I am unhappy with my life, what now?

Are you unhappy about your life?  Do you find yourself complaining, nagging and simply being negative and resentful?  Do you envy other women for their lives and accomplishments while you feel like you are falling behind?  There is nothing that you fully enjoy and you can’t think of anything you can do about it.  You don’t live the life you want to live, but who does?  Life is what it is and you have learned to accept it that way no matter what.  You are resilient and what keeps you going is your hope for better days.

Many women can relate to these feelings and they don’t know what to do about it.  They are perfectly healthy but they feel overwhelmed by life and the challenges they are dealing with.  They often don’t know how to get out of this state of unhappiness.  They are not sick and, therefore, do not see a doctor.  They are simply unhappy with their lives and this emotional state does not necessarily ask for therapy or medication.

What can I do when I feel unhappy?

The search for the “because”.

This is how you can start becoming a happier person.  Find a deeper connection to your feelings.  It is not enough to say that you are unhappy.  Find out what exactly makes you unhappy.  A way to get closer to your inner self is by observing yourself and taking notes.  Ask yourself the following question every day and write down what you observed.

What made me happy today and what pulled me down?

It is a simple as that.  Observe yourself over a period of time and write down what you observed.  After a few weeks you will most probably recognize a pattern which will lead you to a clearer understanding of what is making you happy or unhappy.  As a result of this observation, you will know why you feel the way you feel.

I am (un)happy, because……

Once you found the “because you can move on to the next step.


The call to action

Once you realize what makes you unhappy, you can deal with it.  There is no need to eat anything that gets served.  Just as you make your choices at the dining table, you can make choices in your life.  Let go of whatever makes you unhappy or learn to live with it happily.  We must understand that we cannot change others, but we can develop an attitude that allows us to be who we are no matter what.  For example:   We cannot change the evil mother-in-law, but we can find a way to deal with her from a certain perspective.  We cannot change the company rules, but we can either look for another job or we learn the company rules very well and use them to our advantage.  You cannot change your boss, but you can change your relationship with him.  We cannot always change what bothers us, but we can change being bothered all the time.  Accepting what is does not mean suffering from what is.  For example:  You can just keep on complaining about the bad relationship you have with your husband, but you can also get a divorce or develop a way of thinking and feeling that leaves you happy and not frustrated.  In order to do so, you must understand your emotions first.

“The more clearly you understand yourself and your emotions, the more you become a lover of what is.”

Baruch Spinoza

Develop gratitude

Why do we need the experience of being on the edge of life to appreciate what we have?  When you talk to women who are cancer survivors or who have escaped other life threatening situations, you will feel their gratitude.  They do not complain about daily life’s mishaps and they do not nag and whine because they are unhappy.  Instead they appreciate every day as a gift.  Learn from these women and begin to appreciate what you have.  Yes, life is not always easy and we get burdened with all kinds of challenges, but there is still a lot to be happy about.

Write a mental gratitude list every night in bed or before you got to bed.  In your mind list at least 10 things that make you happy and appreciative.  You will be surprised how much value you will find in your life, how many reasons for happiness you have and that even in the darkest moments there is a small light that guides you.  Look for these lights and appreciate them.  Lead your mind to the wonderful things in life and allow happiness to develop around them.

I would like to end my thoughts with one of my favorite poems that summarizes beautifully what happiness is all about.

Happiness is…

HAPPINESS is like a crystal,

Fair and exquisite and clear,

Broken in a million pieces,

Shattered, scattered far and near.

Now and then along life’s pathway,

Lo! some shining fragments fall;

But there are so many pieces

No one ever finds them all.

You may find a bit of beauty,

Or an honest share of wealth,

While another just beside you

Gathers honor, love or health.

Vain to choose or grasp unduly,

Broken is the perfect ball;

And there are so many pieces

No one ever finds them all.

Yet the wise as on they journey

Treasure every fragment clear,

Fit them as they may together,

Imaging the shattered sphere,

Learning ever to be thankful,

Though their share of it is small;

For it has so many pieces

No one ever finds them all.


Be a woman and act like one.  Please share your story of happiness and let us all learn from your life.


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About Hertha Wolff-Arend

I am a business coach and writer located in Paso Robles, California. I am the author of the book Be a woman and act like one. Succeeding in business and life’’ and I write a blog for women with the same title. I give motivational speeches and offer leadership and personality trainings to women. I also work with business owners and managers to support them in their leadership skills and personal development. As a strategic consultant, I also help companies with their communication and marketing strategy. Born and raised in Germany, I spent most of my adult life in Europe. I have a German university degree in languages and economics and I worked for many years in the advertising industry as one of the few female managing directors in Germany for major international advertising agencies such as Young&Rubicam, TBWA and Bates. My client list consisted of mainly blue chip clients, where I was responsible for their communications strategies and the development and execution of the advertising concepts. Just to name a few clients: Lufthansa, Danone, Kraft Foods, Bosch, Singapore Airlines, Ericsson, Campbells etc. In 2004 I relocated with my husband and son to California. I graduated from New Venture West in San Francisco as a Certified Integral Coach and started my own coaching practice in 2007. I am fluent in German and English and have conversational skills in Spanish. Aside from my dedication to work and family, I am a passionate dressage rider. I am devoted to supporting women in business, with a focus on women in the lower and middle management who are aiming at a career in the higher ranks or who want to develop their own business.
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3 Responses to I am unhappy with my life, what now?

  1. Monica F. Fischer says:

    Wow – I love your article, it´s so true. Life´s like a rollercoaster of good and bad feelings. But when you come to cherish the nice litte & big somethings which cross your life (and stop comparing yourself with others) that´s when you start carrying an aura of happiness and all of a sudden you start having nice encounters … Enjoy life!

  2. Susan Holt says:

    Such a beautiful reminder Hertha. It is so easy to get wrapped up in life’s everyday annoyances. I needed the reminder to look for the beauty and gifts that I see everyday in my life.

  3. Hertha says:

    Happiness is like a mosaic. It is not one big masterpiece but it consists of many small pieces. With an open mind and an open heart, we are able to collect many small pieces in our life and create our own picture – our own happiness. I want to thank you both my friends for your comments, because I gained a small piece of happiness by reading them: Knowing that I have good friends who embrace life and who enjoy looking for the small pieces like I do.

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