Pain vs Suffering

I wrote this paper a few years back and more and more I find the need to share it with others. I initially wrote it for a DBT therapy group. But the concept remains the same. So I am going to share it here with all of you. I hope you find it helpful and insightful and maybe just maybe you will pass it on to someone else who needs to hear it. 

FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS now I have had a mantra that has gotten me through much. That mantra is very simple. “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice” I know that for some this statement seems beyond obvious and for others it very well may seem a joke. But the statement holds true.

In life there will be pain. You can not avoid pain. It is a given part of living. Little pains like watching your children grow up and larger pains like loosing someone you care about… Little pains like stubbing your toe or not getting your way and bigger pains like death and tragedy… These are all inevitable. But when pain comes into your life you have a choice to make. Do you embrace that pain and move forward becoming a better and stronger person for what you have endured? Or do you choose to dwell in that pain and allow it to become suffering, do you allow the pain to eat at you and destroy you as you suffer?

See there really is a choice.

Now…Don’t get me wrong. This choice is not always obvious to those of us in pain. Sometimes we need to be guided to the right path so that we may embrace our pain and move away from suffering. Sometimes we need help. And needing help is not a bad thing. Asking for help is not a bad thing. If you are struggling with your pain and you feel you can’t move on it is absolutely okay to ask for and seek help.

As someone who has had to learn this lesson the very hardest of ways I beg of you do not allow yourself to dwell on the pain and make yourself suffer. Seek the guidance and help of others. If you need a hug, ask. If you need someone to talk to who will listen to what you have to say and not judge you for feeling… ask. If you have suffered for so long that you do not know how to stop, reach for the phone and make a call.

I guarantee you that someone, somewhere, somehow… CARES about YOU. They want to see you succeed. They want to see you happy and well. They want to be there for you and they will most definitely miss you when you are gone. They want to be there for you, all you have to do is ask and they will be the very thing that you need in that moment.

Don’t allow suffering to take away all your choices. Don’t allow suffering to take you away from the beautiful world that is waiting for you out there. Embrace your pain, acknowledge it, grow from it, let it go and move forward. You have a great journey ahead of you. I promise. And if you think I am wrong, just wait… It gets better…



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