Getting through a hard time and processing a hard time are two very different things.
When we just get through things, that often includes stuffing our emotions, denying ourselves the right to feel, and ultimately creating even deeper trauma.
Processing a difficult is exactly the opposite.
It's giving yourself space and grace and time and compassion.
It's allowing yourself to get the support you need and releasing pain by putting it into words in a form that works for you.
In this episode, I’ll share some common thoughts I hear from survivors that tell me they haven't given themselves the space they need and deserve to process what life throws their way.
I’ll give you three questions you can ask yourself and consider the next time you feel like life just doesn't fit anymore so you can process what you're experiencing without judging yourself and denying your right to feel.
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. Welcome to Episode 222, of the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I want to start off this show with a very important question for you. Have you made a plan for yourself for 2023? Have you gone to my website to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash pillars, then Korean rolls in the four pillars of breast cancer recovery, coaching experience, enrollment closes December 31, New Year's Eve at 11:59pm. Pacific Coast time and the program starts January 1, it is a program that will truly change your life that will give you the skills, the understanding and the tools to make sense of the world after breast cancer, to decide and to get clarity on the life you want to live and how to do it to understand the full range of human emotions and the experience we have and that it's all okay, and how we get through them all. And still have the power to choose our thoughts to choose the joy we have in our life. And to give ourselves the amount of time needed to process everything we're going through, whether that's recovering from breast cancer treatment, dealing with a new diagnosis, living with disease, or creating a dream for yourself, since you realize that everything changes, the drop of a dime, some really cool stuff. So join me before you do anything else, go to the breast cancer recovery coach.com forward slash pillars get all the details on this amazing coaching program and pre enroll so that you can get the pre enrollment bonuses including the early bird pricing and four months in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, which has a ton of benefits, and a ton of support just waiting for you. All right, jump in. If you haven't done so already, make a plan for yourself. When the holiday rush is over. And the new year begins. Don't just wait to see what's going to happen with the year. Create the year you want to live. All right, my friend. That's my public service announcement because it's so good to support yourself so important to support yourself. And so important to set yourself up as the priority you are and be very intentional about how you live your life. Because if you're listening to me that I know you've been through something that has shown you that every day of Life is a precious gift, and we don't want to miss out on that. All right, let's jump into the show. Here's something I was reading. There's an excellent book by Bessel Vander Kolk, I talk to my clients about it often. It's called the Body Keeps the Score. And I know I've talked about it on this podcast before. So we were mentioning this book in a group coaching call a week or so ago. And then I just decided I'd pick it back up and refresh my memory look through some of the notes that I had made on it, some of the corners that I had creased on it. And I came across two things that I wanted to share with you here on the show and talk a little more in depth about them. So it's two quotes, one of them says, I am aware that I without realizing it have lost my feelings. I don't belong here anymore. I live in an alien world. I prefer to be left alone, not disturbed by anybody. They talk too much. I can't relate to them. They are only busy with superficial things. And I read that I had underlined it before and highlighted it highlighted and underlined because it was that important. I remember when I first read it. I thought about how often I hear women feeling like this after breast cancer treatment after a diagnosis of breast cancer because it often leaves them noticing that people around them can be concerned with really petty things, really small things, lots of drama. And when you've had a diagnosis or you're living with a diagnosis and you're thinking every day, I'm thinking about living one more day. Every day I'm wondering about Hello my life is out actually going to be that some pretty heavy stuff. And so when we hear people arguing about whether they want Chinese or Italian for dinner, we start to think, what the hell, like these little petty things don't matter. And I hear that statement all the time. I just don't even know how to have conversations with people anymore, because everything they talk about is so petty and meaningless. And I want to touch on that, because I think it's a very important step in our healing. How do we make sense of the way we see the world and now, the way we feel that we fit or don't fit into our world, our world, meaning whatever it was, we were doing before that diagnosis, the people we spend time with the entertainment that we choose the social circles that we travel in the work that we do, the businesses that we have, and sometimes we think we've got all the time in the world. And then when we figure out we don't, because of a diagnosis of cancer, and we go through treating that, and we come out, and we're in Shell Shock, and we're processing trauma. And I talked to women who are 567 years out from their treatment, who've never really dealt with this, and are still feeling like they don't belong, like they don't fit. And like nothing else makes sense. I hear often hear, I just withdraw, I just stay in my home, I just stay in my room, I just don't have anything to say to people. And when I hear that, I know that this person needs to process what they've been through. They need to process the emotions, they need to process the fear, they need to process the anxiety and the thoughts that they're having about their future. And then the thoughts that they're having about the people in their life and around them, and why these people see life so very differently. And that's the second quote that I came across, also highlighted in underlined in the Body Keeps the Score. And that one says that people cannot put traumatic events behind until they're able to acknowledge what has happened, and start to recognize the invisible demons that they're struggling with. That is a critical thing to remember. Because we have this idea oftentimes. So we should just be able to handle everything, that if we were just stronger, if we just put put on our big girl panties faster or big girl panties were bigger, or something of that nature, that we wouldn't feel the way that we feel that we could go back to the way we used to be. And if he listened to me for any amount of time, or worked with me at all, you know that my belief system on that is there's no way, let's just drop that idea right now, there's no going back to what happened before your diagnosis. But when you are done, and you are re engaging in life, and you're finished with your treatment, and you're starting to notice all the things that come up for you so much of the time, we become very critical and have a lot of self judgment. We tell ourselves, we shouldn't think what we think we shouldn't feel what we feel, we shouldn't have the ideas that we have, we shouldn't want things to be different.
