On today’s Happy Productive we tackle the topic of Suffering.
Is it really necessary and if so under what circumstances. Suffering is a normal part of life that happens to us all at some point. It’s not personal or brought upon you by the world.
The good news is you can learn to understand and use suffering to your advantage so it doesn’t consume your entire life.
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
The difference between pain and suffering
Turning suffering into happiness
The difference between good and bad suffering
Using good suffering to get stronger, heal and grow
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Hello, hello, welcome to Happy Productive episode number 20. I’m Jennifer Dawn, a business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. The Happy Productive podcast is your go-to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity, your goals and your time management practices. So you can set yourself up each and every day for as much love happiness and joy as you can possibly handle.
Now in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about suffering. Yes, you heard me right. We’re going to be talking about suffering. Doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun? It actually is guys. So just hang in there and stick with me. Now, first, I want to start with the difference between pain and suffering, okay. Pain is what takes place in your body. It’s like the reality. I stubbed my toe and it really really hurts. That’s pain.
While suffering happens in the mind. It’s those thoughts that were thinking. Now if you think that you’re going to be you know, immune from suffering, not the case, suffering is a normal part of life. It happens to all of us at some point. For some of us, it happens on a very regular daily basis, which is no fun whatsoever. It’s not personal, though. It’s not like brought upon you by the world or the universe. And the truth is that you can learn to use it to your advantage. However, if you don’t learn how to do this, if you don’t develop this skill, that suffering can so easily consume your entire life, and that’s definitely not what we want for you.
Now is suffering necessary for our happiness? I’m going to say yes, it really is, but not for the reasons that you might think. Now I do believe that long term chronic suffering is totally optional, and it’s also completely unnecessary. Now, while we might describe happiness, right, what is happiness we could easily describe it as the absence of pain or suffering. I’m going to say that really when you have the mental strength to embrace your suffering, and then learn and grow from it, and then hopefully eventually start to move away from it, then yes, that’s where you are going to start to find more and more happiness.
Now, the sounds wonderful. And you might be asking, that’s great, Jen, but how in the world do you start to turn your suffering into happiness? And are there things that we can do? Yes, absolutely. One thing is to start to change our environment. We can move we can paint a paint a room, we can take a trip we can get out of the house, we can start to change our environment, right so that we’re not seeing the same old, same old every day. And then when you start to change your environment, you’re going to shift the energy and get it moving in a different direction. And that can be a great step to take to start to turn suffering into happiness.
You can also take back your power because here’s the thing, you always have a choice in this life, you always have a choice. And when we feel like we don’t have a choice, and we’re simply just a victim to life and life is happening to us, and not for us, we basically have given away all your power and when you start to take that power back. No, it’s not necessarily all going to happen at once overnight. It has, for me it happened in like little bitty chunks. But when you start to take back your power, that is definitely a great step in turning suffering into happiness.
If you actually allow yourself to grieve and feel any negative emotions that you might be feeling. You guys know I also have my Best Journal Ever. And that came from the process of journaling out my own negative emotions and limiting beliefs and lies that I had picked up on in this life and abuse and trauma and things that had happened to me in my journaling this stuff out, and allowing myself to grieve and feel these emotions and feel the things that I was feeling instead of repressing them or burying them. It was so freeing, and it was one of the most important steps I took towards turning that internal suffering into happiness.
And finally, another thing that you can do is get really, really present, right? When you think about it, we’re so often caught up in either living in the past or living in some predictable future and instead of we focus on just getting really, really present right now. And if you’ve never done this, you might be like, well, how in the world do I get present?
And it’s it actually, a simple exercise I love to use is just to simply sit in a room anywhere outside inside, sit quietly and simply just focus on objects in the room, and just set your intention to really get present. And when I get present, and I look around and I focus on an object or a tree, or flower or whatever it is that might be around me, you can kind of feel the past and the future just sort of start to fade away. And when you get really present and you start to realize, hey, wait a second, I’m actually okay. And you kind of tap into that present energy. That’s another wonderful way to start turning that suffering into happiness.
