I don’t know how to make myself happy

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    Hello everyone,

    I am new at this but always wanted to join a place where I can really express myself. I am a 30 year old female but at times I feel like 60. I married very young and now have two teenage daughters. It feels that all I have done in the last 15 years is worry about everyone and everything around me. I’ve come to realize that I don’t even know how to make myself happy. I’ve been too busy controlling the members of my family so they can always make the right decisions that now I don’t know how to let go. When someone asks me what I like to do, it’s really hard to answer that question. I feel so lost and miserable with my life. I don’t have any friends to talk to and therefore I feel completely lonely. I know that I have to go to counseling but I don’t have the money for that. I have read every single book on self help but still seems like I am inside this black hole where I can’t come out of. I am miserable with my job, my home and everything I do. Sometimes I sit in my bedroom and do nothing because nothing brings me joy. I try to be thankful for what i have but I still feel empty inside. I don’t want to live like this anymore, I want to learn to be happy but don’t know where to start. I want to learn how to let go of things that I can’t control. A lady once told me that I look at my family as if they were a business. That got me very mad when she told me but now I think it’s true. I expect so much of them that I am making them unhappy along with me. I really want to learn to find out what my purpose is in life. This can’t be it.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this and truly appreciate any advise I can get.


    I don’t know the answer but…I think behind all unhappiness we have lost the essence of ‘to thine own self be true’ …we mask our own genuine feelings and desires..to fulfil some other agenda. And yet….how we look at things can change everything…..


    Hi Norma,

    I totally understand how you are feeling, I feel it myself.

    I am a little older, 35 and my children a little younger, 6 + 10, but I feel as though everything I do, is for everyone else and to meet others expectations.
    I have a fabulous boyfriend, my kids are great and things look wonderful from the outside, I feel like I should be happy, and wonder what is wrong with me that I can’t be happy with all i have.
    I’ve had years of counselling, and got to a point where he (my councillor) asked ‘why I am still going, I have all the answers and can rationalise everything’, so I stopped going. But things are no better.

    I am often told to take time out and do what makes you happy, great idea, but I also don’t know what makes me happy.
    I don’t know where I want to be, or how to get there. My ‘dreams’ are unrealistic considering the choices i have made. ie travelling

    I think we expect a lot, of ourselves and others, and are so scared of getting things wrong, so we grip so tightly that we don’t see (or worse, DO see) we are strangling everything and everyone we hold dear.

    Having said that, I’ve no idea how to ‘fix’ us. I’m, also hoping, someone may have the answers….

    But you are not alone.


    Thank you both for your response.

    William, it’s true that how we look at things can change everything. It’s unreal how powerful the mind is.

    Debb, that is another reason why I don’t want to go to a counselor, I have all thee right answers but never seem to follow them. It would make feel hopeless to have a “professional” tell me what he told you. It’s like you are on your own and just have to go to war with your own mind. I have been really thinking about doing meditation, but to be honest I don’t think I am mentally ready for something that big. I have read a lot about it, and it just seems that first I have to change the perspective on how I look at things to be able to get good results, but that’s exactly my problem…How do I change a lifetime mentality?


    Hi Norma,

    Is it possible that you have read SO much about being happy and therapy and meditation but you haven’t put much into action? I’m a big reader, which is why I ask. You’ve been thinking about meditation, but doesn’t sound like you’ve tried it really. It doesn’t take a lot. Start with 5-10 minutes. You can just stick with that for months! Heck, years if that’s all you have time for! I prefer 20-30 minutes, but I can’t manage that every day. You don’t need to change your mindset in order to meditate. Meditation does that gradually, naturally. And all those books you’ve read, start to make more sense. As you keep meditating, you may want to reread the books to deepen your practice. But DON’T read them all before you actually start meditating. JUST START.

    I don’t have kids, so I have no idea what time obligations you have or if you work during the day, etc. Most local colleges, though, have classes you can take for fun. Some are during the day, some are at night, some weekends. I really recommend taking a painting class (or maybe draw? pottery?). Painting gets you out of your head, which I think you’d benefit from. Even if you suck at it (especially if you suck at it) 🙂 It also might provide a break from your daily routine and obligations. If you are looking for activity buddies, maybe join meetup.com. They have a lot of mom groups, or walking groups, or hiking, book clubs, whatever you are interested in. At least it will get you trying new things.

