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Updated: Mar 5, 2018

What do you do when you are unhappy? Plan a vacation, eat ice cream, find some other distraction? But what if your unhappiness comes from you and not someone or something else? When you ask these 5 questions, you may see sides of yourself you didn’t know were there. That’s a good thing! Awareness is everything.

You may be avoiding some truths that could be holding you back from the fulfilling life you want. If those fixes don’t last, you need a clearer picture of what’s going on and how to find the happiness you deserve.

We all feel unhappy sometimes. It’s a part of life, I get it. I’ve been there. When I was a single mother with three kids and just diagnosed with MS I assumed no one in the world was crazy enough to share my world. At 32 I gave up on love and intimacy.

Then it hit me—my own self perception was blocking my happiness. The deeper I looked the more I learned and grew. I felt re-energized and empowered.

I learned that my unhappiness wasn’t coming from my ex or my illness. It was coming from inside me. This meant that I wasn’t powerless. That huge realization started with these 5 questions that changed my life.

1. Am I in a healthy relationship? Most people fear being alone so they ignore red flags. Sure your partner’s not perfect, but you can’t put up with everything. There are some deal- breakers you need to look at if you want real happiness in your life. If you find yourself disrespected or resentful and withhold what’s on your mind or you withdraw, you may be in a toxic relationship. What you can do: Acknowledging red flags is your first big step towards happiness. Look deeper, pay attention and get clear on what’s going on.

2. Do I trust myself? Life is full of uncertainty. You know what you need but you’re afraid to take the next step. What if things go wrong? What if someone gets hurt? You stay in your comfort zone simply because it’s predictable. You find it difficult to trust anyone. What you can do: Trusting yourself means you opening yourself to opportunity. You accept and cope with whatever happens no matter how painful or hard. Your confidence grows as you watch yourself take risks and learn. It feels great!

3. Am I stuck? You dream about how your life ‘should’ be if only things hadn’t turned out this way. Change seems impossible. You justify your situation, submit to your fate and ignore your dreams. But resentment and frustration are simmering beneath the surface. What you can do: Take a few deep breaths, look in the mirror and ask ‘don’t I deserve to be happy’? It may be hard to say the words. Many people feel unworthy of being happy or at peace. That’s a clear indication to get support to help them understand and stop self- limiting beliefs that keep them stuck.

4. Am I being myself with others? You do your best to be kind, keep the peace and avoid conflict. You may think it’s why so many people love you. But it’s exhausting! When things don’t work the way you want, someone gets hurt and you feel guilt. What you can do: Being yourself means saying no sometimes— to express yourself with honesty and respect and to accept that it isn’t up to you to make others happy. Happiness is everyone’s own choice.

5. Am I taking care of my body? You’re the last on your list of priorities. Work, kids, spouse, home, even the dog comes before your needs! The last thing you feel like doing is a work-out. What you can do: Your body is your container for everything you do and are. When it’s strong and vibrant you feel happier. Start with a few deep conscious breaths each day to stop telling yourself what you ‘should’ do and just BE. Notice how your body feels afterwards. Start small, take a walk, notice nature around you. This is taking care of your mind and body!

A professional objective eye can help you understand what’s going on and support you as you explore your options.

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