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Best Metaphors About Life And What They Really Mean

These metaphors about life can inspire you on how to best write your own story in life.

Metaphors are a figure of speech that makes one thing stand for another. They help us make sense of the world by using comparisons to explain abstract concepts through metaphors, similes, and analogies. 

In other words, metaphors provide meaning and understanding about life in a sense.

For metaphors are more than just words; they are a way of looking at the world. They help us make sense of our lives and find meaning and understanding in our experiences.

Let’s take a look at some metaphors about life that can help you understand yourself, others, and even the universe!

Why metaphors are important for life?

Metaphors are important for our lives because they allow us to make connections between abstract or mundane concepts, help us understand an experience that we share with others.

When people find metaphors for their own life’s purpose, it is much easier for them to feel the meaning in what they do and achieve a sense of fulfillment.

This results in a life that is more meaningful and purposeful, and feeling this sense of meaning keeps people happy.

Examples of Popular Metaphors About Life

Life is a journey composed of both successes and failures; just as roses have both petals and thorns.

This metaphor means that life is made up of both good aspects that one needs to cherish (petals), but also difficult parts that one needs to accept (thorns). Thus, just as roses have both petals and thorns, life has both upsides and downsides.

Life is like a box full of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get. – Forrest Gump

From this example, we learn that it’s impossible to predict what life would throw at us next, just like how we don’t know or can anticipate what’s inside a box of chocolates.

This means that we should always be prepared for the worst and have the mindset that we can never get any of what you want, every time.

So whenever you’re feeling down or hopeless, just remember the adage “life is like a box of chocolates”. You’ll feel better knowing that things aren’t always bad; you just have to be more positive and accept that anything can happen.

“When Life Gives You Lemons…make lemonade.”

Life gives us a lot of lemons which we may want to throw at someone, but instead we should make lemonade.

The phrase means that whenever life gives you lemons (problems), don’t just face them with a sour face.

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This is a great metaphor for our daily lives, as there are so many “problems” we may encounter.

We can either choose to accept the problems and feel negative about it, or simply look at how we can make lemonade out of it.

By changing our attitude, it becomes easier for us to work with what life throws at us!  

Life is a journey, not a destination. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The saying means that no matter where you are now, rather than focusing and worrying about the destination, just be happy with every step you make towards progress and your goals. The journey is all the fun, not the destination.

It is not length of life, but depth of life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

This means that what matters is not how long we live, but how well we live. Our lives are like a constant motion. We are always doing something, whether it’s work or hobbies.

So, we should strive to live our lives “deeply” by experiencing more things (we can always learn something which may help us in the future).

Life is not about finding yourself; life is about creating yourself. – George Bernard Shaw

This metaphor means that we all have the ability to create ourselves and become whatever we want to be. We should not let our life shape by others’ expectations, but instead, we should live the life that we want to live with no regrets.

Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep. – Carl Sandburg

onion metaphor about life

Since an onion has layers, so does life. The metaphor compares both life and onions to be fickle, volatile affairs.

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Life moves from one layer of existence to the next as we peel away new experiences; often times these peels are accompanied by tears along the way.

The key to getting through life is to look upon each experience as a new layer that can shed light on the inner workings of what it means to be alive.

Try to remember that the layers of both life and an onion may make you cry, but the tears are necessary sometimes.

It means that you’re living and growing with each new experience or layer.

The quality of our lives is like a rainbow; we need both ends to see its full spectrum. – Martha Beck

The rainbow metaphor comes from the saying that if we cannot appreciate both the rain and sun, then we will be unable to truly enjoy the rainbow.

In life, we need to have our lows (rain) in order for us to appreciate and understand our highs (sun).

Our lives become richer when we have both ends of the spectrum present, and if we never experience the darker moments in life, we’ll never know how to fully appreciate the sunshine.

Life is like a book: each day is a new chapter, and people are the different characters. – Unknown

A book is a compilation of different elements, words, metaphors and characters. A journey through the pages of a book can be enjoyable because it engages our imagination, taking us on an adventure with each turn of the page.

Life essentially works this way as well; we start each day in our own life story that often unfolds before we know it.

We are the main characters with our own personalities and stories to tell, and we can learn many things about ourselves and others from the metaphors used throughout our daily lives.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. – English Proverb

This essentially means that everyone has different views on what is valuable. This focuses on finding value in things that others may think to be worthless.

A person who can appreciate things that others don’t even notice (like a flower) will know how to see beauty in everything around them.

Metaphors like these help us to realize that what we think to be valuable or meaningful is often not as important as we may think.

Other Interesting Metaphors About Life

Life is like a mirror

Reflect well, and you will be happy in the end.

Life is like riding a bicycle

To keep your balance, you must keep moving. This means that if we want happiness in our lives, we need to stop thinking of the past and move forward; otherwise we’ll never be able to find what we’re looking for.

Life is like surfing

It’s not about how many waves you catch, but the grace with which you ride them. To live happily ever after, we don’t need to go after every opportunity that comes our way, we just have to use the opportunities presented by life in a graceful manner.

Life is like eating an elephant

One bite at a time. As the saying goes “the longest journey begins with a single step.”

We should not let our goals overwhelm us, and focus on taking small steps towards achieving them every day instead!

Life is like a fork in the road

Because we can always choose a different path if one thing doesn’t work out as expected.

Just because something didn’t turn out one way doesn’t mean it won’t work out well using a different method.

Life is like a roller coaster

It’s not about how you start your life, it’s all the ups and downs you have to navigate throughout that make life interesting!

Life is like the ocean

There are times when it’s rough, but overall it has a softness to it that helps us grow. Life may be filled with struggles and problems, but they will make us stronger in time as long as you don’t give up on yourself!

Perfection is an imagination.

We’ll never be perfect, but life is about improving ourselves constantly to reach our full potential.

In the end, we will find peace with who we truly are and find happiness in that, as imperfect beings living in an imperfect world!

What other metaphors have you used before?

No matter how you look at it, metaphors are a powerful way to understand life. They can help us to find meaning and purpose, as well as appreciate the beauty of every day.

The metaphors about life are endless, but these few examples in today’s post should provide you with some inspiration along your own personal journey.

When you look at life through metaphors, you’ll learn to appreciate the small things more often. Let us know which of these were your favorites in the comments below.

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