#266 What You Can't Control is Making You Sick

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One of the most incredible things about going through tough times is finding people who truly understand what we've been through. Misery loves company, they say, but I believe more often than not, we seek connections with those who have come out on the other side of their struggles with stories of hope. 

We have to remember that we can't control what life throws our way or other people's behaviors. The only thing we have control over is our thoughts, and that's the game-changer. 

Now, I know it's not easy.  

We might want to indulge in anger or bitterness because we feel life has been unfair to us. And hey, it's okay to feel that way sometimes. But here's the thing, we get to choose our thoughts, and we get to choose how we respond to life's curveballs. 

If we want to create a life better than before breast cancer, we need to release the thoughts that make us feel sick. And trust me, we all have those thoughts. 

So, check out this episode, and let's work on releasing those thoughts, renewing our lives, and embracing the power we have to create a life that's better than before breast cancer.




Read the full transcript below:

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, welcome to episode 266 have better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. So long name right? Did you notice that little switch up there? So this podcast has been called the breast cancer recovery coach for a long time now years now. But as I evolved as a coach and my programs evolved, I began calling and referring to what I teach and how I coach and the programs I offer. And the life that I offer you can create for yourself as a life that's better than before breast cancer. And I just really felt that it was important to incorporate that into the title of this podcast, because that's the message I want to send. I don't want to send a message of what I too often see when it comes to breast cancer, which is one of thinking about recurrence and thinking about fear and focusing on what cancer did to us and did to our lives. I want to offer a mindset shift, and one that sends a message to anyone who's heard the diagnosis of breast cancer from stage zero to advanced metastatic disease, then we can still have a life that's better than before breast cancer that we can make choices. We can live with intention, we can choose joy, we can choose the way we decide to think so that every single day that we have here is the day that we choose. And it goes the way we want it to Now, does that mean that we get to control life and that we get to start changing what happens to us in life? It absolutely does not, we have no control over that. But we do have control over the story we tell ourselves about what happens. And I don't mean denial, and I don't mean, you know, delusional. But in every story, pretty much. There's a focus that can lead to suffering. And there's a focus that can lead to healing and growth. It's not always happy and sad, right? It's not always like there's a good thing, you know, oh, there's a shining, there's a silver lining on this. I don't think that's always the case. Sometimes things are really painful. But I do think that in most situations that occur in life, I guess I would say in all situations, we can if we choose look at them in a way that allows us an opportunity to grow. And that's the message that I want to send with this podcast. So the new name, the long name, but I'm going to try to get used to saying it as I Intro The podcast is better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. And so I'm trademarking that whole name. So it's something that apparently I have to use according to the law as well and make sure it gets out there. So I hope you like it. And I hope that that message is loud and clear with every episode of this podcast. So if you are a new listener, welcome. And if you're a returning listener, thank you, for your ongoing support of this podcast. It's a passion project. For me, it means so much to me to reach so many women around the world. So fascinating, right? That just you get an idea one day. And that idea turns into what this podcast what my business has become is pretty mind blowing, you know, but I love it. So I also believe very much in listening to that small voice inside of us that voice that says this is the direction this is what you need to do. This is a calling right? You hear that calling term used. So in so many ways. And for me, when we're paying attention to ourself, we're listening, and we're tuning into ourselves. And we feel that calling oftentimes is disrupted by a lot of self doubt and a lot of self criticism and a lot of disbelief, and on and on and on. But if we allow ourselves to be courageous and follow that calling, even when it's scary, I think that most of the time it leads us exactly where we need to be. And that's what happened with the show. So I record these podcasts ahead of time, and I had recorded an episode that was going to come out today. And when we went to edit that episode, the last four minutes of that episode, were gone. Just black, no audio, no video, nothing. They were just gone. And normally, I would look at something like that and think, Okay, I gotta go rerecord this episode. I had no outline the whole thing. It was important for me to talk about you'll be hearing it next week. But when this happened, and the end of that podcast was corrupted, I knew there was something else I needed to talk out, because there was something else on my heart from a conversation I had with a beautiful breast cancer survivor, who I am proud to call my friend. She's young, she was very young in her diagnosis. 33 years old. She's a young mother, she has a young daughter. She's smart, she's successful. And we had this conversation about life life after breast cancer. And it was heartbreaking. It was painful, there was a lot of suffering that was discussed in this conversation. And the reason why it was on my heart is because it's not the first time I've had this conversation. I have this conversation, often with women who come to me because they're in so much pain, and they're in so much suffering. And I really felt like this was the opportunity to talk about it on this podcast. Now, in my life coaching membership in the programs that I offer, they're all about the way we choose to think because there's an extreme power in realizing that you have a choice over your thoughts, that thoughts come up. Sometimes those thoughts are true. Sometimes they're not sometimes they're true, but they don't help you. Sometimes they're just stories, sometimes there are imagined, thoughts are fascinating, right? They're amazing. And when we sit down, we pay attention to them. And we start noticing how many thoughts go through our head. And we start realizing how many thoughts we attach to and run with. And we started realizing the way we've been conditioned to think our whole life. And whether that way is something that leads us to growth and to joy, or whether that is a conditioned way of thinking that leads us to a lot of suffering. Now, there's a conditioned way of thinking, and so many of us, including me have gone down that path. And it always leads to suffering. It leads to frustration. And it leads to this phrase. And if you've heard yourself say this, this is making me sick, right? I feel sick right now. I promise you this has something to do with it. And what it is, is this perception, this perception that almost like life is out to get you right. It's like I'm drowning, how much shit Can I take? If it's not one thing? It's another? Things just keep happening? Why me? Why is this happening to me? Even after a breast cancer diagnosis? Why am I the one that got the diagnosis? I look at this person I see they I did these things to take care of myself. They didn't even do those things. Or why was mine so severe and hers wasn't? And why are they happy? And they're in relationships, and I'm not an I'm lonely. And we go through life with this comparison, really victimizing ourselves. That way of thinking is making ourselves a victim of life. Why is life doing this to me?


