Reading time: 6 minutes
Updated October 2022
When life keeps going wrong, and it seems like the path ahead is filled with more of the same, it’s easy to feel that life sucks.
You can reach a point where life keeps going wrong, and it seems like the path ahead is filled with more of the same. This is a ‘life sucks’ moment, and if it’s any consolation, most of us have to deal with it, sometimes regularly. And yes, it sucks!
If life isn’t easy for you right now, I feel for you. I‘m one of the many people who know all too well what it’s like to wake up to the same challenging reality every day. But I also know what happens if you don’t make a clear and determined decision not to live like that for the rest of your life.
Almost every successful and truly happy person I’ve met, or read about, had a turning point.
Some time after one of the lowest turning points in my life, when my husband passed away, I came across Bob Proctor, who said something that really struck me about turning points:
Don’t let your present problems defeat you. The Chinese have a saying that if you live with a disaster for three years it will turn into a blessing. Look back in your own life at what appeared to be a devastating situation five or ten years ago. Many of those situations were the turning point that caused a number of great things to happen in your future. Regardless of what happens today, realize it is the beginning of something good.
Some of us have our first turning point as teenagers, some not until much later in life, and far too many never make it at all. Don’t be a late bloomer; get on that ride as soon as you’re able; as Bob Proctor says, blessings await.
Ready to learn how to successfully get over those ‘life’sucks’ moments — or how to help someone you love to get out of that rut? All right, let’s get to it.
1. Stop living out your self-fulfilling prophecies
As Albert Einstein said, we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Although I confess, this was my mondus operandi for a long, long time.
Until through a lot of studies and trial and error, I learned that things are what we say they are. I know this sounds weird, but sometimes we need to reinterpret events in a more positive way.
Change your inner speech, change your language. If you stop declaring your experiences to be problems and define them as situations instead, you’ll instantly feel differently about them.
It’s the way we feel about things that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We feel something to be a challenge, we declare to ourselves that it’s a challenge and our creative mind assumes that’s our request.
Everything is in our world because somewhere, at some point, we said yes to it.
But the choice is yours as to how you view the things that show up. Problems create upset and stress; situations, on the other hand, are simply events to be dealt with.
Go ahead, and begin to check and reframe those self-fulfilling prophecies, and life will start looking a whole lot better.
An easy way to start this is to write, write, write.
2. When life sucks try expressive writing
In his book Expressive Writing: Words That Heal, James Pennebaker says:
Writing is a potentially effective method to deal with traumas or other emotional upheavals. Emotional writing, or what is often described in research studies as Expressive Writing can positively affect people’s sleep habits, work efficiency and connections to others. Indeed when we put traumatic experiences into works, we tend to be less concerned with emotional events that have been weighing us down.
It’s true enough that not every problem will be traumatic, but problems tend to bring with them emotional upheaval. And whilst talking to others can be a good way to deal with situations that create a life that sucks, it’s risky.
It’s not going to help if others are judgey.
But simply writing down what’s troubling you can work wonders.
According to research, our mind needs to have a story to work with. And simply having a problem run around and around in our heads isn’t the kind of story that does any good.
We need to give our minds a chance to rest. And we need a chance to allow our subconscious mind to get its work done. To work out solutions that our busy mind can never discover because…it’s too busy focusing on the problem that makes our lives suck.
For example, in a study fifty-two percent of those who wrote about their stress and trauma after losing their job were more likely to find new jobs than the non-writing control group.
Why would this be so?
Expressive writing helps your mind/brain focus. It puts things into an organized structure. It helps your mind make sense of the stuff that’s happening.
So take some time at the end of each day and just write down or record what’s bothering you. Doesn’t matter about your writing or even if you type it. Doesn’t matter whether you can spell or your grammar is correct. It does not matter!
The only thing that matters is that you write it down.
Then chuck it away if you want, or delete it or keep it. Doesn’t matter. Just write about what’s troubling you today.
Oh yes. Don’t hold anything back.
3. Be your own best friend if your life sucks
Be your own best friend, and stop being your worst critic.
Happy people approve of themselves and give permission to be who they want. Stop looking for someone else to tell you you’re okay. This only sends you on a never-ending search for validation. You don’t need anyone to tell you what you’re worth.
