When Completing Your To-Do List Causes More Pain Than It's Worth


Through tears after dinner last night, I told my hubby that I finished everything on my to-do list. I was so happy I had finally done that one more time. It had been years since I crossed off everything on my daily list of things to get done. Chronic pain had changed every aspect of my life.

Once upon a time, completing daily tasks was something I was proud of doing every day. They were always long lists, and I believed that meant I was having a successful day, that I was a successful person who was not lazy or unorganized.

Whether it was at work or home, it suggested the day had gone smoothly, and I could be proud. The checked boxes indicated I had been prepared for every snag or dealt with them efficiently.

But tonight, I am in severe pain. I was so excited that I placed an “X” in every box, but I was crying because of the physical pain I was enduring from being so “successful.”

Then I realized what I was doing to myself. I was judging myself by the number of checked off boxes on my notepad.

I have worked very hard to change my perspective about living with chronic pain and to live as positively as I can regardless of my situation.

I have been diligent in finding what isn’t working and changing it, but this one snuck in on me.

Why do we push ourselves so hard mentally or physically past the breaking point while living with chronic pain?

So many dreams die one by one when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. Yesterday was almost as if I was trying to prove to myself I could still do it. Well, I did do it, and it isn’t pretty. I don’t think it was worth it.

Don’t do this to yourself either. You only have one body. That family member who thinks you are lazy or the friend who just thinks you are unorganized isn’t going to donate you their body when yours gives out because you were judging yourself by what they thought of you.

I need to stop comparing myself to others and realize this is my life, not theirs and I’m the only one who needs to be happy about it. I need to decide on new ways to consider myself successful, and I need to nurture those ideas.

Today, I have put aside “the to-do list.” I’m going to rest and recharge my batteries. Hopefully, I can start again tomorrow.

This story originally appeared on Chronic Pain With a Higher Perspective.


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