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My client was sitting in front of me, holding back tears.
“I am so frustrated and fed up with this pain! I feel like you haven’t made any progress with me.” I winced. Her words hurt.
I took a few deep breaths before diving deep into questions with her. Over the next 15 minutes, we clarified precisely what was frustrating, how the pain is affecting her, and then developed a game plan.
Old me would have panicked. I would have immediately gotten her on the treatment table and tried every possible quick fix there was.
And it would have failed or, at best, provided her with temporary relief that she’d forget about after an hour.
Wiser me was able to stop, assess, and get a clearer picture of what was going on. She was only on her fourth session after four months of pain (with a month lapse between the first two sessions). She also hadn’t found the time to do her home exercises.
When inquiring further, I learned her original 9/10 pain was now at most a 5/10. And she no longer was limited in reaching a high shelf. No progress!? That was tremendous progress!
I also asked her what her alternative was to our treatment plan. She didn’t have one. She didn’t want surgery, and she hated taking pain medications, as they didn’t work and gave her all sorts of side effects.
After questions, I discovered what she really wanted was for me to do the work for her and make it go away. As if I had a magic solution that I wasn’t sharing.
When in reality, if I had that, I’d be tossing and shouting it from rooftops for all to have for free.
In fact, I used to try. I used to try to tell clients everything that I felt needed to be done. But it never worked.
Ultimately, many people want to change but have yet to find a way to invest in themselves. Even when I do have a perfect solution, it doesn’t mean someone will be able to implement it (psst I am a walking example of this in my own life). There is a reason people go to physical therapy week after week. There is a reason I only work with people in three-month packages.
There are no shortcuts, and we often can’t do it alone without support. There is no way to teleport to our destination (and least not yet).
Along the way, we may find solutions that feel like being on a bullet train to our destination. It will feel like we can make massive progress in short periods. Other times, it feels like we are trudging through a thick swampland to get there. But we have to keep moving forward.
And, hey, sometimes we may need to sit and wallow in the mud—that is okay.
One absolutely crucial stop on this road is understanding that we are worthy and deserving of investing time into ourselves. We don’t even have to believe that yet, just seeing it as a possibility is enough. Then I realized that’s what my client was struggling with. For her, anytime that was spent on “just her” was full of guilt and shame. And I can relate.
Until I was able to see that glimmer in myself, all my knowledge, degrees, and certifications fell flat. I didn’t think I deserved to be helped.
Sure, I could show others how to believe they are worthy of taking control of their health and, from there, guide them to healing physical pain, but I wasn’t able to turn this around to myself for quite some time.
Then one day space was held for me to see, just for a second, that it was not selfish or wrong for me to want better for myself.
As I helped uncover this for my client, it didn’t take long to create significant improvement in her motion, strength, and pain levels. She was ready for her shoulder pain to get better once she understood I wasn’t hiding a magic cure. She learned it was safe, and she was worthy of a life that wasn’t dictated by others’ terms.
But it isn’t the end of the road for her. Her body has been crying out for help for years. She has poorly managed Celiac disease, poor oral health, skin issues as well as anxiety and depression.
Luckily, she is starting to listen to her body.
While we may be able to decrease her shoulder pain, another body part, organ, or system will likely start demanding attention. This doesn’t mean we can’t utilize some quick fixes as needed. But ultimately, for true healing and health, there are no shortcuts.
All aspects of health need to be addressed—nutrition, movement, sleep, spirituality, mindset, clearing past traumas, and experiencing joy.
The good news? If we haven’t reached our goals and are feeling stuck, there are many other options beyond diet and exercise.
But be wary of shortcuts. Or at least be aware of that is what they are. If we find ourselves guilty of wanting a magic wand (I know I have), then it is time to step back and reevaluate where we are and what we want out of our journey.
We need to take a deep breath and know we are worthy of dedicating time to healing ourselves.
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