Last week I became open to the possibility that I could be creating my own suffering. I don’t yet understand how, but I do believe that it might be true. What I find exciting about this realization is that if I am the one who is creating it, then I can also be the one to dismantle it!
At first, I was rather dismayed by this possibility. After all, I have spent the last eleven years and many thousands of dollars trying to find a resolution to my chronic pain. It is very embarrassing, then, to come full circle and find my finger pointing right back in my own face.
I am not saying that all suffering is self-inflicted, by any means. We have all been affected by events that were entirely outside our realm of influence. Yet, as I look back over my own history of suffering, I am beginning to see that most of my pain has not been caused by an external force, but by an internal force.
Of course, I am not intentionally being the architect of my own misery. I assure you that I don’t wake up each morning and consciously schedule self-sabotage into my daily routine. Even so, it is becoming increasingly evident to me that my subconscious mind is somehow involved in the perpetuation of my pain.
If it was an outward behavior that was causing my suffering, it would be easier to see the connection. An alcoholic or a drug addict are obvious examples. Even type 2 diabetes is completely preventable, making the connection between our habits and the effects on the body quite evident.
Yet, what about behaviors of the mind? Even though they are unseen, how we think and what we tell ourselves form the very foundation of our being. As such, they must absolutely affect our physical bodies.
This is not new information for me. I have been on a journey of discovering the holistic nature of my humanity for many years. What is new and exciting, though, is the realization that I play an even bigger role in how I experience my life than I had imagined.
My life doesn’t just happen to me. In many ways, it is built stone by stone and brick by brick. If I find myself trapped in suffering, could it be that I am creating my own entrapment by the thoughts that I think and the words that I speak?
For example, in recent conversations with friends, I have heard myself say the following phrases:
“It’s so hard. It’s a daily struggle. It’s a constant battle.”
When I step back and observe those words objectively, I don’t like what I see. Even though I was simply being honest about how I was feeling at the time, this is not the way I want to experience life.
More and more, I am learning that what we tell ourselves creates our world. When I look at the words hard, struggle and battle, they aren’t words that create peace or comfort. Instead, they reek of perpetual suffering.
If I am to have any chance of being released from my entrapment, I must be willing to recognize my role as a co-creator in my life. I must let go of the words and their accompanying beliefs that keep me stuck in struggle. If I truly want to experience a joyful and abundant life, I must choose new words and adopt new beliefs that lead me where I want to go.
Could I be creating my own suffering? Sadly, yes. Do I want to do something about it? Absolutely!
“If struggling were the way to get there, we’d all be there by now.” – Victoria Castle, The Trance of Scarcity