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Why am I not Happy with Myself? - Causes of Unhappiness

Updated on July 2, 2014
Smile and be happy!
Smile and be happy! | Source

What is missing in my life?

Happiness is a state of mind. This is a statement that you have probably heard thousands of times. The problem is how do you achieve that state?

There are many articles and books that give you tips and tricks on how to achieve that happy state of mind. Titles such as tips to be happy, ten activities to make you happy, things happy people do differently, and so on and so forth.

There is no doubt that the wealth of information available on how to be happy is very useful. But still, there are still those who keep on asking, Why am I not happy? What can I do to be happier? How can I get rid of this unhappiness?

You have everything that is termed as great and wonderful: a fantastic career, a beautiful house, a supportive spouse, loving children, and everything else that is supposed to be necessary for happiness in this world.

Why then do you keep asking the same question? Why am I not happy? Why am I depressed? What is it that is missing in my life? Try as I may, I am just not happy with myself. Why? Why are you still struggling with an answer to these important questions?

Introspection can help find out why you are not happy
Introspection can help find out why you are not happy | Source

The need for introspection

You need to do some introspection. In simple words, introspection means self-observation. It means to look inward and try to gain an understanding of your thoughts and emotional processes. You are already asking questions. So, you have already begun to introspect, the first step towards being happy.

The point is to go deeper. Keep on asking and the answers will keep on coming. The more you ask, the more answers will come. In fact, the more you find answers, the more questions will arise.

This is the process of introspection. You keep on digging deep and you keep on understanding things that you probably never knew about yourself.

So, you are not happy with yourself. Will introspection help here? Where is it going to lead? You don't know yet and you will never know unless you begin right away.

What you need to do is find out the cause of your unhappiness. Let's take a look at a few causes of unhappiness that may come up in the process of introspection.

Past trauma

Our past keeps on haunting us. There is no one in this world who can claim that his or her life is free of the past. True, some people are able to deal with past events in a much healthier manner than others. However, it is not always possible for everyone.

A terrible accident, a natural disaster, war, death of a loved one, these are traumatic events that people cannot get out of their minds. It keeps on haunting them for years, waking them up in the middle of the night, making them cry. Or it could just be experiencing that heaviness on the heart. Why? It is not clear.

Past events may still be causing unhappiness
Past events may still be causing unhappiness


Besides these events, things such as betrayal can be quite painful experiences. A betrayal can happen in love, in business. Your friend, your business partner, your spouse, your own children, or anyone you trusted.

Betrayals can break the trust of a person and it can take years to heal. It changes a trusting person into someone who is constantly suspicious of others. A past betrayal can be a major cause of unhappiness in the present.

What we need to understand is that just because someone betrayed us in the past, does not mean that the person right in front of us will betray us too. It is hard to trust again. We should remember the lesson learnt, but we should also learn to trust again.

Sexual Abuse

Of course, no one can downplay the role of abuse, especially sexual abuse. It is not easy to forget sexual abuse. It keeps haunting you for years. You keep on questioning yourself. Why did that have to happen to me? You keep blaming yourself. It was probably my fault. I should have done this and should not have done that...and so on. However, the truth is that it wasn't your fault.

Other forms of abuse

Physical and emotional abuse is another major cause of unhappiness. Women especially confine themselves in relationships where their partners are physically as well as emotionally abusive. They tell themselves that their happiness is linked with their partner.

They often get stuck in what is called learned helplessness. Even if they are presented with an opportunity to get out of this relationship, they find reasons of why they can't get out of it. However, the truth is that such relationships are not healthy, both for the victim as well as the abuser.

Is jealousy making you unhappy?
Is jealousy making you unhappy?

Jealousy can make you unhappy

Of course, the events mentioned above are traumatic events that can leave you scarred for life. However, these may not be the answers to your question about why you are unhappy. Your reason could be something else. For example, jealousy could be the cause of your unhappiness.

You look at your friend and wonder why you can't be like him and have what he has. Keep in mind a little bit of jealousy is a good thing. If you want, you can turn it into the motivating factor for your life.

However, if you are using your jealousy to pull down the other person in the eyes of different people, you are going to be unhappy. You are not working on making yourself a better person. Instead, you are trying to show others that you are a better person than the one you are jealous of.

You are still asking, why am I not happy with myself. The answer is right there is front of you. Your jealousy is controlling you.

Drifting aimlessly

Are you just living your life without any purpose? Some people just drift aimlessly in their lives. No goals in life and no set targets. Of course, there are those who are just happy being this way. However, not everyone is like that. For these people, it is important that they set tangible targets and goals and work out ways to achieve them.

Meditation can help achieve goals as well as find the purpose of your life
Meditation can help achieve goals as well as find the purpose of your life | Source

Not being able to achieve your goals

However, the tricky part is that sometimes, not able to achieve these goals in itself can cause frustration and unhappiness. So, the question to ask here, is lack of goals the cause of your unhappiness? Or is not being able to achieve your goals the reason why you are not happy?

