The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2Thank you so much to Anita at Discovering Your Happiness, for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Thank you for this unexpected honor and encouragement! Anita has a phenomenal blog about living a positive life.  One of my favorites of her blog is Your Depression Doesn’t Define You.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I am a music freak; all kinds except cannot handle hard rap or opera. I could not live without Spotify and the variety of music it offers.
  2. I am addicted to Pepsi’s.  Yes, I know it is awful stuff.  I’ve admitted I have a problem.  They say that’s the first step. 😉
  3. I love receiving FabFitFun subscription boxes. I have not been disappointed yet.

My Nominees in No Particular Order:

My Answers:

  • What is your 2018 goal?   My biggest goal is to go to a support group training and to start a local or online chronic pain support group.
  • What is one of your biggest accomplishments? Learning how precious life is before it is too late and living life to the fullest which includes learning to listen with curiosity.
  • If you could pack up & move, where would you go? Somewhere at a very warm beach with clear water.
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Leading a support group, helping others navigate the chronic pain life and live fully, and advocating for chronic pain patients. I would love to have my psychology degree within 5 years but not sure if it’s doable, but I can dream about it.
  • What is one of your biggest fears? My biggest fear is that I haven’t learned from the past.

 

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  2. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
  3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
  4. What are your 2018 goals?
  5. Who is your favorite musical band?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Where Are Your Thoughts Taking You?

Like most people, I don’t ever want to be embarrassed, but I feel like I’ve discovered some things that most doctors do not take the time to tell chronic illness patients.

We spend time searching for answers about our chronic illnesses, and sometimes we eventually find peace with our life on our own, but that takes time.

I don’t want other people to waste another minute of life. I feel the need to shout what I have learned so that you can have a better experience. I’m willing to risk the embarrassment of being vulnerable.

Being so eager to tell the world my epiphanies reminded me of a movie called Jerry McGuire, where a sports agent finds out that life is so much more than money. He has his ah-ha moment and writes a manifesto for his life.

He bares his soul in it, things he hasn’t told anyone else that he believes in. He sent it to everyone he knew. And, he immediately regretted it.

That’s how I feel every time I hit the “publish” button on a blog post. It takes significant courage to hit the button each time.

Even though it is difficult, I want to be real about my own experiences with living with chronic pain while helping others and sharing other people’s stories.

I’ve talked with other chronic pain patients across the United States and in other countries.  Speaking to others with varied backgrounds has helped me see past myself and my own chronic illness.

I have found out that while we are different races, ages, and backgrounds, we all live the same type of chronic illness lives and have the same challenges We have different diagnoses but similar type problems.

Life can be hard, but there is an opportunity to know yourself better in every circumstance. We can choose to either focus on the bad things that have happened or find the joy that life still has to offer.

Sometimes we lower our expectations in life so that we won’t be disappointed. You don’t have to settle just because you have a chronic illness.

You may not be able to change your circumstance, but you can change your mindset. Your mind is a private battleground of positive and negative thoughts that only you have control over.

People can tell you what you should believe, but you ultimately have the final say whether you suscribe to the same beliefs or not.

It’s only true if you believe it.

Stop and think about that statement.

It’s only true if you believe it.

You decide where your thoughts go. It takes work, but you do not have to let your life circumstances keep you from happiness.

Learning how to slow down your thoughts so that you can examine each one helps you to find the best life has to offer. When you listen intently to the soundtrack in your head, you will hear what you have been telling yourself for years.  You might be surprised at what you learn.

I began doing this whenever my anxiety popped up. The words in my head would be all running together stirring up my fear. One thought after another sped through my mind not leaving enough time even to entertain what the thought meant and why it was there. When I slowed my thinking down, I found that I could challenge the thoughts one by one.

A good way to do a reality check is to balance every negative thought with a positive one and ask yourself a few questions. 

  • What is the evidence for the negative thought?
  • Am I jumping to conclusions?
  • Is there any other way to perceive this negative thought?
  • What can I do to solve the problem right now?
  • Am I safe right now?

Sounds time-consuming, but it isn’t once it becomes second nature. It just takes practice.

Think of it as a child learning to walk. Steps are slow and wobbly at first, but over time they become firm and confident.

Once you find that negative voice, you begin to smack it down faster each time with positive thoughts as time goes by.

