If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering
Let me tell you a story.
Mrs. Simone is a lady in her early fifties who loves outdoor games and likes to keep herself fit. She is elegant, chirpy and lives her life to the fullest. Her sunny disposition never fails to influence people around her. But, behind her radiant smile, there is a story of immense loss and pain. Her tryst with grief first happened 5 years ago. The day when she came to know that her only child is a Schizophrenic at the age of 18.
He was a star performer. He led a rock band. He was an athlete. He was a wonder child!
As if it all happened in the blink of an eye, her world came crashing down. She couldn’t understand how to gather herself. She was all alone. She felt a huge weight.
Somewhere, through that despair and suffering, Simone realized that she was not just giving up on herself, but on her son too. If she surrenders, her son may not recover, ever. And, she couldn’t bear the thought of it.
If I have to put it in one line, I would say that this was a silver lining to her difficulties.
Bit by bit, she gathered courage.
Meanwhile, she got her son admitted into the best affordable facility. For the next five years, she not only nursed him with utmost care and affection, she filled her son’s life with hopes and beautiful dreams. And, he was getting better with each passing day.
There were periods when his health would rise and decline and times when she would break down. Nevertheless, she would remind herself just one thing – to bring him back to live a normal life.
It took tremendous courage on her part to build their lives step by step for five long years. She had complete faith that her son would soon start running, play his favorite songs until one day her son succumbed to his illness. He took his own life.
Those dreams and hopes that she had so preciously held together came tumbling down just like that.
After five long years, this was her second tryst with grief. This was a catastrophe that could be never recovered nor measured. However, she remained undaunted. She didn’t want to wallow in self-pity. Although life came to a standstill but she understood that she cannot waste her time on this earth. She must find a purpose.
Soon, Simone started awareness campaigns about Schizophrenia in her locality. To help people understand more about this illness and generate empathy towards people who are suffering, their near and dear ones. While she engrossed herself into this work, she found a new meaning to her life. Although, the void that he left in her heart could never be filled, but she saw a meaning in his death. Slowly and steadily, once again Simone started building her life, right from scratch.
And, I am sure she will continue living a meaningful life.
It is always a privilege to know people in real life who can teach you the unlimited strength of the human spirit.
They have the audacity to challenge life’s unpredictability, come what may.
They can stand still and display the tremendous determination to get up, pick up the pieces and move on.
Despite hurting deep, they choose to live life and understand it. They choose happiness over misery.
They can find the meaning of life even in their setbacks. Although, their revival from the deepest agonies may seem like a divine intervention, but it takes a lot of determination and the resolve to pull up and not let the spirit die.
Life is not always as it seems, sometimes you have to create it the way you want it to be.
Who are these people?
These are the Resilient ones. It is one of the attributes found to be common in such people. Like Simone, whom I consider as the perfect example.
But, what exactly is Resilience?
As per Wikipedia, Resilience is the ability to cope with change. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.
Anyway, let me put it this way. Resilience is like a great comeback. And, I would like to think it in steps:
Suffer -> Prepare -> Punch Harder & move forward
Suffer: There will be times when you cannot escape from this. You might have to suffer what’s there for you to suffer. You may blame anyone, your fate, people around you or circumstances, but this is your share of suffering.
So, let’s not be in denial anymore. The more we are in this state of denial, the more we suffer. Well, this could be a tricky situation. And, you got to be alert. If you give yourself the time to wallow in this condition, chances are you will continue to live in this state of limbo. At one point, you may not have the strength or the motivation to come out of it.
To quickly get out of it, let’s learn to accept the situation, prepare for the next move and take a step forward.
Today, you might be at the lowest phase of your life. Maybe a financial crunch and a lot of responsibility to take care of. Maybe you are going through some emotional crisis with no support around, or probably you feel insecure due to self-esteem issues. There could be many genuine reasons to make you feel low.
I agree it hurts a lot. And, we feel either misunderstood or not understood at all. And, that feels really terrible.
But, for once think about the choices you can make. You can take out your anger for all the right reasons and cry over it. Still, you have the option to become little courageous and take a deliberate step towards your own happiness.
Self-pity is an act of convenience. Whereas, a conscious action towards your wellness takes an effort.
Prepare: This is the next step. Prepare yourself to become little happier, allow good things happen to you even something bad has happened in the recent past.
You have to tell yourself one thing — Nothing is permanent. This has helped me every time I told myself when I have my phases. Even bad things will eventually turn into something favorable or at least if you grant yourself the wisdom, you might start seeing things from a different perspective.
Find out ways to come out of your bad financial status. A new job or upgrade yourself with a new skill. I mean you can find out enough ways only if you do not give yourself the privilege to think and lament on your fate.
Bad relationship? Suffered enough? Now, get the hell out of it.
There are always good things waiting for you. Sooner or later, you will be wise enough to understand what things you want in a relationship, what qualities you admire in a person and what works for you.
