You won’t hear me utter or endorse the mantra, “no pain, no gain” in a fitness sense. This confuses intensity for pain and the false notion that suffering is inherent in fitness for it to be effective. When pain appears in your life, however, I say, bow to it. As an act of self-love, invite it to stay as long as it needs…to teach you…to restore you.
I don’t get sick often, but, when I do, I typically suck it up with a box of tissues, pink grapefruit, herbal tea, and chardonnay (y’know, for the hints of citrus!) Over the past three weeks, though, I’ve become increasingly congested, feverish, and achy to the point where I realize, I’m not going to get better unless I take one…
A Sick Day.
Let me preface this tale with the historic fact that “Sarah” doesn’t take sick days…even when she’s sick. A sick day is a total “Stella” call.
Instead of rushing over to the studio this morning, I stay in my new silk pajamas (thank you, husband!) and settle onto the couch. As I switch on the TV, a light-hearted commercial airs with a father asking his daughter if he can have a sick day…the problem is, it’s her wedding day! DayQuil to the rescue with its current campaign promise:
“No Sick Days!”
I laugh at the synchronicity. DayQuil’s insistence on “No Sick Days” is neither realistic nor ideal. Yes, there are times – like your daughter’s wedding day – when calling in sick would be devastating. On every other day, though, choose better…choose you…choose pain.
No pain, no gain.
By numbing the pain and masking the symptoms, we can operate under business as usual. Win-lose. Pain is meant to be felt. Not because we want to hurt, but because we love ourselves enough to want to know.
Pain is a source of information. The burner is too hot to touch; I’ll burn my skin if I keep my hand there. My triceps are sore; I targeted the muscle correctly and should train something else today. The ache in my heart; I miss my dad today. Cramps in my lower abdomen; I’m not pregnant. My lower back is tight; I need my husband’s hand there.
Pain is a voice within us that asks to be heard. For our best. Pain is our friend, not our enemy. Attend to it now, or deal with it later when it’s inconvenient, aggravated, intensified, deeply-rooted, or…has spread to other areas of your body or your life.
Herculean efforts to push on is your ego trying to prove something and…to devalue your right to rest…your right to be human. The message of pain is to listen up, slow down, and adjust course.
So, the next time pain shows up in your life, give it some air-time:
Hi Pain, what are you trying to tell me… teach me… what do you need me to experience…feel…do…to become whole again?
Pain and love are places I must be brave enough to visit. My courage will come from knowing I can handle whatever I encounter there—because I was designed by my creator to not only survive pain and love but also to become whole inside it. I was born to do this.” ~ Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior