Sharing is caring!

Life can be hard, can’t it? Sometimes, it feels like the world is against us, and we wonder, “Why is life so cruel?” It’s a question many of us ask at one point or another. 

When things go wrong, when we face disappointments, when our hopes get shattered, it’s natural to feel this way. 

We might look around and see other people who seem to have it all, and then we wonder why our own path feels so bumpy.

But here’s the thing: life isn’t always easy for anyone. Everyone has their struggles, even if we can’t see them. And there are reasons, some big and some small, why life can seem so tough. 

It’s not because the universe is out to get us or because we’re unlucky. It’s just that life, by its very nature, is filled with challenges. And sometimes, those challenges can be really hard to deal with.

In this article, we’ll delve into 12 reasons why life can seem so cruel at times. These reasons won’t solve all our problems, but understanding them might help us see things in a new light. 

It might help us realize that we’re not alone in our struggles, and there might be ways to cope that we haven’t thought of before.

1. Most People Will Only Look Out For Themselves

Humans, by nature, possess an instinctual drive for self-preservation. This basic instinct sometimes translates into behaviors that prioritize personal needs over those of others. 

It’s not necessarily a malicious trait; it’s more of an evolutionary tool designed to ensure survival.

That being said, there are times we notice people being self-centered in everyday situations. Maybe they cut in line, or perhaps they don’t consider how their actions affect others. 

These behaviors can make life feel cruel, especially if we’re on the receiving end of such actions.

However, it’s essential to remember that everyone is dealing with their struggles. Sometimes, self-centered actions arise from personal stresses or unseen challenges. 

While it doesn’t excuse behavior, understanding this can offer a bit of perspective.

On the flip side, there are many who prioritize empathy and kindness. Surrounding ourselves with such people can be a heartening reminder that goodness exists, even in a world that sometimes feels self-centered.

[Related: Why is Life so Hard? 15 Major Reasons]

2. There’s a Lot of Unfairness In Life

The cruelty of life

Fairness is something everyone craves, but life doesn’t always distribute its gifts and challenges equally. 

Some are born into privilege, while others face hardships from day one. The disparities can be evident in wealth, opportunities, or even basic human rights.

Many times, we see people working incredibly hard, only to face setbacks due to factors beyond their control. 

In contrast, others might coast through life benefiting from pure circumstance. It can be disheartening to witness, leading many to question the inherent fairness of life.

These disparities often result from deep-rooted societal structures or mere chance. Acknowledging this unfairness isn’t about encouraging negativity but about understanding the world’s complexities.

However, many people channel their feelings about injustice into positive action. They advocate for change, volunteer, or help others in their community. 

It’s a testament to human resilience and the belief that, with effort, we can create a more equitable world.

3. Bad Luck Make Life Cruel

Life is unpredictable. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things just don’t go as planned. 

A surprise rain might ruin an outdoor event, or an unforeseen expense can disrupt our budget. These instances of bad luck can make life seem cruel.

Everyone, at some point, faces the whims of chance. While we’d love for the scales to always tip in our favor, that’s not how reality works. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom. These moments, as frustrating as they are, also teach us adaptability.

Handling bad luck with grace is a skill in itself. It’s about managing disappointment, recalibrating expectations, and finding new ways to move forward. 

And though bad luck is a universal experience, the silver lining is that it’s just one facet of a multi-dimensional life.

Life’s unpredictability, while occasionally vexing, also brings about pleasant surprises. 

So while we might grapple with bad luck from time to time, we also get to savor those unexpected moments of joy and serendipity.

[Interesting: 10 Hard Pills to Swallow that Will Get You Ahead In Life]

4. Existence Is Fundamentally Indifferent to What You Want 

The universe doesn’t possess feelings, intentions, or preferences. Trees grow, stars explode, and natural disasters occur, not out of cruelty, but because of natural processes. 

To put it plainly, existence doesn’t revolve around human emotions or aspirations.

Nature, for all its beauty, operates on principles that have nothing to do with human values. 

