Why is life so hard? It is a question we all ask at some point in our lives. We all want to know what we can do to make life easier.
Sometimes we make life a lot harder than it has to be simply because we don’t understand the reasons why life is so hard to begin with.
Understanding the reasons why life is so hard can help us find ways to make it easier. No one ever said life would be easy – but to quote Sheryl Crow, they never said it would be so hard either!
Fortunately, even though life can be hard, there are ways we can make it easier. Let’s look at the 8 main reasons life is so hard and how we can cope better with these challenges.
1. We Have to Survive
Every living being on this planet has one mission: to survive.
In the early days of human existence, this meant hunting and gathering for our food, building our own shelters, and protecting ourselves from the threats of nature.
As we evolved, we no longer have to hunt for our own food or build our own house, but we do need to work in order to have the money to buy our food and shelter.
Survival is difficult – we have to make sure all of our physical needs are met, but we also have to try and stay safe from external threats.
We have to stay healthy, we have to deal with harsh environmental conditions, we have to exercise caution while doing things so we don’t get hurt.
A lot of things that are terrible are completely out of our control: war, natural disasters, accidents.
Fortunately, we need to remember that there are ways to make sure our physical needs are met and there are many things we can do to help us survive:
- If you are hungry, there are always food banks you can turn to.
- If you struggle with paying bills, there are numerous assistance programs available.
- We can go to the doctor to get regular medical check-ups.
- We can reduce our risks by carefully weighing our options when making a choice
- We can ask those in our community for help and resources.
We may not always be able to avoid the pitfalls that cause surviving our lives to be so hard – and there’s nothing we can do about things out of our control – but there are things we can do to make sure it’s not harder than it already is.
2. We Have Emotions
While survival on its own is difficult, we also have to consider that we as humans have feelings. Our feelings help us survive – but they can also cause us a lot of anguish if we don’t learn how to deal with them effectively.
Take fear for example – fear is our natural instinct to help us sense if we are in danger and to avoid dangerous situations. Most times our feelings of fear are warranted – but sometimes we also get caught up in irrational fears.
When all of our physical needs are met, we then have emotional needs that need to be met as well. We need to have a sense of security and safety, we need to feel loved and accepted, we need to feel respected, we need to feel a certain level of our lives having meaning and purpose and we crave happiness.
Emotions alone can be difficult – feelings of grief, sadness, and anger can make it hard to enjoy life. Most of us don’t know how to handle our emotions – and it’s not uncommon for us to ignore them completely or to deal with them with unhealthy habits like drugs or alcohol.
The thing is, emotions are only temporary. They don’t last forever – and usually, when we feel them, they help us to recognize something needs to change in our lives. Maybe we need to change our current situation, or maybe we just need to recognize we can’t do everything in life alone.
3. Everyone is different.
No two people are exactly alike. All of us are born with different genes in different environments and life circumstances.
It’s important to remember that life isn’t easy for anyone – we all struggle with something. Just because we don’t see someone’s problems doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Just because their problems are different from our doesn’t mean they are any easier or harder to deal with.
Another way that everyone being different from each other makes life hard is it can cause us to feel feelings of envy, jealousy, and resentment.
One of the 10 commandments of the Bible is “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Yet, don’t we frequently compare ourselves to others? Don’t we wish we had what they had?
In these instances, it is important to remember the wisdom of President Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Sometimes people see things differently than we do or have different things than us. But eventually, we have to accept this and learn how to resolve our differences. Letting this come between us can make our lives much harder than they need to be.
As the saying goes, you can’t please everyone. Everyone has different viewpoints. You can’t change someone’s opinion – but you can choose how you deal with it.
4. Life is Constantly Changing
Nothing in life stays the same forever. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
Consider how our weather changes from one day to the next. We are literally living on a giant spinning rock that is always in a different position in the universe.
For the most part, change is necessary. Imagine if we never aged – we’d all still be babies! Most change is a catalyst for growth – after all, if nothing changes, we never grow!
Sometimes changes in our life are the hardest to handle. For example, maybe a loved one passed away or maybe you lost your job. Many things are constantly changing our lives in ways we can’t predict or control. We can be afraid of change because many times it means stepping out of our comfort zone.
