No One likes to suffer; in fact we have a natural instinct within us to avoid pain – at all cost. We run from it, hide from it, ignore it, drown it out and find any distraction that will numb suffering when it comes knocking.

Suffering arrives as illness – rejection – loss – disappointment – loneliness – death – grief. It can feel like an ache that will never end. It can feel all consuming.

We live in a time where we have the ability to minimize suffering with health care, medications and “How to, Advice.” The ability to lessen pain is a gift but it can also lead to a belief that we shouldn’t have to suffer. If there’s something to numb agony then why in the world would we not grab it? 

I would agree that extreme suffering can be detrimental to life; causing exhaustion or an inability to function day to day. Alleviating pain for these reasons is compassionate, but to overlook the opportunity to understand suffering can rob us of finding the treasure hidden deep within.

You may have heard the advice, “Embrace your suffering.” That’s counter intuitive but true. What does embrace your suffering even mean? It starts with taking a deep breath and turning towards pain instead of away from it. In so doing we choose to look at it, to take it in and to spend time reflecting on it’s the impact; then asking these questions of ourselves: “What am I feeling? Where is my suffering taking me? What is my suffering teaching me?”

By embracing my hurt I have taken the first step in peeling back the layers. What unfolds is a deeper understanding of me – seeing goodness in the midst of my pain – finding strength I did not know I held – courage – and a deepening compassion for others.

There are many gems to be found in difficult circumstances that we would much rather see bypass us; but to have missed the growth and capacity for emotional development – spiritual awareness and soul expansion – would be a missed opportunity . . . a tragedy.

Heal . . . be well . . . grow and know that suffering may not be permanent but the treasures buried within your suffering are.