Whenever we feel life is not being kind to us in some ways and we experience misfortune on one level or another, we tend to define that moment as life is ‘sucking’.
Why Life Sucks
We feel this ‘life sucks’ state in various situations when things did not go well. Perhaps when our favourite pet has died or we were unsuccessful at an exam or a job interview or our lover has left us for another person or we have found out that we have been betrayed in some ways or we have discovered we have a terminal illness. It may be when that combination of these or repetitive similar unfortunate events occur, we think our life sucks.
We feel that ‘life sucks’ because we had some kind of an expectation that life shouldn’t suck and that everything in life should run smoothly. It comes as a shock or disappointment to us when suddenly we are confronted by a situation we feel we have been placed upon by another force, either by another human, an organisation, a county or something else more powerful than we which we may refer to as god.
M. Scott Peck put this ‘phenomenon’ eloquently in his book The Road Less Travelled when he said, most people ‘moan more or less incessantly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as life SHOULD be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others.’
When we think that life should be easy, and something negative happens, it creates an illusion that we are not in control of our lives and that somehow we have been CHOSEN to receive this misfortune by an external entity.
We may proceed to suffer in despair and dwell on a loss of hope that we are not able to turn this misfortune just by ourselves because we blame something else but us.
But it is an illusion.
Life seems difficult because we are comparing this ‘suck’ state of our life against the times that we had it easy or other people who seem to have it easy.
But the fact is life IS difficult.
It is normal that life is difficult and once we accept this fact as truth then it no longer matters.
‘My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn’.
– Louis Adamic –
What to do
Now we have established that life generally sucks, we are no longer upset by it. And in an adversity, we experience the greatest growth.
We may not be able to control everything that happens to us but we are in control of something.
We can control how we RESPOND to each situation that used to make us think ‘my life sucks’. If we change our perspective on how we view the adversity something incredible happens.
In a simple example, you wake up one morning and see that it’s raining outside. You can choose your response to this either;
I hate the rain. It’s such a miserable day. Life sucks.
Rain is good for the garden. Rain cleanses the air we breathe.
Just by changing our perspective on the situation, we can begin to see the other side.
Because there is always the other side. Like there is always the other side of a coin. You cannot have one side of the coin without the other. Everything in life comes in pairs of opposites. Yin and Yang is symbolising the duality of opposites but simultaneously interconnected, interdependent and interrelated to one another.
Once we understand this, we can begin to grow despite our life that seems to suck.
‘You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.’
– Walt Disney –
We must move ourselves from seeing our life that sucks to seeing it as an opportunity for growth. This can be done by developing an ability to change our perspective.
Malala Yousafzai was shot in her head when she was just 15 for speaking up for the right for female education. She could have said to herself, ‘my life sucks’ and returned to Pakistan. But a gunshot and the circumstance that nearly killed her did not stop her from continuing her work as an activist. She went on to be the youngest recipient of Nobel Prize.
What about Nic Vujicic who was born without arms or legs? He attempted suicide by jumping into a swimming pool and tried to drown himself when he was just aged 10. He has overcome his disability but he did not stop there. He is now known as a man with no limbs, written several books including, Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. He owns businesses and travels the world to inspire people and speak in front of stadium-sized crowds.
How could these people despite adversity, obstacles or setbacks in their life manage to turn their life around to lead such a purposeful life?
And more importantly, can you do it, too?
Of course, you can.
When you have fully accepted that life sucks anyway then the fact that it does, no longer matters.
If you now accept that your life that sucks is the ‘norm’, you will begin to see other parts of your life that do not suck.
You may realise that you have more choice than you first thought.
You have a choice to see it either as a misfortune or an opportunity for learning.
There are some things that are positive about your life. You may start to notice that you are in control of how you perceive your life. You can choose to think that your life is not as bad as you thought yesterday and that you too have a gift.
Most of us, experience ‘my life sucks’ stage at one time or another in our life. If we don’t we will not be able to appreciate the contrast of joy and beauty of life we also experience at other times. It can also be said that adversities push people towards greater things in life. The experience of pain and difficulties often cultivate bigger drives in people and for brighter future to be manifested.
Despite adversity, what are you learning about life that you can share with others?
Through your setbacks, what can you create for the future?
What do you think life is like on the other side of the obstacles?
Once you start to see the positive aspects of your life, you will learn that you cannot have the positives without the negatives. Because they only come hand in hand. This does not necessarily mean that the positives and negatives come to you in equal proportions in weight and size. But the important thing to remember is that one cannot exist without the other. So, when you come across a time that life sucks, you know that there is something positive about it on the other side of that coin.
Sometimes in the western world, it is described as a silver lining.
Make sure you spot it.