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How I Learned to Suffer – Part 3

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Karen’s article How I Learned to Suffer

All this stuff we read about how to cheer ourselves up is good. I’m into positive thinking. I like to enjoy good things. Getting some benefits during suffering can be a positive thing, right? In Part 3 of this series, we’re going to explore all of the things we gain when learning to suffer well.

Benefits of Suffering


Taking Courage

There is nothing like a threatening situation to bring out the lion heart in us all. When I was refused hepatitis C treatment, I roared loud. My doctor got to see me in all my glory as I spelled out all the reasons I deserved the new drugs. My heart was anxious, but I stood up and said my piece with bravery.

Finding Creativity

When we are forced to sit with a situation, we are more likely to use creativity to find a solution. One example is when I was single, with no insurance, and getting on treatment, I had to find resources for food. I went to a government agency and asked for help with groceries until I could pay off my medical bills. I also asked for free protein drinks. I got denied and it felt like suffering. In the end, I had to learn to make my own protein drinks. I ended up writing a book about that. Suffering pays off.

Gaining Confidence

At one point, I didn’t know if I could work again. I was in a pickle. After reading on some websites that social security disability might be available, I went to their office. That took a lot of confidence that I would have never known I had until then. They denied me. I worked hard to get my hemoglobin and platelet count up so that I could stay on the job. I walked back into work with a lot of confidence in myself.

Taking Responsibility

When we buckle down and suffer, it’s hard to blame someone else for what we’re going through. I was upset that my Cobra insurance got canceled when I missed a payment because I was hospitalized. But then I understood that I could suffer it bravely and start trying to get the bills paid. It was a messy year for sure. I suffered a lot.

Discovering Pride

Pride is not always a negative thing. When we believe in ourselves, it brings out a healthy pride. There is a certain dignity that rises up when suffer bravely. I actually feel that my self respect swelled over a 1,000% during the years after my diagnosis with end stage cirrhosis. Rather than dwelling on the negative aspects, I sat in awe that I was actually thinking of ways to save my own life. I’m proud of suffering through that.

Are you surprised at all the great benefits that can be gained by learning to suffer? I know you have suffered much and my heart goes out to you. I am also proud of your for taking the lessons learned during the hard times and using them to help you in the future.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.