How committed are you to your suffering?
There's a well-known saying, "pain is in evitable, but suffering is optional". However, some people thrive inside of complain. And when presented with potential solutions to their problem, they argue every reason why the solution is invalid. Sounds familiar? You may know people who do this, and you yourself (if completely honest) may know that you were one of these people. When people complain about the same thing over and over again and never take action, I like to say that they are committed to their suffering. There can be many reasons why people are committed to there suffering, but there are five major ones that I see in clients that contribute to their chronic complaining.
- They don't believe change is possible. For people who don't believe change impossible there is a deep ingrain resignation and cynicism present. These are the people who when you present them with possibility they shoot it down immediately. Therefore they have affectionately game the name possibility killers. I know that sounds harsh, but I'm not here to sugarcoat the situation.
- They believe change is possible, but for everyone except them. These may be people who have seen success or change happen around them, but have not yet experienced it for themselves. They may even be taking some action (albeit ineffective or inconsistent). However, after time, the resignation sinks in and they come to believe that everybody can have it except me". For people like this, I reminded them that if others can, then so can they. They simply may need new actions and pathways to produce new results. I remind him that everyone has a blind spot, and the new actions to take that would be effective for him or her may just be in theirs. And that They may potentially benefit from a little outside guidance from someone who can see that blind spot, reveal it to them, and empower and hold them accountable for new actions.
- They believe that change is possible, but they cannot conceive that they are capable of making such a change. For these people, I asked the question when they decided that they were not capable. Many times there is some thing that happens in their past, and they made a decision that suddenly they were not capable. Once we get underneath that and we contextualize it, one has a new view of what's possible. Again sometimes this requires the support of someone who can spot, reveal, and guide them through whatever barrier it was that have to believe that in the first place.
- They believe that change is possible, but are unwilling to do the work of making the change. These people are truly committed to their suffering. Whenever I come across someone who believes change is possible but is unwilling to change, I tried to get underneath the reason for the unwillingness. Typically it encompasses number one, number two, number three, or the one to follow…
- There is secondary gain. For some this is a hard pill to swallow, but often times if there is chronic complaining, and I'm willingness to be responsible for change, it is possible that there is secondary gain. When this is the case, it's important to look at how big the secondary gain is, and ultimately remove this secondary gain in order for the person to become uncomfortable enough to make a change. Usually when their secondary gain there's more than one person involved and so change cannot be made if all parties are not involved in making the change.
Now, Many people times people who are committed to their suffering are unaware of this… This is the case. They may even deny such a claim. However you can spot when someone (Or yourself) is committed to suffering by when you hear the following phrases:
"Yeah, but… (Insert reason or excuse here)
"I know, but…"
""Yeah, I don't know…"
"I doubt it, things will never change"
.... Or any statement that implies that a person is a victim of circumstance, or at the effect of his or her own life. Here is the point that I'm making, there will be unpleasant circumstances… Some highly unpleasant circumstances for some. However, to Live life at the effect of your circumstances only has you suffer more. First, you must be leave change is possible. Then, you must be willing to do something about it. I'm not saying you have to become Nelson Mandela, or Mother Theresa, I'm simply suggestion that it is possible for you to take responsibility and be at the source of creating what you want in life. So, remember to ask yourself this question the next time you hear yourself complaining about something you've complained about before: "how committed am I to my suffering"? And if you are not at all committed to suffering anymore, then take action now! And if you don't know what action to take, seek out someone who can support you, brainstorm with you, and be your accountability partner. There are a multitude of resources out there… Online support (blog, social media, etc.), support groups, coaching programs, and more.
Maiysha Clairborne MD © 2016
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