Why you’re unhappy – The pretext
At the risk of talking about something controversial, I’m going to put myself out there and say that most people don’t have much happiness in their own little worlds right now. No matter how many beautiful selfies, self serving facebook statuses, and putting a brave face on for the world can convince me otherwise. I know why you’re unhappy. See. I’m professionally trained to take note of these things; I know the little signals to look for. The facial expressions that no-one else spots, the way a person holds themselves, the way in which a person addresses me; you won’t actually believe how many ways there are to spot bullshit if you know what to look out for.
Anyway, that’s beside the point. I just know that not many people are happy within their own skin right now. Call it professional intuition. Being happy isn’t about what you own, what you’ve done, or how you go about doing it. Happiness is not something you take from the world, and unlike what the Ads tell you on TV it’s certainly not a new facial moisturiser or a beer brand.
Happiness is the way in which we perceive ‘ourselves’
Strange thought that right? That we create our own happiness inside ourselves? You must have seen it on Facebook shared by one of your friends somewhere that why you’re not happy and that happiness comes from within. Did they get it? I mean did they ‘reaaally’ understand it? People share nice quotes all the time without understanding the deeper meaning of such quotes. Happiness is something we aspire to as we right all the wrongs that constantly play on our minds through a lifetime of making mistakes and not learning from them.
Mistakes of the past
Take me for example. One terrible mistake I had made when I was younger was causing me serious undue stress as a constant. I mean at least once a week I would be ritually beating myself up and giving myself a hard time for the act. This had an impact on a lot of my personal and business life. I eventually faced up to it in the end and apologised to those that I thought needed one, and tried to right that wrong. And then I moved on from it. I forgave myself.
Sometimes it’s impossible to right those wrongs because the person is either dead, uncontactable, or just unwilling to forgive you. It’s happened to me a few times, but knowing in myself that I’ve done as much as I could possibly do to rectify it was enough to be able to move on and forgive myself. Don’t let others affect why you’re unhappy
So I know how hard the journey can be. But humour me, let’s give this a try.
You have no hobbies
Hobbies bring me seriously rewarding awesomeness to my brain receptors. I’m an artist and I love most forms of art. At least once a day I give myself a good two hours of personal time to create and inspire. For me that can be anything from writing to creating videos. It may be my job to create and inspire but it’s definitely also my hobby. Sometimes they both interlink; I’ve found out something new and I want to take it to my website or email list to share with other people.
You don’t need to be an artist though to find out why you’re unhappy, and get some serious enjoyment out of hobbies. I have a friend that can afford to travel, and travels lots he does. I have another friend that loves cars and spends his days tuning up his cars and watching motorsport. Some of my lady friends like reading, boxing, needlework, and scrabbooking, others like baking (I do too!). There are just a serious amount of hobbies that you can get stuck into that will bring serious enjoyment to your pleasure receptors. Oh, and before you ask, drinking, smoking, and/or gambling aren’t hobbies so don’t even think that they are.
Confused? Here’s a definitive list.
Remember, it’s not all about giving up after the first try. Hobbies are like opinions, yours aren’t necessarily going to be like the next persons. And you may not like the first one that you try. I was super excited when I first tried astronomy, super deflated when I found out it wasn’t for me. But you know, there are a ton of others to try! Don’t get caught up in failure, learning why you’re unhappy is a get up after you’ve been deflated, again, and again, experience.
Get a hobby, it will help finding what you like and what you don’t like.
You don’t get out and about and talk to people
One thing I hated about getting older is that my friend circle became smaller. It’s not that it purposely went that way, it’s just that people get partnered up and drifted away out of contact from me. As a single lad at the time I found myself hanging with younger and younger people because my older friends had too much responsibilities than to go out partying or walking with me.
Chances are that if you’re single and in the house alone most of the time you’ll be pretty lonesome, and it will be a HUGE contributor as to why you’re unhappy, and don’t think social media is a great substitute for one minute. I’ve heard people say that they feel the most connected to friends they’ve ever been yet the most distant and lonely. There’s a reason for that. Humans were designed to thrive in communities where we communicated face to face. Over the screen does nothing for us. It’s our psychological and biological make up in the primal sense so I’ve heard. We feel better when in the physical presence of others.
I first started to break that trend by going on long walks after work. You don’t meet many people but there’s something about the clean, fresh air that did me really good. Through discovering new hobbies I found great clubs in the area to join and meet new people. Volunteering myself helped quite a bit with getting myself out there. Volunteering isn’t only for older people y’know! I really had fun discovering new avenues that I could turn my hand to, meeting new people, and most importantly it staved off the boredom.
