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Can it be healthy to hate your life sometimes?
This blog was originally published at daisiesandbruises.com - UPDATE the site has been closed.
On Monday I wrote about changing your negative self-talk so that instead of hating your life you can focus on the things you like about your life. And rephrasing your thinking is important, but since writing that post I've started to wonder if maybe sometimes it's actually healthy to hate your life.
After writing that post I sat on my couch, unsure of whether to scream or cry. I picked up my journal and decided to write down what I want from life. Instead I filled six pages full of sentences all starting with, "I'm sick of _____."
Usually I don't let myself complain for long in my journal, because I'm worried I'm digging myself into a deeper hole. But letting the floodgates open and just spilling about everything that was bugging me really helped. And if it helped, how can it be bad? Sure, I sounded like a grouch for all of those pages, but who fucking cares? No one reads my journal anyway, and in all fairness it probably kept me from blowing up at some innocent person in my life about the tiniest thing because I just had so much negativity in me that I had to get out.
Today a friend told me that I need to focus on what I love. Which is a pretty obvious statement if you ask me, but I thought, "No, no I don't because I am not happy."
What if someone was in a house that's on fire and they said, "Help me, I hate this place!" and you said, "Oh, but don't you like the colour you painted your bedroom?"
What if someone was in an abusive relationship and you said, "Sure, you hate living with this person but you do like their table manners?"
In either of those situations, it would be totally appropriate for that person in distress to reply, "Oh, fuck off!" to your suggestions. Right?
Yeah, I can sit here and focus on what I like and pretend that I don't hate my life, but there's only so much denying you can do before you are in serious denial and denial means you're stuck.
So maybe hating your life means you need to change what you hate into something that you like better. Depression may still be clutching me and making me feel dead and sad all the time, but if I have to live with those feelings, maybe there's some better way to do it. Some way to make things easier.
So how about changing things until I love them?
If you have depression like I do, it means that we have to try harder than the average person to be happy. It's a shitty situation but just because it's hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try. We can't just give up. If we have to try harder, let's try harder. Let's aim to change the things we can change.
Life can be awful but we have to keep going. Amanda Palmer's "Bigger on the Inside" song is really giving me courage these days, especially these lines:
You took my hand when you woke up
I had been crying in the darkness
We all die alone but I am so, so glad
That you are here
You whispered “We are so much bigger on the inside,
You, me, everybody
Some day when you’re lying where I am
You’ll finally get it truly"
We are so much bigger
Than another one can ever see
Trying is the point of life
So don’t stop trying
So in addition to trying to rephrase my negative self-talk, I'm also going to get real about what I hate about my life. Is there anything I can do to make my life something I enjoy more? If so, I'm going to find it.
Erin Schulthies is the writer of Daisies and Bruises, a blog about "finding her way one step and one word at a time". After losing most of her youth to severe depression, she decided that since death was no longer an option, she had to find a way to live. This is it.