Pain vs. Suffering

Pain is life and life is pain. You can’t hide from it. You can’t run from it. It will find you. Why? I don’t know why, but I do know the two (life and pain) go hand-in-hand. Suffering, on the other hand, is a choice. You choose how you react to every painful situation in your life. You give meaning to it. You can let it make you or you can let it break you.

I’m in no way saying your emotions are invalid. You might have all the reasons in the world to be angry at the world. Maybe no one would even judge you for it. Maybe you’re justified in your suffering, but is that what you want? Is that what’s really going to help you in the long-run? Wouldn’t you rather be the person who looks pain in the eyes and makes something beautiful out of it? Wouldn’t you rather be the person who finds their way back to the light?

Some people seek out pain, negativity, and toxicity. They might not even be aware of it. “Where can I find negative and toxic people? Where can I find people that are no good for me? Where can I find people that don’t add to my life? Oh! There they are!” They actively seek and walk towards situations and people that are no good for them. Maybe they don’t want to be alone. Maybe they’re scared. Maybe this. Maybe that. Find me a thousand excuses, but what good do any of those excuses do? You’ll still be exactly where you are with excuses. Excuses don’t move you forward. They hold you back. Get up out of your own way.

Don’t you want to move forward? Don’t you want to see what else is out there? What else is possible for you and your life? Why do people get stuck? Why do people actively choose to suffer? Move on. Love yourself. Walk towards peace, love, kindness, and happiness. Be alone. Do it on your own. Be self-reliant. Fill your own cup.

I don’t understand why suffering is romanticized. It’s not romantic. It sucks. Pain is inevitable, but you can use it to your advantage. Learn something from it. You don’t need to stay there. You don’t need to be a martyr. You don’t need the attention. Hold your head up high and walk, crawl, run through it. You might even be in hell right now. That’s okay. You might know evil. You might have faced the darkest days. You know pain inside and out. But do you know what else you know? You know happiness better than anyone else. You know love. You know joy.

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Free will?

In every psychology and neuroscience class I’ve ever taken, I’ve been told that free will is not really a thing. We’re all just a product of our biology and our environment. The other day, my teacher used examples such as this to prove/explain his point:

  • If free will was the answer, we’d all be skinny.
  • If free will was the answer, we’d all be a huge success.
  • If free will was the answer, we’d do the things we knew were right.

By the way, he did emphasize that we could definitely train and discipline ourselves to make better and smarter decision, so don’t give up hope.

As you all know (maybe not all of you), I’ve been sick. And I have trouble with waking up at the time I’d like to. You might say, “If free will was the answer, you would wake up at 5:30 in the morning.” To that I say, you’re starting to catch my drift. In no way, shape, or form, am I giving up on waking up at that time. I am just giving up on forcing myself to get up at that time WHEN I haven’t had adequate sleep. It just doesn’t happen. My legs will not move unless I’ve had eight hours of sleep. My toes will refuse to even wiggle.

I will instead start forcing myself to be in bed by 10:00/10:30 PM. I realized I have to work with my body, instead of acting like I can just control and command it to do things it really doesn’t want to. I kept telling myself, “I’ll get used to it. My body will adapt to it.” No, I won’t. And no, it won’t. Furthermore, how can we expect to control other people and events when we can’t even control ourselves? How ridiculous is that?

Anyway, that’s my food for thought. Happy Sunday!
KICK BUTT THIS WEEK!

I’m sick. Let’s talk about comfort.

Hi ladies and gentlemen! I am sick. It sucks. It’s temporary. We won’t get into it.

Forgive me for not blogging as much. I have five classes, three-ish jobs, a relationship, and a life. I am trying my best here.

Lately, I have been noticing that I have gotten comfortable. That’s bad, very bad. Cue the DUN DUN DUN. I was actually okay with it. Life seemed very nice and easy. (Again, this is very bad). DUN DUN DUN. Sooooo, I am cutting myself off. It’s time to get uncomfortable. It’s time to try new things. It’s time to push my limits. It’s time to add on goals and go to the next level, because I’ve clearly reached what I had wanted to.

I’m setting myself up for some new challenges. I am saying my goodbyes. I am waving at the old me, thanking her, leaving her behind, and moving on. It is time to grow yet again.

What does this mean for me? A new routine first and foremost. Waking up earlier. Working more. Setting new goals. Putting myself out there. Immersing myself in things I am uncomfortable with. Building new relationships. Developing myself. Working on me. Helping others. Accomplishing as much as I can in a day. Taking no excuses. Pushing myself even more than I have. Taking care of me. And treating myself (I really suck at that). I’m going to let the pieces fall where they may.

I hope you’ll join me on the journey. I’ll get into more details as I plan it out. I already have a couple ideas about things I will be changing and I am excited. I love change! For now, I need to make tea and do some work. If you sense you’re comfortable too, let’s walk this road together. It’s a hard one, but it’s worthwhile.

What changed?

Back in the day, my thoughts regarding my past, my shame, and my guilt would keep me in one place. I would freeze. I would have an unproductive day, giving up on anything and everything I had planned for myself. I would just wallow in my thoughts. I wouldn’t move. It’d be a downward spiral. My thoughts used to control me.

