I grew up dancing for hours a day in a strict ballet environment. The strong discipline that is needed to practice such long hours each day created a high thresh hold for pain. No matter how tired, over worked, or injured I was, I was always taught to fight or work through my pain and keep going. I didn’t realize that most of my discomfort was caused from having rheumatoid arthritis. At the time, I didn’t know I had rheumatoid arthritis and ignored all the symptoms and ailments, assuming they were caused from my rigorous dance schedule. Eventually the symptoms progressed so rapidly that I became bed ridden and had no choice but to finally listen to my body. Changes needed to be made and I had to start working on myself internally and make dramatic life style changes. Being in constant pain from rheumatoid arthritis has taught me more that any other life lesson. Pain has been one of my greatest teachers.
Here are 5 ways that you can change your perception towards pain and let it be your greatest teacher.
1. Pain brings us to the present moment. There is nothing like a throbbing joint or aliment that can bring us to the present moment. We can be going through our day, then bam! our back goes out or a migraine kicks in. All of a sudden nothing else matters, except for that moment. Therefore it slows us down. If we don’t listen then the symptoms will progress and it will force us to slow down and be present. Truly living in the present moment and slowing down before the pain happens can possibly prevent health ailments to begin with.
2. Pain humbles us and puts our ego in check. So many of us go around as if we are bullet proof, super heroes but pain immediately has the ability to humble us. Pain makes us human. It creates a modest behavior that in turn, makes us very admirable and gives us the opportunity to build good character. I always say my auto- immune disease is part of my charm.
3. Pain creates compassion. There are so many people living with debilitating or life threatening diseases that have pain on a constant basis. When we are in pain ourselves, in comparison, it really puts things into perspective and teaches us to have compassion for those that live in pain daily or are less fortunate.
4. Pain creates gratitude. Appreciating the days when we are healthy and happy could be lost if it is not for the sick days every once in a while. We could take for granted our abilities but when we have pain we are reminded to have gratitude. Being grateful for everything, even the pain.
5. Pain makes us more health conscious. Some of the healthiest people in the world are those living with auto immune diseases. That is because the repercussions of eating poorly or taking poor care of themselves is instantly felt. They know that having a healthy life style directly affects how they feel. So pain is a reminder to be conscious of the choices of food we put into our bodies to create less dis-ease. What we resist will persist. Embracing our pain and listening to our bodies signals can prevent future health problems. Having gratitude, compassion and kindness to ourselves and every living being creates ease and abundant health. Let pain be your teacher. A blessing not a curse.
* If we are wise enough to listen to our bodies when pain erupts then it will not be painful, it will become painless.- Jesse Golden