Laura Lummer  08:01

But as I offered a moment ago, it's not that that's not true. It's not that those things may not be happening to you. It's not that maybe they're not all happening at the same time. Within a few months of me leaving my marriage, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was newly a single parent with two children out of my four children still at home that I was responsible for taking care of. I had a lot going on in my life. Was that a great time to get breast cancer? Is there a great time to get breast cancer? Is there a good time to get a divorce? Is there a good time for financial pressures? No. This is life right? No one's life is a fairy tale. At least no one I know. And you know what, here, it's funny. And I'm going to bring up the first thing that pops into my mind when I think about a fairytale life you think about a fairy tale princess. And I remember, after Queen Elizabeth passed, I don't even know how long it was ago within the last year. When she passed. I remember reading stories about her looking at photos about her. And you would think here's this woman, she was born into royalty. What an amazing life she must have had, what a privilege gifted life she must have had. And I'm sure there were many, many privileges and benefits. But I read this story about her. And it was photos of her with her hands in her pockets in this dress she was wearing. And she had had this photographer come in and do this special private photo session for her. And apparently there's some hoops you have to go through as a royal person to get your photos approved before you publish them. And she was not allowed to publish these photos because they were considered inappropriate. They were not formal enough that as a queen, she couldn't be as casual as standing there with her hand in her pocket. And when I read that, I thought, Wow. You know, we tell ourselves stories about other people. But we don't know. We don't know other people's stuff. hearing everyone has a story. What if that woman in her deepest, deepest heart just wanted to be casual and free and silly, but because of the role she was born into, that was not something she could do in her life? Did she suffer because of that? I don't know. You know, was that something that she always dreamed about and could never fulfill? I have no idea. But I remember reading that story and thinking, no matter how amazing we think someone else's life is, we never know. And yet we go down that road too often, of comparing ourselves and comparing lives, and comparing someone else's happiness to ours. As if people go through life without pain without suffering, it no matter what form that comes in, it may not come in a form that you consider suffering, when you go through it, you may look and say, Oh, I'd rather go through that and through this, but maybe that person will rather go through a you're going through what they're going through. When we go through our lives doing that, and comparing ourselves to others, and telling ourselves that story, like why is this happening to me, and we make ourselves this victim of life, we miss what I think is a beautiful lesson. And this is a lesson that I came to learn. And this is something I discussed with my friend the other day, and she had finished telling me that as a result of going through breast cancer, and she decided with her reconstruction to go flat, she decided, you know, reconstruction, she's very young, she's very beautiful, she's single. And she wanted to get that story out there. She wants to, she feels that calling that I talked about. And she wants to send a message to other women to be confident in themselves and to be feeling beautiful and sexy. But as soon as that calling surfaces, and she feels it, that self doubt comes in. And the look at what life has handed to me comes in. And she asked me this question, why? Why is this happening to me? And here's what I offered her. And here's what I want to offer you. When you find yourself thinking that when you find yourself saying if it's not one thing, it's another, everything is coming at me that? Well, that's not untrue, right? That's life. And that's kind of the cycle of life. In The Life Coach School where I was trained Brooke Castillo, who's the founder of The Life Coach School, she teaches that life is 5050 50% of life is challenging, and 50% of life is