Most of us don’t look forward to pain. We often resist it, run away from it, or go into painful experiences with dread and fear. In this episode, I’ll shed some light on how our most painful moments can become the most useful, and even sacred experiences we draw from – a gift of pain.
Whether it is emotional or physical pain, we can use the power of our minds to not only help us manage our pain, but to make it a powerful experience for us.
Although pain is a part of the human condition, seeing it through the lens of something useful and resilience-building can make it almost sweet. Listen to understand how you can use your current pain to serve you in your life.
I’m Andrea Giles. And you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 46. The Gift of Pain.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently
living but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is. And I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey, everybody. I hope you’re doing well. I’m happy to be with you today.
It’s been a lovely several days here in Montana. We get pounded in the
winter, but we sure have glorious summers. It’s beautiful and green and
warm. I love it. Anyway, today we’re going to talk about pain. Are you
excited? Does that just make you just thrilled? Listen on. Okay. I want to
share with you some things today that I’m hoping will help you as you
navigate your own pain. As you well know pain is something we don’t get to
get out of in life. It is a human experience. It’s something we all
experience, whether it be physical pain or emotional pain. Pain is
something that we all have to deal with. Right?
So, learning how to navigate pain, as pain is part of something we all have
to deal with can be very helpful. That’s what we’re going to talk about
today. So, first of all, I want to talk about the different kinds of pain
and where they come from. So physical pain happens when a message of pain
is sent from a part of your body to your brain. So, for example, if you
stub your toe, it’s going to send a message to your brain, pain. If you
touch a hot stove, it’s going to send a message to your brain and that your
brain is what’s going to say, “That hurt. Let’s not do that again.
Now, emotional pain starts in your brain and it travels to your body.
Emotional pain can sometimes create physical pain. You know the expression,
I feel like I got punched in the gut, that’s what I’m talking about. It can
feel like a physical pain sometimes. There’s this sensation of pain,
physical, and the thought of pain, emotional, and they all travel through
the limbic system. So, today I’m going to talk to you about different kinds
of pain and how they can be of service to us if we allow them. I’m going to
be sharing, as I usually do, some experiences that I’ve had or that I’ve
been working through. And I’m going to give you some strong tips and tricks
and help for navigating your own pain. Okay?
I know many of you who are listening are in a lot of pain. It might be
really heavy, emotional pain that feels acute. It might feel like you need
to go to urgent care by the level of intensity that you’re feeling. Might
feel searing. I want to talk to you about some of the things that we do
that make that pain worse, and some of the things that we can do to help
ourselves navigate it. Now, our brains are so intricately connected to our
bodies. Our bodies and our minds are so interwoven that oftentimes when we
have a physical sensation, we can make it better or worse by what we’re
thinking about it, or by what emotions we are allowing or not allowing.
And I’m going to get into that a little bit more later on in this episode.
But I do think it’s fascinating how you cannot have one without the other.
We have physical pain, and then we have thoughts about it. Right? Which can
create an emotion around that pain and make the experience either
heightened or lessened depending on what we’re thinking about it. There are
very clear things that we can do that make our pain more acute or less
acute. Okay? I’m going to talk to you about a very, very recent experience
that I’ve had. Okay. I have had headaches as far back as I can remember.
Like, well in high school, maybe back to middle school, I’ve dealt with
headaches, which then have turned into my migraines, and over the years
they’ve gotten worse and worse.
Now I’ve had an interesting week that I want to tell you about that has to
do with pain. So, years ago, I think when I was pregnant with my first
child and he’s 22. So, that’s how long ago. I think that’s when I first
started realizing I’m getting really bad migraines. And that’s when I would
get sick, get nauseous, things like that when I was pregnant with him.
Later on with subsequent pregnancies, I got migraines every time. And even
when I was not pregnant, but they’re always worse when I was. And sometime
in there I was prescribed some medication for migraines. And even though I
was pregnant, I was told to take it very sparingly. But if it was the
difference between being able to function and eat and things like that,
that I could take it sparingly.
Well, as the years have gone by, and more kids have been born, those
migraines have gotten worse and worse and worse, where I’m to the point or
I’ve gotten to the point where the dosages that I have been prescribed are
never enough. I burn through my prescription every month and run out. I add
other things in, other medications that are not helpful. I mean, they help
me in the moment, but long term, they’ve made the situation harder for
myself. And I’m pregnant. And it’s been 12 years since I’ve been pregnant.
