So many times in life, I have found myself thinking the same thoughts as millions of other people. Those "I'll be happy when" or "I'll stop being sad if" thoughts. Honestly its these times when I have these thoughts that keep me grounded as a life coach.
As much as being unhappy doesn't feel good, it is necessary to have feelings that are not good. When you are confronted with situations that make you unhappy you are given a chance to recognize things, people, and situations in your life. Being unhappy over the loss of someone through death or the end of relationship gives you the ability to look back and appreciate what they meant to you. It gives you the ability to honor them and the time you had with them. It gives you the ability to acknowledge what they meant and what it means to go on with out them.
But there is that 5% of the time that is necessary and needed. It is necessary to feel sad, frustrated and angry.
Being unhappy about general situations in life are necessary as well. When you are unhappy with a situation, you have the ability to recognize where things need changed in your life. It help you become clearer about what you want less of in your life and what you want more of in your life. Being unhappy about situations where you may not have any control helps you to recognize where changes may need to be made, or where personal work on acceptance is needed. This tends to be the simplest of the situations but we often make it the most difficult.
What can you do when you are feeling unhappy?
When you notice that you are feeling unhappy, acknowledge it. Try not to judge your feelings or emotions. Just accept them. Give yourself permission to feel unhappy. It's okay. Feeling unhappy means that you are human. When we give ourselves grace to know that our feelings are what we are feeling without judgement, we give ourselves permission to be human. When we fight our feelings they become more intense with the need to be felt and accepted.
Once you understand that you are feeling unhappy, and you allow for the intense emotions of unhappy, you can you acknowledge why you are feeling unhappy. This makes you better equipped to make changes in your life for the better. It makes you better equipped to understand how precious life is. It makes you better equipped to take less things for granted.
Knowing and accepting that something has made you unhappy gives you power. It gives you the power to know what you don't want in life. It makes you become fully aware of situations that are unacceptable to you. Allowing yourself to be unhappy also helps with healing. When you acknowledge your hurt, your sadness, your anger, and your frustrations it starts the mental ball rolling to become empowered to make changes in your life. It allows for the grieving process of the things you are outgrowing or that are no longer needed in your life.
When you can do this, you are working with your feelings, instead of battling them and that makes life oh so much easier. Instead of living in the idea that "I'll be happy when" or "I'll stop being sad if" Switch your thinking to acceptance and then you can move into action.
Really getting real about being unhappy, is a key exercise in knowing what does make you happy. The trick is though, you have to have the strength and support necessary to work through this. Acknowledge your feelings of being unhappy.
Okay, you are unhappy now what?
When you fully acknowledge and accept that you are unhappy you actually are empowering yourself to make changes. You get to decide what to do with your own unhappiness. Many of us, and I will include myself as well, get stuck in this idea that we are at the mercy of life. You know.. "Life happens" right? But here is the great thing, if we can accept that we CAN do something about our unhappiness we CAN change things. Whether that is through the difficult task of traveling the grieving process or taking action to change our life situations, doing something about our unhappiness will enable and empower us to be responsible for our own happiness. Here is a simple and yet profound exercise I do with myself and my clients. Think of something that is making you unhappy right now.
1. Acknowledge it by writing it down. Becoming clear about exactly WHY you are unhappy about something is really introspective and brings clarity on it. It also take the power from the situation and gives it back to you.
2. Ask yourself : Do I have any control of this situation? Being completely honest with whether or not you have any control over a situation will help you determine how you handle it. You might just be surprised at how much control you actually do have. 3. Accept: If you do not have control over the situation, allow your self to feel what you are feeling and work on accepting that you will need to work through the feelings. You will need to go through the grieving process, or work towards acceptance of the situation. 3a. Learn: Once you work through the grieving process or the acceptance process - ask yourself what you learned from this situation that can help you in the future. 4. Plan: If you do have control over the situation, allow yourself to feel your feelings, but also start to look at what you can DO about the situation. When you recognize that you have power over a situation, you may still feel sad AND can become empowered to make changes. 4a. Act: Once you look at the options of what you can do about the situation, make a plan to change the situation. When feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration pop up related to this situation, you can combat those feelings by referring back to your plan and know that YOU are doing something about it.
Being unhappy doesn't feel good, but it is necessary for personal growth.
Staying unhappy really is a choice.