If you had the choice between joy and suffering in your life, which would you choose? You would probably say joy. But think about it. Would you really be willing to give up your drama for the sake of joy? Or do you think that joy and suffering can exist side by side?

They cannot. Suffering and joy exclude each other. Suffering is fed by feelings of self-devaluation and failure. They confirm one's notion of worthlessness and legitimate one's suffering.

It is important to distinguish between suffering and pain. Pain signalizes an injury or an imbalance in our system. Suffering is a fixation on the pain, an attitude of ignorance or an attempt to find an identity.

For many people their life drama is the basis of their identity. Their aim in life is to gain recognition for the suffering that they have endured. This is a very human and legitimate need. The problem is that recognising the suffering does not cure it. On the contrary.

The knowledge that it gets you attention and compassion from others gives the suffering additional value. It becomes a tool for gaining affection. The suffering is thereby strengthened, and it becomes even more difficult to free yourself from its grip.

Suffering can be the result of the daily little disasters that for many people is a way to feel alive. For some is it the only familiar way how to participate in life.

Suffering can also be a quiet accuse that life is unjust and hard. In such a case, you may feel like a victim of the circumstances. As a victim, you give your power to the circumstances.

We suffer when we lose a loved one. It is important at this point to distinguish between the pain over the loss and suffering. Pain is a natural reaction to loss. The pain passes, if you allow yourself to mourn the loss. After such active mourning you turn back to life.

Guilt feelings or rage against the injustice of the world feed suffering. If you do not recognise and acknowledge these feelings the suffering then can turn into a victim position.

A victim position differs from a victim situation by re-creating a victim situation in the mind. All the thoughts and feelings connected with it then influence the perspective on life.

A victim situation happens in life. Out of such a situation the victim position emerges with all the associated feelings of powerless rage and guilt feelings which then gets repeated in life.

How can you move beyond suffering?

An important step to move beyond suffering is to understand your motives. Is the suffering the consolidation of an old pain, a victim position, part of the identity or the possibility to get attention?

Another important step is to expand your consciousness. Consciousness heals. Consciousness is a tool that allows you to see through the illusions and confusions that make you prone for suffering.

What would be important to understand to move beyond suffering?

* The four pillars of how to grow joy in your life
* The difference it makes when you say YES: YES to life, to the Self, to the other person, to your community, to human values and to the union with life and the challenges that you have to face in making these choices
* How the creation of your own story keeps you in bondage and how you can change it
* How self-forgiveness can set you free
* The difference between guilt feelings and responsibility
* The difference between a victim and a victim attitude
* The illusion of romantic love, how it makes you unhappy and how you can move beyond it
* The secret of true sharing
* The power of counting your blessings
* The balance of giving and receiving and how you can attain it
* The spiral nature of the process of life
* How you can use love as a growth process
* How you can use your life patterns as signposts for a fulfilled life

All this information and hand-on tools such as exercises and instructions I provide in my ebook “Beyond Suffering” at http://www.visioform.com/uk/ebook-joy.htm

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ulla Sebastian is a well-known author, trainer and psychotherapist. Her work spans a wide range of themes for professional and personal growth based on the above principles. Her work is the result of forty years of research, work with thousands of people from all over the world and a lifelong experience of selfgrowth and transformation. Visit her website http://www.visioform.com for free courses, distance courses, books, ebooks and articles.