Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 12, 2020

Why Does Life Suck So Bad Sometimes?

Why Does Life Suck So Bad Sometimes?

Life sucks. We are often faced with many difficult challenges that are completely out of our control. Besides the coronavirus epidemic we’re all facing right now, there’s also death, disease, bankruptcy, injustice, mental health issues, illness, and the list goes on…

There are so many more things that make life so hard. It also feels like they come in waves; one bad things happens, and then they keep coming, like the world wants to kick you when you are down.

So why does life suck sometimes? There are times when it has nothing to do with you, how hard you are trying in life, or how good of a person you are. Life gets hard, bad things happen, and sometimes it just plain sucks.

The fact that life sucks sometimes is never going to stop because life is filled with challenges and difficult moments that we simply can’t avoid. Even if you had unlimited money, fame, fortune, you wouldn’t be able to avoid the inevitable difficulties.

The Good News

If life is always going to suck and adversity is always going to be coming for you, you can’t control that.

So stop trying. You can’t control anything in this world except yourself and your reactions. It is time to stop focusing on the suck and begin focusing on the good in your life. Life is all about perspective, and perhaps right now you are choosing to obsess about the negative, the lack, the suck. This is addictive because we are biologically programmed to do so, to assess all situations for danger. [1]

We are biologically programmed to focus on negativity because it keeps up safe, and forces us to avoid things that may cause us harm or discomfort. We have evolved since the days of constant physical threats coming from wild animals or ominous sounds, but our survival instincts have remained intact. Because of this, we focus on the negative, and we now have to learn how to fight with the feelings that naturally arise from this.

Advertising

Since we are biologically predisposed to look for danger, this trait is exploited by the media to sell products to you. You can’t control that. You also can’t control the outbreak of disease, your friend’s poor choice to treat you like trash, or the price of food going up. None of this is within your control. Instead, it is time to let go of the fear mongering and focus on the things you can control.

What To Do When Life Sucks

You can choose to follow your Neanderthal programming and focus on fears you can’t control, or you can choose to focus on all the abundance you have in your life. We have never lived in a safer or more abundant time in human history. With that in mind, here are my top six ways to stop yourself from asking “Why does life suck so much?” and start embracing the abundance.

1. Focus on the Good

You have a lot going on in your life, and some of it is unavoidably positive. You likely have a safe place to sleep every night, people who love you, and unlimited access to food.

Instead of focusing on all the good things we have, we often focus on what went wrong, what we don’t have, and what isn’t good enough in our lives.

Society has set an impossible standard that encourages you to feel like you don’t have enough and that you aren’t enough. Relentless sales ads convince you that everything about you is flawed and can be repaired if only you purchased this one product.

Instead of focusing so much on why life sucks, spend time focusing on all the good you have in your life. Every day, write something good that happened and do more things that spread goodness. One act of kindness a day gives your brain a boost of oxytocin. It will also give the person you are helping a boost of oxytocin as well, and anybody watching you be kind also gets the boost.

Being kind spreads love and positivity, so start being kind and helping more with no expectation of a reward. Your life will get easier when you have your natural brain chemistry working with you.

Advertising

2. Express Gratitude

Another way to focus on the positive in your life is to express gratitude daily. Every day, find something you are grateful for and write about it, post it on your social media (for shared oxytocin release), or find a way to express it through art. Send someone flowers, or simply take a moment to tell someone how much they mean to you.

Gratitude is the antidote to misery. Gratitude costs you nothing and spreads more goodness into the world. The best part is that you can inspire someone else to express gratitude, kindness, and happiness. Gratitude and kindness are infectious and can help you respond when you’re asking “Why does life suck so much?”

3. Handle Problems Head On

Challenges that cause life to suck are going to keep coming, and they are going to hit hard. Don’t bury your head in the sand as that only leads to delayed suckage and an extra dose of anxiety.

When something hits you hard, don’t ignore it and hope it goes away. Grab a notepad, write out the problem, and then write down possible solutions. This will help you find the best solution for you. If you’re having trouble, ask your closest friends what they think. Ask them for some emotional support to carry out your plan if necessary.

Try not to create excuses about how you are busy or tired. Taking a moment to handle your problem head on will not only save you time in the long run but also relieve your emotional struggle when life sucks.

It will also energize you to move forward knowing that something has tried to knock you down but that you rose  to the challenge, took control, and defeated it.

4. Take Mental Health Days

Sometimes we experience real pain, loss, and suffering that make life really suck. The death of your best friend, the loss of your job, or difficulties in a relationship may present hard times that drag you down.

