Have you ever found yourself crying and feeling down, wondering why life is so hard to deal with? You’re definitely not alone.
Life is not easy, not for all of us at least. But is there a reason behind it?
What can we do to change it?
Beverly Hills Family and Relationship Psychotherapist | Child Psychologist | Author
We are so very hard on ourselves
Life is tough for most everyone these days. One of the key reasons is that we are so very hard on ourselves.
First, it is important to note that most signs that you are uncomfortable in your own skin are felt within and not necessarily observable signs on the outside. For instance, a young girl might discount, diminish, or even feel contempt and self-hatred toward her body.
Changing this deep feeling is not a simple process. Developing body neutrality is much easier than developing a body positive self-image. Some signs you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin may include resistance to socializing; isolation; obsessive negative thoughts about your appearance, likability, and fear of rejection; and more.
The best personal and professional mantra I use to combat negative thinking is the reminder that the trigger issue is temporary. Dealing with anxiety-provoking daily issues can be challenging. Life always throws us a curveball with relationship and work letdowns and disappointments.
Another crucial tool and life skill are developing thinking neutrality, which is much easier said than done. What is required is re-establishing a more benign self-observing conscience, or self-judge. The psychology clinical term is Superego.
Some people are raised by a harshly critical mother, father, or both. When this occurs, the individual may take in, or Introject, a harsh Superego. This means the person may be extremely hard on themselves, self-judging, and self-critical.
It may be in the area of body image, intelligence, competence, attractiveness, or any area of self-functioning. Either way, it’s nearly impossible to go from harshly self-critical to super positive.
The first goal is to become a benign self-observer. This is achieved by becoming more self-aware and noticing each time you think or feel a self-putdown. You should simply think a gentle shrug-of-the-shoulders comment such as a tender, “There I go again…thinking critical thoughts!” That’s all.
Don’t try to change anything. Just observe without judgment. This is the first giant step toward changing toward positive thinking. Here are some helpful tips:
- Identify yourself and acknowledge that you are unsure.
- Partner by talking with a non-judgmental, supportive, understanding person.
- Know that you will have successes and failures.
- Expect your anxiety to temporarily rise as you take risks in decision-making and moving forward.
- Become informed before you make a decision. Do the research and find information on your own to minimize your anxiety.
- Start small. Once you have mastered little steps, you can grow from there.
- Once committed to a decision, stick to it. Do not give in to the temptation to waffle.
- Praise yourself for your courage. This is not easy, and you are brave to take this on.
- Determine if there is a legitimate reason to panic or worry, or if you are reacting before anything has gone wrong.
- Create an inner dialogue to calm and settle yourself.
- It helps tremendously to feel that your husband, friend, clergyman, or counselor understands you.
- Expect to have success in slow increments. Know that you may have a few failures mixed in with your successes. That’s how it goes. Accept it and accept yourself in the process.
Consultant | Coach
Because we are full of emotions, desires, needs, and fears
Usually, someone asks this question when something difficult has occurred, like the loss of a friend, lover or job. We try for religious or spiritual explanations, or more often, platitudes that we hope will calm us.
When someone else suffers a loss we find ways to differentiate ourselves from them, finding reasons that we are safe. We use these reasons to protect ourselves. However, at some point, we need to admit that we are not safe from life.
Why is life so hard? Because we are human, full of emotions, desires, needs, and fears.
We have bodies that are susceptible to disease and injury. We need food, shelter, and human connection to thrive. We spend our lives filling these needs. Sometimes, however, our assessment of our needs is based on the judgment around us. We evaluate our happiness by comparison.
We decide we need the same amount of money that our neighbors/friends/family have. We judge the size of our home, our bank accounts, the nature of our relationship, and our health based on what we see on social media and TV. Everyone on social media is happy, in a great relationship, very healthy or having a miracle cure, and making a great deal of money online.
Life is hard because we are worried and fearful that we have not done well in our lives.
We are concerned that we are not living up to our potential, living our dream, working in our passion, or planning for retirement. Life is hard because we want more and believe that we are already failing. We are sure that we are supposed to know our passion and that if we “do what we love the money will follow.”
In reality, we are doing fine, we are humans in a world full of challenges and gifts. At times we have to deal with human struggles. At times we can recognize how blessed we are.
When we focus on the positive, life feels easier. When we focus on feeling alone, being alone, all we do not have, life is hard.
When we are grateful for the love we do have, we draw more love into our lives. We might be ill, but we are not alone. We might struggle for money, but we are surrounded by love. We might be lonely, but we can reach out and build community. We have options, and this makes life possible.
And in fact, it is often the struggle that gives us a sense of value, strength, and wonder. Most things really worth having are a bit of a struggle. A college degree takes work. Marriages take work. Our health is good when we pay attention to our bodies, and yes work on being healthy. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what humans need to grow and live well.
Willard A. Vaughn, MA, LPC, LSATP, CPSC
Managing Clinician, The Milieu Therapeutic Services
It is our past that conditions us to believe life is difficult
Our lives and how we view the world is a summation of all of our experiences until this moment in time. So in some ways, it is our past and how we were treated in the formative years that conditions us to believe life is difficult.
This is especially true for people that were abused or neglected; for them, the world is a scary place.
Our brain contributes to this because it wants things to always make sense, and will sometimes go the path of least resistance to get there. This means that we will blame ourselves for a lot of things that were never our fault, and that can never be our fault. This belief gets reinforced over our lives through what is called covert self-talk, or what we say to ourselves when stuff happens to us.
