Jan 1, 2012

20 The Distinction Between Pain & Suffering

With some authors you cannot help but be inspired and moved into consciousness, today I share with you a slipette of Audre Geraldine Lorde's distinction between pain and suffering from “Sister Outsider" ...

Pain is an event, an experience that must be recognized, named, and then used in some way in order for the experience to change, to be transformed into something else, strength or knowledge or action. Suffering, on the other hand, is the nightmare reliving of unscrutinized and unmetabolized pain”.


In other words according to Ms Lorde….when one “lives through pain, without recognizing it”, we self-consciously, rob ourselves of the power that can come from using that pain. That pain she states is the power to fuel some movement beyond the ache. She even goes further by saying that one can condemn oneself “to reliving that pain over and over and over whenever something close triggers it. And that is suffering, a seemingly inescapable cycle”.

I’d have to say I agree with Ms Lorde in her distinction of pain and suffering. I haven’t seen it articulated quite like this before, am sure a lot more can be said on the subject however the sistah was on point, definitely something to ponder.


  1. a very powerful insight!!! Thanks for sharing

  2. What I got from this is that we can allow ourselves to learn something from our pain and move on. In so doing we will eventually get over the pain and the pain will have served us well. However, if we allow ourselves to keep reliving the pain we will keep suffering from the pain and it will never go away.

    I will have to keep that in my many "notes to self." I think it will serve me well.

  3. I pour myself into photography. Putting my pain to good use. Focusing on something positive. I believe it helps. This was another good post! On the camera thing… I am going to go to the big city tomorrow and see if I can find that camera you commented about. I will look at a few others too. Thanks for your in-put!


  4. This is amazing…I haven’t visited your space in forever and I read this! Wow…I say that because I am reading my second book by Pema Chodron who is a firm believer in this philosophy on pain and how every painful experience we have is a blessing because it teaches us so much about ourselves and makes us better people if we allow the experience.

    I hope you are well…taking a much needed and much appreciated break from school.


  5. She was on point with that definition. No pain no gain.

  6. Nuestro objetivo siempre será UN MUNDO sin fronteras, por la Paz y el Respeto entre todos los seres vivos.Lo que tú hagas por ello será importante, porque TU ERES IMPORTANTE.
    Esto no es un adiós, es un ¡HASTA LA VISTA!
    Recuerda que alguién muy sabio escribió una vez: "Sigue tu dicha…y el Universo te abrirá puertas donde solo hubieron muros."
    Por un mundo mejor… ONE WORLD!
    * * *
    Our goal will always be A WORLD without Frontiers, for the Peace and the Respect among all living beings. What you do for this will be important, because YOUR ARE IMPORTANT.
    This is not a farewell, it is a ¡HASTA LA VISTA!
    Remember that someone very wise once wrote: "Follow your bliss… and the Universe will open doorsfor you where there were only walls."
    For a better world… ONE WORLD!

  7. Hi Fab…
    I’ve been a bit busier of late. Your grandmother was right, "One must seperate the goats from the sheep."

    Pain is an experience we can learn from, be transformed, and gain knowledge. Suffering is not an experience we want to endure for very long. Pain we can live on with day to day but suffering has to come to an end as soon as possible.

    Be well my friend and thank you for sharing,


  8. Well said! I would agree with your insight. And also thank-you for your words over at my space — very heartfelt, and i also agree with what you wrote there. Nice meeting you!

  9. I agree with her insight too. Pain can be useful at times and suffering sometimes unnecessary if inescapable.

    May 2012 be good to us.

  10. When pain becomes familiar, we hold on to it. In a twisted way, it comforts us and we are afraid of losing it. Somehow it becomes loyal to us, and that inevitably turns into suffering. Suffering most of us are not even aware of.

  11. I agree, this is definitely something to ponder. It provides a new perspective on pain & suffering, I'd never thought of it this way. Thanks for sharing this, it's food for thought.

    Happy New Year my friend! I just stopped in to wish you a fantastic-ly splendid 2012! (((Huggggs)))

  12. Yea, she definitely makes sense. From this, I can say that all ofus must have pains in life, but we don't necessarily have to suffer

  13. @Myne Whitman hmmmm suffering is indeed unnecessary yet human beings entertain it so often they don't realize that its not necessary.

    Stay blessed.

  14. @Raajii That is so true, i guess the trick is staying conscious

  15. @dellgirl before encountering this I too never considered it this way but the truth is so potent in this definition.

  16. trekking your lovely blog!!! thanks for sharing and keep posting! Happy New Year!


  17. Never seen it this way before too... Nice :)

    Happy New Year Miss

    - LDP

  18. Rhapsody,

    I confess that I never paid attention to Audre Lord until last year and that was a big mistake. She is full of pearls of wisdom like this one. It definitely is something to ponder and than you so much for sharing it.


  19. never really looked at it this way..This,i find new.interesting & enlightening.


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