Are you one of those people who think you should be happy all the time?
If so, you may have wondered just what the reason for unhappiness is. I mean, what’s the point?
You should not be happy all the time. While thousands of people read THE DAILY MEDITATION’s ultimate guide to happiness, and billions of people strive to make themselves happy, the truth is this: there are reasons why it is a good thing to be unhappy sometimes.
Consider these benefits of unhappiness
- Prompts changes and personal growth
- Unhappiness alerts us when something is wrong
- Unhappy emotions like anger can be used as energy
- If we were actually happy all the time we would never strive to be better
- When we feel the negative emotions of other people through empathy we are more likely to help them
- What other benefits of unhappiness can you name? (Leave a comment below).
If you try to make yourself happy all the time, and if you fight to stop unhappiness, you could be putting undue stress on yourself. Because being happy all the time is impossible.
When you force yourself into trying to be happy all the time you start to feel guilty or inferior when you are unhappy. You believe there’s something wrong with you when you are unhappy. You might even start to think such rubbish thoughts as, I’d be happy if only I had a god job. Or I’d be happy if I could find the perfect happy-ever-after relationship. This kind of mentality leads to a great deal of negative self talk.
Here’s the truth:
Reality is not meant to be a fairytale. We are not meant to be happy all the time. While science has proven that it is extremely beneficial for our health to feel all the 16 different types of happiness, we should also feel unhappy emotions too, like sadness and grief.
The idea of being happy all the time is an idea of perfection. And we all know that perfection simply does not exist.
Chasing after perfections makes you feel like a failure and makes you unhappy. It’s just not a good mind-set to have.
5 Ways To Use Unhappy Emotions
Instead of trying to be happy all the time, accept unhappiness, Use unhappy emotions.
1. When you’re unhappy tell yourself, “I’m a healthy human being experiencing the full range of human emotions”.
Think about it. If you were happy all the time you would be living a seriously limited life. You would only be experiencing the crest of a wave. Because happiness is just one emotion out of hundreds.
Healthy people embrace the full spectrum of emotions. They’re sad when there’s a cause. They’re angry when there’s a genuine reason. They’re joyful during the good times. They’re loving at the right moments.
Being unhappy is a natural part of being a human being. So don’t dwell on unhappiness. Never think “There must be something wrong because I’m unhappy”. Think, “I’m a healthy human, and I embrace the full range of human emotions”.
People with high emotional intelligence levels realise that negative emotions are as necessary to our lives as happy emotions are.
2. Look back on moments of unhappiness and appreciate them
Because we’re all healthy human being I’m certain there are many times in your life when you’ve been unhappy, right? And I’m also certain that those negative moments actually led to positive results.
You weren’t happy with you job. So you left that job and got a much better one. Your relationship wasn’t enjoyable, so you went through a painful breakup, but because of that you got into a better relationships. You lost a parent and you felt deeply saddened, but you understand that your sadness is a reflection of how much that person meant to you, and that is surely a good thing.
3. Realise that your low times made your friends and family that much more special
When I was 28 I went through the worst time of my life. I was made homeless for a brief spell, and I ended up leaving Canada to return to my native home of England. My mind was a mess. And honestly there were such lows that I wondered if I’d survive them.
But you know what? During that low period my family and friends were my saviors. They truly stepped up and they helped me to recover. And now, looking back on that low period, I am filled with a great sense of appreciation for everyone who is close to me.
That low period made my family and friends that much more special to me.
If you’ve been through bad times, I’m sure there were people who truly stepped up and cared for you. And as a result you now respect, value and love them more than ever.
Be thankful for the low times, because they allowed your friends and family to show how much they truly care for you.
4. Recognise that your low periods were when you found your true inner strength
During that same period, when I was 28, I genuinely thought I would not overcome my depression. It cut me deep. And I wondered how the heck I would possibly survive.
But I’m here, 5 years later, and I know now that within me lies the strength to overcome even the worst of times.
Because I’ve overcome dark times in the past, I know that if they ever return I will overcome them again.
The fact that you’ve faced the worst of times and survived gives you great self-believe, the faith to know that no matter what happens you are strong enough to overcome it.
5. Know that the rains that fall are the reason grass grows
Rain falls. And many of us complain when it falls. But we all know, deep down, that those droplets of rain are the rich nourishment the earth needs to grow.
And so it is with pain.
At times rain falls and the soul is enveloped in darkness. But those droplets, those dark times, they turn to nourishment. They give you motivation to grow stronger, they make you appreciate the good times, they give you challenges to overcome.
Without the dark times you would not see the light. Without pain, you wouldn’t appreciate happiness.
6. [BONUS ONE!]: Know that black and white cannot survive without each other
Emotions are like colors on a canvas. Nothing makes white standout more than be juxtaposed to black. Nothing makes happiness seem more vital than when it is juxtaposed to unhappiness.
Think about that for a second. The more unhappiness you experience the more you will appreciate happiness. The lower you feel one day the higher you can feel the next.
The real trick to making use of unhappiness
The real trick to happiness and unhappiness is to understand that they are both moments, and they are both a part of human existence. When you go through times, tell yourself, “It’s okay, this darkness will make the light brighter. This unhappiness will make me appreciate happiness more”.
Recognise that the best people in the world embrace and accept the fullness of existence. That way, when you come to a low period, you will know that it is just one part of a rich and full life.