If I were to ask you what type of emotions pop up in your mind when you hear the word “pain,” what immediately comes to mind? Perhaps the feelings of fire, sharpness, cringing, anger, sadness, depression and escape come into the picture. Very powerful emotions would you agree?
When pain comes into your body you instantly feel the effects of it, even if it’s a 1% increase in awareness you feel it. That’s the beautiful thing about pain is regardless of how small it comes to you, your brain will immediately register the pain (if you’re sober at least) and tell you, “Hey uhh, I think there’s something wrong…”.
Now what do most people do when pain arrives? They simply ignore it and move on with their day — at least until the pain comes back! Hey i’m guilty of it too, it’s how I was brought up in the Karate dojo; if you felt pain you better walk it off and pretend nothing happened! Yet, that type of training at a young age allowed me to understand that nothing comes easy in life but if you work hard even through pain then success will be waiting for you.
I’m glad to you asked! See the thing with pushing through pain for too long over time creates a dullness when there is a critical event happening in your body. In my life that was herniating a disc in my lumbar spine in my early 20’s; i’ve felt much worse pain before I didn’t think a little tweak in my back would make the history books.
I was completely wrong…
See at first I didn’t think anything of it (familiar?), but after a few hours of going through my day and attempting to get up from my chair when I returned home only to be met with what felt like a steel pipe smacking my entire back side, I knew at that point that something was wrong.
Something was VERY wrong…
It wasn’t until 3 years later when I found out through MRIs that I had a herniated disc in my lumbar spine (L5/S1 Posterior, Lateral Bulge).
Yeah, pretty much. The pain I encountered and lived with for multiple years left me discouraged, frightened and hindered what I believed I could do in my life. It was humbling and also an Ego check to accept that certain ways of moving my body was not available anymore. That’s pretty damn heart breaking for someone who spent years competing in the Karate circuit.
Why do I share this with you? Am I looking for pity or to share “another tragedy” with the world? No, what I wish to offer with this post is to invite YOU to look at pain in a new light. To not ignore it even when it’s a small percentage of pain because that 1% of discomfort could lead to a 99% change in your life.
Check your Ego, Thank me later
There’s a saying I learned during my time at the Gracie Academy, “Leave your Ego at the door”. Embracing this profound statement allows you to be more compassionate to your partners, but more importantly it creates a change in your mind — to know when too much is too much. It creates communication with your mind-body and that in turn creates dialogue with another human being in the context of pain.
You start to appreciate your health more and look for that same empathy in others. A smile on your face as the 80 year old women goes for a jog in the blistering cold because she loves feeling alive. The look of confidence on the Joe after working his 9–5 job and heading to the Crossfit box to become a stronger version of himself. The hope created when a mother hugs her children after surviving a bombing run in Afghanistan.
Feel Pain So You Can Heal
If you allow yourself to ignore pain for too long, you become desensitized to it; a fractured ankle, dislocated shoulder, herniated disc won’t mean much when you have made the choice to not feel any more. The worry I have with this is people tend to expand upon that pain in other areas of their life.
They become distant with family, friends and loved ones. Ego will allow them to continuously injure themselves through fitness and recreational activities. The true danger here is when it comes to sympathy towards others; if you have chosen to not feel pain how can you relate and be sympathetic towards another person who is in genuine pain? How can you ever feel moved to help another person who was hit by a drunk driver, or when your best friend is cheated on?
There must be a fine-line between ignorance and choice; being uneducated is one thing, choosing not to learn from education is another.
It’s time to stop thinking we’re all soldiers in combat, you’re not. You may have felt that way earlier in your life and your body was able to keep up with you, but as you grow up in life you come to realize that your body must be trained in a different way in order to fully utilize the health you are gifted with.
Let go of your Ego, understand and experience pain when it comes into your life, reflect upon it and DO something about it. Don’t wait 3 years or 10 to finally take corrective action, it’s okay to ask for support and guidance.
If you don’t, then the snowball that started as an insignificant speck in your hand will certainly manifest itself into the biggest nightmare of your life.
With Love and Strength,
David Lee — The P.O.W.E.R Coach
I hope you enjoyed reading this rant, philosophical expression, psycho-something or other post!
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Thanks a bunch and be sure to follow me around on my journey as a Powerlifter, Yoga Teacher, Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Techie.