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Why Suffering is Important

Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat for.

— Marian Edelman.

Not many people will choose to suffer if they can avoid it. This I think is because we view happiness as the opposite of suffering and so, it is only logical to seek happiness as far away from suffering as possible. But is that the best strategy?

We often seek happiness in things related to pleasure and material possessions. We think that owning that new house or buying fancy clothes or changing the way we look will give us a shot at happiness but this is often not the case. Real happiness does not come from “getting something”- material or status, rather it comes from “doing something”.

We become happy when we challenge or push ourselves to accomplish something new or become someone better. Something you went after, struggled for and achieved rather than something that just happened to us is what happiness looks like. So it’s important that we pursue our goals and overcome obstacles on the way. Often this might cause some degree of suffering, stress and worry but it will be totally worth it in the end.

Suffering for the sake of suffering is unlikely to lead to good results but when directed towards a worthy cause, could be incredibly satisfying. Suffering that comes from struggle can also help us transcend and discover new aspects of ourselves that we did not know prior. This new perspective as to who we are and what we can achieve helps us grow. It may be unpleasant at the moment but so much unexpected value lies underneath so allow yourself get a little uncomfortable while working on what truly matters to you. You are not alone and it will eventually pay off.

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