My Life SUCKS. What Can I Do to Feel Better?
Jacinta from Canada recently wrote to us via our Q&A page:
I feel like my life has been one tragedy after another and I don’t know what to do or think anymore. My father recently passed from alcoholism which triggered liver disease, my mother is a grieving mess, my partner of 7 years left me shortly afterwards and I’m stuck in a job I just HATE. It’s so stressful and it was never what I pictured for my life. Now I wrestle with insomnia and anxiety every single day. My life sucks. What can I do when I keep telling myself that my life sucks? Please help.
If you’re reading this right now, you’re probably in a similar place. After all, almost all of us have experienced tragedy, grief, chaos, stress and betrayal – sometimes even all at once. The worst part is that we are nearly always COMPLETELY UNPREPARED for it, so that our lives feel as though they are melting before our very eyes. What can you do in the face of such intense pain? What can you do when you feel as though you have no control over anything anymore?
What to Do When Life Sucks
At a soulful level, almost all of us enter this life as children, and we maintain our childlike mentalities often far into adulthood and old age. With our childlike mentalities, we innocently believe that we can control life, that we can prevent bad things from happening to us if only we worship the right God, obey the right superstitions, 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 around us that make us feel as though we’re in control because wesought them out and we built them. So it comes as a terribly shock to us when all of these people, possessions, habits and “right” decisions gradually – or all of a sudden – perish, leaving us barren and exposed.
The illusory walls of safety in our lives are created by the inner child to form a second womb. There is nothing wrong with forming comforting wombs in our lives, but the problems arise when we attach to them, want them to always be there for us, and expect that they will permanently “protect” us from the world. It’s the inner adult within us who realizes that in order to truly feel free, we must accept the inevitability of unpredictability. We must live our lives as free spirits, finding a home within ourselves first and foremost.
If the last two paragraphs seem completely unhelpful to you, that’s OK. When I was going through my own traumas I would have rolled my eyes and impatiently scrolled through this article looking for a quick fix to my problems. But while there are many short term solutions that ease our suffering, the only way you can authentically find peace amidst the storm of life is by building a safe place within you. This is the long-term perspective.
It’s OK to feel that your life is a failure – let yourself feel it. Almost everyone has had that feeling before. When I feel like a failure, when I feel that my life sucks, I listen to some powerful advice:
1. When life wants to take something away from you, let it.
Of course, you can hang on as long as you want to, and fight, kick and scream your way to the end. However, in my experience, you suffer a lot less, and everyone around you suffers a lot less, when you surrender. As I have written before surrender isn’t about giving in or being weak. In fact, it takes much more strength and determination to surrender than to resist. Surrender is about acceptance, it is about making peace with the moment or situation that life throws at you. Because what can you really do? Life always has the upper hand. You can never outsmart life no matter how hard you try. This leads me to the next point …
2. Ask, “What am I being taught?”
When you stop perceiving your misfortune as an opportunity to pity yourself and start viewing it as an opportunity to grow … your entire life changes. No longer are you impotent, feeble or “the victim” – instead, you become strong and hopeful. Asking “What am I being taught?” in any stressful or burdensome situations is an opportunity to empower yourself and let yourself learn from the situation. This can obviously be hard to do. It took me two decades of my life to finally force myself to see things a different way. This was because I unconsciously loved the self-righteous feeling that my victim story gave me (i.e. “I’m a victim of life: I have the right to be angry and treat others badly”). So give yourself space and time. But most of all, try. You may even find it much quicker and easier than I did.