Pain Is The Feeling, Suffering Is The Response
How adversity leads to awakening
Hey everyone :)
Before jumping into this much-anticipated topic, I have a little gift for you.
Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on a manifestation manual. I’ve really missed writing on a topic that I so avidly believe in, which continues to be a
transformative tool for myself and the people I know and love.
If you enjoyed Closer to Love and left a review online, such as on Amazon or another retailer website, please email email@example.com with a screenshot of your review so I can gift you an incredible 20+ page guide featuring some of the most powerful manifestation techniques around (ones that actually work!).
But this isn’t just for the guide. Good reviews support our mission to share tools that make love, self-healing, and empowerment accessible to as many souls as we can.
Thanks again for the many ways you continue to make this possible.
Now, onto some challenging but empowering notions on leaning into pain without suffering.
When we think of suffering, we immediately feel victimized. Something was done to us, we were cheated, betrayed, hurt, born into the wrong family, and some even experience violence and psychological abuse. The list of travesties humans endure is frighteningly familiar. And some people suffer long after the painful event passes.
So what is the difference between pain and suffering, and why does it matter?
Pain is the physical and emotional response to an event. Pain elicits sensations and is commonly temporary.
Suffering can occur with or without pain, plagues you longer, and often causes temporary or lasting mental and emotional limitations.
Pain is what you feel, and suffering is a prolonged response. But does it have to be?
Suffering makes its way into our psyche, altering our attitudes toward life. It then creeps into the subconscious and starts directing the narrative. And before you know it, unchecked suffering becomes the backbone of our identity.
Want to know how much you identify with your suffering? Imagine someone asking you who you are. As you tell your life story, gauge how much you focus on your suffering compared to other experiences that influenced you.
To be fair, few things impact as significantly as an empowering come-up story, such as rags to riches, and victim to hero. Every day survivors share incredible stories that inspire millions around the world. I even have mine pinned on my Twitter.
But none of these stories could hit home with others if we hadn’t chosen to let go of the suffering.
Pain is invaluable in understanding your purpose and discovering what you’re made of. But suffering doesn’t have to be as significant a part of the equation as we make it.
It’s possible to experience pain without suffering – that is, you can feel physical or emotional pain without all the distress or anguish that usually accompanies it.
For example, when you watch a movie, you might cry and feel genuine sadness. But you don’t experience suffering because nothing truly happens to you. And often, you may actually enjoy the cathartic release you feel during the movie.
In the same way, pain allows us to witness our emotional response, and suffering causes us to merge our storyline with the emotional response.
Suffering may not be a choice, but there is an alternative
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice.”
I’ve not always resonated with that quote because I understand that there are nuances within severe trauma that can ultimately impair one's ability to see outside of suffering.
For every other instance, there is always an alternative.
Are you saying I CHOOSE to suffer!?
Have you ever eaten something even though you knew it would make you feel sick later? Or stayed in an unsatisfactory relationship long after love expired?
We actively choose to suffer in many situations, but the reasons remain unconscious to us unless we hunt them down. This can take a lifetime and might be worth it for some.
However, understanding that there are times you choose to suffer is enough awareness to know you can stop.
When I’m stuck in a disempowered, victimized mindset, I break out of the negative narrative and switch my emotional trajectory using AAA.
Awareness. Acceptance. Appreciation.
Awareness invites you to be a participant in your emotional response. Instead of letting the unconscious habit of suffering lead the way, step in and take ownership of your feelings.
Acceptance helps you see that what happened has happened, and holding onto the idea of being able to control or prevent the pain that occurred is what keeps you stuck in a suffering spiral.
Appreciating pain makes it nearly impossible to suffer. Pursuing the silver lining and life lessons is the biggest power move your mind can make.
As difficult and sometimes impossible as it may feel to reject the story of suffering, releasing it will awaken you to so much more you can do, be, and feel.
And know this, letting go of your ‘suffer-story’ doesn’t deny that something painful happened to you. It denies the power that event holds in your life from that moment on.
The Sunday Affirmation
Sending you love,
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