Few people in life can avoid suffering. It is part of the human experience and inner growth. It can come in mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, and many other ways. Still, the bottom line is that you will eventually have to deal with the concept of suffering.
It is challenging to see suffering as more than just bad. Of course, suffering would not be a necessary part of most people’s life experiences in an ideal world, but that is not the reality we live in. The fact is that you will experience suffering at some point, and there is no way around it!
But not all is lost. Just because you experience points of pain and suffering does not mean that you cannot continue to progress at those times. In fact, that pain can even be a positive force in your life!
Here are nine ways that suffering can lead to inner growth and happiness.
1. You learn humility
When you suffer, you gain perspectives on typical experiences that make you more grateful for more normal circumstances. For example, being heartbroken can make you more appreciative of a long, healthy relationship, and being sick can make you more appreciative of being healthy.
Suffering forces you to abandon the expectations you have in life, causing you to focus even on simple things that bring positivity to your world. You don’t feel entitled to average circumstances and you learn to take note of even the smallest positives in your situations.
Humility is a beautiful part of personal growth and it is a great trait. Studies have also found that humility increases positive thinking and creates more happiness, so learning to be humble can be a great result of a negative experience.
2. Your emotions can become more satisfying
Suffering amplifies all kinds of emotions and this can be very damaging if your entire experience is full of negative emotions. But, almost paradoxically, positive emotions can also become stronger in times of suffering.
Have you ever noticed that simple things like spoil your mood when you suffered, could simple things on a positive note also raise you dramatically? You may find hope in what would normally have escaped your attention.
When you emerge from a place of suffering, you hold on to the ability to feel more uplifting with your positive emotions. You feel more satisfied by the things you experience, and the impact and richness of the world around you becomes apparent. This is a beautiful way to grow as a person and gain happiness!
3. You can get smarter during a period of inner growth
Intelligence it is not always inherent. It is something that can be built over time and suffering can help you earn more. The intelligence you gain from suffering contributes significantly to your overall happiness and growth over time, and you will be better equipped for the future once you have learned from your suffering. That is how:
- You learn to solve problems.
- Learn to cope with negative experiences and build resilience
- Improvements in finding creative ways of thinking and solving
- You know it from your moment of suffering so that you can avoid it in the future.
- Learning from your mistakes
- You sharpen your mental abilities in general
- Learn more about yourself and what works for you.
4. You become more compassionate
Everyone knows that compassion is valuable and most people understand that being kind is something to strive for. But it’s also fair that not everyone has this compassion naturally. Sure, everyone is in some way to some degree, but you are a human being; it is also driven by selfishness and self-preservation.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to be kinder, suffering can do that for you. You know the difficulties and understand the feelings of others on a deeper level, allowing you to better empathize with those around you. It can instill in you a desire to give back to others, as the kindness shown to you while you suffer is kindness that you will remember.
Practicing compassion regularly is a critical component of happiness. People with more positive thinking they are the kindest and often have the best self-esteem as well. And of course, you can’t deny that being more compassionate makes you a better person!
5. You can explore your emotions
Sometimes you don’t understand the depth of your emotions until you have no choice but to feel all the pulling power they have. You may have been holding back certain feelings and avoiding addressing issues that are ingrained in your subconscious.
Suffering often brings these emotions to the surface and they rebound. You have to delve into those emotions and find what their true sources are. You will have to face unpleasant truths and painful realities that you were not aware of before, or even that you have been openly avoiding.
To explore your emotions during grief, you can:
- Ask yourself what is the source of your suffering and go beyond that answer, and keep asking “why” until you get to the root.
- Use a journal or similar medium to spill out all your thoughts and feelings in an unfiltered and uncontrolled way so that you can reflect on them later.
- Try to truly understand yourself on a deep psychological level, even the parts you don’t like.
Being able to explore your true emotions gives you useful insight that is critical to personal growth. Digging for the roots of those emotions can also be a significant way to boost your happiness levels.
Suffering is only part of life. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and all bad times come with some good and all good times with some bad. And of course, things cannot be negative or positive forever. That is just reality.
When you’ve had your fair share of suffering, you’ll begin to see the good times in a more favorable light. Gone are the days when you would take bright times for granted. You notice every detail of your positive phases and appreciate them on a deeper level when you have suffered in the past. This is not only great for your happiness, but it also makes you a more appreciative person – a crucial part of personal growth.
7. You can gain more empathy
Empathy refers to the ability to relate to and feel for others with high emotional intelligence, allowing you to better understand their emotions and experiences. It may be an essential trait, but it is not something that comes naturally to everyone.
Suffering shows you more experiences that can put you in the place of others. Learn what it feels like to be in the wrong place, and you will also be able to better understand those who are hurting. This valuable trait of empathy creates better connections and facilitates better inner growth, and as your social circles become more meaningful, your happiness benefits as well.
8. You can use pain to fuel your inner growth.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need to feel pain to be motivated. But if you are in a position where you think you are suffering, you can turn that into positive Drive momentum and use it as a driving force to propel you to succeed, reach goals, and get out of challenges.
Many people falsely believe that the only way to “feed” is to always use positive thinking. While it is an admiral’s idea, it is not always realistic either. Sometimes this can lend itself to dangerous habits of toxic positivity, in which you invalidate and repress your negative emotions in order to maintain a positive experience on the outside. And let’s face it: the truth can be harsh, but a troublesome truth is always better than a lie that sounds nice.
There are some situations where pure positive thinking is not possible, and that’s okay. Suffering can be used as motivation and, almost paradoxically, the act of channeling suffering correctly can bring you out of suffering. This can happen by:
- Clench your teeth through pain and building resilience in the process.
- Honing your feelings of determination to overcome obstacles and challenges.
- Inspiring you to want to stand up against unfair and unacceptable circumstances.
- Challenging you to be stronger and grow so that you can overcome your suffering.
- Giving you a reality check to put you on a more productive and informed path.
- Teaching you survival skills.
9. You can decide to change
Many people feel overwhelmed when they realize all the things they cannot control, but go to the extent of going blind to the things they can handle. If that describes you, then suffering can teach you to get out of that cycle.
There are many things in life that you cannot choose, but there are also many decisions that you have the power to make. When you suffer, you have to actively choose to get better, choose to stay strong, and prefer to move on. You have to get out of your head to survive, and in the process, you may find that you can always control your reactions and choose how to handle different situations.
Once you learn this lesson, you can wonderfully apply it to many different parts of your life. You realize that you are always choosing to change aspects of your life and of yourself that need improvement, and this understanding can drive a lot of inner growth and make you happier overall.
Basically, you realize that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your destiny, and that is a powerful thing to be aware of. At the end of the day, how your eyes perceive your experiences is entirely up to you, and how you channel your inner growth toward each other is your decision as well.
It’s hard to want to see suffering as something that can be positive, but the lessons you can learn from these experiences can be valuable to your growth and happiness. If you learn to harness pain and transform it into something positive, the suffering you face will have a silver lining, and you may even rejoice in the lessons it taught you once you are through it.