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and droughts happen without malice, yet they can bring immense suffering. We often ascribe malevolence to these events, but they’re simply nature doing its thing.

That being said, it’s tough to grapple with the idea that our tiny, fleeting lives might not hold universal significance. 

We craft narratives, build societies, and chase dreams, but the broader cosmos remains oblivious to our toils.

Human resilience lies in finding meaning despite this indifference. Even though the universe doesn’t cater to our desires, people have consistently carved out niches of purpose, love, and community.

5. Social Hierarchies and Discrimination Exist

Society has always had hierarchies. From ancient empires to modern nations, certain groups have held power while others have been marginalized. 

These structures aren’t just about wealth; they involve race, gender, religion, and more.

Discrimination, in all its forms, has left countless people feeling undervalued, oppressed, or outright endangered. 

Prejudices can be so deeply ingrained that they persist across generations, affecting opportunities, self-worth, and well-being.

On a day-to-day level, these biases can manifest as microaggressions, unfair treatment, or systemic discrimination. 

The weight of constantly battling against these injustices can make life feel exceedingly cruel for those on the receiving end.

While social movements aim to combat these injustices, the road to true equality is long. Awareness is growing, and change is happening, but the legacies of past discriminations remain entrenched and are difficult to overturn.

[Interesting: 6 Mistakes People Make in Their 20s That Guarantee They’ll Have a Hard Life]

6. Suffering Is Part of the Human Experience

Pain, loss, and disappointment are universal human experiences. Everyone, regardless of status or background, will face moments of despair or anguish during their lives. 

It’s a raw reality, often difficult understand.

Physical pain, whether from injury or illness, can be debilitating. Emotional trauma, too, leaves scars that might never fully heal. From heartbreak to bereavement, the spectrum of human suffering is vast.

Facing these hardships, it’s common to ask, “Why me?” The randomness of it all, the sheer unpredictability of fate, can seem unjust. Even the most careful or kind people aren’t immune from life’s cruelties.

Yet, in the midst of pain, many also discover an inner strength they never knew they had. 

Support systems, whether friends, family, or communities, become invaluable. These connections don’t negate the suffering, but they can offer solace and understanding.

7. Our Mortality Looms Over Us

Why Is life cruel?

No matter how advanced science becomes or how diligently we care for our health, our time is finite. This reality, stark and unyielding, is one of the hardest truths to accept.

People we love will pass away. And the knowledge that one day we, too, will no longer exist can be a source of existential dread. It’s a shadow that subtly influences many of our decisions and fears.

Religions and philosophies around the world struggle with this reality, offering interpretations and solace. 

Yet, the finality of death remains a daunting concept, adding a layer of complexity to our understanding of life.

Confronting our mortality can also lead to a deeper appreciation of the present. Many argue that it’s this very impermanence that gives life its poignancy. 

Knowing that our time is limited can inspire us to live fully, love deeply, and cherish each moment.

[Also read: 15 Things That Make Life Worth Living]

8. Systems of Power Are Often Exploitative

Throughout history, those in power have, more often than not, exploited it. 

Be it empires, corporations, or influential groups, there’s a recurring theme: power tends to corrupt. And when it does, the average person usually bears the brunt.

Laws and policies can sometimes favor the influential, leaving others at a disadvantage. Workers might be underpaid, overworked, and deprived of their basic rights. 

Even in democratic societies, the voice of the common person can sometimes feel drowned out by the clamor of those with deeper pockets or louder platforms.

Wealth disparities continue to widen in many parts of the world. The rich get richer, often at the expense of the less fortunate. 

This imbalance isn’t just about money; it’s about opportunities, access to quality education, healthcare, and a fair shot at success.

These systems and structures, both old and new, reveal an uncomfortable truth: human societies are not always designed for the collective good. They favor certain groups while sidelining others.

9. Unresolved Past Traumas Shape the Present

Childhood traumas, broken relationships, missed opportunities – they all leave a mark. These unresolved issues can shape our present, often in ways that are more destructive than we realize.

