Do Them a Favor, And Wish the Worst for Those You Love
“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities…” — Nietzsche
Are we sick of good wishes and a prosperous New Year yet? Did we get enough good wishes to last us a lifetime?
Have you thought of the alternative — wishing ill unto those we love?
Nietzsche, the ever controversial poet, philosopher, and writer, did precisely that.
“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities…”
“Well, no wonder he died alone and sick,” some of you may be thinking.
But let’s not be quick to judge. Nietzsche was not wishing ill-treatment to those he loved because he was some demented psychopath who got off on the suffering of others. He wished them suffering because he knew that life’s greatest rewards spring from our brush with adversity.
Here’s the rest of the quote:
“I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not — that one endures.” — Nietzsche
Nietzsche understood something vital — our growth depends on adversity. We simply cannot grow without it. Whether it’s internal or external adversity, we must rise above it, we must conquer it in order to prove that we can endure.
Nietzsche wanted to put an end to the erroneous belief that life should be easy. It shouldn’t, and believing so is particularly harmful because it leads us to prematurely abandon challenges that might’ve otherwise been rewarding had we stuck with them long enough to conquer them.
In the space between the person we are and the person we long to be we’ll find pain, anxiety, humiliation, and tears. It takes work and pain to acquire anything worth having. If we’re expecting an easy life, we should also be prepared to have nothing of value.
Don’t be afraid to cry, don’t be afraid to feel all those negative feelings you’ve been holding back. Feel them in all their potency… and then get back up to keep fighting. Use these feelings as fuel, because that’s exactly what they are — an opportunity to prove you can endure. And life rewards those who do.
Happy living and happy feeling!