Table of Contents
It's a strong statement that's not necessarily correct.
When a person says, "I hate my life," you tend to think they know what they're talking about, right?
There's more going on beneath the surface.
If you've ever caught yourself saying, "I hate living" or "I HATE life"--or if you've ever tried to support someone else who has--there are some very important things that you need to know.
***Quick note: If you are repeatedly saying to yourself, "I hate being alive," you might need to seek out some extra help. Here are some mental health resources.***
What You Mean When You Say, "I Hate My Life" (I Hate It When...)
1. Personal Health - I Hate How I'm Feeling in Life
Often, when you say that you hate your life, you hate the way that you're feeling. So let's start there.
The moment that you say, "I hate my life," do you ever notice how you're feeling?
Why Do I Hate My Life? Why Do I Hate Everything?
Now, I know it sounds like a silly question, but how often do you blaze your way through the day, your life a blur, only to find that you don't actually know the underlying feelings you had throughout the day? That you simply "went through the motions?"
Before you can say for a fact that you hate your life in its entirety--even this phrase sounds strange to write or say out loud--you need to pinpoint the exact feelings that you are having.
Only then can you begin to pick apart what's truly going on and stop saying, "I hate this life."
2. Relationship Health - I Hate How Others Make Me Feel
This is another hate-my-life culprit that doesn't get the attention that it deserves.
When you say that you hate your life, sometimes you're hating how others are making you feel. Sometimes it's, "I hate my family."
Even this statement is a conundrum, however, because no one can truly make you feel any certain way. I know, I know. People have probably said this to you in the past, and you've wanted to punch them in the face.
But if what I just wrote upset you, you need to ask yourself WHY?
What is it about what I'm saying--or what anyone says to you at any point in your life--that causes you to feel a certain way?
Do you feel like the black sheep of your family? If that's the case, it's time to get curious about why that is.
Why Do I Hate My Relationship? Why Do I Hate My Husband or Wife?
You are the arbiter of your own feelings. You've learned to deal with hardship in the past, and you will learn again. Once again, it comes back to pinpointing the underlying feeling, with sitting with the difficult emotions that you're having.
3. Location Health - I Hate The Position I'm In
Or maybe it's not about a specific emotion. Maybe it's about something--shall we say--a bit more geographic or relational?
Look at your environment.
And not just the physical environment.
How are you positioned in relation to others? Whether it's the dinner table or the boardroom table, what are the relationships and the rules, both explicit and implicit, that drive your behavior?
You could be hating that someone else always speaks for you. Or maybe you hate that your boss' chair is raised to the point that she always towers over you. Don't just aim your hatred at the closest target, though. That's a road to nowhere.
Study your environment to find the clues that are causing you to think that you hate your life.
4. Physical Health - I Hate My Lack of Movement in Life
Other times, the environment doesn't hold the skeleton key to unlock the doors to your mind and heart.
In some cases, it's movement--or the complete lack thereof--that is determining how you feel. Humans need to be in motion. We evolved to roam around unhindered. In fact, we may have evolved too much. Because now we are at the pinnacle of our existence, sitting snugly like sardines in a can in an office setting. At least, that's how most of us spend our lives now, myself included.
Maybe you don't hate your life--but you do hate the fact that you aren't free to move around like your body is meant to.
If this is the reason, fortunately, getting more activity can be a quick fix.
If you're going through the ways that you hate your life, and you haven't considered this reason, you could be missing something BIG.
5. Mental Health - I Hate Something About Myself
Oh no. You knew this day would come.
You wake up one morning and realize, "I don't like BLAH DEE BLAH about myself." It could be a lone gray hair one day or a too-hairy eyebrow the next. Maybe your ankles crack when you walk. (I sound like an undead skeleton out for a morning stroll whenever I walk around barefoot...) Whatever it is, the "I hate myself" comment is a trap. It's picking apart at your being when it's really some other point of unrest that is destabilizing your sense of security.
Plus, if you start to say that you hate yourself, it's only a matter of time before that mindset infects your worldview.
Peace of mind is everything.
6. Relationship Health...Again - I Hate Because I'm Not Able to Love...Yet
Hatred is not an inability to love--it's just a lack of it. It's an unearthing of what is already there.
Hating your life, hating yourself, hating the world around you--these are all just dangerous placeholders.
Beneath the surface is a latent capacity to love. It's a hole filled with hope.
Except something is most likely blocking it.
7. Career Health and Purpose -What Should I Do With My Life?
There are questions, and then there are big questions.
And this one is one of the biggest.
What should I do with my life? What do I want to do with my life?
I get asked this question all the time on Twitter and in response to my mental health newsletter issues.
And while it's humbling that others think I might have an answer to this important question, I don't.
And I can't.
Because there's something critically important to know when trying to find your path in life.
And it probably isn't what you're expecting to find.
How I Learned What to Do With My Life
If you look at my life right now, it might look like I have it all figured out.