Again, our brain being what it is, it would rather hold on to these beliefs than change, so we try to escape them through destructive behaviors, only to feel worse about ourselves because then we lose all ability to filter the negative way we view the world.
The other thought that comes to mind is something that my undergraduate Intro to Psychology professor once told us: “Some things just are“. But I believe there is hope, and I believe that we can change. Not until we’re ready, but when we are ready it is possible. That is why I do what I do.
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Therapist | Life Coach | Hypnotherapist
People rarely look at themselves and make a real change
Life can be viewed as hard for several reasons; the first being the understanding that by nature our brains look for the path of least resistance thus the making of the procrastinator. There are two primary choices for a procrastinator:
- To do the thing they are procrastinating about.
- To NOT do the thing they’re procrastinating about.
Unless motivated by pain or pleasure, they’ll usually pick #2. Thus, it could be argued that procrastinators create much of their own hardships.
Life is hard because many Americans who have children are not really fit to be parents.
When you’re a child of parents who potentially didn’t have very good parents themselves, then your life struggles are increased even before flying the nest due to a lack of proper upbringing, ie: potentially lack of structure, a lack of teachings on how to create a balanced and focused life, and a lack of healthy interactions.
Life is hard because social constructs such as marketing, social media, and politics are changing at light speed.
Many youths who are going to college are unaware that they are majoring in degrees that will not lend to their employability, thus, many cannot and will not be able to get approved for a home loan due to high student loan debt. It’s a vicious cycle. If one chooses to be an entrepreneur, it can literally take a decade to see any substantial success.
Our country, in all its glory, works against us (overmedicating children) while it’s positioned to work for us (capitalism). Unless a group of people such as a husband and wife, a mother and her child, or a group of siblings has a meeting of the minds focused in one direction for the achievement of a common goal that will benefit the evolution of the whole, life can be grueling because without focused support, everyone is on a different page. There is more strength in numbers than trying to build something alone.
Life seems to be a catch 22 unless you learn early on to become mission oriented in your work to create a sense of purposeful contribution and feeling of significance, while also being entrepreneurial in one’s endeavors in order to create wealth, which will hopefully alleviate personal financial hardships and provides for a means to help less privileged populations.
But much of life’s hardship would be a moot point if people would stop having children that they are not prepared to financially or emotionally raise in a healthy environment, although I’m certain there would be someone to argue the opposite point. Another reason why life is so hard; people love to debate, but rarely look at themselves and make a real change.
Author, Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing through Grief |
World’s only Jollytologist® | Speaker | TED Presenter
Some people see difficulties as a major setback
There is an old story about two shoe salesmen who were sent to a remote country to sell shoes.
One salesman wrote back to his company, “I’m not going to be able to sell shoes here. No one wears any.“ The other salesperson wrote back, “Great opportunity to sell shoes here. No one has any.”
Same situation, different reaction. All of us go through difficult times in our life. Some see it as a major setback that takes over their life. Others see the same setback as a challenge and as a chance to learn, to grow, and to embrace all of life, not just certain parts of it.
Next time something not-so-great happens to you, instead of continually focusing on what occurred, put that in the background for a while and list all of the still wonderful things in your life.
Yes, life is sometimes hard but we can rise above what happens with our attitude and, like the shoe salesmen, how we view the situation.
Lawyer | Weight loss & Wellness Coach | World Champion Powerlifter
We try to impose some order so that we can live a more comfortable life
Life is hard because of chemistry. The natural tendency of everything is to head to disorder, to entropy.
The ancient Greeks understood this and called it Chaos. Entropy can be countered by putting energy into a system to impose order. We find life to be hard because we try to impose some order so that we can live a more comfortable existence.
Yet entropy still occurs; the car needs repairs, our partner does not want to be with us, our favorite restaurant closes, the stock market goes down.
As Shakespeare said in Hamlet, we suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune“. A good way to start dealing with this is knowing and understanding that disorder will naturally occur and that we will have to put in the energy, which is hard.
Once one understands that they can start working on the things they can control to make the most out of the things they cannot. They can also learn to calm their anxiety through strategies such as Zen, or more colloquially, not sweating the small stuff. One can then make peace with the universe and then try to do the best they can with the cards they are dealt.
Spiritual Leader | Author | Inspirational Speaker
Life is hard if that is the only way we view it
If we are truly honest with ourselves, no matter who you are, where you live and whatever your income and status, we have all asked this question.
Coffee spilled on your outfit first thing in the morning as you rush out the door to why did my best friend get sick and pass away unexpectedly? For a lot of us, we start to think we were dealt a bad hand as one thing after another knocks us down and we fear what tomorrow will bring.
It’s easy, and yes, understandable to feel that life is against us, especially when you factor in 24/7 negative social media reporting that you are not alone. What is the way out? Hiding in your bedroom only always us to escape reality for a brief time. We all tried it, but you eventually have to face the world.
Then there are the famous, encouraging words that everyone feels will make everything better….“Be strong!”
Yeah ok, my wife just blindsided me with a divorce and my dad just passed away within a month and you want me to be strong! Thanks, I feel better now, and life is now just peachy. Nope.
Yes. Life is hard if that is the only way we view it. The key word is Life. Changing our perspective just might be the first thing we can do to change or shift our thoughts to living a more happier or peaceful life.
We tend to live a rigid life. We get up each morning with our daily routine. We eat, we work, take care of family business if we have that, and we go to bed knowing that tomorrow will be exactly as the day before. If anything interferes with our life playlist, it usually comes across as a problem normally viewed as hard.
Living in this kind of comfort zone sets us up to miss life in general. We miss out on the little things. Enjoying that cup of coffee because I got up a half hour early, instead of getting up late and rushing out the door and spilling most of it on ourselves.
