Pain Defined: is an unpleasant feeling often caused by intense or damaging stimuli.
Suffering Defined: To tolerate or allow pain or distress.
Do not blame the universe for your suffering. Suffering is a self-inflicted emotion. Suffering is the work of our consciousness. It is a choice that we make to purposely prolong pain. While pain is often thought of as a necessary part of our lives, suffering is far less necessary than we might think. Think about the last time you experienced some sort of pain. Did your pain dissipate over time or did you choose to prolong the experience? A common example of this can be seen in toddlers and young children. Have you ever seen a child sustain an injury? The other day I witnessed a young child jam his finger with his toy. Upon injury the child began to scream and cry. His mother quickly rushed to his aid and began to kiss his injured finger. It was clear that his pain had dissipated within seconds as his tears and screaming began to lessen, but what I noticed was that he chose to over dramatize his pain once he realized his pain had resulted in immediate attention and affection from his mother and various women around him. He began to put his finger in his mothers face and pout his lips. He wanted to prolong the pain by demonstrating his suffering to anyone who would give him attention. The patrons in the waiting room all jumped to action as he continued to pout and show his finger to them. They appeased his need for attention and comforted him with encouraging words to make him feel better. Within minutes he was being attended by several women and eventually he received a candy as a reward. This was an amazing sight to behold. His suffering had paid off handsomely. He happily took his candy as a reward for his suffering and proceeded to play with the evil toy that had injured him just minutes before.
While many of us would have difficulty admitting that we sometimes take a similar approach to our pain, I for one can admit I have milked my fair share of painful experiences in life. Whether it was over dramatizing an illness to prolong having to face the girls at school that were bullying me in junior high, or if I purposefully brought up a difficult breakup to prolong the support and love I was receiving from friends and family, I have in my life chosen suffering over acceptance. In hindsight I now realize I could have made the choice to pick myself up and take back my power. Rather than face the pain head on and allow it to naturally dissipate, I chose to purposefully prolong the pain I felt and thus permitted it to grow larger in size through self-induced suffering. As we walk through this life fully aware that pain is an inevitable feeling we are all bound to experience at one point or another, have we also come to believe that suffering is a necessary experience we should not only tolerate but impose upon ourselves? How does one manage pain in an effort to not only dissipate its unpleasant effects, but also move past them?
“Pain is the feeling. Suffering is the effect the pain inflicts. If one can endure pain, one can live without suffering. If one can withstand pain, one can withstand anything. If one can learn to control pain, one can learn to control oneself. ” James Frey
4 Tips to Letting go of Suffering to Moving Past Pain
1. Accept What Is
Open your mind and acknowledge that you have all the power required to overcome almost every obstacle you encounter in life. By exercising your mind to withstand the voices telling you that suffering is a necessary part of your existence, you can slowly begin to take back your power and accept what is. “Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is… The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds. ” Dan Millman
2. Root out the cause of your Suffering
How do I relate to my pain? This is the question you should ask yourself the next time you think you’re experiencing pain. It is here that increased mindfulness can serve you during times of pain or suffering. The next time you are experiencing pain look at your pain through a different lens. How is your mental reaction to pain manifested? How does it serve you in this moment? If you come to find that your reaction serves no purpose, discard the notion that you need to suffer and refocus your mind. It is possible for one to move past pain if they choose to do so. When we can learn to see our mental reactions to pain as a choice, we increase mindfulness and reclaim our power. Suffering is a manifestation of our own making. As an active participant in your own life you can choose to focus your energy on what benefits you. Rather than putting all your attention on an area in your body or consciousness that is suffering focus your energy on noticing those parts that feel pleasant and strong. Notice how your pain will begin to dissipate and how your power and strength will increase.
3. Disown your Suffering
Once you can stop internalizing your suffering and acknowledge the great power you have over any feelings of suffering It is within you to disown these feelings completely. Letting go doesn’t mean giving up. Letting go means you’ve decided to put you first. Disown those feelings that no longer serve you in a positive way. Self imposed suffering will only pull you further and further away from your true self.
4. Transform Your Pain into Something Helpful
While it may sound easier said than done, transforming your suffering from something hurtful to something helpful to others is one of the best things a person can do to find true healing. When you can let go of suffering within yourself, you make room to notice the suffering that exists all around you. Offering yourself as someone who has known suffering and has overcome it not only aids others to end suffering in themselves, but it also helps to diminish potential suffering from looming its ugly head back into your own life. Extend a hand and watch as your kindness towards others brings love and clarity into your own heart.
Ambition In The City
- Positive Pain (thesplitmoon.wordpress.com)