The purpose of your life

So, you are not happy with yourself. It may be time to look at the higher purpose of your existence. It is the time of what is often referred as spiritual awakening. You have had everything and now it is time to find out what is the purpose of your life. The moment you find out and the minute you start working towards it, all the pieces will start falling into place.

How to be happy

It is very important to emphasize here that the idea of this whole article is that unless you find the cause of your unhappiness, you are not going to achieve that happy state of mind. It may happen for a few moments. However, if you want to achieve lasting happiness, you need to work at the root cause.

Introspection is the best way to do this. For many people, meditation, especially mindfulness meditation, seems to be the key that allows them to look inward and understand the causes of their unhappiness.

Of course, never forget to keep in touch with people who love you for who you are and can be the major sources of your happiness. Activities such as writing, painting, or photography, or anything that attracts you can keep you in touch with your inner self as well as be major outlets for the expression of your inner pain.

So, what is the cause of your unhappiness? What is the answer to your question about why you are not happy? Practice some meditation, indulge in some introspection and you will surely learn how to be happy.

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    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Emotions 

      3 years ago

      Hi Deborah,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. It is indeed true that happiness lies within us and not outside of us. It may be hard but that is, in my humble opinion, the only lasting solution for emotional healing and attaining peace.

      Thanks again and all the best for all the happiness in the world!

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      3 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Great article. I believe that most of our suffering is caused by our expectations and our desire to control the outcome of situations. When we look inside, we can perhaps figure out why we are so attached to getting our own way.

      Looking inside is often the hardest part of emotional healing.


    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I've been loniokg for a post like this forever (and a day)

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Emotions 

      4 years ago

      Hi Zahra,

      You are absolutely right. However, I would like to say that it is not just Islam or any specific religion that can offer happiness. All religions of the world offer guidance, peace and happiness in their Holy Books.

      If we only learned to follow them and respect the religions of others, there will be a lot of peace not only inside of ourselves but also in the entire world.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      you will find what you want it is all about peace try to search about islam and listen to coran you will find what you want remember my advice

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Emotions 

      5 years ago

      Thank you Kate for stopping by and voting it up. I am glad you found it insightful.

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      There are some great insights in this hub. Voted it up and useful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Emotions 

      5 years ago

      Hi cianeko!

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. When I say 'wonderful' I don't mean to say that what happened to you was good. What I mean is that it is out of the painful experiences of life that a wonderful person is born.

      As soon as we accept the pain and let it go, as soon as we accept that we need to move on now and right now, life begins to change. We grow as a human being. Because of our past experiences we are more in tune with our pain as well as the pain of others.

      Not many in the world possess the quality of empathy. And this is the quality that makes a wonderful person.

      I am glad that your sincere prayers were answered. They always are because besides being a prayer it is also a decision that you make.

      The moment you move on, even small things begin to make you happy. Unhappiness does not stay on for a long time. You let go of the past pain, you find a purpose for your life, you move towards your goals slowly but steadily, and life changes. As you feel happy, more and more happiness as well as success keeps on flowing into your life.

      In short, you have found the key to a happy life. Congratulations!

      Thanks for contributing to this article by sharing your views!

    • cianeko profile image

      AT Abueva 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      What a very insightful article! Thank you for sharing this to us.

      I just want to shortly share my experiences about being unhappy. All the things you've mentioned, I experienced them in my life. That was I guess the past six years since our happy family broke up. Now I am nineteen. Oftentimes, basing on the factors you've enumerated, I always feel insecure, jealous and angry among many other negative feelings.

      Believe it or not, it took me for about five years to somewhat experience a real kind of happiness and that was through instrospection where I was able to evaluate myself. I realized that I have more negative feelings within me than the positive ones. I told myself, THIS IS NOT ME. THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO BE. I was like a mad person way back then, finding happiness but only for a while. Thereafter, loneliness and misery creeps back into my life. The cycle goes over and over again should have I not been in my good state of mind, I would have become crazy. What happened to my family really affected me. Then one day, I asked God through prayer to set me free from the bondage of unhapiness. It was really a sincere prayer which I repeatedly kept on asking. I was surprised when one day I feel my life easy and light. It was as if God carried the yoke that I had. With this, I guess what God really made in my life was to accept that some things are not meant to be ours forever, that we need to move on and have life. At present, I can feel that I am already happy. I also learned to take things easy.

      Acceptance and learning to let go is what I want to highlight here to overcome the feeling of unhappiness.

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Better Emotions 

      5 years ago


      These are some great suggestions you have given. Indeed, past hurts and pain are major causes of unhappiness. Letting go, moving on, and using some tools to remove the negativity in your thoughts can really be very helpful.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your valuable comment.

    • Goodpal profile image


      5 years ago

      Letting go through forgiveness, practicing loving kindness (goodwill for others), helping people in trouble, keeping ego under control, and dissolving negative emotions through any suitable tool such as mindfuness, hypnosis etc are tricks leading to happiness.

      Past baggage is perhaps the most common cause of suffering. Therefore, any activity that helps release pant up energy is useful.

      Wonderful hub!



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