You may have experienced suffering after a breakup, job loss, or if a loved one passes away. If you’re highly intelligent, you’re at risk of feeling more depressed. Often for no reason.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
— Helen Keller
Everyone experiences hurtful emotions; there’s no way around it. But, it’s good to know that it’s normal and okay to feel the pain of existence from time to time.
Here are some tips to come out of suffering:
Don’t hide from your suffering
“Sit with the pain until it passes, and you will be calmer for the next one.”
— Naval Ravikant
Often we want to escape at first sight of any suffering. Who wants to deal with that? I know. But, if you don’t handle it, it’ll become a stealthy monster that lies beneath, breeding more suffering and erupting at random.
Furthermore, you’ll continue to have these episodes until you sort through these emotions.
“Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.”
Suffering can last a month or two, but if you deny its existence, it can last a lifetime.
Accept the suffering phase
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
— Kenji Miyazawa
Chances are accepting what happened is the last thing you want to do. But it’s a sure-fire way to speed through the process of suffering. Refusing to accept it will prolong your pain even more.
So allow yourself to feel it. Please validate that you’re hurting instead of denying it. You don’t have to bawl in front of your friends but take some alone time to sit with your emotions. Each time you process these emotions and release them, you get closer to wellbeing.
Don’t add to your suffering
“People go through so much pain trying to avoid pain.”
— Neil Strauss
Some people react to suffering by (unknowingly) causing even more chaos in their lives. They seem to think that if they lost something or someone, they might as well destroy everything else.
But there’s no reason to do that. You’re going through a simple side-effect of being human. Moreover, this feeling will give way to a new glorious life you can’t imagine now.
During hard times, it’s best to avoid all drama, arguments, or stress. Make things run as smoothly as possible. Avoid anything that triggers painful or angry emotions. Strive to be as peaceful as possible. Give yourself time to heal.
Learn healthy ways to cope
“Most of the gains in life come from suffering in the short term, so you can get paid in the long term.”
— Naval Ravikant
By learning better ways to deal with life’s challenges, you can save yourself from destroying everything you’re trying to do. The more you cope in the wrong way, the more pain you’ll have to endure. So, it’s important to learn coping skills to lower your stress levels during hard times.
These healthy coping choices will calm you down and help you handle your distress.
- Snowboard or go hiking
- Do something creative (write, draw, take pictures, DIY projects)
- Act the opposite of your negative emotions
- Go for a walk
- Make a playlist of your favorite songs and enjoy
- Call a cheerful friend
Try lots of healthy coping skills from the lists above and choose the ones that work best for you.
Try to not ruminate about it
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
— Kahlil Gibran
Sometimes you’ll feel depressed for seemingly no reason. However, you might not have had enough sunlight, sleep, or nutrition. Even dehydration can affect your mood.
Then your subconscious notices and tries to attribute meaning to the misery. So it’ll bring up all the painful memories from the past. It chooses the most potent thought, and you commence the obsession.
In no time, you’re miserable. But you’re intensifying the pain far worse than it needs to be. These thoughts hold you, hostage, on an infinite loop of torment.
Don’t get trapped in your mind. Worrying and obsessing helps no one, especially if you have no control over the situation.
So, distract yourself from it by doing something so complex that there’s no more thinking room for negativity.
Make it through today
“It is when I struggle that I strengthen. It is when challenged to my core that I learn the depth of who I am.”
— Steve Maraboli
A well-known Alcoholics Anonymous slogan is “One day at a time.” It helps members to avoid getting overwhelmed by a lifetime of sobriety. So instead, they focus on getting through today without drinking. That’s much easier to handle than imagining their entire life sober.
It works for going through rough patches in life too. If you imagine you only have to deal with this for one day, you won’t feel so anxious or sad. You can do that!
So, get through today and tomorrow do the same. After a while, your life brightens up, and the fog lifts, and you’re excited about what’s to come.
Cry it out
“You must go through that short-term pain to reach long-term gains. A meaningful life is about growth, not comfort.”
— Maxime Lagacé
Sometimes you need to cry out the pain. Years ago, one of my relatives and a good friend committed suicide. Later another friend was murdered. These things are shocking, horrific, and tragic. But over time, after many tears, you accept what happened. Then you move on in life, and each day gets better.
Allow yourself to grieve. Cry, yell, punch a pillow, whatever you need to do to let it out safely. Write poems, draw, sing, and cry out the pain till there’s nothing left. Besides, they wouldn’t want you to be in shambles forever because of them. They’d want you to live a fantastic life and be happy.
Time will heal your sorrow as long as you allow yourself to heal.
“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”
— Lao Tzu
Usually, suffering happens after a loss of some sort. At those times, we tend to focus solely on what we won’t have anymore. What’s worse is we ignore all the good things we still have in our lives!
So, make it a point to write down everything you have in your life.
- Your health
- A place to live
- Beautiful days
- Running water
- A hobby you enjoy
- Your talents
Every night look at your list and add more to it. When you start focusing on what you’re thankful for in life, everything gets so much better. You’re living in abundance if you’ll open your eyes to it.
“Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.”
When bad things happen, it can feel like things will always be this way. No matter who you are or what you’re dealing with, life will get better. It will shock you with how much it’ll improve! Never EVER give up.
You might be in the midst of a deep depression now, but a year from now, life will change. There’s never a reason to stop trying.
Dive into a project or goal
“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”
— Thomas Paine
I know how it feels to go through bouts of depression, fixating on negative thoughts, and the inability to feel joy in anything. But there’s no better time to dive into a project and get into the flow. When you’re in flow, all your problems vanish. The rumination halts, and it’s just your soul and your creation—nothing else. Time flies by, and you absorb yourself in what you’re doing.
In short, there’s suffering in life, but now you’re ready for it!
We’re forged in the fire of suffering to emerge like a phoenix more wise and powerful.
Even though we’ll feel the flames again, the reward is infinitely worth it. You’ll get through it, and you’ll be even more amazing and interesting!
Your suffering will deepen your character and expand your wisdom. There’s nothing that you can’t handle!
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