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Suffering Begins When You Think Things Should Be Different – The Way To Reduce Suffering

“Remember, people suffer only because they think things ought to be different from what they are.” - Paramahansa Yogananda, Left Brain Interpreter, anxiety, conspiracy theories, superstitions
“Remember, people suffer only because they think things ought to be different from what they are.” - Paramahansa Yogananda, Left Brain Interpreter, anxiety, conspiracy theories, superstitions
Suffering Begins When You Think Things Should Be Different – Here is the path to end suffering.

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the way to greatly reduce suffering.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about the way to greatly reduce suffering.

Every one of us will experience some form of suffering – setbacks, disappointments, failures, illness, accidents, disasters, loss, and the death of a loved one.

Suffering is part of the human experience.

Suffering cannot be avoided.

It can, though, be reduced.

The extent to which you suffer can be lessened.

Aside of the physical suffering we all experience as the human body ages and weakens, mental and emotional suffering can be greatly diminished.


Suffering begins with a thought – your response to whatever you experience or whatever you anticipate experiencing.

In turn, that thought triggers an emotion – an emotion that will support you or rob you of joy and power or overwhelm you with mental or emotional pain – be it rumination, depression, obsessiveness, confusion, sadness, grieving, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and so forth.

Those thoughts next lead to behavior that is either productive or self-destructive, meaningless or a waste of precious time and energy.

What are the thoughts that create suffering?

“Remember, people suffer only because they think things ought to be different from what they are.”

– Paramahansa Yogananda

The thoughts that create suffering are the thoughts whereby you refuse to accept change, or you resist or struggle against people and things over which you have no control.

You cannot change or control the people in your life, and nothing remains the same, nothing lasts forever: Impermanence is a fact of life.

Do you remember life prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Did you not expect life prior to 9/11 to continue to be the same?

Prior to Covid-19, how many of us expected that life would continue to be the same? How many of us expected the pandemic to be over in a matter of a couple of months and that life would soon return to normal?

Life does not unfold that way – life is in a constant state of flux. And with that constant transformation and morphing comes change that we perceive to be positive or negative – something we welcome or something we strongly repulse.

The way you respond to the change will determine the extent to which you suffer.

When you try to change or resist something over which you have no control, you create for yourself anxiety, frustration, anger, bitterness, and resentment. And if you expend enough energy uselessly trying to change something which cannot be changed, then you enter the realms of hopelessness, helplessness, powerlessness leading to victimhood, rumination, and depression; your suffering becomes worse. This principle also applies to the physical changes in our body – the more we resist, the more we suffer.

Next, there is the change that we long for or aspire to create; it can be small or large personal change, or it can be major social change. Yet again, the way you respond to that desire or craving will also determine whether you will suffer or whether you will triumph. Perhaps you will fight for a cause, with a plan and objective or perhaps you will simply complain, blame or criticize. Perhaps you will strategize to make personal changes in your life or you will simply complain, blame and harp on about the way things should be. Your approach will bring about change or it will cause you to suffer.

Again, the way to reduce suffering is to change your thoughts and to practice accepting what you can’t change and place your energy only on what you can change – and the only thing you can change or control is you via your thoughts and emotions. Thus, avoid suffering by criticizing or complaining about the way the people around you should be! Criticizing them won’t change them.

Further, when you feel or believe that your world is out of control, beware of looking for strange ways to explain the cause of events that seem out of control. Your left brain (left hemisphere) is known as the Left-Brain Interpreter which looks for explanations for things that are out of control; it tries to reconcile the past and the present. “It is the left hemisphere that engages in the human tendency to find order in chaos, that tries to fit everything into a story and put it into a context. It seems driven to hypothesize about the structure of the world even in the face of evidence that no pattern exists.” – Dr. Michael S. Gazzaniga

This tendency to explain things that seem out of control, things that we believe ought to be a different way, leads to superstitions and conspiracy theories. The intention is to maintain personal control and comfort by providing a feeling of consistency and continuity in the world, but rarely do those superstitions or conspiracy theories neutralize your anxiety. Instead, they instill doubt, suspiciousness and victimhood.

Remember, the more you try to control things you can’t control the more anxiety you will experience.

Finally, I am not saying here to not set goals or to strive to be the best version of yourself. Nor am I saying don’t fight for what you believe in or for what gives your life meaning. I am saying to be wise in your choices and the way you perceive life and its constant state of flux. What can you control and what can you not control? What do you need to accept? Whom do you need to stop trying to control or change? In what ways is your thinking creating suffering for you?

If you would like help to reduce stress and anxiety, to change your thinking, to be set free from the past, to overcome pain or trauma, or to improve your relationships, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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