Written by: Ashlee Rose DiSalvo, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Questions to Ask Yourself to Help Break the Habit
The other night I was watching a show on Netflix called Midnight Mass and found one of the dialogues between two main characters to resonate with a theme I am seeing across many of my clients during our sessions with Spiritual Response Therapy. The main character Rhiley is talking to a Priest, Father Paul, about suffering during his AA meeting. Throughout this conversation, the Father explains how he believes that suffering is part of what we are here to do. That even Jesus suffered for our sins and so suffering therein is a pious experience that brings us closer to God. Rhiley responds by going through a list of ways the other characters suffer within the shows plot and ends with the statement “...the only thing, the only f–king thing that lets people stand by, watching all this suffering, doing nothing, doing f–king nothing, is the idea that suffering can be a gift from God. What a monstrous idea, Father.”.
Before I elaborate on my feelings around suffering let me be transparent in stating that I am not here to argue about anyone's faith or belief in Christianity. This concept is one I had been planning to write my next article on (there truly are no coincidences) and I believe that there are extreme circumstances of suffering where souls have come to this planet to help others through their suffering (like children with terminal illnesses). However, the idea that we have to suffer as adults sometimes in order to live a life of abundance concerns me. And I have found that those who have faith that suffering will go away if they pray enough can create a life-long program which helps them to side step their responsibility and ultimate self growth. Without hard work and reflection they allow such programming to continue in their lives.
In a way I understand it because there seems to be a benefit in society today to being the victim. If we are the one being “tested” then it might seem that we are chosen. And if we voice our suffering to others it might mean that we will receive wanted attention or help from them. If we have been wronged by someone or something then that makes us right in contrast and so suffering becomes justified by random acts of wrongdoing. There also seems to be a social norm around suffering and a hard work ethic. It is a common belief that if we are working so hard that we cannot enjoy living now then it just means we will live happier later (what is retirement). Athletes and entertainers are trained to push their bodies past the point of break for the approval of a crowd or the glory of the win. And all women and men know that “beauty hurts sometimes” but the payoff to look like the perfect person will be worth it.
Society accepts suffering as a right of passage and a tool to do many things including connect (or justify disconnecting) with others. Thus I serve clients who are burnt out physically and spiritually and looking for guidance from others because they have become so lost in their suffering that they cannot see a way out for themselves.
I find myself asking most of them the same question:
“What does choosing to suffer cost you?”
There are answers to this question but it takes some serious reflection and truthful conversations with oneselves to discover them. So I wanted to share some questions you might ask yourself so that you can begin the process of breaking this programming in your life.
1. Is your time worth giving away? One thing you can’t buy is time. Once it goes you can never get it back. If you had one day left to live what would it look like? Who would be there? Where would you go? What would you eat? What would you do? Most people would not respond with answers like work alone, workout, stick to my diet, or stay home. Living life like we have a lot of it left is destructive to our spiritual well-being.
If the majority of your days follow the schedule of the above answer then are you really living the life you work so hard for?
We suffer when we spend our time instead of give it.
2. If you have to work so hard to get what you want then why do you want it? A consumerist society is really great at telling you what you want. Advertising and technology are great at telling you how and where to get it and also how to look and feel while you're doing it. Add in a broken education system that promotes a pay to play workforce and it's no surprise that what you want and how you want to look is exactly like a lot of other people. If you think you have to be skinny, or buff, or both but your genes aren’t built for that then they’ve got the product or diet or weight loss system for you. If you just want to be “healthy” then doctors will take care of you as long as you pay into their healthcare and take their pills. What if you didn’t have to workout every day or starve yourself to look like the perfect version of you? What if you didn’t have to take a pill to be as calm as everyone else?
What if you didn’t have to work that job to make the money you need? What is attainable and is it good enough for you?
We suffer when we do not take our own path.
3. Is there any easier way with less cost to get what you want? People love a deal. What most people don’t realize is that most “deals” are simply presented differently but don’t actually cost less. Many stores mark food with the incentive price for buying multiples of one product when in reality the cost is still the same for one of that product (which will usually be evident in the fine print at the bottom of the sign). The truth is that some things just aren’t attainable but our society likes to make it seem like they are. Certain body shapes, athletic ability, and financial wealth are things that people are born with. The one thing we are all born with is creativity and the ability for choice. Having a healthy body is a series of choices that we make each day. A healthy mind and a healthy financial status are the same. Throughout our trials we realize that some of these things are more easily attained for us than others. It takes creativity to figure out how to get what we want so when we focus on external sources for drive that’s when we lose sight of what that actually is. Then we busy ourselves so much trying to get it that we lose our courage and ability to create a different path - or even realize that we’re not on the right one.
Do you really want more money or do you want what it can get you? Do you really want a certain body or do you want to be loved and desired by another? Do you really want that job or do you want to feel worthy and accomplished? Do you want that promotion or do you want more time off?
We suffer when we forget who we are.
4. How does suffering benefit you right now? Growing pains is a convoluted term for this article because it implies that growing is painful. And this can also be a justification for suffering. I have personally found growth to be very painful in my life but not because it had to be. When suffering becomes a program that we lean on it can be hard and painful to break it, this is when I find growth painful. Growth can also be beautiful and exciting. It can be a process which brings you closer to other people and yourself. It’s all a matter of perspective. Anyone who sees growth as scary or painful would choose suffering as a benefit.
What if the people around you supported your growth? What if people become your primary resource and not money? What if you didn’t have to work so hard to make the money you need? What if there was another way to heal?
We suffer because it is easier than changing.
Once you can honestly answer these questions for yourself I think you’ll find the final question easy to answer. What does choosing to suffer cost you?
Ashlee Rose DiSalvo, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ashlee is a former NCAA Scholarship Athlete who has worked in High School Education and Athletics for over a decade. She possesses both a Bachelors in Mathematics as well as one in Education and a Masters in Education with a focus in Library Science. She has served as a Founding Director of her own Junior Olympic Volleyball Club with Los Angeles Volleyball Academy and recently started her own business in Spiritual Response Therapy. Her new business, The Clear Estate, specializes in Akashic Record Clearing and Psychic Readings. Within the last year she has also started DJing Tech House shows as DJ Chakrateeze. She is a graduate of PSI 7 and staffs their Basic Seminars in Orange County.