I have a job that I enjoy. I spend my free time doing what I love, writing, reading, and hiking in Montana.
And I'm married to a woman who I adore.
But looks can be deceiving.
What eventually amounted to a pretty good life was forged in the fire of mistakes, regret, and heaps of emotional pain.
If you asked me years ago what I was going to do with life, I still wouldn't know.
Because I hadn't been through enough pain yet. I hadn't experienced enough of what I absolutely did not want to do. Major depression. Anxiety and OCD so bad that you pick at your skin and sit around doing nothing for hours on end. Self-doubt and self-hatred. I experienced it all.
But that was only the proving ground. It was the place where I learned about the pain I no longer wanted to have. But it was also something else.
In pain, there is truth. There is a starting point.
At the very heart of pain--and it's hard to believe this unless you've been through it--are the very roots of a meaningful life.
If you're telling yourself, "My life is over," then you need to explore the pain you're feeling.
Pain connects us. Suffering unites us. It's one of the most human experiences there is. Without pain, we would be nothing. We would be floating leaves and rudderless ships.
Because you can't know the air you breathe until you come crashing down. You can't get a sense of how important water is until you slam against the shore.
What Should You Do With Your Life?
I shared a little about my life to illustrate an important point: life is not what it seems for others, and the ones who have it "figured out" are ones who have embraced a pain a bit more than others.
I know what I enjoy doing now. More importantly, I know what I don't want to do and the pain that I don't want to experience. To get there, I had to commit to walking the path.
And I encourage you to follow a similar road.
Questions to Guide You and Help Answer the "What Should I Do With My Life?" Dilemma
Where were you at your worst moments?
What did those moments teach you?
Where are you now?
Are you repeating those worst moments, or are you taking what you learned from them to create a more meaningful life?
What is the pain that you can't acknowledge?
Here's the kicker.
And it always ends up this way...
Only you can create a life of meaning. No one else can tell you what is meaningful for you and what isn't.
And if you want to find your path in life, you most likely won't find it by numbing yourself along the path of least resistance. That's what most people do, and most people I come across are not very happy.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain
Take a few moments to consider that quote.
Are you going to know what you want to do in life by collecting all the advice from your family, your friends, and from strangers on the street--or are you going to find your path by creating it, forging yourself in the fire with each, burning passing step?
You and I both know that the answer in buried deep in the second half of that question.
Twain said it best. Being on the side of the majority, doing what's common and expected in life, should give you major pause.
I'm not saying that doing what's common is automatically bad. That's not what this is about at all.
What I'm saying is that we spend most of our lives exploring the default options. We consume what we're told to consume and enjoy what we're marketed to enjoy.
But I have a feeling that if you're reading a mental health newsletter article you are probably looking for more than surface-level happiness: you're looking for a life of meaning.
So what should you do with your life?
Unfortunately, I can't tell you that. And I think you knew that coming in.
But going out, after leaving this article, I hope you came away with something else--the fact that the biggest answers to your life's questions are not presented to you on a platter, but are hidden in the shade of the struggle itself, in the pain, in the heartache, and in the roots that sprouted long ago, giving you still-growing trees that are yours alone to climb.
In Conclusion - You Hate Your Life...AND Now You Can Get Your Life Back By Creating a New Reality
What to Do When You're Saying, "I hate life!"
You can pick any of the above points that I've already discussed and fill your hole of hope.
You can cover up the lightness of innate states of being like love and desire and trust and respect because you're too busy only seeing the hatred.
The way out from "I hate life" is actually quite counterintuitive.
You won't find love--and self-love--by doing more and more and more. You're not going to think your way out of the problem.
No. You need to remove what's blocking the path to what you already have.
You need to dig through the crevices of your heart before you step back and admire the strong heart that you already have.
Some people call it the forest or the trees. I just call it the light coming through, the light that's always been there.
Anywhere you are in the world, you always have the ability to step back and notice it.
It does take practice, but the more you can call the inherent goodness you already have to your full and present attention, the easier it will become in the long run.
It's always been there.
You've always been there.
I think you're starting to love yourself and your life again right now.
A lot of people have told me that they learn best from quotes.
There is a reason they are so popular on the Internet.
For your reading pleasure, here are some "I hate my life" quotes to make you think:
"I Hate My Life" Quotes to Consider
“Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn't change the heart of others-- it only changes yours.”
― Shannon Alder, 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It's Too Late
“If you had a person in your life treating you the way you treat yourself, you would have gotten rid of them a long time ago...”
― Cheri Huber, There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate
“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self acceptance opened.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“The mind thinks thoughts that we don't plan. It's not as if we say, 'At 9:10 I'm going to be filled with self-hatred.”
― Sharon Salzberg
“The way you think about yourself determines your reality. You are not being hurt by the way people think about you. Many of those people are a reflection of how you think about yourself.”
― Shannon L. Alder
“Hatred is the stuff that we turn on others because we turned it on ourselves first.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough