Understand pain

Suffering is painful.

No pain, no gain, is a cliched slogan of the ethic of the 21st century. Pain is a by-product of gain to be ignored and overcome. Several motivational posters tell us to grit, bear and hold out, but to never give up in the face of pain.

However, pain is our mind and body’s feedback mechanism. Pain signals that we are hurting ourselves. In some cases, this destruction is helpful – like destroying weak muscle fiber to make way for stronger ones. In others, ignoring pain leads to injury and spirals downward into burnout – yet another 21st century trend.

The alternative is not to deny this pain, but to pause and ask ourselves why something hurts. Asking that question presents us with the space to make a choice – to sustain the pain because it is worth it, or to cease it because it isn’t. Having made that choice, the pain might remain, but the suffering ceases.

Suffering is a choice.

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