And so it’s like the perfect storm. I’ve had this build up and build up of
all these medications where I’ve needed more and more of the medications
for it to work, and then being pregnant at the age that I am after so many
years of not having children. And basically what has happened is my
migraines have become worse than they’ve ever been and really debilitating.
So over this past week, a little over a week ago, I started getting a
migraine in the evening, and the normal medications that I have taken just
don’t work anymore. And I’m not supposed to be taking them anyway, except
when I absolutely need to. The other thing I should add is somewhere in
there when I started having kids, I started using caffeine drinks, things
like that to help me kind of function. And so, I’ve developed a kind of
dependence on it. Also, not helpful with migraines. And for a long time,
I’ve known that I probably have rebound headaches, which means that it’s
because of medicine overuse and that my body needs more and more of it to
feel better. And then add to that hormones and all the things going on with
my body, and it’s just been bad.
Anyway, so last Tuesday night I started getting a migraine, and basically
it got worse and worse all week. One of the days last week I had to cancel
all my calls because I was so sick. And over the weekend it hit a whole new
level of pain. And two days in a row I ended up in the emergency room. And
on one of the days, you could see in my face that there was something
wrong. It looked like I had a blood vessel burst above my eye, had a
bruise. I couldn’t open my eye all the way. It was swollen from a migraine.
And so I went to the emergency room two days in a row, just begging for
some kind of relief that would actually work and for something to maybe
break the cycle. And more importantly, especially the day that my face
looked awful, I wanted to make sure nothing was wrong with the baby, that
everything was okay in that way.
So I went in and they put me on medication that I’m allowed to have to calm
my body and basically sent me back home. And since then, I’ve just been
trying to heal from that pain. It was so, so intense, so much pain. And the
reason why I decided to talk about this today is because it’s been on my
mind. I have put off the pain for so long of dealing with the rebound
headaches and migraines that it’s gotten to this point for me, where it was
so acute, so painful and couldn’t be ignored anymore. It came to the time
where I had to deal with it. Right? This week I have canceled my calls. I
am resting. I am researching looking at all kinds of dietary changes, doing
all kinds of things to help myself to heal from all the things that are
causing so much pain for me.
And what it’s made me think about is gratitude. And that I’m grateful for
this time. And it’s hard to imagine being grateful for something that has
caused me so much pain. How is this a gift to me? It’s a gift to me because
I am now to the point where the pain has forced me to deal with the
underlying issues. I cannot medicate it anymore. I cannot ignore it. It has
to be dealt with. I have to give myself the gift of rest. I am taking full
responsibility for my healing rather than outsourcing it to caffeine, to
doctors to give me the right pill. I am going to become my own healer by
taking full responsibility. You know what else? It has opened my eyes to
other areas in my life that I have tried to outsource. I’ve been asking
myself some tough questions.
I’ve been asking, what’s the emotional peace here? What are other things
that I have pushed off dealing with because I know that they’ll be painful,
but that in the long run are creating more pain and suffering for me? And
you know what? There’s been some answers there. I’ve identified some of
those things. And that is a gift. And I’m grateful for it. Another thing
that has happened to me that I wanted to tell you about is, let me give you
the timing of this. So back when I was divorced and my first husband had
been passed away for about seven or eight months. And one day I went hiking
with some members in my family, and I thought it would be fun to jump from
one boulder to another, except I didn’t make the landing and I fell about
four feet and broke my foot at the top of a mountain. And really severely
rolled my ankle.
It was bad. It was incredibly painful. And I was in a different state from
where I actually lived. So I got back home, was put in a boot, and it
happened to be, of course, my right foot that I drive with. I had my six
kids. None of them at the time could drive. None of them were old enough to
drive. And I remember getting really depressed. I remember feeling so
depressed like, “It’s already been so hard. Why this? Why now?” As I look
back on that time and the gift of that pain of, I remember just feeling so
helpless. Like I can’t even drive my own children. I’m just stuck here. For
the first while I couldn’t really get around at all. Because I was waiting
for the swelling to go down.
What this was a gift for, for me, that was hard. And I think many of you
will relate to this, was I carried with me this need to do it all. Like I
wanted to be self sufficient and independent and strong. It was hard for me
to receive help. It was hard for me to let people see my messes and where I
was failing or felt like I was failing. But you know what? This experience
forced me to accept help. And one day I got a knock at the door and a
neighbor, a couple doors down had sent over her nanny to help me. She said,
“Tracy sent me to come help you. And she’s going to pay me to help you for
this many hours.”
