This weekend I learned about two aspects of a pain-prone personality. People in chronic pain tend to be perfectionistic and people pleasing. Though I wasn’t thrilled with these labels I know there’s some truth here. This morning I recognized one way this plays out for me.

After I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and left my job, I received some of the best advice ever: get dressed every day. Sounds simple, right? The advisor had noticed many people who were home (for whatever reason) and stayed in PJs all day and saw how it affected them. I took this advice and felt the difference in confidence, productivity, and overall readiness to take on the day.

Today was an exception. For good reason. I hurt today and even the thought of changing clothes was overwhelming. What did I have to prove, anyway? My babies like the way I look no matter what. I’m thankful for that. Trying to look good to my standards (perfectionist) is not always the best choice. In some ways, the person I’m trying to please is myself. “People pleasing” myself and taking care of myself differ in my purpose. Am I trying to live up to some self-imposed “ought tos” and a proud self-perception? Or am I nurturing myself so I will live better with my illness?

Today I chose nurture. The pain is strong, real, and I have responsibility to care for my children. This is the best choice for me right now. Tomorrow, I’ll probably need to get dressed to feel presentable. That’s fine. Maybe I won’t hurt so bad then either. I hope that’s the case.

Nurture and grace. Good antidotes for my pain-prone personality. I think I’m feeling a little better already!