Wednesday , March 6 2024
Why Unhappy
Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Here’s Why You’re Unhappy and How To Do Something About It

Have you ever thought about why you’re unhappy?

I’ve thought about this for quite some time, but it’s only lately that I wrote my thoughts about it.

We can be unhappy for all sorts of reasons but usually, it’s because we (or our mind) think there is a gap between our ideal state and what is actually true at the moment, and we want to close that gap.

That means our mind is comparing our present self with something or with someone else. There are three ways this can happen:

  1. comparing ourselves to others
  2. comparing ourselves with a happier version of ourselves in the past
  3. comparing ourselves with a successful version of ourselves in the future

What’s being compared (e.g. wealth, intelligence, attractiveness, relationship, etc.) is not crucial here, the crucial thing is that there’s some sort of comparison happening, and there’s the longing to be in someplace else.

Training Your Mind To Live In the Moment

Now, that we know that the root cause of your unhappiness is because you’ve been comparing yourself with an imaginary entity, how can we fix this?

The easiest way I know is to train your mind to be more mindful and present with the task at hand.

The mind likes to compare and create imaginary problems related to the past and the future. You can only combat this tendency when you lead your mind to focus on the present.

For example, if you’re exercising, just focus on the task of exercising.

“It’s difficult.” No sh*t. Of course, it is.

But try not to think of anything else, think, “I’m running, running, running. Running is difficult now, but it’s good for my body, and I’ll learn to enjoy it eventually. I can feel my body getting stronger with each stride. I’m running, running, running.”

It’ll just take a few minutes of your time. Relish the pain of it.

If you’re with your wife(or husband), don’t think of anything else. Focus on her and what she’s saying. Listen to what she’s telling you. Be present and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with your loved one.

If you’re at work, then do the work and relish the opportunity of working. Not a lot of people get to work like you. Be grateful and do some good work now while you’re at it.

What’s the point of all these?

Can’t you see? By focusing on what’s in front of you, your mind won’t have time to think of something else — like worrying about the future or regretting the past or anything of that sort.

If you don’t nudge it to the present it will take you places where it consumes you — the mind likes to worry and ruminate, especially when you’re idle.

The only way you can fix that is through action and asking your mind to help you with it. After you start doing things, the mind tends to follow along.

To hammer this down, the next section shows you the mindset you need to escape the rut and stay living in the moment:

Define your Personal Values

Comparing yourself with others means you don’t have a strong personal point of reference.

That’s because your values are not clear.

Since your values are not clear, your life vision isn’t clear. Consequently, it’s difficult to set a life goal that way. Having no goal is like having no direction — anywhere is good.

No wonder, you get easily distracted by other people’s ‘performance.’

To fix this, you’ll need to get your values clear, baby.

What do you believe in? What’s the most important idea to you? What are your criteria for a successful life? Those are your values.

If you can get that clear, you won’t need to compare your life to other people’s performance — you now got your values to do that for you.

I wrote a short Ebook on how to easily set your life goals (based on the concept of Ikigai). It covers values, life vision, principles, and much more. You can download it here.

Being Grateful

When you think of things in front of you, always approach everything through the lens of gratitude.

Not a lot of people get to do what you’re able to do. The fact that you’re worrying means that you have time to worry — some people don’t even have time to rest to afford worrying.

For example, if you hate your current job, you can divert your frustration by working on yourself on the side. So instead of thinking, “I hate my job.” try to frame it like, “I’m grateful I have a job now, I get to live decently while I work on myself to find a better opportunity.”

This fuels your motivation to improve instead of just hating the world.

Enjoying the Moment

I don’t know how many times I proved to myself that the key to most of my success in life was taking my time to learn and enjoy every step of the way-even the pain and the struggles.

I try to relish the pain so that I’d know how it feels like to be really alive. I’ve tried taking ice cold shower and experienced that “burning” coldness piercing every inch of my body.

What’s the point of it? Experiencing all sorts of discomfort can be a source of growth, strength, and resilience.

Try it for yourself. Lift weights and try to push yourself to your limits. After the workout, you’ll find that any challenges that go your way would all seem like a piece of cake.

Your Journey is Different

No two journeys are the same, so there’s no point in comparing yourself with others. You can always take hints and lessons from other people’s journeys but don’t think their journey is better than yours.

It’s never about being better, it’s about learning and sharing what works.

Don’t think of other people’s wins as your loss. If you see someone raking in the profits or having the time of their life, don’t feel miserable with yourself — that’s a scarcity mindset.

Remember, you’ve got your own journey and your own wins, focus on those and you’ll be happy with where you are now.

Start Small and Find Joy in the Little Things

The problem when we want to start something is that we want to rush things. We want to be BIG as soon as possible.

So because we’re so focused on getting there as fast as possible, we want to hack the system, and we tend to cut corners.

The problem, however, is that there is no hack. You have to start small from the beginning and work your way up. There may be tools out there that can help you speed up the process, but you still need to master the basics.

Starting small means learning the basics and mastering every important part of your project.

When you start small, you’ll understand that most of the real joys in life are actually the small things — learning how things work, the fundamentals, and how everything relates to each other.

Final Thoughts

Try to catch yourself when you’re feeling unhappy.

Usually, you’ll find your mind is busy ruminating about the past, being anxious about the future, or in comparison bouts with some random people.

Bring back your thoughts to what’s in front of you. Start working on what you’re supposed to be doing at that moment. Be mindful, be present, and try to “experience” the moment.

You’ll soon find that you’ve neutralized the feeling of unhappiness by doing the day’s work and just by experiencing the uniqueness of your own journey.

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