It Is Hard to Be a Human

It Is Hard to Be a Human March 13, 2019

It has been a hard week in the Willis house. I like to think we are pretty well-adjusted, mature, balanced humans. But life is just hard. We’re constantly trying to fix things, dealing with worries, processing the hurts of the pasts and the fears of the future. Life is hard.

I don’t think we allow ourselves to accept this singular reality: it is hard to be human! Whether we admit it or not, I think there is a prevailing belief that being a person is not that hard (we see others do it, apparently seamlessly). But for some reason, we just can’t get a grip on it. We can’t understand our circumstances or control our emotions or master our relationships.

Being human is hard. Downright impossible by the standards we hold ourselves to. Sometimes we need to acknowledge how hard being a person in this world is. In doing so, there is a naming of reality and, oddly, a step toward healing.


Easy Answers

A lot of our well meaning friends have a lot of answers for our struggles. “Just get out of the house; go to the movies and try to get your mind off it”. “You know, what worked for us was…”

We have a lot of answers. A lot of quick fixes and magic remedies. If you tell someone you are having a hard time, the instinct for that person is to come up with a solution in one sentence or less.

In the absence of true solutions, we settle for false ones. Distractions. Just forget about it. Push the hard parts of being human under the surface and just smile.

Life is not an array of easy answers. My soul is covered in Band-Aids and it doesn’t seem to be doing me any lasting good.


Permission Granted

What we really need is for someone to just acknowledge that life is hard. Suffering is tough, complicated, and – in many ways – unavoidable. Because we might be able to fix the problems of this week, but there are more on the horizon.

That doesn’t mean there are no solutions. It just means we don’t have to glaze over the reality that it is hard to be a person. When we have kids, I want to be able to say that to them. “It is hard being a person”. To give them permission to feel the challenge, the tension, the difficulty of navigating life in this world.

Because, ironically, this helps. The only way I can make any sort of sense of the world is to accept and acknowledge how hard it is. Not just a particular circumstance, but the whole journey. If I can talk about the steady challenges in an honest way, I don’t have to rush to half-cocked solutions that just sweep the difficulty of being human under a rug.

After all, hard things are not bad things. It is not a bad thing to be a human. It is not a bad thing to struggle. In fact, weirdly, life is more beautiful because of the difficulties inherent within it. But I can’t truly experience and accept the beauty without accepting the difficulty of it all. I need permission. And maybe you do too.

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