Past traumas can manifest as fears, phobias, or even physical ailments. They can influence decisions, holding people back from pursuing opportunities or forming meaningful connections. 

Old wounds have a way of reopening, especially when triggered by current events that mirror past experiences.

Some people might adopt self-destructive behaviors as coping mechanisms. This could range from substance abuse to sabotaging personal relationships. 

It’s a way to numb the pain or regain some semblance of control, even if it’s detrimental.

Recognizing and addressing these shadows from the past isn’t easy. It requires introspection, often professional help, and a lot of patience. 

However, many don’t or can’t seek help, leading to cycles of pain that can seem like life’s inherent cruelty.

[Related: 15 Cheat Codes For Life That Will Get You Ahead Fast]

10. Life Isn’t a Meritocracy

Life often doesn’t reward effort or good intentions in the way we’d expect or hope. 

Many people work hard, play by the rules, and yet, they don’t get the rewards they feel they deserve. It’s like participating in a game where the rules keep changing.

Others seem to coast through with minimal effort, landing opportunities and achieving success without breaking a sweat. 

The randomness of opportunities and successes can be maddening. Why do some folks seem to get all the breaks?

Every day, countless talented, deserving people are overlooked or undervalued. It can be due to factors out of their control, like where they were born, their economic status, or mere luck. 

This isn’t to say hard work is pointless, but its outcomes can be frustratingly unpredictable.

Conversely, sometimes life penalizes those who seem to do everything right. An unexpected illness, an unforeseen accident, or a sudden financial crisis can derail the best-laid plans, further driving home the point that life doesn’t always play fair.

11. Inherent Biological Challenges

Our very biology can sometimes seem like it’s betraying us. 

Whether it’s genetic predispositions to certain illnesses or the natural process of aging, our bodies are constantly reminding us of our limitations.

Mental health struggles are a prime example. From anxiety to depression, countless people struggle with challenges that aren’t always visible on the surface. 

These battles can make every day feel like an uphill climb.

Then there are chronic diseases, from diabetes to autoimmune disorders. These conditions can severely limit one’s quality of life, making simple tasks a challenge. It’s a constant reminder of our fragility.

While medical science continues to advance, offering hope and solutions for many, our biology remains a wild card. 

12. We All Have Vulnerabilities 

We’d like to believe we’re in control of our lives. But truth be told, there are countless external factors influencing our paths. 

Economic downturns, political instability, or societal shifts can dramatically alter individual trajectories.

Think about the farmer whose crops fail due to unpredictable weather patterns. Or consider the entrepreneur whose business crashes because of a sudden market collapse. 

Events beyond our control frequently dictate the course of our lives.

In an interconnected world, global events can have ripple effects, impacting distant communities. 

A financial crisis in one country can lead to job losses halfway across the globe. We’re often at the mercy of these vast, complex systems.

It’s a humbling realization. No matter how diligent or cautious we are, life has a way of throwing surprises. 

These uncontrollable factors highlight our vulnerability and the sometimes harsh unpredictability of existence.

[Interesting: 60 Life Goal Examples For a Happy and Fulfilling Life]

How Do You Live A Good Life Despite Life’s Cruelty?

How Do You Live A Good Life Despite Life's Cruelty?

1. Understand And Accept the Cruel Reality of Life

Denial or resistance of life’s cruelty can sometimes intensify the pain. Acceptance doesn’t mean you have to like what’s happening, but it’s about acknowledging the reality of the situation. 

By doing so, you free up mental and emotional energy that might otherwise be spent on futile resistance.

With acceptance comes clarity. Once you recognize and embrace life’s inherent unpredictability, you’re better equipped to navigate its twists and turns. 

Instead of being knocked off balance by every setback, you can approach challenges with a steadier footing, knowing that life, with all its ups and downs, is a journey we’re all navigating together.

2. Embrace the Present Moment

Living in the now can be a powerful antidote to life’s uncertainties. Often, we’re either ruminating about the past or anxious about the future. 

