I’ve had headaches almost every day. For the past forty years.
I’ve spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to figure “it” out. Other people have given me advice, sometimes unsolicited. And I’ve tried a lot of it. Always hopeful that something will be the answer.
I repeated the story to myself for decades about how I’ve “tried everything” and complaining that considering everything I do and how healthy I am, that I should feel better than I do.
Bottom line? It’s not fair.
Then a few years ago I made a decision. My pity party wasn’t working. So instead, I would rewrite my past.
Notice one of my complaints: “considering everything I do and how healthy I am…”
You see, health and wellness is my profession, but it doesn’t come to me naturally. I didn’t grow up with it. My family wasn’t athletic, or even active. I hated PE. I ate Pop Tarts for breakfast. And chocolate every day. (No, not the healthy dark variety – I’m not sure it was a thing in the 80s.)
So how did I get to where I am now, someone who is healthy, fit and active?
It’s crazy to consider. But had I not been in pain I would have no need for answers. I may not have sought health to the extent I have. Or at all.
Or maybe I would have.
But I get to choose my story about my past – as we all do – so I’ve made it a powerful one. One where the experience of headaches led me to an interest in health and fitness that’s lasted decades. As a result, I take great care of my body. I’m in excellent shape and in phenomenal health. Every year it’s better!
Now that’s a story worth repeating to myself.
When I’m in pain I’ve learned to have self-compassion and take care of my needs in the moment. I can be honest with myself and not fall into pity or self-indulgent behaviors.
I don’t go so far as to say my headaches “happened for a reason.” That’s not a way of thinking I find helpful. (If you do, then absolutely use it.) For me, it’s deciding that my headaches ultimately produced results I like. That is, they’re not all bad. So why complain about them?
Is there a story that you keep repeating, that keeps you stuck? One that doesn’t feel good? Take ten minutes to brainstorm how you might rewrite the story. Consider what you want “it” to mean. What goodness can you eke out of it? Then eke a little more. Until it’s a story that you find worth telling yourself. Over and over again.