Seth Godin, entrepreneur and marketer, wrote a blog post where he confronted the spectator problem. He asserts that many people are only willing to be spectators, whether in life or in business. “It’s safe, fun, and easy,” says Seth because there is less risk and little chance of failure.
I believe that many people prefer to be spectators even when they are in chronic pain.
It is much safer to sit still and do nothing when you are in pain. At least that’s what you think until the lack of inactivity leads to tight muscles, poor posture and an increase in pain. There is also the chance that weight gain will be an issue, which will put more pressure on your muscles and joints and possibly lead to other injuries. Nothing about chronic pain feels like fun yet so often people are willing to bear the pain, allowing it to sap all the enjoyment and purpose out of their life.
However, there is so much research that says movement is good for those in chronic pain!
If you allow yourself to merely become a spectator of your own illness you take away your ability to create a life you can enjoy despite the limitations of pain. You cannot change your circumstances, improve your life, or assist your own healing by watching the world go by and doing nothing.
What can you do to be proactive in your healing and in managing your pain?
Make the decision. Just by making the decision you start the process. It will give you a focus and a goal to work towards. It could be as simple as a goal of walking around the block, or talking to your doctor about other ways to handle the pain.
Take action. In fact, develop a culture of action. Making a decision to improve your life is useless if you remain in spectator mode. Do something every day that benefits your body and moves you toward healing – take that walk, or research complementary therapies.
Forgive mistakes. When you learn to do something new there is a period where you make lots of mistakes. That’s how you learn what not to do. The same will be true here too. If you try a new treatment and the results are not working or not what you expected, let that go and try again.
Be consistent. It takes time to build something from the foundation up, and something that is going to last. It takes effort and it means doing, every day - not watching like a spectator.
Be kind. Give yourself the loving attention that you deserve. It’s not easy living in pain and there is no point beating yourself up about what you cannot do. Instead, focus with kindness and love on the ways your body does work.
Move beyond just surviving as a spectator. You have the power within you to push the limitations of pain further and further out allowing you to create a life that will be worth living. Leave a comment on Facebook if you have left the life of the spectator behind. I’d love to hear your story.