It’s those little things, those daily moments that we somehow started to overlook over time that is needed. It might be cliche but living in the present moment opens us up to a life of gratitude, joy and most importantly, balance.
People need to see challenges as a test that will shape their personal resilience
Every successful person faces obstacles and challenges. I notice that they seldom complain about the difficulties in their path. They know that the real world is messy and unpredictable. They know that the messiness is masking opportunity and they trust in themselves to be able to find that opportunity.
They tend to see those challenges as a test — a test that will shape their personal resilience.
Personal resilience is one of the 20 micro skills of strategic thinking, described in my new book, How to Think Strategically. Strategic thinkers enjoy learning and using their imagination. They practice deliberately other micro skills such as curiosity, storytelling, and empathy.
They have a growth mindset and through it, they can overcome whatever difficulties that they face. They are energized by the idea that their contributions to their organizations matter to the future.
Many people don’t know that Christopher Columbus nearly drowned, early in his career, after a ship was attacked by pirates. I write about him in my book, “Maybe Columbus shrugged off his brush with death, but maybe it profoundly affected him. Did surviving the attack enhance his ambition and grit, changing him from an ordinary, unremarkable, seafaring merchant to one with the drive to act on his big idea?”
A resilient person is inventive. She faces up to the challenges and goes to work to develop solutions. She confident and is not satisfied with mediocrity. A resilient person is also innovative. She develops a support network of people to share information. She tests new ideas out with them and solicits feedback. She strives to hold the big picture while working in the details.
Amarri Simms, LMFT
LA’s Keep It Real Therapist
The accidental consequence of “good parenting”
You see, as parents, we want to give our children “he life we never had and we work hard so that our children do not have to struggle the way that we did.”
This is a great parenting strategy and a loving notion, but what if we have created generations of young adults that do not possess the resiliency and true grit that is obtained from facing barriers and obstacles; and that is undoubtedly needed in order to make it in the world?
The world is not a fair and nice place, and most people say they know that life is not fair, or have heard it from their parents, but do they really know this and accept it? A lot of people do not have what it takes to face negativities like maltreatment, rejection, and uncertainty, because they have never had to.
I am not suggesting that most people have grown up with the proverbial silver spoon, what I am saying is watching our parents struggle through the perils and pains of life does not mean that we learned how to effectively handle the perils and pains of life.
There are a lot of people that have not had to ever make a difficult decision on their own, or try something new, or challenge themselves in any way because the majority of their life someone did it for them or was there to cosign and support.
Some people have never tried something new or ventured outside of their comfort zone, they only did the things that would guarantee their success. I have known people that remain unhappily married because they married a person they knew would say yes to their proposal!
When challenges and life stressors inevitably arise in their life there is no skill set or tools in their toolbox to get them through, and there is a feeling of being stuck and overwhelmed with no way out.
The good news is that people can overcome this by accepting; I mean really accepting; those bad things will; and often do happen to good people, period. There is no special exception or easy way out or life hack. We have to accept that there is always positive and negative, yin and yang, good and evil, this is spiritual law.
The next step is to accept that we, you, and I; are only in control of ourselves; and more specifically; we control only our thoughts, our mood, and our behaviors, that’s it; nothing more. We do not control when the sun comes up or when it rains, and we definitely cannot control other people.
This usually is the hardest concept to digest and accept, because our egos make us feel as if we are super important to the world. We must accept that we cannot make people stay, make them love us, or make them give us what we need. We create a life devoid of negative experiences and emotions.
After the acceptance, the next step is to welcome the challenges, the barriers, the rejection, the uncomfortableness with vigor, grit, and anticipation! Understanding, not only that difficult times are guaranteed and temporary, and you will always have to endure the positive and negative consequences of your actions and mistakes.
Now, don’t go calling your parents blaming them and giving them a hard time, they did the best they could with what they had. And we all received values, morals and some great characteristics from our parents that will aid us in becoming resilient strong individual that is able to handle whatever comes your way!
You never seem to have time to do the things you want or need
Modern life can be stressful. You know this – you never seem to have time to do all the things you want to or need to, everyone seems to want something from you, and you find yourself struggling with moving, adapting to a new place or environment, finding new friends, or figuring out how you’ve changed and what that means.
Not only is that stressful it just feels so hard –shouldn’t it be easier than this, everyone else seems to have it easy. Given how often people search for Why is Life so Hard? You’d be surprised at how many people around you probably feel the same! So, why is it so hard?
- Limited time and so many things to get done! Enough said.
- You continually evolve as does your environment – often at different rates of change. If you’ve moved you’ve seen this first hand, but otherwise, you may have had an experience (a near crash) that shifts your perspective, while your community lacking that same experience may not be in the same space as you.
- An unwillingness to appear incapable of doing it all and a belief that you must do it all. Particularly pernicious in a society where you see role models who seem to manage work, life, kids, relationships, working out, and cooking! Who has that kind of time?
- More importantly, what don’t you see, and what does that tell us? Being emotionally accessible and vulnerable helps us find more support to do the many things we humans are called upon to do.
- An overwhelming number of things to think about, balance, understand and act on. Our access to information in numerous formats and our values as we try to explore these data sources to ensure we live life up to our values can be overwhelming. Heck, coming back to the U.S. and walking into a grocery store can be overwhelming!
What to do about it?
Start with baby steps
Figure out what is difficult and break it down. Approach it in chunks that are more approachable.
Determine a course of action
Along with how you are going to respond to the chunks, put what measures of success you have for these actions. What does a decrease in difficulty look like? What does the action working look like?
