What does it mean when we say that something is tragic? Usually, when we say that something is “tragic,” we’re exaggerating a scenario, but this is a word that we should know how to use. Some things are tragic, but not everything is tragic.
Tragic, by definition, is something that is characterized by extreme sorrow or distress. Often, when we are faced with extreme sadness, it is due to a tragedy or something tragic that has occurred.
I heard someone make the comment the other day, “Life is tragic.” This totally made me stop in my tracks. I was caught off guard by this man’s statement. Metaphorically speaking, I was shaken by what I had heard. Life is tragic. I simply disagree. It wasn’t my place to disagree with the complete stranger who I was accidentally listening to, but it is my place as a counselor to address the idea that life could be tragic.
If we allow ourselves to believe that life is tragic, then what do we allow ourselves to believe about death? With suicide rates rising and people advocating for assisted suicide in hospitals for all ages, I think we have forgotten the difference between life and death.
If life is tragic, then what is death?
I would not have been shaken that day, if I had heard someone say that death is tragic. That is a statement that I can agree with; however, the idea that somethings as precious as life itself could be tragic is truly unfathomable to me. Our perspective on life is everything. It is the difference between a justice system that condones murder and a court system that imprisons those who kill. It is the difference between a healthcare professional who helps suicidal patients find their purpose in life and one who agrees that they have nothing to live for. This is what it all boils down to: Life is not tragic, but life without a purpose is.
Purposelessness is tragic.
Life itself is not tragic, but if you don’t know why you are living, that is truly a tragedy. Know your purpose, your value and worth, your place in the world. With the knowledge and understanding of these things, you will know that life is not tragic. Surround yourself with people who know their purpose or that there is a purpose in life. It is better to know that life is meaningful than to go through life with no meaning at all.
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