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Most of us can think of millions of reasons to live. We plan for the future and always have something great to look forward to. Even life's simple pleasures keep us going.
Things like the ball game on Saturday, a date with a crush, a weekend with the grandkids, a payday on Friday, a spa day for self-care, or listening to a nostalgic song keep us in a great mood and pushing through life's challenges regularly.
Sadly, when we are filled with heartbreak and hopelessness, the pain is so severe that we no longer find joy in the simple things.
It becomes hard to plan for the future because all we see is the mountain of despair towering over us. We feel powerless to climb over it and see no way to escape its luminous shadow.
I hope to encourage you today that there are so many reasons to live, even when everything around you seems hopeless. In this article, we will define hopelessness and explore reasons to keep on living.
What is Hopelessness?
Hopelessness means we have no hope and no expectation for things to improve in the future. It is characterized by a lack of passion, optimism, and hope. All hopes and feelings for a bright future have been diminished by unmet expectations.
We may also feel hopeless when looking to overcome insurmountable odds. It’s a negative viewpoint one has when one thinks they are losing control, lacking confidence, courage, and the determination to reach a goal.
Our psychological and physical well-being is often threatened by the feeling of hopelessness.
Hopelessness can powerfully influence your mood, contributing to the dark and low feeling you may be experiencing. As a result, we become inactive and adopt unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits.
Hopelessness has an adverse effect on our perception as it can become the lens through which we view life.
What one sees as beautiful, you see as tarnished. What someone sees as an opportunity for something great, you see as an opportunity for heartbreak and disappointment.
The power of hopelessness will significantly influence our behavior and, in many cases, discourage us from taking action because of fear and loss of interest.
The activities, people, or events we held in high regard and prioritized no longer feel important.
Hopelessness can also be described as a lack of inspiration. Instead, we feel isolated, oppressed, captive, abandoned, helpless, and powerless.
Studies show that hopelessness plays a vital role in the life of someone suffering from poor emotional, mental, or physical health.
Negative, distressing, and discouraging life events contribute to these symptoms that make one feel within our minds that all hope is gone.
Hopelessness can negatively affect how we view ourselves.
Everyone can see us as beautiful or handsome, intelligent, and funny. However, when we feel hopeless after a breakup, disappointment, or failure, we may adopt a viewpoint that the person we see in the mirror is to blame for all the misfortunes they face.
We also believe, even if for a short time, that the grief we are experiencing is an indicator that something is wrong with us and cannot be fixed. That we are destined to live under the influence of sorrow and gloom.
According to numerous studies, therapy is a beneficial tool to help you regain hope and strengthen your mental health when experiencing hopelessness. There are also confidential agencies available to assist you when you are overwhelmed, feeling emotionally distressed, and even contemplating suicide.
You can text or call 988. It's toll-free, and your call is routed to the nearest crisis center. Again, it is confidential. And if you prefer to chat online, visit 988Lifeline.org.
Again, I want to encourage you that there are so many great reasons to live, and if you are completely honest with yourself, you know that, too.
15 Reasons to Live When Everything Seems Hopeless
1. Life is ever-changing, and things can get better.
When life gets overwhelming, and your circumstances seem hopeless, it's important to remember that life is ever-changing. Like the seasons (winter, spring, summer, and fall), good times and not-so-good times come and go.
Things may be stressful for a season, and heartbreak may happen in waves, but just as the bad things happen, good can come out of them. You were once looking at a rough situation, but now things are looking up and getting better.
2. Think of times when you overcame a hopeless situation in the past.
A powerful weapon in your arsenal to combat hopelessness is to reminisce. Think back on times when you felt like giving up and didn't think you would make it; then things changed.
Remember when she broke up with you and you swore off dating and became really depressed. But later, you met someone new and became hopeful again.
Focus on those times when you overcame hopelessness and have faith that it can and will happen again. If there was something specific you did or something someone said to encourage you to keep moving forward, let those things echo in your mind again.
3. Look at the bright side and show gratitude.
If negativity and hopelessness are hot fires, gratitude is the water of positivity that can extinguish that fire. It’s nearly impossible to remain frustrated with a situation and show gratitude for it at the same time.