Celebrate the small wins
Scientific evidence regarding feedback loops shows that as you recognize the small wins you break down the task in front of you creating a virtuous loop with the baby steps.
Reframe the issue
A common psychological technique that asks you to see the challenge from a different angle, not necessarily a “this could be worse scenario” – which doesn’t really make the current situation any better. But rather, can you see the difficulty as an opportunity or a challenge to be conquered, whatever motivates you to change it.
Focus on the awesome
Sometimes life is hard because we’re seeing it through the lens of difficulty instead of the rose-colored lenses of beauty. Life doesn’t have to be beautiful, though it often is, sometimes stopping to reflect on the awesomeness around you is a solid start.
Do you remember the blog 365 Days of Awesome? Trying to capture those and find new things every day, puts you on a quest that focuses on things other than the difficulties.
Get a coach
There are niche coaches for everything it seems these days, whether you want a general life coach, a business coach, lifestyle/fitness, professional, or identity integration coach, you can find it. Coaches can help guide you through some of the practices above, hold you accountable, and tailor your solutions.
At Nextpat, we work specifically with returning expatriates on developing plans to integrate their changed identities back home – finding community and support and remembering to be kind to themselves on their journey home.
Coach | Speaker | Author
We form expectations on how things should be
When life seems hard and almost unbearable, too often the reason stems from an issue inside of us, instead of an external source.
As humans, in life, we form expectations on how we think and believe things should be or occur. Then when it doesn’t happen according to our expectations, disappointment and even drama ensue. A question that begs to be asked is why would we form an expectation around something we have absolutely no control over in the first place.
I refer to this reoccurring futile process as Expectation Prison. We put ourselves in there remaining locked inside this emotional cage, feeling stuck, punished unfairly and held captive in a fictitious enclosure of difficulty that we alone have created. The tension increases with each missed expectation building up into an overwhelming feeling of a life that is too hard and unfair.
We then find ourselves spiraling downward in a well of disappointment after disappointment until we feel completely trapped. What got us there? Our own expectations. Hence the name Expectation Prison. It is a mental, not physical cage that we have confined ourselves to.
It’s time we woke up and walked out. We are the only ones with the key and the door locks for the inside! You must become willing to let go of your expectations on how you think things should be and simply accept them as they come and for what they are.
“A key to internal peace is letting each situation be what it is instead of what you think it should be.” – Nate Battle
This is a matter of deciding in your mind that you will no longer be held captive to the mental images you created of how you think the world should exist. Embracing the fact that you have no authorship or claim to creating, controlling or ruling over any of it. You can only influence and control yourself.
By letting go of your confined expectations you then reward yourself a pardon from mental death row. This is clemency that you can give to yourself anytime you choose – no questions asked. The only thing you are guilty of is putting yourself in Expectation Prison in the first place.
Tracey S. Lawrence
Professional Speaker | Family Coach | Founder, Grand Family Planning LLC
If life was always easy, we wouldn’t learn or grow
“Life is so hard” is a relative concept. For instance, the challenges we meet as children shape us into more capable adults. When something we want is beyond our reach, we learn to use a ladder, ask the help of a taller person or do without.
Should we long to acquire an expensive item, we find a way to earn enough money to make the purchase. And because we had to work for it, we value it more.
Some difficulties yield sad outcomes and may not have an obvious positive flip side. But by living through hard times, we come to appreciate when things get easier. Only by living through the dark can we truly appreciate the light.
If life was always easy, we wouldn’t learn or grow. So, when life seems too hard to bear, seek reasons to be grateful. By virtue of the fact that you are alive, aware and breathing, you can often find inspiration for gratitude.
By turning your perspective from feeling sad about all you don’t have to joy for all you DO have, you can live a more rewarding and empowered life.
Cassandra D. Freeman
Author | Award-Winning Speaker | Your #1 Dream Builder
We have expectations that don’t always match what we see
Life is hard because we have expectations that don’t always match what we see and we have problems that we don’t accept nor expect.
When we realize that life is a journey filled with the boring, the good, and the bad we can see that our problems are simply a part of all that. It requires a change in perception, to see that our problems can help us turn into our best selves if we take the time to learn and grow from them.
Lastly, to become a solution minded person changes how you live and see life because when problems, circumstances, and setbacks come your way you jump at finding a solution instead of panicking. Life is hard, but what I have found is that we are stronger. You can bounce back even when you get knocked down; keep choosing to never give up.
We constantly compare ourselves with others
I think one of the reasons life is so hard now is because society certainly isn’t doing us any favors with all of the body image advertising coming at us. Advertising that can make us feel less than whole and send messages that we need to buy their product to become lovable.
Social media has also trained us to see only the best of others, while we, unfortunately, compare that with the worst of ourselves. Our self-esteem has been hijacked to only feel validation when others hit the “like” button for us. When we repeatedly see this every day, it can’t help but make us feel less than who we really are and are capable of.
Please remember that you are perfect and enough just the way you are. Comparing yourself with others benefits no one. I used to compare myself to others as I started out and it would leave me feeling depressed, unworthy and unsure of my next step.
Once I realized that my set of tools, gifts, and experiences, were my superpower, everything started to fall into place. I let go of worrying about what everyone else was doing and began to trust my uniqueness. I want others to trust their own unique set of tools, gifts, and experiences as well.
Once we can begin to love and accept ourselves for who we are and what we have to work with everything seems to fall into place and life will become a whole lot easier. We don’t have to carry around the extra weight of trying to be someone that we aren’t.
