Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

Life has its painful moments; it is unavoidable. But suffering is up to us. Suffering is brought on by fretting and ruminating and nonacceptance. It is our thoughts such as: “Why me?!” “It isn’t fair!” “This is horrible!” “I can’t stand it!” that bring more misery and damage than the actual situation.

We can live with the pain without the suffering. We absolutely can control our thoughts and mindset around the painful circumstance. All kinds of thoughts flit into our minds all the time, and we can control if those thoughts take over our minds and our lives. We certainly don’t have to give negative thoughts any more time and energy.

We can change the patterns of our thoughts. We can look for the positive slivers in the situation: for the learning opportunities, for people we would not have met otherwise, for the wisdom and empathy we are developing, for the kindness of others.

If you focus on the pain or hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the learning opportunity, you will continue to grow.

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