June 28, 2024

A woman lost and suffering in a maze garden looking for the right path to overcome

The 3 Thoughts That Cause Suffering And How To Overcome Them

Discover how to alleviate suffering by accepting reality and embracing your emotions. Learn the importance of letting go of resistance and finding true healing, even in the face of significant loss or trauma. This journey to emotional resilience will help you navigate life’s toughest trials with strength and compassion.

Message Caterina Kostoula

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The 3 Thoughts That Cause Suffering And How To Overcome Them

We suffer because we think one of these three thoughts:

      1. Something should have happened by now, but it has not happened yet.
      2. Something happened in the past, but it should not have happened.
      3. Something is happening right now, but it should not be happening.

    Buddha was right when he said that the cause of all suffering is clinging or resistance.

    A considerable part of our suffering can be avoided by letting go of resistance to the things we cannot control.

    Stop getting upset about the traffic, the weather, the flight delays, bad customer service, etc.

    Accept people’s behavior—the annoying coworker, the quirks of our family. I went deeper into how to accept the many annoyances of life in this article.

     

    What happens when I cannot accept reality?

    While we can eliminate much of our suffering by dropping resistance to what is, sometimes we won’t be able to do that.

    We might experience certain events for which immediate acceptance is impossible.

    Our brain itself will try to protect us from the totality of the pain by engaging in denial.

    When the loss is significant, we must process it through grief.

    When we cannot accept what is, we can at least accept our emotions.

    Resisting the pain is another layer of suffering.

    When life shows us its most unpleasant face, the best thing we can do is give ourselves the space to feel.

    “Feel it to heal it,” therapists say.

     

    The barriers to feeling

    It is hard to allow the space to feel.

    First, we are afraid of pain. We don’t want it. To avoid it, we will distract, numb, defend, and disassociate. But what you resist persists. What you fight fights back.

    The second reason we resist our pain is because we think that if we go in, we won’t be able to come out. But I have found the opposite to be true. Often, the only way out is through.

    Saplings grow again after the forest fire. Life has its way of luring you back if you don’t resist it.

    A caveat here is that while you need to feel your pain, you do not need to feed it with incessant thinking or make it part of your identity.

    The third reason we don’t allow ourselves to feel is the illusion that we need to be strong. But the branch that survives is the one that bends with the wind. The one that does not bend breaks.

    Real strength is the courage to feel, the courage to be who you are at this moment, and the ability to be compassionate with yourself when you are going through a tough time.

     

    Conclusion

    As Buddha observed, clinging to what should be rather than accepting what is creates a significant portion of our distress.

    However, complete acceptance isn’t always possible right away, especially in the face of significant loss or trauma. In such cases, embracing our emotions, rather than resisting them, becomes essential. Though feeling our pain can be daunting, it is often the only path to true healing.

    Real strength is found in our willingness to feel deeply and in our acceptance of ourselves as we navigate life’s toughest trials.

     

    Download my free guide about How To Let Go Of Everything That Does Not Align With Your Vision.

    Discover:
    Identify what to let go of first.

    Choose one of the 7 strategies to let go with grace and without burning any bridges.

    Ensure unwanted activities do not creep back in.

    Link here.