We never find anything that lasts
Somehow over the last several decades, our entire society has been set on a non-stop thirst for happiness. There are two places we look for it — in things and in people.
But things can never provide lasting happiness. If so, why would a Hollywood millionaire ever wind up repeatedly in rehab? Why is Lori Loughlin facing jail time? It’s just common sense that things can never be the source of happiness.
Plus, we’re too easily bored. Just look at what our over-consumption is doing to the planet. That leaves people. Things can’t be fickle, but people can. For that reason alone, there’s even less reason to believe that people can make us happy or sustain it. Look at the divorce rate. Even for couples who remain together, relationships are never completely rosy.
So why is life so hard? Because we’re on a non-stop mission for happiness and never find anything that lasts.
We look outside ourselves when the only source is inside. By contrast when we commit to a steady practice of developing inner peace we can actually feel ourselves growing happier even when disappointments arise.
I know this because I’ve learned it myself the hard way over time. I’m not there yet, but the things that would have flattened me a decade ago don’t have the power I once gave them.
Consultant | Author
What makes life hard is subjective and personal
What makes something hard for one person may not be interpreted by others in the same way. If I see and feel my life is hard does not mean that others perceive my life in the same way. This is a paramount point in addressing, healing, and overcoming our negative perspective about our life.
What Can We Do About Them
Talk to yourself in these ways and Ask Intimate confidants you trust these questions.
- Am I being objective? Is it true what I am feeling and seeing?
- Am I projecting on to myself a victim mentality and feeling sorry for myself?
- Am I feeling this way because of what is going on outside of my life?
- Is the harshness personal? Is someone undermining my life with malice and intent?
- Is my life harder at-this-point in time than any other time prior?
If not, then reflect, back on the past. What happened, why did I feel this way and what did I do about?
If not, then assess why your life is so hard. Be pragmatic. Make a list of why you think and feel your life is so hard.
What We Can Do About It
Be pro-active about the tangible acts you can create by yourself and with help to make changes that will enable you to lessen the harshness and whatever you are feeling.
Give yourself permission to feel the pain, uncomfortableness, and whatever negative thoughts you are having and feeling. Please note this is not about self-pity to the contrary. This exercise is to validate what you are going through. The success of this exercise is to be extremely prescient and dwell in this place for no more than 5 minutes ever! Put a timer on and then SNAP OUT OF IT!
Don’t judge how you are feeling and thinking. Just accept them. Invite them in and say “Thank you for coming”. I know you are here for a reason and I am to learn lessons by feeling this way.
Escort these thoughts and feelings from your mind and body visually. Say goodbye and thank them for the lessons you have learned by having them come.
Accredited Life Coach, NLP Master Coach
We live in a fallen world
It is a fact that evil exists and bad things happen. I do not believe this was our creator’s original plan, but it is the way it is, unfortunately.
Life becomes even harder when we fail to accept the inherent imperfection nature of the world, of people, of organizations, of situations, etc. The sooner you accept that life is imperfect (and so are you), the sooner life won’t feel as hard.
We try to change what cannot be changed
Life can also be made more difficult when we try to change what cannot be changed and this only leads to frustration and feeling disempowered. To make life easier, we must focus on the things we can change – and accept the things that cannot be. When we do this, we stop being the victim, and we become an empowered victor.
In addition, some say that resentment is like “drinking poison and expecting the other person to die“. The issue is though, our ego likes to hold on to resentments which can eat us up on the inside and can lead to depression and addiction. Unless we choose to forgive and let go, life will always be much harder than it needs to be.
The best thing is to get the poison out of your system by forgiving the person who has harmed you. Accepting that everyone is imperfect and is on their journey, and separating the actor from the action is a great step to forgiveness.
We try to live our lives entirely on our own self-will
Finally, trying to live our lives entirely on our own self-will will make life infinitely harder. It is too exhausting to be in control of everything and everyone and all situations – not to mention that as a human being, you are very likely to make mistakes.
Thus, we must practice the art of conscious surrender to a power greater than ourselves, a higher power that we can trust in – some may call this the Universe or God. In doing so, we let go of outcomes, we don’t have to work as hard, and we can trust that we are where we need to be right now. The alternative is to become workaholic and burnout – which makes life even harder.
Author | Coach | Speaker
We fight against every experience that was happening instead of accepting the moment
For many years, I thought life was really hard. I woke up dreading getting out of bed because of the vast list of things that I needed to do that day that I didn’t want to and worked my way through a day just counting down the hours until I could get back in bed where I could forget all the things I had done that day that I didn’t want to.
Along the way, every little thing annoyed me. Traffic, people, the weather. I was constantly asking, “why is this happening to me!?” I felt like life was out to get me.
But after the death of a friend, a number of life-changing books like The Surrender Experiment, The Obstacle is the Way, and The Alchemist, and a course in Buddhism, I discovered that life was, in fact, giving me exactly what I required.
Life was giving me exactly what I needed to become the greatest and most joyful version of myself. The only problem was that I was fighting against every single experience that was happening instead of accepting the moment for what it was.
I learned to say to myself, “Every moment is perfect.” Even if I could not yet see why. It poured on my beach vacation and I accepted it as it was and curled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea and found that I needed that far more than the kayaking adventure I had planned. I lost my job and accepted it as the push I needed to find out what it was that I really wanted to do with my life. I accepted each obstacle as an opportunity.
And my outlook on life changed. I went from thinking that life was so hard into thinking that life was such an adventure!
