“I hate my life.”
You’re not craving attention, and you don’t know where to begin. But something’s brought you here.
You feel anger, disgust and fear. Maybe you’re being bullied, verbally or mentally. You hate your life with a passion.
You hate who you are, how you make yourself feel and possibly how you look as well.
Maybe you hate your life situation too: Your job, friends, family, school and prospects. And you feel lonely and afraid. Everywhere you look doors seem locked, and you’ve nowhere left to turn.
You are not alone.
Billions of people end up in this situation every year.
Brought low by a world that often seems cruel and uncaring. Trapped, feeling helpless, calling themselves names like “lowly”, “pathetic”, or “trash”.
But remember this:
Hating yourself does not have to be a permanent state. It can pass. It can leave you.
I’m a trained counsellor and therapist, and I help people overcome the same problems every day.
Everyday people come to me and utter the same words: “I hate my life.”
Every day we break it down and look at the details.
Always someone has a breakthrough and realises the reasons and causes of their misery.
And they find the strength to go on.
The dark days pass and the feelings of hate fade.
It is possible to get there. It takes time and effort, but brighter days are ahead.
1) Enjoy Rock Bottom
Life is hard.
Although we’re led to believe that everything should be easy, and if it’s not, it’s our fault, the reality is that being human is hard. Not every day and every phase of life can be a happy one.
But reaching rock bottom is often the point where we begin to turn our life around. The fact you’re here searching “I hate my life” on the web means your starting to look for answers.
Searching the internet was the starting point for my recovery as well. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually, I got there.
The fact you’re here now is a good thing. It means you dare to face your difficulties and the insight to realise something is wrong.
Life is a flow of ups and downs. It contains severe pain – disappointment, failure, loss, illness, rejection, poverty and much more, but it also carries hope, love, kindness and creativity. Bad times don’t last forever.
2) Be Unhappy
We can’t be happy all the time.
Yet another problem with modern society is that it tells us every day we should be full of joy. And so we think we’re faulty or wrong when were not all pumped up. But how is it possible to be happy all the time?
Sometimes it’s easier to ignore the pain we are in and pretend we’re doing ok. We’re afraid that admitting our pain, means there is something wrong with us.
But that’s not always the best way.
Take a moment to embrace your pain. Take a moment to accept that you are unhappy and that it’s not your fault.
It’s not possible to be upbeat all the time, and millions of people suffer stress, anxiety and depression in part because society tells us we need to be satisfied every day.
3) Be Precise
“I hate my life” is very general.
The starting point of recovery is trying to be more specific.
It’s time to dig deep and list the details of your discontent.
Are you facing unemployment at work? Are you struggling for money? Maybe you have an idea of what’s troubling you already, but spending time to hone in on the details will help.
One way to do this is the arrow down technique. The idea is to keep asking why until you get to the core of your problem.
Here’s an example from my own life not too long ago:
1. Why do I hate my life?
Because I feel my job is unstable.
2. Why is my situation precarious?
Because I don’t get enough work
3. Why don’t I get enough work?
Because my skills don’t match the job
4. Why aren’t they matched for the job?
Because I am not doing something I enjoy.
5. Why aren’t I doing something I enjoy?
Because I don’t know what I would enjoy
Can you see that what started as something vague has now become more specific? The more specific you can get, the more you know which areas you need to change.
4) Get Planning
Make a list of a few ideas to what you can do next.
Now you’ve got specific it might be possible to see some steps you can take. It doesn’t have to be big; no one expects life to turn around in an instant.
But significant change calls for action.
In the example above, I realised I didn’t know what I would enjoy, and so I began to read around the topic. Sometimes books, sometimes the web. Here’s a post on finding your purpose; for example, it’s the fruits of all my research.
Whatever you do, try to start small and be realistic. Great results take time. But always some action is better than none, and if you believe enough, you’ll get there.
5) Don’t Think the Worst
Try to allow a little optimism into your life.
You don’t have to be full of an unbridled glass-half-full attitude, but try to allow for a small dose of optimism.
In an ideal world, what would your life look like? Forget about all the obstacles in your way for the moment and focus on that future. What does it look like, what do you see, hear and do every day?
What type of job, relationship, or hobbies would you have?