Your thoughts determine your next steps in life. Shouldn’t you take time to consider where they are taking you?

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash

Milestones

I woke up to 52 followers on my blog. I also hit over 560 views for all time. I know that is small numbers, but it is exciting to me. It means success because I have at least helped a few people or at the very least my post resonated with some. That’s all I am trying to do.

I’ve had views from all over the world, twenty different countries. Most are from the USA, Canada, and United Kingdom. Surprisingly, the 4th country is India at 7 and Australia at 5th. Thank you for the international views!

I love milestones. They give me a moment to reflect on where I am at in my journey. One and a half years ago, I was navigating life on autopilot. I was floating through life on one wave after another just trying to get to the other side, but I was not making any progress. But now, I have a purpose again. Chronic pain may have taken parts of my life, but it also gave me a new perspective on life. And that new perspective is what I want to share with others.

I’ve decided to begin sharing more of my daily life in detail while also doing the scripture verse studies that I like to do. I hope this will be helpful for others.

I am also an advocate for chronic pain people. I do most of this on Facebook @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

I try to post the most relevant post that might be helpful to others: how to do your own advocacy for your illness, new treatments, and chronic pain news. Stop by and let me know you are there.

I wanted to thank everyone for welcoming me into the blogging community. I have met some great people here. I hope we continue to help each other in our daily walk with whatever physical or mental issue we are facing.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Having the Faith of Apostle Paul

I have always wanted to meet Apostle Paul out of any other person in the Bible. I know that is a shocker because most people say they want to meet Jesus, but I am fascinated with Paul’s letters of strong faith. So, when I heard about a movie of Paul’s life, I knew I had to see it.

Friday night, I saw Paul, The Apostle of Christ in a movie theater with assigned reclining seats!!

Assigned reclining seats is a game changer for this anxiety-filled chronic pain girl going to the movies! I hope you have one like that in your area. I was so comfortable, and I even saw that some people brought blankets. What a great idea! The seats were roomy too. If I could just figure out how to take my heating pad…

paul and luke

In the movie, Luke went to Paul where he was in prison and wrote down Paul’s wisdom for the encouragement of the early Christians. I am so thankful that we have the letters now. Without the struggles that Paul went through he probably would not have been able to give such wisdom. Paul’s writings have always given me strength and motivation to keep on toward the goal on the hard days.

Seeing in the movie what the early Christians went through and the violence committed against them just for their belief in Christ was brutal, but it helps me put some things in perspective about my chronic illness.

Paul had a “thorn in his side.” He begged for God to take it away, but God did not. The MSG versions of 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 explains how Paul felt about his thorn in a way that we can understand it better and apply it to our chronic illness.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 The Message (MSG)

6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I’d still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I’ll spare you. I don’t want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you’d encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

God, why?.jpg

Have you cried out to God to take your thorn of chronic pain away? I have. I’ve gotten mad that He wouldn’t take it away. Some days, I am still kicking and screaming. It can be easy to get stuck being angry about it, but Paul boasted about his weaknesses. He had baggage just like us. Everyone has things they regret, or they don’t like about themselves, and even Paul had issues.

In the movie, he was sleeping, and the dreams of his past when he persecuted Christians haunted him. The devil’s angel of condemnation was visiting him trying to undermine his faith. Can you imagine Paul’s conversation with God?

Paul:
Please God let me out of prison and give me my life back!

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Paul:
I cannot handle living this way!

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Paul:
Please, God, take away my thorn in my side.

God:
My grace is sufficient for you.

Why didn’t God make Paul free or take away his thorn? He had the power to do it. Couldn’t Paul do more for Christ on the outside of the prison rather than inside? We think we know how the story should go but God has His own higher plan. Things we cannot see coming. We must rely on faith as Paul did.

With his thorn in his side, whatever that might have been, Paul said he delighted in his weakness. Do we resign to be miserable or can we make a conscious decision of choosing to delight and even boast in our weaknesses as Paul did? I know that the thought of this is painful because all of us really just want to be fixed, but what if that isn’t in the plan? That’s a hard thing to wrap your head around, I know.

