Is Suffering Really Necessary?
We don’t have to suffer through life and remain hidden. You may have been conditioned to wear mental armor and project various masks to hide what you’re feeling—to hide who you really are. You may have been told that emotions have no place in cultural and business interactions, but at the same time, you certainly cannot deny your emotions, as they will work through you and affect your decisions whether or not you are even aware that they are doing so.
If you were brought up in Western society, you have probably been taught from birth to avoid pain at all costs and that there’s a pill for anything that ails you. It has been so deeply rooted in your conditioning that you may not be aware of how often you avoid pain.
Becoming aware of what you were socialized and conditioned to practice, wherever you are in the world, is key to understanding how to unlearn it. Is it truly better to suck it up and avoid pain, or is it possible to simply experience life and have a healthy relationship with your deep-rooted fears or sadness?
Suffering is Part of Our Deep Conditioning to be Accepted
Author Pema Chödrön suggests that learning how to step out of our suffering brings growth,
“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”
The second I started doing my inner work and questioning everything, my entire life imploded. I was holding on so tightly to everything, from my relationships to my lifestyle, that it was uncomfortable.
Everything changed in a flash. And even when I thought nothing else could possibly change, everything crumbled away. I realized that I never fit into the existing model of how life should be. But there were a lot of perceived comfort and safety nets embedded deeply in the old model.
When I moved out of my comfort zone, there were risks I took, and there were always consequences as well. What I learned was that each one of us can walk our own path, if and when we choose to. It’s very personal.
Ask yourself, “What role does suffering play in my life? Am I in touch with my gut feelings? Do I need to learn how to tap into my heart as well as become aware of any programming of my mind?”
What if you’re now in a position to uncover yourself and start doing what feels healthy in your heart? It’s a time to “know thyself” and what you are made of and learn how to find your own voice, with integrity, empathy, and courage to be who you are and no longer be more concerned with what people think of you. Is suffering the point of our lives?
All the money and fame in the world will never give us peace of mind—it will actually drive us to want to consume more and more. Can you be your best self and unlearn what people think is best for you?
You’ll always be subjected to people who think they know more than you do about what’s best for you. It’s easy to live in a world where others want you to conform, but our true opportunity is to realize everything is here for us to create the life we want and reclaim our imagination of what is possible.
No matter how far and wide you seek, no one has your answer—so, do you know what your question is?