    Make a list of things you’ve never tried before that you think would be exciting to try, even if you are bad at it. Maybe once a month, you can try something new. Ice Skating? Indoor rock climbing? Surfing lesson? Flat water kayak? Meditation group? Yoga? Maybe do some with your family, some with just you and your husband, and some by yourself. I think the activities by yourself are important since it sounds like you’ve lost sight of who you are. Push your boundaries though. Try things that kind of intimidate you. And don’t over think them!


    Except that the human condition brings us our own suffering.
    Attachment and self grasping are the most common of these conditions. Recognition of this can be the starting point to finding happiness.

    I am 46 and have had lots of ups and downs, as everybody has. I have strived for this and that and in doing so, I have missed a lot of vital points in the pursuit of peace of mind.
    Peace of mind comes when you start to control your mind, the back ground noise that nags away at you, it’s like your inner saboteur.
    It will never go away, but it is the probable cause of your unhappiness.
    If you can recognise these mind games and realise that these thoughts are not the ‘real you’, you can finally find the real you and realise that finding happiness is a conditioning of mind. You can then finally feel free and appreciate the simpler things in life.
    Never feel guilty for feeling unhappy or being impatient or even moody, just recognise it as part of the human condition. A condition that, with practice, you can start to recognise and then control, pushing negative feelings further back and allowing the true you to shine.

    Hope this helps.

    p.s. I used to chat endlessly about winning the lottery and what I would buy and do with my fortune. I realise now that, I don’t need to win the lottery, I no longer want material things, other than what is necessary. I have a pot of gold already and so have you. Just relax and let things be, accept what is and love yourself.


    Hi Norma , you sound very unhappy with life , maybe even depressed from the tone of your post . I thought it a bit odd that you used the word ‘control’ about how you deal with your family and then you say someone told you that you run your family like a business . Maybe there is some truth to that . Maybe you need to ‘control’ them because you have so little ‘control’ of yourself . You seem stuck in this position sort of like a caged animal whether you agreed to it or not or like life just simply took it’s course .
    I am not here to tell you what to do but maybe if you loosen the reigns of your family (esp now that the kids are older ) and you try to regain some Control into Your very own life things may change . Try to let the family be . And try to inject some fun into your own life . We all have passions / talents in life whether we are aware of them or not . Try to (re/)discover them . Even just shake up your routine . Sounds ridiculously simple but it works. Train and expand your mind to think differently . Try to get off the bed . Take small steps first this will retrain your brain and give you a sense of accomplishment once you have done it .
    Therapy is all fine and dandy but that’s only if you find a Good therapist you mesh with . There are plenty of terrible therapists out there . Medication again , should only be for the severely debilitated and even then it can only help so much.
    We are our own worst enemies but we can also be our own best friends in the sense that we can pull ourselves out off utter despair (I have been there many times) . It will not be easy but it will be well worth it and make you that much stronger .
    Best of Luck
    Peace 🙂


    Yes I think you are absolutely correct. I need to let my family be. I think I try to control them because I am scared to face any disappointments. It does sound very easy to do, but yet it’s so hard to let go. I need to find myself first and learn what is it exactly what I like. I came from a very small family where dad wasn’t around and mom worked so much that it basically meant that I was raised on my own. I think that’s where my controlling problem comes in, I feel like I don’t want to lose the most important part of my life. Thank you for your sincere and caring post.


    Hi Norma,

    It sounds like you feel like you are going through the motions of life for the sake of it, rather than for you. Happiness often comes in activities we do that put us in a state of “flow”. You know – when you get so caught up in what you are doing that you lose track of time. You think 20 mins have gone by, but you check the time and you’ve been having fun for 2 hours.

    Do you have any hobbies? Are there any things you do just for you? If you can’t think of things that you are doing right now for yourself, a good tactic is to recall things you used to do as a child. Things like drawing, bike riding, walking/exploring, crafting, baking etc. If you can, perhaps harp back to your childhood and pick an activity from then you that you previously enjoyed. Give it a go again, and see if it still lights you up. Keep trying different activities that give you a bit of spark back.

    Cheers 🙂



    Hi Norma,

    I like what the Dalai Lama said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

    Start with that simple thing. I recommend working on being mindful so you remember to practice compassion.

    Like any new behavior you want to have, you need to keep practicing so it will become a habit.

    Feel free to contact me directly for any more support.



