People who love hardship

The Stammering Dunce
3 min readSep 5, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

I am thinking two specific types of people: those who think everyone should suffer as they did and those who romanticise hardship.

Let’s start with the former.

From what I observe on a global context, this kind of people include older people who complain about how the younger ones having easier lives in some aspects. If you are familiar with America’s domestic affairs, these people also include opponents of student debt relief; they argue it is unfair for people who gained their higher education through inhumanely long work hours and military enlistment.

And it is obvious they are driven by malice.

I mean, if you are truly a decent human being, you would never wish the pain upon anyone and, instead of gleefully passing it down to the future generations, you would actually try your best to prevent it from occurring ever again.

‘Interestingly’, their outrage is also very selective. Those particular older people never complain about other older people who are ‘spoiled’ and have never endured hardship in their lives. The debt relief opponents only target student debt and they are deafeningly silent about corporate subsidies and billionaires’ tax breaks. They only punch down, which makes them sound even more malicious.

They are basically a bunch of cunts. Either that or they are just too cowardly to punch up or sideways.

Now, about the second type of people.

They believe hardship is inherently good as it supposedly can gives us valuable life lessons. I agree to an extent.

Yes, hardship can compel us to be more appreciative of the little things in life and more resilient in facing adversity. But, believe it or not, you can also achieve appreciativeness and resilience without it.

You can be more appreciative by remembering how fortunate you are compared to some people. You can be resilient by regularly challenging yourself and not spoiling yourself 24/7.

Even then, we should also be careful with how we perceive both things.

It is one thing to be appreciative of the little things, it is another to be a doormat. Demanding humane and dignified treatment is different from being a whiny little bitch.

There is also a difference between resilience, numbness and repression. Resilience is — to put it very VERY simplistically — our ability to acknowledge our negative emotions without letting them taking over our lives.

Numbness is a condition in which we don’t experience any emotions when faced with adversities; it is a bad thing because those things have become normalised to us, even though they shouldn’t be.

Being emotionally repressed means you bottle your emotions instead of acknowledging their existence; if you keep bottling them, they will explode.

Don’t forget that hardship can also causes trauma. A trauma — again, to put it VERY simplistically — involves abnormal surges of negative emotions when we encounter/remember certain things and/or have abnormal aversion to certain things.

But, even if I dismiss what I just said above and unquestioningly believe in the benefits, then what?

Yes, you now have greater sense of appreciation and resilience. But, they won’t improve your access to quality education and healthcare, they won’t improve your working conditions and socioeconomic backgrounds and they certainly won’t erase the discriminations you face. Hard work doesn’t always pay off: you still need luck, which includes being born to privileges and the system being supportive of you.

As important as those two traits are, they won’t improve your quality of life.

Infuriatingly, the people who romanticise hardship are either those who have never experienced it OR those who have and are clouded by survivorship bias. They reject the belief that their successes involve factors beyond their control, that luck is involved; for them, the acknowledgement invalidates their hard work.

While rare, I also notice people who genuinely believe hardship is the meaning of life. They believe humans’ innate goal is to make our lives as uncomfortable and inconvenient as possible. For them, hardship is a value, a personality trait.

Slightly tangential:

In my personal life, I know a few people who romanticise poverty. They genuinely believe impoverished people are always joyful; one person even confidently claimed — with no evidences — that they never experience horrible diseases like cancer.

And I do wonder if they overlap between them and the aforementioned people.

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