Comfortably Unhappy

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.” Christopher McCandless

 

Susan reached out to me and shared with me the details of her struggling marriage. She and her husband of 30 years don’t talk much and when they do, she feels disrespected by him.  She says she’s been going through the motions of her life for a long time, telling herself she should just be happy (after all, it’s not like he beats her and they do have a good lifestyle together). She said there is no us in the relationship and all she feels is alone. She described it as being comfortably unhappy.

Although I’ve never actually heard it described that way before, I see this in many women each day.

They long for more in their relationship and wonder if it’s ever going to get any better

They look at the positives and tell themselves that they should just learn to be happy…

But that feels empty and untrue.

Comfortably unhappy sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually not.

Although feeling unhappy never feels comfortable to anyone, ever…

There is a certain comfort remaining in the pain that we know.

We know how to do this kind of pain…we’ve been doing it for a long time (In Susan’s case…30 years).

This is what keeps us stuck in painful situations year after year after year.

The pain we know feels less frightening than the pain or fear of the unknown.

The unknown of making changes…

The unknown of learning how to engage differently…

The unknown of walking out the door if it doesn’t work and moving our lives forward.

Too many people are living a life of being comfortably unhappy; they’ve gotten used to unhappiness as a way of being. And they remain stuck there, telling themselves there are no other options…that this is all there is.

Have you gotten a bit too comfortable with your own unhappiness?