Suffering sucks. That’s why humans come up with all sorts of things to avoid it: drugs, religion, television — you name it, but it all comes down basically to numbing your senses to the point when you fall into unconsciousness and start living your life on autopilot. And, I mean, it’s hard to blame people for the fact that they just don’t want to be miserable. However, the paradox here is that misery is exactly what they end up with if they choose the safe path of living in the comfort zone. Why? Because pursuing happiness, or should I say — micro-happiness, does not lead to the affirmation of life which, in my opinion, is the lack of regret by the end of your life and ability to say that this was the life worth living. It does not lead to a sense of completion. Instead, it just leaves you constantly wanting more, a new dose of mindless entertainment to throw you back into the oblivion. Overall, it’s just a really bad choice for the meaning of your life. It’s a capitulation.
The thing is — and it’s not a sad thing, it’s just the way it is — suffering is required for true happiness (i.e. happiness on the macro-level). It’s an integral part of it and is essentially what makes happiness — happiness. Sometimes you just have to make sacrifices in the present to make a room for the future you won’t regret. Rapturous and ecstatic states of happiness, or Rausch as Nietzsche called it, seem this way only against a background of tragedy and past traumas you’ve experienced. These are feelings of victory over your mind, the triumph of life. This is life in full color and shying away from it is a foolish thing to do.
That being said, it’s important to understand the dangers that await those who decide to be aware of suffering instead of distracting their minds from it by all means available. If an unhardened mind is thrown into the extreme suffering he isn’t prepared for, it can break him and drive him into madness. Thus, tolerance for suffering should be increased gradually and thoughtfully. First of all, one should accept the fact that he suffers and welcome it with the understanding that it’s necessary, for he will come out stronger when it ends. The greater the tolerance for suffering, the greater the suffering one can endure, the greater will be the reward. It will open doors that were previously closed by your fear of stepping out of your comfort zone. Second, understand that these unpleasant emotions are temporary and use them as the stimuli to move forward, make the best of them while you can. Third, don’t try to suppress the emotion as it only intensifies it and don’t try to reason with it as it rarely works. Just label it (as it was scientifically proven that describing the unpleasant emotion with words helps to bear it) and move on despite the uncomfortable feelings. This is how courage is cultivated. So, whenever you are confronted with states of suffering, remind yourself that at this particular moment you’re growing and becoming better and stronger, this is a moment that defines you.