Pain Is Inevitable Suffering Is Optional

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pain is inevitable suffering is optional



Do you ever feel weighed down by adverse circumstances in life? Do you ever get frustrated and hurt with the unbecoming situations?

It is natural to feel pained by such events. Life seldom goes as planned.

Pain is an inevitable part of our lives. We cannot avoid certain painful situations. We have no control over situations inflicting pain upon us.

What we can control is our response to it. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Dr. Frankl captured his thoughts, experiences, and grief in his book, ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ when he was imprisoned in the Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II.

During that phase of life, he was robbed of every happiness possible in life.

His parents, brother, and pregnant wife were killed. He described how he was robbed of his basic human dignity too.

His quoted words, “Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” enlighten us even today.

We cannot avoid pain, but we can certainly change the way we respond to it. This response is suffering. Pain brings suffering.

But we can decide whether we want to suffer temporarily and move ahead or make that suffering a part of our lives.

How you respond to degradation, deprivation, trauma or pain is a personal choice.

If you channelize your energies and focus on your response rather than wallowing yourself in self-pity, your suffering will reduce.

Every human has a certain degree of intrapersonal strength that can help maneuver his way out of pain. Read along further to understand the clear difference between pain and suffering.

pain is inevitable suffering is optional


Difference Between Pain And Suffering

Many people confuse the two and take them as the same. Pain brings suffering. Whether it is emotional pain or physical pain, it hurts you.

Hurt makes a person suffer. But you can also choose to suffer for long or move on quickly.

If a loved one dies, you can choose to cry yourself to sleep every day or become an alcoholic. Or, you can choose to capture your fond memories forever and move on with life.

Pain is a part of life, but we should not give it the liberty to rule our lives. We need to be brave in the face of pain, take it with grace, get strong, and say no to suffering.

There is a huge difference between pain and suffering.

Pain is unavoidable but you can certainly avoid suffering.

Many events occur in life that causes pain. Our loved ones die, we break our bones, we lose our jobs or our partners cheat us in relationships.

What we feel as a consequence of these events is pain. But when this pain takes over your life and you become unhappy, you let suffering rule you.

A simple example of suffering can be when you overthink how someone treated you badly and think of a way to take revenge.

This may take you a week or even a month or more to plan your strategy. You keep thinking all this while about how badly you were treated, you go through the entire episode repeatedly in your mind.

You think of different actions and words to say to take your revenge. But what you don’t realize is that you have been suffering all this while. If you had just ignored it at that time and had forgiven the person then and there, you wouldn’t have gone through this suffering.

Probably, you would have even forgotten the incident after a week.

pain is inevitable suffering is optional


Can You Avoid Pain? How To Deal With Pain?

There are various kinds of pain people experience. It can be physical or emotional pain.

There are different degrees of pain we experience. The death of a loved one brings immense pain that we cannot avoid.

This kind of pain also brings a lot of suffering. This suffering, although optional, is not in our hands.

You have to leave it to time. The maximum you can do is to let time help you. You can focus on other things in life than just sit and brood over the one who has gone.

On the other hand, there are many events in life such as losing a job or getting humiliated by someone, that bring pain.

But when you look at the larger picture in life, these events are small. They might seem big at that time, but they are not worth suffering at all. You certainly can deal with the pain inflicted on these small events.

When you do not let suffering overpower you, you let your energies get channelized in the right way. You think of more options and better solutions.

If you have been cheated in love, you need to move on. It may take a month or even more. But you need to move on, find other people. You cannot let yourself keep suffering.

There are different ways of dealing with pain depending upon the nature of pain.

If it is physical pain, you need to find yourself the best treatment possible and get back to as normal as possible.

In spite of brooding and sulking over the period when you are supposed to rest, you should pass your time productively.

Read books, talk to your friends, or binge-watch your favorite shows, which you otherwise did not get time for. Similarly, other painful situations to have a way out. It is just how optimistic you can get in the face of pain.


Can You Avoid Suffering? How To Deal With Suffering?

Suffering is often the re-living or rehashing of events that have already happened. When you are suffering, you are going through the pain in your mind again and again.

When someone hurts you, you will feel pain. But after some time, when you choose to let go, you actually choose to let go of suffering.

When pain attacks you, you imagine the worst. You build ghost stories in your mind. You think of the impossible and you imagine the worst happening to you.

But when you instantly snap out of your imagination, you realize that most of it were not true.

Many times, suffering is for nothing. You suffer, hurt yourself, and deprive yourself of happiness over small things that become unimportant after some time.

A beautiful Buddhist saying resonates with this truth, “If you can do something about the situation, there is no need to worry.

If you can’t do anything about it, no need to worry”. So basically, worrying about something gets us nowhere. Worrying about something is suffering.

You can deal with suffering in numerous ways.

You can either think of possible solutions or you can engage yourself in different tasks so that your mind does not have the time or energy to suffer.

Here is how you can deal with suffering:

There is a thin line of difference between managing pain and providing relief.

While trying to manage our pain, we often turn it into suffering. We re-think the problem repeatedly and go through the grief again and again.

What we need to do is to notice our pain. We need to introspect and look directly at the true nature of pain. You will realize that it is not permanent.

It dissolves over time. You need to sit patiently and observe your pain without any add-ons. You need to remember that what you are going through, someone else has also gone through.

When they survived, so will you. The moment you accept that fact and just take the pain as an experience, you will notice that its effect on you has changed.

Keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass. This thought will give you energy, positivity, and hope.

pain is inevitable suffering is optional


Pain becomes immaterial when you choose not to suffer. There are many ways in which you can avoid suffering and not ruin your present and future.

If you are pained by someone’s death, remember that your suffering cannot bring them back.

If you are pained by losing your job, suffering will only make your mind negative and prevent you from finding another one. If you are pained because your partner left you, remind yourself that suffering will not change your past.

A calm state of mind can be achieved by meditation, yoga, exercise, the company of friends and loved ones, favorite hobbies, and social service. Try these tips to reduce your pain.

Did you like what you read? Did my article help you deal with your emotions? Do let me know by leaving a comment in the comment section.

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