Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Finding meaning in your suffering

Read the 4 paragraphs below and notice how you feel:

You work everyday until you cannot work anymore. Everyday you are suffering but you do not know why.

You work everyday until you cannot work anymore. Everyday you are suffering so that you can earn enough money.

You work everyday until you cannot work anymore. Everyday you are suffering so that you can earn enough money so that your family can have their 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads.

You work everyday until you cannot work anymore. Everyday you are working purposefully to achieve your goals, which is to earn enough money so that your family can have their 3 meals a day and a roof over their heads. Even though you are working hard, your work gives you great satisfaction and achievement. You can working until you can't work anymore because your client and your colleague still finds your contribution valuable.

If you read through the above 4 paragraphs, you'll see that the story behind our suffering is what enables us to live through it. Everyone can take suffering, so long as it has a meaning to it. It is meaningless suffering that is unbearable to all of us. While we cannot avoid suffering, we can always find meaning in it so that we do not suffer in vain.

Think of a soldier who died in a war. If he died in a war that he don't believe in, his death will be meaningless. But if he died to protect his comrades-in-arms, or more abstractedly, to protect his ideals or his way of life, then his suffering will be made meaningful. While the circumstances (that he died) is the same however you want to think of it, the mindset change makes all the difference.

Focus on finding meaning for your sufferings.

I think the same can be said for the journey towards financial freedom. There is certain short term suffering that one must endure, but if you think that life is so unbearable, think of the meaning behind it. If you can't find the meaning in it, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. I think after you tried a little suffering, you can even get used to it. Try not to drink any sweet carbonated drinks for 1 week. After that, try drinking some with less sugar in it, you'll suddenly find that it's so sweet. You can try it for food too. Try eating bland food for 1 week and then try eating fast food. You'll find that it's so salty now. Same food but different!

All about perspectives and meaning, isn't it? Haha


Singapore Man of Leisure said...

This butterfly has shepherd skills ;)

Even if one is a lone wolf, we sometimes have to shepherd our own selves...

Can't always depend on others to shepherd us, can we?

la papillion said...


Haha, it's important to psych yourself up for challenges..better to see it as meaningful rather than meaningless ;)

Createwealth8888 said...

Is this how terrorists see themselves too?

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

I suppose so. If not, how does one convince oneself to do such things? Just have to be careful if the meaning is provided by others or provided by yourself. Because while finding meaning in suffering is neither good nor evil, this story driven way to rationalise actions can be manipulative in the wrong hands.

Motivating students to study hard is also the same, isn't it?

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

Hmm, I believe in reincarnation, hence the bad things we do in this life or past life will reappear again in the following life times until we get it right. I won't appear as LP the next life time though, which isn't what you believed in.

Hmm, important moral question - if there is no law, would you commit crime? I guess it's the same here - if there's no life after this, would you do bad things and be selfish? past experiences says I won't (i used to believe in no life after death, but I didn't do more selfish things). The bad things or selfish things I do will haunt me even if there is no god or karma or law to govern me.

Own self check ownself lol

Sillyinvestor said...

I was wondering why u are not blogging for so long. U went on a spiritual retreat.

Agreed with what u said about finding meaning behind suffering.

How do find meaning? Million dollars question.

Why is there a need to find meaning? To persevere in suffering? That meaning should end suffering, at least at the mental and emotional state. Physically and mentally maybe still suffering

I have abstain from meat for almost 2 months now. I dun even dare to try and taste if I still like it in case I do enjoy it.

But it is much easier than I thought and the suffering from meat free meal whenever possible is surprising low. I lose 5 kg and 3 inch. Think I more handsome now LOL DUN THROW SHOES AT ME

aloypro said...

This book taught me to find meaning in suffering!
Man's Search For Meaning - Viktor E Frankl

If you're interested, give it a read!


la papillion said...

Hi SI,

Haha, was busy with work, hence didn't get the chance to sit down to write an article. So you embodied the part where you suffered but realised that it's not so bad after a while. You got used to it. I think after 2 months, you might get a little nauseous if you try it. We're all conditioned one way or another :)

Good to lose some weight and look more handsome too ;)

la papillion said...

Hi aloypro,

Hey hey hey, I read that book too :) I put down the list of books i've read this year on the right hand column of the blog. It's like the 8th book from the bottom :)

It's a great book, I must say. Part of the inspiration for the post. A book that kept me thinking about it must be a great book, haha!