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Suffering Is Easy. The Challenge Is Growth!

Bill White

If you've endured an emotional or mental health disorder, you know suffering. But suffering is the easy part. Anyone can suffer.

The real challenge is gathering the inspiration, motivation, and strength to move forward in suffering's wake - and discover life's meaning and purpose.

green tree leaves in the sunThis is about growth in the midst of blight.

I've never met, or even heard the voice of the great 20th Century psychotheorist and professor, Dr. Viktor E. Frankl - but I love the man. His writing style is humble, yet powerful. And he's taught me so much about the true meaning of suffering.

Frankl knew a thing or two about the subject. He survived three years of Nazi concentration camp hospitality, including accommodations at Auschwitz. And he lost his parents, brother, and pregnant wife to Adolph Hitler's Third Reich.

In his must-read, Man's Search For Meaning, Frankl provides details of death-camp atrocities; and how he, and some of his comrades, survived. But, beautifully, that wasn't his point.

No, Frankl takes the reader beyond pure survival in the immediate to the life-changing principles of deriving meaning and purpose from our sufferings.

Absorb Frankl's wisdom...

"Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete. The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity - even under the most difficult circumstances - to add a deeper meaning to his life."

"Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decided whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not."

Worthy of sufferings?

Are you kidding me? But think and feel about it for a moment. Doesn't the notion of being worthy of our sufferings present a brand new - and inspiring - perspective? Don't know about you, but it makes me want to push my chest out and throw my shoulders back.

Do you suffer? Has life been nothing more than a journey of endurance thus far? For decades, it sure as heck was for me.

But I came to the conclusion some time ago, instead of focusing upon my sufferings, I was going to hold them accountable for a greater good. Yes, they were going to work for me and others in our quest for an honorable and fulfilling life.

To me, that's discovering just a smidge of meaning and purpose. And I'd say a long overdue growth spurt took place, as well.

One more bit of word-music from Viktor Frankl...

"If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete."

In so many ways life has been especially hard work for all of us, and wages are due. How 'bout we collect in currency far exceeding mere metal and paper.

It's time...