Look, I am not an expert on this subject. In fact I’m last person you want advice from (even though I will more than willingly offer it to you). But I feel like I’ve figured a lot out in the past week. And after reading some of the things that other people have been writing on this site, I think it’s only fair that I share it with you.
For the past few months I’ve been unhappy. I wasn’t satisfied with any aspect of my life, I got jealous extremely easily, and I was struggling with controlling my emotions, specifically anger. I had convinced myself that none of this was any of my fault, and it was due to the fact that I had something wrong with me. I spent months taking online quizzes trying to “diagnose” myself with who knows what in order to find some sort of explanation, some sort of excuse for feeling so bad, for acting so bad. I convinced myself I had all sorts of problems. This went on for a while until I had a few rough weeks in a row.
And then one day I got into an argument with my mom and it was like a dam burst. There was a lot of crying and screaming, and then there was talking. I told my mom things that I’d been wanting to tell her for ages, but had held back for whatever reason. It was a conversation that had been long overdue, but seemed to be the solution to most of my problems. I made changes after that conversation.
After reading what other’s had to say about their own unhappiness, whether they thought it was because of boys, or parents, or friends, I encourage you to try a few things that helped me. I know they seem stupid or maybe hard to do or maybe even seem like they won’t help at all, but they’ve helped me a lot.
If there is one tip that you take away from this post I’d like it to be this. Praying helps whether you want to admit it or not. Just try it. I will be the first to admit that I wasn’t praying as much or as well as I should have been. In the back of my mind I knew that this was a huge part of my problem. I understood the power of prayer and I know how much it can help. And literally the minute I started putting in extra effort, things started to get better. No matter what religion you are, God is listening to you. Don’t underestimate His mercy. Allah (swt) says: “Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” Hadith Qudsi.
2. Be willing to change/Trying
I know you think you aren’t the problem. Maybe you aren’t the problem. But the fact of the matter is that if the people around you aren’t will to change then it’s going to have to be you. I’m not saying you have to do something drastic. I made little changes. They were things that I didn’t even realize would make an impact but they helped so much. Like praying more. Or finding another way to deal with your anger. It was very small things. They were things that I wasn’t willing to do before, but I honestly feel like praying helped me do it. You have to be willing to try. It’s going to take effort, of course, but nothing happens without effort. You have to try.
3. Talk about it.
Whether you want to blog about it, or vent to your friends, or your sibling, or write it down in a journal, just get it out of you. Keeping things bottled up is never good. I kept keeping things inside and every once in a while I’d break down over something small. Having all these things in the back of my mind enabled even the tiniest thing to set me off, which only led to more problems.
If you want to go the extra step, talk to the person you have a problem with. This is probably the hardest step. It takes the most effort and the most courage. But most of the time they don’t even know they’re hurting you. And if you explain to them exactly how you feel and they still don’t want to help you, then they aren’t worth your time. That’s the hard part. You need to learn to stop caring about people who don’t care about you.
4. Get rid of everything that makes you upset.
For me this was mostly social networking. I hated seeing everyone’s great vacation pictures, or hearing what awesome things they did that I’d never get to do, or the fancy restaurants they got to eat at, or even just the fact that they got out of the house. And more than that, I hated seeing how many likes and comments they were getting. It made me sad and jealous and I felt pathetic. So I decided it was something I didn’t need in my life; I got rid of it. But for you this may be a bad relationship, a bad job, or even where you live. Do something about it.
5. Do things that make you happy.
I feel like this is something we forget to do. We get caught up in just trying to survive and get through our day or even our year, and we forget what’s important. We need to do what makes us happy because if we don’t, what do we have to look forward to? You need something to keep you going. For me this meant deciding to switch majors. Accounting was something I just couldn’t picture myself doing, and it was something I picked for the sake of picking a major. I didn’t know what I wanted to do or how to get to where I wanted to be so I picked a career at random. The result was classes I wasn’t interested, which led to bad grades, and me being miserable. I wasn’t excited about school, or the future, and I just don’t think that’s how it should be. And ever since I decided that this wasn’t what I want to do with my life, I’ve been more driven to do something different. My grades have gotten better because of it.
6. Stay busy/ have distractions.
Don’t give yourself a chance to focus on what’s bothering you. I’ve had a very busy week, and somehow that’s actually helped me. I didn’t have time to dwell on what was bugging me, if there even was anything. I had things to do and places to go and people to see and I wasn’t left alone in my room all day and it helped. I wasn’t focusing on myself. I had to help my mom around the house and make phone calls and meet people and I had other people to worry about. It was good.
7. Understand that you can’t control everything, but deciding to do nothing and hoping things will magically get better isn’t going to work either.
I spent so many months sitting on my butt and hoping other people and things would change so I wouldn’t have to. It didn’t work. I feel like the problem with people who are sad or unhappy is that they don’t do anything about it. I know it’s something that’s annoying to hear and hard to imagine, but it’s completely true. Tell that person how you feel, quit that job, delete that facebook account, or even move somewhere else. You just need to put in the effort.
Moral of the story: You’re never going to be happy until you figure out what makes you happy and try to work towards it.