“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Last night I posted something about my experience with unbearable physical pain.
It is super long and much longer than I would have liked it to be but I wanted to share much of my experience with the agony to get the point across and express my pain.
I want to thank the people who read/liked it. Thank You so much! I appreciate it deeply. I know most people don’t care to read extra extra long posts and most of my posts will not be that long. 😀 Only when I have a real lot to say all at once. Lol
Here is another post on pain. You don’t have to read my previous post to make sense of this one.
It’s interesting how an extremely painful experience can humble us, deepen our empathy, allow us to be more in touch with and aware of the pain and joy of the world but it can also go the other way. It can lead some to become arrogant in certain ways with a hardened heart, less empathetic, less patient with those who seem to not have experienced as much pain. It can trigger some people to sometimes regard other people’s problems as trivial or not as worthy of compassion compared to their own extreme pain. I don’t think that reaction is wrong or that all people who think that way are completely heartless or that we should all have the same empathetic reaction, necessarily. It’s just my observation.
I can completely understand how someone’s pain or sickness is so bad the person just wants to scoff at someone whining over something so frivolous it seems ridiculous next to what that person is experiencing. I’m not innocent of this myself on some occasions.
We all react in our own way, ways that are best or appropriate or come easily for us based on our experiences and ways of coping, we’re all different and handle things differently and I don’t try to force people to be a certain way or usually judge negatively for how someone else reacts when it’s not how I would react myself.
Some people and some things people say are cold, heartless, callous, and outright cruel to others. And I don’t support or promote it but I understand not everyone will understand and care. And I still embrace them in my universal love.
My reaction to very painful experiences is almost always deeper empathy or becoming more in tune or aware or being reminded that there are so many others suffering like I am and worse and less who need all the love, compassion, and empathy they can receive.
I don’t believe that physical pain is necessarily not as bad or is worse than emotional pain. They can both be severe, moderate, or mild, depending upon the kind of pain, the person, the coping mechanisms someone has and other circumstances.
I was reading words that inspired Norman Vincent Peale. He inspires me and I want to know what inspired him.
I am not religious or spiritual in a way that has to do with the supernatural. I am an atheist. I don’t believe in the afterlife. But I find inspiration everywhere, even in religious writings and things that people who believe in some god or gods say.
Norman Vincent Peale was a very religious Christian man and well known minister and he is known for his work, “The Power of Positive Thinking.”
I came across his words on pain & suffering.
“Pain and suffering have wracked humanity throughout history. Evidence of arthritis has been discovered in the earliest skeletons of the past.
My friend Lloyd Ogilvie, distinguished pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, California, once said that he had learned several important lessons from personally experiencing pain and suffering. He found he grew the most spiritually during those ordeals.” ~Norman Vincent Peale
“No one welcomes pain. But, rightly faced, it can bring about great good. And we can triumph over it.”
He writes of Doug Williams, quarterback for the Washington Redskins, and how the man endured hours of dental surgery the day before the 1988 Superbowl football game. Then during the game, he injured his knee. But he still led the team to victory, breaking one record after another.
That is truly amazing!
Dr. Peale states that when we are struck by pain, we often ask the wrong questions, such as ‘why me?’ But more positive and productive questions are ‘What can I learn from this? What can I do about it? What can I accomplish in spite of it?’
There is deep wisdom in this and it’s so very motivational and helpful.
I have never asked “Why me?” I don’t want it to be anyone and it’s not “me” for any specific reason. I just got this disorder. It’s nothing personal against me, not a punishment I deserve. It’s just something going wrong in my body. Why not me? Why anyone? Because it’s the way our world works.
Some people get terrifying and agonizing sicknesses and disorders, both physical and mental, while others are blessed to never know that pain. But we are not victims unless we choose to be or unless we’re dead. To me, the only victims are dead. That’s not to say living people aren’t in despair and agony and are not suffering and do not deserve compassion. It’s to say no matter how dark it gets, no matter how deep the despair is, we can always choose to get up and pro-act as best as we can.
Here are some quotes Dr. Norman Peale loved by other people:
“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.” ~ Paul Harvey
Yes! If you survived before, which you have since you’re here, surely you will survive again and again and again….when your pain comes in waves or clusters or patterns or just flares, just ride each wave like you’re on top of the world. As the Beach Boys say, catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world! Oh how easy it is to say and think this when things aren’t so bad but even in pain, sickness, fatigue, depression….it can be done. On a Facebook page for cluster headache support, education, and awareness, I saw this….
“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for surviving bad days so far is 100% and that’s pretty good.”
“It takes more distress and poison to kill someone who has peace of mind and loves life.” ~ Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
Yup! Physical pain and illness are not depression or a negative attitude. They can contribute to and trigger that but they are not it. They can be separated. It’s important to keep in mind that we CAN be happy and joyful even in pain. There is still beauty. We may sometimes have to look harder but it’s there. Even with emotional pain, we can train our brains to seek out beauty and some sense of joy even when it’s hard.
“Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires – disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way.” ~ Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
Again, pain of any kind can teach us, strengthen us, deepen us, and guide us.
“One cannot get through life without pain….What we can do is choose how to use the pain life presents to us.” ~ Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
This says it all! 😀 Let’s take all of our pain and struggles and use it all to our advantage.
I found a few things that help me cope with the pain and the psychological consequences of having an extremely painful disorder. One of them is art journaling, writing, painting, gluing, arts & crafts…another is reading positive quotes and other things and sharing them. This also helps with my depressive disorder. Sometimes just seeing a positive quote uplifts me even when I’m not feeling it completely.
We don’t always have to be or feel positive but it’s good in general to maintain a positive attitude, in my opinion.
And sharing quotes and happy photos to help others helps me also. I don’t share positive things to pretend everything is good, I share them because it really helps me often and it can inspire anyone who may see it. Also I try to find songs about physical pain to help me cope, there’s one called “Headache” by Frank Black and one called “Touch Me I’m Sick” by Mudhoney. And one called “Novocaine” by Green Day which may be about emotional pain but it can also apply to physical pain.
“Take away the sensation inside
Bitter sweet migraine in my head
Its like a throbbing tooth ache of the mind
I can’t take this feeling anymore
Drain the pressure from the swelling,
The sensations overwhelming”
Don’t I know it!
And one by Alice Cooper called “Pain” about all kinds of pain. Alice is singing as if he is Pain itself singing.
“You know me, I’m pain.”
“It’s a compliment to me to hear you scream me through the night, all night, tonight.”
I’m your pain
I’m your private pain”
He also has one called, “The Sharpest Pain” not really about physical pain but still, deep, agonizing pain.
Lol what a gloomy subject to be writing about but pain is part of being alive. Sometimes, even sharp, aching, throbbing, burning, wretched, overwhelming pain.
Much love, hope, strength, comfort, joy, and healing to you who are reading this no matter what your situation is.
Xoxo Kim 😀