4 Ways to Manage Suffering to Empower Your Teen

Even when you're suffering you have a choice

When you are having a hard time, you may want to ignore the situation. You may try to push it out of your mind and present it isn't happening.

Or, you may feel angry and continually try to change other people and the world around you to bend to your needs. And when that doesn't work, you feel even more angry, sad and helpless.


Acceptance instead of resistance releases you to access resources, and move forward.

Know that even when you're in pain, you have choices. Here are the four choices that you can enact when you are suffering...

Change the Situation

First, figure out if you have some control in the situation. If there are things you can change, go ahead and change them. This may mean walking away from toxic friendships, asserting your needs to someone, or beginning to exercise. When you have a way to change your situation, it's all about problem solving to make your life better.

Change How You Think About the Situation

If you're stuck in a situation that's difficult for you, sometimes reframing the difficulty can make it easier. Did you learn something about yourself or your life as a result of a difficulty? Can you think of a long boring car ride instead as an opportunity to connect with your family in a new way? How can you look at your situation differently in order to find balance?

Accept the Situation

Stop fighting reality and start accepting it as it is. This is what can give you the freedom to move forward. In DBT, the idea of RADICAL ACCEPTANCE means being willing to experience a difficult situation without trying to change it or escape it. It's understanding that you have to go through difficult feelings to get to the other side of them.

Stay Stuck in Difficult Feelings

This is a choice. No one can make you change or accept difficulties before you're ready. You may remain in denial, anger or sadness for quite some time before you're ready to move into another choice.

You are NOT your suffering.

Understand that you always have a choice and the possibility of rewriting your story so that you are not a victim of your circumstances. Even when life is hard and the people around you are treating you poorly, changing your outlook and responses can do wonders for your own mood and emotional experience.