Laura Lummer 08:12
And friend, I want to tell you that that is 100% Incorrect. Because whatever you're feeling, whatever you're thinking, whatever has changed. It is just is right. It's your reality. It's what you're feeling. It's what you're thinking. And therefore it is what you're supposed to be thinking and feeling. It is what you're supposed to be experiencing. But then we have to be careful and stay in our own lane and stay in our own story. Because when we move ahead to this withdrawal place to this judgment of other people who have not been through the same trauma, or even a similar trauma to what you've been through. That's when we have to pull back a little. And notice we have more work to do. When we start to look at people and the things they're concerned about and the things they're worried about. We become dismissive of them and their problems, we got to look at our own thoughts. Because everybody's at a different place in life. And that doesn't mean that they are somehow less of a person, it doesn't mean that they're in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. It just means we're in a different place. We've had a different very powerful experience, and it's impacted your thoughts. So to resist that or even to compare that to resist feeling what you're feeling to resist thinking what you're thinking, or to compare other people to you. As if to say they need to figure it out. They need to get it or to say you need to drop it. None of that is useful. And I think it's important to talk about this because it's something I hear a lot. And I want to recognize for change that I see happen in women who've gone through breast cancer and if you're listening to this podcast or you're someone that I work with in coaching That tells me that you're looking for something that there's something in you that has caused you to reach out into the world and say, does anyone else think the way I'm thinking is anyone else feeling what I'm feeling is anyone else seeing the world in a different way, the way I'm seeing the world, or am I just crazy, rest assured that you're not crazy. But also know this, this is totally unscientific, I have no evidence to back this up. It's all anecdotal based on my own life experience and the experience of those that I coach and work with. But what happens in our life is that we suddenly realize that we've moved away over the course of however many years of life to becoming someone other than exactly who we are, we start to see after this life threatening diagnosis, that things just don't fit, right. And we start to notice the boxes we put ourselves in. And this is what I hear from people all the time. I just don't feel like I am myself. And they're right, because we've been conditioned to be whoever we are now, based on what works, what fits in for the people around us what we believe what we've responded to, we conditioned ourselves based on someone's reactions to us, it's a normal desire to be, to want to be liked, to want to feel included, to want to feel like you belong. And so whatever ideas you have, of the way people respond to you, and the meaning that that has, so for instance, if you like a certain kind of humor, and when you make that publicly known, people give you funny looks, and you tell yourself, oh, it's not normal to like that. And so you withhold that. And you change the kind of humor that you like, or you don't tell people about it, or you just try to pretend that you don't really like something like that, when we're in relationships, and you may want to speak up or say more, or ask for more, but throughout your life, anytime you've done that in the past, you feel that that's met with resistance. So then you move forward into longer term relationships, and you don't speak up for yourself, and you don't ask for the things that you need. So we get conditioned to behave a certain way, we get conditioned to label and judge certain things in life. And then you come out of this treatment, and you realize that now those are insignificant, or those don't matter, or I don't feel fulfilled at what I'm doing anymore, or I don't feel like me, in the relationships that I'm in, or the people that I'm around, they're saying stuff that I'm just so not interested in anymore. And then we hold that against ourselves. But the truth of the matter is, that the trauma you just went through, has caused this veil to lift this veil that I call life conditioning. And we start to look through it and we start to realize not that we're not ourselves anymore. But that now, we really want to be ourself that now that little voice inside those desires, those wishes, those dreams, those passions, those joys, everything that you wanted to say, needs to come out even more. And when that happens, sometimes it gets scary. And I hear women say I don't feel like myself. But what you're not feeling like is the conditioned self. The self that was told this is what a good daughter does a good mother, a good sister, a good wife, a good friend, a good employee, when something inside of you wants something different. So what's really important here, and I hope we can all commit to this is to leave some space for yourself in 2023, that when these ideas when these thoughts when these feelings come up and say, This just doesn't feel right anymore. Stop they're in before you go into judgment. Before you go into shaming yourself before you go into feeling guilty. I'd like to give you a couple of thoughts to consider. These new thoughts are steps towards processing. Remember the quote that I offered earlier, that people cannot put trauma behind them until they look at those invisible demons? Well, those invisible demons are those uncomfortable emotions. And when you sit with them, and you allow them to bubble up and you think about them in a different way, and you question them, now we start to process them when we judge them, and we just suppress them and tell ourselves we're bad or we're broken that we should just be happy that we should just go back to the way things were and be satisfied with it. Then we're not really looking at What's coming up? So thought number one, when you're feeling any of those feelings, I feel like I don't belong. Like, I feel like other people are worried about things that are meaningless. And I just don't fit in. And I just don't feel right. Stop for a sec, and ask this question. What do I need right now? Because there's a void there. There's something there. That's not setting, right? There's something there that needs to come out. There's something there that needs an answer that there's an emptiness and openness a wound. In that moment, when you feel that discomfort, ask yourself that question. What do I need right now? Now, when you ask that question, more likely than not, your brain is going to say, I don't know, I don't know. I don't know is a mental block. And I see people go there often, when underneath, I don't know, is more discomfort, when underneath I don't know is I need to change something. But the thought of changing something is intimidating and brings up fear. And then we go right back to judgment, I shouldn't want that I should just be happy. And it's this vicious cycle. So when you're creating space for yourself, allowing space for yourself to process so that you can actually move forward creating the life you want to live? You've got to move fast. I don't know. And when it comes up in your brain, which it will you just ask yourself, but what if I did know? What if I did know? And what if I didn't know, but I didn't have to do anything about it right now. I just knew what it was that I needed. And let your brain answer that question. Because that answer is inside of you. I promise you that. And the only thing that stops you from noticing it is your own thought that you shouldn't be having it. Okay, so thought number one, what do I need right now? Feeling uncomfortable? What do I need right now.
