The acceptance and glorification of misery

sisyphusOne notable attitude I observed in many people over the years is that they tolerate or even glorify suffering.  If they are miserable, they would simply brush the situation aside by stating that it’s normal.  Some go a step further and consider their own suffering as a good thing; possibly as sign of their life being on the right track or just as a thing to be proud of.

From my own experience, I’ve encountered plenty of people who are miserable in their jobs, but justify it by stating that jobs are meant to suck, what do ya expect?  Life is meant to be hard!  If you’re miserable, that’s how it should be.  Worst of all I’ve encountered people, often women, stuck in abusive relationships and thinking it’s ok.  They tolerate the abuse that’s hurled their way.  Instead of doing something about it, they tell themselves or others that their suffering in the abusive relationship is something noble and to be celebrated.  They’re keeping the family together, even though it’s so hard – for the family must stay together at all costs.  The kids NEED a father!  Even if the father is one who beats both the wife and the children liberally.

I don’t know where this attitude comes from.  Some people pin this on Protestants, Catholics or even Christianity in general, but I’ve seen this attitude just as much in eastern cultures as in the west, and it’s hard for me to attribute it to any specific religion or culture.

It’s true that one should not reject ALL suffering from life; one would simply become a big baby if they do.  Some suffering can be fine if they lead to greater happiness and benefits in the long term.  However life does throw a lot of crap at everyone, and it’s not  good to blindly accept everything from it.  Sometimes when life gifts you with needless misery and suffering, you should refuse.  Refusing may result in more work and conflict in the short term, but the long term results are worth it.  Part of being an intelligent and happy person is having the judgement to discern which bits of misery to refuse, and which to endure.  But to blindly accept and endure all suffering in life is foolish.  To not even try to be happy is cowardly.



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