    My experience is that our children learn by example. They look at their parents to see how to behave.
    I have a daughter who grew up with her mother who is/was controlling.
    Guess what? She only knows how to have relationships with guys who are controlling.
    He cannot have her out of his sight. She felt she had to be texting him while she was at her grandmother’s funeral.
    She cannot be just with her family without feeling the need to respond to his phone calls and texts every 5 minutes (no exaggeration).
    She wants to be with me and her brother but really cannot because she feels she has to answer to her controlling boyfriend.

    I hope that helps you get some insight on the potential consequences.



    HI Norma… I don’t have children and think the principal of “I don’t know how to make myself happy” doesn’t have to be nailed to that (children). The irony IS I feel if I had children I wouldn’t feel like I need to find happiness or feel so lonely. Lol… I giggle only because we all seem to feel these feelings at times no matter what our circumstances or environment which only proves it’s about US and not anything else. I’ve been reading the last two months and it’s starting to “hit home” that I really need to take some control and buck myself up:) I’m realizing or maybe just toughin’ up to take some action in order for things to change. Thank you so much for sharing and I’ll be following your post and your progress:) Maybe we can all learn and work on these things together for 2014! TY Keri

    David Bederman

    Hi Norma. First off, you aren’t alone! I felt very similar for most of my life. While it may not be true in your situation, for me, I discovered that I was focusing so much on the needs of others as a cover for my own lack of beleif in myself.
    In short, after much work on building self-esteem, i discovered a tremendous power and energy for life I hadn’t ever known before. I know man people who’s personal identities are formed around providing for others, but their own sense of self-worth is quite low.
    Low self-esteem causes all of the symptoms you described and they are the same things i experienced for years without end.
    Finally, after hitting rock-bottom I began to study strategies of how to build self-esteem. It’s amazing, but everything fell into place from that.
    Self-esteem is the core of everything we do. The one thing the most successful people in the world share isn’t just that they have big ideas, it’s that they have a rock-solid belief in their ability to achieve their goals – whatever they may be!
    Wishing you tremendous success and joy in discovering how awesome and amazing your are Norma! I would say, time to invest in yourself in every way…you deserve it!!

    Cole Davis

    Hello Norma 🙂
    I am new to tiny buddha so sorry if i dont give the best response but i will try to help as much as i can.

    I recently got out of a state of depression. I never really talked too much about it but its okay 🙂 it was really bad at one point (like REALLY bad) but how i found inner peace is a long story. But what i can tell you is that you CAN make yourself happy. Im sorry i dont remember the qoute or who it was by but pretty much what it said was your thoughts come true. I didnt realize that until recently. I dont know if you meditate but if not why not give that a shot. I do it at least twice a day and it helos me out A LOT!!!!! One thing also that has helped me too is be me. I have no worries of what people say or think “Dont let people pull you into their sto
    rm, pull them into your peace” – Unknown. Youve said you read a lot of books, if you havent read “a practice of padmasambhava” try that im reading it and i love it. But when you say you sit in your room all day. So do i, but its okay 🙂 i listen to music and draw. Im not too bad of an artist but the thing is is that i know 100% i will get better. Find what you love and be you. I understand youre going through tough times, its not fun i know that so please feel free to private message me (if they have that on here) or if theres any of way to get in contact here.
    I hope you have a wounderful day/night i hope i have helped out a little bit 🙂 stay positive. I will ve sending good thoughts your way 🙂
    – Cole


    Hi David,

    First of all, thank you for taking the time to read my post and taking interest in giving me advice. You hit the jackpot talking about self-esteem. I always thought that I beer had this problem, but I just realized that I do. I feel so insecure of being alone and trying new things. I’m always comparing my life to others around me and I feel much less successful. The problem is that I KNOW THIS IS WRONG! I just don’t know how to stop it! A quick example, I have been very interested in beginning to meditate, I have read so much about the good and bad experiences with that that I sacred myself out of it. I’ve read in so many posts about how if one has a negative mind it can attract bad spirits or other negative energy into ones life, I dont need any more negativeness so I just decided not to do it. It’s a total war inside my head, I literally have to fight my own mind to be quiet and stop thinking all the terrible short movies it creates by just thinking a “what if.” It’s like Anna said, I’m just going with life but I’m truly not “living” it. I would love to know what worked for you. I gotta admit that I’ve tried the writing down everything I feel and talking positive to myself, but honestly I do it a day or two. It’s like I talk myself into thinking that it’s going to work but them start feeling foolish and embarrassed if anyone of my daughters found my diary and saw what really goes in my mind. They’d probably think I’m crazy.

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