The best thing we can do is trust in God’s bigger plan and rest in Him. Easier said than done sometimes, isn’t it? We are to have the faith of a child. Sometimes a child does not fully comprehend a situation and has to trust their parents to take care of them. We should do the same with God. We are His children, and we can trust Him.

 

bible3.jpg
Faith Comes From Hearing the Word Romans 10:17

 

 

How did I get to the point of just trusting God?

I look at scriptures to find my faith and trust. Reading the Word creates faith through the Holy Spirit. I study it by reading different versions to make sure I understand the content.  It is also important to know what context of the verse or verses such as who wrote it, to whom it was written and the culture at the time it was written.

I also read Bible commentaries that you can find online. (Scroll down the page on Bible Gateway, and you will find the free Matthew Henry’s Commentary for the Bible.)

We need to believe the truths that we have been given in the Bible and apply it to our lives. 

Praying also helps. Do you let Satan push you to your knees in despair or does it put you on your knees in prayer? Tell your thoughts to God. Tell him all of them. He can handle it, I promise. He already knows how you feel, but He wants you to tell him; so just say it out loud and get it in the light of Jesus. Sometimes we fear what God thinks of us, but we need to look at ourselves the way God looks at us. Do not be ashamed and allow God’s love to flow over you. It’s ok to be honest with God.

What hard questions are you asking God today?

How do you handle your “thorn in your side?”

Are you asking God to take your body out of the prison of your illness or are you choosing to delight in your weakness and boast in Christ’s strength?

What do you think Paul’s thorn was?

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

 

Bible Verse from The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Photo Credits:

Photo by Jacob Meyer on Unsplash

Movie Photo by CTMG

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

 

Opioids Make My Life Livable

I have chronic pain. When the pain is severe, I try many things before I get the pill bottle out. I want people to know that I do not want to take opioids because of the scrutiny and stigma attached, but I must because they make my life livable.  

I have tried a long list of things to stop the pain, and I eliminated what didn’t work. Now I have a pretty good set routine of what does work, and that includes prescribed opioid medication as a last resort.

When the pain becomes debilitating, I usually start out with a heating pad in my chair, then lay down or sometimes combine the two. Expensive over the counter creams and prescription ointments are scattered all over the bathroom counter. I get entirely undressed a few times a day to put them on, only to soothe the pain, not eliminate it.

Sometimes, the only thing that works to stop the pain is a prescribed opioid pill. Because of this, taking away my medicine will significantly reduce my quality of life and those around me.

I can take care of all my basic hygiene EVERY DAY when I manage my pain with opioids.  I cannot shower, wash my hair, shave my legs, brush my teeth, put on my makeup as “normal” people do in the morning.  I have to spread it out over the day. I have to make choices every day of what activities I am going to attempt because I know I cannot do all of them all. Things, like washing my hair or showering are tough for me.  There is so much bending and twisting involved when getting undressed, bathing, drying off and finally, getting dressed again.

I can cook healthy meals for my family when I manage my pain with opioids. Prepping and cooking requires lots of standing. Standing or walking increases my pain. I start prepping for dinner in the morning, and I also work on prepping in the early afternoon after I have laid down at lunch. Some days the only thing I accomplish is cooking dinner. Without opioids, I cannot cook every day for my family or myself.

My relationships with others are better when I manage my pain with opioids. When you are “paingry,” it affects everyone around you. Without opioids to manage my pain, I am “paingry” all the time. Sometimes, I wonder what it is like to live with me, but I’m too afraid to ask. You cannot think about anything else when you are in severe pain, so you have nothing left to give physically or emotionally to your family and friends.

I can enjoy life when I manage my pain with opioids. Without pain relief, chronic pain overtakes my body, and my mind says, “You can’t do this!” Excessive chronic pain in your body just hammers away at your optimism and your focus. I want to participate in my life. I want to go outside and feel the sun on my skin instead of laying in bed in pain not wanting to do anything except to die because the pain is too intense.

I can keep my house cleaner when I manage my pain with opioids. I do the best I can, and even with opioids, it is still tough to stay on top of cleaning. Without the pain medicine, there are many things that I will not be able to do simple things like mop my floor. It will further isolate me because I will not want anyone to see the inside of my house.

I have less depression and anxiety when I manage my pain with opioids. When I cannot do anything because of my chronic pain, I become depressed. I am not able to live my life, and I am forced to stay alive in severe pain and mourn my lost life and dreams. I must live like I am physically dead.  But with pain medication, I can actively participate in my life without fighting depression every minute.