Author | Coach | Speaker
Life is hard because that is how things in the natural world grow
If we do nothing beyond learn from the world around us, we see all things put forth an effort to survive and thrive. The seed must struggle out of its case just as the chick must work to get out of the shell. It’s the test that ensures we are strong enough to not just make it in life but to grow. It’s when that effort stops, things wither away and die, creating the energy for the next generation.
What does this mean for us? It means we must either grow or die. We cannot stand still and stay comfortable in a world that is always in motion. Knowing this, we can look at a difficult life not as something to fear or a reason to be depressed, but rather as an exciting challenge that nature has given us in order to become a better person.
After all, if we’ve done all we wish to do in life, what’s the point of marching forward? When we are done with life, life is done with us.
How can we use this to our advantage? We can find and remind ourselves of our purpose. When we have a purpose (life-long goal), it gives us a reason to get out of bed. It excites us to go after something bigger than ourselves. This requires dedication, focus, mental toughness, and best of all, personal growth. As Bruce Lee once quipped, “Never pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
Meditation Coach | Yoga Instructor, Splendid Yoga
Life is hard because you came here for a challenge
You came here, with this consciousness, to develop your compassion muscle, to learn how to live in appreciative joy, to be as kind to others as you are to your best self.
Relationships are so hard because if you didn’t ever have your heart broken, you wouldn’t have exposed your truest, most vulnerable light. You wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate the kind person who is ready to grow with you as your partner.
Adulting is so hard because if you didn’t ever experience a desire for more, you wouldn’t ever push yourself to grow, to be worthy of great love.
Taking care of your body is so hard because our bodies are complicated, miraculous machines that we barely understand. You are born with this thing we call instinct, so you know how to survive.
But to thrive, you’re going to have to have an intimate relationship with your body, and like all relationships, it’s going to break your heart every once in a while. But that’s kind of the point of it too (see above).
It’s hard because it’s worth doing. But it doesn’t have to feel hard. If you are able to say “Thank you” to every experience, however joyful or painful, however much it’s exactly what your ego does or doesn’t want if you can throw open your arms to what feels hard and say, “Thank you! You are teaching me something, even if I don’t know it yet, and it’s exactly what I need even though it sucks right now. Thank you!” ….then it will feel easier. Promise.
Preacher | Podcast Host, Excel Still More
Nothing makes us feel as accomplished as growth
Getting better, excelling, reaching new heights, these all make us feel like we have a purpose and we are making the most of what we have. But if growth was a passive outcome, and everyone got better at things and experienced success, then it wouldn’t be called growth. So, we must do hard things.
Throughout history, people who have made the most difference in this world are people who have made tough choices, dealt with huge setbacks, overcome challenging obstacles, served in wars, rebuild broken cities, and pushed through. They became great through trials. The testing produced success.
The Christian sees a life that same way. We count it all joy to encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance. And endurance has its perfect result: feeling complete.
So we see a hard thing as an opportunity to test our faith, strengthen our faith, or prove our faith. Attitude is everything when it comes to hard things, like loss, pain, temptation or any sort of testing.
I have a podcast called “Excel Still More.” The idea is to use practical daily strategies to do things most people won’t do. But if you do, there is self-worth benefit, accomplishment joy, and personal purpose fulfillment that most in this world never get to feel! I am thankful for hard things in life. If I fight through them and use them to become something more, they make me better.
Katie Ziskind, LMFT
Owner, Wisdom Within Counseling
Without difficulties, you would not appreciate the joy and easy moments
Challenges, attention, and stress are healthy because they are an opportunity to grow and take on the new positive information. When life gets stressful, take time to walk by the ocean and smell the salty air or put your bare feet into it warm mud on a summer day.
Being outside in nature is a great way to make life less hard. Make sure to think on the bright side to focus on your personal strengths to persevere through hard times. In hard times, rely on good friends, family, and people that can nurture you.
Author, The Old Money Book
Life becomes hard because the fruits of our labor do not give us lasting satisfaction
I write about ‘Old Money’, the culture that develops when people have enjoyed wealth and privilege for three generations or more. I’ll comment on one aspect of unhappiness which is consumerism.
Americans are bombarded with advertising. Television, magazines, the internet, billboards…just look at Times Square in New York City. Look at every blank space around the basketball court at a pro or college game. The uniforms of soccer players. The caps of golf pros. The sides of buses, taxis, and even passenger vehicles now.
Everywhere, all the time, Americans are encouraged to buy: to acquire goods or services that will, we’re told, make us happy.
Obviously, logically, we know that this is not true. Still, it’s almost impossible not to get on this ‘hamster wheel’ of working, earning, spending, enjoying, becoming bored, and then repeating the cycle again. This makes life hard because it gives us a sense of futility, of a goal always just out of reach.
Life becomes hard because the fruits of our labor do not give us lasting satisfaction. They don’t give us a sense of fulfillment because they are material, not emotional, rewards.
The solution: retreat from exposure to advertising. Watch less commercial television. Spend less time on the internet. Avoid shopping malls completely. Turn off your phone after 9 pm and all day on Sundays. Empty your closet of items that you haven’t worn in 6 months.
When you do shop, let’s say, for clothes, purchase quality goods, on sale if you can. Invest in timeless, traditional styles constructed in natural fabrics like cotton and wool. Avoid fashion like the plague. And pay cash.
Work, then spend quality time with your family and friends without the television on. Cook a meal. Read a book. Take a class. Go for a walk. Slow down. Give happiness a chance to catch up.
This is the perspective Old Money takes, with solid, satisfying results, generation after generation. It’s obvious. It’s simple. It’s just not easy. But that’s happiness for you.