As long as you believe none of your goals are possible, then you won’t take action to achieve them. Write down your answers. Be clear and specific. You have to believe something is possible before you make an effort to get there.
6) Eliminate the Negatives
You need to weed out all the negatives.
When we hate our lives, it often means we have an inner critical voice. Often our circumstances might appear better if we did not have this voice in our head.
Our critical inner voice describes a cruel, internal enemy we all have inside us that comments on our every move and criticises us at every turn.
This voice often undermines and sabotages us in every area of our life. This voice tears us apart, particularly when we are feeling down or have suffered a setback.Try to identify your critical voice. What does it say? How does it hold you back? To overcome this voice, you need to challenge it, to make yourself realise that it’s only one point
7) Challenge Your Mental Maps
Many of us carry faulty mental maps or schemas in our head.
They are patterns that start in childhood and reverberate throughout life.
They began with something that was done to us by our families or by other children. We were abandoned, criticised, overprotected, abused, excluded or deprived – we got damaged in some way.
Eventually, the mental map became part of us.
Long after we first got treated this way, we still end up in circumstances of abuse. We end of being mistreated, controlled, ignored and put down. Or we continually fail to reach our desired goals.
Mental maps determine how we act, feel, think and relate to others. They trigger intense feelings such as anger, sadness, and anxiety.
Even when we appear to have everything, we are often unable to savour life or believe in our accomplishments.
There are 11 mental maps that people commonly have:
- Abandonment: the feeling that the people you love will leave you, and you will end up emotionally isolated forever.
- Mistrust and Abuse: the expectation that people will hurt or abuse you in some way------that they will cheat, lie to, manipulate, humiliate, physically harm, or otherwise take advantage of you.
- Dependence: you feel unable to handle everyday life effectively without considerable help from others.
- Vulnerability: you live in fear that disaster is about to strike whether natural, criminal, medical, or financial. You do not feel safe in the world.
- Emotional Deprivation: the belief that your need for love will never be met adequately by other people. You feel that no one truly cares for you or understands how you feel.
- Social Exclusion: involves your connection to friends and groups. It has to do with feeling isolated from the rest of the world, with feeling different.
- Defectiveness: you feel inwardly flawed and defective. You believe that you would be fundamentally unlovable to anyone who got close enough to know you.
- Failure: is the belief that you are inadequate in areas of achievement, such as school, work, and sports. You believe you have failed relative to your peers.
- Subjugation: you sacrifice your own needs and desires for the sake of pleasing others or meeting their needs. You allow others to control you.
- Unrelenting Standards: you strive relentlessly to meet extremely high expectations of yourself. You place excessive emphasis on status, money, achievement, beauty, order, or “recognition.”
- Entitlement: is associated with the ability to accept realistic limits in life. People who have this mental map feel special.
To read more about schemas / mental maps, also called life traps, click here.
8) Prepare for the Bad
Things don’t always go as planned.
Although things will turn around and get better, there can often be setbacks on the way. Even if things are improving, you need to prepare for the worst.
Setbacks are a part of life, and you need to be prepared to cope. Have contingency plans in place and make sure a delay doesn’t derail you from your new life direction.
Make a list of all the things that could go wrong and list out what your response might be.
What is the worst that can happen, and what will you do?
9) Build Resilience
You need to build your resilience up.
Resilience or “hardiness” is something we can all foster and develop. It involves the ability to get through hard times without expecting the road to be easy. And it consists in accepting that we have some control over our situation.
Often this means stepping outside of a victim mentality. Others have indeed treated us wrongly, life is unfair, and society doesn’t give us the tools we need to prosper. But it’s also true that we do have some power over our lives.
10) Understand Your Values
Values often underpin what is meaningful to us in life.
Yet it can be surprisingly difficult to know what our values are.
One technique to use is the arrow down technique we used earlier when we were getting specific about the things that you hate. The arrow down method is also useful for understanding values.
Think of something important to you and start there. You know you have found a value when there is nothing else behind it. When there is no other reason why. It just is. Here’s an example:
I like my walk in the park
1. Why do I love my walk in the park?
Because it makes me happy.
2. Why does it make me happy?
Because I like nature
3. Why do I like nature?
Because I think the world is beautiful
4. Why do I think the world is beautiful?
Because I do.
