“Suffering occurs when your ideas about how things ought to be do not match how they really are” Brad Waner
In today’s world with the consistent evolution of media and the impact it has on our lives, the pressure of leading a “perfect” life in terms of careers, finances, family and reputation has been greatly emphasized on. As we continue the pursuit of this “perfect” life that is largely defined by the external possessions, we ignore an integral part of our existence.
Individuals who are suffering either have seen an event in the past, which they have not overcome, or bleak future which causes them to lose hope. As a result they have consistent feelings of loneliness, sadness, guilt, hopelessness, worthlessness.
What causes these feelings?
Every human being has a “model” or blueprint of how they want their life to be either consciously or subconsciously. This basic image of how we expect our life “should” be in various aspects namely; career, finances, relationship, how we are seen in society.
Life conditions are what we are encountered with on a daily basis. When our life conditions match with our blueprint we are happy. When the life conditions do not match the how we expect our life to be then we feel pain. Suffering is when our life plan does not match our life conditions and we think that we have no control over it.
- Having persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feeling hopeless, guilty, helpless, or worthless
- Being irritable, losing interest in activities that you normally like and enjoy doing
- Being tired or low enegry levels
- Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Having difficulty sleeping,eating too much or not eating at all because you’ve lost your appetite
“You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering” Enrnest Hemingway
Over time when people are suffering they learn to suppress their feelings, not discussing what they are going through. In front of other people they seem normal however they continue to suffer in silence.
Mrs E K Sheilds lost her husband in 1937 and was driven to despair. She then wrote to her old employer for a job and got it back. She started selling books to rural and town school boards. She placed a down payment on a new car and started out to sell books again, she thought that being out on the road would overcome her depression, but driving alone and eating alone made it worse. She could hardly make her car payments. In Spring of 1938 she was working in Missouri, the schools were poor and the roads were bad, it seemed that success was impossible. She dreaded waking up each morning and facing life. Mrs Sheilds was afraid of everything, afraid that she could not make the car payments, afraid that she could not pay her rent, afraid that she would not have enough to eat, afraid that she would fall ill and she did not have money for a doctor, she was so discouraged that she contemplated suicide. What stopped her is that she could not pay her funeral expenses
Then she read an article and she remembered one sentence “every day is a new day of life to a wise man”. She typed this out and placed it on the windshield of her car, she learnt to forget the yesterdays and not to think of the tomorrow’s. Living each day at a time, she started enjoying herself.
“Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional” Tony Robbins
People focus on what they do not have or what they have lost, rarely do people focus on what they have and are grateful for it. Make of a list of things that make your life meaningful and that you are proud of, then on a daily basis go through your list and feel grateful.
We all go through challenges and obstacles in various phases of our life, by remembering past incidences or subconsciously holding on to them is not going to benefit us in any way. Let go of the past “sometimes you have to forgive others, not because they deserve it but because you deserve the peace”
3. Random acts of Kindness
Make a difference in people’s lives, make such a difference that they can never repay you.
4. Tough times
We all face difficult situations in life, rather than focusing on where you are during tough times and the problems you are facing, focus where you what to be. This of the solutions to the problems and start acting on it.
5. Internal potential rather than external possessions
In life we lose track, many of us on the road to success, think that success is the accumulation of possessions such as money, fancy cars, nice houses (cribs). When we do not get these possessions or loose these possessions we feel sad or depressed. An essential principal to be remembered is “Inner development of inner potential is the key to success in life”. When you can add value to people’s life you become invaluable.
6. Live, love, learn and laugh
Learning to use these four basic principles in ourlives. “Human beings are supposed to love people and use things. Today’s world is messed up because we love things and use people”
“Although the world is full of suffering, its also full of brave people who are overcoming it”