The other day I was up at 5 AM working on some writing. I’m not typically up that early, so I was really out of it. Anyways, I was sitting on the couch with my laptop when a gnat landed on one of the lenses of my glasses. Still only being half-awake, I reacted by smacking myself in the face.
Smart. I know.
I smacked myself hard enough to warp the metal frames of my glasses (And the gnat got away alive, of course). My glasses needed an adjustment anyways, but now they were worse than ever. I tried to gently bend them back into shape, but they still sat on my face lopsided. So I was like, “Whatever, this is my lot in life,” and I just decided to deal with it although I was very frustrated.
My glasses obviously weren’t completely broken, but they weren’t working correctly either. They kept slipping off my face and my surroundings looked like they were in a fishbowl.
Eventually my husband saw me and was like, “What happened to your glasses?”
So I was forced to recount the entire lame story, and we both had a good laugh. Then he said, “Let me help you with those.”
He took my glasses and adjusted the nose pieces. It wasn’t perfect, but it was way better than what I was dealing with before.
The next day I woke up, put on my glasses and looked in the mirror. They were sitting much better, but I could see where the nose pieces could use a little more adjustment so they would be more even. I also noticed how tweaking the arms on the side would also help. I made those small fixes successfully, and now my glasses are sitting on my face better than they have in a long time.
It took smacking myself in the face and warping my glasses to get them to a state where they fit me even better than before.
Due to my chronic pain, I have had many days of feeling broken and warped in this body of mine. It’s not something that I wish on anyone. However, this pain introduced me to the joy of receiving bodywork. Before this time in my life, I would have never gone out to get a massage. I didn’t see the value, and it wasn’t my thing.
Being in a limited-functioning body has helped me to see how making small adjustments can make a huge difference. My book Tiny Tasks is a product of my chronic pain.
Being “broken” gave me opportunities to make small adjustments in my life that improve how I feel overall. I’ve learned how to greatly reduce my pain via combining pilates workouts with foam rolling. I’ve tried all kinds of massage tools, but nothing beats the simplicity of a spiky massage ball, a heat pad, and an ice roller.
And just like how my husband was there to help me with my crazy glasses, feeling broken has opened me up to receiving the help of others in my life. I’ve received so many resources and tips from friends and strangers, and little by little—adjustment by adjustment—I am feeling better every day and full of gratitude.
So all of this is to say that, right now you may be feeling a bit broken and warped and frustrated and all of that—although very uncomfortable—is okay. You will be okay.
Your discomfort will attract opportunity.
What kind of opportunity? The opportunity to learn, try new things, and connect with others. It’s an opportunity to learn how to receive.
Take a moment to step back and take a calm look at your situation. What tiny adjustments can you make? What little things can you do for yourself that will help you feel better?
Simple is powerful. Do what’s simple. Do what brings you closer to how you want to feel, no matter how small, even if it’s imperfect at the moment. Intentional, imperfect, tiny actions create forward motion. Regular forward motion creates change.
Don’t shy away from reaching out for help. Don’t be ashamed of your suffering, but be open and real about it to those who you know will support you. Getting the viewpoint of others can help you find what adjustments you need to make more quickly.
And last of all, practice patience. It can take time to see what actions will benefit you the most. Relax and trust that you will discover the changes you need to make when the time is right. In the meantime do what you can with deep appreciation and care.
I hope this was at least a little bit helpful and that it’s given you a more compassionate view of struggle. And in the future, I’ll try not to hit myself.