How to Suffer Properly

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Jordan Peterson and Friederich Nietchze recently. It may seem weird, but I think it’s because they’re saying a lot of profound things, and that could be because they are indeed, profound people. But that begs the question…what is constitutes a profound person?

….and here’s what I’ve concluded.

A profound person (in the sense I’m speaking of) is someone who is able to do one of two things. The first is, he or she is able to show us that we are operating on a level we may not be aware of. In essence, the individual is revealing something to us we don’t know, but we’re already doing.

The second is, that we may know what level we’re on operating on, but we’ve run into an obstacle, you could say, that we don’t know how to overcome, and that profound person points us in a direction we never saw.

In both situations, you are being revealed something that you didn’t know, just one comes before the other, but the individual answers both questions, simultaneously. And what’s cool about that is you don’t know about the second question, until you’ve been revealed the first, and once you’ve been revealed the first, you realize the second is already answered. Which completely baffles me how someone could have the insight and knowledge to be able to do that.

So what is it that Peterson and Nietchze are answering that I find so profound? Here’s it is.

The suffering (chaos) in our life comes most from the things that we see as irrelevant in our own perspective.

First, you might be asking, what does that even mean? So what’s happening here, is that I’m introducing you to a level you didn’t know what you were on. Here’s what that above statement means. In our lives, we often are most prone to feelings of depression/suffering when we feel like we’ve lost control; when things are out of order. Seems a bit obvious, right? Well, usually, we weren’t always like that. There was a time when we probably felt that we did have everything right, at least to the best of our ability, that we felt like we had control. It wasn’t until we discovered that we “missed something” when we begin our downward spiral.

Let me break this down.

Say you have a nice job, a family, good friends, and everything seems to be going right. How could this go wrong? Introduce chaos. One day you walk into work, your boss says he needs to speak with you, and fifteen minutes later you’re jobless. Say then, you go home, you tell your wife, and she goes on to tell you how pathetic you are, and can’t properly provide for this family. Now say that your mortage payment is coming up, you don’t have money, and you ask your friends for some help because hey, that’s what friends do, they’re supposed to help you when you need it. They say they can’t help, and now you don’t know what to do. So what just happened? In that situation, you just discovered a series of facts that you didn’t know, and it’s not that you didn’t know them, it was because previously you thought they were irrelevant. This is how irrelevant things in our life becomes chaos.

Let me explain a bit further.

In the above situation, at your job, say you noticed that your boss began to give you less responsibility. You notice that you’re doing less than your coworkers, but you don’t give it a second thought. After you got fired, you realized what that meant now. And your wife at home always said you didn’t spend enough time with the kids, that you needed to be a better provider, but you thought because you had the income in the family you were providing, and just dismissed her words. And finally your friends. You thought they would always be there for you, but you started to notice that they would ask to meet up with you less and less, but you just though that could be because we’re all busy, and yeah, life gets busy.

Then comes the worst part. You realized there are a near infinite amount of things you used to think were irrelevant, but now you don’t know which ones are, and which one aren’t, and the more you keep digging, the more you realize you never knew anything. This is where that feeling of not being in control starts to take over. If you never knew anything, then maybe you were never in control, and that really is something to think about.

During these times is when I feel we are the most susceptible to feelings of depression. Why is that? A lot of people say that depression is the feeling that everything is getting worse and it keeps getting worse and you don’t know what to do about it. It isn’t until you hit the bottom, and for some people that can be a long time, that you can start climbing back up, out of this depression.

Here’s what I have to say about that. Because there are an infinite amount of things we don’t know, thus, an infinite amount of things that can bring chaos to our lives, there really is no bottom, per se. That’s why I think the idea of Hell is so miserable because you can always find a way to make things worse. Then that raises the question, if there is no bottom, then how do we start making our way back up?

I don’t think there is a single answer to that question, but I think there are answers that are better than others. The answer that Peterson suggests is to always tell the truth. This is one that I think is definitely one to really take to heart in your life. And again why is that?

When you tell the truth, to yourself (most importantly) and others, you can begin to take the chaos and turn it back into order. What do I mean? Back to the example. When you realized at work, you weren’t doing as much as your co-workers, ask yourself, and really be truthful. Is it because they can’t trust me with the responsibility? And at home, with your wife. When she said you didn’t spend enough time with the kids, ask yourself, could I have been a better provider? And finally your friends, when they start hanging out with you less and less, ask yourself, are you really a good friend?

The real question you’re asking yourself is, can I be a better person? And when you realize the answer to that is yes, then you can start taking control of your life and you can begin to be a better person.

So, it’s time to tell the truth now.


thanks for reading,