What Does It Mean to “Welcome” Suffering?…
[ Reading time ~ 4 minutes. ]
Why would anyone want to welcome something that is painful? (Well, because the pain usually comes from not “welcoming” it. Ouch!)
In this piece, suffering might mean the following… anxiety, anger, confusion, defensiveness, disappointment, fear, frustration, hopelessness, overwhelm, and sadness etc. And ‘welcoming’ might mean… accepting, allowing, and acknowledging.
This is another blog post of mine that was first shared on SMNash.com (in 2014). And it is another invitation to stop running away from ourselves, to turn instead towards the very direction we most fear…
Welcome Your Suffering
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Or so the wise ones say. And do you know what, the wise ones were right! Suffering is merely a clumsy form of guidance telling us we’re ‘off’, that we’re believing something that isn’t true. How wonderful, then, to welcome your suffering!…
Q: What do you do when you notice the suffering (again) – when you notice that you don’t think you’re good enough, for example?
A: Why you ‘do’ nothing, of course – it’s just a (suffering) thought!
Seriously, that’s all it is – it’s just a thought:
- A thought that you’ve previously given way too much attention to
- A thought that will continue to return, and return, until you finally stop paying so much attention to it
- A thought that, eventually, will have the same potency as someone telling you, dear reader, that you’re [insert ridiculous and laughable claim here – my suggestion: that you’re a deep-down bad person, in fact the only deep-down bad person that has ever existed in the whole of human history].
Fact is, we all have these thoughts, these suffering thoughts, from time to time.
And whilst we pretty much all think the only way to respond to such thoughts is with more thinking, it’s actually much more useful to notice the thoughts but do nothing with them.
(Try it, if you don’t believe me. Try it! Just for a day, refuse to engage with a troublesome thought, and notice what occurs when you do so!)
Notice Your Suffering, Welcome Your Suffering
Actually, there IS something else you can do with these thoughts and the (likely) unwelcome feelings they produce. Whilst noticing your suffering is enough, you might be able to embrace it too.
You might be able to welcome your suffering.
That’s the insight I had in 2013, as part of preliminary coaching training I took (Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy – officially started in Jan 2014, and finished in Sept 2014) – I had this powerful, liberating (aha!) feeling that can be summarised (badly) in words and questions, thus:
- What if our suffering should [could] be welcomed, rather than avoided?
- What if it’s a gift that simply tells us we’ve gone off track?
- Yes, what if those recurring ‘not good enough’ thoughts, or similar – that find cleverer and more sneaky ways to stay around, once you’ve thought them, that never feel good – should actually be welcomed, like the ‘low fuel’ gauge in your car is ‘welcomed’ (telling you that you need to re-fuel, soon)?
Wouldn’t it feel so much better, then, when you catch yourself thinking, “Here I go again with my ‘what’s wrong with me as a partner’ thoughts”? Or, “I’m doing it wrong”, “I’m not worthy”, “Everybody gets it but me”.
Rather than trying to get rid of the suffering feelings and thoughts, then, you could get curious about them instead.
What might that be like?
How might that feel?
Suffering can be thought of as taking a ‘wrong’ turn. Or looking for answers in the wrong direction. Or believing something that isn’t true.
It can be an invitation to stop doing something, or it can be an invitation to listen.
But it’s always a guidance of some form – and that is why it could, if possible, be welcomed.
Now It’s Your Turn
Of course I welcome your feedback on this piece, or even your insights on how you manage to welcome your suffering and how this has transformed your life.
For now, though, I’d like you to delve deeper into this for yourself:
- Do You Really Want to Stop the Suffering? is my quick-to-take and FREE E-course available on Teachable. All you need is an email address, a little time, and the willingness to seriously ask yourself the question: do you REALLY want to stop the suffering?
You can signup to the E-Course here: https://stevemnash.teachable.com/p/suffering*
* Note: this is NOT an affiliate link. It’s just the link that will take you to my free course on Teachable. If you enjoy the course, then please do let me know. Better still, let a friend or colleague know.