Suffering Definition And Why We Need To Change It!

If you belong to any religious group or were raised in one, you will be familiar with the word suffering and everything that it entails. The bible is full of stories of suffering. No one needed to know the suffering definition, it was just accepted that we all have it!

I was raised catholic so stories of suffering are not new to me. I was raised to believe that suffering was just a natural part of life. Everyone suffers and it is just something that you need to ‘get through’. But, over the last six months, I have had reason to question my belief or approach to suffering and have actually found a need to re-frame my beliefs about it.

Suffering Definition That Can Mislead

A suffering definition is:

the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.

Is this really how we will continue to view suffering or do we all need to have another look at this to smash another of life’s Brules?

For years, I have ‘suffered’. Like everyone, I have suffered through some minor and major life – I will call them issues for now but will explain why I now see them as challenges later.

Unlike most people though, I have never believed that life and relationships were meant to be hard. Whenever anyone said that to me, my response was always – No, it isn’t!

Definition suffering

I’m not sure where this particular belief came from but it certainly was not the norm. Most people had been conditioned to believe that we are meant to have suffering so that we can grow. That I believe. But, should we be looking at suffering as a negative thing? Or alternatively, should we be looking at it much more positively as an opportunity? As the Universe showing us that ‘hardship’ or suffering is really just a torch pointing us away from the path, we are currently on? A path that is causing us to be miserable?

Now that I am committed to seeing suffering as fuel to create a better life, I see signs of it everywhere. The definitions of it may vary but the message is the same.

1. The Law Of Manifestation

As Wayne Dyer points out in his book “The Power Of Intention”,

“The way you look at life is essentially a barometer of your expectations, based on what you’ve been taught you’re worthy of and capable of achieving. Those expectations are largely imposed by external influences such as family, community, and institutions, but they’re also influenced by that ever-present inner companion: your ego.”

Wayne Dyer – The Power of Intention

He then goes on to explain that:

“These sources of your expectations are largely based on the beliefs that limitation, scarcity, and pessimism about what’s possible for you. If these beliefs are the basis for how you look at life, then this perception of the world is what you expect for yourself.”

Dr Wayne Dyer – The Power Of Intention

Boom!

If we continue to look at suffering as just something that we need to ‘get through’, aren’t we disabling our natural ability and born given right to use our superpowers to change our lens. We need to look at suffering as the signpost to get to where we are meant to be?

2. David Goggins – Cultivate The Mind Of A Warrior

I haven’t read David Goggin’s book “Cultivate the mind of a warrior” yet, but I have it ready and waiting for me on my kindle. But, I have listened to the interview that Vishen Lakhiani did with David Goggins through Mindvalley.

Suffering definition

Wow! What a guy. Aside from the fact that I loved the amount of swearing he does, this guy has truly been through suffering and come out better for it on the other side. I won’t ruin the book for you by talking about David Goggin’s background but it is nothing short of amazing how this guy used the ‘suffering’ definition to his advantage. To say the interview was motivational, would be a huge understatement!

His view is that every obstacle should be looked at as friction because where there is no friction, there is no growth. Instead of looking at his life from a “woe is me” perspective, David Goggins found the power to overcome what he was going through to use as ‘fuel’ for the rest of his life.

A few epic quotes:

“What makes people different is a flip in the f-ing (my shortening) mindset.”

“At the end of suffering is greatness.”

Concerning avoiding suffering, “We shelter ourselves from greatness.”

“The Mind will always win until you reprogram it.”

“Suffering’s just being very uncomfortable a lot.”

“A warrior crosses a finish line and continues to run, in his mind. There is no finish line.”

David Goggins – Interview with Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley

David Goggin’s seems to be a man that likes to live on the edge, in extremes. I am not saying that we all need to push ourselves as much as he has but the man has a point. When we are in suffering, we should flip our f-ing mindsets! David Goggin’s would probably be the last person to care about the suffering definition. And why should he? He has clearly pushed past it.

