Courage is knowing what not to fear.

~ Plato ~

How Hard Can It Be?

November 23rd, 2012 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 36 secs

What’s the answer to a hard life?

When life gets hard how do you handle it? I ask because enduring pressure and hassle is a tough business. When we no longer cope, happiness is the first casualty, making cheerfulness flit out the window quicker than you can say, “Oh no!” 

Given how hard things are, it’s kind of surprising how well we do cope. Mind you, when you look at what our ancestors had to face and do, we’ve gained a good heritage.

However you slice it, hard times are tough. Though well-meaning types will declare, “Oh, life isn’t really hard. Every problem is merely a challenge to overcome.” When folk say things like that, wouldn’t you love to dump your “challenges” in their lap and say, “There you go. Now they’re yours Enjoy being challenged”.

While it’s true, the words we use do have a bearing on the way we handle things, they aren’t the whole story. I wouldn’t call the death of a loved one a “challenge”. Nor would I describe mental illness a “challenge” either. When you are up against it and struggling (and I mean really overwhelmed), our inability to cope is inherently part of what makes it so hard. Unable to take a step back, difficulties feel so painful their influence is all consuming.

When you are at your wits end trying to comfort a constantly crying baby. Or, nothing you do is working and life is turning from bad to worse, you are hardly going to feel chipper. Having people hate you, and seeing everything that’s dear to you dissolve, life is hard.

There are so many ways that a day can be hijacked by misery, I don’t dare list them. But I’m sure you could come up with a hard list in an instant if you stopped to think about it for perhaps… a nanosecond or two.

Suffice it to say, sometimes life is naturally hard, and there’s no point denying it. Instead of pretending it away, it’s better to face it, accept it, and reduce it with whatever works to help you cope.

Unfortunately for too many, that means zoning out with alcohol or other addictions. Rather than finding pleasure in the company of friends and family, communing with nature, talking to their dog or cat (!), getting active, or exploring 1001 other entertainments, they shut down by numbing down. Yet, that’s never enough, is it? Because no sooner do they regain awareness than their hard times return. Worse, people pay the price for harming themselves while trying to run away from the pain.

We’ve all seen so many people ruin their life through drugs and drink, it has become a worn out cliché. Being totally self-destructive, these non-ways of coping are ugly and, ironically, make life harder still.

That’s why, when everything feels like it’s turning against you, it’s better to press on and keep going regardless. Because hard times will pass, whereas determination is in our hands. Surprisingly, there’s always that ace card up our sleeve. Regardless how desperate and difficult the situation, how much persistence we apply is completely up to us.

Whether we go to pieces or not when hard times come is no reflection on our value as people. I mean, it happens, doesn’t it? What matters at that desperate level, is simply hanging on to life and getting help to see us through. Doing that helps take us to a better state where we can regain our strength, work through the issue and, eventually, beat even the hardest of things. For, as hard and overwhelming as life can be people push through, and you can do that too.


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