#212 Breaking Down Barriers by Finding Your Voice

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Have you ever found yourself wishing that someone just knew what you needed?

Have you heard yourself say that someone else’s words upset you?

These are common thoughts, but they don’t help you in any way. These types of thoughts create space rather than a connection with the person you’re engaging with.

They also put up a smoke screen to the thoughts you have behind them.

It’s easier to have someone just show up and give you what you need because it spares you from figuring it out and learning how to communicate your needs.

It’s easier to say someone’s words upset you than it is to figure out what you make those words mean, why, and how to communicate that.

In this episode we’ll talk about how these thoughts and others like them keep barriers in our lives and how finding and using our voice can break those barriers down.

Referred to in this episode:

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership

Becoming You, 8-Weeks of Reinventing Life After Breast Cancer

How to talk to someone with Caner- Ted Talk

Meaningful Ways to Support Someone With Breast Cancer


Read the full transcript here:

Laura Lummer 0:00
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.

Hello, and welcome to episode 212 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I am your host, Laura Lummer. I am as always thrilled to be here with you today. And I'm really excited to dig into today's topic. Before I do that, I just want to give you one quick update. And I want to clarify something a few people have emailed me asking about this, I want to make sure and clarify that my new program becoming you reinventing life after breast cancer is open for enrollment. So it opened and I did a pre enrollment. And then that pre enrollment was just while I was getting everything ready behind the scenes.

So that program is open and you can roll in it any time you like. So you can start at any point you won't miss anything, you'll start at the beginning. And you'll have access to all of the benefits of the program, including the office hours with me and the coaching. So the becoming you program is an eight week long program that is really about digging deep into what you really want to create in your life. And that can be any aspects of your life, it can be absolutely anything at all. It can be creating a better relationship, starting a new adventure, changing a job, changing the way you think taking better care of your health, treating yourself with more self-compassion, it can be anything that is important to you. And in deciding that, we're going to dig really deep into why it's already not something that's happening in your life, and how you can make the necessary mindset shift and design the steps that you need to take in order to create that in your life. So often we stay at this very surface level of why things don't get done, or I've just a procrastinator or just seems overwhelming. But when we do that those are indulgent emotions, we stay in this indulgent place of like, it's overwhelming.

Oh, totally, that makes sense. I get it. But underneath that are so many other thoughts, and so many other ideas and beliefs. And in this program, we dig into those to find out what it really is that keeping you in this place in life where you don't want to be, and how you can move to the place where you do want to be. So you can go to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash you, you can go to my website and just click on coaching and support and you can enroll in the becoming you program anytime. Okay. Let's talk about the subject of social support. So I was asked a couple of weeks ago to contribute to an article on love to know.com. And I'll post the link to that article in the show notes for this episode as well. The article was talking about how you support a breast cancer survivor. And it really came out great, the author sent me a copy right when it got published. And she has a lot of people commenting on it. And it's really interesting. So there was that that came up.

And then someone had posted, I think it was in the breast cancer recovery group, a TED talk, which was also great, and which I will also post the link to and this TED talk was I believe she was an oncologist I know it was a physician. And she was talking about how she had become very aware of how the language she used with her patients who were being treated for cancer, how the language she used sometimes could be upsetting and make it difficult for them. So she shares the story. And I think it's a great story. I'm just kind of summarize it here because I want to use this kind of as the setting for where we create and break down barriers, when we figure out a way to use our voice to meaning say what is important to us. So in the story that this doctor shares, she says when she uses the word survivor, she had a stage four metastatic cancer patient, say to her, how come you're using that word with me when I'm going to die and she was very upset. So the doctor was talking about that story and how to be sensitive to the words that you use, which I thought was great. It's wonderful when you find a physician that is that aware and that willing to change to create a comfortable environment for their patients. But think about this scenario here. So where's the barrier? When we hear a word or we see someone take an action or not take an action that we don't like that we say and I'm doing air quotes here, it triggers us.

