Suffering is optional: For most people, this is a radical statement. “Whaddya MEAN, suffering is optional? Doesn’t feel optional to me.”
We choose whether or not we suffer over the voices of our inner critic, what others think of us, the jobs we go to. Some people don”t have that choice. Inevitably when someone starts doing work on themselves, some voice pops up to say that you’re selfish, you only care about yourself, it’s self-centered to work on yourself, your family will think you’re full of yourself…
It will go on and on. We suffer when we believe it or react to it. We stop suffering when we get conscious about it, and decide to choose something different.
you don’t work on yourself
Really, you’re working on your lens, your perspective of, the world, and how you interact with the world. When your cup is full–of love, joy, all the good stuff–that’s when it runs over.
That’s when you have something real to give. The purpose of doing personal work is not just about you. It’s also about how you show up in the world, and how that…reverberates.
you get to choose.
Some people don’t get to choose, you know. Some people live in war torn countries where rape and genocide and lack of access to clean drinking water is a daily, horrifying reality. Rather than pretend not to notice this, would you be willing to acknowledge that this is how some people live?
This isn’t about trying to get you to feel guilty for how good you have it.
This is about trying to lift you up from the recognition of how good you have it.
They’d trade places with you in a second, you know. Your blessings and privilege do nothing for them if you’re not using it to lift up your life, and by extension, the lives of others. That’s why it’s important to do your inner work. That’s why it matters that you face fear. That’s why it matters that you practice courage.
start with the choice
Just start with the choice–the simple, everyday acknowledgment of the fact that you have choices, options.
Expand out, from there.
Start noticing all of the availability that is before you.
Use that to your advantage.
Suffering is optional–so what are you choosing?