Protection usually seems like a good thing.
It keeps us and our things safe—or at least mitigates the severity when problems do arise.
Bubble wrap, for example, can help protect our belongings from getting damaged when we move them. Bubble wrap works because the air inside the bubbles creates a barrier between the object and the forces of the outside world.
The Balance of Protection
Let’s pretend for a moment that our body is the belonging that we want to protect.
Pretend that you’ve got layers of bubble wrap all over your body. It’s there to protect you from injury or harm by reducing the forces of the outside world on your body.
Now, in order to adequately protect you, the bubble wrap would have to be thick enough to reduce the forces placed upon your body. But it can’t be too thick or you won’t be able to move or do much, which in itself can be harmful.
So in order for the bubble wrap to truly protect you, there has to be a balance between protection and freedom.
Pain is a Form of Protection
Pain works in a very similar way.
It’s there to protect us from harm and does so by alerting us of actual or potential harm. This is so that we can do something to prevent harm from happening (if it hasn't happened yet) or getting worse (if it's already happened).
And pain is super important in this way. Without pain, little issues could become big issues that could lead to severe mortality and even early death.
But if pain is too protective, we begin to live our lives as if we’ve got too many layers of bubble wrap around us—we can’t really move or do much because the protection is too limiting.
The Predicament of Persistent Pain
This is the predicament many of us with persistent or longstanding pain find ourselves in:
Too much protection and not enough freedom.
And too much protection can ironically become harmful when it limits our ability to move and live our lives in the ways that we want to.
Regaining Some Freedom
So how do we regain some freedom? How can we reduce the amount of protection occurring in our bodies?
One at a time we start popping bubbles:
Through gaining awareness of how the pain behaves: Pop!
Through furthering our understanding of how pain works. Pop!
& Through challenging the protection...
As we begin to pop the bubbles, we slowly regain the ability to move and live with more freedom, while still retaining protection from the layers that lie under the surface.
Good luck out there,