Then we're kind of shut off to the community. occasion, right? Because when something upsets us, like, for instance, this story, don't use that word survivor with me if I'm going to die, this woman is obviously in some kind of grief or sadness, and rightfully so, right. But once you're in that place, there's really not an openness, there's not an openness for communication anymore. And so, although the doctor did a great job of saying, Okay, I need to look at this user, look at the words that I use. It's also important for us, for those of us who notice that we're experiencing these triggers in our life, to stop and say, Okay, where do I own this? Right, because even if you say to somebody, listen, I don't like that. I don't like when you say that I don't like when you do that, that you can ask them to change it, that's totally fine, you can establish a healthy boundary. But the fact is that until you look underneath why you don't like that, and you understand what triggered that emotion. So often, we think that what triggered the emotion was the word or someone else's actions. But what it really is, is what we think about that word. So in that scenario, again, the word survivor, this one, obviously had some very deep-seated thoughts about what that meant to her, and it was upsetting. So it isn't just the elimination of the word that allows you to release those emotions and then connect to that person you're in conversation with. But it is in the owning what you think of it, right. So if she were to take that next step, and say, when you say the word survivor, that's so upsetting for me, because I think I'm going to die. And I have this much fear. And I want to know what to do. And, you know, go on, go dig deep in there. And understand now when you're doing that, you're closing that gap, you're breaking down that barrier, and you're opening a space for more connection and communication with this person. So fast forward, I was on a panel the other day with five other I think there were five other breast cancer survivors. And we were just sharing our stories. It's part of breast cancer awareness month for a local cycling studio spin studio that I go to here.

And they brought us together on this panel to share our stories with the hopes of empowering other survivors. And during this, I think we ended up being like a two hour long discussion. And there were awesome people, we could have talked forever. But in that discussion, a topic that came up was how they want it to be supported by other people, both in treatment and after treatment. And when that topic came up, a tremendous amount of emotion came up, there was some really palpable frustration or some really palpable anger in the room. So I want to address three specific statements that came up that day during our discussion, not because they just came up for that reason, but I hear the statements, often, I think that they're very common, and they translate into our life outside of breast cancer treatment, right? It might be something that is a little starker during treatment, because you've got a lot of emotions, and there's a lot going on. But if we stop and look at these statements, and look at what your thoughts and feelings are behind the statements, I think you might see how they translate across your life and relationships and experiences. And when they do they actually create more barriers for you barriers in your relationship. And that if you can look behind these statements, you will create more room for connection in your life, and less frustration and anger. So let's look at

the first one is, I shouldn't have to say what I need. So I heard that said in the room, right? People should just know what I need. And I hear that said a lot with my clients. So let's think about that for a second. When we show up in this space of thinking, I shouldn't have to say what I need, you should already know, what we have there is a manual, right? We've got our rulebook for how other people should behave. But I want you to stop and think for a moment.

You always know what somebody else needs? Are, isn't it nice when you say how can I help? What can I do? What do you need? And that person is open and says actually, this is what I need from you and gives you a listing? Right? Great. I'll give you exactly what you need. And we're not playing around. Right, people are not mind reader's. And so what's behind that what's behind the belief that you should not have to say what you need that people should just show up and give you what you need to be there in the capacity that you need them to be without using your words. Well, it's easier, right? It's easier than you having to feel vulnerable, it's easier than for you having to say.

I asked that person for help, because that's another statement that comes up. I hate to ask for help. It's so hard to ask for help. Well, why is it hard? What is behind that? What do you tell yourself about asking for help? is asking for help mean that you're weak somehow does as improved mean, you're obligated to people? Should you not have to ask for help in this life? Should life just be something that you can do on your own and never need support? I mean, honestly, that's not even a reasonable statement, right? We are community creatures. We're tribal creatures. We love to be in groups, we thrive in groups, and we thrive when we support each other.

