How to Turn Your Pain into Growth

rena williams wellness

You notice the festering. It feels like a tightness throughout your body. Maybe it’s taking up residence in your throat. You start to feel resentful.

Your mind wanders to the conversations with others being had in your head. You know the ones - the ones with you telling someone off.

Congratulations. These are beautiful warning signs. These are what I call the guardrails of life. A guardrail is something that’s set up as a protection, to keep us from being injured or getting hurt.

If you’ve ever driven through the gorgeous, jaw-dropping Rocky Mountains, you know guardrails and how important they are for our safety and wellbeing. Ignoring these guardrails can cost you your life or at minimum your vitality.

But, and there's always a but....

They just need to start respecting you more. They need to stop taking advantage of you. (Insert the typical script your mind loves to wander off to.)

Here’s some cut the fluff honest truth: 

You need to start respecting yourself more. 

You need to stop taking advantage of your own self.

We teach others how to treat us.

People are asking too much of you? You may keep jumping to their requests so they’ve not been shown another way of being with you. People aren’t valuing your word? Are there places where you’re disrespecting your own word? Saying yes when you mean no. Not speaking up when you have something to say. Saying everything is fine fine fine when the feeling in your gut is holding a different story.

We teach people how to treat us.

When you're feeling the weight of too much on your plate and the pain is resting in your shoulders, ask:

  • How do I model for others how to treat me?

  • How did I participate in creating this particular situation?

  • Where am I not respecting myself?

The lack of respect we inadvertently model for others can show up in many ways. Disrespecting your own time. (No, yeah I have a few minutes…..when the truth is you’re already running late for your next appointment) Disrespecting your body’s need for rest. You know you feel amazing with 8 hours of sleep but...No it’s okay. I’ll stay out a bit longer.

Where might you be adding to your own pain without realizing it?

The habits we feed teach others how we want to be treated. We teach others what of ours to respect or to disregard and not take seriously. 

Here's a fascinating thing about human connection. No one does this to you nor I consciously. (Well, it’s extremely rare that this is done with absolute intention.) 

Subconsciously people pick up on what is and isn't important to us. If we show that our time or care of our wellbeing isn’t valuable, you will notice these are the themes most tested in your relationships. 

Now if at this point you’re saying "yeah, but…” I hear you. It’s honestly easier to put your pain on someone else and come up with all the reasons and the supporting evidence of why they’re disrespectful (or why we’re in this bucket of pain and resentment). Identifying what your boundaries are, learning to honour and respect them so others have the opportunity to do the same takes work. Personal turn towards and face yourself work.

Don't expect others to re-arrange themselves to conform to the least evolved, still in healing parts of you.

Your areas of uncomfortableness are hinting at where some healing and personal growth need to happen. Think of this uncomfortableness as your guardrail check. It could be hinting at your boundaries. Either boundaries not expressed, boundaries not respected, or something else. 

There’s little growth that happens in saying it’s the other’s fault. We grow when we step outside of what feels comfortable and familiar to us.

If you’re feeling resistance in your body right now, I see you. I know you. And from time to time when I catch those very same conversations happening in my head I'm right in the thick of it with you. I always come back to being thankful and take it as an opportunity to check myself.

It’s an opportunity to shift the focus inward and ask reflective questions - how am I disrespecting myself? Where can I show up more lovingly for myself (respecting my time, my needs, my own guardrail of safety and care)? You’ll know when you’ve found some juicy answers to these self-reflective questions because it’ll resonate at a cellular level. The tension being held in your body lessens. You begin to feel lighter and more relaxed.

This is whole body health.

Instead of letting that pain and resentment stay bottled up inside take it as a gentle reminder. Bottling up as a life strategy will manifest into an illness (physical or mental) over time. Bottled feelings get carried as emotional memory in your cells. So say thank you, get back in your own lane and stay mindful to keep a safe distance from that guardrail.

What’s one way you find helpful in setting boundaries to turn your pain into growth?

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