Pain Is Unavoidable, Suffering Is Optional

If you’ve never, ever been hurt in your entire life, raise your hand. And leave this blog ASAP, because the following article is not for you. It’s for all the people who got hurt at some point in their lives. And who suffered because of that.

Suffering and pain are tied together in our minds. One is giving birth to the other. They’re like a single, osmotic being. Every time we get hurt, we suffer. And every time we suffer we create more hurt. It’s difficult to even talk about pain and suffering in a detached way, this is how deep they are buried in our subconscious mind. The mere act of reading about pain and suffering is making your brain reconnect with those feelings in this very moment.

Do you remember how you felt last time you experienced pain? What were the exact feelings? Frustration? Sorrow? Despair? Defeat? What were the words you used to describe it? Suffering? Affliction? Trauma? Grief?

Pain is one of the most avoided situations in our life. We run away from pain. We’re trying to escape the pain. To mask it, to hide from it, to cover it in superfluous, temporary indulgences. We can’t stand it. Because we don’t want to suffer.

Why Do We Suffer?
Pain is external. It’s created by things out of our control. We’ve just been hit by something. The same way we get hit by happiness, sometimes. Only this time it hurts.

Suffering is internal. It gets triggered by our own feelings and perceptions of the pain. We’re interpreting the pain in a certain way. Most of the time by resisting it.

Pain is generated by loss. Loss of confidence, loss of affection, loss of hope. Every time you get disappointed, you’re losing a dream. And it hurts. We lose things we were attached to and the main body reacts: I want that part of me back. And we get this signal under the form of pain.

Suffering, on the other part, is the attachment for what we lose. The higher the attachment, the stronger the signal we receive. Pain becomes bigger and bigger.

But, believe it or not, losing parts of ourselves is natural. This is how we grow. By losing parts of ourselves. We lose our childish body and become adults. We lose our ignorance and become knowledgeable. We lose our inhibitions and become free. Every time we lose something, we’re forced to put something in its place. We create something new. We become something new.

Our loss is the trigger for evolution. We replace the tears with something we crafted. This is how we become a new being. Most of the time a better one. Because now we know what it takes to re-create that part of our Universe.

They say you grow stronger through pain than through happiness. And that’s true. You grow faster when you have all that work to do. When you lose all your dreams and hopes, you have to get to work. Fill in the gaps. Make sure life doesn’t flow away through all those holes. Be there. Do things.

I’m not making the apology of pain as the ultimate evolutionary tool. I’m human just like you and I get hurt just like you. What I do try is to lower the suffering. Because suffering is not necessary. Pain, as hurtful as it gets, might be. But suffering is an internal artifact, a self-generated response which I have control over. I may not control pain, but I can control my own reaction to it.

By giving free way to suffering I accept to lose my energy. My whole power is hijacked by suffering. Instead of using it for creating something new on that crack, I crave for what was there before. I use my focus in a desperate attempt to freeze the Universe in the very second before the loss occurred. Like this would be possible…

I Am What I Do
Every time I get hurt, I try to see which part of me is detached. What am I losing? Is the affection of somebody? Is my confidence in somebody? Is something I took for granted but it proved to be as changeable as the whole Universe? Every loss I experience creates some pain. I know I cannot avoid it. But I also know I can create something new in that hurtful cavity of myself.

That pain is the signal I have work to do. If there’s somebody affection I lost, I start to love myself more. If there’s confidence in somebody I lost, I start to trust myself more often. If there’s something I took for granted, like when I’m disappointed by somebody, I start to make and keep new promises. All those tears are signs of unfinished work with myself.

It’s not about the other guys. The outside process of getting hurt is in fact a reflection of what’s going on inside. Blaming external conditions for my pain is just another form of suffering. The real process takes place inside.

Deep down, every pain is a pointer for something we avoided to do for a long time. We’re designed in such a way that we naturally experience growth, and most of the time we grow organically. But sometimes we get so attached that we cannot break up and grow further other than through violent actions. This is when pain occur. When we don’t want to grow anymore. At that point, a violent event blows away that part of our main body which is not necessary anymore. Forcing us to start covering it with something new, and, most important, better.

Most of my pain came in my relationships. I made bad choices. Several times. I got hurt and I’m still getting hurt. It’s nobody else’s fault. In fact, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just a pointer that I have a lot of work to do in this area. And that work is about myself. It’s about trusting and opening. About accepting rejection, if that’s the case, and creating understanding. It’s about making peace with my own failures and my partner’s failures. About acceptance and freedom.

Desperately trying to tune out the pain by temporary indulgences won’t solve my relationships problem. The cavity will still be there until I start building something new over it.

And I’m building something new over it. I’m not making huge progress, but I’m sticking with it. Every single day.



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