Suffering Is Not a Choice, But How You Suffer Is a Choice
- Secret of Maturity, Fourth Edition will teach you how to own the power of emotional responsibility.
“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” —Seneca
“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” —Ram Dass
“There is no doubt that healthy-mindedness is inadequate as a philosophical doctrine, because the evil facts which it refuses positively to account for are a genuine portion of reality; and may after all be the best key to life’s significance, and possibly the only openers of our eyes to the deepest levels of truth.” —William James
MEME ON TOP
- The meme or poster-picture on the top is meant to provoke awareness through paradox or what some might call sarcasm.
- The point is that we do things to increase our suffering in the name of alleviating our suffering, not sarcasm.
SUFFER FOR GOOD, BAD, OR NOTHING
You can suffer for good, bad, or nothing, but you will suffer.
- If you suffer for good, then you make progress on your positive goals
- If you suffer for bad, then you make progress on self-destruction or self-defeating goals.
- If you suffer for nothing, then you make progress on not existing: freezing, apathy, ennui, anhedonia, numbness, not caring, boredom, lethargy, zero, nothingness.
You can suffer for the good: life, light, love.
- Such suffering will return the highest rewards.
You can suffer for the bad: death, darkness, destruction.
- Such suffering will return the lowest rewards
You can suffer for nothing: escape, avoid, neutrality.
- Such suffering will return nothing.
SUFFER WELL OR BADLY
You can suffer well or you can suffer badly, but you will suffer.
- If you suffer well, then you do well.
- If you suffer badly, then you do badly.
You suffer some things well already: these are the things and relationships you do well and have success in.
You suffer some things badly: these are the things and relationships you now do badly in.
- Pay attention to how suffering well is working for you.
- Pay attention to how suffering badly is self-defeating for you
- Talk yourself into suffering well more and suffering badly less.
NOT-ING SUFFERING BACKFIRES
“Not-ing” is a word that means “should-not” and “do not.”
- Not-ing is useful for making rules on what not to do.
- Not-ing is neither for directions nor for what to do.
If you not (should-not-be) suffering, then you freeze suffering and follow it so lose.
- Not-ing is for non-action.
If you try to use not-ing for action, then you only freeze and follow what you do not want.
Accept suffering. Embrace suffering as the way to improvement.
Resist the choice to not (should not exist) suffering. Choose right suffering.
For more on not-ing: Don’t Read This Book!
SUFFER BADLY EXAMPLES
whining, blaming, damning, gossiping, complaining, shame, guilt, anger, anxiety, depression, procrastination, escapism, avoidism, self-righteous, demanding, controlling, addictions, acting-out, abusing chemicals, pride, can’t stand it, it’s horrible, it’s awful, it’s the end of the world, it’s too hard, low frustration tolerance, excuses, rationalizations.
SUFFER WELL EXAMPLES
stand it, bear it, cope with it, problem-solve, face it, go through it, accept, turn it over, let go and let God, endure, fight the good fight, tolerance, high frustration tolerance, tough hide tender heart, see it to the end, follow through, do it now, say “no” to yourself, work before play, value work more than play, persistence, determination.
ADMIRE, DESPISE, OR PITY THOSE WHO SUFFER
- You admire those who suffer well. You might despise or pity those who suffer poorly.
- We admire those who make it to the Olympics because they suffer well. Olympians suffer well because they accept pain as the path.
- We despise or pity quitters because they do not suffer well. Quitters see pain as the enemy so suffer poorly.
- We admire those who handle public attacks well. We despise or pity those who respond in kind to public attacks.
We admire those who choose the good in spite of suffering:
- The war hero who rescues the wounded despite the risks involved
- The dying person who never complains about the extreme pain we all know they have.
- The handicapped person who achieves greatness.
- The rags to riches stories.
- The underdog triumphing stories.
- The stories of courage against all odds.
- Those who overcome prejudice and bigotry to do great things.
We despise or pity those who choose the bad and use suffering as their excuse:
- The alcoholic who has countless excuses
- The drug addict who can’t bear their past.
- The gambler who is escaping a harsh life.
- The criminal who had bad parenting.
- The abuser who was abused.
- The manipulator who was manipulated.
- The downtrodden who trod others down.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN
- Your exercise program helps you to maintain or improve.
- If your exercise program remains the same, then eventually there is no pain and so no gain so you only maintain.
- Once your exercise program becomes routine, you must add pain for more gain.
PAIN FOR HEALTH
- The body tells you to heal with pain.
- Suffering or pain can be for health and survival.
- Pain can be a warning to seek help or to avoid harm.
- Doctors advise people to pay attention to their pain.
- Does it help or hinder? Does it help or harm? Does it help or hurt?
- What are the outcomes of the way that I am suffering this?
- What does my suffering get me
- How might I use my suffering to advantage
- How might I suffer better?
SUFFER DOWN OR SUFFER UP
- If you suffer being bad, then it is suffering down for it will bring you down.
