5 Questions to Cope with Suffering

I’ve learned that there are 5 Questions to Cope with Suffering that we should be asking ourselves to help bring back some clarity and peace to our mental health. No one is immune from pain. We have all had experiences when we were hurt. Maybe you experienced pain as a child when you felt rejected, were physically harmed, or you lost a loved one. Maybe it was as an adult when someone broke your heart, you lost your job, or you were deceived by someone you thought you could trust. 

Pain is Inevitable. Suffering is optional.- Haruki Murakami

We have all known people who use their pain as a reason to suffer. This may come out as, “I have been hurt, so I will hurt other people before they can hurt me.” Most of us can also picture a person who has gone through horrific circumstances and comes out on the other side stronger, wiser, and empowered. Both the people who suffer and the people who gain wisdom from life circumstances have assigned a meaning to the pain, but their stories and the reasoning for why the pain occurred are quite different.

Pain is about all of the unpredictable aspects of life. Suffering is how we react to the pain; It includes the ways that we interpret our story and retell it. Not surprisingly, many people suffer emotionally. But, many people also suffer physiologically. This can come out through stomach issues, physical pain, headaches, or a variety of other medical conditions. Sometimes people have physical symptoms of suffering and don’t even know why. They may suspect that they experienced something significant, but it has been suppressed. 

In order to lead a life that is free of suffering, we have to resolve the feelings of pain from our past. We can’t go back to change it, but we can come to terms with the story that we carry forward. Once we have resolved the feelings about our past, we can create a positive future.

In order to explore your story about suffering in your life, I will give you a list of questions that you should ask yourself and consider. Take out a pen and paper or a journal and answer the following questions as truthfully and intimately as you can:

5 Questions to Cope with Suffering

  1. What is a painful experience that has led to suffering in my life?
  2. What are my beliefs about who I am because of this story? I.e. I am always going to be alone; I am not good at keeping a job; I am not important to other people.
  3. When I think of my story of suffering, am I focusing on what I want or what I don’t want?
  4. Do I choose fear over love and acceptance? Why or why not?
  5. Is there another story that could be true? Think of this from the perspective of someone who loves me and wants me to feel happy.

Spend some time reflecting on your answer to question #5 and how you got there from the story that you have been telling yourself, then reflect on how you can apply this to other areas of your life. Suffering is a heavy burden to continue carrying with you, take these 5 questions to cope with suffering and use them to ease your mind and heal.

One of my favorite tools to gain insight into how suffering impacts us and what we can do about it is The Book of Joy. Check it out and you can gain tools to deal with the difficult things hat happen in life.

Share this with someone else you know who is struggling with how to cope with suffering.

If you want additional support, we offer some different options:

  • We offer support groups, workshops, and wellness retreats in additional to mental health counseling and therapy. You can find more details at www.tribemindbody.com/events