I swung by my buddy's office on my way to the gym several months ago. It was my lunch hour, and I only had a short time to workout before getting back to work. My friend's office is a small one, and the employees consist of him, his mom, and his dad, truly a mom-and-pop business. I walked in to find my friend and his dad in his dad's office, as I heard his dad say, "Well, that will never work!" Assuming he was talking to his son (my friend), and out of sheer sarcastic instinct, I replied, "Well not with that attitude it won't!" as I was walking through his office door.
My friend looked at me oddly, as I quickly asked him if he was headed to the gym. He informed me he wasn't, and I hurriedly left to stay on schedule and get back to my office on time. About a mile down the road, I was horrified as I started putting the pieces of the puzzle together. His dad didn't respond to my comment, and my friend looked at me oddly, all because they were in the middle of a Skype meeting with a company in Europe! I was as embarrassed as I've ever been, and I quickly called my buddy's phone and left a voicemail admitting my embarrassment and profusely apologizing!
I bring this story up not embarrass myself (although it is embarrassing to share), but to ask: As it relates to your battle with chronic pain and any diagnosis you've been given, what are you telling yourself?
Like my friend's dad, are you telling yourself that "That will never work!"? Are you telling yourself that your body will never improve and your current physical condition will always be the way things are for you?
If so, I would encourage you to change your self-talk. I recently read an article sharing one man's story of how his email password literally changed his life. While that may sound like hyperbole or an exaggeration, it most certainly is not either of those. I'd encourage you to read the entire article, but the gist of it is that his work forced all employees to change their password every 30 days. If that wasn't demanding enough, each new password had to include at least one lowercase letter, at least one uppercase letter, at least one symbol, and at least one number. And, it had to be more than eight characters long.
During this time he was going through a bad divorce, and changing his password every 30 days--and with such strict criteria--made him all the more irritable. Until, that is, he remembered a tip from an old boss. His old boss once told him that his password had the ability to change his life. (I know...I know...it seems extreme, but it's true.) He took hold of that advice and realized that he couldn't let himself be a victim of his current circumstances. With his new outlook on life, he changed his password to...
The cool thing is that he had to type that password multiple times per day and for 30 straight days! He reminded himself that he wasn't simply typing a password, he was actually writing "forgive her" countless times throughout the month. He began to change the way he looked at his ex wife. In just a few short days, his mood changed dramatically.
After 30 days, his password became...
And guess what happened? Yep, he quit overnight and never looked back.
Then 30 days after that...
And three months later? Yep. Thailand.
So just how powerful is your mind? More powerful than you might be giving it credit for. What are you telling yourself? How does your self-talk sound? I truly hope you hear an encouraging word from yourself, but for many of us, we don't. We trend toward the negative. We jump from "0" to a worst-case scenario "10" on the freak-out scale in a very short amount of time. We are quick to remember how badly our back hurt at the end of the day but forget that we had 12 hours of being pain free leading up to bedtime.
We focus on the negative. We minimize the positive. It's just what we do. Unfortunately, it's how we're wired.
Maybe changing your password isn't something you want to do. But maybe you write affirmations on sticky notes and place them around your house. Maybe you use a dry-erase marker to write a reminder on your bathroom mirror. Maybe you pick a song that's meaningful to you and play it every time you get in your car. Maybe you surround yourself with "truth-speakers"; those friends who can hold you accountable and can regularly speak into the truth of your situation and for whom you can do the same.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you change your self-talk. It might just change your life. And, I believe your future self will thank you for it.
QUESTION: What do you tell yourself about your current condition?
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