If you hate your life and don’t know what to do about it, the first thing you need to know is that there’s hope.
There are many things you can start doing today to improve your life.
How do I know? Because I used to be where you are now.
Not so long ago, I felt like my life was worthless and that there was nothing I could do to change that.
I felt inadequate, unhappy, lost, confused. I felt like I hated myself and everything around me. And the worst part is that I spent years feeling like that without acknowledging it fully.
At the same time, I felt ungrateful: I had a roof over my head, food on my table, a loving family, but I was still feeling miserable.
Sadly, I fell prey to the people who practice toxic positivity; those people who say nobody but children in Africa have the right to feel bad.
The truth is everybody feels their emotions according to their own reality. If you’ve never been homeless, you can’t feel and think the way a homeless person does. That’s just the way it is.
It’s how our minds work.
I went to therapy for years, and although it helped me a lot, it didn’t give me direction.
It helped me keep my depression and anxiety at bay by talking things out and healing trauma, but it didn’t give me actionable steps to do daily to feel better.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way, and today I’m here to tell you:
a. I know what it feels like to hate your life.
b. I don’t judge you for it, no matter how many “reasons” you have not to.
c. You’re NOT alone.
d. There’s hope. There’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Also, I won’t tell you to look at the bright side (although that helps, I’m not going to lie).
In this post, you’ll find actionable steps to turn your life around.
FULL DISCLAIMER: I’m not a therapist.
If you’re depressed and need professional help, don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Being depressed is like having a broken arm; if you break an arm, would you wait for it to heal on its own? Or would you go to the doctor?
Your mind deserves the same amount of attention as your limbs. Don’t forget that.
Not sure if you’re depressed and in need of professional help?
Check out these amazing and free resources:
Three lessons you need to learn first
1. Stop putting pressure on yourself
Many people feel worthless because they think they have to find the specific reason why they’re on Earth; their “purpose.”
In reality, life’s not to be taken that seriously.
We’re just a bunch of highly-intelligent animals living in a rock that’s floating in the middle on space.
If that makes you feel weird, welcome. But it can also help you take things more lightly.
Just enjoy your time here.
No, we’re not born with a specific purpose we have to discover and fulfill. We can meet many purposes, big and small, throughout our lives.
Stop putting that much pressure on you.
You can use your life however you please, as long as it isn’t harmful to anybody (that includes you).
Explore your interests, find new hobbies, improve your skills.
Sooner than later, you’ll find something you want to monetize or something that makes you feel important and valuable.
Or maybe you’ll realize you want to live by yourself in the mountains, grow your own food and forget about society.
Whatever you do, one thing’s for sure: You can change the world if you work on yourself.
Don’t try so hard to find your purpose, change the world to make it a better place instead.
Changing the world is easier than you think: every interaction you have (or don’t) with someone, has the potential to change their world.
We have the wrong impression that changing the world means liberating a whole nation or being a leader in the quest for equality, but in reality, those are just large undertakings. It doesn’t mean you can’t change the world in small ways.
Striving to change the world is more fulfilling (and even realistic) than trying to find the reason why you were born.
2. You matter
I know what it is like to feel unimportant. To feel like whatever you do doesn’t make a difference in anybody’s life and that if you disappear, very few people would notice.
However, a. those very few people would not just notice, they’d care; b. you have inside you things that can serve others.
Whether it’s your stories, knowledge, experiences, or skills, you have a lot to offer.
Maybe you’re not using those things right now, but I promise you they’re there. You just have to let them out.
3. Understand nothing lasts forever
This too shall pass.
10 things to do with your life when you hate it
1. Break free from your mental limitations
It’s easier said than done, I know.
But you have to start somewhere.
Know you have the power to take action. You just need to take one step at a time.
If you never start, you’ll never know what you’re capable of and what you need help with.
Stop saying you don’t have the resources, the skills, or the time.
You have access to a computer and/or phone, plus an internet connection. Use those tools to your advantage.
Devote a specific amount of time every day to work on yourself. Whether it’s one hour or 10 minutes a day, commit to it.
Don’t have the skills? Start developing them.
Very few people in the world are born with real talent and even the ones who do have to work on their skills consistently.
2. Stop ignoring the facts
You can’t afford to ignore how you’re feeling, and, most importantly, you can’t keep ignoring the reasons why you feel this way.
Acknowledge the fact you’re not 100% okay.
We’ve all been there. There’s nothing to be ashamed about.
Also, stop ignoring the source of your unease.
If you know your friends aren’t adding value to your life, admit it. That doesn’t mean you have to take them out of your life right away.
It’s just a matter of being honest with yourself.
Or, if you know your job is making you miserable, acknowledge it.
Ignoring the facts won’t make them go away.
The sooner you acknowledge there’s a problem, the sooner you’ll find a solution.
3. Identify what you hate exactly
If you hate your life, the first thing you want to do is pinpoint exactly what you hate about it.
I’m not saying you can’t hate every part of it, but if you want to solve a problem, you need to put a name on it first.
Not being clear about this is what makes many people live in misery for years; their hate for a single aspect of their lives extrapolates to the rest and makes them hate everything.