Be grateful for the lessons learned, for discovering someone's true colors, or for the good times you experienced before something unfortunate changed it.
4. Things aren’t as hopeless as they may seem.
When we look at our lives through the lens of hopelessness, it's like wearing sunglasses at night.
Things may very well be dark, so your feelings of anger or fear may be valid, but taking on hopelessness makes it nearly impossible to see things in a positive light.
Optimism and faith shine light in the darkness, and you can begin to take steps to see your way out of despair.
5. Your children.
There may be times when our finances are depleted, our health is fading, and our hearts are broken. We may feel like there is no hope in sight and nothing more to live for.
But our children are the reason that we keep fighting. They won't be better without us; if we were no longer there, they would give anything to have us back.
Your children will never forget your persistence and will grow to appreciate it and model themselves after it.
If you give up and view life as hopeless, you also take their future away from them.
6. Your spouse.
A loving spouse is worth living for. They will stand by your side and help you fight, even when you’re in for the fight of your life.
A great support system can help you overcome health issues and other life troubles. So don't isolate yourself, but partner with your spouse; they are one of many great reasons to live.
7. Your legacy.
Another of the many great reasons to live when everything seems hopeless is that you hope to leave a lasting legacy. You want to be remembered in a positive light, not in a way that brings sadness and heartbreak.
Your mental health may have taken a hit over the years, but no one wants their legacy to be tarnished. No one wants to think that conversation will be floating around about them that they gave up on life.
Instead, you want to be remembered as someone who embraced opportunities to stay alive when things were overwhelming. You want those closest to you to say that you were resilient every time you were knocked down and kept fighting.
May you be known for inspiring others to fight for their own well-being. Whenever things could have weighed you down, you found ways to joyfully bounce back.
8. You can help others who are suffering.
The experiences you had of being bullied, watching a loved one die, or surviving a toxic relationship are a testimony to be shared with others who are facing the same set of circumstances.
You can be there for others to let them know their situation is not hopeless. You can encourage them when they don’t think they have the strength to fight to tell themselves, “I do have the strength to do this.”
I often say, “Life is not so much about what happens to you but how you deal with what occurs.” Life will get hard sometimes, but you were built to last.
You are a survivor and can share your brave story of hope with those struggling to climb out of the dark pit you once found yourself in.
9. Your pets.
Reasons to live wouldn't be complete without those fur babies. Your pets need you just as much as you need them. You feed them, house them, and protect them. And they would be very sad and helpless without you present.
In many cases, they have been your most faithful and loyal companion. They comforted you when you lost a loved one, experienced heartbreak, and felt lonely.
Your furry friend gave you emotional support, companionship, and a sense of responsibility.
Furthermore, your pet is always excited to see you when you get home, reminding you of how important you are to them and how much your life brings them joy.
So, when you are feeling down, let your pet be the affectionate sunshine you need to brighten the state of your mental health.
10. Remember, your life has a meaning.
When people struggle to find reasons to live, it is often because they cannot see that their life has meaning. Usually, because we have put our efforts into people, places, things, and ideas that have failed us.
The outcome was not what we anticipated. We wrapped our entire identity into a project or person, and without them, we no longer know who we are.
However, failure doesn't define the meaning of your life. Those doors closed for a reason, and usually, it is a sign that there is something better in store for your life. So, take inventory of your life and see what is working.
What gifts do you have? What opportunities are right in front of you? Who has stuck by your side? What is it that you do that gives you great energy and excitement?
When you look at those things, you will see that it wouldn't be fair if you didn't give yourself a chance to embrace life to the fullest and see its beautiful outcome.
11. Opportunity to complete your bucket list.
What do you wish to accomplish before you “kick the bucket?” Have you wanted to go mountain climbing on Mount Everest? Have you always wanted to take a train ride across the U.S.? Have you dreamed of bungee jumping or skydiving? Have you always wanted to see the Grand Canyon?
