7 Reasons You Struggle with Happiness

7 Reasons You Struggle with Happiness

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say,
and what you do are in harmony.”
―Mahatma Gandhi

It’s important to make someone happy, and it’s important to start with yourself.  But before your level of contentment can improve, your choices and actions must improve.

If you’ve been struggling to find happiness there’s a good chance…

1.  You let envy get the best of you.

When you feel envious, tell yourself not to feel envious.  Be blatant and direct.  Tell the ‘why not me?’ voice in your head to quiet down and tell the ‘don’t be silly’ voice to speak up.  It really is this simple.  You actually prevent envy by addressing it directly and stopping it dead in its tracks.

When you feel flustered because someone has received the very thing you want, force yourself to remember how much you have already been given.  Remember that there’s plenty for everyone, and that everyone gets one dose at a time.  Remember that what happened to someone else has absolutely no bearing on what happens to you.  Your success is unique to you.  Remember that a wonderful thing has happened to this other person, and if you keep working and pushing forward, something wonderful will also happen to you at just the right time.

2.  You don’t DO enough.

A significant majority of your anxiety and unhappiness likely stems from a subconscious disappointment in yourself for the great ideas and dreams that have been forever abandoned in your mind.

Although you will sometimes regret the things you carelessly say and do without thinking, you will never regret these things as much as the words and deeds you leave unspoken and undone.

Positive growth only occurs when you stretch yourself.  What you think has to affect what you say and do.  So say what you need to say and do what you need to do, starting now.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

3.  You’ve let too many problems fester.

Unresolved problems can quickly suck the life out of you.  Yet when you resolve just one small problem, you immediately inject a powerful dose of positive energy into everything else you’re involved in.

Instead of burdening yourself with problems, let them to inspire you to make changes.  Instead of wasting your energy worrying, invest your energy in doing.  Think about the soothing feeling you get when you finally take care of a something that has needed your attention.  This feeling is liberating, and it’s yours for the taking.  Allow yourself to experience it by finally getting a problem you’ve been avoiding resolved.

Sure, some problems facing you may take a fair amount of time to resolve, but the steps for doing so are still small and manageable.  It’s just a matter of starting.

4.  You hold all your feelings hostage.

Anything that’s true in your mind – feelings, fears, etc. – is mentionable to a good friend, and anything that’s mentionable can be more manageable.  When you can talk about how you feel, your thoughts become less overwhelming and scary, and more understood.  The good friends you trust with these important talks ultimately help you realize that you’re not alone in this world.

Sometimes sitting quietly and listening to a friend with a focused, humble ear is the beginning of a healing journey.  At other times, this journey begins when you allow a friend to listen to you.

5.  You’ve been ignoring an inner calling.

Passion is a funny thing.  No matter how hard you try, you can’t block your inner spirit from the ideas that move you at your core.  Trying to do so is an exercise in futility.  It’s like tearing your mind and heart away from each other and expecting to feel healthy inside.

Honestly, when it comes to your passions you just have to go for it.  Don’t get lost in apprehension.  Give yourself a chance.  Don’t be afraid to jump if the path in front of you indicates that one is necessary.  You can’t safely cross a chasm with a hesitant step.  Take the leap and go find the place that you’re wishing for.  Read The 52-Week Life Passion Project.

6.  Your relationships lack an honest, mutual understanding.

Love is the feeling you have for those you hold in high regard.  It can be as light as the quick hug you give a friend or as heavy as the sacrifices you make for your family.  Regardless of the type of love you’re dealing with, your primary obligation is to be open and honest – to express the nature of your feelings when such expression would be meaningful.

Love is not inherently burdened with stressful promises and obligations either.  The terms you agree to in any loving relationship are defined by what you desire to put into it.  In other words, the things you do should be done because you care and because you want to do them.

You get to define the boundaries of your love and your relationships.  You get to negotiate and articulate the complexities and contradictions of your feelings and expectations openly and honestly.  It’s simply a matter of communicating.

7.  You choose to be negative.

Whenever you find yourself falling short on temper and grim with words, whenever you feel yourself slipping into a damp, drizzly November rain in your mind, it’s time to catch yourself before you fall flat on your face.  Pull yourself away from the thoughts that make you feel bad – the ones that add zero value to your growth; see how doing so changes your life.  You don’t need these negative thoughts; all they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.

Have patience.  Instead of harsh criticism, offer genuinely helpful feedback to both yourself and others.  Forgive early and forgive often.  Set yourself free from the burden of resentment and move quickly beyond the pain.  Learn from your regrets, but do not punish yourself with them.  Live beyond the petty, fleeting concerns and focus on the profound possibilities that await your attention.  Read Learned Optimism.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  What struggles have been stealing your happiness?  Leave a comment below and let us know.

Photo by: Seite 3


  1. says

    @Lisa: This does sound like quite the dilemma. Truthfully, if you have seriously tried to make this relationship work for the last five years and you are still utterly miserable, it’s time to start looking making a change. This first step is being open and honest with your husband though. You have to be clear about how you feel. If there was any chance in saving your marriage and healing your inner battle, it starts with honest communication. I wish you all the best. Stay strong.

    @Marci: That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint and that wonderful article.

    @Ahmad: The opposite of those negative thoughts is a positive one. It sounds silly but it’s true. When you notice yourself looking at the downside, force yourself to find an upside.