wonderful. When I first heard that, I thought, Gosh, I kind of think that a lot more of my life is wonderful than 5050. But then I go through times where I'm like, Oh, damn, she was right. Maybe about 80% is sucking right now. Right? But then it switches. So I think it all comes out in the wash. But it is true, that we oftentimes feel like we are just in the middle of a meteor shower of bullshit from life like being is or just coming at us and hitting us. And it feels like a lot. Why would that happen? Why do we go through that? I think that everyone has a different belief, and that your belief is going to lead you to have a story about why we go through that. But in terms of what I'm talking about here, when you feel like, you know, there's something I want to do in my life, whether to be the best mom, be the best friend, be the best artists write the best book, I don't know. But whatever it is, would you be able to do any of those things? If you didn't have a story? What if you never experienced suffering? What if you never experienced challenges? I mean, if you're listening to this podcast, you didn't come to me, because oh, your this lady does a podcast about breast cancer and life after breast cancer and she's never had breast cancer. But well, we really love what she has to teach. You wouldn't want to listen to someone talk about living a life with stage four metastatic breast cancer and how you live with joy, and how you continue to have goals. You wouldn't want to listen to that. Someone never had it right. When you go through difficult times, do you turn to people who have never had difficult times? Of course not. We need people to understand us. We want people that can connect to what we've been through. And on one hand we have the familiar phrase misery loves company, and sometimes that it's true sometimes we go to people with the same story because we do want to indulge in misery. But I think more often than not, and I really want to believe more often than not, and I see this in my group. I see this in my memberships, my life coaching membership and in the breast cancer recovery group. More often the night we want to connect with people who've been through what we've been through and come out on the other side with a story to tell that gives us hope. And we can give people hope. If we've never been through anything, how do we teach people how to be resilient? How do we encourage people that they can get through things? How do we become a great friend, a great sister, a great mentor, a great teacher, a great coach, a great wife? How do we become a great partner to anybody in life? If we've never experienced life, and experiencing life, as much as I would love to say, means, oh, I've been to Italy, and I've been to Taiwan, and I've been to New Zealand, and I've tasted cultures of every conceivable idea. Now, is that really what we mean, when we say people who have experienced life, pretty much know, what we talk about is when people have come through, if people have a lot of life experience, what does that mean to you? They've been through stuff. And they've learned how to overcome things. And they've learned how to embrace and enjoy life. Now, there's a secret to that. There's a trick to that. When we figure out how to embrace and enjoy life, how to follow the path that leads us to joy that leads us to creating our dreams, that leads us to building a vision and pursuing it, we have to realize a couple of things. One I've just talked about, life is not out to get us. This is just life. And life has lots of complexities and lots of moving pieces and lots of stuff happening at the same time. And learning about life is learning how to manage these things, and still realize we have the power to choose our thoughts, choose joy, choose love, choose experiencing our emotions, choose learning how to process those emotions. This is an important part of creating a life. That's better than before breast cancer. But the second thing is that we have to ask ourselves, what do I have control over in this life? Am I spending so much time and so much energy focused on grieving, regretting all things that I have no control over other people's behaviors, other people's stories, other people's life experiences, when we learned the very, very, very valuable lesson, that the only thing we have control over is the way we think


