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On Adversity

Accepting the Inevitability of Conflict and Suffering

Conflict and suffering are inevitable parts of life. However, we can choose to view them negatively, with sorrow and misfortune, or positively, with open arms. If we choose to view conflict and suffering positively, we can use them to increase our strength, resilience, and endurance. We can also use them to gain maturity, confidence, and other benefits.

Interpersonal conflicts are always possible in a civilized society. However, we can learn to deal with them effectively by accepting their inevitability and by viewing them as opportunities for growth.

It is not helpful to be miserable because of inevitable adversity. Self-pity will not help us cope with adversity or with societal struggles. We are taught to disdain discomfort and to hope for it to go away so that we can experience pleasure and ease once more. However, if the uncomfortable situation is already present and there is nothing we can do to make it go away, then there is no point in preserving counter-productive mindsets. Instead, we should focus on extracting the lemon juice out of the different lemons that life throws at us.

While I seek to live a life of optimal serenity, I am aware that something very uncomfortable, such as involuntary adversity, is here to stay for a long time. In this case, my ambition becomes more of a hindrance than an asset, and it is no longer useful or beneficial in helping me cope or grow.

I have and had annoying neighbors who were aggressive and hostile, even towards their own children. Since they are probably not going to move anytime soon, I believe we are both forced to struggle. I have heard them say numerous times that they "want silence," even though they are the ones causing noise by yelling aggressively.

Because my quest for optimal serenity is not yet actualized due to noise and other disturbances, my hope to find optimal peacefulness might be proven impractical and even counter-productive. Not only will it make me unnecessarily miserable, but it might not help me become a stronger being by enduring their yells and sometimes initiating a counter-attack of my own.

From a purely logical perspective, a life of peace, while not possible in its absolution, can be achieved optimally. However, I hope you will agree with me that being very sensitive and not very resilient will make my search for optimal peace harder than it should be.

Hence, I give this personal example to show you that adversity, even if uncomfortable, may sometimes be proven as inevitable. Instead of saying to oneself "there's nothing I can do about it" and feeling completely hopeless, why not think the opposite: that adversity can be seized for one's own benefit?

In video games, we are eager to beat bosses that are not easy to beat. This is because many bosses in video games are obligatory in order for us to proceed in the game and reach new areas. We can, technically, not fight with them and stay in the same areas we have already unlocked and explored.

In the same way, we can choose to see adversity as an opportunity to grow and become stronger. By facing our challenges head-on, we can learn and develop new skills that will help us overcome future obstacles. We can also build resilience and learn to cope with difficult situations more effectively.

Of course, this does not mean that adversity is easy or pleasant. It can be very challenging and even painful. However, by choosing to view adversity in a positive light, we can make it an opportunity for growth and development.

However, how are we, the players of life, going to proceed into new horizons if we refuse the inevitability of discomfort, such as adversity, and make ourselves more experienced, stronger, and more capable of enduring?

Fear not, for you are a soldier of life. March onward into the battlefield with your shield to protect you from the arrows of the enemy forces. Even if some arrows breach your shield and might hurt you, at least you will know that you have had the audacity to advance and become gradually accustomed to the pain the enemy has inflicted on you.

And indeed, should your enemy make you suffer, see your agony not as a demon sitting on your chest, but as a big, bitter pill, being swallowed through your throat. Even if the pill is terribly sickening, at least it will make you more capable of enduring it, should you be forced to take it again!

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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