I remember when my life sucked. My days looked something like this: struggle to get out of bed, go to a job I didn’t like, come home to someone I didn’t love, eat some grub, watch some TV, go to sleep, repeat. For a while I thought it was my circumstances that made me unhappy. But then I realized I was making myself unhappy, and my circumstances were worse as a result. I’d be willing to bet this is why you’re not happy.
How We Make Ourselves Unhappy
When I started studying the dialogue in my head, I started to notice that it was almost all negative. There were fearful thoughts, relentless replays of past mistakes, and BRUTAL self-accusation. I was my own worst judge, jury and executioner. It was a vicious cycle.
Thankfully, I started to change how I talked to myself. When I started to challenge the voices in my head, amazing changes started to happen. I became more energetic and bold. Creativity flowed more easily. I felt less heavy and started to hope. The momentum continued and carried over into my everyday actions, which started to lead to different outcomes. Years later, my life is much, much more victorious.
Coming out the other side, I gained what I believe to be valuable insights into the roots of unhappy self-talk, which I believe in turn is the root of why you’re not happy. Specifically, I’d say there are several enemies of identity that you need to defeat in order to have a more positive inner world. I believe when you gain ground in one or more of these areas, you will find more peace and joy inside than you thought you could.
The 7 Enemies of Identity
Enemy #1 – Lack of Purpose
Lack of purpose will often show up when you’re searching for clarity and direction. This voice will arise to remind you that you’ve never had clear direction, that only a few people can achieve a successful life, and that you’re not one of those people.
The truth is that discovering your purpose comes when you start to become the best version of yourself each day. When you do this, you will eventually discover that the greatest purpose in life is serving the person you used to be in whatever form that takes for you.
Enemy #2 – Insignificance
This enemy tells you that you don’t have anything of value to bring. It says very plainly, “You’re not good enough”. Then it brings forth the related lie which says, “Therefore, you don’t matter.” Sometimes the sequence of these lies is reversed, and Lack of Significance will tell you that you don’t matter because you’re not good enough. Regardless, the ping-pong match between these two ideas is what marks Enemy #2.
If you’re reading this, I’d take a hard look at insignificance when evaluating why you’re not happy. Chances are this very common enemy is playing a role. The truth is that your worth has nothing to do with whether or not you are noticed by others. You have worth because you are worth it. It’s that simple. You were born with value and dignity, and no amount of good deeds or failures will increase or decrease that worth. Don’t give in to comparison! Your journey is different than anyone else’s, and you bring something to the table no one else does.
Enemy #3 – Past Failures
Man, did this one get me for a long time. I let myself get trapped in homelessness for years because I couldn’t forgive myself for my past behaviors. Instead, I wore the homeless high school dropout as a badge of honor to hide my shame. I also viewed my past as inevitable to avoid accepting responsibility and facing my fears.
The truth is everyone has done things they wish they could take back. This is part of being a human being. However, the reality that your mistakes don’t need to repeat themselves. In fact, adversity is a tool that can be sharpened to cut through the clutter if you simply use it the right way. Instead of hiding my mistakes, I owned them. Each time I did that, I got progressively stronger. Now I can use those mistakes to help others who are suffering in their own personal prisons. You can too.
Enemy #4 – Lack of Connection
Lack of Connection will try to get you to despair by making you feel alone. “Why should I work hard if no one notices that I am even here?” it’ll whisper. “What’s the point in causing yourself more pain? Just give up.”
I used to tell myself I was happy being alone, finding strange enjoyment in feeling misunderstood. In reality I never would have made it to where I am today if I’d stayed in isolation. If you think enemy #4 is part of why you’re not happy, you need to get over yourself and realize that you’re worth the value of connection no matter where you are right now. Your tribe will put a high value on you being connected to them. Start putting yourself out there and caring about what other people are going through. You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll make friends!
Enemy #5 – Invisibility
This is similar to enemy #4, with one key difference. Whereas enemy #4 wants you to focus on lack of relationship, invisibility wants you to feel unseen in the relationships you already have. It wants you to feel uncelebrated by the people around you.
Being celebrated is important. That said, we all need to learn to find value in ourselves before we can receive praise in a healthy way. It’s funny, but no matter how much you think praise from other people would make you happy, the reality is that you’d go back to a negative baseline immediately. People simply can’t make you value yourself. You have to do that.
Enemy #6 – Lack of Security
Security is a primal need. We all want to feel safe. Lack of Security will very stubbornly try to convince you that no, you’re not safe. Not by a long shot. It will try to force you into a defensive posture and self-protective behavior, which will close your mind to creativity and make you less approachable.
I’ll say two things to this. First, things are almost never as bad as they seem. Fear evokes a physiological response that makes you feel like you’re in physical danger, but this is obviously not true most of the time.
Second, I’ve discovered that when you make significant progress on enemies 1 – 5, your confidence tends to bring the right opportunities at the right time. When this happens your sense of security is naturally strengthened.
Enemy #7 – Fear of Being Seen
In a stunning reversal from enemy #5, Fear of Being Seen says, “If others see me for who I am, I will not be valued. Therefore, I must pretend to be someone I’m not.” This is a tragic lie, because the only way to receive love from others is to let them love you. This is impossible if all you give them is a persona.
“But who out there would love me for who I really am?” you may be asking. You’d be surprised. Everyone has their tribe, calling, and unique treasures they bring to the table. When you believe this and own yourself, you put yourself in position to be accepted by others. There will be rejection, but that’s ok. It’s better than hiding, which is easy in the short-run but ultimately removes you from any possibility of happiness.
Get Ahead of Your Circumstances and Start Being Happy Today
I truly believe that if you can focus on what you say to yourself and talk back to the negative things, you can overcome the big lies you believe that are holding you back from peace. If you want more answers to why you’re not happy, check out our free eBooks. They can help you get to the roots of your deepest questions about yourself and start an unstoppable life.