What it looks like to dare to live your own life (Episode 41)

Daring to live your own life sounds great, but what exactly does that look like? In this episode, Kay Coughlin talks about what could be possible for you to believe – things like saying “no.” And once you believe in these possibilities, you can begin to really truly dare to live your own life. Even when you are a person with caregiver responsibilities.

Learn more about all of this work at FacilitatorOnFire.net/LearnMore.

Transcript of episode is below.

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Transcript: What it looks like to dare to live your own life (Episode 41)

Hey there. I’m your host, Kay Coughlin and you’re listening to From One Caregiver To Another. This is episode 41.

Well, hi there. I am so excited to be back with you for another season of the from one caregiver to another podcast. Just a bit of housekeeping here before we dive in. If you go to my website at facilitatoronfire.net slash learn more, and I’ll put that link in the show notes below. You can see everything I’m offering right now related to being a person with caregiver responsibilities and the work I’m doing on human giver syndrome. As of the date this episode is going live the next public webinar I’m offering is going to be on human giver syndrome and boundaries. Yes, you are allowed to have boundaries and you can download my guide and it’s called Disrupt Human Giver Syndrome. And it’s at that link that slash learn more. If you are interested in booking me to talk with your employee resource group or your human resources team or any other private group, you have a women’s group or a caregivers group, you can reach out to me by email.

That’s also in the show notes. If you do book me for a private talk, I can talk about human giver syndrome or about how to dare to live your own life as a caregiver, or I have a talk that’s really meant for the workplace and it’s called seven ways to help caregivers at work. All right. That’s enough of that.

Here we go on to the episode today. I want to take a look at this particular question. What does it look like to dare to live your own life? What does that really mean for you? Well, I think the short cut answer is that daring to live your own life means learning that things can be possible for you and figuring out what you need to do to make those possibilities come to life for you.

If you’ve listened to my previous episodes, you’ve probably picked up by now that I do have this theme of being able to see possibilities. It’s just really important to me as a caregiver and to others who have caregiver responsibilities, because what happens is that we get boxed into this caregiver role.

Other people think that we should have, or ought to have, and this is just a bunch of confining and restricting stereotypes. You can listen to episode 26 of the podcast. If you want to hear some of the big stereotypes that I’ve noticed, and they’re not at all related to what we want for our own lives, it’s just about what we should look like as caregivers.

And I want you to know that I am familiar with these stereotypes and these restrictive beliefs because of my work as a coach for family caregivers, of course, but also because I am the primary caregiver for my own mother. And also I’m the mom of two teenage young men. And I’ve been married for almost 26 years.

So, yes, I hear those stereotypes coming from all sides and I’ve been hearing them for years. In fact, this sort of overarching caregiver story that we’re told over and over, and we hear it from doctors, family members, and friends and community leaders and religious. It’s the story that once you take on caregiver responsibilities, there are no other possibilities for your life and there can be no other possibilities for your life.

That your only acceptable option. Our only acceptable option as caregivers is to just give up everything else and not just our dreams and ambitions, but also our preferences and our identity so that we can properly fulfill that caregiver role according to what everybody else thinks. Some people. Are going to tell us this outright, they’ll use those words.

You should sacrifice everything because you’re a caregiver now, but some people are going to be more passive and sneaky and kind of manipulative about it. And they might use a lot of judgment and guilt that they try to put on us. But it’s true that we do hear it coming from pretty much everywhere. So I just have to take a minute here and mentioned that this set of beliefs is what’s known as human giver syndrome, and it’s this idea that some people are expected to set aside their own needs and become givers so that the people that they care for can thrive and get ahead.

And if this is of interest to you, if you have been shoehorned into this giver role in your life, like I have whether or not you asked for it, I’m doing a lot of work on human giver syndrome and you can actually listen to episode 31 of this podcast just to get an overview, or you can go to my website.

That’s facilitator on fire.net/learn more. So if the shortcut answer to how to dare to live your own life, and what that really looks like is that you will see things as possibilities instead of thinking that things are just not possible for you. If you see these possibilities, then you can dare to live your own life.