This person, Megan. Oh my goodness. I mean, she came in and was so
incredible. She helped me so much. She helped get my house organized, she
helped go through things. She helped get my kids organized. She drove
people. She helped clean. And what I didn’t know is that just a couple
months later I would feel… Like this is literally what happened. I woke
up one day and thought it’s time for you to move. I’d been living in the
Bay Area because that’s where my first husband’s job was. And it was time
to move. And because of all the help that she had given me, I felt like
it’s something I could do. And I very quickly moved, bought a home in a
different state and moved. I had to use that experience of pain and
suffering to open myself up to receiving. Do any of you relate to that? Is
it hard for you to receive? Why is it hard for you to receive?
I know for me, I carried the story that I should be able to do it all. That
it meant something about me if I couldn’t. I still catch that sometimes.
It’s faulty thinking my friends and it’s causing you additional pain. Okay.
One more personal story. Childbirth. So, I’d given birth to six children
twins. So that’s one pregnancy. Half of my children have been born without
an epidural. And I did that on purpose. With my first, I just wanted to
know what it was like to have a baby without medicine and I suffered
greatly. I resisted the pain so much. The labor was long. The pushing was
very long. It was brutal. It was really tough because I was resisting it.
I remember just wanting desperately to get out, like, is there anyone else
that can do this for me? My son was born. And then the second time around,
with my daughter, I decided to do it again. And this time I had prepared a
little bit more. And so I was a little bit more calm and less resistant to
the pain, but it was still pretty tough. By my third, I went into labor,
“Give me the drugs. Give me the epidural.” Well, by my fourth, I wanted to
challenge myself to know what it was like to give birth and surrender to
the experience, to let go of the resistance.
And so, I went to classes and I learned different things, and I prepped and
prepared and had such a beautiful experience with that birth. I didn’t have
any medication and I was just so calm the whole time. So, so calm. I
learned to lean into the pain. I learned to breathe. I learned to be
present to it. I trusted the pain. I trusted that it was doing what it was
supposed to do. That the pain was actually leading me to get out of pain.
That by leaning into it, I was moving through to the other side of it. Now,
let’s talk about you. Okay? What is the pain you’re experiencing right now?
Some of you like me might experience physical pain. You might have things
that you have put off. As I have had time in the last week to consider some
things to think deeply about my body and some of the things my body has
been through. I was thinking about how in the 12 years, since I had my last
child, actually it was children, twins. My body has been through a lot. My
life has changed significantly in that time. And I’m 12 years older. I have
moved multiple times in 12 years, lived in four different states, got
divorced, lost my first husband, got remarried, moved, moved again, gained
five more children, learnt to navigate blended families and living in a
very small community away from everything that I knew, everything. It was a
lot for my brain and a lot for my body to process.
And so I can have compassion for myself that I had those coping mechanisms
like caffeine that made me feel like I was okay and had energy and things
like that. But now I can see how ultimately by waiting till now to deal
with this, I’ve extended my pain. I have made it a longer prolonged
experience rather than healing sooner because I was avoiding, exactly what
happened this last weekend. Knowing that me coming off all the medications
and me changing up my diet would be hard. And then through out pregnancy
where there’s so many things I can’t take and I could not have anticipated
all of those things. Right? So I’m asking you, what are the pains in your
life? What are they? What’s causing you pain right now? What are your
thoughts about the pain? Are you in a hurry to get out of it? Are you okay
hanging out in it? Do you trust that the pain can be for your good? Do you
trust that the pain can be in service of you and where you’re going?
So I want to share with you some thoughts about pain that I want you to
practice. I want you to try them on. So first of all, you’ve heard me talk
about the thought model. There’s circumstances. We have a thought about the
circumstance. It creates a feeling. We take action from our feeling and it
creates our result. Okay? So I want you to practice putting in the
circumstance line what the pain is. And I don’t care if it’s physical or
emotional. Okay. I know most of you listening are probably more in the
emotional camp right now. You can put in the circumstance line infidelity,
spouse, whatever, circumstances, what your spouse has done, the things he
has said, whatever.
