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September 1, 2017

The Best Way to Suffer Well

“Your rewards will be determined by the extent of your contribution, that is your service to others.”
(Earl Nightingale)

 

The best way to suffer well is to practice something I like to call “servival.” Obviously, I like to make up words (“screamfree,” anyone?), and this one may be a little too cheesy, but hear me out.

 

My hometown of Houston, and the whole Texas Gulf Coast, has suffered so much this week. Natural disasters like this are thankfully rare, but always terrible.

 

Growing up there, I got to see a few hurricanes. I also got to hear stories of ones in the past. I remember my father telling me about Hurricane Carla in the 1960s, and how he and his brothers used their boats to rescue people stranded on their roofs.

 

We love hearing stories like that, learning of the brave willingness of people helping people, even in the midst of their own suffering.

 

Turns out this willingness to help others, in the midst of our own struggling and pain, is actually the best way to help yourself. Multiple studies have shown that mobilizing ourselves to serve others, even in the midst of our own suffering, is the best way to mitigate the effects of that suffering, both in the short and long term.

 

I like to call this method of suffering well “servival.” We serve in order to truly survive.

 

This is not easy. It takes courage we may not feel, and resources we may not have at hand. But the principle is true, even if you can only do a little. At the very least, taking our attention off our own pain, even for a moment to listen to another’s, is healing us a little from the inside.

 

Peace begins with pause,

 

 

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