Although others may cause us pain, we can control our suffering by how we react to our pain.
The Buddha explained pain and suffering as two darts.
Pain, the first dart, can be either physical or emotional. Suffering, the second dart, is what we inflict on ourselves. It is an impulsive reaction to the pain, a reaction due to our ignorance.
Let's say you rush into a room and, in your haste, walk into a chair. A painful first dart. The second dart ensues as you scold yourself for being clumsy and careless, that you never learn!
At other times, we inflict the second dart when there is no first. For instance, we take a co-worker's remark the wrong way. Not bothering to check to see if this first dart even existed, we subsequently stab ourselves with a second dart of anger or distress.
The solution? We cannot always avoid first darts. But we can control the second one. We create the suffering, so we can stop it. As soon as you sense you are raising a second dart, recognize it. And drop it for the worthless thing it is.
— Our Daily Practice, Venerable Wuling