Dealing With Unhappiness
by: Murphy Toerner, MA, LPC, NCC, LMFT
There are many reasons why one could struggle with being unhappy. A disappointing event; an unmet need; a thwarted goal; a traumatic past; a current betrayal or injury … all of these could precipitate unhappiness, if not down right depression.
To overcome unhappiness which is caused by any of the above, one needs to process (deal with or walk through) what has happened and what they need to do to regain their emotional balance and their emotional stability.
Sometimes we can find ourselves living in perpetual unhappiness and it is not solely brought about by an event, unmet need, thwarted goal, etc. … it is brought about because of what we tell ourselves in our heads about these events. Let me explain. Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John that … “you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Many people have come to see the practical application of this biblical truth. It is not what happens to us that makes us unhappy or depressed, it is our interpretation of what happens; it is the significance that we attach to the event that actually makes us unhappy or depressed. The truth is that many, many events in our lives are actually neutral. Our interpretation of them and their significance is entirely up to us. At this point, we have to be careful how we CHOOSE to interpret what has happened. We have to be careful in CHOOSING the significance we attach to the event.
The cool thing is when we begin the process of taking responsibility for our individual emotional state, we can make great strides in learning to be “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8). We can actually be empowered by the Holy Spirit to become more resilient than we were in the past. When we choose to be very careful about how we interpret events and the significance we attach to events, what we are doing is operating with the “mind of Christ.” His “mind” … His way of thinking brings increased stability to us. Centered, Christ-like thinking usually produces centered, Christ-like emotional responses. By walking in the Spirit more consistently, we actually become more balanced, more stable, and more whole.
When we initially hear something that seems to go against the grain of what we have believed for a long time, we are skeptical. We adamantly challange the “new idea.” Please prayerfull consider what is being presented here and try to apply it in some small way and see how it can make a difference in your long-term responses to daily events.
Begin by embracing a few truths:
I am responsible for my emotional well-being.
Most events in my life are “neutral”.
I attach significance or meaning to these events.
I can choose to bring God into my circumstances and try to see things from His perspective. I can ask myself, “What could God be going after in me by allowing this to happen?” Pray that God will show you why He might have allowed the event to touch your life.
Examine the significance you are attaching to the event.
Examine how you are interpreting the event.
Challenge yourself to “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” about the event.
Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10: 4-6).
Choose to “renew your mind” (Romans 12:2).
Ask God to help you and empower you to do this.
Try these activities and new ways of thinking and experience new emotional results!
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