Laura Lummer  17:30

that is the game changer in life. And you have that power every day, you have the power to choose that now, right now, today. Now, it's hard to do. Because in some ways, we want to feel that anger. I'm not sure why that is. But it feels like something unfair has happened to me, and I have a right to it. And I'm not gonna argue with that. You do have a right to it, if you want to choose it. But in choosing the anger in choosing, comparing what you've been through to another people who've been through what you perceive to be worse for yourself, what does that bring you? Where does that get you? How does that help you to grow and change and enjoy your life. This is such an important thing to focus on. Because I'm telling you this thought, and this series of thoughts. It's incredible how common it is, I think we all have fallen prey to it at some point in our life. But it's just creates an incredible amount of unnecessary suffering. When we stop and realize that we have no control over what life throws our way, we have no control over what other people do. And even more than when we sit. And we think about what these other people do, what they don't do, what happened to them, what didn't happen to them and how unfair it might be to us. When we sit there and we focus on that. We make ourselves sick. I started off at the beginning of the show saying those things that you can't control are making you sick, because you want to control the things that are out of your control. And what does it feel like in your body when that happens? What does it feel like in your body when you're in bitterness? When you're in regret, when you're telling yourself that something that happened in life shouldn't have happened in life and it isn't fair. For me, it feels like a constriction in my throat, a constriction in my chest, maybe even nausea. It feels terrible, but you still get to choose to feel differently. When you learn to practice asking yourself how do I want to feel? And what do I have to think in order to feel that way? This is where you start to create a life that is better than before anything then before breast cancer than before. Are you realize that you're in control of only yourself in your thoughts, that you don't get to control other people, that we have to learn to accept others exactly who they are. And that if we're willing to do that work, which is super hard sometimes because we've got to drop our ego, we've got to work through tough emotions, we have to work through these conditioned ideas of fair and unfair. But when we do that, and we come to the realization that I can control what I think I can control what I choose, I can choose to control the energy I put into certain thoughts and how much time I put into that, when you start to realize that and practice that, you start to become free. And what I mean by that is, you start to become lighter, you start to get to focus on you. Because all the energy that you put out in the world with your thoughts about how other people's lives should be, especially when those lives intersect with yours. That's exhausting. That's why the first pillar of breast cancer recovery that I teach and that I coach on is release, we've got to let go of these ideas that are making us sick. And when I say they're making us sick, does that mean you gave yourself cancer, please don't go there. It doesn't. And it does mean that it doesn't serve you. It doesn't support you. It creates a lot of stress. Stress impacts your immune system. So it doesn't align with the choice to make decisions in a way that support your body's ability to heal. Right. We want to be the people who think every day, what can I do to support my body's ability to heal? Because when we think in that direction, then again, we're taking even more power to create a better life. Because we could be thinking every day, what is cancer going to do to me? What is the scan gonna say when am I going to get a recurrence? Am I going to get a recurrence? Or we can think, what can I do to support my body's ability to heal. And that extends into our emotional life, that extends into the thoughts that we have that say, this is what's happening to me, this is what people are doing to me, this is what life is sending me this isn't fair, this isn't right. When it doesn't feel good. When you notice those thoughts, and you notice how sick they make your body feel. This is a wake up call that saying hey, this way of thinking is not supporting my healthiest life. And I can choose differently. And no, it is not delusional. Again, I said that a minute ago, it is not an island, it is not delusional. It is making a decision to say this is the reality of life. And these are the things that are happening. I am getting a divorce, I have a diagnosis of breast cancer, I also have a stressful job. I also have children to take care of these are the realities, how do I want to see them? What do I want my story about all these things to be about? Do I want it to be one of victimization and struggle and challenge? Or do I want it to be one of opportunity and inspiration and noticing what my heart is calling for me to do to have more love, and more joy and more connection in my life? So what do you do with that? What's the next step? Where do you go with that? Well, let me give you a little bit of direction here. I think that getting thoughts out of our head and looking at what we are really thinking is a very important part of personal development and growth. And so it's important to do what I thought downloads, thought downloads, taking a piece of paper and taking a pen, and getting thoughts out of your head is so enlightening. We've become so aware of how many areas in our life, that we're blaming outside forces for causing a suffering. And so what the first step is, when we're looking at creating a life that's better than before breast cancer is to look at what are you telling yourself you have control over, that you don't have any control over. And that thinking it and fighting it and resisting it is literally making you feel sick. And get those thoughts out on a piece of paper. Because once you see them, then you can begin to work with them. So if you get out that piece of paper and you say what thoughts make me feel sick, you start writing the thought that I can change my ex husband, the thought that I can make my 16 year old be the sweet six year old that he wants us to be. I mean all of them right? I use those because those are kind of my own personal examples. But every single thing that I'm alone in someone else's has a happy marriage that I have no breasts, but the other people are the same age as me a beautiful natural breast, whatever those thoughts are, that are making you feel sick. And you notice them and you realize, wow, these are things I have no control over. But I do have control over whether or not I will put energy into thinking them. Or when I think them, I will notice that thought, and I will choose something different, I will let that thought go. And I will choose a different thought that is also true. A thought that leads me more towards creating the life I want to live, whether than the life I feel is being forced upon me right now, there is a big difference there. So I offer that exercise to you, because I think it's valuable is simple, it isn't easy. Because when you start to write down all the thoughts you have of all the things that are out of your control in life, at first, you might feel overwhelmed. And then you might feel like, Oh, God, this is kind of miserable. But I just want you to sit with them, and look at them and question them without judging yourself. And even without judging the thoughts. But to look at each one of those things and say, Do I have control over this? No. Does it make me feel good? Nope. Why do I continue to choose to think and then this is where you get into the deep exploration? What are you getting out of thinking that?


