It’s more often than not the anticipation of pain rather than the pain itself that is capable of producing the most suffering.
I have always underestimated my ability to cope with tragedy, with grief, with pain. Yet time and time again I found myself able to (even if it was followed by needing help, going to therapy – yet I’m still here).
However, it was the days, months, years that led up to that pain that more often than not brought me the most suffering.
We fear our imagination more than we fear anything else.
But it wasn’t merely my worries about the future that bothered me, it was also all the behaviours I engaged in to desperately try to numb a future suffering that I either knew was coming or just assumed I would have to face one day, if that makes sense. It often just brought more grief.
There’s a physiological component to it too. Even biologically, if we are flinching and waiting for the pain of a shot, we suffer more, and the pain we do feel is subjectively felt much more intensely.
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”