It’s confession time. I live with chronic pain.
I have not sought out a western medical diagnosis because I know that this pain is psychosomatic (which still means it’s real – just that there’s no physical reason for it). The chances that I would be diagnosed with fibromyalgia if I were in the States and searching for a diagnosis are 90-100%.
Why am I telling you this now?
About 3 months ago, I decided to help out a fellow acupuncturist and be a beta tester for her course on healing chronic pain.
Because I also create courses and know what good feedback is like AND my body hurts all the time AND I understand her subject matter, I thought I was the perfect contestant for her. I was right. I did the course. I was three weeks in and I was still in pain.
She reminded me of ideas that I had gone through in the past and used to help my own patients. She encouraged journaling, EFT and body scan meditations. I did it as she asked but was still holding on to all my discomfort.
Then week 4 happened. And she asked a question that I have asked 100’s of patients before but never allowed myself to really answer it. Somehow, this time, it got under my skin.
What do I gain by holding onto this pain? How does it help me?
She shared her story that she (unknowingly and without awareness at first) was using her pain to give her a reason to allow herself to ask for love and tlc from the people around her. She also shared a story about using her pain as a boundary – instead of creating boundaries for herself. She would be in too much pain to attend a party or meet people for drinks instead of honoring her introverted nature and saying no. It was justifiable, understandable and accepted by those around her – it was the perfect way to avoid taking care of herself properly.
These examples opened something in me.
They meant I had to turn inward.
What I found shocked me and is still reverberating through my body.
My pain is my penance for living a good life. For being lucky. For having a great relationship, a job I love, the education and skills I have, the family I was lucky enough to be born into, friends that span the ENTIRE world.
I am so against the victim mentality that I skipped right over being a victim and made myself a martyr. Yes, I have this beautiful life – but little do you know I am constantly suffering in silence.
OH. MY. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.
[tweet_dis]It’s time to stop. It’s time to start uncovering all the reasons that I hold onto this pain so that I can let them go, one by one. [/tweet_dis]
Count them like sheep jumping over a fence and then watch them wander into an open field, happy to finally be heard, recognized and appreciated.
It was about 2 years ago now that I used my knowledge of Chinese medicine and my skills that I’ve developed in Soul medicine to get through a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s without Western medicine.
That time, it was all about my voice. It turned into this blog, working online with clients and being more vocal about my work.
This time, it is all about my worth. Standing in it and owning it. Knowing it is inherent because I exist, not because of my job that I love or my degree. Not because of my impressive husband, my body type, my weight or my knowledge. None of that is my worth.
No one has researched and taught me more about this than Brene Brown. Marie Forleo interviewed Brene Brown about her latest book, Braving The Wildnerness, and Brene said this, which has stuck with me since I watched the interview and I’m guessing will stick with me for some time (Skip through to 32:45 if you want to hear my favorite part).
“Our worth and our belonging are not negotiated with other people, we carry those inside of our hearts” ~ Brene Brown
So, if you feel brave enough this week and you’re walking around with a chronic condition ask yourself:
What does this issue do for me that I do not do for myself?
Does it help you create boundaries – help you say no when you’d normally say yes?
Does it help you feel worthy of your life?
Does it help you ask for love and TLC?
What does this pain, this discomfort do for me that I do not do for myself?
It’s not an easy question, but it’s a worthwhile journey.