three-effective-ways-to-speak-up-when-you-are-hurtOUCH!!!!! My brain screamed as pain shot through my arm. Think calm thoughts, breathe in deeply and out slowly but surely. I even practiced my Lamaze breathing, Hee- Hee -Ha, Hee- Hee- Ho, all to no avail.

“There now, all done,” the nurse said cheerfully as she bandaged my arm. I left the nurses clinic, went to the bathroom and cried. The tears surprised me. After all, I’ve had plenty of injections throughout my lifetime from the huge needle piercing my gums to the vaccinations designed to protect me from disease. The nurse tried to help me feel better, but I felt worse instead. Has this ever happened to you? If so, let me share three ways to ask for what you need when you are hurt.

  1. Acknowledge the pain. As women, we tend to minimize our wounds. We feel it, then bury it and move on to the next thing. Before we can ask for support or comfort, we have to recognize an injury has occurred. For example, I could have let the tears flow from the burn of the shot, instead of trying to tell myself, its not so bad.
    2. Address the pain. Once we realize the hurt, then we need to identify the cause of the bruise. Think about it. Sometimes we know something is wrong but the puzzle is why something is wrong. The nurse was incorrect when she told me about my fear. This upset me more because I was not afraid and I did not feel comforted.
    3. Answer the pain. This is the opportunity to ask for what you desire for comfort when hurting. Be specific and clear. I could have told the nurse, “I was not scared, needles don’t bother me (maybe a little). Better if you massaged my arm and said, “I can tell that was rough for you, I’m sorry. Are you okay now?” In that moment, I needed empathy, not correction.
    The next time you experience discomfort, take a chance and ask for what you need. As for me, the next time I need a shot I may ask for another nurse!