Remember, most people experience self-doubt regularly and are probably just as confused about their life choices as the rest of us. So stop paying more attention to the opinion of others than of yourself. When it comes to life, there is no one that has a book of answers.
Also, remember to never say anything about yourself that you don’t want to come true.
Once you decide to believe in yourself, to accept yourself, to honor and respect yourself, you’ll discover the world will follow suit. So you might as well decide to feel terrific about who you are.
4. Replace that life sucks feeling with new thinking
We all think we’re thinking, but truthfully, most of the time, it’s just mental activity; don’t confuse a busy mind with a thinking one.
Undirected mental activity won’t bring about change. Undirected thoughts won’t alter the course of your life or remake your destiny. And they definitely won’t bring about better things when you’re experiencing the ‘life sucks’ mode.
And let’s face it, if we’re honest with ourselves most of our undirected thinking is negative thinking.
Make a conscious effort.- You won’t automatically direct your thoughts towards the things you want and the life you truly desire. You have to stir yourself, rise up and decide you’re going to keep moving forward.
A thinking mind is a magnet for what you desire. Try thinking from the heart it’s a great way to move beyond the challenges of the day.
To help with that, here are a few words from Dr. Joe Dispenza on breaking the habits of negative thinking.
5. Practice handling new ideas
New ideas and new activity can turn a downward trend up. The downside can be that growing yourself means growing apart from those who would like you to stay just the way you are. Be prepared.
If you change, if you begin to take new actions, or speak in a new way, not everyone will be supportive. Stick with those who are true friends. The ones who support you no matter what. The ones who always and only imagine you have the best life possible.
The greatest difficulty isn’t having a new idea – it’s getting away from the old ones. Life is too short to struggle with those who want you to remain a prisoner of your past. Be willing to accept others for who they are, but keep moving forward towards who you’re becoming.
Bonus Practice – Optimism
Optimism is one quality more associated with success and happiness than any other. Magic lives in optimism.
What’s the ratio of your positive words to your negative ones? You’re creating an optimistic or pessimistic outlook with the language you use. Plus, the things you think and say give you some clues as to your future success and happiness. (read Learned Optimism)
It’s a real challenge for some people to pay attention to their thoughts, especially in the beginning. If this is the case for you, try this:
Invest in this great happiness activity when life sucks.
All you need is a place to write and think and imagine. Take twenty or thirty minutes to imagine your life next year, in five years, or in ten. Everything is just as you want it to be; it all turned out fabulously. You’re living the life of your dreams.
Write it down. What does it look like, how do you feel, what are you doing? What amazing things have you accomplished? Don’t worry about how you did it, just that you have.
Get the best out of this happiness activity – be persistent. Consistent practice helps you build your optimist muscle. Write daily for a month. You can read more about it here.
It might not come easily at first, but keep going. Be patient, and be positive…eventually things come together.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear from you. How do you manage that ‘life sucks’ period?
Step forward, and let’s hear from you. YOUR share could trigger a breakthrough or inspiration that someone else really needs.
Thanks in advance for sharing this article with others.
Encourage one another.
With much love,
(Image by Anna Roguszczak – Pexels)
Hi Elle! This could not have come on a better day, honestly. I needed some cheering up as we are going through a big transition in our family, starting today.
Oh Julie, I do hope the transition turns out to be absolutely fabulous for you and your family. I’m so glad this cheered you up a bit. You know where I am if you ever want to talk. e-hugs 🙂
i think the reason my life has been bad is because I let guys in who are toxic and want to bring me down with them. I never believed I could have normal friends. Some people cant rise above modern life which involves money, bills, business, banks, etc, which make it impossible to have time.
I’ve also been in mental health groups that advocate shelters and group homes which make a person a sheep, and makes it impossible to even have a life.
Its very hard to accomplish anything in life, I have done things in private like make music
pray, and spend time with my mother.
But other than that this world has been fucking terrible and impossible to deal with.
This is so brilliant and spot on > “We all think we’re thinking, but truthfully, most of the time it’s just mental activity; don’t confuse a busy mind with a thinking one.”