I can leave my house and enjoy being with others when I manage my pain with opioids. I don’t have to cancel as often. People get tired of that. I do not like being a disappointment by canceling and losing friends because of pain. This leaves me further isolated.

I can do everyday things for my self when I manage my pain with opioids and not feel like a burden to those around me. I want to be able to be independent; to be able to do things for myself and opioids allow me to do that. I cannot work and be a productive member of society when I am in untreated severe pain. Not working will make me a burden on society and my family.

I can ride in a car without discomfort when I manage my pain with opioids. Without proper medicine, it is impossible for me to sit in a car for extended lengths of time. I have family in different states. Without opioids, I cannot travel to see them. I just want to go and see new things and my family members.

Financially, the pills are the cheapest option to manage my pain. I can afford the prescription pain medicine because insurance covers it. The alternative treatments that I know will help me are not covered by insurance. I cannot pay for them all, and I will suffer because of it. I need an affordable option for my chronic pain.

I do not reach for the pain pills first. I have a list that I go down and try before getting that pill bottle. I don’t want to take them. I want a fully functional body, but no one seems to know how to fix my problem.

I have worked hard for the past ten years to create my new normal so that I can live a full life, a productive life with disabilities. I am willing to jump through all the hoops of pill counts, drug testing, excessive doctor appointments, and pain contracts that are expected of me to maintain accountability.  We need more research for chronic pain to find new treatments if we are to eliminate the opioid medications.  I gladly welcome that prospect of never talking another pill again.

Until that day, having an opioid prescription allows me to live my life to the fullest with my disabilities. That’s all I’m asking. I just want to have my basic needs met.  I just want my life to be livable.

Chronic Pain Advocacy FaceBook page:   @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

Photo Credit: Pixaby

 

PredniZoning and Marriage

I pretty much disconnected this past week because I was on steroids. Medications like that affect me strongly in a negative way, but everyone is different. My pain level had gotten high enough that I was willing to go through the week-long regimen. I had been talking about doing it for a few months, but because of how it affects me so powerfully, I dreaded it. I guess I should be thankful that it is still an option sometimes instead of having no options at all.

With these types of medicines, for me, my logical brain goes on vacation, and my emotional brain goes to high-stepping workaholic wonderland. Except there is nothing wonderful about it. Significant anxiety and wide mood swings of depression and despair are what I experience intensely along with the physical side effects.

My poor hubby. He has been through many steroid hell weeks because of the many steroid shots and pills for the chronic back and leg pain I have needed over the past ten years. Usually, I become a mean ogre with a short fuse, but this time there was crying– lots of crying. I cried about everything.

My hubby may not always understand what crazy emotional or physical side effects that some medicines cause in me, but I can say he tries to get it if I will explain to him what is going on in my head. This week, he just rode the wave with me.

He could have quickly gotten relief from my medication-induced distress when I started saying I was going to stop taking the pills after the initial injection and only one day of pills. I was just so miserable. He helped me through the thought process, which I know should have been obvious, and thankfully, I am on the other side of this experience.

Although I have a choice on how I view my chronic pain, I don’t have an option to not go through pain every day, so I just do what I have to do. My hubby did not sign up for this, but just as he helped me stay committed to the steroids, he commits to me every day regardless of my circumstances with pain.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some issues while adjusting to my new normal, but we are stronger because of the struggle. Our bond is tighter due to me having chronic pain because it has made us both look beyond ourselves and find out what commitment literally means. It is an effort that we make every day for each other.

So every day, when the sun comes up, hubby and I get a fresh start if we failed each other yesterday. We get to try again with each day building on the next. That’s how we have made it this far. That’s what unconditional love means to me.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Disclaimer: I am not trying to sway anybody’s opinion about steroids. I am merely sharing my experience with them.

Sharing A Chronic Pain Perspective

Reading time 2 mins 20 secs

Tonight, my friend and I were discussing accounting strategies, and I was trying very hard to understand a specific way she processed something. I had to play “21 questions” to finally understand.

