Pain is a Wonderful Communicator

painwonderfulcommunicatorPain is an interesting topic. Most people never really stop and evaluate pain. Since I taught natural childbirth prep classes for nearly 10 years, and still blog about it from time to time, this is a topic I’ve learned about from multiple dimensions. And one of the most surprising things I’ve found is that pain can actually be a wonderful communicator.

You see, we are meant for joy, comfort and peace. And that’s why pain, negative emotions and hate feel so awful to us. They are directly contrary to our natural state. In our modern, first world society, we’ve become accustomed to things like pain killers, in all their forms. If we don’t like how we feel, there’s an escape. Narcotics for the back pain, alcohol to numb the nerves, ice cream to fill the hole in our hearts and social media to distract us from our lives until we can hardly even remember why we logged in in the first place. Everywhere you look these days someone, somewhere is numbing themselves from the pain.

While a certain extent of this is normal, and can even be necessary as we cannot process all of the pain coming at us, in the exact moment that it wants attention, clearly we all have taken this new-age-numbing a little too far. Generally, this is rooted in shame, and of course no one says it like Brené Brown and Oprah. Here’s a quick 3:11 clip that illustrates it very well:

The thing is, not all pain is BAD. We judge pain to be something awful to run from and escape at all costs. I learned this in the less-emotionally-charged way of experiencing pain through natural childbirth. A little backstory here: My first birth was long, hard and difficult. 29 hours of labor and I birthed him with zero medications on board. That single experience changed my life. After that I became a doula and had the privilege of witnessing over 50 births. Some of these women birthed with seemingly little to no pain. A lot of intensity, but no pain. I had read about women like this, too. I set out to see if that was something I could experience as well. With lots of visualizing and preparing, I actually did experience a pain-free birth all but a brief moment when he crowned and out I birthed a 9 pound 15 ounce bundle of perfection. This taught me a great deal about pain, the way we perceive it, and how to work with it. Sometimes, and in my experience almost always, pain is just trying to tell us that something is wrong, but in a way that allows us to make a change and move forward.

This is a concept I taught my expectant parents ump-teen times, gleaned from many wise sources:
The Comfort Continuum

ComfortContinuum

If you search this graphic, you will not see the word “pain” on there anywhere. This really changed things for me in how I approached pain. You see, when you see yourself as either “in pain” or “not in pain” then the pain you experience starts sooner and is more severe. But when you can expand your vocabulary around it all, you realize that most of “pain” is more of just sensations that you’re beginning to feel. Then it moves to being nothing more than just “uncomfortable” which is a lot more tolerable than being “in pain.”

But we are not used to being uncomfortable anymore. We have become very accustomed to a high level of comfort and anything less is not acceptable. Hence the pain pills, alcohol, ice cream and social media overdoses. Which all leads to disconnection. And learning to sit with the pain, and listen to what it’s trying to tell us, is the path to connection, joy and peace. Sometimes we need the numbing because the pain really is too intense, but that doesn’t mean we need to numb all of it, all the time. Some pain is good. It’s helpful. It leads us to know the areas that are needing to be healed so we can progress.

Western medicine has also aided this disconnect. No longer is it common knowledge that our emotional pain is directly connected to physical discomforts. When you go to therapy, many therapists, especially those that treat trauma, will ask you where in your body you feel different emotions. Louise Hay is one of the authorities on this topic and even has a fabulous app that you can get that will quickly tell you what parts of your body and what discomforts your feeling and it will tell you not only the corresponding emotions but also healing affirmations to use to tell yourself. Another wonderful tool to heal. I also highly recommend using The Script that you can get for free when you subscribe to my mailing list.

I encourage you to see your pain as more of a helpful tour guide or a mentor in your path. Listen to what it’s telling you and follow where it leads.

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5 Responses to “Pain is a Wonderful Communicator

  • An obscure little book called, The Heart’s Key to Health, Happiness and Success by Steven Horne, has a wealth of information on healing emotionally and understanding what it means.

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