Laura Lummer 16:59
Number two, is my thinking from the past. And again, when we're thinking from the past, so much judgment comes in, because we're comparing ourselves or saying this is the way it was, this is the way it should be. This is the way I was trained for it to be this is where I was conditioned to think I should just be satisfied with this, I should just be happy with that. Those are all thoughts that come from your past. So when you ask yourself, what do I need right now, we don't want to go into the past to figure that out. Past is behind you. We want to stay in this moment. And think about the future version of us the future version of our life, what it is you want to create, not why it is you can't go backwards. So what do I need right now needs to come from that future version of yourself. That version of yourself that loves yourself that's compassionate, that's caring that saying, It's okay for you to make the changes you need in your life. It's okay for you to let these feelings come up, you're safe, and you're going to be fine. There's support for you, there's time for you, and you deserve it. So the second question, am I thinking from the past, you know that when you're judging yourself compared to what you think you should be doing? So we've got to start thinking from our future self? If I was a person living with peace, living with joy, living the life I want, what would that look like? Allow yourself to think about that allow yourself to ask what what would my perfect day be like and walk through a scenario of a perfect day without judgment. And that's a beautiful exercise to help you move into thinking from the future version of yourself, instead of from past conditioning. So am I thinking from the past that we'll just think about it in this visual, like thinking from the past will always pull you backwards, right? And you don't want to go backwards. You want to be here in the moment, thinking about the future you want to create. Okay, so for thinking from the past, remember, that's a weight that's pulling you back, think about something lifting you forward, I want to think from my future self. Okay. And then the third thought is, is it possible that there is an opportunity here for change, when we're feeling uncomfortable and stuck and struggling? And like we don't fit in and like people don't understand us? That saying, something needs to shift here. But again, we're conditioned to judge ourselves. You know, we're just not great at gifting ourselves. We're not great at gifting ourself time and space and compassion and understanding. So when we ask ourselves, Is it possible that there's an opportunity for change here? You might be surprised at what comes up. And remember, that question applies only to you. That question is not for the people around you. That question is not Yeah, there's an opportunity for change. My husband can pick up his damn socks, my kids can clean up their room. No, that's not where we're headed here. Is there an opportunity for change here? Can I change the way that I'm thinking? Can I give myself permission to make some changes in my life? If I feel I need them? Can I give myself permission to just explore this space and see what it is I need to support my own healing? Can I give myself some space to allow emotions to come up, to let myself go through them to release those invisible demons, which allow you to process trauma and move forward in your life? Okay, so those are three simple, very powerful questions, and their forward moving questions, their forward moving thoughts. And that's the important part here. When we're moving into the new year, when we're moving into a new phase of life, when we're trying to support our ability to heal when we're trying to figure out what's really important here for me in life now, after I've had a life threatening diagnosis, or maybe you're living with it, we want to move as far away from scarcity, fear, judgment and shame as possible, and move forward into the life you want to live. We want to become manifest errs, of what we want to live too often, when we think about the future, we're thinking about the future, from a scarcity place, a place of fear of a place of what could go wrong, and that will always create anxiety. In this scenario with these questions, you're moving in and thinking about the future, from a very abundant place, from a place of processing trauma and releasing negative emotions, difficult emotions, and allowing space for more joy and the life you want to live. That's what I want for you. And you bet that's what you want for yourself, too. So write those questions down, practice them, think about them, journal about them, and help yourself move forward. And you know, that I'm here to support you. And I really hope that you gift yourself the opportunity to work with me in the four pillars of breast cancer recovery, coaching experience, that is something that will be a powerful boost in moving your life forward and you can start your year off with it, you're going to love it. So go to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com and join me as we move into 2023 with forward thinking, momentum and self compassion. I'll talk to you again next week and until then, Please be good to yourself. Take care