Yes, you read the title correctly. I’m going to explain to you why it is good to be unhappy – well, sometimes at least.
Sunday morning, I was in a little bit of a “funk” and generally not in my happy place. It was a mix of things that had got me there. But it certainly wasn’t a good mix. I was lucky enough to have one of my besties around to listen to me vocalizing my feelings. In the last few weeks I’ve found that trying to actually articulate what you’re feeling can be a REAL help. I think it’s a bit like the feeling hungry when you’re really thirsty thing – we don’t always listen to our body’s signals properly, and so can be unsure of what things really are going on inside. I believe it is the same with our emotions. We often don’t have a clue how we are really feeling because we’ve never tried to actually identify what is going on.I’ve talked before about being careful of the ‘perfection’ that is seemingly everywhere on social media, and how actually, most often it is all very very staged.
But there is also so much talk about ‘happiness’ and being happy and getting happy and, well you get the idea. Go get happiness!! You can make yourself happy! Be happy ALL THE FREAKING TIME OR ELSE. You SHOULD be happy. That’s what they say, and so if you’re not happy you can then feel bad, worse even, because you feel you should be happy. And it’s a terrible downward spiral. Not good.
But here is the thing. NO ONE IS HAPPY ALL OF THE TIME. NO ONE! So we don’t have to pretend to be. Unhappiness can actually be a force for good. WTF is this girl on about now I expect you are thinking… bear with guys, bear with.
Last year, pre-Irma, I was lucky enough to attend the TEDx Road Town event. In case you aren’t familiar with TED talks – their slogan is ‘ideas worth spreading’ and the x signifies a locally organised event. It was super interesting, but there was one particular talk that really resonated with me. The talk was “I hope you’re not okay” by a guy called Dane Hunter (link to watch it yourself at the bottom – I really recommend it). The essence was you shouldn’t be ‘okay’ – it means you are not happy, you are actually most likely putting up with some sh*t and just not doing anything about it. Which is not cool.
So actually acknowledging that you are unhappy IS a good thing. Don’t try to pretend everything is fine or say you’re okay when you’re not. If you acknowledge that you are unhappy about something, you can drill into it and 1. work out what is wrong – it’s not always what you think, and 2. make a plan to change what you can to stop it from happening again. And you all know how much I LOVE a good plan.
Talking it through – “But… Why do I feel the way that I feel?”
This is hard. Really freaking hard actually. because it often requires some honesty that is uncomfortable for your insides. Not in a physical poking “ooh that hurts” kind of way, but in a “oooh sh*t, this is what is actually going on in my head….” kind of way.
There was a lot going on in my head (yes, it’s always super busy anyway, hence the meditation stuff), but I got to talk it through with the bestie as I’d mentioned. And as well as telling me it was ok to be unhappy now and then, it’s normal, and she also gave me this important bit of wisdom:
“You can’t control the things that happen to you, you can only control your reaction to them.”
Easier said than done I know. BUT trying to keep this in your conscious thought can help you realise you have control. And realising you have control can help you feel better. Because it means you have the power to change things. And I am changing things. I am working on a better way to track my progress so that when I have a funk I can review what I’ve done and how far I have progressed (so I’m not comparing myself with instant-grump). I also got some much needed love from several friends in my happy place which made me feel better. Oh wait – no, NO! Get your mind OUT of the gutter! It was PLATONIC love/appreciation from female friends (stop, again I know what you’re thinking and NO) and by happy place I mean Cane Garden Bay – see title pic to start to understand why! Anyway, back to the point…
So if you feel a bit sh*t talk it through with someone. They can just listen or share some advice or just give you a hug. If you can’t, just go somewhere and say things out loud to yourself, it’s amazing how much better you can feel getting some of the stuff out of your head. And once you’ve done that maybe try mediating. Or just focus on your breathing for one minute. Or do some scream therapy – more on this in another post. (In amongst this I have also realised I’ve got a bit lax with my morning meditations, which I feel has definitely impacted the way I feel. So that is coming back from tomorrow!)
Soooooo, in conclusion, if you aren’t quite sure what I’ve been rambling on about: It’s ok to feel a bit sh*t sometimes. Don’t ignore it or pretend everything is fine. TRY REALLY HARD to work out what is making you feel that way and work out what of that thing you can do something about. Then do that thing. Repeat as required. And ask for hugs on the way, cos they are better than prozac FOR SURE.
Photo credit: Me! It’s Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, January 2018 – one of my happy places 🙂