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Why Do We Choose To Suffer?

Wikipedia says that suffering is the “opposite of … pleasure or happiness.”

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines suffering as, “physical or mental pain…”

So, if we have the ability to choose the life we create for our Selves, why do so many of us choose to suffer?

What is choice?

Choice is about possibilities. And I'm all about the realm of possibilities.

I'll let you in to a secret... most of us subconsciously choose to suffer.

Your childhood

When you were younger, were you raised in an environment of suffering? Were you ever repeatedly told or relayed stories about working hard? If you don’t work hard…x, y, z will happen. Nothing in life comes easy etc. Were you programmed into a fear mentality instead of a trust mentality? Or, were you mentally programmed into the thinking that the world is full of possibility and choices, so you have the ability to choose?

Childhood conditions of suffering revolve around how our parents, role models and care-givers positioned the world and the environment to us through their experiences. And many of us will have experienced some form of trauma in our lives. And no one’s pain is anymore or any less significant. They are all individual experiences and circumstances. It’s how we choose to let those experiences impact us in our lives that counts.

Victim mentality

I often associate suffering with someone having a victim mentality. And both are choices. We can choose to identify that an experience was painful or sad, accept that and work on resetting and balancing ourselves, or we can choose to allow a particular experience(s) to take power away from us. If you’ve experienced violence in your childhood, or emotional, physical or mental neglect, it can be easy to fall into this lifestyle choice by default or as a coping mechanism to protect your Self, although you also have to see that you have the power to change how you perceive and live in this world.


Self-pity is the output emotion related to one’s suffering and can be seen as a by-product of unhappy events or circumstances outside of one’s control. Self-pity is often used as a tool or mechanism to invite empathy and draw attention to oneself from others.

Whilst it’s important to be compassionate with your Self and others regarding life and individual circumstances, it’s also important to empower your Self by choosing another path, like owning your experience and making different choices. Instead of wondering ‘why,’ starting asking ‘how, what and when…’ so that the focus is less about you being impacted and more about how you can make changes to get the results you’re looking for.

Changing the way we look at things, or seeing things from multiple perspectives can give us a new approach to the way we view the world around us. It's then up to us to implement change, heal and reprogram our behaviour patterns and mindset, which takes patience, compassion and understanding.

Check in with your Self:

  • Do you tend to blame others for everything in your life?

  • Do you struggle to see solutions?

  • Do you tend to have a negative outlook on life in general?

  • Do you enjoy attention from others because of your suffering?

  • Do you avoid taking ownership and accountability of actions, circumstances and choices you make?

Everything in life is a choice. We make choices today for the tomorrows we want to live and therefore making conscious choices and operating from a place of awareness is the key to moving away from a victim mentality and self-pity to a place where you are empowered to create the life you choose to live tomorrow.

What decision will you make differently today? What behaviour pattern will you start to change? Subscribe for free wellness tips, my 11 tips for setting healthy boundaries cheat sheet and access to my Understanding Your Inner Child mini-course. I’m also planting trees for new sign ups on my website >>


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