Deep down, we innocently believe that we can have complete control of life.
We’re taught that we can prevent bad things from happening to us if only we:
worship the right God, obey the right laws, eat the right diet, marry the right partner, move to the right neighborhood, get the right job, and so forth.
We build fortresses of people, habits, and possessions that make us feel as though we’re in control because we sought them out and we built them.
So it comes as a terribly shock to us when some (or all) of these people, possessions, habits, and beliefs gradually – or all of a sudden – perish, leaving us barren and exposed.
In such traumatic circumstances, our first reaction is to numb ourselves, hate everyone and everything, or totally retreat from the world.
These reactions are understandable, and we all have them.
But what happens when life sucks – but we’re sick and tired of feeling bitter, angry, exhausted, and grieved all the time?
What do we do?
Table of contents
- When Life Sucks (the Deeper Meaning)
- What to Do When Your Life Sucks and You Want to Feel Better
When Life Sucks (the Deeper Meaning)
One of the best ways to find immediate hope when life sucks is to recognize that there’s a deeper meaning to your suffering.
There are two choices: to see your pain as totally pointless and meaningless. Or to see your pain as having a deeper meaning and purpose.
In my journey, I’ve come to understand suffering as the trigger that propels us into a spiritual journey.
Like diamonds that are formed under the heat and pressure of the earth, we have a seed of the Divine within us that only awakens after (1) some kind of sudden intense mystical experience or (2) some kind of serious trauma (aka. life sucks).
When life sucks, what we’re usually experiencing is a kind of Dark Night of the Soul where we feel separate from ourselves, other people, and life as a whole.
Read: The Spiritual Calling »
What to Do When Your Life Sucks and You Want to Feel Better
I’ve been through some deep and dark spirals in my time – and I’ve witnessed many go through them too.
From cancer to divorce, abuse, chronic illness, betrayal, addictions, mental breakdowns, and the sudden death of loved ones, life can overwhelm us.
Deep down, we just want to be seen, heard, held, and we want the pain to go away.
I hear you. And I want you to know that you’re not alone. There is hope and life isn’t always going to feel this way.
When life sucks, here’s what I’ve found has helped me and others feel a sense of hope and relief:
1. Reach out, talk, hug, and cry
Humans are programmed to be social creatures. But when shit hits the fan, our immediate reaction is usually to isolate, push people away, and spend time solely alone.
Don’t get me wrong, solitude is healthy in certain circumstances. But when we’re inundated by feelings of anger, grief, sadness, and fear, we need the loving presence of others.
Be it a counselor, friend, trusted family member, or even a pet, it’s crucial that you reach out and find a way to open up and release what you’re feeling.
You need someone who knows the art of holding space. If you can’t find anyone in your immediate circle, find a guidance counselor or therapist. Even cuddling your pet can be immensely therapeutic.
2. Letting go, letting flow
When we’re in pain, our first instinct is to fight, scream, kick, and resist everyone and everything.
But eventually, there comes a point where we exhaust ourselves – and the only option is to surrender.
When this point comes, know that it’s not a sign of weakness. Surrender or letting go, is a sign of wisdom and strength. Finally, the ego realizes that it must welcome healing.
Some helpful ways of actively letting go include:
Read more: 42 Powerful Ways of Letting Go »
3. Find the hidden lesson
When we stop perceiving our misfortune as something happening to us, but something happening for us, our lives can change forever.
No longer are we feeble or powerless victims – instead, we become strong and hopeful.
Try asking the question, “What am I being taught?” Learn to reframe the situation and see the underlying opportunity available for you.
In other words, how can this source of pain help you to grow, deepen, and transform on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level?
Obviously, it can be hard to remember to ask this question when life feels especially dark and hopeless. It’s okay. This approach takes time. Just take it one step at a time.
4. Release blame through catharsis
When we’re in pain, it’s natural for us to immediately look for “the one to blame.”
