Suffering: An opportunity for deep learning & growth

As I prepare for my 10th brain surgery I am reminded that pain happens., but suffering is voluntary. Or, as Bruce D. Schneider said, “pain is inevitable, suffering is not.”

Pain is a part of life and there is little you or I can do about it. But suffering is different, you have a choice whether to suffer or to let go of the pain you experienced.

In many ways suffering is a survival technique your brain developed to keep you safe. By replaying a painful event over and over again you quickly learn to avoid similar situations in the future – burn your hand on a hot ember once and you remember it. If your brain replays that event enough times eventually you’ll avoid repeating that mistake ever again.

As we evolved we became more emotionally developed, but the brain kept its age-old technique of teaching through suffering. It is why emotional suffering can be such agony. It is also why your suffering opens a doorway into who you are and why you act the way you do.

At the heart of your not wanting to reach into a fire is that glowing ember that burned your hand so long ago. The same is true for your emotional suffering. At the heart of your suffering is a pain that your brain is trying to avoid. It is why therapists and life coaches have learned to follow your suffering to the psychological blocks that prevent you from moving forward and creating the life of your dreams.

I know that I am greatly over-simplifying the process, but by simply acknowledging where your suffering comes from, you can identify the pain that caused it. Once you identify your point of pain, you can lessen its impact, which is great for short-term relief. But just like cleaning up a toxic river that change will only last a short while, until you follow your river to the source and put an end to the toxic pollution that is being dumped into the river that is your psyche.

For you this can be a matter of exploring your emotional pain by:

  • Identifying the limiting-beliefs that prevent you from achieving great things.
  • Calling out the ugly roommate in your head who keeps reminding you of the faults that only you can see.
  • Acknowledging the bad assumptions and mis-interpretations that hold you back from seeing the world with all the opportunities that lay before you. 

Each of these issues influence you to live your life in fear – the result of your brain not wanting to repeat a painful memory – which may be something you regret having done or were derided for doing.

Once you step through the door of your own suffering you will enter a room where you are free to explore your fears in a dispassionate way and change your own outcome. And yes, this is where a therapist or life coach can guide you to explore your inner-workings.

I know I am greatly over-simplifying what can take months and even years of therapy and coaching to unravel, but that’s no reason to delay or avoid the process altogether – after all, the sooner you begin the process the sooner you can get on with your life, just in a way that is in balance with your own Simple Truth.

Just realize that you don’t have to feel trapped into reliving your pain. What may seem like an endless loop of suffering is actually an opportunity to learn about who you are and where your virtues and values live so that you can move past whatever event is holding you back from being your best self.

If you ever do need a mindful life coach who can help you move past your blocks, please reach out, you may be surprised what a free complimentary session can do for your state of mind, body and spirit.

Be well and I hope this helps.

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