The Real, Honest Reason You're Unhappy With Your Life

We’re all human; we all experience those days where we’re feeling down, sad, and generally unhappy. There are things that cause that momentary unhappiness such as life circumstances, events that occur, needs not being met, and conflict within relationships. There are many daily situations that can bring our mood down and impact the way we feel about ourselves and our lives.

What is Unhappiness?

Unhappiness comes in several different forms. To be unhappy, you are lacking joy and excitement in the moment, as well as the typical feelings of normalcy that come along with day-to-day monotony. 

There is a surface-level type of unhappiness. It lasts temporarily and doesn’t go too deep. This sadness can often be cured by doing something that makes you happy, like listening to your favorite song, playing with your dog, going for a walk, or one of the many other mood-boosters we lean towards when we’re feeling blue.

Sadness is unpleasant, but there are ways to turn your mood around. If you’re having a day that isn’t going as planned, you may be unhappy. You may end the day with your favorite dinner. You might watch a funny movie or pick up a light-hearted novel. Often, when you wake up the next morning, your mood has naturally shifted back to normalcy.

This type of sadness can be easily eradicated. You don’t typically choose to sit and fester in the midst of these unhappy feelings and turning your mood around doesn’t often require drastic measures.

What Does It Mean To Be Unhappy?

Your life is not going according to plan. You're unhappy with where you are, what you're doing, who you're with, so on and so forth.

This is a different type of unhappiness, a deeply rooted unhappiness that fills every corner of your mind. Not depression, which is a clinical mental illness, but general unhappiness and discontent with your life. 

You find yourself in a constant slump. You’re in a place in your life that feels muggy, and you feel like you haven’t made the right decisions. This can cause unhappiness to become cyclical because you think about your life, looking at where you are, who you’re with. You feel as though you’re stuck in a rut, but you don’t know what to do about it and that deepens the unhappiness.

Why Am I Unhappy?

There is a reason for this unhappiness. It’s not a result of a bad day, it’s not the result of a change in life circumstances, and it’s not the result of making a poor decision. The real, honest reason you’re unhappy with your life is that you’re not living according to your values.

What Are Values?

With this in mind, we must first define what values are. When you look at your life, both personally and professionally, think about what you hold closest to your heart. What holds weight and importance to you? What do you value from the world? What qualities do you respect in other people? What qualities do you recognize and respect in yourself? Those are your values.

Values are guidelines that determine the decisions you make. Values point you in the direction of where you need to go. They reveal more about who you are and how your head and your heart connect with one another. They act as blueprints for your life and depict how they can best unfold to benefit you in the strongest possible way.

What Does It Mean To Live By Your Values?

When you make decisions and choices based on your personal values, you have a general sense of feeling at peace with yourself and your life. You feel as though you’ve taken the right path; you feel as though you’ve made strong and values-based decisions. Living according to your values brings happiness, joy, and contentment. They make up an engrained compass inside of you that points you in the right direction.

When you step back and take a look at your life and realize you’re feeling that deep sense of unhappiness with where you are, think about your values. Have you made decisions that are rooted in the things you value in life? Have you sought out people and experiences that enhance your values and allow you to feel them in the depth of your core?

Asking yourself these questions will shed some light on whether or not you’ve aligned your life with your values.

Often when your decisions are not values-based, you may feel a sense of disconnection from your life. Furthermore, you may feel that deep unhappiness that stretches over many areas of your life.

Sometimes when you’re at this point in your life, wondering what happened and what brought you here, and you begin to dissect decisions you’ve made along the way, it’s hard to even know where to begin.

How Do I Identify My Values?

Sometimes you don’t know what you value. Maybe you don’t know what your values are because you’ve simply never learned about them before.

Maybe you’ve just lost sight of what you value in life. This is a common place to be. We allow ourselves to get stuck in a rut in life and make decisions based on fear or anxiety or excitement. We don’t take a step back to ruminate on whether or not the decision we’re about to make is values-based, and we don’t even know what our values are, to begin with.

If this is you, there is no need to worry. If you don’t know what you value in life and you feel so far away from who you are and what your compass is trying to tell you, there are many resources at your fingertips that will allow you to find what you truly value most.

Start by making a list of things that are important to you. This can be anything you hold close to your heart, like your friends, your car, your job, humanity, a nonprofit you work for, et cetera. Spend time thinking about the root of these things (i.e. if your job is important to you, you may value hard work or persistence) and this will bring you closer to what your values are.

This is a quick and easy quiz that will reveal to you your top ten values in order of importance.

What Should You Value In Life?

Values can include things like family, wealth, success, independence, authority, commitment, compassion, love, and a plethora of others. 

Values are individualized for each person. No two people carry the exact same set of values. The beautiful thing is that everyone is entitled to their own specific set of values, and while you may share some with others, it’s not often that you would share all of your values with another person.

Once you are more in tune with what you truly value, you can examine your life to find out if your decisions were rooted in your values, or if you made choices based on other reasons.

Knowing your values will support you in making values-based decisions for the future. This will allow you to feel more like yourself. This will create a life of peace and balance and happiness.

Why Is It Important To Live By Your Values?

Life is never perfect, and it always throws you curveballs; living according to your values does not make you immune to life’s challenges. You will still face barriers and challenges.

However, living a value-based life empowers you to follow your inner compass and make the decision that in the long run, you’ll feel the best about.

A values-based life promotes joy, happiness, and peace. A decision rooted in values may not be the easiest decision to make, and the path may be more difficult than a decision rooted in fear or anxiety, but the outcome results in contentment. You will feel a deep peace and happiness that carries you into the next decision you have to make, and that strong feeling will remind you that making a values-based choice helps you reap the most benefits out of your life.

If you’re unhappy with where you are, and you look back on your life and wonder how you got where you are, take a look at your values. Take a look at what qualities you hold close to your heart and evaluate the path you’ve taken. It’s never too late to start making values-based decisions, so start today. Arm yourself with your values and take the leap.

Crying woman holding up a drawn smile
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash 
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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