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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I enjoy fog. It might sound weird, I know, but I think it's kind of cool. I think there's a mystique, a mystery, about it. At times, I even consider it to be calming.
As I sat at my kitchen table one early morning last week reading and working, I looked out the window and saw it. Hovering low, barely touching the treetops, it was blanketing everything around it, covering our neighborhood, distorting reality.
I stared out the window for a couple minutes, totally engrossed with the scene in front of me, when it hit me -- I used to be in that fog. I wasn't literally in the fog outside the window, but in the figurative fog that comes along with chronic pain.
In the mid-90s I was in excruciating pain. Sometimes I was at a "3" on the pain scale; other times I was at a "9" on the scale. But one thing was certain, my pain was, almost literally, felt 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I was exhausted, and it took everything I had to focus on anything but my symptom. My pain was, in essence, all-consuming.
I couldn't focus clearly.
My reality was distorted.
Heck, I couldn't even think straight.
Things that were right in front of me were hidden from plain sight.
I was in the "fog" of chronic pain.
When I was 14, 15, 16 years old, my pain had consumed me. It was forever on my mind. It was constantly there. There was never a day when I wasn't walking around with a distorted view of reality because of the "fog." And, I know that there are many of you reading this who are experiencing the same thing. The fog outside my window last week was soothing, however the fog of chronic pain causes chaos. There is nothing soothing about it.
Pain not only consumes us physically, but it also impacts us emotionally and mentally. It affects our relationships. It derails our goals. It changes our mood. In other words, we end up in a "fog."
Egoscue brought me out of the fog. When my pain was gone, I could think clearer, see better, focus more intently. Everything changed. I could envision my future life, and it included being active. I could see myself playing college baseball. I could imagine playing with my kids. My vision was no longer distorted.
While it might be difficult for you to imagine a life free from pain, I'm here to tell you that it's not only possible, it's what you should expect. I'm walking proof that it can happen. Egoscue gave me my life back, and I'm here to tell you that you can get yours back as well. You can join those from all over the world who have done the same.
It's time for the fog to lift. It's time for you to get your life back. You deserve it. You need it. You're ready for it.
Start today. Take a minute and book your appointment! With Egoscue, the fog will begin to lift, you'll see more clearly, reality will no longer be distorted, and you'll get your life back!
QUESTION: How long have you been in the fog?
As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.