Suffering is Optional 

“Suffering is optional.” 

I was 25 when I first heard this phrase at a training course I took back in 2001.  It was the only rule the teacher had for the class.  He said that if we needed to use the washroom, to get up and go.  If we were getting stiff just sitting around, we should stand up and stretch.  If something was confusing or we didn’t understand the lesson, we should ask.  Above all, if we didn’t like the course, we could just leave.  There was no point in having miserable people filling a room and wasting everyone else’s time.

Is it?

“Suffering is optional.”

This simple phrase means so much to me these days.  There’s no need to be stuck in a crappy job just because you need a paycheck.  Go out and get a new job.  Why keep friends around who make you feel worthless?  Get closer with the ones who put the same value on your friendship as you do with theirs.  You feel a pain somewhere in your body that you’ve never had before?  Go see a doctor- we are all getting older and our bodies need maintenance too.

“Suffering is optional.”

I have found that over the years, if I’m not happy with what’s going on in my life, something needs to change.  I don’t like feeling miserable.  I don’t want people around me who feel that if they are suffering, everyone else should as well.  I also know that I’m not going to be the best at everything I try to accomplish.  Hard work and perseverance don’t mean the end result is worth achieving if you’re miserable along the way.  I’m not saying give up because something isn’t easy.  I’m saying that it’s how you deal with pain or frustration is what matters.  Everyone is dealt a raw deal from time to time, but it’s how you overcome these obstacles that matter.  Sitting in a corner, feeling sorry for yourself and stewing over all the things you could have done differently is a natural reaction.  At some point though, you need to stand up and face the challenge or walk away and stop suffering.  The choice is all yours.


“Suffering is optional.”


  1. loretta · March 8, 2016

    Well said!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Am I Out Of Ideas? Or Just Repetitive? | Making It Up As I Go

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