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Managing Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain: Why Love and Acceptance are Essential




How do we learn to open up to pain? To fear? It seems so contrary to lean into it. We protect it and fight against it. Avoid it, and push through it until we can't.


Pain is an inevitable and necessary part of life for almost every living thing. It is unique in how we feel it, but the experience is the same. Moving with the pain is the only way to learn to feel what our bodies are trying to tell us. Especially when it comes to chronic pain. When we learn to work with what is, we stop resisting it and free up energy to change.

We can hurt so much that it prevents us from opening up. We shut down, isolate, and pull back mentally, emotionally, and physically. When we are in pain, we often want to be alone in our suffering. We put on a brave face for others so the world will smile back at us. We block it out and push through.


We tell ourselves that fearful thoughts deserve power and protect us from pain, avoid confronting what’s uncomfortable, and tell ourselves there’s nothing we can do. (That’s not you being a negative person; that’s how our brain works. 😉 I really can’t stress this point enough.) But that's never really true. We have to understand where we are thoroughly. Then, we can move forward. How do we accomplish that?


After three full weeks into the New Year 2024, it’s time to assess where you are with your health goals and life. Keyword: you. Not me, your doctor, or your therapist, but you. You need to take a good, hard look at what is.

After all, it is your life. You need to live it for yourself with accountability and honesty. Yes, you may have chronic, unrelenting pain and a condition that is causing that. But there is ALWAYS. a path to healing and feeling better,


We can easily become our pain and let it take over our lives- becoming our condition, admitting defeat, and seeking the easiest ways to comfort ourselves.


Acceptance is not giving up. It's connecting with what is and understanding that you can choose what happens next. It's okay to want things to be different, but that takes understanding where you are now to know where and how to take action to benefit you. If you are so ashamed or let the fear be bigger than you are able to face, you will never overcome it. So, take a minute to jot down a few notes. Humor me!


How do you feel? All of your feelings. (This shouldn't be a one-word answer or a list of feeling words. Nor should you aim to paint things in a positive light. This is an exercise in honesty. Allow all feelings to be acknowledged and explored.)


Where do you feel like things are flowing well?

Where do you think things are stuck?


Pull out those parts of you that may get stuffed away. Who are you comparing yourself to(maybe a past version of yourself)? When you look in the mirror, who do you see? How do you describe yourself to yourself? And what would an observer notice?




The observer helps us see past what we don't allow ourselves to see- past opinions, perceptions, or judgments. Instead of evaluating our thoughts, feelings, and actions and classifying them as good or bad, we acknowledge what comes. We are like scientists gathering as much evidence as we can. Choose to embrace curiosity and remain open-minded.




Get up from your screen and stand (or sit if standing for 3 minutes is too taxing) in front of your biggest mirror. Set your timer for 3 minutes. And look. And give your full attention to yourself to the best of your ability. What comes up? Is it awkward or uncomfortable? Are you drawn to one part of you? Negatively or positively? Remember, this is an experiment, an exercise. If emotions come up, let them flow. That is valuable intel!

Then come back, and let’s document it.


Afterward, I want you to free-write your experience in your journal or electronically.


Next, answer the following questions:


What was the most valuable thing I learned during this exercise?

 

What would I like to continue to work on and nurture regarding my body, my being, and who I tell myself I am?



Now, we are going to head back to the mirror. Again, please trust me. If anything, it’s good to move. But, before you go, let me tell you what to do this round.


Return and stand for three minutes, repeating, " I wholly and fully love and accept myself the way I am now. " At whatever tempo works for you, even if this is not how you feel today, I want you to say it anyway. And again, step out of that judgmental state of mind and become The Observer, watching for information.


Come back and free-write your experience again.


Next, answer the following questions:


How did you feel during this round?


Do you feel the same at the beginning and end?


How does it compare to the first round?



The first time I did this exercise, I found sitting with my feelings about myself challenging. But it revealed a lot.


It can be hard and awkward to stand in front of ourselves (or sit) 😊

But we must learn to be with what is and not want to push it away.


We can most definitely align our lives with actions that fulfill our values and desires,


But we have to love what is now, first and foremost.


If you felt lots of love and it filled your cup to be with yourself for a few moments, AWESOME! After all, that is the goal. It doesn’t mean you have achieved all your goals or feel only positive emotions. It means you can sit with yourself and see your journey and whole life as part of what makes you uniquely beautiful. Practicing the observer's mind state can help give us clarity, release stuck emotions, and reduce anxiety and tension. It allows us to meet our needs better and make decisions that improve our health. Like a plant, we need different things to thrive—a balance of nutrients.


What was your biggest takeaway today?


Are the goals you set at the beginning of the year still going well?

 

Do they still feel like areas you want to work on?

 

Are there things you could do differently or adjust to have a preferred outcome?

 

Perhaps you’d like to challenge yourself to make this easy exercise a regular part of your life. Maybe work on standing in front of it a little longer. Learning to stand in front of a mirror, like meditation and going inward, can help us accept and reveal. Most of us spend so much time looking at others that it is good to understand who we are. Another good question to ask is, why are you doing what you are doing? Are they goals for yourselves or goals to please others?

 

If you haven’t set goals for the year, don't worry; it’s not too late. 😉

 

Goal-setting should be a part of everyone’s life. We can get very discouraged, fearful, or stuck when we aren’t taking the time to “spend time with ourselves and honor our feelings, enabling us to take action steps that are intentionally self-directed.


I can help!


If you feel overwhelmed, alone, or afraid to take that first step, reach out.

Individual coaching sessions can be the difference between a goal you never reach and building a foundation and system to regain control of your life and health.


Click NOW to schedule your first FREE session.



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