What Suffering Teaches Me

If I have to describe myself in just one simple, meaningful sentence, I’ll say, “I’m a person that has been broken”.

Because that’s just who I am. 

People always expect you to do more than what you think you’ve had enough. In this first steps to the real world, that becomes more obvious. Something’s always missing. There’s always a crack that you try so hard to cover up, but that will always be found out. You want to be seen as flawlessly unbroken, but in this already messed up world, who doesn’t have issues?

I was once a totally innocent kid, like anybody did. I started playing in the neighborhood, started going to schools and socialized with a lot of people, and I began to see things differently. In my eyes, I saw destruction. I saw imperfections. I saw the faded beauty of the world I once saw as totally unblemished.

I was, in one way or another, broken.

The cracks began to add up as I was broken to the inner part of myself. The only part I knew would be too fragile to be released to this merciless reality. So I let it go, and it was broken, bashed, bruised, injured, damaged, in any way I would never have forgiven myself with.

But what I didn’t realize was that I truly needed myself to be broken.

Life, they say, is like a battlefield. Of course there would be bruises. Of course there would be pain that you cannot just simply tarnish. But experience counts. The more you understand your battlefields, the more you are able to devise excellent strategy.

The experience of suffering is really what makes my iron-fenced heart works.

I cursed my teenage years for being manipulated by hollow dreams I trapped myself in. For waiting for someone for years, without having the guts to do anything except lamenting over the sad facts that the head would never turn to the direction I was facing. I moved on to another journeys, was broken by menacingly cruel people who just would not understand what I was giving them. Even until my early adulthood years, when it comes to love, I still feel like a lost soul whose search for her half go in a cycle of treachery.

But the sufferings I went through, the people I was romantically involved with, the miscalculations that made me question my ability as an engineer, the forlorn tales which endings were determined to be tragic from the very first beginnings………….. all of them teaches me to stand up and know myself better.

Looking back at my years of loving and being loved, I realized that they had made me much stronger. Strong enough to understand that things don’t always go the way I want them to go. Strong enough to put rationality ahead of any illogical fallacy. And if loving someone completely requires you to love yourself completely too, I can proudly say out loud that I am now ready. I’ve known my self worth and how much portion of my heart I will allow someone other than me to have. I’ll still open myself up for any possibilities, but the hopes will not be as high, the fantasies will not be as wild, the expectations will not be as heavenly as before. The days of cotton candies have been over, and now I focus on optimization, life-long goals, diminished lust and having control over various variables. I know the dreamer in me will always go vividly romantic, but the slaps out to the reality makes disturbance even more possible to be minimized.

The experience of suffering is what really makes me who I am now.

I’ve always wanted to be a high achiever. It was a default chip that was implanted long before I was born. But if anyone sees me now and comment on how lucky I am, I can humbly say that they have the wrong idea. Things I’ve gone through, all the trophies and certificates and titles of ‘champion’ are the things I earn. Things I earned with literally bloodsweat and tears. And if anybody asks, how can I do that? How can I do that? How else can I do that?

Because I know how it feels to suffer from failures. Because I know how it feels to be broken, to be torn up from the inside, to be told that you were not capable enough, to be accused for being weak, to be compared with someone you love to the bone; to be told that your best — the best version of yourself that you created so delicately hard — was not good enough.

When you’ve suffered through your lowest points, you can always keep your head on the ground when your heart goes to the cloud.


I make this writing in one of my life’s lowest points. Where I barely know where I should go. Where my biggest fear comes true – to be unable to know what I want. Where I can’t see the big picture. Where my days of being a strategic planner seems to have no concern.

But I make this writing in the hope that I will remember the struggles I’ve gone through. The worst sufferings of my life that I have survived. This writing is intended to tame my ego down and to understand that I am still, and will always be, on my way to an eternal fixation of myself. Because happiness, by any means, is something that always needs to be chased. As Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love states, I have to participate relentlessly in the manifestation of my own blessings.

This is my battlefield. Knowing the worst should make me able to cope with changes of plans. This is the thrill of living, where unprecedented results may occur. And I should always be prepared.

Everything in this world are made for a purpose and should just makes sense. And only when you’ve been in the dark can you truly appreciate how grateful you should be to be able to see the light.

Author: mfaradina

An Indonesian. A reliable realist outside yet a romantic dreamer at heart.

4 thoughts on “What Suffering Teaches Me”

  1. Ouch, I messed up up there.

    Anyhow. Hi Marsha!
    I’ve never exactly properly introduced myself to you since we’ve never really… met. Which remains as a personal regret because I’d be honoured to have the chance to sit down and have a talk with you about, anything really, but anyway; I’m Dea, a final-year student at SBM-ITB who’s been religiously following your blog these past few months. (I know, we go to the same campus. We must’ve unknowingly walked past each other at least once, darn it.) And while I’m making quite an intro here I’d like to tell you that my respect for you has gradually grown after each new post. I don’t mean to sound like a know-it-all but I do happen to understand all that vulnerability and angst you had to go through—I’m sure everyone does, it’s just that their kind of suffering might be different from ours. And part of the reason why my respect for you has literally gone through the roof is because you’re not afraid to admit that yes, you’ve failed and been broken. Several times, even. But that doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near stopping despite the likely possibility that a lot of people out there want you to just fall apart already. It’s hard enough to achieve, with full support, what one wants to achieve; let alone try to hold one’s ground when it seems like the whole world is conspiring against her. You’ve convinced me that it’s okay for us ambitious female college students to be, well, ambitious female college students: a bundle of nerves with too high of standards but too little time in their hands.
    I personally believe that the ability to acknowledge one’s very own failures is what makes a human humane, and a great person great. You’re a perfect physical manifestation of what I once thought was a shallow, indulgent idea. Hold on to that amazing dream, whatever it may be. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope to be able to see you in person soon!

  2. @Dyasanti:
    It takes days for me to actually be able to reply your comment! Still kind of struck-in-awe…it’s just fascinating to see that somewhere out there, people are reading this silly blog of mine… I have to say thank you first for the very kind comment you’ve typed. It’s really an honor for me to write something that people can relate to, more so when a fellow ambitious female college student is religiously following it :’)
    Thanks once again, I wish you the best of luck, whatever you’re gonna be doing. At college, work, whatever, and I’d really love to talk to you in person too! Please contact me through any possible means of communication! 😀

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