Suffering is Human!
We talk about pain and suffering, but most of us think that we don’t suffer pain in our daily lives, only in extreme circumstances—if we are terminally ill, lose a loved one, or experience acute physical pain.
This is suffering, but it is only one kind of suffering. There is another kind that we bear most of the time but that we’re not aware of. It’s an emotional and psychological kind of suffering that affects everybody in our Western world.
We suffer all the time because we judge ourselves as not being or having enough of what people value in the world—money, education, health, wisdom—whatever it is we decide we need to have in order to be more, to place us higher on the success scale.
Not reaching those standards renders us disempowered and unworthy—and that is a profoundly painful emotional experience. We shut down and become depressed.
If we want to lead lives that are happy and whole, we need to come to terms with our suffering. Not as a “face reality and talk about it” exercise, but as an acknowledgement of the totality of who we are, and that includes our emotions and feelings.
By facing the pain head-on, we can see what is really causing it, and begin to realize that we are suffering not so much because we didn’t get that promotion but because of our habit of considering ourselves “less than.”
When we achieve full awareness of our suffering and its causes, we may still be upset for not fulfilling our expectations, but we will not experience the self-deprecating emotion of worthlessness. Become aware of your pain and begin the healing process of self-compassion.
I love to quote one of my clients who said, “I wish I could treat myself like my GPS treats me. It just points the way and never tells me: I told you to turn left and you didn’t, look at where you are now, you cannot follow instructions and now you have no idea of where you are!”
Excerpt from my book, Happiness, No Matter What!