When Life Sucks: 5 Not so Good but Good Enough Reasons to Keep Living

I’ve thought about ending my life.

Have you?

Most people have, but don’t talk about it.

In this article I want to talk about suicide, normalize it, and help you consider it as a real option.

Don’t be silly and think I’m trying to convince you to take your life.

Actually, through writing this article, I got in touch with why to keep living.

I believe that when we can turn towards what we fear instead of away from it we’re better off.

Instead of pathologizing suicide, which means making it something bad to be avoided, making it a disfunction or something that’s wrong about you, we can acknowledge that life is hard for many reasons.

It’s natural and normal to think about suicide. Killing yourself is nothing to be ashamed of or avoided, nor is thinking about it.

In fact, I believe it’s one of the most sane things we can do.

Why am I here?

Why continue?

Why wake up in the morning?

What the heck is going on?

Why bother doing anything?

What’s the point of all this?

These are healthy questions to ask. They’re also concerning ad destabilizing when we don’t have answers.

That’s okay.

What if the point isn’t to find answers, but instead to connect with your personal truth in a way that’s meaningful, maybe even meaningful enough that you can, for this moment, continue.

If we choose to avoid these existential questions, I believe we suffer in the long-term, because our life lacks meaning and fulfillment.

Moving through life aimlessly, not connected to yourself or why you’re here sucks.

That’s why people have mid-life crisis’.

Suddenly they question, “I’m 40, is my life how I thought it would be? I did all of the things I was supposed to do and I’m not happy? What the heck? How did I end up here?”

The answer?

They didn’t question why.

They didn’t have moments of pause to breathe and take stock of their life.

They stayed busy without self-reflection, bought into the story sold to us by society:

“Go to school, get a job, buy a house, get married, have kids, retire at 65. That’s the way to live your life. That’s the right way. That’s the way to be happy.”

For some it is. But for many it’s not.

So, if you find yourself disillusioned, confused, lost, hopeless, depressed, anxious, overstimulated, wandering around from thing to thing…

You’re not alone.

You’re ahead of the game if you’re aware of that. That’s step 1.

Step 2 is beginning to question.

So if you’re questioning, “What the point” and feeling like shit, or if you’re just simply curious to find some substance in your life, something to guide your actions, a reason to spend your time in a meaningful way that actually matters to you, this is for you.

Why Keep Living?

1. To see what happens.

I’m genuinely curious how my life will play out.

In some ways I’m in control, and in others not so much.

The more I live the more I realize how very little is in my control and I’ve got to roll with the punches.

Wherever you are in your life right now, think about how much happens in 1 day. A day feels like a week and a week feels like a month.

Even if you’re 60 years old, if you live until 85 you’ve got a quarter of a century left! That’s a lot of life to live.

Or a lot of time to bare the pain you’re in. Depends on how you look at it.

It feels like I’m almost always falling behind.

FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out — is real.

Every action I make and don’t make matters, determining the course of my future.

There’s this idea of a “Default Future” vs a “Created Future”.

I like it because it puts into perspective, “What would your life be like in 5 or 10 or 20 years if you changed nothing?” That’s your Default Future.

Now think about your Created Future. If you change one small thing, like 2 boats travelling in parallel that change 1 degree in their course, they end up in completely different locations days later.

Small changes have big impact.

If things seem bad right now, a small change can turn everything around.

Kyle Cease said, “You can only measure what you can lose, not what you can gain.”

I try to have faith in what I can’t know and what I can’t see.

Faith is huge. Not in god, but simply in the unknown.

When I’m feeling like shit it’s easy to get caught focusing on what’s not going well vs all of the good that could be right around the corner.

When life sucks, it can always get worse or better in an instant. Even if it doesn’t, there’s at least the possibility, so I try to keep calm and carry on because I never know what’s around the corner.

I focus on taking itty-bitty small, incremental actions.

