One day, I was sitting with one of my friends. ‘I hate my life,’ he cried
“Why am I living? I’m such a loser who just sleeps and eats.” He stated that and started comparing himself to a pan saying that it was better than him.
I wasn’t better than him back then. Maybe not even better than that pan as well. I hated my life also. I had different (and less extreme) ways to describe it, like “my life sucks.” But it’s still a form of hatred towards life in general and towards mine specifically.
What I’ve learned is that there are stages of hatred towards one’s life.
It starts with “life sucks.” And it can reach a dangerous point where you not only hate your life, but that along with suicidal thoughts, or at least self-destructive behaviors (such as cutting or addictions/bad habits).
Since you’re reading this, then most probably you’re in one of these stages.
You hate your life. I don’t care how little or how big. That’s something that you need to start taking seriously.
And let me guess. The reason why you hate your life is simply that it sucks! But why does it suck? Maybe you feel like a total loser compared to those around you. Maybe you feel like you won’t ever be able to be happy, successful, loved, or whatever you want to be.
Or maybe worse than that; you’ve been through painful and so-seemed unfair situations (loss of a loved one, dysfunctional childhood, bullying …etc).
Maybe a combination of all the above.
All of us have been through at least one of these situations. They do suck. And they can make the journey of life look very dark and hopeless.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You don’t have to live a life that you hate. You don’t have to sleep-walk through life and live way under your true potential.
This article is here to tell you that there’s a better way somehow.
I won’t tell you that I’m going to make you love your life, you won’t believe that anyway.
At least, you’re going to understand why you hate your life and what to do about it. And if you’re willing to learn this and do what it takes, I’m willing to tell you that you can be in a better place.
OK, at least not hating every breath that is coming in and out and doing something useful with this life that you have. That’s a better place.
Now, let’s start this article by clearing up some hard and ugly facts. Facts that are going to lay the foundation of how to stop hating your life and start using it for a greater purpose than comparing yourself to a pan.
Life is Hard!
To tell you that life is beautiful or that you just need to change the way you look at it isn’t very true. It’s misleading often. Life is not easy and we all know that.
Go and tell someone who has just lost all his money, or lost a loved one (god forbids), that life is beautiful and colorful and that he just can’t see the freaking bright side!!
Most probably you would get a punch on your face if you did that.
Life is hard and this shouldn’t surprise you. Change is hard. And it can get very painful at times. It’s not a walk in the park neither it’s a comfortable journey.
When our lives go wrong, and when we get knocked down. When we get confused, and when we lose some battles here and there. When we face rejections, and when we fail after putting our 110%. And when bad things generally happen to us. That is just life being itself.
It’s totally understandable to hate your life during those moments. But what’s not acceptable is to let that hatred cripple you.
Yes, it’s hard. It’s a battle, and you either fight or hide. And by the way, hiding hurts more than fighting.
This is Why I Hate My Life
Let me tell you, without any further ado, what makes a person hates his life.
We humans have something that’s called rules. And generally, those rules govern our emotions and our perception of the world. In other words, we feel sad, disappointed, frustrated, happy, excited, or satisfied based on these rules.
They are like our expectations or how we want things to be. If there is a mismatch between these rules and our reality, dissatisfaction will happen.
Have you ever asked yourself why some people feel successful when they make 1000$ and other people feel like losers even though they’re making 10,000$?
Why do celebrities and people who are supposed to have it all become miserable and depressed? And sometimes even kill themselves?
It’s because of their specific, personal rules.
Simply, it looks like this:
X + Y + Z = a happy life that I like.
For many people, those X, Y, and Z are extremely difficult to meet or are set in an unrealistic time frame or expectations
And whenever those X, Y, and Z aren’t met, or at least when you lose hope in meeting them, the equation won’t be right and you won’t feel good.
(And if they’re already too difficult to meet, it only makes things worse).
And as long as you are meeting them, or have hope that you will meet them, you will be feeling good.
