CURB the Stigma

This is probably the area we get most on our soap boxes about. Stigma around pain is pervasive in our society and it must change! However, it won't change if we continue to buy into the biases and judge each other. Those of us with pain can either be our worst enemies or our best allies. This lesson is aimed at demonstrating the types of interpersonal skills and attitudes that can CURB the stigma.

CURB the Stigma

Compassion: How can you show more compassion, both for yourself and others? 

Understanding: How do you fill in the gaps of your understanding? Do you make assumptions about others? What assumptions do others make about you? How can you change negative assumptions and seek a deeper understanding of the experience of others? How can you compassionately correct the misunderstandings or assumptions others have about you?

Reciprocity: How do you measure reciprocity? What does it feel like in a relationship? What can you do or ask for to help regain reciprocity in relationships? 

Bravery: How do you show bravery? Is it by getting up everyday? Or standing up to injustice? 


Solid Sense of Self

When we are thwarted from doing the things we are used to doing we can start to feel like we are no longer ourselves. This loss of self can worsen the agony, but also worsen the effects of stigma. When we can solidify our sense of self we can feel more empowered and hopefully alleviate that grief of "losing oneself."

Solid Sense of Self 5-Step Introductory Exercise

Step 1 Rate the IMPORTANCE of the major parts of your life.

Rate (0-10) how important your FINANCES are to you.   (0 = not important at all, 10 = one of the most important parts of my life.)

Rate (0-10) how important your HEALTH is to you.

Rate (0-10) how important your JOB and/or EDUCATION is you.

Rate (0-10) how important your RECREATION is to you.

Rate (0-10) how important your FAMILY is to you.

Rate (0-10) how important your SOCIAL life is to you.

Rate (0-10) how important an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP is to you.

Rate (0-10) how important your SPIRITUALITY is to you.


STEP 2 VALUES STATEMENTS

Now that you have explored what areas of your life are the most important to you we can start to explore what it is about these areas of your life that make them so important. In this next section take a moment and write down a few sentences describing your attitudes and beliefs about these parts of your life. You are not describing goals in any way, but rather preferences and attitudes about each of these parts of your life.

Write about each of these topics. 

Attitudes and values about FINANCES

Attitudes and values about HEALTH

Attitudes and values about JOB and/or EDUCATION

Attitudes and values about RECREATION

Attitudes and values about FAMILY

Attitudes and values about SOCIAL life

Attitudes and values about an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP

Attitudes and values about SPIRITUALITY


STEP 3 SATISFACTION RATINGS

Now that you’ve identified some of the core attitudes of each of these parts of your life, it might become clearer those areas that you are not feeling satisfied. Sometimes we call this “not engaging in behaviors that are in-line with our values.” For those of us with pain, the pain, itself, feels like it is thwarting our efforts to engage in behaviors that follow our values. Finding a path from feeling thwarted to feeling like we are thriving is difficult, but not impossible. It begins by identifying those areas that need the most work.

Let’s continue this exercise by taking a moment and rate each area again and how satisfied you are with that part of your life. When we find those areas that have high importance, but low satisfaction or those areas that we do not (or cannot) engage in ways that make us feel satisfied we can feel depressed, anxious, or generally off-kilter.

Rate (0-10)how satisfied you are with your FINANCES. (0 = not important at all, 10 = one of the most important parts of my life.)

Rate (0-10) how satisfied you are with your HEALTH.

Rate(0-10) how satisfied you are with your JOB and/or EDUCATION.

Rate (0-10) how satisfied you are with your RECREATION.

Rate (0-10) how satisfied you are with your FAMILY.

Rate (0-10)how satisfied you are with your SOCIAL life.

Rate(0-10)  how satisfied you are with your INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP.

Rate (0-10) how satisfied you are with your SPIRITUALITY.


STEP 4 DISCREPANCIES IN IMPORTANCE AND SATISFACTION

This shows you the differences between your ratings of importance and satisfaction. The higher the number the more of a discrepancy exists. The higher the number the more dis-satisfied you are with an important part of your life. If the number is negative it means you are strongly satisfied with an unimportant part of your life. Closer to zero means you are moderately satisfied with a part of your life that is moderately important to you.

Discrepancy between the Importance of FINANCES and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance of HEALTH and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance of JOB and/or EDUCATION and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance of RECREATION and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance of FAMILY and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance of SOCIAL LIFE and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance SPIRITUALITY and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

Discrepancy between the Importance an INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP and your Satisfaction with this part of your life.

STEP 5 FINDING PATHS FROM THWARTED TO THRIVING

Looking over the discrepancies which area deserves the most attention? Do you want to start with those areas that have the highest discrepancies so that if you find ways to improve satisfaction you get the most bang for your buck? Or do you want to start with something a little less overwhelming? Either way, begin by picking one area you want to start working on.

Which life area are you going to focus on?

Finances

Health

Job and/or Education

Recreation

Family

Social Life

Intimate Relationship

Spirituality

Recognizing what is most important to us and those areas we are most thwarted in can help us focus on changing very specific problems. Rather than working on everything all at once this new focus can empower us rather than overwhelm us. Take a moment and think about the life area you just chose and the values statement you made earlier.

Thwarted: How is it that you feel thwarted in this part of your life? How do you feel stopped from being able to live according to your values that you described above? 

Prior Limits: Prior to your pain condition (if there was a prior) what were the limits in that part of your life? How did you cope with those limits before? 

Current Limits: What are the limits now and how can you cope with the changes? 

Brain Storming: If you had been born with these limitations how would you have adjusted to them? Are there creative ways to still engage in those things you love in creative ways? Do you need adaptive equipment? To learn a new way to do something? Or is there a different activity that could satisfy your needs for that part of your life? 

 


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