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Does suffering make us stronger and lead to success?

By Esmeralda Arellano


If you grew up in the 2000s and had a cooler older sister, you have definitely heard the famous Kelly Clarkson song, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But how true is this saying?


To better understand this expression, we need to travel all the way back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche found himself questioning whether suffering had any real significant value or if it was just…useless. To ease his mind, he came up with the very well-known quote, “Out of life's school of war, what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” This means whatever hardship didn’t completely knock him over, served to make him a stronger and more resilient person. However, I disagree with Nietzche’s statement and the whole idea that suffering is anything other than just a natural part of life. I believe the outcome of suffering is completely up to its victim.


A perfect demonstration of what I mean is Rick and Daryl from the popular T.V. Show, ‘The Walking Dead.’ Though they have both been through a great deal of suffering as a result of the Walker apocalypse. For example, they both watched their whole world and families collapse in an instant. Rick and Daryl are two very different people.


As a result of the trauma Rick faced, he became tougher and grew to be a leader. He put his people before himself and had many friends and people who loved him. He understood everyone deserved a chance for shelter and safety and allowed random people to join his camp. He was also optimistic and very hopeful that there would be a time when things would all go back to normal. No matter how many hardships were thrown in Rick’s direction, he stood his ground and knew he would make it out.


On the other hand, Daryl was more pessimistic. He began to isolate himself from others mentally and physically. He, understandably, grew depressed and didn’t see the point of living anymore. He also was very rude to other survivors.


The only difference between the two was that Rick decided to use his suffering as motivation to be more trusting and kind towards others in a time when humanity as a whole was suffering. While Daryl used his suffering as a scapegoat to be a jerk to people. This can be applied to people in the real world today.


It is ultimately up to you to decide if you want to use your suffering as stepping stones to be a better person and live a successful life. Or use your suffering as an excuse to be a bad person who looks at life through a negative view.


8 comments

8 Comments


This is something that can be very controversial, but I believe it is the trials and tribulations that we go through daily that make us stronger. If no one makes mistakes they won't learn from them and people will be left undeveloped, without any sense of how to live in the real world. Hardships are necessary evil that keep us all growing and we should not let them bring us down.

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i think that suffering makes you stronger and makes you become stronger .makes you try harder for what you wants and creates a stronger mindset for you.

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I think suffering allows us to become stronger, but for others it may be the complete opposite and it just destroys you as a person. There truly is two possible outcomes when you go through tough things in life.

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The comparison to the characters were a great example of the different outcomes when facing difficulties and hardships. This is a great way of wording it because the interpretation is really up to how the victim deals with it. I believe that is why many people give quotes such as "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." These messages are meant to be optimistic and push for a better future since the outcome is not insured.

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I agree that the hardships you face can make or break you. I loved Daryl's character because after the trauma he faced, I felt he was realistically scared of trusting others. I think a person like Rick is definitely what we should aspire to be, but we can't dictate how others should react after their suffering.

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