Are you wondering why you are not happy? Sometimes life can feel miserable and difficult and hopeless. I know this all too well. Six years ago, my life completely fell apart and all I could think about was how it was over and would never be the same again.
I wondered how I would ever be happy again. I really didn’t think it was possible.
After a lot of inner work and mindset shifting, I’ve come to a place of peace and acceptance. I’ve been to therapy, read a bazillion books, and hired a life coach.
And what I’ve learned is that life doesn’t have to feel miserable and difficult and hopeless. I think there are three main reasons that I stayed stuck in this feeling for so long.
In this article, you will learn these 3 reasons why you are not happy feeling miserable in your life and what you can do to change that.
1. You’re Attached to the Way You Want Things to Be
“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.”Pema Chodron
One of my favourite authors, Pema Chodron, wrote that the reason for suffering is our attachment to comfort, or things being the way we want them to be or think they should be.
We run into trouble when things don’t work out how we want them to work out or when they don’t work out how we feel they “should” work out.
We’re attached to a certain outcome and when it doesn’t happen as we want it to, we experience discomfort in the form of emotions, stress, depression, anxiety, and the like.
Much of her work is about embracing that discomfort – leaning into it and trying to understand it with compassion.
If you are willing to lean in and understand your pain and move toward it, that’s really the key to being able to let it go, and thus, be happier.
Resisting pain or discomfort really only makes it feel worse.
2. You Get “Hooked” By Your Emotions
The thoughts we have about a particular circumstance drive the emotions we experience, and those emotions determine our actions and ultimately the results we get.
When we are attached to a certain outcome and things don’t go our way, we are likely to have a negative thought about it and create storylines to support our thoughts, and this creates what we perceive as negative emotions.
When we get “hooked” by these emotions and go down the rabbit hole with them, we experience discomfort and pain.
For example, if your best friend doesn’t text you for a week when normally you check in every couple of days, you might create a “story” that you must have done something wrong.
You might feel stressed, anxious, worried, or angry. You don’t know the real reason for her not texting you, yet you let these feelings spiral, getting worse with each passing day.
Your emotions have “hooked” you. They are taking you down a rabbit hole that you don’t need to go down.
If you were to choose a different thought, such as “I know she had a busy week at work. Maybe I’ll check in to see what’s up”, you didn’t get hooked by your emotions and your outcome would be entirely different.
3. You’re Not Practicing Mindfulness
Mindfulness is about a lot more than meditation.
It’s really about the ability to be present in the moment and have awareness of what is going on inside you and around you.
The emotions we get hooked by start with a thought that is very likely an “autopilot” thought. A default thought that we have just because it’s been our go-to for a very long time. When we are not present with the NOW, we easily attach to those default thoughts because we don’t have the awareness that they are happening. And because we don’t realize we are inadvertently choosing those unhelpful thoughts, we are not able to consciously choose a different, more helpful thought.
So much about happiness is mindset, and mindset really starts with mindfulness.
Your mindset is determined by the beliefs you have about yourself and the world and, to take it a step further, the thoughts you choose, whether inadvertently or consciously. If you can learn to be aware of your thoughts in the moment, you can choose more helpful thoughts and thus create a different, happier outcome for yourself.
So how do you solve the three things that are keeping you miserable?