I focus on trusting that little old me can’t see the big picture, so I have to take it one moment, one step, one action at a time.

2. I don’t want to be that guy with the sad story who gave up on himself by killing himself.

I know it’s not the best reason, but it works.

Killing myself would be a cop out.

If I can’t find a way continue, there’s little hope for humanity.

Maybe that’s arrogant and presumptuous, but I believe it comes from a belief in equality; that we’re all basically the same with basically the same potential and the ability to actualize that potential in various forms.

You and I, as part of the human race have the same potential to create whatever we want as everyone else.

Let’s see what we can make of ourselves as a kind of experiment.

Even though it’s hard to see sometimes and admit to ourselves, you and I choosing to end our lives would seriously suck for those who love us.

For me it would represent giving up (not that giving up is bad), and at my core, I’m not that kind of person (even though big parts of me want to sometimes).

We’re more resilient than that.

That’s what keeps us going even when we don’t know why. There’s a will in us to live.

If you don’t know who you want to be, you can start with, “Who don’t you want to be?”

I might feel like a loser sometimes, but that’s not who I am fundamentally.

I might feel like there’s no point and nothing I ever do will really make a difference, but that’s often just a feeling that passes with time, as all things do.

Impermanence is a fundamental truth of reality. “This too shall pass” sucks to read when you’re in the middle of the shittiest of feelings contemplating ending your life, but it’s true.

Nothing lasts for forever.

3. You’re brilliant and you know it.

Don’t waste your potential and don’t get down about letting time pass you by.

What you can become, you can’t even imagine.

Don’t judge yourself for not doing more or being more.

Don’t compare yourself to others either, that’s a recipe for depression.

Judgment of yourself only makes things worse.

You are where you are and that’s where you have to start: owning where you’re at instead of trying to be somewhere you’re not.

Life sucks… a lot sometimes.

After all, you didn’t choose to be born (at least not consciously).

I had to process a lot of bitterness and anger for being born, especially brought into this world that’s actively being destroyed.

It would be easier not to be here that’s for sure.

The tendency to be sucked into victim energy, to sit in that self-loathing, apathetic pit of hopelessness is strong at times.

Yet, that same downward, heavy energy is often the resistance we need to grow.

Stagnancy and depression are like elastic bands that can propel you forward if you let them. Let yourself be stagnant.

Let yourself be bored.

Let yourself not know what to do.

Let yourself be lost.

Let yourself be deeply depressed.

For a moment, don’t fill your time with distractions.

Just sit and look around.

Feel your potential.

Eventually, you’ll grow tired of your shitty feelings, and like a seed that presses upward through soil, you’ll fight your way through, because the pain of being in the darkness forces you find a path towards the light.

You are capable of creating whatever you want and finding the reason(s) to take that next small step.

It’s not easy…. most of the time.

But you can sense your potential, that unmanifest energy that is asking to be acted upon.

When everything seems futile, hopeless and pointless, do that one small thing to help yourself, then do another and say, “Good for you. You did things to help yourself today. That’s enough for now.”

What’s next?

Maybe a nap.

Or maybe taking out the garbage. All those things that need doing, those responsibilities that feel like burdens only get done one at a time.

So that’s what you’ve got to do.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

Write a to-do list.

Get it all out of your head so you can see it.

Focus on crossing off one item.

Because that’s the best you can do right now.

That’s enough.

It won’t feel like enough, but it is, because it’s all you’re capable of right now and the only person that can make that okay is you.

It’s okay that you’re not okay.

You’re brilliant, you know what what’s best for you and you’ll find your way through, one step at a time.

4. You know you’ve got it good and need to practice gratitude.

Comparison is generally unhealthy, but it can be used in a positive way.

Other people have it worse than you.

Much worse.

Not everyone, but at least 1 person, if not many, have it much worse than you.

That’s not meant to make you feel better.

Actually, comparing your suffering to other’s suffering is part of the problem. You judge yourself thinking, “I should feel better given my circumstances. I should be grateful.”