3. Brené Brown – The Gifts Of Imperfection

Brené Brown’s a bit of a hero of mine and I have read a lot of her books as well as watched her most recent Netflix movie, “The Call To Courage.” Now that I have finished being a groupie, I need to quote Brené Brown from her book . “The Gifts of Imperfection – Let Go Of Who You Think You Are Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are.”

Suffering definition

Here is another person that has used a personal ‘crisis’ as fuel to move into a more fulfilling life! And, it probably never would have happened if the warrior mindset had not been there or she had chosen a different path. Nor if the Universe wasn’t operating as it naturally does to guide her to her truest purpose.

Here is her view of the suffering she experienced:

“People may call what happens at mid-life a crisis, but it’s not. It’s an unraveling, a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you are supposed to live. An unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and to embrace who you are.”

I honestly believe that the Universe is currently pushing all of us to ‘unravel’. Re-framing the most common of Brules is the best way to get started understanding how to elevate our consciousness and that of the planet. We have to wholeheartedly embrace the ‘struggles’ we face and learn how to take the positive view that each struggle or unravel is just another lesson to learn.

4. Gabby Bernstein – The Gifts Of Imperfection

I am reading Gabby Bernstein’s new book Super Attractor at the moment and one of the quotes that has stuck so far is,

Suffering definition

“The moment we choose to perceive our pain as the catalyst for great healing and growth, we realign with the power of the Universe. This gratitude helps you get out of the feeling of being the victim and into a state of positivity.

Gabrielle Bernstein – Super Attractor – Methods for manifesting a life beyond your wildest dreams

One of the excellent things about this book (so far) is Gabby provides a whole bunch of tools throughout the book. Given how long we have carried our view of suffering – I want all the tools I can get!

Does It Have To Be Hard?

Without a doubt, suffering is hard! But, how many times have you heard people refer to a period in their lives that was hard? Only in hindsight to say that the hardship turned out to be a blessing? A blessing that turned out to be lifechanging.

I am with all of my mentors above on this! From now on, I am going to take direction from the Universe and use ‘challenging’ situations as my barometer for change.

I’m certainly not saying that any of this is easy but I will say that since I have ‘reframed’ my thinking on suffering, my life has been a bit easier. With more practice of viewing the world this way, it can only get better. The suffering definition no longer matters to me.

I’ll keep you posted on how I get on…

28 thoughts on “Suffering Definition And Why We Need To Change It!”

  1. Needless must I say that you have given me a new perception concerning the word suffering and the things that has to do with it. It shouldn’t be seen as something we must strive to live through, rather it should be a challenge or an obstacle that is needed to take the next possible step towards a better and greater height. Wow! Very great to see  and read on. Thanks for sharing this

    1. Hi Rodarrick,

      I’m so glad you liked the post and thanks for your comments! Sometimes re-framing how we see things is the only way to get our heads out of the sand. I know that’s how it is for me!

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

  2. It is very true that at a point in out lives, we have all suffered  in one way or the other. The question is how did we deal with it. How were we able to find a way out. I agree with all these people and I think I need to grab myself a very good book too. Your post is really educative and inspirational. Life is beautiful, we need to explore its beauty.

    1. Hi Henderson,

      Appreciate the comments and the fact that you got something out of the book references. They are all books that I have read that have helped me. Well worth a read!

      Life really is beautiful and it’s great to have like-minded people to share it with!

      Thanks.

      Tania.

  3. This is a very greak post with so much to offer from quotes to great books too. I agree that everyone from every religion must have heard about suffering one way or the other. It is really interesting that one can learn about how to deal with suffering and turn it to something that will benefit me in the end. Thanks for this inspiration.

    1. Hi John,

      Thanks for your comments and I am glad you got something out of the post!

      Sometimes it’s not an easy thing to do but the more I do it, the easier it gets!

      Tania.

