Have you ever suffered?
It’s one of those questions I’ll ask a guy pursuing me romantically, and one of those things you learn about a good friend when staying in and splitting a bottle of wine.
A wall separates friends from family and love from true love — these bricks are built on suffering.
Our sociology is complex.
Many factors play into who becomes an active part in our lives.
Proximity, timing, environment, work, hobbies, lifestyles, and today, even the Internet dictates who we meet and spend our time with.
We also consciously and subconsciously filter people, being selective about our inner circle
In my tight group, you’ll find a sense of humor, ambition, intelligence, creativity, and passion. Note to all the people I love, you’re all a little weird and crazy, but that’s why I love you.
Having discussed all of these traits before (specifically, regarding romance), I realized how primitive they are. They’re important not just as indicators of character and personality, but because they define how we take on suffering.
So by nature, I can’t help but ask people who are coming closer, have you ever suffered?
With this question, I’m partially asking to understand your own interpretation of the verb “to suffer.”
What does suffering mean to you?
I’m also asking if you’ve developed character and are less likely to take things and people for granted.
But that’s not really just it. I’ve been asking the wrong question.
“Have you suffered” should reveal if you are a fighter. And will you fight and suffer with me?
Not fight with each other, or at least I hope not often, although a tiff is bound to happen in any friendship or romantic relationship.
I have realized that even when life is good, or great, we are never really in control of the good and bad in the world.
It’s our nature to strive for perfection. We strive to achieve and maintain happiness. We are always growing, building, and developing, even when we have learned to be content. But life is never going to be perfect. We are all going to suffer.
It’s inevitable, you’re going to suffer and who is going to be by your side when you do?
This goes past taking care of each other. To take care of each other is to enjoy each other, to love each other, to be available with kindness. We do this with friends and romantic loves. Sometimes we even do it for strangers.
However, we only fight for our family, and for our true love.
I’d like to clear up that my own definition of family includes non-blood family. The best friends, more so the real friends.
They’re the ones that are willing to give something up for you. They will suffer for you. That is love.
From this point forward, I’ll refer to people who have suffered and overcome great obstacles as fighters.
Last week, my mother went into surgery for the second time in two years. For the second time, she was diagnosed benign. Non-cancerous. My mom doesn’t have cancer. When you wait a week for results, there is nothing more that you want than to scream “my mom doesn’t have cancer!” It’s the best feeling in the world. It’s a gift.
Nothing else really mattered. I was prepared to cancel all of my travel to take care of my mom. Yet somehow, none of us truly panicked.
You see, my mom is a fighter. She has suffered before and she has real love in her life. She has people that will suffer with her. She wouldn’t have been fighting alone. We fight together.
As we grow older and choose our battles, the biggest wars aren’t about which career path we should pursue, where we should live, our sagging butts, when we will find “the one,” or what car we should buy.
I won’t even goes as far as to say that they revolve around all kinds of crazy things that can go wrong outside of our control. Someone losing their job, accidents, natural disasters, war, and disease are just a few of the problems we may face even if we are happy, even if we are doing everything “right.”
We fight to stay positive on the daily basis.
We embrace and conquer battles like childbirth, death, distance, failure, disappointment, and even the state of choosing to be content.
Maybe because I’m a fighter, maybe because I know what it’s like to suffer, I only want fighters on my side.
You can usually spot a fighter.
He or she may be competitive, willing to suffer to grow. They’ll give something up to make their dreams into goals. These sorts traded suffering for motivation.
They’re loyal because they have had someone suffer with them. They’re kind because they know what it’s like to be sad. Said peoples traded suffering for compassion.
Above all, fighters have passion because they don’t take life for granted.
They put their life and the lives of the real love people first. They know enough to cut out people who just suck and to not let these sorts affect their happiness.
That’s what makes them heroes. They aren’t crying over a splinter, they’re rejoicing over their most recent defeat in a way that inspires and motivates all of us.
Fighters are tough.
However, not everyone who suffers is a fighter.If you've suffered, you've truly suffered, it means that a piece of you was once broken.Click To Tweet
Or is still broken.
And we can’t fix people.
We can be there for them, we can love them, we can fight with them, but we can’t fight without them.
It’s in these transitional moments of weakness that a person in the state of suffering must first choose to fight.
What does it mean to choose to fight?
To fight means to move forward, to overcome the obstacles so that the past is the past, and a sour present can become the past. To fight is about your attitude, your choices, and your actions.
Otherwise, they’re just suffering. If they’re not a fighter, they are a victim and always will be.
This goes for the friend who can’t get out of rehab, for the guy that can’t get over the damage of his ex, for the boss who hates their life and only has you to take it out on.
You can’t fix them. They haven’t chosen to fight.
And to be a fighter is not a choice you can make for someone. We are all a little crazy, we are all a little weak. We all make mistakes. We all suffer.
But we don’t all fight.
Cover photo by meeee of my best friend. Pictured at the Cabo San Lucas Hotel and Resort — post to come soon!