You aren’t learning
Ever heard of lifelong learning? Yep. That’s definitely a thing. If you aren’t constantly learning from every encounter you’ve had in life then I suggest you look into starting this. You may also find it a core learning point to find out why you’re unhappy. It’s healthy, and it helps you better your mind for next time. Did you know that I make a point to learn something at least once a day? I keep up to date with all the free learning courses going begging and I always spend a good two hours or so a week researching something new.
Ever feel like you were destined for more but don’t know how to go about doing it? This was my life in a nutshell. When I found out that I liked learning and finally reached the point where I believed in myself that I *could* actually do it; I was away! Gone, zoom! Off on an amazing journey of self enlightenment.
I know through experience that if you aren’t learning then your mind gets lazy, and it zones out. I can’t say switch off, because it’s always there in the background, but a good way to describe it would be zoning out from everything. I know the difference now between being extremely switched on, to being clueless and indifferent – I have been through all these states before.
Think of the mind as a muscle. The more you stretch it and take it out of it’s comfort zone, the more it learns and grows. Or you could do nothing, and it just stays the same. I talk about my great awakening from being an alcoholic – and how I realised I had learned absolutely zero since leaving school here.
You drink alcohol too much
Central to why you’re unhappy is alcohol; forget what you hear from your friends and read in the papers; there is a direct link between heavy alcohol consumption and depression, and it’s a vicious cycle. Alcohol is a depressant and too much of it can have you spiralling off into depression land. For me it was a cycle of doing silly stuff when I was drunk and hating myself afterwards, and then drinking again to squash the thoughts of self-hatred. But everyone has their own demons. Alcohol and depression shake hands together many times. It’s why alcohol is a depressant.
For me quitting alcohol was the best thing I ever did. I stopped panicking as much over small things, and dealing with life’s issues didn’t seem as bad anymore. No longer was I tempted to reach for a bottle when I was capable of dealing with life’s pressures myself.
You aren’t taking care of yourself
For so long I thought taking care of myself was to have a lemsip when I was ill and take myself to bed. I also thought taking care of myself was eating 3 meals a day, and that was about the extent of my knowledge. But actually, it’s SO much more than that. If I look back at my life up until I was 27, I did the stupidest of stuff. Like once I came into work on a hot summers day wearing a jumper, and later that year I went on a night out in the middle of winter in a t-shirt.
Taking care of yourself is going to the doctors when you need to. It’s seeing the right people that keep your body in check and working well. It’s keeping healthy and active. It’s not surrounding yourself in toxic soul destroying people. Taking care of yourself is realising that there’s only one of you and that many people rely on you and will miss you when you’re gone. Taking care of yourself is not putting toxins in your body and eating well, and researching what’s best for you all the time.
You think wanting something is selfish
A lady opened my eyes to this today actually. She’s my editor on the OTV Magazine, and I had a wow moment with her. I’ve always thought doing things for myself and being motivated by my own desires was wrong and selfish. But she made me realise that it’s not. We’re practically motivated at the core by our needs and desires. I don’t give selflessly for others, I do it because I want to feel like I made a difference to someones life. That makes ME feel good. To deny our own needs and desires is positively why you’re unhappy, don’t you think? I’d be unhappy if I wasn’t getting what I wanted from life.
Think about it for a moment.
I think it stems from unaware parents that taught us that wanting things for ourselves was a bad thing. It didn’t come from a bad place, only that they didn’t have the money, time or resources to go ahead and do it with us. We were a generation brought up like that. Watch out because I’m going to be reflecting about this in my next blog post.
Give in to your needs and desires. If you want to eat cake and bingewatch netflix then so be it. Who said it’s wrong? You didn’t, that’s all that matters, right? You deserve everything that you want (within reason) and it’s time you start focusing on how to get it. Start with small achievable goals. Stop asking why you’re unhappy, start focusing on what MAKES you happy.
You think happiness is a thing you buy, rent or get from someone else
This was one of my big flaws.
“If I just buy this I’ll be SO happy”
And then I’d purchase whatever brand of happiness someone sold me, but I’d never get real happiness. And it’d take another purchase to make me happy, for maybe a day or two.
It’s the age old carrot on the stick that marketers sell to you, and why everything is super successful at selling. They aren’t selling you the product. They are selling you the idea that you need it to be happy, that you aren’t happy already. And whilst this is an awesome reliable tactic, it’s also fundamentally breaking our society at the core.
It’s why you think you’ll only be happy when you find love – because dating websites have sold the notion to you that you NEED someone to be happy.
Happiness comes from within. Try a few on the list. I promise you the results will be humungously satisfying.