Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On Suffering

We all suffer. The good news, the silver lining if you will is this:
we can choose to suffer well! We can choose to profit from our suffering. So how do we do that?
I do that by asking, "How am I suffering right now?". The next question could be, "What can I think of right now, what can I do, right now, to change the suffering into something good, something positive?". A number of years ago I chose to accept the premise, the theory that there is always a silver lining. Accepting that sometimes it is difficult to see the silver lining through the tears. 

I like to read self improvement books. Self help books. I find that genre of books teaches me the discipline, or art, of self mastery.
My life is me. True, there are other people in my life. There are relationships with other people that are important to my life. However, my ability to have good relationships with them, is mostly a result of being able to enjoy a good relationship with myself. The knowledge is obtained by doing the work necessary to have a worthwhile relationship with myself. 

What is the most important relationship in my life? It is my relationship with myself. All my other relationships are a result of the condition of my relationship with "Me"!

From an early age we are compelled to conform, to react and behave in a certain manner as determined by another human being. That could be a parent, a teacher, or an older sibling. These are "Persons of responsibility" in our lives. As dependent, immature, children, that is how our lives function best. That is how we are trained to become 'civilized' or mature. The goal is to modify our behaviour to become good, contributing members of society.
Of course, as with all things in life, there are pros and a cons to that concept.

At some point in our lives, in order to achieve the goal and become a 'good, contributing member of society', we have to become our own 'person of responsibility'. Therein lies the problem. So much of our lives are spent reacting or behaving to the choices that are made by those persons of responsibility and their dictates to us. That is what we are trained to do from the cradle.
What is needed are 'persons of responsibility' that are able to teach us how to make the transition from 'do as I say' to 'do as you think'. Or we have to be able to figure it out for ourselves.

The growing or the newly mature child who is now an adult, now has to become the 'new' person of responsibility in their own life.
That is why the relationship with 'self' is the first and most important relationship throughout life. That and the fact that there are periods in our life when, for whatever reason, we are totally alone. So now we have to modify our own behaviour. We, as individuals have to 'fix' ourselves. The amount of work required to do that, is dependent upon how responsible, and mature we are.
Some of us are good to go right from the start. However, some of us may require extensive therapy, psychological counselling, or other intensive re-training. Some of us, in extreme cases, may be 'beyond salvage', temporarily or permanently.

When the individual reaches that place of self responsibility, hopefully they will be a healthy thinking, well adjusted psychologically, well balanced person. 

Even people who originate from good, supportive and healthy situations with exemplary 'persons of responsibility' to guide them through the early years, can flounder in life.
We see it all the time ... addictions, crimes, insanity or suicide. And  yet a sibling from the same set of circumstances soars from an early age.

That is why I believe it all comes down to self. Self image. Relating to 'me', to the inner person, the one that nobody ever sees or gets to know.

If I expect to have good relationships, first and foremost I need to have a good one with me. Who I am is who I will spend my life with.

So what about this suffering? Suffering gives us the chance, the opportunity to learn how to cope. To learn how to think clearly. Obstacles teach us how to navigate life. True we can adopt a victim mentality and sabotage our own lives. Sometimes some of us do choose to suffer in the role of victim. Quite often people get tired of the pain and start to learn from it. They change. They change their lives from painful to painless. They improve inside. They become real. They understand how their 'inside' works.
It takes an interest, an involvement, an obligation for responsibility towards our own lives.
Be grateful that there is something in your life that you are not comfortable with. You can change it.

One of the things that we excel at as humans, is also one of the things we resist the most: Change.
If I suffer, I may change. My life has become much simpler and happier since acquiring the ability to embrace and enjoy change.    

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