The 4 ways we ALL Suffer (unnecessarily)
This is me leaning into my edge even more. Why is it so difficult to stand proudly for what we know to be true for ourselves? I know this may not be for everyone. I don't need to it be. But this is my truth and how I perceive our world. For today at least. Here we go...Do I think suffering is inevitable? Yes. Absolutely. I have never met a single individual who hasn't endured at least one great suffering or pain. Have you?
Do I think most suffer unnecessarily? Yes. Absolutely. I also have not worked with a single individual who wasn't making choices for their present life based on pain or injustice that happened wayyyyy in the past.
Why does it matter that we talk about this? Well, technically you don't have to deal with suffering if you don't want to. It is ALWAYS a choice. And in the grand world of personal development, growth, healing, change, and possibility there will come a day when if you don't learn why and how you suffer unnecessarily you will pay a big price. Which....is also a choice. (I can't believe I just said that...)
Let me back up and share my personal definition for suffering. The word itself is only a label ad there are as many personal definitions as there are people. You don't need to adopt mine or even agree. I define suffering as experiencing pain.
And all humans experience pain.
So then what is unnecessary suffering? Did you know that an emotional state can only last 90 seconds? That means the emotional reaction you have to any single stimulus (humor, sadness, rejection, etc.) only last 1 1/2 minutes.
Call me crazy but to take an experience that lights up emotional and fear-based reactions in the body for 90 seconds and holding on to them for....days, months, years, even decades seems unnecessary.
What, exactly, are we holding on to? Does suffering serve a purpose? Is letting go an allowance of that injustice?
Prolonged suffering is basically a decision to KEEP the awful, scary, dark, terrifying experience PRESENT in your life as though you can't survive without it.
There are 4 ways we ALL suffer and one of them sort of takes the cake. (I am sure there are more than 4 but here are the ones I see over and over and over..)
1.) I am not worthy 2.) I am not powerful 3.) I have no purpose 4.) I can't lose
Read number four again. I have an entire career ahead of me still so I don't want to make definite statements just yet....however I can say this with plenty of confidence - most unnecessary suffering is caused by LOSS.
Loss of a loved one. Loss of our sense of self. Loss of innocence. Loss of an identity. Loss of a thing or money.Loss of control. And the FEAR of loss in the future.
We basically hate losing. Which is why you hear over and over that the antidote to suffering is detachment or letting go. As well as...
Forgiveness. Release. Acceptance. Self-love. And my personal favorite - to own our place in our own suffering.
I want to share a story. This story is about a girl, a girl who had a pretty charming childhood. Plenty of love and support. She had a wild imagination and loved people. She could see the good in everyone and was always adopting stray cats.
Then one day her love for people was overshadowed by a fear that she didn't belong and she began isolating herself. She replaced loving people with fearing people. She lost her sense of self. And every time someone would leave her life she took it as proof that not only was she alone but she was unloveable.
For 10 years she would hide her ideas, creativity, and optimism in hopes people would take her under their wing and accept her. She fell into a deep depression and began identifying as 'the sad one' and 'the broken one'. She was horribly miserable but she knew how to play this role. She kept people around that proved this right. She took this out on others but mostly she took it out on herself and her body.
It would take a ton of support, inner work, and a total change in her environment to reconnect with the girl she once was. To be able to look out into the world and see and feel love again. It would take her totally accepting that she was creating her depression to seek love and there were better ways. Less painful ways. She took her lessons and returned to wholeness again. And when she did she found a kind of joy she didn't know was possible. Now she was thankful for her suffering for it taught her compassion. But she was ready to let it go, to let it die, so she could be reborn. Which is exactly what she did.
This is my story.
And although I can look back and remember what I went through I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, I suffered unnecessarily and when I was finally ready to let it GO my 10-year experience of depression was done. Just like that. It would take me a bit to mend relationships and pick up the pieces but when I was done suffering I was DONE. I had to lose my story of what it meant to be sad.
Did I suffer unnecessarily? Absolutely. Now I wouldn't take any of my experience back because I can't and because I learned so much about myself. I also know that level of depression would not serve me now or in the future. And hopefully I learned enough to pick a different strategy should there be a next time.
What suffering are you ready to lose?
In light and love, Andrea