Greetings powerful warriors! I first just want to start off by saying thank you to everybody who has shown support to the Pain Warrior Code – the feedback and reception this blog has received over the last week has been amazing! Thank you to every one of you who has liked, shared, retweeted and re-posted my recent article ‘share your story’, as well as my older posts and tweets. I am so thankful because you all are helping to make the vision that I have for the Pain Warrior Code happen!
I decided this week would be a good time to give you what I like to call a #PainWarriorPepTalk. I’m going to focus on the power of a pain warrior because there are some warriors out there who are tired. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It happens to all of us. We all reach a moment when we have given everything and feel like there is nothing left of us to give. As much as I wish that nobody else would have to experience this, it is inevitable for every pain warrior to have this sooner or later.
This low point is disheartening, because that is when we feel weak, useless and like life is pointless – because all we can see is the pain that we feel every day. These thoughts can easily be fuelled by the fact that we know we are not the same as we used to be (for those who didn’t grow up with their chronic illness in particular). Other factors that contribute to us feeling this way is how we are treated in society. You have some warriors that are unable to work and are made to feel like they are sponging off of the system. Some warriors are even told by other non-pain warriors that they are lucky they get to stay in bed all day (like as if that is fun when you’re sick all the time!) You then have the working warriors who find that the staff at their job are inconsiderate and patronising or disrespectful to them because of their illness – because they are being inconvenienced or believe that the warrior is lying. You even have the ones where the staff are more than understanding and accommodating, but might walk on eggshells around them as if they are delicate. There’s that stigma that follows you; that having a chronic illness is an indicator of weakness. But not just physically – this also connotes that we are mentally and emotionally weak and therefore are unable to cope with anything.
But that’s where I draw the line. Warriors let’s get real here. Don’t allow yourself to actually start absorbing and accepting this nonsense. A weak person is NOT somebody who has a chronic illness. A weak person doesn’t manage to put a smile on their face when they are feeling agony internally. A weak person doesn’t fight with doctors back and forth for months to years just to get a diagnosis. My friend, you need to understand that you are not weak. You are lion-hearted. You wake up and face the torture that your body subjects you to EVERY. DAY. You manage to eventually get up and complete tasks that the ordinary person who experienced your physical pain for a day wouldn’t be able to cope with. You are bearing the kind of illness that people are GRATEFUL they don’t have. That is what makes you not weak, but strong indeed. But you have to remind yourself of this – do not rely on anybody to do it for you.
Do you know that there are people watching you? People who actually admire you because they are aware of everything you have been experiencing, yet you still manage to be the fantastic person that you are? I never realised this myself until a friend of mine once told me that he admired me for my strength in dealing with everything, but choosing to push past my struggles and help people. I didn’t realise until that moment just how much people were paying attention to my actions.
So I encourage you warriors to rise up and recognise how truly powerful you are. Use that power to push through those difficult days. Use that power to help other people be it warriors or even non-pain warriors. Let your life be an example that encourages people to face whatever trials come against them. You have so much to offer the world, but you won’t really be able to access that until you understand that you possess it! Don’t give into the thoughts that tell you that you are weak. There is a scripture that says “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. If you tell yourself that you are weak and worthless, then that is what you will become because it’s a self fulfilling prophecy you are placing upon yourself. Instead, start speaking positive things about who you are and what you can do. For some people things resonate better when they hear their own voice declare it. I even encourage you to write these things down and put them on your wall, fridge, phone, etc. These are things I have had to do to keep me fighting during my tough moments. I practise this myself so I can be geared up to encourage others when they need it.
So warriors – be active in encouraging yourselves. You’d be surprised at the power that dwells within you. It just takes a bit of work to access it, but once you do…then’ll you be truly unstoppable.
Go for it Warriors!
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7