How to Not Hate Your Life

October 10, 2022 Joanna Satterwhite

Today we'll discuss how not to hate your life. But first, in the last post, I suggested that we ought to drive a wedge between the mechanism by which we understand the world—our brains—and the product of that understanding—ourselves. In the end, I declared that you are pure observation. If you're still scratching your head about this, an easier way to view it is to equate yourself with your experience of reality, keeping in mind that said experience is mediated completely by your brain. It's critical you understand this. Because if you don't, you won't understand that your experience of reality and reality itself has very little to do with each other. The latter is unyielding. The former is entirely subject to the direction it's pointed in.

Hating Your Life Is Hating Yourself

Let's make this tangible. A few days ago, a negative email exchange with my homeowner's association left me both furious and anxious. I was knocked so thoroughly off my pivot that I had to excuse myself from a team planning meeting to be alone. As I stood fuming with hatred, a touch of shame, and a boatload of concern that I'd be arriving home later to an eviction notice, I wanted very badly to run away from my life. I'm no stranger to this kind of escapism; I floated through college in one long fantasy of faking my own death.

This time, though, as I watched some far-away trees that I wished I could become, I realized it wasn't my life I wanted to run away from; it was my experience. It was me. Everything I wanted to run away from was lodged inside my skull, and no amount of distance from my apartment would diminish it. 

So instead, I changed my experience. I chuckled at a colleague's lame joke when she stopped to hob-knob. I spoke very poor Spanish to a member of the maintenance team. I asked a passing fourth-grader what he was going to be for Halloween and told him to tie his shoe. I came; I saw; I conquered. I conquered me, that is. 

Hating Yourself Is Hating Your Feelings

The brain receives sensory input. This sensory input triggers emotional reactions. Many of these emotional reactions make us feel downright miserable or, at least, mildly uncomfortable. We go through life at the mercy of these sentimental weather patterns that wreak havoc on the very experience of reality that constitutes ourselves. 

But here's the skinny: it doesn't have to be this way. Recall above that your experience is subject to the direction it's pointed in. Your experience is mutable, and you can learn to direct it. The very first step is to stop trusting it. 

How Not to Hate Your Life: Be the Boss of Your Feelings

Them's fightin' words in the epoch of self-love and empowerment, but I don't mean that you shouldn't trust yourself. I mean that you shouldn't trust your emotional life as the end-all, be-all of reality. We've already established that we know very little about reality; our brain absorbs droplets of reality and spits up interpretations—probably faulty ones. Knowing this and believing it doesn't mean you won't have emotions anymore. It means you'll be able to think above them. Practice this double-sight enough, and not only will you be able to recognize when you have an emotional reaction that's coloring your worldview for the worse, but you'll also be able to redirect your view of the world toward subject matter that doesn't bring you down.

This isn't make-believe; it's a superpower.

Tags: hate life

APA Reference
Satterwhite, J. (2022, October 10). How to Not Hate Your Life, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Joanna Satterwhite

Joanna is a writer and teacher based in Atlanta. Find her on Substack and Instagram

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