There is no love without a risk of suffering, or even without suffering. Indeed, the more you advance in life, the more we grow, the more we experience, the closer you also get to death. Of course, we don’t think about it every day. But it is part of life and is even intimately linked to life: by the very fact that one lives, one is attached to death. It’s nothing morbid. It is simply the fact that in order to live, you have to take the risk of suffering.
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Suffering scares us — Loving is a risk
Not only suffer but also be afraid, go to the unknown. If we want to avoid suffering and confronting the unknown, we stay back home, we see no one, we do not accept anything, we do not evolve. Which is equivalent to not allowing onself to live. Life is about moving towards a new job, engaging, having children, all things that involve taking the risk of suffering. The person can hurt us, just as our children or spouse can do it. It may also be that our new work is difficult and brings some form of suffering. But this does not mean that there is no love or joy. It is important to understand this, because if you do not want to risk suffering, one cannot love it. We can’t keep moving forward. It is therefore essential to know how to find the right balance between the suffering that one is willing to accept in order to live truly — to live love too — and the suffering that one cannot accept because it is too hard to endure.
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I know people who limit their social relationships to the maximum, withdraw on themselves, because they are afraid to suffer. The social relationship represents a form of “not in the void”, but if you cut off, you cut off from the life.
If there is no love, there is no suffering, just indifference
To live truly, one must accept to love, and therefore suffer too. However, it is very important to differentiate between normal and destructive suffering.
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Thus, we must avoid moving towards a known form of suffering. I sometimes meet people who, having experienced only suffering, with humiliations and others, having only had examples of couples who were doing harm, have the impression that in order to love, one must suffer. They have developed a belief that associates love with suffering, like I love when I suffer or I love when I suffer. This refers to relationships of the persecutor/savior type, and it is known that it is not very healthy. So the goal is obviously not to seek suffering, but to seek love and accept the suffering that can be linked to it.
What is “good” suffering?
It is something that invites us to surpass ourselves, to grow, to evolve, sometimes to change. But it is certainly not suffering that prompts me to position myself as a savior or victim. Some people have a functioning that always places them in one of these three positions, leading them to play one of the other two roles (or the other two) in their relationships. These are not peer-to-peer relationships, but dependency relationships. If you have the feeling of being a Victim in relation to your spouse all the time, it is suffering that only hurts you, which is “bad”. This also applies if you feel that you are always the Persecutor (who is the wrong person) or the Savior. These are sufferings that gnaw you from the inside and can end up destroying you.
It is therefore important not to choose this type of suffering, with all the difficulty it may entail, because it is often our unconscious that places us in this or that type of suffering. Nevertheless, deciding not to be drifted towards this kind of suffering is already an essential first step.
You are able to endure this suffering The second point is to say that we are able to bear this suffering, because it helps us to remain in line with our values, to be who we are, or even to help us to be even more in line with our values. Let’s take the example of children. It requires sacrifices (greasy mornings and others) but we agree to make them because we know that it is for their good, that we build something that will allow us to have, later, a happy and joyful family. In this case, I accept this suffering because it is in keeping with my values, for example, i want my children to grow well. But it must not be a self-sacrifice. Mothers who are on maternal burn out go beyond their values, destroy themselves to give everything to their children. This is not a good thing because after a while they have nothing to give at all. It is therefore necessary to strike the right balance between suffering that we are prepared to accept because we have the resources, that we feel good enough to bear it, and the suffering that consumes us. For example, sacrificing an evening, even if it costs us a little, but because we think it’s the right thing to do at that time, and mormelt every night regretting that it is “always the others going out”. In this second case we are in destructive suffering.
I invite you to reflect on your relationship to suffering and love: are you in a situation that prompted you to take the risk of loving, and does the suffering that you have accepted as a result seem fair and conducive to your evolution? Or do you, on the contrary, feel that suffering takes over and destroys your love? This is where you need to doattention…