When you get to a “because I do” that’s a value. In this example, the world is beautiful is a value something that’s important to me. That’s why I enjoy park walks and get upset about the destruction of the natural world.
11. Look After Yourself
It’s essential to take care of yourself.
Self-care is essential when we are feeling lost, lonely and full of despair. Although we may not be able to turn our situation around immediately, there may be several small things we can do that can soothe us and give us the compassion and caring we need.
Here are some ideas, not all of them will work for you, but some might.
Take Care of Your Body
1) Try to get a healthy amount of sleep. A lot of research shows that a good night’s sleep is essential. Click here to see an infographic on how to get a good night’s sleep.
2) Try to eat well. A healthy balanced diet includes a right mix of fruit and vegetables. Click here to see an infographic on what constitutes a balanced diet.
3) Drink plenty of water. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that many of us are constantly dehydrated. The ideal amount is around eight glasses a day.
4) Fresh air and exercise. A moderate amount of activity is known to be conducive to good health. Try to get out of the house at least once a day if you can, even if it’s just for a brief walk.
5) Try not to isolate yourself too much. Reach out to the people who you feel you can trust and make a point of going to see them. Share some of your difficulties if you can.
6) Don’t spend all your time online if you can help it. If you haven’t got any friends you feel like visiting, then consider joining a hobby club or volunteering somewhere.
7) Reach out to people and share your troubles, either online or in person. There are lots of chat forums where you can get support, or you can leave a comment below. I read them all.
8) Get help. Either from family, friends, online or a counsellor or helpline. The point is to choose someone who can listen to you and offer some advice.
9) Reading can be soothing, and you may learn a lot. Use the internet to give you ideas, but do some research yourself. Don’t just rely on what other people say.
10) Develop critical thinking skills. Anyone can say anything on the internet; learn to develop skills in thinking carefully about what you read. Look for ideas but don’t take them as gospel. Including things written by me.
11) If there is a library near you, see if you can borrow some books. Read self-improvement books and choose ideas that might work for you. Try them out.
12) Experiment. Everyone is different, one thing that works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else. It’s up to you to try something and see what works for you.
13) If you can afford it, treat yourself to something you can enjoy. Maybe an ice-cream or a bath. Or perhaps the luxury of taking time for yourself. Go for a walk in the park or visit a local art gallery.
14) If you can, give yourself a break, just for a day, try not to be so hard on yourself. Try just for a moment not to criticise or say negative things about yourself.
15) Dress well. Although it can seem a bit hard and silly when you are feeling down. Making a bit of an effort can perk up your mood.
16) Avoid drugs and alcohol. These aren’t good for you, they may seem like it, they may seem like you are rewarding yourself and making you feel better, but they are doing you more harm than good.
17) Got to see a doctor and rule out any medical complications. Make sure you can trust your doctor and that they are not going to prescribe you pills that you’re not sure you need.
18) Turn the TV off. A certain amount of Television can be informative, make us laugh, and help us relax. But TV is very passive; mix it up with active things too.
19) Dig down into understanding the things you dislike, what specific things cause you to hate your life, why do you hate them so much?
20) Don’t avoid understanding your life traps. Understanding your life traps maybe one of the single biggest education things you can undertake. Take this quick quiz to find out which is your single biggest life trap.
Worth a Fight
You hate your life.
You feel desperate and have nowhere left to turn. You feel low and full of despair.
Perhaps you’re trapped in a job you hate, barely have any money and are struggling to feed your family and yourself.
Perhaps you’re born into a developing country where every day is a fight for survival and life seems cruel and unfair.
Or you don’t have these struggles, but still feel full of loathing and self-disgust, so that every day is a struggle to get out of bed.
Go through this post again and see which points might apply to you. Take the schema quiz and see what your biggest lifetrap is. Read up more on the topics that seem interesting and worthy of further pursuit.
I’ve felt low before, I’ve hated myself, and today many of the clients I deal with also feel this way. But often it’s a fleeting feeling. Over time we learnt to be more resilient and to take better care of ourselves. Our perspective changed, and so has our life situation.
What seems locked, blocked and futile at the moment gave way to something else. There’s a good chance this will happen for you too. That chance is worth a fight.
So don’t give up and don’t wallow in your hate, take what actions you can.Good times might not be too far away.