Motivation to Engage Life

"Presented with a pain-treatment plan, people often ask what level of relief they can expect. Most understand that their pain will not be eliminated, even though they still hope that it will be. Managing your pain keeps it from running or ruining your life and gives you the best possible future. But to cooperate with the plan, you must give up the expectation that your life is never going to get better or, alternatively, that it will somehow get better on its own and miraculously return to the way it used to be.

"Focus on where you can make a difference, rather than where you cannot. You have little command over the damage your body experiences, but you have considerable control over attitudes that influence your reaction to pain. Learn to let go of feelings of self-pity, victimization, and martyrdom. You may feel that your pain is a result of life treating you unfairly or that it is something you do not deserve. As self-help author Dennis Wholey said, 'Chronic pain is not fair, but expecting life to always treat us fairly because we are good people is like expecting a bull not to gore us because we are vegetarians.' Replace your feelings of helplessness with positive feelings that enhance your spiritual strength. Your pain may keep you from some things in life — your desire to be a runner or to work at your chosen career, or your ability to frolic with your children (or grandchildren), but those limitations need not keep you from a full and meaningful life or separate you from happiness. Downgrade your pain from an impasse to a bump on the road."