Random Thought on Hardship/Suffering

Thanks to some recent comments on this blog, and some e-mails discussions I have been participating in, I have been re-reading two of my posts lately:

The Misery of Too Much Comfort

The Necessity of Suffering

I have been thinking about those posts, and what I’ve written. The ideas I explored there were never fully developed, and I know I need to examine them again.

One idea that I had was the realization that suffering was still not necessarily the right word to use. I am still not sure on what word is right, although I am leaning towards hardship now. But that is a discussion for another post. Instead, I want to explore a rather simple idea with this particular post:

No man of worth has ever become that way without enduring hardship.

I cannot think of any man who is an exception to this rule. Indeed, I think that enduring and overcoming hardship is an essential component of becoming a man of worth.

At the same time, I think that men can, depending on their life circumstances, avoid suffering and hardship more easily than women. As someone recently pointed out to me, women, by virtue of their biology, will endure suffering on a fairly regular basis for much of their life. And certain other events and circumstances also involve suffering, and more specifically, pain. We men don’t really have that- unavoidable pain as a result of biology. At least, I cannot think of any examples (please correct me in the comments if I am wrong).

All of which together means that men can, if they are “lucky”, avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship. At the same time, our avoiding that pain, suffering and hardship is often the worst thing for men. It is a sure fire way to create a spoiled brat, and a pathetic weakling. At least, that is my experience. I am curious what my readers think on the matter.

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8 Comments

Filed under Masculinity, Men, Red Pill, Women

8 responses to “Random Thought on Hardship/Suffering

  1. DJ

    What about challenge. “No man of worth has ever become that way without enduring
    challenges.”

  2. It is -at least I thought anyway- widely understood and accepted that we grow and hopefully improve through the things we suffer.

    Suffer as in hardships or challenging things which we do not enjoy but which offer us the opportunity to increase in wisdom, perseverance, and graciousness towards others.

    Most importantly I think, we get to see the reality of our frailty and learn some humility.

    This is as important for men as it is for women.We have entire generations who have been shielded from these opportunities or given a pass and excuses for failing to demonstrate character in the face of them.

    The result is that we have lots of weak men and spoiled women.

  3. anonymous_ng

    Interesting topic. I’ve considered similar ideas when thinking about the process of growing up as applied to my children.

    Which is better, or worse, to have hands that are as smooth as a baby’s bottom, or calloused, and cracked like a stone mason?

    Neither.

    Without stress, strain, hardship, etc, there is no growth. Too much results in damage that might not heal.

    You don’t get stronger looking at weights. You get stronger by lifting them, dealing with the pain and discomfort, and doing it again. However, if you push to hard, get injured, and keep pushing, you may cripple yourself.

    Suffering these days has a connotation of misery and extreme hardship that doesn’t correspond to the older usage.

    Regarding how it’s not good for us to avoid pain and suffering, I’m reminded of how people long for a vacation, for a week away from work doing nothing, but find themselves more tired in their sloth than in their work.

  4. I’ve known men personally and in history who were quality despite not suffering. They live quiet, comfortable lives, step up to greatness in times of crisis and then go back to comfortable obscurity. A Biblical example is Nehemiah, who went directly from being the king’s cupbearer/food taster to rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Another is Job, a rich man whose suffering only proved his preexisting qualities.

    There are two paths to character, internal and external. Suffering is external. It moves the lazy, humbles the arrogant and shoves the coward into the arena. That is useful… but only as punishment. if you discipline yourself to not be lazy, arrogant or craven then you don’t need the suffering.

    Sweat in peace or bleed in war.

  5. Men may avoid some physical hardships, depending on career and state in life, while pursuing honorable things and calvary. However, they will still have hardships that come from leadership in many of those cases – where the people he leads that allow him yo avoid hardship suffer due to his imperfections and he has to deal with that. Not doing so makes onne into a tyrant

  6. @ DJ-

    I think you are correct. Overcoming challenges is an essential component of becoming a man of worth- probably woman of worth too. However, I think that a challenge, to qualify as such, necessarily involves hardship as well.

  7. @ Elspeth

    Exactly. Coddled young men and women do not turn out well. We are seeing that before our eyes every day.

  8. Suffering is external. It moves the lazy, humbles the arrogant and shoves the coward into the arena. That is useful… but only as punishment.

    Not all suffering is punishment induced by sinfulness. Losing parents at an early age causes suffering and a child who must learn a lot of things early through no wrongdoing on his or her part. If fortunate, the lessons produced strength of character rather than weakness.I know a bit about this, as does my husband.

    Job is an apt example, but it bears noting that the people in the Bible are in there precisely because they are atypical, extraordinary individuals. Would that we were all of such noble character! Never mind that we know nothing of how Job came to be a man of such noble faith in the first place.

    if you discipline yourself to not be lazy, arrogant or craven then you don’t need the suffering.

    How many people do you know who can do this in all of the various areas of life? We’re just not built this way, as much as we would like to think so of ourselves. Most of us are strong in some areas and weak in others, and we comfort ourselves by highlighting the strong areas, and rarely face weaker areas head on without being forced to be some level of suffering or challenge.

    Suffering (including chastening) as a means of character and faith building is scattered all throughout the Bible, including the NT (Romans 5, Hebrews 12 spring immediately to mind). This tells us that the typical human needs this at some level to experience growth.

    Even if it’s only to curb the sin of pride.

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