#323 Self-Care After Breast Cancer - How to Honor Your Own Boundaries

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Self-care is an important part of breast cancer recovery.

But, to practice it consistently, you must have clarity and confidence in your own boundaries. By learning to prioritize your own needs and well-being, you empower yourself to navigate life with resilience and strength.

In this episode, we’ll explore what it means to create and honor personal boundaries, including the power of saying no without guilt and the significance of self-compassion in this journey. By tuning into your own needs and learning to communicate them effectively, you create a safe space for healing and growth.

Join me as we uncover the transformative power of embracing healthy boundaries in your self-care routine.

Listen now and equip yourself with the tools to honor yourself on this path to recovery and beyond.


Referred to in this episode:

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer 0:00
You're listening to better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a certified life coach, and I'm a breast cancer thriver. In this podcast, I will give you the skills and the insights and the tools to move past the emotional and physical trauma of a breast cancer diagnosis. If you're looking for a way to create a life, that's even better than before breast cancer, you've come to the right place. Let's get started. Hey, there, you're listening to Episode 323. Better than before breast cancer with the breast cancer recovery coach. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And we're going to talk about a really important topic today. So let me set the scene a little bit for you. When I decided to become a coach and have an online business, I had a couple of areas that were really kind of intimidating to me, and I didn't feel very comfortable with this is back in 2017, I had already gone through the process of kind of figuring out what I wanted to look like what I wanted to do. And I'm ready to put the podcast out in the world put a coaching program out in the world. And the people who I had learned from who helped me figure out how to do that had kind of bought into this idea that there's this formula that you had to do to that you had to follow to have an online business. And one of those things was that you had to post on social media three times a day. So that you can pick up on the social media algorithm, and people could have eyes on your business. So you could find the people is that you want to serve. And I did not resonate with that I had a Facebook account. But I was I don't know, I rarely used it right, I think I used it mostly just to see my friends that were on Facebook. And I didn't know what to do with that as I go, I don't want to post stuff that's just like forced, you know, I don't want to put anything out there in the world that's just really generic, just so that I have three posts a day. And they're like, You got to do it, you got to do it. And I didn't do it. Because it didn't feel right to me, I would try sometimes I try to stick to that formula and figure out stuff to post. But at that time, I was very inexperienced, I was very new, it didn't feel comfortable. It was very awkward. And I didn't want to do things that didn't feel authentic, that didn't feel like they were really coming from me. So for a long time. And even now I don't post three times a day on social media. I only I post a podcast if it's regularly and I post things that are really meaningful to me, or things I want to share with other people. But I never allow myself to forcibly look for something and say, Oh, I didn't post anything today, or I haven't posted in two days. So I have to post something, I won't put myself in that position. When it comes to this podcast, I feel the same way. There have been times where I was maybe going through a lot, maybe life was really busy. Maybe I wasn't feeling well, maybe I was just really tired. And I committed to myself, I'm never going to do a podcast that's just forced because I say a podcast comes out on these days. I don't. That's never not why I started a podcast, I started it because I wanted to reach those of you that are in my community who have had a diagnosis of breast cancer and who needs support real support, I didn't want to connect. And so a boundary that I had for myself was that I wouldn't go against what was really authentic for me. So let's fast forward a little bit of history there. The way that I plan out my Podcasts is at the beginning of the year, I've laid out whole year worth of dates, that I'm going to record and upload those dates into my calendar at the beginning of the year. But this week, and sometimes it's up in for this week, it was two days ago, my recording time came up. And I have a little kind of a routine that I do either during the week or whatever points I get really inspired about a topic and I make a note of them like oh, do a podcast on this topic, talk about this thing. And then other times, I don't really have something on my mind. And I'll sit down