Advertising

The Beauty of Suffering

Advertising
The Beauty of Suffering

No one likes suffering. We try to get rid of any kind of pain and suffering at every turn. An entire industry sprang up around reducing the pain associated with dental and medical procedures. We have pain-free options for delivering babies. Everyone tries to dive into something new and avoid the pain after a heartbreak.

It would stand to reason, then, that suffering is universally a bad concept.

But what if that’s not true?

Why Suffering Even Exists

To understand the beauty of suffering, you first need to understand why pain even exists. It’s a warning sign of potential danger.[1] Pain becomes a memory to avoid facing future danger.

Think of a caveman and a fire. He touched the fire previously and got hurt. Now when he encounters the fire, he won’t touch it.

Advertising

    This is how we evolved, but in modern times, the “suffering” we feel is often not physical. It’s often mental processes we want to skip but shouldn’t skip. A good example is putting in work. When we were young, studying and doing homework could be classified as “suffering.” We’d rather have fun and be outside playing. But if you skip studying, you don’t learn anything, and have bad results.

    The same applies in adulthood. Working hard can seem like “suffering” for some people. If people go with their instinct and try to get rid of this “suffering” by slacking at work, they’ll probably work slow, have bad performance and may eventually get fired.

      Suffering Is Not the Opposite of Joy

      This is what people often miss: “failure” and “success” are not necessarily opposites. If anything, they’re cousins or even siblings.

      There’s a close correlation between pain and pleasure, or failure and success. After intense physical exertion in the process of running, runners experience a sense of euphoria that has been linked to the production of opioids, a neurochemical that is also released in response to pain. This is called “Runner’s High”.[2]

      If you’re not so much a runner, think of it like this: what if you want to be a great singer? This might not be a goal for everyone, but substitute your own goal in if you would like.

      Advertising

      To be a great singer, you have to put in work. Sing every day. Train your breathing. Watch other singers and analyze their style. Do gigs. Keep your voice healthy. All of that work could be seen as “suffering.”

      The opposite is much easier: hang out with friends, go to movies, take naps, essentially don’t do much. Without the suffering, then, you can’t get the joy of being a great singer.

        Can You Reduce Suffering?

        No. It’s a natural part of the human experience. You can reduce the amplification of pain within the suffering by focusing less on yourself, though.

        The Dalai Lama has a great quote,

        “As long as you are too focused on your self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will experience suffering.”

        Removing the self-importance is an important step. Realize that everyone suffers. Athletes train to get better. Singers sing and get booed at gigs. Entrepreneurs lose money and think it’s over before they really have a successful business.

        Stephen King, one of the most successful authors of all-time, had his first novel, Carrie, rejected 30 times before it was published. It was a similar number of rejections for J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter, which may be the most successful book and film series of all-time.

        All these people before they experienced the joy and success, they suffered.

        Find Joy in Suffering

        Research by psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests that only 50 percent of our happiness is determined by uncontrollable factors like our genes or temperament. The other half is determined by a combination of our circumstances, our attitudes and actions which we have control over.[3]

        Celebrate every small amount of joy. You are going to fail. You’re going to suffer. Take a small amount of joy in those moments. Understand they are learning experiences. You will grow from them.

        Very few people marry their first love; many go through heartbreaks. Very few people see their first professional endeavor be a total success; many scrap and fail before they find some success.

        Advertising

        Find a way to track your progress and to set and celebrate small benchmarks. You may also want to conduct a weekly review to assess where you are and celebrate all of the small wins of the week.

        Tracking your progress is also a great way to find and mitigate triggers and hindrances that impede your progress.

        The point is, you are making progress. Even if it feels like suffering, you can see that it’s leading you to joy.

        Suffering Is Beautiful

        When you start going to a gym, you may struggle to lift 50, 60 pounds. After a few months, you might be lifting 150, 175. After a year, it might be over 200.

        All of that is a struggle and suffering. You are putting your body through something. But it’s also beautiful. You are gaining strength and becoming more fit.

        Failure is hard, but it’s a necessary element of life. Find beauty in those moments because you are growing.

