Be kind to your pain. It’s crying for your attention
I have lived with chronic pain from a neurological movement disorder called dystonia for over 20 years. Chronic pain does not follow any rules, and after multiple beatings, we can lose our sense of self. It is not uncommon to then feel weak and unworthy. To make things worse, we too often beat ourselves up if we don’t measure up to our former selves. This is a massive challenge for many of us with chronic pain to overcome, but we must end this personal torture. Chronic pain beats us up enough without us adding to it.
Rather than beat yourself up for having a health condition that causes pain and limits your abilities, think of the part of your body that is in pain or being a nuisance as the part of your body that is crying out most to you for your love and care and attention. Imagine a child sitting on a bench crying. Perhaps imagine this is your former self at a very young age. What would you do in this situation? More than likely, you would sit next to the child and ask them what was wrong and how you could help. You would possibly even hug the crying child.
This crying child is your pain!! It is crying out to you for help. Don’t yell at it. Talk to it. Hug it. Care for it. Ask it what it wants and needs to feel better.
Most grumble over the fact that they have pain and get angry that they have it. They then shame themselves for being limited in their abilities. I TOTALLY get it and have done this as well and still do from time to time, but what good does this do for us? Does it really make you feel better?
Your pain is a child crying out for help. Show it more compassion. You are on a tough journey in this life! Acknowledge that first. Then treat yourself with more loving kindness. In many ways, I think we are stronger than we were before pain entered our lives. It has probably been one of the greatest challenges of your life as it has mine. It takes a special person to cope with all we do and persevere every day.
Here is an idea for you to try. Rather than get angry and yell at your pain, put your hand on the pain, muscle contractions, tremor, or any other symptoms and say “I love you, I’m here for you, please tell me what I can do to make you feel better.” This may sound very counterintuitive to how you normally talk to your pain, but please try this new approach and make a practice of it.
The following is an ancient Hawaiian tradition for healing and forgiveness. It is called Ho’oponopono and is very powerful. It consists of 4 phrases. I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You. Our body NEEDS to hear these words.
If we continue to get up every morning and try to make a life for ourselves to the best of our ability given our circumstances, we are doing far more than we often give ourselves credit. If you want to read more about dealing with pain in greater detail with strategies for how to cope with it, please see my two books, Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges and Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey.
Please honor yourself for the efforts you make every day. The mental strength it takes to persevere in the face of adversity is far more an accomplishment than living a life with few obstacles, or obstacles that are easily overcome, as many were before life with pain and chronic illness. Acknowledge your willingness to keep living as fulfilling a life as possible and stop beating yourself up. You’re doing okay with the hand you have been dealt and that is enough.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and volunteer writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, Brain & Life Magazine, and Patient Worthy. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his books (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.