We may blame our parents, our partners, our children, our colleagues, our boss, our friends, society, and anyone or anything who we feel could fit the bill.
But the reality is that while blame feels good for a little while, it doesn’t fix anything. Pointing fingers is like feeding ourselves poison; it just makes us feel more horrible inside.
Try finding ways to release that anger in healthy ways such as through:
- intense exercise
- emotional catharsis (crying, punching pillows, screaming, laughing)
- dynamic meditation
- creative self-expression
Choose one of the above practices and stick with it for at least one month.
5. Ask, “Where can I go from here?”
When life sucks, it’s easy (and totally normal) to get pulled into a vortex of doom and gloom.
In fact, we might get so bogged down within the chaos of these emotions that we become depressed, numb, and immobilized.
To avoid this emotional numbness from happening, do something – anything – to move in a different direction.
Ask yourself, “Where can I go from here?” What new direction can you take? What practical approach can you adopt toward your pain?
Examples of what you could do may involve:
- Listening to a guided healing meditation
- Choosing a morning affirmation to say each day
- Reading a nurturing book
- Taking a long and deep breath
- Going on a relaxing walk in nature (i.e., ecotherapy)
- Looking for a new job
- Making yourself a delicious meal
The point is to do something – anything – no matter how small.
6. Connect with your heart
When we’re in pain, the last thing most of us want to do is to connect with the heart.
In fact, when we’re suffering, the heart feels unsafe, dangerous, as if it could overwhelm us with unwanted realizations or feelings. And so we keep it shut down, numbed, and dissociated.
Don’t worry. It’s okay to not dive headfirst into the waters of your innermost being. This is intelligent. The mind can only process so much.
So instead, find small ways to reconnect with your heart. For instance, cuddle with your pet. Play a beautiful song. Sit outside and watch the trees and animals. Watch a heartwarming video of something on YouTube.
By connecting with your heart in even the smallest of ways, you are creating more inner balance, and welcoming in the healing powers of love.
When life sucks, the mind is the most dangerous place to live. The heart is always our safe haven.
7. Create a safe space within you that can’t be taken away
Within life, the only certainty is uncertainty.
Everything is bound to change. Nothing remains the same. Life is so alive that the only thing we can count on is how uncertain and spontaneous it can be.
We don’t know what life will look like in one year, let alone one week, or even a day.
While this realization can feel deeply disturbing, it can also be liberating.
We waste so much time putting our faith and reliance in people, things, and mental constructs that, by nature, are destined to change.
So what’s the solution?
This is the questions that spiritual seekers have been asking since the dawn of humanity.
When all is destroyed, when everyone deserts us, when life feels desolate, what remains?
I have faced this question over and over again in life, and it’s what inspired me to co-create this website. We must all become lone wolves eventually, walking our own paths and seeking our own answers.
Deep down, we all possess a thirst and longing for what I call the Divine.
Most of us feel that “something is missing” – and when we go soul searching, we discover that what is missing is a connection with our Souls.
Creating a safe space within us means learning to reconnect with this inner Divine Essence.
If you’d like more guidance, I recommend exploring the following articles:
- Soul Searching: 7 Ways to Uncover Your True Path
- How to Start Your Spiritual Journey (7 Illuminating Steps)
- Feeling Empty: 5 Ways to Heal Your Inner Void
Take Care of Yourself
At some point in life, we all feel that life sucks. The future will feel empty, pointless, and hopeless – and it feels like we’ll never recover from our pain and traumas.
Just know that you have more strength than you think. You are an incredibly resilient being with so much to offer this world. Why else would you be here?
So, to conclude, take small steps. Practice self-love and compassion. Cuddle a pet. Reach out to others for help. Orient to love and safety. And each day, know that what you’re experiencing has meaning and a purpose.
I hope this article has helped to inspire some new perspectives. Please know that you are not alone and you deserve all the happiness life has to offer. If you have any advice to share, you’re welcome to leave it in the comments!