In fact, a if you listen to this podcast, you know, radical revision is one of my favorite books ever. And recently, she came out with a docu series, where there were two people on each of the 10 topics that she uses for healing factors. And one of those topics that they discussed was social support. Because it is so important. When I think back at the ways that people showed up for me, when I needed it the most. It was just amazing. And a lot of people asked, What can I do? And it was kind of nice, because there were certain things maybe I didn't want to have people do. So it was actually I thought nice to be asked, then you look at your life going forward and say, Okay, do I ask for what I need? You know, do I speak up? Do I expect my kids, my spouse, my friends, my co workers? Do I expect people to just know do I think people should think like me, have my brain somewhere filed in the back of their head and just do what I think they should do. Right? So we show up. But that manual, this is how you should behave.

They don't behave that way. And you're angry and frustrated. You tell yourself you're angry and frustrated because of what they did or didn't do. But the fact is, it's because you didn't voice what you needed. So we have to understand why we're not finding our own words, why we're not finding our own voice, why you would tell yourself the story of you should not have to express yourself and say what you need. Finding that ability and being comfortable in your voice of stating what you need is a beautiful thing. It's a tremendous amount of personal growth, to just be able to from a compassionate place, say,

This is what I need. And so speaking of compassion, I think that is one of the key factors here. Because a lot of people say, Oh, I don't want to hurt someone's feelings, I don't want to make someone feel obligated. I don't have a confrontation if I tell them what I need. And then they don't want to do it. And then we start with a whole nother story in our head. So all those thoughts behind asking for what you need, dating what you need, from a compassionate place, from a place of self love, are so important to uncover. Why would you say that? That is a conflict of controversy, a confrontation? Right? Is there a way do you think, to speak up for yourself and to lovingly say what you need in a space where you can connect with the person you're communicating that to? 100%? There is. So that's something to give a lot of thought to? Is there the thought in your mind that I shouldn't have to say what I need people should just show up? And if you do have that thought, tell me how that makes you feel? Tell me how that works out? Well, obviously, you can't tell me I'm on the podcast. But think about it for yourself, write it down. When you have that thought in your head? How does that typically work out for you? Do you become more connected to the person that you're expecting to just show up? Or do you create more of a barrier? And is there more anger and frustration?

So the second statement is, it's just easier to do it myself. Now, this is true and not true. Because whatever it might be, that it's easier to do it yourself. One, there's another manual there, I want it done my way. Right. So you may need help, you may want help. But then in your mind, you're telling yourself but if they don't do it my way, then I'm gonna have to redo it anyway, it's just easier to do it myself. Or if I ask for something I need, oh, then there's going to be this, this fit and this confrontation, it's just easier to do it myself. So from a task oriented place, maybe it is easier to do it yourself, but from an emotional place. And from the perspective of creating more connection in your life. It's actually not easier. Because most of the time if you want something from somebody else, and then you tell yourself, it's easier to do it yourself while you're doing it. You're not having good thoughts about that other person. Right? You don't be good thoughts about yourself. I think most of the time when we get in that mindset of it's just easier to do it myself. We're probably a little bit in martyr town. We're probably a little bit in our heads and see I'm the one I always have to do it. I have to take care Have it and think about how that makes you feel. And that energy comes off. I mean, come on, we feel energy, we are energy creatures. And so the people around you feel that. And then you train them. You know what, don't do this. Because if you don't do it my way, I'm going to be upset. So I'm just going to do it myself. And we train people, that we don't need their help, that we don't want their help that we want it done our way, and then we're frustrated when they don't show up and help us. So give that some thought. Is it really easier to do things yourself?

Or could you let go of your rulebook about how something could be done? should be done? And open yourself to more connection? Could you just say to somebody, Hey, I need that room vacuumed. And let go of whether or not they're gonna vacuum under the couches on the tables? Can? Or could you say, but please back up to the couches in the tables? I mean, really use your voice. And I think a lot of times when I talk to people about did you speak in this detail? And again, we go back to statement number one, well, why should I have to? Don't they know? Well, no, they don't know. Nobody else knows what's in your head. And that's why you have to state your needs very, very specifically and clearly. And that when you do that, you give someone else the opportunity to help you. And you break down that barrier of like, you're not good enough, you won't do it well enough, I won't be happy. And we're pushing people away. Right? So when you open yourself up to them, and you say, well, it may get done faster if I did it myself. But it would really be meaningful for this person in my life to be able to help me. So I'm going to just go ahead and let them do it. Right, and I'm going to let go of the outcome.