I know that everything is impermanent and that life flows in cycles. Some times are easier than others, but the challenges are opportunities to grow stronger.
So glad you enjoyed it Sandra. I absolutely agree with you that challenges are opportunities to grow stronger. Even though there are times when I find myself saying…really…more growth, again! 🙂
We were on the same wavelength again Elle! I just posted an article about ideas of what to do when life sucks. Between our two posts, there are many options that someone could take. I love reading yours!
It’s so funny how often we do that Paige. Sounds like some kind of vulcan mind-meld! 🙂
The life sucks period is difficult but necessary. Without it we wouldn’t have the life is awesome phase. I think it is good to imagine how things will turn out and at the same time studies have shown that it can actually be damaging to focus on it too much because you ignore the reality that there will be a lot of unknown roadblocks that pop up and then when you face the roadblocks to your goal you quit. I like to write down how I want life to turn out and then I write down a bunch of potential problems I could face along the way.
I always think it’s cool to see the beliefs and actions in others Sebastian. It’s wonderful that we are all so unique in our expression in life. Writing down the potential problems wouldn’t work for me, but I’m happy to hear it leads you to experience success in life. I’ve personally found it quite easy to be focused on my ideal outcomes whilst managing any current situation I might be facing. In fact it’s probably one of the easiest ways for me to have my life filled with fulfilled desires. We all operate universal principles in our own way, and I’m grateful to you, as always, for sharing your perspective. You’re amazing. 🙂
It is so true that we all operate our own universal principles in our unique way. I commend you for being able to do that. I know that if I get too involved in the future, I stop focusing on the present and enjoying things for what they are presently.
Ah yes Sebastian. Life is always about balance isn’t it? 🙂
Isn’t life just a road with sucky poo barriers to overcome? I just keep on trucking to that light at the end of the tunnel, it’s always there, somewhere. Love the write up Elle.
So true Linda…there’s always a light, and for me, it’s easier to find when I’m deliberately looking for it. 🙂
I have been going through that period and would keep in mind the points you mentioned to get over it…
Hi Simple girl, nice to have you join in the conversation. I’m imagining you hitting that turning point really soon. 🙂
When we go through the “life-sucks” phase its good to recal that we are marathon problem solvers in life.
Yes,that’s right.We are a marathon problem solver in this life.As long as we breathe we will invariably be doing only this.Problem solving is our default programme in life on this planet.There is absolutely no escaping this reality,nor is it sensible to “ostrich it out”.So we better face our “Goliaths” squarely.And we owe it to ourselves to stay calm-happy-positive while we do that.
Just make sure to remember the ephemerality of this life,and the need to be happy, as you walk through your problems ,one after the other.
You always have wise words to share Mona. So true that we can still feel happiness, even during the sucky moments. There’s always something that’s good, even if it’s just getting out of bed to live another day. 🙂
I love your suggestions and try to use many of them as well. I love your ‘Best possible exercise’ suggestion.
I used to get really down in the dumps when it seemed life was in a sucky place. Now I realize it is temporary and usually I just keep telling myself that and focus on the things I know bring me happiness. Sometimes it’s simply a favorite hobby. I love to learn new things so right now I am taking some classes to refine some of my skills. Fo me doing something productive can be a real help.
How cool Melissa that you’ve become aware that even sucky places in life are only temporary. I too learned some time ago that first comes awareness then we are at choice as to the attitude we bring to any situation. I will confess there are times when it takes a bit longer to shift that attitude…but today it’s a darn site quicker than it was yesterday. Progress is a wonderful thing. 🙂 I love your idea of doing something productive to shift your spirits.
Everybody goes through that period now and then. Conscious effort to remain positive under adverse circumstances is the only way to go. Great post!
Welcome Priya and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. I truly appreciate you. 🙂
When I’m going through that period (which happens from time to time), I realize that it is only temporary and do my best to focus on the positive things rather than the crappy things! Thanks so much, Elle, for the positivity and inspiration!
It’s cool to be that aware Cher. We all need to have it before we can choose to experience something else. I think awareness truly is power. 🙂
Thanks for this Elle – I think #4 is so critical for all of us in this ever-changing world. I see it a lot in the workplace too, employers need us to be a lot more flexible and open to new things as ‘change is a constant’.
