Be Worthy of Your Sufferings

The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault

The Raft of the Medusa, Théodore Géricault

“There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

What does it mean to be worthy of your sufferings?

From "Mans search for meaning" by V. Frankl, he describes the conditions of the prisoners minds in the camps and the context of this quote.

In each suffering lies two choices: to either embrace suffering with dignity, bravery and moral perseverance, or to decay, in his fight for self preservation, into an animal. This determines whether or not a man is worth of his suffering. The suffering of the greatest kind is the suffering where humans are depraved of all choices and yet, the last of human freedom is the choice of how we deal with our suffering.

There's also the stoics view, who believed a true sage was someone worthy of all challenges the gods sent their way.

Show me one who is sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy. Show him me. By the gods I would fain see a Stoic. Nay you cannot show me a finished Stoic; then show me one in the moulding, one who has set his feet on the path.” – Epicetus

There would be no Hercules without all the trials and tribulations he went through. He was worthy of the challenges he faced, and that's why we remember Hercules today.

So the question isn't whether you will or will not suffer. Existence is suffering.

The question is: how will you act in the face of suffering?