I was sitting on the couch today. The same thoughts come back. I was showering. The same thoughts show up. However, I realize I no longer freeze. I keep going on with my day. I let the thoughts come and go now. I don’t allow it to effect me anymore. I observe them and I let them pass. This has helped change my life around. Being able to have these kind of thoughts and carry on with my day regardless makes me really happy.

If you struggle with the same thing, I would suggest you be nicer to yourself. I would tell you not to judge your thoughts, to instead observe them and let them come and go. Remember the exercise from before? If not, try it with me now.

Imagine a red triangle…. Let it go.
Imagine running with a puppy at the beach… Let it go.
Imagine your biggest fear… Let it go.

In the same fashion you let these things go, you can let your actual thoughts go too. Don’t force them. It’s okay if it’s hard. It’s supposed to be. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Meh.

It’s 10:54 P.M. I’ve been reading (and taking notes on) five different textbooks this week and the last. I’m about 75 to 100 pages deep in each one. I’ve worked out every single day. However, everything else I love (and would like to do) has come to a halt, including me waking up early. I’ve been having late nights. One of my classes doesn’t end until 9:50 P.M. Anyway, I’m a bit bummed. I’ll go into that in a second.

I’d like to first state that I am favoring three classes out of the five: biopsychology, physical anthropology, and interpersonal communication. They are so fascinating!

Back to being bummed out…

Do you ever want to start fresh? Do you ever want to give up on everything and start doing your own thing? I get that feeling a lot, because I feel as if I would be really good at the things I want to do. However, I am trying to play it smart. I’ve made enough mistakes thus far. I can’t waste time making the same ones. I also really love school. Call me a freak, but I LOVE LEARNING. I am good at it.

I’ve just found myself enjoying so many other things as well. I don’t want to give up those dreams for the sake of something else. I don’t have enough time to pursue the things I were during the summer, so I’m stuck. I can either be sleep-deprived and working towards them or focusing on the bigger picture and making time for them as I can. I know the second one is the right one. I just wish it wasn’t.

Starting new always intrigues me. You get a clean slate to be and do as you wish. You can create some things in you that weren’t there before. It’s difficult to do that when you’re in the same environment, with the same people who are expecting you to be the way you’ve always been. I just want bigger things for myself.

The grass is always green on the other side, but it’s where you water it that most counts.

A huge lesson on PERCEPTION

Before I start, I challenge you to write down the first ten things that describe you. Who are you? WRITE IT DOWN. NOW. SERIOUSLY. It’ll help you.

I don’t know whether I am making this up or not, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used “your perception is everything” and/or “perception is key” several times in past posts. It might have been “perspective.” Well, I’m here to tell you I have realized just how right I actually am when I say that. I am 150% right. This keeps coming back to me in the textbooks I have to read for school and the ones I read for pleasure. Let’s talk about this for a little and delve a bit deeper into it.

Being aware of your perception(s) is important when it comes to the different people and experiences you encounter, but your perception of yourself is even more important. Why? Because it influences all your other experiences.

Let’s say you’ve grown up with the idea that you are shy and reserved. That’s how you define yourself. When people first meet you, you’re quiet. At parties or gatherings, you don’t introduce yourself to anyone, so you spend it being pretty lonely. That just further proves to you that you really are shy and reserved, so you live the rest of your life continuously defining yourself as that.

Let’s say you grew up thinking you weren’t good at math, so you ended up not studying as hard or putting in as much effort. That made your original perception more and more real as the classes got harder and harder (and your grades, worse and worse). Let’s say you’ve been hurt in the past, so you’re wary in your relationships. You look out for the slightest sign your partner might be just like your ex, so you freak out and create the problems you never wanted to have. Let’s say you turn in your assignment and your boss praises you for being hard-working and organized, but you tell him that the project was “just easy” and you “didn’t really do much”, “anyone could have done it”. You don’t see yourself as hard-working and organized, so you’ll reject this new concept of yourself. You’re not willing to lose your old perception and make way for the new.

WHY DO WE DO THIS? WHY ARE WE SO SET ON HAVING THIS HARD-WIRED IMAGE OF OURSELVES THAT WE ARE UNWILLING TO LET GO OF?

Survival. Sanity. It makes life a bit easier. By the way, it’s not always a bad thing. Let’s say growing up, you were praised for a particular skill, so you started to associate that skill with the praise. That skill became a part of your identity and to this day, you’re still better at it than the average person. Let’s say some of your perceptions about yourself are GOOD ones. High-five. Let’s say a huge change happened in your life and you were faced with many challenges you didn’t think you could handle, but you kept keeping on, and now you know, you are unstoppable.

Look at the ten things you wrote down. How many of those are empowering? How many of them add to you and your life? How many do the opposite? Circle the ones you believe you could do without and next to them, write “I am ___________.” In the blank space, write the opposite of the word you circled and start practicing it. Anytime a situation comes up where you want to go back to your old perception, remember the new one, and run with it. Change is scary, but it’s so damn worth it.