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Fear of Pain

Posted Jun 24 2010 7:58am

Denying Pain Here’s how it often goes:

Client:  I am so afraid of this pain!

Me:  What are you thinking about it?

Client:  It will be here forever, and I can’t stand it!

I think I have had that same conversation roughly 4,345 times, all with different clients.  Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration.  But it does happen a lot.  Which brings me to the thought for today:

You don’t have to live in fear of the pain.

In fact, living in fear of the pain just creates more physical tension, more fight or flight, and therefore…more pain!

Who wants that?

You don’t have to live in fear of the pain, but you also don’t have to live with pain forever.  The key is the sweet spot.  It lies just between fear and hope.  Some people call it acceptance.  That word brings a lot of negative meaning with it for many people, so let’s call it “what is.”  The “what is” is what is happening right now.  So yes, maybe that’s pain.  Does that mean there will be pain tomorrow?  In one minute?  Next year?  Not necessarily.  But the mind likes to plan ahead, and prepare to resist the experience.

In essence, the fear of tomorrow’s pain causes discomfort now and tomorrow.  It’s a lose-lose.

The truth is, you can do pain.

Of course you can.  You’ve been doing it.  You can do it.  It’s really not as big a deal as the mind makes it.  I’m not saying you have to love the pain, but isn’t it more relaxing to think – “Oh yeah, I have some pain, but that’s okay.  I can do pain?”

If you’re balking at the very thought, try this:  “I notice I’m fighting my pain right now.”

And there’s always:  “I’m having the thought that I can’t stand this pain.”

Don’t let the mind take you into tomorrow’s pain.  Because what if tomorrow, there is none?

And yes, that is possible.  (Oh, I know your tricky mind!)  It rarely happens any other way.  In fact, is it even possible any other way?  One day you have pain, and the next you don’t.  That’s really how healing happens.  Sure, you might have pain again the next, but pretty soon, you have more no-pain days than pain days.  So yes, tomorrow could be a pain-free day.  Don’t let the mind fool you into thinking otherwise.

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