Someone once said, Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
No life is ever completely without pain. A privilege of being human is that life will be painful.
But I’ve lived long enough to distinguish between inevitable pain and optional pain. I’m too old to be messing with optional pain. Maturity, a small circle of good friends and a solid spiritual life will serve me through the inevitable pain.
As for the optional pain, there are three ways you can give it up. In other words, you can make the suffering optional:
- When you see it coming. Are you studying an iffy business deal? Considering a relationship with an unstable person? While the newness of the moment may be exciting and enticing, consider the misery that lies down the road. Apply some of what you’ve learned in your life to anticipate outcomes.
- When you’re in the middle of it. There is some pain in life that is constant and unrelenting. You step into it each day as you step out of bed. It is so familiar to you that you don’t know what life is like without it.Do you have another choice? Of course you do! When you are living in habitual pain, poke your head above water for a bit and assess the situation.
a. Is it likely to change?
b. Have you done your best to deal with or change it?
c. Is the circumstance or person unlikely to change?
When you have done an honest analysis, it might be time for YOU to walk away from habitual pain, or make the changes YOU need to make it better.
3. When you don’t want to go there again. Tell me: Did you learn anything in number 1 and number 2? Remember the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Ain’t gonna happen. Past performance is a predictor of future behavior. Don’t ever forget that.
Your suffering is optional. In many instances, your pain is optional.
Make this your year to give up suffering, give up your optional pain
Instead, make this the year you intentionally seek JOY.