Focusing on the present, the very moment you’re in, can offer relief. You can find solace in the simplicity of a shared laugh, the warmth of a cup of tea, or the beauty of a sunset.

Engaging in mindfulness practices can help ground you in the present. It’s not about ignoring life’s problems but acknowledging them without letting them dominate your every thought. 

With time, you’ll find that being present becomes second nature, a haven from life’s storms.

3. Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude can be a powerful tool against despair. Even in the face of adversity, there’s usually something, however small, to be thankful for. 

Recognizing and appreciating these moments can bring a sense of contentment. Maybe it’s a supportive friend, a comforting meal, or just a peaceful moment alone.

Regularly jotting down things you’re grateful for can be beneficial. This practice helps shift your focus from what’s lacking or painful to what’s abundant and joyful in your life. 

And before you know it, a bad day might seem just a bit brighter.

4. Seek Supportive Communities

The bonds we form with others offer strength and understanding. By seeking out and nurturing these connections, we can build a support system to lean on during tough times. 

Be it friends, family, or community groups, there’s strength in numbers.

Remember, it’s okay to lean on others and ask for help. Sharing your struggles, listening, and being listened to can be incredibly healing. 

Over time, these connections can become your anchor, helping you navigate life’s unpredictable waters.

5. Set Boundaries and Prioritize Self-Care

Life can be demanding, and it’s essential to recognize your limits. Setting boundaries, both with others and yourself, is crucial. 

Know when to say no, understand your limits, and ensure you’re not spreading yourself too thin.

Take time for yourself. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a walk, or simply relaxing, these moments of self-care can rejuvenate your spirit. Recognize that it’s not selfish but necessary to recharge and face life with renewed vigor.

[Read: How to Be Lucky In Life]


Life can sometimes feel like a big storm, with lots of rain and thunder. But just like every storm, it doesn’t last forever. 

We talked about 12 reasons why life can seem hard, and while knowing these reasons might not make the tough times go away, it can help us understand them better. 

Everyone faces tough times. But with time, patience, and a little understanding, we can find our way back to sunshine and clearer skies.


Why is life cruel to the wrong people?

Sometimes, it feels like good-hearted people face more than their fair share of hardships, while those with questionable morals sail smoothly. 

The world, in its vastness and unpredictability, doesn’t always distribute challenges based on merit or goodness. Everyone, regardless of their nature, faces a mix of good and bad times. 

But, each person’s journey is unique, and what appears on the surface might not tell the full story.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Life doesn’t play favorites. Nature, circumstances, and random events don’t discriminate based on morality or intent. 

While it’s hard to understand or accept, sometimes bad things just happen, irrespective of one’s character. It’s essential to remember that everyone’s path has its challenges, and these experiences often shape and strengthen character.

How can one cope with life’s challenges?

Coping with life’s challenges often requires a blend of resilience, support, and perspective. 

Firstly, understand that it’s okay to seek help, whether from friends, family, or professionals. Sharing burdens can make them lighter. 

Secondly, developing a routine or indulging in activities like reading, journaling, or exercising can offer solace. 

Lastly, perspective matters. Sometimes stepping back, giving time, or looking at the bigger picture can provide clarity.

Why does life feel unfair at times?

Life can sometimes seem arbitrary or even unfair. It’s natural to feel this way, especially during challenging phases. But fairness is a human concept, and nature or fate doesn’t operate on these principles. 

Everyone, at some point or another, fights with setbacks or hardships. The key lies in understanding that these moments, as tough as they may be, are a part of life. 

And often, with time, we find strength and growth in the most unexpected places.

Website Profile Pics 4
Destiny Femi

Destiny Femi is a dating coach whose work has helped transform the love lives of countless people. With a writing style that is both insightful and relatable, Destiny has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of readers who turn to him for advice on everything from finding the perfect partner to maintaining a healthy relationship. Through his articles he has inspired people around the world to become more confident, authentic, and successful in their dating life.

Sharing is caring!