Feeling Content yet Unhappy at the Same Time?
Oh man, I've been there! I call it Con-happiness - a mixture between feeling content where you are and yet also being unhappy. You aren't really depressed or breaking down, and yet there's clearly something missing. It happens when something inside you has changed and yet the outer circumstances still reflect the old you.
For me, despite having a good family life and everything I thought I needed, there were cracks beginning to show. I enjoyed my job as a carer for people with disabilities and yet it didn't challenge my brain in the way I'd been trained. I loved my partner and yet our lifestyles were becoming increasingly separated, and times of quality, intimate relating far fewer. I had many friends and yet nobody so on my wavelength I could call them my 'tribe'. I was committed to a conscious, spiritual path and yet daily family life was not supporting that.
Why con-happiness needs to be self-diagnosed
The problem with this state is that despite feeling unhappy with one or more aspects of your life, there is also a perception that what you have is giving you so much already, and therefore a fear of losing it. Security, love, purpose, creativity, community. All these things can be there and yet if they aren't truly reflecting who you are then you will never feel truly fulfilled by them.
The problem is that this process happens gradually, and therefore is difficult to recognize. There may be no major shocks in your life which cause you to take a stark look at your life, such as a partner cheating. So, your spirit is gradually eroded without you really noticing. And it's likely that no-one else is going to reflect this to you because they won't notice it either. So, profound self honesty is key.
The key symptoms of con-happiness
Here some symptoms to look out for:
- You're generally fine but your emotions tend to build up over time and lead to occasional outbursts
- You feel fulfilled some days and not others
- You spend a significant amount of time fantasizing
- You long for some things but no matter what you do they aren't fulfilled by the current circumstances
- You experience love in your life but it's less than what it was
- You easily fall into patterns of distraction, comfort eating and other unhealthy habits which boost dopamine levels
What to do if you feel con-happy
So you think you might be con-happy? I feel for you. The first step is to figure out why. I recommend making two lists. List A will show everything that feels good about your life, and list B will show everything that is lacking or isn't you.
The mistake that many people make when trying to fix things is to focus on list B. Unfortunately this usually increases unhappiness and confusion because there is still so much keeping you attached to list A. So you will likely feel pulled apart by conflicting drives. So they key is first to take a hard look at list A. Be honest about what you need in your life. Ask yourself, 'what feelings do I get from these circumstances?' Then take a look at these feelings and explore whether they are really attached to the specific circumstance. Is security dependent on having that job? Will you only feel love if you're with that person? This is not an exercise in deciding what to let go of though. The focus should be in dropping the attachment to that job/person. Notice how the feeling comes from inside you.
The process of overcoming con-happiness can be long and often painful. You may have to let go of many things and will feel grief and heart-ache. So why do we do this? Because, when it comes to mental and spiritual well-being there is no compromise - no long-term one anyway. If the inside changes then the outside needs to change too. And you have to recognize what you can change and what you can't.
You're not alone!
As this is a very deep and personal process it can leave you feeling very alone. That's why I'm here to support you, because I know what it feels like and how to get through it. Please feel free to contact me and share your personal story. I will gladly offer reflections. And, there is more in-depth help on the way in the 'Conscious Transformation Process' I am creating. Stay tuned!