Suffering is not, in and of itself, a noble thing.
In some cases, it can be noble. If it's for the purpose of benefiting others, like the sacrifices made by soldiers, firefighters, and other service organizations, then there is nobility in it. Those who willingly suffer to further a cause, perhaps civil rights activists, are also noble. People who do these things deserve recognition and gratitude for their sacrifices. Also, those whose suffering cannot be prevented deserve sympathy, and they can be counted as brave for their ability to take on life's basic challenges in the face of pain.
On the other hand, there is also pointless suffering, which people seem to think should get the same recognition and gratitude. This includes the self-martyred people who sigh, moan, and complain so that they can get attention, those who put themselves through the grind to have logo clothing and swanky cars, and those whose preventable suffering makes life more difficult for those around them. If you're too stubborn to break a pointless habit that creates more pain for you, you do not deserve a medal for your suffering. If you're too proud to admit that you might need help, and end up just making your health worse because of it, you're not being noble. And if you are suffering a painful condition, but you push yourself to work through the pain so you can buy yourself frivolities, then the frivolities are your reward--you do not have my sympathy or admiration.
Our culture puts a value on suffering for its own sake. Deny yourself food. Deny yourself sex. Wear uncomfortable shoes. Stand for painful hours on a hard floor doing a job that could be done just as well sitting. Stay in an abusive relationship with your spouse, boss, parents, whoever. This venration of misery can be traced back to religion, of course, but I also suspect that many people have forgotten how to be happy, and because of this, they cannot stand to see it in others. Have you ever been smiling or laughing, only to be met with a scowl from a complete stranger? Joy is regarded with suspicion, while despair is regarded as normal and unremarkable.
People get the idea that submitting themselves to hardship and anguish is admirable, and that permitting themselves to feel anything else is shameful. Consequently, they expect to be rewarded for the former, even if their doing so is completely avoidable and unnecessary. How do we break through this mentality and accept that it is okay to be happy? What can we do to promote an ideal of relieving pain and alleviating suffering?