Selfishness is one of the top weaknesses that attack the human race in geberal .. if you look at almost any sin it is usually rooted in selfishnes. Those of us in chronic pain are not immune to this constant temptation to be selfish - and maybe we are even more prone to falling prey. A hurting body is like a megaphone calling attention to yourself. When that pain is never-ending you can see how the temptation to selfishness could be consuming. If you haven't had chonic pain, think back to how you felt and acted last time you had the flu and then imagine that you feel that way every day for years or even your whole life. It should be pretty easy to see how unending physical pain brings a huge temptation of being self-centered and selfish!
Does this give those of us with chronic pain an out for behavng selfishly? NO WAY!!! what it should do is bring this issue and weakness to light so that those of us who are serious about living life well, will do all that we can to fight against this selfish nature! I have writen a lot about ways to help think of others above ourselves, encourage others ... but here are some practical ways that we can fight:
1. simply by focusing our attention on others - when someone asks you how you are don't always go into the details of your health and pain ... think genuinely of THEM. Like I have said before everyone has something the hurts them - so forcus on them not yourself!
2. ask God at the beginning of each day to help you focus on others
3. pick a person every week or every day that you will send a card of encouragment to - or call and talk about what is going on in THEIR life, think of fun creative ways to focus on them during that week or day.
4. read stories of others who are going through pain ... this can help you to get the focus off of yourself and on someone else and also help you see that you don't have the market cornered on human suffering!
5. read the book of JOB in the Bible ... talk about suffering - and God's answers to Job are pretty powerful for putting a selfish person in their place!
6. Make a list of blessings in your life - and when you talk to people highlight those rather than the pain.
7. appologize to those in your life that you have been acting selfishly towards .. tell them that you want to change and ask for their help.
Let me know if any of these tips help in your life and help to change the stereotype of those of us in chronic pain!