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3 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Forget Our Unhappiness

3 Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Forget Our Unhappiness

It is tempting to want to avoid all pain and discomfort. In fact, it is part of the human experience, even evolutionarily advantageous, to recognize and avoid pain. But simply trying to forget unhappiness or brush it under the rug will not help. It can actually hurt you to avoid unhappiness. It’s  not fun or easy, but there are some important reasons why acknowledging your unhappiness instead of avoiding it is essential to living a healthy and whole life.

1. You cannot selectively numb unhappiness without numbing joy, gratitude, love, and happiness

Researcher Dr. Brené Brown says that, “You can’t selectively numb. When you numb shame, you numb everything.” If you are continually numbing and forgetting your discomfort then you have no room in your life for joy, gratitude, love, and happiness. It’s a package deal. I don’t want to just gloss over pain with one wide brush of cliches — “you can’t reach the light without going through the darkness,” “there’s always a storm before a rainbow,” blah, blah, blah. But these ideas become clichés for a reason — they’re true.

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Experiencing unhappiness is a part of the human experience. Admittedly, it’s my least favorite part, but what can I do? I have to go through it. By allowing my pain to exist without trying to shove it into a deep, dark closet somewhere in the recesses of my soul, I can use that pain to understand more about why it’s present in my life. And when I allow myself to experience it, then I can experience joy and gratitude when it passes.

2. Unhappiness will not go away simply because you choose to ignore it

That might sound negative. But think about it this way: if you are always avoiding the pain in your life, where do you expect it to go?

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A relationship might be making you unhappy. Ignoring your unhappiness in that relationship will not make the sadness go away. Only dealing with the root of the pain can have any impact. I know how easy it is to try to ignore, to attempt to forget and run away from pain, only to find it constantly knocking on the door of my heart. If I ignore it long enough, the pain will start leaking in through the windows and manifesting in weird ways (ever had a crazy meltdown if Starbucks gets your order wrong?). Forgetting about the pain just won’t work. It will always be there, waiting to be addressed, waiting to be felt.

It’s like if you were experiencing a surprising pain in your back but you didn’t deal with it. You just take a ton of Advil and try not to move as much. The problem will not resolve itself and spine issues are no joke. It won’t be resolved until you go to a doctor and discover what’s happening beneath the surface. I’m not saying that every single source of unhappiness requires professional help, but it does require attention. And it’s not going anywhere until it gets what it needs.

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3. Unhappiness is a sign that something needs to be adjusted in your life

When you are unhappy, sad, angry, disappointed, lonely, or frustrated, the last thing you want to do is stop and process that emotion. If you’re anything like me, you want punch that discomfort in the face and run and hide under a blanket of Netflix and chocolate, hoping that the pain will forget you ever existed. Take it from me, this is not a useful coping technique. Instead of trying to forget about the unhappiness in my life, I’m learning to treat it as a sign. Discomfort in your life is a sign that something is wrong, or that something needs to be adjusted.

If you feel extremely anxious in certain social situations, maybe it’s time to evaluate who your friends are. It might be time to find safer people to surround yourself with. If you just really sad at the end of the day, it’s time to examine your career choices. If that’s not an option, think about what would make coming home at the end of the day a relaxing and rewarding experience. Do you tend to overreact when someone forgets about an appointment or a friend blows you off? Think about the first time you felt that deep pang of rejection or abandonment. You might be reliving a more fundamental and serious pain that is aggravating smaller more mundane sources of frustration.

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Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Emily Myrin

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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