Holistic Health - The Subjectivity of Pain
Physical, emotional, spiritual
Agony is the feeling that comes from pain, whether physical, emotional, spiritual ...
Pain, leading to the feeling of agony, is subjective. Not one of us can perfectly identify with another in their experience of pain.
Being so very personal, it is common to feel alone in your pain. While loved ones, even strangers, can offer sincere empathy and compassion, not one person is able to lift that pain by their mere presence.
Sometimes, quite unintentionally, others can even add to your pain.
A loved one can urge you along at a pace that you are not able / ready to embrace. A friend whose husband died was distressed when others tried to introduce her to eligible bachelors. To her, at this time, this would be the ultimate act of disloyalty to the love of her life.
Ever since experiencing my own agony from a serious incident of workplace violence in 1999, I have not presumed to suggest a prescribed time for healing for others.
The good news is that healing is possible. Time moves on, with or without us. Time has a way of granting us perspective about our lives and what we have the power to do in the here and now.
Thus 14 years later, I view myself, not only a nurse, but as a wounded healer. I embrace the philosophy of Holistic Health for myself and the nursing students I teach.
The mind - body - spirit connection...
The mind - body - spirit connection is a core element of Holistic Health. Pain is a perfect example of this connection concept. When our bodies are experiencing physical pain, there is some related emotional and spiritual effect on us as well. The feelings of emotional and spiritual pain associated with depression will lead to physical responses such as changes in eating and exercise habits.
I understand now that we must always focus on the physical pain before attempting to handle other aspects. Forgiveness and understanding of ourselves is vital. There is no obligation for us to explain every grim detail of our pain to everyone we encounter. No one will ever truly feel what you feel but ... well, you.
We all know who can be trusted with how our true feelings, including the pain we are experiencing. As a nurse, I am forever humbled when a relationship has been built to the point that patients truly share their feelings. The objectivity of a compassionate caregiver can inspire both comfort and hope.
The Three Qualities of Relatedness
R. Moss, in 'The Mystery of Wholeness', writes about the three qualities of relatedness that we can offer to each other, loved ones or patients we serve:
** Creative involvement -- Our support is spontaneous and unique with each person. From silence to humor, each of us handles our pain differently. Should our strategy for support not then take into account the others' preferences?
** Intensity -- Our attention and involvement is focused on the other. The length of time is determined by our availability and the other's tolerance.
**Unconditional love -- Our approach is heart - centered, offering total acceptance without judgment and respect for the individual path of the other.
For a creative interpretation of the feeling of agony, please check my Poetic Ponderings.
© Maria Jordan (revised July, 2015)
R.E.M.: Everybody Hurts
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