Posted by: painreliefcoach | August 6, 2008

Accept Your Feelings

Accept whatever feelings you may be having.  Do not fight against feelings you do not wish to be experiencing.  Observe them as objectively as possible.  Think to yourself “I am feeling very angry or disappointed or apathetic” — in time your feelings will change.  Be hopeful that the next feeling will be more pleasant or better.  Detach as much as you can. 


Gayle is an attractive, married middle aged woman with two grown children and four grandchildren. She frequently has abdominal pain first thing in the morning. It subsides after she is up awhile and is normally gone by lunchtime. Her husband has taken her to numerous specialists. She has tried many different treatments, procedures and medications, but the pain remains unchanged.


Gayle is able to function pretty well with her condition. She does volunteer work at a charity gift shop, is active in her church and goes out dancing every Saturday night with her husband.


Gayle’s biggest issue is her obsession with her feelings and her resentment with her condition. She is often discouraged, anxious, depressed and angry. The more obsessed she becomes, the worse she feels emotionally. Gayle is very bitter that this is happening to her and constantly tells everyone how unfair it is.


Gayle is driving her husband, children and friends away from her. She has many positives in her life, but she can’t see them because she’s so focused on wanting her situation to be different. Her refusal to accept her situation keeps her miserable and is making her life worse.


I also remember Anna, who was only a few years older than Gayle. I was doing home visits early in my career to a very poor section of the city. Anna lived on the second floor of a two family flat. I was told the entrance door was left open because Anna couldn’t come down the stairs. Upon entering the flat, I couldn’t find her. Anna called to me from a bedroom in the back. She was so severely crippled with rheumatoid arthritis she was bedbound. Anna suffered from constant pain. She was left alone most of the day. Her granddaughter lived with her, but worked weekdays. She had visiting nurses and neighbors check in on her periodically.


I expected to hear a barrage of complaints, all justified. Instead, Anna told me she had times she felt frustrated or down, but those feelings passed when she had a visitor or reflected on her many blessings. Anna proceeded to tell me how kind her granddaughter was to her and how fortunate she was to have so many people check on her and care about her. Anna said that she knew if she needed something or was too uncomfortable, that someone would come by sometime so she would wait. Sure, she admitted, she became impatient or angry sometimes but she knew it would pass, so she wasn’t worried about it. Anna wouldn’t think of moving to a nursing home. She was thankful for her situation and wanted to maintain it as long as possible.


Anna desired that everything happen just like it was and she was free. While Gayle who seemed to have so much going for her, resisted what has happening and was imprisoned.


Choose to be like Anna.


When you experience chronic pain it’s very easy to fall into a rut and adopt a negative outlook.  When you personalize these negative feelings by fighting against them with self-hatred or complaints, they become further engrained.  It’s easy to become full of self-pity.  Nothing is fair or easy or enjoyable.  This perspective further perpetuates undesirable thoughts and feelings.  View your negative feelings as temporary, for that’s what they can be.



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