Right. And then here's a really interesting one. So when we need support from people, sometimes, it's because we're not in a good place, right? We're feeling some kind of need, maybe down maybe sick, obviously, for the discussion we were having at that panel, they were talking about when they were going through treatment, and they were ill, and they really needed some help from people. And a lot of times, that's what it is, a lot of times we're going through a tough time in our life, that we truly need support. But we may have this idea in our mind that I shouldn't have to, I should be able to do this alone. Or here's the statement, when people come, I have to make them feel better. I feel like I have to make them feel better. So I don't want to ask for help, because then they see that I'm upset, and then I feel like I have to make them feel better. And that's so important to realize that that is all you, right. And when we come to that place of saying, I'm telling myself, I have to make this person feel better. Think about the actual dynamic in that exchange. Because somehow, do you have the ability to process a motion that is superior to someone else? In a challenging and difficult time when people are upset? Is it okay that you're upset? And you're dealing with whatever it is you're dealing with. But if someone else sees it, and is also upset, you have to make them feel better?

Or Can't we also let them be upset? Can we also let them be in grief and sadness in worry. And in fact, in that space, we create an opportunity to connect even more that the two of us together can discuss the fear. We're feeling the hopelessness, we're feeling, the confusion, we're feeling the overwhelm we're feeling. You know, everybody comes into this life and nobody gets out unscathed. There's a lot of good and bad, positive and negative that happens in life. And when you tell yourself that it's your job to protect everyone else from feeling a negative emotion, oh, my God, you are going to be one busy person, because I can't even begin to imagine how you would do something like that. So when you have this idea, that I don't want to bring this person in, or I don't want to ask for help, because then they're going to be upset and I'm going to make them feel better. That's so important to sit back and look at your thoughts beyond that. Why do you tell yourself that?

Why is it you that is responsible for someone else's emotions, because even if you tell yourself that 100% of the time, you can't make someone feel a certain way, right? You can put your words out there, and you can put your reassurances out there, but if they have thoughts in their head that are causing them to have upset emotions, and have got to work through that on their own, and when they do, they grow. And when you are there for them and the two of you are there for each other and you work through that with love and compassion for each other. Then you also grow together. We break down these barriers. So it's important to just notice these kinds of thoughts that our brain just automatically throws up. We're so conditioned. And these thoughts are just there all the time.

I shouldn't have to tell anybody, it's easier to do it myself. I mean, come on, we've had these 1000s of times. But now if we stop in, look at why we say that and what is behind it, then we may see that the really challenging work here is to get grounded and confident in what we want in life. And to be able to say what we want in life with that confidence, without fear without assuredness, but be able to say, this is what I need. And this is what I need from you, this is what I desire from you. And then it's up to the other person, whether or not they can deliver right if they have the capacity to give that, that it's okay for you to state it and never tell yourself, that how someone else responds is your responsibility. Right, taking care of you is your responsibility. So when it comes to this area of support, and of accepting support in your life, and of noticing barriers in your life and where you finding your own voice, and coming from a different place, can actually just make that barrier crumble just so easily an openness space for deeper connection in your life. So give that some thought my friend you want to work on it Come and join me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership or join my becoming new program. And I would love to coach you through the things you would like to create in your life and the barriers you would like to break down. Alright, I'll talk to you again next week and until then please be good to yourself and expect others to be good to us well take care

Unknown Speaker 21:54
you've put your courage to the test laid all your doubts your mind is clearer than before your hardest following wanting more you your futures you know you've been waiting this is your




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