Pain, Suffering, and Undesired Situations in Life

We suffer more in imagination than in reality. — Seneca

When things go south

You planned to go to the gym in the morning, complete the top three tasks of the day in office, and buy a rose for your partner on your way back home. Everything goes as planned. All tasks checked off one after another.

We love such days, don’t we?

On such days, we are energetic throughout the day; we even do all the chores happily, and also make people around us happy. The happiness radiates. That’s natural.

The challenge is, how you behave when things aren’t going right. You wake up with a headache, you miss the workout, your tasks remain pending in the office due to someone else’s fault. The entire universe seems to work against you.

On such days, you don’t donate to the beggar, you walk off without any expressions; you don’t say thank you with a smile to the waiter. You are irritated, upset, and angry throughout the day. These feelings radiate from you.

This is the real test. It’s not natural to radiate happiness when things are not going right. It requires effort to keep your calm when things are going wrong.

Handling Undesired Situations

We often come across unavoidable situations in life that we are not happy to experience. It could be a boring conversation with your boss, a long traffic jam, or an ongoing health issue.

In such situations, cultivate a habit to ask: “Can I do anything about this?”.

If you can do something, for example, create a good excuse to escape from the boring conversation with the boss, then do it. If you can’t do anything, then getting upset or irritated about the situation isn’t going to help. It will only worsen the experience.

If we categorize our emotional states as positive, negative, and neutral, people generally go to the negative state in such situations. I am not asking you to be in a positive state, but try to stay in the neutral state, the negative state is counterproductive.

Pain and Suffering

No one can escape pain, and it’s a good thing. Pain is a crucial mechanism of our body; it warns us that something is wrong at some place in the body.

When you encounter pain, the best thing to do is acknowledge it, try to find the reason behind it, and take action. Once you’ve made the necessary measures, carry on with other regular activities of your day.

The pain becomes suffering when we sit with it all day long. This only increases the pain. Remember, you have a choice, don’t sit with the pain.


PS. Subscribe to the Crazy Polymath Newsletter to get these posts in your inbox every week.

PPS. If you are not following me on Twitter, you can find me at @CrazyPolymath.