        Advertising

        Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

        Reference

        [1] Everyday Health: Why Do We Feel Pain?
        [2] The Conversation: In pursuit of happiness: why some pain helps us feel pleasure
        [3] Dalai Lama: The Book of Joy

        More by this author

        Leon Ho

        Founder & CEO of Lifehack

        interview-Steve-White An Inspiring Interview with Steve White, President, Special Counsel to the CEO of Comcast How to Create a Good Work-Life Balance Realistically What Is Life About? How to Find Your Meaning in Life How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret What Is a Midlife Crisis and How to Deal With It

        Trending in Positive Thinking

        1 Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life 2 10 Steps to Take If You’re Feeling Hopeless About Your Future 3 Feeling Frustrated in Life? 8 Ways to Get Back on Track 4 25 Signs That You’re A Mentally Strong Person 5 How to Get “I Can’t Do It” Out of Your Vocabulary

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on December 6, 2021

        Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

        Advertising
        Feeling Lost? 40 Quotes to Help You Find Meaning in Life

        Sometimes, we carry with us ancient wisdom that has been whispered through generations where we find strength for what we need. Other times, we sense our happiness and sanity have been swept away, and we float rudderless in our space. We wonder if we’re heading in the right direction and feel doom rather than the transformation. In these moments, we may need some feeling lost quotes to help us find inspiration again.

        During the times when we feel lost, it’s too easy to forget the comfort of good times and wade through the fluff that separates us from the pack.

        I often work in leadership and have to test my limits and inspire those I’m leading. One of the quotes I keep in mind by T.S. Elliot is:

        “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

        Knowing how you will perform in a crisis, personally or professionally, can help you get through tough times. The people who tend to work best in a crisis or stay calm in stressful times are those who are honest and forthright.

        We often try to find sense in our lives with logic, reducing perceived risks by increasing control. The problem with control is you can hold on too tight, narrowing your options and missing the big picture.

        Trying to squeeze action out of undefined goals only increases the pressure. Being happy comes from a sense of self and freedom, not a narrow list you’ve locked yourself into.

        Sometimes, we need to observe our life in new ways and examine it with wisdom we doubt we have. Those big successes are done with small incremental actions done every day. Who will you choose to be in times of doubt?

        Whether you bookmark this page for future inspiration or show off powerful, inspiring quotes on your T-shirt, coffee mug, key chain, and screen saver, these 40 feelings lost quotes will help remind you of your true essence.

        We can reconnect with our priorities and take inspiration from both the ancients and modern visionaries with some of my favorite words below that inspire simplicity and truth.

        Feeling Lost Quotes

        1. “If you are working on something you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you” –Steve Jobs

        2. “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” –Gordon Eadie

        3. “One of the truest tests of integrity is a blunt refusal to be compromised.” –Chinua Achebe

        4. “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” –Amy Elizabeth

        Advertising

        5. “Be who you needed when you were younger.” –Anonymous

        6. “We generate fears when we sit. We overcome them by action.” –Dr. Henry Link

        7. “The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.” –Bruce Lee

        8. “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” –Dolly Parton

        9. “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” –Henry Ford

        10. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh

        11. “Stop acting so small, you are the universe in ecstatic motion.” –Rumi

        12. “A tree that is unbending is usually broken.” –Loa Tzu

        13. “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” –Plutarch

        14. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” –Plato

        15. “Your teacher can open the door, but you must enter by yourself.” –Chinese proverb

        16. “To get lost is to learn the way.” –African Proverb

        17. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” –Zig Ziglar

        18. “Do you know who you are? Don’t ask. Act. Action will delineate and define you.” –Thomas Jefferson

        Advertising

        19. “Give thanks for what you are today and go on fighting for what part of you will be gone tomorrow.” –William Shakespeare

        20. “Sorrow looks back. Worry looks around. Faith looks up.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

        21. “One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.” –Kahlil Gibran

        22. “You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” –Anonymous

        23. “After climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb.” –Nelson Mandela

        24. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” –Maya Angelou

        25. “I wash my hands of those who imagine chattering to be knowledge, silence to be ignorance and affection to be art.” –Kahlil Gibran

