Life can be painful. Emotionally, financially and physically. But, the pain you CHOOSE, defines you.
Before I get into what I mean, I want to clarify that, in my humble opinion, this principal applies to all aspects of life. But, I’m gonna try and stick with the health & fitness area for now. So, let’s jump right in.
Physically, what does pain mean? I means something is wrong. You could be sick, injured, or you just over did it.
When any of these things happens, you rest and then your body heals. You get over the sickness or heal from the injury. Your body learns how to avoid these very same pitfalls in the future (for the most part), building up immunities to viruses, rebuilding broken bones and strengthening muscles. Now no one chooses to get sick or injured, that is NOT pain we choose. However, how we choose to deal with these things and our attitude towards them is a choice, but that is a story for a different day….
We do choose exercise though, and exercise can be painful. I’ve had so many days following strength training workouts where walking down the steps required excessive railing usage or days where I felt I was channeling my inner tyrannosaurus rex because I could not move my arms up any further. But every time I stand there with sore arms contemplating how I’m going to get the cumin from the high shelf, I remind myself of what this pain means and why I choose it.
I choose it because it means I’m getting stronger. The next time I do that very same workout that made me crawl up the stairs, the pain after will be less. And every time thereafter the hurt will continue to decrease….and I will grow stronger and stronger. Eventually, the exercises that originally caused me pain will be painful no more—deep huh? I realize that I will have to increase weights and intensity, and experience more pain to get even stronger…but you understand the principal.
Now that still doesn’t fully answer why I choose this pain, so let me clarify. Back in the day, I would sit on the floor with the kids, We’d play games, watch TV, just do whatever. When the festivities had completed and it was time to move on with things I would stand up, or more like TRY to stand up. I’d have to do this I’m-really-not-90-years-old-crank-my-back-straight type move to get myself upright because my back would get stuck and painful. Climbing steps and excessive movement in general were also not my friend. My body was losing the ability to just spring back.
Now you can, and people do, attribute this to the natural aging process. Some people just leave it at that, adapting to their slowly increasing NON-ability and pain that they DID NOT CHOOSE. I decided to try the path of the those who did something different. Instead of accepting the pain I didn’t choose, I fought back–and still do.
I decided to choose my pain. The discomfort of physical growth, strength and health. It is not easy. In fact sometimes it sucks. I don’t always want to go to the gym, and cardio in general is just not my favorite, but I go and deal with that discomfort. And because I’ve chosen to face my pain, guess what?! My back, it’s good! I can move and lift and bend. Overall my health is great. Yes, I still have some unchosen pain. My neck, right shoulder and right knee are not always happy. We cannot 100% escape the aging process. Despite that, I lean-in to those issues and am continually working to strengthen and stretch and support these problem areas. If they flare up, it’s typically because I avoided the pain of exercises or stretching and was hence paid back with an aching neck, shoulder or swollen knee.
If you hide from things that make you uncomfortable, essentially hiding from pain, instead of choosing to face the hurt and challenge–whether it is exercise or finances or relationship issues—you end up dealing with pain that you didn’t choose. Pain that can be more miserable and harder to deal with. At least that’s been my experience in the last 46 odd years.
So I say CHOOSE YOUR PAIN! I know we can’t control everything. But, if you do the work, the hard painful work, you will benefit. You will grow. You will learn.
Yes, life IS painful. But you can’t hide from pain, so why not be selective. I encourage everyone to choose their pain in the short-term, to have a happier, stronger long-term.
What do you think? What pain do you choose in your life? Let us know with a comment, we’d love to hear your thoughts!
Kelly (& Steffan)
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