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5 Reasons People Are Always Unhappy And Unfulfilled (And How To Overcome It)

5 Reasons People Are Always Unhappy And Unfulfilled (And How To Overcome It)

Everyone feels “off” from time to time. We feel like we aren’t good enough, or that our actions aren’t as noble as we wish they were. We are constantly looking for approval, and worrying that we might not get it. How do we fix this? How do we break away from our worries and fears to just enjoy our lives?

Below are 5 major things everyone feels at one point or another and the solutions to help you feel better.

1. Complaining

    Via: huffingtonpost.com

    We all complain a little too much from time to time. It could be about the weather, our job, our house, our significant other, our friends and family, or about how someone didn’t make your food the correct way at a restaurant. Complaining is so easy to do, and it’s a habit that we all need to break. When you complain, you pick out the negatives with others (rather than the positives).

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    Have you heard the saying “It’s easier to hate someone than to love someone”? While this may seem true, it isn’t. It takes an awful lot to like someone, especially when they seem to get on your nerves whenever you see them. It’s even harder to accept their flaws and love them. Disliking or hating someone is easy, you don’t have to work on building a relationship with them or even attempt to talk to them. While you’re complaining about what they do or don’t do, they’re trying their hardest to show you they’re capable of doing something. The next time you start complaining about something or someone, write down five positive things that out rule the negatives. I promise you will feel better, and eventually you will only see the positives in others.

    2. Under Appreciated

      Via: unsplash.com

      It’s hard to appreciate ourselves when we feel under appreciated. The thing is, we don’t need others to value us in order to value ourselves! Self-love is so important, and a lack of self-love will leave you feeling upset and useless. When you fully accept and love yourself, you open a new world of possibilities.

      Those insecurities you had will soon vanish, and you will feel on top of the world. Loving yourself will promote self-approval and confidence. Plus, you don’t need the approval of someone else in order to feel happy and to appreciate yourself! Be a better you for yourself, and no one else.

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      3. Worrying Too Much

        Via: unsplash.com

        This is something that everyone struggles with from time to time. We worry about things that have happened, things that are currently happening, and things that might happen in the future. We need to remind ourselves that we are not alone when this happens. Whether we want to admit it or not, we all get anxiety from worrying too much. It just so happens that some are worse with this than others.

        The next time you start worrying about things that have or haven’t happened, sit down with a piece of paper and pen, and write out three possible outcomes that are good. When you start writing things down (whether it be goals or happy thoughts) we instantly feel more productive, and we have a grasp on our emotions. Writing has self-soothing abilities, and will eventually enhance your self-knowledge. The next time you start to worry, bring out your paper and pen and jot down happy thoughts, things you wish to happen, or just a short note to yourself. You can even start a “worry journal” where you can write down your fears and thoughts. You can reflect back on it at a later time during the day.

        4. Fear of Loss

          Via: entrepreneur.com

          Sometimes our lives are filled with clutter. It may be material items, or what’s going on in our head. Imagine how free you would feel if you could just clear your mind for a little while. If you lose some memories, or just forget bits and pieces, don’t beat yourself up over it. Perhaps those memories weren’t the greatest, and it’s better that you forgot about them!

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          The same goes for material items. You may say “I could never lose this, I’d be so upset” and misplace whatever it is you’re afraid to lose. Time will go by, and you may not even notice it’s missing until the next time you think “Oh, what did I do with that?”. Suddenly, your heart sinks, and you get frantic looking for your item. The scary truth that you’ll have to face is: It didn’t mean as much to you as you thought it did. If you truly treasured your items, you would find a good place to put them. On your desk, or in a box near your bed. You wouldn’t be so careless with them! So, no worries. Material items come and go, it’s nothing to get upset about.

          5. Overcome Jealousy

            Via: law.uoregon.edu

            We all feel jealous of others sometimes. We look at someone else and become unhappy with who we are / what we look like. Looking through social media can sometimes be a bummer, especially since we only see the positives in somebody else’s life. The thing we seem to forget is that everything is not (always) as it seems. Just because someone you look up to is posting nothing but happy things, doesn’t mean their grass is necessarily greener than yours.

            We all fight our own private battles, some worse than others. We never truly know what someone is going through unless we’re told by that person in particular. Instead of focusing on somebody else’s positives and wishing your life was more like theirs, water your own grass. There is no better way to happiness than keeping your mind busy and focusing on yourself. Who cares if someone has a “better sense of style” than you do? Does style matter when you’re out in the real world? I don’t think so. What matters is what’s on the inside!

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            Featured photo credit: ontheriver09.files.wordpress.com via ontheriver09.files.wordpress.com

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            Last Updated on October 22, 2020

            8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

            8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

            How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

            Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

            When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

            Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

            What Makes People Poor Listeners?

            Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

            1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

            Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

            Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

            It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

            2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

            This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

            Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

            3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

            It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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            I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

            If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

            4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

            While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

            To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

            My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

            Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

            Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

            How To Be a Better Listener

            For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

            1. Pay Attention

            A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

            According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

            As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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            I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

            2. Use Positive Body Language

            You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

            A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

            People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

            But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

            According to Alan Gurney,[2]

            “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

            Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

            3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

            I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

            Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

            Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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            Be polite and wait your turn!

            4. Ask Questions

            Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

            5. Just Listen

            This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

            I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

            I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

            6. Remember and Follow Up

            Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

            For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

            According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

            It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

            7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

            If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

            Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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            Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

            Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

            NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

            1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
            2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

            8. Maintain Eye Contact

            When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

            Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

            By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

            Final Thoughts

            Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

            You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

            And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

            More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
            [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
            [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
            [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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