The Power of Post-Operative Pain: Learning to Focus on Acceptance and Forgiveness.
Recovering after two back-to-back surgeries taught me the art of acceptance and forgiveness.
Navigating through some of the hardest days of my life, physically on my own, moving through physical pain and emotional pain, was the most alone I’ve ever felt.
During this time, I became intensely aware of who was there for me and who was not. The pain from surgery and lingering infection were now coupled with pain from the (perceived) lack of support from (some of) my friends. Why weren’t they picking up the phone, coming by, or asking what I needed?
It felt insensitive, and disingenuous when they messaged, so I began to grow resentful, and walled up when they asked how I was.
Through meditation, it became clear that my focus was on what people weren’t doing for me, ultimately negating my healing. It kept me shackled in old paradigmatic ways of thinking, perpetuating this victim mentality. After all, carrying anger, hurt, pain, unexpressed emotions are what, I believe, created the infection in my body.
After the first surgery, I started waking up in the night, confronted with physical/emotional pain, and my darkness. It was incredibly hard to be with. Unable to turn away, the pain was guiding me to see, and later accept, where I’d been unavailable to people who needed me, and where I’d been overlooking my own needs.
This new awareness began shifting my mentality, and flooding me with memories of when I’d let people down when they needed me, where I’d been too selfish to show up for them, and where I’d avoided my own needs. Slowly and consciously through this realization, this victim mentality was eroding, and the pain and hurt were being replaced with forgiveness and understanding.
People can only meet us from where they are, this inner voice kept saying.
This little truth started transforming me, disrupting the system and calling me to explore higher truths. Truthfully, we aren’t always wired to be with pain, so how was I expecting people to show up, know what to do, or be there for me, when my own relationship with pain was largely one of avoidance? Also, how can people show up when I had failed to communicate my needs and wants?
Not everyone automatically knows what we need. Un-communicated wants/needs can manifest into a breeding ground for pain, anger and hurt to arise. Precisely where I was residing. So, I channeled Brené Brown, and courageously expressed to my tribe that I was in pain, afraid, alone and wanted their company.
In doing this, I immediately felt lighter and my expectations dissolved, allowing people to show up as they are, and let go when they couldn’t.
When people don’t show up in times of need, it doesn’t always mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean they have abandoned you. It just might not be available to them; perhaps they’ve never been sick, or know what to do or say during painful times. As I leaned into this perspective, my anger/resentment gradually subsided, ushering in awareness, acceptance and forgiveness.
Accepting that people can only meet us from where they are made room for acceptance and forgiveness to pour in. Not everyone can meet us on the bridge.
The true awakening came in the continual acceptance of all this discovering. It this in new level of awareness that I could see who was actually there for me. Truthfully, the people who were showing up in my life were incredible, and the gratitude, love and thankfulness for them flooded my heart. Their care and concern blew me away.
As I worked to forgive myself and others, and truly accept the smallest bit of care, regardless of how it was expressed, everything felt meaningful. I could respond with thanks and love from this place. Acceptance paved the way for forgiveness, and forgiveness paved the way for an expansiveness that forever altered the course of my life.
Christy Gallagher is a writer, reader, lover, dreamer and creator based in Vancouver, who has been writing since the age of 10. She explored the world of Journalism and Communications in her early years, eventually moving into recruitment. Currently she works with women, facilitating self-love sessions, and is a personal life coach. She has a passion for adventure, people and places, encouraging her own expansiveness and the expansion of others. She is truly at home in nature.