How Pain Helped Me Love My Body
The week prior to the accident, I had been happily chatting with a friend about how I had never broken a bone. What lesson was learned here? Always knock on wood. Ha-ha. Anyways, I am not necessarily upset that I have shattered my femur and degloved/broken my heel. Each day, I now experience physical discomfort, but the learning experience has led me to deeply love my body and appreciate it unconditionally.
Before the accident, I was in the best shape I have probably ever been in. I know that played a huge role in my faster-than-normal recovery, but it has been quite a humbling process going from the best shape of my life to the worst. I was working my way to running a half marathon and was planning on becoming a yoga instructor. I wanted to hike the entire Appalachian Trail with one of my friends who is currently on that journey. Now, I can barely run a full mile without needing to walk part of it. I sometimes grieve over this physical change, but I also find myself enjoying running more than I did before. I experience discomfort almost every time I put my foot down, but I become so overwhelmed with gratitude for simply being able to run, that it pushes me to stretch myself and work my hardest to become strong again. After all, life is about the journey, not the destination.
I think if I had injured myself from something that did not completely flip my world upside down like the accident did, my experience with healing would be very different. I believe I would be more frustrated than grateful, and more impatient than humbled. I could have died, and that reality completely changed my outlook on life. Sure, my ankle gives me grief almost every time I walk, but at least I can walk. And yeah, many of my shoes are now uncomfortable to wear, but at least I have both feet. Being stuck on a couch for two months made me appreciate my body to a new degree; it made me want to run for the pure joy of being able to! Instead of being angry with my body's limitations, I am endlessly grateful for what it can do, and it challenges me to work my hardest to overcome my limits.
Sometimes I think of my injured leg as a separate part of me, like it is my friend that was injured. My body has worked tirelessly to heal from the trauma and injuries my leg experienced, and sometimes it makes me want to cry for it (on days I am extra emotional). It may sound weird that I think this way at all, but it actually helps me feel more love for my body. Each day it is working to repair, to become the strongest it can, whether or not I consciously do anything about it. How could I not feel endless gratitude and love for what my body is capable of doing? And it does it all for me! I do my best to repay it by working out and eating healthy <3
I feel gratitude towards the accident for allowing me the chance to see what I am capable of overcoming, physically and emotionally. I have developed incredible love and appreciation for my body through this, and have so much gratitude for what it does for me everyday. I have realized through this that my mind is either my biggest hurdle or most powerful tool. I will not let self-criticism and doubt flood my mind. I will never live from a victim mentality or be a victim of circumstance. I am strong, intelligent, and capable of overcoming any obstacle life throws at me. No matter how painful and heart-wrenching those experiences may be, in the end it is my mindset that will truly make or break me.
Each life experience, whether it be seemingly good or bad, brings with it the opportunity to become a better version of ourselves. We can either run from the wave which will eventually catch us, or find the courage to dive deep and transform ourselves to match the present circumstance. No matter how hopeless we may feel at times, there is nothing in this life we cannot overcome.