If the relation was detrimental to your mental and physical well-being, then it was never right for you.
You have the entire world outside waiting for you. Until you meet the person who was right there to explore the world with you.
You see, life works in mysterious ways.
Punch harder & move forward: Now that you are happier, funnier and sober than before. It’s time to deflect those things that bother you.
Time to time, you might want to go back to the first stage (Suffer), but pull yourself out.
Your self-esteem might suffer a bit. It will tell you the reasons why you should quit everything, why you are not good enough for a mind-blowing job or an amazing relationship.
But, you have to sidetrack these thoughts, strictly.
I say, punch hard those thoughts that make you feel sad. Tell your soul that you have the strength to move forward.
Tell your life that you have so much to see and do.
Tell the universe that you want all the best things for yourself. Immerse yourself in the loftiest thoughts. And, you will see how sooner you will sail through every situation.
When you are in such a high life condition, your life will find out the best ways for you to live, life will get you the right job and the right relationship.
Everything falls into place the moment we promise ourselves to become happy.
Although, resilience is a product of biological, psychological, social or environmental factors. It can be developed and build.
The good news is resilience isn’t entirely a genetic factor. There are instances when humans have shown resilience to handle traumatic experiences and catastrophes, they never thought they had before.
The mind can be conditioned to pick this trait and develop it over the time. However, the degree of resilience might differ from person to person. Some individuals can handle personal crisis quite well, but may not be able to handle a job pressure. Yet, some may handle both of the things in a calm manner. Every individual is different, after all.
The important thing is that we have the potential to build this trait.
If every day, we do things that would help us build a little bit of resilience, then life would become much simpler. The mind would be able to filter out the noise and help us understand our life from a higher perspective.
Rome was not built in a day.
Likewise, resilience cannot be developed or grown overnight. It will take time considering many factors like events, people around us, the environment, etc.
But, taking baby steps, one at a time can take us a long way ahead.
So, after knowing a bit about resilience and its non-dependability on genes.
The question is how do we build resilience each day? After all, my entire story is built around this heading.
How do we build resilience that could make our life happier so that we become calmer and less distressed?
How do we quickly recover from mishaps? How do we regrow our life from scratch like Mrs. Simone?
Based on what I have personally learned and seen, I would like to list down three important points that might help someone.
Become an optimistic soul
I consider myself an optimist. One part is inherent (thanks to my encouraging father and a wonderful mother) and the other part was learned and nurtured with time.
When I am low, I somehow start seeing the brighter side. Never have I failed to find a hidden meaning behind the struggles. Out of nowhere, I feel that good things are just around the corner. It might take some time, but this will come to me.
I never lose hope and I don’t want to lose hope, ever. Call it a trait or anything. But, I am sure a hopeful person feels less stressed than anybody else.
So, become that optimist. Things may not sort out immediately and may never. But, this optimism will certainly take you to another level. To a level, from where you can look down on your struggles and shortcomings.
Either you will find out solutions to your questions or you won’t bother anymore.
And, to answer your question (if that has come to your mind) on How to become an optimistic soul?
Well, I have a simple solution. You have to think positive, consciously or unconsciously, whatever it takes. Bask in positive thoughts. This is hard work but gotta do it.
Show your gratitude for the amazing things you have. Good job, good people around, good food to eat, good clothes to wear, beautiful places you get to see. Whatever you think you have.
You will soon see yourself turning into that bright optimistic character.
Discover your purpose
Discovering your purpose isn’t just about fulfilling academic or financial aspirations.
We can do so much with our life.
To discover a purpose is to discover yourself.
Discovering a purpose adds a meaning to your life. That purpose has a value and potential.
If your life sucked so far. Then, start finding what you want to do. Write, scribble, paint, play, travel, or invent? It’s not quite easy to suddenly discover your purpose. It never comes like a revelation to you. Sometimes, you just have to keep exploring. Test the waters.
Try everything possible and things you can afford to try until you just hit the correct note. Something that gave you satisfaction for the first time and you can’t even explain why. Something you thought was right and made you feel better.
Good people matters
I always believe that you are never strong alone. We always need someone who can give us emotional support, encourage us and give us hopes.
We do not need people who constantly pick out our flaws to belittle us. If you are surrounded by people who does that, then stay out. They can never be your friends. They will never do good to you.
We need people who will show us the right way when we are oblivious to our actions.
We need people who will point out our bad actions to not let us repeat again.
Even if it is just one person on this entire earth who supports you not just in words, but in actions. Then, it’s enough. Keep that person with you.
Life is filled with challenges. Probably, that’s the beauty of it.
Humans enjoy challenges. When life throws a curve ball, we whine, but we do want to kick it hard and hit the goal.
There will be sufferings, there will be triumphs and there will be moments when you have to endure things you never wanted to or never expected to.
Even if we get lost, take a deep breath and rediscover all those things that made you happy even for once.
Keep the spirit alive. Life is too beautiful to even waste a second.
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