For the one in 10 Americans who experience pain every day for three months or longer, you may know a thing or two about obstacles. Even if you're not the typical chronic pain patient, people in general deal with hurt and setbacks every day. It's a part of the human experience since we're not perfect beings in a society that wants us to be.
Carrie Anton, a full-time administrative assistant who lives in Minnesota with a fibromyalgia diagnosis told Fibromyalgia News Today, "I feel like I am constantly doing the 'fibromyalgia cha-cha.' Every time I take two steps forward, I end up taking four steps back.”
Anton also explains that how she handles setbacks can make a huge difference to her health and everlasting recovery — and she would know. After Anton took stock of her own life, Anton realized that she still had a lot to be thankful for.
"Having a bad attitude only makes our lives miserable. Negativity only breeds more negativity," she added.
If we can enter into conscious thinking, the rest should work itself out. Perception is reality so if you start with your thoughts, you can change them before they turn into action or behavior.
And who better to help do so than the creator of Conscious Living herself — a lifestyle blog written by Lifestyle Coach, Simone Krame.
“At the core of my approach is the belief that spirituality is the foundation for change. Once you explore your inner landscape and connect with your authentic self, everything else will fall into place and will allow you to create long-lasting, sustainable lifestyle changes.”
Krame went on, “When we are unaware of who we truly are, it’s impossible to know what we truly want. By connecting with your authentic self, you will begin to let go of emotional habits and patterns that no longer serve you.”
Let's explore how to handle obstacles amidst grace and positivity with three concepts — thoughts, control, and attitude.
Krame posed a rather interesting idea as we began to explore managing impediments, “What if we thought about how we want to feel first?”
She immediately answered her question with stellar insight.
“We are then able to realize the possibilities that we didn’t know existed from manifesting those feelings. When we are faced with a new challenge, it’s easy to be close-minded and to say I can’t do 'X' anymore, so I should give up.”
What if we took a step back and viewed the situation more broadly and creatively.
Krame says that when we are able to do this, you will see that there are other ways you never imagined to achieve that desired feeling or outcome.
“This is something I teach my clients to take control of negative thoughts along with self-compassion,” she said.
It's clear that as humans, we all have negative thoughts. Krame invites everyone to pause and ask yourself in the unpleasant situation or moment of unkindness, “Is it really true?”
In the case of someone with back or nerve pain like Anton, let’s say the limiting belief is, “My pain will prohibit me from ever having fun again.”
Krame would come back and say, “Is this true?”
Most of the time, people would hopefully say “no” —even if they say, “I don’t know” or “yes,” Krame goes further. “Is this really unequivocally true?”
Most of the time, the answer is “no” because nothing is definite. Or, we simply do not know, which is still not a “yes.” This can then create a space and allow for other possibilities to enter.
Anton agreed. “Sometimes the simplest adjustment can make a huge difference. Try seeing things in a different light. You may be surprised at the results.”
But in order to alter your thinking, you need to know about control.
Krame said, “I think it’s really a matter of perspective. Are you in control of what you’re feeling — your back pain, or is your pain in control of you?”
Elaborating further, do you own your pain as a part of your identity? Or, do you acknowledge and accept that yes, my pain is there, but have this intuitive knowing or faith that it doesn’t have to control my life.
Now, taking something like fibromyalgia, yes, it’s a huge obstacle and can be debilitating, but you can change your perspective of how it makes you feel.
Take Anton as an example. She explained, “There isn’t a lot we can control. I spent most of my adult life feeling totally out of control. I didn’t know what was happening to my body. I was just trying to survive, and I wasn’t doing a very good job. I was suffering greatly and had built up a lot of anger and bitterness.”
To combat that feeling of no control, Krame says to start by pushing through those mental barriers and blocks and make positive bold life changes for the better.
To test this theory, look again at Anton.
“I learned the hard way that the old adage is true: 'Life is what you make of it.' I may not be able to control most of what happens in life, but I control how I respond to setbacks. I can choose to be negative or positive. I’ve spent too much time on Negativity Drive. Now I’m cruising down Positively Lane and feeling a lot better, both physically and mentally,” she shared.
There's more. Since Anton has entered into conscious living, she's tried different treatments for fibromyalgia that wouldn’t even have been considered before.
“Having an open mind and remaining positive has brought me a sense of peace I haven’t experienced and has also reduced my pain and suffering,” Anton said.
Since the change, she's lost over 30 pounds in three short months by cutting out sugar and simple carbs. She recognizes that she couldn’t have made those bold life changes in her old state of mind.
“When you have a positive attitude, dealing with pain and other physical ailments is easier. You may be more willing to try gentle movements or go for a walk on a beautiful day,” she said.
When Krame was asked how one could undergo an attitude adjustment, she explained, “Often times when we are in pain, whether it’s physical or mental, we begin to identify strongly with that pain. And, we almost cannot imagine our life without it.”
As a result of that, it becomes a part of our identity. Yes, things may stick around for a while. Yes, it’s excruciating. It may even be hard to imagine that we’ll ever make our way out of it, but we have to find a way to believe that things will change. And we can do that with an attitude adjudgment for each situation we encounter.
“Once we do that, we can then start to take steps to elicit change that’s within our control. And, you can begin to embrace and accept the things that aren’t.” Krame added.
If we can learn to talk to ourselves rather than beating ourselves up because we are identifying with our pain, you can remove the suffering. Simply acknowledge that your pain real.
Then, have compassion for yourself that you are feeling this way. Learn to let those emotions run through you rather than them grabbing ahold of you and sticking around.
Anton embraces that by changing how she responds to life's setbacks and says it's made a huge difference in her overall fibromyalgia journey.
“My health continued to suffer and my quality of life was poor. By just changing my attitude, I am now doing much better overall,” Anton disclosed.
We all experience pain on a daily basis whether it’s something minor or major. The pain is there, but we don’t have to suffer through it. Suffering happens when we resist that pain or when we identify too strongly with it.
When the going gets tough, don’t give up. Have compassion for yourself even if it has to be on a moment to moment basis.
Acknowledge and accept the fact that sometimes things don’t go as planned. But, there’s always a greater purpose. Have faith in yourself. Believe that you have the strength to overcome anything — even if it’s something out of your control, take small steps, each day. Do things to better yourself on a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level. Before you know it, you will be living your best self — unconsciously.
Krame will be featured in an upcoming expert Q&A so we're hoping this will tide you over in the meantime. If it won't, why not sign-up to receive 7-days worth of spirituality, nutrition, and fitness content in addition to other great freebies and tips (never too often, she promises). Head over to, http://consciouslivingandlifestyle.com for more deets.