There is a phrase Bill Clinton is known for – a phrase that helped him get elected in 1992. He first said it to an unemployed man at a town hall meeting, and then repeated it in other situations during his campaign. The phrase I’m referring to is: “I feel your pain,” and it can help you feel better.
I know that many of you are in pain. Some of you are in a lot of pain. I have a suggestion for you that has helped my clients, and I’m confident it will help you too: say Clinton’s famous phrase out loud, in the bathroom, to your own reflection in the mirror. Say it at least once, and preferably several times, each day. And when you do, say it because you mean it, and not because you want to be elected President (my attempt at humor notwithstanding, it’s really important that when you tell yourself that you feel your pain, you really mean it).
If you’re curious about why I give this suggestion to my clients with chronic illnesses and am giving it to you now, here’s the reason: I’ve learned that people with chronic illnesses often don’t let themselves feel or acknowledge their pain. And when they don’t, they are much less likely to treat themselves with gentleness and understanding or give themselves the compassion they need and deserve.
I know from my years of coaching that giving yourself compassion and understanding–which starts with feeling your own pain–is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to have a better life. I hope you’ll try it and see for yourself.