The Importance of Giving Meaning to Suffering

The Importance of Giving Meaning to Suffering

Last Updated on June 10, 2024 by The Unbounded Thinker

Suffering is an experience of difficulty or pain that occurs in many forms. Sickness, the loss of loved ones, job losses, poverty, and hunger are major examples of suffering. It is impossible to avoid it because it is a natural part of life.

It is difficult to accept our suffering if we don’t give it meaning. Most people give up on life, drown in the hell of addiction, and experience mental health complications when they experience any form of difficulty because they avoid giving it meaning.

Giving meaning to hardships allows us to welcome them and learn from them, preventing us from succumbing to depressive disorders. Although finding meaning does not eradicate the pain that suffering causes, it helps us persevere through it and overcome it. It also enables us to heal emotionally and embrace a positive attitude towards difficulties.

From time immemorial, religions have given meaning to suffering, knowing that people could quickly overcome its impact if they found meaning in it.

For instance, Christianity has encouraged its followers to embrace suffering by claiming that it brings them closer to God and prepares them for glory. For as Paul the Apostle wrote, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

Islam has encouraged Muslims to embrace suffering by claiming that it enables them to attain true happiness and prosperity. Muslims, therefore, believe Allah allows adversity to perfect his people.

Most African Traditional Religions believed suffering occurred when people disobeyed their ancestors by embracing immoral behavior. These religions believed suffering implied that the ancestors required society members to embrace morality.

Several personal development coaches have also given meaning to suffering to encourage a positive attitude towards it. “Be grateful for adversity”, wrote Jim Rohn, “for it forces the human spirit to grow—for surely, the human character is formed not in the absence of difficulty but in our response to difficulty.”

It does not matter if the various meanings given to suffering are true or false. What matters is that these meanings enable us to cope with pain.  

For this reason, if you are currently experiencing any form of difficulty, make it meaningful if you want to overcome it faster. Realize that you will resist the flow of life and eventually despair if you don’t give meaning to your difficulties

Believe the hardships you are experiencing are paving the way for a better future. Believe they are helping you discover your strengths. Most importantly, realize that suffering serves to awaken your true self.


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