Is suffering optional?

I was walking by a faded sticker on the back of a car not long ago and read “pain is optional”.  I had to read that a second time, sure that I had skipped a word.   All sorts of thoughts were running through my head as I stopped and turned around to read the full text.  Turns out I did miss the other part of the statement.  “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. The subpoint to this whole thought process which struck me, was a subtle reminder to make sure you have the whole story. And sometimes you have to stop (your assumptions) and back up to get the whole story, context and all. But, now that I had, it rang so true.  Who do you share your pain with?  Who do you trust?  Have you been disappointed, betrayed by those whom you considered protectors of your secrets? Do you wallow in the betrayal by someone not perfect enough to avoid a misstep?

I recently read a friend’s post stating you shouldn’t tell your problems to anyone because 20% don’t care and 80% are glad you have them.  I hope the author doesn’t really feel that way.  Luckily, it only takes one person.  You are truly fortunate if you have found that one person to whom you can entrust the truth, the whole truth and, nothing but the truth. Sometimes, it’s not a quid pro quo, it even works out that although you may be the perfect confidante for someone else, they are not the perfect confidante for you. Maybe, it works out better that way, less risk of co-dependency happening, perhaps. The point is, we shouldn’t have to pay a therapist who too many times, has nothing invested in us personally. There are times when having the objective viewpoint of someone distanced from the intense emotions involved is needed, been there myself. Yet, that should be the exception, rather than the rule, shouldn’t it?

If your goal is to better yourself, then let the past be the past. I am in full acknowledgment this can seem to be impossible! I still have oodles of past bad choices, invisible to others and yet, still they haunt me to a certain degree and at key times, I’m sure they’re hanging out there like a freshly laundered shirt flapping in the wind, getting everyone’s attention. I don’t suffer anymore because of those choices, for the most part. I admit, it’s a progressive project to let go… I have been reminded at least a dozen times in the last month or so, by chance readings and glances at signs, “it takes time, so take some time”. So annoying when those little quips strike a chord! Nowadays, I can look back and see the long, twisted, ridiculous road I’ve traveled and I like to think of it as a mountainous hike. Once I hit the peak and go down the other side, I can no longer see what was on the other side. Unless I choose to revisit the past, it remains in the distance and gets a little less painful each year. It’s all faded into a blur of different experiences and hopefully I’ve learned to make less mistakes or at least not the same ones without some improvement. I guess only time will tell.


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