Why Are You Miserable?

Photo credit: Katrina DeFrancesco

You know that one thing in your life you wish was different? That one area that drives you mad with a constant longing to change it—and yet you can’t quite seem to get a handle on it. Maybe it’s out of your control. Most people have at least one stubborn problem that makes them miserable.

Sure, you can ignore it for a while. You can push it away and focus on your blessings in life—that’s the optimist’s defense. But optimist, pessimist, or realist, we all have that one thing tormenting us that never quite goes away. It’s always there, lingering somewhere just beneath your skin like a breakout waiting to happen. You know that if you could just fix this one thing, you’d be perfectly content. You would be happy with life and have no complaints. Not that you aren’t ‘happy’ now (although maybe you aren’t)—but your overall level of well being would be significantly improved. You’d be satisfied.

The Answer to Why

Do you ever ask why? Why do I have to deal with this problem? Why me? Why can’t I conquer this One Thing?

Like any other human being, I have my own One Thing. I’ve asked why more times than I can count. I’ve spent well over a decade pondering why. And only now have I gotten the slightest hint of an answer.

I’m going to share my revelation with you, because finding this clue to the puzzle has encouraged me immensely. Do you want to know why you’re miserable? Here it is:

You were meant for something greater.

Read that again. Let the meaning sink in. Let it take hold of you.

You were meant for something greater.

At first read it doesn’t make sense. After a second and third, it still may not meet your expectation for an explanation. “Okay, I was meant for something great…maybe, maybe not. But what in the world does that have to do with this problem?”

Complacency Breeds Inaction but Dissatisfaction Breeds Change

I’ll use myself as an example to explain the reasoning behind this why.

For years I was unsatisfied. A part of my life felt unfulfilled no matter what I did.

Some people are miserable because their One Thing is the hole that can only be filled by a relationship with God. I don’t talk about faith a whole lot on the blog, but this is one post where it’s applicable, so bear with me. I’ve been a follower of Christ for most of my life, so this wasn’t my personal One Thing. However, having a relationship with the Creator doesn’t mean you’ll be satisfied in every area of life—that’s now how it works. We’re all born with desires and longings to be filled—and there’s a reason for that. It’s because the desire inside us is what calls us to action.

Think about it, if you were satisfied in every area of life, what motivation would you have to better yourself? Why learn anything new? Why create? Why try and change the world? You’d have no drive to do anything but sit on the couch and watch television. In my case, I probably wouldn’t even bother getting out of bed.

From Misery Comes Life

I started writing a little over three years ago. Since it’s a relatively new thing, I’ve often asked myself why I write. There’s more than one answer to that question. But I’ve only recently seen it in a new light.

I’ve discovered that writing fulfills something in me that’s deep, elusive, and nearly intangible. Writing is my way of reaching for that One Thing I can never quite obtain. If I’m being completely honest, I write because that One Thing makes me miserable and the act of writing brings relief.

Maybe writing lessens the misery of the One Thing and maybe it doesn’t. But that’s not the point. The point is that I was meant to be a writer!

When I write, I achieve something wondrous. I get to explore, both myself and the world in which I live. I get to create in an amazing, magical fashion. I get to touch others in ways that are more intimate than any type of physical contact. I get to glimpse my true purpose.

Now that I know why, I know something else, too. Writing won’t erase my One Thing. It won’t make the problem go away or completely free me from it. It may not solve the issue, but it makes me come alive.

Writing isn’t the end, it’s my means of living.

Forget the Why and Look for the How

When I consider the possibility that without the One Thing in my life, I might never have had a reason to write, I’m stunned. The idea that I might not have discovered this means of creative expression that has taken over my life for the past three years is too disturbing to consider. That I might have passed by this part of myself like a ship in the night, without ever meeting it, is a close call I would never have wanted to happen.

Consider this.

You were meant for something greater. The One Thing that makes you miserable is the fuel. It drives you to seek change. It spurs you to action. Stop trying to change it. Stop asking why. Instead, let your One Thing painfully yet effectively carve out a hole inside you. Let it create in you a need for something else—for something greater.

Only then will you find what you were meant to be. And only then will you truly come alive.

Related Posts:

 Why Do You Write?

Learning from Your Mistakes

The Secret of Success: Being a Parent and an Artist



10 thoughts on “Why Are You Miserable?

  • I had no idea you have only been writing for three years! And I love how you put this, that writing is the thing that fills the need. That writing is the answer. It certainly feels that way for me – on so many levels. 🙂

  • Beautiful. I think all writers can relate to this. Writing and the act of it, the creating and the emotion, moves us and fills us up, then drains us, then fills us up all over again!

    • Laura, you’re so right.

      I’m coming to a close on my current WIP and I can feel the strain it’s taking (getting sick may have been part of that), but it’s also something I can’t live without. I like how you put that it fills us up and drains us only to repeat the process. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Hey Becca. That is so good. And, I can related so much. Honestly, I have learned so much about my self this last month (Thank you, Junowrimo). And, I am a bit regretful that I didn’t discover what writing does for me earlier. I feel like I could have avoided or figured out how to handle certain situations better if I had taken advantage of this outlet earlier. But, on the other hand, it makes me appreciate it more.

    • I know what you mean. I keep thinking, “If only I’d started writing BEFORE I’d had kids! I had so much time back then!” But then I remind myself that with so much spare time, I was less productive on the whole. So I likely wouldn’t have written four novels in my first three years had that been the case. All I can do is look to the future and do the best with the time I have now.

  • OMG this is so inspiring, so insightful, so spookily on the money. And in fact others have commented how I light up when I talk with them about my projects and the writing I’ve been doing. I think lately I’ve become a bit complacent again, feeling like I’m never going to get THERE (wherever that is). I’m going to call this a fear response (yes, that’s reasonable) and I want to thank you for reminding me what it’s all about.

    Thank you so much for this post. Totally love it!

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