traits unhappy people

Situations and circumstances can make us unhappy, without a doubt. However, oftentimes, our unhappiness derives from our thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors.

I would like to share 5 of the most self-sabotaging traits of unhappy people and how to overcome them.

We create our own unhappiness. The purpose of suffering is to help us understand we are the ones who cause it.
Willie Nelson


It is virtually impossible to be happy when we dwell too much on the past, or worry too much about the future, and forget to appreciate the present.

Dwelling on the past doesn’t only drain us of every iota of happiness, it makes us paranoid about the future.

However, in stead of feeling sad about a past we cannot change, we should appreciate the moment, recognize its opportunities, and use it to create the future we desire.


Impatience is one of the most common traits of unhappy people.

Human needs are constant and infinite – patience is what keeps us happy or, at least, serene while we wait for those needs to be met. This means that an impatient person will spend most of their lives being miserable.

Their miserableness further causes them to act in irrational and often injurious ways:

  • They will seek instant gratification, thereby making decisions that jeopardize their future.
  • Their constant murmuring creates an atmosphere of negativity that drains the energy of those around them; which eventually makes them sad, too.
  • Being impatient with people will strain and damage their personal and professional relationships.

It’s obvious that impatience will not only make us sad, it will also make our lives worse. It is, therefore, fair to say that it’s not just good to be patient, it’s the only logical choice.


The perfectionist trait can be good or bad, it all depends on the extent to which it influences our thoughts or actions.

On the positive side, approaching goals with the mindset that they must come out perfect could increase our chances of success because of the seriousness and dedication we are likely to apply to their execution. It’s what some refer to as Positive Perfectionism.

However, there is the negative aspect, where an individual believes that nothing they do is worthwhile unless it is perfect. This can either lead to inertia, which guarantees failure and sadness, or a constant lack of satisfaction with results or achievements, regardless of their efforts.

This lack of satisfaction causes frustration, anxiety, and depression.

The joy of living, however, should not always be in our achievements or results but also in the processes and efforts. In stead of fixating on achieving perfection, we should enjoy the journey, while also seeing our falterings as opportunities to learn and grow.

Hannah Arendt captures it well:

In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.

More on perfectionism:


It was Theodore Roosevelt who said “comparison is the thief of joy”, and it is so true. Once we start comparing ourselves with others, it is impossible to be pleased with our own lives. And in today’s world, social media makes it very easy to get sucked into a web of comparison.

Comparison is a negative spiral that causes us to constantly envy other people’s accomplishments in stead of counting our own blessings and appreciating our uniqueness. It also makes us fail to realize that those we envy also have their own inadequacies and insecurities.

See what Steve Furtick said:

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

If we don’t stop this habit, what we have, or achieve, will never feel good enough. And, just like impatience, it will eventually lead to depression and irrational behaviours.

Once again, we need to remind ourselves that it’s not the events in our lives that make us unhappy but our mentality – our mindset.

They have a victim mentality

To have a victim mentality is to reason that one’s current struggles are a result of past misfortunes, background, or other people’s action.

Someone with the victim mentality constantly wallows in self-pity, lives in denial of their own possible self-sabotaging actions or inactions, and would generally believe that they have very little chance of succeeding; thereby failing to make any convincing efforts to create the future they desire.

It then becomes a vicious cycle – the more despondent they become and fail to take responsibility for their fortunes, the more their lives spiral of control. And this leads to even more sadness.

The problem that we have with a victim mentality is that we forget to see the blessings of the day. Because of this, our spirit is poisoned instead of nourished.
Steve Maraboli

They don’t know how to say “no”

If you are a people-pleaser or someone who finds it hard to say “no”, you will not only make it easy for people to control your emotions, you will make mistakes that are not necessarily yours, and you will be a magnet for users and toxic people.

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough
Josh Billings


I hope you’ve been inspired? What other traits of unhappy people do you know? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

More on Mindset & Self Improvement:


  1. I think Ingratitude is the number #1 reason. Even I sometimes stay unhappy only worrying about the future. I think making a journal where you can write about yourself or the people you’re thankful for is a great way to deal with this.

  2. This is a great post Seyi. I definitely agree ‘comparison is the thief of joy’. Too many people want the next big thing to fill a gap in their lives that will still be there when the next big thing comes along.

  3. This is such a truthful post. As such as I don’t like to admit it, I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I can see how often that hurts me. Life doesn’t work within our guides and regulations, so we must learn to go with the flow. I am working in that one.

  4. This was such a deep and profound writing.
    You’ve really encouraged to tackle this subject in my next blog.
    Thank you for sharing!

  5. I guess learning to become genuinely happy is a huge lesson or skill I’ve learned for many years and now I am enjoying it. Like I am confident on my actions and always chooses for my happiness with no second thoughts.

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