Here is a partial list written by one individual in answer to the question:

What is suffering for me (i.e. what do I interpret as or make into suffering)?

     Not having things solved or finished – anxiety to finish (rather than manage)
     Sore back, sore muscles, stuffy nose – rather than just sensations
     Not feeling bright or capable – tell myself I won’t perform adequately and that
       the main consequence is people will think less of me
     People not respectful of me or not pay attention or not approve – must be
        something wrong with me…

We want "more".  We want things to be different and better.  So we suffer, needlessly, for thinking we are "short of", at a relative loss because we fall short of unrealistic expectations, not accepting reality and wishing it were different or "musting" it were different "in order" to have us be happy...

In missing the "enoughs" in life, we cause an imbalance in life that is having us live a life far below what would be satisfying and good.  If we shift this enough and learn enough about how things work, we can create a great life, instead of a life having bits of quiet desperation and/or dissatisfaction and suffering.

It is a matter of degree.  How far over to the positive are you?  How far over could you be?


Definition:  Suffer:  To undergo or feel pain or distress; undergo a penalty, esp. of death; sustain injury, disadvantage or loss.

Suffering is actually, other than direct pain such as injury or real loss, is mostly from anticipation of or fear of, at least in a sense, not surviving. 


As a powerless child dependent on the big people to feed us, we made up a little system of things that we tied to survival.   If we were “bad” or “wrong”, then we construed (made up) that as a threat to our survival, since the big people might not love us and then would not feed us.  That could have been “kind of” the truth when we were indeed little and powerless.  But we are capable of surviving now but have failed to recognize it. 

If we did recognize that we are capable of creating what we needed to survive (food and shelter) and be happy (mostly a state of mind), then we would hardly ever suffer.  While we would experience a sense of loss from a partner dying, we would not prolong it into suffering; we would not think “woe is me, for I will have problems or unhappiness without that person here.”  We would be pretty much “suffering-free”, since we know we can create a future that is “good.”  [Happiness is actually a way of looking at things.  If we look from a position of gratitude and avoid “false” fears, then we can create happiness.]

Without going into the discussions about shame, guilt, etc. (covered in other pieces), suffice it to say that our conversations that we make up where we use some forms of “right/wrong”, “good/bad” or “I’m powerless over surviving” create the sum total of our suffering.  [I’m using suffering here as everything that is created by the mind beyond the physiological wiring of pain itself.  See Pain - Avoidance And Magnification.]

Of course, we’re pretty smart, so we’ve invented many ways to use these (believed motivation, for one) and consequently to experience suffering.

Follows is a list of some of the sources of suffering.  The sentences in the generic need column will seem ridiculous, but are underneath the reason why we still employ these childhood created “survival” mechanisms and then still employ them.


Think about it.  Would I really feel any strong emotion if I didn’t think there was a really big threat, that of non-survival?  We made many, many things symbolize the possible loss of survival.  We give these things power over us only because we see them as really big.  There is little or no significance to these (except that we made it up).  There is not a lot at stake.  And we often behave as if we could get wiped out any moment. 

We anticipate many mini-forms of not surviving, but the actual truth is that not surviving will happen only once. [See News Flash!.] So why waste any energy and time on things that actually have no real threat? 

I suggest we stop giving it any energy or any power over us!  Getting this straight in our minds and completing this is part of what the site ( is all about.  Get rid of this false set of notions about survival and then just create maximum living, without all these symbolic “mini-deaths.”

The truth is that I will survive and there is virtually nothing in my everyday existence that threatens my survival in anyway.  I will live.  Nothing that suggests otherwise is a real threat (except once, at the end). 

Look at the following list to see what applies to something you do.  Then see if the statement about it is true or not. 


Degree   THE MEANS   Wish to keep or change?                              GENERIC NEED/TYPE    

    Comparison                      Dependence – If I don’t stack up, I’ll not be loved and then not be fed.
    Popularity wish                  Dependence – If I’m liked, someone will feed me.
   Shame                     Dependence, what will they think
   Guilt                                Dependence, punish myself so ok with others
   Not enough                       Dependence, I won’t be loved.  I must be loved...
    Blame                      Dependence, victim, I want someone else to rescue me, dependence wish
    Regret                      Dependence - A form of victim, “wish I didn’t” (or hadn’t) and I hold onto this
                                                                               because I hope someone will rescue me and make it all ok.
    Approval needs                  Dependence – I need you to approve of me or I won’t survive or be happy.
   Worry about security           Dependence – Wish for someone to take care of me, protect me
   Worry – failure                    Powerlessness – Feeling not about to survive
   Judgment of self         Keep me in line to do what is right that will make me be loved
   Hopelessness           Victim, I want to be rescued, return to womb
   Physical pain                      I don’t want pain.  “I wish it weren’t so” adds extra suffering.
   Generalized anxiety                    I can’t handle it.  I’ll not survive.  I’m powerless.

"Antidote":  (In Buddhism, they explicitly refer to antidotes for various types of agitation.  There are specific antidotes, on this site, for each of these.  Just enter the term in the search engine and then "complete" this area of your life and emotions.)

I have more than enough.  I know that I am powerful, and can create on my own, enough to survive and to be happy!  All the rest is strictly a bonus!  (See how this relates to the four components necessary for happiness.)

You must, must, must understand this:

Suffering And Struggle - How we create it and how it is not necessary at all...