“I hate my life”
Have you been telling yourself this lately?
Life is undoubtedly tough. And when a dark cloud has settled over us, it can feel very isolating.
But the truth is this:
You’re not alone.
According to research, 16.2 million adults in the United States—equaling 6.7 percent of all adults in the country—have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year.
We all have moments of struggle and despair. Even Buddha said that “pain is inevitable”.
Yes, some people have a much harder life than others. But everyone experiences tribulations.
But however hopeless and worthless you feel now, things can change.
We can learn the tools and techniques to help us emerge from some of the worst moments in life.
It’s been done before, and this will continue to be the case in the future.
According to 35 years of research from Dr. Salvatore at the Hardiness Institute, how well we do in life has nothing to do with money or how many tough circumstances we face.
Instead, it has to do with our emotionally resilient we are.
The best bit?
We can all learn to become more resilient.
With our mindset, we can change how we see the world. We can change how we view our pain and we can create a life focused on meaning and purpose.
So to stop yourself from saying “I hate my life”, and instead, create a life you love, check out the below 7 tips.
[Before I get started, I want to let you know about a new personal responsibility workshop I’ve helped to create. I know that life isn’t always kind or fair. But courage, perseverance, honesty — and above all else taking responsibility — are the only ways to overcome the challenges that life throws at us. Check out the workshop here. If you want to seize control of your life, then this is the online resource you need].
1) Whose life are you living?
Many people who say “I hate my life” aren’t following their desired path.
Instead, they’re carrying out a life that they think they “should” live based on society or family expectations.
But in order to create a life we love, we need to think about what we really want to do, outside of influences from society or family.
Because the truth is this:
Life can become pretty limiting when you’re expected to conform to a small box of expectations.
So, the question is: How can we distinguish our true wants and desires from outside influences?
Some people seem to be born with a defined sense of life purpose.
But for most of us, we’re not so lucky.
Many people go on this never-ending search for purpose, but they never get anywhere.
Because it’s assumed that purpose is something that exists in the future that we need to strive towards.
But life is never that simple.
Instead, our purpose should come from our values and how we want to live life. It’s not somewhere to get to.
When you think of your purpose in this way, it becomes more achievable. You’ll enjoy life a lot more as well.
According to Ideapod, to figure out what you really to do with life, ask yourself these 8 weird questions:
1) What were you passionate about as a child?
2) If you didn’t have a job, how would you choose to fill your hours?
3) What makes you forget about the world around you?
4) What issues do you hold close to your heart?
5) Who do you spend time with and what do you talk about?
6) What is on your bucket list?
7) If you had a dream, could you make it happen?
8) What are the feelings you desire right now?
Once you figure out your purpose and how you want to live life, write down what actions you need to take each day.
Remember, it’s through our habits and actions every day that will create change in the long-term.
(Taking responsibility is the most important attribute you can possess in life. Check out our no-nonsense guide to taking responsibility here).
2) Face Your Inner Critic
No matter who you are, there’s one thing that remains true:
You are your worst critic.
It’s not your strict college professor or your overbearing boss — and not even that popular, snobbish group in your class or office.
Because whatever others have to say, it’s up to you whether you believe them or not.
And do you know what’s worse?
You can feel bad without others making mean comments.
The inner critic is more than capable of doing this. Because once you’re all alone in your room, there is silence. It’s the perfect time for negative thoughts to enter and crowd your mind.
Your inner critic is why you want TV noise in the background or a random Spotify playlist on loop.
So, how do you combat something that’s part of you?
There are two ways:
First, let other voices speak.
Sure, this one inner critic is telling you how worthless life is and that there’s nothing you can do about it.
But so what?
There are other parts in your subconscious that see you in a much better light. While your inner critic scoffs at you for graduating without honors, these voices see graduating itself as a worthy milestone.
You are a complex being.
Thus, you should be able to look at yourself in a multitude of ways. For every harsh critic, there’s someone else cheering for you, ready to give a standing ovation.
