As the holidays get closer, we often start to dread holiday gatherings. We think about the people who annoy us and tell ourselves stories of how awful the gatherings will be.
We also follow this same line of thought for many special occasions or even our day-to-day lives.
We think other people are the problem, but our thoughts about other people create our suffering.
In this episode, I'll share a story of how this happened in my life, how I realized what I was putting myself through and how you and I can become more aware of our thoughts and judgments of other people, so we can reign ourselves in and create a more peaceful life.
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. Hello, hello bands, you're listening to Episode 217 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. Thrilled to be here with you today. This podcast I'm recording this podcast the week before the week end, that I will be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family. And as a result of that celebration, my two sons who live in Colorado are joining us one is in town one I'm picking up later today. And I'm super excited. Because I just love having all my kids together. And I love having my family together. I have a great family and sisters, and nephews and nieces and just everybody it's we have a great family, we have a lot of fun together. And you know, we are also very dysfunctional like most families. So we have a lot of craziness together. And so I love it. And it's actually that experience what we have coming up that has led to the podcast that I'm doing here today. But before we jump into this, I want to share something very special with you. This week, as part of our 90 days of wellness program that I'm doing inside the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, we are looking at abundance, gratitude. In sleep, we're looking at how thinking from a place of abundance, and having a practice of gratitude and what that actually means. Well, that reduces our levels of stress, and actually leads to better and more peaceful sleep, which is one of the foundations of good health. Sleep is such a powerful pillar of health. And we're learning more and more about that all the time. And when I say we science is showing us more and more about the importance of sleep. Now, as the holidays come up, stress tends to go up. And we're gonna talk about that a little bit more in today's show. But I was thinking, you know, I'd love this lesson on abundance and gratitude and how it's so easy for us to think from a place of scarcity rather than a place of abundance, and how having a practice of gratitude and exactly what that means, how it supports our our ability to think more abundantly, our ability to stay in a place of abundance, and all of it how it comes together to give us more restful sleep and more peace of mind. Anyway, I love this lesson so much. And I was reviewing some things on it. And I thought, I'm going to take that lesson out. And I'm going to make it available for free, you're going to see it exactly as it is in the better than before breast cancer membership. I'm going to make it available for you from now until December 1. So that you can go you can sign up for the lesson doesn't cost you anything. And then you can access it, you'll get the action guide that comes with it, you'll get my video coaching that is in it. And you will be able to do this work, work through that action guide for yourself. And hopefully really support yourself in lowering your level of stress and in your ability to think from a much better place not only for the holidays, but for all the days in your life. So this podcast will come out on Friday, November 18, you will be able to access that lesson. Just go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash joy, sign up to get in and watch the video and get the action guide and have the lessons on abundance, gratitude and how they support your health and your ability to have better sleep. I know you'll enjoy it, and I'd love to hear your comments about it. So you can come to my Facebook page, Laura Lummer, the breast cancer recovery coach or DM me on Instagram at the breast cancer recovery coach.
Laura Lummer 04:26
I'd love to hear your questions and comments on it. So go to my website the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash joy and get the lesson on abundance. Gratitude and sleep. Alright, so this is really interesting here I shared the story with you of how much I love having everybody together at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is kind of my special holiday. I love Thanksgiving. And I think it's because I love food. I love sharing meals I love cooking. Always have and for me sharing food. Cooking for other people is a lovely wage, right I love to cook for them. I love to see people enjoy my food. And also just you know, enjoying food together. So to be honest, this is not going to be my food this Thanksgiving. This is going to be we're going to a restaurant. And over the last couple of years, Thanksgiving has really evolved for our family. Not only do we not do it on the holiday, we do it the Sunday before. And we do it the Sunday before to reduce the stress of the holidays. It got to the point where as my kids became adults, and they needed to be this side of the family, that side of the family, this girlfriend's house, this boyfriend's house, this fiance's house read there was so much going on that it was becoming either, okay, Mom, we can come and we can be there for an hour. But we can't be there for the meal, or oh guy will come and we'll eat but that'll be the third Thanksgiving meal of the day. Right? Just not it wasn't fun, it was feeling very stressful. And the reason it was feeling stressful, is because of the thoughts that I have about Thanksgiving. I want everybody to be together at a certain time, share a meal, to relax, to enjoy, and to just be able to visit with each other. And because that wasn't what was happening, really, it was like, I don't like that. So could I adjust it to a different day, put it out there in the family is everybody open to this and they were and we made that switch so that everyone could then eat together not have to rush off. And also on the actual holiday, relax and do whatever they wanted. If