To illustrate this, let me give you examples of X, Y, and Z:
- I must be successful, and success to me means: outperforming everyone else in this world and making more money than all people in my industry.
- I should be successful, and success means to me that I’m confident and social, but I feel like I would never be able to be that way.
- I must look a certain way (including factors that are out of your control).
- I should live in a certain place.
Those rules aren’t necessarily bad. Sometimes they’re actually good and they’re the only things that can make you happy.
However, if you hate your life then know that it’s because you have rules and your life doesn’t play the game with your rules. Period!
So what’s the solution?
The solution lays in the way we handle our rules.
You have 2 kinds of rules:
- Good rules that you want to keep (maybe adjust a little bit sometimes).
- Bad rules that you need to immediately get rid of.
What you need to do is to figure out your rules and then weed them out. Keep the good ones (maybe adjust the extreme ones a little bit), and get rid of the bad ones immediately.
But how do you do that?
Let me give you a simple rule that you need to follow in order to determinate whether a rule is good or bad:
Your rules must support your (good) values in a good, non-extreme way. If they do not, get rid of them.
(Note: if you start scratching your head, read on. This will get clearer as you finish the article).
Some may ask: what the hell are values?
That’s what we’re going to discuss in the rest of this article.
After that, you should be able to know which rules are making you feel bad about yourself and your life (a.k.a why you hate your life), whether you should keep them or not, and how to have a healthy set of rules that will make you satisfied with your life.
What Do You Want The Most
Your values are the things that you want the most.
They’re emotional states and/or wants that you choose to get and sustain in your life.
Values, at a deeper level, are nothing but (usually unconscious) needs that we ended up developing as a result of going through certain life experiences.
For instance, if someone says he values honesty, this means that he considers honesty of utmost importance in his relationships and interactions. If someone values success, he will consider (his own definition of) success very important.
Both of these people will build their lives around these values in an attempt to meet them.
And we usually don’t have only one value that guides our lives. We have a set of values in a specific order. This set of values can explain to us why we do everything that we do. And in this case, why we feel bad about our lives (and how to feel better about them).
The rules that we talked about above come from the values in the first place. They are the definition of and the explanation for the values.
Let’s see a quick example to understand all this.
If someone has the next values in this order:
- Success and achievement.
(Note: more on how to figure out your own values is below).
This person values success. However, he values freedom more than success. So, if this person has a job that is sucking his freedom, he’s not going to be happy with his life no matter how successful he is.
And if he’s in a relationship with a woman who really loves him, and he does love her back so much, but that relationship is taking away his freedom and damaging his success somehow, he’s going to be miserable. That, in turns, will affect his love life badly.
But still, there’s another factor, which is the rules that we talked about. What is their role here?
Simply, they define the value itself.
Two people can value freedom but what freedom means to each one of them is different. Two people can value love the same much but what has to happen in order for them to feel loved is different.
Here is how it looks like to our friend here:
- Freedom: I need to be in control of my own time. I want to have enough time for myself and for those who I care about. Nothing should threaten this time or take it away.
- Success and achievement: financial security and contributing to something bigger than myself because I love to grow and contribute.
- Love: I need to feel safe in my relationships. Save to share myself and be who I am. I need respect and honesty from the people that I love. And I give the people that I love security, respect, and honesty.
Are you starting to see the pattern?
When many people tell those around them that they hate their lives, the smart ones will tell them to change their job, try something new, and basically eliminate all the joy-sucking sources in their lives.
And that is correct to some extent. Because when they do that, chances are they’re going to meet some of their values and rules without they even know it.
The only problem is that without knowing your values, you can never know what the things that will make you happy.
I could’ve started this article by telling you to just leave the job that you hate or something like that. But every situation is different. By understanding the concept of values and rules, you can tell by your own what you need to leave that job in order to stop hating your life and start living, and enjoying, it.
