What would be an appropriate, more condensed way to say "isn't truly happy with who he is" without having the negative in the sentence? This sentence is part of an essay where I discuss how a character tries to escape from reality and makes himself seem better than he really is.

Thank you

  • Self-doubting, self-hating, self-despising? – Brian Donovan Dec 13 '15 at 21:42
  • I can't think of a single term other than those beginning in self-. Maybe you should isolate the reason why the character isn't happy with themselves. Are they regretful, etc? – PlasmaStarfish Dec 13 '15 at 21:43
  • "Uncomfortable with himself". – Graffito Dec 13 '15 at 22:36

Sounds like he's not comfortable in his own skin

(idiomatic) Relaxed and confident in one's manner of presenting oneself and interacting with others; conveying the impression that one has a clear, satisfying understanding of one's own abilities and situation.


  • 2
    That still has a "not", though. – 200_success Dec 14 '15 at 7:14

How about unfulfilled?

From the Cambridge English Dictionary:

​unhappy because you ​think you should be ​achieving more in ​your ​life




1. not satisfied or content with currently prevailing conditions or circumstances.

2. dissatisfied with the existing government, administration, system, etc.


3. a malcontent person, especially one who is chronically discontented or dissatisfied.



  1. Uncertain or anxious about oneself; not confident



You might say that he was somewhat unsettled with regards to himself.


You could say he's infected with self-doubt or simply just depressed (I've never met a depressed person who was truly happy with anything, and they usually blame themselves more than their circumstances).

One symptom of such a state is that an individual may become clingy—i.e. overly dependent upon the praise of others for feelings of self-worth.

Such a man's poor view of himself may be fueled by an underlying, persistent anxious feeling that makes him so universally uncomfortable regardless of the outside world that he begins to believe himself to be defective. For example, if the story is told from his perspective, you could use a neat little trick and just describe your character as "defective"—letting the reader infer that is the character's own opinion of himself, and not the narrator's.

You could refer to his state by its early causes, a long-ago shame or deep regret he still holds onto. One standard implication of a man being shameful or regretful is that he's not truly happy with himself.



: filled with deep anxiety, especially about oneself or about the nature of existence OED


Such a person may be suffering from an identity crisis:

a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person's sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.


discontent with himself?

Or disappointed with himself? Dissatisfied?

I guess this question hinges on how you define happy.

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