So those are just some practical ways. But really, I want to, I want to really dive a little deeper into this topic of suffering. And why is it important and it is, why is it important for us to suffer? Well, when we allow ourselves, allow ourselves to feel those negative emotions, because remember, suffering is happening in our mind. It’s our it’s our thoughts and our feelings, right? And so when we allow ourselves to actually feel those things, what happens is that we don’t actually die from emotions, you guys. We don’t!
And when we allow ourselves to go into these places, and feel what we need to feel we realize, hey, we’re not going to die from this. Instead, what happens is that it frees us up, it releases us from that internal pain. And it also starts to then build up our self -confidence, right? There’s way more self confidence that comes from facing our fears, instead of spending an entire lifetime running away from them unwilling to feel those negative emotions in our life.
I truly believe that suffering can actually lead you to success. It helps us build up resilience, it makes us emotionally stronger. And during those tough times that where we’re feeling really vulnerable or like we don’t feel very good about ourselves, and it helps us to when we see that we can survive these things, right. It helps to prepare us for whatever might be coming next.
When I look back on my own life, and I look at the times in my life where I was suffering the most, it was during those times that I actually grew the most. I got stronger. I created a mindset that was like, you know what, it doesn’t really matter what life might throw at me, I know that I can get through it. And for those of you who know me, and you’ve heard some of my story, you know what I’ve healed from if you haven’t, I had a very rough childhood, a lot of abuse, sexual abuse. I was in an abusive marriage and really had to move through all of that. We moved a lot as a child, I was in 13 different schools by the time I hit 7th grade, and if you think that doesn’t mess a kid up, I promise you that it does, right.
So there were many things in my life that I had to overcome and it was the suffering but it was also that facing that suffering and be willing to get in there and be willing to heal that builds up my resilience and it made me emotional stronger. It made me mentally tough. And even sometimes when I look back on my life, I’m actually really, really grateful for that mental toughness that I was required to develop simply, really just to survive my life because I decided when I was 13, that I wasn’t going to let everything that had happened to me define me.
And it was a pretty important moment in my life as a 13 year old, I don’t even know quite where that came from, where it was just like I just there was a moment where I just decided, my life wasn’t going to be ruined because of everything that had happened to me, and I was going to still do something with myself and I was going to get out there and I was going to make something of myself. So in some ways, I’m really, really grateful for all that crap, right, that happened. That made me very, very mentally tough.
So when we talk about suffering, I think it’s really important to recognize the difference and just to make it easy, I’m going to call it good suffering and bad suffering, right. So what’s the difference between good versus bad suffering. And let’s remember, the suffering is what’s happening in our minds, right? It’s the thoughts that we’re thinking. And based on those thoughts, those thoughts are causing us to feel certain emotions. And when we feel those different emotions that’s causing us to take action, or to take inaction, right, and based on the actions that we’re taking, we’re getting certain results. And we may like or we may not like those results that we’re getting. So all of this is kind of starting with that suffering that’s happening in our minds.
So good suffering I would define this as putting yourself outside your comfort zone. Let’s face it, when you’re outside your comfort zone, it’s uncomfortable, okay. That’s why it’s called your comfort zone because you’re feel nice and warm and safe and secure in that comfort zone. But when you stretch your limits, when you push yourself, when you make the decision that you’re going to live up to your full potential in life, I promise you, you cannot do these things without getting outside your comfort zone. And when you’re outside that zone, it’s going to cause you to feel fear, you’re going to feel anxiety, you’re going to feel stress.
But when we talk about bad suffering, the quote, bad suffering, right? This is very, very different. When we’re in the bad suffering, this is when we’re feeling super sorry for ourselves. We’ve given all our power away. We’re feeling like a victim to life, a victim to the world. We’re feeling like we don’t have any control over what’s happening to us, right? Everything is happening to us. And it’s that victim mindset that we’re in that bad suffering, right? But it’s also going to cause us to feel fear and anxiety and stress, those same things.
But the difference between that good and the bad suffering is the outcome. The difference is the results that you’re getting in your life. With that good suffering that might cause us to feel uncomfortable, in that good suffering, we’re taking control or making a decision. We’re embracing change. We’re taking action. We’re opening doors. Yes, it’s going to hurt. But in that hurt comes growth, your growth.
