How to dare to live your own life (Episode 39)
When you’re a caregiver, it can be really hard to remember that you’ve got a life of your own, too. But how do you learn what you really want and figure out a way to dare to live it? Kay Coughlin knows it is possible for anyone to do because she uses a 3-step process in her own life and with her clients. It works, even for caregivers, and that’s what you’ll hear about in this episode.
Learn more about all of this work at FacilitatorOnFire.net/LearnMore.
Transcript of episode is below.
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Transcript: How to dare to live your own life (Episode 39)
Hi there. I’m your host Kay Coughlin. And you’re listening to From One Caregiver to Another. This is episode 39. When you’re a caregiver, it can feel a lot like the people in your life expect you to stop living for yourself and start living for the person or the people you care for. I think that this is one of the most confusing things about becoming a caregiver it’s as if we, the caregivers are supposed to forget about our own needs.
In reality, what it looks like a lot of the time is that we end up living our own lives in a small way. We think what we’re doing is minimizing our own needs in order to kind of reduce the number of things that we have to manage every day. But it only works for a short period of time. And then it becomes really unbearable to ignore ourselves anymore.
But by the time we figure that out, we’ve developed a lot of habits and thought patterns that make it really hard to remember who we are and what we really want. I go into more depth about why all of this happens in my webinar on human giver syndrome. And you can look in the show notes to find a link to register for that.
And in that webinar, I also talk about why it’s not your fault. You haven’t done anything wrong. You’re not to blame, and it’s not an accusation to be part of the human giver syndrome culture. I mean, I am a designated giver in my family too. I’m really no different than you, except in one important way. I have learned how to pay close attention to the expectations that are put on me now.
So now I can rework them and set healthy boundaries and share that workload with other people. And because I do that. I can dare to live my own life again. I think anybody who knows me now would say, that’s one of my gifts. I’ve cracked the code, I guess, on how to live my own life and how to manage the care for the people around me, when I need to, without believing I have to do it all myself anymore. And most of the time now it doesn’t overwhelm me. But I’m not perfect. So when I do start getting to the point where I feel burnout coming on, now I can slow down and figure out what’s going on and I can rescue myself from it. And if I can do this, if I can do this work, and I’m a wife of 26 years, I’m a mother to two teenage young men and I’m the primary caregiver for my mom.
So look, I carry a lot of baggage around with me from all these years. I know for sure that anybody can do it. And I mean, you too. So, what I’m going to talk about today is daring to live your own life. I mean, how do you do that? It’s the real reason that I wrote my book called from one caregiver to another overcoming your emotional grind.
And it’s really not as difficult as it seems. It’s not easy to do. Daring to do anything, takes some knowledge and courage. And I mean, yeah, it takes work too, but really it is possible even for caregivers, even for you, the secret sauce for me and my clients is my three step process that I outline in the book.
And that’s what I want to share with you here today. Now, since I wrote a whole book about it, there’s obviously a lot more to this, but what I really want to do today is give you a good idea of how possible it is to dare to live your own life and how you can start doing it today. Here are my three steps.
And again, there’s a lot more to each of these, but these are the three steps in a nutshell, step one, observe or notice what you’re hearing from the world, what your doing now, and what’s in your mind. Step two process, the things you noticed in step one and step three, create what you really want. Instead.
Now that’s a lot, there’s a lot involved in all of this. So let me break this down for you just a little bit. I’m going to tell you that these steps are all daring, because right now the world is telling you not to do these. The world is actually counting on you not to become any more self-aware so that you’ll just go on doing whatever it is you’re doing right now, which is playing along with what the world wants and making life easier for other people.
This is where it’s going to begin to take a little bit of courage on your part to even just really dip your toes in. All right. Step one. Notice or observe what you’re hearing from the world, what you’re doing right now, and what’s in your mind right now. And that would be your thoughts and feelings and beliefs while your noticing, try not to judge and blame and shame yourself, even though that is exactly what your brain is going to want you to do here.
Look, I know how hard it is. To not judge yourself. Believe me. I am as guilty of judging myself as the next person, but I can also tell you it’s possible to stop judging yourself so much because I have learned to do it for me. The result has been that I really am more gentle and loving with myself. A lot of the time I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve come so far from where I started.
Step two then is processed the things you noticed. This is the time to get curious about what you are hearing from the world, the ways you behave and what’s in your own mind. I heard someone say that this is the step where you just sit with whatever it is that you noticed. And when you sit with it, You’re going to feel things.
I just feel like I need to warn you about that. A lot of emotions are going to come up in this step. And that is why I think most of us could use help with this step because processing and feeling these things is going to feel uncomfortable and even painful sometimes, or. We’re going to want to hide from what we see, or maybe just avoid looking at it all together.
