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emjay's avatar

Do you think that its possible to not realize how unhappy you are until you achieve actual happiness?

Asked by emjay (668 points ) December 16th, 2013

A few of you jellies have been involved in the answering of my recent questions and seen how dramatic my life has been lately. On top of the stress, its been stressful, upsetting, seemingly hopeless, confusing, and full of a lot of hardship in the last two-three months or so. During that time I never counted myself as unhappy, though nothing seemed to be going right.
In the last couple of days or so, however, I have not been able to stop smiling. I feel good (I knew that I would! So good, so good… Lol), things are going well again (found a place to live, my bosses are in better moods, AND one of them told me yesterday she’s going to have a serious talk with the other about the promotion I got shafted on even if arguing with him about it costs her her job because she thinks how things happened with that were super wrong.)... Anyway. I guess I didn’t realize how unhappy I’d been until a few burdens had been lifted. I feel high on life! Things aren’t perfect, but they are getting better. A couple people I know even said they have noticed the change in the last few days and are glad to see me happy again. Like I said, I never counted myself as unhappy, but now I do see a difference.
Is this a common thing, being blind to your own unhappiness? Have you ever experienced something like this? Do people really know they are unhappy and just not want to admit it because that means they’d have to do something about it? Give me your thoughts.

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13 Answers

kess's avatar

No, unhappiness is a state of mind just as happiness is.
The do not co exist, but fluctuate one to the next.

Happiness is being content…

Some thinks that happiness comes according to what state you are in, so these will fluctuate between happiness unhappiness.

So whatever situation you in you can be happy by being content, that way you are sure you will never be unhappy.

emjay's avatar

Correction: on top of the drama, its been stressful, etc…. Oops, haha.

JimTurner's avatar

Feelings of happiness and depression are like a wave. That go up and down.

We should enjoy the times we feel jubilant and if or when we get depressed we can realize that it won’t last forever.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

I think all you are really talking about is how people actually took notice that you are smiling more now than before.

And of course you have more to smile about after all you mentioned and if your life was stressful as you say before the burdens were lifted, then there probably wasn’t so much to smile about. Some people really notice people when they smile. The smile makes the face and the day :)

Bill1939's avatar

One is oblivious to the room’s temperature until it (or the condition of one’s body) changes. Feeling warm requires that one had been feeling cold. Likewise, a sense of happiness is dependent upon noticing a change in one’s circumstances. Perhaps you did not feel unhappy because you were focused on the moment and were not contrasting your experience with a prior reality. If so, congratulations! You have acquired a skill that many seek, but few find.

Pachy's avatar

It’s called life. Ups and downs.

thorninmud's avatar

It’s complicated, and it varies from person to person, but people generally have a “happiness set point”—a somewhat consistent level of happiness to which they gravitate. This means that although changes in circumstances may nudge their happiness level up or down, that level will tend to settle back to the set point even without a further change in circumstances. This set point is heavily influenced by genetic factors.

Even if your life situation takes a turn for the better, the bump in happiness that results will fade with time. If things get worse, your happiness level will drop, but will tend to find its way back to your set point with time.

That said, the set point may tend to drift a bit over the course of a lifetime (this seems to be the case for about 25% of the population). Also, there are some life events that do seem to permanently alter the set point, notably serious disability (although there is mixed evidence on this).

If your circumstances nudge you to a temporarily higher happiness level and from that new level you reflect back to your previous circumstances, then from that new perspective you may conclude that you were really unhappy back then (when actually you may just have been at your set point). Likewise, if circumstances go sour and your happiness level temporarily dips, you may look back and think how happy you were (when actually you were just at your set point).

nerevars's avatar

There is this love song that says “I never know what I miss from my life before I met you.”

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

If you don’t realize you are unhappy, then you’re not. Happiness is a frame of mind. Then if something happens that makes you ecstatic, that still doesn’t mean you were unhappy before. Just my opinion.

Mariah's avatar

Oh certainly. I didn’t realize I had an anxiety problem until a medication made it go away. I didn’t realize how low my standards for what a “good life” were, until my health got better. I didn’t realize how much I hated high school until I started college. Hell, maybe I’m still unhappy and somewhere down the road I’ll realize it, but I don’t think so.

susanc's avatar

“When my soul was in the lost and found,
You came along to claim it.
I didn’t know just what was wrong with me
Till your love helped me name it.”
Aretha Franklin, 1968

cutiepi92's avatar

Yes. I think it’s possible.

Before I met my love, I never really paid attention to how empty my life was. I stayed home all the time, barely talked to anyone, really didn’t socialize. When I met him, it opened up a whole new door for me. I started going out, I realized what it’s like to actually COMMUNICATE with people, what it feels like to actually have someone who wants to talk with you. I never realized how lonely I was….....until I wasn’t.

yankeetooter's avatar

The day (about a month ago) when I got to the breaking point at my job, and decided that if things didn’t change, I was walking out that very day…and fortunately things did change, and have continued to improve. But sitting there in HR’s office, and realizing that I was never again going to have to be in the horrible position I had been in for months…knowing that I didn’t have to go through that any more…I was hit with such a sense of peace that I can hardly describe. Once you realize you have choices, it is very empowering…

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