Pain is Inevitable but Suffering is Optional….Really?

I hesitate to introduce our loving and friendly meeting time with the topic of Pain and Suffering.  It must be against blogging best- practices to lead with a negative.  Best-practices smactices.  I go with it because it’s on my mind.

Suffering is highly overrated. Believe me, I’ve danced with and romanced it.  I’ve identified with it, loved it, hated it, invited it in to my soul, and caressed it. In the long run,  it’s very unsatisfying.  Suffering, is the theft of my sanity.  The results are never positive.  In fact, I have never said, wow, I’m so glad I suffered so much over that issue.  It was awesome!

What I do know is that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional—especially long suffering. If you are reading this and know me well, you’re probably saying to yourself, who is this and where is Renai?  Yes, it is I, exposing my biggest romancer for what it really is…a sham.

So many of us suffer through mundane, unsuccessful lives.  We go to work and home again only to find our home lives less than optimal.  We settle for shallow relationships.  We deny our responsibility for our health and suffer aches and pains or much worse, dis-ease of all kinds. Suffering becomes who we are.  There is a payoff for suffering, yes there is.  Otherwise, the human race wouldn’t accept it so readily.  I have learned that we choose this life.  Even when things affect us that our out of our control, we choose to suffer.

Pain on the other hand is what happens.  It comes with the unexpected call from a doctor, a realization of a cheating spouse, dealing child who is broken or worse.  For some of us, it is knowledge that we don’t know where our next meal will come from, how we will make ends meet, the desire to be other than where we are in life, it hurts like hell, hence we call it pain.

Pain is like the unwelcome solicitor knocking on our door.  If you are like me (aka not nice), you are going to immediately get mad and apply one of several strategies:

1)Talk to yourself in an angry way about your HOA rules and how rude this person is while you sit or stand as still as a statue hoping he will go away and not know you are there, seething.

2)Blow a loud whistle or pretend you are a dog and bark loudly to scare him away.  Yes, you know who you are!

3)Worse, open the door and tell him to read the no solicitation sign.  Tell him that he interrupted your family time and that you’ve been at work all day and have kids that drive you crazy and how dare he knock on your door.  Fight it!  Say it really angrily, like can you see my teeth, they’re big and white and I’m pissed so you need to go away.

The best way to greet pain is to surrender to it, accept it, own it, and adjust your thinking to the reality of it.  Do not stand still in fear and wish it away, while you suffer an internal hell.  Do not deny it, becoming angry and forcing it away or shoving it down. The faster we can learn to take it in, accept it and practice our hope filled, tender, faithful thinking, we will walk through the pain without the baggage of unnecessary suffering.  Answers will come, resources will show up, we will have the energy to ask for help or search for available sustenance.  Our minds will not force us to rehash the pain over and over again or try to find the why of the pain but we will find unleashed in us inventiveness and ingenuity to move through and rise above.

This can be as true for you as it is for me!



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