I could not see things from her perspective. It sounded like, to me, she did a lot of extra work, but she was certain her way was easier and maybe even quicker. We had the same end results but, we didn’t see the process the same. The differences in our lives created our unique perspectives. Obviously, no one has been through exactly everything you have been through; maybe similar, but not the same.

The questions I asked my friend led me to a mutual understanding eventually, but it was difficult. At first, I had a blank picture in my head of what she was talking about, but with each answered question I was provided a puzzle piece. Slowly, the picture emerged, and I began seeing through her eyes — her perspective.

 

perspective

The problem is that we always listen to respond and do not listen to understand. I wanted to hurry up and tell my friend my process, but when I started trying to see things her way and ask more questions to clarify, it became easier.  James 1:19 offers some valuable insight and wisdom to help us:

James 1:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters,(A) take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak(B) and slow to become angry,

 

How often do we find ourselves quick to listen and slow to speak? I know that’s not my first thought. I want to explain my point of view immediately. But when I listen with curiosity, the questions come easy, and the picture in my head quickly starts lining up with the picture in their head. Once I understand their perspective only then can I give them the information they are missing to see things from my perspective. This works both ways.

We must first try to understand others so that we can help add our puzzle pieces to their thoughts. If someone doesn’t see things the way you do, they may need more information that only you can give them from your life experiences.

Why is this important to people with chronic illnesses and chronic pain?

It creates empathy. Right now, the chronic pain community needs a tremendous amount of compassion because we now have our own epidemic along with the opioid addiction epidemic- an epidemic of untreated painful conditions that could lead to suicides because the pain is unbearable without proper medications.  That’s why I am always saying, share your stories! No one can understand if we don’t get our voices out there.  Write emails to your elected officials, track what different government agencies are making decisions on and make your opinion known.  The U.S. Pain Foundation has an advocacy page that is a great place to start learning how to get your voice heard.

I love this quote that has been attributed to Roy T. Bennett: “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”

Begin by trying to understand others, then ask yourself, “How would I feel?” If every person did that, imagine what it could do to the world we live in!

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

Facebook  @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

 

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions that I provide are my own and should not to be taken as the stance, position or viewpoint of the U.S. Pain Foundation.

Grab Your Climbing Gear

Something I did not think about when I began this blog is how sending my words out in the universe will affect those around me and even people I do not know.  I mean, I was hopeful, but I am amazed by the responses from all over the world that I have received. There is a healthy side of being vulnerable and telling your story: other people see they are not alone. It has been worth being out of my comfort zone. I thank you for this opportunity to get to know you.

Everyone deals with stress differently. I like to write out my feelings so someone might be a witness to my life and help me find the right perspective. While others choose silence, I find that impossible, but I will honor their choice.

I was allowed a voice with The Mighty last week about my article about living with chronic pain limitations. Just a small piece, nothing fancy but a few people did find something in it to help them. I am very thankful for that opportunity.

Helping other people makes you feel connected, and you may find something about your situation to help you feel grateful.

I have had some beautiful people share their very personal journeys with their chronic illnesses. Yes, it takes time to write out your feelings, but the payback is tremendous. You help another person by showing them your struggles and your triumphs. As you write, you might begin to see a different picture of yourself: a fighter and a survivor!

If you haven’t shared your journey, please email me on the contact page. I do not publish any information you send unless granted permission to do so.

Don’t look up to the top of your mountain and say you cannot make it.
Look up and around, and you will see others on similar journeys. It is hard to do alone; sometimes, it is impossible, so it is a must to reach out to those around you and find out ways you can help and how they can help you.

Your offer could be as simple as offering a listening ear. Most people just want to be heard and believed.man on mountain.jpg

You might find your struggle to the top of your daily mountain just might become a little lighter with a few burdens lifted from kindness endorphins and a little friendship sharing the yoke.

It can be an exhausting routine to go through every day until I hit my “sweet spot” which is usually around 1 pm until 4:30 pm. The rest of the time I am distracted with brain fog and pain. But I have to keep doing this to survive just like you.

Everyone has their particular mountain to climb in this life. Most are not a fun waterslide that’s worth the climb. I want people to see the odds we rise above every day with our chronic illnesses and show the unbelievers just how strong we can be. That’s why I encourage everyone to share their stories.

