Lessons in Self-Compassion from Back Pain: Part Two

As I referenced in my previous post, the evening that I got injured was preceded by a day full of angst and negative self-talk. While I was even more frustrated and annoyed after having injured myself, another part of me felt relief.

It’s weird that being in pain would bring me a feeling a relief—that sounds quite oxymoronic!

But it was a relief in the sense that it was an invitation to stop pushing myself so hard. I switched tracks from that of ambition to one of a more gentler kind; now my goal wasn’t to run harder/faster or work out my core more intensely, rather it was: avoid pain!

Plain and simple. And easier to achieve. When I am healthy there is always this nagging feeling that I could/should be doing more. When I am injured, my goal shifts drastically to taking care of myself and getting better. Slowing down and healing. Now that does sound like a relief!

In addition, when I do not have an injury it is hard for me to ask for help. Usually I feel guilty, for example, asking my husband to hold the baby so I can take a break. But when I have pain, it is a no-brainer! My back hurts, I need a respite!

Why am I, why are we, so hard on ourselves? I don’t know. I think it’s part of the human condition. It’s really hard to accept ourselves. It’s really hard to be happy with what we have. These things are not something that comes naturally; they just aren’t. Rather, they have to be cultivated. Paying attention to our self-talk, becoming aware of how we speak and feel about ourselves is a first step. Meditating, journaling, and practicing positive affirmations are possible later steps—in the pursuit to attain greater self-acceptance and learn to live in the moment.


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