Guilt...we have experienced it all our lives.  Now that you are experience Chronic Pain, the guilt seems to be there constantly.

You are unable to do the thing you used to, you are unable to play as much with your children, attend all the functions you used to, hold all the events/holidays at your house, you do not visit family and friends as much, you are not able to go out with your partner, you are not able to be with your partner fully.  GUILT GUILT GUILT....can you feel anymore? 

Who makes you feel this guilt?  Yourself, the people around you, or both?  I will say this it is no one but yourself that can make you feel guilt.  Everyone goes through a time in their life that they are not able to do what they used to, whether it is earlier or later in life.  People may not understand what you are going through, but only you are allowing their comments to have the affect on you that they do. 

Here is an example, years ago I started having Christmas dinner at my house, both sides would come my side and my childrens paternal side including their father and grandmother.  Over the years the dishes started becoming less and less, instead of 10 there was 8, then 6....it was the preparation and clean up, and as the years went by the comments would come from the kids paternal grandfather.  "Oh we got lazy this year", "You know a nice variety gives your guests more", "That lasagna you made the first year was really good".  My mother was really good and explained she has to first do christmas morning, and then cook all day, and clean up after...she is tired and she needs to cut things down more.  It used to make me feel guilty I could not live up to standards, and that I was not giving the guests everything they wanted.  Then I thought about it, why should I feel guilty, if she wants to help so I can make more dishes, she could come earlier, she did bring her own food which was very nice and considerate of her, but if she wanted something specific she could make that instead and bring it, I need to take care of myself, I am still cooking a very big meal that everyone else seems to enjoy. 

For christmas 2010, I was feeling no pain, but still didnt want to push my body, so I decided to cook more and use disposable cutlery  and paper plates and my mom said she would take care of the other dishes.  Great more food was more important to me than fancy cutlery and plateware.  There were a few comments that just bounced right off me.  The kicker was in 2011, the christmas I held again, and the kids paternal grandmother showed up with a gift, first time in 9 years she had showed up with a gift for me...can we guess what it was?  A new set of cutlery.  I simply thanked her, my mom and I had a good laugh, and we served the dinner on paper plates and cutlery.

I changed my perception of how I should be...and this did not allow me to feel guilt.  Who you were before you had the pain is not who you are now.  You will never be that person again.  You need to find a new perception, one that includes what you are going through now.  Those people who want to make the comments, who want to say you can do more, tell them where to go.  Simply do what makes you happy, selfish no, you are happy, which means the people who are around you are seeing you happy instead of grumpy, cranky, short tempered, and they will be happy. 

Other peoples perception is putting stress on yourself, the only perception that matters is yours.  If you are happy with your perception, which should not include other peoples expectations of you, then you will see slowly how other people will be happy with it too.
 


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