Ok, maybe you've read The Bell Jar, listened to Perry Farrell for hours, and seen any number of epic films about suffering.
Maybe your heart broke as the tragic heros/heroines beseeched an uncaring universe to rise up and take notice. But admit it, at times these artists portrayed suffering in such delicious and juicy ways, you were tempted to try it..until you realized that you already have...many times. And, without the soundtrack or great poet to narrate, it really just was miserable.
This week I felt inspired to share some of the great escape hatches taught to me in the past couple years.
Now, a quick caveat here. I told change expert Tony Robbins that I wanted to work to reduce the suffering on the planet. He told me that I cannot convince someone to let go of their suffering. They have to decide to do that themselves. There are payoffs to suffering such as... people feel bad for us, we get attention, we don't have to get into action to resolve it, and people aren't threatened by our happiness..
But should you be so bold as to want to give suffering the boot, here's a few:
Tony Robbins' take on suffering:
Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. Suffering occurs when we think the problem is:
1. Personal- happening because of some fatal flaw in us. "you are unloveable" etc. In this case your identity has gotten hooked into the situation.
2. Permanent- it will "never" change. The situation has ruined our life eternally.
3. Pervasive- the situation or problem has ruined "everything" in our lives. For example that a problem a work ruins everything...when really your family, health, etc are all doing great.
Landmark leader on suffering.
The source of all suffering is not accepting the reality of a situation.
Ok, so the person was being a jerk, they didn't treat you right, etc. It's the rumination about what "they" did to us that ends up messing up our day than the thing that actually happened and it stifles us from going into action.
Suffering and I broke up 3 years ago, sometimes we go on dates and try to get together again, but I always come back to the same decision and say,
"Dear Suffering, I got work to do and you're just a distraction. I'm giving you the boot, again. Thanks for the memories and poetry you helped me write. "
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.