and I just have a little bit of a meditation, I just sit in silence or I go out on the beach and I sit on the beach and I just kind of tune into that little voice inside of me or that power around me and say like what what is the message? What what is it that I need to put out into the world today? And that's typically how I come up with my podcast topics. But Wednesday, the time came up to record and I had nothing. I sat here and I was like, I got nothing. There's nothing that's speaking to me. I looked at some ideas I had on the list and even I read those ideas and I'm like, Yeah, that's just not speaking to me right now. So I moved my recording time I switched it and moved it to the next day put something else in that slot. Next day came which was yesterday. And I looked at it and I felt the same way my gosh I'm just not viewing it right? I'm just Should I just, you know, repost a podcast from a previous podcast. And that didn't feel quite right either. So I said, You know what, I reached out to my assistant who, you know, helps me get the podcast edited and produced everything I said, I'm not doing a show today, I'm going to do it tomorrow, because I'm just not feeling it. And that is a commitment I made to myself, right? That I wouldn't create stress for myself, I wouldn't judge myself, I wouldn't hold it against myself. If I found myself in a position in my business where something didn't feel like it was flowing, I would really listen to myself, and just be there with me in that moment and say, I'm not feeling it. And I'm not going to force it. And I'm not going to stress myself out. And as fate fortune, the universe would have it, I really believe in kind of checking in with myself. And I really believe in just following your intuition and trusting your intuition. And I think that it was a good thing that I didn't record. Because this morning, I did a workshop. And it was with my members. And the workshop was learning to love yourself more after breast cancer by honoring your healthy boundaries. Now, all month long in my life coaching membership, we've been focusing on self love. And each day I post a prompt, asking my members to respond to something that asks them to talk about or acknowledge something they've done something they love about themselves, something they're capable of something they've accomplished, or to ask them about something they will do to themselves anymore. What boundaries do they have with themselves that allow them to treat themselves well, that guide them to treating their selves? Well, on a regular basis. Now, I think that a lot of times when we think about self love, and we're just thinking about candy hearts, and isn't it a nice idea, but self love is rooted in boundaries, you must have boundaries in your life that you honor for yourself. In order to be able to treat yourself with love. There's got to be things that you commit to not doing. For instance, I'm not going to be a people pleaser. I'm not going to tell myself I'm dumb. I'm not going to tell myself I'm clumsy, ugly, fat, stupid, incompetent, powerless, all the things, all the stories, all the things that undermine us all the things that we would never let someone else say to us. Or maybe we would, sometimes if we don't feel that we're worthy enough, we will definitely allow other people to belittle us, which is just heartbreaking. And again, boundaries come into play. So how do we show ourselves loves, treat ourselves with love, without honoring our own boundaries for ourselves, for ourselves first, before we expect anyone else to honor those boundaries? Are we honoring them for ourselves? When we don't honor those boundaries, we become The Giving Tree. Now I know you've heard me refer to The Giving Tree before The Giving Tree syndrome on this podcast. But I did a talk last year to a group of cancer survivors at a celebration at a local hospital here at a medical care center. And I want to play for you an excerpt in just a minute from that talk, where I talk about The Giving Tree. Because what is The Giving Tree have to do with boundaries and self love. The Giving Tree means well, you're gonna hear it in a minute, but the cliffnotes version, you're letting people take what you don't have to give. That is not an act of love. Not an act of self love. And sometimes it's not even an act of love. When we're giving what we don't have to give. That's usually not coming from a place of love. That's coming from a place of self judgment, of guilt, of shame, of fear. It's coming from a belief that we're expected to do certain things because of whatever somebody else's beliefs that they ingrained into us. But we were letting people take because there's a difference between you're taking from me, and I'm giving to you. We've kind of have our own resources, and to be able to give when we allow people to take, and when I say allowed to take that circumstances, like people pleasing that circumstances like I believe this is the way a mom is supposed to be a sister is supposed to be a friend is supposed to be an employee is supposed to be but I'm not feeling it.

