I’m doing everything “right” – why am I unhappy?
Sometimes life just feels like we can’t catch a break, find the silver lining, or just be happy. If only it could just “be” another way. A common thing I hear is that, “there are good things in my life, so why am I not content? Why am I unhappy? I should be grateful for all that I have.”
We try to avoid the possible pain of yet another day or the shame of not feeling better than we think we should feel, and we close off our hearts and (try to) stop feeling altogether. That seems to be the best option. To act numb, impenetrable, or bulletproof from the aching that simply won’t subside.
Society tells us life should be easy – but it isn’t
Society’s siren call is that life can be or should be easy, beautiful, and wildly free – when it just isn’t. To be human is to be fraught with insecurity or doubt, vulnerabilities and fragility. The lie is to believe they shouldn’t be there.
Our needs are powerfully relentless beacons in the dark night that can lead us to discover our own personal legends that cannot be fulfilled by anyone else. The courage comes – not by constantly moving so that we never actually feel – but rather when we have that glimpse of bravery to stop and truly take stock of our hearts and minds and ask how’s it going, really.
Your emotions may be telling you what you need
Is that crippling anxiety you feel actually a cry to have more personal boundaries in your relationships? Could that incessant need to use drugs or alcohol be a warning that you have unmet emotional needs that need triaged care? Maybe your rage at your significant other is more connected to your overwhelming work stress than you’d like to admit.
The truth is, we all experience overwhelming emotion in one season or another. The trouble lies in how we address it. Instead of shoving it down, locking it away in a corner of your psyche, and hoping no one knocks it open, maybe take a moment to ask what your emotions are telling you. Oftentimes, they are trying to communicate that parts of your life are in desperate need of change and that you can’t act invulnerable forever. If you’re reading this, maybe that’s a sign that you need to stop and listen.
Tricia Ebel, MA, is a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate at Grace Counseling. She is here for you when you’re ready to get to the bottom of why you feel the way you do, and help you along your way.