How you approach your pain says a lot about you.
When you’re tense, uncomfortable or in pain, what do you typically do?
Do you immediately reach for a pill? Do you grin-and-bear it and push through? Do you look for a “natural” method of pain relief to “take away” the pain?
This post explores three of the most common approaches to pain relief and the real motivation behind them.
1. Get rid of IT.
The Get rid of IT approach is probably the most common approach to pain relief in our society. Here’s how it plays out:
Something hurts. You want IT gone. You do whatever it takes to make IT go away.
Depending on your beliefs and values, you either visit a medical practitioner or an alternative practitioner. Either way, your goal is the same: Make this inconvenience go away.
In the Get rid of IT approach, whatever part of your body part is in pain is seen as the culprit. Something appears to have happened to you that seems to have very little to do with YOU.
The painful part actually feels like an IT in your consciousness. IT feels separate from you somehow, and therefore it makes sense to want to get rid of IT. Your primary purpose in visiting a practitioner is to get IT diagnosed and treated, so you won’t be bothered by it anymore.
2. Find out MY role.
A less common approach to pain relief, and a more holistic one, involves exploring your own role in the pain process.
Since pain motivates you to withdraw from potentially damaging situations, protects you from over-using damaged body parts while they heal, and helps you avoid those situations in the future, pain is actually good.
The question is, what damaging situation, or “potentially damaging” situation are you involved in that needs to change in order for the pain to go away?
Are you pushing through a challenging situation without paying attention to what your body is really wanting or needing? Are you over-extending yourself? Did you notice when you injured yourself, and then not slow down to let your body recover on its own?
In the Find out MY role approach to pain relief, you begin to inquire about what’s really going on with YOU.
Your primary purpose in visiting a practitioner is to get facilitation and guidance, to discover why you are really experiencing pain, what YOU can do differently to reduce it, and what changes YOU need to make to keep it from coming back.
3. Receive the GIFT
Probably the least common approach to pain relief, and I would argue the most holistic, involves seeking the GIFT within your pain.
Yes, even when your pain is a 10 on a scale of 1-10, there’s a GIFT in it for you.
Of course it probably doesn’t feel like it, but in my experience working with thousands of people in varying degrees of pain, I’ve found that there is always a GIFT.
Maybe the GIFT is that the debilitating pain that stops you in your tracks ends up helping you make a course-correction that brings you more joy and fulfillment in the future. Maybe the GIFT is that you’re forced to stop what you’re doing, inquire within, discover what you’ve been avoiding, change the habits that got you to where you’re at, and raise your standard for how you want to live the rest of your life.
Maybe the GIFT is that you realize that you need to change your core sense of self or identity, and start approaching life in a whole new way.
Whatever the GIFT is, you’re not going to discover it by trying to get rid of the pain!
To receive the gift you’ve got to look within, learn how to feel the more subtle feedback within your body, connect to the energy, breath and movement pattern that’s underlying your pain, and access a new pattern that set you free.