The Courage to Be Unhappy For a Time

Published on October 31, 2015 by

You might think it strange for me to writing about the courage to be unhappy given my book is all about enlightened happiness. Yet in my work as a former psychotherapist and now as a coach in both the corporate world and with individuals and couples, I’ve seen what happens when we face the things we’ve worked hard to avoid.

In the corporate world, the phrase “The elephant is the room” is well known. Virtually every company, every team has an “elephant in the room”—something that needs to be faced, discussed and dealt with for significant change to occur.

It’s the same with families, couples and even individuals.

For most people (and companies or teams at work) there’s something they work hard not to think or talk about. Why? Because even thinking about it makes them feel bad. It might be a work issue, a relationship challenge or something in life they wish would just go away.

So to feel good, they ignore it and distract themselves from it. The problem is, as the saying goes, “What we resist persists.” If resisted for too long it can create anxiety, depression, burnout, restlessness, distrust and self-doubt.

It takes courage to be unhappy at times, to feel what you'd rather not feel. The good news is we don’t have to make the elephant in the room our focus or let it take over our life.

We can deal with it for a set period of time and then set it aside to come back to later until we make friends with it.

It takes courage to do that—to feel the fear, anxiety, frustration, anger or sadness we feel when we think about and deal with what we want to avoid.

But if we don’t, we pay the price of being too afraid to be honest with ourselves. We convince ourselves that we aren’t strong enough or capable enough to face the elephant in our life or the one in our company or our team.

When we do face it and get help with it we discover how powerful and capable we are.

If you feel something is "off" in your life or at work or you wonder why you're not feeling more positve energy or if your relationship is stuck or has unresolved issues, maybe it's time to deal with what you've been avoiding.

What do you think about this? Leave a comment or ask a question and I’ll respond right away.

2 Comments

  1. Randall Walters

    Great article, Alan. And tremendous insight...especially from the author of a book on happiness. And you know the wisdom of your insight is millenniums old put into modern day language. Solomon said there is "a time to laugh, and a time to cry."

    • Alan Allard

      Thanks Randall for your comments and for your reminder of Solomon's statement, so much said in such few words.

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