And I want people that are struggling to remember to look up and around so they can recognize that each mountain they are scaling has other climbers all around them. Each with varying degrees of knowledge. Through our chronic pain networking, we can find some vital information along the way and change our perception and quality of life.

I didn’t start this blog for a business or fame.  I just wanted to be real about chronic illnesses, and bring awareness to chronic pain and how I live and survive them and maybe I can help one person improve their quality of life.

Try spending one day this week by being encouraging to everyone that your path takes you to.

Much Love and Many Prayers

(Speaking of Prayers – New Prayer Request or Praise Report Page)

Cindy

Photo Credit: Unsplash

 

Time to Love Yourself

candy-hearts.jpgReading Time 5 mins 18 secs

The month of February is all things pink and lovely, isn’t it? Either you love all the valentine day hoopla, or you don’t.

I think it is all a bit negative. All the buzz leaves us to believe we must be partnered with another person for our life to mean something.

If you are not married or if you haven’t found “the one,” you might focus on the fact that you are single at this time of year.

I know I felt that way when February rolled around, and I was a single person. I especially became down when I was a single mom of three small boys, and the pink banners, cards, and candies began popping up in the stores in January. I thought no one would ever want me because I had apparently failed the first time. Valentine’s Day was a reminder of my failures with a one-two punch; I was single, and I had failed the first time. My perception of myself was low at that time, and it wasn’t healthy to feel that way about myself.  I’ve changed some of those thoughts, but I find it is a daily struggle fighting off the negative feelings.

What can we do to change this negative perception that we have in our head about ourselves? 

woman footprints on beach

 

Let’s start by learning to love yourself. Make this time about taking care of you. This means spending the amount of time you need to recharge your batteries, instead of running them all way down until you fall over entirely. If you take time for yourself, you have more to offer other people.

 

SOME WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF:

1. Stop the inner critic from speaking in your ear. This one is a big one and hard to do because you cannot get away from your inner voice. You have to retrain that voice.  There are many ways to do that, and here are just a few:

  • Develop an awareness of your thoughts. You can’t change what you don’t notice yourself doing so start being mindful of what your inner critic is saying to you.  Most of the time, it is entirely out of proportion so challenge the thought if it is negative.
  • Stop beating yourself up. When you make a mistake, admit it and move on.  Worrying about it will never change it. This has helped me tremendously.  I know that my intentions are good but sometimes, the things we say or the things we do, go wrong.  Talk to people and explain, apologize, or do whatever you need to do to move on.  Then, move on.
  • Treat yourself with compassion. With our chronic illnesses, we need to be very diligent about our health. I believe that it is essential to have a caring and an empathetic view of ourselves. This includes forgiving yourself and your body.

2. Learn to say “no.” Another way to show yourself some love is to learn to tell other people no. Have you ever been asked to do something and inside you are screaming no, but your lips have the nerve to say the word, yes?! I have trouble with this one also, but I have been doing better.  I never want people to think I am lazy so I always feel judged by the “lazy” compass if I say no when I am in pain.

Conflict causes pain, especially, in couples. Here’s the link to an interesting pain study from Rush University, Chicago, about how conflict and criticism from your spouse could be leading to increased pain. I will be doing more posts about cortisol in the future because I believe it has a significant impact on chronic pain.

Learning to say no without guilt is hard.  It is something that I am learning to do. If you find yourself angry when you are doing something for someone else, and you are not doing it in love, you have probably guilted yourself into doing it.  That’s people pleasing.  Know your limits and speak honestly.  We do better physically when we are tactfully honest.

The other side is if you tell the other person no, and they try to manipulate you with guilt, then you need to look at that relationship and determine how it is helping you or if that connection is hurting you more during your chronic pain journey.

3. Surround yourself with lots of positive people. If you feel alone, even if you are with people, and struggle to face the day, then you have some work to do.  YOU need to seek out and find encouraging people to be in your everyday life.

You know that laughter is good medicine so use it every day.  I know you have valid issues that might hold you back from leaving your house.  There are so many groups online where you can find encouragement. The beauty of it is that you can do it from your bed if you are disabled.  I have met some beautiful people from doing this blog and chronic pain advocacy.  I have had courageous people send me their chronic pain journeys, and I am finding real hope in their words.

