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How To Deal With Suffering (Without Becoming Hard-Hearted)

Last week, we talked about how painful experiences shape a good person. This week, I want to talk about standing tall and doing our duty even when we are neglected or abused.ย 

As we said last week, hard times forge good people. But the thing about hard times is that they never, ever stop.ย 

There is always another misfortune around the corner โ€” this is one of the darker facts of life. Gratitude helps us endure, but we are only human, and itโ€™s hard to be thankful for pain when the hard times never seem to end.ย 

So what can we do? We must find a purpose for our pain beyond our own personal growth. Specifically, we must transmute our pain into a blessing for others.

But how can we use our pain to serve others?

  • We can connect to our friends and families with empathy when they experience hardships similar to ours
  • We can teach those who are willing to learn how to hold onto grace in the face of abuse
  • We can endure abuse and refuse to allow it to flow out of us and back into the world

When we commit ourselves to goodness, mercy, and self-control, we can become a refuge for those who are less fortunate โ€” or less developed โ€” than we are.ย 

This is how we can turn our adversity into blessings for others.ย 

Quote Of The Week

โ€œIt is my bad luck that this has happened to me.'ย 

No, you should rather say: 'It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.'ย 

Because such a thing could have happened to any man, but not every man could have borne it without pain.ย 

So why see more misfortune in the event than good fortune in your ability to bear it?โ€ โ€” Marcus Aurelius

Die Like A Tree

Consider a tree. It begins as a humble seed, discarded and buried in the dirt, where it feeds on death, excrement, and the exhalations of animals.ย 

As it grows, it builds first a strong foundation of roots, upon which it can stand in the face of cruel winds and pounding rain. Then, it grows tall and strong.ย 

It has no protection from the sun, so instead of hiding, it feeds on the relentless rays, and it provides shade for others.ย 

And then, after a long, hard life of adversity and thankless toil, a monkey with an axe comes to cut it down, chop it to pieces, and fashion it into a box or burn its remains.ย 

Does the tree resent its fate? Does it hate the wind that drags at its canopy, the parasites that wriggle into its roots, and the ape that cuts its flesh? Maybe.ย 

Regardless, it does its good work without complaint, and then it dies without fear.ย 

Let us live like trees:

  • Stand strong against opposition
  • Turn adversity into fuel
  • Give comfort to others
  • Face death without fear

Most importantly, may the things we leave behind be useful to others and provide the sustenance for new growth.ย 

Question Of The Week

In life, you will be disrespected and abused. How can you turn those experiences into blessings for others?

Live On Purpose // Die Without Regrets

Each Wednesday, I publish a 3-5 minute newsletter + video podcast that applies ancient wisdom to modern life.
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