To suffer is human?

Is suffering a necessary quality of being alive? Do we create much of our own suffering based on what we think we deserve?

I used to believe I had to be punished or suffer to achieve a goal. In my “unquestioned” belief system there needed to be a massive payment for achievement. If I didn’t suffer, more than likely I never noticed what I had gained at the time. If it came easy, how could it be worthy? And if I didn’t practically break myself in two to have what I wanted, then I believed I would not deserve what I desired….I needed to suffer enough. I usually felt I had to come from behind to win the race, the relationship or the real estate. It didn’t matter the situation, there just needed to be the appropriate amount of anguish associated with “winning” the prize.

Pain is not optional. Suffering is optional.

Suffering is never fulfilling, it may be comfortable and even familiar (as all old unhealthy patterns are just that–they prolong the pain). It is up to each one of us if we want to put ourselves through the gut and heart wrenching travels of bondage to pain. It is a choice. The deal is when you “resist” what “is“, you create suffering. It means, when you experience something that causes you pain, either you accept it or resist it…the decision is yours as to which is your mode of operation.

Most pain comes to us through things that are out of our personal control. So, if we have no control over certain events, why do we think by suffering we somehow win control of our circumstances? Whenever we have created a story for ourselves of what we believe reality is and what we hope it to be in the future, many times it will lead us to the doorway to disappointment. Sometimes things don’t go as planned–in fact most of the time there is a curve ball or some unforeseen obstacle or dead end we never anticipated. Or maybe we did anticipate that which we were involved in creating would bring us pain on purpose (welcome to self sabotage 101–the subject of other postings to come), maybe we felt undeserving of anything less than suffering in our life, in fact maybe we relish the suffering, because we know it so well.

It’s all about our beliefs and perceptions that create a disparity between truth and fantasy in how we approach our own reality. See life as it is, tell yourself the truth, don’t try to shield the pain–it just creates suffering. Doesn’t it seem a bit kinder and more compassionate, if we can feel our pain and embrace the emotions; while telling ourselves this to shall pass(and it will)? Instead of continuing to beat ourselves up with “shoulda’s, coulda’s and woulda’s”? And on top of it believe that nothing better will ever replace what we lost?

Giving yourself a hug, a bath, an ice-cream cone, a good laugh or some other act of kindness that you would offer to a friend who was in pain, seem like a much more loving gesture to offer to yourself? I vote “YES” as my answer….stop the suffering and feel the pain!  And in it, you feel the joy that is always present as you realize that indeed everything changes, including how you feel right in this moment.

I began to notice at one point in my life when I was battling reality and refusing to see things as they really were, that I would physically feel as if I was in a “fight”. I could feel the resistance in my body. When I accepted that life was different in this moment than I wanted it to be, I could feel my body relax. Even if I was not particularly thrilled with my situation and I was experiencing some pain, it took away my being stuck in the depths of suffering when I stopped resisting the here and now. I stopped telling myself this shouldn’t be happening to me, because as I knew deep down inside, it WAS happening! And even better, being human means that everyone here on this planet experiences pain too–so I should just join the party and know we all share that in our humanity. It’s a part of life. And wow, why did I feel like it was being done to me (And yes, victimhood will be another whimsical topic of another post : ) ) and that I must suffer, because why? Why? Well there is a list, just like Santa had his list of who was “naughty and nice” I had my  OWN list of all things that made me  believe I was undeserving, not good enough, bad ,un-talented, wrong, unloveable and the list goes on…and on. In a sense it was an indulgence, an entitlement to say my pain was worse than your pain….see, see me suffer?

Who wants to out-suffer and outdo the shackles of long term suffering more than the rest of the world? Not I…I prefer FUN and lotsa happiness, so I took responsibility for my experience, began to really appreciate what I do have in my life and I let go of what I couldn’t/can’t control. I dropped a ton of old negative beliefs about myself and my life, which all in turn changed my perception. Change your beliefs, your perceptions or maybe just your sunglasses and stop resisting, accept “what is” and miracles can happen. Suffering is a choice, so my friend, make a different choice. YES!!

4 thoughts on “To suffer is human?

  1. All true and well said.

    My mantra is drop the crocodile. One day I felt like I was holding a writhing, wet, snapping monster and it was wearing me out. So (aka suffering), I dropped it. Felt so much better! The problems were still there but I didn’t have to clutch them quite so tightly nor perseverate over them.

    1. I like your mantra!! Drop the crocodile–so true!! It’s amazing what letting go of suffering and for me “punishment” do every time I am aware that I am “holding on.” I am a much kinder human being to myself as I get older, I tend to allow myself so much more latitude and that ends a lot of suffering too. thank you for commenting and nice to e-meet you. Love your blog too!

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