I feel depleted. I don't feel prepared. It feels forced. It feels uncomfortable. I don't want to do this. I don't like doing this, whatever those things are, and yet you do it anyway. You don't honor your boundary for yourself and say I don't have this to give in if I allow someone to take it. Right if I allow myself to be taken from and tell myself I'm giving and Cleaning myself, it doesn't feel right. This is situations like, I'm the one that does all the cleaning because nobody else ever pitches in. But I never stand up and say, I'm not doing this until you do, right? I don't have a boundary for myself or I say I take care of myself when I'm exhausted, depleted and have nothing else to give. So let me play this little excerpt from you from The Giving Tree talk. And then I'm gonna pop back in here and talk a little more about why I decided to do the podcast on this topic. If you are in this room, because you love someone who has or has had cancer, let me see your hand. All right, thank you. Now, if you're in this room, because you have or have had cancer, I see you're in lots. Yeah. So I want to ask you a question. If you raised your hand to the second question, but not to the first and let me restate the first, are you in this room because you love someone who has or has had cancer? And if you didn't raise your hand or both of those questions, I'd like you to think about why. Now, why weren't you the one who came to your mind as someone you love, and are here to support? Now, it's a little bit of a trick question. I'll give you that. But I asked it to illustrate a really important point. I have been coaching breast cancer survivors for the past six years. And in that time, without fail, 100% of the clients that come to me struggle with the ability to love themselves. They struggle with the ability to treat themselves with kindness, and compassion, they struggle to embrace their own sense of worth their own value in this world, and in their life. Now, they are amazing at being there for everybody else. They are wonderful about serving everyone else's needs. But they're not so amazing at identifying and caring for their own needs. And in fact, I see this so often that I've given it a name. And I call it The Giving Tree syndrome. So who's familiar with the Shel Silverstein children's book The Giving Tree? Right? Okay. cliffnotes version. In this book, the tree loves this little boy so much. It gives a little boy, its fruit, its shade, its leaves, its branches, its trunk, it gives an it gives, and it gives an A little boy takes and takes, it takes everything that tree has to give until there's nothing left at that tree, but a stump. And then the little boy who is now a man uses that stump as a stool to sit on. Now, I encourage my clients, and I would like to encourage everyone in this room today, don't be The Giving Tree. Don't do that to yourself. We give to people because we love to give we love to show up for the people that we care about. But there are times when we are depleted when we don't want to go do the thing, when we don't have the energy to show up at the place. But we do it anyway. And we do it at a cost to ourselves. We do it not in support of our own needs. Now I understand that it's challenging, it's challenging, to begin to practice self compassion, and to treat yourself as a priority. And I asked my own clients share with me some of the things that come up with you when you're struggling to treat yourself with self love to treat yourself as a priority. And now we'll hear things that range from Honestly, I've never even thought about that, too. I have no idea what I need. I have no idea what I want. I've never even given a time because I can't make time for myself. Somebody else always needs something from me. Now, I think it's important thing to think about here, because it's up to us to set the standard for how we want to be cared for. It's up to us to set the standard for others to show them how we want and deserve to be loved. So cancer is this critical point in our life. And it's opportunity for us to stop and look back at our life and the way we've been conditioned to think about ourselves, and the way we've been conditioned to treat ourselves for our whole life. And we get to ask ourselves in that moment, do I love the way I'm living? And if I do, what do I love about it? What would I like to change about it? What would I like my life to look like in a month from now? In three months from now, in a year from now in the coveted five years from now? What do I want my life to look like? And when we do that when we start asking ourselves questions like that, it can get a little uncomfortable. You might feel some discomfort. You might feel some fear bubbled to the surface. You might even feel anxious, because we don't know how to show up for ourselves. Nobody tells us it's okay for us to take care of ourselves first, except the flight attendant when she says grabbed the oxygen when the plane is going down in flames, right? And we don't want to wait that long. Okay, we deserve to be taken care of. So why don't we do that? Why do we sometimes choose to give our time to someone else ahead of us, when we know that we really need that time for ourselves? Sometimes we do it, as I said a minute ago, because we want to show up for people, we love people, and we want to be there for them. But sometimes we do it because the discomfort that we are familiar with is better than the discomfort that we're not. And what I mean by that, is that when you begin to show up for yourself and establish healthy boundaries, and honor those boundaries, it can feel very uncomfortable. If this is something you're not used to doing. If you start saying no, when you are always the person who said yes, even when you didn't want to, it can feel super awkward. And we don't like to feel awkward. And we don't like to feel uncomfortable. So we say things like, it's just easier if I do it. I had to do it. I didn't have any choice. I had to do it.

Speaker 1 16:22
Right. There's a lot of chatter out there, like oh, yeah, I say that. Okay. Right. And so here's the thing, we say that, because

Laura Lummer 16:28
we're used to the discomfort of feeling taken for granted, we know what that feels like. We're used to the discomfort of being a little resentful, we understand that. But we don't understand these uncomfortable vibrations in our body that come along with those new emotions when we recreate and reframe our life. And we start to create positive change. So the reason I wanted to play those clips from that talk, was because it's so important to realize that self love and self care and healthy boundaries, one are intricately connected, you can't pull them apart, you can't take good care of yourself and love yourself without honoring your own healthy boundaries. But more importantly, it's not easy, right? We have to be willing to go through some discomfort, some challenges, we have to be willing to look at our thoughts behind the statements of self love, why we're not willing to do things for ourselves? Or what is going to be the challenge in doing something that you know, is good for yourself. And I think that when we can get ourselves in that place and say, Do I have enough resources here? And when I say like, I don't have it to give, think about it. Like I always like to compare things to money, because money is more tangible can make sense for us. If you somebody said I need $300, and all you had was $300. But you also had $300 in financial obligations coming up, then you have $300. But you don't have it to give you have it because you need to use it. Right? If you had $600, maybe you could say yes, I have the 300 I need and I could give you 300. Think about that with yourself. So you're here, you're alive, you're breathing. Does that mean you have the energy to give? Sometimes a live? Yes. Sometimes in life? No, just because you're here, and maybe you don't have something on the calendar that day? Does it mean that that time and that energy is free to give, because depending on the space, where you're at and what you need for yourself in that time, you may need that just to sustain yourself in that moment. These are not acts of selfishness. They're acts of self care. You've got to take care of yourself first. And be sure you have the energy and the little bit of overflow of energy ability and capacity to give to others. Otherwise, if it's 300, and you need 300, and someone saying I need it too, and you're like, go ahead, take it from me. It's very different than having it available to give. Right? I hope that makes sense. We've got to tune into ourselves. And in this process of supporting our health and supporting our healing and supporting our body and creating a life that's better than before breast cancer. Starting with learning to honor our own boundaries from a place of self love and compassion is mandatory. We got to do it. We've got to be able to do that for ourselves. It's not an easy practice. It's okay to say that it's okay to embrace that. I think it's mandatory to embrace like we got to embrace it, expect change challenging emotions to come up. But realize that once you step into them and you practice what you know is good for you, what you know fills you up, then that gives you more to be able to give to others in a way that you want. And it gives you enough to do that. Well, you are still fulfilled, right? It doesn't burn us out doesn't exhaust us, it doesn't drain us think of those terms. And realize that that means you didn't have enough to begin with you gave more than you had. And that lift you deplete it. Okay, we have to think about how do we have enough resources within us to be able to live life the way we want to, you've got to figure that out for yourself because it's different for everyone. And once you figure it out, which is a process to do, then we establish healthy boundaries around what we figure out. And that is an act of self love. All right, my friends. Well, you know, my podcast wasn't on time. I'm not going to worry about it. Because I feel like everything happens exactly when it's supposed to. And that was a message that was out there waiting for me to pass on to you. And I hope that it helps you in some light. All right, take care and I'll talk to you again very soon.



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