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30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life

30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life

Have you every wondered why some people seem to exude happiness, while you’re still stuck feeling like a less-than-happy camper?

What is it that you’re missing? You have a right to be happy with your life. You have a right to live a brilliant life. Here are 30 reasons you may be unhappy with life, in various areas of it. See which ones apply to you, and then get to work on correcting them.

Self

1. You Accept Mediocrity

You have full control over what you allow into your life. You get to decide whether you demand success or settle for mediocrity.

Here’s one piece of advice: no one should ever expect more from you than you expect of yourself.

2. You’re Afraid to Fail

This is a huge, although often overlooked, reason why so many people are unhappy. Maybe you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve, some positive step you want to take in your life. You know you want it, and you know how to make it happen, but your fear of failing is stronger than your desire to achieve.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, and one that’s almost guaranteed to make your brilliant life a little dull. You have to realize that failure is necessary step to success. It’s not a fatal event that you’ll never recover from. In fact, you may be more afraid of what people think about your failure, than the failure itself.

3. You Don’t Practice Gratitude

There are plenty of studies showing the effect gratitude has on happiness. It’s been proven time and time again that when you can take the time to get clear on what it is you’re thankful for, your happiness goes up. So break out the pen and pad and starting writing out what you’re grateful for.

When you can shift your focus from what’s going wrong in your life to what’s going right, it’s bound to make you feel better.

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4. You Don’t Live in the Present 

If you’re anything like me, you have a future-oriented mindset. You’re always thinking about the future or working on something that creates a better future. But the problem with this is we often miss what’s going on right now. We miss the life that’s happening right in front of our eyes.

Take the time to slow down and just enjoy the moment. Whether that means going for a walk or just enjoying a conversation with a good friend, take the time to be present.

5. You Won’t Take Ownership

Being a victim doesn’t usually lead to happiness. So if you’re shying away from taking control of your own life, you’re setting yourself up for a life filled with unhappiness.

6. You Can’t Let Go

We all have vices in life. We all have thoughts, perspectives, habits, and relationships that are difficult to let go of. But sometimes you have to separate your emotions from your choices and realize that somethings are better left in the past.

Whether it’s the girlfriend you can’t stop arguing with, or the bad habit of procrastination that’s continually stressing you out, you have to take stock of what’s going on in your life and determine what things you need to separate yourself from.

7. You’re Ignoring Your Heart

Everyone had dreams at one point in life. There was a time when you had a burning desire in your heart to achieve something special. But as you get older, life conditions you into thinking that “following your heart” is an activity created only for kids. But take the time to listen to your heart again and relive the feeling of being exhilarated and excited.

8. You Never Praise Yourself 

You deserve a pat on the back. Often in life we get so caught up in moving from one project to the next that we never take the time to see how far we’ve come. Take a moment and realize how much work you’ve put in, and how much you’ve accomplished. You deserve it.

9. You Live With Too Many Self-Imposed Rules 

Some rules are superficial: “I don’t eat breakfast after 10 a.m. I don’t wake up any later than 5 a.m. I don’t do anything that isn’t on my calendar.”

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Other rules are deep, personal, and extremely limiting: “I’m not made for college because I’m not smart enough. I can’t have a career I’d actually enjoy, I’m not skilled enough. I can’t be in a happy relationship, I don’t deserve it.”

You made these rules. So you can break these rules.

10. You’re Afraid to Stand Out 

Living a happy life will sometimes send you down the road less travelled. You have to get comfortable with being the odd one out. You can’t always follow the crowd, because chances are most people in the crowd are unhappy.

11. You Haven’t Consciously Decided to Be Happy

Now there are lot of things affecting your happiness, but at some point you have to consciously make the decision to be happy, in spite of the whirlwind of negativity that the world is throwing at you. Once your mindset is in the right place, taking action to become happy becomes easier.

Career

12. You’re Unclear in Your Career Path

You’re putting everything you’ve got into your career, but you’re not sure where you’re headed. You don’t see any opportunities for growth and this is bound to make you feel unhappy. Get clear about where you want to head in your career.

13. No Work-Life Balance 

If your work is dominating your life, leaving little time for anything else, it’s hard to stay happy. Dealing with a constant barrage of emails, texts, presentations, and reports is exhausting. Set clear boundaries for your work so that you can still enjoy your life.

