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August 5, 2021

Unhappiness Is Desire Disguised

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I heard a new perspective about happiness that really intrigued me. In talking about positivity, Naval Ravikant, a brilliant entrepreneur who is also a foremost expert on finding happiness in life, shares unhappiness is a sign and you should observe it for what it really is.

You experience unhappiness when one of your needs isn’t being met. Remember, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Each are a fundamental requirement for a complete life. When one of those needs aren’t being met you experience an uneasiness which then projects as discontentment, or unhappiness. In observing that emotion, all unhappiness represents is your desire for something to be different. It's a desire to have your physiological needs met, to be safer, to have stronger community and relationships. When you see unhappiness through that lens, it’s simply a way of telling you that things aren’t how you want them to be. That wanting is desire.

If that’s a case, we should welcome our awareness of being unhappy. It’s a blessing to have that knowledge because then we know we need to change our state. Instead of wallowing in our own self-loathing we can reflect on the nature of that desire and what it would take to fulfill it. So let me ask you… In what area of your life are you most unhappy? And after identifying that, what underlying desire do you feel? What unmet need is presenting itself? Explore it.

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