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Failure and Suffering Can Be Our Motivation

By Stefana Ramirez-Rodriguez

There are many times when we are brought down. When we feel like failures or feel like giving up, we feel we will never recover from what we have been through and always hold such trauma with us. But how often do we remember our accomplishments? 


Failure and suffering are normal, it’s something we all experience and it’s something that should be normalized. What a person considers suffering and failing is up to them. Failure to me is knowing I didn’t give my all or I did do my best, but didn’t achieve anything. To suffer means that I feel I am in a hole, to feel lost and there’s no one to help me. 


It’s not easy to come back from whatever obstacle you went through, nor is it easy to cope with. But it’s one thing to fail and suffer then be sad about it, and it’s another thing to fail and suffer then learn from it.


With all of these recent college decisions, many students have felt disappointed and ashamed of themselves. Getting a rejection letter is not fun. It’s quite stressful and ultimately makes us feel helpless. However, as many would like to say, rejection is redirection. Yes, it may not feel good to be rejected, but there’s always a brighter side and it’s up to you to decide whether or not a rejection is going to bring you down or take you to better places.


So how exactly do we learn from it and not dwell on what could have been? Well, the more scientific answer, according to Amy Morin, a writer for Very Well Mind, would be to recognize unhealthy attempts to reduce pain, practice healthy coping skills, develop realistic thoughts about failure, accept an appropriate level of responsibility, etc., which were all coping mechanisms reviewed by a medical professional, Carly Snyder, MD. 


However, recovering from a failure or trying to cope with suffering is not so easily thought through, it’s a messy process that isn’t done in steps. It takes a while for a person to get over anything traumatic or anything that might belittle what we think of ourselves. Getting over something requires us to reflect, learn from our mistakes, think about what we can do differently next time, and reassure ourselves because, at the end of the day, you are the only person who can pick yourself up. If crying ourselves to sleep or venting to someone is what it takes to move on, then so be it as long as we are moving forward.


To me, failure and suffering are a form of motivation. I want to feel as if I have the power and control of myself and who I am. When we view suffering as something negative, then we’ll never become a stronger person. When we suffer, we put ourselves through the most unimaginable pain, whether it’s grieving, failing, or feeling guilty. But, when we overcome it, we can achieve great things. We can say that we went through something horrible and we persevered through it all. 


That is what can make us stronger, taking it day by day, allowing ourselves to heal, reflect, and continue. I do think that suffering can make a person stronger, but they have to take that suffering and use it for good.


Can suffering lead us to success? Yes, it can.


I must admit that suffering is a hard obstacle, but it shouldn’t stop us from reaching our full potential. Experiencing a period of pain and distress teaches us what we can handle, it motivates us for the next obstacle and pushes us to be better. Robert F. Kennedy once said, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”


Our suffering and overcoming that challenge is similar to a phoenix rising from the ashes after its death. It symbolizes hope and strength. 




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