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I Hope You Suffer

Alison LeipzigThere’s a lot of talk out there now a days on how to cultivate miracles to achieve a state of inner peace and blissfulness. I’m all for this beautiful way of existing in the world. Believe me, it changed my life and I can’t imagine NOT believing in miracles. However, positive thinking can become a problem when we use our “spiritual tools” to bypass the suffering and emotions that are beckoning to come through us. Instead of honoring the gifts that these emotions bring (yes, even suffering brings gifts), we slap an affirmation on top of it and think it’s all fine and dandy.

Let me tell you a little story…

Three years ago, I drove myself INSANE trying to avoid suffering. This small moment explains this concept, although I definitely experienced it in larger ways as well. Picture this: I was on a train coming back from the Hamptons during the 4th of July weekend. These trains are packed to the brim and I happened to get on one with no A/C. I was standing on the train and I was on my tippy toes because there wasn’t even enough room to put both of my feet down fully. I was sweaty and cramped. I was feeling angry, claustrophobic, anxious, nervous, tired, and angsty but I refused to let myself feel any of that because I thought of myself as spiritual. Anger? Spiritual people don’t angry, or so I thought at the time. So instead, I sang “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles in my head the whole ride home, pushing harder and harder to keep away the anger. It was exhausting, not to mention I was acting like a nutcase!

What I didn’t know then that I know now is that if I just feel whatever is coming up for me, even if it’s uncomfortable, I move through it way faster than I would if I tried to push the feeling down. And when I push it down, it gets stored in my body to come up at a later time. Better just deal with it now.

So here’s the plain truth that most coaches won’t tell you:
Your suffering? Your pain? It’s a really really good thing. (Tweet-worthy!)

“Through suffering, we often become aware that we were living an illusion we were not conscious of: the illusion that my Jaguar is me, that my marriage is me, that my full head of hair is me. And as long as we consider the illusion to be real, we will continue to suffer.” – Donald M. Epstein

If you suffer from negative body image, or you think your body isn’t good enough, you believe that your body is you.

Without suffering, you would never notice your inner self trying to tell you that your perspective, your belief, is no longer serving you.

Suffering is a sign that we need to shift our perspective in some way.

Suffering is information. There’s no need to get angry at your suffering. Your suffering is the gift. Through suffering comes transformation. Don’t deny yourself (or others) that gift.

How has suffering been a gift for you? Do you believe that suffering can be a good thing?

** If you are suffering right now, I highly suggest reaching out to a trained professional (therapist or coach) to hold your hand as you walk through it. I have worked with an incredibly loving and skilled therapist the past 2.5 years and I know that without her, I’d still be trying to sing “All You Need Is Love” every time I felt anything. In doing so, I was missing out on the richness of life and am now able to live, teach, and coach with depth and integrity.

Love,

Alison

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Alison Leipzig is a Body Confidence Coach who has been featured in Lucky Magazine, The Today Show, ABC’s The Chew, and Huffington Post Live. Alison inspires women to own and love their unique body and selves so that they can step into the world with confidence and create the lives that they truly desire. She believes that our bodies are our greatest teachers and that listening and trusting their messages allows for a deeper connection with oneself, which ultimately leads to the confidence and joy us women are craving. Connect with Alison on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Nicole Moore

    Beautiful post!

    • Alison Leipzig

      Thanks so much, Nicole! Hugs.

  • Marnie Martin

    Dear Alison,
    I do appreciate the message you are sending. Of course affirmations are not a cure for the avoidance of our inner signals , but instead a reminder of how we can at any time change our minds about how we FEEL about the circumstances we may find ourselves in.
    I believe that the body and soul whisper to us all the time and if we are tuned in to our intuition and begin to listen to the small frustrations, and irritations we notice, we can shift our perspective and avoid and illiminate the need for full on soul wrenching suffering.
    Thank you for offering up a new perspective on this subject….blessings :)

    • Alison Leipzig

      Marnie, I love how you say affirmations are a reminder. So true. I agree with you that there is no need for wrenching suffering. And really, with awareness and consciousness, “suffering” is no longer suffering. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Gratitude.

      • Marnie Martin

        Hey Alison,
        Thanks for your comments…and by the way…congratulations on your debut with TDL…much respect!

  • Caroline

    This is so perfect and applicable to my life right now. I prayed last night for guidance, and I woke up to your article. Thank you!

    • Alison Leipzig

      Your guidance showed up just as you asked, of course! Hugs, Caroline.

  • Deb

    well this is Devine I have back Pain a ruptured disc that I got 3 yrs ago on the job it took me that long to understand I was suffering physically and emotionally I recently retired from my job but with intention of working again in a less stressful less physical job having not found anything yet and dealing with terrible low back pain worse since last few days on job and having a problem getting to a good spot so despite my back I decided to follow my bliss and become a yoga teacher but here’s the thing my back pain has continually reminded me to take care of Me I’m still trying and I feel my back will improve when I get better at listening to it thanks for blog it made me feel terrific

    • Alison Leipzig

      Deb, keep following your bliss, pray for healing of the mind, and know your back is teaching you a VERY important lesson. You don’t need to know it right now, but it is. Love to you on your journey.

  • selfinthecity

    This is great! It’s so important not to “cover up” our feelings and slap a positive affirmation on top.. It’s actually dangerous not to look at our suffering. The only way to get to the other side is to go through it!

    • Alison Leipzig

      It is dangerous, I love that you point that out. Love to you <3

  • Alicia

    Ahh @alisonleipzig:disqus ! This resonates so clearly with me. Last month I joined Jeannine Yoder’s amazing all-in life coach training program, Mentor Masterclass. Thus far every day has been a wonderfully eye opening experience that has pushed me to see my experiences in a whole new way. This month, our featured celebrity mentor Sarah Jenks said something similar to:
    “Suffering is information. There’s no need to get angry at your suffering. Your suffering is the gift. Through suffering comes transformation. Don’t deny yourself (or others) that gift.”
    This idea has truly changed the way I see my life. As a coach we are actually asking to sufferso that we have to tools and strength to help others – pain is ALWAYS a blessing in disguise and once you begin to see it that way, suffering becomes much easier. thanks for your inspirational wisdom. xo
    For more info about the magical Mentor Masterclass visit http://www.mentormasterclass.com or email [email protected] :)

    • Alison Leipzig

      Alicia, you are amazing!!! I am actually one of the mentors in Mentor Masterclass (I think one of the bonus ones) so we will be talking soon for sure :) Jeannine is incredible and so is Sarah Jenks, so I am thrilled that you are in it. You are awesome…I know we will be connecting soon!

  • Christine Gutierrez

    love this @alisonleipzig:disqus

    • Alison Leipzig

      thanks chris! xoxo

  • http://evelinealmeida.com/ Eveline Almeida

    This is very powerful. Thank you! I came to that conclusion when I developed severe anxiety last year and started having panic attacks. I thought I shouldn’t be going through that since I was all spiritual now and meditating and stuff. Then I realized I needed to learn something and I let my anxiety teach me what I needed to learn. I learned that I was not really surrendering to life, to the here and now. I was trying to control my life and everything around me. I was trying to control my own body. When I realized that and finally surrendered I was able to overcome it. So now, whenever I feel anxious, angry, sad or any other feeling that makes me suffer I just sit with it and try to understand what it is that I need to learn now.