SFH #179: Pain is Inevitable. Suffering is Optional.

A Monday Mantra 💫

I've had an up and down relationship with pain. As I chronicled before, I have a long history of injury. I felt like my threshold was solid. Little did I know that my inner limits did not mirror my thick skin exterior.

We all try to avoid pain. So it's natural to move towards comfort and away from unease--In fact, there is solid research to back that our brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid distress.

Here's the thing, though. Without pain, we aren't able to appreciate pleasure in the same way. Our appreciation only grows when our yin has its yang. And worse yet, if we are avoiding pain and chasing new highs of pleasure, we are grooving a path that's harder to reverse. On the other side of the spectrum, suffering sets in if the pain starts to rule the day.

Life is full of people dying and getting sick, losing jobs and failing businesses, and of course, broken bones and broken hearts. It all hurts. The suffering only comes when we cannot let go of the pain. When we attach and create a storyline for it, it becomes a part of us. This is where I've been continually doing critical work, and why I'm sharing this mantra today. I've been all over this spectrum. Avoiding pain and suffering from the painful moments over the last few years. I continue to have trouble finding the balance. And yet, tomorrow is another day. I don't have to avoid it, and I don't have to suffer from it.

If we can accept our pain, and move through it, then we can learn from it, build resilience, and continue to grow without suffering.