Advertising

In these cases, taking a day or more to stop and face the feelings can help you return to a sense of balance. Try to face your grief and know that no matter how inconvenient it is, it will take time to heal.

The world is getting more complicated, painful, and stressful, and the more this happens, the better you have to take care of yourself. We are overwhelmed every single day with information that inundate our brains to the point of collapse.

All this pressure means that something has to give, and often the first thing that goes is taking care of our mental health. We ignore our feelings because we have decided they are bad, and instead, we focus on our loss and sadness.

To counter all of this negativity, slow down, take a deep breath, and prioritize your mental health. Clear out all of those unhelpful emotions so you can feel more balanced. [2]

5. Think of Adversity as a Way to Grow

It should be no secret that many moments of growth and great leaps of personal development come from making it through suckage and adversity. Successful people will tell you that they wouldn’t trade their pain and their struggle, for without it they wouldn’t be who they are.

Adversity is a test from the world to you to see if you have grown enough to be able to face the things you want to achieve. You have dreams and goals that are out of your reach, and you get challenged until you grow into a strong enough person to handle the next level of challenges.

This is why it is so important to not only embrace challenge and pain but to ask it how you can grow and how it is going to help you be a better person. If the suck is just going to keep on coming, instead of letting it control you, challenge it and defeat it. In this way, it won’t completely suck, and you will get something out of it.

Advertising

6. Quit the Negativity on Social Media

Nothing promotes a negative, the-world-sucks mindset quite as much as the news and media outlets on social media. The world is struggling, but it shouldn’t all land on your shoulders.

If you want to feel like you are doing something positive, pick something you are passionate about and do it with all the spare time you now have not scrolling through negative news stories.

In the meantime, use less plastic, eat as local as you can, and do the best you can to live guilt-free. Unsubscribe to all the negativity and drama that the news and social media are constantly blasting at you, and you will immediately gain more peace of mind.

Conclusion

These are my quick steps to move forward when you start asking “Why does life suck?” You need to take care of yourself, and that may mean more than just buying yourself gifts, giving yourself half-hearted compliments, and or taking a bath. It may be necessary to give up the compulsion to listen to the news, make time to face your feelings, express gratitude, and focus on the good in your life instead of what’s lacking.

The world is all about perspective, and you can choose to focus on the bad or you can choose to accept that you can’t control everything that happens to you and focus on the good.

You are in control of your life and reality, so don’t let the suck overwhelm you. Take a moment to work out why life sucks so much in a given moment, feel your feelings, and make a plan to confront them. Choose to embrace the opportunity as a moment of growth.

The hits come, but when you get back up, make sure you are walking in a positive direction. One day, you will thank your struggle, for without it, you would not have found your strength.

Featured photo credit: Amber Kipp via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

5 Things to Remember When You Don’t Believe in Yourself 5 Steps to Create Self-Fulfillment in Times of Adversity 15 Daily Intentions to Set for a More Driven Life 5 Ways to Get Out of a Bad Mood (Backed by Psychology) Why Does Life Suck So Bad Sometimes?

Trending in Mental Strength

1 Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective? 2 13 Reasons Why You Should Fail Fast to Learn Fast 3 10 Things to Do If You’re Feeling Hopeless About Your Future 4 5 Ways to Help Yourself Advance Your Mental Strength 5 Feeling Like a Failure? 10 Simple Things to Help You Rise Again

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 3, 2020

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective?

It has been said that rarely am I short of words, and yet I’ve rewritten this article on positive and negative reinforcement five times. Why?

It’s not as if I have a lack of thoughts on this subject. It’s not as if I don’t spend my days enabling people to communicate powerfully and get what they want in life. So why the rewrites?

I’ve found myself thinking about the diversity of people I’ve coached and how different we all can be. Usually when I write for Lifehack, I’m able to see instant commonality in the subject that means I could share some ideas that would resonate wherever you are in life, whoever you are, regardless of what you were looking to achieve or what adversity you may be facing.

However, with this, it’s a “How long’s a piece of string?” answer, i.e. I could probably write a whole book’s worth of words and still have ideas to share.

Let’s look at some key points:

  • You will have times in your life where you need to get someone to do something.
  • You will have times when someone needs you to do something.

Let’s look at how positive and negative reinforcement would work. In both of these situations, you can face some big obstacles:

  • Someone may resist your desire for them to change.
  • Someone may challenge your authority or leadership.
  • Someone may be at risk of getting hurt.

The important thing to remember is that, in life, we all have to be influenced and influence those around us, and some ways will help us get the result we want, and others won’t. However, that may differ on where you are, who you are talking to, and what you want to see happen!

