Couples Counseling Today
Contact Julienne Derichs 
Call 773-562-3074 or email me at
“I Have Everything I’ve Ever Dreamed Of.” 
Why Am I Not Happy?

Back to Articles

By Julienne B. Derichs LCPC

Happiness is not a solid steady state. The feeling of happiness flows with the ups and downs of everyday life. In our lives it is the balance between contentment and discontent that determines overall happiness. 

Happiness – delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing. Characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment or joy resulting from the possession or attainment of what one considers good.

Contentment – satisfied with what a person is or has; not wanting more or anything else. A peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires

Signs of Discontent

Dissatisfied? Uneasy? Do you have a restless desire for something that you do not have?  You don’t need a tremendous amount of insight to know when you’re out of balance, but sometimes it creeps up on you. It can seem as if you wake up one day and realize that things are not right. These are a few of the signs:

  • You don’t want to get out of bed.
  • You have a hard time motivating yourself to do routine tasks.
  • You have doubts about yourself.
  • You feel mildly depressed for days at a time.
  • You sometimes overeat and/or use alcohol and drugs to feel better or escape.
  • You often feel chronically tired, de-energized, and listless.
  • You worry about how you will keep things together.
  • You feel bored or restless.
  • You wish you were somewhere else.
  • You often have headaches, stomach upset, and other body aches and pains.
  • You sleep too little or too much.
  • You have frequent bad dreams or nightmares.
  • You oversleep.
  • You complain and nag.

Feeling dissatisfied with your life is not a pleasant experience, but it can lead you in a positive direction. These feelings are important because they are telling you that your actions are out of sync with your values, goals, or talents.

Balance - a state of stability, relating to body or emotions; a process of 
continuing to create harmony among elements. 

A value is a belief, a purpose, or a philosophy that is meaningful.

Whether we are consciously aware of them or not, every person has a core set of personal values. Values can range from the everyday, such as the belief in hard work and punctuality, to the more psychological, such as self-reliance, concern for others, and harmony of purpose.

Rediscover What Is Important to You

Imagine that your life is handed back to you and you are able to do anything you want. What is important to you? What values will direct you? 

Consider each word on the following list individually. It is not necessary to force-rank them or compare them against each other. Assign a rating to each word:

1 = Very important to me
2 = Important to me
3 = Not very important to me

______ Acceptance by others
______ Accomplishment
______ Activity
______ Admiration & Appreciation
______ Authority

______ Beauty
______ Being liked
______ Being well-paid

______ Calm
______ Casualness
______ Certainty
______ Challenge
______ Choice
______ Comfort
______ Community service
______ Creativity

______ Enjoyment
______ Excellence
______ Excitement

______ Financial security
______ Fitness
______ Flexibility
______ Freedom
______ Fulfilling my potential
______ Fun

______ Growth

______ Harmony
______ Health
______ Helping others
______ Honesty

______ Independence

______ Making a difference
______ Mastery
______ Morality
______ Nature

______ Originality

______ Peace
______ Personal development
______ Pets
______ Pleasure
______ Popularity
______ Power
______ Prestige
______ Privacy
______ Prosperity

______ Recognition
______ Relaxation
______ Respect
______ Risk

______ Solitude
______ Spirituality
______ Stability
______ Status
______ Stimulation
______ Surprise

______ Time for friends
______ Time for family

______ Uniqueness

______ Wealth
______ Wisdom

Now make a list of all your number one’s, The Very important to me. These are some of your most important values. If you think of something that isn’t listed, feel free to add it.

We can energize our lives by taking on the full responsibility of implementing the values we hold in high esteem. Once we recognize values that are meaningful to us, we can develop strategies to implement them. When we make the concentrated effort to implement those strategies, the opportunity to feel contentment, happiness and balance is sure to follow.

The final part of this process is to compare how you are currently spending your time with your list of most important values. How well do they match each other? What clues can you find that will help you find more satisfaction in your life?

You may have everything you think you want, but if those things are not aligned with what you value most, those things can feel meaningless, empty and unsatisfying.

The key point to keep in mind about values is that putting energy into what you value energizes your life and creates happiness.  For an individual, committing to and applying values releases fresh energies, which  attracts success, achievement, and well being. Counseling is an essential tool in helping you identify your values and learn how to take steps towards greater happiness. 

Back to Articles
Contact Julienne Derichs 
Call 773-562-3074 or 
email me at