So I’ve got a list here and I’m just going to rattle them off to you. When you dare to live your own life, these are the things that can seem possible to you, and they might not seem possible now, but when you think they are possible, when you believe they can be possible, then you can make them into your reality.

Here we go. You can not be trapped by thoughts and beliefs in your head. You can not be at the mercy of what other people think about you. You will be able to figure out what help you need, and you will be able to ask for it. You will be able to say, no, you will be able to take breaks, short ones, long ones.

Heck you’ll be able to take whole vacation. You’ll be able to speak up when you disagree. And I mean, speak up with doctors and other healthcare providers, legal and finance providers, like attorneys and bankers with social workers and other people who represent these really big systems. You’re going to find yourself up against with human resources personnel at your workplace.

You’ll be able to speak up when you disagree with your family members. And even when you disagree with the person you care for, you will be able to dream about your future and take steps to make it happen. You will be able to worship according to your own beliefs and what is in your heart. You will be able to take control of your finances and of your future.

And you’ll be able to decide what you want to do about unhealthy relationships. You won’t have to do it all at once. You can take it one step at a time. Nevertheless, you’ll begin to be able to decide and make the choices that are right for you. And last but not least, and I’m going to end with this one because I just think.

Really big, you know, actually it just might be the most important. One of all of these and hear it as, when you dare to live your own life, you’ll be able to feel all your feelings without letting them control your life. So you won’t be at the mercy of consuming emotions anymore. And I mean, emotions like guilt or shame or fear that can really take over your mind and control your life.

So this idea that you’re going to be able to feel all of your feelings. This is a tough one for people to believe, but the reason it’s so important is that suppressing your feelings or stuffing them down is another way to put that it does so much more damage in the long run than actually feeling them.

You can think of it this way. Your emotions are like a beach ball. So the beach ball is filled with air and you try to hold it under the water, but it takes a lot of effort to push it under the water. It takes a lot more effort to hold it there under the water. I mean, just think about how hard it would be to try to hold that beach ball under the water for even a short amount of time while your emotions are like that too.

It drains so much energy out of you to try to hold your emotions back and not feel them. What I don’t mean by this is that you have to throw a fit or make a scene to feel any emotion. You can feel any emotion quietly and you can let it process through you without letting it take control of you and really without throwing a fit.

But on the flip side of it, you can’t resist it either. That just doesn’t work. So when you do dare to live your own life, you will be able to see it’s possible that your emotions don’t have to control your life. And you can feel all of that. In the end, this makes it so that you will be able to, again, it will be possible to lean into the challenges that are going to come up and figure out a way through very difficult situations, without being afraid, to feel all of the emotions that are going to come up for you, you can be willing to feel all of it and to get back all of that energy and all of that brain power and all of that willpower.

That you have been trying to use to stuff down your emotions. If you’re feeling at all excited right now, like you might be able to see these possibilities so that then you can dare to live your own life. I’m going to tell you that you might want to listen to episode 39 of this podcast because in it, I talk about how to dare to live your own life.

I want you to know that I’m daring to live my own life, even though I have primary caregiver responsibilities. And that’s how I know that you can do it too, because I’ll tell you what, there’s nothing really special about me, except that I’ve cracked this code and now I’m sharing it with you. So, if I can do it, you can do it.

Thank you so much for listening today. You can learn more about me and about all of this work@facilitatoronfire.net and that’s facilitator on fire.net. And there’s just a lot of really good stuff there on my website. Including links to my book and how to learn more about human giver syndrome. Maybe attend one of my webinars for sure.

Download my guide called disrupt 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. That’s the best place to follow me. And you’ll see a link for that in the show notes below. If you liked this episode, please leave a review, which is going to help other caregivers find their way here too.

And definitely tell a friend who happens to be a caregiver. I can’t wait to be here with you again in the next episode, from one caregiver to one.

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 or in the "From One Caregiver to Another" boundaries discussion community.

"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.