Okay, we’ve all done it… in a moment of desperation and hopelessness we Google “reasons to live”. You know how I know? Because the results of a small informal poll of my Facebook friends shows that if you type the word “reasons” into Google it seems that everyone’s auto fill suggestions are quite similar: “reasons to live”, “reasons why I love you” and most shockingly “reasons for confederation”. Now, skipping over trying to figure out why so many people in this day and age are Googling “reasons for confederation”, this is really quite telling considering Google doesn’t usually suggest things unless people are actually searching for them.
After searching for “reasons to live” I’m guessing that much like me, you were sorely disappointed in the results. Most of the suggestions given on the most popular sites seem to fall into one of two different categories:
- Weird meaningless things people enjoy yet don’t actually carry much weight (insert watermelon, muffins, chocolate, and anticipation of random video games here).
Now, if these sorts of things actually DID give you a reason to go on living then I’m sure the giant tub of chocolate ice cream you devoured prior to the desperate web searching would have solved your problem and you never would have Googled this in the first place.
- Reasons that are based on the happiness and wellbeing of other people (insert “I don’t want to hurt my friends/family” and “I don’t want to pass this pain on to other people” here).
These reasons are equally unsatisfying because they carry a huge flaw, they put you in the mindset that you have no choice but to endure your current suffering so that you don’t hurt someone else. We can all agree that in most cases we never want to intentionally hurt someone else, but THAT shouldn’t be your ONLY reason for living! To endure your life only because it would hurt someone else if you didn’t is a recipe for emptiness and will likely leave you Googling “reasons to live” over and over again (and maybe that’s why the search is so popular).
What’s even more dangerous about this is that if and when you get to that point where you feel that your friends/family are part of the cause of your suffering then you may eventually find yourself in a position where you decide that you are ready to pass some of your suffering on to them so that they may in some way start to understand and then all of a sudden you are left with no reason not to kill yourself!
Let’s face some facts here:
If we are being completely honest with ourselves, we know that if we are taking the time to Google “reasons to live” then we are not entirely intent on dying or we would not be looking to find someone to talk us out of it. We are all also smart enough to know that no stranger can just give us the magical reason to keep going, only we know what will make our lives worth living.
Now that we can agree that we are already pretty sure that ending our life isn’t actually a viable option and that we know that nobody else can give us our reason to live, we can see that the reason why we are Googling “reasons to live” is that we currently don’t think that our life has a purpose.
Scary as it may be, it is entirely possible that if we can’t currently name our purpose, it is because perhaps we haven’t yet started doing anything purposeful with our lives. If this is the case, the answer is clearly to stop searching for something that may not yet exist and to start asking ourselves how we can CREATE that thing. Perhaps instead of asking “why shouldn’t I end my life” we should be asking “how do I make my life better” or “how do I create a meaningful life”.
Interestingly enough, the only reason that I have ever been given that has effectively prevented me from killing myself (on multiple occasions) is that we don’t actually know what happens after we die. What if when we die the only thing we are left with is the thing we were trying to get away from?
At least while I am alive I have the opportunity to try and change the things that are happening, when I die, I might not! Look at it like this, if you keep living you KNOW you have the opportunity to influence your own future, you still have time to find your purpose, find your voice, find your calling. If you are still questioning if your life has a reason it is not too late to GIVE it a reason!
~ Elena <3