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4 Quotes That Help Me Better Accept My Chronic Pain Condition

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Many of us like quotes and may even use them at different times, but they are really of no practical use unless we apply them to our lives. Like most people, I have heard thousands of them and there are probably a dozen or so that I have embraced, four of which I want to share that have helped me cope with chronic pain from a neurological movement disorder called dystonia. I have had it for almost 20 years and these four quotes help me better accept my condition to make the most of my life.

“Don’t try to understand everything, because sometimes it isn’t meant to be understood, but to be accepted.” – Unknown

"Don't try to understand everything, because sometimes it isn't meant to be understood, but to be accepted."

I tried so hard for so long to try and understand everything about dystonia and why I have it. Being educated is helpful, but it can sometimes be system overload. I also learned that by virtue of living with it, I do “on the job” training all the time, so I need to give my search for answers a break. It can become a frustrating obsession. To this end, I have learned to better let go of trying to find the answers to everything and, to not sound corny, let the answers come to me. This is where the first quote above helps me stay grounded and reduce my tension and anxiety about my disorder to a minimum. Every time I read it, I feel a weight off my shoulders.

Letting go of trying to understand everything can be very liberating. We have to work hard every day to think about our life right now and not the life we once had. This is the way everyone should live, dystonia or not. The past is over and as much as we may miss our former self, we must let go and live in the present. Letting go or accepting doesn’t mean giving in. It means changing our perspective about the health condition we live with. It doesn’t mean giving up the fight. It means fighting in a different way. This is where the Michael J. Fox quote comes into play for me:

“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it.”

My rendition of this quote is “how do we make the best of a difficult situation?” This puts me in the role of an active participant rather than a spectator who is being tossed around by my condition rather than making the best decisions for myself. With this quote in mind, I am learning to better focus on things just as they are – not the way I think they should be. The changes that can come out of this acceptance are incredible. Taking each day one at a time and fully embracing even the most seemingly minor accomplishment is very important to our well-being.

Saying how much we hate dystonia or any other condition, won’t make it go away. I promise! If we can find a way to cohabitate with our health condition, we are better off. Too many of us want to fight against it. We have to learn to accept it because it is a part of us whether we like it or not. No amount of anger will ever take it away. This is where this third quote is most applicable for me:

“The pain will not go away by getting angry or bitter. It will go away when you learn to accept life’s challenges with grace and ease.” – Leon Brown

"The pain will not go away by getting angry or bitter. It will go away when you learn to accept life's challenges with grace and ease."

This has been one of the most important things I have learned (still learning) to better manage all of the symptoms that come with my dystonia – physical, mental and otherwise. I have to learn to live with it rather than fight against it, all the while still trying to find ways to manage my symptoms. The more I do this, the less power it has over me. This might sound counterintuitive, but it might be the best way for us to find peace and healing. Stop waging war on your dystonia or other health condition. You will only get worse.

I had years of ruthless symptoms where I could barely speak sometimes because of the breathtaking pain. I still deal with some pretty rough symptoms, but my mind is in a better place where I am more at peace with how things are. This reduces my tension and stress, which leads to greater acceptance and a greater ability to be more productive. I am not near as productive as I once was and would like to be, but beating myself up over this is a complete waste of time and energy. I would rather focus what energy I have on my abilities, rather than all that is wrong with me. I invite you to do the same. Accept what is rather than dwell in the past or on everything you can’t do. Focus on your abilities. Most of us do more than we give ourselves credit for. We need to take control and do what is best for us in order to better manage today, and just today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. With this in mind, my final quote:

“It is not what happens to us in life that defines us. It is what we do with it that defines us.” – Tom Seaman

Getty Image by Benjavisa

Originally published: July 5, 2018
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