“Suffering and misery. Those are the only two switches that I have in my life. I just can’t do it anymore!”
So many people come to my office with the words “suffering” and “misery” as their life descriptors. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to hear. But it is so very real for those who experience it.
“I listened to one of your videos online. You told the story about someone who came to you because they realized how miserable their life was when they were sitting in the chair at their dentist’s office. Then last year when I did your online ‘Designing An Extraordinary Life’ program and I was reviewing my previous year…I realized that my life had a theme: suffering and misery”, he said as his voice trailed off.
I leaned forward with great understanding as he poured out story after story. His life indeed had been filled with suffering and misery.
I wish there was a way to wave a magic wand or come up with some phrase like ‘just get over it’ that would cause misery and suffering to disappear from people’s lives.
I know, and you know, and we all know it’s just not quite that simple.
But in my working with hundreds of Champions over the decades, I must say that far too many of them have come to me in a state of misery and/or suffering prior to resurrecting their Champion within.
One of the reasons I’m so committed to helping people resurrect their champion within, is because I’m so aware that it puts misery and suffering to rest. And on rare occasions, when suffering shows up, those moments are quite short lived.
I hope moments of suffering are few and far between for you, and very short-lived. But whether it’s the theme of your life or you find those moments popping up more often than you’d like, my hope and prayer is that what I’ll be sharing over the next few weeks will be helpful for you. Just as it was helpful to my client that I opened with.
I’ll be sharing the heartache of suffering and misery. And why
Champions are able to put them to rest, as well as how to do so.
I asked my client, “How hungry are you to put the misery/suffering to rest? How motivated are you?”
At first, he looked at me as if he’d just heard the dumbest question in his life. But while he paused, I continued.
“Obviously you want things to be different or you wouldn’t be here. But sometimes there are payoffs to suffering and misery. Sometimes, if it has gone on long enough, it becomes our identity. And sometimes we just don’t know what to do to end it.”
As he nodded in agreement, I concluded, “I can help you with any of those three things: whether the misery/suffering has become your identity, whether there’s a pay off, or if you just need to tap into the motivation to do something different. But it’s important that we examine it, to know where to start.”
His stare said I’m with you, then almost blurting out, he said, “What if it’s all three? And if it is, is there any hope?!”
I smiled with understanding and responded, “I can help with any and all of them…IF you’re ‘hungry’ enough!”
What about you? Are there payoffs attached to your suffering and misery? Has it become your identity? Do you just not know what to do? Regardless of where you are on your journey, I’m hoping that in the next few weeks I can help you with any or all of them!
The hardest thing for most of us to do, is to see ourselves now, as others see us. We get lost just doing life and surviving. We can’t hear the words we now speak, that just aren’t working for us. Or, to know what we need to do or stop doing in our life’s most important relationships. We’re stuck at what to do, and how to do it?
That’s why God crossed our paths. There’s a Champion in you and my gift, my call, my educational expertise, and my professional practice was built to help the inner Champion in you live and dream!
Here’s the beginning of the process that Champions follow to put misery/suffering to rest. I hope you’ll follow along! And put yours to rest as well!
1. What does suffering/misery mean to you? What’s the source?
What is suffering? It’s been defined as:
- To experience or to be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant)
- To submit to or be forced to endure
- To put up with, especially as inevitable or unavoidable
What is misery? It’s been defined as:
- Intense unhappiness, discomfort, or suffering
- The state of ‘ill-being’ due to affliction or misfortune
My personal definition of misery and suffering is much simpler:
“Living and experiencing life in any manner that falls short of the abundant life we were meant to have.”
Some people believe that misery and/or suffering is our punishment. Or something that we have no control over. An expected personal default mode we don’t want to settle for, but feel stuck, and without other options.
Although it’s true that we cannot control everything that happens to us in life, and for sure cannot control other people and their choices. But if we identify the source (of the misery/suffering, often delivered by difficult people) we can certainly do what it’ll take to move beyond the lostness of it. Which leads to and gives us, the ‘new freedom’ to make new choices. To see, hear, and embrace the abundant life we’re meant to know and have.
I began to ask my client a few questions that I would like for you to ask yourself as well.
- When did your descent into misery and/or suffering begin? And HOW did it begin?
My client responded, “I literally think I was born with it. My mother was miserable because my dad was an alcoholic. But he was a functional alcoholic. He held a steady job to support us, but used way too much money for his craving for the ‘fix’ he got from expensive/upscale bottles of wine. So, she was always miserable about what she had to do next, just to keep the lights on.”
He paused, quickly gathered his thoughts, and continued.
“My dad was a miserable alcoholic. He was the life of the party when he was around others. But around our house he was a negative, easily agitated, miserable human being,” he said staring at me.
