It could come from disappointing others or being disappointed. It could start from grief and an accumulation of bitterness, resentment, and years of feeling misunderstood. It could spiral down from a bad morning, a critical thought, a negative image of yourself and your body. It could even come from disease and physical illness.

Suffering is like tentacles of pain that causes greater anguish if we react in response. Thoughts can be sticky like spider webs and hard to release, give up and let go of. Maybe you’re stuck on a desire to be right, an upsetting conversation with a loved one or difficulty you have with accepting yourself.

Well-known mindfulness expert, writer and teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD says in a podcast with Sounds True to, “‘Imagine your thoughts were like a cascading waterfall just going over a cliff. Just never ending.’ If you are able to sort of sit behind it…so you weren’t completely inundated or drenched by the water falling…you could just sit back there and just listen to the sounds and the energy of the thought-stream expressing itself. You would have an entirely different relationship to creativity, to imagination, to negative thoughts, to anger, to sadness to anxiety…” Doing so, he says, causes “less self-generated suffering.”

Accepting difficulty as is can actually be healing. Hardship can be freedom. It can help us be aware of what’s working and not working and give us space to make better choices in our lives. In this way, that negative thought, discord with your teen or critical belief are like seeds sprouting a new way of being in the world towards self-love, self-discovery and self-acceptance, that will ultimately change your life.

{Photo from here.}

{Photo from here.}

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