Finding Self Compassion in Recovery
This past Monday I had dental surgery to repair my front lower gums. I had to take several medications and received many shots to numb my gums for the two hour procedure. The surgery went smoothly, I’ve been recovering well, and I have learned a lot from this experience.
My face has been so puffy with only minor reductions day by day. It was kinda freaky and uncomfortable to look at myself because I looked so different. I couldn’t even open my mouth wide enough to smile or chew food (still not 100% there).
The hardest part for me was the rest requirement and constant icing my cheeks. I am a person who loves to stay active and productive, but my body was not equipped to go-go-go. I rarely take naps and found this week I could easily take a 3 hour nap -- haha it was crazy! This recovery has taught me how important rest is to healing and I developed greater compassion for those who live with a chronic mental, emotional, or physical issue.
My mom brought awareness to me that surgery is traumatic to the body. I took for granted that even though my mind understood the purpose and necessity for surgery I never considered that the body treats surgery as an injury and would respond as if it was traumatized. This took me by surprise at first, but then it totally clicked! Immediately I had more compassion for my body and started to treat it with more loving-kindness by napping, experimenting with better icing techniques, practicing a trauma meditation each morning, mindfully eating each bite of food, letting go of personal pressures to move and get work done.
At one point I started to whine as I moved toward the bed because my body was calling for more rest but my mind was frustrated and wanted to work on the projects I was hoping to complete this week. As I laid down it hit me, this is annoying, uncomfortable, but temporary right now and I suddenly experienced a wave of compassion for others who suffer far greater pain, loss, or trauma.
If you are in the process of healing or trying to prioritize rest in your life I feel you! Just after a week of not being able to do my normal activities it really made me realize how grateful I am to have a healthy able body and mind. I extend my love out to all those who may be struggling too and hope you can find ways to bring some self compassion to your pain (my mom told me that what I did was self compassion in action!).
I did not know mindfulness + self kindness + common humanity = self compassion. What I can tell you is that I shifted from a whiny, irritable state to a more accepting and patient state of mind and I felt a lot better in the moment even though nothing changed except my way of responding to my pain and discomfort. I am grateful to learn this formula and experience the shift that is possible to use in my life.
"Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green",