It’s Resistance That Hurts, Not Suffering
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Or so the wise ones say. And ya know what, the wise ones were right! Suffering is merely a clumsy form of guidance telling us we’re ‘off’, that we’re believing something that isn’t true. How wonderful, then, to welcome your suffering!…
What Do You Mean by “Welcome Your Suffering”?
Q: What do you do when you notice the suffering (again) – when you notice that you don’t think you’re good enough, for example?
A: Why you ‘do’ nothing, of course – it’s just a (suffering) thought!…
Seriously, that’s all it is – it’s just a thought:
- A thought that you’ve previously given way too much attention to
- A thought that will continue to return, and return, until you finally stop paying so much attention to it
- A thought that, eventually, will have the same potency as someone telling you, dear reader, that you’re [insert ridiculous and laughable claim here – my suggestion: that you’re a deep-down bad person, in fact the only deep-down bad person that has ever existed in the whole of human history].
Fact is, we all have these thoughts, these suffering thoughts, from time to time.
And whilst we pretty much all think the only way to respond to such thoughts is with more thinking, it’s actually much more useful to notice the thoughts but do nothing with them.
(Try it, if you don’t believe me. Try it! Just for a day, refuse to engage with a troublesome thought, and notice what occurs when you do so!)
Actually, there IS something you can do with these thoughts and the (likely) unwelcome feelings they produce. (Same goes for any kind of thinking, actually – any kind of ‘here we go again’ negativity you catch yourself doing – that causes you suffering!)
You can welcome these thoughts…
Yes, You Can Welcome Your Suffering!
Some time in 2013, as part of preliminary coaching training I’m committed to (Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy – finished Sept 2014), I had this powerful, liberating (aha!) feeling that can be summarised (badly) in words and questions, thus:
- What if our suffering should [could] be welcomed, rather than avoided?
- What if it’s a gift that simply tells us we’ve gone off track?
Yes, what if those recurring ‘not good enough’ thoughts, or similar – that find cleverer and more sneaky ways to stay around, once you’ve thought them, that never feel good – should actually be welcomed, like the ‘low fuel’ gauge in your car is ‘welcomed’ (telling you that you need to re-fuel, soon)?
Wouldn’t it feel so much better, then, when you catch yourself thinking, “Here I go again with my ‘what’s wrong with me as a partner’ thoughts”? Or, “I’m doing it wrong”, “I’m not worthy”, “Everybody gets it but me”…
(More examples of suffering illustrated here: Brainyquotes.com suffering quotes.)
My Own Suffering Example
I had this kind of ‘welcome your suffering’ thought, last year, when I was thinking of my relationship with a recent ex-. We broke up in early 2013, and for a while our contact reduced to a bare minimum (the odd weekly text message). But still there was this thread of connection between us, this thought we might get back together again.
And, obviously (to me, anyway), this place of ‘not knowing’ what could still happen between us – this space of denial – caused me a great deal of suffering.
All this changed, though, as soon as I had this ‘aha’ thought/feeling about suffering.
Suddenly I felt liberated from my suffering. Suddenly I was thankful for the ‘pain’ that came and went as it chose – all seemingly dependent on what thoughts of my ex- came into my ‘focus’, what thoughts I determined ‘important’ to hold on to.
Suddenly, coming from nowhere it seems, I had this glimpse of my own invicibility (no matter what happened with me and my ex-, no matter what happened in any part of my life).
Suddenly, the suffering transformed into guidance – into something telling me what what I was making of the thoughts that were flowing through my head about my ex- were off, were not serving me.
I wasn’t accepting the situation as it patently was.
Instead, I wanted the situation to be different.
It wasn’t different.
We do not welcome our suffering, do not understand what it’s trying to tell us. In the all-prevalent Outside-In paradigm, something outside of us needs to be changed. Yet in the Inside-Out paradigm – the true paradigm – something inside of us needs to be understood (or at least ‘held’).
ABOUT YOUR SUFFERING: Some Next Steps…
Don’t take my word for it, though. I encourage you to get experimental with your suffering, to get curious with it – to see if you can find a new relationship with that which has previously been avoided at all costs.
So, let me ask you some questions, then:
- How do you suffer? When do you suffer? Why do you suffer?
Or how about this question,
- Do you have any choice with your suffering?
Yes think of a time that brought you deep, deep suffering. Does it cause you suffering in this moment? And if it doesn’t, why do you think that is? And if it does, why do you think that is? Really. Think of a time. Do it now.
Or, maybe much more simply than all that…
A Free Coaching Conversation Might Help
Reading blog posts is good. Watching videos is good, too. But sometimes having a meaningful conversation about the issue you're experiencing is best. To experience a transformative coaching conversation where you get to ask YOUR questions, and to experience YOUR insights. Well, I can help you with that...