We were beaten by our parents and humiliated by our teachers for not executing commands. We were humiliated by people who were supposed to be our support. We were ridiculed by peers for having unique opinions. We were cheated by our closest. We were left alone when we needed to be surrounded.
It is appealing to be thankful for this period of life. Thinking that it toughened your character, that, at least, you have learned how life works early on. You can be proud of your tough experiences because they made you who you are, and you are doing well, right?
You are wrong. There is nothing to be proud of. There is no virtue in suffering. You don’t know who you would become if you didn’t suffer.
What if instead of spending whole days with nasty peers, you were spending time with supportive friends, developing interpersonal skills, or trying things until you find a passion that would drive you for the rest of your life. What if your father, instead of pouring out his frustrations on you or arguing with your mother, was preparing you for the struggles of life, was your idol and mentor, was teaching you how to do business or how to build a healthy relationship with women.
It’s appealing to feel superior to people from “good houses”, to despise them, to think that life will punish them anyway, and they won’t handle it, because they are weak. You, on the other hand, will, because you are strong, life has hardened you, it has shown you the dark side.
The haters, the nasty, bad, antisocial, withdrawn people, or even suicides often result from long periods of suffering. You might be the lucky one who got out of it, but some people didn’t.
It is post-purchase rationalization1 that convinces you to assign the good outcomes of whatever happened to you. It makes life easier; it covers the feeling of being cheated, abandoned, regret, helplessness—the unpleasant feelings you want to get rid of, somehow, even at the cost of bending the truth.
If you, however, want to transcend your personality, you got to admit before yourself that what happened did harm to you, that there is nothing good about it. But don’t blame anyone—your parent and peers hadn’t any better; if they did, they wouldn’t have acted like that. They couldn’t give you more than they had themself. Take it as it is, draw a lesson, break the chain.
Changing attitude is merely the first step, then you have to suppress yourself. There are high chances that you inherited some of these harmful behaviors from your parents or other close people.
- If you were criticized by your parents, chances are you’ll be judging other people.
- If there was patriarchy in your home, chances are you’ll be sabotaging relationships with women who know their worth.
- If your parents were together without loving each other, you might believe that this is how the mature relationship goes.
- If you grow up in poverty, you might have started to believe that your place is between these people, that this is how the world works. Some people are lucky, some unlucky, you are just the latter one. This belief can develop to an even more destructive flavor, believing that the “upper class” are the unhappy, greedy, that they are the source of evil in the world.
Your common sense is infected—you can’t trust it. You have to question everything it suggests you do.
You have to identify what is harmful and unlearn it. It will be a long process, but it’s better to start now.
By abandoning the bad beliefs, behaviors, habits, and emotions, you make room for respect, support, and love. Life can be beautiful if you let it be.
The same with people, you will have to limit those disrespectful, toxic, and nasty people to make space for those who support, respect, and love you.
Now you may think, ok, I was suffering, I admitted it, and I’ve changed myself. Now I’m wiser; therefore, better than people who didn’t take that lesson. Wrong—you are still looking for gratification for your suffering. Learning from your mistakes is good, but learning from others' mistakes is wise—you don’t have to be humiliated to understand the consequences. Other people could have learned the same lessons as you did without suffering; you forgot to include the opportunity cost2 in your calculations. They could have spent that time developing emotional intelligence, establishing connections, earning education degrees, building businesses, or just enjoying life.
Let’s take two people,
- The first person is eating healthy for the whole life. His parents always were, so he is.
- The second person ate fast food for a long period of life, which resulted in health problems. He realized a problem and decided to go to a doctor, who convinced him to change his eating habits.
Who has a better health condition? Of course, the first one. Merely the realization of suffering won’t magically recompensate the health damages.
Suffering has harmful lifetime consequences, so don’t be grateful for it.
Living a happy life full of love is a skill you can develop. I was lucky enough to meet people who have taught me that. I’m grateful for their love, not for my suffering.