20 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think You Are

This post was written by Brianna Wiest and originally appeared on Thought Catalog.

#1. You paid the bills this month, and maybe even had extra to spend on non-necessities. It doesn’t matter how much you belabored the checks as they went out, the point is that they did, and you figured it out regardless.

#2. You question yourself. You doubt your life. You feel miserable some days. This means you’re still open to growth. This means you can be objective and self-aware. The best people go home at the end of the day and think: “or… maybe there’s another way.”

#3. You have a job. For however many hours, at whatever rate, you are earning money that helps you eat something, sleep on something, wear something every day. It’s not failure if it doesn’t look the way you thought it would – you’re valuing your independence and taking responsibility for yourself.

#4. You have time to do something you enjoy. Even if “what you enjoy” is sitting on the couch and ordering dinner and watching Netflix.

#5. You are not worried about where your next meal is coming from. There’s food in the fridge or pantry, and you have enough to actually pick and choose what you want to eat.

#6. You can eat because you enjoy it. It’s not a matter of sheer survival.

#7. You have one or two truly close friends. People worry about the quantity but eventually tend to realize the number of people you can claim to be in your tribe has no bearing on how much you feel intimacy, acceptance, community, or joy. At the end of the day, all we really want are a few close people who know us (and love us) no matter what.

#8. You could afford a subway ride, cup of coffee, or the gas in your car this morning. The smallest conveniences (and oftentimes, necessities) are not variables for you.

#9. You’re not the same person you were a year ago. You’re learning, and evolving, and can identify the ways in which you’ve changed for better and worse.

#10. You have the time and means to do things beyond the bare minimum. You’ve maybe been to a concert in the last few years, you buy books for yourself, you could take a day trip to a neighboring city if you wanted – you don’t have to work all hours of the day to survive.

#11. You have a selection of clothing at your disposal. You aren’t worried about having a hat or gloves in a blizzard, you have cool clothes for the summer and something to wear to a wedding. You not only can shield and decorate your body, but can do so appropriately for a variety of circumstances.

#12. You can sense what isn’t right in your life. The first and most crucial step is simply being aware. Being able to communicate to yourself: “something is not right, even though I am not yet sure what would feel better.”

#13. If you could talk to your younger self, you would be able so say: “We did it, we made it out, we survived that terrible thing.” So often people carry their past traumas into their present lives, and if you want any proof that we carry who we were in who we are, all you need to do is see how you respond to your inner child hearing, you’re going to be okay, from the person they became.

#14. You have a space of your own. It doesn’t even have to be a home or apartment (but that’s great if it is). All you need is a room, a corner, a desk, where you can create or rest at your discretion; where you govern who gets to be part of your weird little world, and to what capacity. It’s one of the few controls we can actually exert.

#15. You’ve lost relationships. More important than the fact that you’ve simply had them in the first place is that you or your former partner chose not to settle. You opened yourself to the possibility of something else being out there.

#16. You’re interested in something. Whether it’s now how to live a happier life, maintain better relationships, reading or movies or sex or society or the axis on which the world spins, something intrigues you to explore it.

#17. You know how to take care of yourself. You know how many hours of sleep you need to feel okay the next day, who to turn to when you’re heartbroken, what you have fun doing, what to do when you don’t feel well, etc.

#18. You’re working toward a goal. Even if you’re exhausted and it feels miles away, you have a dream for yourself, however vague and malleable.

#19. But you’re not uncompromisingly set on anything for your future. Some of the happiest and best adjusted people are the ones who can make any situation an ideal, who are too immersed in the moment to intricately plan and decidedly commit to any one specific outcome.

#20. You’ve been through some crap. You can look at challenges you currently face and compare them to ones you thought you’d never get over. You can reassure yourself through your own experience. Life did not get easier, you got smarter.


  1. #9 and 14 Colleen! You’re doing great! So proud of you and Graham!!

  2. LOL, that’s why on the first of every month all my bills get paid! It’s my reward to celebrate the rest of the month.

    • My husband and I do that too. We get paid and immediatly pay ALL of our bills, in full. Doesn’t matter how broke we are the rest of the month. At least we have a place to be, entertainment and utilities and food. Anything else is just gravy. We are working toward bettering our financial situation, but we realize we are blessed to be doing better than most.

  3. Yeah you should be glad that you or your partner decided not to settle….What kind of women’s lib bullshit is that…LOL so don’t feel bad your alone just be happy your former partner didn’t settle for you…..Hahahahahahaha

    • I’m extremely grateful that neither me or my ex decided to settle, we were miserable. Maybe this doesn’t connect with you, but it does me. To each their own.

    • You disagree with it so it MUST be “women’s lib bullshit.” What a charmer you are.

    • You should be glad YOU didnt settle. My ex beat me. Sure glad I didn’t settle!

    • Lauren Balk Yeah, no wonder his ex didn’t settle for him.

  4. Thanks, I needed that!! I’m doing ok, except I DON’T have a job–of course, I’m perfectly alright with that!!

    • Soryy to hear that Connie, I don’t either, due to medical issues that have been with me for 15 years. I have auto immune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic, etc. So it’s very lonely and defeats my self worth as a person because I loved working. I count my blessings I still have a roof and a family, Hope things improve for you this is a difficult time.

    • Lisa Sunny Kelsch same to you Lisa I know what it’s like, It hurts financially and emotionally. Things are really tough out here today. God Bless and hoping something opens up for you soon.,

  5. Saw Dana Tuesday and wondering when I will see you again.

  6. All of this is so true. Remember, you and Lisa are the strongest women I know. YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE IT AFTER ALL ! THANK YOU GOD.