With the bad suffering, you are still making a choice. Absolutely. But it’s a disempowered choice, right? You’re basically choosing to go nowhere. And when you choose to go nowhere, the only result that you’re going to get from that is it’s simply going to increase your suffering. That’s the result that you get from the bad suffering is simply more suffering.
This is why when I talk about A tasks so if you’re new to me, you may not have heard this. For those of you who have been with me, Hi guys, I absolutely love all of you. You’ve heard about the A task and so when I created the Best Planner Ever inside the planner on the daily to do list you’re going to see ABCD and the Atask is probably the most important line in your daily to do list. Why? Because the A task is that task that you do that puts you outside of your comfort zone. It can be really easy to procrastinate but that’s what moves the needle on your goals, on your life, on your vision.
That’s the A task, now for a lot of people sometimes when they hear about this, they think the A task is just like my most important thing to do today, which often can translate to my most important busy work for today. And that’s really not what the A task is designed to be. The A task is designed to be that step that you’re going to take that’s outside of your comfort zone. And it will require you to suffer a little bit right, it’s going to require you to push past that anxiety that fear right. It’s going to require you to grow, to learn to evolve to become what you are capable of becoming.
And when you’re growing, it can absolutely cause suffering, but it’s that good suffering. Is it worth it? Yes, absolutely! Is it worth it? Yes, every single time it’s worth it! Every time you step outside your comfort zone, every time you push that bar further, it is absolutely worth it, even if it causes you to suffer a little bit. And sometimes it might even cover cause you to suffer a lot, but it’s okay. When we talk about that A task it’s really that thing in your heart that you really want to have or you really want to do. But our minds our ego minds can so easily right talk us out of doing it and why? Because our minds want to protect us from suffering, right?
We want to seek pleasure avoid pain, basic human programming 101. But the truth is that it’s gonna take some suffering, it’s going to take some mental toughness to break through that, and be willing to suffer a little bit in order to get to break through and get to that other side of happiness. And so for some of you, you’re going to know exactly what I’m talking about. For some of you, you might be like, what the heck is she like onto here?
And I want to I like to explain this as think about your diet. If any of you have ever tried to lose weight, that first time that you choose a salad over a cheeseburger, if you’ve been there, you know, it hurts. That first time that you make that empowered choice to choose the salad right over the cheeseburger or the ice cream sundae or the bag of potato chips, or whatever it is for you. The first time you make that choice, it hurts.
Exercise, let’s say you’re trying to get in shape and you’re really out of shape, the first time that you choose to work out over hitting that snooze button or over watching a TV program while you sit your butt on the couch, right? The first time you make that choice, it hurts.
If you’re dealing with a limiting belief, the first time that you choose to face that fear or face that limiting belief, right? Or you choose to get help you hire a therapist, or you hire a coach, or you start working with a healer, or you decide, you know what, I am going to sit down, I’m going to journal out my crap, the first time that you make that choice, it hurts, right? There is definitely some mental suffering that’s going along.
The first time that you have to set a boundary if you’re not good at setting boundaries, right? And you decide that I’m going to take care of myself first instead of other people. The first time you do this, if you’ve been in this in this boat, I know I have. The first time that I decided to take care of myself over other people in my life. I’m going to tell you, it hurts, okay? The first time that you decide that you’re going to say “no,” or you’re going to take back your time, you’re going to set that boundary the first time that you start doing these things absolutely hurts.
But the difference is that you grow, you get stronger, you heal, you learn. And yeah, it hurts those first times that you have to start doing it. But it also feels good. In fact, it feels really, really good when you come out that other side, and you’ve probably experienced this when you ate the salad and afterward, gosh, you felt so good and so proud of yourself. And when you worked out after the workout was done, you felt so good and you felt so proud of yourself. You set a boundary. And yes, it was uncomfortable, but afterwards, it felt so good and you got a piece of yourself back. You got some of your time back, right. You faced a limiting belief you realized, hey, wait a second. Maybe you cried right through the process. But afterwards, oh, things start to open up and they start to shift and you feel so good, right? When you come out that other side, that’s what you want to hold on to.
