realize I'll tell you the story. One time my daughter was in a relationship, and she was very unhappy. And I hear this, I should take my daughter, so many women I know and I've guilty of it myself. And yet she would say but he's not a bad person. And he hasn't done this bad thing or that bad thing or this bad thing. And I said to her, someone doesn't have to be a jerk for them to not be the right person for you. It's okay. That's the decision we can make in life, we get to say, this isn't right for me. Maybe it was right for a little while. But now whatever shifted, changed, grown, evolved. It's no longer right. And that doesn't mean anyone's bad person, anybody's horrible. It just means this doesn't serve me anymore. This doesn't feel right. And that's the same thing that can happen with life, we can have a great job we can be doing we live in in a great place. And then suddenly, we go through this breast cancer, we see life differently. And we think this doesn't fit anymore. But it's not horrible. So I should just be grateful, I should just be happy. Or maybe you should just go with the flow, maybe you should just start to explore. It's okay, that something isn't horrible. If it doesn't suit you anymore, we can evolve and change. And we can take steps to help life evolve and change with us. So a very important thing to realize is that if you find yourself on this branch of the broken tree, that you can keep experimenting, be very curious. And that you don't have to talk yourself out of the way you feel. If you feel like you need change, reach out to people who have maybe followed that path who have accomplished the change that you think you may want to accomplish, we have to realize that we can investigate life without committing. We can say, you know, I think I may want this change in my life. It's really speaking to me right now. Let me learn about it. Let me dabble in it. Let me read about it. Let me meet other people who have done it. And that doesn't mean you have to quit your job, sell the house move out and start a new life. Right? It means you get to explore what you think might serve you better in this new phase of your life. And when we overthink it, and we stop ourselves. We get in our own way. And we stop ourselves and we're the biggest roadblock in our own life sometimes. So I'm going to leave you with this idea to start off October June. Old own ideas, theories and labels that don't fit you. All right, other people's ideas and perceptions don't belong to you. Don't pick them up, if you don't want them. If you feel like you are on either side of this broken label, if you feel like the experience you've just had has changed you so deeply that you want to live life differently, or that you find yourself living life differently. And you want to change that. Know that there is support. There are other people, you are not alone. And there are so many tools and so many amazing opportunities, and women who have walked this path before you who would love to support and help you and I know for sure I'm in that group. All right. I hope that helps you. And you know, come and join me in the becoming you program. And that is definitely something that helps along all of these points that I just talked about here today. Or come and check out the better than before breast cancer, life coaching membership. Every month, amazing group of women we come together multiple times over the month, we look at different topics every month, we're working on wellness now. It's incredible. It's just so, so many aspects to deep health that are so fascinating. And we have so much ownership in that area of our life, we can make so much change and creates so much support for ourself that it's truly amazing. So you can check that out at the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash life coaching, or come join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group, where you can talk to I think there's nearly 1000 breast cancer survivors in there now. offer support and encouragement and inspiration to each other. All right. And I will talk to you again next week. Until then, Please be good to yourself. Take care