So, how do we know when positive reinforcement is effective[1], and can there ever be a time when negative reinforcement is good?

Worryingly, if you get positive and negative reinforcement wrong, you can risk your career, your business, your relationships, your reputation, and your brand.

Positive and negative reinforcement each have their merits, so it’s imperative to know when to employ them. Interestingly, despite a ton of evidence to the contrary, we still rely on the wrongs ones in society, business, and even in parenting.

Advertising

The 4 examples below showcase the use of positive and negative reinforcement, and whether they personally apply to you right now or not, they will resonate and be very useful to you personally in every area of your life.

For each we will look at:

  1. What’s the problem?
  2. What have you tried?
  3. Now what?
  4. The results!

The Boss

Okay, you may not be a boss, but everyone will have times in their life where they need to get people organized and working together to get the best result. Often, leaders say things like this to me:

  • “I’ve told them until I’m blue in the face not to do that!”
  • “They constantly refuse to use the new system.”
  • “They just don’t listen.”
  • “They don’t respect me.”

What Did the Boss Try?

Often, I hear “We’ve tried everything!” No matter who is reading this, trust me, you’ve not tried everything. (That’s the first thing to accept.) When you accept that, you then need to look at what you have tried to move forward.

The boss has tried:

  • Giving the person training.
  • Spending time with them and showing them how to do it.
  • Telling them it wasn’t good enough.
  • Telling them we aren’t doing that any more.

Now What?

The above situations create tension between the two as you constantly battle to maintain your position on the situation. If you are looking to get someone to do something, and they constantly resist, you need to stop and ask yourself some questions:

  1. What have we tried? This helps you to understand what they are good at, so you can utilize that in the conversation.
  2. From their viewpoint, what could prevent them from doing what I’ve asked? What could they fear, and how will we allay those fears?
  3. What do they want? Seeing their viewpoint enables you to use their terminology and language so they feel listened to.
  4. What do they believe? Do their beliefs prevent them from seeing the benefits? Beliefs can be changed but not by force—coaching is very powerful for this.
  5. How do these answers differ from my beliefs and views? Bridging the gap helps you to see both views and communicate more powerfully.

In my experience, rarely does a boss or leader need to say the word “No.” If someone is not doing what you want them to, the quickest way to see results is to ask questions and listen. Often, when you really listen, you discover a big gap between what you think you are saying and what the other person is hearing.

The reasons why someone is not doing what you want can include:

  • They don’t know how to do what you’ve asked them to do.
  • They are scared to get it wrong.
  • They fear what people will think of them.
  • They don’t have the confidence to come and tell you they need help.
  • They are scared that someone will tell them off.
  • They don’t understand where the boundaries are.

People tell me, “But I said that to them!” If you are too close to the situation, then how likely are they to take notice from you? Here’s what you can do:

  • Get out of your usual environment – Neutral environments make difficult conversations easier. They can take you both off your guard, which can be good.
  • Start by making that person feel safe to say anything. Start with ground rules like “This is a confidential conversation” and “I won’t make any judgement on what you say, I just want to understand.”
  • Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t realize.” When you do this, positive and negative reinforcement can be used.

Learning how to coach people instead of tell people is key. Enabling the other person to see the benefits of what you want for them (and not you) is quicker than trying to dictate action.

Advertising

  • Lay out expected outcomes.
  • Create boundaries.
  • Explain what support and help you will provide.

The Results

This style of reinforcement is about utilizing both positive and negative reinforcement. It enables someone to feel safe to explain why they’ve not been taking action and helps them to overcome the limitations they feel while safe in the knowledge that they will get the support to change with the positive results explained in a way that matters to them.

The Young Child

If you’ve ever found yourself on the wrong end of a relentless tantrum of a small child, you will know it can feel impossible to get through to them. While many elements of The Boss scenario could work, there are times where you may need some negative reinforcement.

What’s the Problem?

My children are now 15 and 18. I can honestly say that, while we have had some challenging behaviors, our parenting means I have two children I’m very proud of–great communicators, great work ethic, kind, funny, considerate. The point is that, for my children, this stuff works. And, to be honest, when I’m with other people’s children, they often say “How did you get them to do that!”

Young children are amazing. It’s like they’ve just woken up in a new body and have been told to go touch, feel, experience everything–every emotion, every taste, smell, experience, texture, the lot! They are curious and keen to know more. They sap up everything, and a lot of that we don’t want them sapping up!

