How Not to Hate Your Life
Is “I hate my life” your mantra? Do you spend every day going through the motions and wishing you had a different life?
Unfortunately, this is the reality for a lot of people. You know that something is wrong, and you’re missing out on the life you deserve, but you can’t figure out how to make a change.
And there’s a voice in your head that keeps repeating: “I hate my life.” What can you do? How can you make a change and finally start living a life that you love?
For the next five minutes, open your mind to the possibility that the life you want is within your reach.
It might not feel like it right now, but despite your current circumstances, you create your reality. Your thoughts and actions influence the life you have.
You have much more control than you think or realize. Which is a good thing, because it means there are lots of things that you can change.
Why Do I Hate My Life?
The first step is to ask yourself what it is about your life that you hate? If you can get very clear on where you feel the problem is, then you can start to go about making a change.
Below are some areas of your life where you might be having problems. Ask yourself these questions to get more clarity.
- Do you hate your life because of your job or career path or some aspect of your education?
- Are self-destructive habits ruining your life?
- Is there something about your current situation that makes it a bad environment?
- Are the relationships in your life causing you stress?
- Are you lacking social contact or have you isolated yourself?
- Do you feel like your life lacks meaning or purpose?
Ask yourself these and other questions to start getting at the root problem of your current situation.
What to Do If You Hate Your Life
There are a variety of different ways you can approach the problem of hating your life. What works for one person won’t work for the next.
So, read through all of the suggestions below and see if anything stands out to you or resonates.
Then just pick one or two things that you think you can start working on. It’s better to start somewhere small than to become overwhelmed and give up.
Manage Your Thinking
That voice in your head that keeps repeating, “I hate my life” is just a version of things you are telling yourself about your life.
Are you aware of your thoughts or are you on autopilot? Starting today, be intentional with every word you say to yourself.
The phrase “I hate my life,” is actually an example of black or white thinking. You’re seeing things as all good or all bad, instead of noticing the shades of grey.
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It’s likely that you don’t hate everything about your life. Is there a different phrase that sounds more accurate? Maybe something like, “There are parts of my life I don’t like, but I am working on making things better.”
See how telling yourself a different story makes you feel different and more hopeful about the situation.
If you’d like to work on your thinking patterns, I recommend the books below.
- Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
- Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts
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Develop a Growth Mindset
Do you feel down, broken, and like you’re all out of options? Does it seem like life is either passing you by or beating you up? Do you ask yourself, “Why must things always be so hard for me?”
Take a moment and take a deep breath. You always have the power to change your life. Always. It may not feel that way right now, and I know you can’t see your way out, but things can change.
One way to feel like you have more control in your life is to develop a new skill. Commit to mastering something new like cooking a new recipe, learning an instrument, learning a language, or developing a business skill.
The act of mastering something new will make you feel more in control. Feeling proud of yourself will also replace that feeling of disappointment. Below are some books to help.
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean my Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun
Think back to what was going on in your life five years ago. Were there some things that you were hoping for that you have today? Or were there some problems that seemed insurmountable at the time that you’ve solved or that are no longer problems?
One way to stop seeing all the problems in your life is to practice gratitude for what you already have. When you start seeing what you already have that’s good in your life, it will bring you more of the same.
One way to do this is to ask yourself, “If I woke up tomorrow and only had the things I appreciated today, what would be left?”
This little gratitude exercise helps you to become aware of how grateful (or not grateful) you are for what you already have.
It’s likely that there are a lot of people who would gratefully trade places with you for the life that you have.
While it may be hard for you to appreciate the good things you have when you feel like there is a whole lot of bad, the truth is that focusing on the good will bring more of it into your life. And, simply focusing on the good will make you feel better about your life.
Below are some books to help you start a gratitude habit.
- Good Days Start with Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
- F*ck this Shit Show: A Gratitude Journal for Tired-Ass Women
- Gratitude: A Day and Night Reflection Journal (90 Days)
Start with Small Habits
The truth is that sometimes it is easier to stay the same than to make a change. Even though you might feel like you hate your life, it can be easier to keep doing what you have been doing than to change things up.
But you don’t have to change things all at once. Don’t change in a hurry. Just change one thing today. Find the smallest incremental step that’s taking you in the direction of the “life you don’t hate.” Below are some ideas to get you started.
- Read 10 pages from a book every day
- Write out three goals to achieve each night for the next day
- Exercise 3-5 times per week
- Get 7 hours of sleep every night
- Eat more healthy food
- Cut down your screen time to one hour per day
- Avoid alcohol
- Go for a daily walk
Below are some books to help you develop better habits.
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Better Than Before: What I Learned about Making and Breaking Habits
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Avoid Social Comparison
Do you keep thinking if only this or that… everything would be better? It’s easy to spend too much time comparing yourself to “ideal standards.”
If only I could meet the right person I’d have a relationship.
If only I had finished college I’d have a better job.
If only I was less awkward I’d have more friends.
Instead, try avoiding the social comparison trap. Remember that you only know a small part about the lives of other people. Focus on yourself and take responsibility for where you are right now. Be grateful for what you have and stop comparing it to your idea of what you should have.
If you struggle with social anxiety or feeling not good enough around others, sign up for the social anxiety resource library at the top or bottom of this page! I have a whole bunch of free resources waiting for you.
Move on From Bad Influences
Are there people in your life that are a bad influence on you? It’s time to have a hard conversation with the people who make you feel unhappy about yourself.
Anyone who consistently drags you down or makes you feel not good enough doesn’t deserve to take up space in your life.
What if that person is a family member who you can’t avoid? It’s time to set boundaries or ask for outside help if things are really bad. While it might feel hard, sometimes we need to avoid contact with family for our own mental health.
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life
- Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t
Find Meaning and Purpose
Life isn’t meant to be about the grind day in and day out. Are you willing to take some risks and be uncomfortable?
It’s time to find a reason to get out of bed. A passion you can pursue. A journey worth going on and a life that engages you.
Your life is defined by the progress you are making in all areas. What would be fun? What would be an adventure? What would be a new challenge?
Make a bucket list and you might have just found the antidote to hating your life.
Here are some books to help you on your quest.
- Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life
- How Will You Measure Your Life?
Reach Out for Help
Finally, if you’re truly struggling and life isn’t getting better, please do reach out to someone.
If you’ve monitored your self-talk, set up some positive routines, brainstormed solutions to your problems, started making small changes, and focused on good role models—but your mood is still low and that awful phrase keeps repeating (“I hate my life”), then you may need the help of a mental health professional.
Last but not least, remember that life is about the journey and not the destination. If you’re not happy with how your life is going, what can you change or how can you think about it differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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Here are some of my favorite social anxiety tools
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