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Suffering Happens: How to Transcend it and Move Forward

Suffering Happens: How to Transcend it and Move Forward

Suffering is not something people like to talk about, much less experience. It is common to want to numb, drink, or otherwise try to ignore suffering. It takes self-compassion and a compassionate view of others to drive a feeling of sympathy around suffering. Learn how compassion can help you grow in understanding about the nature of suffering and how to ease the pain.


When people think of accepting suffering or traumatic events in their lives, it feels like they are saying it is okay that it happened. Suffering at the hands of someone else is never okay, nor is making the self suffer through internalized or externalized aggression, addiction, or any other way. True acceptance of suffering requires us to take no judgment about a situation or a person. True compassion is being able to look at the whole world without expectations it should be any different. We may still hold a vision of possibility for the world, but we don’t use it as a standard of comparison to reject where the world is right now. Being compassionate involves understanding the suffering of another without feeling sorrow or pity. Sometimes the best way to help another’s suffering is to:

  • Notice their pain without judgment
  • Be present with them and say nothing
  • Honor their suffering by entering into it with them through mindfulness practices

Created Suffering

When you are in recovery from addiction, it is a time of intense personal reflection. You start to gain clarity about who you are, what you want, and where you are going. You may also begin to notice how people create suffering through beliefs in their mind. Through this you can see the habitual roles that they play and emotional reactions they create for themselves. Quietly sitting and listening to someone sends a powerful message of acceptance to them. They may feel the world is wrong, but if you accept them unconditionally, they may feel they can conquer the world.

Heroic Need to Help

The desire to fix another person is natural, but it is a distortion in our minds of what we assume the other person wants or needs in that moment. The mind holds an outside situation responsible for sorrow or pity and it drives a lack of awareness about how we are creating our own reactions. Here’s how to help without adding to suffering:

  • Stop trying to fix other people
  • Stop trying to fix yourself and realize you are not in control
  • Let go of the need to be everything to everyone all the time
  • Be present with emotions and not feel others’ sadness
  • Embrace humility that you can be aware of suffering without feeling like you have to change it yourself personally
  • Let go of attachment to beliefs of how the world should be
  • Offer forgiveness to yourself and others

Even if we hold the vision of people being better, healed, and everyone having higher consciousness, it is not the reality. There will always be people with different ideals and agendas. When we let go of the idea we can all live happily ever after, we start to realize we can suffer less, offer more compassion, and even start to see how we can truly make a difference, one person at a time.

Compassion, forgiveness, and suffering are all parts of the human experience, especially in recovery from addiction. It is painful and hard to experience all these things but we will help you journey through them together. Serenity is here to support you in whatever way you need. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401