blogging, Philosophy

Why is Everyone So Unhappy?

It seems that the happiest lives are built on forgiveness and loving kindness that breeds contentment.

If you are forgiving but still unhappy, consider the role you might have taken in life could be triggering unhappiness and discontentment.

Roles in Life Limit our Self-Image

The roles we set for ourselves may define and limit us. Past wrongs or mistakes shape our feelings and our self-image.

Do you identify with any of the following roles in life? Are you:

  • The person who tries to control outcomes by making everything perfect
  • The son or daughter who is never good enough
  • The victim who is repeatedly hurt by others’ words or actions
  • The person who is always trying to be pleased so that they may be loved
  • The person who starts but never finishes
  • The stoic who never feels emotion
  • The person who looks for happiness in the external possessions
  • The people that emphasize what they do is more important than who they are
  • The people that focus on the past and the future -forgetting they are living only in the present.

Underneath we all just want to be loved. Can anyone deny that they want to be loved?

You can change the role you have mentally set for yourself.

“Find the role or roles that suit you best and decline the rest.”


If someone says or does something that upsets you, see beyond their words and actions.

Change your reaction and you change your role in life.

Snow m-quote

Attitudinal healing looks beyond words and practises forgiveness.

Have you radically changed your attitude to someone close to you with which you had difficulty? How did that work out? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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52 thoughts on “Why is Everyone So Unhappy?”

  1. In the words of Buddha, “All states of being are determined by mind, it is mind that leads the way”. When we observe, are part of, experience an “event”, instead of merely observing and acknowledging it, we interpret it, react to it, respond to it. We get a headache and think “brain tumour”, we get a cough and think “Covid”, we get into a spat on Twitter or Facebook because of what someone else has written, and we rail against unbalanced media reporting. The whole planets population is probably at its lowest ebb mentally than at any time in the history of mankind. Except in Bhutan! Go figure 😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It makes a difference to the atmosphere of the house if you are surrounded by happy people. But it is an unrealistic expectation to feel happy all the time, isn’t it, Peggy? Is there a level of happiness in a person that in itself becomes irritating or too much?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t t aim for happiness, I aim for contentment. I try to remember the serenity prayer (not that I’m religious), but I love the words of the serenity prayer when faced with life’s trials.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Unhappiness exists throughout life.

    Let us not pretend.

    Happiness comes in bits and disappears even before one completes that bit of happiness.

    Each person has own definition of happiness.

    Unhappiness in relationships is lack of mutual adjustments.

    Changing our attitude in a positive way towards those who upset us, is easy but difficult to follow.

    I don’t have faith in ‘happiness index’, since happiness varies from person to person and one can’t generalise by questionnaire or random sample survey.

    Relationship survives on mutual respect, understanding each other’s point of view and most importantly trust factor. All these things are easier said than done.

    Everybody talks of miscommunication, assumption and presumption as the reasons for unhappiness.

    So ‘unhappiness’ is a permanent feature and we are fools because we imagine all the time that we are soon to achieve a ‘permanent happiness’

    Thank you Amanda for this thought provoking post.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Amanda, well said. Short and sweet. Your first two sentences and the first banner speak volumes. We often dictate how our day is going go to be when we arise. If we get up and lament the day, it will likely be less utile. If we get up and look forward to the day, the better chance it will be wonderful – we are our own self-prophets.

    The key conclusion to a wonderful documentary on happiness called “I am,” is money cannot make you happy, but the absence of money can make you unhappy. Once we have enough to feed and house our families, taking care of basic needs, there is a diminishing marginal utility to having more.

    So, we should set aside the pursuit of material things and look for more and better interactions with others. To me, those who give of themselves to help others gain a psychic income money cannot replace. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Yes, It seems a difficult area to attain. This happiness.
    Bookshops often either show books on food and cooking or on love and happiness. Perhaps there is a connection there.
    People that are reasonably content are nice to meet and to live with. A roof and enough food are the basics. Anything more than that gives room to share with others.
    The present lockdowns area a brake on communities and emotional welfare. But, it seems we need to stick to it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We do have to stick with the lockdowns for the present moment, Gerard! However irritating, they do work to contain the virus!
      Contented people are the ones I want to be around too, but they are getting rarer and rarer these days! Expectations are unrealistic, when they should be pared down to what is necessary. What we need is vastly different from what we want. That has been said many times before, hasn’t it?
      Interesting that you have observed the connection between food and happiness. We all love to eat. It is one of the best things in life! But again – in moderation. We must have an off switch.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I find that if I don’t going looking for happy and instead focus on being productive, I end up being happy most of the time. In my observation people are unhappy because they are resentful of other people who think and do things, who move forward, while they want to sit around and whine… which makes them even more unhappy. A vicious circle