- If you are suffering thinking bad, then it is suffering up for it will bring your thinking up.
- If you are suffering doing bad, then it is suffering up for it will bring your behavior up.
- Pain for and about self is wrong pain. Pain for and about thinking and behaving is right pain.
FOCUSING SUFFERING ON OTHERS BACKFIRES
- If you focus your suffering on others instead of yourself, then you must try to change and control others to end your suffering.
- If you focus your suffering on others, then others find you controlling, manipulative, and mean.
- If you focus your suffering on others, then you are self-righteous and have an excuse not to change.
Yes, it is easy to be right and find others not doing what they should. But the point is that you are not suffering well, not that they are serving you suffering. So being right makes you wrong.
- Hiding behind being right to avoid suffering only ensures suffering.
- Hiding behind being right to avoid disciplining yourself only ensures further difficulties.
- Hiding behind being right to wait for others to suffer well only means that you avoid choosing to suffer well.
Related Pages Alphabetically Listed
- Desire: Attachment to Desire Is the Problem, Not Desire
- Pray for Right Suffering: “Untitled” by John Newton
- Quotations: Coping with Difficulties
- Quotations: Expectations & Suffering
- Quotations: Work Is Wonderful
- Suffering Defined & Explained
- The Cause of Suffering
Quotations from Various Sources
“A baby expects to be soothed, but a mature adult soothes themselves.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” —Marcus Seneca
“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” —Francis Bacon
“Adults are expert at self-disturbance and inept at self-soothing.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“An excuse is a lie guarded.” —Jonathan Swift
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” —Hebrews 12:5
“Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?” —Anonymous
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” —Hebrews 12:8
“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” —Galatians 6:4
“Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” —Proverbs 15:5
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” —Mark Twain
“Each man the architect of his own fate.” —Sallust
“Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.” —Ovid
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” —Proverbs 27:6
“For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:” —Proverbs 6:23
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” —Hebrews 12:6
“God has entrusted me with myself.” —Epictetus
“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.” —Samuel Johnson
“If pleasure first, then pain second.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.” —Francois de La Rochefoucauld
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” —Hebrews 12:7
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” —Agnes Repplier
“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” —William Shakespeare
“Keep a good heart. That’s the most important thing in life. It’s not how much money you make or what you can acquire. The art of it is to keep a good heart.” —Joni Mitchell
“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” —Anonymous
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” —Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980
“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will–his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.” —Albert Schweitzer
“Maturity is doing good for evil.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln
“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” —Oprah Winfrey
“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:” —Proverbs 3:11
“No one has ever gotten to anyone.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Not flattered by praise, not hurt by blame.” —Buddhist saying
“Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.” —Eric Butterworth
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” —Michael Jordan
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” —Anonymous
“Some pursue happiness, others create it.” —Anonymous
“Suffering is not the opposite of happiness; it is the veiling of happiness. It is a call from happiness itself, reminding us that we have mistaken our Self for an idea, an image or an object.” —Rupert Spira
“Teaching the principle of emotional responsibility can be one of the hardest tasks in REBT as clients may have habitually blamed others for their problems and now the therapist is pointing to the true source of their emotional problems–themselves.” —Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice, p. 43
“The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man.” —Roy Smith
“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” —Scott Hamilton
“The origin of sorrow is this: to wish for something that does not come to pass.” —Epictetus
“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.” —Benjamin Franklin
“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.” —Ram Dass
“The weakling gives more evil than he gets. The weak give an eye for an eye or the same amount. The strong give good for evil.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.” —Joan Didion
“There is no man so low that the cure for his condition does not lie strictly within himself.” —Thomas L. Masson
“There is only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” —Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
“To a large extent I can control my feelings and desires and can change them so that I lead a happier existence.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 247
“We draw strength from the very despair in which we have been forced to live. We shall endure.” —Cesar E. Chavez
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” —Carlos Castenada
“We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given.” —Midge Decter
“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” —Seneca
“What poison is to food, self-pity is to life.” —Oliver C. Wilson
“Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny.” —Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 252
“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” —Helen Keller
“Why is it that people are willing to take responsibility for their happiness or mild sadness but not their severe disturbance or great unhappiness?–why ego of course!” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” —Hebrews 12:4
You Can Suffer Well Or—
“You can suffer Your lusts or You can suffer resisting Your lusts, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer avoidance or You can suffer bearing, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer blaming and damning or You can suffer responsibility and compassion, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer for comfort and convenience or You can suffer for trials and tribulations, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer for relaxation or You can suffer for work, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer for retirement or You can suffer for goals, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer hurt and whining or You can suffer pity and detachment, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer laziness and procrastination or You can suffer work and planning, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer meanness and rudeness or You can suffer kindness and humility, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice
“You can suffer resentment and grudges or You can suffer forgiveness and acceptance, but You will suffer. Choose to suffer well.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice