Life is a funny old thing. You would think enjoying yourself in the modern world would be relatively easy. You have so many resources at your disposal to live and love, you should be having a great time.
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But on the inside, that’s not how it feels. You spend most of your days in a depressed stupor, and it just doesn’t make sense.
This uneasy sensation is something that affects lots of people with successful lives. They have excellent jobs that pay well, incredible relationships, and plenty of hobbies to keep their active minds entertained. And yet there is always this background gnawing sensation that something isn’t quite right. It can be a total mystery.
If your life is great by external standards, why don’t you feel it?
This problem is actually a lot worse than many people imagine. Those who are unhappy with their lives despite having everything that they want often feel a deep sense of guilt. There are millions of people in the world who don’t have fabulous sex lives or high-paying careers. And so the person who does should count themselves lucky and enjoy it while it lasts – or so the reasoning goes.
But again, this is just a form of self-abuse. You’re discounting your feelings via a punitive superego. You’re not investigating them and asking where they come from.
So why might you feel bad all the time?
You Are Lonely But Don’t Realise It
Feeling alone in a crowd of people is something that many people experience at some points in their lives – especially if they are highly intelligent. It is not an uncommon sensation at all.
The problem comes when feeling lonely around family and friends makes you feel guilty. You shouldn’t feel this way, you tell yourself. But because you do, you must be a bad person. After all, think of all the countless people out there who live by themselves and don’t have any friends at all.
In a sense, we’re all fated to be lonely. Nobody can ever experience our thoughts and feelings for us. They can only infer from their own experiences. And they’re necessarily different from yours.
Sometimes, you don’t even realize the feeling you have is loneliness. If others surround you, you may assume that it is impossible for you to feel it. And that can lead you never to ask the right questions that will alleviate your misery.
If loneliness is a problem, you generally only have one option: find people who have the skills to understand your character. You could have lots of people in your life. But if they can’t peer into your soul and talk about life’s journey from your perspective, you’ll feel like an island, cut off from everyone else.
You Have Past Trauma
Past trauma is a big issue that affects people throughout their lives unless they deal with it properly. But, just like loneliness, it is hard to identify. Trauma is usually the root of your negative emotions. But it seems to crop up at random, unconnected to events in the external world.
However, people are starting to learn more and more about the nature of trauma and how it affects the psyche. Most informed individuals understand that repressed emotions can lead to dysfunction that makes them do things they don’t mean.
Dealing with past trauma is possible, but it usually requires speaking about the emotions and letting them out in a controlled manner. Therapy is the best option. But it can also help to talk with somebody who can fill the role of an attentive and reliable parent. Often the relationship itself is the source of the healing.
You Didn’t Prepare For Adulthood
School and university are unkind to people. They teach children and young adults a variety of technical skills. But they do comparatively little to prepare them for the realities of the adult world.
Education is mostly an involuntary system in which teaches and lecturers decide your itinerary, grades, and general life chances. But once you emerge from academia, you find yourself in a very different world. All of a sudden, all your relationships are voluntary, and you have to commit to serving people in the market. It’s a massive paradigm shift, and there’s no precedent.
The same happens with relationships. As a child, you don’t choose who you associate with. Your family is always there. And you have to go to school, or your parents will get into trouble with the law. Your classmates are just whoever happened to be born the same year as you.
In adult life, though, this isn’t the case at all. You choose all of your relationships, except those with the taxman. And that can create feelings of unease. Things were so much simpler when somebody made all the decisions for you.
Preparing for adulthood is a skill. And the good news is that you can do it at any stage in your life. Even if you’re in your mid-forties, you can recalibrate your mind to make the whole thing seem a lot more bearable. The world is the way that it is. So much of life is voluntary – and that’s a good thing.
We always want more freedom. It’s just that it can seem a little scary if your life was on rails for the first twenty years.
Nobody Taught You How To Be Happy
Happiness isn’t something that just emerges from the ether. It is actually a skill you can learn. Some people never feel happy in their lives. They’re so beset by their problems that they can’t escape them and feel better about their reality.
But usually, that doesn’t happen at random. Instead, it emerges from never having role models in their childhood who showed them how to be happy.
Think back to your childhood. What were your parents like? Did they come home from work with beaming smiles on their face? Or did they slump depressed in a chair with a glass of whiskey to numb the pain?
Happiness is an essential skill – something that all parents need to teach their kids. It’s not about doing anything grand. Mostly, it’s just about having a bit of fun and being present.
If nobody taught you these skills, though, you could really struggle. If you don’t understand the basic anatomy of happiness, it all feels a little alien. You don’t know how to approach it and, instead, fall back on what you know – usually hard work.
Some people grow up in cultures that are victimized. Again, that can leave its mark on how you feel as an adult. Everything from family events to the sense of humor reflects the group’s dark past and seems to prohibit enjoyment.
Never being taught to be happy, fortunately, isn’t a species of trauma. That means that it is much easier to learn the ropes than for somebody who has deep-seated issues in their past. It is mostly a matter of picking up a book, learning about it, and then practicing it in your life.
You Feel Anxious Because Of The Expectations Of Others
If you feel anxious because of the expectations of others, you’re not alone. Our society perpetuates myths that make it hard for anyone to feel justifiably content.
First, there is the idea that you need to be financially successful to feel good about yourself. You don’t!
Second, there is the notion that life will follow a set trajectory. You’ll find a great relationship and career. And you’ll have lots of fantastic experiences. Again, you probably won’t. Statements like this are mostly romantic wishful thinking.
Third, you feel like you have to achieve specific standards of personal growth. When you don’t meet them, you feel like you’ve failed as a person, and you don’t want to interact with others in social situations.
These issues could be what is driving the current explosion in CBD oil usage among adults. Anxiety is coming from the fact that a lot of people feel like they aren’t living up to the standards of others. And that’s causing severe mental health concerns.
The solution here is to work on letting go of toxic concepts fostered on you by society. You don’t actually have to live up to the expectations of others. Trying to put on a front only serves to make you unhappy, which isn’t conducive to your long-term wellbeing.
If you have a group of friends who judges you, try to see it as a limitation of their empathy rather than a reflection of your shoddy character. If your family is putting you under pressure to lead a certain kind of life, see that as their capitulation to cultural ideals. It doesn’t have anything to do with you fundamentally, so long as you’re not doing anything wrong.
Wrapping up, you don’t have to feel bad about yourself 90 percent of the time. Even if you deal with all of the issues discussed above, there will still be reasons to feel sad from time to time.