Now I don’t claim that this is as simple as it may sound. Or as easy as it may sound. It’s a difficult and arduous journey of self-discovery. And it’s going to take time and a lot of efforts.
Last but not least, let’s talk about …
How to Figure Out Your Own Values?
There is a nice strategy that I would like to share.
It’s called the 5 whys. It’s mentioned in the book Disrupt Yourself.
It helps you get down to the value and the motives behind most actions and ideas.
You simply need to ask yourself why 5 times. You are digging deeper than the usual answer and trying to uncover the hidden layers.
You are now familiar with the concepts of values and rules. Rules define and explain the values.
Rules are more obvious than the values. When someone asks you, “what makes you happy?”, you can come up with answers. Those answers are your rules of success.
To use the 5 Whys method, pick up any rule and break it down by asking why 5 times. After these 5 questions, you should be able to clearly see the value which is driving your behavior. At least, you should have an idea about that value.
I want to leave my job.
Because I hate it.
Why do I hate it?
Because it makes me miserable and adds a huge amount of stress to my life.
Because I do a lot of meaningless tasks and I have to deliver them in a very short time.
Why does that make me feel miserable and stressed out?
Because I have to think about those meaningless tasks all the time to get them done as fast as possible. I get nightmares about them.
Why is that a bad thing?
I want to do other things that are important to me but I can’t because I don’t have the time. I want to spend some time with my family but I don’t have that much time.
In other words, Freedom.
(Note: the questions don’t have to be 5. They can be less or, sometimes, more. Ideally, no less than 3.)
Putting All This Together
If you hate your life, it’s simply because your life doesn’t match your rules and values. Whatever the situation that you are in right now, this is the root and main reason.
And to solve it, we need to work nowhere but there. Let’s put all this into one piece of advice that you can easily follow.
First of all, do you really realize that 1) Life is hard. 2) The only way to stop saying ‘I hate my life’ is to be willing to put in some work to fix it.
You got that handled?
Great! Let’s now move on, follow these steps:
- Define your rules:
Ask yourself: what does has to happen in order for you to be happy? And forget about all the limitations and short-comings. You just want to figure out the rules.
- Define your values:
Fulfilling your values is probably the only thing that will make you happy. And sure they’re different for everybody. Have an honest conversation with yourself. Use the 5 Whys method above to help you.
- Weed out your rules and values:
By now, you know your rules and values. Any rule that doesn’t align with your values must go straight to the toilet. Any rule/value that is too extreme must be redefined or changed. Superiority, for one, is not a good value to guide your life. (Read: Do You Need A Reason to Appreciate Yourself?)
- Your values are your priorities from now on:
They’re your goals, grind to reach them. Remember that you must be willing to put in some effort for things to change.
- There’s a bright side:
Trust me, I don’t care how much you hate your life, there’s a better place for you out there. There’s a purpose behind your existence. You can’t waste time hating this life, you have to move and do something with it.
Last Words: It’s Not a Bad Thing!
When you find yourself in a position where you hate your life, don’t start beating yourself up. Don’t start to hate yourself. It can actually be a good thing.
Dissatisfaction is an emotion that can ruin your life completely. But it also can be the one emotion that turns everything around. In my book, The Art of Change, I described how to use emotions, including dissatisfaction, to drive your change and improvement journey. (Read: I Feel Nothing: How to Beat Emotional Numbness)
In other words, you can use this dissatisfaction to turn your life around. You can use this hatred to change things.
Look at the most successful people around the world. You’ll find that dissatisfaction, sickness, and desperation are what drove them to be who they are today.
Pain is the greatest motivator. Use this pain to drive you instead of paralyzing you. You can do great things, I believe everybody can do great things. And remember, you get to define what ‘great’ means to you –it’s your value and your role. The only ones who never manage to do great things are those who become helpless, hopeless, wish they were dead, and just give up on themselves and lose hope. Don’t be one of those.