Read This If You’re Unhappy

It’s so consuming, isn’t it? Like a dark gas that fills up your entire body and makes you wonder if you’ll ever feel normal again.

Sometimes it lasts for a day. Sometimes, two. Sometimes it’s a bad month or a bad year. Sometimes it’s because someone broke your heart. Sometimes it’s just because it’s winter and it’s dark all the time. Sometimes it’s because your friend just got promoted at work or experienced an incredible success in one way or another, and you’re still just sitting here, being plain old you, wanting to feel happy for them but instead feeling panicky about how much worse this makes you feel, and then feeling even more awful because what kind of person are you if you can’t even be happy for your friend?

But whether it’s because of a friend’s success or because of your own broken heart or because you miss the long and warm days of summer or because of no reason at all – and whether it lasts for a day or three days or 246 days, you’re not the first person to feel this way and you won’t be the last.

I wish I could write you a list. A step-by-step guide of exactly what you need to do to stop feeling unhappy. But I can’t, because that’s not how unhappiness works. There are certainly things you can do to try to brighten your days a little bit – to make your home cozier and to do things that make you feel less alone and to find ways to help you keep your head above water until you can climb out of this hole. But there’s no trick to simply get rid of unhappiness, to wet your fingers and extinguish the flame in an instant.

But what you can do, in the meantime, is be kind to yourself. And being kind to yourself means a lot of different things. It means being gentle with yourself, and doing everything in your control to keep yourself comfortable and healthy – getting enough sleep, taking time to rest when you need it, going for walks, eating well, leaning on loved ones when things are really hard.

But being kind to yourself, especially when you’re unhappy, can also mean being hard on yourself. Refusing to let yourself wallow. Getting out of bed and making yourself go to work, no matter how cold or dark it is outside, or how sad you feel internally. Forcing yourself to exercise, even if it’s the last thing you want to do, even if all it means is walking outdoors for twelve minutes. Taking your friends up on their offer to spend time with you, even when all you feel like doing is hiding under the covers and being alone – because you know, deep down, no matter what you feel like doing on the surface, that what you really need is to be in the company of people who love you.

You have to do these things, these harder things, when you’re unhappy. You have to be strong, you have to take care of yourself. You have to tell yourself you are tough, repeatedly, every single day, even if you don’t believe it. You have to keep moving, you have to keep going.

The people who got out of these dark times before you weren’t better than you, or stronger than you, or less burdened than you. They felt weak and sad and like they were barely hanging on – just like you. BUT, they kept going.

You’re not wrong for being unhappy. You’re not a freak or a failure. You’re not lazy or seeking attention. What you are is a person. And when you’re a person, sometimes you experience painful, almost-crippling bouts of unhappiness. Sometimes there is a reason for it, sometimes not.

But all you need to remember is that you’re human, you’re okay, you’re not wrong for feeling this way. You have to be kind to yourself, you have to be kind enough to be hard on yourself. And most of all, you have to remember you’re not alone, you’re never alone, and this is exactly what connects you to every other person in this world.

Written by Kim Quindlen

(with permission)

This article was originally published in

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  1. So perfect..So beautiful..I appreciate..and feel so supported and loved by this message..

    Love and Blessings to you and yours..

  2. Thank you! This has helped me. I will keep this forever and share with others if I believe they need it too. God bless you.

  3. Thank you very much for this post. I sure needed to be reminded of all these things. There is always something (usually lots) to be thankful for.

    I will share this with others,and myself often.


    1. With absolutely no disrespect to you Denise; would you not be sick of hearing about someones problems day in day out? I know how you feel, I suffer from many of the issues noted above; not wanting to get out of bed, exercising, going to work, cleaning up, basically simply moving forward. What I do know however is when I do, things improve. It appears that you are suffering from depression, yes often brought on by the shorter, darker days. Perhaps you need more professional help; medication, talk therapy, change in diet and yes exercise, movement is absolutely key. What’s important here is YOU have to do something, don’t try and put it on others because NOTHING they can do can possibly help you unless they provide good advice and YOU follow it! I have suffered with depression for literally most of my life and yes even attempting to taking my own life, and I walk that fine line, however from where I stand no matter how difficult it can be to believe sometimes, the world we live in can be a pretty awesome place and regardless of how difficult it can be try and take those extra steps to improve your position in it. Be well! One very important thing to keep in mind which I read all the time, stay away from negative people and sadly perhaps your friends and family are that, if so, limit the time you spend with them…N Joy your weekend!! 🙂

      1. Thank you for such a beautiful response. I am moved with it. I have bouts of depression especially on days before menstruation. And it’s exactly how i feel…”movement is absolutely the key” – i need just that, it’s a big challenge to me when the blues strike…

    2. Then it’s a great time to feel gratitude that you have family and friends that care enough about you to be tired of your letting yourself get away with ongoing, repetitive sadness. They are heartbroken that there is nothing that they can do to change it; knowing that you are the only one that can truly change it for yourself. They are loving, caring , bystanders with their hands tied. As it says, be hard on yourself for self-love. Change these habits for yourself in spite of the fact that loving yourself isn’t always, if not seldom easy. Time for self-love and gratefulness that these very people love you enough to still be there loving you. Time to do the same for yourself.

  4. it,s is a Beautiful leson of this message,but so thank you very much of dis posting guid lessons… Keep of love in its other and your self…god bless to all…

  5. This very much touched me right now as I feel so unhappy at the moment . This has helped me a little thank you

  6. I can say that it’s easy for me to spend my entire day around people , but in night it’s really difficult for me to think .. because at that moment I am all alone .. and my past , those old memories broke me again n again.. even when I think of my future.. I am unable to find any hope .. no lifepartner, no career..

    Sometimes I fill like to run away of all this .. once I was craving for someone’s love .. but after my breakup.. I scared of love also.. I don’t want to end my life like this ..rather I want to be succeed in my life . Want to reach the heights.. but I don’t know how..

  7. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a meetup for all of us who have had broken relationships and have no one to talk to and are still suffering. We could talk and share and sometimes that really helps and in some cases, enough.x

  8. Happiness is a stade of mind.It is not an affirmation.You don’t pick it, it picks you.Thats why you roam in it.At least that’s how I met mine.

  9. I’m 56 with a 14 year old daughter. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me – always will be! After working for 32 years, I’m now unemployed (redundancy). I’ve lost all my self confidence and have lost total interest in absolutely everything – only my daughter is my reason for being here. These last six years have been brutal…all your ‘worst-case-scenarios’ have become our reality…homelessness (now housed but struggling to get things for our home). We have no family or friends – people have kicked us when we’ve been down – turned their backs on us. I hate being here but I have to be for my girl

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