That’s self-judgment.

No, you shouldn’t be grateful, but you do have the capacity to be grateful and the power to focus on what is good in your life at any time.

It can always get worse.

Much worse.

In the same way it can always get better.

So, what are you grateful for?

Even if you don’t really feel thankful, what’s good right now?

That’s an act of self-care, just the intention to think about something positive, to notice something that you normally take for granted.

Even if bringing your attention to it feels pointless, do it anyways.

How are you extremely lucky right now?

The truth is, in this moment you have everything you need.

That’s real abundance: recognizing that in this moment and in every moment you’ve lived so far, you’ve had everything you need to survive.

Sure, it might have still royally sucked in a multitude of those moments, and you might be in an insane amount of pain, but you still lived.

There were good times, even if you can’t connect with them right now.

It’s okay to be depressed, to feel useless, to feel bitter and angry and hard done by. If you haven’t at least once in your life, congrats, you’re superhuman.

Rather than try and get out of where you are, can you give yourself full permission to be where you are?

To just say, “Life sucks right now and I want out.”

I know, it’s not fun to sit in it, but often that’s what’s needed to move through it.

What are you learning from feeling like shit right now?

It’s a fine balance to strike between acceptance and wallowing, between being with discomfort and remaining a helpless victim.

Wherever you are on that spectrum, eventually you’re going to have to face:

What are you responsible for and what can you take responsibility for?

What is within your control?

What can you do to help and care for yourself?”

Responsibility is the only way through. It’s the only sustainable long-term strategy to happiness, inner peace and personal freedom.

Responsibility is almost always not fun in the short-term though because it means doing shit you don’t want to do.

You’ve got to decide which game you’re playing: the long-term game or the short-term game.

Do you prefer short-term pleasure and long-term pain, or are you willing to sacrifice feeling shitty now for long-term fulfillment?

I choose the long-term.

That means, you’ve got to slowly shoulder more responsibility for taking care of yourself.

And sometimes that means asking for help. Letting yourself be supported is a way of supporting yourself too.

5. To transform your bitterness and anger and create the world you want

The world, your relationships, your job, your family, your life, is not the way you want it. So how best to spend your time?

How about making the world the way you want it?

That alone can be enough to paralyze anyone, to take on the gargantuan task of “changing the world.”

So let’s reframe it.

How about changing you.

What can you take care of or make just a little better today?

What’s one thing you can do in the next 15 minutes to help yourself?

Maybe helping yourself comes in the form of helping someone else.

Maybe helping yourself is going and buying groceries; avoiding buying those chips this time and buying some broccoli instead.

Maybe it’s actually eating the broccoli before it goes bad this time.

Maybe it’s finding something to wake up for.

Maybe it’s setting up regular morning calls with friends to get you out of bed.

Maybe it’s asking just to be listened to because you don’t even know where to start, what to say or how you really feel.

Maybe it’s writing some inspiring quotes down and posting them on your wall to help you orient your thinking.

When everything feels like an effort, you’ve got to simply try and do something, anything to move forward.

Everything counts.

Everything.

Every, god dam little thing.

So choose one and do it, even if it seems like it doesn’t matter.

Then lie the down and feel sorry for yourself again. Maybe that’s being overdramatic…

By that I mean, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and allow each action your take to be enough.

Then get up and do another thing.

Then try and make someone else’s day better.

Write about how shitty you feel.

Read what you wrote to someone.

Let yourself cry.

Wallow in it. Maybe that’s what you need.

Feel like it’ll last forever?

Yeah, it might last a seriously long time.

But not forever.

So for now, just ask yourself, “What can I do to help myself right now?”

I love this quote by Jordan Peterson, “Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.”

In other words, treat yourself like your own child.

I often think about a similar sentiment: “If I loved myself, what would I do?”

If I was responsible for taking care of someone else in my position, how could I show them love?