CEO, Ruby Riot Creatives
It never goes the way you thought it would
As created beings we always love to think through the way something should go, and rarely when we are making plans, scheduling the trip, starting her education does it actually ends the way we anticipated. So what can you do about this? Enjoy the ride! Take everything in stride.
When you are looking forward to future plans, think about not attaching two in results so tightly. Focus on how you want to feel, during the process and with the end results, rather than specific outcomes. This way no matter how the cards really unfold – you won’t lose your joy if things start to deviate.
Life is meant to be hard
Just like in strength training, without the resistance of weights- there would be no new muscle!
So what can you do about life’s difficulties? See them as gifts. As cheesy as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. The adversity and the discouragement you face is meant to be a stepping stone for you to grow and become the person you are meant to be.
Sometimes people are the way they are
It’s the cold hard truth and the sooner you realize people will disappoint you, let you down, and betray you, the sooner you can rise above this cold, hard reality. Only you can take care of yourself and your happiness and fulfillment in life. No one can make you feel happy — you have to cultivate your sense of confidence and purpose.
If you continually look to others to bring joy and pleasure into your life, your emotional life will be one big roller coaster. So look within yourself, and find ways to build confidence and self-esteem and doing things you personally find pleasure in; no one can take your joy away when it’s rooted deeply in a personal connection with yourself.
We look ahead and think that our obstacles are insurmountable
Often, the thought of an obstacle, and not the obstacle itself, forces us to think through all the bad things that can happen. This means that we’re worrying about obstacles twice over – once by thinking about them before they come and when they actually come. What ends of happening is that you feel burdened even before you get a chance to face whatever it is that is worrying you.
In other words, we think that our problems are bigger than they actually are, but all that worrying corrodes the soul as happiness withers away.
What we can do – and I still struggle with this – is take each task, each day one at a time. Don’t think about the future, simply because it isn’t here. When trouble arises, you’ll deal with it at that moment.
There’s no point in bracing for failure or obstacles when neither has happened yet. If you’re able to prepare for and face challenges as they come, and not become preoccupied with the future, you’ll be able to better deal with the difficulty of life.
Our modern life has an incredible amount of stress attached to it
Our smartphones are dinging with notifications constantly, we try to multi-task in every waking moment, our schedules (and kids’ schedules) are filled to the brim, and there’s always something to worry about, whether it’s the political powers-that-be trying to take away human rights, or looming climate disasters that are going to take us all out.
It’s hard to thrive in today’s world, especially when positivity culture tells us to look on the bright side all the time. Sometimes there’s too much stress for the bright side, and that needs to be okay too.
When life is hard, find a place to simplify it. Reduce your commitments by designating some time on your schedule to not go anywhere or do anything. Reduce your work schedule by asking your boss if you can work from home part-time. Reduce your housework by donating items you no longer use and making sure the balance of work in the home is fair between everyone who lives there.
If you can afford it, outsource chores like laundry or hire a cleaner once a month to do a deeper clean. I’m a big proponent of simplifying and minimizing in order to free up more mental and physical energy. (Do I recommend it? Yes. Do I take my own advice? I’m working on it.)
If circumstances prevent you from reducing your schedule due to working multiple jobs, etc., then carve out at least enough time to get adequate sleep. Sleep is crucially important to our health and without it, we will decline over time until our body forces us to get rest – usually, because our immune system isn’t as strong and we pick up cold or other bugs that sideline us.
Being proactive about getting enough rest consistently will help you feel much better overall. And maybe life won’t seem as hard when your mind and body are rested enough to tackle day to day problems.
Head Coach & Editor, Noob Gains
Because life is the ultimate test
The reason life is “so hard” is because it’s supposed to be hard. Life is the ultimate test. It’s the test as to whether you believe that life is actually worth living. What you’ll find is that people who typically associate life with “being hard” usually view every event as things that happen “to them”.
However, those who are typically chronic winners and appear to illuminate with success believe that every event they experience happens “for them.” So, if you think that life is hard, you’re absolutely right. In fact, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever face and it won’t ever let up. But, every event, no matter how difficult, is actually an incredible opportunity in disguise.
Those weeknight college classes that are causing you sleep deprivation are actually the opportunity for a more successful career. The withdrawal you experience from not having your morning Starbucks is actually the opportunity to accumulate thousands of dollars in your retirement account.
The exhaustion and sweat you experience after leaving a soul-crushing workout is actually the opportunity to transform into the strongest and leanest version of yourself yet. So the next time you feel like falling face down and admitting that “the struggle is real”, realize that the struggle is necessary, good, and offers the best rewards.
Health & Fitness Coach | Real Estate Investor, At Home Buyers
We look at challenges so far into the future and we are not prepared to handle them
Life is hard because we look at challenges so far into the future and we are not prepared to handle them with our current abilities. The thing about life is that it’s a long game.
We are so fixated on who we will be in the future or a future event that hasn’t happened, and then think about the challenges our future selves will face which makes life seem hard. What you can do about it, is focus on what you’re capable of today and overcoming today’s small challenges.
You have all the skills and abilities you need right now. Over time, as you continue to overcome your daily obstacles, you gradually build more skills and knowledge that will prepare you for the day when you face those “hard” challenges.
By then, they won’t be so hard because you’ll be a better version of you. Focus on what you can achieve today!
Financial Blogger, Frugal Reality
We experience some setbacks in life
When born, most of us are raised in an environment of positivity. We are rarely exposed to hardship, mortality, and difficulty at an early age. As we slowly grow older, we may experience some small setbacks but it is offset by positive feedback.
Unfortunately, many news sources over-glorify accomplishments and make them sound easy. Starting a company must be easy since Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to start Microsoft and became one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in the world.
