Endure the Pain and Gain
Endurance is your capacity to endure conditions of extreme physical and psychological stress and to be able to cope with and manage your reactions, maintaining high levels of personal performance. An example of this might be having the ability to maintain composure and concentration despite fatigue during an emotional battle with a partner. Training your mind to develop emotional control is the foundation endurance is built upon.
Controlling your emotions during any stressful event is all about controlling that inner voice in your head. When you feel down, dark, depressed, defeated or anxious, this inner voice can become extremely negative, questioning what you are doing and causing you to feel tired and drained. Positive self-talk has the complete opposite effect taking you away from feeling tired and defeated back to feeling empowered again.
If you think about an athlete who uses endurance to cope with fatigue during a marathon, you begin to recognise it can be learned. You can switch off the negative voice and listen only to the positive one. A runner will not say, my legs have turned to jelly and I need to stop, they say my legs are tired but I can win this race. Giving your brain the right signals when it comes to physical endurance is no different to psychological endurance. You are what you think always. Endurance of any kind is down to how badly you desire something.
We will often endure extreme pain to have bigger breasts or endure emotional pain rather than ending something we know is not right for us long term. When it comes to how we respond to physical and emotional pain, we do have a choice and, in this response, lies our freedom. Our thoughts have the capacity to make us totally miserable and negative thinking can become self-fulfilling and a self-defeating prophecy. For this reason, brain training endurance requires the ability to not continuously and unproductively keep replaying negative thinking, magnifying all aspects of self-misery.
Conscious awareness of your negative thinking, your self-talk and how it triggers a cascade of events, fuelling continued suffering and pain, which then leads to a downward spiral into hell, is how you reach mindful acceptance and detached observation. Instead of enduring your pain and suffering, you find the strength to step away from it, which then leads to decreased feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness. Once you can escape your mind for a while, your stress levels will decrease and this alone will improve any tension or physical pain you are feeling.
While it is part of our nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain, our past plays a central role in how we deal with our suffering. Many of us reject our pain because we see it as a nuisance which arrives to interrupt of pursuit of happiness and harmony, so we fight it, repress it or find quick fix solutions to get rid of it short-term. I have endured unbearable painful experiences, including near death and homelessness but I have today understood and acknowledged this pain has become the path to my enlightenment. There is so much we can learn from enduring pain rather than blocking it out. A state of permanent inner peace will always defeat imperfections and past disappointments.
Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian poet and Sufi master born 807 years ago, 1207, the most popular poet in the US, talks a good deal about grief as a blessing. Rumi quotes "Joy lives concealed in grief."
What does not kill us, makes us stronger, so my advice is to brave the eye of the storm, endure whatever pain is holding you back from living the life you deserve and feel the full benefits of your suffering. Wisdom, compassion, gratitude, resilience, and a greater respect for reality. Wisdom emerges from the endurance of your suffering; I know this for a fact. When things go well in life,we will have little need to question things but when things go horribly wrong we are forced out of our mindless auto-pilot state which then helps us to reflect on our choices.
Life is just like the river, it doesn't matter how many times the rocks take a battering the river never stops flowing and the rocks endure the polishing.
Photo by: Sara Kurfeß Unsplash