People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. –Thich Nhat Hanh
Some people want the “familiar suffering” — and they want any other suffering they can get their hands on. Suffering is their hobby. Explore the suffering, make it into art. Make it into a conversation piece at parties. Make it a part of your identity. Make it into a merit badge and sew it to your sweater. If you don’t suffer, you’re boring.
I have had people encourage me to get out of my ‘comfort zone.’ I think this prospect can easily be confused with intentionally dwelling in suffering. Yeah, there is suffering when you get out of your comfort zone. And yeah, you have intentionally brought about conditions that could result in suffering. But this is different. This is more…sacrifice…or…This: What you are signing up for is more exertion. You might interpret the exertions as suffering.
I have flirted with suffering …in all kinds of ways …and in various degrees of severity. I catch myself feeling sorry for myself. I intentionally pick self-destructive options.
I have known people who are truly trying to get away from suffering, doing all the smart things possible to avoid suffering…because the smart thing to do is to get away from suffering.
Why suffer? Why suffer intentionally? I guess there are insights to be gained…why do people starve themselves, whip themselves with chains out of piety…martyr themselves…