I am a definite Type A, choleric, driven, veering towards OCD. I like to have a plan, play the plan, and win at that plan. I envision how things will work out, as though I have control over every event in my life. Clearly, this is rather delusional at times. MS, for example, is not mind over matter. Cancer? There is only so much you can do to control the outcome.
A tension hides in the background that is like tuning a stringed instrument. Tighten the strings too much in one direction, and the tone is flat. Wind the string in the opposite direction, and the note is now flat. How do you find the right balance?
I experienced this on a completely different level recently. I have limited mobility because of MS, but I am thankful I am usually able to walk without assistance. I know the average distance I can walk. I also know I am stubborn, hard-headed, dare I say prideful at times?
I paid the price this year. We had family in town to visit, and it is common for us to go on walks for our serious discussions. It is a trait we learned from our dad, and it is an effective tool for us.
What isn’t effective for me is denying or ignoring my physical limitations.
I felt something akin to the sound of SNAP, yet I continued. I knew something was wrong, and I continued on without uttering a word to anyone. I ignored symptoms for some time until every step was now a painful reminder. Determination and stubbornness are not synonyms. A single-sentence to my physician and I was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis.
Now I was begging for help. I started another round of physical therapy, which was quite ineffective at first. Someone saw me struggling to walk, and suggested that I tape my foot.
‘How do you tape your foot?’.
‘With duct tape.’
‘Are you nuts?!!’
So, I taped my foot with duct tape.
This brought moderate relief, but I discovered my physical therapist was pushing the therapy entirely too fast. Now my fasciitis was more badly injured rather than healing. A new therapist suggested using a Strassburg sock. If you want to purchase a really expensive pair of socks, this is the sock for you.
My pride was now painful, embarrassing, and expensive.
Does any of this sound familiar when you think about some areas of stress in your own life?
- Perhaps you give too much to a relationship when you know it isn’t healthy.
- Workaholic, anyone?
- How about overspending?
- School midterms?
- Family problems?
Stress is going to happen. Some questions come to mind.
- Do I try to resolve the stress when it initially interferes with my daily routines, or do I wait until the cost and pain is exorbitant?
- Do I seek wise counsel?
- Do I accept blame for my own part in the situation?
- Do I work at the solution until it is completely resolved, to the best of my ability?
- Do I learn from my mistakes?
- Does it make me more compassionate towards others?