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Why Your Suffering is Real

Expectations are the enemy of progress and the creators of all sorts of crap.

I mean, it makes total sense.

If I expect a birthday cake and I get a birthday carrot, someone is going to pay dearly. However, if I expect nothing, and I receive an avocado?

“An avocado! Thanksssss!”

Aside from the connection between expectation and suffering, many people are uneasy with the idea that their lives actually contain suffering.

Perhaps it’s the word itself that gives us pause.

Do my feelings really rise to the level of suffering? Often we think, “Oh but this person has it so much worse than I do.” We close ourselves off. We isolate ourselves. We feel that our suffering is not worthy of discussing, so we go off into a corner to suffer further by ourselves.

“Suffering comes from a Latin word ferre, which translates as ‘to bear’ or ‘to carry,” Phillip Moffit writes. “When you deny or resist the experience of your own suffering, you are unwilling to consciously bear it. It is this resistance to accepting your life just as it is that makes suffering ignoble, despicable, and shameful.”

Whoa.  Those are three impressive synonyms of suffering: Ignoble. Despicable. Shameful.

But consider it for a minute. How many times have you struggled with something that tore your insides to shreds, but you felt unworthy to feel that way? Ignoble. Despicable. Shameful.

Pretty accurate terms.

I have written about the difficulty of a DNF (did not finish) in a race.  Not finishing a race “seems” like it “should” be something to get over quickly. After all, it’s “just” a race.

However, we set out and expect to finish a race–that so-called failure (not a great choice of word) can be devastating. The expectation not being met results in suffering.

Sitting with the feeling, acknowledging the suffering of those outcomes is necessary.

If you are suffering–then your suffering is real. Acknowledge it.  Trying to push it down, pretend that it doesn’t exist is making everything worse.  If you feel alone, you are most certainly not. 

Every time I have written anything where I was hurting, I have a dozen people reach out and say, “Oh my goodness. I thought I was alone.”

You. Are. Not. Alone.

Find your place. If you don’t know your place, then I have two groups that are free that might be for you: The Year of No Nonsense and Grateful Sobriety

Join a safe place. Speak your suffering to someone and let someone say: You are not alone. I PROMISE you they will. And if they don’t, they aren’t the safe place.

If you don’t feel comfortable in a group, or don’t know who to tell… then just tell me.

Love to you all,

PS – if that doesn’t make you feel better, here’s a picture of a hedgehog.

One Comment

  • amy

    May 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    This is such an amazing post — I feel so much everything you said here. And ending it with the picture of that hedgehog is so awesome!!! I am instantly uplifted by your words and, of course, the hedgehog. 🙂

    Thank you…


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