If You’re Miserable, This is Why

And here’s how we fix it

Jessica Wildfire
7 min readFeb 26, 2020


Photo by Dan Russo on Unsplash

Every now and then, I catch a glimpse of what my life could’ve been like if I hadn’t started making changes. This happens whenever I accommodate someone’s childish behavior, indulge the whims of my bosses, or spend all afternoon in my overheated sardine tin of an office — instead of doing something I find meaningful.

The biggest reminder comes anytime I eat one of the tortilla-wrapped puddles of fat my campus cafeteria generously calls a burrito. I can literally feel my blood pressure go up with every bite.

All of these mistakes have one thing in common: I’m giving control of my time, mind, or body to someone else.

Whenever you do this, you lose.

Those are the days I feel truly miserable and unproductive. Fortunately, they’re few and far between now.

The bad news is that if you live in the U.S., you’re constantly pressured to conform to a lifestyle that makes you poor and unhappy, while slowly killing you. The good news is that we’re starting to realize the stakes, and how to change the game. So much of life hinges not just on making good decisions and healthy micro-shifts, but also eliminating poor choices — and removing yourself from toxic environments.

So if you’re unhappy, how did you get here? I have a few ideas, based on a few years of being miserable myself.

You gave up on something you’re good at

At some point rejection and tepid support finally wore you down. Every little success you enjoyed brought on a string of crushing failures. Everyone said you were talented, but they didn’t care enough to show up for your play, your performance, your game, or your book signing.

Unfortunately, that’s life.

Quitting something is healthy if you’re bad at it, or just average. Sometimes you have to lean away from things you enjoy so you can focus your time and energy on your strengths.

It doesn’t mean you have to get rich and famous. You just have to find the intersection between what you enjoy, and what you can actually make a living at. That calls on a little self-honesty. You have to assess your own skills, and step around the…