Laura Lummer  26:04

What is the benefit that you're receiving? You know, in my becoming you course, that's something that we dig into in that course, because this is an important thing, we have to recognize and notice that we keep choosing something because it benefits us in some way. All right, even if that was negative, and we talked about, you know, negative attention, it may be giving you a negative benefit, but you need to become aware of what the benefit is. So for example, if I choose to constantly talk about what a jerk my ex husband is, then I don't have to do the hard work of letting it go. Because so many other people think like that, too, that I can just keep talking about that. And other people will keep validating me. What is the benefit that I get? I don't have to do the hard work of dropping the anger and the judgment. And it is hard work to do that. But at the same time, how is it serving you? I don't think I know anybody who can talk about someone else doing something to them, right? causing them to feel a certain way and feel good. It doesn't feel good. So asking yourself, How am I benefiting from this? What am I telling myself, even if it is a negative benefit, I'm benefiting by people feeling sorry for me, and benefiting by people offering me more support, and benefiting by not having to learn how to process really difficult, tough emotions. I'm benefiting by not having to come face to face with my own ego, and start letting things go. Right. Those are benefits. So when we write this out on paper, I mean, like, what are these thoughts? What am I telling myself? I have control over that's causing me to feel sick? And then little by little? We just investigate? How am I benefiting from this? What is it really doing? What is it really causing me to feel? Now we can do the work of letting it go, we got to go through release. We've got to get these things out of us. And release them release the thoughts, release the words, become aware of the stories we're telling ourselves so that we can move into renewing our lives, regrouping our lives, reviving our lives, it is a process and the release part of it and the awareness part of it. Is it important, integral important, foundational, it's everything. We've got to let shit go. That's been keeping us stuck and keeping us in pain and suffering. Well, I hope that I was right, and that what was on my heart, and that the reason that other podcasts was corrupted was because somebody needed to hear this today. And if you need help with any of this, come and find me. You can work with me in the better than before breast cancer membership. And at the time of this recording this month is the month of August 2023. And we're digging in deep to what do you want to think? How do you want to think about your life? There are so many things that you have control over and so many skills and so much power that you have over that situation probably more than you realize. And I would love to help you with that. So come and find me on Facebook, the breast cancer recovery coach on Instagram at Breast Cancer recovery coach, you can come to my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com Choose a program to work with me or just come and join my free Facebook group the breast cancer recovery group and engage with 1000s of women who've had the diagnosis of breast cancer and want to live a life that's better. Alright my friends, I will talk to you again soon. Until then Please be good to yourself. Take care.


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