For some, merely seeing the word "suffer" triggers memories and feelings of pain, injury, or loss. Why is that? Where does suffering even come from?
Ancient wisdom tells us that it's our attachments.
“Attachment is the root of suffering.” - The Buddha
Why human beings are attached to ideas and impressions about themselves, others and their situation that causes suffering are less important than recognizing that these attachments are choices. You don't have to cling to beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are not serving you.
But how can you make "better" choices? Choices that, instead of feeding your suffering, cultivate a sense of thriving, even as you struggle? Here are five additional "A's" to help you free yourself from the self-imposed suffering of attachment.
Acknowledgment - Struggle and stress are natural. Without them, you couldn't define, let alone experience, peace, and prosperity. Don't avoid challenge or misfortune, embrace them. They are opportunities for you to cultivate resilience and resolve.
"It is difficulties that show what we are." - Viktor Frankl
Awareness - To end suffering, you must first recognize when you are suffering. Only then can you detach from it, hold it at arm's length, and take a longer, more objective look. Chances are you'll find yourself attached to untrue stories about the past or unrealistic stories you're projecting into the future. Only in the present can you reframe perception and take action that promotes greater health and happiness.
"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present." - Lao Tzu
Acceptance - Your circumstances, your situation, other people, and social, political, and economic forces are entirely beyond your control. You don't have to meekly surrender to fate, but "resistance is futile." Accepting what happens isn't weakness, it's where the opportunity to embrace possibility and promise reside.
"Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together. Do so with all your heart." - Marcus Aurelius
Agency - Almost nothing is within your direct control, but you do possess everything you need to flourish through any "hardship." You command how you choose to see things and what action to take. This is where your ability to influence "what happens next" lies.
"Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within our control and some things are not." - Epictetus
Appreciation - Gratitude is the ultimate happiness booster. Expressing appreciation for what you already possess helps avoid the unhealthy attachments of want and embrace adversity as opportunities to cultivate resilience and will.
"There are lessons to be learned from any outcome. There’s also the opportunity to practice the virtues of patience, humility, and acceptance. Any result can be appreciated and leveraged to build character, courage, and will." - Scott Perry
Ready to suffer less and thrive more through all of life's ups and down? Remember these five A's and make more intentional and principled choices about them!
Let's keep flying higher together!
Readers of Endeavor will recognize that most of what I shared here is repurposed content from that book. If you appreciated or were inspired by this, and haven't checked out Endeavor, why not grab the ebook or paperback on Amazon?
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