Have you ever been stung by a bee? Had a major surgery? Had a chronic injury or have experienced trauma in your life? Often times we can’t pinpoint that feeling until we see those exact occurrences portrayed through Hollywood movies, online videos, and our favorite influencers. The shared experience I’m talking about is pain. We all experience these things yet pain is still one of the rarest things to be openly talked about in the correct context. When was the last time you had an open conversation about the pain someone else was experiencing on a daily basis? On the contrary, when was the last time you had an open conversation about the pain you experience on a daily basis? My hope for this article is to break down the barrier that keeps us from acknowledging the muddy waters that people trudge through every day to keep up with everyone else. To understand the shared struggles we all go through. And to help you lead your life with compassion and empathy, while feeling empowered to give yourself the grace you deserve.
Despite all of our differences, pain is one of the few things we have in common. Pain comes in all shapes and sizes at every single level. It can be vastly felt and it can also be extremely personal. But that doesn’t mean one matters any more than the other. Before I go into the pain of others I’d like to share one of my experiences with pain.
Growing up as a Texas boy, I dreamed of playing football or pro-powerlifting. It was my passion to see how far I could push myself mentally and physically, becoming the best athlete I could be. I did these things from little league well into my sophomore year of high school until sharp pains started catching up to me. It had always hurt to kneel or squat for long periods of time and usually was trumped up as growing pains. But that was normal for me. so I assumed those were pains everybody felt. But it got to the point where there were certain times that I couldn’t focus on my life as a teenager. Turns out, I had a lot of cartilage damage. Enough to justify a double arthroscopic knee surgery. Little did I know that was only the start of my journey. The doctors informed me this would be a chronic issue and that I would have knee problems for the rest of my life. For 10 years after that initial surgery, I endured pain every single day, only getting worse with time. I struggled to convince doctors that I was not an over-dramatic, drug-seeking kid — I was in pain. When I exhausted every half-witted idea they had to fix my pain, I was finally able to find a doctor willing to do a knee replacement. Thankfully since I’ve had one of my knees replaced, I have been able to keep my pain at a manageable level helping me live a life I thoroughly love.
If you are experiencing long-term pain, it’s not going to be the party of the century. If you’re aware though, you’ll be able to catch the warning signs when it is no longer manageable. I used to hate the word “manageable” from all the doctors I saw, but while the healing process is progressing, the best we can do is to manage. As a good manager of your body, if things get to a point that you can no longer manage with the resources available, then it’s time to get more help. Not only is this smart, but it is an obligation to yourself.
Though asking for help can have a stigma, relate being a good manager of your body to being a good manager in the workplace. A good manager cares more about helping their employees lean into their strengths to reach a company goal, rather than a hit to the ego. Similarly, when it comes to your body, consider the value you can gain from advocating for it rather than letting others decide what it deserves by falling into the fear of speaking up. If we let that pride win, we are choosing to ignore our own well-being at our detriment.
Asking for help is different for everyone so don’t be afraid to get experimental with it. Find things that help you deal with the extra load that pain adds to your brain.
Find further information about these tips on Psych Central.
Moral of the story: pain adds a lot of damage to our lives when we probably have enough to deal with in the first place. Until you’re ready to commit to your healing journey, the best way to manage your pain is by finding ways to manage your well-being and to become an advocate for yourself, your body, and your life.
I’m not a researcher, scientist, or expert in my field. I’m simply sharing a few ways I’ve learned to cope with pain for decades. What’s written above are only a few practices that I have learned over time. This is by no means an end-all-be-all solution. Nor is that what this article is intended to be. My only hope is that with sharing this we can begin to explore pain and how it affects our lives. Learn to deal with certain things without self-destruction. Overcoming adversity is one of the most astounding things about human beings, but we don’t all make it. So why not do our best to lift each other up? There are things in this life we can not change. But how we deal with pain doesn’t have to be one of them.
No one ever said you have to be perfect or always make the right choice, and failing at something doesn’t automatically mean you’re a fraud. Consider all of the opportunities you would miss if you stopped giving yourself a chance. Are you willing to let your life pass you by because you don’t think you deserve another chance? Breaking the cycle of negative thinking won’t be easy but you will enjoy your life so much more for it. The next time you misstep, have the courage to live like you are supposed to be here. Don’t doubt your greatness, own it.
Comment Below: What’s your take on pain? Should we speak more openly about it or accept that everyone deals with it and stop creating conversations around it?