You often suffer most by the suffering you fear. It is a Dutch saying and I have wanted to delve into this for some time and then it always comes my way. That’s how life works, but do you always see it? But that’s another story entirely 🙂 For now, yesterday I was asked by a Swiss woman if I wasn’t afraid to walk alone. We were sitting in a small local restaurant in Almograve and she walks part of the Fishermen’s Trail with her husband or boyfriend.
I asked her what her fear was, what she was afraid of then.
I saw her thinking… At that, I asked another question… Are you referring to people or animals?
She couldn’t answer it right away. I could just see her thinking… Well, animals but yes most of them are gone before you actually see them…. Actually than people, someone waiting for you then after such a narrow stretch of path she said a little later. We had had some narrow paths, great paths, on the Rota Vicentina that day, through bamboo and other trees. She thought it was very tough of me to go alone. She would not dare to do it she indicated.
The proverb You often suffer most by the suffering you fear then came to mind and thus the inspiration for this blog.
But is it that heroic? Am I that heroic? No way!
Did you know that most assaults or rapes unfortunately still really take place within the marriage/relationship or at least within the circle of acquaintances. That’s pretty intense right? Fortunately, we don’t always think about it because if it did, this Swiss might not want to travel with her husband anymore haha! One form of violence and threat that is very much on the rise now is cyber violence, this mostly among young people. But yes, I don’t have to be afraid of that either on a nice hiking trail anywhere in the world.
So. you often suffer most through the suffering you fear
When I was in Namibia, I had a noisy neighbour at one point. I was on one of the nicest campsites (Mowani Mountain Camp) I have had but it was a few kilometres away from the lodge it belonged to. The neighbour I mentioned was 2 campsites back. That was about 50 to 75 metres away.
I only heard him fiddling with pots and pans. At one point, I saw in a flash that he had been in the campsite between us. He was just walking back to his own campsite. Had he been watching me? From then on, things went in the wrong direction in my mind. I was standing there alone, he was the only fellow camper. Slowly, it began to dusk and I began to worry more about being alone in my tent and not being able to warn anyone if he did come to me….
What I did then has been the best move ever.
And also something I say more often…yet only late ( an hour of brooding) then thought of myself. I went to see him. Casual acquaintance with my neighbour. And what a super nice conversation I had with the man. He was a local white Namibian who went camping for a weekend, which he did more often. After talking for 15 minutes, I said goodbye and he indicated that if I needed anything I just had to call.
Within half an hour, the world looked completely different again.
I was reassured all over again and even had a helpline Just In Case. That wouldn’t be there but still…always nice to know. I was able to crawl quietly on top of my 4WD in my roof tent that night and really had nothing to fear.
The suffering I feared was only playing out in my head.
And exactly that happens too much!
Are you familiar with Bronnie Ware’s research?
She found out that most people regret the things they did not do rather than the other way around. Bronnie Ware researched it and at No 1 came that people regretted having done too much that they thought another person would want or expect of them.
A very nice one to dwell on!
So don’t you do it because you don’t want to be out of step? Or that you don’t want to disappoint the other person? Or is life a leap of faith then?
Ultimately also a kind of suffering, you don’t follow your own heart…. You don’t do where your real passion lies….
When you find out that you actually would have liked to do something else anyway…Do you then make that choice? Do you then change course? Afterwards, you always hear people talk about the very moments that had the most impact on their lives. That’s where they learned the most. Where they feared the most and did it anyway.
Mulling, too, ultimately falls under this suffering.
Do you brood a lot?
I read a piece by Danish psychologist Pia Callesen who argues that you can decide not to get on the mulling train. I know that… At some point in my life, I decided not to be nervous about certain moments for very long anymore. I prepare well, I know where I stand and then it should be good. Worrying, being nervous, suffering under it, doesn’t help you move forward. It only helps you get further away from your goal.
I then very consciously engage in something else and keep my mind occupied with that. This actually helps me move on. My unconscious gets to do its thing.
Again, I am reading a book by Ab Dijksterhuis on Inspiration, how do you get inspiration, how are you inspired? Can you generate it, etc. I read in it again, as in his book on the smart unconscious, that at some point you have to let your unconscious do the work.
You put a lot into it and then at some point the unconscious does engage. You don’t have to do anything for it. The unconscious ensures that you get the right inspiration, that you see the right combinations and that you get the right information when you need it. Ab uses the metaphor of the crew in the submarine working hard while the captain only provides the right information.
So… You often suffer most because of the suffering you fear?
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
Can you stop it?
Are you aware of it?
Does it affect your daily life?
Ask yourself these questions but don’t settle for the first quick answer. Really start looking within yourself. Our brain is always on energy-saving mode and be aware of that. On this kind of self-examination, the first answer is actually NEVER the best answer.
This one is only provided because we once thought of it that way…. Now you probably choose a different conclusion, start looking for that!
Since I am working on the life coach course, I naturally read other research and super interesting books. Conversations I have I also hold against the light with this course in mind. Super informative all round! And that’s where this blog came from. I have written quite a few more inspiration blogs in the last few years, read some more if you find it fun/interesting.