chronic daily headaches · spoonie · spoonie support · writing

How To Live Well With Chronic Pain and Illness-Chapter 4 Summary: Developing the Confidence to Say No

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This chapter is all about learning the skill to say no and learning how to be ok with it. Below are a few highlights from this chapter that I have found very insightful and helpful–as someone who has a very hard time saying no, even when my body is screaming at me to do so. When you find yourself in a position where you can’t decide how you should respond to a situation, run through the following test:

  • “Would saying no as opposed to yes be true to yourself?”
    • Are you saying yes because you truly want to or are you saying yes just to give into the social pressure?
    • For me, I live a lot of my life worrying about making others happy. Yes, selflessness is a good quality to have. However, we need to learn that it’s OK to say no even if you’re worried that other people won’t be happy with your answer. You will learn that there are people who truly understand, and they will never judge you or be upset with you for choosing to listen to your body’s needs and saying no when you feel you need to.
  • “Would saying no as opposed to yes be kind and helpful to yourself?”
    • the author here associates “helpful” to whatever would benefit our emotional and mental well-being and associates “kindness” to our bodies.
    • Basically, what may be helpful to our minds may not be helpful to our bodies. For example for me, exercise can be helpful to my mind but is never helpful or  kind to my body.
    • Another good example of this for me at least, is all of the nights that I’ve gone out with my friends even when my head has been pounding and throbbing. I was so set on helping myself feel less isolated, so I would force myself to go out just so I could see my friends and help my mental well being. Because, if I stayed in, there would most likely be tears of frustration and FOMO rolling down my face. But instead, I pushed myself to power through the pain so that I could not feel like such an outsider, even just for the night. While there are times where this worked in my favor, majority of the time, it always ended up biting me in the butt and taking a huge toll on my head.

We need to practice saying no so that we can find what feels best for our body and our mind. We don’t have to separate the two. We can find balance and we can find ways for both our minds and our bodies to be happy with us.

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