“I hate my life” – perhaps you’ve uttered this when you spill your coffee on your way to an important meeting or when you find yourself stuck in traffic, but what happens when you actually mean it? What can you do when waking up every morning starts to feel like a chore and not a gift? Because, let’s be honest, life is hard a lot of the time. But it can also be beautiful, joyous, and exciting. So how do you learn to let go of the anger, pain, and frustration and focus on the positives?
Understanding Why You Hate Your Life
The first step is to take an honest look at why you feel the way you do. You might be unhappy with your life because it doesn’t fully align with your values. Values dictate what you want for your life. Most people want to live in ways that bring meaning and contentment. When you are not content, you can often compare yourself to others or set expectations of life and yourself that are unrealistic. When you live outside of your values, you may feel sad, frustrated, or easily overwhelmed, which can lead to anxiety and depression. These feelings can cause you to hate your life when you feel that there is nothing you can do to stop this pattern.
Chances are that you are not checking in with yourself enough – not only physically but emotionally and spiritually, as well. Often, when people are frustrated or unhappy with their current circumstances, they go into autopilot mode. When you live on autopilot, you may feel disconnected and that you are just going through the motions. Feelings of disconnection can cause you to feel frustrated, discouraged, or lonely. It can also make the idea of reconnecting overwhelming. The idea of connection is scary because it means you must look at your choices, your feelings, your thoughts, and your behaviors, then recognize what is in your control.
How to Have a Happier Outlook on Life
The key is to start making changes, even if they are small ones. Moving forward is an active motion. First, start by asking, “Do I value this truly?” – not “Should I value this?” or “Do others value it?” – but “Do I value it?” If you do value something, then create a goal around this. Then within that goal, create one or two action items so as not to overwhelm yourself.
For example, if you value true connections with close friends, you will create a goal to contact friends more frequently. Your action item is to call one close friend once a week and try to see a close friend once a month.
Action items need to be small steps because they build on each other. If you create big, overarching goals, they can become daunting and can cause you to give up. With small action items, you can succeed, feel accomplished, and be able to take on the next step.
While there are tangible changes you can make in your daily routine to improve your life, sometimes, you may find yourself needing professional help. If you’re not sure whether you are down about life or suffering from greater mental issues, ask yourself, “Am I functioning and meeting the basics, such as daily hygiene, sleeping enough, eating enough?”
You can also look at the consequences of these symptoms. Are you missing work or school or avoiding loved ones? Lack of functionality can be a sign of greater mental health issues and signal that you should see a professional to explore this further. Seeking mental health treatment is beneficial for everyone. Just like we need doctors and health care for physical wellness, being seen by a mental health professional is good for mental wellness.
Once we start making action steps no matter how small, it can change our perspective. It can help us recognize what is in our control to stop hating our lives. It is the little by little changes that can lead us to the life we love and value.