I let the quiet speak and with concern I said, “I can see why you say you were born with it. Because, I suppose, that’s all you ever knew growing up. It sounds like the atmosphere and culture of your home was rooted in misery. In suffering. They are the silent relentless thieves of our energy. Leaving us too drained to even want to begin to find hope.”
- Is there any pay off to your misery/suffering at this point in your life?
Everyone looks at me like I must be mentally ill to ask such a question. But when our misery persists, there’s usually something fueling it.
After contemplating for a moment, he replied, “Well, I know that my wife and kids don’t bug me when I act miserable. But my God…isn’t there something really sick about that?”
I smiled and assured him, “The reason I asked the question is because most of us are not aware that there’s a payoff. But when we identify it, we can do something healthier…like requesting some quiet, undisturbed time from your wife and kids, rather than chasing them off with your misery?!”
He gave a half smile as he said, “I’m sure they’d like that better!”
- What do you say to yourself about your suffering and/or misery?
My client jokingly retorted: “Well, it’s not like I have a conversation with myself about it every day!”
In the same humorous tone I said, “Well, you definitely don’t have it out loud, and you may not have it consciously. But I can assure you that you communicate with yourself about your misery/suffering.”
In deep thought, he waited and then responded.
“Well, truth be told. Almost every morning I look at myself in the mirror and think, ‘You’re a miserable SOB’!”
I quickly asked, “And how does that feel as those thoughts cross through your mind?”
“I guess it feels like the truth. It feels like it’ll be another miserable day.”
“So, it’s become your identity,” I asked?
“How the hell did that happen?”
I paused, as I saw emotion pour over him. “So, it’s like in their misery, they just turned me/us into little versions of their suffering and misery, I guess…”
I waited because I could see there was more brewing beneath the surface. He went on.
“Since it’s in there, so deep, is there anything I can do about it?”
I assured him, and I am assuring you, that you’re not destined for misery and/or suffering. Too many of us believe that somehow it might very well be our destiny.
Nothing could be further from the truth. However, it’s not a cake walk to break free of misery/suffering. If it was, we would have already done it. But it’s also not as difficult as you might think.
I hope you’ll answer these questions for yourself and follow along over the upcoming weeks to free yourself of misery and suffering.
It’s time to step into the abundant life of a Champion!
2. How to develop the hunger required to get rid of and put suffering and misery to rest in your life.
I told my client that the real problem with ridding ourselves of misery/suffering is that many of us don’t believe that it can be different.
As a matter of fact, some people don’t even know it’s an option, because all they ever knew was suffering in misery. It’s a ‘norm’ in their lives now. Particularly if you grew up in a home where misery was prevalent and pervasive. It becomes what you expect of life.
Too often, we add substance abuse to the misery/suffering equation just to help us survive. Then life enters levels of madness, that only surrender and the 12 steps can bring peace to.)
I love what Tony Robbins says that’s so powerful: “Life will deliver to us what we expect from it.”
It really has to do with our reticular activating system (RAS) in our brains. Our RAS is much like our Google search engine. When we grow up around misery and suffering, it enters those words into our RAS, our Google search engine on repeat. And us just ‘doing life’ sets our RAS in search mode to see, attract, and find the misery and suffering.
Why this result? It feels ‘normal’!
In different words, it sets our “emotional home” to misery and suffering. What’s our ‘emotional home’ you ask? It’s the emotion most often expressed in the home we grew up in. And/or emotions we felt in moments of trauma.
It’s where we default to at any given moment.
- When we’re tired
- When we’re upset
- When we’re outraged
- When we’ve been hurt
- Etc. Etc. Etc.
I asked my client, and I’m asking you the same question, “What occurs that causes you to default to misery and suffering?”
He ducked his head and in a shameful whisper said, “Anything.”
- Say good morning cheerfully
- Say good morning with an attitude
- When they don’t say good morning
- When they eat their breakfast
- When they don’t eat their breakfast
- When they talk
- When they’re quiet
- Anything? Anything! Yes! Just anything!”
“Are you aware that in doing that you’re making misery their ‘norm’,” I asked with gentleness and sensitivity?
He gasped as his face fell into his hands, “Oh my God! No! No! I can’t do that to them!”
At that moment, he was “hungry” to make the change.
As with any major change we want in our lives, we must be hungry for it.
Hoping for it, wishing for it, is simply not enough. I asked him the following two questions; I hope you’ll take them time to answer them for yourself as well.
“What will be different in your life if you give up the misery and suffering?”
His first words were…“Well, that’s obvious!”
- My kids will want to be around me
- My wife might like me again
- I might feel differently when I look in the mirror in the morning
- I might laugh again
- I might feel like going to my kids’ games
- I might sleep well
- I might do something besides watch TV every night
- I might go to church with my wife and kids
- Sounds like a stretch, but I might be happy.
I smiled and nodded as I said, “You just might indeed be happy.”
I told him that’s what I call the “fire in your belly.” The great things, the wonderful benefits, of giving up misery and suffering. You must have some fire within! That is what makes you hungry, to finally get rid of the misery and suffering.