And then I want you to put in the thought line, what is it that you’re
making that mean? What are you thinking? What is the pain in the
circumstance line, what is the thought about it? Now, over this past
weekend when it was the most acute, some of the things that I practiced
were just being present to the pain and it’s not easy, because I wanted to
get out of it in a hurry. Like it was really bad. I wanted to get out of
it. But there’s something releasing about acknowledging the pain. About
just saying, “This is pain. This is pain and it’s okay. I’m okay. And it’s
okay.” So here’s some thoughts to practice. I want you to find ones that
land for you. Okay. First in the circumstance, what is the pain? Identify
it. Then the thought, this is pain and it’s okay. Another thought, this is
pain, just that, this is pain. Just saying it, naming it. What is it? Pain?
This pain is temporary. This pain will serve my healing.
This pain isn’t harmful. This pain is a reaction in my brain. How I think
about my pain matters. If I’m going to be in pain, either way, my choice of
what to do is mine. I can resist, be mad, ignore, avoid. Resisting, this
now will just prolong my pain. Okay. So those are just some things to
practice. Now, going back to the title of this episode, The gift of pain, I
want you to think about it for a minute. I want you to think about the most
painful experiences you’ve had in your life so far. Emotional and physical.
Can you see them as a gift? Can you find it? Can you identify how some of
the painful things in your life have carved spaces out in you. That have
given you new depth, new experience, maybe more resilience that you would
not have gotten any other way?
I bet, my friends, that if you go look you will find it. Can you trust that
your pain is serving you? Now, for me, is I go look in the rear view mirror
of some of my most painful times. For me, those times are sacred. They’re
sacred because I learned more than any other time in my life who I am and
what I’m made of. And that I am strong. I also learned that I’m never alone
in those moments. That there’s always help. I learned a whole new death
about myself, that I don’t know that I would’ve received any other way.
In the current situation that I’m dealing with in trying to recover from
years of headaches and migraines and trying to heal, what I’m learning is
more self efficiency that I have the power to change my life. That I do not
have to wait for somebody else to do it for me. That I don’t have to
outsource it. That I can do something that is difficult. That I can take
responsibility and change my life. Now, as I was preparing for this
episode, I found a few quotes that I really loved about pain that I want to
share with you. One is by Bob Dylan, he said, behind every beautiful thing
there’s some kind of pain.
I want you to think about the people who have been the most influential in
your life. Think of somebody right now. I guarantee that if you went and
looked at that person’s life, they have experienced pain, probably deep
pain. There’s something powerful about what pain does for people. It helps
us to elevate. It helps us to relate to other people, to be more human, to
be more loving and compassionate with each other because have more of an
understanding of people and of people’s pain. I can guarantee that the
people that you look up to the most have experienced a lot of pain.
Now this next one is by Jane Austin. I love me some Jane Austin. She said,
“When pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure.” Now
for those of you who are in acute pain right now, that might be pushing it.
Right? You might think, a pleasure? Really? But you know what? I can look
back and really feel so much abundance and gratitude for the times where I
was suffering the most because of who I became in the process. Her words
are true. One more quote by David Richo. He said, Our wounds are often the
openings into the best and most beautiful parts of us.” It is true.
The wounds that you are experiencing right now can expose a depth and
beauty in you that maybe could not be exposed in any other way. Are you
willing? Are you open to the growth? Are you open to it? My friends, I
don’t like that any of you are in pain. If I could, I would just take it
all, but I can’t. But the suffering part, we add the suffering when we add
the story of, “I shouldn’t be experiencing this, I shouldn’t be going
through this. This shouldn’t be happening.” We add so much suffering in the
story that we tell about the pain.
My hope is that this episode can help you clean up some of that story. Can
help you just really stick to the facts, stick to the actual pain and look
at what you’re making it mean. Is what you’re making it mean prolonging
your pain? Adding to your pain? Are there things that you can do today to
help turn the pain around, to help stop resisting it? For me, I have
stopped resisting the migraines and headaches and leaned into them and
recognized, I might just be uncomfortable for a while. I’m recording this
podcast today, but I canceled all of my calls for the week because I knew
that I probably would feel sick all week.
As I navigate through eliminating all of my medications, all the caffeine,
different foods, all kinds of things, and my hormones raging in the
meantime. And I gave myself this gift of time to allow myself to feel pain
in a loving environment for myself, rather than pushing through and
resisting it and forcing myself to just soldier on. And I’m grateful to
myself for that. How can you wrap your arms around yourself in your pain
and love yourself through it more compassionately? This is pain and it’s
okay. Let it be heard, it’s okay.
All right. My friends that’s what I’ve got for you today. I hope that you
learn something. I look forward to talking with you again next week. All
right. Bye-bye. Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity
podcast. If you would like to be kept in the know about upcoming free
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andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.