Pain ≠ Suffering
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way."
- Viktor Frankl
And Frankl should know.
In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, he describes the experience of arriving at a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He is immediately stripped of everything he has, his hair is shaved, and he is left to stand in a room of similarly affected people -- some strangers, others he’d known all his life.
It is at that moment that Frankl has the realization that even though everything -- his possessions, his family, his dignity -- had been taken away from him, he still had the power choose how he would react to the situation in front of him.
This is an extreme example, but it’s a reminder that painful moments in life are inevitable, but the way we react to them is always our choice.
We can react to them in a way that amplifies the pain or we can respond in a way that allows us to learn or take steps in a better direction.
Pain is inevitable but suffering is not.
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