Many of us have become quite attached to our way of life; including the ups and down, pain and suffering, along with the good things we experience. We have also heard that “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” and learning to sort out the difference between our pain and our suffering can feel confusing and also a bit overwhelming.
We all inevitably experience hurt in our lives: being rejected, losing someone we love, being disappointed in love, and so forth. There are many ways we can deal with or transcend the hurt of our lives. We suffer when we feel powerless to stop or change the hurt in our lives and this experience of helplessness and loss of control can become debilitating.
There are however, techniques that can help us have a “clean slate” approach to the days of our lives and give us the skills to change our perspective and begin again after hurtful experiences happen. We can re-write the feelings we experience when life hurts by using one of several effective set of skills to give us a new outlook on things.
Here are some of the ways to neutralize suffering and re-write your experience:- Become mindful of present. – Some use meditation, prayer, singing, breathing and other means to center the mind and keep their attention on the present rather than the past or the future. By staying present to ourselves and what we are experiencing and living in the moment wipes the slate clean of the suffering in the past.
- Become more grateful for the life you have. – A study by Emmons & McCullough, 2003, published in the Journal of Psychology, demonstrated that keeping a Gratitude Journal resulted in “results in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy compared to the focus group who wrote down negative interactions, complaints or grievances.” Being thankful for what we do have and forgiving what we do not have is a powerful way to turn our suffering into opportunity.
- Let go of trying to control others. – The only person we can ever control is ourselves and often it is a difficult task to do even that, no less control what others are doing, thinking or feeling. Instead of wasting your efforts and energy on trying to control outside events and circumstances, allow yourself to be empowered by taking control of the most important relationship you have – the relationship with yourself.
- Do not blame others. – Most importantly, we must avoid blaming others – people, circumstance, outside forces for the hurt or suffering we experience. This takes away our ability and power to control our own lives and limits our understanding that we can, right now today, make choices to change how we experience hurt and suffering and make our lives be as happy and fulfilling as possible.We can begin by trying one of these techniques and see if it doesn’t improve our outlook and experiences. We can add more as we are comfortable and by doing so strengthen our ability to take greater control over each day of our life. For more information about this topic you can access a free excerpt from the bestselling book Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn Proven Communication Skills by visitingwww.changingbehavior.org.
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio