Identifying Your Perceptions
Stripped of external factors by which you routinely identify yourself can leave you feeling lost and confused. “Who am I?” may now seem like an impossible question to answer. It may be difficult knowing how to live as this “new” person with pain or an illness. All that you once cherished about your character you may now feel is lost. Perhaps the life roles and skills that once defined you are too difficult to perform. You may feel embarrassed when asked by others what you do for a living, for you no are able to work. Others perceive you as a chronic pain patient, and now you perceive yourself as such, and you may perceive your life with despair. I remember thinking that my past was “perfect”—I were perfect—before the injury or illness. I clung to the desire of a pain-free life. The more I desired this, the more my thoughts and beliefs were influenced by this desire, and I conceived a false and dishonest reality that my life, and my Self, would be perfect once I conquered and rid of pain. Does this feel familiar? My all-or-nothing attitude amplified despair when circumstances did not make these realities possible, and increasingly, I perceived pain as threatening my very existence as a human being. In an attempt to regain a sense of control over life, I tried to control pain, but my inability to do so resulted in feeling victimized—conquered. Then, I resented this feeling and rejected pain more. Does this represent you at all?
Rejecting pain may unknowingly create a pattern of rejecting your body and yourself. Over-identifying with self-perceptions based on limitations can inhibit you from seeing your abilities. Pain is a part of your life for the moment, and maybe forever, but it is not who you are as a human being.
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Visualization Script & Journaling Activity: Meeting Pain or go to the Visualization Meeting Pain here