When you find meaning in suffering, it is no longer suffering.
That hit me hard. How can all these years I’ve been feeling like absolute shit be… meaningful?
I presume the reason I’m so struck by this notion is that I’m still “suffering.” It’s easy to delve into the black hole of self pity and feeling alone; although – on a bit of a tangent here – who isn’t dealing with a hard situation? Have you ever truly gotten to know someone who isn’t experiencing some degree of hardship in their lives? For sure, the level of difficulty one may face can greatly vary, although it truly is relative. What I can handle, someone else couldn’t, and vice versa.
“One of the most difficult things for us to accept is that there is no realm where there’s only happiness and there’s no suffering. This doesn’t mean that we should despair. Suffering can be transformed.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Something I’m slowly coming to realize is we can’t choose what life throws at us. I could accept that, and make the most of how I handle it… but I’m also angry – really, deeply enraged. (Which is very hard to admit.)
Life isn’t meant to be easy. I believe we have two options: We can wallow in our sorrows, isolate ourselves, and resent our lives… OR we can learn from the difficulties we face, and become stronger, better people for it. What I mean by “better” is we can use our own experiences to understand and lend a helping hand to others around us. Sometimes all one may need is a shoulder to lean on – another human being who has been there, done that.
It takes a lot to come out the other end of a struggle and say I did it. It was hard, it was tearful, it was slow, it seemed impossible, but I did it. Unfortunately, I cannot really say that for myself, although I suppose it takes some strength to even just stay alive sometimes. (I feel like a very weak, incapable person, but let’s just go with it… I’m trying to be helpful here.)
How can we come to accept and find meaning in strife? I’m completely clueless. However, maybe just understanding this concept, and believing one day maybe I can do it too, is an important first step to take.
Stay strong, and always keep fighting.