I have had to step back and let my wonderful family help me for the last month and a half. It has been very difficult for me. I find myself fighting through pain to accomplish things that don’t need to get done, and in doing this, I have discovered that I have a certain amount of pride that stems from my ability to endure pain. I subconsciously want my family to realize just what a hero I am, for doing things that are difficult right now. My family, on the other hand, just wants me to take care of myself and heal. I think in some strange way my ideal of fighting through the pain is not necessarily a good thing.
I started to recognize that throughout my life I have been quite proud of the fact that rarely took a sick day when I was a teacher. I could power through whatever I was going through when I was taking care of my children. I have a persona of the woman in a Chanel commercial from the 80’s,who could, “Bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget you’re a man!” I am slowly recognizing that this was and is wrong. This tendency is not only irritating to my family who is taking care of me. It is actually a better idea to simply relax and allow the natural healing process to do its job.
I even find myself getting a little religious at times and I start to tell myself something like, “I need to crucify self.” I think however, the command to love my neighbor, as I do myself just might trump that thought. I am supposed to love myself. I am sure that we are indeed supposed to crucify self but I think that refers to our ego and not our physical bodies. My ego is exactly what is being exalted when I get up and do something that doesn’t need done. Painfully dragging myself off a recliner is nowhere in the Bible, as far as I can see. It is interesting that I found this strange way of punishing myself without even recognizing it as such.
No pain, no gain…. like everything in life I struggle to find a balance. I understand the spirit behind the slogan and I believe that sometimes struggling through pain helps you achieve a healthier you. Perhaps personal motivation is the key. If I am struggling through pain so that you can lose weight, or recover from a surgery, or any number of other things, it is probably a good thing. If however, I am engaging in some form of self flagellation with no chance of personal improvement, maybe it is actually wrong.
I know this is probably not radical thinking, or maybe loving yourself is indeed radical. I think it just might be the most loving, fundamental thing we can do for ourselves. I wonder how things would change if we truly learned to love ourselves first and our neighbors second. It just might change the world.