Label the source of your hate.
Do you hate:
- your family
- your country
- your body
Once you’ve identified that, go deeper.
What exactly do you hate about that? Which members of your family? Which friend? Which part of the house?
If you hate your job, do you hate what you do? Your boss? Your commute? Your salary?
Write it down:
“I hate my ______________. What I hate about it exactly is ____________”
I need you to know that all these things have many possible solutions. Everything’s not lost.
4. Start a journal and keep it for seven days
Journaling is magic.
It consists of asking yourself deep, thought-provoking questions and writing down the answers, along with everything that comes to your mind while you’re at it.
You can find many posts about journaling here on aimlief. Check out these first:
- 31 Journaling Prompts For Women Who Want To Know Themselves Better
- 15 Journaling Prompts To Discover Your Dreams
- 24+ Questions That Help You Understand Yourself Better
Doing these exercises will help you:
- Identify what you don’t like
- Connect with what you’re feeling
- Explore your thoughts and mind
- Start uncovering what you want to change in your life
- Recognize things you can do to make your life better
- and more!
Seriously, it’s the ultimate form of therapy. I swear by it.
I wish I had started journaling when I was so anxious back in 2017 I needed two therapy sessions a week to keep my anxiety somewhat under control*
*under control: sleeping in 10-min chucks, with my lights on in the middle of the night
I’m not saying journaling can substitute professional help; I’m just saying it compliments it, and it can help you feel better when you’re not talking to your therapist.
If you’re new to journaling, check out this post: Journaling For Beginners: A Guide + 16 Pro Tips To Make The Most Out Of It
In case you’re thinking you don’t feel like doing it or that you’ll read this post but won’t take action on it: Yes, I know you don’t feel like doing anything but look at it this way. You have two options
a. take action now
b. stay like you are forever.
There’s no in-between.
Don’t wait. Nobody’s going to save you, nobody’s going to do the hard work for you.
Reading this post and then forgetting about it won’t do the trick.
A few things I want you to know about journaling before you get started:
- Don’t dwell on negativity. Yes, let it all out, but don’t focus on what makes you feel miserable. Write it down and let it go
- Let it all out and get to the root of your problems
- Discover what could make your life better.
Commit to journaling for a week. That’s all your future self is asking you to do. Commit to these seven days of journaling.
5. Check your journal
Once you’ve answered all the questions, read what you wrote.
What can you learn from reading it? What do you want?
What do you want to change?
See if you can recognize:
- excuses you tell yourself
- negative self talk
- low self-esteem
- signs of toxic environments.
6. Accept or leave what you don’t like
There’s no other option; you either accept it or leave it.
Leave situations and people that don’t add value to your life.
Stop seeing toxic friends, distance yourself from awful family members. Yes, I know it’s hard, but it’s necessary.
Leaving also means “changing” in some cases, but beware of things you can’t change, like people outside of yourself and your past.
There are many things you can change like:
- your habits
- your self-talk
- your beliefs
7. Focus on the changes you can make
Be sure to make these changes step by step. Don’t go crazy trying to transform your whole life overnight.
Make a list of interests and start learning new things. Enroll in online courses.
Explore your passions with an open mind and sharp attention.
Learn about whatever thing that interests you, no matter if people say they’re a “waste of time.”
Pay attention to how you feel when you’re learning about them.
Improve your skills.
Focus on your health; exercise, do yoga, dance.
There are many physical activities you can do without even having to leave the comfort of your home.
Start eating healthy.
Look for healthy recipes on Pinterest and focus on nurturing your body.
Quit nasty habits you know aren’t good for you.
Start reading more books and stop watching so much TV.
Don’t spend that much time on social media.
Surround yourself with new people, online or offline.
You can meet amazing people online if you hang out where your tribe is.
8. Change your environment
If you have the means to move, do it.
If you don’t, clean your space, declutter, get rid of things that don’t serve you anymore.
9. Read non-fiction books that are relevant to your situation
Probably, your problems aren’t unique; chances are someone else went through the same thing and wrote a book about it.
After having checked your journal, you should be more clear about what your problems are.
Go on Amazon and type in “[problem] books.”
For example, if you’re in a toxic relationship, type in “toxic relationships books.” Pick one and start reading it.
Or if you have financial problems, search for “finances books.” Try to find something you resonate with that aligns with the issues you’re facing.
Don’t be afraid to get into self-help. Sometimes it’s cheesy, but it works.
If you can’t afford books right now, articles online and YouTube videos will do.
Make sure to take informed action: don’t go with the first advice you find online. Make sure you watch a good amount of videos and read several articles before taking action.
10. Design a plan
Identify the problem that’s bothering you the most and start from there.
Don’t try to do it all at once. That’ll just leave you frustrated.
Whoo! That was a long one.
But how could I cover such a topic in fewer words? It’s complicated, and there’s a lot to do when you feel this way.
I don’t want to end this article without shedding a little light, and I hope I don’t come across as “toxic positive”:
You only have one life. Live it, love it, enjoy it, don’t let people ruin it, not even yourself.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde