Purposeful Living

Breathing Through Your Pain

When I had my first baby, I honestly didn’t understand the importance of breathing through childbirth. While the midwife and my husband continuously reminded me to breathe, I let my body tense up and remained in near-debilitating pain (or so it seemed). No matter how often they reminded me, my response in my mind was, “I can’t, I CAN’T! It’s too hard!” (Cue tears of pain).

Any woman who’s birthed a child knows the word, “Breathe!” The purpose of breathing is to assist in the management of pain and to work with the process rather than against it. If you’ve ever been hit, hurt, harmed, or, had a baby, you know that the body has a natural inclination to tense up and fight. It’s an auto-response mechanism.

Thankfully, after learning this, I determined to do this correctly for my second birth. I found a significant difference in my level of pain because of how I managed the pain. It wasn’t that it was a different baby or different circumstances. I could feel the pain coming on with each contraction just as before, but this time…I handled it differently.

Life pains are unavoidable. They are part of living on this earth. Harsh words spoken, unkind reactions, unthoughtful gestures, inconsiderate responses, deaths, sickness..life is just full of situations that cause us pain. In the midst of that, we have two choices. We can tense up, clench up and react in a way that may not be beneficial and more often than not, amplify our pain and bring further disaster for us and others, sometimes leaving long terms scars, or, we can fight to stay calm, breathe (so to speak) through the pain, and allow our emotions to subside and wait for an appropriate time to respond with objectivity and wisdom.

Our reaction to pain is so impactful, and it means taking one of two roads…the high road or the low road.

God’s desire is for us to always take the high road. We don’t always take it because we’re not perfect, but we are capable of taking it much more often than we give ourselves credit for. And, in understanding the mind, we can realize that our mind has been conditioned with years of responding in the same way to certain situations, and so like my second round of childbirth, we have to determine and will ourselves to respond differently. By now, we should have learned what doesn’t work.

By taking the high road, we will find that outcomes that typically go sour and decisions that often lead to regret end up being few and far between, and meanwhile, we set an example of those around us that pain is manageable and we can choose to handle it the right way. That is why the Bible tells us to “renew our mind” because the mind is capable of changing its method of operation, or its way of thinking, if given direction.

So stop, breathe, think, pray, and then respond, if still necessary. Like breathing through childbirth, it could change your entire experience.

I wondered how you have learned to better manage your pain in the midst of life’s hardships? Comment below.

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