  4. To all this I agree. Suffering is something that you in a way couldn’t do much about it and I have To say I haven’t suffered at all. All those things have been challenges, I can openly say I’ve been challenged in a lot of things and somehow those challenges have brought out the best side of me. Every challenge is a reason to work harder, do better, fight more and not give up but suffering, suffering is what causes you to lie in bed all day, starve all day, cry all do and do nothing about it, it all lies on how you see it, your attitude towards it. Thank you this was really an inspired talk.

    1. Hi Donny,

      I love this! Thanks so much for your comments. It’s so much better to face things as a challenge instead of lying down to it.

      Glad you got something out of the post!

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

  5. I agree everyone will go through some form of suffering. It could be due to falling sick, a fall, a failed relationship. What is important is to think of what you want and totally believe it will happen. This process is more enjoyable. 

    It is ok to fall sick because when you recover, you will be steonger. After that do the things you want in a healthy state.

    Thank you for sharing and wish you become even stronger in life. Marc Ho.

    1. Hi Marc,

      Thanks very much for your comments and I totally agree with you. You have to enjoy the process and do a little more of going with the flow!

      Appreciate the good wishes and hope the same for you back!

      Tania.

  6. Thank you for this article for bringing in the right attitude to the things that try us in this life. We can mention some of the categories or groups where we are made weak or strong.

    Illness-when we are afflicted with incurable illness we are saying, we are suffering.
    Lack of subsistence-when we cannot financially procure what we needed to survive in terms of food.
    Broken relationships-when our relationships with our family and friends are badly affected.
    Fighting for what is right-When we stand for truth and we are being unjustly treated.

    We can add if there are more groups.

    I would say that these are really sufferings but they can bring in challenges in our mindset. We cannot get rid of these but we can minimize them with the right attitude.

    We might ask one question, to ourselves, is this inflicted by others or are self-inflicted? In this way, we change our minds and usher the right attitude towards and this is where the challenge is.

    1. Hi Jimmy,

      Thanks for your comments!

      I really appreciate your thinking. You raise a really good point. A lot of our suffering is probably self-inflicted. I suppose we just have to find the best way to get out of our own ways!

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

  7. Suffering is certain a common theme of many religions and cultural groups.  This goes along with the saying of “no pain, no gain”.  I wish to beg to differ a bit on this.

    Also having grown up with a strong religious affiliation immersed in much dogma and rules, it is not easy to break free from the guilt and sacirifice in which people are indocrinated.  

    Life does not have to be hard when we stay present and accept what is happening and allow things to be as they are.  Without any resistance to the present we are empowered to make choices which will take us in the direction we desire.  

    Let’s all enjoy life without the suffering and sacrifice.  Let’s choose to do things which are enjoyable even when they are challenging and stretch our capacities.  

    Thanks for these great insights.  

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Love your comments and they are so true! I totally agree that life shouldn’t be hard! Definitely something that we have been indoctrinated to believe!

      It is sometimes hard to shake off the ‘taught’ beliefs but knowing them for what they are is most of the battle!

      I’m choosing (like you) to do more of what I love to keep the joy flowing!

      Thanks for your comments.

      Tania.

  8. Love your post! Not only about suffering, but the energy movement and strength of our thoughts. There are lot of beliefs we inherited from previous generations (parents, at first place) that are questionable nowadays. Our beliefs should serve US and make us feel good about them, not the opposite way. Your website, overall, is very interested to me, especially books recommendation. Some of them I’ve already read but some of them I’ve never heard of. I will certainly get those ;-), based on your reviews.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vesna,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment and sorry it has taken me so long to come back to you! I’ve been offline.

      Our beliefs should definitely serve us so that we feel good about our choices without being influenced by the beliefs we learnt from someone else.

      Hope you get more out of the books that I have reviewed as well. Life is a constant search!

      Thanks again!

      Tania.