Playing the lotto has good odds since a 24-year old Wisconsin man purchased a $2 lotto ticket and won over $700mm. Speculative investing must be easy since some people bought bitcoin several years ago for pennies and now it’s worth millions of dollars. It’s not that easy!
Overly positive news stories bring viewers and make it sound like these success stories are easy and a regular occurrence; they are not. Age brings experience and makes you humble.
The best thing you can do is find someone older or experienced like a parent, family member, colleague, teacher, entrepreneur, investor or anyone with worldliness to bring reality to the table. All things are harder and take much longer than you’d expect.
Manager & Frontman, Aqua Seca Rock Band
Life is meant to be challenging and difficult
I used to believe that life is hard (still do from time to time), but here is the thing: life is meant to be hard. Life is meant to be challenging and difficult.
It is meant to test you to your wildest extremes, and throw you down on the ground. Without these trials and tribulations, life would be boring. Everything would be so easy. Plus, if we take a look at history, we can see that life today is really not that hard, physically speaking.
10,000 years ago, life was far more strenuous. You had to think about the constant threat of disease, or a storm, or a great beast eating all of your family. There was no running water, no electricity, you had to do everything yourself.
Now compare that to what the average person in the modern world does every day: wakes up and uses running water, then turns on the TV and eats a breakfast that he did not have to farm himself.
Then drives to work in a motorized, climate-controlled couch. He then arrives at work and never has to lift more than a pencil or his fingers in order to type. Then it is back to his nice climate controlled house to rinse and repeat. Pretty easy right? Not that hard.
But what this fails to take into account is that life in the modern age has another culprit that makes everything difficult: the psychological component.
Now that we have so much free time and don’t have to worry about food, we may lead ourselves to make destructive decisions. We may find that life is becoming mentally more difficult. I have noticed this myself: I have found that I can never remain focused on one project in my life, instead I feel the need to pursue many things at once and as a result, none of them get done.
But just because life may be difficult does not mean you will buckle down to its power. Instead listen to what Joe Rogan has said many times before, “All of the interesting people that I know, have had to go through some sort of adversity“.
Be that somebody. Be the person who does not buckle, but shines in the face of adversity. Don’t let life drag you down, rise to the top in all of its glory.
When you reach some sort of adversity in life, do not think that you have gone the wrong way, instead relish in that adversity. Understand that you are on the right path because there is adversity; for if there was no adversity you would not be able to become a better and stronger person after the trial.
The bottom line is that if you are going through life and never have any trials or tribulations then you are doing something wrong. If you can just sit back in comfort and never be stressed out or feel immense pressure to move forward, then you need to change and become comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you survive in life?
Take care of your physical and mental health: This includes getting enough sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition, as well as seeking help for any mental health problems you may have.
Set achievable goals: Setting realistic goals can help you stay motivated and focused. Break down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps and celebrate your progress along the way.
Build a support system: Surround yourself with people who will provide emotional and practical support during difficult times. This could be friends, family members, or mental health professionals.
Be resilient: Resilience is about bouncing back from difficult situations. Cultivate coping mechanisms such as mindfulness practices, positive self-talk, and stress-reducing activities. Remember that setbacks are a natural part of life, and focus on learning and growing from them.
Is it possible to find meaning in difficult experiences?
Yes, it’s absolutely possible to find meaning in difficult experiences. While difficult times can be challenging and painful, they can also provide opportunities for growth and self-discovery.
One way to do this is to look at the situation anew and look for the lessons that can be learned from it.
For example, a problematic breakup can lead you to discover what you really value in a relationship and help you understand what you want in future partnerships. Or the loss of a job may force you to reevaluate your career path and embark on a new, more fulfilling one.
Finding meaning in difficult experiences can also help us develop more empathy and compassion for others experiencing similar problems.
By sharing our stories and connecting with others who have faced similar challenges, we can find comfort and support while helping others feel less alone.
How can I develop a positive attitude when life seems so hard?
Practice gratitude: Take time each day to reflect on the good things in your life and thank them. This can help shift your focus from negative thoughts to positive thoughts.
Reframe negative thoughts: When negative thoughts come up, try to put them in a more positive light. Rather than focusing on what went wrong, consider what you can learn from the situation.
Focus on solutions: Focus on finding solutions instead of dwelling on problems. This can help you feel stronger and in control.
Surround yourself with positivity: Surround yourself with positive people and things that bring you joy. This may include spending time with friends and family, listening to uplifting music, or pursuing activities you enjoy.
Practice self-care: Take care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating right. Make time for relaxation and stress-reducing activities, such as meditation or yoga.
Remember that developing a positive attitude takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and focus on small steps of progress. If you make an effort and are committed, you can develop a more positive outlook on life, even when things seem difficult.
Is there anything I should avoid during difficult times?
When facing difficult times, you need to be mindful of what to avoid to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Here are a few tips:
Avoid isolating yourself: While it may be tempting to withdraw from social situations when feeling down, isolation can worsen the situation. Make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones and seek support when you need it.
Don’t ignore your feelings: it’s easy to push negative feelings aside and try to move on, but ignoring your feelings can lead to even more stress and anxiety. Acknowledge your feelings and give yourself time to process them.
Avoid self-medicating: Taking drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult times can provide temporary relief but may do more harm than good in the long run. Instead, look for healthy ways to cope with stress.
Don’t compare yourself to others: Everyone experiences difficult times differently, so it’s not helpful to compare yourself to others. Focus on your own path and what is good for you.
If you avoid these common pitfalls, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way with grace and resilience!
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