The Pain of Change

Memories of the good times you had before everything go downhill are a mix of incredibly annoying and addicting to hold onto. It’s fascinating how vivid those movie-like flashbacks are, and how distracting they can be when you are trying to move on with your life. Even when things are going well, there is always that lingering uncertainty and pain from a part of your life that used to bring you joy.

Pain and hurt have no mathematical, logistical measure of time before we know we are okay; thus we must treat these feelings with fluidity while encouraging ourselves to move forward. And moving forward often requires facing scary, unfamiliar situations that pull us out of our comfort zone–and to trust that we will learn along the way. This allows us to see what we’ve learned from the bad circumstances of our life, and to see that perhaps these difficult times brought us to a better place than where we would have been without the pain. I know that without having dealt with my eating disorder and the difficulties in running, I might not be out of my perfectionist mindset that I had carried with me throughout childhood and high school. Yes, it took years of struggle through recovery for me to let go of the pain, but through this, and having the courage to make small changes over time, I have learned that there were better things beyond the comfort of the eating disorder. It was the difficult times that finally allowed me to see my errors in perfectionism, worry, and fear.
Painful circumstances hurt, but I’m thankful for them because they are the things that bring us back to life–or perhaps even just to a life that we never knew before, and wouldn’t have had without the pain of change.

About Rachael

Rachael Steil is a graduate from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts. Steil an author, speaker, and a recipient of the Spirit and Outstanding Runner award for the Aquinas College cross country team and has received 6th place All-American accolades in cross country as well as 7th place in the NAIA track nationals.
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5 Responses to The Pain of Change

  1. Piero says:

    Hi Rachael,
    A friend once told me that life is like a pendulum, with an 180degree range. On one extreme of the range, there are the most pleasant things we can experience in life. On the other extreme, the most painful. Lots of people swing their pendulum very gently, for fear of sending it too close to the painful extreme. But in this way, they also never get to the other extreme, that of the pleasant experiences. So, perhaps that’s how life works – we are not living fully if we don’t experience and, to some extent, embrace, the full range of feelings. We cannot enjoy full pleasure/happiness/fulfilment, if we also don’t let life swing through those painful moments.

  2. Mandy says:

    Hey, Rachael. Your blog continues to be awesome. I’m thinking about change a lot now, too. When I left college running I was lost for a while. But, I still raced. Now, many years later, the cumulative effect of a lot of injuries I didn’t take care of has made it hard to run at all. :( Long story… But, as they say: change is the one constant in life. Also, it has been written that “most of our pain comes not from change but from resistance to change.”

    Btw, here is an interesting article you may appreciate.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/sport/story/2015-04-21/eating-disorders-runners-long-distance-running-male-anorexia-zachary-stepanovich

    • Rachael says:

      Hi Mandy! Thanks for reading–your support is very much appreciated. :) and so true about the resistance to change!
      Funny you link that article–Zach has actually been my friend throughout high school and then college teammate! I got him connected with the author of that article, who also has been following my blog :) he did a fantastic job with it and Zach was so brave and open in getting his experience out there!

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