Pain and Suffering: You Either Get Over It, or Die Pissed Off
The title and theme of this post makes it sound like it could be somber and depressing, but it wont be. This is just about why pain is an inevitable part of life, no matter who you are, and how it helps us grow. Suffering sucks, but there is always a silver lining to even the deepest of the depths of despair...it makes us stronger and it helps us to grow. A good quote that illustrates that point is this simple one: "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." It isn't the easy things in life that make us who we are...if everything went easily for everyone we would all be the same. There would be nothing to thicken our skin, to teach us lessons that words can't, to force us to see what we are really made of.
There is inevitably going to be some type of suffering in your life. No matter how much you avoid it or how lucky you are, you're going to go through pain. The type of person you are is dependent on how you deal with that pain. Your reaction to things is exactly what makes you who you are. When bad things happen we have two option: Get over it or die pissed off. I know which one I'm choosing.
Trying to avoid pain, or attempting to live life like you're immune to it is not only futile, but also doing yourself a disservice by not allowing yourself to grow. Some people go the route of eventually getting cynical and jaded, but I feel like that is a futile route as well. Sure, you would be disappointed a lot less if you just lowered your expectations and assumed the worst out of everyone and every situation...but ugh, what kind of life would that be to live? Sounds like a miserable existence. That is letting pain affect you in a bad way and mold you into a negative person.
Then there are those who take negativity in stride, and learn from it. Learning from something doesn't have to mean always assuming the worst, it's just knowing all the options that are possible and accepting them, while still striving for the best. Some of the wisest people that I know, or know of, are zen in the face of negativity. They treat everyone around them with respect, even when treated unkindly. They keep their cool, don't act out quickly in anger, and genuinely spread positivity wherever they go. One would think off the bat that these types of people are just the lucky ones, who never had to go through any real pain, and that's why they are who they are. What I've found, however, is that it's usually quite the opposite. Look at Eckhart Tolle, one of the greatest thinkers and spiritual teachers alive today...in his book "The Power of Now" he talks about a time when his life completely crumbled and he found himself homeless, spending his days and nights on a park bench. He could have given up then, a lot of us would. Instead, he grew. He learned and gained strength from the crappy hand he got dealt, and most of us know him now as a bestselling author and spiritual mentor. That dark period in his life was a defining moment in shaping his success, it was a huge catalyst to his growth as a person. In a lot of ways, it helped him find his meaning in life.
The easiest thing to do when faced with hurdles and negative events is to give up. Some situations seem to suck the life right out of you. And if you do give up, you'll probably just get swept under the radar, and life will continue to go on. Nothing will get handed to you. That's why it's important to see pain and suffering for what it really is: an unavoidable part of life, a stepping stone. Everyone goes through it, and it will either ruin you or mold you.
Next time you're going through something that just makes you want to throw your hands up and give up, instead ask yourself how you can grow from it. You wont be hit by anything you can't handle, and life will go on, regardless. Might as well make the most of it, make the most of yourself, and come out a stronger and wiser person instead of a feeble and defeated one. The choice is yours.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.