14. You Won’t Quit That Job You Hate 

You’ve already identified that you hate your job, for whatever reason. But that was 18 months ago and you’re still there with no plans to leave. I’m not suggesting you walk away from your responsibilities, but I am saying you need a plan that moves you from your current job to one you can get excited about.

15. Your Values Don’t Match Your Company

You’re a vegan personal trainer working at a meat packing company? If you’re spending 40 hours a week at a place that doesn’t value the same thing as you, not only will be unhappy, you’ll be miserable in your work.

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Social

16. You Spend Too Much Time Alone 

Your happiness is directly tied to your relationships, and not having many quality relationships can cause happiness to decline. Get out there and be social. Create meaningful relationships with people.

17. You Don’t Spend Enough Time Alone 

On the flip side, if you never spend time alone, you could be affecting your happiness as well. We all need that time to reflect and recharge. Don’t be afraid to say no to a drink after work every once in a while.

18. You Keep Comparing Yourself 

Your happiness is linked to your self-esteem. When your self-esteem is high, it’s easier to be happy. When self-esteem is low, it’s easier to be unhappy. Your self-esteem depends heavily on the relationships you have with other people, and how you view yourself in comparison to those people. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, and feel that you’re lower on the proverbial totem pole than the other person, you’re self-esteem is going to nosedive.

So stop comparing yourself to other people, and instead focus on improving yourself. Compare where you are today to where you were yesterday.

19. You’re Friends Are Holding You Back

You are who you hang out with. And if the company you keep is moving in a direction that doesn’t coincide with the life you’re trying to create, unhappiness is sure to follow. Focus on finding friends who are moving in the same direction that you are.

20. You Let Others Make Important Decisions for You

You can’t make everyone happy, and the only person who ends up losing when you try do that is you. You lose.

No one knows your situation as well as you do. So do you really want the direction of your life to be determined by an outsider who doesn’t understand the intricate details of your life?

Intellectual

21. You Stopped Developing New Skills

There’s an immense amount of joy in learning a new skill, whether it’s something hands-on like sewing or woodwork, or something less tangible like public speaking. When you can develop a certain skill, you feel good about yourself.

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22. You Haven’t Read Any Good Books

A good book can bring happiness in many different ways. There’s the inherent happiness of reading a good story, and then there are books that help you develop personally. If you’re not reading, you’re missing out on both of those opportunities for happiness.

Physical

23. You Always Point Out What You Don’t Like about Your Body 

If you stand in the mirror every day and point out every single thing you don’t like about your body, of course you’re going to be unhappy. Change what you can through exercise and healthy eating, and accept what you can’t change. Focus on what you do like instead.

24. You Fill Your Body Up with Junk 

The two boxes of Krispy Kreme seemed like a good idea until you stepped on the scale. Don’t let your taste buds run your life.

25. You Haven’t Broken a Sweat in a While

You’re not trying to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but regular exercise does wonders for your happiness. It doesn’t even have to be in a gym, just get out and get your heart pumping. It’ll definitely give your happiness a boost.

Financial

26. You Don’t Have a Plan for Your Money

A budget is sometimes defined as “telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” It’s stressful to live life without a plan for your money, and that stress is eating away at your happiness.

27. You Don’t Spend According to Your Plan

If you’ve got a plan in place, but you’re not using it, you’re going to end up regretting it.

28. You Don’t Save for the Future

Those $5 coffees from Starbucks are costing you your retirement. You don’t have to cut out all of your discretionary spending, but make sure that you’re setting a little aside for a rainy day. The peace of mind that comes with it will definitely make you happier.

29. You Make Impulse Purchases 

I’m not talking about a stick of gum. I mean that 70 inch 3D smart TV, or the $200 heels that pushed your checking account into the negative. Splurging might make you happy in the moment, but when your bills come due, I bet you won’t be as happy.

30. You Forget That Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money by itself isn’t enough to keep you happy. So although mismanagement of money can lead to unhappiness, you can’t solely focus your life on making money. You have to develop every area of your life.

Featured photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.com

More by this author

Tony Robinson

Tony writes about mental strength, happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

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