Life On Purpose Coaching Tips Podcast
About This Show
A weekly podcast of engaging conversations to inspire you to live your life on purpose. Brought to you by Life On Purpose Institute, Inc. (www.lifeonpurpose.com). Your co-hosts are Ann and Brad Swift, co-founders of Life On Purpose Institute.
Most Recent Episode
The Source of All Suffering
Aug 20, 2015
'The source of suffering is never what happens to us but is instead what we make it mean.' Paraphrased from the work of Landmark Education
The wisdom captured in the short sentence above has been the theme of this week's coaching; both in my clients' lives and in my own, so I thought I'd offer it up to you to try on as well. Let's look at it a bit more closely.
First, let's make a distinction between physical suffering and emotional suffering. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, I'll experience acute physical suffering also known as pain. It will last for a few hours or a day.
However, it's possible that I'll also suffer emotionally if I'm not mindful of my thoughts and feelings. I may say to myself something like, 'What a stupid thing that was. I'm so clumsy. I've always been clumsy. I should know better than to ever pick up a hammer, etc.' This meaning that I ascribe to what happened, i.e. I hit my thumb with a hammer, is the source of the emotional suffering, not the facts of the matter.
Let's look at another example that may be common to many people reading this article. I had a coaching session with a client who was bummed out because he's now close to 60 years old and he doesn't feel that he can do all the things he could do when he was younger. He's not able to lift heavy objects at work which makes him feel inadequate and that he's not carrying his own weight. Since he and his wife still have small children at home, he feels that because of his age he doesn't have the energy level that he should have to keep up with his children and that makes him feel like a failure as a husband and father.
Now, let's see if we can distinguish between the facts of this example and the meaning, remembering the source of the emotional angst and suffering is ALWAYS the meaning ascribed and not the 'facts of life.' Here are the facts: He is 58 years old. He is unable to lift heavy objects at work. He has small children at home. Where's the suffering in any of that?
Here's the meaning that he has ascribed to the facts. He feels that he's inadequate and not able to pull his own weight at work. He feels that his energy level isn't what it should be as a father of small children. He feels like a failure as a husband and father. Ahh, sounds like we've found the source of the suffering.
Now, if we're interested in ending suffering i
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