    @Jantje: Great addition. It’s important that we surround ourselves with people that lift us higher.

    @Tibah Solange: Perhaps it’s best if you take your new relationships a bit slower. If you find that others are constantly hurting you, it’s likely that these people never had your best interests in mind to begin with. Spend more time nurturing your own happiness. Get involved in a project or social group that excites you. When you involve yourself in the right work/activities, it will help you gravitate toward the right people.

    @D’coasta: Have you ever talked to a life coach or counselor. Oftentimes simply talking to a professional or a close confidant about feelings of disorientation helps a person find their direction. I think it’s something you should consider. Best of luck to you.

    @Karim: I feel you. Procrastination is something so many of us struggle with every single day.

  2. Osita ikechukwu says

    First of all I appreciate your motivational advice, it has also affected my way of thinking positively. Persisting on particular goal even after failing many times is what I struggle with. What can I do about it?

  3. says

    Thanks guys, this has really helped me. I just stumbled upon this site and I’m looking forward to reading everything you have!!!

  4. Glad says

    This post could not be written any better! Reading through it reminded me of my previous roommate. He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read and enjoy it. Many thanks for sharing!

  5. Sandy says

    As everyone has already stated, you make life so bearable. There are so many times I can just come here and find some guidance to get out of “stuck mode” and it’s not always what I want to hear, but I know it’s what I need to hear. That is friendship. So, this post will be added to my sources of enlightenment through this ever evolving life of growth that even in my late 30’s feels relentless at times. What have I learned most here? Gratitude. To be grateful for every twist and turn, it’s all part of the branching of the deep set roots that will forever make me and my life.

    I still struggle, with the disconnection my husband and I are having. Busy lives, both working, commute and 2 children ~ the dead tone on the other end is so loud it’s deafening. I know it. He fights to get it back. I’ve opened my heart and told him what has been lost. He is a good, trusted man who took me for granted and says its the biggest mistake of his life… He was my everything, but forced his hand on my growth with his complacency. I’ve outgrown him and that is my struggle.

    I know there is a hidden post in here somewhere… it just doesn’t say “Sandy this is it” or “What to do when you disconnect”
    Also, thank you for all the book recommendations, have not had a bad read yet.

  6. says

    I struggle with happiness. So does many other folks. Though in the heart of our heart, we know, happiness is not in arriving at a destination, but it is savouring the journey that make us happy, yet we still hanker for material possessions. Our achievement oriented society does not leave us alone. The way out would be to strengthen the inner calling so much that it will muffle all the noise and distractions of the world. And then I will be happy.

  7. Harish says

    Very insightful post… Its now very clear for me why I have suffered so much in my life… It really made a change in my life. Thanks for this post

  8. says

    I’d like to add one (of course, that would make it 8 reasons, LOL!): not living in the now.

    Hope that didn’t come off too Garth-esque. It’s true, though. Regretting the past and worrying about the future are really not the paths to happiness. Enjoy what you have right now.

  9. Jan says

    I think I am guilty of all of the things. Unfortunately something has to change and soon.. I read a lot of self help books and try to resolve all my anxiety on my own. I do good until someone comes to dump on me once again. And the cycle starts all over. How do you ignore the people that cause your stress. They r loved ones and I am with them everyday!!

  10. Julie says

    I have one daughter, one granddaughter and we/ her parents are lucky is we are blessed with one phone call a week without asking. We were told that we need to have a “date” and it’s sad when it doesn’t happen or we have to initiate the call. It’s habits like these that make me very sad and very unhappy. It just points out to me that I didn’t do a very good job as a mother. This lack of interaction creates an enormous amount of stress!

  11. Nom says

    I struggle with feeling happy. Only when I’m with my children am I truly happy; everything else, myself especially feels empty. A failed relationship and grief isn’t helping, but the blog articles you write help. Thank you.

  12. says

    I struggle with #2 quite often. I put off doing things I need to and then I get depressed for not having them done. It’s an unfortunate cycle, but I only have myself to blame for it. I know this and I am working to change it. All it takes is taking action on your part and a bit of motivation to keep it going. I know that if I just get some structure and a way to keep things going I will be stress-free and much happier because of it.

  13. says

    I would add 1 thing that has been key in my life, that is easy to downplay:

    Don’t take yourself too seriously.

    I always viewed life as a sports match, a fight, with specific goals and big bad obstacles. A struggle. A serious struggle.

    When someone who didn’t take himself so seriously came into my life, I finally realized being light and playful and not taking things so seriously make everything else much easier to do and experience.

  14. says

    Being unhappy can really hurts, we all know that. Trying to be happy can be difficult sometimes but not impossible. Knowing what makes us happy is the key in my opinion.

    Really inspiring article, keep up the good work!

  15. Owen says

    Stuck in the rut of meaninglessness is what can imprison you to the shackles of desbondency. How do you break out of the downward spiral? I’ve found love and my relationship with my wife is immense! Yet I’m still miserable. I work in the industry I was so passionate about in my youth. And I hate it. But I’m good at it. But I hate it.

    I could never find true spirituality or religion as in my head I’m well read enough to convince myself that a conscious God does not exist, and therefore from a Universal perspective marking my life utterly pointless. I want to enjoy. And yet any moment of joy I do have is short lived – the battle to be happy is the greatest battle the human mind can have. And I’m losing – when theoretically (as in on paper) I’m winning. I am officially numb and it hurts.

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