Second, treat it as a possible ally.
Because some inner voices do have a grain of truth in their remarks — the problem is that they’re too harsh in their approach.
Here’s what you have to do:
1) Take note of what your inner voice complains about the most.
2) Relax, take a deep breath, and lie down.
3) Identify if there is an actual reason for you to say “I hate my life!” all the time.
4) If there’s none, dismiss your inner critic; if there is, make a plan.
5) Take one step at a time in achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself.
So even if you can’t be the best of friends with your inner critic, you can learn something from it.
3) Give Your Time to Others
Self-esteem is an important concept.
To be fair, it’s simply about you evaluate your own self.
And yet, whether you have high or low self-esteem depends on factors that differ from one person to another — it’s a complex, psychological matter.
Your self-esteem is what can make you go from saying “This is the life!” to screaming “Everything is terrible and I hate my life!”
But how can you maintain a healthy self-esteem?
The answer lies in shifting how you evaluate your worth.
“What are the things that make me feel good about myself?”
Your answers might include one or all of these:
– Your looks
– Your talent and skills
– Your successes in life, from medals and trophies to that coveted job promotion
There’s nothing inherently wrong in valuing these aspects. You should be proud of your wit and good physical health, and it’s nice to celebrate success every once in a while.
But there’s a catch:
These are either ethereal factors or things that lose value in the long run.
Like everyone else, you will grow old.
You will inevitably become weaker and develop wrinkles. You will have problems with memory and performance as you age.
Your achievements won’t always look as grand and life-affirming as the moment you got them.
If you want to move on from thinking “I hate my life” all the time, you must change your source of confidence and happiness.
What should you do?
Be a good person to other people. Sometimes we can hate the world so much that we tell ourselves that we “hate people”, but that’s not really the truth.
This way, you see yourself in others — it’s no longer just about your looks or trophies.
You see, the wisdom, knowledge, and time you share never lose their value. In fact, they become priceless as more and more people benefit from your acts of kindness.
Remember these powerful lines:
“Be the person you want to meet.”
“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”
And best of all:
“Be the person you needed when you were younger.”
4) Open Up to Your Loved Ones
Let’s be honest:
We can’t survive without other people.
Good and loving people, to be precise.
So if you’re thinking “I hate my life!” once again, consider this:
Maybe you need to see yourself through someone else’s eyes — someone who isn’t afraid to compete with your inner critic and is wholly honest in evaluating you.
But what if their opinions don’t cheer you up?
Well, sometimes that’s not the point.
For some, what matters is that you don’t just keep all the negativity to yourself. It’s not advisable to always vent your frustrations to others, but there’s no harm in having a shoulder to cry on every once in a while.
You might even be surprised at what your friend or significant other will say:
“You’re not a terrible writer. You were our editor-in-chief all throughout college, remember?”
“Honey, you’re doing fine. You have your whole life ahead of you.”
Or even this:
“I hate my life as well, but I’m happy to tell you that I’m slowly but surely feeling better about myself. And if I can do it, so can you!”
In case you don’t have others to talk to about serious matters, consider getting a therapist or becoming part of a support group.
5) Take Good Care of Yourself
Does this seem too obvious?
Yes, but remember:
Self-care and self-love were hardly ever part of daily, public conversations until recently. Now, many people have come to understand that there’s value in prioritizing oneself.
Your physical, mental, and emotional well-being are connected with each other.
Exercise and good nutrition do matter. When you take a jog or do yoga in the morning, don’t you feel motivated and happy right after?
That’s because of serotonin — the happy chemical.
Serotonin is released and its amount increases when you exercise or meditate.
Even being out in the sun for a few minutes gives you more serotonin.
