8 Reasons (And Solutions) Why Nothing Seems To Make You Happy
Do you ever get the sense you should be happier? Perhaps your existence looks pretty good on the outside, but inside you’re feeling doubtful, flat or uneasy.
Here are eight reasons why nothing seems to make you feel as good as you’d like to, along with solutions that will help you move towards a more joyful life.
1. An Unrealistic Conception Of Happiness
If you have a great car but constantly yearn for a better one, look your best but always think there’s major room for improvement, or have a loving relationship but focus on the person’s flaws, chances are that you’ve bought into someone else’s idea of happiness.
Solution: Your ideas probably come from movies or what you imagine it’s like to be rich and famous. However, celebrity culture is airbrushed and designed to sell products. You need to think beyond money, status and appearance and look deeper—what would really make you happier?
2. Still “Being” In High School
If you’ve got a habit of competing with the neighbors or feel the need to have certain things just because your peers have them, you’re still thinking like a high school student. It’s natural to feel pressure to keep up with others and to want to “belong.” But it can also lead you to stay stuck in feelings of rejection and inferiority from high school.
Solution: Try to identify with a different peer group that’s relevant to your goals and your adult life—one that cares more about making a difference than out material objects. This will help you move away from your adolescent self-conception and teach you to derive happiness from giving back to the world.
3. Lack of Deep Connections
If you dream of sharing your deepest feelings and thoughts with someone, and if you’ve got massive social networks on Facebook and Instagram but somehow feel lonely, your unhappiness likely stems from a lack of real connections with others. Many other people feel just like you do, but are waiting for someone else to make the move into vulnerability first.
Solution: Go out and deepen connections! Invite acquaintances to lunch or coffee and get to know them better, and ask real questions about what they want, care about, and set as goals. You might also consider attending clubs or groups of people who share some of your interests, and go from there.
4. Past Demons
If you have a difficult past of low self-esteem and always feel like you’ve got something to prove, it’s hard to be happy—you have a drive to be validated, but an underlying belief that you never can be.
Solution: See where your need for success comes from in your past, and work to update your limiting beliefs so they actually reflect the real worth and value you’ve proven you have. Once you can accept that you are good enough, your capacity for happiness will increase enormously.
5. An Emotional Prison
If you feel like it’s weak to ask for help, you can easily end up overwhelmed by intense emotions. In that situation, no amount of fancy possessions or professional accolades will be enough to make you happy, as your burden is simply too heavy.
Solution: Accept that when you refuse to get help with difficult feelings, you’re only hurting yourself and undermining both your mental and physical health. See a therapist, talk to your doctor, or—at the very least—confide in someone you trust. When you learn to build and use a support network, the world can feel so much more pleasurable and safe.
6. Struggle With Addiction
If you’re doing something to excess, whether it’s working, drinking, exercising, gambling, eating or looking for sex, you’re at risk of having an addiction that stops you from being truly happy.
Solution: Addictions are usually protective mechanism that allow you to regulate uncomfortable feelings without really having to process them. Look for a life coach or a therapist who specializes in addictive behaviors and can help you both understand how these behaviors evolved and how to find healthy alternatives.
7. “Chasing” Happiness
Do you always have the sense that if you achieve or do just one more thing then you’ll finally be happy? It might be more money, a different home, a new partner or greater weight loss that drives you, but regardless of what it is, you’re fooling yourself if you think meeting that one more goal will bring you peace. Any enhanced mood will be temporary.
Solution: Find out what events from your past are keeping you stuck in unhappiness. Why do you need external factors to make you happy? Look for ways to find joy within, and make an effort to learn how to enjoy simpler pleasures.
8. Inability to Offer Yourself Unconditional Love
Finally, if you can’t look at yourself in the mirror and feel love and acceptance, it’s little wonder that nothing seems to make you happy. The way you see yourself has a huge role to play in determining what you attract, and if you engage in negative self-talk (e.g. “I’m ugly” or “I’ll never be as smart as they are) then you simply cannot attract true happiness.
Solution: The most important thing you can do is to attack negativity at its source—find out where your internal wounds come from, acknowledge them, and work to heal them. Repeatedly offer yourself compassion and love by practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries with others, and reminding yourself that you don’t need to be perfect—you just need to be good enough.