Most, if not all of us are trying to find happiness, but this is elusive. We all suffer at one time or another, and trying to deal with this and banish unhappiness is the subject of countless self-help books.
Suffering has been a problem since humans reached our current state of consciousness. Surely there has to be a way to find contentment?
Although none of us can control all of the external circumstances in our lives, we can at least work towards changing our state of mind and reactions. Maybe total bliss is out of reach (although wise people say it may not be) but certainly you can be comfortable.
Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet describes pain as the ‘breaking of the shell’ that encloses understanding. What can your suffering teach you? By learning and progressing you can move away from suffering, and be peaceful.
Here we examine the following:
- The role of strength and practicality
- The bigger picture
- Focusing on what’s real
- Help from friends
Whatever suffering you’re dealing with, there will be a way to feel better.
STRENGTH AND PRAGMATISM
Some suffering seems inevitable, but there are plenty of times in life when suffering is self-inflicted. We all know people who seem to go from one disaster to another, and are always lamenting their lot, even though all their friends can see clearly how their situation could be improved. This may apply to most of us, if we’re honest.
If life for you seems full of sad events, ask yourself the following:
- Are you really putting your own best interests first? For instance, there’s no point complaining about an unhappy relationship if you are staying in it so as not to upset anyone. Prioritise Number One
- Do you secretly – or subconsciously – thrive on the drama of it all ‘going wrong’? Or are you more comfortable playing martyr or victim, rather than embracing success? There are surprising pay-offs to being unfortunate. Think about it. Strange, but true
- Possibly you don’t believe you can be happy. Then it’s unlikely you will be, because you’re creating a reality of discontent. If you don’t truly believe that you deserve to be happy, then you won’t be
- Are you, by any chance, habitually careless, lazy or headstrong? How much of your unhappiness has been created by your own mistakes? Learn from them, listen to good advice, think things through and do better in future
There is a wonderful saying that goes ‘May I have the strength to change the things I can change, the serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference’. Step outside your reality for a moment, and take a long, hard look. If there are things you can change, be practical and strong. Ask for help if you need and move forwards. Remember our wonderful Readers are available to set you on track.
SEE THE BIGGER PICTURE
Perhaps you have suffered a loss that has filled you with grief and hurt, or maybe you are physically unwell and in pain, or possibly you are struggling with depression, or similar. There are certain circumstances that are out of our control, and however strong and pro-active you are, there’s no magic switch to change things – and sometimes strength is the last thing you feel you have.
In this case, try to see the patterning behind what you’re going through. Although it’s hard at the moment, your suffering is teaching you and changing you. It’s all part of a process. One day you will understand what it meant, and you will realise it was all to the good.
It can be very hard to think this way, and it can even be quite irritating to be told that your suffering is there to teach you. If there are things for you to learn, why do you have to do it the hard way? It may feel like you’re being punished, but of course you are not. Try to have faith that there is a higher power that loves you, and that all is evolving as it should.
LIMIT YOUR OUTLOOK
This may seem like the opposite advice to that given in the former section, but it isn’t. Certainly you can expand your perspective on life, and its meanings, but that doesn’t mean you should go over and over all the bad things that could happen, or meet troubles half way.
Stop thinking about tomorrow, or even the next hour, or minute. Be in the here and now, and try to relax and breathe. If there are bad things coming up, well, they’ve not yet arrived. Who knows what could happen? Fix on something pleasant, such as a flower, or ray of sunshine, and be peaceful.
LEAN ON FRIENDS
Keeping suffering to yourself is the worst thing you can do. Friends are there to help, so take what they have to offer. One friend may give you practical help, another emotional, another spiritual. Don’t try to soldier on alone – there is no point. Of course, there are some sorrows that support from others doesn’t seem to touch, but never underestimate the power of a hug, or kind word.
FIND YOUR SPIRITUALITY
Your life isn’t just a random series of events happening to you, but an intelligent force expressing for you. Whatever route you choose towards feeling part of something greater than yourself will enable you to rise above suffering. Your suffering is most certainly not coming from an angry deity punishing you. Instead it is the universal force of life and love that, in some way, is finding expression. Trust this, and feel heartened and strengthened.
HOW WE CAN HELP
We have seen how being strong and practical can be applied to situations of suffering, where these can be changed. We’ve also covered viewing the bigger picture, focusing on the here-and-now, leaning on friends and general spirituality. It can be so easy to lose a sense of meaning when suffering envelopes us, and to become angry, embittered and isolated. But that does not have to happen. Our sympathetic and encouraging Readers are just a call away, and they can rescue you and put you on the right track. So if you’re in a difficult place, get in touch today.