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The key to a long and happy life is effective pain management. The key to recovery is also effective pain management. In recovery, you renounce addicting as a way of managing pain. It is only when you renounce addicting that you can learn other ways to manage pain.
Pain is Nature’s most important and demanding teacher. It signals when our survival or well-being are compromised. It tells you when you are not right with life. Pain can be biological, psychological, interpersonal/social, or spiritual.
Don’t ignore your pain. Respect it and attend to it head on. Listen to what your pain is trying to tell you. What is wrong? What needs to change to restore your well-being? Do not fear your pain. Facing and addressing your pain will not destroy you, it will heal you. Have the courage to feel your feelings.
Address pain by either acting to resolve it or accepting it. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. We suffer unnecessarily when we say “No” to what is. Acceptance involves dropping our arrogant expectations that Reality be anything other than what it is. Effective action requires acceptance. Change by first honoring what is.
When possible, take action to reduce your pain:
- Address biological pain by getting treatment, taking good care of your body, and gently accepting pain that cannot be resolved.
- Psychological pain comes from mental illness, stress, and trauma. Address psychological pain by getting treatment and reducing stress. Cherish and care for yourself the way you would care for your young child. Live a balanced life of work, love, and play. Take accountability for your life and live with integrity.
- Interpersonal and social pain come from social isolation, abuse, neglect, unemployment, and living in harsh living conditions. Address this pain first by committing to unconditional love for self and others. Set limits. Learn to by assertive with respect and kindness. Devote yourself to a life of loving others for love’s sake alone. Let go of resentments. Cultivate compassion and forgiveness. Reach out and ask for support from those who care about you. Get help to improve your living conditions or to get a job.
- Spiritual pain comes from being dominated by ego, with its agenda of fear and desire. Ego crowds out our connection to the One Life of which we are a part. We live small lives for our survival alone, devoid of meaning and purpose. Address spiritual pain by engaging in daily spiritual practices. Take time for silence and stillness. Sense your connection to the ground of being, to “something more.” Dedicate your life—each act—to a higher purpose. Practice mindfulness by returning over and over again to your pure awareness of the present moment. Join a spiritual community if you are comfortable with this.
Pain management is a complex art. Get the help you need to face and address your pain. Not only will you benefit, but the world, which needs you, will benefit. Remember you are no good if you are no good.