        26. “Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” –Japenese Proverb

        27. “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” — Joseph Campbell

        28. “Go within every day and find the inner strength so that the world will not blow your candle out.” — Katherine Dunham

        29. “One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day. Similarly, one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.” — Aristotle

        30. “There are two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is a miracle.” — Albert Einstein

        31. “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one.” — Bob Parson

        32. “Anger, resentment, and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others. It only changes yours.” — Shannon L. Alder

        Advertising

        33. “To be lost is as legitimate a part of your process as being found.” — Alex Ebert

        34. “Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.” — Henry Rollins

        35. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard

        36. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Vivian Greene

        37. “Nothing is more beautiful than the smile that has struggled through the tears.” — Demi Lovato

        38. “Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t serve them tea.” — Shunryu Suzuki

        39. “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” — Robert H. Schuller

        40. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis

        Sometimes It’s Ok to Feel Lost

        After looking at these feeling lost quotes, it is easy for someone to be confused. But these inspirational quotes will guide you to hear a voice every time when the risk is high, and you have nowhere to run. It is always easy to choose the shortcut and ignore the voice of the subconscious to do the right thing!

        No matter how dire the circumstances might be, you need to make efforts and find ways to uplift your morale. Not making an effort is more painful than the risk of immersing your thoughts in negativity.

        When you are feeling lost, it is natural to be confused about the next step. However, you have to determine when the risk of staying in a sad state for a longer period is causing more harm than good.

        And don’t you worry, it’s okay sometimes to feel lost and not know where you are heading in your life. We go through various phases in life, and none of them stay permanent. Remember that “Life is a work-in-progress” and this too shall pass. Keeping hope is very important if you want to sail through the tides of life.

        Don’t Be too Hard on Yourself

        Everyone is fighting their fight in their ways, but none can say – “I know it all.” Life is a constant struggle, and everyone has to push through personally to overcome obstacles.

        Whether it is your professional life that’s making you feel lost or your personal life brought about this state of mind, remember that you alone can find the solution. Happiness is a state of mind, and you alone can control the emotions that can bring a change in your attitude when you are feeling lost.

        Advertising

        No one can tell you what your purpose is in the world, and only you have to decide that on your own. The universe has given us life and one that teaches us various things through unique experiences. Some might be good, and some might be bad.

        So, don’t beat yourself up or be hard on yourself even if you have not yet figured it out. It’s okay! You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why it is taking so long or why haven’t you been able to figure it out yet. Go at your own pace, and you shall reach where you intend to. Nothing is permanent, and you will find your way out. It’s just a matter of time.

        Rather than complaining and belittling yourself, you can try brainstorming ideas to help you move on. Procrastinating and beating yourself up will only drown the motivation and bring nothing of value but just self-pity.

        Don’t forget if you set your heart to something, you can achieve it. Feeling lost is not a permanent state, and to uplift your emotions, you need to have faith.

        Final Thoughts

        Many of these feeling lost quotes have a common core. That is, to take a step back and view yourself in a new way.

        Take action and make inspiration a routine. To act creates learning, and that builds confidence, provides direction, and eliminates doubt.

        Imagine what you want it to be so that your vibration matches your desire. We can’t snap our fingers to instantly change feeling lost, but we can increase our situational awareness with our emotions and places where our lives have or may take an abrupt turn.

        We take inspiration from our daily lives in as many individually unique forms as we are different. Inspiration can strike instantly and sporadically or feel like a trickle that slowly grows into a majestic waterfall crashing through with creative energy. That trickle is what will keep you going in dark times.

        When you’re in a place where you feel lost and don’t recognize yourself, allow some inner compassion for the person you are right in that moment[1].

        You have the power to create your world, one step at a time, and these feeling lost quotes can help. You choose how you think. Tune in to how you feel and why.

        Remember you have the power to be, have, and do anything you desire. Tough times never last, but tough people do.

        See what I did there? Another quote to inspire original thought as it applies to you. It’s been said that if you want to test a man’s character, give him power and you will see his true colors. So keep your inspiration on tap for when you need a reminder of your purpose.

        More to Inspire You When You’re Feeling Lost

        Featured photo credit: Daniel Jensen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next