  7. I heard a statistic awhile back the if you have a roof over your head and a bank account you are in the top 2% of the richest people in the world, it’s all about having perspective and not trying to keep up with the , “Jones’s” of your world. Be content with what you’ve been blessed with but don’t be satisfied with staying where your at, continue to grow to become the best “you” that you are capable of becoming.

    • I don’t think that’s mace up. For the majority of the world life is STILL “nasty, brutish and short.”

    • Ryan Oltman Yeah it’s not like people collect data for a living and utilize it for statistical research..

    • Ryan Oltman Studies show most sutdies to be non-sense.

    • Ryan Oltman 38% of statistics are made up, in fact 😉

    • The US alone is 5% of the worlds population or so. I would say 4/5th’s of the people here meet that requirement. Not to mention the rest of the 1st world, and many people in 2nd world countries.

    • 2%? That’s a bullshit statistic. 40% of the world population has internet. Are you gonna tell me that out of that 40% that are online, 38% does not have a roof over them?

    • Ryan Oltman not exactly…. it is that 64% of people do not understand statistics… and the other 49% do not care……

    • Ryan Oltman lol I’m afraid your right. But non the less, it”s so much better to be happy with what you have, instead of unhappy about what you don;t .

    • Aldo Gabriel Radames Vargas-Hernández My brother volunteers at an internet center for the homeless in Chicago. It allows them to submit job applications and keep in touch with family. They have internet but no home and might be sleeping on the streets or in a shelter… … go figure

  8. Thank You for this post I needed this reality check.

  9. We live in America or Canada…that’s puts us way ahead of most of the world!

    • Another pinhead who thinks the Internet is confined to the states….disturbing

    • Being depressed can make you feel like nothing is worth the energy, nothing is worth even thinking about. So yes, being able to invest yourself in an interest of some sort and actually caring about it IS a good thing 🙂

  10. OMG GUYS i am doing a lot of things wrong Hmmmmm need to re think my life FAST XX

  11. And some have a much differant story. Bad barber shop BS reading.

  12. Is it me or 8 of the things could be tied to having a job. lol This is a motivation for the lazy to continue on their course of not achieving anything great in life.

    • Yes, because not having a job equals “lazy.” Dude, piss OFF with that crap already.

  13. Due to life circumstances, I learned these type of lessons while an early teen. I learned to be grateful to just be free of pain, and the joys of having a healthy body to work. It has paid great dividends, as I reflect back, being 62 now.

  14. what happens if you don’t have or can’t have a lot of those things on that list? then what?

  15. I checked so many of them off. Thanks for the reminder. Great piece.

  16. Most of it repeats the same thing. You could shorten it to 5 signs

  17. They left out one of the most important factors…. Security.
    Do you have ANY savings? will you be able to survive a single catastrophic event, illness, car crash, death/loss of a spouse, layoff, etc.
    Will you be able to retire?
    This is the kind of thing that keeps people up at night.

  18. I don’t have most of the material stuff here, or much beyond the bare minimum… but I guess it’s something to look forward to when I can actually find a paying job? Kinda depressed me.

  19. Thank you, I really needed to here right now, and yes, I appreciate the fact that I can listen to beautiful music and the birds when other people are born deaf, and see the beauty in nature when other people are blind, there are many things to be thankful for, and many, many people who are so much worse off than you. 🙂

  20. #21. ‘You have the technology to be able to read this article’

  21. I don’t agree with #2 but there are some good ones.

  22. oh my god, I’m every one of those numbers on this list except number 11. Great article

  23. Let us never take for granted our many blessings. And having the Tennell family in our lives was definitely a blessing!!

  24. Cat…THANK YOU for this post. I’m starting to think that YOU are one of those mentioned in #7! You’re the BEST!

  25. yay im doing worse than what I tough after reading this post… clearly this person forgot how it feels to be a student.

  26. OMG thats horrible! Thats more for like a homeless person to feel better about themselves!

  27. More globalist propaganda nonsense.. they want you to feel like you’re making progress, just bc you have something to eat, and clothes to wear.. lol.. while they are raking in 99 percent of the fruits of your labor!

  28. How many of these do you have to have before your ok, it’s for sure I don’t have 8 of them!

  29. This is an irrational way of thinking. I didn’t get an inspiration from this. Yes of course in Lybia it’s super tough life. But life in North America is about choice. Funny. Be a postive or negative towards other and see if this list makes sense

  30. I find it ironic that the more you work, the more you’re “independent”. Independence to me wouldn’t mean having a job, it would mean living free from your electric companies, water, or sewer. It would be building my own house and living off grid working for myself and providing for my self.

    What they call “independence” now, is nothing more than an illusion. You’re a slave to debt and to society while the law of the land keeps you.

    Independence, freedom? Think again.

  31. I read this article about a year ago, and felt really crappy, because not all of these applied to me. Now looking back on this today, they all do in some way. I’m glad I stumbled on this again, it made me feel really great about myself

  32. I feel like this article made me feel even worse. Half of the points could simply be put into one – you have money (you could afford pay bills, pay gas, coffee, have a place) i feel bad for those who cant afford these things, reading this article with intention to make themselves feel better and at the end they are feeling worse. and if you are doing really bad, feeling depressed, without goal in your life and love for your job this article only assures you that your life sucks.there should be a change of the name of this article. I mean people who think they are bad and read it, feel only worse at the end.

  33. What if all you have is #2, @7, #14, #15 and #20? Doesn’t sound too well off to me.