Another benefit of surrounding yourself with people is that you can learn new coping techniques from others. Nobody has perfect days every day.  That’s why we lean on others and learn from them.  You can help others when you share your story by being the inspiration someone else might need.

4. Spend time resting with Jesus. You are not alone in this world.  God wants a relationship with us.  It’s what He created us for.  In this verse, Jesus understands how tired you are, and He invites us “to get some rest” in Mark 6:31. I encourage spending time reading and meditating on God’s word and praying to recharge your batteries.

Mark 6:31 New International Version (NIV)

31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,(A) he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

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“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”  —-Pema Chodrin

Sometimes, we all need reminders about the importance of self-care and February is a great month to examine your relationship with yourself.

The Mighty is doing a self-love campaign during February to help you. Here’s the link to the campaign and the article explaining The Mighty’s challenge. Download and print the self-love planner here. Download and print the self-love cheat sheet here. These freebies will guide you in the beginning. The key to lasting change is repetition.

I hope taking these baby steps this February will lead you down the path of self-acceptance and self-love the rest of the year.

youareworthoflove

If there is any way I can help with encouragement or information about resources, please comment below or go here.

And, as for my current upcoming Valentine’s Day, I will be spending it with my hubby going out to one of our favorite restaurants on the weekend to celebrate.  I did eventually find my prince that would stick with me through thick and thin.

Begin loving yourself, and you will attract the right people in your life. Self-love sets the stage for every relationship you have with others; whether it is a platonic or a romantic relationship. When you respect and love yourself, other people notice and know that you expect nothing less from them.

Much love and many prayers,
Cindy

 

 

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Retrieved February 3, 2018, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cortisol

Photo Credits: Unsplash

 

Can You Have Chronic Pain and Still Feel Blessed?

Reading Time 2 min 42 sec

I have been unable to sleep tonight due to the burning pain in my back and the vice grip feeling in my leg. I just pushed myself too hard last week, and I am still feeling it and regretting it. There is always a give and take when you live with chronic pain. To continue living, you need to accept that some of your “reward” for trying to continue living full lives will be pain and that may come in the form of physical or emotional suffering. They are tied together, but how do you reconcile the “reward” of earthly pain and still feel blessed?

I came across this commentary about feeling blessed even when your world feels upside down and out of control. Read Matthew 5:1-11 aloud.

Matthew 5:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes(A)

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(B)
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.(C)
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.(D)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.(E)
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.(F)
Blessed are the pure in heart,(G)
    for they will see God.(H)
Blessed are the peacemakers,(I)
    for they will be called children of God.(J)
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,(K)
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.(L)

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,(M) persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.(N)

 

woman in bed
http://www.validatingchronicpain.com

Really? I am supposed to feel blessed right now at 3 a.m. while I am unable to sleep due to the burning shooting pains in my back and the vice grip on my leg and foot? I am also worried about how bad tomorrow is going to be and when will I get a break from the relentless pain. It has taken a while to digest the reality of these verses, but here is a commentary to help put it in a higher perspective.

“Blessed” translates the Greek word makarios. It could be rendered as “happy” or “fortunate” if those words aren’t taken in a shallow, emotional way. Makarios is a state of existence in relationship to God in which a person is “blessed” from God’s perspective even when he or she doesn’t feel happy or isn’t presently experiencing good fortune. Negative feelings, absence of feeling, or adverse conditions cannot take away the blessedness of those who exist in relationship with God.” (Emphasis is mine.)
————————————-
Michael J. Wilkins. The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004), 204.

 

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http://www.validatingchronicpain.com

In this sermon, Jesus assures us that we will be rewarded — but perhaps not in this life. I am so thankful for this hope I have that one day I will put on a new infallible body in heaven. There will be no pain, no night, and no crying. That’s my reward for being faithful. Everything I am feeling tonight will be gone. I feel like I can’t wait for that day, but I must.

In the meantime, I have to hold time to Jesus’ teachings. There is still work to do, and that will include daily pain. When I get to heaven, I hope God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So, yes, I feel very blessed by God that I have chronic pain. That may sound crazy, but it all has contributed to who I am today. God is refining me for something special — the day I return home.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

Follow on Facebook @ChronicPainWithAHigherPerspective

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The author has added italics in Scripture quotations for emphasis.
Photo Credits: Cindy Dawson/Free Images/Pixaby