The BS Myth That Suffering Builds Character
Updated: Jun 24, 2019
There is a long standing myth, that suffering builds character.
Today, I call that what it is: Bullshit.
Yes, suffering CAN build character, but let’s be honest...it can also tear a person’s character to shreds.
In this video, I address a poignant question that--as a single mom-- is near and dear to my heart.
“How do you teach self love to children? Is there a way to save my kids some trouble in this department? Reflecting on my childhood- there was a fair amount of needing to prove myself worthy, win approval, please people..etc. It's gotten me far enough..until I had to unlearn the unhealthy bits and love and accept myself for who I am. But what will motivate them to push beyond limits, and succeed?”
Suffering is but one (rather potent) condition--among many others--that creates an environment in which character MIGHT emerge.
Our virtual idolatry of suffering as some kind of indisputable determinant of character is usually founded upon a deep-seeded need to BELIEVE this to be true, so that we can justify our own suffering.
We might think, “Well, I learned some important skills in coping with my difficult childhood, and now I am worried I may have spoiled my child because I didn’t want that to happen to them. Does that mean they won’t have character?”
All it means, is you have to resolve some beliefs you have tied up in the meaning you have made of your early suffering, the justifications for it, and the scales you have had to weigh in your heart, in order to forgive those you feel have wronged you, (i.e. usually your parents).
In other words, “I have to believe my suffering built my character, because otherwise, If I couldn’t attribute that kind of meaning to it, I couldn’t forgive my parents for it. So, I must believe that suffering builds character. And those that haven’t suffered, don’t have as strong of a character (because otherwise, that’s just unfair). But then what does that mean for my kids...will they be weak because I haven’t made them suffer enough?”
Not at all.
Watch this 7 minute video to learn more of what I have to say about that..
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In love and abundance,
Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner