Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional: The Top 10 Ways to Cope

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priyanka ohri
Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.

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Haruki Murakami said, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional,”. This quote represents that pain will always be an unavoidable truth, but suffering is optional and in the person’s hands.

Pain is a reaction to the feeling of hurt and is more concerned about the present moment. For example, when a person gets hurt, he goes through physical and mental pain. Physical pain is felt at the existing moment, and mental pain brings real suffering in the future because we sometimes become over-possessive about the situation.

Thinking about the pain causes more pain because it welcomes suffering which, causes emotions like fear, anxiety, and anger. For example, we always remember our failures more than our achievements which affects self-efficacy. Hence we should avoid overthinking because pain is inevitable suffering is optional.

When we worry and suffer, our unique mind allows us to live far away from the present situations and give us a chance to relive past events and predict future ones. It also disconnects our mind and heart, which further decreases our strength and wastes our time and energy.

Though pain is temporary and a part of life processes, it depends on us whether we will turn it into suffering or leave it to arise and dissolve on its own because pain is inevitable suffering is optional.


thinking about the pain
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Not everything in life stays forever, so nothing is constant except change. However, we have to become mentally prepared to accept the change and loss because, like pain, a loss is also inevitable. 

Buddha taught us that suffering comes from attachment to things, people, and relationships that we desire. And the desire for something comes with an urge to control it or make it happen. But if we fail to make it happen, we suffer, resulting in being distracted or irritated in different areas of life. 

But ultimately, we are humans, and we desire many things in life.  


Antidotes To Support the Quote, “Pain Is Inevitable Suffering Is Optional”

1. Take Action

taking action
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The action here means to deal with painful situations by taking conscious steps to address a challenge with strength and determination. This will automatically help us to put everything in control by eliminating unnecessary stress.

For instance, when a person is anxious and worried about the deadline, he can use that energy to work energetically on the project and finish it on time. Because a cowardly attitude towards work will discourage him, and it will not always allow him to get over painful circumstances.

2. Categorize Events

Classification of events in the positive and negative categories can help to prevent secondary damage.

When one thing goes wrong in life, it isn’t easy to keep it from affecting others. Pain is inevitable and heavy, and it causes damage, so it is essential for a person to categorize events.

3. Change Perspective

Change in perspective will help us pay more attention to important things and less attention to small and unimportant issues.

We have to focus on the present and appreciate the daily achievements of life. It will automatically help you change your perspective towards past sufferings because pain is inevitable suffering is optional.

4. Meditate

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Meditation provides rest to the mind during pain, prevents it from overthinking, shifts it towards positivity, and helps develop new solutions to solve the problems. Therefore, try to give at least 30 minutes a day to meditation to relax your mind.

5. Socialize

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A person who is going through various life problems can try to indulge in a company of optimistic people like role models, friends, coaches, and family members. Such a positive and motivating company can help him come out of pain and suffering and lead a healthy and happy life.

6. Respond With Compassion 

Allow your mind to feel discomfort and pain to get a hands-on experience to face difficulties and be compassionate to learn new ways to face such situations, rather than turning away. Get in touch with your emotions and feel secure enough to show your emotions to people actively. 

7. Never Ignore The Painful Events

When a person ignores pain, he doesn’t learn anything. Instead, he repeats that pattern and creates a habit that creates endless suffering, giving rise to depression or anxiety.

We should always feel the pain for a better life and consider them as a lesson for future events.

8. Accept the Pain

We need to consider every bad experience as an experience, accept the pain to prevent it from turning into suffering. A person should not run away from painful situations because it hinders self-growth. Instead, embracing such situations will make you more resilient in life.

9. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice that stimulates us to become aware and alert of what we are doing and thinking and not getting affected by what is happening around us.

To prevent suffering, we can practice mindfulness anytime without the fear of judgment or rejection because pain is inevitable suffering is optional.

10. Acknowledge Grief

We all experience loss at some point in our lives, and grief is a reaction to any form of loss. And we all grieve in different ways and take different times to heal.

As there are five stages of grief, we need to acknowledge these stages to feel the pain and recover from it. This method is useful in realizing the person that pain is inevitable suffering is optional.

happiness in life
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No person is safe from pain, but everyone wants to get out of pain and suffering. And we should not forget that our life is full of ups and downs like a roller coaster.

We ought to avoid small events and incidents that are not of much importance and avoid the pain as it will automatically prevent unnecessary suffering.

It would be best if you diverted your mind from the painful events that have happened before because focusing on life’s present events can help you keep the sufferings aside.

Indulge in exercises like meditation or consulting a therapist are a few healthy steps to take.

We as humans should use one or the other antidotes mentioned above to manage pain to intercept suffering because pain is inevitable suffering is optional.


About the author

Ms. Priyanka Ohri is a Human Developmentalist. She is pursuing a master's in Human development from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai and sustains a graduation degree in home science with a specialization in Human development from Lady Irwin College, Delhi University. She is an empathetic listener and an articulate writer.

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