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Book Review: The Wisdom To Know The Difference

November 4th, 2009 · No Comments

How many more tests, procedures and medications should I try? Should I try to work despite my chronic pain? How can I make progress towards accepting my situation?

For those of us with pain, these type of questions can be puzzling and cause distress. A new book, The Wisdom to Know the Difference, looks at how we figure out what’s right for us to do.

In this book, Flanagan explores the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can change,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

From a spiritual perspective, she looks at what clues we can use to figure out what we should change in our lives and where we should instead focus on acceptance. There is much wisdom in the book. It’s full of examples of real people working to discern how they are meant to lead their lives.

While not specifically about pain or medical illness, the book is helpful to think about where you are in your life and if that’s where you’re meant to be. It offers guidance to help get you on the track you’re called to follow. I think it would be most helpful for patients with chronic pain in several ways:

  • in what ways is acceptance called for in my situation?
  • how can my experience of pain fit into my life, rather than define my life?
  • what are the life lessons I’m learning from my situation?
  • how can I grow because of this pain? despite this pain?

Chronic pain is often a life-changing situation, and this book offers wisdom to learn how to cope with such a difficult circumstance. The Wisdom to Know the Difference can be useful to integrate your experience of pain into your life, and move forward with living.


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