When they go to put a pencil in an electric socket, or let go of your hand as you cross the road, it’s imperative they get the learning and knowledge they need fast. I once was talking to a parent that said I was wrong to say no to my children. I asked, “At what age would you like me to introduce them to that word?” to which they had no answer.

While I agree that there are usually a lot more words than just no for children, “no” is a word that kept you and I safe when we were small.

What Have You Tried?

While young children are incredibly intelligent, explaining the merits of your preferred course of action is not going to keep them safe. Tying them to your waist isn’t working. Punishing them and telling them there’s no more park time until you walk next to me doesn’t work either. So how do you say no and keep them safe?

Now What?

Sometimes negative reinforcement is essential[2]. For instance, my son (who adored Bob the Builder when he was little) was playing with his plastic tool kit and discovered an electric socket…I didn’t stop to explain the merits of how that could be dangerous. I said calmly, “No, that’s dangerous!”

Here’s the important point: It’s not just about your words. With young children, it’s important that your body language clearly says the same.

The Results

I did feel like the luckiest parent on the planet to have two children sleeping through the night, but that didn’t tell the full story. I can remember spending a few weeks calmly picking my daughter up with no eye contact, no overly big hug, no conversation, just saying, “Sorry darling but now’s bedtime, so back we go.” And yes, being the strong-willed girl that she is, there was sometimes a good hour of that until she got the message that Mum really isn’t going to play, turn into a dinosaur, sing, or read a story.

Advertising

The thing with positive and negative reinforcement is that you need to have faith it will work, and you are doing the right thing.

Of course, when I went in to get her from her cot the next morning, I had a big grin on my face that said, “Wow, what a grown up girl you are staying in your bed all night!” I used positive reinforcement to get the day started.

The Teenager

What’s the Problem?

If I’m honest, I don’t have problems with my teenagers. However, I think that is in no small part to my style of communication. Having respect for them is key, and appreciating how much change is happening in their lives really helps–as someone who helps large teams of people deal with change, I know how hard it can be.

However, when I wrote the article How to Enjoy Parenting Teens and Help Your Kids Thrive, I was inundated with stories of hellish behavior from other parent’s teenagers, tales of staying out all night and not phoning home, abusive behavior towards parents and teens–I really felt for all involved.

What Have You Tried?

The problem with teens is they know exactly how to wind you up like a little clock-work toy. And if you’ve had a tough day, the last thing you want is to have to deal with someone who can’t even communicate with words, let alone put their dishes in the dishwasher.

Losing it is never the option, but it can easily happen. Shouting, bribery, and doing it yourself because it’s just easier really don’t work in the long run.

Now What?

If you consider everything we’ve covered, you can see that you need to communicate using positive and negative reinforcement. In life, there are consequences to all actions, and teens have a ton of stuff to learn to become effective, successful, happy adults.

Before you embark on any course of action, consider how the other person perceives the world. What are they going through?

You may have loved being a teen, but that doesn’t ensure your children will. Likewise, in life, there are things you love that others will loathe–seeing the world through other people’s eyes really helps you to understand the best way to communicate.

The only big difference for teenagers is to use emotion with caution. I personally let my children see all emotions–I’ve not hidden my tears when I’ve lost a loved one as it’s a perfectly normal thing to do. However, if a teenager in a foul mood can spot a weakness, they may just take advantage of it.

Advertising

The Results

My kids love to tell everyone I’m a scary mom. I’m not, I just have high standards, and I’m not prepared to drop them.

We shy away from telling people what we expect and then wonder why we are getting as stressed as the other party because no one knows where they stand.

I’m happy for my children to take over the TV room and eat far too much sweet stuff and binge on a box set. Just don’t put cups on the carpet, we have places for drinks. It’s having the confidence to say this is the rule.

People think negative reinforcement is a bad thing. However, how can someone change if they don’t know what they are doing wrong? And that’s the issue: so many of us are fearful of saying “Stop doing that!” If you lack confidence, find your voice because people aren’t mind-readers.

Final Thoughts

Before you start considering whether positive or negative reinforcement is best for others, ask yourself what you respond better to.

Personally, I respond far better to negative reinforcement–I can improve and be more successful and happier if I know what I’m doing wrong. Furthermore, I know that sometimes negative reinforcement works better with some clients who really don’t want to look at the issue–but it’s always done with respect and love.

Coaching people is also a great representation of when positive and negative reinforcement is best. We are looking to find ways to increase the positive action with positive reinforcement and ways to reduce the negative results with negative reinforcement–and usually my clients keep those changes for the rest of their lives.

More on Positive and Negative Reinforcement

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next