Corruption, the state, the wrong arrangement of the stars or a black cat - you can blame anyone for the fact that you suffer. But are they the reason? Psychologist Lyubava Kobylinskaya-Vashchuk explains why we like being unhappy so much and how to stop getting high from it.

How to stop suffering: working with mind patterns, ego, illusions

Parable of Suffering

One man came to God's judgment and says with dignity:

“I have earned the kingdom of heaven. I suffered!

“And since when,” God was surprised, “suffering began to be considered a merit?”

“I wore a sackcloth and rope,” the man frowned stubbornly. - He ate bran and dry peas, did not drink anything but water, did not touch women. I exhausted my body with fasting and prayer...

- So what? God noticed. “I understand that you suffered, but what exactly did you suffer for?

“For your glory,” the man answered without hesitation.

- Pretty, I get fame! The Lord smiled sadly. “I mean, I starve people, make them wear all kinds of rags and deprive them of the joys of love?”

There was silence all around. God still looked at the man thoughtfully.

So what about my share? the man reminded himself.

“Suffered, you say,” God said quietly. How can I explain to you so that you understand? For example, the carpenter that was in front of you. All his life he built houses for people, in heat and cold, and sometimes he went hungry, and often hit his fingers, and suffered through this. But he still built houses. And then he received his honestly earned wages. A It turns out that all your life you have done nothing but hammer on your fingers with a hammer. Where are the houses built? Where are you at home, I ask?

Why suffering is so "delicious"

Suffering is a cocktail with a surprise, regardless of the proportions, the ingredients create a unique taste and lasting aroma. The surprise is that there are a lot of feelings in suffering: discontent, torment, irritation, resentment , uncertainty, pain, grief, envy, humiliation and... pleasure.

But not everyone is able to recognize and distinguish the components of feelings. Not everyone is ready to notice and acknowledge their own pleasure, but every sufferer assures himself and others that he wants to stop suffering.

How to suffer properly

There is suffering "for dummies" - like a carpenter: he built a house, hit his hammer with his finger, it hurts - you suffer. He suffered (complained, whined, blew on his finger), the pain went away, the suffering ended. You can start building a house again with pleasure and handle the hammer more carefully (well, for example, do not turn your head in all directions, but look carefully when you are going to hit). So everyone can suffer.

There is also "professional suffering" - high-quality and full-fledged, all life. Suffer even when you can already stop. To be constantly dissatisfied with your life, to continue to choose and do what you don’t like, not to do what you really want, so that there is something to complain about. Do nothing to change your life, envy those who are doing well, and get angry at those who try to help.

"Professional suffering" is not easy, you need to try and make an effort in order to turn life into suffering. Recall the good old folk wisdom: “we didn’t live well, there’s nothing to start”, “endure, fall in love”, “will be rewarded for suffering”, “beats - it means love”, “happiness always comes after suffering”.

But the main thing is not to admit that you yourself choose life-suffering. And it is desirable to blame everyone around for this: fate is unfair, ungrateful children, there are only traitors and liars, parents are stingy and indifferent.

Faith in illusion

When we complain about something and suffer, it seems to us that the world is really unfair to us. And no one wants to admit that it is I who choose suffering and make my life such. Often we believe that someone should make our life better - parents, the state, leadership, God or the Universe.

This position is far from adult, it relieves us of responsibility for our lives and at the same time deprives us of opportunities and resources. Taking the first step—recognizing that I choose to suffer daily and monthly—can be difficult. But this is what allows me to get rid of the romantic expectations that someone will come and create a completely different life for me.

Sometimes suffering is strengthened by the expectation of happiness and benefits simply for the fact of suffering. We are attracted by stories and fairy tales in which the main character had to suffer, but then he received such bonuses that he could not even dream of. AND it is also an illusion that for our suffering the universe will give us a wonderful life.

An illusion that we believe in, wasting time and energy on living an unhappy life. Usually “good” people suffer, “bad” people don’t even think of suffering, they take and do what they want.

And “good girls” (and boys too) are afraid to declare themselves even to themselves, constrained by their goodness. No wonder the word "good" is in quotation marks, in fact, "good" people also do a lot of bad things. But most importantly, they prioritize in favor of others, precisely in order to strengthen faith in themselves as a “good” person. Although suffering certainly does not make us better.

but on the other hand

Although suffering is primarily torment, it also contains an element of pleasure. A particular masochistic pleasure, rooted both in temperament and in personal maturation history, is the pleasure of torment and pain. As we grow up, our psychological defense mechanisms become more sophisticated, complex, and intricate.

To understand how psychologically masochistic you can be, it is helpful to remember a moment (or moments) in your own life when you were subjugated and had no opportunity to take revenge.

For example, in childhood, adolescence or adolescence - at an age when we have less rights to make decisions and choices, and are forced to obey the adult who is nearby. The anger and rage that we experienced, we could not fully express (sometimes we could not express it at all) and we could choose (not quite consciously, of course) - not to be angry, not to resist.

Stephen M. Johnson, a famous psychotherapist, quotes a phrase that expresses the essence of masochism: "I will not be angry , I will take revenge." And he says that in reality, only a form of “safe revenge” is available to a person - to engage in self-destruction, to choose to live in a mode of suffering. And partly it gives you the opportunity to establish control and power over your life - "I can choose it myself."

Such pleasure in suffering is not a vice and not something for which one should condemn oneself. Otherwise, the process of change will close, since condemnation of oneself is the same path - masochistic.

Of course, this process is hidden deep in the unconscious, and in order to “unearth” it, deep work on oneself is necessary.

Relief from suffering

Is it possible to change your way of life and stop suffering? Possibly, but be prepared to work on it.

This work is long and fraught with disagreement, resistance, doubt and depreciation. To enter it is to change the template and the usual assessment of the situation. How to do it? Now I'll tell you.

1. Admit that you enjoy suffering.

The first thing you can try to do is to accept your choice, recognize it and your own responsibility, recognize the pleasure that is hidden in this choice.

Write down on a piece of paper everything that you suffer from and complain about, everything that brings you torment, and everything that seems unfair. AND at the end, add the following phrase: "This is my life, I choose it, and it will always be so."

2. Give yourself time to resent

Then the most interesting thing will begin - for sure you will experience indignation or disagreement, anger or resentment, thoughts will begin to appear in you that will justify and return you to the mode of suffering and the feeling that you could not have chosen this.

Do not rush, notice, but rather fix these feelings and thoughts. Give them the opportunity to come out in full. It may take you an hour, a day or even a week. Accept it as a given and be prepared for the fact that change can be difficult.

3. Make a plan of action

When it seems to you that thoughts and feelings have dried up, set aside half an hour or an hour of time to write a letter to yourself. And in this letter, tell us about how you want to live and what you need to do for this, what you can do, what you are afraid to do and why, what you have to learn, and how you can do it. This will become the starting point.

4. Go ahead

Ideally, if you can afford to turn to  a psychologist and continue to move with him, mastering a new way of life. And if this is not possible, you will have to make independent efforts - and these will be small steps that are important to notice. They can be almost invisible, which is why it's important to pay attention to them.

A good practice is a nightly short diary “What happened differently in my life today”, in which it is important to record these steps and changes.

Important to remember: “I am what I did to myself, not what happened to me.” Every day we have the opportunity to do something with ourselves and through this change our lives. So why not use this chance daily?