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What is the difference between Pain and suffering?

What is the difference between Pain and suffering?

What is the difference between Pain and suffering?
What is the difference between Pain and suffering?
What is the difference between Pain and suffering?

In our society, the phrase “pain and suffering” is used so frequently that the two are frequently confused. “Is it possible to have pain without suffering?” you may wonder. Is it possible to suffer without experiencing pain? Is there really a distinction between the two?” After all, people win lawsuit settlements as compensation for their pain and suffering. When people are ill or experience other traumatic events, they express their pain and suffering.

However, the two are not synonymous! Suffering is what we do with the pain that happens to us. While changing our minds about this concept may be difficult, it is not impossible. We can avoid or reduce our actual suffering by how we respond to the pain we feel.

Pain Serves a Purpose
Consider what pain is in order to begin changing your perception of pain and suffering.

Of course, there is physical pain. However, there is also mental and emotional anguish. Emotional pain, like physical pain, is intended to alert us when something is wrong. We interpret chest pain or achy joints as a signal to seek medical attention. We are aware that something requires our attention.

Suffering Is An Option
Similarly, emotional pain is our brain’s way of alerting us that something important requires our attention. However, the emotional discomfort we experience often drives us to avoid or ignore it. Rather than focusing on the underlying causes of our pain, we choose to focus on how it makes us feel.

When we spend too much time focusing on the source of our pain, we can get caught up in negativity and complaining. We can become enraged at the unfairness of our situation. Perhaps we dwell on how difficult things are for us.

Unfortunately, these reactions only serve to prolong the pain—and thus to cause suffering. Because this is what suffering is. When we ignore our pain and become angry about it, we invite suffering into our lives. We cause suffering in our lives by how we deal with the difficulties we face.

Choosing Not to Suffer (In A Healthy Way)
Many people will go to any length to avoid having to deal with their emotional pain. They use food, alcohol, drugs, sex, or work to drown out their emotions. When uncomfortable feelings arise, they flee and resist them.

We can, however, learn to stop suffering if we choose to remain open to our pain and carefully listen to what it is trying to tell us. We don’t have to be angry because of our pain. We don’t have to waste emotional energy attempting to avoid it.

Instead, we can practice observing our pain, questioning our expectations and beliefs, and choosing to believe that it will pass. Training ourselves to recognize that emotions are fleeting and transient is a critical step toward saying no to suffering.

It is a procedure.
It’s not a one-and-done change, like anything else in life. Changing your perspective on pain and what you do with it is an ongoing journey. It takes time and effort. You may need to go deeper into analyzing your reactions as you go through various painful situations and experiences. As with any skill, the more you practice, the better you will become.


Fortunately, many others who have gone before you are available to assist you through books and support groups. As a counselor, I also specialize in teaching addicts how to process their emotional pain and thus avoid suffering.

If you’re ready to take the next step in this process, please contact my office right away. I’ve seen many clients find peace and power, and I believe you can as well. Learn more about drug and alcohol counseling with me to better understand the distinction between pain and suffering.

What is the difference between Pain and suffering?

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