Acceptance is a word that seems to come up a lot at the moment…
An experience that I’ve had of acceptance came after having Covid in 2020. Prior to this I was working hard and exercising 4-5 times a week without giving it a second thought. I have experienced a lot of fatigue over the last 2 years and consequently I still don’t have the energy to do what I used to do. Several times I have fought the fatigue by trying to increase my fitness by doing a HIIT class or a 10km run only to spend the next few days sitting on the couch.
When I work with people experiencing persistent pain, I see similarities of my experience to theirs – there is a big difficulty in accepting unwanted changes to physical health.
This is where I have found acceptance helpful and to be honest it is an ongoing process. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up or putting up with the current situation like it might seem. It means opening up and making room for the difficult things. Doing this can make life better. Pain acceptance is the process of giving up the struggle with pain, learning about it, understanding it, working with it and guided by life’s values, still being able to live your best life.
I had a conversation about this with a lady yesterday. She told me she felt like she was falling apart having experienced neck, shoulder and lower back pain for many years. Amongst many things, she couldn’t exercise the way that she would like and was struggling to accept her physical condition. This was the first time that I had met her, and we discussed and practiced ways of how she can exercise and use her body to its full potential. Her work with me will involve much more than physical activity and it will take time, but it is possible to overcome pain and get stronger and fitter.