Suffering is a natural part of life but it doesn't have to be your entire life. In today's article, I'll share three ways that can help you avoid suffering so you can live a happier, more fulfilling life!
When it comes to suffering the first step is to accept it! The journey of life is a journey of learning how to get better at handling our suffering. Therefore, complete acceptance is the first key to overcoming it. Accepting that we’re codependent, we attract narcissists, we medicate with pills, food, pot, relationships, whatever it may be, but committing to no longer shaming ourselves for being perfectly imperfect is the first key step. Drop the ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds.' ‘I should stop eating too much,' ‘I should exercise more’ etc. What if, for now, you just accepted that this is how you are and release the pressure and shame for a moment? The truth of the matter is at this moment you are doing the best you can. If you were really capable of doing more you would. Learn to accept the level of perfect imperfection you are currently operating in.
Underneath, you may not be completely ok with it, but it has not risen to a level where you are ready to make a change. Until that starts to shift and becomes more weighted the other way, learn to accept yourself for where you are in your journey.
The second step is to consciously admit that for a period of time we can all be somewhat comfortable living in a way that doesn’t align with our morals and values. The things we do that go against our moral compass and leave us feeling less than loving inside - the overeating, the addiction, the bad relationships - are being used as a tool to avoid what’s underneath. We do these because we fear pursuing the change will cause more suffering than the negative act we are using to cover up our pain.
The biggest realization I had, and that you can have too, is that it’s the avoidance of pain that creates the pain. This links in with my 5 stages of grief, the first 3 stages of which many people will live their entire lives are shock and denial, bargaining, and then anger. Many will ruminate in the first three stages in order to avoid the final two steps, depression and acceptance.
This is where the true pain lies and this is where the suffering is. We use the bad habits and addictions in order to avoid the suffering that is in step 4, but everything we are using to cope is, in fact, creating more of it.
If you feel as though facing the depression and the trauma is too much, you may be projecting onto the depression the idea of it being ‘too big.' This is normal but it is not true. Sadly, the only way we discover that it is false is by committing to face it. Once we do, that is when we understand the concept of the avoidance of pain creates the pain.
How to we end the suffering?
Go right at the heart of the suffering.
When we go towards the pain we discover that often, it’s not as painful as we thought it would be. The amount of joy that can be found in the suffering, once we’ve worked through it, is much, much more than ever could be found in the avoidance. Often, underlying our avoidance is how scared we are to love ourselves - that’s our greatest fear. A poem by Maryanne Williamson explains this better than anything I’ve ever heard, here is an excerpt from her poem:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant gorgeous talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be all of those things you're playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel unsure around you. We were born to make manifest the greatness that is within all of us. It is not in just some of us, it is in everyone. As we let our own light shine we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
That is petrifying! To end suffering we have to accept how great we are. That is the journey of life - to make manifest the greatness that lies inside all of us. To admit and acknowledge that we are powerful beings with the capability to change our lives and others’ lives can feel like a lot of responsibility, but when we can learn to understand and appreciate this, we can learn to end the suffering.
If you would like to learn how to turn this type of emotional misery into emotional mastery I invite you to try out My Complete Emotional Mastery Method.
Watch the video and learn even more:
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