I compare myself to other people. When I see how successful others are, I feel bad not having that kind of success. I want it badly. I want to be famous and rich. Why can’t I be like them?
I always play as the victim. Look. I don’t have a decent job because I don’t have a college degree. I don’t have money I was born into a poor family. I don’t have any success, people in our community don’t support me. This country sucks.
I use Facebook and Instagram excessively. While scrolling I notice some people have mansions and cool gadgets, and they have wonderful lives. They are happy. They travel the world. They eat delicious cuisines. They have perfect bodies. They are rich. I want those things too.
I am always negative. When a friend told me about his business ideas, I scoffed. His ideas were incredibly stupid. What a shame. He will surely fail. And why do many people encourage me to chase my dreams? I don’t want to. I know I’ll just fail.
I take things personally. It seems to me that everyone is trying to make me unhappy. When a stranger stares at me, I think he has bad intentions. What’s wrong idiot? On one occasion, a friend ignored my request. Stupid. I hate him for life.
I don’t have self-control. When I use the Internet, I often go down a rabbit hole. I stalk people on Facebook. I watch porn. I play video games. And when I’m tired of it, I’d go somewhere fritter away my time and money. Eat everything I want. Buy everything I want. Do everything I want. This is my life.
I don’t tame my distractions. I know I easily get distracted by TV and social media but I don’t do something to avoid them, or at least tame. Instead, I indulge. Bring it on!
I never read and learn from books. I don’t have time. I’m busy. And books are boring. I’d rather spend my time playing video games or binge-watching my favorite series. Some authors think they know everything. They’re full of shit.
I depend my happiness on others and material possessions. Come on. I can only be happy if I have that new gadget. I can only be happy if I’m with my partner or my friends. I can only be happy if I have a cool car, I am rich. I can only be happy if I have everything and everyone I want. That’s life!
I have a bad relationship with money. Oh yes money. I can’t live without money. I need it for my trendy outfit. I need it to spend a night with my buddies. I need it for the coolest gadgets. Money is everything. I don’t care about getting into debt as long as I look attractive. That’s all that matters.
I stop pursuing my hobbies (passions). I don’t have time for hobbies or any creative pursuit. Wait. Do I still have one? Oh god. I can’t remember. What activities I used to do for the sake of joy?
I want everything to be perfect. My outfit. My house. My work. My friends. My spouse. My family. My school. My life. Everything.
I want people to admire me. I’m the smartest student in my class and the most admirable among my friends. Everyone should check my photos on Facebook and Instagram. I’m awesome. Wait. Do people know how talented am I? I can play the violin. I can sing. I can dance. Jabbawockeez, you want?
I surround myself with toxic negative people. Almost every day, I hang out with people who keep complaining about their lives. I don’t know. Life really sucks. I hate life.
I am driven by fear and ego. I want to join a community so I can be secure. I’m afraid I’ll lose everything if I don’t stay in the company I work for. I want to prove that I’m special, that I can do great things.
I always react to things. That murderer, he will burn in hell! I hate those politicians. They are lunatics! Stupid neighbors. Pathetic.
Is that you?
There could be hundreds of reasons why we’re miserable. Thousands perhaps. I can go on forever citing examples. And you might disagree with some of them.
Of course it’s normal to complain and react and get angry. That’s human nature. We can’t totally avoid it.
The main problem is not our hardwiring. It’s our lack of understanding about ourselves.
This is challenging. It may take us decades to fully understand and discipline ourselves. Is it really possible? Do we have a choice?
I’d suggest, start with self-awareness.
Understand yourself on a deeper level.
What are your impulses? What are your bad habits? What triggers your negative behaviors? What makes you excited? What makes you sad or happy? What makes you offended or reactive? What are your weaknesses? What are your natural inclinations?
Figure out a negative pattern you keep repeating.
Take note of it. Experiment. Learn. If you can, break it. Replace the bad habits with good ones.
We have the ability to examine ourselves and how the world works. We have lots of options. And we can learn from others’ experiences through books, blogs, podcasts, and so on.
The goal is not to live a perfect life, but a less miserable life.
I’m not sure. Who knows exactly how.
But one thing is certain though: If we’re living a miserable life, it’s most likely our fault. We are miserable because of the way we think and the way we respond to circumstances in life.
And since it’s most likely our fault, the good news is that we can always do something to change it — not our circumstances, but the way we think and respond.
A few reads to help you live a less miserable life:
If you’re always reactive: The One Trick I Did That Made My Life Better
If you can’t stop comparing: Because You Compare
If you don’t have time for the things you love: You Work For Money and Prestige, What About the Things You Love to Do?
If you’re envious of people on social media: Facebook is Making You Unhappy
If you think you don’t have a choice: You Have a Choice
If your problems seem unstoppable: You Created the Problem
If you feel deprived or empty: You Have Everything You Need
If you feel stuck: You May Think You’re Stuck, But the World Keeps Moving
And if you think you already know everything: There Are More Things To Learn, It Never Ends