Friday, July 18, 2008

Giving Yourself Approval to be Human While Suffering With Chronic Pain

Anyone reading the list of books on my Shelfari Book Shelf, at the bottom of my blog, is well aware that I have read a reasonable amount of self help books. I thought I had evolved into a non judgemental decent human being. So, why could I not have compassion for a recent acquaintance following their surgery?

It stayed in my head most of the day. What is wrong with you? Where is all that spiritual growth and evolution you have engrossed yourself in all these years?

You have been through what they are going through. You know how difficult the surgery is to recover from. You know the healing will take much longer than the six weeks that the surgeon allots for recovery. You know that the rehabilitation is painful and will take dedication and determination for them to obtain a full recovery. I felt terrible. Not for them. But, because I felt no compassion for them.

While talking to my sister, I casually mentioned the surgery. I then added, "and I don't know what is wrong with me. I don't feel any compassion for them". I thought my sister would be perplexed. But, she simply said, "I was just reading an article this morning about people with chronic illness not allowing themselves to be human". I also believe that when we ask for answers we receive them. So, I was not surprised that the answer was coming from the only person I had talked to all day!

Not allowing myself to be human. I had not heard those words pertaining to me before. She went on, "We have to be who we are at the moment and not beat ourselves over the head because we think we are not behaving in the proper way. Humm! Not behaving in the proper way.

That was me alright. I thought with all my reading, and courses, and education, I should feel something for them. And I did but, it was not nice. It was callous.

So, now you know how I felt, I thought, when you said, " Oh, It can't be that bad. You need to get out of that bed and get moving. That is the best thing for you. That bed just takes all your energy".

I don't remember much more of the phone conversation with my sister. I was stuck at "let yourself be human".

I thought of other instances when we don't let our self be human.

  • When we do more than our bodies can tolerate. Eventually opening ourselves up to a physical and/or mental breakdown.

  • When we multi task for no reason. Talking to your child, talking on the phone and looking at TV adds up to not doing any of them very well. If you are talking to your child, talk to your child. If your are talking on the phone, talk on the phone. If you are watching TV, watch TV. But be there, be attentive and be present with what ever you are doing.

  • When we allow cyber space to overshadow our personal lives. Now I like blogging. However, if someone says do you want to go...and my pain is minimal, I am half way to the front door.

  • When we neglect our families while they are with us to do meaningless task. Be there for them while they are there with you. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. And what if it never comes?

The words "Your greatest adversary is your greatest teacher" flowed in and through my mind. In allowing myself to be human, I accepted the fact that I was angry with them for not validating my pain. In doing so, I was honoring what I felt and was able to release the anger. I gave myself permission to forgive their hurtful but, I am sure, well meaning words. That gave me closure of the situation. I was then able to humanly pick up the phone and talk to them compassionately.

In her book "One Day My Soul Just Opened Up" by Iyanla Vanzant, her formula for compassion is

Support + Comfort + Nourishment = COMPASSION.

I love the Charles Huttle's quote "You have no patient but yourself" It reminds me that there is way too much about me that is in need of repair to judge or criticize others. I repeat his quote to myself often.


Jeanne said...

You have evolved to such a high level of understanding through all of your reading and research plus living through chronic illness.

You are also human. That means you are NOT perfect. None of us is.

You are, however, an awesome and strong woman who helps other every day.

Don't beat yourself up.

You're awesome.


P.S. If you need a pick-me-up and haven't already done so, go read Shauna's replies to you and to me... on her chronic illness blog ( She replied to our comments. She is awesome and so are you! :)

Shauna said...


What a post! Honey, you are VERY human. I think we tend to not give ourselves the breaks we give others, even those we don't know.

Your time in bed was needed. Draining or not, your body was asking for rest. It is so easy to do something like that, listen to our bodies, then do what they are demanding, and beat ourselves up over what rest we have taken, what 'extra' sleep we needed, etc.

As Jeanne said, you are a strong woman. Don't ever forget that. Your blog, and Jeannes too, are live-savers, as you had said about mine. Kindred spirits we are.

And kindred spirits that really care, allow themselves to rest when needed, feel angry at a friend after they had said hurtful things, learn how to size the situation up; do the best you can to forgive them, then yourself, and go on from there.

It's all we can do. And THAT'S BEING HUMAN!! :-)


P.S. Us 3 need to get on an IM together!!!

Jeanne said...


Somehow your most recent post wound up in my primary email and I'm going to post it here... Then I'll post again (seperately) as a relpy to avoid confusion...

Here is what you recently emailed me:

Jeanne, thank you so much for the wonderful comments. I learned this week that through all our training to be good productive people on this earth, we are, in our core, human. And it is a title that I had to be reminded of. I like being human. It allows me to fall down, get up brush myself off and remember the crack in the road of life that I stumbled over.

Ultimately I enjoyed the lesson. One I hope I don't forget.

