Suffering is an interesting word. It is defined as the experience of physical pain and/or mental distress. The root of the word goes deeper and in many respects each and every one of us needs to understand the relationship we have with this word. I would be so bold as to point the root of the word being situated in biblical teachings and carried over through centuries of societal conditioning to become a common experience we all link with either feelings of shame or guilt. Suffering was historically always associated with wrongdoing. If we did “wrong”, it would be punished and this is a truth that is carried in every area of society to a greater or lesser degree. The degree of punishment may vary, but nonetheless the core of the experience is about using suffering as a means for change or realisation of the particular wrong doing. This is by no means a debate about the rights and wrongs in life, however the role that suffering plays is obviously too central to too many individuals and especially couples around the world. I’m always left questioning the root of the suffering especially in couples. If there is no sign of physical suffering as a consequence of “wrongdoing”, then there will be clear mental suffering, which often leaves me with the thought of how unnecessary this is.
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