Unhappiness manifests in different ways.
There’s a sharp, pinching dissatisfaction. There’s a deep grief. There’s a hollow hopelessness. And then there’s that subtle “meh” feeling you can’t quite name, a lack of joy that trickles in the background of your days, almost too quiet to hear.
Are you secretly unhappy in life? If so, you may recognize these 9 feelings.
1) Everything you do seems kind of…meaningless
As the psychologist Viktor Frankl said, the most important thing you can do in life is to find your meaning – and pursue it.
Unfortunately, many people have not found theirs, and so they’re stuck in jobs they don’t enjoy just to be able to afford a life that consists of… well, being stuck in a job they don’t enjoy and the occasional downtime.
It sounds like a nightmare, right? Yet it’s what most of us go through on a daily basis.
The fact that it’s so common doesn’t mean it’s right, though. If your life seems kind of meaningless, it’s a sign you’re secretly unhappy in life.
What’s more, it’s also a sign you might be meant for something else, something that brings genuine joy into your life – if only you dare look for it.
2) You often wonder if there’s something better out there
And that brings us to the next point!
People who are happy with their lives rarely daydream about something else half the time.
Trust me, I know. As someone who’s experienced both – that is, general unhappiness with one’s life and a daily sense of satisfaction and peace – I can confidently say that daydreaming occurs very rarely when you’re actually happy.
That’s because you’re so busy living in the here and now that you don’t have the time to fantasize about a better future. You’re already experiencing something amazing. There’s no point in daydreaming when that happens.
If you often wonder if you’re meant for more or imagine yourself at a different place altogether, take it as a sign that your life as you live it now may not be your ultimate destination.
3) You feel like you’re not good enough to make your wildest dreams a reality
Your work day is over, and you’ve spent half of it dreaming about a better life again.
What’s holding you back?
No, I mean *really*. I don’t want to hear excuses or rationalizations. I want to hear the true reason.
For many people, the harsh truth is that they simply don’t think they’re good enough to achieve their dreams.
Sure, you’d like to have a thriving business and work as a digital nomad, but isn’t that for, like, extraordinary people?
Don’t you need some special skills or connections to make that dream a reality? Those things happen to special snowflakes on social media, not to people like you… right?
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
That successful woman posting photos from Bali? She was once at the exact same place in life as you are now. The only difference is that she decided she was good enough to do all those things.
And why wouldn’t you try it? You only live once. You might just as well give it a shot.
4) Uncertainty scares you and your comfort zone bores you
Well, it’s one thing to say “YOLO” and another thing to actually jump into your new life.
What if you try and fail? What if it all gets too much? What if you lose everything you’ve worked so hard for?
Questions upon questions keep you up at night, but at the same time, you also know that your comfort zone has become boring and dull, sucking the life out of you like a vampire.
You’re terrified of taking the leap, and you’re also terrified of staying stuck.
Yep, that’s a common feeling that people who are unhappy in life face. But you do know there’s only one solution, right?
If you stay stuck, you’ll remain unhappy. If you get out there and try, you have a chance at actually making your dreams come true.
One is a sure negative, while the latter gives you a way out. The choice is up to you.
5) You’re too “busy” to do what you truly enjoy
Okay, you want to change your life. But you can’t find the time! You’re just so busy that making time for a side hustle or writing a book seems impossible.
Well, it’s time to face the truth: if you don’t make the time, you’ll never get there. Therefore, the only solution is to carve out one hour of your day to actually do what you enjoy.
Otherwise, what’s the point? Were you sent to this planet just to grovel and complain before your time’s up?
Nah. You deserve more. “Busy” is relative. If your work starts at 9 AM and you’re too exhausted to write a book in the evening, get up one hour earlier.
I once listened to a podcast about a doctor who wrote her entire novel in a car during her lunch break. She’s now a full-time author. If you want to make the time, you will.
6) You’re waiting for motivation to spring upon you
Yet another sign you’re secretly unhappy in life is the complete lack of motivation you feel on a daily basis.
Even though you want to change things up, you simply can’t find it within yourself to start, and so you keep on waiting and waiting, thinking that motivation will spring upon you at some point in the future, and then you’ll finally manage to do it all.
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s not how motivation works. Oftentimes, motivation actually comes as a result of action rather than the other way around.
Let’s say you finally sit down to work on your business. After an hour, you feel very satisfied with yourself, and so you keep on going. Before you know it, four hours have passed by, and you now have a basis for your website.
Since your session was so productive, you feel more motivated to repeat the action tomorrow. *This* is what starts the cycle. Not some sudden strike of inspiration, but action.
I know you don’t feel like doing it, but give yourself ten minutes and try it anyway. The results may surprise you.
7) Your New Year’s Resolutions end up in the bin
No one sticks to their New Year’s Resolutions, right?
Well, not really. It entirely depends on what goals you set up for yourself.
And if you aim for the same goals year after year and never manage to get them right, it signals that you’re unhappy in some areas of your life but don’t know how to change that.
Instead of writing down resolutions (“I have resolved to do…”), set up goals (“I am taking active steps toward…”).
Then create goals that are realistic and achievable. You can follow the SMART template:
- Specific (“I will create an e-shop that sells household products and promote it on TikTok and Instagram”)
- Measurable (“I will know I have achieved my goal when I’ll have at least 100 sales”)
- Achievable (“I will keep things realistic and won’t expect to be a millionaire in a year”)
- Relevant (“This goal is suitable for me because I want to be a business owner and I love cleaning”)
- Time-bound (“I will set up monthly milestones to keep myself accountable and work on this business regularly”)
8) You crave escapism but aren’t fulfilled by it
Everything we’ve talked about so far is quite scary.
I mean, turning your whole life around? That’s no easy feat.
This is why many people give in to their fear and turn to escapism for help. Sure, you could follow your dreams every evening, but that idea seems so large and overwhelming that it feels safer to lose yourself in fictional stories on TV.
The issue is that watching TV every day doesn’t actually fulfill you in the long term. It scratches the itch, but you’ll ultimately feel empty and exhausted.
Escapism is a tool that lets you escape your problems, sure, but only for a while. They never truly disappear.
You might just as well face them.
9) You’re drifting through life with no one to anchor you
Before we part, we’ve got to talk about one final sign you’re secretly unhappy: loneliness.
Loneliness can be so overwhelming that its weight feels alarmingly crushing. But it can also be subtle, trailing you around like a ghost, only for you to turn around and see nothing there.
We all want to feel a sense of belonging.
And if your personal relationships don’t satisfy you, if you often find yourself drifting through life like a lone wolf with no pack… it’s time to form new friendships.
I mean it. Your relationships contribute to your well-being in more ways than I can count.
Don’t underestimate the power of friendship.