Unhappiness is a much maligned aspect of our lives. Instead of being regarded as the opposite of happiness, which is apathy, unhappiness serves a vital positive purpose. It is the starting point to our developing an awareness of what we need to change. Here are 10 reasons why unhappiness matters.
Unhappiness motivates us to solve the problem that has caused us to feel unhappy. It invites us to become curious.
Unhappiness invites us to act, providing us with a purpose, to move forward and beyond the problem we face. Emptiness or low-level contentment can keep us stuck, whereas unhappiness can drive us forward.
Unhappiness provokes reality testing. Is the situation we are facing causing the unhappiness, or is our underlying unhappiness causing a situation to be perceived as a problem?
If we find ourselves unhappy at something trivial, could it be there is something inside hidden from us that we would do well to investigate?
If we find ourselves unhappy today about a situation that yesterday wouldn’t have bothered us, then there may be something troubling us at an unseen level that we would do well to explore.
If we are unhappy with everything around us and see the world and other people as ‘bad’ – it could be that we are secretly feeling bad about ourselves but are hiding ourselves from this uncomfortable truth. Unhappiness can be a wake up call for us to take responsibility for our own feelings.
Unhappiness invites us to think differently from the way we have done. Are we unhappy because there is an area of our lives that we have a blind-spot to?
Unhappiness invites us to feel rather than think. This can force us out of repetitive non-productive thinking and into a process of emotional reconciliation and growth.
Unhappiness can invite us to reach out for support from others. If we reach out from our feelings to another person, whether they be a friend, family member, psychotherapist or doctor, we may not only feel better, but also renew our faith in others.
Unhappiness brings us back to our emotional self, a part of us that reminds us who we truly are, beneath our survival disguises. It can bring us home to ourselves, showing us that external success is meaningless unless we are also inwardly fulfilled.