No, life is not a punishment. Unless you believe it is. You can choose to see life as a blessing or as a punishment, and you’ll find that while the former inspires you, the latter is nothing but an unhelpful thought.

I noticed a few forum posts around the internet where people were wondering: is life a punishment?

Is our experience here on this planet some sort of hell? Had we had the chance to pick a different dimension before we were born, would it have been better?

And so on. So I thought I’d write a brief post on that, and share my thoughts on the subject.

If you’d like to share your own thoughts, please do so by leaving a reply at the end.

Being right vs being happy

Smiley face balloon

Would you rather be 100 percent right or 100 percent happy? That’s basically all it boils down to.

Please note, I’m referring to your own thoughts and beliefs only.

There are situations in life where you’d be better off being right and using logic, whether that makes you happy or sad.

But when it comes to your own view of life, there is absolutely no reason in the universe to believe that it is a punishment.

Right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, true or false — it doesn’t matter.

Life is what you believe

Psychology and meditation teach us that we are not the mind.

We may tend to identify with it, we may believe our thoughts are our true essence, what’s left once you remove everything else, but it would be a mistake.

Your mind is not you. You have the power to step back and detach from your own thoughts and beliefs.

And then consciously keep the thoughts that motivate you, that inspire you, that are helpful — and ignore or challenge the bad thoughts.

Your mind is like a cluttered room filled with all kinds of items; only some of those items are actually useful. Your job is to declutter the mind and only keep the good items.

Now, this doesn’t mean you should reject a thought or belief simply because it’s negative.

What I am saying is: know that only some of your beliefs should be cultivated.

I could go through an endless list of images of the most horrible things that are going on in the world, and be right. Those images would be perfectly accurate.

However, I choose not to do that. I choose to focus my energy on what makes me happy.

What you focus on grows. As it grows, it becomes the truth. Your truth.

Focus on pain, darkness, and evil, and life is a punishment. Focus on the positive and life is good. Better than good.

Punishments vs blessings in life

Think of a past experience that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

At the time, you didn’t know. So that was your punishment. At the time, you saw whatever you were going through as meaningless.

Then it turned out it wasn’t a punishment, but a necessary step for you to evolve, or an opportunity, or the bad start of a good story.

And the way you saw the experience changed completely. You became aware of the bigger picture, of the hidden meaning of the experience.

The same could be applied to life itself.

You may have perfectly good reasons to believe that your life (or life in general) is a punishment.

But you may choose to go beyond that, and choose to interpret whatever life has given you as a blessing instead of a punishment.

Remember: our knowledge is very limited. We human beings have created skyscrapers, artificial intelligence, and all that. But we still know virtually nothing about the dimension we are in.

This is why the multiverse, simulation theory, string theory, etc. are called theories.

We are tiny, tiny creatures with only five senses, who think they know everything yet the more they discover, the more they realize they don’t know that they don’t know.

And don’t get me wrong — one day we may reach the ultimate truth, the most perfect, most complete understanding of life and the universe.

But for now, we need to make peace with the fact that we don’t know.

Life may be the most wonderful blessing, yet you may think it’s a punishment, because you don’t know.

It doesn’t matter if life is a punishment

To sum it up: choose to believe in what makes you happy. Focus your energy on the thoughts that are accurate and helpful.

There is no reason to nurture thoughts that are accurate and unhelpful. Your mind may find these thoughts fascinating, but it’s a trap.

Life is whatever you believe it is. It’s a choice.

When you choose to see life as a punishment, as a meaningless series of painful events, how do you feel? Does that help you in any way?

It doesn’t. It’s a belief that does absolutely nothing, at best. And that makes you miserable, at worst.

By the way: everything you’ve read so far comes from someone who used to struggle with severe depression and anxiety.

I used to have all these negative thoughts, and then find a way to prove they were right. That’s what messed me up.

Then I gradually learned that I could choose to see things differently because my old attitude, my old outlook in life did nothing for me.

So, again: create your own meaning, the purpose of your own life — and make it positive.

It’s that simple.