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Suffering Defined & Explained

What is suffering?


Suffering Defined & Explained with Examples

  • Ego will help you to recognize, remove, and replace your ego: a.k.a. self-esteem.

“Once you label me, you negate me.” —Søren Kierkegaard

“Peace begins when expectation ends.” —Sri Chinmoy

“Buddha said that life is suffering. However, life is not suffering; ego is suffering.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice


What Is Suffering?

  1. Conflict is a way to understand suffering.
  2. Living a lie is a way to understand suffering.
  3. Negative stress is a way to understand suffering.
  4. Living in delusion is a way to understand suffering.
  5. Living in darkness is a way to understand suffering.
  6. The friction between opposite forces or points of view is a way to understand suffering.

What Is the Opposite of Suffering?

  1. Peace is the opposite of suffering.
  2. Serenity is the opposite of suffering.
  3. Nondoing is the opposite of suffering.
  4. Tranquility is the opposite of suffering.
  5. Acceptance is the opposite of suffering.
  6. Faith in God is the opposite of suffering.
  7. A quiet mind is the opposite of suffering.
  8. Non-knowing is the opposite of suffering.
  9. Rest or returning is the opposite of suffering.
  10. A still and calm mind is the opposite of suffering.
  11. Turning everything over to God is the opposite of suffering.

Why Is Self-Esteem Suffering?

  1. Self-esteem is suffering because conditional self-esteem is a delusion.
  2. Self-esteem is suffering because of the conflict between positive and negative self-esteem.
  3. Self-esteem is suffering because self-esteem is always changing and never at peace or rest.
  4. Self-esteem is suffering because self-esteem offers no solution or end to its self-created problem of changing self-ratings.
  5. Self-esteem is suffering because it creates negative stress about who and what you were, are, and are supposedly becoming.
  6. Self-esteem is suffering because self-esteem cannot offer any guarantees or safety from the ever-present conflict between positive and negative self-concepts and self-images.

Why Are Self-Stories Suffering?

  1. Self-stories are about the dance of pride and shame, and this perpetual battle is suffering.
  2. Self-stories are lies because they are based on you as things and thoughts and you are neither.
  3. Self-stories never arrive at the end of the story and continually provide both positive and negative self-esteem experiences.
  4. Self-stories are delusions that keep you away from and out life by keeping you lost in your fantasies about who you were, who you are, and who you will become.
  5. Self-stories are inherently stressful because they are difficult to control, direct, and script due to their being easily altered by any new input from others or experiences.

Why Is Viewing Life As Being About You Suffering?

  1. To believe life is about you is to live a lie.
  2. To believe life is about you is to live in darkness and delusion.
  3. You are not the center of life and to think you are puts you in conflict with life.
  4. To believe life is about you is to believe that life is changing who and what you are which is a delusion.
  5. You are not the center of life and to think you are puts you in conflict with others who think they are the center of life.
  6. To believe life is about you is to live in negative stress because you cannot control life to be about you the way you think life should be about you.

Why Are Self-Talk Games Suffering?

  1. Self-talk is about conflict, or there is no self-talk.
  2. Self-talk is about using darkness to hide conflicts.
  3. Self-talk is self-centered and narcissistic delusions and lies.
  4. Self-talk is negative stress because self-talk cannot control how you appear to others.
  5. Self-talk is about practicing lying to yourself about who and what you were, are, and will be.

Why Is Ego and the Dance of Pride and Shame Suffering?

  • To identify with ego instead of self is suffering the loss of self.
  • To identify with pride or shame instead of self is suffering the loss of self.
  1. Ego is a lie because ego is not your authentic or natural self.
  2. Ego cannot escape the dance of the opposites because ego is based on that dance/battle.
  3. Ego is a delusion because the way life is perceived through the screen of ego is always false to facts.
  4. Ego exists in perpetual conflict between the opposites of positive and negative self-esteem concepts and images.
  5. Ego is negative stress because despite suppressing unfavorable opinions of self into darkness, the conflict remains.

Physical & Psychological Suffering

  • Physical suffering is not the same as psychological suffering.
  1. Physical and psychological suffering often interact.
  2. Physical and psychological suffering can feed each other.
  3. Physical and psychological suffering can cause each other.
  4. Physical and psychological suffering can excuse and protect each other.
  5. Physical and psychological suffering can share the same ego payoffs, hidden agendas, and rewards such as gaining attention.
  6. Physical suffering can be used to help overcome psychological suffering because learning to overcome any suffering can be used to overcome another kind of suffering.

Expectations As the Cause of Suffering

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” —Willian Shakespeare

“Desire is the root of all suffering.” —Second Noble Truth of Buddhism

“Needing leads to bleeding—to almost all inevitable suffering.” —Albert Ellis, Buddhism and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

  • REBT views demands as the cause of suffering.
  • REBT focuses on four main issues: low frustration tolerance, self-and-other ratings, awfulizing, demands.
  • Low frustration tolerance (LFT) demands an end to frustration or is a demand to get what you want. Ratings of self and others demand that you appear higher and not lower (superior to others a.k.a. high self-esteem). Awfulizing demands that you are protected, rescued, or have it easy.
  • Demands can all be reduced to expectations. Shoulds and musts are about expecting something either to happen or not to happen. The stronger the expectation, the stronger the demand for the expectation to become or control reality.
  • Buddhism views desire as the cause of suffering.
  • Desires can all be reduced to expectations. Without expectations, there can be no desires. Either explicitly or implicitly every desire expects something.
  • It would be unwise to get rid of all expectations, desires, and demands because one is often required to care for or protect others. What is wise is to understand what expectations, desires, and demands are causing you unnecessary conflicts, difficulties, and negative stress.

“Buddha said that life is suffering. However, life is not suffering; ego is suffering.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Buddhism teaches that desire is the cause of suffering. However, desire is not the cause; expectations are the cause of suffering.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice


Related Pages


Book cover for "Mind Your Ego"

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