you had other family you had to visit, if you had other meals you had to eat. If you wanted to stay home in your jammies and watch Netflix by the fireplace, you could do that too. And it worked out really beautifully. And I share that with you from that perspective that this shift in thanksgiving came really from my desire to have Thanksgiving a certain way, which was relaxed. And I wanted to point that out. Because isn't it? In fact, doesn't everything happened that way? Isn't it all based on what we want it to be? Meaning, we have this rulebook, we have this desire, we have this idea of the way things should be the way things should work the way people should be, but things people should do. And the problem with that is when anyone doesn't do it and follow the rules, we get upset. We tie our emotions, to their words, to their actions, to their behaviors, to our expectations to the manuals we write. And I'm sharing that with you because here comes another story. Although all four of my kids will be here for this weekend, as we celebrate Thanksgiving. What I found out was that one of my children actually won't be here because he even though he lives locally, he's going out of state for the weekend. And when I found that out, I was really annoyed. I was really annoyed with him. And I'll tell you why. Because here's some of my rules for Thanksgiving. And this is not something that I thought of going into it. It's something I've thought of because I had to work on why I was feeling so annoyed with my kid. The rules are everyone goes and does Thanksgiving at mom's house. Because we know this right? We know this. It's mom's holiday. And set aside thanksgiving for mom. That's what we do. In my head, right? Mom has priority, make sure and give mom priority. And mom shifted Thanksgiving specifically. So nothing else would interfere with your ability to be with mom for the day. Okay, so those are some of my rules, right? And when one of my kids says, Oh, hey, mom, well, I won't be there. Because I'm going out of town. I wasn't sure what day you were doing it? Well, my head immediately goes to what what are you talking about? Of course, you knew what they were doing it? Because we always do it the Sunday before the holiday? Oh, well. Yeah. Well, it wasn't confirmed. Well, it was confirmed, because in my mind, right, that's when we do it. So I'm sharing this because I know I'm not alone in the way we think about this, right? I know we're not I'm not alone, whether it's thinking from the perspective of mom or the perspective of wife or the perspective of girlfriend, daughter, sister, whoever it is, we all have certain ideas not only around the holidays, around everything that we do in our life, around the way we expect people to be. And I think sometimes the holidays can be so stressful because those expectations and those rulebooks those manuals become magnified. Because now we've got a day that's special to us. So this may happen around anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, or some other special occasion that you have in your mind. This is a special thing, when it should be celebrated or acknowledged or treated this way. And that's fine. We We all get to think what we want to think we all get to have the expectation that we have, because that's the way you want something to look like in your life. But where the problem comes in, is when we expect everybody else to have the same rulebook to understand all the expectations and to honor them for us. Right? When we are concrete in that thought, this is the way this has got to be. This is the way it goes. Because that's when I'm happy with you speak this way, if you dress that way, if you show up this way, if you don't make the potatoes the way you're supposed to make the potatoes on Thanksgiving, and I'm going to be annoyed. So we set ourselves out. And we open up an opportunity to be annoyed, because somebody else didn't follow our rules, whether they knew the rules or not, or whether we believe they should have known the rules or not. And this is something that came up with my son. So I have this conversation with him. He's not going to be here. He's going to go out of town. And I'm driving the car. I'm on my way to pick up my dogs from the groomer. And I realized that in my head, I'm just ruminating, right? I'm ruminating on all the things he's not doing right. And I'm getting angry, and I'm frustrated, and I'm hurt. And that was the thing that triggered me. That was the thing that triggered me to go whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, what are you telling yourself here, Laura, it was that red flag of saying what he did is hurting my heart. Which made me realize, Okay, I've got a deep story here. What's happening? Because when we do that, when we say, You hurt me, you upset me, you make me angry, you make me want a shot of vodka. What we're doing is we're telling ourselves a story about someone else. We're going into emotional childhood, we're tying our emotions to their behaviors, actions, words are saying you do this, I'll feel like that. And that's rarely well, it can be happy. If you do this. If you follow my rules, I'll be happy. But if you don't follow my rules, I'm not going to be happy. So I noticed as I'm driving, I'm thinking, Oh, wow, okay, I'm telling myself that he hurt my feelings. Because he violated like some of the big rules mom isn't a priority. Thanksgiving, mom's holiday isn't a priority. What the heck are you doing kid. And in telling myself that I was feeling very upset. But there's two sides to that. Not only was I tying my emotions to my son's choice over where he would be on a certain day, so I'm giving up my power over my own emotions. But I'm also taking away from my own joy, from my own anticipation, from the joy of the people who are with me, and how much I love being with them. Because I'm choosing to direct all of my mental energy, all of my emotional energy in that moment, into the rule, someone else violated. And I'm going into anger and frustration and hurt. Now, this is super important. Because we do this a lot in life. And as I said a minute ago, I think we do this even more, during the holidays. We also do this when we go through treatment, when we're going through treatment for breast cancer. And when we finish treatment for breast cancer, we often have a story in our head of how we should be treated and how people should treat us and act towards us. before, during and after. Right? Before I should say before you get a diagnosis, you go through treatment. And then now you're a survivor. Or now you're a thriver what does that mean to you? And how should people behave towards you? Here's a story there. I promise you. And I know this because I've coach dozens and dozens of women. And I hear the stories and I have had to deal with and unravel my own stories as I'm sharing with you right now. Because I looked at that and I thought to myself, you know, a part of the story I have about my irritation today is I have stage four cancer. What the hell are you thinking? This may be the last Thanksgiving we ever have together? And I realized that that was one of the thoughts very deep down in there. And I thought, well, that's just silly. Because it doesn't matter if you have cancer or don't have cancer. You never know when your last day on this earth is going to be or what is the last holiday you get to have with anybody else right? You don't know this. And so that is like a guilt trip thought. Right? It's a guilt trip and it justifies my feelings. It justifies my rule book for my son. It's like yeah, see there? And then I can take that same like I can take that and go to one of my sisters like Do you believe this? I mean, this could be the last time he ever has Thanksgiving with me. And they'd be like, Oh, my God, I can't believe, right. I mean, we could get people to buy into that really, really easily. And not just on Thanksgiving, but for anything in life, right for anywhere, or any interaction that we have, when we feel that our rules have been violated. Now, this is really interesting. And I had this conversation, similar conversation. During the week with one of my clients, I was coaching, we were talking about a situation that she was finding annoying, because someone else wasn't acting the way she thought someone should act. And as she was describing to me the frustration she felt she said to me, Well, isn't it okay? Isn't it okay, that I feel that way? And you may be hearing my story about my son and thinking that same thankful Yeah, I would feel that way too. Isn't it okay to feel that way? Well, it's okay to feel that way. If you like feeling that way. But if you don't like feeling annoyed, frustrated, irritated, unworthy, not a priority, I'm not sure the right way to phrase that is, but if you don't like feeling like that, then it's not okay. It's not okay to tell yourself that story. So it's really not about the other person and this kind of a situation. And I think that when special occasions come up, we do often make it about other people what they did what they didn't do the priority that they gave you something. But it's our story. And what happens is, we take our story, and we use it to control other people. And then, because we really can't control other adult people, it rarely works out well. And everybody ends up feeling crappy, right? We end up being frustrated, maybe other people end up feeling guilted. And it's just not good. So when we notice that we're going into anger, frustration, pity parties, because we're telling ourselves a story about what someone else does. We've got to stop, we've got to stop and come back and say, Whoa, what am I telling myself here? Because I'm robbing myself of joy. I'm creating negative emotions that I'm not liking. I don't like the way these feel. And I'm also stepping out of accepting this person for who they are, and making a decision. Do I want this person in my life? Can I love this person as they are? And that's a really important thing to examine those really important questions to ask yourself, because so often, we don't want we want people in our life, but we don't want to accept them for who they are. We want them to behave differently, the way we want her to behave, and follow our rules. And so we then miss this opportunity to get to know and love someone completely for who they are. Because they don't follow our rules. And now I want to be really careful to point out here, that there's a difference between accepting people for who they are
Laura Lummer 18:10
and violating healthy boundaries. So what I mean by looking at someone and accepting them and deciding consciously and intentionally deciding, I want this person in my life, and I'm going to love them for exactly who they are. And I'm going to open my mind to creating that space to know them for who they are. So for instance, my son, I know him for who he is. Somebody invited him on a special weekend and for him, he's very free spirited, he is not a rule follower. He does not do guilty does not do control. He got an opportunity. It sounded fun. He said yes. It had nothing to do with me. I tell myself a story about how it did have something to do with me. So do I decide to love my son for who he is? Absolutely. And, and I love his free spirit and I love his adventurous side and, and his rebellious side. And there's things I like about it, there's things I don't like about it. But if it comes to a healthy boundary, that's something different that saying, if a person is treating you with lash like emotional abuse, physical abuse, if someone is just not honoring you, for the person you are, if this person is constantly violating healthy boundaries, that's a different decision. We're talking about decisions for the people you love the people you want in your life. And the people who say Cuddy annoying the hell out of me, because of some way they talk some thing they say some way they approach things, or they're always late or something like that, right? These minor violations, not actual big healthy boundaries, where you're protecting yourself and keep yourself mentally, emotionally and physically safe. Alright, so there is a difference there. To illustrate another example. So the other day, I go to a yoga class with my sister. And as the class is beginning, the teacher, we know this teacher, it's not the normal yoga class that she and I go to this teacher is a little newer. And she doesn't teach in my favorite way. Like, if you go to yoga, you know that there's a certain kind of a flow and a sequencing that's