I have been known to comment that when people praise us on our 'strength' or we have the belief that this life makes us stronger... that really it does not. We have this life. We endure it. And so would anyone else... because if you have to, you do. You just do. So I wonder about this notion of strength, because at times I do not feel strong at all. Other times I feel like I would not have survived this long with out some serious tenacity.
What about wise though? Does suffering teach us to be wise before our years?
You can't argue that suffering teaches. All suffering teaches lessons to us that we learn from that experience and develop and change. We don't learn as much from our joy. We learn from trials and tribulations.
But are we wise from this eternal chronic suffering? Some depth of wisdom going on? Has pain given us insight that was not there before? About life, about pain and about values?
I am not too sure. We change a vast amount from the experiences we endure for sure. Part of that is developing a pain narrative. How we think about pain and suffering in our lives. I can get downright philosophical about it. Because it is something I experience a lot of, so I have thought about 'what it all means'. So maybe we have insight there. Also we likely have different priorities. A sort of wisdom learned from having to moderate our activities and take care of ourselves. Something that teaches life does not have to be as fast paced as people seem to think. In some ways we also put a lot of value in the good moments and joys... because of the contrast. In a life full of pain, the bright moments shine. And we have learned to pay attention to those bright moments and value them.
But, unfortunately, I do not think we are gaining some epic wisdom here. Because in fact suffering does teach. But it teaches both ways. It can also teach us a lot of horrible things. We may feel because we are always in pain, we should just stop doing... things. It teaches us to feel guilty when we do not do enough (enough for us, for others, for society). It teaches us to mourn our old life and have anxiety over our future. It clouds the mind with negative thoughts and gives us poor concentration. Suffering all the time, well, always made me struggle with depression to be honest. The real truths about chronic pain are in fact depressing truths.
I think more that we are having a profound experience all the time. One that affects us mentally, emotionally and physically. It will consequently affect our thinking, our emotional states, our belief systems and physical states. It means we likely have unique views about pain. Unique insights about it. But, I doubt any more wise than any one else. We have a lot of struggles to deal with as well.