When we experience unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or sensations, there is often a natural tendency to want to avoid these uncomfortable experiences – sometimes, at all costs. This is called experiential avoidance (experiëntiële vermijding). The irony is that experiential avoidance has been found to actually maintain psychological distress (Steven C. Hayes et al., 1996).
You want to be happy?
We have to start paradoxically. If you really want to be happy, the first thing you have to do is embrace your suffering, which is completely counterintuitive. Therein lies the genius of the Buddhist solution. You want to be happy? OK, recognize how much you suffer (Stephen Batchelor, 2018).