  9. This is amazing!!! A whole new way of looking at life and suffering in particular. I was raised Catholic too and even joined the Franciscan Seminary and underwent training for six years. I was accustomed to the concept of suffering: the mortification of the body for the purification of the soul. But lately I have discovered a new way of looking at life and am currently working on my Paradigm. God meant for us to enjoy and have the best out of this life because it is the best world ever and he is a perfect God. Am still Catholic and will remain one but my paradigm has changed.

    1. Hi Joseph,

      Thanks so much for your comments! I totally agree with you about God meaning for us to enjoy this life and be the best we can be!

      Change is good – especially when it is because of something that we have discovered to influence us in a different way, a more positive one.

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

  10. Love your post! Not only about suffering, but the energy movement and
    strength of our thoughts. There are lot of beliefs we inherited from
    previous generations (parents, at first place) that are questionable
    nowadays. Our beliefs should serve US and make us feel good about them,
    not the opposite way. Your website, overall, is very interested to me,
    especially books recommendation. Some of them I’ve already read but some
    of them I’ve never heard of. I will certainly get those ;-), based on
    your reviews.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Vesna,

      Always happy to give recommendations on books. I love them! I hope you get as much out of them as I did!

      Glad you like the post and my website. It will forever be a work in progress but I am loving having it!

      Thanks so much for your comments!

      Tania.

  11. Tania, this article expresses the thoughts that have swirled around in my head for years. I have had many challenges. One of my strongest beliefs is that all things work for my good. I believe this because when I sit down and dissect the valley experience, and look at where I am now, I am able to cope and live a life with very little anxiety, and I have learned tools that I can apply and share with others. I have read The Power of Intention so many times and get new lessons each time I read. This life is good, and experience I am having, no matter how it looks at the time, works out for good. Thanks for my morning inspiration.

    1. Hi JJ,

      Thanks for your comments. I am glad to provide a bit of inspiration.

      You are so right! Coping tools are essential!

      It seems that the power of intention is a very popular book. I think I will have to read it again though. As Wayne Dyer used to say,” if you are hearing something again that I have said before, then you probably haven’t got it yet.”

      Never hurts to pick up more tips from a great man!

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

  12. Great piece of writing. Indeed suffering in inevitable and the decision to look forward to the end of the pain helps in going through the process of suffering with a positive attitude.

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

  13. Hi Tania, wow, what a wonderful refreshing take on suffering!  I too, was raised Catholic and I used to wonder why when we went to church every Sunday, there was a huge statue of Jesus on the cross to remind us all about the suffering he went through. Maybe that’s a good thing…but we were just kids and it was kinda scary. I believe you’re right when you say that it’s time to quit looking at ‘suffering’ as just suffering, and look upon it as a guiding teacher in our lives.

    I love to read books such as the ones you’ve presented here and I am very interested in them, especially Wayne Dyer because I’ve read several of his books and felt that they changed my life for the better. Thanks so much for this glimpse into another way of looking at pain and suffering.

    Sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      I totally hear you about Jesus on the cross. It is scary for kids and believe that the statue is meant to remind us to suffer. I am sure (and this is probably controversial) that there are other ways to remind us of what Jesus went through.

      Wayne Dyer’s books are always helpful. It’s great to meet another reader!

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.

      Tania.

  14. It an interesting article of the different ways we can deal with suffering.

    My personal note about life is that we really no control to the some suffering in life at times.  That is simply because it is not within human’s control over such state of suffering.  One very good example will be the passing of a closed one.

    On the positive end, we can change the way we view suffering.  It can be a wake up call for change and sometimes to explore our understanding of our imperfect gifts.

    While suffering is always hard, I do believe that it is never permanent and one can always take steps to end such suffering using a different life perspective.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks so much for your comments and for taking the time. I fully agree with everything that you have said. One of my mantra’s is “This too shall pass”. Helps me to get through the tough stuff!

      Thanks again.

      Tania.

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