You can get also more of it if you eat the right food:
– Pineapple, eggs, and tofu are rich in tryptophan
– Avocado, almonds, quinoa, and spinach have magnesium that helps convert tryptophan to serotonin
– Sweet potatoes and whole grains help your body release serotonin
In addition, do more of the things you love:
– Get that massage you’ve always wanted after weeks of working overtime
– Take a long, warm bath and have jazz music playing in the background
– Eat that slice of chocolate cake
– Watch a movie or two
Point is, being active and enjoying life do help in making you think less of “I hate my life!” and more of “Wow, there are so many things in life that make me happy — life is actually good.”
6) Let Go of People That Hold You Back
One of the biggest influences on our lives are the people we hang out with.
You may not know it, but sometimes we’re hanging out with toxic people that are bringing us down.
According to life hacking expert Tim Ferriss: “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
If you’re surrounding yourself with people that are negative, it’s no wonder you’re not happy.
You’ll live a more successful and fulfilling life if you choose to hang out with people who are positive and uplifting.
The question is: How do you work out who you should actually spend time with?
It’s simple. Ask yourself these 2 questions:
1) Do they make you feel better after you spend time with them?
2) Do they help you feel more optimistic and positive about life?
If you answer yes to these questions, then make an effort to spend time with them. The positivity will rub off on you.
If you keep hanging out with toxic people who put you down, you’re not going to benefit.
In fact, you’ll waste time and won’t realize your potential.
According to a 75-year Harvard study, our closest relationships have a huge impact on overall happiness in life.
7) Stop Chasing Happiness With Outside Attachments
Most of us believe that happiness comes from making more money or buying a shiny new iPhone.
While it’s true that we experience a small amount of joy when these things happen, it won’t last long. And once the joy is gone, we fall back into the cycle of wanting that high again.
In short, we never feel satisfied or fulfilled.
In fact, in a simple, but profound quote below, Thich Nhat Hanh says that true happiness is based on inner peace and not focusing on the negative.
“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
Thich Nhat Hanh says that acceptance is an important part of being peaceful. Yet, in western society, too many people try to change themselves for other people.
However, this is futile to our own inner peace and happiness:
“To be beautiful means to be yourself.You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. When you are born a lotus flower, be a beautiful lotus flower, don’t try to be a magnolia flower. If you crave acceptance and recognition and try to change yourself to fit what other people want you to be, you will suffer all your life. True happiness and true power lie in understanding yourself, accepting yourself, having confidence in yourself.”
Thich Nhat Hanh says that to achieve acceptance, we need to start embracing the present moment and the beautiful miracles that exist around us:
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love…Around us, life bursts with miracles–a glass of water, a ray of sunshine, a leaf, a caterpillar, a flower, laughter, raindrops. If you live in awareness, it is easy to see miracles everywhere. Each human being is a multiplicity of miracles. Eyes that see thousands of colors, shapes, and forms; ears that hear a bee flying or a thunderclap; a brain that ponders a speck of dust as easily as the entire cosmos; a heart that beats in rhythm with the heartbeat of all beings. When we are tired and feel discouraged by life’s daily struggles, we may not notice these miracles, but they are always there.”
Why ‘I Hate My Life’ Isn’t a Permanent Belief
It’s hard to live a life of uncertainty, especially when it seems that the odds aren’t ever in your favor.
But take this to heart:
There is always hope.
This hope may not present itself in the most obvious of ways, and you might have been feeling bad about yourself for months, or even years — but that’s not going to be the case forever.
The catalyst for change in how you value yourself can be one of many things.
Or, it could even be the sum of several:
Perhaps change starts when you open up to an understanding friend, or to a therapist who’s more than willing to tackle your inner critic.
Maybe you will appreciate life more once you allocate time for your hobbies again:
– Read a book
– Paint a familiar landscape
– Play a nostalgic video game
– Prepare a new dish every Friday night
And of course, being of service to others is always a fulfilling thing that keeps on giving.
The next time you are troubled with thoughts of “I hate my life” and the like, remember:
It’s all in your head — you are not alone.
Life isn’t all about the bad things.
And lastly, it’s never too late to seek help and to strive to see yourself in a better light.
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