All of us develop an inner voice to help guide and direct what we do. This originates with language development and eventually becomes our observing self.
It is the executive function of self-monitoring that strengthens our capacity to not become totally selfless by meeting everyone else’s demands rather than balancing our lives with strategies to refuel and replenish personal needs.
Often, those with chronic pain have given too much of themselves or haven’t been able to say inwardly, “It’s OK to let go, to not be all things to all people, that it is better to be realistic with what I choose to do and not do.”
Finding the balance between caring for one’s self and caring for others can be strengthened in many ways. Trying to reduce the perfectionistic trait of needing to be liked by everyone can be learned through exposure techniques and by rehearsal or role playing. Taking time to reflect by practicing self coaching statements is another way.
Self-monitoring is critical to think before we act. In today’s society of obtaining immediate gratification simply by pushing a button or by texting someone without reflecting on what the consequences can be is self-defeating. It is a wonderful way to increase, rather than reduce, chronic pain.