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5 Ways To Be Happy Even When You’re Hurting

Ways Happy Even When Youre Hurting

Trying to be happy when you feel hurt sounds like a contradictory concept, but sometimes, a much-needed one. Working towards being happy even when you’re hurting is something that might be difficult to do at times, but it can help you in dealing with emotional pain in the long run.

Key Points

  • You cannot will away your pain or fully deceive yourself into not feeling it.
  • Pushing away your pain can double your problems.
  • Taking respite from your pain can help you become more resilient.
  • Nurturing compassionate self awareness can help you develop a sense of well-being even when you feel hurt.

“What’s the point of getting upset?” This is a question I frequently hear within the walls of my therapy office.

It’s a reasonable question. After all, if you want to be happy, counting your blessings seems like a better idea than crying in pain, whether it be sadness, hurt, anger, or any other distressing emotion. But when it comes to problems bigger than momentary setbacks, the human psyche cannot be easily distracted or deceived.

There is certainly a place for trying to avoid or minimize emotional pain. Just ask any parent who has distracted their child when they were afraid of getting a vaccine shot.

Similarly, people who face tragedy frequently use gallows humor to find temporary respite from their distress. And looking for positives or seeking out feel-good activities can indeed be helpful in climbing out of unhappiness, depression, or anxiety. But consistently being avoidant can cause problems.

To understand this better, consider these five tips for cultivating happiness, all of which include attending to your distress.

Related: 10 Signs Of An Emotional Masochist: How To Know If You’re One

5 Ways To Be Happy When You Feel Hurt

1. Acknowledge your emotional pain—it cannot be willed away.

Just as you can force a stoic look on your face when punched in the gut, you can make yourself appear unfazed by an emotional blow. But superficial appearances, as well as efforts to distract, do not change the fact that you feel pain.

Once you acknowledge your unhappiness, the purpose of feeling it becomes clear. To not feel it is to deny reality—and while you might fool others, you can never fully deceive yourself.

happy even when you're hurting
Be Happy When You Feel Hurt

2. Stop pushing your pain away and accept it.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to be upset, but denying it will prevent you from seeing the thorn in your heart. You will have a sense that something is wrong, but you won’t understand what you are feeling.

I have often seen this in therapy when patients have told me in earnest that they don’t know why they are so depressed about their perfect life. Inevitably, they are being dishonest with themselves, such as talking around the fact that their spouse is emotionally distant, or that they are missing some other essential for a happy life.

As a result, they have at least doubled their problems. They are sad or hurt, or whatever, about something in their life. But they don’t let themselves know that—so in addition, they are confused by their unhappiness.

Related: How to Overcome Chronic Emotional and Psychological Suffering

3. Get to know what is upsetting you because you can only heal what you can truly see.

The less you know about your unhappiness, the less you will be able to heal it. This means that becoming self-aware is extremely important.

So, attend to what you sense in your body. Take time to consider your thoughts. Sit with your feelings. Observe your actions. And try to understand what these experiences tell you about why you respond as you do.

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Leslie Becker Phelps Ph.D.

As an NJ and NY licensed psychologist based in Basking Ridge, Leslie Becker-Phelps, is also licensed to do telehealth (secure video therapy) in 26 other states. She is a therapist, author, speaker, and teacher with the goal of guiding people toward happier, more productive lives. This includes helping people overcome problems, as well as building on their strengths. She does this by focusing on improving their relationships with themselves and others. Along with helping patients to develop compassionate self-awareness, some approaches she uses are psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, behavioral, interpersonal, mindfulness, and mentalization.View Author posts