Hi Ellen…so true that change is a constant…even though sometimes I’d prefer that it wasn’t, but what are you going to do. lol 🙂
You know I love this! Moving forward is all about working with your mind and thoughts. Thanks for all of the useful suggestions.
It’s fascinating Debbie how we come to the same place along different routes. Love this. 🙂
You are so right Elle Journaling is so powerful on moving from the sucky state to where you want to be Di you read the story about OCTAVIA BUTLER’S PERSONAL JOURNAL SHOWS THE AUTHOR LITERALLY WROTE HER LIFE INTO EXISTENCE fascinating xx
Wow Suzie…writing your life into existence sounds absolutely awesome…now that’s a must read. 🙂
Life really sucks for many of us single guys that have no wife and family since many of us aren’t single by choice to begin with.
Hi James…there are ways to change your life and you can find some of them in our articles. Wishing you the best.
With so many women these days that have their very high unrealistic expectations along with their very high standards, of course it makes it very difficult for many of us men to find love now. Funny how most women in the past weren’t like today at all since they didn’t have much at all back then, and that is why it was very easy finding love in those days the way our family members had it.
Hi James, in my experience I have found love flows more freely when it is unlimited by expectations. As Mandy Hale said: “When you release expectations you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be.” Maybe this is the way for love to find you. Wishing you the blessings of love in your life.
I know it’s easy to blame women for our unhappiness, but our circumstances do not dictate our emotions, we do. I think it’s best if we focus on ourselves and what we can do to make our lives better, instead of focusing on women and what they can do. Hope you can find some happiness even “when life sucks” and that you’re having a good day.
Hi Larry, we appreciate your reply to James. I think it’s wonderful when we all come together to support one another. May you be having the most wonderful of days yourself. 🙂
Thank you Elle. I’ve been trying to follow this advice and be optimistic when the going gets tough. I know that my future is based on what I do in the present, so I’m trying to turn my life around. I appreciate what you’ve written and I will come back to this when I feel that life sucks.
Hi Larry…I find for myself a little inspiration every day really does help to stop getting to the place where life sucks. Hopefully the same is true for you. 🙂
What a crock..life is crappy sometimes. No amount of try this …write that…think this way is going to make things change. Pretending life doesn’t suck along the way is pointless. Just get on with it and try not to drag anyone else down with you.
Hi Esskay – it’s all to do with the arrangement of your mind.
Really appreciate your words of wisdom.
The video you linked on how the brain hardwires and changes habits to temperament to personality was quite enlightening.
My situation is bizarre. I am an American citizen now living in a foreign country. The trauma of moving in middle age to a foreign country with a language, culture and mentality that I don’t particularly like makes me long to return..
Mrs. loves it here and won’t hear of going back. The kids pretty much enjoy being here. My parents are very very far away and with covid it may be a while before they can visit because if flight restrictions. I grieve over the myriad mistakes I’ve made to get to this point.
I just appreciate your shedding light on the world and being there.
Hi Phil…I’m happy that you enjoyed the video and am imagining for you a time when you can enjoy and be comfortable in the live you are now living. I know how hard it is to be so far away from your parents, as you say made even worse by covid and hopefully these times will become better and better really soon. 🙂
You know I love this! Moving forward is all about working with your mind and thoughts. Thanks for all of the useful suggestions.
Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.
Reframing is the key for me. Life is full of ups and downs. It’s just the way it is. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ when things don’t go the way we’d like them to. Every cloud has a silver lining. In every disappointment, there is an opportunity to grow and become stronger. Thanks for the excellent articel!
Hi Richard – glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for stopping by.
Excellent advice here as always Elle!
Although challenging, the life sucks phase is crucial. We wouldn’t have the “life is fantastic” phase without it. I believe it is helpful to picture how things will play out, but studies have shown that doing so too much can be harmful because it ignores the fact that there will inevitably be many unexpected blockages, and when you encounter these obstacles, you give up. I enjoy outlining my ideal existence and then listing all the probable obstacles I might encounter along the way.