I felt great today. But when I visited Shauna's blog and read her post this evening, I felt even better.

You are such an inspiration to me and, I believe, to Shauna as well.

Stay well!

Mckay K

Jeanne said...

You are human. That's a good thing! I'm glad you realize that's not something to beat yourself up about... :) Plus I just knew Shauna's comments would cheer you up!! :)

I agree!! If we (the 3 of us) could do instant messaging that would be cool!

It's 5:05 am and I have had another all-nighter... This is not good. Please send some sandman thoughts my way. :) Anyway, you two ladies "rock"!


Mckay K said...

Shauna, I was so impressed with your blog on "2 Jobs". I think you are moving in the right direction. You certainly cannot stay where you are. I hope you receive positive results from your interviews. And, as a result, are able to continue to work.

Your comments about me needing to rest were dead on the money and I knew it. I guess that is why I could not let the comments of my friend go. It was right after I had my third (yes I said 3rd) knee replacement, was suffering with high blood pressure and had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and depression. To top it off, I was not going to be able to return to work. My body needed to heal it's self and rest was what it demanded.

I did not know I was so human until they had their surgery. Then all the memories of that conversation came rushing to the surface.

Thank you for your insight. I have forgiven myself and am perfectly fine with my friend. I call them every few days to check on their progress.

Take care of yourself and STAY WELL!

Mckay K said...

Jeanne, thanks for correcting the direction of my reply. 5:29am anything can happen. These all nighters are fun until around 9am

Have a great day and sleep well!

Elio Galluzzi said...

Wonderful insights and accurate self - analysis. I absolutely agree with you. To forgive is one of the most difficult things we can learn to do in this existence, but once we master it, we are far better beings.
I would add that we are souls within a human body, when we forgive we allow our souls to shine with unconditionate love.

Mckay K said...

Elio, thank you for taking the time to comment. You are right. I believe that when we act human and forgive, it is our soul that rejoices at our growth.

Please visit often and always feel welcome to post your comment.

My Endo Journey said...

Thanks for your blog, and, for visiting mine! It's hard to feel human sometimes. But, we all are. ;) No matter what the day brings. What one of the previous posters said, being human is not being perfect. I think that's what really helps us be so aware, our imperfection!

Shauna said...

But Jeanne and McKay,

Aren't we ALL perfect????

Oh no!

And all this time I thought.....oh well.


Shauna :-)

Mckay K said...

Hi "my endo journey" and thank you for visiting and leaving your sincere comment. I think with all we want to be and all we strive to be, we sometimes forget that we are not perfect.

Mckay K said...


That must be why this post was written. I was not alone. Enjoy your evening.

Stay well

Anonymous said...

What a great blog this is!

Mckay K said...

Thank you Yaya.

I enjoyed visiting your warm-feeling-all-over site. Your "Decisions Decision" post is excellent.

Sheila White said...

Wow! There is nothing more powerful that self-analysis. We can only change ourselves.

Mckay K said...

Shelia, Thank you for you visit and your comment.

You are so right and the more we learn that fact, the more enriched our lives become.

We cannot afford to waste our beautiful days on this earth worrying about why someone said or did anything. For like you said, "we can only change ourselves".

Jeanne said...

Mckay k,

You have opened up such a wonderful dialogue here!! Obviously it has grabbed the interest of many people! I hope your wrists are feeling better. Hang in there and just take one day at a time. My thoughts are with you. :)


Connie said...

I'm still working on this one and will be for a very long time. But that's OK because my life is full of lessons! Thanks for bringing this to my much needed attention at just the right time. I should be sleeping right now instead of being online, for just one example.

Mckay K said...

Connie, thanks for taking the time to stop by and for your comment. It is a lesson I think we all will be learning for quite a while. But we have an advantage, We have the rest of our life.:~)

Anonymous said...

yes chronic pain is very difficult to handle it require both medical and emotional support.

Christina Crease

Mckay K said...

Christina, you are so right and often times the emotional support goes lacking.

I think doctors are struggling to catch up with society. We know that there is a need for someone in chronic pain to have a combination of both physical and mental care. Doctors are playing catch up.

Thank you for your comment and please visit often.

I love your site on depression. It is a valuable source of information for anyone suffering with a mental illness. Or, someone who loves someone with the illness.

NOTE: Christina's site is now listed in "My Personal Blog List"

Jerry said...

Just wanted to say that was a great article. Thanks for visting my blog. It seems that more and more people are comming forth that have Chronic Pain. You have done a great job with your blog.


Mckay K said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments. I enjoyed reading your blog and wish you many more years of success.

It is true that blogging has opened up opportunities for those of us with chronic illnesses to share our stories with others who may feel alone in their suffering.

Blogging allows us to reach out and say " DON'T GIVE UP. YOU CAN GET THROUGH THIS!"