Self-love is managing the situation that you’re in.
I have spent the last 23 years working in pain management. As a new NP, it was frustrating to me when my patients would misinterpret the capacity of pain management to be cure: complete resolution of their pain complaints either through healing of the underlying cause or through medications and interventions. Sure, there are people who come in with acute issues that we treat and pain resolves, but there are so, so many that have conditions that are chronic and pain that is unrelenting.
The best we can do in these situations is manage: manage not only their expectations but their pain, the impact on their lives, the concurrent insomnia, immobility, disability, and alterations in their self-concept.
It can be a lot.
And yet, people can thrive despite chronic pain.
I can’t help seeing a similarity between the experience of people with chronic pain and the overall experience of life, complete with situations that we wish didn’t exist, obstacles that seem insurmountable, and an unavoidable measure of hardship.
If this is true, what can be learned from those people who thrive with chronic pain and why should we even try?
This may be one of the trickier self-love strategies.
Those who thrive share some personal characteristics: acceptance, gratitude, willingness to try.
At face value, these characteristics may seem completely disconnected from self love, so let’s look at the opposite.
How do you feel when you don’t want to accept the reality of what is, when you can’t help but thinking “it would be so much better if…”? How do you feel when you feel wronged, or jipped, or that someone else has it better? How do you feel when it doesn’t even seem worth trying?
Terrible. If you are struggling to find the answer, it’s terrible. The suffering that we feel when we believe these things is universal.
SOOOO, wouldn’t it be a beautiful gift to yourself to intentionally work to NOT feel this way? One may even say it could be the MOST loving thing you could do. Imagine the suffering that could be avoided.
And it can all start with managing the situation you are in, rather than “fixing” it. This may seem like semantics but how we talk to ourselve matters.
Here’s an example, see if you can experience how different these 2 sentences feel.
How can I fix this situation in my life?
How can I manage this situation in my life?
The first is very all-or-nothing. It’s fixed or it’s not, even if components of it are completely out of your control. (Lots of room for failure and disappointment there.)
The second is much more open, much more creative, much less judgy.
Managing has possibility, it has options, AND, perhaps most importantly, it has autonomy and control. We can manage things EVEN IF they aren’t fixed. It births a willingness to try.
From there, we can have some clarity of sight of the things that we can be grateful for in ANY situation. If we aren’t stuck in powerlessness and suffering, everything seems a little better.
So let yourself off the hook of “fixing” all the less wonderful things in your life and give managing a try. We don’t have to feel frustrated at work, or at home, or in our relationships. We can manage, and managing leads to thriving.
Thriving is a great way to love yourself.
P.S. If all of this seems like too much to manage on your own, especially with the holidays around the corner, let’s work through it together. Click here to schedule a call.