I’ve found that living with chronic pain is a constant balancing act. Each day I have to monitor how my body is doing so I don’t create flare ups. I have to check in with myself emotionally so I can keep on an even keel and stay as positive as possible. I have to say no to many things that I would like to do, so that I can say yes to healing.
All of us living with pain have to become masters at this. We have to learn to walk the path in the middle of extremes.
How Much is Too Much?
We have to learn to pay just the right amount of attention to our pain without becoming its servant or making our entire existence about taking care of it, but also not living in complete denial and trying to numb ourselves out both physically and emotionally so we don’t feel anything.
We learn to live as positively as possible, while not pretending everything is fine, (never talking about our pain or expressing it) or going to the other end of the spectrum and becoming someone who lives as a victim awash in powerlessness.
We learn to walk the middle path of honoring our emotional selves and our feelings about being in pain and how that limits our lives. We learn that shoving them back down again can just cause more pain later.
Saying Yes, Saying No
We have to find that balance point between the yes and the no, between going too far into a kind of forced positivity and giving up and sliding into depression and hopelessness.
We learn to be able to find ways to continue to participate in life while still living within our physical limits, somehow finding a balance between over doing it and making ourselves worse or becoming a shut-away.
We have to learn to say no without becoming overly negative. Instead, we learn to say it from a place of self awareness and self respect. No, I don’t want any more advice, thanks. No, I will not be available today. No, I do not choose that treatment right now.
And we learn to say yes to ourselves. Yes, to taking it slow. Yes, to being alone when we need to. Yes, to help when it’s offered. Yes, to doing things that feel nurturing and healing. Yes, to what we need in the moment, even if it’s an unpopular choice with others.
Becoming Masters of Balance
This is our challenge. It is the challenge of every human to some extent, but for those of us living with pain, it is more sharply highlighted, more immediate, and more necessary. It becomes a daily practice, often an hourly practice.
In a way, it’s our spiritual path. Becoming more aware of ourselves and our own needs in balance with those around us and in balance with the demands from our condition.
All of us who live with chronic pain become adepts at walking that middle road. We become masters of balance, saying no when it matters and saying yes to ourselves, which matters even more.
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