Learning to let go of the need to control everything can be very difficult. But it’s a necessary thing for us to do if we want life to seem less hard. Changes aren’t easy and can be painful. But it’s important to remember: If nothing changes, nothing changes.
5. There is no instruction manual for life.
Life is hard because it comes with no manual, no instructions, or training. Everything we do is learned on the fly as we go.
We aren’t taught basic survival skills in school and we aren’t taught how to get along with others in harmony. No one teaches us how to ride out our emotions – in fact many of us were taught to repress them!
If you really think about it, all of us are going through life day to day with absolutely no clue on what we are doing. Sure, we may have developed some skills or learned a good bit of knowledge – but all of this takes time for us to learn. We often have to make mistakes before we learn what works and what doesn’t.
Life is hard before it gets easy. We have to gain experience and practice with the struggles of life before we can navigate through them with ease. The first few times we experience things can be painful – but the more experience we gain the easier it is for us to cope with the struggles of life.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to learn things as we go along. For example, if you are expecting a child you can read parenting books. If you are dealing with grief, you can join a support group or learn how to manage your loss with the help of a therapist.
We as humans all have the capability to learn – and so we can always try our best to learn what we can do to make our lives easier.
6. Life is too short.
If we lived an extra 100,200 or 1000 years, we’d be able to accomplish a lot more. It takes 12 years to become a master at anything – which means in a lifetime we might only master a handful of skills.
This is something we can’t control – but we can hope that maybe someday in the world there will be no more violence, oppression, or disease that cuts our lives short.
When we ask why is life so hard, we have to remember that life is short. We only have a limited amount of time on this planet. We need to ask ourselves: Are we making the best use of our time? Are we making life harder than it has to be?
You know the saying – life is short – make the best of it!
7. We Can’t Really Do Whatever We Want
When I was growing up in the ’80s and ’90s, it was a big thing back then to tell us as kids we could do anything we wanted to do.
Turns out, this is absolutely not true. We all thought by this time in our lives we’d be zooming around in flying cars like the Jetsons. We thought we could become president or be famous.
We also thought we could do or say whatever we wanted once we hit adulthood. What no one told us unfortunately that everything we do has an effect. Sometimes we have to deal with the negative consequences of things we’ve done or said.
In that regard, we don’t truly have the freedom to do whatever we feel like. We have to follow the laws of nature and those that are set by our system of government. If I want to drive at 75 mph in a 35 mph zone, at best I might get a ticket – at worst my life may be cut short if I were to lose control of the car.
Understanding we have limitations as humans and that we have to work with the laws of nature – not against them – can help us make life a little bit easier. If we want life to seem less hard, we have to accept that we really can’t do anything – we have limits.
Saying this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give up on your dreams. Anything is really possible if we work together. But we can only control ourselves, and so that can make it a challenge to be where we want to be.
8. Life is not good or bad. It just is.
Another thing that can fuel our feeling of life being so hard is that we often judge everything in our lives as good or bad. In this case, we have to remember the Taoist parable of the farmer who asks us, “Who’s to say what is good and what is bad?“
There are countless times in my life when I felt something bad happened for no reason at all – only to realize later it was a very good thing!
I think back to a time when I was about 5 or 6 years old and we were driving on a family trip. I got terribly carsick and our family had to pull over for almost an hour just to clean everything up. Sounds pretty bad, right?
Well, because I got sick and we pulled over, we were able to avoid a 25 car pile-up on our route. Many of the cars involved in the accident were ones we had been driving along with for miles. Had I not gotten sick that day at that time, things could have been far worse.
It’s important for us if we want life to be easier to remember that life is not good or bad – it just is.
I hope that looking at some of the reasons why life is so hard – and how we can deal with these things – is helpful for you. Life is hard but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.
There are many ways to handle the hardships of life and to manage stress in our lives. I’ve been through some very difficult times in my life – but I was able to learn how to get through them.
In some ways, I am almost thankful my life wasn’t easy – it has helped me to grow and develop as a person in ways I never could have imagined. More importantly, it’s given me the insight to help share what I’ve learned to help and inspire others.
Remember: Feelings are only temporary. Life is not hard every second of the day. There is always something to be grateful for – even if it is only a fleeting moment while we are pounded by the realities of life.
Why do you think life is so hard? What do you think can help us have easier lives? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!