If you asked Nietzsche what he wished for those closest to him, he would’ve responded with the following:

“To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities — 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.”

Now on the surface, it seems cruel to want to wish these things on those you hold dearest. Rather good health and happiness seem like the more appropriate thing to wish for. However, for Nietzsche, happiness was not an end in itself. To truly experience the beauty of life, one needed to suffer. In his mind the deeper the descent, the higher the exaltation.

Yet this passage is also powerful in that everybody will inevitably suffer. There is no escaping this part of life. Sooner or later, you will suffer tragedies, and the best response in those situations is to turn your affliction into an advantage.

Rather than let these moments wreak havoc, let them act as teachers. The most spiritual human beings are often those who experience painful tragedies. These painful moments serve as a catalyst to break the shell of their previous self and allow a beautiful transformation to occur. After all, how could you become new without first becoming ashes?

The particularly nuanced point he made was that merely eliminating pain would be deemed goodness, however, putting pain to work is a necessary prerequisite to greatness. Rather than dull and push away your suffering, the alternative is to transform agony and suffering into beauty and art. For generations, artists and creators of all kinds have used their pain as life fuel to create beautiful works of art and told stories that resonate with the core of what it means to be human. There is a sense that to be great, one must learn to heroically endure their suffering.