Are you one of those who have sporting events on your bucket list? So, you'd love to attend the Super Bowl and sit on the fifty-yard line one day? Whatever your bucket list items are, you cannot accomplish them if you are not here.
Obviously, your bucket list is comprised of things that are important to you, so don't throw them away because of a seemingly hopeless situation. Keep moving forward, and don't give up on your dreams.
12. Finding true love.
I remember having my heart broken many times and the feelings of depression and hopelessness I felt behind every one of those situations. I felt like I would and could never be loved. Maybe you can relate to the feeling.
It seemed I was always falling for those who didn't feel the same way about me or just pretended to and got my hopes up.
Maybe you understand my feelings when I felt love was something I would never experience and convinced myself that I didn’t deserve it. I even started to believe something was wrong with me, but no one was honest enough to say it.
Sadly, I was so heartbroken. We've all been there. Like me, you may have also prayed not to love anymore. I felt I could deal with the pain of feeling lovelorn again.
The pain of hopelessness was awful, I admit. At times, I even wanted to die, but hope for true love was one of my reasons to live, and it is one of many reasons to live for you, too.
One day, to my surprise, I was blessed to find true love. Fortunately, we celebrate 13 years of a beautiful and blissful marriage next month. This story of mine could be yours, so don't give up.
13. The good days outweigh the bad days.
When you look back, you will realize that the days of hope, joy, peace, and anticipation far outweigh the days when you were at your wit's end and wanted to give up.
Most of the time, you plan, strategize, and work toward a future you one day hope to see. Only those few setbacks knock the wind out of you and make you question whether life is worth the effort.
Giving up on the bad days is like deciding not to drive anymore for the rest of your life because there is snow on the ground today. And you hate driving in snow. Yet, operating a vehicle in the snow shows you can navigate adversity.
Similarly, we have the ability to keep moving forward, even on the bad days. Fortunately, like the weather, there will be days when adverse weather or life conditions won't be an issue. There are more of those days than there are of the bad ones.
Remember, life is worth the effort and has many reasons to live.
14. You're more fearful of dying than afraid of living.
When you are afraid to die, that means you have something to live for. Besides, the thought of dying is very lonely, painful, and scary.
You may have similar opinions of living, but death is permanent. On the contrary, even when it seems hopeless, living life keeps the door open for possibilities and positive changes.
We hurt because we feel we'll never meet someone new, get past what happened or experience life without the pain.
However, as long as we are alive, there is hope, and change is inevitable.
15. Because you matter.
No matter how hopeless life seems, some people value our presence and would be heartbroken if we were not here. They may not say it as often as they should, but believe me, they are there. Your parents would be hurt, co-workers devastated, or your children would never be the same.
Sadly, we live in a busy world where people are often taken for granted. Yet, you still matter. You bring something to the world that no one else can bring.
You have gifts that enhance the world. I guarantee you that others admire your style, personality, or beautiful smile but never tell you. I imagine you make others feel special and like they matter, even when you are hurting.
Like so many, your love wasn’t returned from the person you cared for the most and it hurt you, but maybe they don't have the capacity to love others as you do.
Of the many times life has knocked me down, I try to live with the following in mind: “If God reached down and pulled me out of the earth, would there be a hole in people’s hearts because I was no longer there?”
We all matter and bring something unique to the table. As my grandpa always said of himself, “No one can take my place.” Remember, no one can take yours either; you matter that much.
Final Thoughts on Reasons to Live
Feeling hopeless is like a dense fog that keeps us from seeing our hands in front of our faces. It can be very discouraging. Our current pain, despair, and disappointment can overwhelm us and make us unsure of the future.
Yet, if we keep taking small steps to move forward, there will come a day when the fog will lift, and we can confidently navigate forward in hope again. Do it for your loved ones, and most of all, do it for yourself.
Who knows what incredible possibilities lay ahead? And most of all, remember there are many great reasons to live. Yes, things may seem hopeless, but they aren't as long as you are still here.
And if you're interested in more articles about life purpose, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 7 Steps to Live a More Purposeful Life
- 11 Things to Do When You’re Feeling Lost in Life
- 19 Life Purpose Examples to Find Your True Purpose