Suffering Is Also an Asset
There’s no rose without a thorn. This thought is absolutely necessary to prepare you to experience less pain and more joy in your journey of life.
With a bird’s-eye view, you may realize something meaningful. During your school years, while joyfully acquiring knowledge you are also under the pressure of homework, examinations, and ranking. You face crises and agony. Meanwhile, all sorts of intricate affairs may happen between you and your classmates. In your youth, puberty may fill you with unrealized desires and send you into deeper perplexity.
Entering marriage, you are actually in the center of all the contradictions—the matching of different personalities, enduring of family members, children’s schooling, financial management and so on, you may also fall into marriage crisis. As you age, your health may deteriorate and various troubles in your career and family may gradually emerge. Mid-life and old-age crisis will follow, leading you to your eternity.
We may therefore conclude that much of our life may not be spent in contentment. However, the things that discontent are, in fact, not useless since you may learn more from them than from the things that cheered you up.
As the saying goes, “It seems to be a perpetual rule that flops are produced elatedly and masterpieces painstakingly”. To put it vividly, the great historian Sima Qian had a view even two thousand years ago: “When Emperor Wen of Zhou Dynasty was arrested, he produced the classic Zhou Yi Jing; Confucius wrote the History of Spring and Autumn while he was experiencing adversity; Qu Yuan produced his monumental long poem, On Encountering Sorrow, during his exile. When Zuo Qiu lost his sight and Sun Zi had his feet chopped off, they edited their writings and stratagems. After Lü Buwei was forced to live in Shu, the valuable The Book of Lü was fortunately handed down to posterity. Similarly, when Han Feizi was imprisoned in Qin, On Difficulty and On Resentment—two precious books—were written by him. Three hundred Classic Poems were also produced in roughly the same way, where the writers’ hearts were smouldering in the doldrums with no way out: they therefore conveyed everything in words, narrating the past and contemplating the future”.
Let’s treat all the sufferings at every stage of life as assets which can only do us good.