10 reasons suffering is good for us (Still, it ain’t much fun.)

Will my depression go away

Isuffer, therefore I am. Perceptually, the distressing truth for many of us living with a mood or anxiety disorder. As we’re battling for relief, we can’t turn our backs on positivity. There are reasons suffering is good for us (even if it ain’t much fun).

Our suffering can greatly benefit others. There is no better way to overcome our own suffering than to reach out to suffering others with an offering of comfort and assistance.

Suffer: right out of the gate, let’s turn to Merriam-Webster

  • To submit to or be forced to endure
  • To feel keenly : labor under
  • To put up with especially as inevitable or unavoidable

As if I had to define it for you, right? Let’s just say I’m a dictionary freak.

Goodness in suffering?

All human beings suffer. However, because of our often compromised coping skills and stress response capabilities, I think it hits those living with a mood or anxiety disorder especially hard.

And because of the chronic nature of our suffering, and its life- interrupting fallout, it’s easy to understand why we assign, well, badness to the whole mess.

But could it be that there’s goodness in suffering? I realize that may require some thought. But if we can accept it, doesn’t living with a mood or anxiety disorder become even a little bit easier to tolerate?

I think it does.

10 reasons suffering is good for us

So now that I’ve stuck my neck out, I’d better be able to back up my “suffering is good for us” claim. Will these work?

  1. Consider our opening declaration: “I suffer, therefore I am.” It’s a heck of a way to do it; however, suffering provides proof that everything that makes us a functioning human being is in working order. Suffering is evidence – confirmation – of being alive.
  2. The great psychotheorist Viktor Frankl believed life can’t be complete without suffering. He ups the ante by proposing the way we accept our suffering adds a deeper meaning to our lives. And he challenges us to be worthy of our suffering. Frankl was influenced by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who said, “There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.”
  3. The management of our suffering calls us to procure and turn to internal and external coping and inspiration resources. Along the way there’s growth in our inner strength, maturity, and spirituality.
  4. Our suffering can greatly benefit others. There is no better way to overcome our own suffering than to reach out to suffering others with an offering of comfort and assistance.
  5. Speaking of reaching out, suffering can motivate us to seek connection and assistance from others. How soothing it is to be comforted by someone when we’re having a rough go if it.
  6. Suffering provides fresh perspective – clarity – on who we are as individuals at any given moment. The same applies to our place in our immediate environment – and world.
  7. Suffering keeps us humble.
  8. The motivation to expand ourselves – grow – is often difficult to come by. Suffering can bring it in large quantities.
  9. Suffering is the gateway to acceptance of our circumstances – and self. If we deny suffering, we deny our very existence.
  10. Suffering allows us to experience grace, as well as the joy of beginning the healing process. Referring to illness, Dr. M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Traveled, wrote, “…the symptoms are the beginning of its cures. The fact that they are unwanted makes them all the more a phenomenon of grace – a gift of God, a message from the unconscious, if you will, to initiate self-examination and repair.”

What do you think? Did I do a good job of backing up my “suffering is good for us” claim?

They may be all we have

“I suffer, therefore I am.” An understandable declaration, if you ask me.

Those of us enduring a mood or anxiety disorder suffer in so many ways. Please know I get it. And through it all, as we’re battling for relief, we can’t turn away goodness – and hope.

For a while, they may be all we have.

Looking for more on suffering? You may find Why we suffer: A powerful perspective helpful.

More mood and anxiety disorder info and inspiration articles? Review those Chipur titles.

  • Ricardo Ortiz December 7, 2015, 10:03 pm

    Hey Bill,

    Great article

    It’s interesting to see how the self or human being becomes something authentic, real, humble and new after much suffering. One of the things I have seen that sometimes the self needs to reach a certain amount or magnitude of suffering for it to change, in my case I have seen how people reach their deepest suffering, black hole, etc…For me suffering and accepting it transforms us into better human beings for others. Pain is change we just have to reach a point to admit “Enough is enough”



    • Chipur December 8, 2015, 6:29 pm

      Hi, Richard!

      Sure appreciate your visit and participation. And thank you for the compliment on the article.

      No doubt, suffering holds the potential to bring each of us authenticity, humility, and freshness. And, yes, each of us has a suffering threshold, let’s say, above which we know change just has to occur. I think that’s when acceptance comes into play – that throwing-up of the arms and admitting it’s about coexistence, rather than having things purely our way. It’s my opinion this is willfully done, and there are those who just won’t do it. That’s awfully hard to witness.

      “For me suffering and accepting it transforms us into better human beings for others.” I’m with you, man. What a waste to keep our suffering experience to ourselves. It’s really a call for outreach-action, isn’t it?

      Again, thank you for stopping-by and contributing, Richard. It’ll be so helpful to those who’ll visit down the road…


  • JessiRae Ino Pulver-Adell December 11, 2015, 4:21 pm

    Hi Bill!

    What an interesting expression on human suffering. I am an avid fan of Dostoevsky, so I especially appreciated the quote of his you included. It is true, without suffering we would never grow to the complete essence of ourselves, because we would never truly be tested, or forced to delve into the crevices of self.

    As for how we are to bridge this seemingly mad connection, I suppose we should remain mindful of the test we are undergoing to see and FEEL the “stuff” we are made of.

    • Chipur December 11, 2015, 5:12 pm

      Hey, there’s JessiRae! Welcome back. Chipur readers, JessiRae wrote this guest post for Chipur two months ago https://chipur.com/self-harm-and-substance-use-disorders-need-to-know-connections-and-facts/

      And so the suffering dilemma. Tell ya’ what, it ain’t going anywhere anytime soon, so it’s up to each of us to do what we can to peacefully coexist with it – at the very least. However, I’m challenging all of us to go well beyond that, to accepting and embracing our suffering, believing it can do incredibly positive things for us – and others.

      Thanks for the participation, JessiRae…

  • Nick Stokes December 16, 2015, 6:40 am

    Hi Bill,

    Wow! Didn’t really think suffering had a positive side. A powerful insight, thank you! Great article indeed.

    • Chipur December 16, 2015, 6:58 pm

      Hey, Nick! Glad you stopped-by and participated. Appreciated.

      Yeah, that suffering thing – lots of it going around. Over the many decades I finally figured-out I ought to at least try for a bit of positive spin on the dynamic. I mean, heck – had to do something with it, other than letting it eat me alive. Right? So I did some digging, and talked to some folk, and realized suffering really was good – in many ways. Pretty revolutionary concept, actually.

      Pleased you enjoyed the piece, Nick. Hope you come see us again…