Another secret to overall life betterment coming right up!
We are seemingly limitless. We know that can't be literally true, yet every year we humans outdo ourselves from the year before. We continue to progress in nearly every way. This is very cool, and there are so many reasons why this is true. But, I only want to talk about one of those reasons today, in an idea I call the "Suffering Capacity Theory."
The simple explanation of the idea is this: Our body and brain are designed to improve themselves through higher levels of difficulty. To get better, you have to try harder and harder things. So the big deduction I make from those facts is: Suffering is NOT an obstacle in your path to betterment; it
IS THE PATH.
We spend so much time avoiding pain and resenting it, yet we never stop to appreciate that we are nothing without it. Even better is the fact that if you can embrace suffering, it can become a sort of superpower. Happily using it and reaping the benefits. In fact, this concept is part of my "Golden Tools" series (ideas that are dependable and powerful enough to change anyone's life).
Suffering is an essential element of progress. To go up, you must work against gravity. In exercise, there is no gain without pain. Even your brain must work harder and harder to improve itself. Indeed we all use this concept to progress, whether we know it or not.
If you don't embrace these facts, this tool will not work very well for you. Instead, you'll continue to resent and avoid suffering. This is fine if it's needless suffering, but most suffering is useful. So please do yourself a huge favor and accept all the suffering that brings you closer to a better you and a better life. Think of it like "spending money to make money", but in this case you are "needfully suffering to remove needless suffering" with the added bonus of betterment.
For instance, things like anxiety and pain are simply our body or our mind warning us about danger, damage, or potential problems. It’s not the problem; it’s just the thing telling you about the problem. It’s like the old saying, “don’t shoot the messenger.” So if you tell the messenger that it is also a problem, you’ll create an infinite feedback loop where the messenger keeps telling you about itself and the thing that is truly the problem. "I'm in pain because I'm in pain" does that make any sense? Haha! So one of the ways to remove useless suffering is to stop the suffering caused by an overreaction to pain.
Your nervous system is like a friend calmly telling you about a bee on your shoulder. If you decide to scream and freak out, you’ll freak your friend out too, and now you are both screaming, haha! But all that should have happened is that you calmly reply, “oh, thanks,” and gently blow the bee away. That way, you and your body experience far less pointless suffering so that you can subject yourself to more of the good suffering that improves you. BOOM!
The ultimate goal here is that you want to increase your suffering capacity. The reason you need to do this is that a greater capacity to suffer means you can endure life with greater ease, be way more productive, and ultimately be more happy.
Everyone who uses the concept will indeed get better, but how much better depends on 3 things:
Your natural physical thresholds (suffering capacity #1)
Your mental willingness thresholds (suffering capacity #2)
Your level of desire. How bad do you want it?
So here is a handy chart I made so you can visually understand this part of the concept:
SO! Let's get down to business! The Actionable Advice! Here are the 3 things your need to do to Increase your Suffering Capacity:
Eliminate needless suffering, both physical and mental. Needless suffering comes in many forms. A physical example would be a poor diet. A mental example would be a false toxic mindset caused by past trauma.
Reach your suffering capacity. Find a category of your life you would like to see improvement in and practice it until you near "burnout." Burnout is how you know you are at your suffering capacity and is a physical, emotional, and cognitive limit.
Recover from your near burnout. There are many ways to recover, but the most important way is to give yourself time to rest your body and brain. That includes plenty of sleep and general chill time.
All 3 of those items are much easier said than done, but my hope is that you can take the raw concept here and run with it. If not, of course, I'm always here to help. You can schedule a wellness session with me anytime to talk about this or any wellness goals you have right here: https://calendly.com/motivatememike/30-min-1-on-1-online-wellness-coaching
In any case, I hope this blog has at least helped you to embrace the beauty of suffering. Whether that be with serenity or stoicism. Good luck out there, my friend. May we all move up ↗️🏔!