As someone who’s struggled with depression and anxiety, I know exactly what it’s like to be unhappy.
I’m also high functioning, which means that despite the panic attacks and the dark pits of depression and apathy, I’m still able to get things done.
I wouldn’t say that I have it all because I’m still working on my private jet, but I’m my own boss and I pick my working hours, which is close enough to having it all for most.
And yet, sometimes, I’m still unhappy. And that’s where this article comes in.
Here are nine reasons why you might still be unhappy even if you think you have it all.
1) Your life doesn’t seem to have any purpose
It’s not uncommon for people to realize that their life doesn’t have any purpose to it.
This happens almost by default when we’re so occupied with just surviving that we can’t spare the time to think about the big picture. The problem is that we’ll keep on trundling along through life without ever taking the time to reorient ourselves.
This can work okay in the short term, but if you do it for too long then you’ll end up in your forties or fifties and with no idea why you’ve been working so hard.
Instead, take a step back and figure out what you want to achieve. Then go out and achieve it.
2) You’re still comparing yourself to others
They say that comparison is the thief of joy.
That’s why it’s never a good idea to compare yourself to others. This is something that I’ve learned the hard way as an indie author. To begin with, I thought I was a failure because I wasn’t selling as many books as some of the other people I knew.
Eventually, life teaches you that there’s no point comparing yourself to other people because we’re all different, with different abilities and different experiences. Ever since I learned that, I’ve made it a rule to only ever worry about comparing myself to… well, myself.
I still have the motivation that comes from wanting to beat someone. It’s just that the person I want to beat is me from six months ago.
3) You have health issues
If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to suffer from long-term health issues, you know just how much havoc they can cause in your life.
I can tell you this from personal experience. I suffer from a combination of anxiety and depression, and I also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Because of this, I suffer from a lot of stomach aches and also have panic attacks.
These are difficult enough to deal with at the best of times, and so you can probably see why they leave me feeling unhappy even when it seems as though I’m doing pretty well in life.
And so if you see someone who seems to have it all but who also suffers from health issues, have some sympathy for them. Their life isn’t as easy as they make it look.
4) You’re struggling with imposter’s syndrome
Imposter’s syndrome is the phenomenon we experience when we don’t feel as though we deserve the success we have.
In other words, we feel like imposters.
Most of us experience imposter’s syndrome to some extent or other, and the real question is how we plan to respond to it. I’m a big fan of the whole “fake it until you make it” approach, but there’s no denying that while you’re faking it, you can feel unhappy.
Unfortunately, for many of us, this is something that we have to learn to deal with on our path to success.
5) You’re a perfectionist
This is something I don’t have to worry about because I’ve always had the mindset that it’s better to get something done than to make it perfect.
My partner, on the other hand, is the opposite. She’s so obsessed with being perfect that she often doesn’t manage to finish things. It’s both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. Unfortunately, it also means that even when she finishes something, she’s rarely happy with it.
I’m convinced that this perfectionism is why so many great artists have struggled with their mental health. Instead of patting themselves on the back and celebrating a job well done, they’re already thinking about how they could have improved it.
6) You have no work-life balance
If you feel as though you spend all of your time working, there’s a good chance that you don’t have any work-life balance.
This is one that I definitely can talk about, because I’m self-employed and I’ve fallen into the trap of working every single day to make sure that I stay on top of things. That also means that I don’t get much time to spend doing whatever I want to do.
If you have no work-life balance, while you might experience a ton of professional success, you’ll struggle to enjoy it. You’ll be too busy working.
7) You’re obsessed with external validation
If you look to external sources for validation, you shouldn’t be surprised if you struggle to find happiness.
That’s because you’re relying on other people for your happiness, instead of looking inwardly in your search for happiness. As difficult as it can be, you need to find a way to provide your own happiness, even if that’s from something as simple as appreciating comfort and good food.
If you’re able to stop seeking external validation and to find it from within yourself, you’re in a much better place to finally enjoy happiness now that you’ve got it all.
8) You’re surrounded by toxic people
This is one that often seems to plague famous people. They’re unable to feel truly content because even though they’re super successful, they’re surrounded by negativity because of the people they associate with.
They say that we’re the sum of the people we spend the most time with, and I find that to be true. And so if you surround yourself by toxic people (or even just people who are unhappy with their lives), don’t be surprised if that toxicity spreads to you.
As harsh as it sounds, you need to know when to cut ties with people and leave them behind. You can’t afford to hold on to people who are making you unhappy, and letting go is the kindest thing you can do both for them and for yourself.
9) You don’t have any interests outside of work
If you don’t have any interests outside of work then perhaps that’s why you’re struggling with that work-life balance that we mentioned.
Hobbies aren’t just fun ways to pass the time – they’re vital for safeguarding your mental health and providing you with an outlet when times are tough. In my case, writing is my job and so I spend a lot of time reading, but I also like going to the gym and playing guitar.
When times are tough at work, or even when I just need to unwind after a stressful day, it’s these external interests that make me happy and leave me feeling fulfilled.
Now that you know nine reasons why you might be unhappy even when you have it all, you’re in the best possible place to figure out which of these reasons apply to you.
Once you know why you’re still unhappy, you can take steps to address it. For example, if you’re struggling with work-life balance, you can try to spend fewer hours at work and more with your family.
Remember that we’re all just works-in-progress, and that’s totally fine. Even when other people think you have it all, it’s okay if you feel like you don’t. Just keep working on it and you’ll find happiness in the end. Good luck out there.