Yes! And gratefulness will actually help you to face your suffering from a different perspective. If you can practice daily gratitude amidst suffering, you will experience a life of happiness and beauty.
Let me share something with you—in this world, no human being became a great, beautiful human being when their life was just easy, with no suffering.
It is the suffering in life that makes us more real, and helps us to develop courage to just be ourselves—it doesn’t matter if the whole world doesn’t like the way we are. We might be financially poor, we may not be educated, we might have a resume that shows nothing but failures, but we don’t hide that, we don’t cover it up. We’re just comfortable as we are.
Suffering will make you tired of pretending—you haven’t got any more energy for acting and you don’t feel comfortable acting. It will destroy all your pretension, your acting, your bluffing, and it leaves a grounded person, a fearless person.
It was only through the suffering in my life that I came to love humanity. My mother died when I was three years old. My father was a fisherman who went out to sea working, so I hardly saw him. I spent a year as a child in a refugee camp in Malaysia, then came to a new county with nothing in my pocket. I lived a life of financial poverty—always just enough to eat, to survive, but financially poor. And it made me love people. When somebody gives me one little thing, I feel, “Wow, what beautiful kindness.”
Because of my suffering, I was grateful for even the little that we did have. I remember feeling so grateful when I was eating my first Big Mac and vanilla milkshake in Australia. The others eating there at McDonald’s were acting like it was nothing special, but I just wanted to eat and drink really slowly so it didn’t finish quickly! I was so grateful.
So we should embrace suffering, we should not be afraid of it. To go through this life trying to avoid suffering—that is not the way to live. Because nobody can escape the events and circumstances that can cause suffering in this world.
It’s up to us to decide if we let the suffering turn us into something beautiful or into something bitter. But suffering certainly has the potential to make us real, make us down-to-earth, make us grounded, make us transparent, make us gentle, make us humble, make us strong—make us happy.