Sometimes it seems as if life is so hard and that there is no end in sight to these hard times. Just as we are overcoming one struggle, another hardship befalls us. 

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As humans we have very short memories and suffer from “cognitive bias,” that is we perceive things in the very narrow timeframe of the most recent events. Though we may be experiencing difficulties in the present, we are unable to frame these hard times in the larger picture of our lives. Even though the majority of our lives have been good, recent setbacks have colored our perceptions to see life as “hard.”

But past victories and good times are of little consequence when we are struggling with no end in sight.

“The struggle we go through to have our prayers answered makes us stronger. If we were to immediately get everything we prayed for, we would become spoiled and decadent. We would lead indolent lives, devoid of any hard work or struggle. As a result, we would become shallow human beings. What, then, would be the point of faith?” Daisaku Ikeda, President of the Soka Gakkai International.

We need faith, hope, and optimism to help us through these hard times. Look at your past victories and you will know that you will overcome your current difficulties, too. Look at all of human history and you will see examples of those who have overcome much more dire circumstances; you have the same ability.

And whatever your troubles, you can find a moment to sit and be mindful, to empty your mind of worries and anxieties. Even a few seconds of peace of mind will give you new perspective and reinvigorate you to deal with the problems at hand.

Never give up because life offers so many rewards: Happy times with friends and family; the enjoyment of a hike through the woods, a spectacular sunrise, the tranquility of the still waters of a lake; the pride of accomplishment, of overcoming difficulties. Hardships are a part of life, but they are not life itself.


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