When we are in pain, it can be difficult to see anything else. We become focused on our suffering, and it becomes all we can see. But when we look beyond our own pain, there is always something beautiful that is waiting for us. When I was suffering from depression, I missed so many opportunities to connect with others who could help me through my pain. Now that I have healed myself (through therapy and medication), I’m able to reach out more easily than ever before—and understand how important this connection is for me, as well as for those around me who may be going through something similar.
Suffering And Joy
The past is gone.
No matter how much you might wish it, you can’t go back in time and change the past. The only thing you can do is learn from it.
When we experience suffering, we often feel that there’s nothing we can do but wait for it to pass. But while waiting is a natural response, it isn’t always helpful—and sometimes it’s downright harmful! According to Dr. Robert Emmons (“Your Best Life Now” by Joel Osteen), “Waiting implies that you are not taking action toward achieving your goals.” Instead of getting caught up in worry about what might happen next or resentment over things that have happened before, try focusing on what matters most: making sure that your life has meaning and purpose now.
Live in the present, not the future.
There is no need to worry about the past or the future, especially when it comes to your career and personal life. You never know how things will turn out, so don’t get ahead of yourself by thinking about what could happen in the future. Focus on what is happening now and let go of your worries about tomorrow.
The same thing goes for worrying too much about others’ opinions or perceptions of you—what other people think doesn’t matter as much as you might think it does! It can take a lot of energy to worry about what people are thinking all day long, but really: does anyone really care that much? No! So stop wasting time contemplating whether others approve or disapprove of your decisions; just do what makes YOU happy!
Ask for help!
When it comes to suffering, there is a lot of power in asking for help. You can ask for help from people who are close to you; those who have gone through the same things as you and survived. You can also ask for help from those who have suffered, but have overcome their pain. And finally, if none of these work—or even if they do—you can always ask someone still suffering today if they would like to talk with you about their experience and how they’re coping with it (assuming that they want to).
Meditate on your own suffering.
Whether you’re new to meditation or a seasoned practitioner, it’s always good to review the basics. Let’s start by taking a look at how we can meditate on our own suffering.
The first step is to sit down and get into your best meditation posture. You want to be comfortable but alert, so if you need a pillow under your knees or in between your ankles, feel free! If nothing else, make sure that your spine is straight and aligned with gravity as much as possible. Next comes breathing: breathe in deeply through the nose for three seconds and then exhale through the mouth for six seconds (or more!). Repeat this process three times before beginning—and then again at intervals throughout—your session of self-reflection (or “mindfulness,” which we’ll discuss later).
Get to know yourself as a person who has suffered.
It’s important to get to know yourself—to be aware of your experiences and feelings, as well as your abilities and limitations. Going through something difficult can be an opportunity for self-growth, but it’s up to you whether you use it that way. If you don’t want anything good to come out of the suffering, then maybe it will serve no purpose other than making life more difficult for you and those around you.
But if there is anything good in all this suffering, I would love for me not just myself but also other people who have also suffered like me could learn from their experience so they won’t make the same mistakes again which caused them so much pain before (and hopefully won’t happen again!).
Find other people who have suffered.
Find a person who has suffered.
Find someone who can relate to your suffering.
Find someone who can help you with that suffering.
Find someone who can help you to help others with their suffering.
Read about suffering.
To help you understand suffering and joy, one way you can do this is by reading about other people’s suffering. You can also read about people who have overcome suffering, or even people who are still suffering but find happiness in their life anyway. Reading about others’ experiences with joy and sorrow can give you a better understanding of what happens when we experience either emotion.
Form a bond with others who have suffered and are still going through it today.
If you are suffering, find a friend who has gone through something similar to you. Talk about your experiences and share your feelings. You will be surprised at how helpful this can be. You can help each other by being there for one another, providing support and being a source of strength as needed.
Don’t hide your suffering from others; let them in.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about it. In fact, don’t be afraid of anything!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not alone and this is a community of people that are here for YOU. We may not have all the answers, but we will find them together.
- Don’t feel ashamed for asking for help and saying you need it (especially if it’s a physical ailment). It’s okay! We all need help sometimes—it’s just part of being human!
- Lastly: please don’t suffer in silence. Let others know what you’re going through and let yourself know that they care enough to listen/help when needed (even if their advice isn’t always right away).
Your suffering can become your strength
There is a saying that suffering can be a gift. This means that it can help us grow, connect with others and become more empathetic.
When we are going through difficult times, it is important to remember these things:
- Your suffering makes you stronger and wiser
- You are not alone – other people have been there before and survived to tell the tale!
You’ve come a long way. You now know what it feels like to suffer, and you have the tools to deal with it. But don’t stop here! Take what you’ve learned and use it in your daily life, whether that’s by talking to friends or family about their own experiences with grief or pain, or just sitting quietly by yourself for five minutes every day.