A statement made and a question posed to me, a while ago, have stayed with me ever since are:
“Happiness and Health, are your birthright; suffering is optional!”
“Do you want to be right, or have a healthy relationship?”
And I keep this at the forefront of my thinking all the time – and have had a reasonable degree of success. And what does all this have with “learning the lesson and forgetting the pain?” might be the question you have right now – and so, let me get to the reason I started writing this.
Let us look at the “victim” stories that we all have, of one kind or the other. Each and every one of us, at some point of time or the other, have played the victim. Where we take an experience or an event in our respective lives, and turn it around, where we are the victim and the wronged one, and others are the villains! The question is, “Is that REALLY the truth?”
And most of you are going to be thinking, “That is true of X or Y or Z, and I am NOT like that!” And as Richard Boyatzis says,
“Self assessment is not just illusional, it is delusional!”
I suggest that you take any one of your victim stories or if you find that expression too difficult to handle, an experience where you believe you have been wronged, and then do the following with it:
How much of that experience is ACTUAL FACT and how much is an entirely subjective interpretation, or personal perspective of the experience? It is very important that one must be very discerning, and coldly critical while doing this exercise. An easy way to to this is to play the devil’s advocate in this evaluation – being like one’s best friend, or greatest enemy (Both speak their absolute truth about us, and maybe the manner in which the truth is conveyed, and the reasons or exaggeration differ)
You might be surprised to find that a majority of the “victim story” is fiction and there is very little “fact” in it. Pareto’s law is very likely to work here as well – 20% fact and 80% interpretation, and most of it being a negative interpretation.
This therefore leads a person to treat this experience as extremely negative. And very few have the courage, fortitude and awareness to understand and appreciate that they are NOT the victim. Most people tend to be 80% unhappy, and 20% right!
There is no doubt that each and every one of us needs to learn from all our lives’ experiences. Learn lessons from the not so pleasurable experiences, and become better for the future. And learn to be happy from the pleasurable experiences and become more grateful and fulfilled.
The “negative” experience is just that – an experience. However, the emotions associated with it, that we add and keep it there, are entirely our own choice. My favorite statement of late is this, “Happiness is a state of mind, and entirely dependent on the choices we make. So, choose wisely!”
Actual pain is pain! However, “suffering is optional,” and further it leads to a lot of unhappiness. None can take away the fact that there might be physical pain - and anything other than physical pain, is an illusion based on one's own thinking, expectations and the like.
A manner in which this can be done is to look at 20% perception, and 80% fact – or in other words, “learn the lesson, forget the pain!” It is very useful that a child learns not to touch fire – and once a child experiences it, chances are the child will be wary in future, and prevent drastic damage occurring. Similarly, learning the lesson involves just that – and choosing to let go of the pain associated with the experience.
And a way in which this can be done, is to simply ACCEPT that something one find unpleasant and non-pleasurable happened. And to let go of all the bitterness, anger and victimhood that might have been associated and added to it (refer to the last section of this article on how this could be done, easily, by using helpful affirmations.) Most likely that the bitterness, anger and victimhood are a figment of one’s own imagination, anyways!
As author Shelle Rose Charvet, says, “BULLSHIT ALERT! This means that what follows might sound like “BULLSHIT” to some – and hence, keep that filter handy! And discard anything that you do not agree with, in principle, in what follows – the intention is to share a view, and neither you nor I HAVE to accept one another’s views! Again, this is CHOICE at work!
True happiness and peace comes when one can maintain equanimity at all times. This includes times when experiences or events are less than pleasurable. One can actually then let go of being a victim.
And for the actors involved in the event, including one’s own self, the following affirmation will go a long way in alleviating the pain, and living with equanimity:
“I love and accept myself exactly as I am!”
“Even though I said, did or thought (whatever it is that one finds not useful), I still love and accept myself exactly as I am!”
For others in the experience, against whom one might have negative energies associated:
“I love and accept (Name of the other person) exactly as she/he is!”
“Even though (Name of the other person) said or did (what they said/did), I love and accept her/him exactly as she / he is!”