Magnifying Pain With Our Minds

Day 9: Suffering


A few years ago I began having headaches fairly regularly.

My eyes were constantly dry and itchy.

I’d catch myself rubbing my temples in the middle of the day.

This persisted for a number of months.

I’d think - maybe I have allergies.

Maybe I have dry eye sydrome (it’s a thing)

Then it morphed into…

Maybe I have a brain tumor.

Maybe it’s cancer.

Something’s terribly wrong.

I’m not sharing all of this because I’m proud of where my brain went.

In the moment I was terrified. Scared to go to the Dr. Too busy to get to the Dr.

My brain invented all of these stories about what my headaches and symptoms meant.

My brain filled in the blanks where I didn’t know any better.

The unknown is scary and our brains ultimate dream is to become the best horror film writer of all time.

It’s default setting is doom and gloom.

Because it wants to protect us and prepare for the worst.

When I finally went to the Dr., he congratulated me on “officially joining the older and wiser club".

What was wrong?

I needed reading glasses.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve joined this club too.

My brain took it to an extreme because I have a constant low level of “trying to be protective” anxiety at all times.

The pain was literal. My head hurt. My eyes hurt. My eyes were tired.

The suffering was optional. All of the worry I brought on by my unhelpful thoughts.

We do this all the time.

With our kids, our businesses, our spouses, our money, our parent, our siblings, our bosses.

We worry ahead of time about what may be ahead.

We have whatever is going on in the moment that feels like a painful experience, and then we amplify it by thinking things like:

“This shouldn’t be happening.”

“If they loved me this would be different.”

“Why do things like this happen to me?”

All of that is optional.

Look, life is painful. For everyone. In one way or another. It really is. Nobody gets out unscathed.

We don’t have to suffer through the pain. We get to choose how we want to feel about it.

Not sure if you believe me? Let’s talk.