First, the Christian life is hard; sometimes agonizing. We shouldn’t be surprised (1 Peter 4:12). It’s hard because denying our fallen selves is hard. Any death is hard, some much more than others. But it’s designed to be that way. Our lives are our most precious earthly possession. Nothing displays the worth of Jesus more than our willingness to give away our lives (in small and large ways) for his sake.
Second, the only things that Jesus asks us to deny ourselves of are what will rob us of eternal joy. Like Moses in Hebrews 11:25-26, we are called to deny ourselves the passing pleasures of sin and consider the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the world’s treasures. How? By looking to the reward!