done. And since I am a certified yoga teacher, I'm even more, you know, aware of that. And so your classes tend to be a little funky, don't have great transitions. And but it's okay, right? I'm a yoga class. And so my husband would say to me, every time I come back from yoga, did you have a good yoga class and I say, to imbibe, how can you not have a good yoga class? Like, yeah, of course, yoga is awesome. Well, this day, I'm in yoga class. And she says, at the beginning of the class, set an intention for this class. So I set my intention. And it's a very peaceful intention, right to send peace to certain people. As the class progresses, I'm noticing, I am feeling really annoyed. The way the class is being instructed is very clunky. But worse than that, there's this song that she keeps playing. And it's over and over, the same song is playing over and over, like different renditions of it. But it's the same song and it starts to in my brain, it's almost just like nails on a chalkboard. Because she's playing the song at such a high volume, that she's yelling over the song. And so when I start this class, and I say, I'm gonna set this intention of sending peace, and it does dedicate this class to sending peacefulness out, and I'm noticing, in my body, I'm feeling so much irritation for just the sound and the experience that's happening. And actually, I'm going to all through all of this, while I'm in class, I'm noticing that I'm annoyed. I'm looking at the way I'm thinking about it. And I'm also saying, Well, isn't that interesting? Because here I've said, I'm dedicating this class to sending peace to someone who in my life, I find annoying, right? Because I'm trying to find forgiveness and peace. And yet the class itself is really irritating me. And I'm thinking, Oh, my gosh, how do I change my thoughts right now? How do I stop feeling this irritation. And I was kind of laughing to myself about how ironic it is that this class is kind of mirroring the relationship that I have with this person. And I have to work really hard to change my thoughts about it and get myself into a place of peace. And I did kind of there were moments where I thought I want to walk out of this room. And I came out to my thoughts on it was like Laura, take a breath, connect to your breath and be here, stop telling yourself stories. She's trying to give everyone a great yoga experience. She believes that this is a great yoga class, because of course, she's the teacher she wants all most students have a great experience. So I had to work very hard to manage my mind, to keep feeling the way I wanted to feel until I got out of that class. And I was only partially successful, to be 100% honest with you. I was doing the work in my head as I'm doing this class. But I didn't completely come back to that place. In all honesty, when the class ended, I was like, relieved. Thank God that this is over, and I got through it. But it did make me think a lot about how we have to put a lot of energy into managing our mind, when we have a deep belief that something should be a certain way. People should be a certain way. And so that class was actually a great example for what I was actually trying to work on in my life at that point. So here's the bottom line, bringing together Thanksgiving, kids yoga, all of this stuff. Let's wrap it up into a nice package. When you're going through your life, and you are noticing annoyance with other people lead that annoyance, ie that flag that comes up and says you're telling yourself a story right now, it's creating feelings you don't want to experience. Why are you doing that? What is your thought about this person? How is it that you're trying to control them? Are you trying to control the way they speak? Are you telling yourself they should talk differently? Are you telling yourself they should drive differently, they should eat differently, they should breathe differently. We tell ourselves so many things about other people and go into judgment. And we overlook our own judgment. Because we tell ourselves, it's their behavior. So the work here is in noticing annoyance. And then ask yourself where am I judging this person? And then if you want to say Well, isn't that right? Isn't it okay? That I feel this way? Isn't it okay that I expect this of them? Then we apply the next question. Well, do you want to feel the way you're feeling right now? If you do then go with that. But if you don't, then can you tell yourself another story. So like the yoga teacher, I can tell myself the story that she thinks she's giving the best experience she can give and create some space for her with my son, he's being the person he is. And he's a free spirit and decided to take this adventure, this experience, and that doesn't have anything to do with me. Can we look at our stories, and realize that there's always more than one version of the story? And are we choosing one that's taking away from our joy that's taking away from our experience, and it's actually robbing us of the joy of everyone else, everything else, and all of the other things that may be happening in the moment that we could be enjoying, because we're choosing to direct our mental energy to focus on one thing that's driving us crazy. That's our work. It's never about someone else. It is always about what we're telling ourselves about someone else. Because we don't get to control other people. So we have to come back and clean up our thoughts about other people, so that we can go through life with joy, and presence, where we want to be. I hope that that helps you. It's not easy work to do, but it's important work to do. And it's work that if you keep these words, and they trigger something as you go through the holidays, or as you go through your regular day in life, and start noticing what you tell yourself, other people should be doing. They make you think about this, and that starts bringing up all these red flags and it gives you the ability to come back and check in with your own thoughts. You're going to start creating a much more peaceful life for yourself. All right, my friends. I'll talk to you again next week. And until then, Please be good to yourself and go to my website and sign up for the lesson on gratitude and abundance. Thebreastcancerrecoverycoach.com/Joy