Because when you stay stuck in that bad suffering that whoa is me, whining, complaining, bitching about your life, never really doing anything about it never changing. That never feels good on the other side. You don’t ever learn anything you don’t grow, you simply stay stuck. And this is why I think it’s so important to know the difference between the suffering that’s going to lead to your success and the suffering that only leads to what, more suffering and there is a big difference. And you can choose, you always, always have a choice.
And if you’re listening right now, and you start to realize that you’re stuck in that bad suffering, right, the kind of suffering which doesn’t lead you to where you want to go. I want to encourage you today to make a different choice. Now, it doesn’t matter how small that choice might seem to be, I promise that it can lead to huge, huge results in your life. But don’t decide that you’re going to do something tomorrow or next week. That doesn’t work, I want you to decide that you’re going to do something today. Right now, as soon as this podcast is over, I want you to start taking back your power.
I want you to choose an A task for yourself today, figure out what that a task would be. And for each of us, it’s going to be different but in your heart, it’s in there. You listen to your heart, your heart is going to tell you what your A task today should be. Even if it requires a little bit of hurt. A little bit of discomfort. You listen to your heart, it will tell you what your A task for today should be. Write it down. Okay, and then do it and do it today and cross it off your list. All right, pay attention. Once you cross that off your list. Remember, this podcast is all about awareness. Pay attention to how much better it felt, to take a step in that direction, even if it caused you a little suffering, but pay attention to how good it felt afterwards, right? And I want you to hold on to that.
And then tomorrow, I want you to do it again. And the next day, I want you to do it again. And remember this step that you’re going to choose to take today, right now, it could be anything, it could be setting a boundary, right? Sending a boundary in your life around a relationship or your business or your own self-care or saying no, whatever that boundary needs to be. It could be a belief, a limiting belief that maybe you’ve been carrying your entire life and you’re like, you know what, I’m going to put my ass in the chair and I’m going to start journaling around this belief and I’m going to decide that I’m going to heal it and I’m going to on from it right?
Your A task could be making the choice to get some help. Maybe you go back to that therapy appointment, maybe you hire that coach that you’ve been on the fence of hiring. Maybe today you say NO to something, maybe today, you say YES to something, maybe you decide that you’re going to take care of yourself, you’re going to take maybe take back control of your time, maybe today you’re going to eat something healthy or move your body. Or maybe today is the day that you decide I’m going to fix these problems in my company once and for all.
So whatever that is for you, whatever your A task is, I want you to be willing to suffer a little bit to push through it to achieve your goal, okay? Don’t be so willing to like chicken shit out because you just want to avoid the discomfort of your own growth and end up staying stuck. I promise that hurts you so much more in the long run. Today, making choice for your own improvement your own success, your own right happy productivity!
If it hurts a little bit perfect, that means that you’re doing it right. Growth can hurt. But it’s what we need. If you think back in your life to some of the most painful, uncomfortable times, but where you came through it, you came through it better, you came through it stronger. Look at how much you learned. Look at that mental toughness that was developed, right?
We do have to suffer a little bit for our own growth, but it is absolutely what we need to succeed. So get out there today and choose that A task, not tomorrow, not the next day. But right now today as soon as you get done listening to this, figure out what your A would be write it down and get out there and do it.
Now if you need some more help with this. Come check me out at Jennifer Dawn Coaching especially if you’re a business owner, and you just really need help get in your hands head and heart rate. wrapped around all of this, I would love to help you. If today’s the day that you decide, hey, I need a better time management system, consider checking out my Best Planner Ever you can visit us at www.bestplannerever.com.
Thank you so much you guys for listening. I love and appreciate all of you choosing a task today, even if it causes you a little bit of “good suffering” It’s a good thing and I promise there’s so much happiness on the other side of it and so much happy productivity on the other side of it. It might seem silly to say this, but go out there and suffer a little bit right so that you can have a super Happy Productive day. Alright, thanks, you guys. I’ll see you on the next episode!