An Alphabet Of My Life: U


Unhappy is a word that I (and others) use frequently to easily describe so many things.

I can be unhappy if it is raining when I want to do something ouside.
I can be unhappy if they cancel a TV series that I really enjoyed.
I can be unhappy if a shop has sold out of the type of bread I want to buy.

But on reflection, this is not being unhappy. That is something much more serious.

Have I been unhappy at stages in my life, really unhappy?
Yes I have. Or have I? I at least thought I was.

I was desperately unhappy for my mum when my dad left, and she had to sell her beloved house in the suburbs. I could see the pain on her face, and hear the heartbreak in her voice. But I was not unhappy to see my dad go, I was being unhappy for someone else.

When my first marriage broke up, I was genuinely unhappy. I felt bad that I had failed as a husband, and discovered loneliness sitting on my own in a new small house. At the time, I dealt with that by using denial, and felt sure we would get back together.

Some years later, I was divorced again, and living in a rented flat a long way from the parts of London that I knew well. Coming home after an exhausting shift on the ambulances, I had nobody to talk to, and sat in that cold, damp flat feeling very unhappy. I dealt with that the second time by drinking a great deal of red wine, and seeking oblivion.

I had to rethink though. Was I genuinely unhappy, or was I just feeling sorry for myself? Was ‘unhappy’ just a convenient word for a different feeling?

Now with the accrued life knowledge of 70 years, I have come to a conclusion. I have been unhappy for others, which is probably better called sympathy or empathy, depending on the circumstances. I have been miffed about something, fed up with something else, and have definitely felt sorry for myself on numerous occasions.

The good news though is that I have never been truly unhappy.

48 thoughts on “An Alphabet Of My Life: U

  1. I’ve had periods of unhappiness, it is usually a situation where the thing I want most is not happening. So I guess you could say I create my own unhappiness. If I can’t acquire what I want then maybe I need to find something else to want? Interesting subject. I have to think about this a little more. Hugs, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This one got me thinking. My quickfire answer if asked if I’ve ever been unhappy would be, ‘of course…haven’t we all?’. But on reflection I have been unsettled, disgruntled, mildly irritated. Probably never really unhappy in myself. I do think modern life has sold us an expectation that life should be happy, positive and empowering at all times. Sometimes we must be happy with hum drum, I think!

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  3. I think one can debate the meaning of the word and it will be different for everyone. When I compare my life to other people’s I ask ‘how can I be unhappy?’ Like you I have often been unhappy for other people. I always wanted to fix things for them but so often all you can do is sympathise or offer a shoulder to cry on.

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    1. It is one of those words that describe something quite serious, but get dragged into common usage and attached to things that are insignificant.
      (Like ‘Awesome’, which is the most annoying example for me.)
      Best wishes, Pete.


  4. I had to think about this one Pete. What exactly does unhappy actually mean? One definition is : “not feeling pleasure or satisfaction” so I guess there have been plenty of times in my life where that has been true. A poor meal. A bad day at work. Disappointment with something or someone. Mostly fleeting moments. I suppose if one is constantly unhappy about a situation then you’ve got to do something about it to turn things around. Not always easy to do though.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Difficult though it might be to accept, I think what you describe is very much part of the human condition, and without it, we would never learn how to progress. At least, that’s how I like to look at it 🙂 Cheers, Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

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