Throughout my life, I’ve never met anyone that has not said they have suffered from something, which makes me question why does suffering exist? It may seem more philosophical than spiritual, but is subjective according to individual experiences and expectations. However, many ask why do we suffer? Often it is out of fear, but also people feel they are suffering and are thus victims when maybe they were expecting too much, or were unaware that their situation wasn’t that bad?
The question is if a Soul is suffering, then why can’t they do anything about it? Perhaps they should gain courage to speak up, or give up something in order to change their path? You can’t have everything, and sometimes one must sacrifice something. For example, if a a partner in a relationship is suffering due to verbal abuse, then the immediate question is why don’t they leave? Other factors come into play such as children, finances, and security, but if none of those are applicable, then what is stopping a Soul from ending what they perceive as suffering? When people say they are suffering in their job, because they hate it, then they do have a choice to leave. Some won’t because of finances, and others can’t because they can’t get another job. Often the Soul has choices—not always great ones, but they are options nonetheless if they choose to see them.
I have been in both situations, and at times suffered in silence because I thought it wasn’t that bad or that things would get better. They often don’t, although you may try to convince yourself they will. In previous relationships I have kept quiet, and suffered only a couple of times, but decided I should see whether it would get better. The problem is in relationships the other party can make you feel guilty, and remaining objective can be hard when it’s the closest person to you. Very often partners get brainwashed, and once free, they chide themselves for not leaving sooner. That’s why I always recommend people to keep friendships, as they can be the voice of reason.
In terms of jobs, many of the workforce silently suffer and yearn to do something else for a living. Do factory workers and cleaners really enjoy their jobs, or are they convenient, or a means to an end? For those who love and enjoy their work, they are blessed, but many are content or tolerate their working environment. Some however do suffer, and they do it for money alone. When that happens, it takes courage to give up a well-paid job to have mental freedom, and I can say it’s worth it.
Souls suffer in silence and maintain the status quo, but that means they will be stuck in a rut and often trapped in their own cage. No one should be afraid to voice their genuine concerns (notice, I don’t think constant whining on small matters is considered suffering, although in the minds of some it is), but they do out of fear of the repercussions, or what others will think of them. In some ways that creates and prolongs any suffering that has arisen.
I suffered at the hands of bullies as a young child, and there was no one to come to my rescue—not even my brother who was at the same school and who watched me being bullied. If I told the teachers, then they would increase the bullying, so what could I do? They would steal my snacks at break time each day and grab them out of my hands, then taunt me, and push me over while calling me names each day. Then one day, in the playground I had my chocolate bar in my hand and saw the gang approaching. I really wanted my chocolate bar, and thought what more can they do to me? So I gobbled it down in front of them, and told them they were too late. I honestly thought they would try to beat me up (I was about 8 or 9), but they stood there in shock that I stood up to them, and walked away. The bullying didn’t stop completely after that, but they backed off and never tried to get my chocolate bars again.
When we suffer we learn harsh and painful lessons, but it should also help us to learn empathy, so if we see others in a similar plight we are able to help them. Those who do suffer seek help, and those who have been through similar situations will recognize a silent cry for help. I find being a good listener without judging is helpful, because a Soul that is suffering must choose their own path; they should try and accept what has happened, look at what has been learned, and then to use that knowledge to help others and not to repeat the same scenarios. Instead some spend time and energy trying to understand why it happened (you will never find a definitive answer, only possible theories), wonder whether they were they to blame, and ask why did they deserve it, or think that it’s not fair that they had to suffer compared to others.
Perhaps a past life karmic debt has been played out, or the Soul had volunteered for an altruistic incarnation? These are theories, and while some people may mock them, there is no evidence or reason why some suffer more than others. Rather than to spend time and anger feeling that life has dealt you a poor hand, isn’t it better to try and change things to be the best they can in the circumstances? I’ve heard people say they are suffering, where really they just aren’t getting things their own way. Suffering is when you are harmed in circumstances that are beyond your control, so think about whether you are really suffering, or are you containing that suffering with excuses?
If you hate your job, boss, co-workers, then leave once you hand in your notice. Money isn’t everything, and you have a choice, but are you brave enough to take it? In fractured relationships, you have to look at what is more important—the house, what people think, money, or your sanity? There is no amount of money that can buy you peace of mind, but you must choose between material security, and suffering. Again, there is a choice; a Soul has choices, even if they can’t see them or consider them viable choices.
True suffering comes from sacrifices, but it need not be in silence. Spiritually, suffering is a means to help Souls to learn and evolve. Now this may not help those who are suffering or be of much comfort, but that’s why it exists. Souls should try not to blame others, but accept the lessons learned, otherwise they will repeat the lessons again, and no one wants to go through that if they can help it. Maybe the lesson is to learn forgiveness, tolerance, or to learn how and when to trust others—there are a multitude of lessons that involve suffering, including losing someone you love. We can help others suffer less by considering others in our actions, and to have empathy for others. That is another lesson all Souls learn. Often suffering is eased with a kind word or act, or when someone will listen without judgment, for we all make mistakes—humans were not created to be perfect.