Much has been written about finding your “why.” And I agree that finding it is critical.
But neuropsychology tells us that having a “why” is not enough. Because we’re wired more toward avoiding pain, than we are for seeking out pleasure and reward.
(That’s what’s called the “fire on your backside.” We see what we need to do. We feel it. We need to do it. But we are not quite ready for ‘whatever it takes’. So instead, we pause and say, “Pass me a ‘doobie’ or a shot or a Budweiser or turn the TV on…let me numb out and think about it.”)
The next question for my client, and for you is this “what will you miss out on if you continue to live in suffering in misery? What will be the negative consequences?”
I could see my client was resistant to the question, and I understood… Because it’s a tough thing to look at.
He began slowly, but very quickly the momentum picked up:
- “I’ll probably end up divorced.
- My kids won’t want anything to do with me once they grow up.
- We’ll never have a family vacation.
- I’ll never know what it’s like to spend a family Christmas watching grandkids open up gifts.
- I’ll probably end up a drunk like my dad.
- I’ll never open the business I’ve been wanting to start.
- My life will have been meaningless.”
- His chin began to quiver as he said, “I will likely die a lonely old man!”
Having a “fire in your belly” and a “fire on your backside” is what makes you hungry to rid yourself of the misery and suffering.
Living with it is not how we were meant to do life!
Find the “fire in your belly”, identify the “fire on your back side”, and expect something different and wonderful to emerge in your life as we walk through this together!
3. Examine and change your beliefs about misery and suffering.
Not only is misery and suffering installed in you, but your beliefs about them are equally as powerful. Likely you are not aware of them. But it’s time to change that!
You absolutely can! But my question to you is this: will you?
I hope and believe you will, I asked my client, “What do you believe about your misery and suffering?”
He pondered and began:
- “I believe it’s just the way my life is.
- I believe now that it’s installed on my hard drive, just like you said.
- I believe it’s just a way of life.
- I believe I probably deserve it because I haven’t been a good husband, and I’m not that great of a dad.
- I believe I’m sick of it, but being sick of it doesn’t seem to matter.”
What about you? What do you believe about the misery and suffering in your life? You simply must examine and stomp the beliefs out that keep you powerless. And install some powerful new beliefs.
After looking at his list of beliefs about his misery and suffering, we did a scrambling exercise by having him stand up, jump up and down to the rhythm of some music (“I Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) while saying the old beliefs out loud backwards. (Last word of the sentence to first word). It literally scrambles your beliefs!
We did it again and again until you could see that they no longer had control of his brain.
It’s a great exercise for you to use to pull the plug on the power of beliefs that keep you chained to misery and suffering.
Then we installed these powerful new beliefs:
- My life is my choice and I do NOT choose misery
- I’ve located misery on my hard drive, and I am pressing DELETE, DELETE, DELETE!
- I deserve abundant life because it will make me a better husband and dad
- I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired so I’m kicking misery out!
We installed it by jumping up and down and proclaiming it to the beat of “The Fighter” by Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. We did it till you could see it fall deep into his soul.
Replace your old “bondage to suffering” beliefs to powerful FREEDOM, abundant life beliefs!
It’s yours for the taking … and you’ll be ready to leave misery and suffering behind in the weeks to come.
My client came back after his last powerful session of scrambling old beliefs and installing new empowering beliefs … and we did one more thing to prep him.
I hope you’ll take this bonus step too.
I had him write a letter to suffering and misery and serve them notice that they were being evicted.
He had fun with it, and I hope you will too!
After he finished writing it, I had him stand out on the balcony of my office which overlooks a golf course. I asked him to read it aloud, so that everyone on the golf course could hear him proclaiming the upcoming eviction of misery and suffering. (Hopefully there were no children out there):
“Dear Misery and Suffering,
I’m done with you. You crawled into my guts when I was just a boy, and you took over the throne. You’ve made my life suck. Big time! I’m telling you right now that you need to get the hell out of my life. You have ‘screwed up’ everything good thing I’ve ever had. My wife, my marriage, my kids, my family. You better get your running shoes on…because I’ve got my sh*t kicking boots on and I will kick yo *ss all the way to hell. GO! And leave my kahuna’s behind. You’ve had them knotted up my whole life. NO MORE! I will LIVE! I will LOVE! I will be the man God always intended me to be!”
Again, hopefully there were no kids out there. But he got the job done!
I hope you’ll take time to write your letter. Read it out loud…like you mean it!!!
“YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE WITH YESTERDAY ON YOUR BACK!”
The Champion in you is ready to lead you to the abundant life. Leaving suffering and misery in the dust.
Don’t miss next week when we set that in motion!
In the meantime, get ready! Get Ready! GET READY! … To lay misery & suffering to rest forever.
And get ready! Get Ready! GET READY! To step into the abundant life!