The Truth About Unhappiness, and How to Conquer It

On the signup page for our weekly love letter, we gave you an opportunity to share what types of articles and advice your most interested in. ‘Happiness’ was the number one response by an overwhelming majority. This suggests most of us HerAfter readers are seeking happiness, but not experiencing it yet. Thus, to have an honest appraisal of happiness in an individual’s life (where it comes from, how to create it) we’re going to have to talk about what happiness isn’t, what causes unhappiness.

Unhappiness and depression are different, but we at HerAfter believe it’s of vital importance to create a dialogue about depression without it’s previous stigmas, especially for those who’ve endured a great obstacle such as cancer or other major experience.
Last year, we shared an article about finding purpose in depression. It was a heartfelt attempt at letting other cancer survivors know that depression after treatment is real, and it’s okay, and there are resources and help for everyone out there. It was intended to remove the guilt often accompanying depression, in order to make the condition easier to cope with and hopefully overcome. This week, I’d like to hark back on the idea of finding a purpose in our own unhappiness and discomfort as a means to breaking down our understanding of life, reassessing our needs and wants, and discovering a bigger and more clear picture of what to do with our lives.

So for a moment, if you’re one of the readers who wrote in looking for advice on happiness, truly absorb this idea:

That UNHAPPINESS is the emotional response to the knowledge you deserve more from your own life.

Your feeling of discomfort and discontent is because you know there is more to get out of your own life, and deep down you know you deserve it. If you didn’t truly believe you deserved it, you wouldn’t have that unsettled relationship with your current life.

The moment you acknowledge you want and deserve more, the more you admit that truth you’ve been living out, you instantly become responsible for making more happen. You become responsible for the cure to your own unhappiness, and that cure is your fulfilled life.

This may all sound much easier said than done, mostly because the ego is so very clever and numbing us and blinding us from our own destructive behaviors. Also, because depression can cloud our judgment. I’ll share that I have fallen into states of depression many times in my adulthood since chemo, which has always left a bitter taste in my mouth. Even knowing facts and research about depression, including that it’s a chemical imbalance I have little control over, my personal depression is wrapped with guilt and shame. Being a cancer survivor, and being grateful to be alive at all should be enough, or at least that’s what I tell myself. I’m certain you’re no different if you experience depression; that on top of deep seeded feelings of unhappiness is also feelings of guilt and self-centeredness, and thus shame. As if depression wasn’t enough, it brings it’s nasty little friends into our brains.

One question I struggle with when I’m in a period of depression is trusting myself. My body wants to stay in bed and my brain wants to sleep longer than I should, but I know that’s not me, that’s my depression talking. On the other hand, as Brene Brown points out, we must absolutely and totally trust ourselves in order to create and receive the kinds of things we want and deserve, including love and happiness. So how can we know when it’s us talking, and when it’s depression? In other words, with all these voices in our heads, how do we know which one to trust?

There is only one voice that can guide us in moments like this, and in every moment of our life:

The only voice we need to trust is the one speaking from our highest self. Our highest self will offer us the guidance, the courage, and the acceptance we need to act when we should, how we should. Keep in mind that might not always be the easiest path, and it will rarely be the path of staying in bed with our good friend, inaction.

Sometimes my highest self puts me in uncomfortable situations, but it is trust that allows me to accept this and still access peace and gratitude within my soul. The highest self often says “I know this is hard for you, but keep pushing forward, don’t run away”. The highest self sometimes says “I know you want to stay in bed but you’ll feel better if you get up instead.” And right now my highest self is saying “I know it’s a lot of work, and I know you really want to become a blossom, but right now you’re still a bud. Keep growing, and accept this stage.” We must have ultimate trust in our highest selves – the self that is free of pain and hurt of the past, that is connected to the energy of the universe – because that highest self keeps us in line with our purpose and potential. We talk more about becoming your highest self in this article, which will help you turn everyday activities into conditioning work for your soul.

For now know this: I won’t say that depression, or any troubling life circumstance you have upon you, is divinely ordained by the universe. The universe is not a cruel place, and life is not spiteful. I will say, though, that whatever your current struggle, whatever you are facing, your highest self can help you find purpose in that struggle, allow you to become stronger and better through it, and help you ask and answer huge life questions in the process. The purpose is not the ‘why’, it’s not planning or fate. The purpose in any situation – good or bad – is the universe’s calling to do your best and most devoted work of living, creating love, and shining positive light outward.
While I’ll be at work creating more happiness articles for you beautiful readers, remember that even unhappiness, even struggle can be enlightening if you allow it to be. Don’t be afraid to call upon your own wisdom, trust the process that’s already happening, and absolutely and totally trust your highest self.

On top of dealing with the issues at hand and solving whatever problem is currently happening, you will no longer have to carry with you guilt, or shame, or fear or doubt. You will be able to leave those negative emotions and thoughts behind you while you do the hard work of life and the hard but oh so rewarding work of becoming your best and highest version of yourself. For me that means realizing while I face another period of depression, and again ask the universe “why did I survive, am I deserving of this second chance at life?” I’ll at least get to ask those questions with a sense of peace, without fear, knowing my highest self is helping me deal with this in ways that will allow me to blossom…one day.