Suffering, and why it’s important

I love the holidays, but sometimes I can’t stand it at times for specific reasons. The one thing that has always itched at me is the amount of baked goodies I’m surrounded by the whole time. Sweets have always haunted me with it’s delicious aroma; tempting me to give up my healthy habits and munch on it’s sinfulness. Most people love that kind of thrill, though I can always say otherwise for what it tends to do to my waistline every year. Diabetes runs in my family, which is partially why this is such a big deal to me.

Of course there are plenty of other things in life I can’t say I’m very fond of at the moment either. I don’t know why my mind likes to dwell on these ridiculous things, but it always adds up from one thing to another. For the past few years, I’ve dealt with deaths of three close family relatives, and I occasionally find it challenging to shake those sad feelings away. I’ve also been arguing back and forth with a friend of mine that wants something more in our relationship that I can’t even offer because I only see him as a friend. To top it off, I’m also having a hard time excepting the fact that I’m still an entry level-ish Graphic Designer trying to push my way through freelance work.

It always ALWAYS seems to be one pain in the butt experience after the next. I find it strange though… for a while, I thought I would hate this suffering much more that I actually do. But I don’t.

Yes, I don’t like how much pain these experiences in combination with each other make me feel about my own life. Though my tiny little conscience in my head is telling me that I have to feel this for a reason I don’t quite fully understand right now.

This is who I am. Should I really feel inclined to change that?

Just recently, I had finished a self help book called “A Course in Happiness.” There was a quote I found in that book that really stod out to me:

One way to happiness lies in mastery of stressors. It’s not what you suffer, but how you deal with suffering.

Taking it through that perspective, I’ve come to realize that suffering can be a good thing. For that, I should love my suffering. It can almost be described as a coach or mentor that’s with you at all times, telling you that you need to get out of bed every morning and start breaking down these walls of pain and sadness… but don’t get rid of your suffering… just do something to make it more manageable.

If you are unsatisfied with the way you communicate with people in your life, try to change that! And don’t give up! Read self help books and talk to people on the web. You may find yourself seeking the right people who have all the answers.

If you aren’t healthy or physically fit as you need to be, try to exercise more often. Even if it’s something as simple as taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator helps just fine. Find food recipes that are healthy and something that you will enjoy. If you’re hooked on holiday sweets (like myself), take it into thought, let the thought go, and start focusing on what’s most important to you. Stick with it!

If you are an amazing procrastinator, seek ways of changing up your work ethic. Maybe start writing To-Do lists or construct a daily schedule chart of things you need to get done on a daily basis and when you need to have them done.

These are some of the things I know I need to work on improving. If you have a long list of things that you need to accomplish, don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Start with what’s most important to you. For me, I’m thinking about improving my overall physical health first so I can perform yoga more effectively, be lighter on my feet, and think more clearly.

Suffering has taught me so much and I know I can’t live without it. Not only does it show me the kind of person I am, but it will eventually show me the strength I have gained having it over time.

What has suffering taught you?