Have you heard of the quote, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, actually it is also a famous song by Kelly Clarkson. The message of that song is that whatever suffering we are experiencing right now, as long as we chose to face it, it will make us a better and stronger person in the long run.
Suffering – it is anything that we experience that challenges us. It is something that brings discomfort to us. We all have our own sufferings. Some suffer because of personal things like being rejected by their crush, or not being able to buy a concert ticket. Others suffer because of poverty, injustice, or chaos.
There is this philosopher named Axel Honneth. He believes that suffering is something that should be taken positively so that we will have that “struggle for recognition”. He then categorized the “struggles for recognition” of man into three. First is the struggle of recognition from physical pain. Physical pain can be characterized by physical abuse, or even rape. Physical pain does not only harm a person on a physical aspect, but it also affects his emotional well-being because no one would not allow other people to control his/her body. If that happens, then a person loses his self-trust, as well as his trust to other people.
Second is the struggle for recognition from maltreatment. As we all know, injustice is existent in the society. The poor are being maltreated and disrespected. Their rights are not recognized. So, this makes them think that their opinions are not worth-listening to. In the end, they will not cooperate anymore in the society they belong to.
Last is the struggle for recognition from stereotypes. Stereotypes are very common. The Blacks are stereotyped as the inferior race. The poor are regarded as illiterate and worthless by some. And with those, a person is not given the opportunity to prove himself/herself, that he/she is more than labels and stereotypes.
Now, Albert Camus, another philosopher, gives us three options on how to face these sufferings. First is the physical suicide. Of course, if you are a coward, then you might choose this option. But let me remind you that ending one’s life is the most terrible thing one could do. Second is the philosophical suicide. For Camus, it is also similar to physical suicide, it is just that you are just trying to change the world you live in. This can be done by sticking to some sort of magic or a Supreme Being. Camus is an atheist that is why he thinks that way. But for me, philosophical suicide happens when you stick solely to a Supreme Being, without actually doing anything in order to survive. Last is just embracing and accepting these sufferings. For Camus, this is the best option because this is where you prove to the world how strong you are as a person.
But at the end of the day, people have different perspectives in life. Some are optimists. These are the kind of people who would be able to live meaningfully despite of sufferings. It is because they look at the brighter side of everything. Others are pessimists. These are the people who might be on the verge of killing themselves, or who have killed themselves at this very moment. This is because they see suffering as something that is more powerful than them.
They say that life is not a bed of roses, which is quite true because suffering is part of life. Suffering is part of the world we live in We must remember that we are rational beings and we have the capacity to decide for our own. Whatever option we choose, we must be aware of the consequences of our choices. We can surpass all sufferings, including death, only if we choose to surpass them. In that case, suffering can lead to success because we chose to overcome such, and those sufferings will mold us into a better version of ourselves. But, if we let those sufferings defeat us, then we will end up in our deathbeds, without even proving to the world how we are as a person. Or I should say, the mere fact that you chose to end your life, is already a way of proving how fragile you are. I impose a challenge to all of you. How are you going to deal with your sufferings? You may choose the hard way by accepting those sufferings and doing something about them. Or, you can choose the easy way out by going on a suicide. But again, as what Kelly Clarkson would sing, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.