When I was diagnosed with herniated disks in 2008, I was filled not only with pain but also with anger and disappointment towards my body. Even after surgery, the pain didn't subside and I continued feeling debilitated, weak and broken. I felt completely separated from my body: it wouldn't allow me to function and perform the way my mind wanted it to.
Before my back pain started, I was leading the life of a perfectionist and measuring my worthiness via external checkpoints. I was feeling anything but happy, content and at ease with myself.
My body was giving me an intervention by hurting and making me face the fact that the reality I created for myself was misaligned with who I truly was. It forced me into the kind of vulnerability I needed in order to turn up the volume on my authenticity, femininity and true desires in life.
My injury changed my life for the better. In fact, it saved me.
In my coaching practice, I see a lot of women who are experiencing pain, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. Many of them are confused as to the source of the pain and eventually, unresolved confusion can easily turn into anger, frustration, impatience and even self-hate.
But the ultimate goal in the healing process is, first and foremost, to create wholeness within yourself. You can't force your body to be pain-free (this attitude is probably what got you in trouble in the first place). Here are eight things to remember when your body is hurting that will get you started on recovery and healing your pain for good:
1. Your body doesn't want to cause you pain.
It's normal to get angry at our bodies when we're in pain. Injuries often cause us to disassociate from our bodies, allowing our minds to view our physical being as the enemy for not allowing us to perform the way we want to or are used to. But remember ...
2. You're not the victim of your injury.
Think about what caused your injury. Physical injuries aren't always just the result of a slip or fall. They can can also be the manifestation of emotional hardship, spiritual suppression or extreme mental demands that the body simply can't carry any longer.
3. Your body wants to heal.
It's important to foster a firm sense of trust that your body wants to heal. The human body is highly complex and has tons of mechanisms in place that are there to help the body heal and recover.
4. Think about what your body is trying to tell you.
Ask yourself, "What is my body forcing me to do? What is my body preventing me from doing?"
In my case, I realized that my body was forcing me to rest and reassess, as well as create more space for my feminine side (the herniated disk was a result of there not being enough space for the soft parts of mine spine. The soft, flexible disk was being squeezed out as a result of too much pressure from the hard vertebrae — the masculine, demanding side of my life). Similarly, my body was preventing me from going forward in an upright position; it forced me to bend and surrender.
5. Make sure you fuel your body with anti-inflammatory foods and spices.
Your body needs nourishment to heal. Focus on foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, plenty of vegetables and detoxifying spices, like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, black pepper and clove.
6. Adjust your internal language.
To make healing possible, you need to create an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Instead of scolding your body for hurting, see if you can find compassion by asking it what it needs to heal.
7. Create a loving ritual.
This should encourage healing and adjust your energy. My favorite morning ritual was to place my hands on my lower belly, take a deep breathe and say to myself, "I love you and I'm ready for you to feel well again when you are. I promise I will respect and listen to you."
8. Do what feels good and get a support system around you.
If you're someone who's used to moving a lot, it can be hard to slow down. I often hear about fear of gaining weight and becoming unattractive as a result of skipping your typical gym routine, but it's important that you're giving your body the rest it needs.
Consider walking, swimming, restorative yoga or other gentle types of exercises that are more conducive to the healing process. Use this calmer time to really explore and feel your body. Find ways of connecting exercise with people you love who can support you. Having a network of people is extremely important when going through the healing process.
What is your healing journey like? Do you feel angry at your own body? How can you change the way you feel about your healing journey to a kind and compassionate way of looking at yourself and your body?