And I know this from firsthand experience, I do this. So trust me on this. There are a lot of ways to get help with this step. This podcast is one of them, or you could talk to me about what coaching looks like. You could also work with a therapist or a support group, just please remember here that you are not alone.
Then in step three, this is the step where you create what you really want instead. Now, this feels like the good stuff, the action, the change, and the things we want to do. In fact, this step is so tempting that most of us are going to want to jump ahead right to it. And I’m including myself here. I want to skip over the first two steps, but the real magic, the reason this works is when you do not try to do this step until you’ve gone through the first two.
It just turned out to be a huge waste of time and energy to try to do this step, the, creating something new without understanding why you have the habits and thought patterns that you have right now. Now it’s like trying to build muscles in your arms without actually exercising, or it’s like trying to climb Mount Everest without training for it.
If you want to create what you do really want in your life in a way that’s actually going to work and going to stick with you over time. Approach, step three as step three in the system. I know this is not what you want to hear, but I am not going to lie to you. Because I’m talking about being daring today.
I’m not going to sugar coat any of this, or make promises about any of it being easy because that’s not true. I know it is possible because I do it. And I also know it’s not easy because I dare to do the work myself. By being willing to start in step one and go through that and do that very necessary and very daring work in your own mind, you will learn.
What’s really keeping you stuck. That’s the point of it. Some of this is going to be stuff that’s coming at you from the outside, but some of it is going to be coming from inside of you too. The reason for all of this is not to heap more blame or shame or judgment on yourself. But my friend, those are real things.
And if you’re worried about those things coming up, when you do look inside your mind, most likely that’s because you’re already feeling them right now. The only way these things can keep hurting you is if you keep trying to deny and resist and push them away, it’s like a game of whack-a-mole and it wears you out over time.
I know it’s really hard to believe that resisting these thoughts and emotions can be worse than feeling them. But for now, please just trust me on this. I am somewhat on the other side of this and I do the work every day and I know how true this is. And I also know that if you’re already stuck with these challenging thoughts and emotions, anyway, you can learn to go through it so that it’s in the interest of your own future and of daring to live your life.
Let me just tell you right now what it’s going to be like when you go through this intentionally, instead of being at the mercy of these feelings all the time. When you do this work intentionally, you are still going to see things you don’t like. You’re going to find messages. You’ve been hearing that you don’t like, you’re going to see emotional wounds and scars and pain.
But none of this is a surprise because those things are already there. Whether or not you’re acknowledging them right now. They’re already there. And it’s all. Okay. Because all it means is that you are human. Just like me. We carry around challenging and sometimes ugly things in our minds. It’s just how we are because we’re human.
And when you do the work of seeing it all on purpose, instead of trying to shove it away and pretend it doesn’t exist, you will be able to process it that step too, and use it for your own benefit. So when you do the work of step, one of seeing everything that’s going on right now, and when you do it on purpose, the things you see become your starting points.
When you can see your own starting points and they’re going to be unique to you, but they’re going to for sure be fears. And insecurities and beliefs about your own value and what you are supposed to do and not do according to the world and the people around you. When you can see those things and acknowledge them, you’re going to have the information you need so that you can instead, dare to live your own life.
All of this that I’ve described today is so daring and so brave, and you can do it doing the work that starts in step one and starting with step one is going to be the key to unlocking your whole life to yourself. Again, even if you are a caregiver, it always works that way for me and for my clients.
And I know it can work for you too. I believe in you. It’s my job to believe in you. Of course, as a coach, that’s part of my job, but it’s also the truth. I can believe in you because I do this work and I’m daring to live my own life. So I know that you can do it too. Thank you so much for listening today.
You can learn more about me and this work at FacilitatorOnFire.net. That’s FacilitatorOnFire.net/LearnMore. And there is a lot of good stuff there at my website, including links to my book and to learn more about Human Giver Syndrome. If you want almost daily doses of straight talk for family caregivers who want to dare to live their own lives, please follow me on Instagram, and there’s a link for that in the show notes. If you liked this episode, please leave a review, which will help other caregivers find their way here too. And definitely tell a friend who also happens to be a caregiver. I can’t wait to be here with you again in the next episode, From One Caregiver to Another.
Kay Coughlin, CEO and Chief Facilitator of Facilitator on Fire, has a dream to create a world that is generously inclusive of all adult generations. The best place to connect with Kay is on Instagram.
“Caregiver Coaching” is for family caregivers who want to dare to live their own life. Facilitator on Fire’s “Building Trust Across Generations” seminar helps leaders and managers build amazing teams that are attractive to people of all ages. Kay’s keynote address, “Top Myths of Leading Generations,” helps businesses see the hard costs of miscommunication between generations.