The Wonderful World of Suffering: 18 Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Little Misery

what is the role of suffering in human life

Oh, suffering. It’s what brings spice to our otherwise mundane existence. Because let’s face it, what would life be without the occasional stubbed toe, heartbreak, or existential dread? I mean, how boring would it be if we just danced through fields of daisies, singing and holding hands with our loved ones? Yawn…

But before we dive into this roller-coaster of human misery, let’s set the tone right. Imagine reading this with a sarcastic smirk, perhaps with some ironic music playing in the background.

1. Character Building: Because No Pain, No Gain, Right?

First on our thrilling list of why suffering is just so darn great: character building. Everyone’s heard the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Kelly Clarkson even sang a song about it, so it must be true. Yes, forget protein shakes, intense gym workouts, or enlightening books; just face some good old fashioned suffering to sculpt that character of yours. Who needs self-help gurus when you have heartbreak?

2. Stories Galore: Dinner Parties Will Never Be Dull

Can you imagine going to a dinner party and NOT having a tragic tale of woe to share? Thanks to suffering, you’ll always have a juicy tidbit to regale the audience with. Your friend might boast about their trip to the Maldives, but you can counter with that time you were stuck in an elevator for 7 hours with a mime.

3. Developing Empathy: Now You’re in the Cool Kids’ Emotional Club

One of the perks of experiencing suffering is that you get this neat thing called empathy. It’s like a backstage pass to the Emotional Understanding Club. You see someone crying because they spilled coffee on their white shirt? You’ve been there. Solidarity, comrade.

4. A Chance to Binge on Comfort Food and Sad Movies

Had a bad day? Well, that’s just an excuse to grab your favorite ice cream and binge-watch tearjerkers. No one can judge you when you’re suffering! “Why yes, I will have that fourth cookie, because LIFE.”

5. Helps You Appreciate the Good Times

After a week of rain, don’t you just appreciate the sun so much more? Similarly, after a year of 2020, don’t we just… wait, never mind. But in general, suffering makes us REALLY grateful when things go our way for once. Silver linings, folks!

6. Get Out of Unwanted Situations

Remember those events you just didn’t want to attend? Thanks to your minor (or major) suffering, you have a get-out-of-jail-free card. “Sorry, can’t make it to Aunt Bertha’s slideshow of her trip to the world’s largest ball of twine, I’m just too distraught over losing my favorite pen.”

7. Deep Philosophical Conversations

With suffering comes the inevitable dive into existential angst. Suddenly, you’re not just debating what to have for dinner but the very meaning of life itself. Do we exist? Why are we here? And most importantly, why do socks always disappear in the wash during our darkest hours?

8. Realizing Humans are Ridiculously Resilient

Give humans some credit. We’ve been through ice ages, plagues, terrible fashion trends, and yet we’re still here. Suffering shows just how resilient and adaptable we are. Next time you face an insurmountable challenge, just remember: our ancestors once thought parachute pants were a good idea, and we survived that.

9. Growth and Personal Development

Alright, getting a tad serious here (I know, how dare I?). But suffering can actually foster personal growth. Overcoming challenges can lead to newfound strengths and skills. Like the ability to eat an entire chocolate cake in one sitting when heartbroken. That’s a skill, right?

10. Humbling Ourselves

Nothing like a good bout of suffering to remind us we’re just mere mortals. Just when we start thinking too highly of ourselves, life throws a pie in our face. Literally or metaphorically. It keeps our egos in check. And, pies are delicious.

11. The Ultimate Conversation Starter

Ever wanted to break the ice but ran out of weather-related topics? Enter suffering. Not only does it provide a universal touchpoint, but you can also swiftly move from discussing drizzles and sunshines to the metaphorical storms and rainbows of life. “Speaking of storms, remember when I tried to cook and set off the fire alarm for the entire building?” Trust me, sympathy (or laughter) will ensue.

12. The Gateway to Art and Creativity

Artists throughout history weren’t just influenced by butterflies and rainbows, but by pain and heartbreak. Think of the blues, evocative paintings, and passionate poems. Suffering gives you a one-way ticket into the heart of creativity. So next time you’re suffering, grab a paintbrush, strum a guitar, or write a melancholic poem about your missing sock.

13. Developing a Radar for Bull

One of the unexpected benefits of suffering is developing an uncanny ability to detect nonsense from a mile away. After going through genuine trials and tribulations, your tolerance for superficiality tends to wane. “Oh, you’re upset about the latte art not being Instagram-worthy? Tell me more.”

14. Appreciating the Tiny Joys

It’s only after enduring a prolonged cold that one truly appreciates the miracle of a clear nose. Similarly, suffering often magnifies the small, overlooked joys of life. Like the sheer delight of finding an extra fry at the bottom of the bag or that incredible feeling when your sneeze doesn’t vanish mysteriously.

15. Realizing the Power of Community

Nothing brings people together like shared suffering. Ever been through a group project? It’s like being in the trenches. Those shared hardships form unbreakable bonds. So, while you might be cursing the project now, you’ll be toasting to it at reunions.

16. Enhancing Problem-Solving Skills

Present a human with a problem, add a pinch of suffering, and voilà! Instant problem-solving mode activated. Flat tire in the middle of nowhere? Suddenly you’re MacGyver, crafting solutions with chewing gum and hairpins.

17. The Great Perspective Shifter

Facing challenges can shift our perspective like nothing else. Worries about mismatched socks seem trivial when compared to real problems. Suffering is like life’s natural pair of binoculars; sometimes you see the close, painful details, but other times you get a vast overview of what truly matters.

18. An Excuse to Redecorate

Had a breakup? Time to change everything about your living space! Suffering, particularly of the emotional kind, often brings out our inner interior decorator. Why drown sorrows in ice cream, when you can drown them in throw pillows and wall paint?

In Conclusion: Embrace the Suffering (Or At Least, Make It Your Sidekick)

There you have a guide to why suffering is the unsung hero of the human experience. Now, while this has been all in good fun, it’s worth noting that genuine suffering is real and can be immensely challenging. But as humans, our ability to find humor, even in dark times, is a testament to our resilience. So, the next time life gives you lemons, squirt it in the eye, chuckle, and make the best darn lemonade you can. Cheers to suffering, the most reliable companion we never asked for!