A response to a reader on Facebook who was considering with me the nature of suffering in light of the fact that we’d both suffered iatrogenic brain injury by psychiatric drugs — an excruciatingly painful, often bizarre and therefore alienating, experience:
You know, everyone suffers. I frankly had to stop myself from assuming that I had it worse than the person I was next to. We really don’t know. I started to practice realizing I don’t know what others have suffered. I started realizing that competing for having suffered more than everyone else was a losing battle…especially for me…and yeah, it does lend itself to just having a bad time. We really do have to accept ourselves before others will accept us. I’m not sure this is helpful…but I think that your recognizing this and talking about it means you’re ready to let it go….and let yourself be happy…what if you just enjoyed yourself with people? What if they really don’t need to know how much you’ve suffered? I’ve found that giving people attention…hearing how they’ve been hurt too and having compassion for them is a great way to actually show that we actually know something about suffering and when we love others that way it comes straight back to us.
For those still suffering psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes, remember it does get better.
And I must share this now too because certainly much goes into maturing through this painful process:
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable. All these and other factors combined, if the circumstances are right, can teach and can lead to rebirth. — from Hour Of Gold, Hour Of Lead: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh
More on topic:
There is nothing unique about our suffering. (Tonglen, a compassion practice)
The solitude of suffering
The difference between pain and suffering
Suffering Ends, Wisdom Begins
Attachment and suffering
The Cause of Suffering
Inviting our suffering onto the dance floor
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