You have a great life: a stable job, an amazing spouse, wonderful children, nice car, you know, everything that you need.
You’re always busy living that fulfilling life, high-profiled, something that you can be proud of. You’re famous, everybody is saying you’re big-time and you feel like they secretly envy you.
But you still wonder why you always feel so stressed and unhappy.
No matter what is your status in life, the signs are consistent why a person becomes unhappy. Here are five of them and what you can do about it:
- You cater hate in your heart. When you allow hate to rest in your heart longer than it’s supposed to be, it becomes bitterness. Bitterness drains the life and energy out of anybody. It paralyzes and restrains you from having a happy and fulfilled life.
Solution: Forgiveness. This is something you do for yourself, not for others. When you forgive, you release yourself of the burden of negative emotions. Another reason why you should learn to forgive? Because you are also only forgiven.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22)
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Ephesians 4:26)
- You worry too much. Worrying doesn’t affect the outcome of anything. It only affects you, the worrier. What shapes the outcome are the actions you have to make. Worrying is a mental burden that can even make you physically sick.
Solution: Trust God. Actually, worrying is the exact opposite of trusting God. The energy we spend worrying can be put to much better use in prayer. When we keep our eyes focused on God, we remember how much He loves us and that we really have nothing to worry about. Our action steps to solve the problem now become more clear, powerful and productive.
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:27-29)
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Your life is complicated. A complicated life is always a product of your own decision making. You do this to yourself. It’s always your choice. It’s funny when people put in their relationship status “it’s complicated,” then wonder why they are unhappy.
Solution: Live a simple life. Take away all excesses so you can focus on the necessary. This doesn’t only apply in material things, but also in your activities and relationships. Have you heard of minimalism?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
- You hoard and stop giving. The same with living a simple life, this is not only about money and finances. This is also about giving our talents, time and energy for the benefit of many. This is also about contributing something meaningful in the lives of others.
Solution: Give more. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said that it’s better to give than to receive. There is a powerful sense of joy, happiness, and fulfillment when you are able to contribute something of real value to someone else. It actually makes you feel good when you are able to give.
Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10:8b)
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” (Luke 3:11)
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
- You have unrealistic expectations. Expectations are the source of your stress, disappointments, frustrations, anger, and irritation. We build these expectations in our heads of what things should be like, what people should do, what our lives should be like, and when they are not met we suffer internally. Being thankful suddenly becomes a hard thing to do.
Solution: Expect less and be content. When you release all your expectations and are content in whatever circumstances, you will feel a peace that cannot be comprehended by those around you. Everything becomes lighter and easier. Trusting God will be easier. Being happy and content with what you already have will be easier.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-10)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)
In reality, Happiness per se is fleeting. It’s a feeling largely dependent upon circumstances. It is felt when things go your way, when you get what you want, and then dies down because what you wanted is already fulfilled.
But Joy, yes the real kind of Joy, comes from the Holy Spirit. It is a gift from God. Regardless of what happens in your life, it is within you. Joy is experienced when the mental chatter in your mind is silenced and you are at peace with God.
The Bible teaches that happiness is fleeting because it depends on external sources, while joy is eternal because it is based on our relationship with Jesus Christ, which is Himself an everlasting source of joy.
Oh, how good it is to be in the hands of our Father in heaven!
What do you think are other reasons that make you unhappy, and how did you handle it? Please share them in the comments!