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Suggesting you don’t go looking for happiness, is good advice, Ally. Chasing happiness will only lead to disappointment as continual happiness is in my opinion, unrealistic, although if it were achievable, that would be cool! I am a realist by nature.
      Regarding unhappy people the doers have it all over the whiners! It is good to vent, but not if you rely on that for everything!
      I think folks suffering with depression, are definitely in a vicious circle. Even when help is available, they don’t have the wherewithal to access it.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. Remember my mother tell us to look at our palms first thing in the morning. Decades later I figure out the meaning….You look at yourself, your life and what you make of it. Draw your own life lines for the day, month, year … She was a young widow, 38 years, with five children & succeeded in managing home, family, business from 1960-2000.( India). Life has many lessons
    for us to react and act.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What a strong role model you had for a Mother! And practical advice too. Each day a fresh reassessment of where you are headed and what things to be grateful for. You are indeed fortunate.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. You are completely right, changing ones attitude does change ones life.I know this from experience and it is always challenging in the present no matter how practised it in the past. There’s a book on positivity called “I’m ok you’re ok” that made me think of these ideas during my college years. You might find it interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Lovely post, Amanda. I, too, loved your first line. Forgiveness and lovingkindness are paramount for a good life. As is gratitude. Indeed, we should be aware of the limitations we impose on ourselves, as they can certainly define our life’s trajectory. Keep up the good fight, my friend! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thought provoking.Living in happy surrounding is important indeed but I have changed my attitude towards my loved ones as now I dont get angry on them if I get into a ugly fight with them as I try to remember 5 good qualities that they possess which helped me 😇

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Remembering the good qualities of your loved one is a great strategy but it wasn’t enough for me to change my mindset completely Raksha. I had often resolved to not let my emotions get the better of me, but hormonally this was exceedingly challenging, so I devised a trick to stop my feelings overtaking my rational thoughts. I promised myself to try for a week to change my reaction to those who were pressing my hot buttons! Rather than fight to stop feeling from arising, it was more about how I could change them and react differently. Even the thought of this was distracting enough to quell hormones! It was amazing and I saw those who made me feel irritated in a completely different light. It is very empowering. I don’t know your situation but try it for a day, or even for a few hours if that works, and note how you feel before and after. See if it will make a difference to you.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Happiness connected our mind set. How we accept the things which coming in life, if take positive will just a situational effect, if take negative cause of unhappy. It is all about our thinking.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think the turning point I had was realising that people’s reactions are a combination of their past events, how they were raised, who they were around, cultural values and all of this is projected in their reactions. Since this realising, I think I have just come to accept other people as the complex being that they are and go about my activities as I want. Just navigating yourself and what you want to do and achieve is hard enough without having to worry about what others think as well. It’s particularly hard when it’s close family/friends or people you have to see often and don’t like (haha!). Acceptance needs to go with forgiveness as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I believe that we can choose happiness and a can-do attitude, and I want to teach my kids that. (So far, it’s not going so well, they are still tantrum-prone as h**l!! But in theory.) 😀
    And during cabin crew training, they taught us to always try to see past a passenger’s aggressive behaviour to the reasons why they are angry. Maybe they are stressed because they had a bad morning and were late, maybe they are scared of flying or are headed to a funeral… and that helped in dealing with them in an enclosed space where you just had to find a way to keep peace.
    So this post was an interesting read. Not always so easy to do these things in real life, but it’s good to be mindful of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are correct, Snow. For some folks, it is not easy to do in real life at all. Understanding the reasons behind anger is quite easy to do on reflection later, but in the heat of the moment, or a toddler tantrum, the autonomic nervous system alerts so quickly that there is little time to think through reasons why an individual is doing something, before the emotions of anger are felt. Having said that, though, there are ways we can re-train our brain to think through and act rather than react. It takes practice and discipline, or rather the desire to want to change our reactions. I can fully understand why you were taught and used techniques to quiet passengers in the aircraft. It would be vitally important. Was there ever a time when a passenger would not settle? And if so, what did you have to do to manage that?

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s such a good question, Amanda. Why is everyone so unhappy? Maybe others around us are really unhappy with their lives, or it is just a matter of our perception as you alluded to. If you are unhappy, it’s definitely worthwhile trying to find what is making us unhappy, and perhaps it stems from a problem we can’t solve, our attitude or our desires. At times changing our way of life to be happier is easier said than done – and it can take a while to change before we feel better.

    I agree with LeggyPeggy. I’m not always happy. I don’t see anything wrong with that as life is a series of ups and downs, and prefer to find things that bring me peace on the inside.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perpetual happiness would, I think, be counter-productive. Not only would our standard of appreciation of things that are good decline, (as we would have no sense of unhappiness to make a comparison with), but the motivation that comes from being unhappy about matters, that feeling of wanting to strive and improve life would vanish.
      Does that make sense, Mabel?


  15. “Attitudinal healing looks beyond words and practices forgiveness.”—So true. And if this doesn’t work, you may need to leave the situation. Sometimes, no matter how much you change, the other person may choose not to.

    Liked by 1 person

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