You don’t always have to be happy, but…!
Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work and at home.
Thinking about the D-day anniversary later this week has led me to think about my parents’ generation; the people who lived through the Second World War.
We tend to remember the heroic! Many, of course, were not heroic in the way we usually think about heroes. But, ordinary people, I suspect on all sides, were stoic and what mattered most was getting through. Many did get through very hard times. For them, personal happiness was secondary: what mattered was to do your duty.
Times have changed! Not least because the generation that got through that war wanted better for their children. They wanted their kids to be happy. If they were not, what had the war been about?
Their kids were the Boomer Generation; my generation! Whatever you think of us now, most of us did start out wanting to change the world for the better. Think about 1968. And some really did care about what was happening to the world in terms of the environment – check out where the major protest groups have their origins.
We wanted a different kind of freedom to our parents. We wanted the opportunity to challenge established institutions and promote the interests of the individual. The trouble the interests of the individual and the search for personal happiness became something of an obsession. Things changed to the point where now, not being happy is sometimes perceived as personal failure and certainly not to be tolerated.
If you stop to think about the reality of human life, this is nonsense. There are lots of occasions when no rational person would be happy; for example, in bereavement, loss, or serious illness.
Sometimes when you don’t feel happy, it acts as a stimulus to positive change. At other times, you are aware that unhappiness is part of a change being thrust upon you. You just can’t avoid a very painful process of change
If you are confident and whole, unhappiness is usually a transitory state. Although becoming happy again may take months and years to happen rather than days and weeks. Unhappiness can be something to be lived through until some other change takes place. And sometimes, there is no happy place to reach and all you can do is to try to find some peace in coming to terms with reality. It can be made more bearable by the support of family and friends.
Sadly some unhappiness is about not having the confidence and resources to make a change. At these times you need outside help. There are people who can help you if you can find the energy to contact them. One phone call or an e-mail can make all the difference. Please take that deep breath and make your call. Unhappiness can be part of a noble sacrifice, or a healing process. But when it isn't it is time to act.
Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work and at home