The answer is, you always deserve more love not less.

Forget thriving for a second.

Forget happiness for a second.

How about just surviving, just continuing because what the heck else are you going to do?

You’re not going to kill yourself.

Sure, it’s an important part of any human being’s growth and process to think about suicide. It’s a real option. You don’t have to stay. It’s important to consider with honesty.

But if you’re like me, there’s just something in you that at the end of the day knows, no matter how shitty you feel, within you there is a will to live.

Part of me doesn’t want to be here and wishes I was never born, and part of me feels infinitely lucky to get to experience the miracle that it is to be alive.

We are contradictions.

We don’t make sense.

There are all of these parts of us that want different things, that directly oppose each other:

I’m happy and I’m sad, I’m grateful and I’m angry.

I’m bitter and try to push people away while at the same time, I desperately want people to be close.

That’s being human for you.

It’s fucking confusing because we are living walking paradoxes, contradictions, hurt messes putting a smile on, resilient Beings who just keep going like energizer bunnies.

Then, when it comes time to go, to stop beating the drum of life and our battery is on its final bar, we look back and regret not living more.

That’s being human.

Can we transcend all that?

Yep, spiritual teachers like Mooji, Adyashanti, Kyle Cease, Matt Kahn, Thomas Hubl, Eckhart Tolle, Mark Nepo, Jed McKenna and more are living embodiments, reminders of what’s possible. Shining suns, reminding us of our Source, of what we really are, as we stretch from and through and into the darkness towards the light.

Growth, this endless growth, this painful shedding of all of the bullshit I was indoctrinated with from birth, is the final reason I continue:

Surprise!

Here’s a BONUS 6th not so good, but good enough reason to keep living when life sucks…

6. To connect with myself, my source, with my true nature, to evolve…

This ties into the first reason to keep living, “to see what happens”.

Some part of me knows this suffering is all necessary for what I’m becoming and what we are collectively evolving into.

Some deep essential part of me wants to know and experience what it’s like to shed the layers of my conditioning, to bust through the mental thought-forms that generate suffering and emotional swampland I find myself drowning in sometimes, to experience a deeper purity.

That’s why I turn to face my dragons.

Because I want to slay them.

That’s why I want to feel the feels, the hurt and the pain and the angry and the disgust…

Being human, what separates us from robots, is feeling. So feel. Feel it all the way down to you core, the depths of the pain, shame, anger, fear… to where there are no more labels, it’s just crying.

I know there is a me that exists beyond all that, free from it.

Just like you, I need to be reminded of it constantly.

Listening to spiritual teachers, at times, is like breathing, like some purer form of oxygen that helps me feel sane within the mess.

Because god knows, looking out into the world or tuning into mainstream media is depressing, overwhelming, and concerning.

Cut that shit out.

Guard your sanity, your mind, like you would a child. Don’t let in shit that fucks you up.

Consume only that which nourishes your spirit.

Create more than you consume.

If you’re going to consume, consume stuff that touches some deeper part of you, stuff that resonates with your soul, hat enlivens you, that invigorates your spirit and gives you energy, as I hope these words have.

Why keep living?

Honestly, there are many times when my answer is, “I don’t know”.

No reason seems to matter enough, yet I keep going, in pain, sometimes without really knowing why.

I’m no guru, I’m just like you, making the best of being here, trying to be better, having a hard time, riding the roller coaster that is life.

Making someone else’s life better, by sharing our own experience, like me writing this article, seems to be a big part of what brings purpose to our existence.

In a weird way, writing to you, yes you, someone I don’t’ even know, helped me make it through a dark time.

Ain’t that cool.

Thank you.

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Exploring what it is to be human, I continue to follow my fascination. If you're unconventional, visit www.briantohana.com

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Brian Tohana

Brian Tohana

Exploring what it is to be human, I continue to follow my fascination. If you're unconventional, visit www.briantohana.com

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